Wednesday, 30 May 2012

YOU helped create a Food Revolution!

On May the 19th around the world people got involved in FOOD REVOLUTION DAY.

I called out for all for my readers to join me here.

Lots of my readers did indeed join in.

If you cooked with your kids that day- you joined in.

If you made your own dinner that day from scratch - you joined in.

If you had a conversation with your kids about what food you were buying or taught them a new ingredient, or tried some new tastes- you joined in.

Some of you lovely people sent me pictures of what you did.

As each one came in I cried.

Do you know why?

Because to me these seemingly little things are absolutely HUGE.

Monumental.

Just ONE person joining me that day would have made me very happy.

But I had tweets & instagram messages and emails all day telling me that people were doing something to help teach their families about REAL FOOD.

Look at this magnificence in action!!!!!

Some people went to Farmers markets and bought an ingredient they hadn't used before & chatted to the Farmer who grew their food.  Some people had their kids in the kitchen.  It means so much to me because I see it as the way we teach our children about what matters.  Some people tried cooking something they had never tried before.

That day these kids were learning.  Quietly absorbing.

Learning about the values of honesty, integrity, love, real food and caring for the world around them.

Cooking together with our children forces us as parents to slow down a little and be present with our children.

It teaches them practical skills that will help them be independent functioning adults.

It helps them to ask questions.  To seek answers.

We have conversations in that time that maybe in our busyness we wouldn't have otherwise.

And it teaches children about what goes into the food that we eat.

That day we looked at ingredient lists on packets in the supermarket and then compared them to the ingredients that went into ours.  The difference was alarming.

I know it takes time to do this .....but investing in our kids future is worth it.

That is how I see it.

It is an investment.

Not just in my children's future but for all children.

Children are worth it.

I got my kids to all choose something that they wanted to cook.

My 13yo wanted to me to teach him how to cook Creme Brulee- mostly as it involved using my kitchen torch I suspect!

My 11yo wanted to bake his very first loaf of bread- he chose a Walnut loaf.

And my 9yo wanted to invite a friend to join in and cook Honey Pops- his invention of Honey crackles/Joys but using Rice bubbles.

The 5yo and the 3yo provided comedy relief & a lot of mess. That's important too!

Here is my 9yo cooking his recipe.  He and his friend searched for the recipe independently and then had to find all the equipment they needed and the ingredients (no small feat in my pantry and fridge!!).  They were AMAZING! I did absolutely nothing except the oven bit.


Here is my 11yo's bread. As he was cooking this bread he talked a lot of the amazing nature of bread.  About how few ingredients were actually in bread you baked at home.  But also about how long it takes.  And how cheap 'fake' bread is.  He worked out that the sourdough bread that we normally  buy at around $5 a loaf was really a bargain considering it took him 5 hours to make this loaf.  He thought that being paid a dollar an hour was really pretty bad & that $5 dollars for a loaf was actually a bargain.  Perspective.  It is a great thing.

And my 13yo fire loving lad.  His Brulee was delicious. We talked about Vanilla pods and how they grew from Orchids and how rare they are and that is why they are very expensive. He had a great time with that blow torch! And that caramel top.....oh that sound when you crack the spoon! SOOOOO good!

I guess the important thing to take from this is that together we CAN make a difference. It only takes one person to start making change.

Thank YOU so very much for joining the revolution.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

My to do list

This week I plan to:

  • sew a new dress or two with the ace fabric I found
  • drop off the plans for the house addition to the draftsman
  • keep my house tidy (I did a super blitz on the weekend)
  • catch up with a good friend
  • bake a cake
  • walk every single day
  • roast some more coffee beans
  • keep on top of the laundry
  • read a chapter of a book
  • investigate buying a new lens for my DSLR
  • sit down for at least 10 minutes on the couch before the kids are in bed
Do you write TO DO lists?
I tend not to as I feel like such a failure when things don't get done.
I try & make sure I write something nice on my list now to take notice a little more of the fun and goodness in amongst the drudgery.
It helps me remember a little of 'me' in amongst the stuff I do for everyone else........


