Asian chicken noodle salad – with Maggi.

Using the word “busy” for me and my family is an understatement. What with work, sport, school and kindergarten the list is ever growing! There are some days where dare I say it ….. I can’t be arsed cooking and if the kids want noodles for dinner they have noodles for dinner.
Because let’s face it even though we meal plan for the Gods, sometimes we are tired and the idea of cooking is more loathsome than finding half a worm in your apple.

Maggi 2 Minute Noodles are a Kiwi institution. They are the staples for students, first time flatters and men whose other half have gone out! We all have our favourites chicken, beef or oriental are the standards at our place. But Maggi have upped the ante and made sure that our love of noodles comes with the good stuff. We all know that wholegrains keep us regular and Maggi have added invisible wholegrains to their Chicken and Beef noodles. To complete the picture it’s good to know that Maggi noodles are lower in salt than other noodles on the supermarket shelves.

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So it got me thinking, how can I use Maggi 2 Minute Noodles in a meal for the family? A meal that is quick, easy and full of the good things.

With summer on the horizon I thought what better way to get a taste of summer by making an Asian Noodle Salad using the Maggi 2 Minute Noodles. Best thing about this salad is that all you need to cook are the noodles (or if you’re feeling fancy you can add prawns). Basically you chop everything up, make the dressing and add the cooked noodles. BOOM DONE!

Then sit back and imagine yourself of a island in Thailand or Bali ……. Oh wait you can’t relax. You have kids!

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The best thing about this salad is that you can basically add whatever is in your fridge or cupboard. You just want it to be fresh, crunchy and delish.

Asian Noodle Salad

2 packets Maggi 2 Minute Noodles – with invisible wholegrains.

1 rotisserie chicken OR leftover roast chicken from the night before.

½ an Iceberg lettuce or if preferred a bag of salad greens

1 telegraph cucumber – unless they are $5 each like they are at the moment!!

1 bag of mung beans

1 cup grated or julienned carrot

2-3 spring onions (chopped finely)

A small handful roasted peanuts

Dressing –

1 teaspoon sesame oil
6 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon minced garlic
Pinch of dried chilli (if you like a bite)

Mix until the sugar has dissolved – taste and jiggle quantities to your taste. Put aside.
Cook noodles as per packet instructions (do not add the flavour sachet). Drain and run cold water over them. Drizzle a small glug of sesame oil over to stop them sticking.

Chop lettuce, spring onions, cucumber (if you have sold a kidney) and shred chicken. Place in a large bowl.

Add the noodles, grated carrot, mung beans and roasted peanuts. If you haven’t brought roasted peanuts all you need to do is put peanuts in a dry pan and fry over a medium heat until golden (keep an eye on them as they go from brown to BLACK really quickly!)

Add the dressing and toss.

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Drop What??

We all need to wear pants, unless your name is Kimmy Kardashian BUT even Kim like a pant at times.

Now don’t get me wrong I still love a good jean but this winter I have been wearing the shit out of a good drop crotch pant.

You either love or hate the drop. I bloody love them. My mother bloody hates them and continues to comment on the fact. Bearing in mind I have just had my 31st birthday it’s pretty obvious your mother always has an opinion on EVERYTHING!!

Easy to wear. Dress up or dress down. Day to Night. They really are easy to wear AND frigging comfortable.

Stripes, denim and monochrome all feature in this mamas wardrobe.

Here are my favs.

STRIPES

Madame Midi Stripe $109 from Madame Goblin. These are up there with my favourite ever purchases. I love them almost as much as my children. Sometimes more. They also do small sizes for matchy matching.

ELM Lennox $89.95 from Shineon. More a relaxed fix these are perfect for a relaxing Sunday.

DENIM

Luxe Fleur Drop Crotch Jeans AU$99.99 from Decjuba. An extreme drop in the crotch area. Not for the faint hearted. Definitely size down.

MONOCHROME

mumMe Duffle Pant $69.95 from Bam + Boo. No seams and no fading from these bad boys. Bam + Boo are also bringing out also new style with pockets!!

FATE Halston Pant $139.90 from Shineon. Slightly shorter in the leg these pants also the most beautiful fabric. Lil bit shiny and silky. Perfect for the evening with heels.

