Tag Archives: veggies

The Ultimate Lunchbox Solution…Chook Rissoles with Buried Treasure.

I swear if I find one more lunchbox with the kids’ sandwiches untouched, I’m going to combust. Go stark raving mad and absolutely bonkers. Bonkersbonkers!

Sensing and perhaps identifying with my overall frustration, you’ll understand that this isn’t a rare event. Our son usually eats his sandwiches but our daughter is an unrepentant recidivist. She is 8 years old and if I’m lucky, she might eat half a sandwich. More commonly, however, I’ll find that tell-tale “mouse” bite out of one half of otherwise untouched sandwiches. Most of the time, however, they’ve been left completely untouched. That’s right. We’re talking pure neglect! (Of course, we all know that neglecting to eat your school lunch should be a criminal offense. I’m not sure who makes the laws or whether it is worth marching to Parliament House over this issue but my bag’s packed. I’m halfway out the door!)

Day after day, month after month, this little scenario continues. Mum dutifully makes the sandwiches each morning. Child ignores or refuses to eat said sandwiches. They come home. Prior to his visit to the vet a few years ago, the dog was getting the leftover sandwiches and I swear that two years later, he can still identify a lunchbox. My children barely eat and our dog barely stops! His ribs still bear testament to those uneaten lunches.

Anyway, now that I’m getting back on my feet again after my recent health setbacks and have been teaching the kids how to cook, I’ve revisited the school lunchbox. This afternoon I spotted some chicken mince in the supermarket and with fresh resolve, I adlibbed chicken rissoles for the kids lunchboxes tomorrow and my husband even gets some to take to work.

These rissoles were made with what I had to hand at home. I didn’t have any coriander at home today but I think that would make a wonderful addition. The whole idea with this recipe is that you add the veggies you like and then add some breadcrumbs, eggs and cheese to the chicken mince. As this combo will be a bit slushy, just thicken it up with flour until the mix forms a fairly solid lump. This took at least half a cup of flour when I made them, although I was pouring the flour straight in and judging by feel when the consistency was right.

A word of warning concerning food safety when cooking using raw chicken. Raw chicken is a breeding ground for Salmonella bacteria. Please ensure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after touching raw chicken and before touching something else. It’s all very well to spread your love around but you need to keep bacteria contained. I also wear disposable gloves while mixing the mince and make sure I have all the ingredients ready to go in so I’m not tempted to grab ingredients with contaminated fingers.

When sending the rissoles to school, it would be a good idea to send them along with a freezer brick or frozen drink, again to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

I’ve called this recipe: “Chook Rissoles with Buried Treasure”. “Chook” is what we Australians call chickens and it was my nickname back at school so it seemed appropriate. The “buried treasure” is, of course, all those hidden veggies although if your kids help with making the rissoles by perhaps grating the veggies, they’ll know they’re in there. However, I’m sure when they smell these tasty rissoles, they’ll just “2, 4, 6, 8…Bog in. Don’t wait”.

chicken rissoles

Chicken Rissoles with Buried Treasure

Chook Rissoles with Buried Treasure


1 kilo raw chicken mince, preferable organic

¼ cup oil

1 onion

3-4 mushrooms

1 zucchini, grated

1 carrot, grated

1 cup grated tasty cheese

1 cup approx fresh bread crumbs (a good use for left over bread!)

2 eggs, beaten

Splash of soy sauce

Dash of sweet chilli sauce


Disposable gloves

Could also add coriander or other fresh herbs and some red capsicum would also taste great.



