Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chicken & Ranch Hot Pasta Salad

Last night's dinner was so easy I won't dignify it with a recipe tag. Boil pasta in the usual way, and while that's cooking, fry a crumbed chicken tenderloin in a little butter. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to chop up the green of 3 or 4 spring onions, and add them straight to the frypan, along with a large heaped teaspoon of minced garlic (about 2 average cloves chopped if you don't have a jar kept in the fridge).

Remove the chicken to a plate once cooked, and cover with foil to keep warm. Turn the heat down on the pan as low as it can go, and add about 3 Tbsp of bottled Ranch dressing. Stir it around to get all the lovely cooking juices off the bottom of the pan.

Drain the pasta, and tip into the frypan with the hot dressing. Turn the heat off. Stir the pasta through the dressing, adding more dressing if needed to cover all the pasta. Serve in big bowls with the sliced chicken tenders on top.

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras!

Today is Mardi Gras in Sydney, and although we don't have pay tv so I can't watch the parade, and I have small children so I can't jet off to Sydney for the weekend, I thought I'd make these flag biscuits to celebrate anyway ;) Miss Four loved the bright colours. Because this was not part of our regular KCT baking together, and they are just so pretty, I'm going to put these in as our submission for Kids In The Kitchen, my month long cooking with kids event. Don't forget to enter if you want a chance to win that cute teddy tin!

Rainbow Flag biscuits
1 cup butter, very soft
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sifted icing sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
food colouring

In mixer bowl, add vanilla to softened butter; add sugar and mix well. Add flour and blend well. Divide dough into 6 balls. Colour each ball one of the colours of the rainbow.

line a loaf pan with glad wrap, leaving "handles" overhanging the edge.
Roll out the red ball into an oblong and fit into the pan. Roll out the orange ball on glad wrap and flip onto the red oblong.

Repeat for all colours. Tightly cover the purple and final layer with the glad wrap edges. Refrigerate for 30 mins to aid slicing, then turn out onto a cutting board.

Slice cookies 1/4 inch thick.

Bake at 170C degrees for 18 minutes. Do not brown too much as they will lose their colour. Cool immediately on a wire rack.

These make a dry, crumbly, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth type of biscuit, much like those in a Melting Moment or Yoyo. I hate those biscuits, but DP loves them. Which is fine, I didn't want to eat these anyway, they are just so pretty to look at!

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Baked Apples with Fruit Loaf

This was the last of this fortnight's Cooks Club Challenge recipes from the Taste forums. I made it as directed, so I'll just repost the original recipe.

BGP'S Naughty Baked Apples in a rush – recipe per person
1 thick slice of Fruit Loaf
1 Apple – Granny Smith or whatever variety you have
1 tbsp Sultanas
½ tsp Cinnamon
Pinch Mixed Spice
Pinch Corn Flour
1 tsp finely chopped chocolate
½ tsp brown sugar
1 tsp butter - softened + extra for buttering fruit loaf

• Preheat oven to 180 degrees C & line a tray with baking paper
• Cut ¾ of the core out of the apple – leaving some on the base
• Now carefully remove some of the belly of the apple to make a wide chamber
• Cut a fine line around the diameter of the apple (this prevents a “boom” in the oven)
• Zap the apple in the Microwave for 50 seconds on high
• Use the extra Butter & spread on the top-side of the fruit loaf slice
• Mix butter, sugar, cinnamon, corn flour & chocolate together to form a paste, then add sultanas
• Stuff this mixture in the belly of the apple until full, don’t worry if it overflows as the fruit loaf is its sponge & will catch any dribbles over the side.
• Place apple on top of fruit loaf & push down so it sits steady.
• Bake for approx 15 – 20 mins or until apple is soft & fruit loaf is golden
• Serve with loads of ice-cream

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Flash Game Friday

Red Remover

Get rid of the red blocks, but keep the green ones on screen.

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

This is another Cooks Club recipe, from the Taste.Com.Au forums. Normally I avoid cooking meatloaf, because it is always a disaster, and DP doesn't like meatloaf. But I have Pies in the freezer for him, and bgp from the forum suckered me in with talk of leftovers on sandwiches, and my freezer lunch stash is getting low again. The kids absolutely demolished this. I forgot to put the milk in, and made a few other minor adjustments to the original recipe. I've written it here as I made it, only I've left the milk in for you. ;)

Brown Sugar Meatloaf
650 gm Lean Beef Mince
¾ cup Milk
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
½ onion
2 spring onions
½ cup bread crumbs – either fresh or packet
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup tomato sauce

• Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
• Press brown sugar evenly in the bottom of loaf pan
• Spoon tomato sauce mixture evenly over sugar
• In a large bowl, mix all other ingredients until well combined
• Shape into a loaf & gently place on top of the Sauce
• Bake in oven for approximately 1 hour or until cooked
• Two ways to cut: Use tongs & spatula to lift out of loaf pan & slice on board or slice in the pan
• Stir the sauce in the bottom of the pan & pour over Meatloaf slices

Although not essential it is a good idea to use the leanest mince you can afford, if you find there is too much oil, spoon off before giving the sauce a stir.

