Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas with Cumin and Jalapeño Sauce

I woke craving Enchiladas yesterday.
When I have a hankering like that it generally becomes dinner.
I'm not good at letting cravings go by unnoticed.
I need to sate them.

When I mentioned it to my kids at the breakfast table they replied with "What are Enchiladas?'
I was kind of gobsmacked.
How was it that all these years have gone by and I haven't made them Enchys?!

As I set about sating my craving by heading out with the kids to get the ingredients, I felt like mixing it up a little.
I didn't really want a tomato based sauce so I made up a sauce that I felt would work.
It worked really well and I am pretty sure that I will be making this again- my kids LOVED it.

I am not one to stick to the rules and this dish shows that- I use recipes and flavours as a base and then let what I have in the pantry or what flavours I crave be my guide from there. Although having said that, there is a time to follow rules in the kitchen, and even I do it sometimes!
I think it is one of the reasons I love cooking so much.
Once you get a few good skills and the knowledge of flavours under your belt you can be free to experiment.
Although I do get into trouble for it here (my Cornish Pasties was one of those......soooo many emails about how they were not actually proper Cornish pasties).
The internet can be a strange strange place.
Let it be known that I never said I was a traditionalist.......And I never said that my way is the only way OR the right way.
It is just my way.
Take it or leave it.
I only know how to be me after all.
And me is what you will get here.
x

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas with Cumin and Jalapeño sauce.
This recipe uses Black Turtle beans which are a very common ingredient in Mexican food. If you are vegetarian these Enchiladas would be equally delicious just using the Black beans- I have added instructions for the Vego version in the recipe also.
I find them easiest to find in Asian grocery stores- I know this seems a little strange but they are used a bit on Vietnamese cuisine also and so can be found there (usually amongst the lentils etc)


INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g Chicken things, sliced finely
  • 200g black Turtle beans soaked (or boiled until soft)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cob of corn, charred over gas flame and kernels sliced off
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons sliced jalapeño
  • 4 soft tortillas (we used organic Quinoa wraps as that was what I had in the cupboard- they were delicious)
  • oil
  • 50g butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • S & P
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated cheese (or more if you like it super cheesy!)
  • 1 cup chicken/vegie stock.
  • large bunch fresh coriander, rinsed well and chopped (set stems aside separately, chopped finely)
  • lime
METHOD:

Pre-Heat oven to 175C.

Place the Jalapeños and garlic and a few salt flakes into a Mortar and Pestle and grind to a paste.
Set aside one heaped tablespoon of this paste for the sauce- the rest will be used in the chicken & Black bean mix.

In a large saucepan, heat a good glug of oil to medium high and add the onion.
Fry gently til translucent.
Now add the sliced chicken and turn up heat to high (omit this step if making vego version).
Cook till brown.
Add the cumin & jalapeño paste. Stir well. Add the Paprika and Oregano & fresh Coriander stems.
Stir to coat all of the chicken.
Now add the black beans and the corn & finally the stock.
Bring to boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 10- 15 minutes.

While the bean mix is cooking, make the Cumin & Jalapeño sauce by melting butter in a separate saucepan.
Once butter is melted add flour and stir for a minute to cook flour. Add the reserved tablespoon of cumin & jalapeño paste (add a few more slices of jalapeño if you wish- I added lots as we love it spicy!)
Add milk and bring heat to high. Stir the entire time with a whisk, to prevent lumps, until the mix has thickened nicely.

Take a large rectangular oven dish and lay the tortilla flat. Spread some of the chicken bean mix across the middle, roll the sides over and lay so folds are at the bottom (this prevents the enchiladas opening as they cook).

Repeat for all enchiladas.
Now pour over the Cumin & Jalapeño sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Place into oven for 20 minutes or until the top looks deliciously brown and the cheese is gooey and scrumptious!


I served ours with lots of cubed avocadoes, red onion, coriander, sour cream, extra jalapeños, and lime juice and also with a delicious Slaw.
Sooooooo good!





Friday, 18 September 2015

Gingersnap Biscuits

At the end of today I will have two whole weeks holiday.
YEE HAH!!!!
Well it will be holidays in so far as the alarms will be turned off.
What does holidays mean for me?
Well it means having to manage a business while having 5 kids at home.
That bit is hard. And not much of a holiday.
But - the not being woken by alarms is just about my favourite thing ever!
Now THAT is a holiday.

This holidays I am going to get a cooking roster on the go and allocate a day to each of the kids to cook dinner.
Well actually that was Mr Girlfriend's idea. He suggested they all use my recipe cards- WIN.
We'll see how that pans out.....

The other thing I am hoping to do more of is my Ceramics making.  I am hoping that my online store, so that you can purchase my wares, is not too far away. I have another batch of wares in the kiln today.
If you want to have a little peek at the kinds of things that I am making you can look here at my GG Clay adventures.
Watch this space!

I have already had the bigs home for this week- they have an a extra weeks holidays this term and oh boy do they need it. We/They have never been so busy in our whole life.
Taking a breather is oh so necessary.
So during the week there has been a lot of extra baking going on to cater for their ridiculously large appetites.
The lads love a good Choc Chip cookie- who doesn't?
But for me the winning biscuit is a good ol fashioned GINGERSNAP.
I love the tins of thin crunchy ones from Ikea but nothing beats a homemade one with a big chunk of real ginger dolloped in the centre.
I had a hankering yesterday and so it had to be.......


GINGERSNAP BISCUITS:
These are rich and delicious and with the addition of the big chunk of real ginger on top they are the ultimate Ginger biscuit.
Perfect with a large bowl of coffee. These are dangerously easy & delicious.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 170g butter (melted)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup treacle
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 2 tspns baking soda
  • chunks of candied ginger

METHOD:
Preheat oven to 175C.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and combine well.

Roll in your palm into ping pong size balls.
Place on baking tray and place a chunk of ginger into the centre.
Bake for 12 mins. 


Remove and let sit on tray for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling tray.







Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Rosemary & Orange Syrup cake

Who doesn't love a syrup cake?

And I am a big fan of Rosemary and orange together.
Both Oranges and Rosemary are abundant in Winter.
I have made recipes with this marriage before.

