Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Catch-up Day 65: Artichoke Dip #2

This is really called artichoke and white bean puree, which is nice if you're trying to be fancy.

400g can of artichoke hearts, drained (I use marinated ones for more flavour)
400g can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans.
1 1/2 tblsp olive oil
1 tblsp lemon juice
2 tblsp coarsley chopped marjoram

Process until smooth.
Serve with lavash or raw veggies.

Catch-up Day 64: Artichoke dip

This is another recipe from my American friend Lynda. I love these US recipes that basically see how many forms of saturated fat they can get into one dish.

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 410g can of artichokes, drained and chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

- Preheat oven to 180C
- Combine the mayonnaise, parmesan, artichokes and garlic
- Pour into shallow ceramic dish
- Sprinkle over paprika
- Cook until golden and bubbly.
- Serve with selection of raw vegetables and lavash crackers.

I can eat this until I have to undo my jeans and my head falls off, and not necessarily in that order.

Catch-up Day 63: Basic tomato sauce

Again, this is from my heroes - Curtis and Campion in the Kitchen. It seems ludicrous to follow a recipe for a basic tomato sauce for pasta, but you know, some people need hand holding from the very beginning, and if it means they are in the kitchen having fun and success, then that is what it takes.

Olive oil - a few good lugs
garlic - several cloves, smooshed with the side of your chef's knife, then chopped/minced with a good pinch of sea salt
410g tin chopped roma tomatoes
good handful basil or flat leaf parsley

Heat the oil
Saute off the garlic until golden, not brown
Add the tomatoes and basil and simmer

It's that easy folks.
Go crazy and throw some olives in with the tomatoes.
Lose your head and add some anchovies or rinsed salted capers with the garlic.
The options are limitless.

I use this, then after browning off the meatballs add them in and simmer until the pasta is cooked.

Catch-up Day 62: Spaghetti w/ meatballs

I made these for the first time a few weeks back on Felix's request. He has a food-memory association with them from a time Chef cooked them and they played Xbox together for the first time. What a treasured childhood time. Anyway, I didn't like Chef's. No real reason, they just didn't do it for me. So I found a recipe from my favouritist cookbook in the world - Campion & Curtis in the Kitchen - and made them. Then Felix uttered a phrase I never thought I'd hear, "Mum, this is better than spaghetti bolognese". And I agree.

I make a big batch and then freeze portions for during the week or quick dinner options.

500g pork mince
500g beef mince
2 eggs
a good 2 handfuls or so of breadcrumbs
a good handful or 2 of parmesan
a good handful of chopped basil and parsley
1-2 onions, finely chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, smooshed

- Cook off onion and garlic
- Mix minces together
- Add everything else. If too wet add more breadcrumbs
- Roll into small balls. (Don't do them too big, I don't like them)

Heat some olive oil in a fry pan, brown them, then add to the basic tomato sauce that you've got simmering and cook for as long as you have.

Catch-up Day 61: Baby baked custard w/ stewed apple

This comes from Robin Barker, the doyenne of all things baby in Australia. I made double this the other day and Jasper didn't even get any. The boys scoffed the lot.

1 cup apple puree
1 cup milk
1 tblsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg

- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Mix the apple with the milk, sugar and vanilla
- Beat the egg and stir through the mix
- Pour into a greased ovenproof dish
- Bake for 20 minutes or until set.
- Eat hot or cold.

(You can apparently substitute banana for the apple, but I hate bananas, so don't look to me to see how that would work.)

Catch-up Day 60: Baby tapioca

You have to indulge me here. You see, the New Recruit is in that land between just eating pureed vegies and stewed apple and not quite being up for me mashing up whatever it is we're eating for dinner.

We love tapioca in this house - I'll post our favourite dessert here soon - and this is a great first introduction to the food we affectionately call frogs eggs.

1 tblsp tapioca
1/2 cup apple juice
2 tblps stewed apple, pureed

- Put the tapioca and juice in a small saucepan.
- Stir over low heat until the juice is mostly absorbed.
- Add the apple.
- Cool and serve.

You can freeze this. It makes about 2 serves, depending on the age of the baby.

Catch-up Day 59: Quick and easy spinach pie

This is actually based on a recipe in a baby and toddler cookbook I own. I'm not kidding. I've made it more fancy with the addition of pine nuts, fresh mint and breadcrumbs on top to go crispy and yum.

But yeah, I'm posting baby food.

250g packet frozen spinach - thawed and all the water squeezed out
1 cup cooked rice
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup fetta, diced
1 tblsp butter, melted
handful chopped fresh mint
handful pinenuts
fresh breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 200C
Combine everything
Press into a 23cm pie dish
scatter with pinenuts and breadcrumbs
Bake for 25 minutes or until set.

I'm serious, it is SO good.

Catch-up Day 58: Chicken rissoles

It is quite bizarre how much chicken (organic mind you) we eat, considering when I was preggers with Jasper I couldn't come at it in any way shape or form.

I whipped these up the other week, even making a mega-batch so there were some in the freezer for dinners when Mum was on duty.

500g chicken mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large field mushroom, finely diced
fresh breadcrumbs - a good couple of handfuls
a egg
a good dollop of dijon mustard
fresh herbs - tarragon or thyme works well.

saute off the onion and garlic, add the mushroom
cool - if you have time.
Combine everything in a bowl.
If too wet add more breadcrumbs.
Shape into patties
Coat in more fresh breadcrumbs
Pan fry
Serve w/ salad and bread rolls.

How easy is that!?!

Catch-up Day 57: Super quick and easy chocolate sauce

I can't believe I'm actually going to list this as an actual recipe.
On the rare occasions I crave ice cream, I often crave a chocolate sauce to go with it. After a weird obsession with Ice Magic soon after having Jasper, I now need something a little bit better quality.

Take 250g choc chips and 300ml pouring cream.

Combine in a dish
Microwave for about 30 seconds
Then keep microwaving in 10 second bursts until the chocolate is melted and it all combines into a chocolate sauce.

I have no idea how long it would keep in a fridge, the longest it's lasted in our house is two nights.

Catch-up Day 56: Five-spice beef stir-fried w/ noodles

I'm nutty for noodles. Egg noodles, vermicelli, hokkien noodles, you name it. In fact, the last trimester of my pregnancy with Jasper was largely fuelled by Singapore noodles from the food court at Grosvenor Tower. With extra chilli sauce on the side.

The chilli factor is tricky in our house as Oscar classifies ginger as spicy. Felix has inherited a palate from Chef's side of the family and was known to tuck into a Thai green curry sauce from around the age of 4.

The following - with the wondrous aromatic flavours of Chinese Five Spice, is a happy medium.

one large piece of rump - coated in a good dose of Chinese Five Spice and freshly ground pepper. Sear on each side, rest, then slice thinly.
(Alternatively, take a semi-frozen piece of rump, slice thinly, toss in five spice and pepper then wok fry)

mix up a sauce of
4 tblsp soy
4 tblsp oyster sauce
1 tsp - a dash - sesame oil
pinch of sugar

Heat some oil in a wok. Stir fry a selection of vegies. In our house it's normally onion, broccoli, carrot. If they're in the cupboard, water chestnuts and baby corn get tossed in as well. If we're cashed up there are snow peas and shallots and maybe even (gasp) cashews.
If I can be bothered I'll add some cloves of garlic, finely chopped and some grated ginger.

Add the Hokkien noodles
Toss through the sauce
Add the meat and fresh coriander.

Delicious, nutritious and fast.