Cake Stall Biscuits

Thanks so much Selena for sharing your family recipe.  I love these frugal family tried and tested recipes!

250g butter
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp condensed milk
1 cup coconut
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups cornflakes

Cream butter and sugar, add condensed milk, beaten egg and vanilla

Add sieved dry ingredients, then coconut and cornflakes

Bake for 20 minutes at 150c

Should make around 70 (tablespoon sized lumps of dough)

Options: Apricot and almond, chocolate chip, cranberry and pistachio.  What ever you decide to use, make it about chocolate chip size and add to completed dough


Rebuild: whereabout’s

Just a quick catch up.

We had a letter from EQC the other day and it was a clearly generic mass mailout one you yourself probably received.

We’re sorry we haven’t made such great correspondence with you etc etc…

Well EQC we’re not complaining.  You paid out your obligation and our mortgage has been making a small but added little bit of headway… so you just take your time 🙂

There is always a silver lining.

Back to the update.

We had geo come and RE drill our land to help the folk designing our foundation slab better… beats me as to why the first drilling s ground findings were no good.

The housing company as always is on the ball and our project manager emailed us today – yes! on a Sunday to tell us that he’s waiting for the revised foundation design, and that he’s just about got our pricing back after we up-spec’d some stuff.

Also that he’s away on holiday until the end of the first week in August.  That is great service.  Hate when I email someone and it bounces back a holiday message… great thinking to send a courtesy email out.

So that’s our update.  Just waiting on the foundation design to be polished up and fingers crossed we don’t have to revise the budget after that.

It would be so cool to get it underway this year… I think it’s gonna happen 🙂

Potato Lasange

This is my go to when there’s no lasagne sheets in the pantry or I just want whole foods rather than the gluggy pasta.

Basically make a mince goulash, or savory mince with some spicy hitt to it and then layer it with sliced potatoes, cheese sauce and pasta sauce over and over and top with breadcrumbs and grated cheese.

Make the sauce first so you’re all ready to start layering.

Cheese Sauce

Make the mince with either a can of savory mince sauce by watties, or with a maggi packet after frying the meat with some onions and garlic.

Layer it up using a mandoline if you have one to get your potatoes sliced all the same thickness, drop the potatoes in a pot of boiling water for a minute to blanch and you’re set to get layering.

Top with breadcrumbs and mozzarella so it’s nice and stringy.

Serve with a quick packet mix stirfry or salad.  Or not!

Nacho’s (maggi copy cat)

I’m doing a series of test meals from scratch, we’ve started using the Maggi packets again, not sure when that started!! but at $1.30 a packet over a week of meals that’s almost a tenner I can put into our christmas club or next years holiday fund. $500 a year on flavor sachets. Eeeek!! not cool. So ahem! I’m decoding their meal sachets to replicate some of our favorite meals.

700gm premium low fat mince beef

3 x 400gm tins of baked beans (sometimes I use 1 tin of mild chilli beans)

4-5 carrots grated

Replicate maggi meal sachet with:
1/2 tsp chilli, 4 tsp corriander, 2x tsp cumin, fresh garlic x2 cloves crushed, fresh onions x 1-2 diced
I don’t add any thickners but you could add 1-2 Tbs of cornflour to 1/4 cup of cold milk with a fork and thicken if you want it to be the exact texture to Maggi’s 😉

2x 400gm bags eta corn chips

250gm lite sour cream

grated cheese for serving


Fry the onions, garlic and mince.

Sprinkle in the maggi sachet, the tins of baked beans with the sauce and add the carrots and simmer/cook until the carrots are softened and the beans are warmed up.

Serve on a plate of corn chips with a dollop of sour cream and some grated cheese

Good hearty, winter meal for the family… loaded with fiber and cold fighting garlic/onions.

Serving two hungry and well fed grown men, one growing boy, one growing girl, and Vee plus left overs for the freezer for shift lunches.

You could definitely throw this together in the slowcooker/crockpot in the morning for when you get home, but fry the onions/garlic/meat first as it adds flavor.

Slow cooker curried sausages


1kg of precooked sausages

1 large onion diced

2 tsp mild curry powder

1 cup beef stock

2 cups of cold water

1/2 cup of flour mixed into the cold water

2 tablespoons relish

grease the dish and place sausages in, place the raw diced onions in, mix the curry powder, relish, into the beef stock and tip in, mix the flour into the cold water and tip in.

serve with rice

2 cups of rice, 4 cups of water – place in a microwave pyrex jug on high for 12mins. done.

slowcooker: 4hrs on high or 8hrs on low

Vees Crumble topping

1 cup flour

1/2 cup raw sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

40 grams of butter to rub in

handful of oats to sprinkle on top

put all ingredients into a bowl and use a fork or your fingers to rub/press the butter into the floury mix and make breadcrumbs like consistency. sprinkle on any blanched fruit, top with oats, and bake til golden.

Sticky Winter Pudding


2 cups chopped dates

2 cups whole prunes

3 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp powdered ginger

180 grams butter

2 cups raw sugar

6 eggs

3 cups flour

3 good tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cloves (use mortar & pestle if yours are whole like mine)

1 tsp mixed spice


300 grams butter

2 cups soft brown sugar

2/3 cup golden syrup

Preheat oven to 160’c fan bake or 180’c regular bake.

Bring a pot with 3 & 1/2 cups of water to the boil with the dates/prunes in there, once to the boil remove from heat and add bicarb and ginger.

