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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Recipe: Creamy Smoked Salmon Fettuccini

If you're looking for a dinner party dish to impress your guests then a serve of this rich and decadent pasta is perfect.

With only a few ingredients, it's fairly quick and easy to prepare because it's all about the smoked salmon. I smoked my salmon at home in my awesome Bradley Smoker but I'm sure it would taste just as good with quality store bought smoked salmon.

 
Creamy Smoked Salmon Fettuccine
1 fillet smoked salmon, cut into thin strips
1 brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp capers, rinsed and chopped
2-3 tbs cream
1 tbs butter
Fresh parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
Fresh fettuccine

Method
1. Heat a large pan, add oil and fry off onion and garlic. Add cream and capers and stir frequently on low heat until combined.
 
2. Meanwhile cook fettuccine pasta until al dente. Reserve a cup of cooking water. Drain pasta and then return to pot with a knob of butter.
 
3. Add salmon and pasta to cream sauce and gently combine, add some of the reserved cooking water until the pasta is coated in sauce. Add fresh parsley and lots of cracked pepper.
 
4. Serve this indulgently rich pasta garnished with extra fresh parsley and enjoy!

Do you have a favourite smoked salmon recipe?
 

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

MKR Italian Dinner Party - Tablescape Inspiration

For the third year in a row now Mr P and I are partaking in a My Kitchen Rules (yes like the TV show!) dinner party with friends and family - you can view our menu from previous years here and here.
 
This time we are going with an Italian themed menu and did a trial run of the entree, main and dessert last weekend to see if they are worthy dishes to serve to our MKR guests. The dessert needs a bit of tweaking, making sweets is not my strong point but I'm really happy with the other dishes.

Now that I'm feeling relaxed about the food I can focus on the decor and setting the table which is what I love to do! I found a set of burlap linen place mats for a steal at $4 a set and I'm going to base the tablescape around them and turning to Pinterest as always for inspiration ......
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
How would you decorate the table for an Italian themed dinner?

I will share the menu plan and recipes with you after the party!


Sharing with link party:
The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday


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Monday, October 27, 2014

Book Review: Already Dead By Jaye Ford

This is a book review of Already Dead by Jaye Ford that was recently published on 1 September 2014.

Jaye Ford is an Australian author and this is her fourth suspense novel. Jaye is a former news and sport journalist and is now a writer of crime fiction. She lives in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales.


This is a murder mystery and suspense story about the main character Jax who becomes a young widow and single Mum to her little girl Zoe, when her husband dies in unusual circumstances.

Jax finds herself caught up in another murder mystery when a random stranger carjacks her and this is the story about her obsession to find the truth and solve the crime using her journalism experience.

This story is fast paced, action packed, exciting and from the very first page until the last it kept me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen to Jax and whether she would solve the mystery and come out of it alive.

The story is set in Newcastle, Australia and the descriptions of the cafes, beaches and bush were spot on I could see the scenes set in my mind like a movie.

I recommend this book to fans of suspense, mystery and thrillers, you will enjoy this modern read.
 
I give this book 4 stars out of  5

Jarrah Jungle's Star Rating:
1 Bad - I'd rather eat brussel sprouts topped with anchovies than read this again
2 Not Good - I'd rather watch re-runs of Neighbours than read this again
3 Ok - I'm sitting on the fence - its not great but not terrible either
4 Good - I'd pass up a pack of tim tams for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read


Already Dead can be purchased from Random House Australia
 
Sharing my book review on Good Reads here and Netgalley

You can find the author's website here

Disclosure:  NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their book and I was given this eBook published by Random House Australia to review. As always, all opinions are my own.

 
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Getting Ready To Render - The Back Of The House

When it comes to getting the biggest bang for our buck when renovating - rendering the ugly old 1960s bricks at the front of the house wins hands down.
 
The render instantly lifted the house and makes it look modern and it hides our brick garage extension we built on and looking at the house now you would think it had been built like that, not an add on.

