To kick-start some more recipe posts and clear a backlog, I thought I’d start by sharing a few new things I’ve made.
Do you remember me telling you last year that I won a cookbook through an online competition, courtesy of The Big Issue magazine? It’s called The Great Australian Cookbook and it’s full of heaps of recipes from different Australian people – “cooks, chefs, bakers and local heroes”. I’ve tried a few. I should probably try more!
Like the “Best French Toast Ever!” recipe from Michael Klausen, involving soaking bread in an egg and orange rind mixture overnight, then serving it with strawberries stewed in orange juice. I’ve made this more than once and it’s delicious!
(Caption, as WordPress isn’t cooperating with me to do alt text on these images: on white, green-rimmed plates are (a) an eggy golden piece of toast covered by stewed strawberries; and (b) two pieces of eggy toast, with sweet ham scattered over the stewed strawberries on top of the toast, and juice pooled on the plate.)
The special spiced rice and meatballs recipe by Charmaine Solomon. I need to make these again as they were part of a “meal set” of foods. (I can’t find the pictures I took of it, either.)
The “Seychelles banana fritters” recipe from Josette and George Gonthier; battered bananas (halved and cut lengthwise), fried until golden. Yum!
Most recipes have been adapted a little. I really enjoy it.
Other inspiration has come from areas such as the Good Food Guide or other publications, browsed when I’m back in my hometown for a weekend.
I’ve cooked my own twist on marinated baked chicken thighs and potatoes;
I’ve roasted chicken and veggies:
As well as roasting fish.
Looking forward to doing that sort of thing again – when it’s cool enough to use the oven properly, that is.
I’ve made a ton of vegetarian recipes; some which are completely new and I need to write them up, while others are tweaks on ones I’ve done before.
Cooking is fun! Expect more posts about it this year.
Cutlery and crockery plus containers to store the leftovers.
Preheat oven to 180*C. Chop onion and garlic finely – also chop veggies to steam to have with the lasagna.
First, make the meat sauce – fry the onion and garlic until soft, then add the mince and cook until browned.
Stir in the pasta sauce, then cover and simmer for 10-20 minutes.
While it’s simmering, make the white sauce – heat the butter in the saucepan over low heat.
Add the flour and mix until smooth.
Gradually add the milk and gently bring to a boil, stirring until thick (try to avoid lumps!).
Add cheese (I grated mine in) and stir until melted.
Construct lasagna by lightly greasing a baking dish, then layering meat sauce, white sauce and lasagna sheets – make sure the lasagna sheets are fully covered. The topmost layer should be a white sauce layer.
Add extra cheese and scatter herbs on top.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes (cook vegetables on the stove at the same time)
Plate up and eat! I got four lasagna portions when I made this.
Cutlery and crockery plus containers to store the leftovers.
Peel and finely chop onion, garlic and vegetables.
Gently fry the onion and garlic in oil for a few minutes on medium heat.
Drain and rinse the lentils then add them to the pan. Add tomatoes and herbs. Jack adds a splash of wine here, too, but I didn’t have any so use a splash of vegetable stock instead.
Turn up the heat to bring to a boil, then turn down again to medium to simmer.
Ensure mushrooms are “chopped to smithereens” – they’re supposed to have an “almost-mince-like texture”.
Add chopped mushrooms to the pan with leafy greens (and peas, in my case). Give it a stir.
While the lentils are cooking and absorbing flavour, make the white sauce. Heat the oil/margarine and flour together and stir to form a paste.
Add a splash of milk to loosen it, then another splash. Stir while you keep adding splashes of milk until it reaches a good consistency – don’t rush it.
Once all of the milk is incorporated, leave it to cook on a low heat for about ten minutes or so as it thickens.
Preheat oven to 180*C and lightly grease a baking dish. Spoon a layer of the lentil-mushroom mix into the dish, then add a layer of lasagna sheets, then a layer of the white sauce. Repeat until all of the lentil-mushroom mix is gone, remembering to finish with a white sauce layer.
Place into the oven and bake for around thirty minutes, or more if the lasagna sheets aren’t cooked when you stick a knife into the top.
Plate up and eat. Again, this gave me four portions.
I made this last week and it was really yummy. I was a bit impatient and – at the time – had cream but no cheese, so it ended up being a little different than I’d thought. Still delicious though – and I’m sure there are ways of substituting dairy ingredients if needed… if I hadn’t had the cream to pour over just before baking, it probably would’ve been just as nice.
vegetables: carrot, cauliflower, bok choi, mushrooms
1x tin of chickpeas
decent quantity of pasta
jar of tomato paste and/or tin of diced tomatoes
cream/ cheese/ substitute
flat-bottomed frying pan
cutlery and crockery
Choose and chop vegetables and onion into fairly small pieces
Heat oil in the frying pan to a medium heat and add onion, vegetables and garlic – cook until soft.
