Thursday, 24 February 2011

Tricky teenage stuff

This week my eldest child (nearly 13) came home and said:

"Mum can I ask you a question?"

I replied "Of course! You can ask me anything anytime!"

Although I was thinking back to all the times he has probably tried to ask me stuff and I was so busy with 400 million things going on at once I forgot to listen.

As he would say...... "Epic Fail!"

Anyway....his problem was this:

"There is a kid at school who wants my mobile phone number & I don't want to give it to him"

Straight away I was in a situaution totally foreign & unfamiliar......I knew all this stuff was gonna come at me. By that I mean all the stuff I have NO IDEA HOW TO HANDLE!!!!!

In the dinosaur age when I was a child we didn't have mobile phones.

So I said to him ...."I'm gonna have to think about that and get back to you. I'll talk to Dad too & see if he has any bright ideas"

His ideas were really bright & really funny....but not fit for publication! They certainly made us all laugh!

We still haven't really come up with any ideas that he feels comfortable with apart from telling this kid that his mum says it is an EMERGENCY phone only and that if he wants to ring him he can ring the home number.

All I can think of is it's time to buckle in......Here we go into our journey of the unknown....Wish us luck!


Tonight's dinner is Beef & Guinness Pie.
I need some good ol' fashioned food to make me feel like I am not totally out of my depth!



  • 500g beef shin (gravy beef) 
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 can of Guinness (and another for the Chef!)
  • flour
  • canola oil
  • S & P
  • Puff pastry
  • egg (for pastry wash)

Finely dice onion & garlic.
 Add  oil to a pan and fry till translucent.
Dice beef into large chunks and roll in flour to coat.
Add to pan.
Cut carrots into large chunks.

Open Guinness and add entire can to pot. Add bay leaves.
Add salt & pepper.
Stir ingredients through.
Bring to simmer. 
I make a cartouche to cover  (essentially this is just a piece of baking paper cut to cover the ingredients to prevent drying out) Click HERE to see a little video on how to make one.

Transfer to oven at 150C and cook for 3 hours.
After 3 hours remove from oven and cut pastry to size.
Remove cartouche and place pastry on top of braised beef.
Brush with egg wash and place in oven at 180C for 10-15 minute or until pastry brown.

Serve with creamy mash & a crunchy green salad....and a COLD FROTHY GUINNESS of course!

Today's listening pleasure is from Gil Scott-Heron- "I'm new Here": 

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


This weekend our family is going to be doing one of our FAVOURITE all time things.


Yeah- I's a love or hate thing isn't it.

Well me, I LOVE IT!!


I have spent my entire life camping.

As a child my Mum & Dad borrowed the money for a one way fare to Europe with 5 children (ages 8,7,5,4 &1). I was the baby.

It wasn't in the days of aeroplanes - the one way fare was a 6 WEEK trip on a BOAT!!!!!! The thought of it totally FREAKS me out!

I can only look back in total and utter AWE at my parent's bravery- or perhaps full & total mentalness!

We all complain about relatively short aeroplane trips....I cannot imagine what it must have been like.

I learnt how to walk on the boat. It just seems bizarre.

Anyway we spent the next 2 years camping around Europe in a gorgeous French camping trailer. The European campers are built with families in mind, unlike their Australian cousins which are really built for retired couples with no children in tow.

Several years ago when Hubby was away in NYC for a work trip I found a gorgeous vintage Dutch camping trailer advertised on the Trading Post.

We had been looking on & off for over 10 years for our own camping trailer but I couldn't get excited about the heavy canvas Australian models after the one I had grown up in. The European ones have a sense of style about them & they are often built with 2 double beds to house a family. And apart from anything the cost of the Australian ones was prohibitive.

It was meant to be.......when I rang the current owner he was only a few streets away from where I lived.

So I bought it.


Check out the hilarious Original brochure that was still in the camper when I bought it (obviously I need to pack my bikini & high heels!):

Now that is Glamping right there!
After far too long.....we are going away in it this weekend before we take it across to Tasmania in April for the Tour Of Tasmania 2011 GourmetGirlfriend style !

