Monday, December 17, 2007
We have been hiking in New Zealand for the two weeks, so I am tanned and strong. A little pudgy perhaps, from being fed by Ryans' relatives, and our wonderful hiking guides.
Anyway, VeggieLove put a comment on my last post about simple pasta recipes. Thanks for the comment! I appreciate them all, but I especially enjoy the ones that lead to conversation.
For me, simple pasta goes something like this:
Put the water on to boil.
Get out the small frying pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and let it heat gently.
Chop up some onion and garlic.
Throw it all in the frying pan, and stir until the onion is soft.
Add a tin of diced tomatoes, and a tablespoon of tomato paste.
Add a teaspoon of stock powder, and about a third of a cup of water.
If I'm adding dried herbs, I'd add them now. (basil and oregano, usually)
Let it simmer for a bit. (Usually the water has boiled by now, and the pasta is cooking)
If I'm adding fresh basil, I'd stir it through once I've taken the sauce off the heat.
When the pasta is cooked and drained, serve with the sauce, and fresh grated parmesan.
That's it, but the options are pretty open. You could add any chopped vegetables with the onion. Ham, bacon or salami can also go in then. For more depth of flavour for vegetarians, you could rehydrate some shitake mushrooms, and add both the water and the mushrooms (finely chopped). You can play with different herbs (coriander or rosemary are nice for a change) or different sorts of stock. If you have cooked chicken, you can shred it, and add it while the sauce is simmering. And toasted pine nuts are a fancy kick if you have some.
I think most good pasta recipes are simple. One or two strong flavours, plus some nice cheese, and everyone's happy.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Clear the fridge pizza
Fish parcels and roast veggies
Happy Monday! Hope the election (or at least Australian Idol) went your way.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
For an official definition, with explanatory pictures, look here. Ours came from Raclette Australia, and was a wedding present from my sisters. Thanks ladies!
We ate a lot of potatoes.
Monday, November 19, 2007
- Stuffed Capsicums
- Veggie Tofu Curry
- Spicy salami pasta
- Broad Bean soup
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I wasn't fussed (Ryan cleaned up). I had a big pack of sausages, enough crispy things for a simple green salad, and everything I needed to make couscous salad. Ryan went to the shops for beer (and crusty bread). Lovely home made cake was brought by lovely friend. I think our entire dinner cost about $5 a head. And it was easy and happy and fun.
Potato salad would have been too slow. So here's my recipe for couscous salad.
Cous Cous Salad
Boil the kettle. Put 3/4 cup of couscous in a heat proof bowl, and start adding fun stuff. For me that was a couple of tablespoons each of sultanas and sunflower seeds, half a finely diced red onion and some minced parsley. Any sort of green onion would have done - and any sort of nut or seed (I like the crunch). Coriander would have been better than parsley, but any fresh herbs are nice. Then flavour (I used a teaspoon of vegeta stock and a good shake of harissa herbs). Mix it all together, and pour over about a cup of boiling water. Let sit. When it's cooled and the water is all absorbed, fluff with a fork.
This week I'm taking inspiration from $40 a week, who is hosting November's Weekend Cookbook Challenge. I'll do my proper entry at the end of the week, but here's my menuplan for the week!
- spinach and tomato pasta (left over spinach)
- vegetarian chilli with pita chips
- home made pizza (ham and pineapple, and chicken barbecue)
- butter chicken soup (from Destitute Gourmet's Everyday smart food for the family)
- seared fish with sweet and sour glaze (also Destitute Gourmet)
- dhal and samosas (samosas from the same cookbook)
I'll try to keep track of what I spend - so far it's only been $15.
Friday, October 26, 2007
One thing that looked really promising was the Mega Menu Mailers from savingdinner.com. I had bought the Vegetarian MegaMailer for my friend Special K (she had a new, very early, baby boy), but we never ended up cooking it. Now I dug it up and had a second look. I only have two shelves of freezer space, and the mailer makes 20 meals for 4. I decided to pick 10 - 4 serves would mean left overs for lunches.
First I had to choose my meals. Then I had to cut down the shopping list to the relevant ingredients.
Issue 1. Americans have some weird ingredients - I don't know what vegetarian sausage is, or peach preserves. And I've never seen frozen spinach.