Savoury & Sweet.
Heady with perfume and a little zing from the citrus. To me it is one of the perfect kitchen marriages.

The rosemary is in flower and it's fragrant lavender coloured blossom looks so beautiful against the deep Green.
Nature at it's best.

This cake is sticky, fragrant & absolutely delectable.


ROSEMARY & ORANGE SYRUP CAKE:
I make this cake in a slab so it can be cut into slice pieces.  You can easily substitute it into a regular cake tin if you like.
I like it as a slab so I can cut it into slice style pieces and wrap it nicely to give as little gifts.


What you will need:
  • 225g butter
  • zest of 2 large oranges
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 155g SR flour
  • 250g plain Greek style yoghurt
for the syrup:
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 125ml water
  • 230g caster sugar
  • 2 large sprigs rosemary
  • zest of 2 oranges

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 180C.

Grease and line a 16x26cm baking tin.

Beat butter, orange zest & sugar until pale & creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time until combined.

Gently add the flour and yoghurt half at a time and beat until just combined.
Spread into the tin. Use a spatula to evenly spread it across the tin.
Place into oven for 30-35 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile add all syrup ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, reduce and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove cake from oven and skewer small holes evenly across the top.  Pour syrup evenly across the cake and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
Remove cake from tin & slice into evenly sized rectangles.

Serve with a dollop of yoghurt - or wrap nicely to give as a gift to a friend you love.
xx



Monday, 7 September 2015

Ham Hock & Chicken Terrine

Terrines are for me one of the most delightful things in the world.

What looks like a rectangular block of 'not much' when it first arrives at the table, is sliced to reveal the most glorious array of colours and textures within.
And oh my - the flavours!

A perfect picnic food. And one of those things that gets better after a day or two when the flavours are able to develop.

I love using Ham Hocks and often have at least one on my fridge.
I think most people use them only for soups but I like to use them in a few ways.
Slow roasting is a fave- leaving melt in your mouth chunks of delicious ham.

You may remember this recipe for Slow Braised Ham Hocks that became Ham Hock Hash.

Mmmmm porky goodness.



HAM HOCK & CHICKEN TERRINE:
This is a SUPER EASY recipe but requires a little planning ahead.
This terrine needs to be started the day ahead as it needs to set in the fridge overnight otherwise a very easy recipe.
I grind my own chicken (thigh meat) into mince by pulsing it-  I like to do this so the texture is not all the same, however using pre-minced  chicken is ok too.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 braised ham hock, bone & skin removed & meat pulled off in chunks (follow this recipe to slow braise)
  • 500g chicken mince (see recipe notes above)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 whole allspice
  • 1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
    S & P
  • bacon rashers
METHOD:

Preheat oven to 180C.

Line a terrine dish with bacon rashers - leave some over hanging to fold over the top of your terrine.

Grind the allspice, fennel seeds & garlic in a mortar and pestle to a paste.
In a large bowl add the chicken mince, garlic paste, chopped parsley, peas, egg and the chunks of ham hock. Add a generous amount of S & P.
Mix together very well.

Now press down the meat mix into the terrine dish firmly and fold the rashers over the top and neatly tuck in.
Pop the lid on the terrine dish.
(If you don't have a terrine dish- a loaf tin will suffice and cover with alfoil )

Place the terrine dish into a deep roasting dish and pour enough boiling water in so that it comes about half way up the side of the Terrine dish.
Place into oven and bake for an hour.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the dish.

Remove and pour out excess liquid.
Leave Terrine in the dish and cover with kitchen wrap.
Put some weight on to the terrine (I use a well wrapped brick as it fits perfectly!) and place into the refrigerator overnight.

Now unwrap and slice heartily!
Serve alongside some really good Sourdough, some zingy pickles and some extra tasty crumbly cheese.
Will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge- but ours never lasts that long!



Monday, 17 August 2015

Best Ever Chocolate Bundt Cake


I have always LOVED Bundt cakes.
There is something super special and exotic about them.
There is definitely something majestic in the shapes- which are many and varied!

Recently, Mr Girlfriend had a weeks leave and we spent the entire week filling our day time with trips to cafes, galleries, a bit of shopping & junk shop scavenging and lots of getting little jobs done that we never find the time to do.
It was one of the best weeks ever and felt so much more indulgent as the kids were all at school and WE. WERE. ALONE.
It was the actual BEST.

On one of these outings I found the most exquisite new Bundt tin at this shop.
I ummed and aaahed as to whether I should buy it.
But I am SOOOO glad I did. I have already had so much joy out of it!

I don't think Bundt cakes will ever lose their WOW factor for me.

My understanding of these cakes is that they originated in Europe- Austria, Germany & Poland. In Austria the cakes are known as Guglhupf- but are also known in other places as BundKuchen. The Bund in this word referring to Community. These cakes were cooked in cast iron or ceramic shaped baking vessels.
The name Bundt was actually coined by an American kitchenware company in the 50's. The owner invented a lightweight aluminium version of these shaped cake tins, added a 'T' to Bund and trademarked the name & that is what most of us know them to be now.
No doubt the internet will jump to the opportunity of sharing it's knowledge about Bundt cakes here also.

Have you ever made one or perhaps you have been too scared?
I'm here to teach you Bundt Success! Oh yes siree!

There is a trick to getting a Bundt cake to turn out of it's tin without the tear-inducing disaster of it sticking.
Spray oil carefully around all of the tin and dust with flour (or cocoa powder if a chocolate cake).
Tap out any excess and then pour batter in as usual.

Make sure you also leave the cake in the tin for at least 15 minutes once it has come out of the oven before turning on to a cooling rack.

This recipe is SUPER EASY and is deliciously moist & chocolatey.
It would make a super great SPECIAL OCCASION cake- for like......Sunday Breakfast for instance.
Well that may just be us but I really encourage you to be naughty and do the very same.
It will fill your heart with joy- i PROMISE!
Imagine having this made for your birthday! You would totally feel like a Queen, or a King, or just like you were totally LOVED at the very least!


