Saturday, July 28, 2012

Foodie Friday : Salmon with fennel and pomegranate salsa

A couple of months ago I got a really good deal on 5kgs of snap frozen salmon portions.  I've always loved Atlantic salmon, but 5kgs is a lot and we're starting to tire of it just a bit, so Mum and I are busy thinking of new and wonderful ways to make it more exciting!

Enter a recipe for slow cooked salmon with fennel and pomegranate salsa I found over at Once Upon a Plate (totally fabulous foodie blog!!)  We didn't slow cook our salmon but the writer, Mari,  says its really wonderful done that way - you can find the recipe for that here - along with much better photos than mine :)

So my version of this is basically just pan frying or oven baking the salmon until its cooked to your liking (no recipe needed there!), and then adding the salsa over the top.  I had never used, or even tasted pomegranate before, but literally the day after I found this recipe and pinned it on Pinterest, I stumbled across pomegranate on special at my local shops - and so decided we had to try it.

This is a very fresh tasting recipe - the tartness of the pomegranate and aniseed flavour of the fennel really cut through the oiliness of the salmon beautifully.

So - here is the recipe for the salsa:

Pomegranate arils (seeds) - I used one pomegranate
Shallots/ spring onions (green parts only, finely sliced)
Coriander (amount to your taste, chopped)
Juice of one lime
Salt flakes
Freshly ground pepper

I just mixed it all together and put it over the cooked salmon.  We had saddleback potatoes (cut slices into your potatoes, not all the way through, baste with olive oil and salt and bake until cooked) and steamed beans.

One tip I will give you that I learned in this process: don't mix the salsa as it turns the fennel pink!  The second time I made this (and sadly, didn't take photos!) I kept the pomegranate separate and peppered it through the salsa as I was serving - it presents MUCH better this way!  (We also overcooked the salmon on this occasion - it was still good though).

Mum had spinach (mixed with cream, nutmeg, salt, parmesan cheese and a dob of butter - then steamed in the microwave) instead of beans.

We still have quite a bit of salmon, so there is every chance you'll be seeing another salmon offering very soon!

Bye for now :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A moment in time : Before Bed Silliness

A day without (or with very few) words - just a photo or two to capture a
moment in time I want to remember.

I've been inspired by, and will be linking up to, Felafel and The Bee's Wordless{ish} Wednesday post. If you feel motivated to capture your own moment in time, please leave me a link via comments so I can have a look :)

The longest Alex's hair has ever been - haircuts can wait til summer I think! :)

Check out that red hair - isn't it cute?  Loving this time with the curls and cuteness before summer arrives and he needs short hair again!

Bye for now :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Krispy's pick of the week : Mr Wilkinson's Favourite Vegetables

We've been through tonnes of books with Alex over the last week, but I'm selfishly hogging the limelight for one of my own books this week (or to be more accurate, the Library's book!)

You know, I borrow all sorts of weird and wonderful books from our local Library - but I have a bit of an unusual method for choosing my books.... I mostly place holds online and then collect them, so I don't tend to 'browse' so much.  My method is this: I subscribe to places like Fishpond, who send emails advertising what's on special.... instead of buying the books, if I like the look of it I'll go onto the Library's website to see if our Library has it - if they do, I put a hold on it!  Very cheeky I know, and in some cases I have enjoyed a book so much I've later bought it, but usually I order my books via The Book Depository.  Even cheekier (but in many cases, waaaay cheaper!)

Anyways, back to this week's book:

I put a hold on this one as I was intrigued about the title - also with the vege garden starting to flourish, I'm got vegetables on my brain... plus I love vegetables - I will happily eat every vege except for silverbeet/spinach... and I don't much care for peas, but I'll still eat them :)

You will quickly discover its not a vegetarian cookbook... its a book about making the vegetable the star of the dish instead of the protein.  So where you might ordinarily say "I'll make marinated chicken for dinner", scrape up whatever veges or salad you have hanging around and whack an old potato with it, this book would encourage you to say "I've got some lovely sugar snap peas, fresh baby corn and sweet potato.... I think I'll make a sweet potato and coriander mash with steamed sugar snaps and baby corn... and maybe grill a bit of old chicken with that!" Lol...  Well not quite, but you get the idea :)

There are some odd recipes in the book for sure - for example how about some 'Green garlic champ with poached egg & grilled ox tongue'?  No, not for me either (eewwww)!  Well then, anyone for some  'Nettle and green herb soup with poached quail egg, scallop & pancetta'?  Sounds still a bit kooky, but much more appetising.

A couple of the ones I'd like to try are 'Zucchini wrapped John Dory, tomato, pine nuts & steamed zucchini flowers', and 'Roasted cucumber, quinoa, freekah & herbs'.... Both sound quite delish!  I'll post the recipes if I end up making them.

So tell me, have you tried nettle recently?  Nope, me either :)  And do you have an unusual way of choosing your books from the Library too, or is it just me?

I'm linking this post up to Felafel and The Bee's On Our Shelves Sunday post for this week.

Bye for now :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

We are family...

My Mum is one of seven children - she has four sisters and two brothers.  Recently, my Aunty Rhonda turned 60, and her son Adam and daughter in law Jo did a wonderful job of organising a surprise party for her.  We were happy to be able to go and give the birthday girl our best wishes, and also to see Grandma, who had heart surgery only four short weeks ago, looking so amazingly well!

Its not too often everyone gets together, but when they do its always a great time - you don't wanna miss it.  So anyways I thought I would share some pics from the birthday girl's special day.....  warning this is a post positively laden with family shots!

