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!


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.

Turkey Avocado Cobb Salad (and how I cook perfectly boiled eggs)

img_0468It’s no secret that I am a fan of loaded salad bowls for dinner. Not only do they generally hit the ‘health’ target – they are a great way to use up leftover ingredients in the fridge (particularly at the end of the week when I find myself with lots of bits and pieces in the crisper drawer).

And so this Turkey and Avocado Cobb Salad came to be!

img_0460Lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, capsicum, avocado and tasty cheese. With some chopped turkey breast, a little bacon and a boiled egg for protein. A long ingredient list, yes, but so very easy to throw together at the end of a long work day. With the only things requiring any real attention are the boiled eggs and bacon!

As for a dressing – well this was pretty simple too. A little mayonnaise, jazzed up with some lime juice and chilli sauce.

img_0467And just like that – dinner was served.   I’d give you a recipe – but there really is no need. Just go with what you have, and enjoy!

Although I can share my method for boiling eggs with you – as I think I’ve now mastered it…

Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn off the heat and leave your eggs in the water for 4 minutes (covered). After 4 minutes, place the eggs in a bowl of iced water and leave for 5 minutes or so. Peel and enjoy!

Merry Christmas

It appears I am being forced into taking a little blog break, with some ‘technical’ issues making getting draft posts onto the blog difficult.  

I would, however, like to take this opportunity to THANKYOU for your support and ‘bloggy’ friendship over this past year. And what a year it has been! From being pregnant to having a loud, crawling 10 month old. And we can’t forget the ever-energetic 3.5 year old!

But I really do enjoy having my little piece of cyberspace, and can’t wait to return to blogging more regularly in the New Year.

So the plan is to try and work some blog-technology magic over the holiday period, and come back better and brighter in 2016!

Until then, I wish you all a magical Christmas and a splendid New Year.

Happy Baking!

Salted Caramel Baked Doughnuts #SweetenYourSummer


A little while ago I was approached to by Equal to create a recipe using their product. And, while artificial sweeteners may not be everyone’s cup of tea, you can’t really go wrong when the end product involves both doughnuts and salted caramel!


In fact, my recipe is now included in their free #SweetenYourSummer e-Cookbook, which is a tad exciting too.


You can download a copy of the free cookbook here: https://www.equalchoice.com.au/sweetenyoursummer/

What about you? What is your favourite doughnut ‘flavour’?

“Honey, its crunch time” Cake

It is no secret that I favour quick, healthy and easy food. Meals that are fresh, and that can be thrown together with relative ease. This cake is none of those things.

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For it involved multiple steps, a few days to make, and is positively laden with chocolate and calories. But the whole process was rather fun. From an idea, to a finished product, created mostly while the kids slept. All with a sense of gratefulness that I had found myself with some spare and un-rushed moments to get creative in the kitchen once more.


However the hidden story behind this cake starts with peanut brittle. And the distinct lack thereof in the finished product. For when creating this cake in my mind, I had envisaged that it would be topped with peanut brittle shards (although I didn’t feel like making the peanut brittle myself…yes I am still a bit of a sugar-making-gumbie). First shop – sold out. Second shop – none to be found. Third shop – sold out. And even a fourth mercy dash to another supermarket at 7.00am proved fruitless. Seriously! There is apparently a peanut brittle shortage in Canberra!??


Anyway I went with plan B, and created some white chocolate / honeycomb bark to decorate the cake instead.


Then later that day, while innocently standing in line at the post-office – there it was. A bag of peanut brittle on the shelf beside me. One lonely little bag. Taunting me. And with my cake already decorated with the ‘plan B’ white chocolate bark,  it appeared that Murphy had struck again. But the end product was a little different to what I had envisaged, I was still really pleased with the overall result. Inspired by the iconic crunchie bar, this chocolate cake has a thick layer of rich honeycomb buttercream, and is covered with a silky dark chocolate ganache outer layer.

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Finished with a sprinkling of crushed crunchie bar and, of course, that white chocolate honeycomb bark.


No peanut brittle in sight.

“Honey, its crunch time” Cake This cake is best started the day before, as it involves quite a few elements. I *cheated* and used a packet chocolate cake mix (gasp!) but you could, of course, make the chocolate cake element yourself too.