Issue 2. Converting from imperial to metric is a major pain.
That took about an hour.
It came to around $100, which isn't too bad for 10 dinners and 10 lunches. I did a lot of traipsing back and forth, looking for things I don't normally buy.
Issue 3. Processed soy products (like veggie patties and soy sausages) are not cheap!
Issue 4. I'm totally confused about ounces and liquid ounces, and shouldn't try to guess what those quantities could be in grams. The chop
Ryan left me on Saturday morning to prep all the ingredients. It took about 2 hours - a lot longer than I thought.
Issue 5. Chopping around 6 cups of onion is not fun.
This was probably the easiest bit. The instructions were very clear, and there was no cooking involved.
Issue 6. Having to eat all the icecream to make room in the freezer.
I ended up with:
Teriyaki Broccoli Mushrooms
Crock Bean and Veggie Soup
Veggie Italian Casserole *
Dijon Rosemary Patties *
Green Chili and Cheese frittata
Roast Vegetables and Beans
Veggie lasagna *
Barbecue Confetti Pasta *
Baked Dill Tofu on Rice
We've tried the ones with stars so far. They were pretty good! Especially the lasagna. I'll probably tweak them a bit in the future, but they are all great meals at the end of a long day.
I don't think I'll ever go completely 'Once a Month', but this has been a great fall back. And Saving Dinner was a great starting point - even if they do have weird ingredients.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
How we choose to eat has a big impact on the environment. If you find a nifty online calculator, and find your ecological footprint, food makes up a big component. Growing, processing and transporting food uses land, energy, water and often nasty chemicals. It produces landfill, water polution and carbon emmissions, and can contribute to shrinking biodiversity. Not that I'm a saint. I calculated my ecological footprint today, and depending which calculator I used, we would need between 2.2 and 5.6 earths to support the whole world living like me.
For an example of how to live within our global means, check out Linda Cockburn and family, here. I think they are awesome. But until my landlord lets me keep a goat, or installs a composting toilet, here are some greener eating habits we can all attempt:
Buy less processed food. Seriously, the less energy that goes into creating your snack, the better. And probably the better for you, too.
Buy less packaged food. I'm not sure about you, but most of what goes in our rubbish bin is the packaging for things we bought at the grocery store. We paid for our rubbish? That bites. And it cost energy, water and pollution to create.
Buy organic. Meh. This is my least favourite tip. The jury is still out on whether organic is better for you, even if it means it's been grown sustainably. Plus, if you bought it at the supermarket, it probably had more packaging, and travelled further, than the non-organic stuff sitting next to it. But still - certified organic means grown according to sustainable best practice. That counts. Just don't buy organic beef from the other side of the world to clear your concience.
Buy local. The less it travels, the less emissions. The less it changes hands, the better for your pocket. If you've got access to farmer's markets, like we do, you can get nearly organic and very local, with no packaging - an environmental bonanza! Besides, it's fun and tastes good.
Grow your own. All you need is a half a balcony, and you can grow your own tomatoes. Can it get more local? Generally, growing your own vegetable uses much less water than the market garden equivalent. In these drought-stricken times, that's a plus.
Eat less animal products. This is the biggie. If you're already a vegetarian, you are doing more than your fair share for the planet. The difference in resources used to create a kilogram of beef and a kilogram of beans is astronomical. Just try adding one meat free meal to your week. It's better for you, better for your pocket, and better for the planet.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Barbecue Confetti Pasta (courtesy of Leanne Ely, but I'll write about that later)
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Ali-K at Melbourne Food Tales makes me jealous of restaurants I'll never get to.
Ellie at Kitchen Wench makes yummy biscuits and yummy photos.
Frugal Cuisine always has flashy things to do with one or two fresh ingredients. Now sharing street food adventures in China.
Cookie Crumb has a garden in San Francisco and has been bragging about eating local all Northern Summer. Which is fine because we are now about to get OUR summer, so I can steal all their recipes : )
Matt at Abstract Gourmet is fanatical about coffee, and takes beautiful photos, and lives in Perth. Best yet, he went to university with me, but I used to be shy so I'm sure he has no idea who I am.
JenJen at Milk and Cookies is one of the first Australian food bloggers I've found. She makes beautiful sweet things. And has beautiful, sweet photos to match.
