Friday, January 23, 2015

DIY Asian food at home with Chang's

I feel so blessed to live here in Queensland, Australia. Such a wonderful climate all year round and access to a superb range of fresh fruit and vegetables, especially a lot of different varieties of Asian vegetables and herbs. We are so closely located to Asia and have been influenced over the years by the many cuisines in Asian countries like China, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, for example.  They've certainly got it worked out how to get good, fresh, easy meals on the table in minutes.

Chang's are one such company that are making things easy for us in the kitchen.  Chang's have been in Australia since 1968.  In fact, there really was a Mr Chang. He was C.H. Chang, China’s Consul General to Australia in 1968. He began importing authentic Asian flavours and serving them up to us Aussies, hungry for new and exotic oriental food. Today, Chang’s is a household name, still sharing delicious dishes.

With Chang's range of shelf-fresh noodles, you needn't worry about not having the ingredients on hand. From hokkien noddles to a gluten free range of wok ready Pad Thai noodles, Chang's has you covered. No need to keep them refrigerated.  Just store them in the pantry for a quick mid week or weekend meal. Great for the kids. Even my Little Miss Fusspot loves noodles.

Undoubtedly, the secret to a good Asian meal is in the sauce. Two sauces I recommend having on hand in the pantry, to recreate authentic Asian cuisine at home are fish sauce and light soy sauce. Mixed with other sauces you have like honey or tomato sauce, for example, you're well on your way to serving some delicious meals to your family. Fish sauce is one of the defining ingredients in authentic Thai cuisine and you can create your own Thai curries or fresh stir fries at home easily with a few basic ingredients.

The Chang's web site has an excellent Recipe Finder where you can choose by sauce, noodle or meat and find heaps of Asian meal ideas to try at home. The recipes are also sorted into categories such as BBQ, Beef, Kids, Vegetarian or Gluten Free options, for example, just to make finding your recipe with what ingredients you have that little bit easier. If you follow Chang's on Facebook, they're always sharing new recipes and handy ways to make the most of the great range of Chang's products.

I can't wait to share some quick, family friendly, cheap, Asian cuisine at home with you. Stay tuned for heaps of recipes. Be prepared by stocking up on some Chang's products, available from over 500 stores Australia wide and most products can be found on your local supermarket shelves. Here's a couple recipes to get you started.

Disclaimer:  I was given a selection of Chang's noodles and sauces to try. All opinions and ideas are my own.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thriving on Thursdays - Linky Party # 116


Welcome to Thriving on Thursdays and another week of inspirational blog posts from all around the world. A place to share your food, craft, saving tips, sewing, gardening and anything else goes blog posts, just to help save a few dollars. 

Somehow I don't think my "Pima" and "Pico" puppies are this happy on a school morning.

This week is crazy busy with back to school organising. Nothing like leaving it until the last minute to purchase the kid's school books. Plus, there'll be hair cuts today, a good wash on Monday night, school shoes spit and polished and one will be out the door Tuesday and the next child on Wednesday. If you hear a huge 'sigh', that'll be me on Wednesday morning at about 9am when I'll be listening for the serenity! (Only kidding. They've been pretty good kids these last 6 weeks or so.) So, onto my favourites from last week's party. Here are my top 3 food and non food blog posts from last week.



I-cord Rug - Teppich aus Strickschn├╝ren

How to Make Chores Work in Your Family and End the Chore Battle

Before and After: The Ugly Vintage Lamp

And that my friends is a 'wrap' for this week. Feel free to grab the 'featured' button from my drop down menu above. I can't wait to see what you've all been up to this week. Don't forget, I'll be featuring all Valentine's Day posts in a special feature a bit closer to the big day. Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Homemade Gozleme

The Italians have calzone, the Mexicans have quesadillas and the Turkish people have gozleme. It's amazing what you can do with just flour, oil and water. These tasty little treats take barely no time to whip up and you can fill them with whatever ingredients you have on hand. In this case, I used some English spinach I had wilting in the fridge and a little feta cheese. I made a mushroom and cheese gozleme for my son and a garlic and cheese one for Little Miss Fusspot.

