What’s on Your Plate?

We’re heading out for drinks tonight and need to take a plate. Generally I’d take something baked, sweet and chocolatey to enjoy at the end of the night. But in the search for a savoury alternative I came across the super simple recipe for one of my favourites, normally brought by someone else as their ‘plate’ – Bean Layer Dip.

Who doesn’t love a Mexican dip? Find the biggest corn chip and then dip through all of those layers to cram as much as you can on to that single chip. Next challenge – getting it all in your mouth without spilling a drop down your front!

The first layer – refried beans mixed with salsa.


Next – sour cream. I gave it a stir in the tub before turning it out on to the beans to make it a little more spreadable.


Then – guacamole, using whatever recipe you like. I’m thinking I went a little overboard with the cumin in mine tonight.


Finally, a sprinkle of cheese and green shallots.


Mmmmm, can’t wait to dip a great big corn chip into this.

So, what’s your favourite plate to take to a party?


Friday Night Indian Curry

On Friday night I love takeaway, or something that seems a little like it. Home made pizza, a green chicken curry or Indian.

Tonight I was leaning towards Indian and ironically I found the most amazing recipe on the Sitar website. For those who don’t live in Brisbane, Sitar is where you would go to buy your Indian takeaway. I still can’t quite work out why they would be posting recipes but I’m very pleased that they did. The curry was spectacular!


Best Madras Beef Curry
from sitar.com.au
2 tablespoons olive oil
1kg chuck steak, cut into 2.5cm cubes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
steamed basmati rice, to serve

For the Madras Curry Paste :
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combined the Curry Paste ingredients together in a bowl and set aside to add to the browned beef.
I skipped this step and used a good quality, ready made version.


Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add half the beef. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to a bowl.
Repeat with remaining oil and beef. Reduce heat to medium. Add spice paste. Cook for 1 minute. Return beef to saucepan. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until meat is coated with paste.
Add tomato paste and stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low.
Cover and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until beef is tender.
Cook, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes, or until sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
Serve with rice.

The result was the most tender and delicious curry. Better than takeaway…that’s for sure!!!

That’s Not on the Shopping List

In our home I’m responsible for most of the household duties. That’s not to say that my husband doesn’t chip in and help out but the reality is he’s lending a hand more than owning the job.

I find it most interesting when my husband helps out with the grocery shop. My somewhat vague shopping lists are often filled with brands I’ve never purchased in much smaller, or sometimes much larger quantities than I intended. Like the recent 10 kilo bag of Riviana Basmati rice proudly purchased with the handful of essentials I’d run out of. And inevitably there is something included that definitely wasn’t on the list….usually something sweet….to be consumed by the man of the house well after I’ve gone to bed.

When unpacking the most recent man-shop I came across a box of chocolates. I figured they were purchased for late night snacking but, NO, I was informed they were a gift for me. Not to share…just for me!


I don’t know when I last had a box of chocolates, complete with little pictures and descriptions to help in making the next selection. Yum and fun! If you haven’t had a box of chocolates all to yourself recently go out tomorrow and get one. I wonder which one I should have next!

Heart Warming Roasted Cauliflower Soup

If you’re looking for a warming soup for dinner tonight I can highly recommend this Roasted Cauliflower soup. Just delicious!!!


First step is to roast a medium sized head of cauliflower broken into pieces with 200g of potato, one whole onion sliced, and 5 cloves of garlic, unpeeled. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds then pop in a 200 degree Celsius preheated oven for 25 minutes or until cooked tender.


At the same time add six middle bacon rashes to the oven and cook until crisp.


Place bacon aside for garnishing.

Reserve one cup of roasted cauliflower and then blitz the rest of the roasted vegetables in a food processor or blender, removing the skin from the garlic first.

Add the purée to a saucepan with half a cup of milk and two cups of low salt chicken stock. Bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and stir through a cup of grated parmesan.

Serve soup divided between four bowls topped with reserved roasted cauliflower and crumbled bacon.


Walkie Talkie Birthday Cake

Tonight was the ‘night before birthday party’ cake creation time!

Earlier in the afternoon I made a basic butter cake, one that I had made before and knew I could easily shape into the required walkie-talkie shape.

Even so I was a little daunted, concerned that in the end the cake would just look like a big black blob of icing. But the rolled black fondant worked a treat, together with a few embellishments. I added hand grips on the side made out of small sausages of extra fondant, a speaker/mic made out of an extra layer of fondant studded with holes made with a fine skewer, buttons above the speaker made with simple smarties, and a ‘screen’ created using some black and white fondant combined to create a grey icing. For the antenna I simply rolled a piece of fondant into the approximate shape and then cut an angled end for the top. I then squared off the roll to make it look as realistic as possible.


And the best thing is the cake got the thumbs up from the birthday boy. It was just what he was imagining! Phew! Sometimes I think my kids have expectations that way out weigh my abilities!

Black and White ‘Left Over’ Skirt

Eight months back I posted a maxi skirt ‘how to‘ using 2 metres of black and white knit fabric to make this…

I mentioned at the end of the post that I had 55 centimeter width of the 2 metres of fabric left to make a short version of the skirt. Well I finally got around to doing just that, following the same simple steps I followed for the maxi skirt.


I sewed the right sides together bringing the narrowest edges together to create a seam and then sewed a casing at the top for the elastic and a hem at the bottom. I’m really happy with the finished product.


This is a little project any novice sewer could take on.

Williams’s birthday cupcakes

William celebrated his 7th birthday on Sunday so today he took cupcakes to school to share with his classmates.

This was a speedy little recipe from taste.com.au.

Dry ingredients are mixed with wet ingredients to make a simple cake batter.


With this recipe I made 30 mini cupcakes.

I then had some fun decorating them with the various sprinkles and sparkles I had in the pantry.