Finally, Neil at At My Table, shares thoughts on food and wine and family. And occasionally mushrooms.
There's the Australian Food Bloggers Ring for further local inspiration.
And there's always Food Porn Watch!
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
I'm feeling a bit blah about blogging at the moment. And cooking. I've been moody all morning, and sulked because I'm doing all the cooking and cleaning around here. I kinda forgot I like the cooking bit.
Part of the problem is walking. We are going tramping in New Zealand in December, so I have 8 weeks to get my walking fitness up, to actually enjoy it. That means a 5 mile walk, every other day. It really puts a dent in my cooking time, and blogging time. But I'm so scared of being the slowest, wheeziest person in our group. I have images of being overtaken by 90yr old grandmas with walking frames.
This weekend we did an overnight hike around the Orroral Valley. It's beautiful, sub-alpine bush, still regenerating from the 2003 bushfires. Bush-bashing up to Cotter Rocks made me realise I need more hills in my training walks. But we got there.
I am ashamed to add that Ryan was carrying 20 kg (tent, stove, food, most water), and my pack only weighed 8kg. I'm a wuss. And clearly an ungrateful wuss, because this is the same Ryan that put up with my narkiness this morning.
Anyway. The list:
A lamb roast cooked on our baby weber.
Sort-of Salad Nicoise
Happy Monday everybody! I hope your's finds you with less blisters than I have : )
Monday, September 24, 2007
I'm enjoying the change of seasons, just not the feeling that the end of the year is looming.
This week's menu is full of easy things, because we seem to be busy, busy people:
Beef curry and potato curry
Chunky salad with eggs and bacon
Smokey fish mornay
Veggie burgers (who says you can't have burgers twice in one week?)
Sweet potato salad with pine nuts.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I spent the rest of the morning baking. I made banana bread, apricot bars and oaty muffins. I would have done Anzac Biscuits as well, but Ryan came home and we wanted to go bushwalking.
We didn't have quite the right map for the walk we wanted to do.
Instead, we stopped for an impromptu picnic.
On returning home early, we decided to see a movie - Ratatouille!
Then we had hamburgers for dinner, with banana bread for desert.
Sometimes, I wonder why I blog about food.
I think I just figured it out.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
It freezes well, too.
Spicy sweet potato soup
2 Tablespoons Curry paste of your choice (I used green this week)
1 kg sweet potato (or carrots, or pumpkin - parsnip maybe?)
1 L stock
1 can coconut milk (optional, or easily replaced by evaporated milk, normal milk or cream)
Heat the currypaste until fragrant, in a large saucepan. Add the stock and the sweet potato, and boil until the sweet potato is tender. Take the soup off the heat, and blenderise it until smooth (I use a hand blender in the pot, but whatever works). Add the coconut milk and heat through.
Monday, September 17, 2007
salad with feta and bacon
salad with asparagus and tuna
roast veggie extravaganza
sweet potato soup
beans on toast
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Ryan ran off with the camera, so I can't give you pictures. Sorry
Simple Rhubarb Tart
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Sprinkle 8 thin stalks of rhubarb with sugar, then roast on baking paper in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow them to cool.
Place a piece of frozen puff pastry on a baking-paper lined tray. Top with a mixture of 1 cup ricotta, 2 tablespoons icing sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence. Leave a border of about 1 cm.
Top with rhubarb and cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling is set.
3 tsp cornflour
3 C milk
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Whisk together the eggs, milk and cornflour in a saucepan. Put it over a low heat, and keep whisking until thick and creamy. Then add the sugar and vanilla and whisk through (if you add the sugar on the heat, it will stick to the bottom of the pan.
This makes a lot of custard. I'm not complaining or anything.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Chicken and celery casserole
Pasta with feta and beetroot (I wasn't kidding!!)
Sausages and stuff
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Monday, September 03, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The night before: Grate an apple. Add about a cup of quick-oats, twice as much thick plain yoghurt, a handful of raisins or sultanas and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir until all the oats are wet, and everything is well combined. Store in the fridge overnight, in a covered container. Try to choose a container with as little air as possible (I used glad wrap over a bowl, squished down to get the air out). It doesn't really matter, but it helps keep the apple from discolouring.
