Monday 28 December 2015

My Sunday Photo 27 December 2015

making cranberry relish for Xmas lunch    

For some obscure reason, supermarkets have not been selling frozen cranberries at Christmas time as they used to.   So when hubby spied a bag at our local shop, he scooped them up and rushed them home to our freezer.  Once again this year I was able to make cranberry relish for our Christmas chicken and ham.  (And turkey when I get around to defrosting it and baking it).  Don't get me started on the evils of supermarkets and their home brand only items etc!!

Hope everyone had a fabulous and happy Christmas season.  See you in 2016.


Thursday 24 December 2015

Mockingbird Cafe Kingscliff NSW - Review

my fave indie bookshop is right beside the cafe - win/win  

Kingscliff in northern New South Wales must be one of the very few places left that actually has a caravan park right on the beach. Not that many years ago, it was common to see them up and down the Australian coast, but developers and big money moved in and snapped up this precious commodity to erect highrises.  Oops, don't get me started on "development".  

Anyway, very happily here we have a beachfront for the ordinary folk :=).  This includes a strip of shops and cafes along the esplanade. Mr P. and I are often to be found down this way, and usually drop in for a spot of lunch at Mockingbird on our way further south.  

Rev me Up - $8

I usually go for Mocha Mudslide but this time I decided to have Rev me Up, laced with coffee, peanut butter and banana.  I am hearing you gasp!  First it was tomato last week and now banana, both of which I have forsworn in the past.  (It must be Christmas madness). This was delicious - cool and creamy, with just a hint of peanut butter and coffee.

vanilla milkshake $6  

Mr P. loves his milkshakes and usually chooses strawberry.  Sis was amazed that this was vanilla:=)  As was I.  Mr P. loved it; he likes it very cold which this was.

Blondie and the Brillo Pad (sis and nephew) met us there for lunch recently.  Blondie is a vego (meat has never touched her lips) and Mockingbird is happy to oblige with meat-free meals.  They use organic where possible, and have their own vegie patch and bee hive.  Baking is done in-house, and meat is ethically sourced. Gotta love that hippie vibe!

peppermint and ginger $4.50

my fave water $5

My favourite bottled water from Mount Warning, which is a remnant of Tweed Volcano (the mountain I mean not the water). Years ago I climbed to the very top; the last bit is where you have to drag yourself vertically up by a chain.  It was winter; it was getting late and dark; hubby and friend couldn't make the last bit so I did it alone in the fog. Scary!

smoked salmon salad with white anchovies $21.50     

This salad was meant to have kipfler potatoes in it; I didn't realise till later that it was potato-less.  Perhaps because we ordered potato wedges as well they didn't think we needed them in the salad?  I had assumed the house smoked salmon would be cold-smoked rather than hot-smoked, but nevertheless it was delicious, and the white anchovies added a tangy aspect to the dish.  I enjoyed the freshness of the meal, and felt like I was getting a dose of healthy. I am going to give this recipe a go myself.  

handcut potato wedges $7 small/$10 large     

Oh my!  These were so delicious.  I know that is a word that gets bandied around but they were!  So plump and firm and tasty.  No sog at all, and a nice wrinkly/crinkly skin. And they actually tasted like something - potatoey, with a sort of nuttiness.  I really hate soggy chips so I was dead happy about these.  I thought the accompaniment was aioli but it was of course sour cream.  No wonder I thought it tasted different.:=) 

BLT on a Turkish roll $16   

Brillo pad said it was fresh and tasty and he liked the softness of the roll, but I think we all thought it would be toasted.  It didn't stop him scoffing it all down though.

Blondie's avo and toast $19      

She was given a generous serve of avocado, and toast which was a healthy multi grain bread.  Blondie was happy to get just what she wanted without any faffing around.  You know how some people like to faff? :=)  She asked for avocado and toast, and they happily obliged.  

turtle bean and brown rice burger $19.50      

Mr P. enjoyed his burger but he did say it needed some relish.  We spoke to the owner as we left and the waitress mentioned that the chef normally puts relish on it.  He must have forgotten this day. Mr P. also got wedges with his burger and found them very edible.

