Fussy little eaters: Cauliflower Fritters

A dear friend gave us some cauliflower for Easter, along with a copy of a cauliflower fritters recipe. I finally gave it a try tonight and had great success with the boys. I adapted the recipe to our own palate and what we have in the pantry :)

Cauliflower Fritters

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Ingredients:
450g cauliflower, chopped into little bits (see note)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup of SR flour
1 cup of shredded cheese
2 cloves of garlic, chopping
1tsp curry powder/paprika
Pepper
Oil to shallow fry

Method:
Mix all ingredients in a bowl
Spoon some mix into heated oil
Cook over low/medium heat until golden
Serve with yogurt/fruit chutney/chilli jam

Note:
I mixed some cooked pumpkin in my mix to make up the 450g because I have some in the fridge that needed to be eaten. So I reckon you can do it too with any vegies you have on hand. Just make sure that they’re cut uniformly so they cook evenly.

Mr E loved it so much that he had seconds, and told me that he’d have it again and again lol I probably should have served them with a side of salad to make it a “full and proper” meal but I was tired and to be honest, couldn’t really be bothered.

Next time, I will either add some mince or tuna in the mix because it seems that I am the only mother in the world who has to hide meat. Little E doesn’t seem to like them, at least not my meat dishes. He eats all his lunch without fail at daycare, including the meat. But at home? He’s pretty picky! What’s the dealio, Romeo?!

Anyway, please do try this recipe, it’s a great hidden vegies recipe!

Chocolate Date

My husband took me out on a date today.

We both took an early mark from work and had chocolate goodness. We chatted, we swapped stories of our favourite memories, we reconnected.

It was great because we really needed it. Our marriage needed it.

To be perfectly honest, we haven’t been the best married couple recently. Too occupied with trying to be the best parents we can be, work, university assignments and other life “things”, that we’ve forgotten about each other. We’ve been arguing a lot more than we’ve ever been before becoming parents.

Sixteen months on, it appears that we’re still getting to know and learning of each other as parents. I knew that having a baby will take a toll on your marriage. It’s a life changing event, but I innocently didn’t know how much.

Despite the 10 yrs+ we’ve been together, I have not met Mr E as a father. I am not familiar with his parenting ways and how we could compromise our differences. When Little E arrived, we went back to square one again, like when we first met.

Thankfully, it is getting easier with each disagreement. I understand more of his thought process as a parent, and I hope, vice versa. It is very much a learning curve, just like parenting is to us.

If you are new parents, just like us, and are going through the same in your marriages, please remember that you and your partner are in the same team, going towards the same goal. You were both blessed with a beautiful gift, your baby, to take care of together. Keep strong, keep faith in your marriage, learn from your fights, move on and when you can, steal some time to just be a couple.

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Nothing like bonding over baked chocolate tart, creme anglaise, and chocolate affogato :)

The short hour that we had this afternoon was indeed short, but it was beautifully sweet, and not only because we had chocolates ;)

Teething cuddles

Little E hasn’t been his normal cheery self this weekend, we think his last 2 canines coming through is bothering him. The poor baby! :(

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This is him, cuddling up to daddy and promptly falling asleep in his arms. My heart melted into a puddle as I watched them from afar.

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This is us in bed, having some good old skin-to-skin session, the only thing that calmed him right down. My poor little man. I hope his teeth come through real soon!

A revisit of: Grill’d

Grill’d
The Woden branch
Grill'd on Urbanspoon

The good people behind Grill’d invited me back to try out their new menu items: sliders and sides. As an obliging person that I am, I rushed straight to the restaurant today, bringing along my two loves.

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We ordered three of their sliders, a large sweet potato chips, hot chilli mayo and Asian slaw to share. As I have mentioned in my last review, I am not much of a massive fan of their herbed chips (too rosemary-ey) but these sweet potato chips? I absolutely love! Both my boys agreed, most of all, Little E. He had both hands and mouth busy during the entire meal.

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I liked the Asian slaw, and surprisingly, so did Mr E. If I have to be picky, I would prefer that they mix through the dressing instead of drizzling it over. As it is now, you can’t mix it through without spilling and wasting precious cabbage, then when you get down the bottom, you ran out of dressing.

I was most excited to try the pomegranate and mild wasabi beef slider. Unfortunately, though delicious, I couldn’t taste pomegranate in the burger. However, the wasabi taste came through nicely without being too strong. Mr E said that perhaps the pomegranate might be more noticeable with the chicken?

Mr E and I both felt that the grilled chicken and Asian slaw lacked a little flavour – a problem that none of the other Grill’d burgers have. When Mr E put some of the hot chilli mayo on it, he created magic ;) It was flavoursome, and full of crunchy delicious texture. Yum!

Going in, I was least enthusiastic about the beef, cheese, mustard and pickle slider. However, it was the one I enjoyed the most! Such a classic taste done extremely well :) Good job, Grill’d!