In the morning: Scoop out some muesli, slather with honey, and enjoy as much as you can before leaving for work.
Of course, the proportions in this are pretty arbitrary. As are the ingredients - any dried fruit works well, and you can substitue orange juice for the yoghurt if you really want to.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Spaghetti and meatballs
Indian Mince and rice, with Tandoori Cauliflower
Chicken and veggies (beans and carrot)
Home made Pizza
Vegan Mac & Cheese Florentine
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Edited to say:
While I tinker, you can check out Smokey Mountain Breakdown, where I've guest posted about Ryan's latest cookie discovery. Rosie posts about wildlife, goats and local culture as well as food. And her short-story posts are breathtaking.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I don't know where it came from, but I thought I'd play along anyway. You will have to wait until tomorrow for my post about Chocolate Velvet Pie.
4 jobs I've had
Purveyor of Christmas trees
Front counter at an upmarket veggie shop called Epinards
Marine Conservation Officer
4 places I've lived
Perth, Western Australia
That's pretty much the whole list...
4 places I've holidayed
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Margaret River, Western Australia
Budawang Ranges, New South Wales
4 favourite foods
Cheese - blue, sharp, crumbly, soft and gooey - I don't care
Bircher muesli - I still remember being surprised by my first taste of this. It looked so boring!
Mussels - specifically, chilli mussels from Kailis in Fremantle. But I'm not fussy.
Dessert - whatever Ryan has decided to make.
4 places I'd rather be
Near the beach. Anywhere.
In the UK with my sisters
Somewhere like Rosies farm, where there is goats and wilderness and running water
4 bloggers to tag
Well, I decided to pick 4 bloggers that I'd like to know more about. Kat was right, this is a bit nerve wracking!
Neil at At My Table
Traceyleigh at TLSC
Rosie at Smokey Mountain Breakdown
Mummy at Red Dirt Mummy
Anyway, I hope somebody finds this interesting, or at least click through to some of the other blogs. I always find them interesting!
Monday, August 20, 2007
Curry Night with friends (Spiced Green Beans and baby corn)
Roast Beef with veggies (I'm doing this in the slow-cooker - I hope it turns out!)
Chicken Nacho's (the last of the leftover Red Rooster chicken from the freezer)
Spaghetti with beef ragu (from the roast)
Gnocchi with tomato sauce
Friday, August 17, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Red Rooster gozleme
Cous cous and canellini burgers
Chicken and chickpea curries
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
30g Dried mushrooms (I used shitake where the recipe recommends porcini)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (I'm not sure about yellow onions, I used a brown one)
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped (I used a couple. I may explain later)
1 Cup pearl barley
225g white mushrooms, sliced
6 Cups vegetable stock (mine was homemade, also from the slow cooker)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons minced fresh chives (I didn't have any)
1. Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof measuring cup and cover with hot water. Let sit until softened. Drain, straining and reserving 1/2 Cup of the liquid, thinly slice the mushrooms, and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a small skillet (frying pan, aussies) over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the slow cooker. Add everything except the chives and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Taste to adjust seasonings before serving. If a thinner soup is desired, add more stock (I may have missed that bit).
4. Serve, garnished with the chives.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Anyway, it's a new week, with a bunch of new things to try. I bought a new cookbook, I'm going to put an entry into Hay, Hay, it's Donna Day. And there was some new and interesting vegetables at the farmers market.
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Prawn Curry
- Lamb Chops with couscous and endive salad
- Sausage Rolls and more salad
- Stuffed Capsicums
- Two-mushroom and barley soup
Thursday, August 02, 2007
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Tablespoons olive oil
A generous amount of rock salt.
Heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Mix everything together, until the chickpeas are coated. Then spread them out on a cookie tray, and roast for 20 minutes until crispy. Of course, you could add any herbs or flavourings you like. Check on them every so often, and shake the tray a bit so they roll around and cook evenly.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Smokey tuna tomato pasta
Cook enough wholemeal pasta for just you. Top it with one of those small, flavoured tuna tins - I love the smokey flavour. Cut up some cherry tomatoes, red capsicum, and any other veggies you like. Mix it all up, and zap it in the microwave for two or three minutes. Yum. This recipe works equally well for two people.