All in all, we all enjoyed our meals.  We loved being a hair's breadth away from the ocean, and I loved being right next door to my fave bookshop.  Mockingbird, you know we will be back soon.

Cudgen Creek at Kingscliff 

Mockingbird Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Guacamole - Hot and Spicy

I love guacamole.  Not the one that is zapped in a blender with sour cream; no I like mine chunky and hot.  (Like my men? - I knew you were going to say that).  So I prefer to make my own when I have the time and inclination, which isn't as often as it should be.  This version is taken from Sophie Dahl's online recipes.  Sophie has lots of stories to tell about her amazing family - well worth a read when you have a bit of spare time.  She and I must be twins!  We both love it chunky and hot. 

So I take no credit for this recipe; in fact The Hairy Bikers make a very similar one.  I have done a bit of research and found that either guacamole is not Mexican at all, or it is but only the chunky version with not much in it except avocados, salt and lime. It appears that Mexicans also like to make it thin and mix it with green salsa into a kind of soup - or not.  As Mr P. said, Mexico is a large country with lots of regional differences, so who knows? Well, each to their own.


2 ripe avocados, mashed but still a bit chunky

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tomato, deseeded and finely chopped

1/4 red onion (or half a small one), finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

coriander leaves, torn into small pieces - you choose how much, but start with a tablespoon

one small red chilli, very finely chopped or several drops of Tabasco type sauce


Easy peasy - you know what to do!

Grab a mixing bowl and throw in the avocados, lime zest and juice, the tomato, onion and seasoning

Give it a good stir till combined but not too smooth

Throw on the coriander leaves and chilli as garnish

Serve with corn chips or the bread/cracker of your choice

delish ingredients    

adding the lime juice  

grab a ripe tomato  

chopping the deseeded tomato finely 

delicious chunky guac!  be generous with the coriander and chilli      

I know it looks a bit ratty in these takeaway containers but we were rushing off to a friend's place.  This was part of our contribution to dinner.  Always a great idea to have disposable containers when going out as you don't have to worry about bringing home the plates.

my avocado doodle - did you guess? 

Sunday 20 December 2015

My Sunday Photo 20 December 2015

The Nutcracker

Yesterday hubby and I went off to a Christmas concert at our local Performing Arts Centre.  We walked around for a bit before it started and this is what we saw!  There was a performance of The Nutcracker Ballet on with lots of happy little girls in tutus and fairy costumes running around waiting to go in.  They had 4 huge Nutcracker soldiers at each entrance of the Centre.  It was a lovely, sunny blue sky day filled with happy Christmas revellers.  Thank goodness it was only in the high 20C's rather than the 40C temps they are having down south with the concomitant bushfires.    

Merry Xmas to everyone and be safe!  See you here next year.


Thursday 17 December 2015

Tim Tam Nutella Truffles

nudie Tim Tam balls :=) 

(See the December 2014 post for these truffles, to get the updated version!)

Versions of these delicious little treats have been going the rounds of the Net lately, especially white chocolate ones.  I made these last year, and figured it can only be a good thing to post them again. Mine are a little different to others, in that I roll them in roasted hazelnut meal before coating in dark chocolate.  You may see a bit of an obsession here with hazelnuts and chocolate.  Okay I admit it, it is one of my fave flavour combos.  So as you can imagine, I am a bit of a Nutella freak, (which you may have noticed before in some of my recipes).  


100g. hazelnuts

250g. original Tim Tams 

250g. cream cheese

2 big tbs Nutella

150g. chocolate, melted (I like to use dark chocolate)

Bling i.e. cachous, chocolate hail etc, to throw on top (optional)


Roast the hazelnuts in a 180C oven for about 12 minutes

Cool for a few minutes, then blitz in a food processor till they become fine meal.  Make sure they don't turn into paste!

