Thursday, 4 April 2019

Turmeric & Carrot Soup from The Weeknight Cookbook by Justine Schofield

I got my ugg boots out of the cupboard this week and I've been wearing socks to bed. Autumn is finally here and I can't get enough of it. Cool nights, snuggles under the doona, kitty cuddles, the smell of a neighbours wood fire and best of all... the food. The chunky soups, the blended soups, the noodle soups, the stews, the curries, the slow cooker and alllll the pasta bakes. Self saucing baked chocolate puddings, vanilla rice pudding, jam topped college puddings and fruit crumbles. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin. The cooler months are all about the food and I'm feeling it. (I do realise I have probably jinxed this and it's hot while you are now reading it).

To kick off my week, I prepped lunch for the week and cooked lentils to utter smoosh, proper smoosh to the point I could probably have made mashed lentils, is mashed lentils a thing? I didn't chuck them, I froze them to add to a soup or hide in bolognese or to be chucked out when I do a freezer clean out. I ended up cooking another batch and didn't turn the later into smoosh. Lunch prep for the week done. Tick. Now on to dinner...

Monday night's are a bit of a non-event evening. You survived the first day of the week at work, you started head-strong by heading to F45 (or you thought about it at least, thats sometimes enough), it occasionally includes some lunch prep if Sunday disappeared on you, and you are just happy to be at home back in pyjamas again. Ah *sigh* we survived Monday. Oh and dinner needs to be tummy-filling satisfying, easy and somewhat healthy. You know, starting the week off on the right foot and all.



This particular Monday I had mail, I love mail when it's not from the electricity company telling you that your direct debit failed and you still owe them $400. This was good mail though, very good mail indeed. I came home to a lovely gift of Justine Schofield's new cookbook, The Weeknight Cookbook (thank you!). While overcooking my lentils in my uggs and having a good nosey through it, I'd found dinner instantly. Turmeric and Carrot soup. And holy-moley did it hit the spot.

The turmeric works so well with the carrots and cuts through the sweetness, it's then topped with chopped parsley and shaved parmesan giving the whole soup a delicious freshness but also cheesiness from the parmesan. It's not just any old carrot soup, it's a serious gem and genius of a recipe. You fry your onions in a little olive oil till soft, add the turmeric then carrots then stock (I used a cube) and cook for 25-30 minutes until the carrots are cooked and soft. Blitz with a stick blender, taste for seasoning and serve topped with parsley, shaved parmesan and some freshly cracked black pepper. A perfect Monday night dinner. I added a hefty chunk (or two) of sourdough smothered in salty butter on the side because soup without bread is a crime.


Now, come at me week, I am ready!

So trusty friends, what gets you through your Monday?

Carrot and Turmeric Soup

recipe by Justine Schofield from The Weeknight Cookbook
Serves 4

1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus extra for drizzling (optional)
1 brown onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric*
1kg carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm discs
1.8l chicken or vegetable stock or water
a small handful of flat leaf parsley leaves
3 tablespoons shaved parmesan
salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften, then add the turmeric and stir to coat the onion.

Add the carrot to the pan and season with a small pinch of salt. Pour in the stock or water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for 25-30 minutes until the carrot is soft. Blend with a hand-held blender until silky smooth.

Serve with a sprinkle of parsley, parmesan and pepper and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

*If you can get your hands on fresh turmeric, one teaspoon, finely grated, will take your soup to the next level.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Pasta alla Norma from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

Pasta alla Norma from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi | salt sugar and i blog | Dani Elis

Last week I was stuck indoors with a virus that after going to the doctor I was told, had to run it's course and just to rest. I feel like I went slightly mad being stuck inside all day, waiting to feel better. Waiting to snap out of it.

Cooking dinner for myself helped. On Monday I felt so rotten I couldn't get off the couch so ordered Thai take away for one. Tuesday I escaped the house for dinner and had Chicken Curry at Kate's (sooo good!), Wednesday I made a one-pot mac and cheese from Hetty McKinnon's cookbook Family. That was the easiest and probably the tastiest mac and cheese I've ever made. It had sweet potato smooshed in it and I didn't have 100 pans to wash up after! I'll have to share the recipe for that when I make it again next time and can snap a photo or two. Thursday my fruit and veg box arrived which had a lovely eggplant in it just waiting for me to douse it in olive oil and add it to a pasta. Which I did and it was insanely good. Friday I made a vegetable curry of sorts... it was strange but it was comforting which was all I wanted.


But back to Thursday nights dinner.  Pasta alla Norma from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi. Umm YUM. I'm pretty sure I've posted about and eggplant pasta dinner on the blog before but this recipe is too good not to share and I can't stop thinking about it. There was no faffing with salting the eggplant and letting it sit or frying eggplant then taking it out of the pan to only put it back in later on. Instead, you roast the eggplant slices which are tossed in a generous glug (or three) of olive oil and sprinkled with salt. It looks like you've overcooked the eggplant and that it's gone crispy but trust Yotam, it will be perfection when you add it in later on. You then make a simple tomato sauce with canned tomatoes, garlic, a touch of sugar and herbs and once your eggplant is roasted and golden, and your sauce is reduced a little you toss it all through hot spaghetti with a splash of pasta water.

The eggplant slices break up into the sauce and go silky and moorish. They add a lovely roasted caramelised flavour to the sauce which is finished off with torn fresh basil leaves and shaved parmesan. Oh my, I think I'm drooling as I type this. If you can be in love with a pasta sauce, this is it for me. I'm in love.

Just so happened an eggplant snuck into this weeks grocery shop... maybe this cheeky Pasta alla Norma will make an appearance this week too :)

Tell me lovely readers, have you even been in love with a recipe?