The 2 little kids had the BESTEST time while Hubby & I sorted out our gear that lives in the camper ready to go when we want.

If you look carefully you will see the Atomic lying down on the grass near the swing out kitchen!
Because we basically lived in our camping trailer in Europe my mum became VERY clever at cooking great meals within the limitations of a two burner gas stove or a campfire. The skills have been passed on to all 5 of us kids.

Think curries, slow cooked meat dishes, pasta, the bestest toasties of all time, simple bbq's, etc etc.

And don't worry I won't live without my good coffee- my Atomic coffee machine comes too.... I can still have excellent coffee. I'm going with the term that someone mentioned this week..... GLAMPERS! Love it!

Camping teaches you all about improvising and keeping it simple. It strips life back to it's bare bones.

Kids love camping. They love that their parents are around them without the distractions that being at home give us. The laundry, the birthday parties, the homework, the shopping.......on and on.

I will be taking some Salsa Verde this weekend.....just in case we catch a fish!


1/2 cup of dill
1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup of mint
4 tblspooons capers
2 cloves garlic
8 anchovy fillets
2 tblspns Dijon mustard
1/3 cup EVOO (extra virgin Olive oil)
2 tblspns lemon juice (rind also)
S & P to taste (shldnt need salt because of Anchovies)


Blitz baby blitz et Voila!

On the way there we will probably be listening to this LOUD as requested so often by my kids in the car...and they sing along word for word:

Monday, 21 February 2011

Good ol' Fish & Chips

Time for another Chef & the Mum post!

This months ingredient chosen by Katrina (the Chef) was LOCAL FISH.

The Fish & chips is part of the recipe sharing idea called 'The chef & the mum'.  It was started by Katrina Higham (the Chef) and Mish Lilley (the Mum). They take turns in choosing the core ingredient & anyone is welcome to join in (click on Katrina's blog if you want to join in!).  A great way to share expertise & recipes.
 There are links for you to check out the other recipes at the end of my post- so be sure to check out what everyone else made!.

SO after doing a bit of research I discovered that Flathead and Schnapper are two local Melbourne fish.

My kids LOVE bank balance isn't so keen at nearly $40 a kilo!!!

But sometimes an indulgence is called for!

I love using flathead for Fish & Chips. It is a beautiful juicy, white fish with lovely soft flesh that fillets to be boneless (great for fussy fish eaters who get frustrated by bones).

I am a HUGE fan of a good beer batter for fish & chips. It makes the batter light and really crunchy. Soooo good!

If cooked well Fish & Chips doesn't have to be the oily, fatty sludgy mess that has gone soggy in the plastic bag dusted with a little sand for extra crunch that some of us remember from our childhood family beach trips.

For me a quick meal of bought Fish and Chips ends in me parting ways with a fair bit of cash to feed seven and a whole lot of dissapointment- so we don't do it that often.

And although Flathead isn't the cheapest if fish it actually ends up being significantly cheaper for me to cook it at home and I am happy to do that sometimes.

And there is nothing like the crunching through a good beer batter to bite into that slippery delicious fish! My kids were soooo happy when i made this for them on Friday after a very busy week of school. There wasn't a scrap left on any of their plates.

I love to serve it with a freshly made Tartare sauce and a couple of wedges of juicy lemon. One of the great examples of simple is best!

So here's my recipe for good ol Fish 'n' Chips.

I have a deep fryer at home as getting the temperature correct is key.

I make my chips via the two fry method (i.e: first fry at 110C for 6 minutes to parcook & then at 180C for another 4 minutes or until brown) and have always had good results. I know a debate rages about best chips.....but I think it is one of those arguments that will never be settled. Each to their own.



  • 700g flathead
  • 500g desiree potatoes- (I don't peel mine and cut them in to 2cm batons)


  • 3/4 cup sr flour
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 5& 1/2 tblspn beer (whichever you like- i used Coopers Pale Ale this time)
  • 5& 1/2 tblspn cold soda water
Sift dry ingredients and then add wet and mix with a whisk. It will be quite a runny batter. It shouldn't be thick.
Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

As the batter refrigerates you can drink the remaining beer while you make the tartare sauce! BONUS!


