Lemon Tart

An old fashioned staple of the country kitchen but,

you’ll be surprised at just how simple this Lemon Tart is to whip up in a jiffy.

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For the shell of this tart, you can choose to use either a store bought pastry case or my easy peasy bikki base which is just 1 cup of crushed up plain sweet biscuits then add 1/2 cup of melted butter before mixing it altogether & pressing down into your tin. Bake that in a 160c oven for 5 minutes then let it cool off while you tackle the filling.

Into a bowl goes 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of caster sugar along with the juice & zest of a fresh lemon or two (depending on how big & juicy they are), you want about 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Whisk that lot up well to combine before stirring through 1/3 cup of thickened cream.

Pour the filling into the waiting tart shell & bake in a 180c oven for 20 minutes (or until it’s set).

Whack it on the counter to cool before dusting generously with icing sugar to serve.

Homemade Fizzy Lemonade

You don’t get much more traditional on a Home Farm than making your very own refreshing lemonade!

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Start off by popping 3/4 cup of caster sugar into a heat proof jug & pouring over 1 cup of boiling water. Stir that until the sugar dissolves & then set it aside to completely cool.

Next, simply add in 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (or 1 whole cup if you like the Zoolander facial) along with 2 cups of sparkling water. Give it a quick stir to mix it all up well but don’t lose your bubbles before pouring over ice cubes in glasses.

Tanz Tip – for the grown ups try adding just a wee splash of vodka 😉

Banana Fizz Pops

The creamy goodness of banana with a giggleliciouz fizz will prove totally 

irresistible to little fingers. 

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This all the time special treat is a real hit with kids of all ages, including the ones you’re married too 😉 and with only 2, yes that’s TWO ingredients, there’s no excuse for not keeping these in your freezer!

Drag out good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) for this one.

Simply chop up 4 over ripe bananas, because that’s where all the flavour is, before squeezing in the juice of 2 fresh lemons & giving it a jolly good wazz up.

Pour the luscious liquid into ice-pop moulds, whack in the freezer & when they’re set completely immerse yourself in this totally healthy indulgence.

The lemons somehow react with the bananas to give a tingly fizz in your mouth that’s so playful it’s just down right joyous.

Lemon Lamb Casserole

Our wee lemon tree may be tiny but gosh she puts out a lot of fruit!

So what’s a girl to do with so very many lemons?!?!

I think I shall declare this to be Lemon Week! 

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To kick off our celebration of citrus, a hearty casserole will do just the trick in these dying days of winter.

Start off by heating a glug of oil in a deep saucepan & sealing 500g of diced lamb, remembering to season generously with salt & pepper. Remove those straight into a waiting casserole dish.

Next, heat up a wee bit more oil in the same pan to then add in a heap of root vegetables, any type that floats your boat or you have kicking around the place, I’ve used half a dozen tatties & a few carrots in this one. Pop in a few decent teaspoons of minced garlic to flavour & just get a wee bit of colour of those veggies.

Bung in 1 litre of chicken stock on top of the veggies & bring that up to a nice boil. You’re getting a head start on the veggies cooking but also you’re deglazing the pan at the same time to ensure that no flavour is ever left behind! At this point you can choose to either thicken your sauce with a wee bit of cornflour or choose to have more of a soup for your casserole.

Pour all of that, very carefully, into the casserole dish & give it a jolly good stir to mix through the meat as well.

Gently place fresh lemon slices across the top before spraying with extra virgin olive oil (this stops the lemons from burning) & then either cover with a lid or alfoil before whacking into a 180c oven for an hour. Now, at the 40 minute mark you will lid to remove that lid or alfoil.

Remember to discard the lemon slices from the top before serving. They’ve done their job in releasing their luscious juice into the casserole & nobody wants to eat the remains!

Banana Split Bites

Mini Me simply adores being by my side in the kitchen & loves her cooking classes, so I’m always on the lookout for Kids in the Kitchen friendly recipes for her to do.