  • 1 rich chocolate cake, cooked and cooled. Then split into two even layers horizontally.
  • 150ml cream
  • 300g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 200g crunchie bars, crushed
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 380g caramel sauce (such as top n’ fill)
  • 2 cups icing sugar (+ extra until desired consistency is reached)
  1. To make the chocolate ganache, place the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until almost simmering, then pour onto the chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute or so, then stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is rich and glossy. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  2. To make the white chocolate bark: Line a tray with baking paper. Melt the white chocolate, and pour onto the baking paper, spreading out to desired thickness. Top with 50g of the crushed crunchie, and place in the fridge to set overnight. Break into ‘shards’.
  3. To make the buttercream: Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy then add the caramel sauce. Gradually add the icing sugar, until the buttercream has reached a good consistency (you want it to be quick thick). Stir through 50g of the crushed crunchie bars.
  4. Begin to assemble the cake, by lining a round spring-form pan (use the one you cooked the cake in) with cling-wrap. Place one of the chocolate cake halves into the bottom of the pan. Cover with the buttercream, then place the other layer of cake on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. On the day of assembly, remove the ganache from the fridge and allow to come to ‘peanut butter’ consistency (you may need to give it a short burst in the microwave.) Carefully remove the cake from the pan and place onto your serving dish. Cover lightly with ganache to form a crumb layer, then refrigerate for 5 minutes (no more). Place another thicker layer of ganache over the cake, using a palette knife to create swirls around the edges. Top half the cake with the remaining crushed crunchie bars, and the white chocolate bark. Place in the fridge – and remove 15 minutes before serving.

What about you? What is your favourite chocolate bar?

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?

Quinoa and smoked salmon sushi

IMG_5485 It’s been a little hectic of late, or perhaps feeling hectic is just the new norm (particularly in the lead up to Christmas)? One thing that remains constant, however, is our assurance of a home cooked meal most evenings. In fact, after a busy day kid-wrangling, teleconferencing and document reviewing, I quite look forward to my little bit of time in the kitchen. Tinkering away at dinner after Little J has gone to bed and Miss C is reading stories with her dad. The whole process can be quite therapeutic, really. IMG_5481 On this occasion it was sushi, but with cooked quinoa in place of rice. The other usual suspects were there though – smoked salmon, avocado, carrot, capsicum and cucumber. IMG_5478IMG_5483IMG_5484 I made four large rolls – two for ‘now’ and two for ‘later’,  served with  a simple side salad. Sadly I’d forgotten the wasabi and pickled ginger, but they were tasty never-the-less. Not to mention colourful! IMG_5486 And my verdict on the quinoa substitute? Loved the crunch! Definitely a substitute to keep in mind for the future. IMG_5487 I do, however, have to work on my sushi rolling skills – they are pretty hopeless. What about you? Are you a fan of sushi?

Sunshine ‘pull-apart’ Pie

IMG_5229I am certainly someone that its attracted to cooking magazines, particularly when they have something scrumptious on the cover. And a recent edition of Taste magazine (which is one of my favourite ‘everyday meal’ recipe magazines at the moment) captured my attention in no time at all. The ‘sunshine pie’ which featured on the cover – had everyone in our household intrigued. For the magazine had turned a humble spinach and ricotta pie into something rather spectacular! IMG_5322 Spinach, ricotta, goats cheese, cheddar, green onions and eggs, combined then sandwiched between two layers of puff pasty that had been cut into rounds. Then, with some creative knife and twist work – a lovely little ‘sun’ was ready for baking. pie And after 35 minutes in the oven – what a pretty addition to the dinner table we had! IMG_5229 These photos were taken after 30 minutes or so, as I par-cooked the pie in advance of the dinner party we were having that evening. Needless to say that when it had an extra 10 minutes in the oven before serving, it puffed up even more and turned beautifully golden brown. IMG_5230 I loved loved LOVED the three-cheese combination – particularly the goats cheese that really gave the pie a flavour hit. And I can’t help but think that the ‘twist’ method would work with lots of other flavour combinations too. Time to get my thinking cap on!