  • parsley
  • dill 
  • cornichons
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 11/2 tsp dijon
  • 1 egg
  • lemon juice 1 tsp
  • 1tblsp white vinegar
  • 2 tblspns baby capers
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • canola oil

I use my thermomix to make this but it will be just as good made in a food processor.

Using the pulse function on yr food processor chop parsley, dill, capers & cornichons.

Add dijon mustard, pepper, lemon juice, egg & vinegar.

Now with motor running slowly drizzle oil in through the top in a slow stream until it is lovely and thick.



For the chips-
Heat fryer to 110C and place chips in fryer for 6 minutes (set a timer).
Lift out of oil and let cool.

I fry my fish next as it will happily sit and cool a little while the chips are finished. I can fit about 4 pieces fo fish in my fryer without overcrowding.

Take a piece of fish and dip it in the batter & wipe gently to remove excess batter.

Lower gently into oil and fry until nicely brown (about 4 minutes). Remove and sit on kitchen paper while you do the chips. They should come out looking plump and puffy!

Now place the chips that have been parboiled back into the oil and cook till brown and crispy looking.

Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Salt well.

Serve on plate with a dish of tartare sauce & some lemon wedges.


And this week Radiohead released a new album.....always makes me so happy to hear new stuff from them:

Friday, 18 February 2011

Getting my groove on

It's Friday today.

2 weeks since school went back.

Back to schoolness is exhausting.

Kind of like starting a new job exhausting.

Like I need any help being more exhausted- puhlease!!!!!

I have 5 children at 4 different places this year.

  • 1x12yo at High school- settled in. CHECK
  • 1x10yo & 1x8yo at Primary school- settled in- CHECK
  • 1x4yo at kinder- settled in- CHECK
  • 1x 2yo at home ruling the roost- CHECK


It has really taken me these couple of weeks to find my groove and help them all with their organisation.

Mind you I'm not one of those mummas who does everything for them- that ain't how I roll. I don't think I would be doing my boys ANY favours by being that kind of mother.  And the idea of my lads growing up thinking that girls are around to do all their jobs HORRIFIES me.......

I try to encourage independence as much as possible.

But doing that is in some ways more exhausting. And sometimes the emotional backlash is hard.

"Mum why didn't you pack my (insert LUNCH, HOMEWORK, SWIMMERS, really ?"

My response goes something like this: "Actually maybe you want to be asking 'How come I didn't pack my........'" It ain't my job to pack their bags, do their homework, dress them, SIRREE!

It is my job to love them.....and sometimes that involves doing stuff which doesn't feel as nice as others.

But after 2 weeks I am finally feeling like I have my mothering mojo back.


To celebrate I am going out tonight to see one of my favourite musicians- the lovely M.WARD.

My 12yo wanted to join me- he also LOVES him...actually all my big boys do.

I realised it ain't that far away when him & I can go 'giggin' together.

Oh and you know how I asked you all to remind me to ring my cleaner on my last post..... well she arrives today at 2!

Suddenly I don't feel so tired!


I know quite a few folks who HATE brussel sprouts... (well of course I LOVE 'EM!) and I promised to post my recipe to help them learn to love the humble sprout!
So here goes.....


Brussel Sprouts 300g
Preserved lemon- (avail from good delis) NB. I will post my recipe for these soon. SUPER EASY
2 tblspns Butter
3 rashers of bacon- finely sliced


Halve brussel sprouts & trim outer leaves.

In a non-stick fry pan melt butter at medium-high heat and add bacon.  Fry until it is quite crispy.

Remove flesh from a qtr of a preserved lemon (Preserved lemon has quite a strong flavour so you don't need much) & slice very finely- or chop into very small cubes if you prefer.

Add the brussel sprouts.  Try to place them flat side down.  Don't be tempted to stir- what we want to achieve is caramelizing them flesh. Agitating is fine but try not to stir! I know that is almost impossible for some cooks.....but bear with me!

Add the preserved lemon.

You may add a little water to help them cook through but let the water evaporate.

Avoid using a lid as covering the sprouts loses their gorgeous vibrant green colour.

