Monday, May 30, 2011

From My Kitchen - Sunday 29th May

Opps, running late this week.We had friends over for dinner last night which was lovely, but threw out my whole Sunday evening routine, which usually includes meal planning for the week and making dinner for Monday night, as I go to the gym after work and don't get home till 7pm. The week's are still crazy busy but I am counting down the days until I get Paddy back from his other woman (15 to go...). His play opens on Saturday!

Anyway, here's dinner this week. No baking, as I won't have time... I'll have to make up for it in the weekend instead :)

Sunday - free-range chicken, vege and wasabi mayo sushi with miso, mushroom and soba noodle soup
Monday - free-range chicken, noodle, sprouted quinoa and raw vege salad with creamy mayo dressing
Tuesday - roasted vege tortilla stacks (silverbeet, pumpkin and mushroom) with brussel sprouts
Wednesday - pumpkin, coconut and ginger soup with homemade garlic bread
Thursday - fresh handmade pasta with cabonara sauce

To Do
- make mayonnaise
- mix no-need bread dough (Tuesday night)
- make pasta dough
- weekly kombucha

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday

I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself as I write this. Here's the story: a pair of boots I have been searching for for ages, turned up in my size on Trade Me, never been worn, for a reasonable price. It was destiny! I bought them instantly, of course. I just followed up the Track and Trace as I thought it had been while and it turns out they had been left at my gate late last week, but since I haven't seen them, I'm assuming someone has come and helped themselves to my parcel :( So, that is pretty darn sucky really.

Luckily, my day was brightened (before I figured all of the above out) by some mail from the lovely Clare. Snail mail RULES! Thanks, Clare :)

Anywho, here is my outfit for this week. Not as exciting as last week, but still kind of snazzy, I think.

Blurry boots and an even blurrier puppy
Cardi: Tempt (loving the new colour and batwings)
T-shirt: Pagani (I have this t-shirt in about 5 different colours)
Skirt: Max Clearance (I had it taken up about an inch and it was perfect!)
Tights: Farmers
Boots: Number One Shoe Warehouse
Necklace: same as this one

See more lovely ladies here.

Edited: So, I found my boots!! After much despair and cursing yesterday, I found them this afternoon tucked right, right, right behind a large pot plant at my gate. I know, I know, I'm a fool. BUT, I don't expect to have to play hide and seek with the courier! Anyway, happy ending, yay :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

From My Kitchen - Sunday 22nd May

Does anyone else feel like life is a bit rinse and repeat at the moment? Maybe it's just the way things are at the moment, but I feel like all I do it eat, work, cook, sleep and repeat. Now that I've been working for a while, and have settled into the full days work thing, I am putting out feelers for other things I can do to add a bit extra to my day and extend my mind a bit... Maybe I am meant to be a perpetual student, maybe I just like to learn, but this has been on my periphery lately... Has anyone done this/know someone who has/know anything about this course and would like to share? I'm keen to hear reviews...

Anyway, enough about me, here's dinner this week:

Sunday - corn fritters, bacon and spinach salad with sunflower and sesame seeds
Monday - leftover pumpkin soup with sourdough
Tuesday - chickpea, vege and noodle salad
Wednesday - Thai green chicken curry on brown rice
Thursday - broccoli and blue cheese soup with cheesy spelt rolls

- cheesy spelt rolls
- something for lunches, I haven't figured out what yet

To Do
- soak chickpeas
- soak brown rice
- make sprouts (mung bean and quinoa)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What I'm Reading in May

I always have a few books on the go and I thought I might start a habit of sharing them with you. I'm always keen for new books, regular or audio (I do a lot of driving and it's a good way to pass the time), so please, do share what's keeping you busy and tickling your brain cells currently!

On my bedside table at the moment I have:

The Kabul Beauty School - a true story about a lady who opens a beauty school in Kabul. The story is ok but the writing style is rather poor. I am trying to finish it just because I hate leaving books unfinished, but it's dragging a bit.

The Vintner's Luck - I started reading this a few days before the earthquake and have not been able to pick it up since. Maybe this shouldn't be in the 'what I'm reading pile'... I have heard it's a great book so I do plan on getting to it eventually!

Taking Charge of Your Fertility - I have very recently stopped taking my pill (more on this at a later date) and have found this book to be the most amazing resource for everything a woman should know about her body. I HIGHLY recommend reading this book if you are trying to conceive, trying not to conceive, or simply want to know more about what is going on with your lady bits. I was engrossed in this book from the first page and have been referring back to it almost daily since it turned up in my letterbox courtesy of The Book Depository. I am so glad I found it!

