Friday, 30 April 2010

Recipe of the week: Cherry Chicken

I'm glad I waited to post this recipe as it was better the second time we ate it (maybe the chicken marinates while it defrosts?) The cherry chicken was served over a bed of lettuce leaves, red grapes, sunflower seeds and blue cheese crumbles. A cherry vinaigrette was poured over the top and boy was it good! Not as quick to cook as some of the other recipes and it is unlikely that I will always have lettuce, grapes and blue cheese on hand at any moment, the recipe is still a keeper. I defrosted a double portion yesterday and took some over to the neighbours to meet baby Emma.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Making Mozzarella

Andrew and Lucy made mozzarella from scratch. We purchased a cheese making kit from Ricki the queen of cheesemaking and we also purchased local milk that was not ultra-pasteurised. After lots of temperature measuring, straining and kneading we had mozzarella. It was excellent, creamier than usual.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Andrew's Birthday

Andrew had a fun birthday yesterday. We made him a chocolate feather bed cake from my new cake cookbook. It was flourless so it was mostly eggs and chocolate - good for diabetics. Well not good but better. He got some cool presents like a instant cream whipper, a calzone mould, and a couple of board games. We cooked bacon for breakfast (after Lucy's excellent dentist visit) then lamb cutlets for lunch and then we took him to the Brasserie for a steak dinner.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Preschool Aquarium visit

On Friday we headed south to Fort Fisher to visit the aquarium. Lucy's preschool had a field trip there so we only paid a $2 entry fee. Lucy loved watching the divers in the tank, seeing the seahorses up close and then having a snack with her friends at the end. Unfortunately the alligators exhibit was closed. No matter, everyone had fun and both Henry and Lucy slept during the hour long drive back home.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Double Date

Saturday night saw us head downtown for a night out with Alexis & Tim. We ate dinner at Yosake, the pork spring rolls were excellent and then we headed across Front St to the Level 5 theatre. We saw a local production of 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' in musical form! Despite some crude moments it was pretty funny and we were pleasantly surprised at how good the local actors turned out to be. We came out of the theatre after 10:30pm and it felt strange to be out at such an hour - I guess we're getting old!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Recipe of the week: Mozzarella Meatballs

For my birthday Amy and Alexis gave me an AMazon voucher. I thought long and hard about what to get - I wanted to get something special, not just everyday stuff. I checked my reading list and discovered four cookbooks that I'd noted from last year's best seller list. So I ordered the four of them.

I launched into Fix, Freeze, Feast. It is exactly my sort of cookbook arranged by meat type. All recipes are based on warehouse shopping (Costco, Sam's Club) and produce 4-6 dinners for 4 people. They have an awesome system for freezing and then cooking later. There are no pictures in this cookbook (something that I usually require) but even without this I still think this could become one of my favourite cookbooks.

I decided to start testing the recipes. I mean the concept seems fantastic but does the food taste any good?

I made the mozzarella meatballs (all 100 of them), froze 80 of them in their bbq-type sauce and then cooked the remaining 20 for dinner in the still-warm pizza oven.

I presented them on beds of rice to the family. After eying the meatballs with suspicion Lucy shouted yum after the mouthful. It was then a unanimous vote that this recipe was a keeper. And the best news is that there are 4 more ready made dinners in the freezer beautifully labeled and just ready to be eaten.

I'm cooking the cherry chicken tomorrow. I'll update you next week.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Andrew's Pizza

Andrew's Pizza is open for business and it has been doing a brisk business ever since. At Henry's baptism Andrew cooked 100 pizzas over 3 hours. On the weekend just gone we hosted the women's ministry meeting for 25 ladies from church and on Monday night we had Jenny & Joe over for pizza.

We learnt two cool pizza related things:
  1. It is more fun and very time liberating to get people to roll their own pizza base. Not only does it slow down the flow of pizzas to the oven to prevent a backlog it also saves the prep work of getting the bases ready beforehand.
  2. The best dessert pizza EVER is nutella, strawberries and mini marshmallows. It is so good that we made two of them and there are no photos. It was just too good not to eat it straightaway without waiting for a camera.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


The weekend also saw us at church for a 'swaption' - an auction of gently used goods donated from people's homes. After the hot dog roast, the bidding got underway. (Yes I realise I just wrote hot dog roast without sniggering but at least I didn't write realize)

Lucy received her own placard for bidding and since she didn't have a spending limit she won a number of items.

We went home with: a kids double camping chair (see yesterday's blog), two kids beach chairs, some soft toy puppies, some bangles, a Peter Rabbit Wedgewood set, a turtle bath mat and a boy's ride-on trike.

In turn we put forward one item: a pizza party for 10 people for Saturday lunch. We look forward to hosting Dan & Jeaneen + friends (there were many volunteers to accompany them)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


It's been busy around here. One of the activities that kept us busy was that we camped out in the backyard. We put up the tent, cooked lamb on the bbq and lit a campfire. The fire was the highlight! We used our new kids double camping chair and roasted marshmallows for smores. We also made some W-S hot chocolate in a billy (well some American version of a billy) Lucy also enjoyed her glo-stick bracelet.

In the photo you can see Henry's little head on the left and at the back left is our 2009 Christmas tree that we were burning.

The kids went to bed in the tent and spent the first hour laughing at each other. Eventually they went to sleep. We crawled in later and we all slept surprisingly well, even through some light rain. It was pretty chilly when we woke up so we decided to cook our bacon and eggs inside.

