Apple, Rocket & Pine Nut Salad – A Festive Christmas Side For Glazed Ham

December is just around the corner and with that, Christmas! In Australia, that usually means a Christmas Lunch full of delicious and fresh food, including some delicious seafood and mouthwatering salads. Where I live, it’s usually 40°c and no one is in any hurry to be lining up for a steaming plate of boiling hot baked potatoes or roast veggies. No, we eat salad at Christmas. Cold, fresh salads.

Continue reading “Apple, Rocket & Pine Nut Salad – A Festive Christmas Side For Glazed Ham”

Warwick’s Gardens Galore – Offering More Than Just a Nice Meal

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Phone: 07 4661 4466

Address: 21 Albion Street, Warwick, Queensland 4370 Australia

I sometimes feel that the experience of having a meal is not only about the food itself, but about the experience as a whole. Many factors can set the tone for the evening – or in this case, lunch. Warwick’s Garden Galore is a cafe that has much more to offer than just a nice meal.

Stepping in, I was immediately transported to a shoppers paradise. Giftware, jewellery and flower bouquets were spread throughout the entire entry room. I walked through, taking a moment to browse the many products they had to offer.

The dining room had a warehouse look and feel and was abuzz with the sound of customers happily chatting, talking and laughing.

The glass doors and windows all around the spacious area perfectly let all the light and outdoors in. As the day was so fine, and because this place was known for their grand gardens and nursery, we chose to sit outdoors.

The beautiful courtyard was shaded by an impressive grapevine that grew overhead like a forest canopy, giving a somewhat tropical feel.

Although, the thing that most impressed me was the menus. They were easily the most unique menus I’ve seen. Not the food but the menus themselves. Each menu was a professionally printed hardcover book with pictures of the food, the cafe and of course, the gardens.

As for the gardens, well that was something else entirely. Forget Bunnings, this place was spectacular. Featuring more plants than you could imagine, as well as live chickens running loose throughout.

A large beef burger sits on a rectangular cutting board with a small silver bucket of beer battered potato chips and six golden onion rings on a white stone table.

The contents of the menu, meaning the food, had a good variety but wasn’t overly complicated. They had a good selection of burgers and salads and also a handful of other meals and sides.

I went with the Loaded Skins; a potato skin stuffed with pulled pork and beans and then topped with cheese and sour cream.

My mother intended to order the Beef Brisket Burger, but unfortunately they had run out of brisket so instead she went with the Wagyu Beef Burger.

The waitress was pleasant and when the Brisket wasn’t available, made a recommendation that she promised would be equally as good.

Something to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t always expect a fast meal at Warwick’s Garden Galore, as our meals took around 30 minutes to come.

When they did arrive however, I noticed that they looked very appetizing. They were nicely presented and looked fresh.

The Potato Skins were served in a small cast-iron skillet that it had been cooked in. They had tortilla chips and guacamole in addition to the items that were promised on the menu and both were excellently seasoned and very morish.

A tall beef burger is straight on with lettuce, tomato, bacon, beef patty and cheese on a brioche burger bun. Three onion rings are stacked on the left in the background and a set of silver salt and pepper shakers are in the background on the right.

In fact, if I had of been served just a plate of the tortilla chips, guacamole and sour cream, it would have been faultless.

As for the stuffed potato skins, which were the main element of the dish, they were tasty and made for a nice meal, however they weren’t anything special.

I enjoyed the dish as a whole and would be happy to return again, but the main drawcard to Warwick’s Gardens Galore is, well; the gardens. It’s the kind of place that you go to for a family outing and intend to have a leisurely day.

If in Warwick, whether passing through or a local, I would absolutely recommend taking the time to visit this place. It’s an experience that’s hard to find in the hustle and bustle that is the city life.

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Homemade Mexican Spice Mix – Perfect For Tacos, Nachos and Burritos

If anyone knows me, they’ll know that I love Mexican food! Tacos, nachos and burritos are my families favourites. They’re fresh and relatively quick to put on the table, but have you ever thought about making your own Mexican spice mix? Well, today I’ll tell you how. There’s no need to order take-out.

