Category: Salads

Easy Chicken Salad

Easy Chicken Salad feature

I know the warm weather has almost disappeared in these northern parts of NSW but this Easy Chicken Salad is one I feel you can eat all year round especially when you’re looking for a meal that’s deliciously, clean and healthy.

Zadada and I really need to have ourselves a few more salads like this one. Too often we get

I know the warm weather has almost disappeared in these northern parts of NSW but this Easy Chicken Salad is one I feel...

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A Frustrating Flood Finished Off With….. A Deconstructed Pumpkin Salad


Deconstructed Pumpkin Salad feature

The weekend just passed was one quite far from normal but one I am feeling very fortunate about too.

Cyclone Marcia certainly left her mark with many, for us here in Northern NSW she brought lots of rain but no damaging winds (my thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are now in major clean up/rebuild mode) Mother Nature can deal some very cruel hands at times.

Where we live when there is a heavy down pour of rain for a decent period we get cut off from town as there are a few creek crossings we have to travel through on our route, even though we have a car that’s higher than a standard sedan there are times when it’s just not safe to drive across the crossings. For the record our house does not flood we just become marooned on a large area of ground, sometimes losing power which means no running water (due to an electric pump and a generator we do not own YET!)

Last Wednesday night Zadada came home and said ‘Hello’ giving me a kiss on the cheek then followed it up with ‘you know it’s going to flood’, I mumbled out a frustrated ‘yes’ and left it at that. I hate it when it floods, such an inconvenience (if only council would build us some bridges, but that’s a story for another time). My mind got busy and overwhelmed thinking of what the next few days may have in store. I’d planned to take Mum out for a birthday breakfast on Thursday and I was halfway through making her cake, we also had a full family Birthday dinner booked for her Friday night. The kids had school (obviously!) and I had work on Friday, thanks to this crazy weather my planned few days ahead had cracks starting to appear in them.

I work part-time (a 5 day fortnight) and for some reason whether it’s a flood or the kids get sick, it always seems to happen on a WORK DAY (sound familiar?). A lot of the time there is nothing I can do about it except call my boss and explain why I won’t be in, (my family does come first) BUT if I can at all make it possible I will try my best to not let our small business team down.

With the weather warnings in place along with Zadada’s kind reminder I decided I would pack the kids and I up and head into town to my parents house Thursday night, before the predicted flood arrived. Thursday I cancelled the Birthday breakfast, finished off the cake, packed for 4 plus one Betty puppy, read emails (from the kidlets schools informing they would be closed Friday due to the severe weather warnings), showered the kidlets once they arrived home from school, loaded the car and headed into town. Mum was certainly getting a birthday present she hadn’t expected!

Zadada called into Mum and Dad’s on his way home from work, enjoyed a dinner with us (love you chef Dad xx) and Birthday cake (we thought we better have it Thursday instead of Friday), then he and Blake (now that school was cancelled the following day) headed home so they could man our mother ship and other pets I’d left behind. The next morning Zadada phoned confirming he and Blake were marooned which was why I had stayed in town. My boss was very grateful.

Here’s a pic Zadada sent me from his phone, it’s the view from our family room on Friday.

flood pic

Mum, Dad and my little sister Kaymac bent over backwards to make our stay enjoyable, they know I get a bit overwhelmed when it floods out our way.

Grandma (mum) hosted some skipping lessons…..


Kaymac was good at finding things to make me laugh on YouTube…..


For some reason I didn’t get to snap up a pic of Dad, probably because he was busy checking the Bureau of Meteorology website and noting down his rain gauge readings (love you dad xx).

By Saturday, with all the kind hospitality going on I felt I needed to make these amazing people in my life a yummy lunch to say thank you.

Cue A Deconstructed Pumpkin Salad……..

DPS with prosecco

A version of this little treasure was bought to my attention by the amazing, inspiring Babymac last week HERE. Babymac cooks the goods I tell you, one of our family favourites is her Sausage Pasta you can check it out HERE it’s so good and EASY!

