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.





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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New Recipe: Pumpkin & Chickpea Burgers

10 01 2012

Tonight I made this recipe.

It was very yummy but the burgers were very soft and didn’t hold together all that well (I’d try making them with breadcrumbs added, or less egg to bind them; as it was I squeezed the water out of the zucchini). So they ended up more as a soft, sweet layer on Turkish pide with sour cream, cheese and tomato relish.

The finished product:

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New Recipe: Red Velvet Cake

6 01 2012

017. Try out 50 new recipes (26/50) [more info]

I made my first-ever red velvet cake today.

Although I slightly overcooked and undermixed it, the cake was a great challenge (and I’ve always been curious as to what they tasted like! They’re not as common here in Australia). These are a few pictures from the baking process:

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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!)





Foodie Blog

19 10 2010

017. Try out 50 new recipes (13/50) [more info]

September was my designated ‘month of food’ (ie, the time to try out new recipes). It sort of extended into October by the time I had… well, more time up my sleeve!Here are some of the new dishes I made during the last six weeks:
 

#7 - Chicken parcels with roasted fennel and orange salad

Chicken dish: No recipe (contained ham, cheese, tomato paste and mixed herbs)
Salad dish: From Bowl Food (page 93)

The salad was time-consuming (first roasting the fennel, segmenting the orange and making a dressing) but tasted absolutely delicious! Very complex in flavour and there was (sadly) no leftovers by the time hubby and I finished with it. Mint added a refreshing taste to the salad. The chicken was a tad overcooked, making it dry. The taste was nice, but needed less cooking time if making it again.
Read the rest of this entry »





Goal-setting for September

4 09 2010

It’s September, Spring in Australia and with that comes more opportunities for getting out-and-about in the (soon to be here) sunshine! With Spring comes cleaning, perhaps a little nesting and definitely some reorganisation.

Here is what I plan on focusing on from my list for September:

003. Take myself on 5 photo-walks (0/5) [more info]
008. Learn about Photoshop actions [more info]
017. Try out 50 new recipes (6/50) [more info]
022. Drink 1.5L of water daily for three months (1/3) [more info]
031. Re-register for the Validation process [more info]
056. Make a photobook out of our New Zealand pictures [more info]
067. Clean out the pantry every six months and post the strangest thing found (0/6) [more info]
078. Throw away all of the old make-up that I’ve amassed over the years [more info]

Perhaps a little adventurous? We’ll see how it all goes. 😉





June Updates

30 06 2010

June has been a very busy month, with work and health dominating my life. However, these were just two of the reasons I put together this goal list back in January – so that when the big things in life felt overwhelming, it means time to focus on the smaller things. With that in mind, here are the goals I have been working on and/or finished this month: 

012. Cook with five unfamiliar fruits/vegetables (2/5)
I bought a bunch of radishes during June, and used them as part of a side salad to accompany a chicken and leek pie I’d made (not a new recipe). They were refreshing and I quite liked them. 🙂 

017. Try out 50 new recipes (6/50)
I’ve been learning to make – and have been experimenting with – making quiches. As it is Winter here in Australia, warm meals for dinner are always appreciated! I also invested in a stick blender (with a multitude of attachments!) at the end of May, and it has been a breeze making my own shortcrust pastry (which I’d normally make by hand, rubbing the butter into flour etc). I’ve also learnt the importance of making sure there’s no cracks and/or holes in my pastry… the filling leaks out otherwise, and you lose that lovely eggy-ness! 

Radish side-salad served with my homemade chicken and leek pie

Another new recipe has been parsnip and ginger soup, which I found on Jamie Oliver’s website… absolutely delicious! (I added a can of lentils for some protein; no picture for this dish, it looked pretty unappetising despite its amazing taste) 

028. Attend a teaching conference outside of the compulsory ones
This is a goal I can officially tick off my list! In April (I forgot to post about it during May), I chose to attend the AEU (Australian Education Union) Early Years Conference in the city, along with two hundred other delegates – some of which I recognised. While there was a lot of political propaganda going on (I usually stay out of that kind of thing), it was also quite informative with interesting presenters and a good lunch… food is always important. 😉 

Certificate from a recent conference

029. Get my paperwork ready to start emergency teaching again
Another big tick off the list… in Term 2 (April-June) I completed re-training in Emergency Asthma Management, Anaphylaxis Management and Level II First Aid. I’m just waiting on the certificate for the Asthma training course to come in the mail and all of my paperwork will be ready to go. Since I’m certified and up-to-date, I can consider myself ready to teach on Tuesday/Thursdays for an agency again… however, not quite yet (life is very hectic!). It’s nice to have the option though. 

033. Complete a ‘Learning Journal’ entry every week for a school year
Half a year of journaling is officially complete, with weekly entries being emailed through to the families I work with at the Kindergarten. I’ve also been working on developmental portfolios this year for each child, which has been very time-consuming. This doesn’t impact on my journaling, however. 

047. Get to 10 generations in The Sims 2 (3/10)
Would you still believe despite all my gameplay this year, I’m still on Generation 3? However, since G3 has been rather huge (most families have chosen to have 2-4 children each) the game is expanding exponentially at this point. I think I’m going to have to come up with another strategy to keep this manageable… I’m having lots of fun in the process of playing though. 

Teenagers in Generation 3 doing...well, what teens do best! 😉

048. Read 50 books (3/50)
I finished reading The Locus Awards: Thirty Years of the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy and, while I’d like to individually comment on each of the stories in the anthology, that would be very time-consuming. So I’ll list my top three stand-out stories as: Border Guards (Greg Egan), The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter (Lucius Shepard) and The Day before the Revolution (Ursula K. Le Guin). An honourable mention goes to Even the Queen (Connie Willis) for managing to make women’s periods the subject of science-fiction! 

069. Organise my out-of-season clothing
Done. I unpacked the bags containing Winter clothes and found places for them in my wardrobe, while compressing some of the items I already had in there. Not the ‘space bag’ or clear plastic tub options I’d envisaged, but if it all fits, I’m happy. 😉 

075. Turn the second bedroom into a functioning office/spare room
This has been one of the biggest works-in-progress so far in my Mission! After listing some items on eBay (see below), I’ve cleared some space which will finally allow room for the computer desk in the second bedroom. I also cleaned and cleared away the desk area this afternoon in preparation for disassembling and reassembling over the weekend! Phew, is this actually going to happen?? 

A clean desk in preparation for moving furniture this weekend (hopefully!)

081. Try a new hair colour
Another goal completed this week, I’ve got both blonde AND bright red in my hair now (as well as a fringe – that’s what we call ‘bangs’ here in Australia). Pictures, or it didn’t happen… right? 😉

A new hairstyle and colours for me!

088. Meet five of my online friends in person that I’ve never met before (0/5)
I’ll be meeting a friend on Wednesday night for the first time in person from a blogging community we’re a part of. I’ll be introducing her to some of the other bloggers who live in our city, so hopefully it’s a good night.

094. Sell five things on Ebay (0/5)
I listed four items on eBay this week, with auctions to end on the weekend… fingers crossed that at least some of them sell!

Goal-setting for July:
I endeavour to work on the following – 

005. Complete the ‘50 in 50mm’ challenge
022. Drink 1.5L of water daily for three months (0/3)
031. Re-register for the Validation process
056. Make a photobook out of our New Zealand pictures
067. Clean out the pantry every six months and post the strangest thing found