BEST EVER CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE:

This recipe will also go into a regular 30cm cake tin (bake 35-40 mins) or make great cupcakes (about 20-25mins)- but please always check with a skewer as all ovens vary dramatically.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa powder (best quality you can afford)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bi-carb soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
for the glaze 
  • 3 tablespoons Cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water
METHOD:
Heat oven to 175C.

In a large bowl stir together sifted flour, cocoa, baking powder, bi-carb, sugar & salt.
Add eggs, milk, vanilla & oil.
Mix together well for 2 minutes.
Now stir in the boiling water.
The batter will be runnier than you are used to- this is ok.
Pour the batter into the oiled & dusted Bundt tin (as described in the post above).
Place into oven for 50-55 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes before turning out on to a cake rack to let completely cool before applying the glaze.
For the glaze: Melt butter completely, stir in cocoa and icing sugar.
Mix well to remove all lumps before adding the boiling water.
Stir & then drizzle over the top of the cool Bundt cake.

Serve.






Tuesday, 30 June 2015

FRIDA SAUCE

Have you guys heard of Green Goddess dressing?
It's one of those food things that does the rounds every now and then.
A really moreish & versatile dressing that is a bit like a mix of Salsa Verde & mayonnaise & Sour Cream.
You can read more about it here.

I had one of those lovely school holiday days yesterday where the lads & I were busy doing fun activities and totally lost track of time.
You can have a look at what we were up to here. SO FUN!

but all of a sudden it was 6 and I had 5 hungry lads wanting dinner.
AAAAARGH!
Luckily over the weekend we had a large Mexican feast to feed one of our lads and his friends to celebrate his birthday, so I had a fridge filled with delicious Mexican leftovers.
I like to transform the leftovers into something different so we don't just eat the same thing over & over.

I used inspiration from Green Goddess dressing to invent a Mexican flavoured one.
We ended up having delicious zingy Nachos using the leftover pulled pork & the Corn & toasted almond salad spread through delicious Organic unflavoured Corn chips which I drizzled with the sauce I invented.

I named the sauce after everyone's favourite Mexican Goddess- FRIDA KAHLO- of course!
It will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge after making and can be used for all manner of things- on Potato salads, drizzled on iceberg, on Sweet Potato fries, on top of Nachos, over Tacos, over gilled fish - ENDLESS possibilities........

FRIDA SAUCE:
I used the Green Goddess sauce as inspiration- however I wanted to omit the mayonnaise component and so I substituted that with a whole avocado and added some of my Taco seasoning for flavouring.
If you are vego you can easily omit the anchovies- you may need to add a bit of extra salt. 


WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of Taco seasoning 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 red chillies
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 anchovies
  • 1 bunch of well washed coriander (roots and all!) 
METHOD:
Place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz to a paste.
Check seasoning and add S & P if necessary.
Place in an airtight jar. Will keep in fridge for up to 3 days.






Friday, 12 June 2015

Season Of Salt & Honey : Author interview & BOOK GIVE AWAY


Earlier this year I had a conversation with Hannah Tunnicliffe regarding the upcoming publication of her second novel : Season of Salt & Honey.
Season of Salt & Honey

I agreed to sharing it with you guys as I thought it would be of great interest to you all.
Hannah has already written another novel 'The Colour of Tea', which also weaves food into the storytelling.
When she is not writing books Hannah also writes a food blog (along with her friend Ria) aptly titled Fork & Fiction.
Hannah found me through our mutual friend Beth.
I promised I would share her book with you guys after I had read it (sorry it has taken so long! - crazy busy life & then the flu got in the way!! Once I did start it I couldn't put it down.....)

Hannah has also VERY generously given me a copy of Season of Salt & Honey to giveaway to one lucky reader. To be eligible just leave a comment below letting us know the strongest food memory you have that relates to family (good or bad!) A winner will be chosen randomly.  Entries close Friday 19th June 5pm. Entries must be Australian residents.

'Season of Salt & Honey' is a novel about a period on the life of Frankie, whose life is turned upside down with the unexpected death of her fiancé.  Frankie escapes her own overbearing Italian-American family by fleeing to a forest cabin belonging to Alex's (the fiancé) parents.
Peppered throughout the book are gorgeous authentic recipes that are woven into the story. The story is about food, love, grief, recovery, connection to nature & the complexities of human relationships.
I LOVE the way the recipes are such a strong part of the storytelling &  help paint a picture of how food is such a big part of the way we remember events in our lives. Hannah also gives us historical information about the recipes too.



 Rather than spending a lot of time talking about her book, I thought it would be cool to do a little interview with Hannah so you could learn a little more about the gal behind the words.
I interviewed Hannah a few weeks ago- fulfilling my long held dream of pretending to be Jennifer Byrne from the Book Show.
Here is the transcript of that interview:


Ruth:
Can you tell us all a little about where you live?

Hannah:

Sure! I currently live in Auckland, NZ. I grew up here but have done a lot of travelling, including living overseas, over the recent years. Before moving back to NZ I lived in Vancouver, Sydney and Macau. Before that it was London, Melbourne and a campervan called Fred (for a few months travelling around Western Europe

Ruth:

Was it work that took you away from Auckland? or your heart?

Hannah:

Great question! Originally it was a scorching desire for adventure that lead me away from NZ. Then, eventually, once I had done a lot of adventuring, I could not wait to get back to NZ to make a life here. I love raising my kids and living in this little pocket of the world. My husband is an Aussie (from Sydney) and I am a Kiwi and we often talk about having "the best plan B in the world" (i.e. to return Downunder). I think this plan B is what makes Kiwis and Aussies such enthusiastic intrepid travellers.

Ruth:

In your travels you must have eaten some great food!
Can you share us about your favourite food memory during your travels?

Hannah:

Oh man, that is a TOUGH question! One very cold Autumn day in Kyoto my husband and I stumbled across a tiny, family run tempura restaurant. It was freezing outside but inside the restaurant was small and cosy; we were the only ones in it! The food was so good. In fact, ALL the food we ate in Japan was incredible and served with such care and calmness. I'm in a bit of a hurry to get back there, I loved Japan.
*runner up favourite meals include a feast in rural Thailand after a long day of trekking, siu long bao in Shanghai and sticky kouign amann from a market in Brittany... hmmmm....drool...