OK, I admit it isn't quite as quick if you have to cook the pasta. But I had a single serve already cooked and frozen in the freezer. I'd put it in the fridge last night.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Heat the grill. Take one turkey chop (they are selling them in Coles at the moment). Rub some spices on the outside - I used a spice rub we bought at the markets, but cumin and chilli flakes would be good. When the grill is hot, cook the turky chop for a couple of minutes on each side. In the meantime, cut up some cherry tomatoes, lettuce and capsicum. Find some salad dressing, rescue the turkey chop, and dinner is served.
I wish I took a picture.
- a punnet of cherry tomatoes
- some small sweet potatoes
- half a wombok
- a baby endive lettuce
- some carrots
- a couple of spring onions
- a lonely turkey leg chop
We also have a well stocked tin cupboard. Stay tuned for my adventures in cooking for one!
Many of the clever contributors are also bloggers, but my blogroll is getting increasingly messy. Instead, I've decided to put them all in one post, and link to it afterwards.
If I've missed you, or inadvertantly messed up the link, please comment and let me know : )
Food Life Style
Amy Simple Saver
**HOME SWEET HOME DEPOSIT AND OTHER LITTLE LUXURIES**
Miserly Mum's Musings
Lightenings thoughts, musings and happenings
Becoming a Gardening Goddess
Low Income Lady
Saving a dollar in a spend spend world
Jo's thoughts and woes
Day in the Life fo Jade
Rich Student Poor Student
The Frugal Family Blog
Greener by the day
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Impossible Pie (it's a quiche, i think)
Kidney Bean and Spinach Curry (not sure about this one).
1. Birthday parties were infrequent when I was growing up. But every birthday was marked by afternoon tea at my cousin's house, with fairybread and a sticky bun.
2. Our current birthday cake of choice is Cherry Ripe Mud Cake (the Women's Weekly version). So sickly sweet, but so very, very good.
3. I read just as many 'writer' blogs as I do foodie blogs. It's my favourite way to procrastinate.
4. I am saving up for a macro lense so I can take better food photo's. Which is a bit silly, because Ryan takes all the best photos around here, including the foodie ones.
5. I love peanutbutter and banana toasted sandwhiches.
6. I was very good at acquiring other people's lollies when I was a kid. I convinced one sister that clinkers tasted gross, so she should give them all to me. I have left a trail of mintie wrappers, and told my youngest sister that a mintie-monster raided her showbag. And please never ask my mother about the TimTams!
7. I think I have every Donna Hay magazine published in the last 3 years
8. We have been known to re-organise trips to Sydney and Melbourne, in order to go past Haig's chocolates.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
To make good fajitas, you take a big chunk of good steak and marinate it overnight. You fry it up, let it rest, and slice it as thin as you can. Then you wrap it up in a tortilla with fried up onions and capsicums and serve with all those other mexican goodies (guacamole, bean dip, grated cheese, fresh chillis).
Unfortunately, it was 7pm, and all I had was a half defrosted piece of stewing beef, some left over kidney beans and half an avocado. So here is a fajita recipe for when you don't have time to do it properly.
Slice up your beef as thin as you can, across the grain. Leave it to marinate (for as long as you can) in lemon juice, crushed garlic and finely chopped chilli. I used 2 cloves of garlic and one mild chilli.
Search your fridge for any non-root vegetables. I found a red capsicum and a bunch of silverbeet. Slice an onion, throw in a frying pan with all the vegetables (except the silverbeet). Add some ground cumin, ground coriander and some more garlic - fry til aromatic and the vegetables are beginning to soften.
Acquire some tortillas. Mine were in the freezer, but Hillbilly Housewife has some great recipes if you've got more time.
Cook the beef in a really hot frying pan for about 2 minutes - you really don't want to overdo it! Throw the silverbeet in with the other vegetables, and put the lid on - you only want it in there long enough to wilt.
Serve with the tortilla's, grated cheese, and an odd salsa made from kidney beans, onion, capsicum, avocado, cracked pepper and lime juice. Then everybody can roll their own tortillas.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Anyway, despite the haphazard beginnings, this turned out beautifully. I don't think I'll ever run out of things to do with roasted vegetables.