Here are all the sisters, one brother and Grandma - clockwise from top left Rhonda, my Mum Sue, Gayle, Lynda, Illumina, Grandma and Kevin:

Can you believe Grandma had heart surgery so recently?  Doesn't she look amazing?  We think so too :)  Here's another great photo of her with my Mum and Kevin, and Kev's lovely wife Jane.

And a shot of (clockwise from top left) Kev, Jane, Lee (Jane's daughter), Grandma and Jayden (Lee's son).

Grandma with two (of her twenty two) grandchildren, Lauryn (left, Gayle's daughter) and Mel (right, Illumina's daughter), and great grandson Jayden in front.  Aren't they stunning girls? 

And a photo of the birthday girl with four generations.... this time I'm going anti clockwise from bottom left (just to keep you on your toes!) - Grandma, Adam (Rhonda's son), Rhonda, Billy (Jo & Adam's son), Jo (Adam's wife) and Jake (also Jo & Adam's son).  Get a load of the dimples on those boys - they are gorgeous!

We had a wonderful time, and everyone really enjoyed themselves.  Rhonda was told that she was going out for lunch with Adam, Jo and the kids, so she was very surprised to see so many people there - which of course was the idea!

And I just have to put this disclaimer in about the next photo - of course I would never think smoking is funny generally, let alone for a lady 4 weeks out from heart surgery....  But the reason we all found this so hilarious on the day was that everyone was organising photos when Grandma just picked this up to amuse herself while we were all fussing.... when we realised what Grandma had done (and it took a good 30 seconds or so!) we were all in fits because this lady has not smoked a single cigarette in her entire life, nor would she ever in a million years!!  (Note: obviously the cigarette was unlit).

Check out the cheeky look on her face - still shocking us when we least expect it with her wicked sense of humour!

We hope you had a wonderful birthday Aunty Rhonda xxxx

Bye for now :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vege garden update : July 2012

We've had lots of really cool temps this winter (well, cool for the Gold Coast anyway).  Couple this with the fact I planted the veges about 6 weeks earlier this year, and this pretty much explains why I haven't quite seen the growth explosion we've seen in previous years.  But nevertheless, my little babies are growing well, and I'm sure once the weather warms slightly (or at least stops getting below 5 degrees at night!) we'll have more veges than we can handle!

But for now, here's the update.  Apologies for the pictures, but I quickly took them right on dusk yesterday as I knew we were in for a few wet days and I wouldn't get any photos.

Here is the long shot before:

And now:

And another view without the peas in the way - loving that little sea of green!

And speaking of peas, those are sugar snap and snow peas on the trellises in the long shot.  The sugar snaps are looking very scraggly but they have started flowering (and flowers mean peas) so I'm hopeful!

Meanwhile the snow peas are looking a little more lush and bushy, but no flowers (so no peas yet)...

As for everything else, it is all definitely underway..... the coriander I cannot grow in warmer months (it just goes straight to seed!)

Continental parsley looking very yummy:

Mini cabbages are well under way:

And the bok choy is ready to start harvesting already (my first success with Asian greens):

The iceberg lettuce is looking promising and we will probably start taking bits off this to encourage new growth soon:

And my first attempt at baby spinach is proving successful so far too!

The miniature broccoli is all leaves for now and not looking so miniature - and (for now) we seem to have eradicated the big fat green caterpillars that were feasting on it!  (Those white spots are water droplets caught in the flash - nothing sinister):

And my accidental fennel purchase - I picked up dill, put it back and thought I'd picked up the same container again - is going great guns also (stick around for a recipe with fennel probably later this week!)

I know it all looks too good to be true.... so in the interests of full disclosure, allow me to show you my failings... oh, the horror!!!

The transplanted chilli is not super happy... but I spy a couple of teeny little flowers, so maybe its just not his season (I don't know much about chillis) and he'll burst back into life when I least expect it!

I STILL cannot seem to grow cherry tomatoes to save myself - this seedling remains pitifully small and diseased.... and the others have mostly disappeared into the earth...

And my 'patio zucchini' seems to have developed powdery mildew (even though Don Burke assures me this happens in humid, summery conditions..... pffft!  He just lost a bit of credibility in my eyes because its cold here and only about 60% humidity - which those who live here know, might as well be zero humidity!)  I plan to try his suggested milk spray to see if I can get rid of it - if that doesn't work, Burkes Backyard will be permanently off my reading list!  Consider yourself warned, Don (I'm sure he'll have trouble sleeping tonight after that dressing down.... not!  LOL)

To calm you down after that little shot of garden carnage and me shattering your (I'm sure) high opinion of Don Burke, let me leave you with an image of one of the pretty little marigold plants that have recently blossomed all over the garden - offering their own little ray of sunshine on our gloomy winter days....

Bye for now :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Alex's pick of the week : Australasia's Most Amazing Animals

Apologies for the absence....  End of financial year and wrapping up a project at work has kept me super busy - its still going on but the smoke is clearing so my posts might be sporadic, but here I am!

Alex recently rediscovered a rubber lizard toy that's been hanging out in my car for some time, so this week when Daddy took him to the library, it was all about lizards and the natural world!

This is a book about lots of different animals - I'm sure he chose this book, though, because it has a lizard on the cover!

Its full of amazing facts... for instance, did you know:

::  A wombat's burrow can be 20 metres long and more than 2 metres under ground?
::  The platypus uses its web feet for swimming and its flat tail for steering?
::  The box jellyfish is deadly to humans but sea turtles are not harmed by them and often eat them?
::  The thorny devil collects the dew from its own skin, which runs along thousands of tiny grooves, and drinks it?

See?  Amazing! ;)

Its wonderful the things you learn (or forgot you already learnt a long time ago!) when you look at these non-fiction books for kids with fresh eyes!

 I'm linking this post up to Felafel and The Bee's On Our Shelves Sunday post for this week.

Bye for now :)