Saturday, February 11, 2006

Day 12 - Ode to Turkish bread

I don't know what it is - the spongey texture, the wholey nature of it that catches melted bits of butter, but Turkish bread ROCKS.

I had it this morning with a soft boiled egg, which I smooshed over it with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Oscar had a jam sandwich on Turkish at lunch (with left over Arancini risotto on the side).

And after an afternoon of scones (I had a Learning Ladder party for a friend of mine this afternoon which was just a lovely gathering of friends and no freaking out about sand on the floor) I didn't feel like a dinner of any major sort.

So I had some turkish toast with a smear of horseradish cream and slices of tasty cheese.

Simple, tasty and satisfying.

Day 11 - Arancini

This was prompted after my trip to Haberfield the other day (you'll have to scroll down through the spider phobia story) where I purchased, still warm from the frypan, arancini for Chef and myself. Chef then mentioned them to Felix who has requested we make them every single day since.

So, I made a bolognaise (different from the lasagne one as I wanted to get the subtle, creamy, almost sweet taste of the one I had bought - and has subsequently revolutionised my bolognaise recipe) sauce, a basic risotto and let Chef do the rest.

1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped/crushed
500g mince
1 jar sugo
1 tin crushed tomatoes
big handful of basil, sliced thinly

Saute the onion in a little olive oil
Add the garlic, cook for a minute
Add the meat, brown
Add the sugo, tomatoes and basil

Simmer for as long as you have - it ends up with an almost creamy consistency.

Glug of olive oil
knob of butter
2 cups arborio rice
Glass of white wine
1 litre chicken stock

Melt the butter with the oil
Add the rice and cook for a minute or two
Add the wine - cook until absorbed, stirring often
Add the stock a bit at a time, stirring until absorbed, then add more

Mix the meat sauce through the rice (we had a bit - probably 1.5 cups - of meat sauce left over)
Add a cup (I'm guessing this amount - it was probably closer to two cups now I think about it) of frozen peas.

Now, ideally you leave to cool in the fridge.
Stir through chopped up bocconcini cheese - we used a whole tub.
(this mix makes a LOT - we had a lot left over today which we were going to roll into balls and then freeze, but ended up eating as a risotto for lunch)

When cold or at least cool enough to handle, mix into balls of any shape and size you prefer.
Dip into a beaten egg
Then into fresh breadcrumbs

Then fry

Eat - divine crispy crunchy golden bits, melty cheesy bits, green peas. SENSATIONAL.

Things to eat in blissful solitude: Part I

My own little occasional series, inspired by the sheer joy today of eating my own lunch in my own time with not even a comment from shorter passers-by.

Simply put:

  1. One ripe tomato, cut into eight segments
  2. Some chunks of Bulgarian goat's cheese, salty, soft and sparkling on the tongue
  3. Fresh sprigs of basil, oregano and thyme from the garden




Thursday, February 09, 2006

Day 10 - Linguine with oven roasted tomatoes

Continuing a week of international culinary variety, tonight I cooked for us and Chef's sister and husband. They are fellow lovers of the carb.

2 500g packets of linguine

1 dozen roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
big glugs extra virgin olive oil
a big dash basalmic
swathe of good quality sea salt
freshly groud black pepper
big handful basil leaves, torn

Preheat oven to 200C
Place tomatoes in a ceramic baking dish with everything else except the basil.
Toss it all together.
Bake for 30mins, turn occassionally.
A few minutes before they're done, add the basil leaves.

Cook pasta.
Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.

Toss tomatoes and all the juices and oil in the dish with the pasta.
Add the water to loosen.
Put the lid back on and just let sit for a minute.

Eat two bowls, a few slices of sourdough, a glass of red wine and watch your girth grow.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Day 9 - Chicken, corn and rice

This must be said like doing the conga, so rice goes ri -i - ce! with a kick of the leg

Introduced to our family by my SIL. Requested by boys at least twice a week.

1 packet chicken thigh fillets

corn cobs, 2-3


put rice in cooker and cook
put corn on to cook and cook. Cool slightly or if you have asbestos fingers like we do, do it straight away and take corn off the cob
cut chicken into small cubes, drizzle over oil and worchester
heat oil and a dash of sesame oil in frypan
add chicken - cook over high heat, add more soy.

Toss cooked rice and corn in with chicken. Serve with extra soy and steamed greens on the side - NEVER mixed through.