Luxe Drop Crotch Pant AU$59.95 from Decjuba. You can’t go past a staple. I think I need the grey!!

Happy shopping!!

Jx

Winners and Losers

In life and adulthood there are winners and losers. Now I’m not talking about winning a race or a game of monopoly. Life is full of outcomes good and bad.

That job you really want. Sometimes you are successful and sometimes you are not. The hot guy that you have been seeing turns out to be a bit of a douchebag, you learn and move on. As Grandma would say plenty more fish in the sea!

A paper you have slaved over for weeks sometimes you pass and sometimes you have read the brief completely wrong and your lecturer wants you to re-write. Sitting your driving test and speeding and you get back to the depot only to be told “I am sorry I cannot pass you”. Life it FULL of ups and downs.

Why am I writing this?

Tonight I saw Maria from Happy Mum Happy Child shared a moment from her life on Facebook and it got me thinking …. We as parents try not to let our children fail or be disappointed but are we doing them a disservice in doing so?

Our choices and actions teach us boundaries. Even when they are small, children push those boundaries to learn how far they can go. It’s nature. Failure and disappointment is a natural part of life and in allowing our children not to experience this natural yet shitty part of life are we not teaching them a valuable life lesson.

Imagine getting to 18 and never experiencing disappointment or failure? You would not have the coping mechanisms and strategies on board to realise THIS IS NORMAL. You would not know what was happening and you would feel like your world was ending.

Now I am no expert but looking from the outside in I am seeing a generation of kids who have never experienced disappointment or failure. Never lost a game, race or been told no. There are always “winners” and “losers” in this world. Maybe the words are not the nicest but they are reality.

Are we setting our kids up to “fail” by not teaching them the crucial life lesson?

It saddens me when I hear of schools not allowing “winners” in a race, because the other children will feel disappointment. Does this also not allow the winning child to feel a sense of pride and achievement? It also allows us to be apart of society that cuts achievers down with extreme hatred ….. Tall Poppy Syndrome anyone?

Here in NZ our teen suicide rate is high, too high.

As a mother with a child heading into this turbulent time I hope that I have given him the foundations of life lessons to get him through. I hope I have instilled in him that there is more to life than what can seem like the end of the world.

I would love to hear others thoughts.

Like I said this is only my opinion. I am not a parenting expert or child psychologist. Just a mum speaking as I find.

WIN WIN WIN with Jord Watches

There is nothing better than a good watch. If your like me I am not a huge watch wearer (because of my job) BUT if I wear one it has to look good!!

Jord Watches are a little bit different because they are made from wood. Yes, you heard me … wood.

There are SO many to choose from different woods, different sizes and coloured faces. I also love the fact they are unisex.

Beautifully presented in a stunning wooden box with little drawers full of waxes, wipes and goodies These watches sure make an impressive gift.

Jord Watches have given me a $100 voucher to give away to one lucky Dot Dash follower. All you need to do is click the link and follow the prompts.

https://www.woodwatches.com/g/dotdash

I am wearing the Frankie in Sandalwood and Emerald.

Cookbook Classic – HOME by Unna Burch 

I have a confession to make.

I have a secret.

Well to be honest it’s not so secret!

I am a cookbook hoarder. If you have every watched Nigella Lawson you would have seen her cookbook library. It is probably the most epic thing I have ever seen in my life. A whole room dedicated to her love of cookbooks.

In all honesty I just love all books but cookbooks are for me next level. Flicking through the pages of a cookbook take you on a journey. Regardless if you ever actually cook from it.

The very talented Unna Burch from The Forest Cantina has recently self published her 2nd cookbook called Home and it really is like visiting her home.

Unna self published via Kickstarter. As a backer I was lucky enough to be part of her Auckland styling/photography workshop she did last year. Unna has an amazing presence about her. It’s really hard to describe how rad she is. But she is pretty dang amazing.  She take simple styling to the next level and watching her work was mindblowing. From the placement of a leaf or seed to added props and textures it really was like watching a master at work.

Bonnie Beattie art director and lifestyle photography for Home visually told the story an a way that captured a moment in time.

