cooking with jamie: new dinner favourites

jorecipes

jorecipes

What to have for dinner is a conversation repeated all over the country every evening.

There’s a lot of “what do feel like?”, “what do you want?”, “what do we have?”.

Now the only surefire way around this is a trusty meal plan [although it does usually mean we just move that conversation to Sunday afternoon and get it all over and done with for one session!].

Or, I bite the bullet, and take responsibility for the week’s ideas ~ which means a paper and pen and a bunch of cookbooks or magazines and I pick out what looks good.

Last week my epicurean literary companions were Jamie Oliver’s 15-minute and 30-minute meal cookbooks. Now naturally these titles are somewhat of a misnomer ~ it’s more like 45 to 60 minutes and a good half-hour meals. The Mr blames the structure which reads along the recipe, rather than steps it out.

I’ve been a fan of Oliver since his Naked Chef days and there are quite of few of his books on our shelves. The Mr swears by his pasta-making techniques and I cook his Yorkshire puddings recipe without fail every time.

And despite the misleading titles, once you have conquered a JO quick cook, it gets easier second time around. So they are always worth keeping in rotation.

So today, I’m sharing a few of my favourites and ones they featured on the menu at Casa Lime Lane this past week. All were hits ~ plates and leftovers cleaned up.

  • This gorgeous Greek chicken is certainly one of the easier ones ~ and makes for a great lunch, warm [for me at work] or cold [in the smalls' lunchboxes].
  • These satay chicken skewers and noodles are a firm favourite. I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve had it and I often cook the noodles to serve with other dishes. [We skip dessert. But you see our version in this post]
  • Again, these lamb meatballs were surprisingly simple to make but had a great flavour and made for great lunch leftovers. And most of the ingredients are probably in the pantry.
  • And more leftover goodness ~ warm and cold ~ from the cauliflower macaroni cheese, a version of which is here. This was a lovely, homey Friday night meal. Served with tossed salad, it had a lovely but not too rich taste.
  • We also had the black bean burgers last week, although I couldn’t find a recipe online, which included black bean sauce in the burger mixture, tossed with honey [or rice malt syrup] and sesame seeds at the end of cooking. Delicious,

Are you a Jamie Oliver fan? Got a favourite recipe.

the great big meal plan / no. 3

cookbooks

81/365 ~ so what's for dinner tonight

Sometimes it’s good not to reinvent the wheel when it comes to meal planning every week.

I often fall into the trap of trying new things, flipping through the array of magazines and finding new recipes and filling the week with those.

But this week, we’ve gone back to some basics and some old favourites to pepper the weeknight menu to keep little tummies hungry.

Pearl Cous cous "risotto"

Last week was another success in that we used everything up and, for the most part, it was well received. The pearl cous cous [above] was the loser for the week ~ not quite garnering the praise I thought it would. Although I thought it was quite tasty.

It’s great to be able to keep a list of plans here for easy referral in the weeks ahead and I encourage anyone to do the same ~ not necessarily on a blog but in a folder on your computer or wherever, even Instagram works well for finding meals! When you’re stuck for an idea it’s then easy to go back and find ideas that worked.

On to this week:

Monday: Chicken stir-fry with noodles ~ the Mr makes this up out of his head and always does  a bang-up job. Everyone loves noodles and it’s a great way to get some veggies into the smalls at the start of the week!

Tuesday: Tacos and nachos ~ the two are often confused in our house for the other but a 12-pack of shells doesn’t go far with two hungry boys [and 24 is too many] so some nachos on the side makes it go a little further. This week it will be vegetarian fare with some spicy beans in the slow cooker making it easy to prepare that evening.

Wednesday: This is our free afternoon of the week so there’s a little more time to prepare dinner without the rush of taxiing children around. On the menu is Planning Queen’s Mexibake. This is a delicious and hearty meal loved by the whole family here. If you haven’t tried it yet get on it!

Thursday: This will be a follow-up chicken dish ~ perhaps some schnitzels or burgers. We will be winging it with the leftovers.

Friday: I like to keep this open as the youngest has a late soccer training session which means a later than normal dinner. So we will see how we feel come the end of the week.

Planning Queen also has some great meal planning resources here if you want more ideas and benefits of being organised.

Bon appetit.

 

 

the great big meal plan // no. 2

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Leftover lasagne for lunch today. #delish

Last week’s meal plan was a huge success, although sadly it yielded few leftovers for lunch.

