Archives May 2016

Slow cooker lamb shanks

For a winter’s meal there’s nothing like a tender, melt in your mouth meal of slow cooker lamb shanks.

In the winter I love nothing more than opening the door to the house to the smell of a delicious meal cooking.  It’s a comforting smell that reminds me of mum’s home cooking but it’s also such a great feeling to know that dinner is almost ready and there’s not much to do!

I’m currently in love with my slow cooker and I have been using it more lately both because it’s colder but also for convenience and time saving reasons.  Part of my plan over the next 6 months is to work on being more organised and to save time when I can (well really it’s a life long plan!!).   I’m working quite long hours at the moment with a few different things on the go, so I need to be organised and plan my meals.  It’s so easy to just chuck everything in in the morning and come home to dinner being almost prepared.

Slow cooker lamb shanks are kind of like mini lamb roasts that are pretty good value for money and delicious at the same time.  I find one shank is too much for me, so there are always left overs for the next day which is a bonus.

Nutritionally, lamb is a good source of iron, protein, B group vitamins and zinc so it’s nutrient dense and filling.

I served this with kumara and potato mash as well as steamed vegetables for a classic meat and “three vegetable” hearty meal.

Slow cooker lamb shanks

2 lamb shanks, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tin tomatoes
2 cups reduced salt beef stock
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 cloves garlic
1 large brown onion
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves

Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the lamb shanks and brown all over.  This helps enhance the flavour.

Add the tomatoes, stock, tomato paste and vinegar to the slow cooker.  Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves and onion.  Add these to the slow cooker and sprinkle over the herbs.  Give it a gentle mix.  Add the lamb shanks and pop the lid on the slow cooker.  Turn to low and cook for 8 hours.

To make a gravy for the slow cooker lamb shanks, spoon out a cup of the liquid and sieve into a small glass bowl.  Add a couple of ice cubes and stir well to help it cool down.  Then pop it in the freezer for around 15 minutes.  Take out and scoop of the layer of fat from the top.  In my opinion, the gravy tastes much better without this!  Mix 1/2 a tablespoon of cornflour with a small amount of water to make a paste and add to the liquid.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes, stir, then microwave again until it thickens. You may need to add a little more cornflour.   Serve the lamb shanks with gravy and vegetables of your choice.  I also like to spoon over a little of the tomato and onion mixture on top too.

I’m sure these slow cooker lamb shanks will be a hit in your house for a hearty, nourishing winter meal.

What are your favourite slow cooker recipes and would you like me to share some more of my favourites?

Chilli Sesame Glazed Salmon

One of the great things about healthy eating is it doesn’t have to take forever. I’m not always super organised, and I’m often busy, so I like to have a few go-to meal ideas that I can quickly put together when I don’t have time (or can’t be bothered!!) spending a long time in the kitchen but I still want to have something healthy and tasty.

One thing I often buy in my groceries for convenience factor is frozen fish. It’s something I try to eat at least once or twice a week because of its omega 3 content. Of course, salmon is one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids and I was stoked to hear that Sealord have brought out both frozen Atlantic salmon fillets and pieces. The salmon is caught in Tasmania and fillets are individually frozen and vacuum packed so there is no compromise on quality. You can cook it from frozen (it takes about 8-10 minutes each side) or just simply put them in the fridge the evening before to defrost – like you would other frozen meats – and they’re ready to go the next day. They’re already pin boned too – bonus! You can find them at your local supermarket in the frozen section.

Salmon can be quite rich, but Atlantic salmon has a milder flavour and is paler in colour and I find it delicious. Salmon goes well with Asian flavours and this chilli sesame glazed salmon is a quick, healthy and delicious meal that’s going to be on high rotation in our house.

The whole meal can be made in around 30 minutes – perfect for busy weeknights. I’ve served the salmon with stir fried vegetables and soba noodles, but you could easily switch the noodles out for brown rice if you prefer. You can also mix up the vegetables too with whatever you have in the fridge.

