Lamb Cutlets

Nat cooked a delicious dinner for us tonight of super tender cutlets, grilled mushrooms, shallots and tomatoes, brown rice and salad with balsamic vinaigrette.


I'm signing off for Christmas. If you're lucky I'll back post with photos of Christmas dinner and any other memorable meals. But otherwise I'll be posting everyday dinners again in January.

Merry Christmas!

Mince Spaghetti

Mince spaghetti last night and tonight as leftovers.

Olive oil, onion, garlic, pepper, beef stock, can of tomatoes, good squirt of tomato paste, oregano and rosemary. (Served with parmesan cheese)

Burritos 4

Tonight I mixed the mince and beans together (which I don't normally do) and snuck in some peas and corn. The kids didn't mind them! Yay for more veges in their tummies! If you want to do it I would recommend the corn, it belongs in there flavourwise, but the peas really don't. It doesn't make it gross or anything but you can tell it's an extra.

Beef Scotch Fillet with Stuffed Mushrooms

Nat cooked steak for us tonight, and I made my delicious stuffed mushrooms. I was a bit generous with the cheese tonight so they weren't as good as last time, "Too cheesy for me" Nat said, but they were still delicious. They were good with the steak, just like I suspected they would be. We also had rice to fill the plate (and tummies).

Lasagne, Stew, Brown rice and Salad

We went to a friends place for dinner tonight, so no photo. They served up a delicious dinner of lasagne (with veges, which I can never pull off tastily. So I normally leave out the veges), stew and rice (brown! I love brown rice) and salad (with TONS of extra veges). It was great!

Christmas #1

Can you believe I forgot to take my camera to Christmas dinner? The first of two: with Nat's family. We'll by with mine Christmas day this year. Nat says no one wants to read this if I don't have a picture, but for record keepings sake:

Afternoon nibbles:
Flavoured nuts and seeds
Corn chips and rice crackers with fresh homemade guacamole
Men shaped shortbread cookies
Fresh cherries

Roast pork (with perfect crackling)
Apple sauce
Roast potato, kumara, pumpkin, shallots
Bok Choy
Fresh garden salad with dressing

Red sparkling grape juice

Pumpkin pie (my mother's recipe)
Whipped cream
Apple pie
Vanilla ice cream

Supper (intended for entree but forgotten till later):
Butterflied prawns on soft fresh lettuce

To finish:
Red sparkling grape juice
Truffle chocolates

And just so you know there were only four adults (Nat, me and his parents) and two children (2 1/2 and 10 months) at the celebration today. We really ate to celebrate.

Midnight Spaghetti 3

Midnight spaghetti again. I overcooked the shallots though. And we had prawns with it this time.

A Lazy Friday Dinner

First course:
Peas and corn from the freezer.

Second course:
Fish/sausage/hot dog/spring roll and chips depending who you are (Nat, Theo, Sadie, me).

Course 2a (I was the only one eating it):
Gotta love leftovers!


Tonight was my first time ever making a Silverside. And actually I ran out of time to prepare it and then went out for the afternoon, so Nat made it, but I put the veges in and drained then served it all up on plates so it kind of feels like it counts.

Salmon Pasta Salad

So. This was dinner tonight:

Recipe here. Two words: Epic fail. This was so gross. I thought "What a waste of my nice wholemeal pasta, and my carrots, brocolli, olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce and all other ingredients. Except for the salmon." I've decided I have an irreversible bias against canned salmon. It's sooooo gross. I inherited a bunch of canned goods when someone moved, including canned salmon. Tonight was one of those nights where I just had to make what was in the cupboard. I will never make this again. I was so glad that I didn't slice in some avocado which was recommended in one of the comments on the recipe. I did not think this was "Delicious Salmon Pasta Salad".

Mexican Spiced Tomato Soup and rice

I whipped up some Mexican Spiced Tomato Soup tonight. I cooked it in a large frypan, so that the simmering time was shorter. Worked a charm! I also suggest that out of 6 cups of stock you actually use 4 cups of water and 2 of stock. I only ever use stock cubes, so really I'm saying use 6 cups of water and only 2 stock cubes, I don't know what real stock would be like. And make sure your cubes are dissolved before pouring it in!
Lentils and rice is a full protein, so here you go! A well rounded meal! (Especially if your rice is brown, yum yum.)