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As per usual, the service was quick and friendly. The place clean, there were highchairs provided (also clean) and for every purchase, you’re helping out a charity group :)

Thanks again, Grill’d, for the delicious lunch. We certainly will be back soon! In case any Grill’d staff reads this review, please note that Chicken and Asian slaw slider + hot chilli mayo = awesome. Just sayin’.

For my last review, please click here.

Holiday: Dunedin in Detail

We flew to Dunedin, via Wellington (“Middle of Middle Earth”). We allocated the whole day for travelling, lucky, because both flights were delayed. Fortunately, the Rotorua airport has a pretty good playground so it kept Little E occupied the entire time. As soon as we arrived to Wellington airport, we picked our lunch choice and sat down. I have to say that Wellington airport is officially one of my favourite airports! Not only because of its decoration ;)

Gollum!

Gollum!

Our flight to Dunedin was delayed due to bad weather, so I was a little nervous going on the plane as the rain was still pelting down. Thank God that we made it safely to Dunedin because the turbulence was bad! I had to fight the urge to vomit the entire 1.5 painful hours :(

Anyway, as soon as we got our hire car, we made our way to the CBD and looked for a place to eat. Mr E had chosen an apparently-popular fish and chips shop. After what seemed like an eternity, we found Fish Hook. Honestly, I don’t know why it’s popular other than because it’s cheap.

We had a little squabble while we were there as I found out Mr E had mistakenly ordered three pieces of fish on top of his order. I hate the thought of wasting food, most especially when the food wasn’t all that special. Luckily for him, Little E must have had one of his hungry days because he polished off two giant brill fish all by himself! It was amazing to watch him eat like that.

After dinner, we drove to our accommodation and settled ourselves in, getting ready for the Cadbury Factory and Dunedin CBD the next day.

Cadbury Factory

He had great fun playing with those chocolate bars – taking them out then putting them back in.

We enjoyed the Factory tour, though it could ended a lot differently. The tour was very strict. You cannot wear any jewellery, including earrings, and you have to leave your valuables in a locker. If you opt to still wear your wedding rings, you have to wear gloves. At all times, you must wear your hair net (including babies and kids). You cannot carry your baby in your arms, instead, you’re given a backpack. Little E has never been in a backpack, so he really chucked a spack-attack being carried like that on Mr E. So much so that we were given a stern-talking to to basically shut him up and “keep his hair net on, or leave”. The tour guide certainly did not have the best interpersonal skill. We were with another group of people and they all gave their apologetic looks to us, most especially the parents of the other toddler there.

The interesting thing is, the whole time we were on the tour, we were always behind a glass window, standing nowhere near any machinery or touch anything. I think the whole no jewellery business is definitely going a little too far. Anyway, we did sample a few things and as the time went on, Little E calmed down and was quite engaged (he was on me by this time).

World's Steepest Road

After the tour, and a quick look-around of Dunedin hills, Mr E and us parted our ways. Mr E went and did the Speight Brewery tour, while Little E and I had lunch and window-shop in Dunedin CBD. In the late afternoon, we made our way to the world’s steepest street, Baldwin Street, and trekked the whole way up. It was definitely a work-out! That night, we had a picnic in the park for dinner and a run-around afterwards :)

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He didn’t like his first taste of Mie Goreng

The next day, we drove to the Otago Peninsula to do the Nature’s Wonder tour. We chose that particular tour, instead of the others, as you can see seals and penguins during the day! All other penguin tours leave at dusk, which is ultra unsuitable for parents with young kids. As Little E is a morning person, we left the motel super early and made a pit-stop at a playground on the way to Nature’s Wonder, as it doesn’t open until 10.15am.

A penguin! We could've just reached in and touch him - he was that close!

A penguin! We could’ve just reached in and touch him – he was that close!

thoroughly enjoyed the tour – we saw plenty of seals and penguins. They were a mere step away from us, totally uncaring that we were so close. Perry was an awesome tour-guide and was very informative. Little E loved the fourwheel drive experience through the rough terrain, though he was so tired at the end, that he fell asleep while on the drive! How, I just couldn’t understand lol

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Seals!!! They’re soooo cute and cuddley-looking. I want one :(

We made our way to the Larnagh Castle, NZ’s only castle, for our stay overnight. This was our night of luxury, and we made the most of it by checking in early. I loved loved loved our room – I requested to stay in the Goldrush room and the bed was fantastic! ;) I love themed rooms! We did the tour of the castle and its ground, Little E loving the lush thick grass, running around barefoot. Mr E and I had a great time watching him play :) We also opted to do the dinner in the Castle, which worked out perfectly with Little E’s bedtime routine. We gave him his dinner, bathed him, then had a leisurely walk around the grounds before making our way to the Library, where we had pre-dinner drinks. When dinner was served, we left him in his pram in the hallway, which let us enjoy ourselves in the Music room.