Ruth:

That Japanese meal DOES sound very special indeed.
A memory that involves more than the food- the very best kind of food experience.
And can you share your most challenging food experience of your travels with us?
Perhaps it was the ingredient or the situation that made it challenging?

Hannah:

I'll eat just about anything so I can't think of many ingredients that put me off (I am such an omnivore, it's not funny!) The food experiences that have been the most challenging are the times when, due to illness, I haven't been able to eat what I like (aka EVERYTHING.) This past Christmas I got sick during travels to Whistler and Hawaii and everything tasted dreadful. I was absolutely devastated. Food = Joy. Am I right?  *wink emoticon*

Ruth:

No argument from me!
Can you tell us a little about how a 'Day in the life of Hannah' looks?

Hannah:

Briefly? Wake up grumpy, drink tea (feel better), grab something to eat, procrastinate, write, wrangle small children, chores, chores, chores, forget something, instagram something, eat!, more procrastination, more wrangling, think about all the things I should have gotten done, eat something, worry that I am eating too many somethings or the wrong somethings, send emails, read, chat to husband a bit, sleep.

Ruth:

How many children do you have? And what ages are they?

Hannah:

I have two beautiful, exasperating, cheeky, wonderful daughters. My eldest is five, my youngest is three.

Ruth:

Is writing something you have always felt intrinsically compelled to do?

Hannah:

This shouldn't be a hard question but strangely I find it really hard to answer! The truth is - yes and no. I loved books as a kid and I loved writing too, but i never thought of it as an "option", you know? As a real proper career choice? For me? Writing was something I kept very close to my heart, hardly ever actually doing it, in case I failed, which would shatter me. Preferring instead to try my hand at things I was less in love with and less attached to. Because failing at those things would be less heart-breaking. Finally one day, due to life circumstances (I'd become burnt out in my job in Human Resources, had quit and was living in Macau, China) I was provided time and an opportunity to finally be vulnerable and a bit brave and give it a try. I had the sense that if I didn't try then, in that moment, I might never try. So I did.

Ruth:

Being vulnerable is the most courageous act of all I think.
I'm glad for you it brought the bounty of success.
I think that a lot of us have inner secret things we want to try but are scared of failure.
A very wise friend of mine once said to me- the only failure is not giving it a go.
When did your interest in food begin?

Hannah:

You are so right - vulnerability IS the most courageous act of all! have you listened to or watched Brene Brown? She is amazing.
Anyway, I digress...
Ah, food, well...always?? Aside from the food = joy equation, I believe food is love too. It's our first experience of love, as babies, from our mothers / carers, so I'm convinced our fascination is biological. It's essential, it brings us together, it celebrates, it affirms. I'm also a very sensual person (that sounds wrong, bear with me) - I love beautiful art, colours, scents and music. And food is such a wonderful sensory experience... what's not to love?

Ruth:

Yes I agree with you.
I think there is a commonality amongst food lovers & art lovers.
A process of wonderment at the beauty in our world & things that can be shared- especially love.
What gave you the idea to combine your fiction writing with real life-recipes?

Hannah:

Good question and I cannot claim credit there. My wonderful US editor, Miya Kumangai, suggested adding recipes to the manuscript after I submitted it and at first I was a bit dubious. For two reasons - a) I am not a chef and b) I didn't want them to seem gimmicky or distract from the story. In the end I selected recipes that were already mentioned in the manuscript (not a single one was slotted in just for the purpose of adding a recipe!) and made, tested and adapted recipes. It was great fun and I learnt a lot about Sicilian cooking and culture in particular. The recipes are a good mix of easy / hard, vegetarian / including meat, American / Sicilian. A lot of the food references are symbolic and therefore have or add extra meaning too. I'm really proud of the end result. I think I owe Miya a drink. Next time I am in New York..!

Ruth:

I have just two more questions to ask you- I am conscious of taking your time!
Can you tell us your favourite cookbook & why & also what is your favourite music to cook to?

Hannah:

Sounds good, this has been really fun! Okay - favourite cookbook...
Okay, may I have three?? The first is by Sophie Dahl and is called 'Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights' I love it because the recipes are simple and delicious and organised into seasons,and because she writes about food truthfully and lovingly and because she is the star of The BFG. The second is 'Little and Friday: Celebrations" because the food is decadent and feast-y and Little and Friday is my favourite cafe and second home. The third is not a cookbook per se but my friend Beth's website, BabyMac. I make her lasagne and chocolate cake all the time. She is very funny and frank and her recipes are great. *smile emoticon*

Ruth:

And your favourite music to cook to?

Hannah:

Eeek, I don't cook with music generally! Too many things to concentrate on to involve music in the muddle and chaos. BUT, in saying that, if I do cook with music it has to be duets by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Old school, I know. 'April in Paris' makes me feel oh so happy.

Ruth:

Wonderful.
Thankyou so much for sharing with us today.
xx

Hannah:

Thank you so much for 'having me over'!!  Cheers! x


NB: GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED- Winner notified

Friday, 29 May 2015

Sausage, Spinach & Potato Soup

We are now well into Soup & Braise cooking territory in Melbourne.
The chill has set in & in our house the lurgies are amongst us too.

SOUP SOUP , ALL the SOUP!
That's what the doctor ordered.

"BEAUTIFUL Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Beau- ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau- ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo- oop of the e- e- evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

Beau- ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau- ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo- oop of the e- e- evening,
Beautiful, beauti- FUL SOUP!"
Lewis Carroll 

SAUSAGE, SPINACH & POTATO SOUP:
I don't know about you but I tend to trot out similar soups time & time again- delicious nonetheless but it was time for a change.
This was the result.
It relies on VERY GOOD quality all-meat sausages - sausages with fillers and other stabilisers just won't do, so if you don't have great quality sausages replace them with Chorizo or bacon.
I use sausage this way in pasta often- an old Italian method but have never used it in soup before. it worked well.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • 4 Pork & Fennel sausages (see notes above) If replacing sausages, use 3 coarsely chopped rashers bacon or 1 chorizo sausage in their place.
  • 4 large waxy potatoes, skin on & chopped into large cubes
  • 300g washed & drained spinach
  • 1 bunch Parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • S & P.
  • olive oil
METHOD:
Heat a large fry pan and add a small dollop of Olive oil.
Gently squeeze the sausage out of the casing so it falls into the fry pan in small meatball shapes.