Before any renovations
 
After - Render, new roof and garage extension

Cost wise to render the front of our house was less than $2,500 - this was for the render's labour (which we got at mates rates because he's a friend). It also includes the sand, lime and cement which we provided and hiring a scaffold which we organised to keep costs down further.
 
Mr P also helped out the renderer where he could, more hands make light work as they say! I also did my part and supplied lunch and cold drinks because if you keep your tradies happy while they're working they are going to do a fantastic job!
 
Our master of rendering hard at work!
 
Now that we have almost finished renovating the inside of the house (the laundry/powder room is almost done!) and any modifications that would have affected the brickwork have been done, like when we cut out the dining room window and turned it into a doorway - we are now ready to render.

We also need to render before we build a deck out here, which will run the length of the back from the laundry door across to the french doors. Another reason we are keen to get this done is because sitting on the deck with a glass of wine in hand has been a dream for about 5 years now since the very day we moved in!
 
Back of the house - With dining room window
 
Window turned into a door way with french doors
 
To render the walls we need to remove anything attached to them, this includes the sides and roof of the rickety old wooden bridge that goes from the laundry to the Granny Flat. We can't rip the whole bridge down because it's the only way to get into the Granny Flat which is set up high off the ground.
 
The new down pipes will also need to be removed and then replaced when finished.

We will also cut off the brick window ledges so that the render is sleek and smooth around all the windows that will then sit flush against the brick work, this also makes it much easier for the renderer.

We might try to paint all the new eaves while we have the scaffold hired as well, as that job has been put off for a few years now .... Can you imagine painting the underside of the eaves along the entire house? It's going to take forever!
 
The bridge from the laundry into the Granny Flat
The brick ledges around the windows will be cut off
 
We have booked in our renderer for late November to render the back of the house and I can't wait to see how it will look when it's all finished.
 
I will keep you posted with lots of juicy before and afters throughout the project. The best way to see our renovations as they happen is to follow Jarrah Jungle on Facebook and Instagram.

What do you think of render Vs exposed brick?


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Last Minute Cruise Holiday - On Carnival Legend!

Well, I just couldn't help myself and a weekend away with the girls and a trip to Sydney for work didn't completely satisfy my travel bug so I've booked a last minute cruise holiday that departs in just 14 sleeps!

Hooray 14 sleeps!!!!

Last year I went on a family cruise holiday onboard Royal Caribbean's Voyager Of The Seas with three generations of my family my Nanna, parents, aunt and uncle and Mr P.

This time around I'm going with my parents and Mr P - just the four of us and my parents are still very young at heart so I think there will be many late nights shaking our groove thang at the nightclubs or winning in the casino!


This will be us - pass me a cocktail!
 
We found a fantastic last minute deal that was too good to resist with bonus onboard credit yes please!

The cruise is a fairly short one 8 nights so we don't have to take too much time off work or be away from our furbaby Lexi too long, although our dog sitter/house sitter absolutely spoils her rotten so she probably won't miss us at all!


Our cruise ship - The Carnival Legend

We are cruising on the Carnival cruise line which moved to Aussie waters in September and will now call Sydney, Australia home. Our ship is the Carnival Legend which has had an "Aussiefication" to suit the Aussie's taste of food and wine so it'll be interesting to see what it's like onboard.

The cruise leaves from Sydney and goes to the South Pacific Islands Mare, Loyalty Islands and Noumea in New Caledonia. I've been to Loyalty Islands and Noumea before on the Pacific Jewel and the Voyager of the Seas cruise and they are the perfect places to relax, kick back and have a tropical holiday.

Mare - New Caledonia


Loyalty Islands - Lifou


Noumea - New Caledonia

Now my readers will know by now that I absolutely love cruise holidays and I'm really looking forward to a break from the renovating and my office job and to get away from it all.

I can't wait to walk the plank and board the Carnival Legend!

 
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Recipe: Slow Cooked Artichokes Stuffed With Garlic Anchovy Crumbs

I've always been a bit intimidated by whole artichokes and have only ever eaten the jar variety on pizzas and antipasto platters. So when I saw them in season at the veggie store for only 50 cents and people were walking away with an arm full of them I figured I better see what the fuss is about and try them for myself.
 
