Must Cook ALL THE THINGS!

1 07 2012

017. Try out 50 new recipes (50/50) [more info]

I’ve been a busy cook/baker these past few months, despite it being a busy time. I’m now parenting a very impulsive(!) toddler and have returned to work after being on maternity leave for the past 15 months. Instead of individual posts for each recipe, I’ve compiled a quick collage with the new eats I’ve tried making since March:

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Row 1: Vietnamese Fried Beef Noodles / Chinese Soy Beef Stir Fry / Yakiudon / Chocolate Chip & Cream Cheese Muffins

Row 2: Corned Beef with White Sauce / Spinach, Pumpkin & Sundried Tomato Frittata / Chocolate Hot Cross Buns / Flatbread

Row 3: Beetroot & Fetta Risotto / Potato and Leek Soup / Pumpkin Laksa / Lamb, Spinach & Fetta Canneloni

Row 4: Peach slice / Oreo Biscuits / Rhubarb Pudding / Vegetable Soup with Swede, Potato & Fennel

Row 5: Orange Cake with buttercream icing / Moroccan Pumpkin & Almond Beef Tagine / Honey Soy Chicken Rissoles / Beetroot dip

NOT SHOWN: Carrot, Ginger & Coriander Soup / Peppermint Cheesecake

And now for the best part… collating these pictures makes me realise that I got to 50 recipes as part of my goal!! This is a HUGE accomplishment, especially considering everything that has happened in our family’s life since January 2010. I’m very proud of myself, and as a result we have tried new foods, used meat in different ways and as a result of our son refusing to eat meat protein for three months I learnt to cook a wider variety of vegetarian dishes.

There weren’t too many disasters along the way, with the exception of a few failed batches of muffins, savoury dishes over-spiced or over-seasoned, and using the wrong cut when making Chicken Fricassee.

All up it has been a foodie adventure and I’m inspired to continue to try new recipes to find new “favourites”. 🙂

P.S. – To see all my posts related to this goal, click the goal.017 tag below this post.

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The Story of Bananas

2 05 2012

010. Eat a banana [more info]

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Okay, so when I set myself the challenge of eating a banana back in 2010 it didn’t seem like too much of a big deal. I’ve never enjoyed the taste nor texture of a fresh banana, yet will eat them cooked or baked within other foods (I’ve even been known to down a banana fritter on a drunken night out!). So no big deal, right?

Wrong!

This was one of the more difficult challenges and one over eighteen months in the making. As much as I tried to eat a mouthful here and there (even while pregnant), they just weren’t palatable despite knowing how good they were for my body. I wanted to model healthy eating to my son Rowan, and showing him how to eat banana was no exception. So I faked it for a while, here and there, making sounds of enjoyment even though they were anything but. And then came May 2012. I was struck down with food poisoning and was quite ill for a few days and, when my body was ready to start eating solid food again, the only food that didn’t make me feel nauseous at the thought of consuming it was a banana!

So what did I do? The only thing I could do… I listened to my body and ate that banana. Every. last. bite (see above). And do you know what? It was tasty.

Since that day, I’ve probably eaten at least two bananas per week. It was odd in the way that it all came about, but I can consider this goal done. 😉





New Recipe: Eggplant Parmigiana

30 04 2012

Absolutely amazing… that’s all I can say. This recipe is delicious!!

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New Recipe: Lentils with Lamb Backstrap

26 03 2012

Onwards and upwards with the food adventures! Tonight was lamb backstrap served with a warm lentil salad (lentils, quartered beetroot, red onion, red wine vinegar & salt and pepper to taste) and raita (natural yoghurt, cucumber and cumin).

The taste was absolutely amazing, both hubby and I really liked it (although the baby did not).

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New Recipe: Chicken Fricassee

20 02 2012

Another day, another new recipe tried (is this turning into a food blog lately or what?!). I have 19 – now 18 – left to do before the project’s end in September, I worked out this means roughly one recipe per week between now and then to get this goal done… so upward and onward!

I was flicking through one of my cookbooks today for savoury meal ideas since I seem to do a lot more new baking than new cooking. I decided on Chicken Fricassee (chicken cooked in stock, cream, mushrooms, white wine and onion; rather French-like). The recipe called for chicken pieces and not quite knowing what that meant, I chose chicken wings (I later found out that it means the pieces of a whole chicken, breast, thigh, drumstick etc). The cut I chose meant that while the finished dish was delicious, it was also a little fatty with all the skin starting to detach, and messy too.

While it was yummy, it took close to 2hrs to make from start to finish, so probably something I wouldn’t make again in a hurry.

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New Recipes: Oreo Cheesecake & Macarons

18 02 2012

017. Try out 50 new recipes (29/50) [more info]

I’ve been into baking sweet treats lately, challenging myself to try new flavours and techniques. In the past two weeks I’ve made an Oreo cheesecake (very easy!!) and macarons.

I wondered what the big deal about macarons were, as they seem to hit a big craze like cupcakes were a few years back. They’re a little fiddly but not by any means too difficult for the home cook. I learnt from the experience about the importance of letting the baked shells cool completely (as in over an hour) after they come out of the oven before trying to remove them from the paper… otherwise they stick and you lose your delicious meringue. I also remembered midway through about turning the baking paper over after you’ve traced the round shapes for piping onto – oops! The recipes recommend 4cm rounds, a milk bottle lid is the perfect size for this…! The recipe I used is here.

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Ready to serve (taken on my DSLR)

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Lastly, cheesecake pictures:

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New Recipe: Cheesy Lentil Slice

29 01 2012

I’ll admit it, when it comes to making food for my baby we’re pretty relaxed about it here. We following the ideas of baby-led weaning, which is simply skipping purées and mashed foods and having your baby feed himself table foods from a young age (we started at about 5 months, although the norm is more like 6 months). It’s been a success from the start for us, and with Rowan eating our meals it forces me to think about things such as salt content more – it’s something that has dropped very quickly without really realising it… so BLW has been healthier for us all! It’s not to say that our food is without taste, to the contrary as we use a lot of herbs now to make our dishes yummy. 🙂

I have been looking for additional lunch ideas lately (how often can you serve up fruit and some toast?!) and came across a bunch of recipes on this website that I want to try. Yesterday’s efforts were a Cheesy Lentil Slice, which turned out so delicious that hubby and I ate it for lunch too! Since the ingredients are all in imperial on the website, here are the metric conversions:

1 cup of red lentils
360ml of water
1 large onion
25g butter
100g grated cheese (or 1/2 cup)
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Extras: 1tsp minced garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper.

Method:

Cook the lentils in the water until soft, and all the liquid is absorbed
Chop the onion finely and fry in the butter until soft.
Combine all the ingredients and press into a greased tin (I used a small rectangular sliced tin)
Bake at 180C  for around 30 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly then cut into slices.

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