Easter 2016

IMG_4327I feel as if Easter snuck up on us this year, even though the chocolate eggs have been on the  shelves since early January…

But despite the surprise arrival of the 4-day weekend – we managed to fill the time quite easily. Actually, in all honesty, it was rather nice to not have a lot planned. Rather, the lack of  firm plans meant we could lounge in our PJs while deciding what to do, and head off for little adventures when motivation arrived.

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Good Friday was, as normal, spent with Mr BBB’s family – indulging in all things seafood! A relaxed afternoon grazing on various dishes – including prawns,  tuna and salmon sashimi, calamari and more prawns. Washed down with some fruit-filled wine and entertained with a game of Pictionary.

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Our contribution this year was a rather impressive side of ocean trout – that we picked up from the local fish shop. Cooked by Mr BBB on the BBQ then dressed with a garlic, parsley and chilli dressing.

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We followed this recipe – and the fish turned out beautifully (although we did reduce the cooking time a little to save it from being overcooked).

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And as for the rest of the weekend?  We pottered around – crossing a few things off our “to-do” list along the way.  We coloured, we went on an Easter egg hunt, we played and we organised. We got some exercise in too with a bike ride one day, and a family mountain climb the next!

Oh and did I mention that thanks  to family and the Easter Bunny –  our chocolate supplies have gone from ‘modest’ to ‘plentiful’?!

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Overall – it was a rather lovely weekend – with a nice balance of ‘activity’  and ‘downtime’.  Here’s to another short week too!

What about you? What did you get up to this Easter weekend?

Good Friday 2014

Happy (Easter) Monday lovely people! I feel as if I have so much to share with you coming out of this last weekend. We weren’t organised enough in advance to head away – but managed a weekend at home that was a nice balance of productivity and play instead. But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Good Friday. A day that traditionally brings Mr BBB’s family together – for an annual seafood brunch. That runs into lunch. And sees us return home generally in the early hours of the evening ruing the fact that we did not wear our stretchy pants. IMG_8774 For food and good company are never in short supply – and this year was no different. So much deliciousness  and so many laughs with my Canberra family – as we munched and tasted our way through the day. easter There were the yearly favourites – including my mother in law’s calamari and garlic prawns.. IMG_8778IMG_8781 And my father in law’s oysters Kilpatrick.   IMG_8785 IMG_8800IMG_8801 But this year we had a few new dishes as well. My niece and her husband made a big batch of prawn dumplings – that were delicious (and my favourite of the day!). IMG_8772 While Mr BBB and I created a batch of little crab cakes – served with mango chutney, coriander and cucumber. IMG_8802 (I did the preparation, and left the cooking to the expert Winking smile ) IMG_8808 And then there was dessert. IMG_8765 Or should I say – desserts. For why have one dessert when you can have three!!!! IMG_8878 A delightful trio of lemon meringue pie, nutella brownies – and my favourite – carrot cupcakes. As always, however, the day was not just about the food. It was lovely to just sit, and chat, and catch up each other’s happenings. A much needed moment for everyone to breathe, and relax. And there was certainly one little girl who loved having her family all in one room – and the endless supply of cuddles and ‘play’ buddies! IMG_8869 IMG_8852 She wolfed down the prawns, a discovered the chocolate eggs pretty quickly – and generally just had a ball! IMG_8843 Although I was constantly fighting feelings of sentimentality when I realised that two years ago she was this little sleeping bunny… IMG_5908 And one year ago she was this little crawler… IMG_9404 Where did the time go?! Parental sentimentality aside – I truly hope you all have had a magical and restful Easter break. IMG_8839 From my little family to yours. What about you? Do you have any family traditions over Easter?