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And yes, you could just buy those packaged spice mixes. They are very convenient, but making your own spice mix lets you really control what’s going into your meal and also the level of flavour and heat, not to mention it sounds super impressive to tell your guests that you made your own Mexican spice mix…

Homemade taco seasoning

The mix is really easy and most people would probably already have all the ingredients in their pantry. This recipe makes enough for 500g of meat. I usually use beef mince but you can use whatever takes your fancy.

And if you need some inspiration on using this spice mix, you’ll want to check out these easy Beef Burrito Bowls! And if you’re looking for some topping ideas for your next Mexican feast, whether you’re having tacos, nachos or burritos, then be sure to check out my Fresh Tomato Salsa (Pico De Gallo).

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Homemade Mexican Spice Mix

  • Servings: 500g of Meat
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper (see note)

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl or jar and stir thoroughly to combine. Store in an airtight container or jar until ready to use.
  2. Brown off 500g chosen meat in a large frying pan until just cooked and add spice mix along with 2-3 tbsp of water. Continue cooking until the water has evaporated and the meat is cooked all the way through.

NOTES

1. This spice mix has a mild spice level, but can easily be made hotter by adding more cayenne pepper.

2. The cook time does not include cooking the meat, only making the spice mix.


Homemade taco seasoning

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Quick and Easy Spaghetti with a Chunky Marinara Sauce

This quick & easy spaghetti with chunky marinara is the perfect vegetarian meal or family dinner recipe.

Now, I love pasta. It’s my ultimate comfort food and one of my favourite lunches. The only problem is that a lot of pasta sauce recipes you find take ages to cook, and usually when I want pasta, I want it fast. That’s where this lovely recipe comes in.

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Introducing my “Cheats” Spaghetti with a Garlicky Tomato Marinara Pasta Sauce, a delicious recipe that you can whip up in under 30 minutes. The tomato sauce can easily be made and ready by the time the pasta has finished cooking.

I designed this pasta sauce recipe as a quick fix with all the flavour of something that would take an hour or more because honestly, most people are often strapped for time or just couldn’t be bothered to spend heaps of time in the kitchen on a weeknight. Sometimes, that’s just not practical.

The reason I use canned tomatoes is because I especially love to eat pasta in the winter months and fresh tomatoes aren’t that great when they’re not in season and also because it is a lot quicker and easier to use canned tomatoes – using fresh tomatoes would add an extra 30-45 minutes onto the recipe, as the best way to use fresh tomatoes for the sauce is roasting them. But if you would like the recipe for that version, then please comment below and I’d be happy to post it!

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I do recommend being a bit generous with the salt. It’s best to taste as you go, but I think the flavours come out more when seasoned a bit more. I also don’t use pepper in this recipe, as it can be a little overpowering for the simple tomato sauce. 

I hope you give this Spaghetti and Marinara Sauce recipe a try, and if you do I would love to hear how it went! Feel free to tag any of my social media channels and share a picture! I’m @kjsfoodjournal on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!

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Quick and Easy Spaghetti with a Chunky Marinara Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

    300g Dried Spaghetti [recipe-ingredients title="For the Sauce"]
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 x 400g tin Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Fresh Oregano, roughly torn
  • 1 tsp Fresh Chives, finely diced (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • salt, to taste [recipe-ingredients title="To Serve"]
  • Finely Grated Parmesan, to serve (optional)
  • Fresh Parsley, to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. Place a large pot on high heat and fill with water. Add a decent amount of salt and bring to boil. Once boiling, add spaghetti and cook until tender. Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, add oil to a medium sized pot on medium heat and gently sauté garlic until golden. Add tomatoes and stir through.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle simmer, tasting to make sure the seasoning is to your liking.
  4. Allow to cook for a few minutes to reduce slightly, around 5-10 minutes and remove from heat.
  5. Add spaghetti to the pot and toss through the sauce to cover. Divide into serving bowls and serve.

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