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Salted Butterscotch Cookies

Tonight, I was craving cookies.  This is not uncommon for me, which is why I do not keep them in the house.  Otherwise I would be eating them all the time.  But, tonight, I NEEDED a cookie.  Or several cookies.  Ok, a whole batch of cookies.  These little beauties satisfied that need and took no time at all to make.  Even less time to eat.

The secret is to use salted butter – this definitely gives them that extra little edge.  I usually bake with unsalted butter (I have to watch my sodium intake because of my kidneys) but these cookies really need that little savoury kick.  Trust me.  The golden syrup is also essential – don’t leave it out or substitute it with honey or some such nonsense.  It must be golden syrup to get that real butterscotch flavour.  You wouldn’t think that one little tablespoon would make a difference, but it really does.

I think these would make excellent ice cream sandwiches.  Just imagine some peanut butter gelato or a nice scoop of vanilla in between two of these – heaven!

SALTED BUTTERSCOTCH COOKIES

125g salted butter, softened
1 tbs golden syrup
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1 1/4 cup self-raising flour, sifted

Cream sugar, butter and golden syrup until well combined.  Add sifted flour and mix to form a dough (you might need to mix the final bit of flour through with your hands).

Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into small balls and place onto a baking sheet.  Flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake at 180 c for approx 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly.

Let them cool on a wire rack.

Demolish.

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Salted Butterscotch Cookies

Happy Munching! 🙂

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Bandwagon Salad

Happy New Year, everyone.  Apologies for not posting sooner.  Lots of drama happening and I have had neither the time nor emotional energy to blog anything at all.  I won’t go into it, but life is so tricky sometimes.

Anyway, moving on…  This week, I decided to jump on the whole “salad-in-a-jar” bandwagon.  I have seen them everywhere on Pinterest and Instagram, in magazines and on blogs and they always look so pretty.  You do, after all, eat with your eyes (supposedly) and it’s nice to have something so appetising waiting for you in the fridge (as opposed to standing in front of it with the door open thinking “what the heck can I make for lunch?”). This is a fad I can get behind.  It makes sense and it is a good way to make sure I am eating healthily as much as possible, with minimum fuss.

So, I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here for you.  There are literally thousands of jar recipes on the internet and in cook books.  It’s not really brain science, and the only thing you need to remember is to have the dressing at the bottom of the jar followed by “hard” vegetables, ie those that won’t wilt or go weird when in contact with the dressing.  For this, think carrots, capsicum, cucumber, snowpeas, celery etc.  Then you layer the ingredients towards the top, usually ending with the “soft” vegetables, such as lettuce, rocket, herbs etc.

You can include grains, pasta, rice and beans, as well as some other protein foods like canned fish, chicken, nuts, tofu or cheese.  They can be prepared up to 5 days in advance, depending on the ingredients you’ve chosen, and should stay nice and fresh.  Makes lunches for the week simple and easy – you just grab and go.

I have used quite large jars ( I couldn’t find medium-sized ones) and so my first salads were a tad enormous, but you can really use any size that suits you, as long as the mouth of the jar is reasonably wide to enable filling and then emptying.  When you’re ready to eat, just give the jar a good shake and tip the contents into a bowl, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute the dressing.  I know some people eat straight out of the jar but that would be very messy I think (especially if I was the one doing the eating) – but it’s your call.

For a few “recipe” ideas, and more detailed instructions, try these websites :

Organise Yourself Skinny HERE

Eat This HERE

Wholefully HERE

 Let me know if you have any favourite jar salads of your own – I’d love to hear read your ideas.  Do you make your own dressing or buy ready-made ones?  I’m also going to make a few “treat” jars for some lunches – like, yoghurt with muesli crumbles and fruit.  Geez, I’m already off the salad and thinking about my sweet tooth.  Typical!

Thanks for popping in – have a lovely day 🙂

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Blogging Challenge – Day Thirteen : What’s Inside My Fridge

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My fridge is not the world’s most exciting appliance.  It is usually half-empty and, at times, contains very little in the way of actual food items.  I tend to wait until I am almost entirely out of groceries before I buy any more so I don’t double up or have lots of wastage.  I HATE wasting food.  It annoys me and makes me feel bad.  I am one of those people who cuts up slightly withered and sad vegetables for soups.  I try not to over-buy in the first place because I am just one person, and even I can only eat so much.

At the moment, because I am soon to move into my new house, I am trying not to buy too much stuff, especially frozen items.  The less I have to take with me, the better!  So my fridge is a little bit empty – it just has the basics – and I shop a few times a week, which is not very cost-effective but, for the moment, will have to be the way it is.