Blood orange and vanilla ice-cream

IMG_4621 It goes without saying that as soon as the warmer weather arrives, even just a glimpse, my ice-cream maker is pulled out of storage. I tend to keep to tradition and make simple vanilla ice-creams, although hopefully this Summer I will get a little more adventurous. IMG_4580 The arrival of a beautiful  box of blood oranges from Red Belly Citrus a little while ago was just the motivation I needed to get creative. I made blood orange cordial, froze some juice into ice-cube trays for a zesty addition to mineral water (mocktail anyone?) and, my favourite, a refreshing blood orange and vanilla ice-cream. While I’ve tried my hand at custard-base ice-creams, I always  return to an ol’ recipe favourite. No eggs, and no need to heat ingredients. Just milk + cream + sugar + whatever flavours you want. Then into the ice-cream maker to churn for 45 minutes or so. IMG_0293 Until you have yourself, a big bowl of homemade ice-cream! IMG_4625 I loved how refreshing this blood orange version was, perfect for a little treat after dinner. I think it would work beautifully spooned high on a warm chocolate brownie too, or blended into a tropical smoothie. Mmmmm… Blood orange and vanilla icecream

  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 600ml cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • juice of 2 blood oranges (+ zest of one)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, sugar and salt until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the cream, vanilla, juice and zest, and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight (if you have the time) or for a few hours.
  3. Pour into the ice-cream maker, and churn for 45 minutes. Place into the freezer overnight for a firmer consistency.

What about you? What is your favourite ice-cream flavour?

Batemans Bay Half Marathon (and the rookie mistakes I made along the way)

IMG_2793 A few weeks ago, I ran my sixth half-marathon. My finish time was rather disappointing, although I was grateful to be ‘racing’ again – not to mention in a new location too! The race was in its first year at Batemans Bay – and offered a variety of distances – a full marathon, a 6km event, a 14km event and the distance I chose – the half marathon. 12188048_890652397683062_344897897546602532_o From the website –

“With sections of the course on firm sand and stunning flat bush tracks this half Marathon is a little different from most. Starting at Corrigans head into the Town of Batemans Bay, over the bridge, through Surfside and around the back of the local school. Then head down into gorges Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve where the breath taking views await. Once out the reserve follow the course back through Surfside, over the bridge and along the cycle track back to Corrigans and across the finish line.” 

IMG_2811 True to form, there were some brilliant sections  – particularly the short trail section through the bush and the run along the sand. IMG_2820 Being able to cross the finish line with Miss C, and dipping my feet in the ocean post-race, well that was pretty special too. 12182930_890666521014983_3219475153696799267_oIMG_2828 But it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention the ‘not so great’ sections. Namely – the seemingly endless laps of the school oval in the sun (that we had to do twice), and the kicker of a hill in the middle. IMG_2815[4]  IMG_2812 And while I finished the race with a smile on my face, it was clear that I had made some rookie mistakes along the way.  So rookie, in fact, that  you would have thought it was my first half marathon and not my sixth! 1. I did not train properly In fact, I did not really train at all. Only a few runs here and there, and a long run the weekend before. I was pretty confident that my ‘mind’ could get me over the finish line, but the lack of training base meant that the run hurt. And I was slow. 2. I did not check my equipment My new Garmin read splits in miles, not kilometres – which messed with any attempt at pacing. I had also downloaded some new music which didn’t work, so I had very limited music to keep me distracted for the few hours (not good when you are under-trained!) 3. I went out too fast Perhaps it was being caught up in the moment, or perhaps the general confusion caused by my Garmin, but I went out waaaay too fast. Which only meant I felt like I was crawling by the end (probably because I pretty much was). 4. I did not fuel properly I brought some new gel-lolly things with me, but on reflection, these weren’t great for my tummy at all. 5. I skipped water stations Despite being a hot and sunny day, I skipped a few water stations early on. While I made sure to stop at most of them in the second half, I suspect I was already dehydrated. 6. I did not survey the course pre-race I read that the course was flat, and took the description at its word. Had I done a little more checking I might have discovered that there were a couple of hills along the way (some on trails), and I could have prepared for them. Coming across them mid-race was a little frustrating – particularly when I realised that I would have to run them more than once! 7. My shoes were well past their use-by date Ahhh my shoes. I knew they were on their last legs but I didn’t have enough time to get a new pair and break them in before the race. So I ran in my old battered up sneakers, and most certainly had the blisters to prove it! Rookie mistakes aside, it was still a great day out, and I am sure I will be back to compete again! IMG_2825 Hopefully I’ll be a little more prepared next time, though….