Thursday, 28 June 2007

Banana Nut Wellingtons

OK, so I have a fascination at the moment with Wellington style food. First I made a Beef Wellington, tonight I have made Banana Nut Wellingtons and soon I will be delving into the Seafood World of Wellingtons. I love Puff Pastry and no I don't make my own, but I would like to sometime. Making Puff Pastry scares me ohooooooohohhhooooo, no, really it does, something about all the folding over and over again with butter. I will get there though.So tonight there are six kids in the house, one of them asleep. The others are nagging at me, come on Mum make dessert. So this is what I came up with. Really it is just putting a few things together. Cut up Cavendish bananas, dark chocolate melts, puff pastry, some beaten egg and flaked almonds. What could be simpler than that? Huh I tell you Easy Peasy!

All you have to do is put a few Cavendish banana slices in the middle of a square piece of pastry , just add on top about 6 large chocolate melts, fold it up into a parcels, with beaten egg to hold things together. Brush the tops with more beaten egg, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 15 Min's or until golden brown on 210 degrees. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and your there. Easyiness!!!!!! Delicious, just be careful, the banana will be steaming hot, don't want to burn those taste buds. The melted chocolate just oozes out with the banana mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Crispy Pastry mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Ice Cream mmmmmmmmmmmmmm Crunchy Almonds mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Oh Yeah!!!!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Blueberry Cream Cheese Filled Chocolate Brownies

OK................. so this is my new creation. Blueberry Cream Cheese Filled Chocolate Brownies. Yummo!!!!!! They are moist and rich, with that gorgeous tang of blueberry heaven. Enjoy!!!!

Ingredients for the Brownie Part

  • 125 grams of Butter
  • 250 grams of Dark Chocolate
  • 2 cups of Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 4 large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of Plain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Filling Part

  • 375 grams of Cream Cheese Softened
  • 1/2 cup of Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1/2 tub of frozen Blueberries

Make the Cream Cheese filling first. Blend the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract in a free standing mixer until smooth and creamy. Then add half the blueberries and blend some more. This should break the blueberries down a bit and start oozing out the juices, so that you get that luscious purple colour. When that is done, stir through the remaining blueberries so that they stay whole in the mix. Add more blueberries at this stage if you wish, I did. Set mix aside.

To make the brownie mix. Blend eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a free standing mixture until light and fluffy. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chocolate, stir over a low heat until smooth and glossy. Beat chocolate butter mixture into the egg mixture. Lastly stir in the flour and salt. You should have a gorgeous sweet chocolate mixture.

Next it is all about the layering. Put half the chocolate mixture into a lined slice pan and spread out evenly. Then add all your cream cheese filling across the top of the chocolate mixture, spread that out to make a nice even layer. Then add the last of the chocolate mixture on top. Spread out evenly. Don't panic if you find the cream cheese filling is mixing a little with the chocolate mixture. Then bake in an oven for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow them to cool completely in the oven. Lastly dust with some icing sugar and your done. They are really yummy.

I hope you guys enjoy them, we did.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Paronella Park - The Spanish Castle in the North Queensland Rain Forest

This is a place that has to be seen and experienced to really be appreciated. We stopped off here on our special weekend away. A Spanish man named Jose came to NQ in the 1920's and it has been a wonder ever since. Jose made his dreams come true and built a Spanish Castle in the Rain Forest. He truly was a very creative man with vision that others only dreamed of having. This is a place that words cannot express enough. It gives you such a feeling of awe. You stand there and think to yourself, I never want to leave. It is a must see if you are coming to NQ. Just 20 Min's drive south of Innisfail. You will not be disappointed and if you are, the owners promise to give you a full refund of your entry price. The money from the entry goes to conserving this beautiful place so it can live on forever.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Cassowary Country

