Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday dinner

This is the first time I've bought these chicken drummettes (the meaty part of the wing). The kids found them easy to eat and I would have packed them in their lunch had any survived dinner (I'll make more next time). I marinated them in yogurt and tandoori spice paste, then baked for 30 minutes at 200oC. Served with brown rice and saute of potatoes, red capsicum and spinach (Swiss chard) flavoured simply with mustard seed.

Fantastic book

Wow, this is a mind-blowingly-good book. A recommendation from my friend Kazza. Here's how good it is. You have to realize, I never buy books, especially not fiction, being the daughter of a librarian... I give the library a very good workout. But this book was due a week ago, and it's requested by someone else so I can't renew it, and I'm ACTUALLY PAYING 20c FINE A DAY JUST TO CONTINUE READING IT! Wow that's good for a cheapskate for me. I think it will cost me a grand total of $1.40 haha. Read it. It's very complicated and clever and funny and intellectual but with a fantastic plot... heck SIX fantastic plots.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday dinner

Spanish omelette made with potato, red capsicum, spinach, eggs and Parmesan cheese. Served with steamed green beans, bread and a salad of lettuce and baby Roma tomatoes.

For dessert: rockmelon topped with yogurt and honey.

Sunday afternoon bike ride around the lake

We rode around the lake in the centre of Canberra today. Coolish but great to be in the fresh air.

Friday shopping

Fruit: apples, mandarins, oranges, Josephine pears, rockmelon, strawberries, kiwi fruit, lemons

Vegetables: carrots, green beans, celery, spinach (Swiss chard), brussel sprouts, red capsicums, snow peas, mushrooms, avocadoes, baby Roma tomatoes, big tomatoes, turnip, spring onions

A friend comes over after school

T's friend came over after school on Thursday.
Snack: chocolate chip "drop biscuits" and navel oranges
Activity: build boxes out of wooden sticks and glue

Vegie soup and brown rice bread

This soup has become a weekly event. Though it looks perhaps TOO virtuous and nutritious, it is actually quite delicious and flavourful, due to the long slow cooking. This time I cut up the vegies (potato, turnip, carrot and onion) the night before, and soaked them in 1 litre of vegetable stock overnight in the fridge along with 1 cup soup mix (see picture above). This soup mix was perfect... the mixture of beans made it interesting, and the green and yellow peas and red lentils cooked down into anonymous legumes so the kids eat them unknowingly. The next morning I added a jug of boiling water and cooked it all day. I added chopped cabbage with some extra virgin olive to cook in the last hour.

To accompany it I made some bread from the Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook, made out of leftover cooked brown rice. Yum.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Snacks for athletics carnival

The kids have an athletics carnival tomorrow, which means a track and field day in the US. For snacks they have popcorn; an orange; peanuts, dried apricots, almonds and raisins; and a slice of chocolate cake. They have a "sausage sizzle" for lunch. DH thinks I've given them way too much food but I imagine they will be very hungry. Maybe I was just hungry when I was packing it.

Wednesday dinner

Leftover potato and minced beef casserole with a green salad. Chocolate pudding for dessert. Thumb by DH. Is it just me or does he have a huge thumb?

Working Mama lunch

Cold brown rice topped with a chopped tomato, salmon with mild chilli, and beetroot, drizzled with French garlic and herb dressing.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Leftovers and vegies

Mmmmm I felt like a lot of vegetables tonight so we had sweet potato "fries" in the oven, boiled brussels sprouts and raw red capsicum, plus brown rice and a little leftover stir-fried chicken. On the right (above) is what 5-year old daughter chose (she eats sweet chili sauce on everything now); on the left is 7-year-old son's choice.

For dessert, oranges and yogurt drizzled with honey.