This recipe, from Gourmet Wog has no yeast so no waiting around for it to rise etc. It's a very basic dough that needs to rest for just a couple minutes while you prepare the filling. They can be cooked on the barbecue, on the stove top in a frying pan or, as I did, in my sandwich press so they were cooked in no time.

The dough forms into a lovely, silky smooth ball and is easy to work with and to roll out.

Let your imagination go wild with the fillings. The Turks also love to make a spicy lamb mince filling and fill in between these deliciously, light, crispy flatbreads.

It's just a matter of putting one layer of dough on the pan, top with the filling and place the second layer of dough on top and fry until golden. With the use of the sandwich press, I was able to cook both sides at once. If you cook it on the stove top, you'd have to be a dab hand at flipping the gozleme but once the filling melts and sticks, it's pretty easy. Gozleme make a lovely alternative to boring old sandwiches for lunch or, served with a salad, a light and healthy evening meal.

Homemade Gozleme
  • 2 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • olive oil spray or extra olive oil to brush pan

Spinach & Feta filling:
  • handful of spinach leaves (I used English spinach and wilted in the microwave for about 20 secs)
  • 100 grams feta cheese crumbled
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 egg to combine
  • salt & pepper

  1. Add salt to plain flour.
  2. Make a well in the middle and add olive oil and water.
  3. Mix until dough forms a ball.
  4. Knead for approximately 10 minutes until the dough is silky smooth.
  5. Allow to rest for 20 minutes and prepare your filling.
  6. Cut dough ball into 4 sections.
  7. Cut each of this sections into 2 and roll into a round shape of similar size and very thin.
  8. Place one piece of rolled dough into a well greased pan, on a barbecue plate or sandwich press and place the filling on top.
  9. Place the other piece of dough on top.
  10. Cook over a medium heat until dough has cooked and flip to cook the other side.
  11. Brush with extra olive oil if desired.
  12. Cut into wedges to serve. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Easy Cornflake & White Choc Chip Cookies

Growing up Mum nearly always made cornflake cookies with the leftover cornlakes lying at the botton of the box. Once the free toy was gone, we weren't interested in them all that much. We did love the cookies though but I always find them so cumbersome to make, having to roll in cornflakes. While baking, they usually fall off so I don't bother making them.

My son has taken quite a liking to cornflakes lately (plus a couple spoonfuls of sugar sprinkled on top I might add) so I'm lucky if I get a few leftover at the bottom of the box. The cookie tin was empty, I had some white choc chips in the pantry so a blast from the past and these cornflake cookies were made.  I found rolling spoonfuls of cookie dough into balls with the cornflakes already mixed in gave a much nicer cookie with a subtle crunch. The addition of white choc chips made them a little more decadent too. Any type of chocolate would work well. This is a great recipe for the kids to get involved.

Easy Cornflake & White Choc Chip Cookies
(Recipe based on

  • 125gm butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 & 3/4 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup white choc chips
  • 1 & 1/2 cups cornflakes

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  2. Add vanilla and melted butter to brown sugar.
  3. Add eggs and mix well
  4. Add flour, choc chips and cornflakes to the butter mixture and stir until well combined.
  5. Roll balls of dough onto a baking sheet lined with paper, allowing room to spread.
  6. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thriving on Thursdays - Linky Party # 115


Welcome to another week and the Thriving on Thursdays linky party, my second after a long hiatus. It's been a busy week. We're about half way through our summer break from school and even though the kids haven't been too bad, at ages 10 and 8 I'm starting to get the "I'm bored" a lot. Something I never heard from my kids before. I never liked the thought of iPads and iPods in the house but their father bought them and once they get sick of them, they're looking for something to do. We've got a big backyard and heaps of room. They were banned from all electronic devices for a week because of poor behaviour and have been playing with Cuisinaire rods, toy cars, drawing, riding their scooters, helping me bake, reading library books and a million other things. Amazing how the electronic devices can make them so bored. I feel like throwing them to the kerb to be honest. (The iPads that is, not the kids...honest!)

Anyway, onto another week. We had some wonderful recipes and projects linked up last week and I'd like to share with you my 3 favourite food and 3 favourite non food posts. They'll be featured on a special Pinterest board and my Facebook/Twitter accounts. Thanks everyone for coming last week. It's great to see you back again this week.


