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.


Ate out tonight at Capitol. Delicious. Here's what we ate:

Fried squid with aioli
-(Nat ordered this. It was really good. But then what isn't good with aioli?)
Bruschetta with tomato and basil
-(This looked great but when not eaten straight away the bread went soggy)
Half dozen Cleveland oysters, served natural with lemon and salt
-(I tried the oysters. I won't let someone waste an oyster on me again for a while. Unless it's Nat's dad trying to make me acquire a taste for them. Which he's implied he might do)
Ricotta gnocchi with sage butter, nutmeg and pancetta
(I ordered this. The sauce was THE BEST. I drained the bowl with my spoon)

Crispy confit duck with portobello mushrooms
-(Nat ordered this. I tried it. It was sooooo good. I wish I'd ordered it. But Nat said I couldn't order the same thing as him.)
Risotto of zucchini, pine nuts, basil and Parmesan
-(This was nice and light, it was like eating zucchini with Parmesan sprinkled over top, but in the form of a risotto)
Grilled beef scotch fillet, cauliflower crushed with melted Taleggio
-(I heard this was good. And that it went great with the oysters)
Roast lamb rack, caponata and green olives
(I ordered this. It was nice. The lamb wasn't anything to rave about but caponata is my new favourite thing)

With added sides of crushed roast potatoes with rosemary, and sauteed spinach.

Soft centred chocolate pudding with creme fraiche for all four of us
(Pretty much a fondant, not that I've ever had a fondant. But very nice. So light and just delicious.)

I'm devastated to say that I forgot my camera. What a pain. Sounds good though huh?

Steak with salad

Tonight Nat made me delicious beef porterhouse steak with salad and mushrooms. The mushrooms were cooked with red onion and vinaigrette and were delicious.

Also, update: I tried the parsnip crisps again today. They were awesome. Nat said they weren't his thing but I loved them. New favourite.

Stir Fry with chick peas and parsnip crisps

I attempted parsnip crisps tonight. Sliced as thin as possible, olive oil, salt and pepper, baked then grilled. I think it's a winner idea, they tasted delicious, but I didn't quite get them crisp enough to be called crisps. I'm going to try again tomorrow.

Then I made a stir fry, with plenty of veges. Cooking oil in the pan, shallot and garlic next, when translucent all the other veges in. I used carrot, brocolli, mushrooms, cabbage and celery. Put in some soy sauce and sesame seeds to taste. Stir that for a bit then add cooked chickpeas and tons of peanuts. They give a nice crunch. And add some chilli, I used flakes, if you want. I added it near the end because chilli gets hotter as it's cooked and I didn't want it too hot.

Then I put the stir fry on the parsnip (not) crisps. The only thing I would have changed is I added a bit too much soy sauce so it was really dark, and cooked it for too long because I was waiting for my crisps. So it got a bit droopy. You could always add more or less veges, and rice or crispy noodles would be great.


I was at my sisters house for dinner. Sorry I forgot to take photos! Tut tut I know.

She made a big beautiful lasagna and I made a big salad and we had peas too. It was great.

Red Cod Fillets

Tonight Nat, once again crisping to perfection, cooked red cod fillets for dinner. I made the sides: asparagas, salad and chips (not pictured).

Delicious! I'm loving all the fish lately!

Roast lamb 2

Sunday roast with my husbands parents tonight. My sister and her family came as well so it was another feast with the in-laws, two days in a row. Sorry but no photos tonight...

Roast lamb
Roast potatoes and kumara
Green salad
Fresh green beans, just barely cooked

Triple chocolate and Vanilla ice cream
Hersheys hot fudge sauce


Fresh Snapper with Fennel

Check it out.

Some friends of ours were visiting, staying with our in-laws for the weekend. We went over there to share in a feast. Nat's dad Peter cooked a beautiful snapper for us, so good one of the guests sucked the eyes and Peter drank the juices from the plate. And the fennel was beautiful.

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