Sunday, 29 July 2012

Adelaide, or as I like to call it: Radelaide!

For the first time in a VERY long time, my family 'holidayed' in the same place.

My baby brother lives in Adelaide with his lovely girlfriend and he was turning 21.  So my parents, my sister and I decided to venture down to SA and celebrate his birthday with him.

We arrived a week before his birthday, so planned a few touristy things to tide us by while he was working.

Here are some snapshots of our trip:

 One of the seals at Seal Bay - Kangaroo Island

 More seals at Seal Bay - they were all up near the carpark, NOT on the beach...

Seal Bay - Kangaroo Island 

 Cute echidna

 Remarkable Rocks - Kangaroo Island

 Remarkable Rocks

 Fur Seals at Admiral's Arch - Kangaroo Island

 Admiral's Arch

 Jacob's Creek Winery - Barossa Valley

 Another vineyard

 Panda at Adelaide Zoo

Love these little dudes!

All in all it was a great trip.  Cold, but the beauty that Adelaide and it's surrounds had to offer was awesome.

Fritter FAIL

Tomorrow I re-start my weight loss journey.  As I have mentioned previously, I have fallen off the wagon in a  BIIIIIG way.  I am putting it down to the epic-ness that was term 2 and have marked the whole of term 2 as a write-off (in more ways than just weight loss) and am starting fresh.  My mini goal for this term is to lose 5kg before I head off to Bali at the end of September.  Including my unfortunate (but inevitable) weight gain of term 2, it will bring my TOTAL weight loss for the year to 11kg - and 2kg less than my previous 'best' for the year.

Bring it on.  I did it before, and I am fairly confident that I can do it again.

So today I planned to get organised for the week's lunches.  I always find it difficult to think of a healthy lunch option.  Surprisingly, sandwiches are quite calorie laden.  The plan was to make veggie sushi for Monday's and Tuesday's lunches.  Off into the kitchen I go, only to realise that not only did I forget to buy cucumber, but my sushi rice did not survive the journey from my old kitchen to my current kitchen.  Whoops.

Too lazy to head back to the shops, I decided to make the Feta and Zucchini Fritters I had planned to make  on Tuesday night for Wednesday's and Thursday's lunches.  They had received rave reviews on and I always enjoy a good fritter.

Unfortunately, these fritters were an epic fail.

I could tell right away that the mixture was too runny.  However, I assumed they would hold their shape and get nice and golden and crispy once cooked.  NOPE.  Flipping them required an engineering degree, and no matter how 'golden' they were on the outside, they were still sloppy and raw on the inside.  They tasted delicious.  I loved the addition of the thyme and feta.  They had heaps more flavour than the other fritter varieties I had made, yet they were soggy and lack-lustre.  Upon reading the comments accompanying the recipe, many people added more flour and eggs to get the 'right' consistency.  What the hell is the 'right' consistency?!  I'm a strong believer in following a recipe and only tweaking it for personal taste - not tweaking it to make the bloody thing work.

Most of the fritters ended up in the bin.  However I did keep some to see how they go once they are cold.

Obviously not enough for two day's worth of lunches, it looks like trusty Vita-Wheats and vegemite will be for lunch instead.

* I could've taken a photo, but chose not to subject you all to my sad, sad fritters.*

Monday, 9 July 2012

Another Simple Pleasure

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the simple pleasure of a frozen meal.  Delicious, yet quick and easy.

Today, I partook in yet another simple pleasure.  The good old packet cake.

Now don't get me wrong, I would prefer to make a cake from scratch.  But sometimes, I can't be bothered with all the little details and time required when making a cake from scratch.  Plus, more often than not, it is usually cheaper to make a packet cake.

While perusing the aisles at the local supermarket, my sister pointed out this particular cake mix, intrigued by the strawberry flavour.  So while she was at work, I took to the kitchen and started 'baking'.

This particular mix only required the addition of melted butter, eggs and water (it came with icing and cute pink patty-pans).  Blitz it all together then evenly divide into 12 cases and shove in the oven for 18 minutes.  Done.

Unfortunately, my oven is a bit dodgy for some reason it doesn't distribute heat evenly.  So no matter how hard I tried to put the same amount of mixture into the cases in order to get perfectly shaped cupcakes, many of them ended up lopsided...

Once they were cool, I set about icing them.  I had hoped to use my Tupperware piping thingy, but there was not enough icing.  So I went old school and just smeared the icing on the top.  I like to think of it as... rustic...

I decided to store them in a cute Christmas themed Tupperware container.  I think it adds a bit of quirk.  Plus it was the only container I could find that didn't take over the fridge (I actually have a Tupperware cake storer, but it is HUUUUUUUGE).

Of course, I had to test taste one.  They were not as sweet as I thought they would be, which is a good thing.  The teeny bit of icing was all that it needed.  If it had much more, the cupcake would have been too sweet.  I love the pink colour of the cake!

Oh, how cute is the cannister I got from Spotlight today?!  It came as a set of three and was only $7.  Bargain!

It is a goal of mine to one day make macaroons.

I wonder if they come in a packet mix...

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Bulk Cooking

Today I spent the morning in the kitchen.

I spent the morning cooking two of my favourite meals.

I cooked them both this morning so I could freeze them in portions and eat them on the nights I feel too lazy to cook.  Plus they are both meat meals, and I feel bad cooking a meal during the week that my sister can't partake in.

First up I started on my most favouritest stew in the whole wide world.

Jool's Favourite Beef Stew.

It is a recipe from one of Jamie Oliver's cookbooks.  I can't remember which one though.  I had typed it up years ago so that I wouldn't get food bits on the cookbook while cooking.

It is so incredibly easy to make with lots of yummy, hearty veggies.  It spends a good three hours in the oven just stewing away and the aroma is absolutely mouthwatering.

It tastes sooooooo much yummier than it looks!

I also made a batch of the Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup I made a few months ago.

These meaty yummies are now sitting in my freezer waiting for those nights I can't be bothered cooking.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni

Yesterday I wanted to make something nice for dinner for my sister.  I'm on school holidays right now and she still has to go to work.  I wasn't sure what I was going to make, all I knew was that I wanted it to have pumpkin in it.  After a quick search on, I found something that ticked my fancy.

Pumpkin & Ricotta Cannelloni

The recipe appeared reasonably simple and the ingredients were nothing fancy.

It sure didn't disappoint.

The pumpkin filling was devine.  I love sage and the addition of the herb into the filling was pretty clever.  My sister could have eaten the filling straight out of the bowl (she actually tried!).

The comments on the recipe page mentioned that it was kind of bland, so to combat that I decided to add cheese to the cream sauce turning it into a kind of bechamel.  This added an extra saltiness to the meal and I really believe it complemented it well.  The addition of walnuts in the sauce and as a garnish was another exciting element as it gave the meal a much needed crunch.

I really enjoyed this meal and am really looking forward to making it again.  My sister suggested that I might want to try adding a bit of a tomato sauce to it as well to give it some acidity, so that is something to consider when I make it again.  I will also not use the same (or any) garlic bread.  I bought some green leaves for a salad, but my sister and I decided to be gluttons...

*I did not make this meal for it's calorie content.  Let's not kid around, this meal would have had a days worth of calories in it.  It is obviously not for every day consumption.  But it was pretty fantastic as a dinner treat.