We swapped Tuesday night’s chicken out for a chicken stir-fry, easy to do with a mix of fresh and frozen veggies and some pantry staples.

The Mr made a delicious homemade lasagne for Friday night which kept us going through the weekend as well.

Thanks @whatkatieate for the dinner inspiration. Steak with lemon, caper & dill butter, potato and sweet potato crisps, and beetroot and blue cheese salad. #vscocam

On Saturday night I tied on the apron and made steaks with lemon, dill and caper butter, salt and vinegar potato and kumera crisps and a beetroot, blue cheese and walnut salad [pictured]. The recipes were by Katie Quinn Davies out of the February issue of delicious magazine and were exactly that, delicious! The perfect weekend meal with a glass of red and a more simple salad for the smalls.

Beetroot crostini with goats cheese to start Sunday night dinner. The Mr's specialty. #vscocam   Main course Camembert and Brussels sprouts quiche for us, ham and cheese for the smalls. With salad. #nom #delish

Last night we had the Mr’s speciality, beetroot crostini with goats cheese using up the leftover beetroot and then I made savoury tarts ~ a brussel sprout one from delicious magazine for us and ham and cheese for the smalls ~ paired with the leftover salads. This also gives us some fodder for lunches this week.

And coming up this week:

Monday: Hitting taste magazine a couple of times this week. First-up for meat-free Monday is roast vegetable and white bean enchiladas. The great part about this recipe is using up some leftover veggies in the crisper.

Tuesday: Chicken always seems to make multiple appearances on the menu and tonight it’s a curry and yoghurt roast chicken from here. Hopefully I can convince the Mr to make some homemade naan to go with it!

Wednesday: The Mr will take the reins tonight and whip up something with beef, most likely some spicy beef wraps.

Thursday: The Mr will be off to football training so I’m trying something a little new with pearl cous cous. This is a chicken and tomato “risotto” made with the grain and is also from taste magazine.

Friday: Leaving this open as the Mr and I will be at the local races and then the youngest has football training. Takeaway or leftovers will be on the menu.

Bon appetit.

 

 

 

the little moments …

bread

bread

Sometimes it’s the little moments.

  • I made bread for the first time in weeks, maybe months, after making it every day for almost as long. I also poached chicken for sandwiches and salads and boiled eggs for the same reason. In my domestic goddess lime light and it felt good.
  • When I indicated I was making fresh bread, the smalls expressed their delight. A far cry from the whine that accompanied the bread making and the fact it wasn’t square.
  • These are the same smalls that have been taking bickering to a new level. They could run a course in bickering 101. And then there was a moment  when I walked through while getting ready in the morning, and they were both sitting quietly on the lounge reading.
  • Giving the study a quick tidy so I can move around it again. It didn’t take long and made a huge difference. Mind you, still missing my cheque book.
  • That a favourite band has a new single, and it is Magic indeed. We watched them at the SXSW iTunes festival the other day which was also quite magical. Catch it on iTunes while you can.

Little moments to be remembered.

the great big meal plan

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IMG_9056

Meal planning. You either love it or hate it. It either works for you, or it doesn’t.

I must say, when I’ve “planned” a week or meals, things do run that little bit smoother.

I say “planned” because things don’t always go to plan, particularly at the end of the week, but as long as everyone is fed and happy, then it’s all OK.

So, as part of Life at Lime Lane, I thought I might document our meal plans.

Now we are a family of two adults and two growing boys, that means lots of food.

We also closely watch our oil intake and sugar.

This is my “plan” for this week. I have to work late one day and we have visitors coming Friday so that’s not included this time around.

And I went shopping without a proper list, so it’s a little loose around the edge.

This week’s catch cry: “Make it work!”

Last night we had this roasted capsicum and tomato soup [pictured above ~ it’s a favourite for a couple of us and found via Angie] with some crunchy bread rolls and some fresh corn from the garden! That’s amazing in itself. And really, a great Sunday night meal.

On to this week.

Monday: I’m popping this coconut madras curry in the slow cooker. It will work for the smalls when they are ready and still be warm for when I get home late from work. And it’s delicious. It used to cause much envy around the workplace when I ate it, I’ve shared the recipe many times. Try it, you’ll thank me!

Tuesday:  Chicken. Most likely chicken wraps, possibly chicken schnitzel [we use this recipe, simple and delicious]. This will be the Mr’s night and is liable to surprise.

