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Food, general thoughts, food…

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Stuffed Chicken Breasts w Peppadew Sauce

I know this photo is terrible, I took it in a not very well lit room, on my knee just slightly before I crammed all of this fabulousness down my very hungry throat. You should thank me for taking the time out to photograph it at all.

This was one of those ‘what do I have in the refrigerator’ meals and it turned out amazing.

The chicken breast was stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and feta cheese, smothered in a sauce made of cheese stuffed peppers and then baked in the oven for an hour. The potatoes were just nuked in the microwave and then topped with cream cheese (Philadelphia) and Jalapeno slices (yummy!). The broccoli was just boiled quickly and served, I like broccoli however it comes.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts w Peppadew Sauce

1 small container of stuffed Peppadews (left over from a tapas meal, about 8 or 10 in all)
4 chicken breasts
6 mushrooms, sliced
Fetta cheese
Fresh Spinach leaves

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Blend the peppadews with a little of the marinating oil to make a smooth sauce.
Slice a pocket in each chicken breast.
Stuff each breast generously with some mushroom slices, feta and spinach.
Place in an oven proof baking dish and smother with peppadew sauce.
Bake for approximately 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.



Easy Salad

I love a good salad and what I mean by good is interesting and usually containing chili marinated feta, just because I like it. Pictured is my favourite go to lunch when I want something super quick.
It is simple, good and even looks nice enough to be a quick addition to dinner if guests turn up.


Easy Salad

Baby spinach
Chili marinated feta

Lay down a base of spinach leaves (or mixed lettuce if you prefer).
Slice peaches and scatter over spinach.
Add as much feta as you desire and sprinkle with a little of the marination oil.

A little fresh ground pepper over the top is always a good addition too.

I eat a version of this for lunch most days. Today it was cherry tomatoes, mixed lettuce and cucumber with feta, very refreshing. If we have left over meat from dinner the night before then I might heat that up and toss it through for a bit of a more filling meal. If I run out of baby spinach and feta I really struggle to find anything to eat for lunch. If that is a rut then I am okay with being in it.

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Easy Prawn Salad

So, summer is here. While a large portion of the planet is moving into its winter period and seemingly the entire internet along with it. All recipe sites are suddenly geared to winter, slow cooker and casserole ideas and everybody seems to have snowmen, snowflakes and jolly men dressed for artic conditions bearing presents all over their websites. Here I am in the West of Australia looking out on my very parched lawn wondering, if I go on holiday for a week, will the garden be completely dead when I get back home and hoping that my sisters air conditioning will cope with the weather on Christmas day and all the extra bodies in the house so we don’t all dissolve into a puddle of tinsel stained sweat and discarded paper underneath the tree.

Christmas in Australia rarely involves a hot meal these days, unlike my childhood when we all bowed to ‘tradition’ and had a roast meal with all the trimmings. The days when women tried in vain to keep their makeup on their faces in a kitchen whose temperature had long ago surpassed the safe working conditions guidelines and guests used their napkins primarily to mop sweat from their brows whilst pretending to crave second helpings of food that actually got hotter on being removed from the oven and reaching room temperature. Nowadays air-conditioning is standard in most houses as is the common sense that enables us to realise that traditions that make perfect sense in countries that have a foot of snow outside on Christmas day make absolutely no sense at all in a country where the bitumen on the road is reverting to its liquid state and ice for drinks spontaneously melts immediately upon being removed from the freezer.

These days it is all about seafood, served cold, barbeques if cooking is really required, cold meat platters, salads and frozen desserts. I think that is progress on a national level, learning that we all need to come to terms that we don’t live in the ‘old country’ anymore and we should really learn to make our own traditions based on our current home and living conditions. It has been a few hundred years since the tradition Christmas was introduced to this country so it hasn’t been the fastest learning curve but I understand that people don’t like change so I am just grateful that we have come this far.

There is a long way to go with a lot of social issues but this one tiny unimportant thing is changing so I guess there is hope for us as a country, at this rate it will take eons but hopefully the more things change the more quickly changes will progress.

Well, that morphed into a social commentary fairly quickly, an actual thoughtful insight that took me completely by surprise. Sometimes I surprise myself with an in-depth thought or two.

In keeping with our newfound ability to eat sensibly in response to our own weather patterns my own diet has morphed into something that includes a lot less rice, pasta and heat and a lot more fruit, salad and seafood. More of my meals look like the above picture, below ‘throw together’ recipe. Maybe the Northern hemisphere friends can bookmark these recipes for use the next time I am eating casseroles and roast dinners.

Prawn Salad

3 handfuls of raw prawn meat
Good bunch of baby spinach leaves
½ avaocado chopped into chunks
Few spoonfuls of chilli marinated feta
Bacon fat for frying (if you have some handy)

Throw the spinach into your bowl along with the avocado and fetta.
Heat a pan and melt the bacon fat (you can use oil, butter or oil from the fetta if you prefer), fry of the prawns until pink.
Season well with pepper (and salt if you are not using salty bacon fat).
Toss the prawns in on top of the salad leaves.

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Do you tweet?

I am a bit behind the times. I enjoy ‘Stumble upon’ but I don’t understand ‘Tumbler’. I have this blog but I recently joined ‘Twitter’ and am not getting much from the experience to date. I am somewhat in the dark as to how to pick people to follow. I currently follow a handful of comedians that I found recommended on the net somewhere; I also follow a seagull, a fox and a badger. I did find a squirrel also but his conversation is less than stimulating consisting entirely of running, digging and nuts. Seagulls are rather crass by the way…
Oh and a handful of dead famous people, dead as in dead, not as in REALLY REALLY famous. The dead guys are winning the battle for my attention at the moment. Maybe it is the dark humour?

