Hello Sweet ’16!

There are still just under 12 hours left in 2015, but I wanted to get in early with my greetings for a Happy 2016!

I’ve made my resolutions already and I’m busy preparing for a New Year’s Day brunch (as you do- or as I do really).  But mostly, I’m looking forward to 2016 and hope you are too.

Looking back on 2015, it was exactly the year that I needed.  The last 3 years have been full of the highest highs and the lowest low, so 2015 was a great year to just be.  I settled into a new job which I love (not as much as maybe winning the lottery and not working at all but….), visited three new countries that I’d never been to before (yes, I’m counting Dubai despite not leaving the airport), I tried to learn German (that did NOT go as well as I hoped) and kept doing many of the things that I love doing- cooking, pole dancing (despite breaking my toe early in the year), reading (32 books this year- just shy of my goal of 35), and of course, writing.  It was our first full year of marriage and a year that The Runner and I both learned a lot about ourselves- including resilience and patience (for me, more than him- he has the patience of the Saint of Patience).   I even had a surprise visit from The Mom.  Overall, it was a great year!

Tomorrow, we’ll start 2016 exactly how I hope it continues- with food and friends.  We’re hosting a New Year’s Day brunch filled with foods that will bring good luck and good fortune in the New Year (according to the internet!)

So, we’re having:

Whiskey, Marmalade and Mustard Glazed Ham– because in many cultures eating pork on New Year’s Day symbolizes progress, wealth and prosperity.

Manu Fieldel’s Lentil Salad– according to Italian tradition they look like coins and represent wealth.

Kale Salad– in the American tradition eating greens on New Year’s Day guarantees prosperity in the New Year.

Pete Evans’ Fig, basil, buffalo mozzarella, and balsamic salad– Eating many fruits are considered lucky and figs are a symbol of fertility

Dinner:  A Love Story’s Peanut Noodle Salad– Noodles in several Asian cultures represent long life.

Cornbread– its golden colour is said to bring gold (or wealth) in the New Year

Smitten Kitchen’s Tres Leches Cake– Tres leches cake because I’ve always wanted to make one, and a round cake because in many cultures round cakes represent the cyclical nature of life- I’m even going to bake a coin into it for extra good fortune for someone.

Nigella Lawson’s Pomegranate and Prosecco JellyPomegranate’s seeds are meant to signify abundance and prosperity

Smitten Kitchen’s Fairy Tale of New York for after- I made a double batch to take to a 2nd Christmas dinner that we never made it to, so we have a LOT to get through!

So fingers crossed, with this menu, set 2016 to be delicious, abundant, healthy, wealthy and fun!

Happy New Year Everyone!




Our first attempt- Nigella Express Anglo-Asian Lamb Salad (p.7)

This recipe seems pretty straight forward to be honest.  There are no super crazy ingredients and most of the ingredients were already in my pantry.  


I bought the lamb, salad leaves, mint and spring onion this morning thanks to Coogee Woolworths and the local Coogee butcher.  



The only issue I have is that Woolies didn’t have Red Currant Jelly– however apparently cranberry sauce or another jam or jelly can substitute.  (thank you Uncle Google for the tip!)



So the first thing I do is ignore my Naturopath’s well meaning advice to not cook with olive oil, and follow Nigella’s first step and heat 2 tsp of Garlic olive oil in a pan.  

I add the lamb, and turn on the extractor fan…. our apartment has the world’s most sensitive smoke alarm.  The lamb cooks for about 5 minutes on the first side and the 2 1/2 minutes on the other side.  While the lamb is cooking, I whip together the fish sauce, red currant jelly cranberry sauce, brown rice vinegar, soy sauce tamari (it’s a gluten free substitute for soy sauce), and one red chili which Nigella says to de-seed but I just chop and throw in…. (I like a bit of kick!).  


The lamb goes into a little foil sleeping bag to rest for 5 minutes and then I slice the lamb and mix it in with the salad dressing.  


Finally, I put the salad leaves on a plate, chop up some mint leaves and pour the mixed lamb and salad dressing over the leaves and voila!  Dinner is served!!!


I warmed up roasted leftover sweet potatoes as a side dish and that was it!


The Runner said it was “tasty” but was a bit disappointed that the portion size was more of a starter or a light lunch than dinner for a hungry hungry man.  It was a pretty easy recipe- great for a weeknight dinner but it was a bit unexciting.  I mean it really is just lamb salad with an Asian-y dressing.  If I were to make it again, I’d throw in some feta cheese and sweet potato mixed through it to give it a bit more oomph!  


A good first one to tackle!  Stay tuned for next week’s challenge!