Cassowary Country is what the surrounding areas of Mission Beach inclusive of Mission Beach are called. They are big man eating birds that will attack you, if you try and run away. They inhabit this area and they are a protected species. You have to slowly back away from them if they approach you and you must always keep your eye on them. They are an extremely aggressive bird. The sign above is one of about 10 or more and they are there to warn you when driving through the area. Now seriously this is what they look like in the picture below. Of course they are not that big, otherwise shit you wouldn't go near the area. Let's just say they must be in plague proportions because everything in the area is cassowary this and cassowary that. He He He!!!! We didn't see one.
We stayed in the Cassawong Cottages. Now it is a nice place and very comfortable. But not the romantic isolated cabin I was picturing that they describe on their site. If anything the place is far from isolated and romantic. It is in the middle of suburbia. You can hear the kids in the house next door screaming their heads off. People mowing their lawns and yard work. Thoroughly disappointing. Also the two new cabins that they boast to be totally isolated and situated close to the beach and the rainforest are in fact only 10 metres from the family cabins. Also the second romantic cabin is just on the other side of the lounge room wall. Same with the deck at the back of the cabin. Also they are not right on the beach, they are across the road and there is a lot of houses in front of the beach. When reading the guestbook, I have never seen so many rules and conditions. If you would like someone to come and freshen up your cabin during your stay you can organise a cleaner to come, but it will cost you $27.50 an hour to do so.
The rooms are not serviced and they did not supply any towels for the pool. There were no tissues in the room. They boasted that the romantic isolated cottages had fluffy bathrobes to relax in but when I looked for them they were nowhere to be seen. I asked where they were and I was told that they had decided not to include the bathrobes and they had taken that description off the website. Now I read the description like six times over a couple of month period and every time it boasted that they had bathrobes, for that romantic weekend in luxury. What a load of Crapola! Also they ask if you can take the garbage out of your bin in the cabin and place it in a bin that is in the main area, daily. They also boasted that they have DVDs for your viewing pleasure, so we grabbed a couple. We sat down to watch a movie together as parents never get the opportunity to watch a flick uninterrupted, only to find that it was a downloaded copy off the Internet and the sound was screwed. Very disappointing and extremely frustrating.
We were also told that being smokers we must smoke only in the pool area, which is terribly inconvenient and a pain in the bum. I had no problem not smoking in the room. I am used to that, but I don't see why I could not smoke on one of the two decks the room offered. For all you nonsmokers out there. I am not a rude individual and I will not smoke near anyone who disapproves and I obey the rules out and about, but there are alot of smokers in Townsville and North Queensland, everywhere really who will understand what I am talking about. It is my choice to smoke and yes I do know I am killing myself and yes I am going to quit one day. But for right now, I am a smoker and that's just the way it is. They have updated their website only recently after I booked and paid to include this 'These delightful bungalows and their lounging area are 100% NON smoking, so smokers should book Butterfly spa cottage as their veranda is a smoking area, but all cottages are non-smoking inside' Below are pictured your own private hammocks for your room, apparently. I think not. They are right in front of a Family Cabin and they are for the romantic cabin next doors use also. So again we were mislead by the description on their website. But again they have changed the description. You can see the Family Cabin in the back of the picture.
Now there is something nice about staying in newly built cabins, but then again there is not. The towels are so new that they do not dry you properly. They have to have a few good washes to remove the starch that has been placed in them when they are made. So that was annoying also. The tea towels in the kitchen were the same. Also some of the toiletries bottles they supplied in the bathroom had been previously used. Now that to me is just not right,
I understand that I am sounding extremely picky and petty, but in my mind, when you give a description of a place, then you really need to be careful of what you say and how you say it. Chopper and I felt like the owners were watching our every move. It was not a pleasant experience so we spent most of our time out of the room exploring and enjoying the local areas, which was a good thing. All these little things really do add up you know. When you are paying quite a bit of money for a totally romantic experience then you expect a relaxing romantic environment, not a frustrating and disappointing one. I find it totally deceptive that in the last couple of weeks they have changed the description of the cottages dramatically. Now in their minds they think they have done the right thing, but in my mind the people who had booked previously under the old description and paid their money should have been informed. I can imagine that others have complained about it and that is why they have changed the web page. It still states though 'and also set apart from the family cottages on the rainforest side of the pool and is everything that luxurious getaways are all about. This is where adults can come to get away from the kids and have that private and quiet time together in well appointed beachfront self contained accommodation.' It is not beachfront!!!!!! I am telling you now, because we stayed there. It is not private. The newly married couple next door were out on the deck listening to us shag, I am not going to tell you how I know that, let's just say I was unclothed and felt like a stroll out on my secluded deck. Embarrassing!!!! The photos on the site are deceptive and even my photos do not show you how cramped and close everyone is to each other, you have to be there.
So when you get to the beach, it is beautiful and the coconuts are everywhere. Gorgeous sunsets and beautiful sunrises with a view over to Dunk Island. We will not be going back to the Cassawong Cottages but if you would like to check them out here is the site
At the end of the day though, we made the most of the scenery!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Cardwell - The beginning of our journey

We made our journey north to Mission Beach last Friday for our three days of freedom. Right from the beginning it was a memorable trip. The views were spectacular and breathtaking. The photo above is at a lookout just before Cardwell. The magical Hinchinbrook Island. Looks prehistoric and very untouched. We will have to go over there sometime.
Next stop Cardwell for a famous Mud Crab sandwich. MMMMMMmm was very yummy, but unfortunately the Crab meat had been frozen. There is nothing like fresh Crab. North Queensland just seems to love everything in a giant size. Look at the size of that Mud Crab in front of Muddy's Seafood Restaurant. Do you think Gordon Ramsay would have one of these outside of his restaurant?