Alternatives: Replace ½ cup tomato sauce with ¼ cup Tomato Sauce & ¼ cup Sweet Chilli Sauce

If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can use a muffin tin – just divide mixture evenly & half the cooking time.

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Kids Cooking Thursday: Cheesecake Muffins

Cheesecake Muffins(Taken from Quilt Inn Country Cookbook)
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened (That's about 225g, or one "block" pack)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp orange rind, grated fine

Cream rind, sugar and cheese together in bowl until smooth. Set aside

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
1 tsp orange rind, grated
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 1/4 cups finely grated carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Cream butter and brown sugar together in mixing bowl. Beat in eggs, orange juice concentrate and milk. Stir in orange rind, carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Combine flour, baking powder and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Add wet mixture.

Stir just until moistened. Spoon 2 tablespoons batter into each muffin cup, using only half the batter mix.

Spoon one tablespoon filling on top. Cover with remaining batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until top is firm and springs back when pressed lightly.

We swapped the juice concentrate for fresh juice, since we had the orange anyway, and added a few drops of orange essence.

Master One loves this cooking thing

We also switched the raisins for sultanas, because that's what I had. And we skipped the walnuts because I don't like them.

If you'd like to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.

This was an entry for
The Cookbook Challenge: Week 15 - Muffins.

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We can build a new tomorrow, today...

Photo taken by Adelheide Photography via

Last night I managed to escape being a 'mum' for the night, and went off to see Placebo at Festival Hall, in Melbourne. It was the fifth time I've seen them live, and while I prefer seeing them in smaller, more intimate venues, like The Metro or The Palais, last night was one of the best shows I've seen.

It was hard to get good photos from where I was sitting, especially since the security guards kept telling people off for taking photos, but I got a couple of ok shots. For some great shots taken from the photography pit, have a look here for more photos like the one above.

The Setlist:

1. For What It's Worth
2. Ashtray Heart
3. Battle For The Sun
4. Soulmates
5. Speak In Tongues
6. Follow The Cops Back Home
7. Every You Every Me
8. Special Needs
9. Breathe Underwater
10. Julien
11. The Never-Ending Why
12. Come Undone
13. Devil In The Details
14. Meds
15. Song To Say Goodbye
16. Special K
17. The Bitter End
18. Bright Lights
19. Trigger Happy
20. Infra-red
21. Taste In Men

Highlights definately had to be the old stuff, Every You, Every Me, Special K, and Taste in Men, as well as my new favourites from the recent album, Bright Lights and Breathe Underwater. Also great was Trigger Happy, which I hadn't heard before, but worked very well as a live song. If you have the chance to get tickets for any leg of the Battle For The Sun tour, I highly recommend it.

/fan girl ravings, back to food stuff now ;)

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Poached Chicken Pasta with Feta & Baby Spinach

Sounds Posh doesn't it? Thankfully the recipe isn't hard like you expect with a posh named dish. I pretty much made this up so I didn't have to get more than one pot dirty. Course, I cheated with a jar of ready made sauce, but if you have aversions to ready made sauce, you are welcome to make your own, and go through the rigmarole of bottling it, or at least freezing and defrosting it. Me, I'm very fond of the flavour and chunky vegetables in the Aldi brand Garden Vegetable pasta sauce, and it's cheap too.

Master One has no problems with bottled sauce!

Poached Chicken Pasta with Feta & Baby Spinach
1 pkt pasta shells/penne/spirals
a couple of splashes of Maggi
400g thinly sliced chicken (breast or thighs, whatever's on hand)
small head broccoli, cut into florets
100g baby spinach
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
1 jar tomato based pasta sauce

Put a large pot of salted water on the stove. Add the Maggi and the pasta straight away. When the water comes to a boil, stir the pasta. Slice the chicken and tip into the pot. Chop up the broccoli and add that to the pot when the pasta has about 3-4 minutes left to cook. When the pasta is cooked to your satisfaction, drain and return to the pot. Throw the spinach in on top of the pasta. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to chop the spring onions on the diagonal - it's much easier than slicing them with a knife. Toss them into the pot too, along with the feta and sauce. Stir everything up until it is well combined, then serve. Season individually with freshly cracked pepper, and salt to taste, if needed.

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Menu Plan Monday


Poached Chicken Pasta with Feta and Baby Spinach


Shoulder Ham & Double Brie Croissants


Minimalist Pasta


Brown Sugar Meatloaf


Takeaway, Baked Apples


Chicken & Ranch Hot Pasta Salad

Freezer Suprise

As usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday when we make Cheesecake Muffins!