GOURMET GIRLFRIEND'S CHICKEN, FENNEL & ORANGE SOUP:
Winter seems to have hit early.
Soups are happening a lot here.
I love them.
They tend to be the kind of  'a bit o' this and a bit o' that' recipe that I LOVE.
No hard & fast rules except using great ingredients.
This was a bit of an experiment.
And me oh my what a RIPPER.
The orange imparts this lovely fresh zing to the anise flavour of the fennel. 
It is both comforting & refreshing.
Easy and super delish!
My kids LOVED it and took the leftovers in a Thermos for lunch.
YUM
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 whole organic Chicken
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced fine
  • 3 potatoes, cubed
  • a good bunch of Italian parsley, including the stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 orange, cut 3 large pieces of rind (see pic below) and also the juice.
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • water to cover the chook
  • S & P
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
METHOD:
Heat a large pot on the stove to medium.
Add a splosh of EVOO. 
Add onion, garlic, fresh fennel & seeds, Orange rind and parsley.
Fry till onions are translucent.
Now add the carrot and stir for a couple of minutes.
Now place the whole chook on top.


Pour enough water to just cover and add diced potatoes & plenty of S & P.
Cook gently for an hour.
Remove chook and take all the meat off the bone.
Place back into the pot.
Add the juice of the orange.
Stir through & bring back to simmer.
Serve with good crusty bread.


I LOVE Iggy.
L O V E. 
I may have fainted when I found this......

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

I think I finally get it.

When you were a child you didn't think too much about life you just LIVED it.

When you were a teenager you thought you KNEW. IT. ALL!

Sure as heck your parents knew nothing!

Then when you were in your early twenties you started to think you were all grown up.

Working, getting paid, paying bills....working out that grown up life was actually pretty hard & pretty expensive.

In your twenties you think about finding a partner to share your life with.

A lot of us in our thirties add kids & maybe even owning a home into the mix.

I think for a lot of people it isn't until the forties that Life makes sense.

Was that why the answer to the universe and everything in the Hitchhiker's guide was 42?

It seems to take decades of adult life before we totally get what it is all about.

I think I finally GET IT.

I get:

That we NEVER have the answers for some things.

That being a grown up doesn't always mean behaving like one.

That we never stop learning or making mistakes.

That having 'stuff' doesn't matter.

That sometimes life is really really hard & that's normal.

That LOVE really is ALL that matters.

.....and that if you have that

You have EVERYTHING you could ever need in life.

GOURMET GIRLFRIEND'S ROASTED GARLIC, CAPSICUM & CHORIZO SOUP 
It's soup season!
I made this one up to give to a friend for dinner.
It was so delicious it very nearly didn't get to her!
It has lovely rich smoky flavours that make it feel rich but it doesn't leave you feeling heavy like some rich food does. Just comforted.
If you wanted to remove the Chorizo and make it a vegetarian soup it would be equally as tasty.
I have added instructions in the recipe to replace the Chorizo with Halloumi.

  • 3 heads of garlic, cut in half (see pic of vegies in dish below)
  • 3 chargrilled Red Capsicum, cut into dice 
  • 1/2 small japanese pumpkin, cut into medium size chunks
  • 2 punnets cherry tomatoes (or a can of good quality Cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 chorizo, sliced (replace with Halloumi if making a vego version)
  • 2 spanish Onions, cut into quarters
  • 125g chickpeas
  • 125g Adzuki beans
  • 1litre chicken stock
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Spanish Paprika 
  • S & P
  • chopped Parsley to garnish
NB: If you are using dried Adzuki & Chickpeas you will need to prepare them before hand by soaking overnight or cooking till soft.

Preheat oven to 185C.

Chargrill the capsicum over a flame until outside is charred. Set aside covered in plastic for 10 minutes. Then remove and rub charred skin off.
Remove stalk and seeds and dice.

In a roasting pan place the onion (skin on), garlic (skin on) & pumpkin for 35 minutes- or until the Pumpkin is brown and the onion is soft. Coat lightly with EVOO and S & P.

Roast the tomatoes separately in a small ovenproof dish.

In a large pot heat the chicken stock on the stove to a simmer.