Packed full of crab. Good value really.

Came with a lovely side of chips. They were crispy and yummy.
No reservation necessary at our little spot to have an early dinner on the road. How beautiful is the view? Looking over at the gorgeous other side of Hinchinbrook Island as the sun goes down.

Very romantic and very special. It was so wonderful to just sit and enjoy each other, by ourselves, no interruptions, no schedule..................................
Just Us!

Friday, 8 June 2007

Happy Belated 40th Birthday Clare

Happy Birthday Beautiful Friend!
Now isn't she just Gorgeous?

Just The Two Of Us!

Unfortunately there will be no recipe post this weekend. We are up and away for a long weekend just the two of us. Heading up to Mission Beach for a romantic Shagalicious weekend for two. No Kids Allowed! We have booked into a secret location where no one will find us, for some serious parental rejuvenation. Hell Yeah, we need it.
So I hope everyone enjoys it? I believe it to be the last long weekend in QLD for the rest of the year. I have no doubts that we will be loving it ;)
Cheers Amelita

Sunday, 3 June 2007

The Other Side Of Our Kitchen - written by CHOPPER!

Yes folks, Chopper is back with another installment of the Other Side of Our Kitchen!

Amelita's kick arse Barbecue Sauce! Mmmmmm

Let me tell you right now folks, not everything that comes out of our kitchen is without incident. For example, today Amelita made her fabulous Barbecue Sauce and everything started fine. The problems started when the sauce became a tad large for the pot she was using, and when giving the sauce a routine stir some of it decided to escape the pot and make a run for it. It didn't get too far though, landing right on Amelita's toes! Ouch!! Thats gotta hurt! But (still stirring the sauce mind you) she just wiped off the simmering hot sauce from her little tootsies and kept going. Now that's dedication!

But wait, there's more! After the incident with the toes, Amelita had to use the hand held blender to smooth out the sauce and the blender lifted out of the pot a little and splashed hot sauce all over her hand! A few course words could be heard coming out of the kitchen at this time, but after running her hand under the cold tap for a minute, it was back to finishing the job again! You have to close your eyes and picture this - you have a pot on the counter full of hot Barbecue Sauce. The sauce has been splashed all over the counter, the floor, and all over Amelita's white pants. And where's Chopper? He's going through the freezer looking for a small bag of frozen veggies so he could put on Amelita's burnt hand! I'm sure the images you have are quite comical, and they were, but I am happy to say that the frozen veggies didn't have to come out of the freezer, and apart from some minor discomfort, Amelita will live to cook another day .............. thank God!!!

As for Chopper? Well, first I couldn't put out a bloody fire, and now I have stuffed up attending to my damsel in distress with the sauce burns! Yes folks, the kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house, but not very often. Let's say out of all the beautiful food that Amelita has served up to me night after night after night, there has been very minimal incidents in our kitchen, and the only fatality has been Chuck the Goldfish who died of natural causes!

At the end of the day, yes I can cook to save myself, but the master of the kitchen is, and always will be my little Spanish Signori ta. Love you Squish! XOXOXOXOX

(This post is dedicated to Chuck the Goldfish. R.I.P my orange friend!)

Saturday, 2 June 2007


This is such a simple dish. I really think you could use any fish with this. I went for a fish that is very common in North Queensland. I hope I have spelt it correctly, it's called a Nannygai. This fish is so meaty. Just like chicken, but it's fish. It is quite an extraordinary fish.
Basically you just pan fry your thick fillets of fish on a high heat in a little butter and olive oil for about 2-3 Min's on the first side. Then flip them over for 30 seconds on the other. Remove from fry pan and place in a lined oven dish.
Top with this gorgeous mixture of one cup of Almond Meal and 3 rashers of Bacon diced finely, (that has been already fried till crispy in the fry pan before you fry your fish).
Bake the fish with the topping on, in the oven for 7- 9 Min's on 180 degrees.
Then drizzle with this amazing product I found at Woolworths. It's an Italian Balsamic Reduction. Simply stunning and so convenient. Especially if it is a weekday meal.

Serve with your choice of yummy veggies and walla, your done. Dive into that crispy topping, juicy fleshy fish, that twang and tickle of Balsamic Reduction. This is so easy and so delicious. Heaven, I am sooooooooooooooo in Heaven :)

Tomorrow, I make my gorgeous blow your head off, slap you in the face, American Style BBQ Sauce with some lovely smoke liquid. Yeeeeeee Haaaaaaaa!!!!
OK that's enough information, tell you more tomorrow.