Home is a collection of recipes which Unna says is her home cooking. Not only is Home a cookbook it looks at lifestyle. From good food to growing your own produce, to raising chickens for the perfect coloured egg (check out The Forest Cantina on Instagram to see what I mean) and giving you an insight into urban bee-keeping. After reading it I was ready to buy hives, rent an allotment and buy some chooks. Then I realised I would be really shit at all of those things so i’ll just stick to the cooking!!

Stand out recipes from the book for us have been the Diner Style Pancakes – easy to make (as I could NEVER make the Edmonds cookbook ones).  Once you try these you will never lower yourself to buy those shaker pancakes again.

Meatloaf with a BBQ glaze is now a firm fixture on our dinner menu.  What I love most is the fact not only is it freaking delicious, it does us two dinners so it saves me time!! We have it with spuds and veggies on night one and the leftovers we have meatloaf burgers with wedges. It’s even good cold and Unna gives a great recipe for Meatloaf sammies.

We have also tried the super fast egg foo young. This is genius and perfect when you have those moments of “I can’t be bothered cooking” and it actually tastes better than takeaways!

I am slowly working my way through the book and I can’t wait to spend a weekend in the kitchen making Nana Kui’s beetroot chutney, jalapeno – cranberry jelly and giving Unna’s ramen bone broth a crack.

Home is definitely a book you will cook from as well as escape in the beautiful images that Unna and Bonnie have captured. If you want to be inspired to cook I say go with Home.

DOT DASH + SABEN GIVEAWAY

I love Saben.

Silly as it may sound my Tilly has changed my life.

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Saben Tilly in Ink

What is even funnier, is that when I have been prattling on about how much I love her people have got one and found the same sort of life changing love.

My love grew when Camden came into my life.

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Now Tilly gets to rides shotgun in Camden for the big jobs like our latest trip to Melbourne.

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It is a win win situation.

Talking of winning ………

Saben have VERY kindly given me a Camden to giveaway to one lucky Dot Dash follower.

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All you need to do is click the link below and your in to WIN!

http://dgo.nz/bzZjsLuG4422

Don’t forget to tag your friends on our Facebook page so you can share the love!!

BIG, HUGE and McMASSIVE thank you to the Saben team for making this possible.

Oh Melbourne ….. PART ONE

I promised MANY people I would blog about our trip to Melbourne. But I got in a post holiday funk so looking and reminiscing about our AMAZING time just made me sad that I won’t be doing it again any time soon. I quickly got over myself and here it is. Our Melbourne adventure sans kids.

Oh and I will have to do it in parts because I started writing it and realised I had a BUTTLOAD to talk about so here is PART ONE. 

WARNING – Lots of food. Some of the images are not my own. I was too busy stuffing my face to get me phone out and lighting was shite, so it would not have done the food justice!!

DAY ONE – If you need a place to stay at Auckland Airport the night before you fly I cannot recommend the ibis Budget at Auckland Airport enough. Like it’s not 5 star but at $89 a night AND you can leave your car there for up to 7 days for about $60 you can’t really complain.

I hadn’t been to Melbourne before so I didn’t really know what to expect. But my 1st impression flying into it was “man it’s really FLAT!”

We continued our love for the Ibis hotels staying at the ibis Budget on Little Bourke St. We were super central BUT when you look at the map of the Melbourne CBD it’s all in blocks and everything looks really close. In reality the streets are QUITE long!! For example we were staying at 600 Little Bourke St and heading to GingerBoy for dinner it was a good 15-20 min walk even though it was on a little laneway just off Little Bourke St!!

The awesome thing about Melbourne is the different cultural aspects of it all. Staying on Little Bourke St you are heading into Chinatown. It really is epic and if you love to people watch you will LOVE Melbourne.  Chinatown is full of amazing restaurants each paying homage to their specialty be it dumplings, seafood or noodles. You could literally spend a week eating your way through 500m of Chinatown.

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Image – Google

GingerBoy is hailed as Melbourne’s 1st Hawker style fusion restaurant and to be honest it is pretty dang good. It is set up where you order a few dishes to share. We were feeling hungry so got the banquet menu (plus a few cocktails!!). Choosing the banquet menu you are given the fav/most popular dishes on the menu. This is a great way to eat because you get to try things you wouldn’t normally choose. It also gives you a great idea of what a restaurant is about.

