Saturday, October 29, 2011

Menu - last week

I have been a bit tardy in posting anything lately as we had a death in the family - my Great Grandmother - she was 99 and still amazing.

Here is the menu I have been working from last week and for the week to come:
Here are some nice pictures I took of my usual Saturday breakfast. It is what I loosely have based on a feature that Jill Dupliex wrote for a magazine which she called a Lebanese breakfast. It is usually flat bread (Mountain Bread) but today it was Brioche with feta, tomato, two very softly boiled eggs and dukkah.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Menu Plan

So here is the first version of the meal plan that is supposed to be happening paperless but without something like Adobe what-ever-it-is I cannot use any of the cute templates that exist already that I have pinned on my Pinterest Board. So I have attempted to create something in a word processing thing and then save it as a PDF and then upload it as a picture. It may be great, it may be a disaster. Then I can also print it out and stick it to the fridge which is where my husband looks every time he is hungry anyway.

Our schedules are never as set as I would like them to be so you will see some dashes where there is no need to make a meal because I won't be there to cook it, or we aren't home etc. The squares that are in pale green indicate a meal idea that I have used from my Pinterest board so if you are keen for a recipe most of them link to that. I also wanted to explain that the reason I am so pedantic about doing Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is that I have minimal time at home during the week as I have a long commute to work. It is so much easier to know to put things aside at dinner for breakfast and lunch so in the morning I just have to make my coffee and go (I eat breakfast at work).

The Jill Dupleix book I am using this week is Lighten Up. Jill Dupleix is quite a big deal here is Australia. Her and her husband Terry Durack review a lot of the very important restaurants for awards and they are also friends with everyone in the industry - so while I don't think she is a trained chef she is an expert eater with a highly tuned palate. I have just had a quick look at her website and there are tons of recipes there - score!

I have also tried to use specific ingredients - like things that weren't on my list but that I couldn't resit buying or ingredients that I need to use. The ingredients I wanted to use this fortnight were: Fennel, Beetroot, Cabbage, Black Eyed Peas, Porcini, Puffed Millet, Yellow Split Peas, Celery, Laksa paste, Bread, Pumpernickel, Pecans, Red Capsicums and Oranges. I didn't get to use them or so some will end up thrown out, feed to the worms or onto next fortnight's meal plan.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Review and a Recipe

So here is the first cookbook review that I am ever doing! First I feel I should start out by saying that I own all of the books that I am intending to review and have either bought them myself (and so probably have read reviews of them some place else) or they have been been given to me as gifts by friends and family.

The book I am going to review is by Annabel Langbein and it is called Eat Fresh. I bought this book before she was on TV in Australia because I loved the photos in it and how much information there was about ingredients, growing ingredients and as well as a collection of personal stories.

Annabel has since released other cookbooks and products and here is the link to her website. I really fell in love with Annabel on my honeymoon (I know it should have been my husband) when I visted Lake Wanaka (see picture below) where Annabel's TV show is based. I know that she doesn't live there all year round but I still made my husband drive around and look for her property in the hard-to-drive-camper we hired. Love him!

The book is divided into seasons and then within each season, the focus is on produce and different ways of cooking the same ingredient. Although I am vegetarian the book is not, and I do not find the recipes for meat to take up too much space. There are many recipes suitable for vegetarians and also for pescetarians (which is what I am really). Most of the recipes are lighter than they traditionally might be. For example, the Carbonara does not have cream in it.

Each season proceeds through starters and salads to heavier meals and then to desserts.
The recipe I wanted to share is based on Annabel's Summer Cob Salad on p86. Basically the salad consists of fresh corn, avocado, tomato and basil and a pesto dressing. However I did not have any avocado (it had gone bad) and the pesto dressing I used was half mine and half Annabel's so here is my version of Salad and Petso:
  • 3 Ears of corn cooked and cooled. Remove the kernels from the corn. Give a taste to the cat.
  • 6 Cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • Croutons made from sourdough bread toasted and rubbed with garlic and Italian herbs (2 slices)
  • Pesto dressing (see below)

Pesto Dressing (really just Pesto):

  • Pine nuts toasted (2 Tablespoons)
  • Raw Almonds toasted (2 Tablespoons)
  • I bunch Basil
  • 2 handfuls of rocket (put in colander and blanch and refresh - should look much less and cooked)
  • Grating of Parmesan
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil

I make my pesto in the food processor by putting in all the ingredients, except the Olive Oil, and whiz to a mush and the pour Olive Oil in the funnel until it looks like the right consistency and the taste and adjust seasonings.

This was the first time I had added almonds or rocket and I thought it mellowed out the flavour of the garlic significantly (which I like). It also means that it costs less to make as basil and pine nuts are more expensive than almonds and rocket (at least in Australia - and I cannot get Basil to grow). In Annabel's Pesto recipe she uses only almonds and rocket.

The pesto made enough for the salad (which I was so excited to eat that I forgot to take a photo of it) and my lunch (see photo below) with still some left over. The salad made three serves.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Recipe - Mushrooms on Toast

I absolutely adore mushrooms which is handy being vegetarian. I don't even mind eating the little button mushrooms that everyone thinks have no flavour.

Here in Australia, I know Spring is not the right time for mushrooms but I (as previously) mentioned am tardy in the blogging department. But I do still make this abut once a week. The mushrooms that I use are whatever I have on hand. In the past I have enoki, chanterelle, yellow oyster, oyster, swiss browns and shitake's as well as plain old mushrooms.

This recipe began life in a book called Practically Macrobiotic (an amazing book with the most beautiful illustrations). It was in it's original form called something like mushrooms on fried sourdough toast. The main flavours used were ginger, garlic and sesame oil as well as the mushrooms. I tried it a few times as the original and just could not help myself and had to add to it. So now this is roughly what I use each time:

  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic
  • Ginger (I am sorry to say both the garlic and ginger are ready crushed from a jar - but it's breakfast)
  • Preserved lemon
  • Dried Thyme
  • Olive Oil
  • Sourdough bread - toasted

The preserved lemon gives it all the seasoning I find it needs and makes it intensely sour. It's the same feeling you get from having some umeboshi at breakfast - invigorating and slightly mouth puckering. I know sour is not a taste everyone would like a breakfast but isn't that the point. Everyone can make their own breakfast exactly how they would like it and everyone knows exactly how they would like it (apparently breakfast service is the bane of some chef's lives - trying to get everyone's eggs right).

I thought that I would also share a vintage recipe with you for mushrooms on toast from Good Housekeeping Picture Recipes for which I cannot find a date. The mushrooms are under the Smorrebrod section - After Dinner and Cocktail Savouries.

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