Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Winter Risotto

So its finally winter in Dubai and unlike in my hometown in Tasmania, I'm loving the cooler weather. We can finally enjoy being outdoors without the all too familiar uncomfortable sticky skin.

This recipe is perfect for the cooler months as well as a comfort meal if your feeling a little home sick or just in need of a familiar homely taste. This recipe was given to me from a friend back home in 2010 and I've been using it ever since. I had never before attempted risotto as I always thought it involved too much slaving over the stove, mixing for hours. This recipe is the exact opposite, you just stick it in the oven and let it cook. You can change it up if your feeling adventurous, maybe add a little spice or use pumpkin in place of sweet potato. I'd love to hear about your variations! Serves around 4 adults, you can easily double the recipe if needed.

Here is the recipe -


25g butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 large chicken breast
1 cup risotto rice
4 1/2 cup chicken stock, homemade or store bought
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup of cubed and roasted sweet potato
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

- Place chicken breast in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of lemon pepper or mixed garlic spice. Bake the chicken breast in a 175C oven for around 25mins or until the juices run clear. Once cooked, allow to cool then pull apart pieces using your fingers. You can do this earlier in the day if you prefer.
- Keep oven preheated at 180C.
-  Melt butter in a large pan then add the onion and saute until soft and translucent.
- Add the vinegar, allow to cook then add the rice, stirring to coat with butter mixture.
- Add 1/2 a cup of the stock, allow the rice to soak it up then add another 1/2 a cup. Combine and allow rice to absorb.
- Transfer rice mixture into a large baking dish and top with the remaining stock. Cover dish with foil and put it into the oven.
- After 20mins of baking, take out the dish, stir the mixture and cover once again with foil for another 20-30mins, checking in between if you need more liquid or if the rice is cooked.
- Once cooked, add the cooked chicken, sweet potato and cheese and stir to combine. Serve with a fresh green salad.

Monday, 25 November 2013

New Day, New Look

Welcome Deer Friends my new blog look! I hope you all love the new design as much as I do. After shopping around for months for something that was within my budget, style and taste, I found Suzana from Croatia who is the sweetest web designer I've met to redesign my blog!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Exaggerated Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lately I've been so busy with crocheting and custom orders that I've had little time for my other passion, baking. The oven was begging to be used and my stomach was craving some home baked goods, so I turned to a trusty Australian cook book and these cookies were born an hour later.

The cookie base is so versatile, you can add pretty much whatever extra chocolates you want. For this batch I chose mini M&Ms and chopped up mars bars, an amazing combination! Although be warned that the mars bar will melt out a little around the edges and as delicious as they are, the appearance is very rustic... but thats the way I like it! I made these just over 24hours ago and all 12 are gone, no crumbs remaining!

Here is the recipe -

1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
90g unsalted butter
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup of your favourite chocolate confectionary, chopped into small bits if large

- Preheat the oven to 180C and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well incorporated.
- Sift in the flour and using your hand, fold in to combine.
- Gently fold in the chocolate confectionary
- Cover will cling film and rest in the fridge for 15mins.
- Roll the mixture into golf size balls, place on prepared trays, allowing room to spread between each, and flatten slightly.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes - less if you prefer a chewier cookie or longer if you prepare a crunchier one.
- Remove from the oven and cool on the trays for a few minutes, then move to wire racks to cool or eat them hot with a glass of cold milk.

*Makes around 12 large cookies. 

Melanie xo

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Just a few reasons I love old movies...

Some of my favourite lines from some of my favourite movies...

It Happened One Night 

Shapely: "Shapely sure knows how to pick em. Yes sir, Shapelys the name and that how i like to pick em.... What's the matter sister your not sayin' much?"

Ellie: "Seems to me your doing excellently without any assistance"

Shapely:"Well shut my big nasty mouth. Theres nothing that i like better than a high class momma that can snap back at ya. The cooler they are the hotter they get. Yes sir, when a cool momma gets hot boy how she sizzles."

I'm not sure if everyone else finds these lines as funny as my Mum and I but it gets me every time! Gotta love Shapely. 

The Philadelphia Story

Dinah: "Oh I wish something would happen! Nothing ever possibly in the least ever happens here!"

Tracey: "Put me in your pocket Mike."


Sabrina writing to her father from Paris: "I have learnt how to live... How to be In the world and Of the world, not just to stand aside and watch. And I will never, never again run away from life. Or from love, either..."

And my favourite introduction of all time...

Once upon a time,



on the North Shore of Long Island,

some 30 miles from New York,



there lived a small girl

on a large estate.



