We've got the all clear here at SSG Manor. Christmas can officially go ahead this year.
|Cookie cutter, $4 from Big W.|
My emergency dash to Big W after work on Friday yielded this gingerbread man shaped cookie cutter. My mum is in the process of packing all of Toddler SSG's Christmas gift for the flight out east and it turns out that a gingerbread making set is part of the haul. So just to make sure that Christmas Day baking with grandma goes to plan (well as close to it when a toddler is involved), I was told to find a sturdy and easy to use cookie cutter for the project. I've also got an icing pen ready for decorating the baked gingerbread. It's going to be interesting in the kitchen....
|Cropped jeans - $9, Emerson at Big W. Bangle - $5 on sale, Lovisa.|
Big W was also the source for my new pair of dark denim cropped skinny jeans. They were $9 from the Emerson range. I'll be straight with you. My personal dress code for the coming week is dark colours, forgiving waist bands and machine wash only. I'll be adding a sturdy bangle here and there. This red one from Lovisa will go perfectly with everything I'm planning to wear this year.
|Coles Tropical Jewel Fruit Cake - $10 for an 800g tin.|
Things I've put on hold for the next week include my alarm in the morning, the housework and eating sensibly. Let's start with the food. I'm loving Coles' Tropical Jewel Fruit cake.
The addition of roasted coconut and glace pineapple to fruit cake can only be described as visionary.
I'm interrupting the festival of festive food with this random shot of what I wore on the weekend. In a rare non food related moment, I hit the pool with my Missoni for Target bits and pieces and my other pair of bargain find cropped denims for the season. Mix have some great denim options at the moment and these shorts were $25. They are a more generous cut than Emerson so I usually go one size down in Mix and take my regular size in Emerson.
Back to the food. I was on a mission at Chatswood on Sunday with only one thing on my shopping list for the morning. Chocolate from Royce' which has just opened on the ground floor of the Westfield. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security with the above blurry action shot of the lack of a queue at the store. I hear that it was pretty hectic the moment it hit lunchtime.
The Chatswood store is Royce's first in Sydney, the first Australian store opened in Adelaide last year. There's something about Adelaide and chocolate. If I remember correctly, Haigh's HQ is also in Adelaide. Perhaps it's the climate - or the wine.
|Royce' chocolate dipped potato chips, created by the company in 2002. They retail for $19 per 190g box in Australia.|
Royce' is a Japanese chocolate company that was established in 1983. The company's factory is in Hokkaido.
|Nama chocolate - $24 for 125g.|
Perhaps their most famous product is Nama chocolate - a combination of cream, chocolate and in some flavours, liquer. Nama has a life of 30 days from the day of purchase and must be kept refrigerated.
I took a something for me, something for someone else approach to my visit to Royce'. A box of potato chips will be crossing the country to my brother and sister in law while a box of green tea Nama chocolate is currently sitting in my fridge.
My box of Nama chocolate was individually wrapped in a cooler bag with an ice pack which bought me three hours to make my around the other shops of Westfield. Not that anyone pramming a toddler around a shopping centre gets three hours of window shopping time but it was nice to know that I could've if I wanted to.
125g may not seem like a lot of chocolate for $19 but if I can break out the hyperbole, Nama is next level.
It's creamy yet full of the flavour of velvety smooth green tea. All soft and rounded textures, it's a contrast to my previous green tea food obsession, the Green Tea KitKat.
It was a huge hit with all the adults in the house. The alcohol content of this particular flavour had me a bit wary of introducing Toddler SSG to it. But I do have a feeling that if I try him out on the non alcoholic varieties, I'll be setting myself up for an astronomical chocolate budget.
|Phew. The unlabelled tin did contain diced tomatoes after all.|
But the eats haven't been all calorific this weekend. I cooked with a conscience yesterday, using up as many tins and packets as I could from the pantry. I made a shepherds pie based on a red kidney bean and minced beef tomato sauce. The recipe is on the side of Edgell's 420g tins of beans but there is an alternate recipe on the Edgell's website which incidentally is really easy to navigate and full of short order recipes I'm filing away for future reference.
I added some semi retired vegetables from the fridge to the mince.
And some butter and full fate milk to my boiled potatoes.
Which pretty much guarantees a light and fluffy mash every time.
The pie got topped with cheddar and parmesan.
And once baked was served thus to the toddler in his special Christmas plate. So. I loved it. The combination of beans and mince in the pie took away some of the heaviness of a purely mince based version yet it was still filling and had a more 'exotic' taste than its meat loving cousin.
In hindsight, I should've known Toddler SSG wouldn't be overly fond of my pie. Too many visible vegetables and not enough hash browning or French frying of the potatoes. Perhaps mark 2 should feature a potato gem or French fry topping? I'm sure I've seen something similar done on an American home cooking website. If I track down the recipe, I'll let you know how it goes.
Three more sleeps, people! Three more sleeps!
Take are and stay calm at Westfield / Woolies / Coles / The Dan and The Co.