Thursday, 27 February 2014

Renew the Menu: Easy Meatloaf

I have a bit of a thing with mince. I really do like it but I really prefer it in things where it can be sort of disguised, do you know what I mean? I am sure this harks back to my Girl Guide days where Savoury Mince was a regular menu item at camp, I never really enjoyed my time as a Girl Guide, I should have just accepted back then that I am really a 'glamping' kind of girl so to this day when I see anything resembling savoury mince it brings back bad memories!
One of my friends from work used to make a killer meatloaf and if I was lucky he would bring in a leftover meatloaf sandwich for me the next day. This is where I was converted to eating a mince dish where it is, well, staring you straight in the face! Having a hot or cold slice of meatloaf, slathered in barbeque sauce between two pieces of toast- this is where leftovers are at! Now even though I am happy to eat meatloaf when it is cooked for me I think I have only ever made it once for myself. So last night after staring at the mince for a while I decided to give it another try.

Super quick to prepare, easier to cook than hamburgers and eaten happily by the kids- what more could I ask for? Well I could have hoped for the illusive leftovers but it seems my toddlers have developed appetites akin to teenagers and I can't seem to fill them up!
I definitely give this two thumbs up, I basically adjusted one of my hamburger recipes and I thought it turned out tasty! Definitely a great go-to recipe when you are short on time and ingredients!
No such thing as a 'good' meatloaf photo!


500g organic beef mince
2 tablespoons tomato sauce *
2 tablespoons barbeque sauce*
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 onion diced
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 carrot, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
Olive oil

*I use Fountain No Added Sugar tomato and barbeque sauce


Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

1. Dice onion and heat small frypan with 1 tablespoon olive oil
2. Fry onion till soft and translucent, set aside to cool
3. Place mince and all other ingredients in a bowl, add onion once cooled and mix together with clean hands
4. Press mixture into small loaf tin
5. Cook in oven for 25-30 minutes
6. Let cool on board for 5 minutes before cutting into slices

Friday, 21 February 2014

You got to know when to hold 'em

I didn’t know whether I should publish this post or not. I’ve read a number of really personal struggles on some of my favourite blogs recently and my problems in comparison seemed trivial. However after setting it aside for a while I decided that this blog, amongst other things, is a record of the struggles; big and small, that our family goes through and although this is not the toughest or saddest moment that has faced our little family it is still one that will leave its mark. So here it is, the story of saying goodbye to our humble holiday house.
At our holiday house backdoor
This decision seems to be one of many that has been thrown at us lately and although we workshopped a thousand different ways to keep it, in the end selling our home away from home was the most sensible decision. Unfortunately like with most ‘sensible’ decisions it is hard to convince your heart that you are doing the right thing.
It's certainly a first world problem, I know, but we've worked hard, we are not frivolous with money and this has allowed us to keep our getaway until now. The house is not luxurious, it's not overlooking white sands, or rolling hills but our simple brick house is our respite, our place to unwind and come together as a family.
Love those pudgy little legs!
We've put in a lot of time and energy into our 90's abode and of course now that it's for sale it looks the best it's been. (Isn’t that always the way?). We knew having kids might force us to make a difficult decision about the house years down the track but probably not so soon. We affectionately named the house, Rancho Relaxo, partly because husband loves The Simpsons but also because anyone who has stayed there agrees, you slow down there, chores are set aside, routines lose importance and we spend time, quality time as a family. Mornings are spent having breakfast at the local cafe, afternoons are spent at the beach or on impromptu car trips. Yes, we will miss this.
Have to hold back our water baby
My anxiety levels about this decision are at an all-time high but it's hitting husband the hardest. It was his house before we were together and he has memories of his own in the walls of this house. Having a family holiday home is a common amongst Italians, one that is often handed down through the generations, a strange concept in my Anglo-self-sufficient upbringing, but one I can certainly embrace. However our decision that our kids spend more time with us than in childcare in these early years mean that as a consequence sacrifices had to be made, yes I am whining amount something very indulgent, nonetheless it is still sad.
In the meantime we are trying to focus on the positives; less financial stress, more opportunities to explore the city and state we live in on weekends now. The most important thing to take away from this difficult decision? That you don't need a holiday house to step back from your rigid routines, to focus on the importance of spending time together, to explore and make memories together. And tomorrow when the hammer falls on the sale of our house there will be tears shed for the memories we had hoped to make as a family there but life is what you make it and we can make happy lasting memories together no matter where we may be.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Renew the Menu: Pasta Bake with Hidden Vegetables

