Tuesday, November 13, 2012


ohai!

I've moved house. I'm over here now.

It's got pretty curtains and the kettle's on. Come over, won't you?







Sunday, November 11, 2012

Guest Post: Lime Curd Donuts



Please welcome Clare! She has made us delicious donuts! She is a (relatively) newbie blogger over at The Life of Clare, sharing her food adventures. Look how awesome she is already!







I've been sharing lime recipes on my blog.  We have an over abundant lime tree and I've been thinking of any possible way that I can use them.  Not too long ago I made this lime curd (http://thelifeofclare.com.au/zesty/) and then discovered a doughnut recipe in a cookbook I had a home.

The batter/dough for the doughnuts was one of the most enjoyable things I've ever made. So much kneading involved to create the perfect texture.  It was a long process, as thesedoughnuts need to rest over night.

But they were absolutely delicious! I was so super proud of myself when they were done, that I took them up to Mum and Dad's building site and shared them around with all the workers.

Ingredients: 

185ml of lukewarm milk
1 tablespoon of dried yeast
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
310g plain flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of finely treated lemon zest
2 eggs separated
40g unsealed butter
105g jam (I used lime curd)
Oil for deep frying
Caster sugar, extra, for rolling the doughnuts in

Method:

Put the milk in a small bowl, add yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Leave in a warm, draught-free place for 10 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface. The mixture should be frothy and slightly increased in volume.
Sift the flour into a large bowl bowl and add the cinnamon, lemon zest, egg yolks, yeast mixture, remaining sugar, and pinch of salt. Mix well, then place dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes. 
Work in the butter, a little at a time, continually kneading the dough until it becomes elastic (this bit was soooo much fun).  This should take about 10 minutes.  Place in a large bowl and cover with clean damp tea towel. Place in fridge over night to rise (mine didn't rise very much but it was okay).
Place dough on lightly floured bench and roll out to 3mm thick. Using a 6cm cutter, cut 28 rounds from the dough. Place 14 of the rounds on a lightly floured tray and carefully place 1/2 teaspoons of the filling onto the center of each. 
Lightly beat the egg whites, then brush it around the edges of each, be careful not to touch the filling as it makes it really hard to seal them later!
Top with remaining 14 rounds and press down firmly, to seal the edges.
Cover with a clean teatowel for 30 mins.
Make sure the dough has not separated at the edges, press any open edges firmly together.
Fill a deep fryer or large heavy based saucepan 1/3 with frying oil and heat to 170 degrees. Cook the doughnuts in batches until browned on the outside and puffy. Drain, roll in extra sugar and serve immediately.

They were absolutely delicious. Enjoyed by all at the building site.  I think I ate about 5.




Friday, November 9, 2012

Guest post: Spanakopita




One of my favourites! Cooked by the wonderful Jac at CRAP Mamma. Not read her blog? You are MISSING OUT. Get over there. She cracks me up. xo




Coming from Greek heritage (well half of it is anyway, the other half are a mixture of German-English-Aussies), food tends to be central to all get-togethers, celebrations and just life in general. Whilst I don’t always cook from a Greek menu at home, there are a couple of traditionally Greek recipes that frequent our dinner table. Spanakopita is one of those. Apart from the pastry, I love that it’s relatively healthy, with protein and omegas from the eggs, a decent dose of vitamin C and iron from the spinach and not-to-mention a hit of calcium from the yummy addition of feta cheese.

I also love the versatility of this recipe and in all honesty, every single one of my spanakopitas has a different flavour depending on what I’ve ‘tweaked’ that day. Depending on your tastes, you might like to replace baby spinach for silverbeet or even leeks. The feta can be Greek or Danish (both have very different textures and flavours) and if you like a smoother texture and flavour you can add a small tub of ricotta to the feta mix. The herbs are fairly flexible too; I used mint for this one but you can replace it with dill or use a mixture of both depending on what you like. It’s a simple recipe that you can make according to your own family’s tastes. Don’t be afraid to play with the filling because it’s a pretty forgiving mix.