Put aside till you do the rolling

Throw the Tim Tams into the processor (no need to clean from blitzing the nuts) and zap away till you have fine crumbs

Add the cream cheese and Nutella and blitz till well combined

Spoon the mixture into a bowl and place in the freezer for 20 mins.

Take it out and form into walnut sized balls - or the size of your choice

Back they go into the freezer for 15 minutes

Take them out and roll them in the hazelnut meal

Into the fridge now for a bit of chillin'

Melt the chocolate and let it cool for a few minutes

Spoon it over the tops of the balls and throw on the bling 

Back into the fridge for a bit more chillin'

Wrap some in cellophane and tie with ribbon for gifting


Use whatever version of Tim Tams you fancy; dark choc would be nice

Throw in a few tablespoons of cream with the chocolate before melting if you want the topping to be a bit softer

Okay I have to confess now; I have made nudie balls!  Yes it got to the point where I had made the balls, it was getting late and I thought - right i can bling them tomorrow. Then in the morning I thought - nup, nudie balls are the go.  So that's what I made this year.  They taste great; they are nice and light and not too sweet, and so easy to make. So go ahead and do the nudie thing!

grab your ingredients

all blitzed - sure I know what it looks like :)

getting ready to rock and roll   

nudie balls ready for eating or gifting  

so delish 

my nutty doodle  

Tuesday 15 December 2015

A - Z Guidebook - Ghent, Belgium

Ghent in Belgium  

You know all those jokes about Belgium?  Well forget them 'cos Belgium is fabulous.  It is full of pretty and historical cities with beautiful buildings and canals.  Lots of artwork, and the chocolates - oh so delicious.  And did I mention the famous mussels?  Apart from feeling that it all needed a bit of a hosedown - you know just a bit grubby - we had a wonderful time here.

I can't believe that Mr P. and I walked all the way up to the top of the building from where we took this photo.  It is known as St Baaf's or St Bavo depending on which language you speak, Belgium being a mix of French and Flemish speakers.  What you can see are the Belfry Tower and St. Nicholas' Church, which are the other 2 famous towers in Ghent.  

This photo has been dragged out of an old photo album (what's that? I hear young readers exclaim), so please forgive the weird yellow/grey tint to it.  From memory, Belgium really was kind of a weird colour due to the old buildings and grey skies:=)  

I remember marvellous buskers in the streets; the most delicious chocolates ever; oh yes frites in paper cones with mayo (that was such a new idea to Australians then); the zoo in Antwerp; the Museum in Brussels, and on and on.  Belgium, we loved you:=)

Oops, it may not look like it, but this month we are hanging out with the letter G, in the monthly travel linky kindly sorted by Fiona from Tiffin Bite Sized.

TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -

Thursday 10 December 2015

Bacon Fetta and Tomato Tart Tatin

a delicious savoury tart tatin

I have been known to complain (quietly) about grilled tomatoes on my plate; for instance when eating out for breakfast.  Some readers may be aware that I am not a fan, so you will be surprised to see a recipe here which has the dreaded tomatoes as a big part of it.

What can I say?  One of my (many) mottoes is: who said you have to be consistent? Lord knows, I can change my mind like a Kardashian changes underwear, or husbands. This recipe (from Delicious magazine April 2015) just sounded so delicious that I had to make it, and tweak it, and yep it is so damn tasty, I licked my plate!  I think Mr P. was a bit shocked to tell the truth.

I used to make tomato tart tatin every so often.  It took a while 'cos you had to bake the tomatoes on low for about 4 hours from memory.   But this one can be knocked up very quickly (no, not that kind of knocked up) and in your hungry gob in a matter of minutes - well yeah, pretty darn fast anyway.