I love a roasted pumpkin salad at the best of times, then discovering you can deconstruct it just like Jamie Oliver does I knew I wanted to road test it, what better time than when you’re having a totally unplanned stay at your parents house. The only thing was I had to improvise with a few ingredients as well as borrow a few from my gorgeous MIL who lives across the road from my parents.

We fed the girls their lunch, set them up with a DVD, they were sorted. Once the blogger in me had taken all the pics,  Mum, Dad, Kaymac and I sat and chatted and indulged and WOW, I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a lunch as much as this one in ages, café/restaurant meals included, I tell you lovelies, you have to give this a whirl, improvised ingredients  and all, it’s everything it looks and more!

Team it up with some Prosecco bubbles and you’ll be loving life and forgetting it’s even raining outside.

Here’s your How-To:

DPS instructions

A Frustrating Flood Finished Off With..... A Deconstructed Pumpkin Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Salads
Serves: 4
  • ½ butternut pumpkin (seeds removed) approx. 800g-1kg
  • 1 teaspoon all purpose spicy seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 220g tub bocconcini
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced basil leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon diced fresh chilli (add more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 120g mixture of rocket & baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 100g semi-dried tomatoes
  • 100g pitted kalamata olives
  • 100g Sicilian olives (I recommend pitted ones if you can find them)
  • 100g pancetta
  • 300g ciabatta loaf sliced 1.5 cm thick
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed.
  • Optional.....THE BUBBLES
  • Brown Brothers Prosecco
  1. Preheat oven to 200C fan forced.
  2. Line an oven tray with baking paper, placing pumpkin flesh side up on the tray.
  3. Combine seasoning, herbs and garlic in a small bowl gradually adding olive oil to make a textured paste.
  4. Rub paste all over pumpkin cover with foil place in oven to roast fro 45 mins, then uncover and cook a further 35 mins until pumpkin is soft and starting to crust up. To really crust it up I increased oven temp to 220C for an extra 10 mins (just keep an eye on it).
  5. While pumpkin is roasting prepare cheese by combining lemon zest, basil leaves, chilli, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt & pepper. Drain liquid from bocconcini and place in a bowl pour lemon zest mixture over the cheese, toss gently, cover and place in fridge until later.
  6. Toss the vinegar and oil through the leaves.
  7. For the bread line an oven tray with baking paper and position slices flat. Combine olive oil and garlic together, brush over bread, bake in oven at 220C for 5-10 mins until just toasty (I put mine in with the pumpkin for last 5 minutes.
  8. Arrange all the bits & pieces, the leaves and the cheese on a large platter, lastly position pumpkin on platter too.
  9. Set bread up on a separate board, open those bubbles and start assembling, see below.
  10. These quantities will easily feed 4 adults for lunch.
  11. Enjoy!

assembling your dps

A word from Mum, she would rather have seen fetta or brie starring as the cheese option on the plate, she doesn’t like how the bocconcini is bland. Kaymac and I felt with all the flavours already happening on the platter the bocconcini complimented everything really well. Dad doesn’t do cheese so there were no complaints from him. I leave the cheese selection up to you.

The bonus during our delicious lunch was receiving a phone call from Zadada telling me the water levels had dropped, council had done some makeshift repairs to our crossings, making it safe enough for the girls, Betty and I to come home, Yay!

Even though I’m 36 years old, Dad being the protective father that he is and always has been decided he needed to go and make inspections first, so while I was packing up all our bits and pieces he went and did his fatherly inspection confirming what Zadada had already told me…. it was safe to go home! (Love you dad xx)

We pulled into our garage and before I knew it all 3 kidlets and 2 dogs were splashing in a huge puddle in the front yard.

puddle fun

As I mentioned in my title for this post it was a frustrating flood (living in this tropical climate, I know there will be more floods in the future), I’m so very grateful ‘frustrating’ is all this one was and not devastating like further north, again my thoughts and prayers are going out to all those affected.

Until the next time……..


PS – I’ve got some exciting news to share very soon and no I’m not pregnant!

Stay tuned lovelies.



  The weekend just passed was one quite far from normal but one I am feeling very fortunate about too. Cyclone Marcia ce...

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