DH's famous spinach pie

My Dear Husband is famous in these parts for his Spanish omelette, leg of lamb, and this spinach pie. Our neighbors' kids were over for dinner once when DH made this and started the tradition of including a blade of grass from the yard in the spinach pie, and whoever gets the grass is *L*U*C*K*Y* !!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Check out this combination restaurant/cinema in Sydney called Govinda's. You eat an Indian buffet and then stretch out on comfy armchairs to watch a movie afterwards! I've never been but I'd love to go sometime.

Saturday dinner

Brown rice and stir-fried chicken and green beans, topped with coriander (cilantro), avocado (a delicious whim) and sweet chili sauce.

Bread machine book

Wow this is a great book. It's by the same author as my recent favorite The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook. I made the polenta-sunflower-millet bread, and I am not joking: my 7-year old son asked to have it for dessert, and went down on his knees and pretended to worship it. This is half wholemeal bread with whole millet in it for heaven sakes... and yes I made it for him again the next day. Currently I'm making walnut-oatmeal bread .. it was supposed to have sunflowers but my kids don't like them so much. I would like to try the following:

Toasted sesame-whole wheat (100% whole-wheat with sesame oil and seeds)
Dakota (from Cafe Latte in St Paul MN, containing bulgur wheat and sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and poppy seeds)
Whole-grain daily bread (made from leftover cooked whole grains such as brown rice)
Stonehenge bread (with millet, bulgur, polenta, rye, oats and whole wheat)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Noodle soup

My daughter is staying over at a friend's house tonight, so my son and I had a fun afternoon together. First he led me on a 2 hour bike ride where we got "lost" but in actual fact I was mostly just exhausted by the end and he wanted to get more "lost". We came home and had this Asian-style vegie soup with noodles, carrots, green beans, spinach, mushrooms and coriander in a chicken broth flavoured with ginger, garlic and soy sauce. And of course eaten by candlelight.

Produce shopping

Today we went to the market and bought:

Fruit: lemons, pineapple, apples, mandarins, navel oranges, avocadoes, tomatoes, baby Roma tomatoes

Vegies: 1/2 celery, potatoes, 1 swede (turnip), spinach (Swiss chard), brussel sprouts, green beans, red capsicums, sweet potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, coriander (cilantro), lettuce.

After being on vacation I'm feeling like eating very simply... vegies and whole grains.

Lemony spinach and lentils

I've made this recipe many times before (from the ancient Betty Crocker's International Cookbook, which my Mom gave my Grandma, and then my Grandma gave me since she didn't use it) but this is the first time I've actually added grated lemon peel, like the recipe called for, and wow it makes all the difference... much nicer than just lemon juice. The other ingredients are brown lentils, carrots, onions, garlic and chicken stock cubes. Frozen spinach and lemon peel and juice are added at the end. Served with frozen corn and brown rice (finally, perfection! wash then soak for an hour before cooking; it's more work, yes, but the rice is really delicious and even Anna is starting to eat it).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Detox pseudo-botox re-oxidation cabbage and vegie soup

After a week of excess wine, food and chocolate mudcake, I needed a simple vegie soup to recalibrate the system. This was inspired by a soup my Norwegian sister-in-law made last week, and it was very delicious. I ate three bowlfuls and it was probably many fewer calories than any one of the slices of the communal birthday cake I ate last week. Simply potatoes, onions, carrots and lotsa garlic, tossed into the slow cooker to simmer all day long with chicken stock. Cabbage and olive oil were added in the last hour.

Beach holiday

We've been on holiday the past week. We visited DH's family, about 9 hours' drive north. Instead of daily maximum temperatures of 10oC (50oF), it was up to 25oC (75oF). The water was so warm that the kids swam every day!! We stayed in a 2BR townhouse 2 blocks away from the beach. It was so good to be warm and see the family, especially all the kids' cousins, including one visiting from Norway whom they'd not met before.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Wednesday stir-fry dinner

Stir-fried red cabbage, carrots and tofu; brown rice (soaking before cooking in the rice cooker really works well -- I also wash the rice beforehand which makes it less gluggy); and steamed sweet potatoes.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Anna's artwork

I could be biased... but I think this king, queen, butterfly princess and sun are beautiful! Anna made these at home all by herself, without copying anything.