Drain chickpeas and (optional) if you have one on hand, you might pulse them in a blender for a few seconds until coarsely chopped (as suggested by the original recipe)
Add tomato paste/ diced tomatoes with mixed herbs as well as the chickpeas to the frying pan, bring to a simmer and cook for ten minutes or so.
While this is happening, cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente – it’ll soften more in the oven.
Drain the pasta and combine with the chickpea bolognese mixture and mix. NB. If you like, stop here and plate up your chickpea bolognese. If you have a hankering for a pasta bake, though, continue to the next step.
Tip the mixture into a baking dish and – if you have them on hand – top with cheese, or drizzle cream over the top.
Bake in the oven at 190*C for 25-30 minutes or until it’s cooked enough for you.
Another recipe! This was supposed to be a mixed-bean goulash, a la Jack Monroe, but I didn’t have any tomatoes…and then accidentally left it to simmer a bit too long on the stove so too much water evaporated, so it didn’t end up exactly as intended. Still yummy in the end though.
1x can of mixed beans
a few bok choy leaves
2x cauliflower florets
tsp of Vegemite
hot water (at least half a bean tin, if not more)
Moroccan spice mix
Chop vegetables and drain beans
Fry onion in oil with garlic, ginger and mixed herbs
Add other veg
Add Vegemite with water and stock cube (remember to add extra water if you’ve got lots of veg!) and stir.
Let simmer for fifteen minutes or so, stirring as needed so it doesn’t stick.
If you leave it too long and it does stick a bit, use a firm spatula and more water to rescue it, plus a bit of soy sauce if required to get rid of any burnt taste. 😉
Tip in the beans and stir to combine then heat for another ten minutes or so.
Cook the rice while the mixture has its last ten minutes.
The other night, I had chops, veg and noodles. I started out with a simple idea of dusting the chops with mixed herbs, then frying them with some garlic. A usual thing for me. But when it came time to cook, I didn’t want to have steamed veggies with it. So I did things a bit differently.
2-3 small chops
1 clove garlic*
1 tsp dried ginger*
NB. Or whatever variations of garlic and ginger you have.
2-3 tsp mixed herbs
different veggies – as you can see in the picture, I used carrot, cauliflower, corn and bok choi
Tomato paste (to taste)
1x serving of noodles
1x frying pan
1x small saucepan
1x kitchen spoon
cutlery and crockery for plating & eating
Chop vegetables, onion. and garlic clove.
Take chops out of its packaging and chop off excess fat
Fry the onion with garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes in oil.
While this occurs, scatter a teaspoon (roughly) of mixed herbs onto each chop and ensure both sides are coated.
Fry chops in oil with the garlic, ginger and onion.
When both sides are browned, turn heat to low and add chopped vegetables.
Give that another minute or two, then add water mixed with tomato paste. This shouldn’t cover the vegetables or meat but just create a nice sauce for them.
Cook noodles in boiling water. Once done, stir them through the frying pan mixture.
This week has been busy! Yesterday was a real doozy. Something that keeps me grounded is my cooking.
On Monday evening, my partner came over and we made a meatloaf with mushroom sauce, steamed veg and noodles. It was really good.
2x serves of mince (we used 1x roo mince and 1x Adani Kofte-flavoured mince) – about 200g?
2 tsp of Vegemite (or equivalent malt/ yeast spread)
4-6 button mushrooms
1 tbsp flour
extra veg, for steaming
noodles or another carb, to serve
1x medium to large mixing bowl
2x kitchen spoon/ spatula/ stirrer
1x baking tray
1x steamer pot
Mix mince, breadcrumbs, egg and 1 tsp Vegemite in the bowl.
NB. You can add extra flavourings (e.g. mixed herbs, garlic) and/or extra veg (e.g. carrots/ celery/ zucchini, chopped finely), but I had no carrots in the house, and as we were using already-flavoured mince, extras weren’t really needed.
NB#2. The Vegemite tip came from my dad – it gives the meatloaf a really nice subtle “extra” flavour.
Drizzle a baking tray with oil, or cover it with baking paper. Shape the mince mixture into a rough log/ loaf and place onto the tray, then into the oven it goes. We put it in for 35 minutes.
Chop the veggies for steaming then place them in the steamer pot. They’ll take about 15 minutes to cook – remember to time it so that they’ll finish at the same time as the meatloaf.
Prepare the noodles for cooking and time this to the finishing time of the others.
The last task is to make the mushroom sauce/ gravy. You’ll want to chop up the mushrooms quite finely and dice the onion.
Put these into a pan over medium heat and let simmer for a few minutes, stirring, until the mushrooms start turning golden. Add either a tsp of Vegemite or a dash of soy sauce in at this point.
Keep stirring and add a bit of flour, then veggie stock, then flour, then stock. Do this until you’ve reached your desired consistency, depending on whether you’re making a sauce or a gravy.