Monday, June 25, 2007

Tuscan beans

I soaked 2-1/2 cups of white beans in plenty of water overnight. Into the slow cooker they go, along with (yes!) a whole head of garlic, an onion, a bay leaf, two chicken stock cubes, two rosemary sprigs and 10 cups boiling water (from the jug). Cook 4-6 hours on high.

I will serve these tonight, drizzled with lots of extra virgin olive oil. On the side: fresh bread and sauteed fennel and red capsicum.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Pear tartlets

Tartlets made from

  • excess puff pastry (from meat pies)
  • pears poached in the lonely last drops of a bottle of champagne. The pink blush is from a few raspberries added to the poaching liquid
  • the dregs of vanilla yogurt

Turned out well except mascarpone cheese would have been better than the too-wet yogurt.

Meat pies

Meat pies (made of lamb mince and peas) in ramekins with puff pastry tops. Served with green beans and warm beets tossed with a butter and a slurp of orange juice. I am the sole warm-beet-eater in my family. DH finds the temperature shocking. He believes beetroot should only be cold on hamburgers. Did I mention he's Australian?

Pretty porridge

My morning porridge tarted up with leftover sour cherry and raspberry sauce from previous night's dinner.

Leftovers from Indian lunch

In the hustle and bustle of 12 people for lunch, I forgot to take a picture. Here are the leftovers from the next day. Clockwise, starting from the top, we have:

Peter Singer's dal
Salad of chopped tomatoes, red onions and coriander with cumin and a splash of lemon juice
Raita (yogurt with cucumber and mint)
Potatoes, carrots and spinach in a sauce made of spices, almonds and red capsicums whizzed in the food processor

On rice because that's nice.

Peter Singer's Dal Recipe

DH has added this dish to his repertoire. I think the secret is the Agra lamb and coconut curry powder which I bought from Mudgeeraba Spices and Curry Blends when they were in Canberra for Floriade. It's a large (300g) jar of dried spices which lasts a LONG time ... only 1-2 tablespoons per curry.

1 tablespoon oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
salt, to taste
1 cup small red lentils
3 cups water
2-3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
400 g can of tomatoes
1/4 cup coconut cream or milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a large saucepan, cook onions in oil. Add curry powder, garlic and salt and cook for a minute. Add lentils and stir for another minute before adding water, bay leaves and cinnamon. Bring to boil, then turn heat down very low and simmer for 20-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. When lentils have softened, add tomatoes and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Stir through lemon juice and coconut cream/milk.

Serve over rice with lime pickle and chutney.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Cooking beans in advance

Tomorrow we're having friends for lunch. Dear Husband (DH) wants to make a Peter Singer save-the-planet dal. I'm feeling adventurous so am making lots of Indian side dishes. This afternoon I made raita and green beans. I love this recipe for green beans because it calls for 10 cloves of garlic and even more ginger!
I don't usually add chili to my Indian food these days. My kids are fine with the other spices usually and then the adults can add chili later.
More pictures tomorrow as I cook. I'm hoping to make naan. The dough (made of yogurt, milk and flour) will be made in the bread machine. They will be baked in a very hot oven on a pizza stone.

Australian craft and food blogs

Check out these fantastic craft and food blogs written up in the recent Sunday Life.

Six and a Half Stitches
Nourish Me
Stone Soup
OneGirl Designworks
Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once
Elegant Sufficiency


Tempeh doesn't do much for me -- mostly due to the texture. I only like it when it's been fried until crispy, as I did in the first step of this stir fry. Then I removed the tempeh, stir-fried the vegies (sugar snap peas, carrots and zucchini) and then returned the tempeh to the wok.


The men-folk in my family love rissoles (basically big meatballs). Served with leftover tomato sauce, baked sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Quick vegie soup

This was a clean out the fridge special: big chunks of vegies (zucchini, carrots, celery and cabbage) cooked in chicken stock with chickpeas and a lot of garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

Lemon and rosemary tofu

This tofu was marinated in rosemary, olive oil and lemon juice and then baked with sweet potato fries. On the side were steamed sugar snap peas and sauteed mushrooms (to which I added extra tofu marinade at the end).
The leftovers were very good the next day for lunch. I topped baby spinach leaves with tofu and sweet potatoes and served with a dollop of tzatziki.

