Australia Day 2017

You might recall that last year we indulged in a full tasting menu for Australia Day. Yes, 8 courses that took us on a culinary tour around the Country – celebrating fresh, local and seasonal produce.

And while this year was much more ‘low key’, we still filled the day with family and food, and a favourite pastime – a morning hike!

Needless to say after the morning’s outdoor adventures, we were quite hungry when the afternoon rolled around. Our family joined us for an early dinner – and with the temperature exceeding 30 degrees outside, a BBQ seemed to be the most logical, if not sanest, choice.

On the menu?

Some homemade sausages by our local butcher. Served with a few “Aussie-themed” sides.

Starting with a mango macadamia salad – comprising of salad leaves, fresh mango, avocado and macadamias. Dressed simply with a mixture of lime juice, seeded mustard, oil and sliced red chilli.

I also turned on the oven for 20 minutes or so, in order to make another iconic Australian side…damper! Flavoured with camembert and cracked pepper (and these turned out very moreish indeed).

For dessert we kept things pretty simple. Instead of a large pavlova, I went with mini versions instead. Topped with cream, lemon curd and a fresh raspberry.


And to keep us hydrated, we served a fresh fruit cocktail.

Akin to a punch – I guess you’d say – made with vodka, coconut rum, cooled tea, pineapple juice and ginger ale – finished with some frozen honeydew balls, mint and raspberry.

And so another Australia Day came to pass  – and we retired to bed with full bellies and fond memories of the day.

What about you? What did you get up to this Australia Day?

Herbed Yoghurt Potato Salad

img_0521As the warmer weather approaches, so does our tendency to put “BBQs” on the menu for dinner. Mr BBB is usually in charge of the meat, while I take care of the sides – the ‘regulars’ being a green salad or oven baked potatoes.

But recently I went for another potato option…potato salad!

img_0515

An Aussie favourite – that is usually loaded with mayonnaise and bacon. But on this occasion, I created a ‘lighter’ version. Still packed with flavour, yes, however in place of mayonnaise I went with natural yoghurt – and left out the bacon all together. Instead, the salad was given a flavour kick with lots of fresh herbs and another one of my favourite – dill pickles!

It didn’t take too long to prepare, and was far from difficult. With the added bonus  that I could make it in the morning and let the flavours develop throughout the day.

img_0517A nice take on an old classic indeed!

Herbed Yoghurt Potato Salad

  • 1.5kg potatoes (desiree or something similar) I left the skins on, but you could peel them if you prefer.
  • 3/4 cup natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbs whole egg mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 100g dill pickles, chopped
  • 3 green shallots, sliced thinly
  • Handful chopped herbs (I used dill and mint, but parsley would work nicely too)
  1. Boil the potatoes until tender, then set aside to cool slightly. Dice.
  2. Combine the yoghurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard, and season to taste.
  3. Add the dressing to the potatoes (while they are still slightly warm), along with the remaining ingredients. Stir gently until combined.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge until required.

Spicy Thai Beef Salad

IMG_5321 “Hello December.  Where did you sneak up from?” Anyone else feeling as if 2015 has been a bit of a time-warp!? But the weather is warm and we are officially in ‘count-down’ mode to a little break over Christmas, so we really can’t complain! And salads are well and truly back on the menu. On this occasion, it was a Spicy Thai Beef Salad. Dressed with all the usual ingredients you might find in such a salad – lime juice, sugar, garlic, chilli and coriander. IMG_5303IMG_5313 Drizzled over lettuce, carrot, onion, tomato and avocado. Oh and some beautiful fillet steak , of course, that had been cooked on the BBQ. IMG_5318 Yes, friends, Summer in this (non-air conditioned) house is all about keeping the oven off and the BBQ on! IMG_5320 What about you? Do you like to cook outdoors when the warmer weather arrives?

Burgers & BBQs

I mentioned it yesterday, but part of our long weekend was taken up with an afternoon BBQ. IMG_6843 For Mr BBB’s birthday just happened to fall on a public holiday, and perfect Summer weather was forecast. IMG_6835 So we couldn’t resist having some family and friends around to enjoy a few drinks, some delicious food, and a relaxing afternoon in the Sun. IMG_6845 Rather than a traditional BBQ, we decided to hold a little “build your own burger” party. I made some homemade patties (ground topside, onion, dijon mustard, garlic powder and S&P), and while Mr BBB got to grilling – I set out the rest of the ingredients – a selection of rolls, grilled onion, bacon, cheeses, salads, beetroot, pineapple, tomato, lettuce and pickles. IMG_6877 We also had a range of salads – potato salad, mango and avocado – and a lovely little tahini coleslaw that I pulled together (recipe to come). IMG_6817 And let’s not forget the all-important condiments! IMG_6867 I must have been so busy eating, that I didn’t even get a picture of my burger creation – although Charlotte certainly wolfed hers down with gusto! IMG_6880 As for dessert – I cheated and bought a sachertorte from our local patisserie (unpictured) – but decided last minute to make a lighter option too. And nothing says Summer better than a big bowl of fruit salad! IMG_6822 Layered and dressed simply with some lime zest, juice and a drizzle of honey. IMG_6829 Overall, we had a lovely time with our nearest and dearest, and spent the afternoon (and evening!)enjoying this beautiful season that is Summer. Boy how I am not looking forward to Winter! What about you? How did you spend this recent long weekend? PS – Entries close soon for my recent giveaway! Don’t forget to enter here. NEW YEAR _ NEW YOU GIVEAWAY! (2)