Jam Doughnut-Muffin, with sugar coating


How to Clean and Organize Anything

What a gorgeous selection of posts. If you've been featured, feel free to grab a "featured" button from the drop down "Buttons" menu above. Now, let's party! Have a great week and thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mini Mango Cheesecake Cups

Remember the Mini Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake Cups I made just before Christmas when I had a few girlfriends over? Well, these are the other flavour I made. A plain mango cheesecake cup topped with toasted coconut. It was hard to choose which was the nicer but it all depends if you are a chocoholic or love the fresh taste of mango. I can't begin to tell you how easy these are and great for a crowd and just a little taste for everyone instead of a whole, big cheesecake but with the same flavour.

Begin by crushing some plain flavoured biscuits. These are called Butternut Snaps and are a crunchy, buttery biscuit.

Using fresh, tinned or frozen mango, blitz until you have about 1/2 to 1 cup of mango puree. (You could also use tinned mango puree.) It's mango season here where I live in Brisbane and the mangoes are in abundance. Mix in one 250gram tub of spreadable cream cheese.

Spoon a tablespoon of biscuit crumbs into the bottom of a shot glass or small cup. (You can use bigger glasses if you like.) These plastic cups were about $2 for ten at my local dollar store. Spoon on the cheesecake mixture, top with a little finely diced fresh mango if you have it and sprinkle with a little toasted, shredded coconut. Pop in the fridge to set. That's it!

No need to set with gelatine, they will firm up in the fridge just nicely and no need for a long list of ingredients. I can't even begin to imagine all the different flavour combinations you could use. Just Google cheesecake and add those base ingredients to a tub of spreadable cream cheese. It really is that easy.

Mini Mango Cheesecake Cups

  • 6 crunchy butter based biscuits, crushed
  • 1 tub 250gm spreadable cream cheese
  • 1/2 fresh mango, pureed (or tinned/frozen equivalent, depending on how many cups you are making)
  • extra fresh diced mango for garnish
  • shredded coconut, toasted for garnish

  1. Spoon 1 tablespoon of crushed biscuits into the base of a shot glass or small plastic cup.
  2. Mix mango puree with cream cheese and spoon on top of biscuit crumbs.
  3. Top with a little diced fresh mango and toasted shredded coconut.
  4. Chill until ready to serve.

Makes 10 small cups.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Individual Pommes Anna

Something that's been ingrained in me since my childhood is to have potatoes or another starchy food served at every main meal. Sometimes it could be oven baked wedges, mashed potatoes or Gratin Dauphinois, a classic French baked dish of thinly sliced potatoes smothered in cream and topped with cheese. Another such classic French dish is Pommes Anna, which is thinly sliced potato topped with butter and baked in a cake shape and sliced into wedges.

There was only going to be two of us for dinner this one particular night so I decided to try individual serves of Pommes Anna and it worked a treat. It was quick, easy and no fuss. Just the way I like it. I started the cooking process off by microwaving the thinly sliced potato. I left the skin on these washed variety of potatoes I had bought.

I used a Texas muffin sized pan, sprayed with a little oil and made these 'handles' from baking paper so I could lift out the potatoes once they were cooked.

After a couple minutes in the microwave, I sprinkled plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper onto the potato slices and placed in the muffin tray then topped with a decent size of butter. In this case it was a good Danish brand of butter which just so happened to be flavoured with garlic. I picked up 3 packs of this butter on sale for about $4 which is a good buy. It also makes a lovely garlic bread.

After about 15 minutes in the oven, the potatoes were cooked and lovely golden brown on top. I lifted them out of the tray and slid them onto the plate. This particular night I served them with a crispy skinned salmon fillet and a pea puree. (That recipe to come. It's so, so easy and so refreshingly full of flavour.) Why not give these a try. They'd be great for a crowd and an impressive, easy way to serve the humble potato.

Individual Pommes Anna
  • potatoes, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • butter

  1. Preheat oven to 170 deg C.
  2. Cook thinly sliced potato in microwave for a couple minutes until just tender.
  3. Using a oil sprayed muffin tray (or smaller if potato slices are smaller in width) which has narrow pieces of baking paper arranged like a "handle" inside, arrange well seasoned potato slices in tray.
  4. Top with a slice of good quality butter.
  5. Bake for approx 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked and golden brown on top.