Good Friday 2013

IMG_9366 It seems like weeks ago now (a whirlwind weekend trip to Melbourne will do that to you), but we had the most lovely Good Friday. IMG_9482 And, as is tradition, it was filled with all things seafood, family and a sweet treat to finish. Much like in previous years…

Although, last year’s sleepy Easter bunny… IMG_5908 was this year a crawling, eating toddler instead! IMG_9392 *sigh* where did the last year go?! As always, our Good Friday lunch was more of a ‘progressive meal’, with seafood being prepared and cooked for most of the day. We ate scallops, prawns, oysters, calamari, smoked trout, and the kitchen was generally alive with energy and aromas, as the various ‘chefs’ put together their seafood dishes. IMG_9467IMG_9471IMG_9541IMG_9474IMG_9478IMG_9542IMG_9564IMG_9529IMG_9509 Our contribution this year? A big bowl of tiger prawns with not  one, not two, but three dipping sauces. IMG_9372 Garlic aioli, mango and a sweet chilli. IMG_9374 But no good lunch would be complete without a sweet treat to finish, and I used the opportunity to work on my pastry making skills. On the menu this year… IMG_9363 A baked rhubarb and vanilla custard tart……and a little batch of rosewater meringues (as I attempted to use up the egg whites we had leftover after making the yolk-heavy vanilla custard). IMG_9377 The day was spent chatting and eating, and laughing at the antics of little Miss C as she danced with her bunny, discovered chocolate and generally got up to mischief. IMG_9404IMG_9443IMG_9454IMG_9560IMG_9464 Oh and discovered that although she is not a fan of chocolate, she is a fan of scallops (expensive tastes that one!) IMG_9571 But most of all, it was a perfect day to sit back, relax, and enjoy the company of our family after what has been a rather hectic few months. IMG_9525 Finished by unbuttoning our pants, and falling into seafood induced comas by the end of the day! IMG_9536 Just bliss! What about you? What did you get up to this Easter?

Salt and pepper calamari

In keeping with our aim to include more seafood in our diet, I picked up some calamari a little while ago. IMG_0611 And with the help our cheap yet effective deep fryer, we soon had ourselves quite the tasty cafe-esque meal. Salt and pepper calamari – served with a roasted pumpkin and spinach salad. IMG_0619 And yes – that is a good dollop of tomato sauce on the side. For this gal loves her tomato sauce! To make the calamari – we simply sliced it into rings – and dusted them in rice flour, cracked pepper and salt. The result? IMG_0610 Calamari rings that were wonderfully crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside. IMG_0620 The salad was a bit of a mish-mash of whatever we had in the fridge. IMG_0617 Pumpkin peeled, cubed and roasted for 40 minutes or so. Spinach leaves, mushrooms and pepitas. IMG_0616 Oh and sauce. Don’t forget the sauce. What about you? Do you like to cook calamari?

Salmon en papillote

IMG_6813 Mr BBB and I have consciously been trying to include more fish in our diets. You know – because of the protein, omega 3s….and all that jazz. And not to mention that it just tastes good! The fact we live in a landlocked state, however, means that I am pretty cautious when it comes to buying seafood. I tend to only really buy it from the fish market (even though I know their seafood is shipped / collected from interstate too) rather than from the big 2 supermarkets. So when we happened to be in the area of the markets this week, we stopped in and bought two gorgeous fillets of salmon for our eating pleasure. IMG_6801 And why not try a new cooking technique while we were at it. In this instance – Salmon “En papillote” – or “in paper / parchment”. A method of cooking in which the fish is put in a folded piece of baking or parchment paper along with other flavourings, and baked in the oven. The idea being that the all the juices and aromas are preserved, with the food’s steam cooking the contents. So what to cook with the salmon? A quick web search revealed this recipe, that seemed just perfect. IMG_6800 Salmon + lemon + dill + capers = a great combination. Putting the dish together could not have been easier. Just layer… IMG_6803 IMG_6804 fold… IMG_6806 And tightly roll the edges over to enclose the fish and create a parcel. IMG_6807 IMG_6805 Baked in the oven for 15 minutes or so, until the salmon had cooked. IMG_6810 Served alongside some steamed broccoli and asparagus.. IMG_6812 And we had ourselves quite a tasty and healthy meal indeed! IMG_6813 I overcooked the salmon (oops), but it was surprisingly still moist and not dry at all. IMG_6815 The flavours of the lemon, dill and capers had also worked their way into the salmon fillets – making it a rather delicious and flavoursome piece of fish indeed. IMG_6816 Definitely a method of cooking that I will try again that’s for sure! What about you? Ever cooked “en papillote”?