This is one of my all-time favourite dinners. Everyone has their own favourite lasagne or pasta bake recipe and this is mine. I can make it with my eyes closed and love it because it can feed a crowd, the kids will actually eat it and there is usually leftovers which I either freeze or eat on another night to save cooking. This time though I changed it up a bit. I decided that instead of the usual béchamel sauce I would make a white sauce with cauliflower in yet another attempt to sneak in some more vegetables. It worked a treat! I was worried that the cauliflower would overpower it or that it wouldn’t taste the same but believe it or not I think it actually added to the taste of this already yummy dish!
I started cooking this pasta bake recipe years ago, the recipe is from an Annette Sym, Symply too Good to be True cookbook. I can’t recall which edition and I usually adapt it to whatever ingredients I have on hand and it still always turns out tasty. The use of condensed tomato soup as the sauce I admit is not the healthiest but if you look around you can find some that are lower in sugar and salt. It’s amazing the difference between brands! I also omit the tomato paste to lower the sugar content.
The addition of the cauliflower sauce is definitely a keeper and is actually much easier to make than a white sauce, so I highly recommend you try it next time you are making your favourite lasagne or pasta bake!

Pasta Bake with Hidden Vegetables

Serves 6

500g beef mince
1 small onion, diced
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
½ cup frozen peas
1 x 420g tin condensed tomato soup
1 x tsp of stock powder (I use vegetable but beef is good also)
400g penne pasta or similar
¾ cup tasty grated cheese
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius

1.       Brown mince in large saucepan, once browned drain excess liquid
2.       Add diced onion, grated carrot and zucchini to mince and cook for 5 minutes
3.       Add tomato soup, stock powder and peas, cook for a further 3 minutes
4.       Whilst cooking mince, cook pasta according to instructions, drain and set aside
5.       Mix pasta and mince mixture together
6.       Pour into large lasagne dish and top with cauliflower sauce and grated cheese
7.       Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top
Doesn't make for pretty photos but makes up for it in taste!

Cauliflower sauce

½ head of cauliflower
1 ½ cups milk
Herbamare or other seasoning


1.     Chop cauliflower into small pieces, steam until tender and able to be mashed (I steam mine in the microwave with a little water for approximately 8 minutes)
2.      Add milk ½ cup at a time and puree using stick blender, keep adding milk until consistency is similar to béchamel sauce, add salt or other seasoning

Renew the Menu: Warm Crunchy Chicken Salad with Sugar-Free Balsamic Dressing

Warm Crunchy Chicken Salad with Sugar-Free Balsamic Dressing. There is a café in Lygon Street, Carlton (Melbourne’s Little Italy for those not from Oz) that does a great warm chicken salad that husband just loves. Although I love the atmosphere of Lygon Street most of the restaurants and cafes that line the streets are disappointingly overrated in my opinion but if we do happen to be wandering around the area then this café’s salad pulls husband in.

Husband has asked me to replicate the salad numerous times but again since salad is not really a popular toddler meal I usually dismiss it. But this week after struggling to come up with more meal ideas I thought “Stuff it, I’ll make the chicken salad”. The basis of the salad is chicken schnitzel, which since being married to an Italian makes a regular appearance at our house. Chicken or Veal ‘Cotoletta’ is a family favourite in most Italian households and I embrace this one whole heartedly. Roast some beautiful small tomatoes in the oven, add some bacon and some green leaves and top with some balsamic dressing and parmesan shavings and you’ve got it. Simple but really moreish.

Must change tablecloth!
The only tricky part to this meal was finding a sugar-free alternative to balsamic vinegar dressing. I googled it beforehand and was surprised there wasn’t any recipes glaring back at me from the screen. So I was even more pleased when a quick experiment with three ingredients nailed it first go! The tomatoes do contain fructose and when roasted concentrate the sugar content so omit if you are strictly sugar-free.

