Tuesday 26 November 2013


Even though you may be the busiest person in this world but you still deserve to eat a tasty and a healthy meal. All you need is a good recipe and the right ingredients to be present in your kitchen. Today’s recipe is the Italian Bruschetta (also pronounced as “Brusketta”) with Garlic, Mushroom and ripe and lush Tomatoes. The beauty of this dish lies in it's simplicity. We all like simple and hassle free recipes that can be made in minutes and yet taste great, right??

My Garlic Mushroom Bruschettas were made for a weekend breakfast. However you can enjoy them as a snack, starter or even as a cocktail food. Best served with some antipasto such as marinated olives, cheese, salami whatever you fancy. If you do not have Bruschetta bread you can still enjoy these “tomatoey” “garlicky” and “mushroomy” salsa on just normal bread (toasted with some garlic olive oil or margarine). Will cover that after the main recipe.
So, over to my Bruschettas. To be honest, I did not follow any particular recipe in this case. I just happened to read through the serving suggestions at the back of the pack, where it said “best served with pan fried garlic, tomatoes and basil”.  And, there you go!!
To make Garlic, Mushroom, Bruschettas you will need:
4 Bruschetta Bread Slices
2 tablespoon Margarine or as required
For the toppings or Salsa you will need:
1 clove of Garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1 tbsp Olive Oil
5-6 Button Mushrooms thinly sliced (or Swiss Brown Mushrooms for more flavour and texture)
1-2 Spring Onions (use only the white portion) finely chopped
2 Ripe Tomatoes chopped roughly
Lemon Juice (a wedge or two to squeeze).
Herbs of your choice. I used Coriander. Fresh Basil is best to be used in this kinda dish.
Sour Cream for garnish (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning.

Step 1
Heat Oil in a non-stick pan and add the garlic.
Step 2
Once the garlic starts to cook (do not brown your garlic), add the chopped onions
Step 3
Add sliced mushrooms. Let the mushrooms soften and change colour.
Step 4
Add the chopped Tomatoes. Gently mix and toss. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze in some lemon juice.
Step 5
Turn off heat after 2-3 minutes.
Step 6
Toast your bread until crisp. Apply a generous amount of margarine. And layer the salsa on top. Garnish with some sour cream and freshly ground black pepper. Choice of herb.

If you are using normal bread, take 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil or margarine; add some crushed garlic and seasoning of salt and pepper. You may add some chopped herbs if you like. Lightly brush your bread slices with this garlic olive oil or margarine and toast the slices on a very hot pan until golden brown. Layer with the toppings. Garnish with sour cream, herbs and season to taste. Serve immediately.
Try this salsa topping on a crispy garlic bread for a twist!!
 It is getting a bit warm here in Adelaide. So some chilled orange juice to quench our thirsts  along with these sensational garlic mushroom bruschettas. What better way to a healthy start of a weekend! The salsa with mushroom, tomatoes and sour cream will just melt in your mouth. Try them, they are just darn good!

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With Care

EAT as you LIKE.. 




Thursday 14 November 2013


Shepherd's pie is a meat casserole cooked with vegetables and minced meat ( lamb or mutton),  also known as Cottage Pie ( when cooked with minced Beef). It is then baked in the oven with a layer of delicious mash of potatoes. This tasty and healthy meat pie dish gets it's nutrients from the meat which is an excellent source of  protein and iron, and the veggies add to the vitamin elements. If you wish you may even add 1/2 cup of cooked split red lentils to make it even more nutritious and filling.You may also use sweet potato mash to layer instead of normal potatoes as an alternative. The potato mash imparts a beautiful creamy and mushy texture to this dish. This pie dish is a meal on it’s own and ideal for the whole family. This dish can be served with a side of salad or some crusty bread. Sneak in any combination of veggies grated or chopped, doesn't matter!
The name and recipe idea for this dish is from: "The Yummy Scrummy In Your Tummy Cook Book" by Sophie Toomey. This book was my bible when  my daughter had first started on her solids at her 6 months of age The original recipe from the book is right here. It is suitable for babies from 9 -12 months of age. Before preparing this dish for your child please carefully check with your babies dietary requirement or allergies if any.
To make Shepherd's Pie you will need:
Lamb or Beef Mince:1 cup (lightly rinse and clean the mince under thin stream of running water)
5-6 spring onions finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped  or crushed
1/2 cup each carrot and zucchini grated
1 stick of celery (finely chopped)
4-5 button mushrooms grated or chopped coarsely(optional)
1/2 cup green peas, frozen or fresh. Soak frozen peas in hot water for 5 mins, drain and set aside.
1/2 small cup red and green capsicum finely chopped
2 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil 
2 tablespoon any tomato base pasta sauce
1/2 cup canned, diced or crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon juice of lemon
250 ml chicken stock or 1 chicken stock cube.
Herbs of your choice. I used handful of finely chopped basil and 1/2 teaspoon of dry italian herb mix. Coriander and parsley is also good to be used in this dish.
To make:
Step 1 : Heat butter  or olive oil onto your pan. Add garlic and spring onion. Cook until the spring onions and garlic are soft and fragrant.
Step 2: Add mushrooms. Fry until the mushrooms start to soften a bit. 
Step 3: Add minced meat and fry until brown. Lightly mash the mince with the back of your spoon to break any lumps .
Step 4: Add grated vegetables and capsicum. Cook  for 5 mins.
Step 5: Add the tomato sauce and  the tomatoes.
Step 6: Add all sauce and chicken stock. If using a stock cube add it now and then add enough water (200 -250 ml) for the meat to cook. We DO NOT want a dry meat mixture. Add more water or stock if necessary. The meat and veggie mixture must still remain slightly runny before we transfer it into a baking dish. Or else, the pie will dry out too much on baking.
Step7: Sprinkle with herbs. Cover and cook for 10-15 mins on medium heat.
Step8:Add lemon juice.
Step 9:Divide meat mixture into 4 oven proof dishes. Fill in 3/4 of each dish with the meat mixture. Stir in frozen peas to each .