Continue with this until all sausages are browned.
Remove from pan and set aside on kitchen paper to drain.
Now place a large saucepan on the stove and heat to medium heat.
Use a glug of fresh olive oil and add the onion, garlic & bay leaf.
Cook until Onion is translucent and the garlic fragrant.
Add the cubed potato, chopped parsley & the reserved browned sausage.
Stir.
Now add chicken stock, increase heat and bring to boil.
Immediately reduce heat to simmer and cook until spuds are soft.
Now add cream and bring back to simmer.
Check seasoning (i think this soup is best with a VERY generous amount of black pepper).
And just before serving add the rinsed Spinach and stir until just wilted - this keeps the spinach's nutritious goodness and also keeps it's glorious GREEN!
Serve with extra chopped parsley & some Sourdough & Chorizo crumb.



Thursday, 21 May 2015

GG Kool Kids in the Kitchen Challenge

"Children are capable of so much more than we give them credit for."

This sentence is one I have used time & time again in my writing on this blog over the years.

Reading this article on the NY times today I found myself nodding in agreement.

We don't and have never paid our children to do chores either. I see them as a must-do part of living communally & not as something my children should be fiscally rewarded for. But rather as a way of teaching my children to recognise that we notice there are other people around us and we care about them. It's also about self care. I see my job as helping prepare my kids to be independent functioning members of society. These tasks are part of a normal functioning life. 
Learning how to cook good nutritious food is also part of that.
Somewhere along the way we have lost the understanding of how to cook.
We lean on 'quick' packaged options filled with nasties instead of maybe boiling an egg or whipping up a 10 minute pasta instead. 
We have lost sight of the fact that nutritious and delicious food can be quicker than lots of the packets out there.
We choose these because of a lack of simple skill sets.
I want to see this turned around.
I see it as URGENT.
We have a health crisis looming. One that will affect every single one of us. And we all need to be a a part of the solution.
And I believe it starts in our very own kitchen.



Getting this generation of kids in the kitchen is also one of the biggest motivating factors behind why I designed my Kool Kids Cooking pack.

Encouraging our kids into the kitchen at a young age is so so good for them- and for us. Teaching basic skills in the kitchen is the key to changing the disastrous health crisis hovering over us. This health crisis is all of our responsibility.  We all need to be part of the solution.  We are in this together. Learning how to make a pancake or biscuits develops into skills that will enable them to eventually be capable and confident enough to make an entire meal for the family.ON. THEIR. OWN.

From now until the end of June I want to see you getting your Kids in the Kitchen.
It will be messy.
It will be chaotic.
You may tear your hair out- but......

It will be an opportunity to spend focussed time with your children.
It will be an opportunity for you to teach your child new & important skills.
It will be an opportunity for you to start conversations about food and where it comes from.
It will be an opportunity for you to gift your child with a growing knowledge of independent and healthy living.
It will be FUN & 
It will be AWESOME.


Join me in a hashtag on Instagram with ‪#‎ggkoolkidsinthekitchen‬.
If you are not on Instagram then you can email me your contributions at gourmetgirlfriend (at) me (dot) com.


Get your kids cooking. Cooking biscuits, cooking pancakes, cooking cakes, rolling pasta, baking veggies, cooking dinner! Just get them in the kitchen cooking REAL food from SCRATCH. 

I am going to be giving away 4 of my Kool Kids packs (valued at $45.00 each) to 4 young people who take part in this activity (packs to be sent out at the end of June.)


You can look at the packs here ~ http://cleverclogscookingclasses.bigcartel.com/product/kool-kids-cooking-club-recipe-pack

And you can read the Terms & Conditions here .


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Breakfast Noodles for One.

These Noodles are one of my fave quick eats.
I could quite happily live on Noodles forever and ever.
If you look through my recipes you will find more than a smattering of Noodle based dishes.

I especially love having Noodles for Breakfast.

This dish is made with things I always have in the cupboard and is ready in minutes.
They are delicious any time of the day and can be eaten hot or cold.


BREAKFAST NOODLES:
I add Chiu Chow Chilli oil & Fresh coriander to mine.
You can add many other things too- tofu, green veg etc.
Use the dressing as a base & go from there!
The amount given below is for one- multiply the ingredients for more.
Mix the dressing while the Noodles cook.


      What you will need:


  • 100g cooked noodles (I often use dried soba as they are always in my pantry but other noodles will do. Cook them according to the instructions.)
  • 1 tablespoon Oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese Black Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

    Method:
In a large bowl (the bowl you will eat them from is perfect) mix together the sauces & the sesame seeds so they are well combined.
Once noodles are cooked, drain and add to the bowl with the dressing.
Use chopsticks to stir well so all noodles are coated.
Add any extras you may wish- I love adding Chilli oil & fresh coriander.

Enjoy!




Monday, 18 May 2015

Where are my Undies? (Teaching my five Boys about Housework: Part two)

Reading Annabel Crabbe's recent article in WW reminded me of how I had promised to get back to you all about the great Laundry experiment.

That being the general disaster of Mt Washmore in my home. At. ALL. times.
LAUNDRY.
It never ends.
Constant cries of "Where are my Undies?'

I mean it never ends in any house but can you imagine it here?
My washing pile is more like Mt Everest than Mt Washmore.  Except it is spread all over the house like a vast desert.....and me deliriously looking for that elusive Oasis.

The thing is there are a LOT of humans that live in this space.
And we wear clothes every single day. And then they need to be washed godddamn it.

And until last year it was me who did it all.
Until I cracked it.
Enough already.

Something had to give.
So, much like the way I gave up worrying about what my little kids ate for dinner (well more correctly it was giving up worrying about what they were NOT eating for dinner) I decided to give up doing their Laundry.

I came up with a plan.
I couldn't believe it had taken me SO long to work this out- but eventually I got there.

I gave the three eldest children (12, 14 & 16) their own designated Laundry basket in their bathroom.