An enormous salad

It was a hot day today. I didn't feel like (or have the time to, after lounging in the sun) make a big dinner. So the kids got sausages and chips from the freezer, with carrot and cheese sticks and fruit for dessert. And I had an enormous salad. It was perfect for the weather today.

Roast lamb 4

Big leg of lamb at the in-laws tonight. Sides of roast potato and kumara, rice, courgette and onion topped with cheese, peas and gravy.

Dessert of apple pie and vanilla icecream.

Sorry no photo.


We went to a potluck dinner at our church tonight. Must to my dismay I forgot the camera (read why I was so upset about forgetting the camera here). There was too much food to list and remember, but what I ate was carrot, cucumber and capsicum sticks and brocolli florets with hummus, ommelette, burritos and maybe more I can't remember. And the kids had chips (like fish and chips type chips) and sausages and beans (oh yeah I had some bean salad), and probably more I'm forgetting.

For dessert, of the selection I had some South African milk tart and oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Theo had cake. There was also icecream. And Nat had pavlova.

Tons to eat. Sorry for no photo.

And sorry for the late post!

Peas and Pasta

After looking through recipes online I conglomerated them and made peas and pasta tonight. Really it was a lot like midnight spaghetti with a can of peas thrown in and slightly mashed. It was alright. Nat and I ate ours with wholemeal penne...
and the kids had theirs with lasagne.

It looks gross, I know, but it wasn't too bad. Won't be doing it again any time soon though.

Meat and two veg

It's better than it sounds. I had beef porterhouse steak tonight with onions, broccoli, salad and rice. It was good! I don't know if it's an abomination or not, something tells me a proper chef wouldn't do it, but I cooked my onions and steak (seasoned with salt and pepper) in olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar. Just a splash of each. I liked it. And it paired real nice with the balsamic vinaigrette on my salad.

And if you don't like meat you might want to look away because LOOK AT THIS!

For the first time ever I didn't overcook my steak! I cooked a perfect medium steak. I'll say medium because it wasn't bleeding, but I found it was quite red still. Yay! Go me!

Homemade Kumara Chips and Veges

Nat had a big lunch today and so didn't need a big dinner. And I hadn't even thought about what to make and all of a sudden it was 4:30pm. So we just had something light.

I made kumara chips by slicing the kumara thinly, tossing in olive oil, salt and pepper, and baking them flat on a cookie sheet just till cooked but still soft (some were crispy). Then rice, salad, and peas and corn.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I made Rachael Ray's Spaghetti and Meatballs for dinner. The verdict: the meatballs were GREAT but the sauce only so-so. Nothing exciting. I'm still on the look out for a good, made at home, straight, tomato pasta sauce.

(Apologies for the earlier version of this post if you saw it. Late last night I asked Nat to post the photo for me and I'd update it today. That was his idea of funny.)

Tomato and Basil Spaghetti 3

Nat made some spaghetti sauce earlier in the day today so that he could take his dinner to work with him (working a night shift). He also used the rest of the spaghetti.

So the kids had macaroni with their spaghetti sauce. Another empty packet.

I had mine over brown rice.

It was nice enough, but you really need to make sure you've got enough sauce to flavour it otherwise it's too boring.

Roast lamb 3

Sunday roast of lamb with roasted potatoes, kumara and shallots. Sides of rice (slightly curried) peas and asparagas with parmesan. And plenty of gravy.

It was all exceptional, but the star of the meal tonight was the dessert; Nat made chocolate fondants. It was his first time trying a fondant. The chocolate was only 40% instead of 70% cocoa solids and he used mugs in lieu of ramekins, but they turned out delicious! He got a photo on his parents camera, I may be able to update in the future. But it was just great! Success on his first try!

Spring broth and Terakihi

We ate at Nat's parents place tonight. My father-in-law made a delicious spring broth today that we had to start. It's a broth made with a whole chicken and then a mountain of fresh baby spring vegetables: peas, radish, fennel, celery, carrots, potatoes and probably more. It's delicious.