Enjoy and yassou x


Spanakopita (spinach and feta pie)
Serves 4-5
Ingredients
250g fresh baby spinach
400g good quality feta cheese
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
6 eggs (plus one for an egg wash).
4-5 sheets store bought frozen puff pastry (traditional spanakopita uses filo pastry but I find it too fiddly and time consuming, not-to-mention the additional fat content…)
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons chopped mint
Couple of tablespoons olive oil

Method
1. Lay out pastry sheets on bench to thaw.

2. In a heavy-based frypan or wok heat sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until transparent. Add baby spinach and sweat down until just cooked. Remove from heat.

3. In another large bowl lightly whisk eggs then add crumbled feta and mint. Add cooled spinach mix to egg-slush and mix gently.

4. Line base and sides of 20x30cm(ish) lasagne tray with pastry making sure the bottom is completely sealed.

5. Pour filling onto base and spread evenly (don’t worry if it looks a little watery, that means your pie will be nice and moist).

6. Top with the last of your pastry, brush with a little egg-wash, prick some holes in the top and pop into oven for about 45 mins or until the pastry is evenly browned.

You can eat this immediately or serve cold. This recipe freezes well too.


About Me: 
Jacqui likes to write, cook and drink coffee and when she’s doing none of those, she’s usually running around outside the house with chook poo between her toes trying to land a water-balloon on one of her 3 crazy boys. Jacqui blogs over at CRAP Mamma where she talks all things kids, family, cooking and just CRAP (Creative Relaxed Approach Parenting) in general. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Just because he doesn't hit you doesn't mean it's not abuse.

I've shared a very important story at iVillage today.

If you're struggling with this - I want to be the stranger that tells you you're worth better.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Guest post: Why can't fashion be eco-friendly?

Howdy! Do you love ASOS? Who doesn't?! Today I have a guest post from them with a heads up on how to choose proper eco-friendly fashion and not being swayed by the fake claims. Go forth and spend wisely!

Nowadays, the words 'eco-friendly', 'organic' and 'sustainable' get thrown around a lot, but is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Well, obviously this is a good thing, except sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between a brand that's genuinely eco-friendly and trying to make the world a better place, and one that's just jumping on the bandwagon in an effort to increase sales.

So how can we distinguish what is truly eco-friendly?

Do your homework

Countless times we may trust brands that claim to be eco-friendly without doing research into why. By doing a little research on the brand you are about to purchase, you can find out a little more of the story behind the product. This is not only a great way of finding out if a brand is genuinely trying to make the world a better place, but it gives your wardrobe new meaning - every piece of clothing has a story behind it!

Designers often have some source brand information on their own site or retailers. People Tree is an example of this and a great brand. They clearly define who they are as a brand, and how they strive to help the world be a better place! They are a popular retailer on ASOS Australia, and have this bio on the site:

"Most people are busy like you and me, but want to be a part of the solution, not the problem. That's why I started People Tree in Japan 20 years ago, to make great clothing that is 100% fair-trade and uses hand-woven and natural fabrics which are 100% organic. There are a lot of people like me who helped turn People Tree into a pioneering label. I worked with Anita Roddick when she opened the first Body Shop in Japan. It would be great if People Tree could do to the fashion industry what the Body Shop did to the beauty industry". - Safia Minney, Founder/CEO of People Tree.

Learn about fabrics

There are many different eco-fabrics that are available, and simply checking the label to see the material can reveal if a piece of clothing is truly sustainable. Some of the favoured materials are organic cotton and wool, soy and modal. Tencil is also a great alternative to cotton - the soft, silky, biodegradable fabric is made of wood pulp cellulose.

Recognised organisations

There are a variety of recognised organisations which provide a symbol or logo to a brand or product if it is deemed eco-friendly. One of the most recognised symbols is the Fairtrade mark. The Fairtrade Foundation is recognised as an ambassador for the eco-friendly and green movement, and focuses on establishing fair trade in underprivileged countries. To get the Fairtrade mark, a company and its produce must meet the rigorous international Fairtrade standards, and in some cases, sacrifice a percentage of their profit to help support the underprivileged - in this case, cotton farmers.