This sweet delight requires no actual cooking so is perfect for little fingers to create.

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Start off by slicing some over ripe (because they have the most flavour!) bananas on an attractive angle into thick slices. That’s the most work you’re going to do mum!

Smear half the slices with strawberry jam & the other half with peanut butter.

Next, mix a teaspoon of vanilla paste into half a block (115g) of softened cream cheese before dolloping on the jam topped bananas.

Carefully place the peanut butter bananas on top to create a sandwich effect.

Grab out good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) & have your Mini Me whip up some thickened cream to plop on top & delight in the giggles as colourful sprinkles bounce all over your kitchen!

Easy Moroccan Tagine

Nothing could be simpler than whacking together this ever so quick, totally exotic meal that will make the hubby wonder how on earth he got so lucky to be married to a domestic goddess.

This taste of the African coast is packed full of fabuliciouz flavour & is done in a flash!

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Being a busy family means that, yeah, somedays I have to pump out a meal in a hurry, but that doesn’t mean it should be boring!

Just make sure you’ve been organised enough to have soaked about 400g worth of lentils in water. Overnight is awesome, but seriously, when you get up in the morning ahead of your busy day is fine too. The trick is to get at least 6-8 hours of soaking time, lucky little buggers.

Drain your soaked lentils off in a colander & set them aside until it’s their turn for the pot.

First, simply coat 500g of diced lamb in that heavenly aromatic Moroccan spice blend you can buy in all the supermarkets, this is the absolutely essential ingredient that transforms this meal. Heat up a good glug of oil in a saucepan & just seal the meat.

Next, you want to add in half a diced butternut pumpkin, a tin (400g) of crushed tomatoes & the now drained soaked lentils. Give it all a jolly good stir, bung a lid on top & let it gently simmer away for 30 minutes.

Honestly, that’s it. Have the hubby pour you a glass of wine & relax until It’s Chompin Time!

Melbourne’s Country Playground

After so many years spent wandering the nation as somewhat reluctant nomads,

have we finally found our nook of Australia to settle down in?

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We have lived from top to bottom & side to side of this great southern land we call home. We have roamed & loved, tasted & explored every possible climate available in a bid to find where we belong. At every new location, one of the very first things we do is to visit the local information centre.

Although these centre’s are catering to the tourists who arrive, they should never be overlooked by new residents to a region. We have found they are the best place ever to resource everything you need to get started in your new environment. Grab all the flyers & tourist trail maps of everything you’re interested in & then make contact with one of the friendly staff. Tell them you’ve just moved to town & they will fill your head with all the local’s only hot spots! Plus you’ll get bonus information of where the locals meet up to connect & chat about what’s happening. This is absolutely vital when landing yourself into rural or remote Australia.

So, our brand spanking new home is on the absolutely stunning Dandenong Ranges. Quite often overlooked for our iconic Yarra Valley neighbour, we’ve noticed a very clever marketing tactic by the local tourism bureau here, a blending of the names to produce the Yarra Ranges!

The trail map, pictured above, is first on our hit list to explore (we’ve already done some places) so, naturally, will be sharing our family outings with you.

We’re about an hour away from the Melbourne CBD and there are loads of day trips you can take up this way from the tour people, but personally, I would hire a car & really get out to explore all the little farm gate stalls to gather together a fabuliciouz hamper of fresh goodies!

However, let’s get back to the question at hand………..Can we finally settle down to grow some roots of our own?

We are adoring the novelty of 4 defined seasons in the south & the mountain feels like a world away from the city. There is ample work within a reasonable commute whilst we are able to maintain our country lifestyle. We have one of the world’s premier wine regions on our doorstep to compliment the outstanding food bowl produce from the rich soil. The spoils of one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities are within easy reach for our picking. We are surrounded by an eclectic mix of people who reflect every region we’ve passed through to get here.

