Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cheats lamb pasties

If you want to make quick, easy lamb pasties - this is the recipe for you!

What you will need:
  • 500g minced lamb (you can use beef, chicken, pork or even turkey if you like, but lamb just works with these)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2-3 small potatoes, peeled and diced quite small. Cook in the microwave for a few minutes until almost fully cooked, or boil them
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • mixed herbs
  • 810g tin crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 puff pastry sheets (or shortcrust if you want)
  • Optional: other vegetables, such as corn, grated carrot or zucchini
Take pastry out of the freezer to thaw.
Heat oil in a large fry pan. Add mixed herbs, cook until they soften a little.
Add the onion, cook for a few minutes.
Add the mince lamb, no need to break it up too much, let it cook in largish chunks.
Add the tomatoes and potatoes (and any other vegetables), stir well, and cook for 10-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Take off the heat, and let it cool down a bit - if it is too hot, it can make the pastry melt. Or cook all the above steps a few hours before you need it.
You can either make 4 large pasties, or 16 small ones (chop each sheet of pastry in quarters for small ones. The small ones are easier for kids to manage)

Spoon the mixture into the middle of your pastry.

Fold up two corners of pastry to meet in the middle, as shown in the photo below.

Fold the other two corners up, and press all seams together. Prick with a fork a few times. Baste each one with milk or egg if you want the to pastry to really brown (I can never be bothered as I am usually in a hurry)

Cook in a moderate oven (180C) 40-ish minutes.

They are really hot straight out of the oven - I put the kids on their plates at least 10 minutes before dinner starts, with the pasties cut open to let out the heat.

Visit Emma for many more easy peasy dinner recipes.

If you like cooking with minced meats like me, Pip from Meet me at Mikes recently posted this amazing meatloaf recipe. I put all the ingredients in the food processor, and leave the coffee out of the sauce. This recipe has become a favourite around our house now, with both Chris and Abbey requesting it for dinner all the time - fine by me, as it is easy and yummy. Tastes great in sandwiches too, with a little home made tomato relish. Yum!

Happy cooking.


Monday, September 27, 2010

At my house.....

We have had a very quiet week. Two little girls had runny noses (one of them was also cutting two new teeth), and one big girl (me!) sick with a razor blade sore throat, aching ears, cold flushes and just general aching all over. It really is no fun looking after kids when you are sick, especially when your husband is away for two days and one night on a work trip. We seemed to live in our pj's for most of the week (which was fun)

I am almost better, but the little girls still have runny noses.

Today we have had the most lovely day. My dear friend Ruth who I have known since primary school is visiting Australia. We have been friends for 27 years.

Ruth lives in South America now, after many years in London. Chris and I met through Ruth and her husband, and she was bridesmaid at our wedding. Cupcake Nell and her two kiddies came over too, and we had the most lovely time catching up, drinking tea, eating chicken and avocado rolls and chocolate brownie slice.

On the weekend we made these hand print art works. One hand print from each of us on a page, a different colour each. Blue for daddy, purple for me, pink for Abbey and red for Zoe. It was quite difficult getting a good hand print from Zoe, she wanted to eat the paint.

Join in, and visit Lou to see what other peeps are doing this week.

Visit Kasia and see what other kiddie crafts peeps are doing this week.

Have a lovely week.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

On SALE and free postage

All bib and burp cloth sets in my shop are on SALE.

Plus, free postage (in Australia)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Creative Space

My favourite oppy recently yielded this gem. At first I thought it was a single bed sheet, but it really is an actual piece of novelty Paddington Bear fabric. It has been ripped and sewn up in weird places, but it is almost one metre of fabric.

I knew straight away I had to make some baby rattles.

I have used polyester polyfill for these two, but I am thinking of trying this new Inner Green stuffing I have just heard about. Has anyone tried it and can offer an opinion? Or offer an opinion on any other more natural toy stuffing I can use in these and my rattle cubes (has to be washable and baby friendly)

Kirsty is back from holidays, many lovely creative spaces over at Kootoyou.

