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Yarra Valley Winery Tour

The Yarra Valley is known for its' beautiful countryside, food and wine. I have visited many time to work with brides for their wedding day makeup but never, in all of the years I've lived in Melbourne have I visited a winery for fun. It took a visit from Queensland friends to get us there.
With no hesitation on my part.

The tour we chose was by Yarra Valley Wine Tasing Tours, "Domaine Chandon
and Wineries Daily Tour" that included pickup and drop off directly opposite our apartment on Flinders Street. This tour consisted of 4 winery visits and tastings, lunch at Rochford Winery, chocolate tasting at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice-Creamerie and a cheese tasting at the Yarra Valley Dairy. In February, 2019, we paid $125 per person and let me say, it was worth every cent.

After being picked up by our friendly tour guide, we headed to a few other pick up points and then onto the Yarra Valley (about a 50 minute drive) and to our first stop for wine!!!!! 
We visited Yerring Station Winery for a tasting and tour of their grounds, gift shop and gallery. The tour gives you plenty of time to wander and shop before heading off to our next stop, Chandon for a full glass of sparkling wine and tour.
Next up was cheese tasting at the Yarra Valley Dairy, where you try an assortment of their artisan cheeses. We all purchased take home goodies which our tour operator kept cool in the on-board refrigerator until we were dropped off home.

A wine tasting and lunch at Rochford Wines was AMAZING. My husband had the 16 Hour Oyster Blade of Beef with slow roasted pumpkin tagine with feta & toasted almonds, while I had the Roasted Fillet of Salmon with chermoula, zucchini, toasted quinoa & saffron labneh. Lunch was included in the tour price and far exceeded our expectations. We will definitely be back for lunch again soon.

Our last two stops before heading back home were St Huberts Winery and the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice-Creamerie for some chocolate delights and ice cream.

I suggest to book ahead (you can book online) to avoid missing out on the dates you prefer. I'd also pack a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent and a bottle of water. You've got to stay hydrated when drinking all of that beautiful wine. This is not a tour that is suitable for kids.

I highly recommend this tour and I'll certainly be checking out other tours in the very near future.

Now, where to next?

Marnie x

878-880 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream VIC 3770, Australia

Easy Chicken Pasta Bake (with hidden veggies)

You're going to love how easy it is to make this pasta bake for the family.
Not only is this bake quick and easy to prepare, it has a bonus...hidden veggies!

My 3 little (not so little these days) pickles are pretty good with eating their vegetables but I strongly believe there is always room for more. 
Growing kids need it. 
Big kids too.

A little while back, the sweet peeps from Vetta sent me some of their healthy pastas to try. The Vetta Super Veg Pasta - with hidden vegetables was the biggest hit so it has been on the grocery list every week since we first tasted it.

One serve of pasta (50g) has approximately one serve of vegetables in it. Peas and corn to be to be precise. And they are in a toddler friendly elbow shape...perfect for this recipe.

Easy Chicken Pasta Bake (with hidden veggies)

  • I chopped up leftover roast chicken and vegetables from the night before but you could also use 1 chicken breast, sliced into bite sized pieces and pan fried.
  • 1 pack of Vetta Super Veg Pasta
  • 1 small brown onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of your favourite cooking oil (I like to use organic coconut oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon orgegano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated tasty cheese 
  1. Cook pasta to packet directions, drain and set aside.
  2. In a pan (or a casserole dish that can also be used on a cook top), heat oil and cook onions and garlic to soften.
  3. Add chicken and leftover veggies (or cook raw chicken until browned and cooked through)
  4. Add the tomatoes, oregano and seasonings.
  5. At this stage you could also add a little water or stock if you like you pasta bake a little more saucy.
  6. Mix drained pasta through the sauce and place in a baking dish (or you casserole dish)
  7. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbling. 
I like to serve this straight for the casserole dish in the centre of the table with crusty bread and a green salad.

*Of course, you can use any old pasta for my easy chicken bake but you won't get those extra veggies in...not secretly anyway.

Tell me I'm not the only one who likes to announce to my kids at the dinner table what veggies they just ate without knowing?


Till next time.

Marnie x

Disclosure: This product was provided for editorial consideration.   3pickles has no affiliation with any companies mentioned and has received no remuneration for posting reviews. All opinions are my own.

Road trip overload

We are finally back from another 3pickles road trip adventure. 
I feel like I've been away from this blog for such a long time since I started working again but because I've been on the road for the past couple of weeks, I've had plenty of time to think if I wanted to keep blogging here or not.

I do. 

I hope you'll stick with me. I've have so much catching up to do with all of you and so many things to share from our latest adventures across this wide brown land.

As always, this blog is still a mixed bag of family, food, beauty for women 40+ and home renovations but you're going to see a lot more of our road trips ( I think we've taken 4 in the past 12 months and my camera is about to explode! 

I'll  be sharing lots of little tips for travelling with the family, doing it in style AND all without breaking the bank.