Bean burritos on Monday

I wish my kids would enjoy eating beans other than canned baked beans. I personally thought these adzuki beans -- cooked with red capsicum and lotsa garlic -- were delicious but the kids only ate the requisite couple of mouthfuls. Oh well, at least they eat all the vegies and Tom loves the brown rice.

There is also an action shot of me cooking dinner... a classic 5 pm gossip with a girlfriend which makes all the difference while salad spinning.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday night dinner

Nigella (Lawson) let me down tonight. I used her recipe for one-pan chicken and though I liked all the ingredients, I disagree with the one pan! You place chicken on top of cubed potatoes, quartered red capsicum, red onions, and -- count them -- 16 unpeeled garlic cloves. I found the result tasty but too oily from the chicken fat. Next time I'd put them in separate dishes. The roasted red capsicum was a treat with the potatoes, and the garlic cloves were divinely soft and sweet, to squeeze out onto the chicken. My kids love garlic... they each had 6 cloves and were disappointed there weren't more!

The salad was baby spinach leaves, baby Roma tomatoes and avocado.

My new wok!

Our old wok died. We got it as a wedding present, 10 years ago, so I figure that's a decent lifetime for something used several times a week. So I went and got the BMW of woks, thanks to a recent sale: a Danish-made Scanpan. It's big, it's heavy, and it's so non-stick that when I put the vegies in it they almost flew across to the other side of the room!

I'm reasonably happy with my new rice cooker. In particular I'm glad I got the more expensive kind that has the lid that seals tightly. But reading about the BMW of rice cookers -- Zojirushis -- I do wish mine had a brown rice setting because mine doesn't do it as perfectly as I like, i.e. distinct, chewy but non-mushy grains without starchiness on the outside. This batch was better because I followed the instructions in the Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook for extra water and an hour soaking time.

The tofu was braised with mushrooms, soy sauce, mirin, garlic and ginger. My kids prefer it braised to baked -- I like both, but sometimes crave the crispy outside of the baked.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Good morning to myself!

My friend's mom (well, mum) says 'Good morning to myself!' when she does something which is relatively tedious in the scale of life but still it makes you happy every time you look at it. I say this every time I see my (drum roll please...) newly organised pantry!!! Isn't it beautiful! And yes, Mom, the spices are alphabetised.

On the left side of the top shelf, I've got rice (brown, Basmati, Arborio, sushi); legumes (red and green lentils; adzuki beans; 9-bean soup mix); and grains (millet, cornmeal, polenta, barley) in stackable containers. On the right side, I've got sauces, condiments, stock, and canned fruit.

On the left side of the next shelf, I've got my oils (extra-virgin olive, canola) and vinegars (Balsamic, apple, rice); garlic in a bowl; lots of stock cubes; and extra bits (coconut, sunflower seeds, apricots, barley). On the right side is all my spices on a Lazy susan. Behind are cans: tuna; beans (refried, chickpeas, red kidney, cannelini); tomatoes (paste, crushed, pizza sauce, prepared sauces).

Good morning 2

On the left side of the next shelf is bread (rolls, tortillas, crumpets, and usually breadmaker bread); spreads (peanut butter, vegemite, honey, jam); nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts); dried fruit (currants, sultanas); and crackers (corn thins, wholemeal, Vitabrits).

Now on the left side of the next shelf we've got breakfast cereals (Weetbix, muesli, oatmeal, Oat Flakes, 4-grain Cheerios). On the right, a basket of pasta and noodles as well as a basket of breakfasty things (rolled 4-grain flakes, millet puffs, barley flakes, brown rice flakes).

On the bottom floor I've got vegetables (onions, sweet potatoes, pumpkin); bread mixes; juice and mineral water; and my trusty slow cooker.

There we go. I feel we are good friends now that you know my pantry intimately!