The kids ate a deconstructed version of the salad…when I say deconstructed I mean they ate the chicken schnitzel (well at least its protein and carbs covered!). This time I decided not to beat myself up for the lack of vegetables on their plate and instead relished eating a meal without having to fight the never-ending vegetable-toddler battle during dinner time!

Warm Crunchy Chicken Salad with Sugar-Free Balsamic Dressing
Serves 4

500g free range chicken breasts
Breadcrumbs and Panko crumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Finely grated parmesan
Salad leaves (I used what I had in the fridge, baby kale, spinach and rocket)
6 baby tomatoes, quartered
Dried oregano
2 rashes bacon, diced
Shaved parmesan (omitted in photos!)
Croutons (I didn’t have any, but you can also top with homemade croutons for extra crunch)
Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius

1.       Cut each breast into quarters (slicing any larger pieces in half) and using a meat mallet pound into thin fillets
2.       Cut baby tomatoes into quarters, toss in olive oil and place on oven tray. Sprinkle with salt and dried oregano and cook for approx. 20 minutes
3.       Combine breadcrumbs, panko crumbs and parmesan on a plate. Crumb chicken by dipping in egg then coating with crumb mixture making sure to press crumbs onto fillet
4.       Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in pan, once oil comes to medium heat place chicken pieces in pan turning once golden. Fry until cooked through. (Chicken should be cooked in 2-3 batches to make sure pan isn’t overcrowded. Make sure you take pan off heat and wipe out any leftover crumbs between batches before repeating method)
5.       Once chicken is cooked, slice into thin strips
6.       Assemble plate with salad leaves, chicken and tomatoes
7.       Fry diced bacon in small frying pan. Sprinkle onto salad
8.       Top with shaved parmesan, croutons (if using) and balsamic dressing
Sugar-Free Balsamic Dressing

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon rice malt syrup
1 small garlic clove, crushed

1.       Combine ingredients in small pan, heat on low heat until rice malt syrup is dissolved
2.       Once cooled spoon onto salad

*For larger quantity simple multiply ingredients proportionately

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Renew the Menu: Sweet Kansas-Style BBQ Pork Shoulder

Don't let the title fool you there is no sugar in sight in this barbeque pork recipe but it tastes delicious! I love anything with barbeque sauce but since going sugar-free I am forced to steer clear. Barbeque pork though is so tempting, that sticky, spicy meat that just melts in your mouth, and accompanied by a good coleslaw, it can't be beaten. I have cooked Sarah Wilson's Sugar-Free Pulled Pork recipe but it wasn't exactly as I had hoped, too much paprika and not the barbeque taste I was longing for. So when I spotted this recipe and it didn't contain any sugar I had to give it a go.
This Sweet Kansas-Style Barbeque Pork Shoulder recipe is from a cookbook I read a while back called Seriously Good by Paul Vickery but I also happened to find a copy of the recipe on Huey's Kitchen website (which you can find here). The recipe calls for a 750g boned shoulder or leg of pork, even with our family of two adults and two toddlers this wouldn't be enough, I used a 1.6kg boned shoulder and this was just enough meat for the four of us. I also adjusted the spices in the rub as it appeared to be quite a lot and in the end although I really enjoyed the flavor it was a bit too spicy for the kids. We cut around the spice for them and they still ate the pork.
I have written the recipe as I cooked it below with the adjusted amount of spices etc. I also cooked mine in the oven as it was quicker. The original recipe also gives instructions for cooking on a barbeque. I made the coleslaw with the dressing from the original recipe also as the ingredients sounded appealing but wouldn't probably make it again. Next time I will try cooking the pork it in the slow cooker as the oven just ended up burning most of the marinade which I was hoping to pour over the pork once it was cooked. There was a little that was useable but not enough for my liking.
Overall the barbeque flavour was definitely there, I will try it again and see if I can tweak it to maximize the barbeque sauce and will report back!
WARNING: This recipe is simple but it takes a long time to marinade and cook, make sure you allow enough time!