Good Friday 2012

A family tradition continued yesterday, with my in laws’ annual Good Friday seafood lunch.

Although, this year, there was a new addition to the yearly event. IMG_5908 One who loved all the attention… IMG_5929 And lapped up all the cuddles on offer! IMG_5883 IMG_5926 (first cuddles with her Uncle!) Rather than a sit down lunch, our Good Friday meal is a relatively casual affair. With plate after plate of seafood served up throughout the afternoon, and quickly gobbled by the family. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. IMG_5916 IMG_5898 IMG_5921 IMG_5911 IMG_5910 IMG_5909 I think the phrase ‘dig in or miss out’ would be an appropriate mantra of the day! I even squeezed in a little glass of this lovely red wine (in between well timed baby feeds, that is)… IMG_5919 Oh sweet nectar, how I have missed thee. IMG_5920 It has been 10 months since we last met….not that I have been counting or anythingWinking smile But back to the food. While my mother in law is the undisputed seafood champion of the day, Mr BBB and I wanted to contribute a seafood dish of our own to the feast. Deciding on scallops  our seafood of choice – we cooked them two ways: Lime and tarragon. IMG_5858 Chilli jam. IMG_5918 Such gorgeously tender scallops, picked up at the fish markets yesterday. While the lime and tarragon version were quite tasty, my favourite was the chilli jam version, that had just the right amount of sweetness and spiciness.  Oh and did I mention that we also contributed dessert? IMG_5845 For what ‘feast’ is complete without a little sugar hit at the end? IMG_5850 And taken in the form of pineapple and carrot cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing. Sugar-coma. IMG_5944 T’was a wonderful day -  filled with family, food and laughter. And one that saw us heading home for a much-needed food-induced nap! IMG_5906 Although some of us got a head start on the nap!

To market they did go

Charlotte and I have had quite the busy day. We started by trading in our sleep-in for activity, hitting the road shortly after 7am.  Our destination? IMG_0270 The fish markets! IMG_0269 Why? To buy some goodies to contribute to the family seafood Good Friday lunch that we have each year. Although Mr BBB’s mum does most of the preparation, we wanted to contribute a seafood dish to the mix, and a dessert, both of which I can’t wait to share with you tomorrow. Returning home from the markets and a coffee date with my mother-in-law, we had lunch then headed straight back out for a walk to the shops to get a few extra ingredients. IMG_0271 Any ideas what we might be making? IMG_5773 - Copy I’ll give you a few hints… IMG_5810IMG_5813IMG_5814 - Copy And a couple more… IMG_5809 IMG_5816 - Copy All to be revealed tomorrow! But for now – its time for a few more of these cuddles before dinner. IMG_0266 I think we are both exhausted after our early start and the day’s adventures! What about you? Do you have any plans for the Easter weekend? My little brother arrives from Melbourne tomorrow – to visit his niece for the first time!

Good Friday 2011

Today involved cake. Lots of cake. And seafood. Not a bad day at all really 😉 I was up just after 7am, and straight into the kitchen to finish the dessert I was making for today’s Easter lunch. And hour later, and I was super pleased with the finished result… IMG_8192 Although you will have to wait until tomorrow for the recipe 😉 Cake done, and icing bowls licked , it was time to MOVE it, so Mr BBB and I headed out for a morning 5km run. For, if the cake was anything to go by, today was to be an indulgent day. It was a perfect morning for running, clear and crisp, and we both agreed that it is a shame we are normally at work during this gorgeous part of the day!! We finished the run in around 30 minutes, showered and changed, and headed to our next destination… Mr BBB’s parents’ house for their annual Good Friday seafood lunch! easter Which we enjoyed over the course of the afternoon while sipping on sparkling red wine. IMG_8209 Plate after plate of seafood. IMG_8194   IMG_8198IMG_8200  IMG_8208IMG_8201IMG_8205 IMG_8204IMG_8233IMG_8237 With room found saved for dessert…  IMG_8213      A sugary, delightful dessert…. IMG_8243 That officially moved me into a food coma. We arrived home after 5pm and I asked Mr BBB to join me on a walk. Not only was it to bring my MOVE it total to over an hour for the day, it was also a wonderful way to get the legs moving and the tummies digesting after a big lunch. We ended up walking for an hour around the neighbourhood, stopping once to rent a DVD. So, all in all, a wonderful Good Friday – and a great start to this long weekend. And, as for day 2 of my MOVE it, TONE it, DRINK it challenge….