When cooked through remove from pan, season (be careful with salt as the lemon is quite salty already) and serve!

They are beautiful with a schnitzel, roast chook or with a strong fish like swordfish.   I would happily eat these on their own though....but you know me!

Here's a lovely song by the lovely M.WARD

Friday, 11 February 2011

How to make a honey sandwich.

This week has been ever so long.

I feel as though I have been hit by a freight train.

Getting back into the swing of school being back is H A R D!!!

Thank buddha for Wine O'clock & dark chocolate!

But one of the loveliest things is spending time with my little 2 at home without the big 3.

The little are different without the big.

Less hurried.

And once the hurry of getting the big kids out the door and on their bikes to school,  the pace slows......

And then little bits of magic happen.

And I am ever so lucky to be here for it.

And ever so lucky to capture some of it on film.

This week my 4yo taught me how to make a honey sandwich.

It's one of the nicest cooking lessons I have ever had.

Really it could have been Winnie the Pooh.....tiddly poms and all:

"If you want to make a song more hummy, add a few tiddly poms." Winnie the Pooh

Click here for a little more Pooh Magic.

I now feel it is URGENT to re-read the Winnie the Pooh!

Thankyou A.A. Milne for giving us the timeless magic that is Winnie the Pooh.  Imagine a life without him.....better not to.

Todays listening (and visual) pleasure:

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


It's time for another Chef & the Mum post!

The ingredient is BEETROOT.

 It is a fist fight between Eggplant & Beetroot for my favourite when Mish chose it for this months ingredient I squeeled with DELIGHT!!

Beetroot is such a great ingredient- and sooo beautiful!  You can use all of it!  The root itself is what most people use but the leaves are fantastic cooked (like you would spinach) or used fresh in salad or sandwiches.

And to market, to market to buy a fat beetroot skipped me and my family of 7!

I love taking the kids to Vic Market- well actually I love taking them to any market.

But the hustle & bustle of the Queen Victoria market is such a pleasure to me.  The shouting out of bargains, the happy faces of people finding a bargain, the gorgeous weathered faces that tell stories of lives lived, the beautiful smells, the colours, the displays.

I can't resist looking at other peoples trolleys wondering what they will be cooking up with their goodies.  Sometimes I ask...I love to share ideas, thoughts, joy.

I am learning to not be upset when people shake their heads in disapproval at my trail of kids & take more notice of the smiles and the cute finger counts and gasps of incredulity at the number of the kids ("FIVE!!!! DO YOU HAVE 5 BOYS???!!!!) as we weave like a slithering snake through the busy crowds.

Generally the snake looks something like this. First comes the 10yo...eager to source something new to taste or marvel at. Then the 8yo keenly manoeuvering the double layer trolley with me by his side helping avoid other peoples ankles being mamed!  Then the 12yo with the 4yo cuddling him tight on his back- piggy back style.  Then the papa bear with the 2yo perched in the backpack sucking his thumb, nuzzling his blanky taking in EVERYTHING!

And then we fill our trolley with beautiful ingredients and a whole lot of fun has been had.  We head back to our car (or the Mystery Machine as we call it- Scooby Doo anyone??) laden with deliciousness ready to cook up a storm together.

My friends know my love for beetroot.

And some of them have partaken in my Beetroot Confit.

Today I am going to share that recipe.



  • 2 bunches of organic baby beets
  •  3 whole star anise
  • 2-3 cups of Dark Brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • water

Trim the leaves off the beetroot.

Scrub the beets well to remove all dirt (you can peel them if you prefer but i like to use every last bit!)  They look sooo beautiful- you will see the gorgeous colour.

Grate the beets. (If u have a food processor attachment this makes this step super fast!) If doing this step by hand u may want to wear gloves!

Place sugar in a pan with the star anise.  (on there a prettier spice??!!! MY FAVE!)

whole star anise
Cook on a low heat till sugar has dissolved.

Add grated beets and balsamic and a little water & cook with a lid on for 2 hours or until the mixture is caramelized, gooey and soft.  You may need to add a little water to help soften the beets.   