Sweet Kansas-Style Barbeque Pork Shoulder

1.5kg boned shoulder or leg of pork rolled and tied
For the spice rub
1/2 tbsp Herbamare salt (instead of celery salt and sea salt)
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tbsp dried garlic powder
1/2 tbsp ground dried thyme (I used dried thyme leaves)
1/2 tbsp ground dried oregano (I used dried oregano leaves)
1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp hot chilli powder

For the marinade
250ml apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 lemon

1. Combine all ingredients for spice rub in bowl and stir well. Combine marinade ingredients in a jug.
2. Place pork in roasting tray and rub well with spice mixture leave for at least 2 hours (no more than 4).
3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and place pork in oven.
4. Every 20 minutes pour a few spoons of marinade over the meat.
5. Pork is ready to eat when skewer is inserted and juices really flow. Wrap in foil until ready to eat.
6. Serve with your favourite coleslaw recipe

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Renew the Menu: Kale Pesto

I had all great intentions of making my own gnocchi to go with this Kale Pesto but as is life with kids the afternoon got away from me and chaos ensued. So with hungry screaming kids in my ear I managed to make the kale pesto but served it with Oreccheitte ('little ear') pasta instead.
Surprise, surprise...the kids devoured it! When I served it up I asked husband what he thought my chances were of them actually eating it, his response, "Slim to none". So hoping to create some hype around the dish husband announced to the kids that the green speckled pasta was "Froggy Pasta". Now I know he likes to think this is why they gobbled it up, but I think it was a mix of hunger and luck! Either way I was thrilled that they ate it all; Master Q went through nearly 3 bowls of it!
My local supermarket was out of kale bunches when I went shopping but I spied a ready washed bag of Baby Kale and used this in the recipe instead. It was much quicker and I suspect produced a milder pesto than the full grown kale leaves would have, perfect for kids.
This pesto has some great ingredients; olive oil, walnuts and of course the popular superfood, kale. Packed with iron, folate, protein, fibre, vitamin C and anti-oxidants, makes you feel less guilty for serving it with white pasta!
Speaking of pasta Oreccheitte was a great choice for this recipe, holding the pesto well and making it easy for the kids to eat with a fork (but mostly with their hands!), other pastas such as elbow pasta or farfalle would work well too.
My Kale Pesto recipe is adapted from a recent cookbook read, Fifty Shades of Kale. Who knows whether I can repeat this miracle and get them to eat it again, but I will definitely be giving it a go, it was a hit all round!
Kale Pesto
(Makes enough to serve 6)
  • 2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed (or I used about half a 170g bag of washed baby kale leaves)
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
1. Pack kale leaves, basil leaves and salt in food processor, combine until finely chopped.
2. With processor on, drizzle in olive oil
3. Add walnuts, garlic and process again, making sure to scrape down sides
4. Add parmesan and pulse to combine
5. Add lemon juice, pulse to combine, adjust seasoning to taste
6. Cook pasta according to instructions, mix in pesto and serve

Linking up again with Little Wolff's Meatless Monday Recipes!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Mop like no one's watching...

If I had to choose two chores that I would farm out, it would be cleaning the floors and ironing. Ironing is taken care of, I just don’t do it. If it doesn’t straighten out enough whilst folding it then we don’t wear it. (Much to my Mum’s disapproval!). When husband and I first lived together I tasked him with the floors (“Oh, my back!” I protested). He’d huff and puff about having to do them and by the time he was finished he was putting out more heat than the vacuum. I dubbed him ‘The Angry Vacuumer’(creative genius that I am!) because although he listened to his MP3 player whilst cleaning he used this alone time to reflect on the things that angered him (which are many) and so by the time he finished he was ready to explode.
Fast forward a few years and I have taken over the floor cleaning duties (‘Wife of the Year’, did I hear you say?). Never excited by the prospect of having to do the floors but at the same time motivated by having sticky pieces of food constantly attached to the bottom of my feet I begrudgingly lug out the vacuum cleaner and begin the dreaded chore. With the two toddlers running around it is virtually impossible to get the whole house done in one go, so the vacuum cleaner often sits in the hallway for a week waiting for a window of time to open up to get the rest of the house cleaned. Just another thing to add to my long list of bug bears!  
This is what I'd rather be doing!
So today whilst my Mother-in-law was at our house I took the opportunity to get the whole house cleaned in one go. I was actually looking forward to cleaning the floors, secretly relishing the chance to have an hour (or 2!) to myself. Sad, I know! I took a leaf out of husband’s book and thought I would listen to my iPod. Bouncing around the house to my carefully selected playlist (see below for my choice of tunes), I was transported to a dark nightclub circa 1999. The solitude and the music whisking me away, causing me to reminisce, dream of the future and feel thankful for what I have. Yep all this from an hour of music.
 When most of my regular playlist these days involve “Rock-a-bye your bear”, or “Daddy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow” on repeat I had forgotten the pleasure I used to derive from singing out loud or dancing around the house to my favourite songs. You do have to prepare yourself for some funny looks from your children “What you doing Mummy?” Miss M asked with a curious smile on her face. But it was a reminder that sometimes it only takes a little time out, a little escape to recharge your batteries and to remind ourselves that we have so much to be grateful for. To look at doing these chores as part of looking after our family, not as the bane of our existence (ok, it might take more than an hour away to get to that point!).