I hope you'll join me with the first installment very soon.

See you then.
Marnie x

Once - The Musical

The smash-hit, multi-award winning musical Once has premiered in Melbourne  at the Princess Theatre and Mr Pickle & I were privileged to be invited to the opening night's performance last night. 

We have lived in Melbourne for 12 years and have never been to a live theatre performance other than the little pickles' school productions (which are totally entertaining too). This was a rare "grown up" evening for us as most of our nights out involve family activities. 

My kids would not have gone the distance with this one anyway....the show began at 8pm and runs for 2 hours and 20 minutes, including intermission. If you have young ones who like musical theatre, I'd suggest a matinee. As much as I loved Once, I doubt it would be my kids cup of tea. They'll wait for Nintendo the musical....

We chose to catch the train into the city so we didn't have to worry about parking. Parliament station is a very short walk from the theatre....easy peasy getting there and getting home too.

I wasn't surprised to learn that Once is the only show to have music that won the Academy Award®,  Grammy Award®, Olivier Award and Tony Award®. 

Set in modern day Dublin, Once is the story of a Guy who gave up on his music and his love and the Girl who inspired him to dream again.  

We were truly blown away by the cast and the talents they brought to the stage. 

I don't think I've ever seen a group of people with the ability to sing, dance, act AND play several musical instruments so well. 

Inspiring to say the least.

Guy and Girl are played by Tom Parsons and Madeleine Jones who perform the Oscar award-winning song ‘Falling Slowly’ . Their voices will blow you away...I can't get the song out of my head (and I don't want to).

x Marnie

Spring Salad

We ate this salad today.
Loved it.
Will be making more of it.
Here's what's in it.

  • Rocket
  • Capsicum (red peppers)
  • Fresh corn 
  • Red Onion
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Good 4U+U Crunchy Combo (a mix of legumes like mung, peas, chic) I got them from Coles, next to the rocket. I have also used canned 4 bean mix and canned chic peas.
  • Carrot
  • Freshly steamed, green beans
  • A drained can of red salmon
  • Avocado
  • Salt & pepper
  • Salad dressing
Toss to combine & serve with Turkish bread if you like.

x Marnie

Homemade Lemonade with Ginger

 ’This post is an entry into the Nuffnang ‘Fresh Recipe’ Network Competition, thanks to BRITA. Check out for inspiration and exclusive recipes by Gary Mehigan’.

After nearly 2 years of TLC, our 25 year old lemon tree is back in action. 
Although tiny, the lemons are just as sweet and tangy as they have always it's time for homemade lemonade. 
But this time I'm adding a spicy twist. Ginger!

Our lovely old lemon tree has tried so hard to recover from the wasp damage and I feel I owe it to her to use as many lemons as possible this season. 
My 3 little pickles love the occasional sweet drink but I'd much prefer to give them something that is fresh and I'm fully aware of the's why we like to cook from scratch as often as possible. 
I also love the idea of using filtered water in this recipe because I feel secure in knowing that the water I'm using is also fresh and clean. It's often the one ingredient we forget about, yet water would have to be essential in just about every recipe when you think about it.

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup plus 6 cups of filtered water
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

  1. Place the white sugar and 1 cup of the filtered water in a large saucepan. 
  2. Stir on low heat until sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil, continue for 2 minutes. 
  3. Turn off heat.
  4. Add one cup of freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice and some freshly grated ginger, stir. 
  5. Put lid on saucepan and leave to rest for 20 minutes. This step makes a huge difference to the finished taste.
  6. Add 6 cups of filtered water and stir. Fill a jug with ice, throw in some bruised mint leaves, pour lemonade over ice. Enjoy.

x Marnie

Poached Eggs & Smoked Salmon on Rye

This is a quick, easy & tasty meal that is high in protein and healthy fats. You could lose the toast if you were wanting to reduce the carbs. It would be yummy served in a cup of lettuce instead.

This is the first time I have added a nutritional label to my recipes. I get my labels from Calorie Count   and it is to be used as guide only. I cannot guarantee perfect accuracy, but I have found this site useful for my own diet and calorie counting. If you know of a better site (I'm still looking) then please leave your suggestions and links in the comments please.

1 free range egg
100g smoked salmon slices
1 slice light rye bread, toasted
1 teaspoon capers, drained
green salad to serve

  • Use your favourite method to poach egg. I like to place a small amour of water into a small frying pan and add a teaspoon of white vinegar. I bring the water to the boil and then turn heat down to a simmer. I crack the egg into a cup and then gently pour into the water. Use a spoon to carefully splash hot water over the top of egg until cooked to your liking, then remove with a slotted spoon.
  • Meanwhile, lightly toast the rye bread and arrange on a plate with the slices of smoked salon on top.
  • Top with your poached egg and sprinkle with capers.
  • Season with salt and pepper to your liking. (I love Himalayan Pink Rock salt)
  • Serve with a green salad.

x Marnie