Nov 23, 2015

The Tree and A Recipe.

Our Christmas tree this year manages to tick quite a few boxes off on my list.

It's kind to the environment but still festive, toddler friendly and toddler safe.  Plus it's within my line of sight from the kitchen, the dining table and the sofa so I'm guaranteed a view of the lights most times of the day.  Not bad at all, actually.

Our 'tree' is actually my beautiful dragon plant that's been with me since I first moved to Sydney.  He began life as a clipping from one of the plants at SSG Manor.  Since then, he's survived a miraculous number of years under my care.  His pointed leaves and spindly branches always looking remarkably healthy despite my patchy at best attention to them.

Christmas decorations from Woolworth's current range - priced form $4 to $10.

This year, he's decked out in a selection of decorations I found at Woolworths on the weekend.  We've gone a bit Scandi Chic with the cushioned heart bunting with its button and jute detailing.

LED Christmas lights, $12 from Woolworths.

The star and heart decorations elaborated on the theme.

And I know the colour changing low voltage LED lights aren't technically part of the aesthetic but when you're celebrating Christmas with a toddler, there have to be lights and they have to be on 24/7.

Today's recipe share was inspired by a disappointing dinner I made using one of those liquid meal base sachets which you pick up from one aisle of the supermarket then take around to the fresh foods section in order to find all the ingredients the packet tells you to add.  I usually have at least moderate success with these sachets and those that don't have much flavour during the cooking process can often be rescued with a splash of this, that or both in the final minutes of cooking.

And then I tried a chicken, leek and bacon casserole mix and it was so underwhelming I almost cried into the leftovers.  None of the vegetables cooked properly, the sauce was thin and adding cream to it only highlighted the bland nothingness of the taste.  I'm trying really hard to lose the last container of it that's lurking in my freezer right now.  How could chicken and leek taste so wrong together?  How??????

There's nothing like disappointing dinner to motivate me to google search for a better option.  And I've found it, dear readers, in the shape of this recipe for a Chicken, Leek and Bacon casserole from

Making the casserole saw me christen my red cast iron roasting dish.  The one I've only owned for five years, give or take.  The chardonnay I used for the casserole's white wine requirement was a gift from a good friend and foodie whom I am sure would be very happy to see her gift put to such good use.  Yes, I didn't let the rest of the bottle go to waste and yes, it is a very, very nice chardonnay indeed.  Thank you, I - for your friendship and the memories that came back happily to me as I kicked back with my sneaky Sunday afternoon glass.

There was one packet involved in my cooking of the casserole but it wasn't entirely my fault.  I was too early for the day's fresh garlic to be unpacked so made do with garlic paste.

The casserole was well worth the effort of dicing, browning, sauteeing, baking and then reducing.  We served the casserole with bread and steamed greens.  That was all it needed,  There are no photos of the final dish because dinner was a tag team affair of three adults trying to eat in between tending to the needs of a toddler and an infant whilst simultaneously having an adult type conversation.  Not that we'd have it any other way.

The recipe serves as least 6 adults and looks as if it's going to freeze and reheat well.  And my roasting dish survived the stove top to oven transition unscathed.

Do you indulge in a bit of stove top cooking with your roasting dishes?

Are the lights up at your place yet?

1 comment:

  1. Your tree looks very practical with a toddler! I'm beginning to wonder how our little man will cope when we put the tree up. it already gets enough attention from the dog each year, I'm guessing it's only a matter of WHEN we'll have a toddler crushed by giant Christmas tree incident...ha!


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