ASOS has realised that simply claiming a product is eco-friendly is not enough, and has recently released a new section on their site called the Green Room. While also using the Fairtrade 'Certified Cotton' mark, they have created a set of symbols that can help point you toward the issues you care about the most.

Different products are awarded different symbols above if they meet the criteria to do so. The "Made in UK/Africa/USA" symbols, however, do not just outline that they are made in that part of the world, but they have helped in that area as well. You might see detailed information such as:

"Manufactured in Africa, helping growth and empowerment, and encouraging artisans and community groups as well as larger producers across the continent."

Check it out!




Monday, November 5, 2012

Meatless Monday for the kids! Guest post - broccoli bites



So Caitlin from Mother Down Under is stupidly cute, has an even cuter toddler and blogs about being so far from home, raising a family with her Aussie dude. When she's not doing that she's hanging out with me. THIS IS GOOD. As are her broccoli bites for babes... they're making me hungry.



I found a recipe similar to this on Pinterest...and while I am not a huge fan of trying to hide vegetables, if I don't disguise them, Toddler C doesn't eat them...enter the broccoli ball.


Full disclosure, he did eat these but only when smeared with a generous slather of olive tapenade.  
I know...the boy doesn't eat mashed potato but he loves olive tapanade.
Whatever works.

These are basically meat balls but instead of meat you use broccoli!


I used about two heads of fresh broccoli, chopped it and steamed it in my microwave.
Then I added 1 and 1/2 cups of grated cheese, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, 3 eggs and some dried oregano.




I mixed everything together.



Then I formed small balls, lay them on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and cooked them in a 180C oven for 15 minutes, then turned the broccoli balls and baked them for another 10 minutes.





Let them cool, see if your child will accept them plain but if not, over them with their favourite spread and enjoy!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Guest Post - how to get your children involved in helping others

We're again featuring a post from Action Aid, an international anti-poverty agency working with the poor to help end poverty and injustice. I think they do fabulous work with peacebuilding and disaster relief, and especially with women's rights, food rights and in the fight against HIV/AIDS.


Little Helpers: Get Your Children Involved in Helping Others

There are many great things about kids: their exuberance, their innocence, their playfulness. Perhaps what is best about our kids, though, are their big hearts, and their willingness to help others.

One of the best things we can do for our children is to teach them the value of helping others, and to foster in them a feeling of happiness and reward from reaching out to those in need. Whether it’s sending a letter to a child less fortunate, or spending time at a help shelter, we can teach our kids the skills that will make them valuable and respected members of society as they grow.

Take Your Child to Volunteer At a Shelter

Seeing the tremendous difference that helping out the homeless and downtrodden can make is a valuable experience for any young child. Take your son or daughter down to volunteer at a local shelter or charity service. Even spending the afternoon of one day in the weekend can make all the difference to their young minds. Teaching your child to help others in this way will entrench values of compassion and humanity, crucial to living a happy and healthy life.

Help Your Kid to Sponsor a Child

One of the most worthwhile things a parent can do for their child is to show them the difference they can make to another’s life.  While kids themselves may not have the money to sponsor a child, you can make them part of the process by including them every step of the way. Let your child know about the lifestyle of a child less fortunate, and about the difference a small donation can make to their life. This way, your child will see the face of the child behind the program, and can share in the joy of seeing their life improve!

Get Your Child Involved in Giving Gifts

This is something you can do whether you’re sponsoring a child or helping out at a refuge. Encourage your child to make arts and crafts that express their feelings towards the people you’re teaching them to help. Even small gestures, like making cards, or gift-wrapping food-packs, will instill in your child a sense of well-being and satisfaction. This way they get to see that completing tasks not only gives them a sense of achievement, but that it helps those around them too!

There are many ways we can teach our children the value of helping others. The important thing is to start early, and to get them involved on a personal level. This will teach them skills that will ensure their self-respect, and the respect of others for them in later life.

Jane Reynolds is a mother of two who runs her own business from home. She’s an avid cook, and has an interest in issues facing her local community.

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