Add the vegetables into the stock.  You will find the garlic cloves will pop gently out of the skin and the onion will pull away from it's skin with ease.

Once the vegies are added you can add the tomatoes and blitz with a hand mixer or food processor.

Return pot to a simmer and add the Paprika and check seasoning.

Add the Adzuki beans & Chickpeas.

In a non-stick frypan add the sliced Chorizo.  I don't add any oil as there is plenty in the Chorizo. Cook gently till brown. Remove and dice.  (If making vego version follow this step and set Halloumi aside to serve- Don't add it in as per next step with Chorizo)

Add Chorizo to soup.

Stir through well.

Serve with freshly chopped Parsley and good crusty bread.

Fancy a tango in the kitchen? I ALWAYS do!



Friday, 18 May 2012

MAKE IT REAL

Tomorrow all around the world gorgeous Jamie O is encouraging people to join him in celebrating Food Revolution Day.

I totes love Jamie. I do.

Look here for more info about Food Revolution Day.

Or watch this- COMPELLING video.


My lovely readers,  you know I feel passionate about this.


About REAL food.

To me it goes hand in hand with living a REAL life.

Being good to yourself.

Being aware.

Looking after our environment.

Looking after our kids.

So tomorrow, I am going to be joining in by teaching my kids a new cooking skill.

It doesn't have to be hard.

All good things begin somewhere...baby steps and all that.

Do something that you love!

Maybe you want to join in too?

Cook something with or for your kids.

Invite a friend around and cook together.

Share the meal afterwards.

Print the recipe out for your friend to take away and cook again another time.

Sharing is ace isn't it!

And especially sharing food together.

So tomorrow - let's get REAL together!

Let's chat in the comments about your ideas.

Or over here on my FB page.

I'm EXCITED!!!

Who's in?

Don't forget to have your tunes on in the kitchen- it is WAY more fun to cook with music- and the food tastes better too dontcha know?!!





Thursday, 17 May 2012

Reasons to love today

Here are just some of the reasons why I love today
  • because today is not yesterday
  • because the sun rose and heralded a new beginning
  • because a new pair of clogs arrived at my front door
  • because I kissed the man I love
  • because my eldest hugged me goodbye and told me he loved me
  • because I have amazing and inspiring people around me
  • because the gum tree that we planted 3 years ago is in bloom for the first time
  • because I hugged a friend I love
Sometimes when things seem overwhelming it is good to remind ourselves that in amongst it we have a lot of beauty and love and that in itself is enough.



GOURMET GIRLFRIEND'S SZECHUAN BRAISED EGGPLANT:
Last night I cooked braised TeoChew Duck- you can click here for the recipe. 
I had a bad day and wanted something lovely for dinner.
TeoChew Duck was what it was. I knew it would make me happy as it reminds of me of my sister.
A great reason to smile :)
Food is good for that. 

But I  HAVE to serve a vegie dish always. I am annoying like that.  To me the meal is not complete.
And I LOVE eggplant.
LOVE it! 

I love this dish. It is so great served on it's own as a main meal with the szechuan shredded potatoes that you will find the recipe for here. Or as a side as in last night's dinner.
I LOVE szechuan cuisine so so much. 
This dish is a cracker! It's chinese name is something like 'Fish fragrant eggplant'- not so appealing is it?!
The origin of the name is that the sauce is similar to the sauce that is used for Fish dishes in Szechuan province. There is no fish in this particular recipe.

The dinner was devoured. My kids LOVE it too. It has some bite so it probably isn't for you if you are not a chilli fan- we LOVE chilli at our place.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • 2 eggplant, cut into large wedges (see pics below)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch knob ginger, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chilli bean sauce (you will find this at your asian grocer)
  • 1/4 cup shaoxing wine
  • 4 tablespoons dark soy
  • 1 tablespoon light soy
  • fresh coriander
  • 1 spring onion sliced fine
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (high heat tolerant oil)
  • a little water (1/2 cup)
METHOD:
In a nonstick frypan heat the oil and add the chunks of eggplant.
Cook on each side till they have the lovely chargrilled appearance. 
I think it give the eggplant a gorgeous caramelised taste and also ensures a melt in your mouth interior.  It also releases the oil back into the pan so you don't end up with oil filled eggplant. Not nice!
Do this on each side and set aside.
In the same add the garlic & ginger and cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
Pop the eggplant back in the pan.
Now add the ShaoXing wine- it will sizzle and give off the most gorgeous fragrance.
Add the soy sauces, the chilli bean sauce and the water.