The estate was very large indeed

and had many servants.



There were gardeners

to take care of the gardens



and a tree surgeon on a retainer.



There was a boatman to put the boats

in the water in the spring



and scrape their bottoms

in the winter.



There were specialists

to take care of the grounds,



the outdoor tennis court

and the indoor tennis court,



the outdoor swimming pool

and the indoor swimming pool.



And a man of no particular title



took care ofa small pool in the

garden for a goldfish named George.



Also on the estate there was

a chauffeur by the name of Fairchild,



who had been imported from England

years ago,



together with a new Rolls-Royce.



Fairchild was a fine chauffeur

of considerable polish,



Like the eight cars in his care.



And he had a daughter

by the name of... Sabrina.



It was the eve of

the annual six-metre-yacht races



and, as had been traditional

for the past    years,



the Larrabees were giving a party.



It never rained on the night

of the Larrabee party.



The Larrabees

wouldn't have stood for it.



There were four Larrabees in all -

father, mother and two sons.



Maude and Oliver Larrabee

were married in     .



Among their many wedding presents

was a town house in New York



and this estate for weekends.



The town house has since been

converted into Saks Fifth Avenue.



Linus Larrabee, the elder son,

graduated from Yale,



where his classmates voted him



the man most likely

to leave his alma mater$   million.



His brother, David, went through

several of the best Eastern colleges



for short periods of time,



and through several marriages

for even shorter periods of time.



He is now a successful

six-goal polo player



and is listed on Linus's tax return

as a $    deduction.



Life was pleasant among

the Larrabees,



for this was as close to heaven

as one could get on Long Island.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Travel Diary - Day 12 & 13

Some more photos of Versailles, the Queens Hamlet which she had built personally as well as the Petit Trianon which she had redecorated in the latest fashion! 
We spent our last full day in Paris visiting the Champs Elysee, the Eiffel Tower, breakfast at our favourite bakery and a lunch of macarons, tarts and more pastry which we worked off after trekking an innumerable amount of spiral stairs to the top of the Arc de Triomph (but very worth it, the view is one of the best in Paris)! After a long day of touring the city by foot, we had a quick rest then went to see PAris by night, which is a truly amazing experience. We took an open bus tour which took us all around the city dazzling in lights. It was one of the highlights of the trip! We were both very sad to leave the next day but with hope that we would once again return to my favourite city, Paris. 

 Grand Trianon

  Petit Trianon, one of my favourite rooms.

 The Queens Hamlet, part of her private estate.

 Just one secluded area of the Queens Hamlet, so beautiful!

  The far left garden of the Palace.

The Grand Palais 

The gorgeous old staircase inside the Arc de Triomph 

 One of the best views in Paris!

The Sacre Coeur a top Monmatre. 

Amazing architecture of the Arc de Triomph 

Picture perfect, the rainbow in the Latin Quarter.  

The Parthenon, such a beautiful spot and just a short walk from our hotel.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Travel Diary - Day 10 & 11

PARIS! My favourite city, so beautiful, so much to explore. We lived off macarons, mille feuille, baguette, eclairs, chouquette and croissants. It was a holiday with an indulgence in food.
On our first day, after checking into our Latin Quarter Hotel, we made a short walk to Notre Dame, explored the Left Bank then walked to the 1st and 2nd Arrondissement, home of the Louvre, Palais Royal, Tuileries Gardens, Place Vendome & Pont Neuf Bridge (the oldest in Paris!). We made a special trip to Julien Patisserie in the 1st arr to try some award winning Parisian treats, which we took to the Louvre to eat. 

The next day after eating baguette for breakfast on our balcony, we set off to Versailles to live the life of King Louis and Marie Antoinette for the day! Nothing I write can do justice to the sheer magnificance of Versailles Palace, especially the gardens. I recommend to go and see it for yourself. Although we spent a good 6 hours exploring the Palace, the gardens, the Grand and Petit Trianon and the Queens Hamlet we still will have to go back to really take it all in. Here is a photo diary of our time. 

The Louvre

 Tuilieries Gardens

 King Louis at the entrance to Versailles Palace

 The Royal Courtyard, how huge is this place!

 The Chapel
 Hall of Mirrors
 View to the gardens!
 Marie's sweet room!

 A quiet moment in one of the gardens!

 The Central Lake
 Walking to the Trianon and Hamlet
 The Grand Trianon, one of many rooms.
The Petit Trianon 

The Queen's Hamlet

 Grand Trianon

Grand Trianon

Exploring the gardens!