Our journey is no longer a destination. 

Crab & Mac Mornay

Well, what can I say about the combination of delicately fresh crab meat & creamy cheese sauce?

It’s, quite simply, FABULICIOUZ!

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I probably don’t really need to say this….but……you’d better start off by popping on a pot of water to bring to the boil, once bubbling away like a Shakespearean cauldron, add salt & cook off your macaroni pasta. This can all be done while we make the cheese sauce……just don’t confuse the hubby with multi-tasking 😉 Because I use Gluten Free Pasta, it comes in a smaller box than wheat varieties, but it’s usually around 2 cups worth (I just chuck in the entire lot!). Once cooked, drain & bung into a casserole dish.

Meanwhile, let’s get cracking on that decadently creamy cheese sauce!

Pop 2 tablespoons of butter (the real stuff so it’s not oily) into a saucepan over the lowest heat setting possible. Once that’s melted, take the pan off the heat & add in 2 tablespoons of plain flour along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Give it a jolly good whisk to get it all nicely combined. Next, pop it back onto that lowest of low heat to keep stirring for about another minute or so. This just gets rid of that flour taste, you’ll know it’s done when it all starts to turn back into a melted state rather than the clumpy bit you had off the heat. Then just slowly add in 2 & 1/2 cups of milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps, before throwing in a few good handfuls of grated cheddar cheese. Keep stirring until it’s all melted into a luscious gooey cheesey delicious just wanna dive right in there with a spoon mess.

Now, what turns this cheese sauce into a mornay sauce is simply the addition of one more ingredient – 2 tablespoons of mustard. Use whatever type your tastebuds like. Stir it in & you’re good to roll!

Pop your crab meat ( I’ve used an entire can, 140g, of fresh blue swimmer crab meat) into the sauce & stir through before pouring over the pasta in the casserole dish. Stir it all together before bunging in a layer of grated parmesan cheese & crowning it all off with your favourite crumb.

Whack that into a 180c oven for 20-25 minutes & It’s Chompin Time!

Spinach & Cashew Nut Dip

This fabuliciouz dip is sure to make you the 

Hostess with the Mostess!

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This is truly the most simple yet totally more-ish dip you could ever whip up in a frenzied hurry that will still really impress in just 3 easy steps!

Start off with 115g of cream cheese (that’s half a block of Philly) & beat it until it’s nice & smooth.

Next, add in 1/2 cup of thickened cream & keep beating to fully incorporate the two together.

Finally, just flavour it to your own preferred strength using equal amounts of cooked & cooled spinach leaves along with crushed salted cashew nuts. Make sure you give it a jolly good stir & taste to see if you need to add sea salt flakes or not.

No Fuss Portuguese Chicken

Another fabuliciouz quick & easy adaption from my post ballet repertoire for you today.

Normally taking hours on a whole chook, lets cut that time right down to say, 15 minutes or so……

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I am often asked what my heritage is, my answer is purely Scottish Highlander. Most people are happy with that reply but there have been a few over the years who insist I have another bloodline in me as well. There is an old family tale, that’s never been proven & never had any evidence what so ever, that there may be a slight trace of Portuguese somewhere along the trail.

This Portuguese chook is so juicy & succulent that Hubby & Mini Me both go completely nuts over it, devouring the lot faster than anything else that’s ever been placed in front of them! Mini Me even demands more for breakfast the following day! Hubby rather cheekily compliments me that it’s better than a certain food chain in Australia.

To make your simple marinade, grab yourself a mixing bowl & whack in 4 finely chopped red chillies, a good shake of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil & a very generous couple of pinches of sea salt. Mix all that together before smothering 4 chicken thigh fillets in it & popping them in the fridge overnight.

Next evening it’s an easy case of heating up a griddle pan, spray it with oil & bung them straight on to cook.

You could serve with creamy mashed potatoes or just bung on a pot of rice with some frozen vegges & seasoning mixed through.