So, what’s in my fridge? :

  1. Cheese.  I am planning on reducing my cheese intake by about a million percent once I have moved.  I eat way too much and I am not supposed to actually eat much of it at all.  Currently, I have feta, colby and parmesan.
  2. Tofu.  Another staple.  At the moment it is silken firm tofu, because I want to make tofu burgers but, at other times, it will be firm stir-fry or marinated.
  3. Soy milk.  For tea!
  4. Rice milk.  It’s kinda gross but I am trying not to have too much soy.  I use rice milk in my porridge.
  5. Baby beetroot.
  6. Carrots.
  7. Lettuce.
  8. Cucumber.
  9. Spring onions.  Which reminds me, I should throw those out – they’re a little bit stinky and I don’t think I can even salvage them in a soup.
  10. Chocolate – not mine.  It’s been there for a year or two.  I should probably chuck it.
  11. Apples.
  12. Half a lemon.
  13. Leftover risotto.
  14. Jar of minced garlic.
  15. Jar of minced garlic and ginger.
  16. Sauces. A variety!
  17. Olives.  Actually, more truthfully, it is a jar with two olives in it.  I don’t know why it is still there and why I didn’t just eat the two olives.
  18. Eggs.  Well, a carton with one lonely little egg in it.
  19. Tin of tuna.
  20. Probiotic tablets.
  21. Sundried tomatoes.
  22. Synthetic erythropoietin injections. It is used to treat anemia, which is a side effect of renal failure.  I haven’t had to have the injections for about two years now.  I should probably ditch them.  I keep forgetting.  And yes, I will dispose of them thoughtfully at my local pharmacists’s.  They are nasty looking things (the injections, not my pharmacists).  I didn’t enjoy having to have them.  They are quite big needles and I had to inject myself in the tummy.  Not pleasant, but you do what you have to do!
  23. Sesame dressing.  Because I am addicted to it.
  24. The freezer is full of frozen vegies and long-forgotten wedges of quiche or other things I have made and, um, forgotten about.  There’s also Lebanese bread and some icy poles I made in the Summer which didn’t taste very nice and I didn’t eat.  Disappointingly, there is no ice cream.  This makes me more sad than words can express. *sighs*

And that’s it, really.  I’d like to say it’s overflowing with fresh fruit and veg, but I find I can’t eat it quick enough before it goes off, so I tend to buy it as I need it, rather than wasting any.  I go to a nice local market that sells really good quality produce and it costs half as much as the normal supermarket.  I will have to find a different market once I move, or make the trek down to my usual one (it’s worth it).

Hopefully I will be able to report, in my new house, that my fridge is full of lots of healthy fruit and veg with nothing I should be ashamed of (or have to hide in the back so no one sees it).  My plan is to be “good” and leave me comfort-eating (read : cheating) behind me.  That’s what new starts are for, right?

May your fridge, your life, and your heart always be full and blessed with plenty!
Thanks for reading.

🙂

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Haloumi & Zucchini Fritters/Patties

I have been meaning to make haloumi fritters for ages, because I keep seeing them everywhere, on menus and in magazines.  I finally got around to trying them this week.  Mine is a fairly basic recipe, to which you could add “extras” like chopped vegie bacon, sauteed onion, spring onion or sundried tomato.  Experiment with whatever you have in the fridge (that’s pretty much what I do – I’m not very organised!).

This recipe makes about 12 medium sized fritters.  They’re good hot or cold, so great for tucking in lunchboxes.  I’ve baked mine, because I don’t really fry anything, but you could certainly fry them if you prefer that method.

Ingredients

2 medium zucchinis, grated
100g haloumi cheese, grated
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
Tbs chopped dill or parsley
Tbs sumac
Salt and pepper to season
(go easy on the salt as there is plenty in the haloumi)

Method

Preheat oven to 190 C

Squeeze as much excess liquid out of the grated zucchini as you can.  Mix with haloumi in a large bowl, with breadcrumbs and beaten eggs.  Mix herbs and seasoning through the mixture.  If it’s a little wet, you can add some more breadcrumbs or some rolled oats to soak up the excess moisture.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Using a large spoon, drop about 1/4 cup of mixture on to tray to form each fritter.  Leave a little room for spreading.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until brown and crispy on the outside.

Serve as a snack with some herbed yoghurt and salsa, or have for brekky with a nice poached egg and some mushrooms.

Enjoy 🙂

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Beetroot Risotto with Feta and Peas

I watch MasterChef a lot.  It’s a yearly addiction and probably explains why I am always thinking about food.  Or cooking food.  Which then leads to eating food.  One of the things that is a recurring theme on MasterChef is the humble risotto.  They call it the “Dish of Death” because no one can successfully make one that the judges deem worthy of them.  So many people have tried and failed.  Mushroom risottos, chicken and asparagus risottos, cheesy risottos – they all suck (apparently).

I have never really understood this because I find risotto very easy to make (and even easier to eat, but let’s not talk about that right now).  Take this Beetroot Risotto.  Delicious.  It is totally worth the bright pink fingers you end up with (unless you wear gloves of course, like a sensible person) and is quite a visually impressive dish to create if you want to look good in front of guests.  My rather haphazard recipe is as follows :

Ingredients 

4 medium beetroots, trimmed of stalks and roots
1 litre vegetable stock
1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or 1Tbs minced garlic)
1 1/3 cups (300g) arborio rice
1/3 cup water mixed with juice of half a lemon (or you can use 1/3 cup white wine)
Few sprigs of fresh thyme or Tarragon (I used a bit of both)
1/2 cup frozen baby peas, cooked
Crumbled feta and chopped parsley to garnish

Wrap each of the beetroot individually in foil and place in oven on a baking paper-lined tray.  Bake for approximately 45 minutes at 200 C until beetroot is tender.

