Monday, 26 January 2015

Quick, easy, and filling - French Toast Salad!

Years ago when Jamie Oliver first hit our tv screens and kitchen bookshelves, I was very much inspired by his approach of using basic, and fresh, seasonal ingredients. This is great for when the pantry is emptying and the shopping list is extending.

Here's a dish I pulled together as a savoury pre-dinner snack for my husband, Master 5 and me one late afternoon. It's nothing extraordinary but it certainly hit the spot that day, so I thought I'd share it with you. It's a light dish that could be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, a light dinner or even a late night snack.

Pre-schoolers could certainly help out with the preparation of any of the below activities, they will love it! I've included a list of how your young helper/s could help prepare this dish. 

Try it!

day old turkish bread
baby Roma tomatoes, cut in half 
avocado, sliced
4-5 eggs, enough to coat bread 
rocket leaves, washed
salt & pepper

Practical life for a pre-schooler 'young helper' ideas
day old turkish bread - adult slices the bread into strips and young helper could slice bread into squares (with guidance)
baby Roma tomatoes, cut in half - young helper could wash, strain, pat dry with paper towel, and slice tomatoes (with guidance)
avocado, sliced - adult cuts in half, slices the avocados still in their skin and young helper could scoop out the flesh with a spoon
4-5 eggs - young helper can crack eggs, add one by one into small bowl, then add one by one to larger bowl, and mix
rocket leaves, washed - young helper can wash, strain, and pat dry
salt & pepper - young helper can season with guidance from adult

Whisk eggs, add diced up bread to eggs and coat.
In a hot frypan, add sunflower oil (or oil of your choosing) and fry eggy bread until cooked to your liking, set aside in a salad bowl.
Using the same frypan (wipe with a paper towel as needed) gently fry the roma tomatoes and add to the fried bread.
Add avocado and rocket, mix, season and serve!

How easy is that!

Hits the hunger spot!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Apricot, Coconut, Pistachio and Cranberry Balls

Mum made Apricot & Coconut Balls for my husband one Christmas as she knew he liked the delicious orangey-red dried fruits. They were a hit!

Tapping into this delicious treat, I've tweaked the recipe a little and added a few extras. I made them for the Christmas tables (ours and my mother in laws Christmas Eve dinner) and just recently at a little birthday party for our two sons, whose birthdays are at either end of January.

Party style with novelty animal napkin.
Served with shredded coconut and pistachio.

Apricot, Coconut, Pisatachio and Cranberry Balls

225g dried apricots (we prefer the dried out flat looking ones over the plump, fleshy ones)
225g desiccated coconut
shredded coconut for rolling balls into
75g raw pistachios kernals
150g dried cranberries
395g tin of condensed milk
1 packet of plain biscuits (e.g. Arnotts milk arrowroot, milk coffee, teddy bear biscuits)

A welcome help from little hands, with love ;)

1 Using a food processor 
- Pulse the apricots and cranberries. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Pulse the pistachios until they are a little crumbly or to your liking. Add to the large mixing bowl.
- Pulse the biscuits until the resemble a fine crumb, add coconut and pulse until combined.
- Add apricots and cranberries, and pistachios.
Pour in the condensed milk and and pulse until combined.

You can see the size of the pistachios here as a guide

2 Transfer the mixture to the mixing bowl. Wet hands with running water to moisten and mix as needed to combine all ingredients. Take a small amount and roll in your hands to form little balls, roll these in the coconut to coat. 
3 Place balls into a container in a single layer. Use a baking sheet to separate if needed.
Place container into fridge.
4 Best prepared a day ahead, served cold, and with a hot tea or coffee.

There was discussion amongst a few on other potential varieties you could do. I'm thinking I'll try a date, almond and cocoa next. What do you think? I'd love to hear your ideas?

And as Audrey Hepburn famously said "For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry". 


Friday, 2 January 2015

Happy New Year! Australian Natives 1, 2, 3!

Happy New Year!

I hope that wherever you enjoyed the festivities last night you were surrounded by loved ones and lots of joy and laughter... we were all fast asleep at midnight in readiness for Master 1's daily early risings at 5am. Yawn!

This morning, my husband, Master 1 and myself attended a sung high Mass whilst Master 4 and Miss 3 were visiting their paternal grandparents. We returned later to join them and enjoy a light New Year's Day roast lamb and salad before heading off.

Back at home in the early afternoon, Master 4 had some quiet Lego time, Miss 3 had the craft box out and Master 1 toddled around endlessly, occasionally practising his new climbing techniques onto the tables to his delight. My husband and I took the chance to put our feet up whilst the little ones were occupied.

When the weather had cooled down in the late afternoon, and the coffee and had been drunk, we headed out front to do some gardening.

We are consciously choosing Australian natives for our front yard in order to attract the native birds, bees and other insects and animals and in keeping with a particular theme for our home. 

We had a lovely visit to the Sydney Wildflower Nursery in Heathcote yesterday exploring the variety of unusual plants and herbs and admiring their foliage and colours. The children had a great sensorial time playing with the gravel whilst we decided what we'd buy. I must say though, it was a very difficult decision to leave with just two plants!

Water, water, water

Eucalyptus ficifolia. An ornamental eucalyptus. 
I can't wait to see the buds opening up!

Master 4 reading out the plants requirements

Adenanthos, SilverSilk. An interesting plant. The foliage is
beautifully soft, almost feathery .

Dad and Master 4 preparing the hole for the Adenanthos.

Teamwork, learning, nature, Montessori, hands on!

Transplanting one of my favourite ground covers, a Scaevola Amemula
(Fan Flower, Fandancer, Fanfare).
Miss 3 happily pulling Master 1 around in the wagon. How lucky is

My toddler and me xx

Master 4 especially had a great time planting with Dad, helping out with the wheelbarrow, the watering and learning about our new plants and their needs. They tend to bond quite frequently and easily looking after the garden. Miss 3 and Master 1 spent a lot of time working through the different settings on the hose and getting wet. A wonderfully satisfying day enjoyed by all.

Are you a Australian Native fan? Do you have any tips or suggestions? I'd love to hear from you!

And to all, from our home to you, the very best wishes for 2015!
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