The mixture will keep in a jar for months in an airtight jar.  It will be the prettiest jar in the fridge!

It is delicious on steaks (especially if you mix a little horseradish through it), with fish or roast chicken or on sandwiches.  Or just licked straight off the spoon. My kids love it!

WARNING: I have NEVER actually measured this recipe so I am approximating measures.  It really is a "go by taste" recipe.  You need to taste test after beets are cooked through to see if you need more sugar.. there is no harm in adding it right at the end.  

check out what the others made:

Todays listening pleasure is a beautiful piece of music.....close your eyes and savour:

Monday, 7 February 2011

Letting go......

School has gone back after one of the most lovely breaks ever.

My emotions are ALL over the place-  as this year begins a new episode for me as a parent.

My eldest has begun the path into adulthood.  He has started high school.

As a parent up to this point I have always felt pretty confident of what was in front of me.  I studied early childhood education & felt I had a good grasp on development and the stages of early childhood.

Mind you none of that knowledge really helps you deal with how your emotional attachment to your children affects your decision making.  Or for that extra bit of guilt you felt when you know you were doing or saying TOTALLY the wrong things but couldn't help yourself through utter exhaustion!

I remember a very close friend and old teaching colleague stepping into this unknown a few years back (the teens that is)..... with a kind of panic at how little she 'knew'.  Now I can totally empathise with her!  Her son has grown into a beautiful, kind, sensitive, clever & talented young man- really the same qualities I saw her nurture in him as a young child.  He has always been a gorgeous human being & has been brought up by gorgeous parents.

So here I am........ preparing myself to let go.

I have never felt my children belonged to me as such - but that I was a kind of caretaker.  A person whose job it is to nurture and encourage.  A person to cover (not smother) them in love.  To allow them to make mistakes and learn how to use them as a positive.  Essentially to make them feel as though they were totally fantastic as themselves- unique to everybody else. To be proud of who they are.

My hubby & I are both pretty "in tune with our emotions" (read CRY BABIES!).  So when our son asked for help to tie his new school tie for his very serious school uniform- nobody warned us we would need to pack the tissue box as well!  JEEPERS- get a grip I keep saying to myself.....!!!!

As I prepare myself to start letting go.....I can say that I am so so so proud of the young man I see stepping out into the big wide world.  He has always been proudly 'different' from the crowd.  This has not been an easy path for him to take but he had the guts to do it & I could not be more happy with where he stands now.

Still not so cool he can't show off how much he loves his little brother.

It fills me with an emotion I cannot quite put a handle on.......I feel teary but not sad. It just all feels so momentous.......I wasn't prepared to feel like I did on his first day of high school.  It was way worse for me than when any of them started primary.

I keep looking at the L plate on my fridge....and reminding myself that as parents we rooly trooly are beginners for the entire journey- never experts.  Parenting is a lesson in humility.

Some people make the assumption that as a mumma to 5 of them that I must be some kind of expert.  Truth be told- I just have the opportunity to make more mistakes than most!

Wish me luck as I head forward & remind me to call my cleaner- it's a DISASTER here after the holidays!

Last week I cooked up Banh Xeo.  I am lucky enough to have the worlds most gorgeous cleaner. A gorgeous Vietnamese woman.

After cleaning my house- if she has time- we sit and eat lunch together......really how DIVINE is that!!!!!

She shared one of her fave Vietnamese meals with me BANH XEO.  I LOVE IT SO MUCH!  somehow I haven't made it for the family before (obviously I have had a need to keep it a secret!)

It is basically a Vietnamese soft taco- but way yummier!  It can be Vegan, Vegetarian or it can be served with meat and seafood.  I cook the Southern version which is traditionally served with pork & prawn but you could also easily substitute chicken (as I did with the one in the following pics).

This recipes ingredients list may put some people off- but really it is VERY easy to cook- the thing is just to have a lot of things chopped up ready to put inside, much like tacos. I hope you do give it a go sometime! I promise..... if u can cook a pancake you can cook Banh Xeo!

It is a dish perfect for Australian summer- and great for kids as they can add/omit what they don't like.


Banh Xeo translates literally as sound pancake- after the noise made when cooking up these treasures.