Meanwhile, bring stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, pop a lid on to keep it warm, and set aside.

Heat  olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic, thyme or tarragon; cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until onion softens and turns transparent. Add rice; stir to coat grains with oil.
Increase heat to medium–high.

Add reserved stock one-third at a time, stirring occasionally and allowing rice to absorb stock between additions. Add water + lemon juice in last batch of stock.

Rub off beetroot skin and discard. Dice beetroot into small chunks; set aside. Once rice is al dente, stir in peas and beetroot (the more your stir it in, the brighter red the risotto becomes).

Serve risotto topped with crumbled feta and chopped parsley.

Serves 4.

Enjoy 🙂

PS In your face, MasterChef!

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Hermosa

 Last week, my friend SR and I enjoyed a delightful meal at Hermosa Cantina on Cambridge a funky little Tapas restaurant located not far from our workplace.

Gosh, it was so delicious!  We usually pop in there every couple of weeks to have a catch-up and a yummy green juice (a Punch Love, which consists of apple, lemon, kale and ginger, plus some mint if you ask very nicely and flirt with the waiter ha ha), but this last week we decided to stay for dinner as well.  So glad we did – it was so enjoyable.  The flavours were fresh and clean, and each dish was presented so beautifully.

We started out with a complimentary dish (that we weren’t even expecting) that consisted of fingers of brioche toast with pickled beetroot, capers and other things we were too busy eating to take note of.  So YUMMY.  They actually brought us out something with meat on but immediately rectified that when we said we were both vegetarian.

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Next up, we had the oh-so-scrumptious roasted pumpkin, salt baked beetroot, pickled beetroot, marinated yoghurt (and I think a nut crumb).  Beautiful – so fresh and tasty, all the flavours were so distinct, yet all melded together perfectly.

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We also tried the josper roasted peppers, melted tetilla with  polenta chips, which was also delightful.  So flavourful and party-in-the-mouth good.

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As is usual for tapas, the dishes were small, but very filling and we felt as though we had eaten a full meal.  We didn’t even get dessert!  Maybe next time…

To make the evening even more enjoyable, when we went to pay, the owner forgot to charge us for the juices we had had.  When I reminded him, he simply smiled and said “That’s ok ladies – come and see us again and we’ll call it even…” So nice!  I guess we have been there a few times now so he recognised us, but even so, some places can be a bit funny about you just coming in for one non-alcoholic drink and not ordering food AND staying a long time (which is what we normally do).

So, if you’re in Perth, do try Hermosa – you won’t regret it.  We’re going again this week with some workmates – hope they like it too.  If they don’t, we’ll eat theirs for them 🙂
Check out their menu HERE.

Little Box of Echeveria (and sneaky snacks)

Little Box of Echeveria (and sneaky snacks)

I have gone from hardly posting at all to posting A LOT this week.  It won’t last, I’m sure.  Get it while it’s hot!

Potted up this little ceramic box with a bunch of Echeveria pups I had propagated.  One of my colleagues at work is turning the big 7-0 this week and I wanted to get her a little something for her office.  I had planned on buying an orchid, but the shops only seemed to have enormous ones that were out of my price range, so I decided to pot up a few succulents for her in a nice pot.  Found these weeny square ceramic pots at Bunnings for less than $4.  I was going to put in a few different varieties of succulent, but then I decided to just use the echeverias, although there are several different colours.  They will eventually grow to big for the pot but for a little while they will be happy enough.  It annoys me when plant pots are made with no hole in them for drainage.  I realise the do this so that water doesn’t leak out all over your precious heirloom tablecloth or whatever, but still… I just put a load of gravel or other free-draining material in the bottom to prevent any root-rot.

It’s cute – I hope she likes it.  Everything makes her sneeze and cough, so I had to get something that wouldn’t flower heaps or have lots of pollen.  I figure I am pretty safe with these little guys.

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I’m also making some chocolate oat cookies (these) to take to work for everyone to share.  I hate to admit it, but I ate half of the batter before it even made it to the oven.  Because I am an idiot.  Who shouldn’t eat chocolate. Le Sigh.  Sometimes, my brain switches off.  Actually, more truthfully, most days it doesn’t switch on in the first place.  I have been trying to be good lately and not eat bad stuff but it is a losing battle.  I didn’t go for a walk today so can’t even say “at least I exercised”. I wanted to have lost a couple of kilos by the time my annual renal appointment came up at the end of the month, but it looks like I will have to wear the same sheepish, guilty expression I always have when I see my specialist.

Well, I am heading into boring “I am fat” territory and don’t want to subject you to that yawn-fest, so I shall go.

Hope your day has been happy and guilt-free.  Or FULL of guilty pleasures.  Yeah, that sounds much more fun!

🙂