I find myself reading tweets for a few days and then deleting the tweeter. I am easily bored. I haven’t attempted to tweet myself. I really have nothing scintillating to say that can be reduced to 140 characters, actually I have nothing scintillating to say period.
I think blogging is better for me, at least once someone has taken the time to wade through my rambling thoughts they are rewarded with a good recipe. It’s kind of like a reward for the pain of going through the trouble of listening to me or you can just skip the crap and forward to the good stuff. If I tweeted, it would just be unfinished crap….

Feta Stuffed Potatoes
Makes 8

4 potatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
60g fetta cheese, crumbled
2 bacon rashers, finely chopped

Place potatoes in microwave, cook on HIGH for about 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Cut each potato in half, carefully scoop out potato pulp, do not break outside skin of potato.
Combine parsley, cheese, bacon and potato pulp. Spoon back into potato
shells, place on oven proof dish, cook at 180C until slightly browned on top and piping hot.

We enjoyed this with lamb chops marinated for the day in olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh thyme and black pepper and then barbequed. Mmmmm.

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Go a little veggie!

Oh, these were yummy! I prefer these to regular sausage rolls any day. Of course my husband won’t touch them with a barge pole but my daughter and I don’t mind, all the more for us! They have the added bonus of making you feel like you are doing something healthy for yourself, going a little veggie for the day.

So go steam some spinach and team it with copious amounts of cheese and go have an undeserved but all the more satisfying health kick!

Cheese and Spinach Rolls

180 g Feta cheese, cubed
1 x 250 g packet frozen spinach (I used 2 bags of fresh and steamed them myself)
2 large potatoes
4 eggs, lightly beaten
4 shallots, finely sliced (I used half a red onion)
½ cup grated tasty cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 sheets frozen puff pastry, partially thawed

Preheat oven to 180°C and line 2 trays with baking paper.
Peel potatoes and cook in boiling water until tender. Mash.  (I never peel)
Defrost frozen spinach according to directions on packet. (or steam your own)
Combine all ingredients in bowl and season with salt and pepper if desired.
Cut pastry sheets in half. Spoon mixture evenly along long edge of each pastry strip, ensuring the mixture is evenly spread between the 8 pastry strips. Roll up to enclose filling and form rolls.
Place rolls seam side down on the baking trays then brush tops with beaten egg or milk.
Cut each roll diagonally in half.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

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Mediterranean Spaghetti

I made this a few weeks ago. I didn’t post it because I had a bit of a ‘meh’ moment with it. It was good but not great. It was certainly a tasty and filling meal but then so are lots of spaghetti recipes, there was just nothing special about it and it was more time consuming than I like for nothing special.

Feeling very uninspired and digging through the chest freezer yesterday I found a nice chunky package of Mediterranean Spaghetti and though it would do just nicely for dinner, time it was eaten anyway. Well knock me down with a handful fresh baby spinach, but it was fantastic!

Remembering my ‘meh’ moment I reheated this for a bit in the microwave, stirred in a good  of tablespoon of feta, and heated it for a bit longer. Maybe it was the extra feta, maybe it just improves with freezing, maybe I was just ravenously hungry because I somehow missed lunch but anyway this was just a smashing meal. So here it is, freeze it, add more feta and be really hungry, you’ll see what I mean.

Mediterranean Spaghetti

250g lean ground beef
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1x 400g can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (125g) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 large egg
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs, divided
Cooking spray
4 cups cooked spaghetti (about 225g uncooked pasta)
Fresh oregano sprigs (optional)

Preheat oven to 180C
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the first 4
ingredients and sauté 5 minutes. Add the wine and next 6 ingredients
(wine through tomatoes). Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat, and
simmer 10 minutes or until thick.

Combine the flour, milk, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a medium sauce-pan,
and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook for 7 minutes or until thick,
stirring constantly. Remove milk mixture from heat. Stir in feta cheese,
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, and egg.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs in a 2L casserole coated with
cooking spray. Place 2 cups spaghetti in casserole, and top with 2 cups
beef mixture and 1 cup sauce. Repeat layers. Combine 1 tablespoon
Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs, and sprinkle over the
casserole. Bake casserole at 180C for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh oregano, if desired.

Makes 6 servings. Needless to say, it freezes well 🙂

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Try the sheep’s cheese, it really is good!

You can tell if I am cooking just for myself when I whip up a concoction like this for dinner.

I am the only person in my entire family that likes couscous and not in that, yeah I can eat it if its put in front of me kind of way, I really like it. Unfortunately I live in a household of couscous haters, they really DON’T like it in that, put that in front of me and I’ll drive to KFC for something decent to eat, kind of way. So when I am alone I have a little box of couscous that comes out to satisfy my cravings.

Tonight it contained many things that no one else really likes and I really love so it was a win win win kind of night for me and a win win win kind of night for everyone else who wasn’t home.
I really just grabbed whatever I had in the fridge and bunged it in, it went a little something like this…

Couscous with lime and sheep’s feta

½ cup couscous
2/3 cup boiling water
1 Tbls butter
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of ½ lime
Salt to taste
Handful of baby spinach leaves
2 generous Tbls sheep’s feta (cow is fine, I just have some sheep cheese lying around)

Place couscous in a bowl, pour over boiling water. Grate in lime zest and squeeze in juice.
Mix in butter, salt and spinach and cover with plastic wrap for 5 mins.
Toss the lot in a bowl and mix through the feta.

Takes all of 5 mins to be sitting on the couch with dinner. What’s not to like about that?