Then we had fresh terakihi fillets lightly floured, with homemade fried chips and a wholemeal sour dough, parbaked that you finish at home.

A delicious, light, spring meal!

(Sorry no photo)


Erika and her kids came over for dinner tonight and the two of us (plus 3 small children) managed to demolish most of my triple recipe quiche. There are two and a half pieces out of 12 left. It was a crustless/self-crusting quiche made with wholemeal flour so the colour is a bit darker. Our fillings were onion, garlic, bacon, broccoli, peas, corn and cheese. It was good! I was glad I'd made so much so that we could all eat as much as we wanted and come away from the meal feeling full even though it's a light dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We were invited to a big Thanksgiving dinner tonight. There was of course a massive spread.

I took veges and dip...

... and Butterscotch blondies, which are meant to be gooey on top, it's like a custard (just so you don't send a message across the festivities from your husband telling me their not cooked at all).

We arrived late, so the we missed the original buffet and first attack. But there was food for hours. What I can remember, with some help from the photos...

Corn chips and guacamole, ratatouille, stuffing, 3 or more green salads, bean salad, bread rolls, my veges and dip, broccoli salad with bacon, ginger carrots, turkey, gravy, pumpkin bread, seasoned mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows (there was more I know it, but I didn't try everything so can't remember it all)

6-8 pumpkin pies, bittersweet pecan pie (SO GOOD), my Butterscotch Blondies, chocolate cream pie, pineapple pie, apple pie, chocolate mouse, CREAM overload, sweet pumpkin loaf, cookies, and once again I'm sure I'm missing something.

It was so great! I loved how the food just kept coming as the guests did, and there was something for everyone to take home too. I love Thanksgiving!

Stir fry with prawns

Yummy stir fry tonight. I used a packet of stir fry veges from the freezer, and it was so time saving, and the flavour didn't suffer. The key to making it taste good tonight was that I didn't overseason it. I looked at shrimp stir fry recipes online and decided my seasonings were 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/4 cup chicken stock (not more than these amounts or it gets too salty!), salt and pepper, chili flakes, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, onion, 1/2-1 tsp cornflour in the stock to thicken the sauce. Remember to de-vein your prawns! Works with both white and brown rice.

Corn beef hash and stuffed mushrooms

I made corned beef hash for the family tonight. Another one that's hard to get a photo that makes it look appetising. I also made stuffed mushrooms for myself that no one else was interested in. They were one of the best things I've EVER made.

Stuffed Mushrooms

4 white button mushrooms with stalks (or a different kind!)
1 shallot
olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated cheese

Peel/wash the mushrooms (they grow mushrooms in manure, so don't skip this step). Cut the very tips of the stalks off. Gently remove the stalks. Rub the mushroom tops with olive oil (not essential). Put the mushrooms in the oven on a non stick tray, 180 degrees celsius for 5-10 minutes. While they are cooking chop your mushroom stalks and shallot finely, then fry in olive oil till looking delicious (translucent shallot, juicy mushroom). Remove from pan to a bowl. Finely grate your cheese, I use a zester actually, so that it mixes more easily. Add cheese and a tiny bit of salt and pepper (optional) to the shallot/mushroom mix. When mushrooms in oven are looking cooked (there should be little pools of mushroom juice in the mushrooms), remove from oven and fill with cheesy mix. Replace in oven for just a couple minutes till the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and enjoy!

These are great as one bite and I think would be GREAT with steak! I'm going to cook them for Nat the next time we have a steak. I could seriously eat an entire plate of these every single day.

Mexican Spiced Mince

Not very glamourous tonight. I cooked Mexican Spiced Mince and served it with rice, corn, celery (on Theo's request, and then he didn't even eat it) and a cheesy tortilla (like an open quesadilla because I was short on tortillas).

What's that? Why yes! That is leftover Mexican Spiced Tomato Soup rehashed on a plate. It tasted dang good too. I would suggest it - onion, garlic, beef mince, Mexican Spiced Tomato Soup, water, extra mexican seasoning (which is included with the soup recipe), reduced down to a nice saucy mince for whatever you might need it for. The corn went really well with it too. And the cheesy tortilla. Yum!

