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Egg-planters

January 30th, 2012

Getting the ‘pots’ ready to sow some seeds.

Egg shells for sowing

Today I did my back sowing courgette, pepper, okra, aubergine, demon red chili, garlic and, for the girl in me, allium flower bulbs. A bit late for some and a bit early for others… let’s see what comes out :)

Happy 66th Birthday Nan

January 23rd, 2012

Little Bee made this for her Nan.

Nan's 66th Birthday card

Happy Birthday Mom xxx

Masterpieces 22 January 2012

January 22nd, 2012
Little Bee painting Tunnel 1

Tunnel 1

Tunnel 2

Tunnel 2

Gajah (Elephants) and Fairies

Gajah (Elephants) and Fairies

Weekly Menu

January 21st, 2012

Weekly Menu

I’ve always thought about it but somehow never did it… and I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now and wondered why I didn’t do it earlier!

During the Christmas holidays, I was thinking it was about time Little Bee dropped her evening bottle and to do so, I told her that she will be having dinner. Then I started thinking of the extra stress it would create for me to think about dinner everyday… which is why I decided to have an advanced menu.

So far it has worked a treat and made me more organize about food – what to cook, what to prepare, when to prepare, when to cook and what to buy. I’m starting to see that I actually have more time with Little Bee and less food is wasted as I actually have a list and only buy what I need for the menu.

So no more impulse buying and deciding what to cook while food shopping, only to not cook it when I get home!

Yes, it is rigid but it is good… and Little Bee has home cooked dinner everyday. Made me wonder why I used to buy ready meals before.

Fun Linguine with Vege Frankfurters

January 20th, 2012

A few months ago, Hubby sent me a photo/link with pictures of  pieces of frankfurters pierced with spaghetti. I thought it did look interesting and as I was at that point searching for recipes for Little Bee, that went up my list, especially as Little Bee could help me and she does love doing it.

vegetarian frankfurters and linguine

There’s not really a recipe. I just used vegetarian frankfurters, cut each into 5 pieces, break a handful of linguine, break them in half and pierce about 10 sticks of linguine into a piece for frankfurter! Boil a pot of water and drop them in. Cook until the linguine is ala dante and drain and serve it with tomato sauce and cheese. Voila.

Little Bee loves this really, really simple dish!

Orange Juice Chicken – Crock Pot

January 19th, 2012

Ages ago, I bought a Crock Pot. I never really warmed to it. The first dish I tried to make was bolognese sauce and I didn’t like it. I thought the mince tasted funny.

But about a month ago when I started to get addicted to Pinterest, I found this slow cooker Crock Pot recipe. Out came the Crock Pot and I started experimenting.

And now that Little Bee has dinner instead of milk before bed, it turned out to be a great gadget indeed. Warm home cooked meal when I get home with Little Bee… what more can a working mother ask for? Instead of having the TV babysit Little Bee while I cook… or buying ready meals… or making her fish fingers rather than proper food… I actually get to spend a bit more time with her in the evenings.

I still find the beef tastes a bit weird… not bad weird as it is still tasty. The chicken tastes great! And this chicken recipe was the first I made.

Crock Pot Orange Juice Chicken

Ingredients:

3 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size
50g plain flour
1tsp ground black pepper or paprika powder
2tbsp cooking oil
1tsp balsamic vinegar
3tbsp tomato ketchup
200ml orange juice concentrated
2tbsp brown sugar

  1. In a ziplock bag (or use a dish if you don’t have it) mix the flour and black pepper or paprika powder. Toss the chicken cube into the flour mixture until well coated.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan over moderate heat and brown the chicken for a couple of minutes. The chicken does not have to cook through as it is going to go into the Crock Pot for hours! Put in the chicken in the Crock Pot.
  3. In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients and pour it over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for minimum 5 hours… or like me from 7am until 5:30pm when I get home.

Serve it with rice and it does rival any Chinese takeaway sweet and sour chicken!

Lamb Pasties

January 18th, 2012

This so very simple. Minimum ingredients if you cheat and just buy ready made shortcrust pastry like me :)

Lamb Pasties

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
300g lamb, finely sliced – bite size
1 potato, peeled and diced
300ml lamb stock
1tbsp French mustard
500g ready made shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten

  1. Preheat oven at 200C/gas mark 6.
  2. Heat the olive oil on moderate heat and add the onion and lamb. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potato, reduce heat and cook for another 2 minute until beginning to brown, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the lamb stock and add mustard. Cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potato and lamb are tender. Set aside to cool.
  4. Divide the pastry into six and shape them into balls. Roll out each ball into 15cm diameter circle, about 5mm thick. Divide the lamb mixture into six and place in the middle of the rolled out pastry. Fold and pinch the pastry to seal it.
  5. Place the pasties on a baking sheet and brush each one with beaten egg. Place the tray into the middle of the oven for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisps.

I prepared the lamb mixture the night before and and rolled out the pastry and filled in the mixture first thing in the morning. This is to save time so when I get home in the evening with Little Bee, I just glazed the pasties with egg and bang them in the oven and gave Little Bee her bath, so they were ready by the end of her bath and cooled down when she’s all dressed in her pyjamas. :)

Baked Rice Krispies Chicken Nuggets

January 16th, 2012

What do you do when you have chicken nuggets on the menu and then you discover that you don’t have any breadcrumbs?

For me, I either had a choice of going out in the cold to buy some breadcrumbs or bread to make breadcrumbs… or I could raid Little Bee’s stash of rice krispies and stay warm indoors. I chose the latter :)

baked rice krispies chicken nuggets

Ingredients:

50g plain flour
2 eggs
75g rice krispies
a handful of fresh chives
a dash of smoked powdered paprika
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

  1. Preheat oven at gas mark 6/200C.
  2. Place the flour in a ziploc bag or a dish, if you don’t have a bag. Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside. Blitz together the rice krispies, chives and paprika in a blender to make crumbs and place it in a separate dish.
  3. Toss the chicken cubes in the flour until well coated, dip them in the beaten eggs and then cover them with the rice krispies crumbs. Place them on a baking tray in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, until golden and cooked through.
  4. Serve them with a dollop of ketchup and don’t forget to buy a box of rice krispies later or the next day, to replace the ones you took ;)

15 January Masterpieces

January 15th, 2012

These were produced by Little Bee today. The theme for the day, according to Little Bee, is ‘Circle’.

first painting

First Painting - 15 January 2012

I think they look like flowers but Little Bee insists they are ‘Circles’.

second painting

Second Painting - 15 January 2012

When I asked her if this is a painting of circles, she informed me it’s a ‘Snail’.

Third Painting

Third Painting -15 January 2012

Since the second painting was a ‘Snail’, I thought Little Bee has moved to drawing animals and asked her if this is a painting of a cat… she looked at me with the ‘don’t-be-silly-mother’ look and said ‘It’s a circle!’

One day I’ll get it right.

Early Blossoms

January 6th, 2012

I don’t know about you but don’t you think January is a bit too early for the trees to be blossoming?

cherry blossoms

Winter Blossoms

Although it is feeling colder, we are still blessed with a really mild winter. Winter so mild that the natural world is getting a tad bit confused.