Chilli Sesame Glazed Salmon

Ingredients for 2 servings:

1 packet of Sealord Salmon Fillets, defrosted
2 tablespoons chilli sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

½ 270g packet soba noodles

½ head broccoli, chopped into florets
1 red capsicum, cored and finely sliced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
8 button mushrooms
1 zucchini, either spiralised or cut into thin matchstick slices.
1 bunch of baby pak choi, shredded
2 teaspoons reduced salt soy sauce
2 tablespoons cashew nuts

To serve (optional) – garlic chives and lemon



To make sure everything is ready at the same time,  prep all your vegetables before you start.

Mix together the chilli sauce, honey, sesame oil and garlic in a ramekin or small bowl and set aside.


Place a pot of water on an element over a high heat.  Once it is boiling, turn to medium and add the broccoli. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, then drain and set aside with the other vegetables.


Add the vegetables to a hot wok with 2 tablespoons of water. Drizzle the soy sauce over the vegetables. Stir fry for around 8-10 minutes.


While the vegetables are cooking, heat a teaspoon of oil in a non stick pan over a medium heat.  Once hot, add the salmon fillet, skin side down.  Drizzle half the chilli sauce mixture over the salmon. After 4 minutes, flip and cook for another four minutes.  Flip again and drizzle with the remaining chili sauce mixture  and heat for another couple of minutes. Top with sesame seeds.

Cook the noodles according to instructions on the packet, they only take around 4 minutes!

To serve:  Plate up the noodles and top with the stir fried vegetables.  Sprinkle with the cashew nuts. Add the salmon and serve with some chopped chives and a squeeze of lemon juice.

For more delicious recipes with salmon, check out these ideas.

Want to win a $50 Stevens Voucher??  Find instructions how on my Facebook post here 🙂

This post was made possible thanks to Sealord.


The busy girl’s guide to workday lunch ideas

I’m not one of those people that cook and prep lunches or dinners for the whole week on Sunday.  As much as I love food and cooking, the idea of spending hours prepping on a Sunday and eating the same food all week just doesn’t excite me.  What does though is a more simple approach for workday lunches. Here’s my guide for quick, healthy work lunch ideas.

In the weekends, I do spend a little time making some options that I can freeze and grab out on the day if it tickles my fancy. Some days I’ll have leftovers or prep something the night before. For the other days, I keep a well-stocked fridge of options that includes Dairyworks cheeses, boiled eggs, bread, avocado, nut butters, tomatoes and fruit which gives me throw together options if I need them so I don’t have to buy my lunch. This is saving me money and time. I love it!

Here’s my routine for quick, healthy work lunch ideas

Shopping and Prepping:

To get organised for lunches and snacks, there are some key items I usually buy.
At the moment, these include:

  • Wholegrain bread (I’ll keep a loaf or half a loaf in the freezer at work, or just take what I need for the day)
  • Dairyworks mini cheese blocks.  These are a great size to keep in the fridge at work and I love how the packet is resealable.  They also do cheese slices (already cut) which is super handy too, as well as pre-grated mixed cheeses.
  • Avocado and tomato (I’m making the most of it before they go too crazy in price)
  • Vegetables such as carrots and celery
  • A bag of baby spinach
  • Nuts – usually a mixed variety.
  • Dairyworks Rice Crackers and Cheese.  These are perfect for when you need something on the run.  Because I’m on the road for work sometimes, these are easy to grab along with a piece of fruit for something to eat when I’m at a clinic at a different location to my normal office.
  • Nut butters – eg peanut butter/almond butter.
  • Yoghurt

With these few bits and pieces you can create quite a few lunch ideas, and these are some of my regulars when I haven’t had time to organise anything else.

  • Wholegrain toast with tomato, egg and cheese
  • Toasted sandwich with tomato, baby spinach and cheese
  • Wholegrain toast, avocado, tomato and egg
  • Sandwich with cheese, baby spinach and avocado
  • Wholegrain toast with peanut or almond butter and banana
  • Fruit and yoghurt with a generous sprinkle of nuts


With my supplies, some of my favourite options are:

  • Cheese slices with carrot sticks
  • Fruit
  • Carrot and celery sticks dipped in almond butter/peanut butter
  • Dairyworks cheese and rice crackers
  • Yoghurt
  • Nuts

Very little preparation is involved for the quick and easy lunch items. What I do do though is boil some eggs at the start of the week to have on hand.  These can go on toast, or otherwise make a good high protein snack.  According to The Kitchn, boiled eggs will keep for up to a week in the fridge after they’ve been boiled.  Write the date on them so you know if they’re good or not.