Simmer for about ten minutes.
Add the fresh coriander & spring onion and serve.
Braised Szechuan eggplant with TeoChew duck.

Today's listening pleasure courtesy of the Tallest man on Earth:

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Today is not really going to plan.....

You know those days where you wish you just get out a big eraser and start over.

Or better still give it a shake and it ALL disappears like an Etch-a-Sketch.

How awesome would that be?!

I love Etch-a-Sketches!

Do you?

There were tears here this morning.

And last night.

And then more......

They were mine.

Watching your children struggle is not pleasant.

Knowing that it is so much better for your kids in the end to NOT rescue them is one of the HARDEST things as a parent to do.

That teaching them resilience is what is best for them.

That teaching them to accept the consequences of their behaviour is what is best for them.

That teaching them to understand that their behaviour has ramifications is best for them.

But sometimes the best path is not the easiest.

In your head you know that you are doing IS the right thing.

Meanwhile your heart BREAKS.

And ACHES.

And the tears are just sitting there on the edge caught by surface tension waiting to spill.........

Today is NOT going to plan.

No wonder I hate plans.

I totally suck at them.

Onwards........

GOURMETGIRLFRIEND'S CHARGRILLED ZUCCHINI, FETTA & MINT SALAD:
This is one of those super dopp easy dishes that is SOOOOO tasty.
Don't you love easy things.
This is great warm or cold and only takes 10 minutes! 
You can vary this salad by adding other things too- like chickpeas or roasted beetroot or what ever other things you like!
Beautiful on it's own or with chicken or Fish.
It is a great vegie dish to cook when you are doing a BBQ too as you can cook the Zucchini on the BBQ.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 4 large zucchini, cut into long strips about 1cm thick
  • 100g fetta
  • fresh mint
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • S & P
  • Lemon juice ( i used on very juicy lemon)
METHOD:


In a griddle pan add a splosh of EVOO and leave the Zucchini to sit in the pan on medium heat for about 5 minutes per side- or until you can see the lovely char marks on the zucchini.
Turn and do the same to other side.
Repeat for all strips and set aside.
Place into a serving dish and crumble the fetta over.
Do same with the mint.
Now squeeze the lemon juice over and season generously with S &P.
Serve and enjoy!
How easy is that! 
YUM!!!


Todays listening pleasure is guaranteed to make the tears spill.........









Thursday, 10 May 2012

In the dark there is brightness

It has been yard yakka at Chez GG for two and a bit weeks.

I have been reminded of how BIG my job is.

How when things are going great it is still a fine balancing act of fulfilling the demands of a whole lot of humans.

And then illness hits and the bundle is dropped fair and square on the floor.

Chaos takes over.

Mess invades.

Washing piles up and up and up.

A lot of Weetbix gets served for breakfast AND dinner.

Last night I was exhausted beyond words.

I was struggling to stay warm and needed a scalding shower to warm me.

I just wanted to curl up under my quilt at 7 o'clock.

But even getting to my bed seemed like too much effort.

I was too tired to even want to pour myself my "cheers o'clock" drink.

That is something I LOVE to do.

It feels as though it is a celebration of getting through.

A shout out to myself that I made it!

I conquered another day.

Not last night......

Then I got a text from my walking buddy to confirm that we were on for our morning walk the following day.

I could have so easily opted out at that moment.

The thought of getting up out of bed before dawn just seemed like the last thing on earth I wanted to do.

But I said YES emphatically.

You know why?

Because for the first time in nearly 15 years I am doing something for ME.

I had an "A-ha" moment a few months back.
The realisation that the sudden desire to want to exercise wasn't going to gift itself to me- even though I was a needy recipient.

That I needed to gift MYSELF the exercise with or without the desire.

And so.......at 6am most mornings of the week and on some weekend days I get woken by an alarm and I stumble out of my warm and delicious bed to get dressed to meet a friend to walk.