  • MOVE it – Run 30 minutes/5km, Walk 1 hour = Total 1.5 hours
  • TONE it – Sit-ups – 50 regular crunches
  • DRINK it – Around 1L (too much bubbly/tea tea, not enough water ggrrrr!!!)

What about you? Do you have any Good Friday traditions? Happy Baking 🙂

Paella perfection

IMG_8826 Perfection in a pan….seriously…. But let’s back it up a bit. Thankyou all for your wonderful suggestions regarding meditation and switching your mind off. Thankyou also to Tiffany for providing such a great link. I will be sure to give a few of the meditation tips and exercises a go next time I am in "class". Training It was a struggle when the alarm went off at 5.00am this morning – perhaps because I didn’t get to bed until almost midnight! I think the combination of an evening workout and late dinner threw off my nightly routine – and I was up far later than normal (not to mention the temptation to watch more Tour de France!). But, once I was up and at the gym my late night was soon forgotten. A lower body weights session + abs + 10km on the stationery bike = workout complete! Dinner I must say that I have been excited about tonight’s dinner since reading all your suggestions  regarding the Mystery Box  ingredient… IMG_8735 Saffron! IMG_8807 Did you know? Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus. Each flower bears three stigmas, which are dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron is rich in antioxidants, and may aid digestion and mood. When I saw the suggestions for paella rolling in when saffron was drawn from the Mystery Box….well I was sold. And excited. Very excited. Paella reminds me of our trip to Spain a few years back, during which we travelled through the Spanish countryside, ate our weight in tapas and generally lived it up for a week or so. IMG_8799 The only sadness about our trip to Spain was that it was too short. We were holidaying around Europe and had to move on to our next destination (France). Mr BBB and I both agreed that we could have spent 6 or more weeks just in Spain alone. IMG_8800 Paella was, of course, a must during our visit, and we soon found ourselves in search of a big pan of the seafood / fragrant rice dish. Mission accomplished. IMG_8801  As were the saffron coloured paella fingers that resulted from peeling the prawns. But hands down, this is one of my most memorable meals to date. Saffron fingers and all. Tonight’s dinner was an attempt to recreate this gorgeous dish – albeit sans paella pan and some of the more traditional ingredients (such as mussels). In the pan went onion, garlic, capsicums and beans. IMG_8812          Followed by the saffron, rice and paprika. IMG_8813 IMG_8814 Then the stock and tomatoes, and simmered for 15 minutes…. IMG_8816 Until the rice had cooked and  the liquid was absorbed. IMG_8820 And finally a HEAP of prawns, calamari and peas were added to the gorgeous vibrant rice. IMG_8822 Covered and simmered until the seafood was cooked. Served with parsley and lemon wedges.  IMG_8824 So fresh and tasty… IMG_8825 Seafood, spices and vegetables. IMG_8829  A winning combination!  IMG_8831  It may not be the “real” thing – but it is a dish that I will be sure to make again! I think it would be a great centrepiece for a Spanish party! All that was missing was a big glass of sangria…. Prawn and calamari paella (serves 5-6)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 green capsicum, chopped
  • 1 cup green beans, sliced into 3cm lengths
  • 2 cups aborio rice
  • 2 pinches saffron
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 15 green prawns
  • 1 hood calamari, sliced into rings
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/2 bunch parsley (chopped) and lemon wedges to serve
  1. Heat 2tbs olive oil in a large paella dish (or fry pan) over a medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, chilli, capsicums and beans, and cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add rice, saffron and spices, and stir to coat.
  4. Add stock, stir, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice has cooked. Stir occasionally to ensure that the rice doesn’t stick, and add extra stock if needed.
  5. Stir through prawns, calamari and peas, and cover. Simmer slowly for 5 minutes or until the seafood has cooked.
  6. Remove from heat, sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

What about you? Do you have a memorable dish from overseas (or perhaps even interstate?) Happy Baking 🙂