200g. of cherry/grape tomatoes- you know what I mean- baby ones
250g. middle bacon rashers, sliced in half lengthways
salt and pepper to taste
80g. fetta, cubed
80g. fire roasted capsicums (from the jar), chopped
your choice of herbs -  I used chives and parsley, about 1 tbs of each, but you can use your faves; use more or less as you please
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry
2 tbs milk for brushing the pastry
2 tbs sesame seeds (optional)

for the sauce/dressing:

1/3 cup (100g.) of good quality egg mayo
1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
zest and juice of half a lime or lemon
1 tsp grain mustard


1 baby Cos lettuce, chopped
1 tomato, chopped or a handful of cherry tomatoes
50g. of fetta, cubed
125g. cucumber, cubed 


Slice the tomatoes in half lengthways and squeeze out the seeds
Scatter them on a greased, (with butter) shallow baking tray
Lay the bacon slices over the tomatoes
Season with salt and pepper
Place the tray in a 200C oven for 10-12 minutes
Let it cool for a few minutes
Now add the fetta, capsicum and herbs over the tomato and bacon
Place the pastry over the top and tuck in the edges
Brush the pastry with the milk and scatter the sesame seeds if using
Bake till golden on top - about 20 minutes

Combine the ingredients for the sauce/dressing in a small bowl

Invert the tart so the veggies and bacon are on the top

Serve with the salad and the dressing/sauce on the side


Use a shallow baking tray that is roughly the size of the pastry sheet

Grease it with butter not oil as it gives a better result

I couldn't find sesame seeds in my pantry so I threw on some citrus salt flakes.  You could use your favourite salt mix, or other seeds, or nothing at all as it will be turned over for serving

bacon and tomatoes on the go 

ready for the oven  

after the first roasting 

on go the fetta, capsicum and snipped up herbs   

brushing on milk  

baked and golden 

combining the sauce/dressing   

get ready to lick that plate:=)   

oh yeah bacon baby!

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Ferrero Rocher Ice Cream

can you guess?  yes it is a Ferrero Rocher  

Ferrero Rocher chocolates AND Nutella in one easy ice cream? You would have to be mad not to love that.  So as I am only half mad, I had to make it quick smart as soon as I saw it on Phoodie's post this week.  It has 4 ingredients (5 if you count the booze I added), and no churning and takes minutes to put together.  Mr P. was having a work do here for his employees, so I made this for afters.  I can tell you it went down a treat.

I was surprised to learn that Ferrero Rocher chocolates have only been around since 1982.  And that they have been quite controversial over the years.  Apparently the advertising was seen to be directed either at well-off people, or those aspiring to be well-off.  So they were in trouble for being elitist.  Who knew? :=)

Elitist or not, they are delicious and work really well in this ice cream.  Hazelnuts and chocolate are like chicken and mushrooms, or gin and tonic - just a superb combo!


475mls thickened cream
395g. tin of condensed milk
20 Ferrero Rocher chocolates
3-4 tbs Frangelico or your fave cream/choc liqueur
6 heaped tsp Nutella


Whip the cream till you have soft peaks

Pour/spoon the condensed milk into a large mixing bowl

Add 15 of the FR chocs, chopped into smallish pieces, into the condensed milk and stir in well

Stir in the liqueur to the condensed milk mixture 

Gently fold in the cream, spoon by spoon, into the milk and chocs

Then again very gently swirl in 4 tsp of the Nutella to the mix

Grab a baking paper lined loaf tin and pour the mixture in

Swirl the other 2 tsp of Nutella thru the surface, and scatter the other 5 chopped FR chocs on top

Freeze for several hours, but overnight is better

Turn out onto a serving platter, take off the baking paper and scatter extra chopped chocs around if desired


If you live in a hot, humid climate like I do, it is a good idea to put the chocolates in the fridge before chopping.  Otherwise, they turn into a sticky, gooey mess and go all over your knife and your board.  Not a good look :=)  (Yep that happened to me).

gather the ingredients      

whip till you have soft cloudlike peaks   

ready for combining  

I am drooling already    

gently fold in the cream, spoon by spoon     

swirl in the Nutella   

ready for the freezer  

ready for eating (I dusted it with drinking chocolate) 

my Ferrero Rocher doodle