Cheesy Roast Vegetable Tarts
Chop up about a quarter of a butternut pumpkin, a carrot and half a red capsicum. Roast them in the oven with a couple of unpeeled cloves of garlic. Meanwhile, slice an onion as thin as you can. Saute the onion with some butter and olive oil in a frying pan, until just soft. Then turn the heat down low and cover, and leave to cook for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. The aim is caramelized onions, but I wasn't patient enough to let them get completely brown.
Pull out a piece of puff pastry from the freezer, and let it defrost on the bench.
When the roasting veggies look cooked and feel tender, pull them out of the oven and put them in a mixing bowl to cool. Squeeze the cloves of garlic and put the insides in with the vegetables. Then crumble in the goats cheese and stir well. Cut the pastry into whatever shapes please you. I just cut it in half (one for me and one for Ryan). Heat the oven up to 200 degrees. Top the pastry with the onion, and the onion with the cheesy vegetable mess. Cook in the oven until the pastry is puffy and golden.
Don't let it get cold before you eat it.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Chicken curry with spinach raita
Borlotti Bean soup
Also, I've splashed out and bought the vegetarian mega-mailer from Saving Dinner. I'll let you know how the meals turn out.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Chorizo and White Bean Stew
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 rashers of bacon, sliced (rind removed)
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 uncooked chorizo sausages
2 cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Heat the oil in a heavy based pot, over a medium heat. Add the bacon and the bay leaf, and when the fat becones to run, add the onion. Keep the heat low so the onion browns but doesn't burn. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and cook until aromatic. Stir in paprika and tomatoes and simmer until the tomatoes are soft.
While it's simmering, slice the chorizo into 1cm slices. Add the chorizo and beans to the pot, with enough water to cover. Simmer for 5 minutes. Done!
Monday, July 09, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
What I like about Donna Hay is the simplicity, but often that simplicity relies on premium ingredients that I wouldn't normally buy. I'm happy to buy bocconcini cheese, or rib eye steak, or swordfish - but I'd never buy them all in one week.
Sophie Gray recipes take the next step. There's an emphasis on cooking from scratch, working within a budget, and still creating very flash food. Where a Donna Hay pie recipe might use frozen puff pastry, the Sophie version includes a simple shortcrust recipe. I just wish her cookbooks had more pictures!
Sophie Gray writes as the Destitute Gourmet, and her website is here. Another bonus for us Australian's - Sophie is a New Zealander, so all the measurements and ingredients are familiar. Anyway, here is a picture of 'Casserole of Chicken and Thyme' also featuring her herby dumplings.
Buttered Asparagus with ham
Brown a small amount of butter in a non-stick pan. Turn the heat down to medium, then roll the asparagus around in the butter, until it's nearly cooked. Then throw in a handful of shaved ham. Keep stirring it gently until the asparagus is developing black blisters, and the ham is getting a little crispy. Pile on to a plate, add some cracked black pepper, and enjoy.
This might be even better with a soft poached egg, but I'm not that patient.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Here's the plan:
Baked meatballs and assorted vegetables
A swanky fish dish (a friend is coming for dinner, and there is much to celebrate)
Sweet Potato Risotto
Chicken Stew with dumplings
I am still in winter-warming and comfort food territory. But I do have pictures to share, and some yummy recipes.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Chickpea and Vegetable Soup
Sweet Potato Pizza
Bangers and mash
A something pie. Not sure what yet.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
2 small potatoes
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and squashed
300g of green beans
half a cauliflower
2 medium zucchinis
1/2 Cup frozen peas
a handful of mint leaves
Chop all the vegetables into around 1cm pieces. Heat some oil in a heavy based frying pan, then add the potato and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the potatoes are slightly browned. Add the green beans, cauliflower and 1/3 Cup of water. Simmer over a medium-low heat until the water is almost all gone (about 10 minutes). Add the zucchini and peas, and some more water if it needs it. Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Stir in the mint, and serve.
Trim the cutlets, drizzle with lemon juice and set aside for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cracked pepper. Grill (under the griller) for two or three minutes each side. Easy!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Lamb cutlets and fritteda
sang choy bau
chicken with Vietnamese caramel sauce
crispy bacon & cauliflower pasta
Sunday, June 17, 2007
At this point, I tried to exert a healthy influence, and opted for Apple Cobbler. But that just made Ryan feel like shortbread, with icecream and jam.