Good magazine - easily my favourite magazine, I got a subscription for Christmas, and it is a happy day in my world when this beautiful, informative and intelligent magazine lands in my letterbox.

Your Home and Garden magazine - a guilty pleasure, I picked this up yesterday. I love to daydream about my 'forever' house and this magazine is like drugs for my wandering mind...

What I'm listening to:

Skinny Bitch - an interesting, informative book on the vegan diet from a very American perspective. I don't want to be vegan, but I am always interested in better informing myself on diet and health. This is a straightforward look at a certain way of eating. Well worth a read/listen if you are thinking of cutting back on meat and animal products, or even just to learn more about Veganism.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fashion Challenge Update and Wardrobe Wednesday

Well, I may not have been posting much, but I have definitely been keeping up with the personal fashion challenge I set for myself a few weeks ago. It is going really well and I am loving my new-found sense of confidence and style! I look forward to getting dressed for work in the morning, and the compliments I receive really help to keep me motivated. Taking care in my appearance has really helped with my self-esteem and confidence and while receiving compliments is always nice, I am totally doing this for myself.

This also ties in nicely with the return of Wardrobe Wednesday! Find out more here. While none of these were today's outfit (I start work pretty early in the morning and missed the boat today!), they are some things I have been wearing lately that make me feel good :)

Outfit highlights from the past few weeks:

Where I got it all...

T-shirt: Pagani
Cardi: Tempt
Belt: Glassons
Necklace: Verabel
Skirt: thrifted (it used to be a dress, I hacked the top off)
Boots: Hannahs

Cardi: Tempt
Tights: Farmers
Shoes: Number One Shoe Warehouse
Necklace: Verabel

Jacket: Valley Girl
Tights: Farmers
Boots: Hannahs
Necklace: Verabel

I just checked the messages and have one from my dressmaker, with who I have had a few, not-quite-right vintage pieces in getting altered. I can't WAIT to show the before and afters of these, one dress in particular I think you will quite like... ;) Watch this space!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Feijoa Yoghurt Crumble Cake

The last piece...
Oh my goodness, it feels like forever since I have done a real post here! I haven't even had time to read blogs, let alone write my own :( Paddy is rehearsing for his next play at the moment and we have about an hour a day together, if we are lucky. The rest of my time during the week seems to be taking up with cooking, dishes, cleaning, washing, puppy-wrangling and of course, sleeping and working. But, I have been having weekends full of interesting activities including cider and limoncello making, sleepy pillow sewing, gardening, and of course, recipe inventing. This cake is a result of a box of feijoas that turned up on our doorstep a few weeks ago, courtesy of my lovely Aunty. Such a treat! I searched for a feijoa cake recipe and couldn't find anything I loved, so I took a few ideas and created this one. It is delicious, moist and feijoa-y, and I highly recommend trying it!

Feijoa Yoghurt Crumble Cake

6 large feijoas, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
125 grams softened butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
2 cups white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger

25 grams butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats

Place the feijoas, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla and yoghurt in a food processor and blend until smooth. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and ginger together, and gently fold in the wet mixture. Pour into a well greased baking tin. Mine was a spring-form tin, 30cm diameter. Mix the crumble ingredients together and sprinkle on top of the cake. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Enjoy warm with yoghurt and a drizzle of runny honey.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

From My Kitchen - Sunday 15th May

The weeks are very, very busy in my house at the moment, and I'm lucky if I'm home for more than a couple of hours before I need to be in bed! Hopefully things will calm down in a few weeks, and I will have more time to spend doing things I enjoy, like blogging! Still, meal planning makes the busy weeks just that little bit easier, so here it is:

Sunday - balsamic roast veges with lemony couscous
Monday - red lentil dhal and rice
Tuesday - little quinoa patties, corn-on-the-cob and roasted greens
Wednesday - free-range pork sausages, salt-n-vinegar potato chips and peas
Thursday - sardine puttanesca with fresh fettuccine

- sourdough

To Do
- soak dhal
- soak rice
- soak quinoa
- soak chickpeas
- make pasta dough
- feed sourdough sponge
- make sundried tomato hummus

Sunday, May 8, 2011

From My Kitchen - Sunday 8th May

Well it's been another quiet week for me, having been a bit sick again. I'm almost feeling back on track but I think another week of early nights and being warm and snuggly at home will do the trick. I am trying my best to lay a solid foundation for winter as being sick is no fun for anyone so I am going to do everything I can to avoid it! Lots of warm, nourishing food will definitely be part of my plan...