The stand out for me was the salt and pepper chicken spare ribs (pretty sure they were chicken wings!) in a tamarind hot sauce. The were almost a smidge on the hot side for me (lil bit of a spice puss) but they were so good I didn’t care that the mouth was on fire!! GingerBoy was also the 1st place I got to try Wagu beef. So I’ve heard about this famed “Wagu”. It’s the mac daddy of beef.  For me I’m not a huge steak/beef fan and never order steak when I go out for dinner so it would never enter my head to get it. But holy sweet baby Jesus. It is THE BEST beef I have ever eaten. I can’t even describe why. It was like your eye fillet on steroids and then some. So my challenge to you my friend is if you get the chance to try Wagu …… DO IT!!

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Image – TripAdvisor.

DAY TWO – This was a CRAZY busy day. In hindsight I wouldn’t have done this all in one day because I don’t think we got to mooch and really see everything we could have.

We hit the pavement early for coffee and bomboloni (Italian filled donuts) at Coffea an awesome little place on the doorstep of Queen Victoria Markets. One thing about Melbourne is that coffee is GOOD and service is quick. No matter how busy a cafe is your coffee will take less than 5 mins to make an appearance and we were never disappointed. I am ruined for life and become a complete coffee snob!!

Queen Victoria Market you bloody beauty. A food nirvana. It’s a place where you literally don’t know where to start. Because I am a bit of a geek we booked a Foodie Tour of the Queen Vic. A tour which has tastings and gives you a bit of history about the place. I think I turned to Luke at one stage and was fizzing with foodie excitement. There were fat juicy oysters, beautiful kangaroo steaks and this frigging amazing blue cheese that had been skewered with chocolate liquer – mind blowing. There were every kind of olive you could think of, handcrafted chocolates and Luke got pretty excited about the wee craft beer and cider shop (should have gone back to that bit!)

 So that was just the meat, fish and dairy hall! You head outside and there is produce for DAYS. Organic, local and veges I had never even heard of, oh and the feijoas for $1 each and they were TINY!  

My second ahhhhh moment came when I discovered ReWine. Clearskin wines in ONE litre bottles that you can REFILL. Red, white and the best Prosecco I have ever had. We also picked up some of their famous mulled wine syrup for those winter nights. 

 We nailed some donuts from the famous donut van (we were told this is a Melbourne insitution and the line is round the block on the weekends), then headed for another coffee to shake off the few wines I had! Queen Vic has another part of the market which we didn’t get to and that was the merchandise side of things. Trinkets and tresures awaited but because we had a lunch booking we had to rush off. Next trip I’m setting aside a WHOLE day to explore this amazing place. 

Now Dinner by Heston was one thing we had planned for ages. Dinner by Heston is the antipodean cousin of Dinner by Heston, London. It was proably the most amazing culinary experience I have ever had. The only shit thing was the fact I decided to be a lady and I wore my glam heels. It was a 15-20 min walk to the river and by the time we got there I was blistered and in agony. That said I sucked it up with Luke saying “I told you so!!” – asshole!

My photo’s I took didn’t do the meal justice. If you want a better idea definetly google it!! We got the 6 course tasting lunch and I am so glad we did. Stand outs for me was the “meat fruit” – chicken liver parfait and the hay smoked ocean trout oh and weird but great was the roasted cucumber. Luke was all over the “rice and flesh” – saffron risotto and curried kangaroo tail and tipsy cake with spit roasted pineapple the 1st (yes there were 2!) dessert.  

Dinner by Heston was amazing and we both realised that we didn’t talk much through out the lunch because we were so busy watching the staff. It was a well oiled machine with each person having a role in the big picture. We sat opposite the kitchen with the large glass windows which made perfect people viewing. So my recommendation is that is you get the chance go. Have an open mind. be amazed and maybe take your credit card!! 

We ended up finishing our Friday in the best way possible with family, cutting shapes in a little place called The Black Rabbit and drinking $10 espresso martinis. Followed by a kebab while walking home. I felt 20 again. However it I did not feel 20 the next morning!!