 
Turning to my trusty Australian Women's Weekly Slow Cooking Recipe Book I slow cooked the artichokes and then stuffed them and put them in the oven until golden. I changed the recipe by adding more flavour to the stock they cooked in and stuffing them rather than serving the crumb on the side.

This is my altered version of the recipe .... the artichokes were delicately flavoured and the crumb added a delicious flavour and texture.

 
Slow Cooked Artichokes Stuffed With Garlic Anchovy Crumbs
Serves 6
 
Slow cooker
6 artichokes
8 cups water
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbs lemon juice
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, bruised
 
Stuffing
Olive oil
1 and 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
1 tbs lemon rind, finely grated
1/2 cup Romano cheese, finely grated
1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
Cracked Pepper
 
Method
 
1. Remove and discard tough outer leaves from artichokes. Trim stem so the bases sit flat. Remove and discard hairy choke from centre. Rinse under cold water.
 
2. Place artichokes upside down and tightly pack into a slow cooker (I used ramekins to hold in place). Pour in the water, chicken stock and lemon juice and add garlic and bay leaf. Cook, covered, on low for 8 hours.
 
3. Remove artichokes with a slotted spoon and allow to drain. Leave to cool so you can stuff them.
 
4. Make stuffing by heating olive oil in a frying pan and add garlic and anchovies stirring until anchovy softens. Add breadcrumbs and lemon rind and cook until crumbs are browned lightly and crisp. Remove from heat and add Romano cheese, parsley and season to taste with cracked pepper (I didn't add salt as the anchovies were salty enough!).
 
5. Using a teaspoon carefully stuff the artichokes between each layer of leaves and finish by piling stuffing on top. Grate some extra cheese on top.
 
6. Place the artichokes in the oven for about 10 minutes at 170 degrees until golden.
 
7. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.
  

These artichokes will make an impressive entree at our next dinner party and have set the theme for an Italian inspired menu!

Linking up with:
Wow us Wednesdays - Savvy Southern Style
Fluster's Creative Muster - Fuster Buster and Curly Crafty Mum


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review And Preview: Seven Letters From Paris: A Memoir By Samantha Verant

This is a book review and preview of Seven Letters From Paris: A Memoir by Samantha Verant that is due to hit book stores on 3 November 2014.

Samantha Verant was born in Los Angeles, USA and now lives in France with her sexy French rock scientist and two step kids. Samantha has written a children's book and this memoir.


This is a memoir written by 40 year old Samantha as she finds herself in a loveless marriage, with no job or money and a pile of debts. Samantha finds seven love letters from a holiday romance in France some 20 years earlier and decides to track down her Frenchman Jean-Luc.

Just like a fairytale Samantha the American Princess and Jean-Luc the French frog find each other again and fall in love and with each page turned you are taken on their whirlwind romance together. Of course this is a real life memoir so there are bumps in the road, it's realistic and relateable and that's what made this such a great read.

This was such a beautiful story full of hope and promise. I really liked their travels through France and back to America, so much history, culture, food and wine, I felt like I was on the adventure them them, albeit a third wheel at times!

I recommend this book to romantics and anyone who is not happy in their relationships, I hope it shows you the light to see that life is too short to be unhappy when you could be living a happy and fulfilling life if only you take a chance.
 
I give this book 4 stars out of  5

Jarrah Jungle's Star Rating:
1 Bad - I'd rather eat brussel sprouts topped with anchovies than read this again
2 Not Good - I'd rather watch re-runs of Neighbours than read this again
3 Ok - I'm sitting on the fence - its not great but not terrible either
4 Good - I'd pass up a pack of tim tams for this read
5 Great - I'd pass up a date with Johnny Depp for this read


Seven Letters From Paris can be purchased from Random House Australia
 
Sharing my book review on Good Reads here and Netgalley

Disclosure:  NetGalley partner with bloggers such as me to help promote their book and I was given this eBook published by Random House Australia, Bantum Australia to review. As always, all opinions are my own.

 
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