  • 1/2 cup cornflour
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  •  1 cup rice flour
  •  1 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 300g chicken sliced finely( or a mix of pork & prawn) for veg options- firm tofu, green beans, finely julienned carrots, red capsicum- or whatever u like (these are added raw so you will need to cut them finely so as to eat easily)!
  • 2 tspns fish sauce
  • 2 sping onions - sliced finely
  • 1 medium onion- sliced finely
  • 1 packet of bean sprouts (we use more as we LOVE the crunch and freshness of them with this dish.
  • 3 eggs beaten (these can be omitted for vegans)
  • 1 tblspn oil per pancake
  • lots & lots of fresh green herbs- a mix of mint, coriander, thai basil & vietnamese mint- the more the better I say. This is what gives the dish its tasty, crunchy magic so don't be shy!
  • chopped lettuce

Make a batter by combining all the flour, water, coconut milk & turmeric . Mix well and eliminate any lumps.  Let sit for 30 mins.

Combine the meat with fish sauce & panfry with garlic till cooked. Set aside.

Arrange the meat, veg, herbs and bean sprouts into mounds on a large platter.

Have the batter (and eggs- if using) ready.

Heat oil in a fry pan and fry onion till soft. Add cooked meat & a little spring onion. 

Reduce the heat and add about 4  tblspoons batter OVER THE TOP of the onion & meat.

Add about a tblspn of bean sprouts.  
Cover and cook for 2 more minutes.

Uncover and and add 2 tblspn of egg (if using)& a sprinkle of herbs.  Cover again and cook for 2 more minutes.
Uncover and fold the pancake in half like an omelette.

Serve topped with mountains of fresh herbs & lettuce and a VERY generous serve of NUOC CHAM- see below for recipe.


NUOC CHAM is a sauce ALWAYS served with Vietnamese meals- just as we would serve S & P.  It is addictive I's flavours are intense, fresh, zingy and super dooper delicious.

You will need:
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 red chilli (add more or less to taste)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 fresh lime- juiced
  • 2 tblsps fish sauce
  • 2 /12 tblspns water- or more if needed.
Combine garlic and sugar in mortar & pestle and grind to paste.  Add to bowl with remaining ingredients. Adjust to taste. 

I sometimes add finely julienned carrot and lots of finely chopped coriander to mine too.

And my listening pleasure......

    Saturday, 5 February 2011

    Simple loveliness

    We are so thoroughly enjoying our Summer break.

    No time limits.

    No alarm clocks.

    Staying in pyjamas all day.

    Playing games that last all day.

    Ice cream for breakfast & weetbix for dinner.

    A revolving door of friends coming & going.

    Not having plans & being able to seize opportune moments.

    Moulding plasticine.

    Lovely easy dinner times.

    Playing twister & other old style games.

     I have said before that I am all for bringing back 'slow' childhood much like I am into slow cooking.  The idea of being mindful in what we do and how we spend time with our kids really appeals to me.  Trying not to miss the things that fill our soul.

    Being a busy family is just that - busy.  But I am determined not to miss the good bits in amongst the busy-ness.  Idealistic I know...... but being aware that I need to be mindful is a start!

    I try never to make dinner time a stressful event in our house.  Of course this doesn't always happen- there are times when I just want them all in bed & a little bit of 'me' time.  That is when a quick 'eggy dinner' or weetbix is my BEST friend!

    But generally speaking I like the dinner table to be the time when most of us can sit together & share our day.  Generally the littlest ones have been dispatched but not always.  It's pretty hilarious hearing what the little kids highlights of the day were or their favourite joke of the day.  Let's face it 4yo's cannot tell a joke- but that is what makes it so fabulous.  They truly believe for that moment when all the family is listening to them take the stage-so to speak- that they are hilarious!  I love giving a 4 year old the stage.