Leave to sit for 5 mins then mash with a potato masher.

Cream butter, sugar and 1 egg, add each egg one at a time then fold in the sifted flour, baking powder and spices.

Butter a roasting dish well and good.

Pour the batter in and bake for 1 hour then turn the oven off and leave to sit for half an hour (we’re leaving ours all day til dinner)

Cover with tinfoil to stop it drying out if you wish… crunchy top can be nice though.

Make the caramel sauce just before you serve it up:

put all the sauce ingredients in a pan and stir over low heat until dissolved, simmer for maybe 3 mins until it thickens then serve it with the pudding.

Cut the pudding in half and freeze.

Also freeze half the sauce in a snap-lock bag that you can heat in the microwave and snip a corner for serving.

Baked Apples

Oh my gosh!
These were made for dinner and oh my gosh, hands down beats a McDonalds apple pie…. my gosh my gosh my gosh.


Take a ceramic dish (so it soaks easily)

A green or granny smith apple each, use a apple corer to take the center out and and stuff with dates (can also use almonds, pineapple, apricots, figs… or a mixture of the lot) some raw sugar and cinnimon, and a teaspoon of butter… and bake – my gosh!

What an absolute treat to come inside from doing two sets of nails.

Simple.  Affordable.  Winter Comfort Food.

Deep Dish Bacon Quiche

Great way to end the cold winter week… throw some cranberry sauce on the plate with it and boom – you’ve got a plate of bursting flavor.

Preheat oven to 200’CFry a 800 gram pack of rhindless bacon (with no msg lol) a couple of onions until it looks 3/4 cooked.

While that frys and the oven preheats… check the dog hasn’t licked the bench or at least wipe it down to just eliminate that thought (I forgot) and roll out your pastry…. that you pulled out of the freezer before you left for work this morning, because you can’t roll frozen pastry… ok enough laughing…

spray the 20x20cm ceramic dish with toxic aerosol spray oil because us gen Y working mums, are too lazy/busy/tired to butter it

lay your clean pastry in there…

get a bowl and with a knife crack – oh …. say… 9 eggs or however many you have waiting to be desperately used before expiry… I used 9 – the recipe I blended with another recipe says 6

lay the diced/fryed bacon/onion in the bottom of the pastry lined dish and press lightly, sprinkle with parsley and grind some salt and pepper on too, pour the fork beaten eggs over and let it settle evenly then put in the oven for 45mins.




Rebuild: Memoir of memories…

I will add to this as I need to… I really regret not taking parting photos from our very first home so this time I’m going to… I think last time I did it as a protective barrier, but this time I’m going to say good-bye to our home, our beloved home that has kept us safe and warm and been our soft place to fall at the end of a hard day, through earthquakes, through my studies, through mark being away for six months, through a second round of earthquakes, through family deaths, through my learning to tend a garden, plant trees, train and care for dogs! train and build up a salon, do book keeping from home for the first time… for some reason tonight while brushing my teeth It just sank in… and I’m not liking it actually – it feels…. sad…. out of my control… uncertain.  I hope logging the house’s memoirs will help me to feel less sad, because a shiny new home isn’t sounding so exciting now that this has dawned on me…


So yep… a few minutes ago I was brushing my teeth and the memory of the day this cabinet was brought to surprise me was like a flashback! I remember… we’d just brought this house and money was tight as we’d just got our mortgage, it was winter so again… the money was tight with increased living costs that time of year, and Mark and I are strolling hand and hand through Mitre 10 Mega Ferry mead, I see this cabinet and Mark notices me looking at it longingly… he say’s ‘thats nice’ I reply ‘mmm, oh I wish we could afford it’… ‘no it’s ok lets get the cheaper one’  he says: ‘yeah its ok’ and points to the cheaper plain one without mirrors…

Well I come home to him having hung this on the wall one day and I am both angry and tickled pink that he brought it.

Good memory.


When we brought this house it was really odd that you walk through the laundry to the toilet… I really wanted a hand basin in there (and a feature wallpaper but that was too expensive!) when mark had to go training for six months it was hell… I busied myself with gardening, baking and my studies, I’d planted a whole back yard of fruit trees and shrubs… 100 raspberry bushes, several fruit trees…. anyway – I decided that since he wasn’t here I had to make an executive decision to get a basin installed, I shopped around and couldn’t find anything small enough, so I jumped on trademe and five bucks later had a pretty darn good condition sink ready for install.  Bargain right? No. Silly Vee ordered a plumber in while she was out and came home to an $800 bill! what on earth?? I rung them up demanding an answer and they said that’s our normal rate… I was gutted… what a terribly expensive lesson learned… and the wall still had to be painted from where they guy had jig sawed a big hole for access…. so of course the nice feature wall paper didn’t happen but that’s the story of the toilet room basin 😉

Neutral memory.


This is our flash new touch control ceramic top hob… isn’t it lovely – Mark got it for $100 off trade me after his wife had a fit in the kitchen and put a pot through the other one… woops – temper temper Vee, gosh I don’t miss those random fits of frustration… I certainly learned my lesson that day in the kitchen.  Since it was AFTER the eqc claim it wasn’t worth putting a new one in…. isn’t that husband clever? my handi manny.

Funny memory.


We have a couple of these internal decorative windows… everyone tells us to keep them as a keep sake, so far I’ve thought “nah… I wan’t to start fresh” but now… I’m not so sure.

More photos to come when I have more moments…