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.





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. 😉





Foodie Blogs for November

2 12 2010

017. Try out 50 new recipes (18/50) [more info]

5 new recipe updates since last update –

15. Baked Savoury Crepes (20/10/10)
16. Berry Cheesecake (02/11/10)
17. Sausage & Egg Pie (07/11/10)
18. Cherry & Chocolate Muffins (16/11/10)

#15 - Baked Savoury Crepes (quite fiddly and time-consuming, but went down well with my husband and I. Due to the time involved, I probably wouldn't make them again)

#16 - Berry Cheesecake (Delicious AND easy...did I also mention delicious?? This was made for a Melbourne Cup Day BBQ and everyone loved it. Would love to make it again over Christmas if possible)

#17 - Sausage & egg pie (very basic - line a dish with puff pastry, add mixed vegetables and herbs, sliced cooked sausage and pour egg mixture on top. Cook for 25-30min)

#18 - Cherry & Chocolate Muffins (officially one of the best recipes I've tried as part of Mission 101. Sour morello cherries, dark chocolate chips and cinnamon are added to a basic muffin recipe before being baked for 20min. For added flavour I omitted a little milk and added some cherry juice from the jar instead...yum yum yum!)





Because I Love French Toast

11 10 2010

018. Eat French toast in five different cafes (1/5) [more info]

I love French Toast. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside… the perfect balance between sweet and savoury flavours. My husband likes it plain, with salt and pepper – whereas I like mine sweet… honey or maple syrup with bacon. That’s right, bacon. Definitely a niche market, but it’s possible to get it in some cafes and I’ve made it my challenge to try it in at least five different places.

The love affair started when I was in Christchurch, New Zealand in January 2009 when I went to the Honeypot Cafe and nibbled on their french toast, served with lashings of syrup, bacon and a delicious cinnamon butter (not for the faint-hearted!), and I’ve been chasing the dream of an equally-good french toast dish ever since.

This weekend, my husband and I went up to Hall’s Gap (in the Grampians) for a wedding and I sampled french toast at the Black Panther Cafe. Despite waiting over half an hour for my food (given it was a busy Sunday morning brunch service) it was yummy, served with bacon on the side and a little pot of maple syrup. It lacked a certain something that I can’t quite place my finger on, but definitely filled me up (I had to get hubby to help me finish it!)

 





Chocolate Cheesecake

16 05 2010

017. Try out 50 new recipes (4/50) [more info]

For Mother’s Day last Sunday I made my first-ever cheesecake – a chocolate, Baileys irish cream-infused cheesecake to boot!

The cake was easy to make (though a little pricey after factoring in the cream cheese, dark chocolate and cream – maybe about $15.0o?) but served the purpose well for being an entertaining cake. It tasted restaurant-quality to me, and I had a ball making it (and hubby enjoyed eating it :P).

 

This is the recipe I used (a scan from a favourite recipe book)





My First Sourdough

29 04 2010

013. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch [more info]

Making my first loaf of bread was a labour of love because I’ve been growing my own sourdough starter culture (you can read more about how to make your own here, I used a simple flour and water mix). It took me close to three weeks to sufficiently ‘grow’ the starter after a near-disaster early on – it got inhabited with bad bacteria and smelt of vomit instead of fermented fruit…ewww!). Though I was that close to throwing the starter out and starting again at a later date, I did some reading and persevered, binning all but a teaspoon of the old starter and transplanting it into another sterilised jar. Within four days it was back to normal. 🙂

Along the way I learnt that using boiled water (NOT tap water) is best as well as sterilising my spoons/cups before measuring into them. I haven’t had a problem with contimination since. A friend mentioned that metal spoons can kill yeast and that I should use a wooden one, but I haven’t found a problem with metal (I don’t own a wooden spoon) so far.

Making the bread itself turned out to be the easy part, I used a simple recipe of flour, water, salt and starter from a simple equation of 1+2+3: weigh your starter (mine was 150g) and add double its weight in water (300ml) and three times its weight in flour (450g). I used about 5g of salt instead of 10g, as sourdough culture is naturally salty in its breakdown.

Then came the fun part… strrrretching the dough every hour (over a period of three hours) and allowing it to rise. You don’t want to tear the dough as that gets rid of all of those lovely air pockets. I learnt that scouring the dough deeply before it goes into the oven is important, I was timid in my scouring and it resulted in an uneven rising. Another tip is to cover the bread in a bowl (or loosely in foil) for about 20min of its baking time before uncovering it – it develops a really nice crust).

But all in all, it was a yummy scrumptious bread (although it could have had an extra five minutes of baking time) and went down a treat in my house. I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe as part of my repetoire. 🙂

Pictures below. Read the rest of this entry »





Cooking with Persimmons

18 04 2010

012. Cook with five unfamiliar fruits & vegetables (1/5) [more info]

cooking with persimmons

During the week I picked up four persimmons at the greengrocer. They were very reasonably priced and in-season for Autumn here in Australia. I’d never cooked with a persimmon before, nor did I know what one tasted like. I now know that they look a lot like tomatoes and have a very mild flavour – not very sweet at all for a fruit. 

Getting home, I looked online and discovered a recipe for biscuits (what we call cookies) in my country which turned out to be delicious! They lasted two days before getting soft (ie, because they contain fruit pulp rather than chunks), and still taste good four days later. 🙂

Read below for the recipe I used. Read the rest of this entry »