Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Famous Daim Bar Cookies

I have to say I'm a little bit reluctant posting this recipe, because it's the one thing that people ask me to bring to parties, BBQs and school events and I understand why.  I used to think proper American chocolate chip cookies were the best cookies ever until one day I decided to smash up some Daim bars and use them instead.  The toffee bit melts in the oven then hardens up again when they cool, the chocolate melts into the cookie as well and the resulting cookie is chewy, moist and truly heavenly.  Everyone who tries these agrees they are the best cookie ever. The dough is very soft, don't worry about that, just plop them onto a sheet and observe the magic! Give them a go, you will not be disappointed!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 3 bags mini Daim bars, smashed up
Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.

Beat the sugars and the butter with a mixer until fluffy and soft.  Add in eggs, vanilla, baking soda and cream of tartar until well combined.

Add in the flour and beat until mixed.  Stir in the smashed up Daim bars.

Drop one inch balls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown around the edges.  Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before removing from tray.  Allow to cool completely before serving as the caramel can burn.  

Makes about 60 cookies.  




Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Salmon Ramen For One

I've been on a bit of an Asian kick lately it seems and here is another one. This is such a warming healthy soup that really is a perfectly balanced meal. I make this for myself if I happen to get a few moments for lunch without the kids.  You can spice it up as much as you like and change the vegetables to cater to your own tastes.

If you don't have ramen noodles, udon or soba will work fine, so will just plain old spaghetti!  It's very flexible! :)



  • 1 skinned fillet of salmon
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce (like sriracha)
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 small red onion, thinkly slived
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 1-2 cups chicken stock or dashi
  • Handful mange tout, julienned
  • 1 cup of cooked ramen noodles
  • handful bean sprouts
  • handful coriander, chopped
Marinate the salmon in the mirin, soy sauce, honey, chilli sauce, garlic and ginger for half an hour or so. 

Stir-fry the carrot and onion for a minute or two until just softened. Remove from pan. Add stock and bring to a boil.  Add salmon and marinade and cook 3-5 minutes until fish is cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.  

Add noodles and vegetables to a bowl, ladle stock over them.  Top with salmon and sprinkle with coriander. 


Monday, August 6, 2012

My Cloth Nappy Experiment: Popeazy and Bumgenius V4

"Wee" man in a Popeazy
I've been using cloth nappies now for over four months, it's been a fun experiment that has turned into a permanent change..  I can honestly say I would never look back.  Initially we had some setbacks as we learned how to use them and get around leaks and find the right nappies for our wee man.  When I was out and about originally I reverted to disposibles, but now that I'm comfortable with cloth, I have been using them all the time. Haven't seen a disposable since June!  I've reviewed Fuzzibunz and Little Comfort Bambees, but today I want to review my two favourites, the new Little Comfort Popeazy and the Bumgenius V.4 One size.
The Wee Man in a Bumgenius V4
I've been using Bumgenius since I started and they quickly became my favourite nappy. They are versatile, cute and very absorbent. I use two inserts at night and never have a leaking problem and use one insert during the day.  I still prefer Bambees at night, but Bumgenius is my next best bet. They are great for using out and about when double stuffed as well. If there's a long car journey I know that I will have no problem with leaks or discomfort.  They also seem to fit him the best with no rashes.  The poppers seem to be better than the velcro in terms of comfort and fit, but the velcro option is husband-friendly and is really just as effective.  My little man is not so little and has very chunky thighs, the Fuzzibunz ended up causing rashes as he grew and no matter how much I adjusted them, nothing would help.  Whilst the elastic on the Bumgenius is not adjustable, I have never had a problem with fit.  I also find the nappies to be top quality and made really well. The poppers are very strong and even when you're tugging on them to get him changed, they rarely pop open.  I truly didn't think these nappies could be beaten and they remain the bulk of my (now full) stash.

A few weeks ago Little Comfort announced their new One Size pocket nappy, the Popeazy.  Knowing how soft and reliable the Bambee's were I knew I'd have to try these.  There was an amazing sale on them leading up to the All About Baby Fair which I took advantage of and purchases a 5 pack.  Upon picking them up at the (very awesome) fair, I was immediately struck by the softness and high quality of both the nappy and the inserts.  I couldn't wait to get them on himself. 
You are supposed to wash new nappies before you use them to increase the absorbency but I am both lazy and impatient so I put them on him right away.  Usually with new nappies I would change them more frequently until they reach full absorbency but I kept checking the popeazy and he was fine. I finally gave in and changed him after three hours. Couldn't believe I'd gotten so long out of a brand new nappy.  They've now been through the wash several times and I am seriously impressed with the absorbency.  The fit is just perfect too.  They also feature sturdy poppers and there are loads of versatile fitting settings.  I am absolutely thrilled with these nappies, they are incredibly cute with lovely colours, they are of top-notch quality and have a great fit.  They last quite awhile and seem to be very comfortable on baby. 

They would be my new favourite if it wasn't for one minor flaw.  I suspect this flaw might be more of an issue for boys than girls, but it is definitely problematic and could be improved upon.  That is the fact that the fleece comes all the way to the top of the nappy on the front.  If you look at the picture of the popeazy versus the bumgenius, you can see that the BG PUL layer comes over the top of the nappy on the inside.  The Popeazy has fleece all the way to the top.  With boys and trousers that press against the waist just as the nappy ends, the fleece seems to get pushed up and the trousers/vest get wet.  It's not a major leak per se, but the clothes get wet and make baby uncomfortable.  It's something BG changed from v2 to v3 and it's something I hope the Popeazy will address in future versions.  If it wasn't for this little flaw, I'd be ordering a load more and making it my primary stash as I do think it's a superior nappy on all fronts.  I suspect if you ave girls or avoid trousers, this wouldn't be such a problem. 

So there you have it, two brilliant nappies that I highly recommend. 



  

Proper Caesar Salad

Sometimes the simplest of things can be screwed up so thoroughly. Caesar Salad is one of these. I have yet to have a real caesar salad in this country. Don't get me wrong, I've had tasty salads called Caesar Salads, but they haven't been the real deal.  This is a really simple dressing, but it's authentic, delicious and full of healthy fats.  Add some grilled chicken, fresh cos (romaine) lettuce, crispy bacon lardons, shavings of parmesan and some good croutons and you have the perfect summertime meal.  I like a variety of crunchy veg on top of the basic cos salad, but feel free to omit or add different vegetables to suit your taste.  This is also delicious with grilled ribeye, prawns or even a fillet of salmon.

For the dressing:

  • 3 very fresh free-range eggs
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1-2 anchovies (optional)
For the chicken:
  • 4 tbsp of dressing
  • 2 chicken fillets
  • olive oil
For the salad:
  • 2 cos lettuce, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled and cubed
  • 100g bacon lardons, sauteed until crispy
  • large handful croutons
  • Handful of parmesan shavings
For the dressing, add all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth, emulsified and combined.  Refrigerate until needed.

For the chicken, marinate the fillets in about four tablespoons of the dressing for at least an hour.  Grill until cooked through, about 10 minutes a side. 

To assemble, add the lettuce and vegetables to a large bowl. Sprinkle with lardons, croutons and cheese.  Dress at table and top with chicken.


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