Enjoying the thick lush grass on the Castle grounds

Enjoying the thick lush grass on the Castle grounds

Before we left Dunedin in the morning, we made a quick pit-stop to the Farmers Market, held at the Central Train Station. This was where we had the best rasberries we’ve ever had in our entire lives! They were sweet and succulent and were just heaven. Little E loved them so much that we had to buy another punnet for later :) If you’re in the area on a Saturday, make sure you visit the market :)

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I loved Dunedin, it was definitely as beautiful and scenic as everyone told me. Reminding me of countryside England, Dunedin is just so green! A change from our scenery in Canberra :)

The beautiful Otago Peninsula

The beautiful Otago Peninsula

Activities in summary:

  • Cadbury factory – too strict but good
  • Speight Brewery
  • Dunedin CBD and surrounding hills
  • Otago Peninsula
  • The Larnagh Castle –  an overnight stay and dinner
  • Nature’s Wonder Tour
  • Baldwin Street – the World’s Steepest Street
  • Farmers market on Saturdays: for best raspberries in the world!

If we had free time, I reckon we would have gone to see the Albatross colony, as expensive as it is :)

Accommodation:

Cable Court Motel
833 Cumberland St N, North Dunedin
I was pretty happy with our choice! The apartment had a kitchenette, big lounge area (where Little E slept at night) and a bath. The room itself has a TV, so we could lock ourselves in while Little E sleeps :) It also offers free washing machine and washing powder (unlike the last place). On top of all that, they have a coffee machine and they’re free too! wooo! :) They’re not the greatest coffee in the world, but they’re definitely better that the instant press coffee NZ accommodation seem to prefer :) The place is close to a park and is within walking distance from the CBD (and Cadbury Factory)! I definitely recommend this motel :)

Larnagh Castle
Otago Peninsula

Our bed lol

Our bed lol

I loved our stay at the Larnagh Castle. Though expensive, it was definitely worth the price! If you don’t want to spend as much on the room, you can stay at the lodge. This would have been our choice if we didn’t have Little E with us, as you do have to share toilets and bathrooms with the other guests there. The Larnagh castle has an exceptionally good customer service, nothing was impossible. We brought Little E’s dinner and needed a microwave to heat it up, which they promptly got us one to use. The castle also offers babysitting, where your child(ren) stay in the room the whole time you’re away, while you have dinner in the castle. Our time at the castle was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me :)

Child Friendly Restaurant: Cholo’s Peruvian Restaurant

Cholo’s Peruvian Restaurant
Ph: 02 6248 8648
Shop 68 12 Challis St
Dickson
Cholo's Peruvian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

So on the day that Little E decided to have one of his worst tantrumy day, we went out to lunch with one of our dear friend. She suggested the place and I was excited to try it out. Correct me if I’m wrong, Canberran, but it seems that there has been a recent explosion of Peruvian food here. I first saw it at the Multicultural Festivals, then at the different festivals since, and now, there’s an actual restaurant! How exciting!

Anyway, the dining experience didn’t start all too well. Little E refused to sit in his highchair, then he continued to wahwahwah so loudly for the longest time. The other diners kept looking back at us, including a couple with a young baby. I really want to say to them “just you wait, dudes, just you WAIT!!!”. But I didn’t. The restaurant owner who served us was trying so hard to help me, she even offered for me to go out the back to see if I want to check his nappy. It was embarrassing.

So, I ignored him. At least, I tried to. I let him vent his frustration, while I tried to hold an adult conversation with my friend. Before I knew it, our orders arrived to the table and would you know it, as soon as I gave Little E a bit of my burger bun, he quietened right down. Heh.

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For him, I ordered some kind of crumbed cassava ball with mince and egg inside (it’s not in their online menu?). The ball came with a delicious quinoa salad and green capsicum (?) sauce. Little E really enjoyed this dish. He was messy as always, which is a sign of his approval :) I ordered the Cholo’s Adobo Burger, a burger with slow cooked moist pork adobo with lettuce and sarsa criolla. It was good, though I would have loved some sort of sides, even only a little, to have it with. The buns were light and fluffy, Little E liked it too, and the pork was nice and tender. Unfortunately for them, though, I actually liked the burger I had from the Peruvian food stand at the airport open day more. Our friend ordered the 1/4 chicken, served with chips and salad. To me, it looked good, I love grilled chicken. My friend said that her dish was alright, but not spectacular.

In the end, the meal turned out quite well. Little E ate his lunch, I ate my burger in peace, and I can have full catch-up conversation with my friend. Little E must have gotten a good vibe from the owner as when we’re about to leave, he actually gave her a hug! lol I didn’t know that he’s the sort to dish out affections to strangers like that ;) She did tell us that she is a mother of two young kids though, so I guess he could tell from her warmth towards him. The owner told us that she has plans to create a creche area for parents to leave their kids to play. I think it is such a brilliant idea, pretty sure, she’ll be the first in Canberra to do that. I will definitely go back there, even just for that!

Though I didn’t rate my burger as awesome, I did like Little E’s dish, and I know that Mr E would like to try the place, so I will definitely go back to try their other dishes. With the owner so friendly and patient, the cleanliness of the place and the speed of serving times, it is still pretty much a win for me :)