  1. When it comes to making the rissoles, you will be pan-frying the onion, garlic and mushrooms and the remaining ingredients will be going directly into a large bowl with the raw chicken mince.
  2. Taking a chopping board and sharp knife, dice the onion and mushrooms, keeping them separate. They will be heading for the frying pan.
  3. Grate the zucchini and carrot. The cheese can be bought pre-grated or you can grate it now. Add the zucchini, carrot and cheese to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Turn the hot plate onto medium to high heat. Using a large, heavy frying pan, add the oil and heat until it is starting to sizzle.
  5. Add the diced onions and garlic and fry until slightly browned and then add the mushrooms. Fry until light brown in colour. Then add to the mixing bowl.
  6. Using a blender or other device, pulverise a few slices of bread to make breadcrumbs. I probably added about a cup full although I didn’t measure them precisely. Add to the mixing bowl.
  7. Pour about half a cup of flour into a cup and keep to hand. You don’t want to be touching the bag of flour with chicken mince hands. Remember, you do not want to be spreading those raw chicken germs and the potential for Salmonella all around your kitchen.
  8. Crack two eggs into a bowl and whisk with a fork and keep to hand.
  9. Add the chicken mince to the mixing bowl.
  10. Add the beaten eggs to the rissole mix along with sauces.
  11. Put on a pair of disposable plastic gloves and start kneading through the mix making sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. The mixture will be quite sloppy at this point.
  12. Add plain flour until the mix thickens up and gains a solid, dough-like consistency.
  13. It is now ready to cook.
  14. Heat the oil.
  15. Take handfuls of the chicken and veggie mix and roll it in your hands to make balls and add to the frying pan. When the pan is full, place the remaining rissoles on a large dinner plate or plastic chopping board. You can now remove the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.
  16. Return to the frying pan. With the hotplate on medium heat, fry the rissoles until they are well browned on both sides. I put the lid on over the top. Cook thoroughly.


We had a sample for dinner tonight and my daughter loved them. She seemed very keen. I can only hope she is equally enthusiastic when she opens her lunchbox tomorrow.

I would like to try making these again with some fresh coriander and even some chopped macadamia nuts. You could also add frozen peas or corn kernels to the mix. It is very flexible but you do need to ensure all the ingredients can bind together.

This recipe certainly received a big thumbs up at our place!

Bon Appetite!

Xx Rowena

PS I’ll give you a little laugh at my expense. I forgot to pack my daughter’s lunch this morning after going to all the trouble of making the rissoles and running very late with last night’s dinner. A friend drops the kids off on Fridays so I can rest and so I was fully in lounging round the house in my PJs mode and I needed to apply a cattle prod to go out. I thought she had netball this morning and so went via school off to the local netball courts and back to school again. It was quite a tour for that very precious lunchbox.

So if my daughter doesn’t eat her lunch today after all of that effort, I’m going to…Well, I’ll surely think of something. Dear me! How long can I blame the chemo for what my elderly grandfather used to call his “good forgettery”?





Getting Unstuck…the Greenhouse We Built.

Forget The House that Jack Built. The house our daughter built was stuck together with bits of sticky tape…an absolute engineering marvel! With its flimsy walls teetering precariously, it was one of the great wonders of the modern world before it was condemned and rebuilt.

Although our daughter is only 8, Miss usually shows more of an aptitude for engineering than this. She enjoys things like mechanics and working on the car with her Dad and usually asks me how things work and likes to put things together properly, unlike her “creative” mother. The sticky tape is my bad influence. I’m the sort of person who cuts corners and used to have staples or safety pins holding my school uniform together…even at a “posh” school. I couldn’t give a damn about how something works. Near enough is good enough. I am more interested in people and what makes them tick.

Although I am usually the sticky tape queen, as the greenhouse was designed for kids, I thought we should be able to put it together properly and give the thing at least a reasonable chance of survival. As it stood, or should I say leaned, it would fly over the fence in pieces with the first gust of wind

The house my daughter built was actually Jamie’s Greenhouse, part of Woolworth’s Jamie Oliver’s Garden  promotion. This promotion is based around an informative sticker book for the kids which is literally bursting with all sorts of facts about fruit and veg, games, recipes and is super educational. You pay for $4.00 for the book and then get a pack of stickers for every $20.00 you spend, luring hapless parents and grandparents back into Woollies for fresh supplies. At $4.00 each, this book was an absolute gift and has kept the kids busy for hours doing something other than playing on some electronic life form. These books have spread like wildfire through the schools and the kids are all trading stickers, even if they’re still overlooking the healthy fruit and veg in their lunchboxes.