Lunch in Tasmania

A lovely lunch in Tasmania. The soup was spinach and potato, garnished with feta and parsley. The carrot cake was topped with very sweet candied carrot strips which I thought was an nice touch.

Vegetables at Salamanca markets

I went to Tasmania about a month ago and photographed these gorgeous vegetables at the Salamanca markets. Tasmania is an island state south of mainland Australia renowned for its natural beauty.

Friday, June 08, 2007

PB&J campaign

I'm intrigued by the PB&J campaign. PB&J is the famous American peanut butter and jelly sandwich (substitute "jam" for "jelly", my Australian friends). Check out their website to learn how:
  • A PB&J will slow global warming.
  • A PB&J will also save water.
  • A PB&J will save land.
I find the environmental arguments for vegetarianism the most persuasive.

Oatmeal cookies

My interpretation of the Betty Crocker classic. The oats are meant to be quick oats but I usually replace up to half with an old-fashioned rolled grain. Today I used 2 cups quick oats and 1 cup rolled barley. For dried fruit I included currants and chopped figs. For the nuts/seeds I used sunflower and pumpkin seeds so that I could include these in the kids' lunchboxes (nuts aren't allowed).
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
250 g butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats (at least half quick-cooking)
1 cup dried fruit
1 cup nuts or seeds
Preheat oven to 190C. Beat butter and sugars together well then mix in eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, stir flour with baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add this flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the oats. Finally add dried fruit and nuts/seeds. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets and bake for 8-9 minutes.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tofu and daikon

I'm realising I've gone a little crazy in the brown rice and stir-fried greens department this week. It's what I'm hungry for, plus at the farmer's market I found so many beautiful greens last weekend.

I also found some small daikon radishes, only 2-3 cm in diameter. The big honking ones frighten me: I imagine them being too spicy and woody. I made a simple recipe from my Australian Women's Weekly Japanese cookbook: grated carrot and daikon dressed simply with some rice vinegar and a little sugar and salt. It was divinely yummy: sharp/sweet/refreshing. I also stir-fried some baby rocket with a sliced garlic clove and braised some tofu in a teriyaki sauce. A meal best eaten by combining all four dishes in each forkful.

Baked beans in slow cooker

Another slow cooker recipe from "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook". These beans are soaked overnight then cooked for 12 hours with onions, ketchup, mustard and molasses. I halved the amount of sugary ingredients (there was meant to be brown sugar in addition to the molasses) but it was still too sweet for my husband... and the kids were not impressed... so I was the only one who really liked the beans... but I liked them a lot! I felt very Little House on the Prairie eating them (this recipe was based on an American classic that pioneers used to make over the embers of a fire on laundry day).
For vegetables I stir fried these beautiful baby bok choy from the EPIC markets (a farmer's market near our house). I also cooked these beetroot and served them room temperature with some olive oil and some chopped spring onion on top -- a trick I learned from my Norwegian sister-in-law.

Frenchy yogurt cake

I've read that this yogurt cake is one of the first recipes French children learn. It is very moist and doesn't need icing. I add frozen blueberries and raspberries to make a yummy lunchbox treat.

2 eggs
1 cup yogurt (I use plain unsweetened)
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients. Add dry to wet, mix briefly. Bake 40-45 minutes.

Make larb not war

Yes this minced-pork-stir-fried-with-carrots-and-flavoured-with-coriander-lime-and-fish-sauce is called larb. Served with brown rice and some lonely greens left lingering in the refrigerator (English spinach and snow pea sprouts). I stir fried them quite badly -- ending up with a a soggy mass -- but mixed with the other dishes and drizzled with the sweet chilli sauce, the combination was superb. The lime and coriander flavours made the gemisch particularly more-ish (ge-more-ish?).