The rules were read to them like this:
  • I no longer do any of your laundry. EVER.
  • If I find any of your clothes on the bathroom floor and NOT in the basket, you will find them IN THE BIN.
  • Don't ever tell me you can't find your clothes or ask me where anything is. From now on it is your responsibility.
  • If you are about not being smelly, then you can wash your clothes.
    If you want to find them, then fold them & put them in your wardrobe.
After the rules we had a lesson in how to turn on the machine, separating colours & whites etc etc.

Here we are 5 months after the beginning of the new Laundry system & I can tell you it is an UNBELIEVABLE success.
I can't believe I didn't do it before.
My boys know to NEVER complain to me about not being able to find socks or underwear because they know it is their responsibility & they wouldn't DARE ask me now "Where are my Undies?".
And more than anything they have worked out the hard way HOW big a job it is to fit just their own laundry into a day.
It is only through making them do it that they can see that it was just not viable for me to be doing EVERYONE's in between all the other things that have to be done.

And for me- well yes it is hard seeing the baskets full & wondering when they intend to do some washing. But ultimately I will do them no favours at all in life if I always do those things for them silently in the background.
Resolving their problems for them is not teaching them anything at all.
Guiding them in how they work out their problems independently is what I see as my job.

Just like seeing them lose a race or feel the sting of disappointment at a lower than expected mark for something they worked hard on- working out how to do the mundane jobs of normal every day life is a part of teaching them how to be a balanced & functioning member of society.
The good bits come with the mundane. 

I run a small business and I work very hard at that along with my primary job as a caregiver to many.
I do a lot of the jobs that a traditional stay at home mum does. But I think it is a big mistake to assume that along with that comes an assumption that I do everything for everyone.
I most certainly don't. And nor should I.
Mr Abbott did you neglect to notice that the clock has ticked over several times from 1953 and that we are now in 2015?
I would feel like a total failure if I raised children who thought that it was someone else's job to do their laundry (amongst many other chores).
More over it is the teaching of gratitude & an awareness of hard work in our every day life that I feel is important to impart.
And despite Mr Abbott's declarations that women all over Australia are at home washing and ironing happily- I in fact want my children to know that there are COUNTLESS things I would rather do with my time before I do their laundry.
And as for the Iron- well that is safe in my husbands hands. The Iron and I are not acquainted.

I call this project a success in every way.
It has taught my lads a fundamental lesson in awareness & gratitude and if that is what they take away from this,  then I am happy that the baskets are overflowing.







Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Pearl Barley Mujadarra

We are really lucky to live nearby to a really amazing Middle Eastern grocery store.
One of the first discoveries we made there many many years ago now is a dish called Mujadarra.

It is a traditional Middle eastern dish that varies from country to country but is essentially a dish of Lentils & Rice. YUM.
Comfort in a bowl.

One of my boys in particular would happily eat this dish for breakfast, lunch & dinner.
And very often does.

There is a lot to be said for the Middle Eastern diet- it is heavily based on eating grains & plants and some meat every now & then.
Super nutritious & very filling.
And BOY do they know how to flavour dishes.
Middle Eastern food is amongst my very fave style of food.
Simple good produce flavoured well with spices & loads of fresh herbs.
You cant really go wrong I don't think.

It is delicious hot or cold & makes a great basis for salads or as a side dish for roast dinners or BBQ meats.
We love it topped with a crispy edged fried egg or some pan fried chicken.

Or if you are my son- straight from it's container in the fridge!


PEARL BARLEY MUJADARRA:
I have a bit of an obsession with Pearl Barley.
I can not get enough of it.
I started substituting the rice in Mujadarra when I had no rice & I preferred the slightly nutty firm texture so haven't looked back.
Feel free to substitute the pearl barley for Brown Rice.


WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 cups cooked Pearl Barley (or Brown Rice)
  • 1 cup cooked French Green lentils
  • 4 large brown onions, sliced as finely as possible
  • 1 cup good quality chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 tablespoon rice bran oil
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Sumac
  • loads of fresh coriander, mint or parsley (or all)
METHOD:
Pre-cook all the grains as per instructions, drain & set aside.

In a large fry pan heat oil & butter (these are mixed together so the butter does not burn) until it melts.
Heat to high & add finely sliced onions. Once translucent, reduce the temperature & continue to fry until the onions are browned- this may take up to twenty minutes.
Right at the end add the cumin seeds and cook through for another minute or so until the cumin is fragrant.

Set some of the cooked onion aside to top your dish.

Add the pre-cooked grains into the remaining pan and stir well.
Add a cup of boiling chicken stock and stir well until the stock is soaked into the grains.
Finally add fresh herbs, stir through & serve with some of the reserved Golden Onions & sprinkle the Sumac over the top.
YUM.


I always look like this when I rollerskate.
Do you?




Thursday, 7 May 2015

Easy & Delicious Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

It is getting cold enough to pack Hot Lunches for the kids here in Melbourne.

The brisk days demand comfort food for lunch to keep our kids tummies filled all day long.

This easy peasy, nutritious & hearty soup is perfect for packing into a Thermos.

CREAMY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP:
Use the very best ingredients you can afford to take this soup from good to outstanding!
Make sure you pre-cook the noodles and add them after to avoid a gluggy soup.


WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

  • 4 chicken thigh fillets, diced into 2cm cubes
  • 2 rashers bacon, dicd into 2cm cubes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 leek, washed well, trimmed and chopped finely
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 4 large waxy potatoes, scrubbed & diced (leave skin on)
  • 300g pre cooked noodles (you can just cook spaghetti that you have broken into small pieces.
  • 3-4 cups good quality chicken stock.
  • a handful of parsley, chopped roughly
    S& P
  • 4 tablespoons good quality cream
  • olive oil
METHOD:
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan.
Add onion, garlic, leek, bacon & bay leaves and saute until translucent.
Add diced chicken thighs & cook for 3- 4 minutes, stirring.
Add diced carrots & potatoes & the chicken stock.
Bring to a boil & immediately reduce to a simmer.
Cook for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile cook your noodles in plenty of salted water. Drain and set aside.
After 20 minutes add the pre-cooked noodles and the cream and taste.
Season & serve with Toast.

Have you listened to Blur's new Album yet? EXCITING!
This is a super cute little vid:

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks


Some of you may know that last year I put out the to the universe a long held dream.
That I wanted to design & make my own tableware.
I wanted to master throwing pottery on a wheel.