Wednesday: More chicken. Poor planning ~ this is what happens when you don’t armed with a proper list ~ but the week’s events are determining the menu. I drew a blank at the supermarket and grabbed a whole chicken as well. So a quick roast, some creamy potatoes and some greens. Done. Perfect mid-week meal.

Thursday: I would have preferred to have this on Wednesday to break up the week and a meat-free dish is in order. But if the Mr goes to football training tonight this is the better option. So in the morning I will pop some red kidney beans in the slow cooker with tomatoes, spices and liquid and we will have that with rice and baked tortilla strips.

Friday: We are having guests. The Mr made the invitation so he’s doing the cooking and planning.

Bon appétit.

Got some favourite meals to share? Meal planning, yes or no?

 

Sunday adventures ~ Part II

brownbros

Sunday adventures ~ part II

 Did you catch our first adventure?

A little stint of corporate project work means my weekends have been free ~ working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, what a way to make a living!

Blessed with another beautiful Sunday, and with the Mr’s birthday nearing,  we headed south, down the freeway, a slightly more famous destination in mind ~ the Brown Brothers winery and Epicurean Centre.

Sunday adventures ~ part II

The sunny Sunday afternoon was made for an afternoon of grazing on delicious bites while sipping local wine.

We got Epi.Curious, ordering several dishes,  little hands kept creeping into sample the smallgoods and fresh bread. A second round of morsels ordered.

Where else could you introduce the smalls to a quail terrine or a lamb croquette, and which they loved.

Sunday adventures ~ part II

Sunday adventures ~ part II

On the way home we stopped at another little winery down the road ~ John Gehrig’s. The aim was to stock up on some muscat for friends but we ended up walking away with several bottles for ourselves. [That's not really the biggest surprise now, is it.]

It’s easy to forget what’s in your own backyard. And it’s easy to think you don’t have the time.

These adventures might have only been for a few hours but they create memories that last a lifetime.

Where are you going to go this weekend?

Note to self: One thing to remember ~ take lots of photos, particularly ones with you in it.

 

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Sunday adventures ~ part II

Sunday adventures ~ Part I

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IMG_9590

There is nothing more inviting than a sunny day in the depths of winter.

It’s like a guilty pleasure to be sitting outside without a jumper or coat on, soaking up the rays.

We’ve obviously done something right of late as Mother Nature has blessed us with sun on the weekends and the grey days during the week, where they are seemingly right at home on a Monday.

So there’s nothing for it but to get out an enjoy it, particularly these past couple of Sundays where we have found ourselves without sport or work commitments, a rare day indeed.

We throw the camera gear in the back of the car, meet up with our friends, and head off into the yonder.

The adventure took us north, a road winding around the expanse of Lake Hume and along the mighty Murray River.

Sunday adventuring

We ended up in the town of Jingellic where stopped for lunch at the pub, hearty fare with a magnificent view to boot.

sunday adventuring ~ Part I

We took the other road home, crossing the lake on the “ferry”, a small punt that can fit three cars, we were two and then it turned out we knew the people in the third, such is country life.

Stay tuned for part II of our Sunday adventures.


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// All photos taken with my iPhone! The best camera is the one you have with you.

rise up against a ruthless enemy

daffodils

daffodils

My mum had breast cancer.

My dad had prostrate cancer.

My father-in-law had stomach cancer.

My boss had malignant tumour.

A friend’s daughter had one behind her eye.

All of them faced a battle, fought bravely, but sadly, only some of them won the war.

Cancer is a ruthless, unforgiving and indisciminate enemy.

Today I went along to my mum’s cancer support groups monthly get-together that included their event for The Biggest Morning Tea.

I was drawn in by the promise of triangle cut sandwiches and sausage rolls.

However, I was privileged to hear the story a Cancer Council volunteer, who had lost her 24-year-old son to leukemia but was now a passionate advocate for the council’s work.

In that brief time I learnt:

  • This month the Cancer Council marks the 20th anniversary of Biggest Morning Tea fund-raiser.

  • In that time more than 61,000 lives have been saved from this insidious disease, that’s eight lives a day.

  • Sadly though, in the future, one in two will be diagnosed with cancer.That means between you and me, one us will have a battle on our hands.

Scary stuff.

My mum and dad won the war. I’ve had to say a final goodbye to the others.

There is nary a day goes past that I, probably you, don’t hear the story of someone you know that has entered the trenches to battle cancer, whether it be them or a loved one.