The next night, Ryan felt compelled to complete the biscuits, by making the caramel filling that the recipe suggested.
He forgot we'd already eaten 10 biscuits, so there was a lot of caramel left. Not wanting to waste it, he made caramel & cherry ripe tarts.
I think I've just realised why I've gained a kilo this month. Oh dear.
I found an awesome site about cheesemaking, here, via simplesavings. It's a very cool site, and has explicit instructions on making many cheeses, including panir, which is an Indian cheese. One of Ryan's favourite Indian curries is Palak Paneer, or Saag Paneer, which is this cheese in a spinach sauce. So I got all excited, thinking we could make the cheese and then the curry and it would be GREAT!
This was a great lesson in following instructions. I used the wrong sort of pot, treated the measurements as guidelines only, and finally, decided the texture looked funny. I pressed the cheese, even though the recipe only said to hang it. My cheese turned out dry, with a vinegary after taste, and a 'squeaky' texture. If you've ever eaten unheated haloumi, you'll know what I mean. But anything covered in a good curry sauce tastes ok, doesn't it?
I had to find a recipe for the curry. I eventually found one where I recognised most of the ingredients (still not sure what methi leaves are). There was no way that I could quit at this stage, so even though I only had half the required spinach, I pressed on. Normally, the spinach sauce for this curry is almost pureed, and a very lurid green. But mine was really only slightly mashed, and the spinach shortage made for quite a yellow result (almost as much onion as spinach).
The end result was edible. Not much like Ryan's favourite, but we both ate it. That could have been politeness though. Ryan made chapatti's from scratch to go with the curry, and they were fairly experimental as well.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Here's a quick guess, based on what we didn't eat last week, and what's living in the freezer:
chilli bean soup
roast veggie couscous
yellow chicken curry
lamb cutlets and fritteda (I really am going to try it this week!)
spicy beef, olive, and caramelised onion pie (it's on the cover of delicious)
chicken and leek pasta bake (because Ryan won't let me cook any of the parsnip recipes in the new Donna Hay magazine)
I think that will do.
Now I'm going to sleep.
Good night! Happy Monday!
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
Roast Veggie cous cous
Spaghetti and meatballs
A lamb chop stew
chicken curry & chickpea curry
chicken with butterbeans
Last week I got a challenge to menu plan for Pissed Off Housewife.
"Between them I need one meal to feed all that includes nothing with a mushy or lumpy consistency and nothing white. The rule is food must have a different consistency going down than it would coming back up. We eat a lot of chicken, lamb rice and fresh steamed veggies but I'm bored... And Adam won't eat "girly" food but he also won't give me a definition of "girly" food except to tell me that boys eat BBQ ribs."
I've been dreaming of summer food, so here's the boy-food-no-mushy-white-stuff plan:
Barbecue! That's gotta be boy-food. I'd go with recipe, or chickpea burgers, with lots of roast vegetables, and maybe this. Anything with tentacles is boy-food.
Chicken (or whatever) with Roast Vegetable Couscous – we eat variations on this a lot. This recipe doesn’t look too bad. You can add oven roasted chickpeas, or some toasted nuts for a bit more crunch.
Homemade pizza - I think this probably fits the boy-food label too, especially if they get to add their own toppings. And you can load them up with vegetables. And serve them with salad.
Spicy green beans and baby corn - with the curry protein of your choice. I can post the recipe if you think your kids will eat it. The short version is blanch the beans, sauté some onion, throw in spices, desiccated coconut and baby corn. Serve with lots of rice and poppadums. Poppadums in the microwave are great, because they puff all by themselves - which is an easy thing for the kids to do.
Chicken Parmigiana and Fritteda - I've only just discovered fritteda. It's an Italian dish with lots of green vegetables cooked with stock. I have a slightly different recipe to try, and I'll hopefully post about it later in the week.
Lamb Parcels – I thought this sounded pretty good too.
There’s also Freddie’s adventures at The Great Big Vegetable Challenge, if you still need some veggie inspiration. So let me know what you think!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
Lamb Roast with lots of vegetables (including pumpkin).