This is what it looks like:

Yet it has become one of the brightest parts of my day.

Walking in the dark & cold.  How could that be?

Well.....what I have realised is that for nearly 15 years I have woken, not because my body knew it had enough rest (cause boy oh boy it NEVER felt rested) but because I have been woken by one or more of the kids.

In this time I  never allowed myself to rise and let my mind be free from the demands of my job.

Normally I wake and it is ALL on!

Lunches, breakfasts, washing, dishwasher, packing bags, feeding animals, getting to school.

And while I would make myself a coffee- or 3- I rarely had enough time to feed myself breakfast.

That would come after I got home.

So much was bad about this.

I was coming last ALL of the time!

It was bad for my health but most of all bad for my SOUL.

Now I have gone out and walked 3 kms and come home and got my brekky- yes MY brekky-before anyone is even awake.

I have quiet.

ALL TO MYSELF.

There is sooooo much light for me walking in the darkness.

So even when I am DOG tired at the end of the day I know that I WILL get up in the dark the next day.

It is my gift to myself.

And sometimes the Universe gives me a little gift in return.

It looks like this:

GOURMET GIRLFRIEND'S BUCKWHEAT PORRIDGE with Pistachios, Ricotta & Green Apple:
As I now have more time I am trying to make myself something really delicious and nutritious for brekky after my walk.
I am loving the readily available mix of seeds and grains that are around now.
I wanted to give Buckwheat a go. I hadn't had it before.
It is a great gluten free alternative to regular porridge.
Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed that is related to Rhubarb and Sorrel and not related to Wheat at all.
It has a lovely nutty flavour.
This makes a single serve
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 cup of Buckwheat
  • 2 1/2 cups of Milk
  • honey
  • 1 green apple
  • 1/4 cup fresh Ricotta
  • 4 tablespoons Pistachio nuts
METHOD:
In a small pan add Buckwheat and mik. 
Set heat at medium and bring to a simmer.
Cook while stirring for about 25 minutes or until the Buckwheat is soft but still has some bite.
You may need to add a little more milk. Just keep an eye on it!

Remove from heat.

Grate the apple over the top.
Sprinkle with Pistachios and crumble the Ricotta gently over.
Now drizzle with honey and enjoy!


I have shared Ane Brun before ( I am a big fan) but this seems rather parfait non?!
The words.... "there's no use taking a step back from me...". yep. too true.








Friday, 4 May 2012

The story of Me & Baking and Why we aren't friends.

You all know I like to cook.

A LOT.

But Baking & I have never really been friends.

I think it is the exacting nature of baking that puts me off.

The fact that when they say 1/2 a cup they REALLY mean HALF a cup!

I am kind of well known for being a spontaneous kind of girl.

A bit of a rule breaker.

Not in a bad way...

I just have never really liked being told what to do.

Coupled with the fact that I don't really have much of a sweet tooth it meant that Baking and me were never really going to hit it off.

Baking was the girl in the schoolyard who always had her pigtails all perfect with the centre part RIGHT smack bang in the middle of her head.  Who always arrived for photo day with her dress all ironed with perfect seams & matching ribbons.

Me.....well I was one with the socks all baggy around my ankles and with Pippi Longstocking plaits (she was my HERO dontcha know...I WAS her!) all wayward and bent skywards with pipe-cleaners to keep them flipped up & mismatching ribbons.  I arrived for photo day with stains & creases on my dress. And I wore red patent clogs instead of school shoes.
My original & very LOVED copy of my HERO
You get my drift?

But the other day on Instagram Flowerpress was chatting about a cake that really took my fancy.
And then my photo on Instagram had lots of requests to blog the recipe too.

We were in the midst of one of those weeks last week where illness visits and takes over.

I sometimes get this weird urge to bake when that happens.

If I listened to my inner psychologist I would totes read that behaviour as me grabbing at a little control where all else feels...well SOOOO outta control.

Does that happen to you?

Do you grab at things to control when all else feels like it is spiralling?