So next time you are facing an unpleasant chore (is there any other kind?) load up your Cleaning Playlist and mop like no one’s watching- I highly recommend it!

My Mopping Madness Playlist

Something I need – One Republic (To pump you up)

Dog days are over- Florence + the Machine (To sing to)
Rumour Has It/Someone Like You- Glee Cast version (To dance around to- Glee like)
Somebody that I used to know- Gotye (To feel cool)
You’re the Voice- John Farnham (To take you back to the 80’s)
Who Knew – P!nk (Just cause)
Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen (It’s so peppy)
Don’t stop till you get enough – Michael Jackson (Because it reminds me of Seinfeld!)
Throw Your Arms Around Me- Hunters & Collectors (To reminisce!)
What would be on your cleaning playlist?

Friday, 7 February 2014

Renew the Menu: Moroccan Chicken with Israeli Couscous salad

Whilst waiting at the supermarket deli this week my eyes were drawn to a pearl couscous salad. I’m not a huge fan of normal couscous but the roe like balls of the Israeli couscous, as it’s also known, looked very appealing.
Israeli (Pearl) couscous is actually made of wheat so not an option for those with wheat intolerances but makes a nice change to rice or other pastas.
As always the best quality salad ingredients really take a salad from ok to amazing. I was lucky enough to get a bag of lovely home-grown baby tomatoes and some home-grown garlic just before I made this which I think just made this salad taste even better!

There is no time pressures here as it can be served warm or cold, any leftovers would make a great lunch the next day (if there is any!). Our family (of 2 adults and 2 toddlers) ate all of the salad with a few pieces of chicken leftover so change the chicken or couscous quantities to suit.

Moroccan Chicken with Israeli couscous salad


  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp rice malt syrup (or honey)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • Sprinkle of chilli powder  
  • 500g free range chicken breasts cut into tenderloin size pieces

Israeli Couscous Salad

  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 2 cups hot chicken stock
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds (or pine nuts), toasted
  • 3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ cup currants

1. Mix marinade ingredients together and massage into chicken pieces. Set aside.

2. In a medium-sized saucepan, fry the onion in a little olive oil until soft. Add the couscous and stir to coat. Fry for two minutes before adding hot stock.

3. Simmer for 10 -12 minutes, stirring occasionally until al dente.

3. While the couscous is cooking, heat a large, heavy-based frying pan and cook chicken pieces.

4. Once cooked, remove couscous from heat and transfer to a bowl. Refridgerate couscous for as long as it takes to cook the chicken and cut into slices.
5. Remove from fridge (the couscous doesn’t have to be cold but I think tastes better when it’s warm not hot) and mix through nuts, parsley, lemon juice, currants and cherry tomatoes. Season to taste.
6. Lay a bed of couscous and add sliced chicken pieces. Voila!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Renew the Menu: Fish Flatbread with Tartare Sauce