This is why I urge you to make a difference, no matter how small.

Attend an event, organise one yourself, pop a few coins in a bright yellow donation box.

Or when you take your coffee break today just hop over to the website and the hit donate button.

And raise a cup to a cure for cancer.

April photo a day ~ better late than never

photo

April photo a day

1. Day 1 // play, 2. Day 2 // blue, 3. Day 3 // something beginning with A, 4. Day 4 // this happened today, 5. Day 5 // something good, 6. Day 6 // air, 7. Day 7 // dreamy, 8. Day 8 // on your plate, 9. Day 9 // tiny, 10. Day 10 // a place, 11. Day 11 // detail, 12. Day 12 // in the middle, 13. Day 13 // view from your bed, 14. Day 14 // water, 15. Day 15 // alone, 16. Day 16 // your favourite colour, 17. Day 17 // busy, 18. Day 18 // hello, 19. Day 19 // button, 20. Day 20 // on your mind, 21. Day 21 // fire, 22. Day 22 // blurry, 23. Day 23 // time, 24. Day 24 // I saw this person today, 25. Day 25 // life is …, 26. Day 26 // childhood, 27. Day 27 // earth, 28. Day 28 // my Sunday, 29. Day 29 // I wore this, 30. Day 30 // glasses

I really dropped the ball on the photo a day challenge these past two months but after completing the first quarter, I was determined to keep it up.

So with some photo taking bursts here and some pinching from the archives there, I’ve managed to complete April.

When I get behind I don’t bother sending to Instagram, instead just uploading straight to flickr.

And such is the case with May, except I’m doing the up-to-date prompts on Instagram and catching up via flickr.

Fat Mum Slim’s April photo a day challenge

you say you want a revolution

mealplanning

mealplanning

Today is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day. I’ve obviously been living under a rock because I didn’t find out about this event until earlier this week.

Food Revolution Day on 17 May is a global day of action for people to make a stand for good food and essential cooking skills. It’s a chance for people to come together within their homes, schools, workplaces and communities to cook and share their kitchen skills, food knowledge and resources.

But timing is a funny thing.

Last week, with no forethought or planning, we had a Jamie Oliver food revolution of own.

On holidays and home for the nightly family dinner, I inadvertently cooked a Jamie Oliver recipe from Monday to Thursday [Friday doesn't count as it was the smallest's birthday party].

We’ve always been the cooking types. I love a new recipe challenge and enjoy cooking for others while the husband likes to fly by the seat of his pants and make it up as he goes along, with tasty results. And even the kids get involved ~ they make a mean steamed dumpling thanks the tutelage of Donna Hay. And we’ve been making our own bread for a few weeks now.

What I don’t enjoy is the monotony of the everyday dinner? So much so I went on strike the other week because I could not think of a single thing to cook to please the masses.

And that’s why I really enjoyed my own revolution last week with Jamie. I broke all the rules and went shopping every day but hey, I was on holidays, I had time and it worked.

Our menu for the week kicked off with satay chicken skewers and fiery noodle salad [pictured]  from the 30-minute book, followed by meatballs and basic tomato sauce from The Naked Chef, Wednesday was Happy Cow burgers [my boys love these, and not just because of the name] and Thursday we tried the lamb kofte, pitta and greek salad [pictured].

The meatballs and burgers we had had before but the other two were new. All were greeted with enthusiasm and chowed down. The community eating aspect of Jamie Oliver’s 15-minute and 30-minute meals really appeals to the smalls and certainly makes things smoother when introducing something new.

But all good things must come to an end and now it is back to work. And the inevitable “what’s for dinner?” returns this week. It’s time to get organised.

So I have a plan. A meal plan to be precise.

This week I wrote a long list of favourite family meals, that at least 75 per cent of the family like [there's four of us] and the other 25 per cent will tolerate. It’s the master meal list.

I’m putting it into Google Drive so I can access it anywhere for inspiration or to add to it. I will also have a meals to try section so we can find some new favourites.

Then it’s just a matter of looking at the list, deciding on meals for the week and writing a shopping list. And if I’m really organised I can do this all from the comfort of my home and get the groceries delivered at the start of the week.

Sounds like a plan, right!

So naturally I turned to my trusty computer and made up a sheet to plan out the week, and the groceries. If it works well I will probably laminate it and use it like a whiteboard, save printing it out all the time.

And naturally I have shared it with you. You can download it here.

Ready for a revolution.