BAKED LEMON & LIME BUTTER CHEESECAKE:
The original recipe is from here.
I get so frustrated when I see the ingredient lists of recipes are not in Metric.
Are you the same? Luckily there is an app for that!
Sheesh when will we all get on the Metric scale? So MUCH easier.
Anyway I made a few minor changes and I will write the recipe in Metric for all us metric fans ok!
My Hubby is a BIG fan of a baked cheesecake so I thought I would get all 'Housewife of the Year 1954' and bake him a cake.  
It might of even made up for the house being super messy. Just maybe.
And despite me NOT being a big fan of sweets I must say this was DELICIOUS.
It has a butter cake bottom & edge which goes all chewy and sugary with the lovely soft cheesecakey middle hidden in the middle. AMAZING.
You make the 2 parts separately and pour the cheesecake top over the butter cake bottom.
I made the butter cake part first & poured it into the springform tin and then made the cheesecake part.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
for the butter cake part

  • 2/3 cup plain Organic flour
  • 1/3 cup Caster sugar
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 organic eggs
  • juice of 1 lemon (and the zest)
  • juice of 1 lime (and zest) (if you only have lemons just substitute this here)
  • seeds from half a Vanilla bean (substitute 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract)
for the cheesecake part

  • 250g cream cheese
  • 3tblspn butter
  • 1 organic egg
  • the seeds form the other half of the vanilla pod (or 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract)
  • zest of a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup of Icing sugar (and a little extra for dusting)
METHOD:
Heat oven to 160C.
Grease & line a 20 cm springform tin.

In a mixer combine the dry ingredients and then add all wet. Mix well.
Pour into the springform tin.

Now to make the cheesecake part (I used the same mixing bowl).

Beat the cream cheese for about 3 minutes until it is light and creamy.
Add the icing sugar and continue to beat for 2-3 minutes.
Add the egg, butter, vanilla seeds & lemon juice & zest.
Mix until combined and stop.

Now carefully add the cheesecake batter on top of the butter cake batter being sure to leave an edge of about 5cm.

This allows the butter cake to rise around the edges and swallow the cheesecake inside giving the chewy delicious edge.

Place into the oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean near the edge of the cake.
Allow to cool in the tin for ten minute before carefully removing the springform tin & allowing to cool on a wire rack.

Let cool for an hour before dusting with Icing sugar.
(The original recipe suggests serving cold from the refrigerator but I prefer it to be room temperature. The flavours are better.)

And the listening pleasure today is from one of my FAVE Sassy ladies- Sarah Vaughan...her nickname was 'SASSY'. Do you LOVE Sarah Vaughan?
Listen to how gorgeous she is at the start of the video when she speaks a little Swedish. Bless her.....




Thursday, 3 May 2012

Leftovers Pt. 3

Here we go.....

Meal three with just one Roast Dinner.

Not bad for a family of seven.

How are your efforts going at using what is in your fridge & using leftovers?

It feels good to reduce the waste I think.

And who wouldn't like to reduce the amount of time they are at the shops?

It is a SUPER cold and VERY wet day in Melbourne today.

A perfect excuse to bake a pie!


GOURMET GIRLFRIEND'S LEFTOVER LAMB ROAST SHEPHERD'S PIE:
A few days ago I made a Lamb roast.  
I ordered my Lamb direct from the farmer- delivered to my door by her
AMAZING!
Gorgeous Organic free-range Dorper lamb.
Go here if you are in Victoria and would like to join Anna's email subscription list. 
You all know I like to know where my food comes from! Provenance is important to me.
This meal uses the leftover Lamb that I roasted.
This same meal's leftovers also made Roast veg Frittata with the leftover Veg.
So that is THREE meals for our family of SEVEN with just ONE leg of lamb!
Not bad.
Shepherds Pie was originally invented as a means of using leftover Roast meat (called Cottage pie if Beef was used).
Nowadays most people use mince but I am going 'Old school' with this recipe.
In this recipe you can pretty much use whatever Veg you like- so use your faves! I just used what I had in the fridge but there is no hard & fast rule here.
I also added a 'twist' to the Mashed Potato topping.
Lamb & Fetta are such a lovely marriage of flavours so I experimented with adding some soft crumbled Fetta to the Mash to see how that would go.
This is Rustic cuisine. Play around with what you like best.
It tasted AMAZING!
Taking risks in the kitchen doesn't always pay off- luckily this time it did and I will definitely be doing it again!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 500g Leftover Lamb, diced fine
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped fine
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 200g Tuscan Kale, chopped 
  • 100g peas
  • 1/2 can Organic Tomatoes
  • a splash of Worcester sauce
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • S & P
  • 5 Dutch cream or Desiree Spuds
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/4 cup milk (or maybe less!)
  • 60g soft crumbled Fetta
  • EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Preheat oven to 200C.
Heat a pan with boiling water and cook Potatoes while you make the lamb mix.