Roast pork 2

At the in-laws for the Sunday roast tonight.

Rolled Roast Pork with perfect crackling.
Roast Potatoes
Roast Kumara
Bok Choy
Curried rice

Mexican Spiced Tomato Soup

I've posted about this soup before on my other blog here. Pretty much, it's delicious and goes great with quesadillas. The recipe is also here, credits to the cook.

*Not fully vegetarian as it uses beef stock. I'm sure you could substitute it out though.

Tomato and Basil Spaghetti 2

Spaghetti for the boys.

I boiled veges to stir the sauce through for me. It was gross.

Overstuffed Omelette

The fillings: onion, ham, mushroom, tomato, cheese, peas, corn.

The "omelette".

Steak and mushrooms

Nat's dinner and photography

My dinner and photography

I think steak is the #1 meal since I've been posting. I'll have to check that. Tonight we had beef porterhouse steak with mushrooms. Nat's creamy, mine not creamy. Asparagas and salad for me, rice and salad with the carrots separate for Nat. And the kids had their own meals as well because steak for 2 is enough let alone 2 and 3/4.

Burrito Salad

While the boys ate their burritos, Sadie and I just had the fillings without the the tortilla, so more like a salad.

It was delicious. And I didn't really miss the tortilla.

Chili 2

I'm at my parents place tonight, and Mum made chili. Very similar to my chili a couple nights ago, minus some of the spices because Mum found her spice jars empty when she went to add them, and minus the things that I put in that made it taste like spaghetti sauce. And minus the garlic. They don't have garlic here.

Pickled Pork, Roast Chicken, Chinese Chicken, Spaghetti Bolognaise

BIG family dinner tonight. Fantastic. Sorry no camera. But check out the spread:

Pickled pork
Roast chicken
Chinese chicken
Spaghetti Bolognaise
Bean salad
Green salad
Roast potato, red kumara and orange kumara
Carrot and celery sticks
Lentil soup

Chocolate cake

I made the cake. It was a hit. SO good.


I made chili tonight. It's been kind of a warm day today, so I guess it's a bit weird to have chili, but it's what I saw when I looked in my cupboards.

Quick and Easy Chili

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion
5-10 cloves garlic
250-500g beef mince
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp dried basil
Chili powder to taste
3 Tbsp dark vinegar
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 400g can chili beans
1 400g can baked beans

Chop the onion, peel the garlic. You can see in this photo I had mushroom as well. I wouldn't recommend it. The mushrooms made it taste more like a pasta sauce with beans.

Heat a large saucepan or pot. Add olive oil.

When heated at chopped onion.

After about a minute crush in you garlic (or add chopped garlic if you don't have a crusher).

When the onions are starting to turn translucent...

...add the mince.

Brown the mince then add your spices and vinegar (I use the same spices as Obama's family recipe, but I don't have wine vinegar, don't want to use up my balsamic in this, and so used malt vinegar. I think any dark vinegar will do the trick).

The turmeric makes it a bit yellow.

Cook for 3 minutes then add tomatoes, chili beans and baked beans. My chili beans were actually "salsa chili beans" so they had large and small kidney beans and corn in a chili sauce. It was also medium rather than mild, and my kids are sensitive to chili so I only added a tiny pinch of chili powder. Remember chili gets hotter as it cooks. You can also see that I added half a bottle of pasta sauce that I had in the fridge that needed to be used. I wouldn't recommend doing this either. It makes it taste a lot more like pasta sauce with beans rather than chili.

Simmer gently for 20 minutes or longer to thicken it up, making sure you stir it because it will probably stick.

You can see in this photo the different colour of the chili in the plastic bowls for my kids.
I added cream to theirs to cool down the temperature as well as the chili heat. Just be wary if you do this it will make the chili a bit runnier, but it's really tasty.

You can of course season with salt and pepper if you think it needs it, but mine didn't. Probably mostly because the can of chili beans pretty much flavours the whole thing.

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