Pumpkin and Feta Pasta
Fish. I'm not sure how yet, but I'm sure there will be pumpkin.
Pizza. From scratch, of course. Maybe with pumpkin.
Quiche. Can you put pumpkin in quiche?
Chicken with Butter Beans
Happy Monday everybody!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Ryan and I decided to experiment with Chilli and Chocolate. The trick is making it spicy, without making it inedible. Chilli syrup seemed like a good starting point. And we were encouraged by Clotilde's Chocolate Chilli Bites. Ryan went first with a chocolate chip style muffin, but we weren't brave enough with the chilli's. Mine were much richer, with much more bite. We hope you enjoy!
Ryan's Chilli Choc Chip Muffins
1 1/2 Cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 Cup Wholemeal Self Raising Flour
1/4 Cup Cocoa
3/4 Cup milk
100g melted butter
3 Tablespoons chilli syrup (we could have added a lot more)
3/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips.
Sift together the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients together, then stir into the dry ones, with the chocolate chips. Stir until just combined (or as little as possible). Spoon into muffin tins, and cook for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. The muffins are cooked when they spring back from a gentle touch.
Rich Chilli Chocolate Muffins
1 1/2 Cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa
1/2 tsp Paprika
150g Dark Chocolate
1/2 Cup Chilli Syrup
Sift together the flour, cocoa and paprika. Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave, stir well and allow to cool slightly. Mix the egg and chilli syrup into the chocolate mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix until just combined. Spoon into muffin tins and cook for 20 minutes at180 degrees Celsius. Makes around 12 muffins.
4 birds eye chillies
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup water
Bring to the boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the chillies and cool the syrup. Keep in the fridge until needed.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Simple Beef Curry
Curry Paste (this time I used Thai Green Curry Paste - tandoori or penang are good too)
Stewing Beef - chopped into pieces
Heat the curry paste with some oil in a small pot. When it's fragrant, add the beef, and saute until it's browned all over. Add the coconut milk (I usually use a whole can) and if it isn't enough liquid to cover the beef, add some stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down. Simmer, uncovered, until the beef is tender. Stir it occasionally to make sure it isn't sticking.
This is a pretty flexible recipe. I often add a potato or a carrot to it, once the coconut milk has gone in. I haven't had a bad batch yet.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Apart from the cute name, it just didn't fit in with my life. Menuplanning on Monday makes a lot more sense in our house.
So here is a renewed Menu Plan Monday:
- A big curry cook up (dhal, chickpea curry and a green beef curry)
- Spinach and Ricotta Canelloni (as inspired by the Australian's Weekend Magazine)
- Sweet Potato Cottage Pie
- Roast Chicken Thighs with Roast Vegetables
- Creamy Fish Pasta
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Friday, May 11, 2007
So instead, I'm going to post a list of blogs I love to read:
At My Table - his descriptions of mushrooms are even better than pictures.
The Great Big Vegetable Challenge - go Freddie!
Morsels and Musings - the first food blog I discovered. and I'm still hooked.
Milk and Cookies - beautiful photos.
Meanwhile, our beautiful houseguest has cooked us a beautiful meal. Lambchops with asparagus, green beans and sweet potato mash. Yum. And Ryan made bread and butter pudding with white chocolate and raspberries. There may be pictures.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
My yellow food is prawn laksa. Laksa is any curry soup with a coconut base, so it isn't always yellow. But we get a great, yellow laksa paste from the Kingston markets, so mine is nearly glowing.
Yellow Prawn Laksa
Heat some peanut oil in a wok, and add some curry paste. I usually use around 2 big tablespoons, because we like it hot. When the paste is sizzly and aromatic, add a chopped onion, and any other hard vegetables you have handy. I added a carrot. Stirfry until nearly cooked, then add a couple of cups of chicken stock and a can of coconut milk. When it comes to the boil, throw in some rinsed bean sprouts. When it returns to the boil, add some raw prawns. As soon as the prawns are pink, take off the heat and serve.
If you are a hungry carb-loading person like Ryan, pour the laksa over some cooked rice noodles. Or if you are grumbling about your weight (like me) eat it by itself.
The proper topping would include fresh chopped coriander, chopped peanuts, fresh chopped chilli. But I was hungry.