In a heavy pan saute onion in a little EVOO till translucent.
Add garlic and fry for a minute.
Add the diced Lamb.

Stir through.
Add chopped Parsley, carrot, Kale & peas. 
Cook for about 5 minutes stirring.
Add the Worcester sauce and S&P.

Cook for 10 minutes.
Dust the flour over the top and then stir through- cook while stirring for about a minute to cook the flour. The mixture will seem quite dry.
Add the 1/2 can tomatoes & the beef stock and stir through.
Cook gently for about 5 minutes till the mix has thickened.

Remove from heat & set aside.

Once potatoes are cooked, drain and add butter & Fetta and MASH!!
You want the mash to be relatively thick as this will top the pie.
Add only as much milk is necessary to have a good thick mash.

Now add your Lamb mix into a shallow pie dish.

Even it out and add the Mash on top. Again- ou don't want this to look perfect. It should look like good home cooking with all it's imperfections! 

Pop into oven for 20 minutes or until the top is looking deliciously brown.

Serve on own or with a crispy Green salad.

YUM!!!!!!
We were listening to this old track from First Aid Kit earlier today. So gorgeous.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Leftovers Pt. 2

Today I made something else from leftovers.

Leftover bread.

How often does your family have a few slices of bread or the end of a loaf hanging around.

Does it end up in the bin?

It can quickly be turned into other things even though it is not good to eat fresh.

Making use of leftovers is so important.

To reduce waste is SO important.

Our parents all did this- our grandparents all did it too.

They did it without thought...it was just done.

Just the way things were.

Partly out of necessity.

A lot out of making do with what was on hand.

A different way of looking at life.

Being more thankful perhaps.

Life was less about convenience.

I for one am glad to see the tide turning.

Yes, maybe it takes more effort but ......

Yes....it feels DAMN GOOD!

GOURMET GIRLFRIEND'S CAESAR SALAD:
I think it has been about ten years since I had a Caesar salad.
I have been craving one for days......
I was going to be meeting friends for a bite but had a late cancellation (ain't it the way with kids & busy lives).
I had the end of a good loaf sitting on the bench.  No good to eat fresh but perfect to make into croutons.
And I had some Mayo that needed to be used!
So it seemed like the perfect opportunity to realise my craving!
(NB: the Dressing will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge)


WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise (my recipe is here) I used Dijon mustard in this batch NOT wholegrain
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 50g Parmesan (I used some Bruny Island Cheese Tom- it was the perfect substitute!)
  • extra cheese to slice into the salad
  • 3 slices of leftover bread, sliced into cubes
  • 2 rashers of good quality free range Bacon
  • Pepper (you probs won't need Salt as the anchovies and Bacon will provide enough)
  • 1 cos lettuce, shredded & well washed
METHOD:
In a food processor blitz the parmesan, garlic & anchovy fillets till very fine.
Add the mayo and combine.


Using a little oil from the anchovy tin fry the bacon and croutons.
I like to do this as it adds all those DELICIOUS flavours from the anchovy & bacon into the bread.
Fry till the bacon is crunchy and the bread is brown & crunchy.
Set aside to cool a little.
On a plate scatter some Cos lettuce.
Now scatter the croutons & the bacon.
Slice as much cheese as you like over the top.
Drizzle with your freshly made Dressing!
et Voila!


Leftovers have never looked so well dressed! 
BOOM TISH!


Today's track is by Deer tick. I popped another of their songs on here a while back.