Serve to children.
Serve second helpings.
Give left-over peach crumble.
Get depressed at no clothes fitting and hair with weird kink from being in ponytail for last four months.
Spray on perfume - L'Occitane Verbena - to mask b/o and lack of shower
Attempt to apply mascara that has dried out
Console child crying that "but only you know how to sing "close eyes", the best song in the world"
Eat great Japanese food
Drink white wine
Get drunk
Write blog posts

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Day 8 - Peach crumble

For those of you on the cold side of the world, we are currently in that glorious glut called stone fruit. This year the white nectarines have been to.die.for.

Anway, back at Australia Day I bought a tray of large freestone yellow peaches, thinking I would do a fragrant platter of them for the table. Naturally I forgot about them in Mum's fridge and that is where they've been for almost two weeks.

So tonight, on inspiration from today's Good Living, I made a peach crumble.

The filling is Stephanie Alexander's, the crumble topping one from my own recipe book, which I think is a Bill Granger special.

The peach compote
(how fancy! a compote. ie, stewed peaches)
8 ripe freestone peaches (or nectarines apparently)
30g butter

1/3 cup caster sugar

2 tblsp water

Score the peaches around the natural seam of the fruit, and place in boiling water for a minute or two until the skin comes away easily. (you don't need to skin nectarines if using them)

Slice peaches into thick wedges

Combine peaches, butter, sugar and water in a saucepan.

Cook for about 10 minutes, stir once or twice.

Preheat oven to 200C

The crumble

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 tblsp rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

Combine all the dry then rub in the butter until it clumps.

Grease a 1 litre baking dish
Pour in peaches (I had some left over that the boys will get on their brekkie tomorrow morning)
Strew topping over the fruit (they are SA's words. Strew.)
Bake 20-25mins until topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

Serves 4.

The compote is absolutely divine. Not too sweet, just enough to heighten the peaches. Very very lovely.
The dinner preceeding it was snags, steak and mushrooms on the barbie, mash (after all that talk about potatoes and mash, and an unseasonally cool day, mash was on my mind) and blanched sugar snap peas.

The steak was thick cut scotch fillet and just sensational. I'm not sure if its the breastfeeding thing or what but it is highly unusual for me to ever even feel like steak, let alone crave it and eat a whole piece. It was magic.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Day 7 - Stir fried prawns with mungbean vermicelli

Today I caught up with a friend I met when our eldest children were at preschool together. One of those people you just feel easy around. Delightful

At one stage we were talking about that slow surfacing from a long cold winter of chronic poverty, and how it is the little things that the newfound money go on. Not flashy holidays or a new car, no. But spending 80 bucks on fruit and vege when your entire allocated grocery spend in poverty time was 100. Buying things like frozen, peeled and cleaned green prawns. I did this for the first time two weeks ago. Sure, there is still poverty frost on the ground, but man, I feel as rich as royalty having green prawns in the freezer.

Tonight I stir fried them with tons of garlic and ginger and a dash of sesame oil. I am currently in a fixation with sesame oil. It comes and goes.

Then I added water chestnuts, baby corn, julienned snow peas and soaked mungbean vermicelli noodles. I added some soy and hoisin and voila.

There is none left.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Day 6 - a day of rest

Today is Sunday and we had a quiet day at home. All day. This was a mistake. The boys were loud and boundy, like a new puppy. They got under my skin. They woke the New Recruit twice this morning with their fighting, or simply their noise. At 10.30 I took him back to bed and myself with him. I was woken up three times over the next 15 minutes. Cranky does not even cover the emotion I was feeling in my pinky.

Anyway, I did make a delightful bowl of porridge for breakfast - I simply use 1/2 cup organic rolled oats to enough water that I think will do. That's right, I don't make it with milk. It was just what I needed, with milk and brown sugar.

Lunch was Cruskits with pre-sliced Coon cheese. No, I'm not kidding. There were also some with Vegemite.

Dinner was Mum's roast leg of lamb. This means the meat is cooked right through to the bone, no pinkness for her, that would mean it was not cooked and trigger all manner of tsking under her breath and whatnot. But it does mean 'proper' gravy (made from pan juices, flour and water - the first time I saw someone use Gravox as a serious gravy was Chef's mum and I was amazed - like someone first tasting Deb and being amazed that you can make mash from powder. Yes, that someone was me at I think the same meal as the Gravox) and roasted veggies done the old fashioned way.

I just bung everything in the one baking dish and it all turns out delicious. But mum parboils the potatoes, gets a baking dish FULL of olive oil, heats it gently on the stove then adds the potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato and the puts it in the oven. These are, naturally, fabulous.

Dessert was homemade fruitsalad with carton custard (I declined. It's real or not at all for me when it comes to something like custard) and 'lite' icecream (again, it's real or nothing, but we were all out.).

And that, as it is said, was that.