Mango salsa

IMG_6426 I realise it has been a little quiet on the ‘food’ aspect of this blog  for a while now, but rest assured that the BBB kitchen has been in full swing this Summer. Lots of salads, BBQs and fresh ingredients – and lots of meals spent with friends and family. Recently, we hosted a “Pre” New Years Eve dinner with some dear friends, where my aim was to keep the cooking outside given the temperature forecast of 34C. I marinated some pork tenderloin in a “jerk” marinade, and Mr BBB was tasked with basted and BBQing it throughout the afternoon. IMG_6433 And, as for me, well all I had to do was put together the accompaniments. High on the list…..mango salsa! IMG_6423 Simply, diced mango, red onion, chilli, capsicum, spring onions, mint and lime zest / juice. Thrown together, given a good stir, with the flavours allowed to develop over an hour or so. IMG_6424 Aside from looking rather colourful and vibrant – the flavour was spot on (and had even a mango-hating friend going back for seconds…) IMG_6428 Served on the sliced pork, with a simple rocket salad and some basmati rice that I had mixed with black beans, lime juice and a little butter. IMG_6436 And our Summer dinner was complete (with not an oven in sight!) Mango salsa

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup shredded mint leaves
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and set aside in the fridge for an hour for the flavour to develop. What about you? Cooked anything fun on the BBQ lately?

Harissa lamb and quinoa

IMG_3239 Warmer weather = BBQs in the BBB household, and we have wasted no time this Spring in doing just that. While I prepare the ‘sides’, it is not unusual for me to send Mr BBB outside laden with some sort of protein to grill on the BBQ. And this occasion was no different. Inspired  by a recipe found in a Real Living magazine issue. During the course of the afternoon, I marinated some lamb rump steaks in a mixture of harissa paste, olive oil and garlic. IMG_3226 And put together a rather tasty minted yoghurt – using natural yoghurt, fresh mint and honey. IMG_3228IMG_3230 I also created a quinoa salad (in place of the suggested couscous) using some other tasty ingredients… IMG_3231 Spring onions, more fresh mint and shelled pistachios. IMG_3232 Combined with a few cups of cooked quinoa. IMG_3236 Easy! IMG_3237 Then when the little Miss retired for the evening, I sent Mr BBB outside to grill the lamb, and plated up the remainder. IMG_3238 Quinoa, sliced lamb, drizzled with some of the yummy minted yoghurt. IMG_3240 This was one tasty dish – and despite the earlier preparations, relatively fuss free. IMG_3241 Between the spiciness of the lamb, and the sweetness of the minty yoghurt, I had one happy tum. IMG_3243 This dish will certainly be making more appearances over the Summer. What about you? Do you have a favourite way to prepare lamb?

Cakes and BBQs

(Edit: Yesterday was a super long day – so much so that I forgot to hit “publish” on this post last night!!! ) Training: Swim / Run I had another swim / run combo on the cards today, fitting in a 2km swim before work, and a 6km run at  lunchtime. I was actually a little surprised when I saw that my training program ‘only’ called for a 6km run, but hey – I was not complaining. After the longer runs I have been doing lately, it was actually kinda nice to hit the pavement for 36 minutes, and have plenty of time remaining in my lunch break to shower and have lunch without being too rushed. The rest of my day, however, was quite busy! We are heading to the coast for Mr BBB’s niece’s wedding this weekend (boy that came around fast…), and tonight we were invited to his sister’s place for a pre-wedding BBQ. But not before I got the first batch of GF cakes in the oven (which will be made into cupcakes and iced on Saturday). IMG_1264 And not before I made a couple salads to take along to the BBQ. Starting with a brown rice and chickpea salad with tamari dressing. IMG_1255 Followed by a good ol’ coleslaw – healthified of course. IMG_1258 Instead of mayonnaise, I made the dressing with greek yoghurt, dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and dill. IMG_1260 We had a wonderful time at the BBQ. IMG_1267 - Copy  The weather was perfect, IMG_1284 - Copy The wine was flowing, IMG_1287 The food was tasty, IMG_1297 IMG_1293 IMG_1294 And the celebrations continued well into the evening. IMG_1291 Which would have been no problem except that I had to come home and…. You guessed it…. IMG_1261 More cake baking! IMG_1262   And let me just say, as soon as the last cake was done, I crawled into bed and (probably with the help of the few glasses of wine I had at the BBQ) I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow. It was great to catch up with some old friends this evening, and meet some new friends from as far away as Perth, New Zealand and America!! I have a suspicion that there will be many laughs and good times over the wedding weekend. Happy Baking 🙂