Fish wraps. This one was inspired by a recent episode of My Kitchen Rules- yes I admit it I love this show! I avoided watching it for the first few seasons but one weekend whilst heavily pregnant with Miss M I got sucked in. Since then I look forward to its return to our screens, the drama and yes, the cooking. The Calamari wraps the Victorian Twins cooked last week looked so appealing husband and I were almost salivating on the TV screen, so this sparked this Renew the Menu meal: Fish Flatbreads with Tartare Sauce.
Any firm-ish fish would work well here, 500 grams was just enough for 2 adults and two hungry toddlers so adjust the amount of fish to suit your hungry hoard. I have been making this flatbread recipe for quite a while, normally we eat it with polpette (Italian meatballs) but thought it would work well here too. The tartare sauce is quite runny compared to the traditional one but is much better for you as I make it with yoghurt. This meal is easy, the only bit that takes a bit of coordination is cooking the flatbreads whilst cooking the fish. You could easily make the flatbreads first then cook the fish but I think the bread tastes best whilst still warm.

Fish Flatbread with Tartare sauce


Approx 500g firm fish fillets
Plain flour for coating
Sea salt and pepper
Olive oil for frying

(Makes approx. 8 flatbreads)

1 cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal plain flour
½ tbsp dry yeast
½ cup warm water
½ tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vinegar
Extra warm water

1.       Mix yeast and warm water in bowl. Add salt, vinegar and olive oil. Let stand for 5 minutes
2.       Add ½ cup plain flour, ½ cup wholemeal flour and mix, adding water to dough. Stir together.
3.       Add remaining flours and begin kneading, adding water slowly until soft dough forms.
4.    Continue to knead until soft dough ball forms.
5.       Place in clean bowl and cover with tea towel, let stand for 30 mins.

Tartare Sauce

½ cup plain yoghurt
2-3 sweet gherkins, chopped
1 tsp capers
½  tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp dill, chopped

1.       Add all ingredients except dill to small food processor and blitz until combined
2.       Add finely chopped dill and stir

(Note: If you would prefer a thicker sauce you can add some Cos or Gem lettuce leaves and blend in processor)

Method continued...
Once dough has risen, carry out the following
1.       Cut dough into golf ball size pieces and roll out into pancake size flatbreads
2.       Heat olive oil on medium heat and cook each flatbread for approx. minutes each side
3.       Cut fish fillets into bite sized pieces
4.       Place approx. 1/4 cup plain flour and salt and pepper in plastic bag
5.       Add fish and shake till pieces are covered
6.       Heat oil in separate pan and cook fish pieces until golden and cooked through (will only take a few minutes each side)
7.       Assemble wraps with some salad, fish, and a generous drizzle of tartare sauce

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Renew the Menu: Garlic Chilli Prawn Pasta

Tonight’s dinner, Garlic Chilli Prawn Pasta, was a birthday request from husband. He asks for this dish often and I don’t know why I avoid it, maybe because it’s not really kid-friendly so the thought of having to make two meals is not appealing. But since we were on holidays and it was his birthday I thought I would relent. (Such a nice wife aren’t I?!) It is really quick and easy, the longest part being the peeling of the prawns. Of course aesthetically prawns look better with the tails on but to be honest I can’t stand having to pull the tails off whilst attempting to eat pasta, who can be bothered? If you can find some quality local prawns already peeled this would expedite the process even more.
I would recommend cooking this after the kids have gone to sleep so you can actually enjoy it rather than scoffing it down amongst yelling and the throwing of food. Even amidst tantrums and the constant barrage of “More yum-yum!” and “I want to watch Bolt!” we still managed to enjoy it!
I can’t claim ownership of this recipe I found it on but I have included it below for you anyway.
I made a sugar-free brownie for his birthday cake since I didn’t have any cooking appliances to rely on at the holiday house and even though I did have one failed attempt at icing the back up sugar-free chocolate ganache worked a treat! I will post this recipe on the blog soon!

Garlic Chilli Prawn Pasta


  • 200g dried angel hair pasta (I used spaghettini instead)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (I only used ¼ tsp for two people, adjust to your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 400g peeled, tails intact, medium green prawns
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to serve


  1. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water following packet directions until tender. Drain. Cover to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, chilli and salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add prawns. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until prawns turn pink and are almost cooked through.
  3. Add pasta, lemon juice and parsley to pan. Cook, tossing, for 1 minute or until combined and prawns are cooked through. Serve drizzled with oil.

(Recipe from