In the weekends I do a little bit of food prep, but in general I try to make it something I’m going to eat in the weekend and use the leftovers for the week ahead.  Currently these options are frittatas and vegetable soups, both nourishing and filling options which you can freeze and grab as you need.

Sure they take slightly longer than grab-and-go options, but a little bit of prep is all that’s required to make 5-6 days worth of lunches. Here’s two of my current favourite recipes that you can freeze.


Pumpkin and parmesan soup


Pumpkin soup is a go-to favourite for the cooler weather and the addition of parmesan cheese really ups the flavour of this recipe.  I use the Dairyworks brand which comes in a resealable container which I love.  Otherwise I tend to end up with crusty, hard cheese!


1.5kg of pumpkin
1 large onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped1 L of vegetable stock (use 1 cup less if you prefer a really thick soup)
¼ cup Dairyworks parmesan cheese

To Serve: Natural yoghurt, extra parmesan cheese and chives.


Deseed the pumpkin and cut into chunks.  To make peeling the pumpkin easier,  place the pieces in a microwavable bowl and heat for 5 minutes.

While the pumpkin is heating, roughly chop the onion into chunks.  Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat then add the onion. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the smoked paprika and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.

Take the pumpkin from the microwave and cut off the skin.  It should be much easier to remove as the pumpkin will be slightly cooked.

Add the pumpkin to the pot and heat for around 5 or so minutes.  This helps caramelise the outside of the pumpkin and adds to the flavour.  Add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.

Cook for between 15-20 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft.

Take off the heat.  Add the parmesan cheese and stir through.  Blend with a stick blender being very careful not to splash yourself with hot soup.

To serve, stir through some natural unsweetened yoghurt, extra parmesan and top with chives.

Pour the soup into individual serving size containers and freeze for a later date. I poured mine into a pyrex jug from the pot to make this job less mess.

Smokey kumara and vegetable frittatas

These vegetable packed frittatas use a delicious mix of three different Dairyworks cheeses all conveniently packaged into one pack.  This Dairyworks cheese blend contains a blend of smoked parmesan, colby and cheddar to give these frittatas an amazing flavour.  There are other options available too. You can check out the range here.


1 medium kumara
1 wedge of pumpkin (about the same size as the kumara)
1 red onion
1 capsicum
½ tablespoon olive oil
5 mushrooms
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
4 blocks frozen spinach, defrosted.
Approximately 100g Dairyworks Smokey Joe grated cheese
8 eggs
2 tablespoons of milk
Salt and pepper to season


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.  Either grease a 6 hole texas muffin tin, or line with baking paper.

Peel the kumara and pumpkin and cut into thin slices.  Place these in a glass bowl and microwave for 5 minutes.  This will slightly cook them to ensure they don’t end up undercooked when you bake the frittatas.

While the kumara and pumpkin are precooking, core and chop the capsicum and cut the onion into slices.  Heat the oil in a medium fry pan over a medium heat.  Cook the capsicum and onion mix for 5 minutes, then wash and chop the mushrooms and add these along with the worcestershire sauce.  Cook for a further 5 minutes.  Add the spinach, stirring well to combine with the other ingredients and heat for 2 minutes.   Season with salt and pepper then take off the heat and set aside.

Beat together the eggs and milk.  Season with a little salt and pepper.

Now get ready to layer up your frittatas.  Take your muffin tins and add piece of kumara then some pumpkin.  Add a spoonful or two of the other vegetable mix.  Top with a good spoonful of grated cheese.  Add another layer of kumara and pumpkin.  Add some extra grated cheese.  Repeat this with all the muffin tin hole.  Next, pour over the egg mixture evenly between the frittatas.  You can top with a little more cheese if you wish.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through.

Store in the fridge or freeze in an airtight container.

For a workplace lunch, serve with a salad made with the baby spinach, tomato and avocado and any other vegetables you might have on hand.

I hope this inspires you to get sorted for some delicious, quick, healthy work lunch ideas and makes your life that wee bit easier.
This post was made possible thanks to Dairyworks.