You may or may not know that straight after school I studied to become an Art Teacher.
Art has always been a passion.
And while I felt like I was ok at most mediums, well Pottery always had the better of me.
I could never ever seem to master that dang wheel. So many failed attempts.

image via Rob Ryan

I don't really like NOT being good at stuff.
It doesn't sit well with me.  Are you the same?
I am learning to let go of my unreal expectations but it isn't easy.....

You know the saying 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks'?
Well I call BOLLOCKS to that.
I am an old dog & I quite like learning new tricks.

One of the things I think is super important as an adult is to keep learning.
And one of the most important & best things I have learnt as an adult is how little I know.
And how much stuff there is to learn. So much good stuff. Endless in fact.
Encouraging myself to try new things & learn new skills allows an appreciation of the world.
You get to see things in a new light. Be more humble.  Be more aware of how hard stuff is.
Appreciate things more. Be more grateful.

NOT being good at stuff is actually really important. I have come to learn and accept this as I get older.
It is good that other people are better at things than me.
It is good to NOT be good at all the things- as uncomfortable as that leaves me feeling.
Not being the winner is important.
It is something I have written about in terms of parenting before. The notion that we are not doing our children any credit by not letting them experience the sting of defeat or hardship.  It is one of the hardest of all things to do as a parent- to stand by and watch your child not win. None of us want to see our children feel sad but surely resilience and an ability to get up and try again and to be able to congratulate the winner is ultimately just as much an important life skill as winning? To be able to admire someone else being better at something is a pretty good thing I think. And one that brings with it it's own rewards.  Being able to be joyful for someone else's success or mastery feels really good. A selfless but joyful act.
When I see it happen out there in the real world it is pretty darn special.

I think about this stuff a fair bit. The idea that consulting experts is a good thing.  That acknowledging that years of expertise in any given area gives people a deep understanding of things that others skim across or could only ever understand in a superficial kind of way.

For instance- try learning another language as an adult gives you a keen awareness of how hard it is for others to learn English.  We take our primary language for granted but sheesh it is SOOOOO hard.  Learning another helps give us a sensitivity to the people who come here and are expected to speak our language.  That is a good thing I think.

Last year, after many tries, I had the help of a friend to help teach me crochet.  I am a left hander & it has been hard to learn as most of my pals are right handers. I have been wanting to learn since I was a child but it never really happened until last year.
My friend & I sat side by side and I just copied her. She taught me chain stitch and then I just experimented from there.
That was when I started my Rug.  It was supposed to be a granny square but I missed the corner and it became a circle that just kept on going.
It is now a beautiful reminder of my gorgeous friendship & a reminder to try new things.
I really like how it didn't turn out at all as what I had expected but is actually more beautiful than I could ever have hoped. And as my friend has moved away *sob* ,  I LOVE that it will always be my smiley colourful reminder of her.







At the beginning of this year I took a Pottery Wheel class and fell in LOVE with it.
I have bought my own wheel and am busy creating bowls by the dozen.
I had a great teacher & somehow it just worked this time despite all my other failures in the past.
Another message to me to keep trying new stuff- sometimes for whatever reason it is the right time & it works.
I hope that soon I will even have some GG Coffee bowls for you to purchase.  Watch this space.

All these things are wonky and not perfect.  My favourite sort.

This week my new project is a Crochet Cape. It looks a bit like a rainbow at the moment & I kind of like it.

Are you learning anything new?
Or making something wonky & not perfect?
DO tell!

Until next time:
LIVE BETTER
HELP OFTEN &
WONDER MORE

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

How to make perfect Hot Chips.

While most people will agree that Hot Chips are one of the most delicious and comforting foods of all time- and surely deserving of their own food group- there is not much agreement on how to make them.

Some people soak them in water, some par boil them, some leave them once par-cooked, to dry out in the fridge overnight- the list is endless.

While there are myriad methods I think that one of the most important of all factors is perhaps NOT discussed and that is the TYPE of spud.

You see spuds are NOT spuds.

And by that I mean you need to understand a little more about potatoes before you can really have success with potato dishes.

Potatoes are divided into two main groups- waxy & floury.

For a good chip you want a floury potato to get that super lovely fluffy interior.
Save the waxy varieties for salads.

Floury potatoes have less moisture & a higher starch content than their waxy counterparts making them more suited to frying & mashing.

Waxy potatoes tend to retain their shape more than floury ones and so are the ones to choose when stewing or boiling for salads etc. If you try to mash waxy potatoes you may find it hard to get rid of lumps and it can go gluey in texture.

It wasn't until I started to shop at Farmers Markets that I REALLY learned to understand about potatoes. This is one of many reasons I love shopping at Farmers Markets- the people who grow the food are masters of knowledge & are keen to share!  I have learned sooooo much about food from these people. More than google or any cookbook could ever teach me. Our producers are one of the best (and most under-utilised) resources out there.

For chips I love to use SEBAGO potatoes- they are a white skinned & white flesh potato.  I think they give a great fluffy interior and are delicious and crunchy on the outside.

I use the twice cooked method- sometimes three. I am usually ill prepared and wanting hot chips NOW, so the methods that require excessive amounts of waiting time in between are not my friend.

And I LOVE mine to be crinkle cut - relying on a very old and very fave piece of kitchen equipment that was gifted to me by a very gorgeous friend. It features in one of the pics below.
I think the crinkles allow for more crispy edges. Total win in my book.

So, for me there are 3 things that are vital to making the perfect Hot Chips.
They are:

  1. the type of potato
  2. the temperature of the oil (and the freshness of the oil! Use FRESH oil!)
  3. the cooking times
And whilst I love the way my chips turn out I am sure there will be people out there for whom this method will not be their favourite.

Vive le difference!

NB: Poh has a wonderful list of Australian spuds to refer to here for all you Aussie readers.
If you are in other countries your varieties will be different. 


HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT CHIP:
You will get best results using a deep fryer for this.
If not you will need a cooking thermometer.


WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
  • 1kg Sebago Potatoes
  • rice bran oil
METHOD:
Preheat the oil (my deep fryer requires 4 litres of oil- if using a saucepan use enough to allow the chips to be well covered- I would say at least 2 litres) to 130C.