For the Potato Mash you will need:
4-5 medium sized cooked potatoes mashed or grated( grating will ensure smoother texture)
1/2 tablespoon warm butter and olive oil
4-5 tablespoon warm milk 
White or black pepper for seasoning
finely chopped green onions and grated cheese for garnish (parmesan or tasty cheddar)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Gently mix mashed potato with butter, milk and season with pepper according to taste. Do not over beat  the mash or else it will turn very gooey. Adding butter helps the mash to remain moist and fluffy. Milk adds to the creamier texture. When cooking for my little ones I usually avoid using much salt in their food. However if you wish you may season with very little salt keeping in mind that the cheese that you add as a garnish will also have salt to some degree. Making sure there are no lumps, spread the mash evenly to cover and seal the meat mixture. Drizzle olive oil. Sprinkle with cheese and green onions on top.
Bake in the Oven at 200 degrees for at least 10 mins or until the surface starts to brown. If you do not wish to bake in the oven for any reason you may even serve by mixing the potato mash with the meat mixture. In that case cook the meat for a little longer. This will tenderize the meat and impart more flavour. Cool and Serve. Remember to check temperature before serving. 
This recipe is suitable for toddlers 12 months plus and older kids as well. I have included mushroom in this recipe you may completely ignore adding if your child is allergic to mushrooms. For a little sweet twist in this recipe you may even try adding grated or cooked apple as a substitute to any of the veggies. I  usually make this pie when my little ones had enough of pasta, rice and soup.  It is a family favourite of mine and soon going to be your's!!!
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With deep care

Friday 1 November 2013

FRUIT AND NUT BANANA BREAD with lemon and cream cheese icing

This being the first post on my blog I thought of starting on a sweet note. Something that you can enjoy over a cup of tea or coffee or maybe just over a pillow talk! As simple as that. Banana bread or loaf as we call it, is a very moist bread similar to a cake and is mostly enjoyed at breakfast or as a dessert.
Banana as a fruit as we all know has many useful nutrients. Kids love the  deliciousness of this moist melt in the mouth  treat that gets it's very distinct flavour due to the infusion of banana, cinnamon, vanilla and honey. And the gorgeous aroma that fills your home when baking this delight is sure to give you a test run on patience!!
In every busy household, mine is no exception this humble fruit at it's peak quite often sits in our fruit bowl eagerly waiting to be consumed, but very conveniently forgotten. So, what do you do when you have overripe bananas? Make smoothies, mash them into your kid's breakfast cereal, make a pancake, fritters or simply trash them into the waste bin? Banana Bread is a delicious treat that you can create at ease using overripe bananas.
I have used a food processor to mix my banana bread batter, this batter can be mixed very well in a bowl using a wooden spatula or you may use electric mixer whatever is available and convenient to you.
The basic recipe of this bread was given to me by one of my friend's sometime ago. However, I made a few modifications to create one of my own recipe for any time use. The ingredients mentioned in this recipe are easily available in any pantry and most importantly it is pocket friendly. 
So Go Bananas! Bake one today! 
You will need:
1-1/2 cup of Self-Raising Flour OR All Purpose Flour - sifted (I used Self-Raising)
4 Ripe Bananas
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder OR 1 teaspoon if using All Purpose Flour
2 Eggs
1/2 cup combination of Mixed Nuts (I used lightly crushed walnuts, slivered almonds), raisins and sultanas
2/3 cup melted Unsalted Butter
1 teaspoon of butter for greasing
3/4 cup of Caster Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
1 tablespoon Honey.
Step 1: Peel the bananas and remove fibres. Mash them in a blender until smooth.
Step 2: In your food processor add the mashed bananas and egg. Crack eggs in a separate bowl and add them one at a time. beat them well after each addition.
Step 3: Now combine sugar, vanilla essence, melted butter  and whisk on high speed for 1 minute. For those of you whisking manually, you will need to give it a vigorous whisk. But don't go crazy on it! Just a quick whisk should do. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
Step 4: Now dry mix thoroughly the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.
Step 5: With a spatula fold in the flour-baking powder into the banana-egg mixture. To "fold in" means to mix ingredients in batches gently and evenly to form a smooth batter.
Step 6 : Add mixed nuts and combine well.
Step 7 : Grease a loaf pan. I used a silicon loaf pan and greased my pan with a little butter. The bread batter should not be runny but of pouring consistency.
Step 8:  Bake at 1800C  for about an hour.


Step 9: Allow to cool. Store the cooled banana bread in an airtight container or cover with cling film and pop it in the fridge.
Banana breads do not require any icing and yet tastes great on it's own. You may slightly toast and serve with a little butter on top. However I added a lemon cream cheese icing to my banana bread not only to add to the deliciousness but also to add to  the beauty element of it.  Yummm!! There is no butter in the icing so you can enjoy guiltfree.
For Icing you will need: 
200 grams of Cream Cheese (at room temperature)
2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
4-5 tablespoon of Caster Sugar

Mix all ingredients well to form a light and creamy mixture. Remove cling wrap  and spread the icing mixture evenly on top of the bread. In order to get a smoother finish I used a butter knife dipped in very hot water. Run the knife  dipped in hot water around the edges and the surface to clear out any uneven layer of icing. Repeat until smooth.
Pop it in the fridge for the icing to set. Slice and serve.

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With Care...
EAT as you LIKE...
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