    Very often it is when the eldest children get a chance to talk at their real level of maturity which is difficult to do during their busy day surrounded by younger siblings.  It is the time when special thoughts are disclosed & shared.  It offers an opportunity to really connect with my children in a meaningful way undistracted by other things.  I like to set the table nicely & light candles (the kids LOVE this job).  I get the kids to choose the music- they understand the notion of what's 'good' music for dinner & always choose great music.  It shows that it is a time and place you value.  I love the idea of making dinner 'an event'.  It is one of the few times (if not ONLY) of the day when I sit down and take it slowly for a bit.  I love to share that with my children.

     Gorgeous moments to savour.

    I'm not one for alot of rules in the household about what time things have to happen.  It helps me.  I couldn't ever be one of those mothers who washes the sheets on Thursdays & has dinner on the table at 6pm every night and everyone in bed by a certain time. Mind you I am a keen believer in well rested children so bedtime here is a lot earlier than most homes!

    Getting them to bed is important.  But my spirit would be crushed if I lived so closely by the clock.  I would be a COMPLETE failure.......
    It would feel like I was living one MONUMENTAL failed New Year's Resolution every day of my life!

    I love the freedom that not having those constraints gives me.  I know it's not for all - but IT REALLY SUITS ME.

    I especially love it when it's Summer holidays.

    I love that sometimes we look at the clock & it's already 7 o'clock and we haven't had dinner because the kids are so engrossed in their games they have forgotten to hear their tummy grumbling.

    Then it's time to bust out a quick dinner that fills that space & sends them off to dreams........

    My last recipe was for a Lamb Curry (Rogan Josh). Click here to take you to that post.

    Today I am going to share my vegie curries that I served alongside the lamb- they are both quick & easy.

    A zucchini curry & a potato curry.

    The ZUCCHINI is part of the recipe sharing idea called 'The chef & the mum' & this month's ingredient.  A few bloggers are sharing recipes with a selected seasonal ingredient.  There are links for you to check out the other recipes at the end of my recipe.

    (thanks to Charmaine Solomon and her cooking bible "The complete Asian cookbook" I have been cooking this curry since I was about 11 and still loving it!)

    you will need:
    •  500g zucchini cut into chunks.
    • 1 medium onion
    • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
    • 1 teaspoon of brown mustard seeds
    • 1 chili (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/2 cup of water
    • s & p

    Finely dice the onion (or blitz it).
    Add the butter to a heavy based pan.  When melted add the onion & chili if u want it.  Cook till translucent.  

    Add the mustard & cumin seeds and cook until you hear the wonderful sound of the mustard popping!  By this time the cumin will have released its magical perfume too.  YUM!

    Now add the zucchini and stir through to coat in fabulous flavours.  Add the water and pop a lid on.  Cook for about 10 minutes or unitl the zucchini is cooked through.

    Now get a stick blitzer and blitz the curry till it is a fabulous green puree & season.  It looks beautiful.

    That's it!  I know it seems unusual pureeing a curry but you will not believe the wondrous flavour and how lovely it is to eat alongside other curries or just on it's own with rice & raita.  It is a real favourite of my children.  Especially with lovely crunchy puppadums!  


    what you will need: 
    • 500g pototoes diced into 5cm chunks (i don't peel them)
    • 1 clove of garlic- crushed
    • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
    • 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander
    • juice of half a lemon (optional)
    • 50g butter & a little oil (this stops the butter burning) or use Ghee
    • s & p

    Use a non stick pan- it will give you great results without needing much butter & oil. 

    On a medium heat melt butter & oil and add turmeric, cumin & mustard seeds until the mustard pops.

    Add diced potatoes and fry on a low to medium till brown & cooked through.  This takes about 15 minutes.

    Now add the garlic and cook for about a minute & turn off the heat.

    Chop the fresh coriander & stir through. Season with salt & pepper & add the lemon juice if desired. (I love to- it adds to lovely fresh flavour.)

    It is a really simple & very pretty curry and like the zucchini is great as an accompaniment or as a main.  You could definitely add other vegies too. 

    Rogan Josh, Gooda Bartha (zucchini curry), Chat potatoes, rice & puppadums.

    Click on the links below to check out what the other participants in "the Mum & the Chef" cooked up with their zucchini.

    I loved cooking to David Bowie when I first started cooking at 10 & I still love cooking to him now! 
    A favourite track.............ENJOY!