Meanwhile peel (you can leave the skins on if you have washed the spuds really well!) and slice your chips into 1.5cm batons. I use my trusty crinkle cut chip cutter for this job- an antique but much loved piece of kitchen arsenal. 

Carefully place the cut chips into the oil being careful not to overcrowd. You may find it easier to do this in two batches. (if using a sauce pan it will be much easier of you have a mesh chip basket as you need to lift the chips out half way through cooking)

Now set a timer for 9 minutes.

After this time lift the basket up and let strain.

Turn up the heat to 190C & do not lower basket until the temp has been reached.

Once temp is 190C, lower basket and fry for another 3-4 minutes. (and again if you are doing the 3 times method).

I recommend draining on a wire tray with paper towel below to let air escape- this prevents the chips going soggy.

Salt well & let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

The symphony orchestra & choir at my big kids school performed this recently.
I - of course- burst into tears when the voices began.
Music is a very special thing. Just like Hot Chips.
I like to play this music very loud for maximum effect.
xx


Monday, 2 March 2015

Let's practice less Comparison and more Compassion



Parenting five children is relentlessly busy.
And I was under the impression that it was the busiest when they were little.
I missed the memo that as they went to high school it would get busier and busier.
It's not just a physical busyness- the getting them to all the things they love to do,  but it is the mental busyness.
My job is like being a corporate PA to five different executives. Without the payslip.

Dealing with the new & big things to do with parenting children as they enter the early adult years feels pretty darn big.
Negotiating friendships, first love, first heartbreak, an ever increasing schoolwork load. Negotiating the rules of social media & technology and learning ways to help that fit in with a family that prioritises time with each other while letting them engage with their friends online too.

When we were growing up we sat on our corded phones, the coiled cord pulled as far as possible stretched to it's limits in our efforts to have a private conversation.
Or maybe like my husband, there was no phone at all. All that was needed was your bike to skoot around to see your friend face to face & conduct that private conversation in real life.

We had lots of 'spare' time. Time where we did nothing, where we learnt how to do nothing at all and to be at peace.

Life now is fast & complicated & as parents we are in a generation where change is so rapid that we are having to learn to negotiate technology that we never had in our childhood. Setting rules about stuff we don't fully comprehend yet ourselves.

I am struggling with how fast it is.  And I am struggling with how fast my children are growing up.
Our eldest is doing VCE.
And yet we have children across the age ranges, so we have a little one in Grade one also.
A reminder of how fast it all happens. Right there before us a physical reminder. It is very real & very confronting.

I used to think that when mine were really little, when they were toddlers and in the early years of Primary school that it was the busiest of all and that when they got to high school it would be simpler & easier.
I miss them being so little and things being so much simpler.  Yet it is exciting to see my people turning into young adults.
But I feel so unsure of all of it. As a parent I have never second guessed myself so much.
Am I doing the right thing?
Am I being too strict?
Am I understanding the issue or missing it all together?
Am I too involved?
Am I helping?
I don't feel like I know the answers anymore, whereas once upon a time I just knew I was doing the right things.  I felt confident.

I now know less than I ever did. Ain't that the truth.

What I do know is that there is no such phase as the 'easy' part of parenting.
Whether you are parenting one child or many;
Whether you are dealing with 'normal' parenting situations or tricky complex parenting situations;
Whether your child is fully able or has special needs;
Whether you are a young parent or an older parent;
Whether your children are little or big;
Whether you are a working parent or a stay at home parent;
the list goes on............

It is all hard.
It is all consuming.
It is all rewarding.
It doesn't necessarily get easier but it changes.
It is sometimes overwhelmingly awesome.
It is sometimes just plain overwhelming.

What I would love is if we could all just stop for a bit and acknowledge all of this.  Stop & breathe it in.
It is enormous. Really enormous. The single most important thing of all. No wonder we find it takes us to the brink every now & then.

Maybe what we all need to practice a bit more is less comparison of one another and more compassion.

Everyone is fighting a battle you can not see.  And as we all muddle through parenting in the way we see best works for us on any given day, let's try & practice a little more kindness to all of the other parents who are doing the very same.

For we are all just trying to do and to be our very best.


ZUCCHINI KOFTA CURRY with Tomato coconut sauce:
I took inspiration from this recipe but I made several changes- (there were steps missing in this recipe & the first time I made it the koftas collapsed.)
Zucchini is abundant at this time of year and lots of people having them coming out of their ears!
This is a delicious way to use them.

The sauce doesn't need a long time to cook & I recommend serving the sauce over the top of the kofta rather than heating through together as it tends to collapse the kofta.
I recommend using a deep fryer to fry the kofta. If you do not have one you will need a thermometer to ensure your oil is at correct deep frying temp of  180C.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

for the Kofta:

  • 2 large zucchini, grated
  • 2 medium size potatoes, steamed & mashed
  • 4 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup besan (chickpea) flour
  • 3 tablespoons Rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 3 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander 
  • salt & pepper
  • rice bran oil for frying
For the Curry sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon Ghee (use oil if making it vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchur (available at Indian grocers)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 teaspoons coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 can coconut cream
  • juice of a lime.

METHOD:

Heat the oil to 180C. 
While the oil is pre-heating you can prepare the Kofta.
To prepare the kofta, simply add all ingredients listed together well & let sit for 10 minutes to help the flours bind.

Now take a small amount & shape it into a ping pong size ball.  Carefully drop into the heated oil.
Cook for about 3-4 minutes each and then remove & drain on paper towel. 
Repeat with up to 5 at a time.
Repeat until all mix is used. You can keep them warm in an oven heated to 100C while you cook the remaining Kofta mix.
In a large heavy based pan, heat ghee to medium high and add garlic & ginger.
Add all spices and fry gently till aromatic- about 2 minutes.
Now add tomatoes and reduce heat to low.
After about 15 minutes, when you can see the oil starting to separate, add the coconut cream & simmer for 10 minutes. Add lime juice just before serving.

Serve sauce over Kofta & enjoy with Lemon Pilau Rice 



This is the perfect song- lyrically & musically for todays post.....