The tent was left up until Monday morning when I heard the sound of a lawnmower. So I had to rush out and pull the tent down so that Charles could mow the lawn. Now it's Tuesday night and the tent remains in a crumpled heap on the deck awaiting to be put away.

Now we've passed the backyard test, we're ready to head out into the wild! Well maybe just into the woods, in a campground, with car access, and hot showers...

Friday, 16 April 2010

Henry's baptism

It is hard to put Henry's baptism into words. It was a truly awesome day, more 'magical' than Disney could ever manufacture. It was a mad rush to get everything ready after church but by 3:30pm with lots of family helpers everything was ready - tent set up, chairs arranged, pizza oven hot, over 30 ingredients chopped, beers chilling, bases rolled, family dressed. Here's the run down:
  • It was a beautiful day. Clear blue skies and 75 degrees, a slight breeze
  • Our very good friends participated in the service. Pastor Steve performed the baptism, Pastor Mel gave a talk and Jenny sang 'My Redeemer lives'
  • 80 of our American friends participated in person, 4 overseas family members in person and 2 Sydney friends via Skype at 6am
  • Henry had a 2.5 hour afternoon nap (unheard of!) and woke up very mellow. During his baptism he just looked around fairly blankly and really didn't mind what was going on. He was transfixed with Jenny's singing
  • We forgot Henry's suit at the dry cleaners. Jenny brought over a pale blue sear-sucker suit that fitted in perfectly with everyone else's outfits
  • We hired some youth group kids to help out, specifically with making bases and serving drinks. Turns out we have a number of friends that like rolling bases. Kudos to Jenny's parents John & Terry - they are going to be invited to all parties going forward.
  • Andrew rigged up a very high tech sound and lighting system
  • Our neighbours Jim and Kim couldn't attend the baptism. At 7pm with lots of ingredients left I went over to invite them for a pizza. Turns out they were in the midst of an internet search for a pizza place open on Easter Sunday. I told them just to head over to Andrew's Pizza!
Enjoy the video

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Board Games 18: Cosmic Cows

With Andrew's birthday, Lucy's birthday and Father's day coming up there will be a number of new board games arriving in our house (well they have already arrived but they are well wrapped). Thus it is a good thing that Cosmic Cows is the last of the board games in the current batch to be reviewed. It is a similar game to yahtzee with certain combinations moving plastic cows back and forth. The aim is to attract 3 cows to your side of the board. It is more of a child's game than for adults but Lucy is not quite old enough to grasp the concepts. We'll keep it on the shelf for her as it is pretty fun and a cool concept.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Circus Fun

One of the fun things we did last week was go to the circus. I have to say bluntly that it was more freak show than Cirque du Soleil. There was a lady that could stand on one finger, tigers jumping like kangaroos and elephants sitting on stools. That being said the last act was one that really captured Lucy's attention. It was called the Sphere of Danger! In a circular metal cage, 3 motorcycles rode around and around. It was a little scary!

The circus obviously makes their money from all the add-ons. Pony rides were $5, elephant rides $8, popcorn $5, flashing swords $12. We could have spent alot of money!

Lucy got her face painted like a tiger which was rather fun and she did have a pony ride (to prove to me that she really does want a pony party for her birthday).

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Recipe of the week: Black Forest items

Over the past few weeks we've tried two black forest themed desserts. The first was a black forest trifle, and the second was a black forest pizza. Both were excellent. We particularly liked the pizza. A thin layer of chocolate cake was cooked on top of the pizza base, decorated with halved cherries. After cooking we then drizzled cherry syrup over the top and threw on chunks of dark chocolate. Whipped cream would have made it all perfect, but there's always next time!

Monday, 12 April 2010

It's Spring!

After a long cold winter the seasons have turned and it is finally spring. Leaves are unfurling on our deciduous trees, hostas are popping up from the earth and the azaleas are blooming.

I have two favourite moments in spring: the blooming of the ornamental pear trees that then shed their confetti like petals and the blooming of the dianthus. The pear trees cast their spell over the week of Henry's baptism whilst the dianthus have shot up their flower stems. I am eagerly awaiting the first sight of colour and the smell that tells me that spring has sprung. (In contrast whilst the pear trees look pretty they smell terrible!)

We are looking forward to a season of quiet renewal. We've been busy doing family things, extended family things. Auntie Kat, Uncle Michael, Nanna and Grandpa have come and gone. It's been a fantastical ride especially for Lucy where each new day brought fun activities, presents and plenty of attention.

Andrew and I are both tired. The baptism was a big event, the majority of which was co-ordinated and delivered by the two of us. Our season of quiet will be short but hopefully sweet starting out this weekend with some weekend camping in the backyard.

I'll post a video of Henry's baptism soon

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Friday, 2 April 2010

Good Friday

It is Good Friday and we are in for a long weekend. We are preparing for Henry's baptism on Sunday so we are busy getting things ready for the big pizza party.

To finish off the week, here's a picture of the completed pizza oven - looks good doesn't it!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Board Games 17: Snow Tails

This is a neat game. It's a race between dog sleds to the finish line through hairpin turns and obstacles. We've had lots of fun playing this and look forward to playing some of the more advanced tracks as our skills improve. This will be a fun family game to play with Lucy and Henry.