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mango, Feta & Egg Pasta Salad

Mango, Feta & Egg Pasta Salad

1 pkt Pasta Spirals
2 mangos - finely sliced
¾ cup Feta cheese – crumbled
4 spring onions – finely sliced
3 eggs
Dressing: ½ cup whole egg mayonnaise
3 tbsp sundried tomato pesto
1 ½ tsp wholegrain mustard

• Mix dressing ingredients together in a bowl, cover & refrigerate.
• Cook Pasta & eggs together, after 5 mins take eggs out & place in cold water.
• Continue to cook Pasta until Al dente, drain & rinse under cold water. Place in fridge to cool.
• Once pasta is cold, peel & dice eggs and add all other ingredients & the dressing.
• Gently stir to combine
• Serve with any BBQ meat or on its own

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Teriyaki Beef with Soba Noodles

I ran into a little trouble with this weeks cookbook challenge. I don't have a single Japanese cookbook. We don't eat a lot of seafood or rice in our house, and it's just one of those cuisines I've never gotten a cookbook for. So I pulled out the old standby, my massive food magazine collection, and hope that will have to do. We do quite like soba noodles, and this was easy and tasty.

Teriyaki Beef with Soba Noodles Taken from Super Food Ideas, June 2008
270g packet soba noodles (see note)
600g lean beef rump steak, thinly sliced across the grain
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thin matchsticks
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1 1/2 cups beansprouts, trimmed

1. Cook noodles in a large saucepan of boiling water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain. Rinse under cold water.

2. Heat a wok over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil. Swirl to coat. Add half the beef. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until sealed. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with 2 teaspoons of oil and remaining beef.

3. Add remaining oil to wok. Add ginger and onion. Stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until onion is soft. Return beef and juices to wok. Add sauce and noodles. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until noodles are heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in beansprouts. Serve.

I used a little less meat, as I tend towards only 100g per person, and my supermarket didn't have any fresh ginger, so I skipped that. I bought spring onions, thinking they were green onions, but now I am not so sure. And the canned beansprouts were very expensive so I used a can of chinese vegetables that had beansprouts, bamboo, water chestnuts and other stuff instead. I like water chestnuts. Probably ended up nothing like the original recipe tasted, but we liked it regardless.

This was an entry for
The Cookbook Challenge: Week 14 - Japanese.

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flash Game Friday


A little like billiards, without the cues. One of those puzzles you need to think a few steps ahead.

Don't forget to get messy with your young 'uns for Kids In The Kitchen, training our next generation of food bloggers! ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Blogoversary to Me!

It's been two years to the day since I started Dragon Musings. In that time, I've learned a lot of new things, made new friends and had lots of friends. I've gotten my children accustomed to having their dinner photographed before they can eat it, in fact, it appears to be an honour to have their serve being chosen as the one for the internet. And my kids and I have done lots and lots of cooking.

Cooking with my kids is my favourite type of cooking to do, even though it invariably takes longer, and makes more mess, than if I did it alone, and quite often I get abandoned in the middle of something so they can answer the siren's call of a favoured tv show's theme song. But it's a good way to give them skills that will come in real handy in about 10 years, and stops them from asking for the bland prepackaged rubbish you find in supermarkets (most of the time).

To celebrate my blogoversary, I'm hosting a blog event, sharing my favourite activity with you all. Kids in the Kitchen is open for anyone making a dish with their children. If you don't have children, borrow someone else's or just bake a dish that is easy enough for children to make. The deadline is Thursday 11th of March, with the round up posted the following Saturday.

The best part of any party, from a child's point of view, is the goody bag. So one lucky guest will receive this gorgeous mini cupcake pan.

It's about the height of a coffee mug

To enter, just cook up a storm with your (or someone else's) children, blog about it, and then send me an email to silvermoon[AT]tmbg[DOT]org containing:

• Your name
• Blog name
• A permalink to your entry
• A picture of your creation.

Using the button or banner is optional, but welcomed, but please do include a link to this post on your entry.

Kids Cooking Thursday: Speculaas Fruit Scrolls

This is a recipe I modified from a Hot Cross Bun recipe I tried a few years back. I wanted something spicy and fruity, but with a bit of a twist (har har) so we used dutch biscuit spices, and made a jam scroll-y type thing.

Speculaas Fruit Scrolls
4 cups good quality plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
15g dried yeast (I used 2x 8g sachets)
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsps speculaas spices (recipe follows, for those who aren't lucky enough to get it sent from Holland ready made)
60g soft butter
1 egg
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
approx 1/2 cup jam (we used the last of our Strawberry, Blueberry & cranberry conserve)

Put yeast in bowl with the milk and 1 teaspoon sugar. Leave for 10-15 mins until it starts to froth.
Sift flour, salt, spice into bowl and add sugar. Rub in butter and add egg, milk and yeast mixture and fruit. Knead for at least 10 minutes or until elastic.
If the dough is sticky you may have to add a little more flour.

Place into a greased bowl, cover with glad wrap and leave in a warm spot until double in size. (No point giving times, with it being Summer over here and all, my kitchen is way hot).
Punch down to original size and knead lightly until smooth. Roll out into a thinnish rectangle (but no holes) and spread with jam.

Roll into a log, working from the long end. With a sharp knife, cut into slices about an inch thick, and place on a baking paper lined tray about 1 cm apart.

Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm spot for about 15 mins or until double in size.
Place in 200 c oven for about 20 mins or until cooked.

Speculaas Kruiden(Spices)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground aniseed
knifepoint of pepper

If you'd like to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.