Swap Your Stickers

You can check out the campaign by clicking through here:http://www2.woolworthsonline.com.au/Shop/Seasonal/Jamie-Oliver?hubID=11#url=/Shop/Seasonal/Jamie-Oliver-Jamies-Garden


Well, we were frolicking around in fruit and veg sticker heaven until…

Our daughter asked me to buy Jamie’s Greenhouse, a seemingly innocuous sidekick to the whole campaign. I love gardening and when I saw the package, I was reminded of my previous intentions to start a veggie patch with the kids. This is more of a herb garden but it’s certainly a step in the right direction and preferable to buying yet another soft toy. You see, the campaign also includes a range of stuffed toy fruit and veg and yes I know I could have said no and bought our daughter nothing at all but we all know that’s not how it works.

Anyway, while Jamie’s Greenhouse came disguised in cute cardboard packaging covered with child-like drawings, it is what it is. It’s an Ikea flatpack in kiddies’ clothing…only this time it is your child who is supposed to do battle with the bits and pieces building an entire house…not just a bookshelf or a desk.

That’s right. They get to build an entire house out of a few flimsy bits of plastic.


Actually, constructing this Greenhouse is making an Ikea project look very Simple Simon . After all, when you go to Ikea, you don’t buy an entire house in their trademark flat packs and have to put it together before you can get a good night’s sleep. Of course not! You just buy “bits”.

The only piece of furniture which I’ve ever been game enough to buy from Ikea was a humble desk. In other words, a single piece of furniture. My Dad was much more adventurous. He actually bought a table and 6 chairs and almost gave up his day job to put them all together. So much for running his business!

Ikea’s approach is so win-win. They reduce production costs and increase profits while we get to prove ourselves. Show that we mere mortals can slay the Ikea beast and actually build something. There’s real kudos in being able to put a few bits of wood together and turn an Allen key. It’s almost as good as being able to boast: “I made it myself!”

Of course, no one ever expects us to be a linguist and actually pronounce all those luxurious Swedish product names, which is where my skill set naturally lies. I find it much easier to speak convoluted Swedish than work out how A slots into B. I have no spacial skills or engineering capabilities whatsoever and still can’t find A or B when I bought that desk back in high school.

While Jamie Oliver’s Greenhouse doesn’t come with an Allen key or any other kind of doobywacker tool, as I said, it does come in a flatpack. There are plastic sheets, an instruction booklet, dirt and seeds and stickers to cover up your mistakes. While I did mention something about constructing a “house”, I must confess that we’re talking about a small greenhouse. Indeed, you could say it is the doll’s house of greenhouses. Indeed, it reminds me of the Fisher Price Doll’s house my daughter had as a two year old before her dolls moved into their grand 2 storey mansion along with a considerable amount of accumulated flotsam and jetsam. Those dolls can barely breathe in there, let alone stretch their legs.

Well, my daughter has never been to Ikea and she certainly knows nothing about Allen keys or impressing your friends with your impressive DIY prowess. She was being pragmatic and stuck it together with sticky tape instead of putting the slots together. It was now up to me, or should I say Geoff to save the day. I did have a go but I’m more of a sower than a builder. He had it knocked up in no time. This greenhouse was going to weather life’s storms.

Now, it was time to sow the seeds and once again our daughter took charge of HER project.

This was where Jamie’s Greenhouse really impressed me. It had this special dirt. She added water and the dirt swelled up to double, even quadruple its size. There were little packets of seeds with all those garden herbs we’ve always intended to plant but had always put off. Everything we needed to start a garden was in the box. We planted the seeds. Added water. Remembered to water them and experienced almost instant gratification.



Two days later, we have cress. Cress is the perfect seed to plant for kids who need instant gratification.

I’m impressed!



Last night we had some very strong winds and although the roof blew off, the house is still standing and it has made it through today’s winds unscathed. I’ve got to say that Jamie Oliver has more than just a pretty face and when he’s finished at Woollies, he should give Ikea a call. I’d love to get a real live chef thrown in with my next desk.

XX Rowena