Happy Thursday to you.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Easy Peasy Dinner: Chicken and Apple Balls

This is my version of Annabel Karmel's Chicken and Apple Balls from her book New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. I borrowed this book from the library when Abbey was a baby, and photocopied a few recipes I liked.
These chicken and apple balls are so yummy, all the big kids in our house love them too :)

Chicken and Apple Balls
600g chicken mince
1 onion (I use red/Spanish)
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and grated, then squeeze out juice with your hands (I drink the juice)
Small handful fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or sage, or a pinch of mixed dried herb
1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
50g fresh breadcrumbs or 1/2 cup packet breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper 

 Put all ingredients in your food processor (I have mixed it all by hand, and this worked fine too)  
Mix well.
 Mix it all up.
Roll into approximately 22 small balls. 
Making easy peasy dinner. 
Little Miss 4 had fun helping with this bit. 
Miss 4 likes to help. 
Optional: coat balls with flour before cooking. I don't do this step any more. Shallow fry them in vegetable oil for 5-10 minutes, turning often. They really do cook quickly. I have cooked them in the oven also, but they did not taste as good. 
Yum! Serve with oven chips and/or mashed potato, and/or steamed vegetables. Enjoy. Visit Emma for many more Easy Peasy Dinner ideas.

Cheers, Cat.

Monday, September 20, 2010

At my house.....

We have been making silly aliens, thanks to Kris' funny faces printables.

Abbey took the photo below, of my aliens.

This one below was Abbey's first page of aliens.

And Abbey taking another photo of my aliens.

Otherwise, not much happening at my house. There are a few runny noses and sore throats, so we are taking it easy. Even better, it is the school holidays, so no running around for kinder, story time at the library or gymnastics.

Pop in and visit Lou for more.

Have a great week.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week-a-boo: our weekend

Another weekend has flown past. Saturday morning was busy with taking Abbey to her gymnastics class, then we popped into her kinder. There was a fundraising session on, for the kids to make some artwork, and this art work then to be turned into melamine plates, calendars or cards. Abbey drew two lovely pictures, and had a long play on the equipment with a few of her kinder friends.

Zoe had fun playing on the fake grass, pulling silly faces, and chewing my camera case.

Today, Chris had some important work to complete, so during Zoe's afternoon nap, Abbey and I went out - not to one park, or two parks, but to three different parks in our area. She rode her bike, and I walked behind her, helping with the steering sometimes (there is a handle on the back of her bike) and I got the fun job of pushing her up the hills.

Lucky Abbey was there, to catch me when I went down the big slide.

I hope you have had a lovely weekend. See what other peeps have been up to with Claire.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Handmade Christmas Challenge

Two more Christmas presents finished this week. One pink and one red pin cushion.

I have written my list of out standing presents, it is good to see it in print, and slowly tick off items as I make or buy them.

Visit Tracey at Knicky Knacks for lots more Handmade Christmas goodies.

Have a lovely weekend.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Creative Space

This week I am making some more Christmas presents. One needs to be sent to the UK, one will be staying in Melbourne. It is easier, and quicker, to make them both at the same time.

This one is in reds (made with the same fabric's I used on Dotty doll)

This one is in pinks.

I have not got very far yet, hopefully today I can get started on sewing them up.

More Creative people here.

Have a lovely Thursday. Cat

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mars Bar Slice

I have been enjoying Emma's Easy Peasy Dinner winners every Tuesday, so I thought it was about time that I shared a recipe.

This easy slice is great for parties, a quick snack or your evening pudding. Tastes OK for breakfast too....so I have been told.

Mars Bar Slice
3 mars bars
50g butter (the recipe I was given called for 3oz, but I found this too much)
3 cups of rice bubbles (works OK with coco pops too, if you want a crazy chocolate fix)

1. Melt the mars bars and butter over a low heat until well combined.
2. Pour over the rice bubbles, mix well.
3. Spoon into a small lamington tin lined with baking paper (I use a 22cm square porcelain dish)
4. Let it cool to set. You can set it in the fridge, but I find it too messy to chop into squares if it has been in the fridge.
Optional: Ice it with 200g melted chocolate for even more of a chocolate hit.

Yum. Thanks to my friend Kate for sharing this recipe with me a few months ago. Since then, I have made it quite a few times as we all love it, and it is so easy to make.

Visit Emma for more great ideas.

Have a great night. Cat

Monday, September 13, 2010

At my house.....

Zoe's birthday week is officially over. I still can't believe she is one. The last year has flown past so quickly.....

This week I will finish clearing and cleaning up from her afternoon tea party. Not that there is much to do actually, I have just been going very slowly.

Zoe has been helping me to hang out the washing, kind of....

Abbey has been making what she calls amazing inventions, by raiding the kitchen draws...

Doctor Abbey has been attending to a sick Dotty doll.