This week for dinner we will be having:

Sunday - 2-bean and vege enchiladas with homemade spelt tortillas and salad
Monday - pumpkin soup with garlic sourdough
Tuesday - Panzanella (Italian bread salad) with spicy Italian sausages
Wednesday - pork belly slow-cooked in soy sauce, ginger and star anise with rice and sauteed greens
Thursday - lentil and walnut loaf with roast vege salad and corn-on-the-cob

To Do
- make tortillas
- soak lentils
- weekly kombucha

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hunza Pie

I first came across the idea of Hunza pie in a friend's vegetarian recipe book. It sounded delicious and I am always up for recipes that use bulk silverbeet, as I ALWAYS end up with a surplus in my vege garden during winter! So, a few years ago, Hunza pie was trialled and declared delicious! It has been a regular from my kitchen ever since. This recipe just screams nourishing, and after a revival of my cold from last week, eating this for dinner earlier this week was extremely comforting. Don't be afraid of the pastry, I urge you to give it a try. I'll let you in on a secret- I am useless with pastry. I always end up patchworking the little bits and pieces of broken-up pastry into my dish, and once it's topped with filling, no one even knows. I used spelt flour for my pastry but wholemeal works just as well too.

Hunza Pie (adapted from a piece of paper I have in my recipe draw that came from a friend's vegetarian cookbook)

220 grams spelt or wholemeal flour
110 grams butter, cubed
6 medium or 4 large silverbeet leaves
100 grams cooked brown rice
200 grams grated tasty cheese
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the flour and butter in a food processor and process until the flour looks like consistency of breadcrumbs. Slowly add water, a tablespoon at a time, until the flour comes together to form a ball. It usually takes around 4-5 tablespoons. Once a rough ball is formed, take the dough out and give it a quick knead until it is smooth. Wrap in gladwrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour. Once it has rested, remove and roll out on a well-floured surface to fit a dish about 25 cms diameter. I use an oblong-shaped lasagna dish, but a circle would work just as well. Grease your dish of choice well and carefully line with the rolled pastry. If you are like me, spend a bit of time patching up the holes with left-over dough until you have a smooth surface with no holes. Using a little bit of the yolk from one of the eggs in the filling, brush the base of the pastry with egg. This helps to seal the pastry and stops the tart being soggy when you add the filling. Bake the pastry at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, while you prepare the filling.

Finely shred the silverbeet stalks and leaves and add to a bowl with the brown rice and grated cheese. In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and milk together with the salt and pepper. Combine the silverbeet mix with the eggs and milk and mix well to ensure all the silverbeet is coated with the eggy mixture. Pour the mixture into the par-baked pastry shell and smooth it out so all of the silverbeet is under the egg mixture (otherwise you get burnt bits of leaf sticky out the top). If you want, sprinkle a little bit of cheese on top before baking.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius until the filling is firm in the middle and browned on top; about 25 minutes in a normal oven (of which mine is not). Delicious served with sweet chilli sauce. Enjoy!

Monday, May 2, 2011

From My Kitchen - Sunday 1st May

Well, it's been a while since I've posted a meal plan; it's been a while since I've written one too. The last meal plan I posted was the week of the earthquake, and it's safe to safe, that never came to fruition. But, work is back to chaos and for Paddy and my sake, meal planning is back to being a necessity. Winter is quickly heading to Christchurch, so I can sense a lot of soups, crockpot meals and Winter warmers in the future...

Here's what is on the menu this week:

Sunday - fresh tomato pasta sauce, spaghetti and green salad
Monday - oxtail, barley and root vege stew (made in the crockpot) with mashed potato
Tuesday - out for my brother's birthday
Wednesday - Hunza pie (wholemeal pastry base with silverbeet, brown rice and cheese filling) with green salad
Thursday - Moroccan-stuffed gem squashes (brown rice, almonds, dried apricots, feta, spices) with sauteed broccoli

- peanut butter booster bars from River Cottage Everyday
- chicken liver pate
- spelt crackers

To Do
- make pastry
- soak rice
- weekly kombucha

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bread Bin Makeover

After the success of the retro cabinet Paddy and I refurbished, I have been feeling quite paint-happy. Painting, itself, is actually very therapeutic, and turning an item from something you would walk past in a shop to something that actually catches your eye is very satisfying! I acquired this bread bin from a friend of my lovely neighbour, Sharon and thought it was dying for a make-over. Blackboard paint has been on my mind lately, so I had a dabble at integrating that into my refurbish.

One undercoat of BIN sealant.
After four coats of 'Anglaise' and three coats of blackboard paint. it's done!

Excuse the light and the corner smudge; that was me cleaning the dust off.

I'm pretty happy with the results, and now I finally have somewhere to store all the bread I make! My next task is to sew some bread bags out of thrifted cotton pillowcases. Watch this space... :)