Last week my mum and I took my Grandma over to see her little sister, my Great Auntie, the girls Great, Great Auntie. Grandma and her sister talk on the phone every week, but don't get to see each other very often anymore. It is always lovely to see them together, they have been sisters for almost 80 years now, quite impressive. I love visiting as my Great Auntie always makes the most amazing egg sandwiches. They taste so good as she uses the eggs from her own chickens. This visit she made us a passion fruit sponge cake. I don't normally eat, or like, many cakes, but I am so glad that I tried this cake, as it was AMAZING! Look how yellow it is, she made this with her own chicken's eggs too. She also gave me her sponge cake recipe. One day, when I am feeling brave, I'll give it a try.

The bad news about this visit was that Zoe came home wheezing. My Auntie has two long haired cats, and Zoe was crawling all over the house, chasing one of the cats. Being allergic to cats runs in both my family and Chris's family. I am in denial, for now, I so don't want her to be allergic as some dear friends we know also have cats. Not that I have any control over this. Poor Zoe.

Pop over and visit Lou for more fun.

Have a great week. Cat.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week-a-boo: our weekend

Yesterday, we had a (very casual) afternoon tea party to celebrate Zoe's first birthday. My mum made a fantastic lady bug cake, and my dear friend Nell made cupcakes, which we decorated with some icing lady bugs (made by Bel from Enticing Icing)

It was a lovely afternoon tea, being surrounded by close friends and family, celebrating Zoe's first year. We had a surprise visitor too - my QLD sister-in-law Stepfie "gate crashed" the party. My littlest brother was going away for the weekend on a man-cation (as Stepfie called it), so he booked her a flight to Melbourne, and my mum (just) managed to keep it a secret all week. It was the most lovely surprise, we have not seen her since our holiday back in July.

I thoroughly enjoyed a glass of pink champagne, but was too busy taking to everyone to manage a second glass (how annoying, hehe)

Abbey helped open most of the birthday girls presents, and also had to blow out the candle on the cake. Big sisters can be very helpful.

I am sure the best bit for Zoe was having her first ever whole piece of cake (not just a mouthful, but her own piece) She really enjoyed it, and managed to get red icing in both her ears too.

Hope you have had a lovely weekend too. Visit Claire for more week-a-boo's, and visit Kasia for more weekend fun.
Cheers, Cat.

Music for my ears

Today I am listening to the new album "Modern Day Addiction" from Clare Bowditch. I am loving it.

Her website sums it up perfectly:

Modern Day Addiction is not a product but a handcrafted, heartcrafted masterpiece. It’s a response to the issues we all face, cosmetic surgery, eating disorders, influenza, status anxiety and pathological consumerism. Topics that could be thought of as worthy, earnest and dry, Clare Bowditch manages to sex up, rock out and wrap up in warmth and a human heartbeat and a cheeky, very grown up, irreverence.

Modern Day Addiction crackles with raw passion and wisdom with Bowditch both the scientist and the guinea pig. The message is yes; we are all flawed and broken. But we’re good enough, better than this and not alone. Experiencing the album, the listener feels immersed in clarity and embraced in Bowditch’s arms as she whispers truth and comfort. She helps us make our armour, and tells us we must wear ourselves. As the music soothes we are released with the knowledge that it’s not just us trying to get to a better place.

I have enjoyed all her albums, I think she is so talented.

Enjoy your Sunday. Cat

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My (dolly) creative space

My week has been consumed with stolen moments, to finish making this doll in time for Zoe's first birthday yesterday. I made it in time - just.

I've never made a doll before, it was fun trying some thing new.

I enjoyed choosing all the different fabrics. I think I am addicted to fabric.

Some lessons were learnt. Such as, 4.30pm any day of the week is the children's witching hour, don't even attempt to embroider a dolls face. You may forget to read the instructions properly, and embroider her a brown mouth instead of a red one. I ran out of energy to start again, I just went over the brown with some red, a one year old will never notice.

The skirt is reversible, so she already has a different outfit in her wardrobe.

I may call her Dotty - do you think this name suits her? I can't call her Ruby Lou like the pattern as I have a niece called Ruby, it could get a little confusing for everyone.

Here she is, almost nudey-rudey, with no skirt on.

She turned out alright, methinks. Not sure if Dotty will survive a one year old, am I mean not letting Zoe play (chew) with it? Or should I just relax and let her do as she will, it is her dolly after all.

Lots more lovely creative spaces over here.

Have a lovely day peeps, Cat