Pasta alla Norma

Recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi from Simple.
Serves 4

3 eggplants (900g)
120ml olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1-2 mild dried chillies (deseeded if you don't want the heat) - I used a pinch of dried flakes
2 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
5 large oregano sprigs (8g) - I used a teaspoon of dried oregano
1 tsp caster sugar
300g spaghetti
45g mature pecorino romano (or ricotta salata), shaved
20g basil leaves, torn
salt & black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C fan.

Using a peeler and working from top to bottom of each aubergine, shave off long alternating strips of peel so that they look striped, like zebras. Cut widthways into 1cm thick slices and place in a bowl with 75ml of oil, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of paper. Mix well, then spread out on two large baking paper-lined trays. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until dark golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan or pot and place on a medium high heat. Add the garlic and chillies and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the garlic is golden brown (but not burnt!). Add the tinned tomatoes, oregano, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a grind of pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick. Remove the oregano sprigs and stir in the aubergine. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and once al dente, drain and retain some cooking water.

Add the spaghetti to the sauce and mix well, adding two thirds of the pecorino and basil, add a few tablespoons of the cooking water if the sauce has become too thick.

Divide between four bowls, then top with the remaining pecorino and basil.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Lion's Head Meatballs from A Common Table by Cynthia Chen McTernan

Just Arthur and I here again. With my mountain of new books, of course, cookbooks. *Sigh* they are my happy place. For some, it's handbags and shoes, for me, it's cookbooks. I can't help it. I also went to a beautiful book launch the other week with a friend and there were three very talented authors there who I follow on instagram, read their blogs and listen to their podcasts (multiple times over) so it was ONLY polite to buy all three books (A Tree in the House by Annabelle Hickson, A Basket by the Door by Sophie Hansen and Tortellini at Midnight by Emiko Davies). I left with my arms full, a delicious biscuit in hand (Golden Syrup Biscuits from Sophie's book) and a buzz in my tummy. Such a lovely afternoon that finished with an indoor picnic on my couch and chats. Pretty darn perfect if you ask me. I think we were both on a high from prosecco (only a glass!), cake and books.

There are also a few books from other bloggers and chefs that I've bought this year... I know, I know, shhhhh. (New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thomson, A Common Table by Cynthia Chen McTernan and Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger) Some were from Christmas & Birthday too, calm down (Strudel, noodles and Dumplings by Anja Dunk and Family by Hetty McKinnon). I am practically bouncing with all the recipes I want to cook, but most importantly, EAT. Not enough time in the day or enough mouths at home to feed. I can fix the later of those two.
I am sitting here hungry writing this... mmmmm.

Shanghainese Lion's Lead Meatballs from A Common Table | salt sugar and i | Dani Elis
  

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Bali 2019

Where have I been? What have I been up to? Well... I've been a little distant over February but also, we went to Nusa Dua, Bali last week! It was delicious, humid, fun, spicy, relaxing and well needed I think.

I ate Nasi Gorang almost everyday, drank Bali Hai beer on the beach, ate satay with the Bali Hai, read a book (The Edited Life by Anna Newton) on the beach on large beach bean bags, got lobstered because I didn't reapply (Kate where were you to remind me??), went to the Monkey Forest in Ubud and got hissed at by an angry monkey for trying to shoo it off our bag (they can open zips!!), tried Kopi Luwak (poo) coffee and mangosteen tea and found out that Indonesian food is quite spicy but I think my spice tolerance has gone up which is a good thing.

We swam in the (overly warm) resort pool a couple of times and the ocean everyday (it was much nicer/cooler), watched some hilarious 'photoshoots' happen on the beach (live entertainment at it's best!), took advantage of the omelette bar at breakfast each day, paid probably too much for trinkets as I'm no good at bartering, realised I am a sweat monster in humid weather, ate lots of mini bananas, watched a traditional Balinese show with dancers and an all male choir who sung to make the music, ate Gado Gado and Babi Guling and drank more Bali Hai.

We left on Balinese New Years Eve and got to see the Ogoh-Ogoh statues that each village in Bali make for the nights celebration. We also learnt about Nyepi, the 'day of silence' that follows, the entire island (Bali) shuts down. Our driver Agus, told us about the traditions that happen in the home and the preparation for the day of silence. No internet, phone reception, television signal or electricity for 24 hours. You aren't allowed to swim in the ocean or leave your home. It is a day for family.

After a sleepless red-eye flight we came home with two suitcases full of washing and a fluffy Arty to snuggle (aka somewhat forcefully hug).



Friday, 18 January 2019

Frozen Raspberries with Greek Yoghurt and Honey

Hello! How was everyones weekend/week? My weekend was lovely but this week has ended on a sad note for reasons I'm not going in to. Instead, I will tell you about my weekend that feels about 100 years ago but was in fact only 5 days ago.

On Saturday night I had a couple of the girls around for dinner and a movie, with air con - praise the air con! I was umm-ing and ahh-ing if I should cook because it was so damn hot and I had no inspiration. All I could think about was cold things. Knowing one of my lovely ladies was slightly shady from the night before, salad was out of the question and carbs were most definitely in. I was tossing up between trying a new Japanese dish I've wanted to give a go for a while and doing something I've made a few times already. After a quick group chat it was decided, Italian not Japanese. I made the Green Chicken Meatballs I've made before and served them with a rich tomato based pasta sauce and spaghetti. I feel I should have made a brighter more summery tomato sauce for the chicken balls but I over splashed the wine and used red wine instead of white because thats what I had on hand so I needed to cook it down more. White wine is now on my shopping list.

Frozen Raspberries with Greek Yoghurt and Honey | salt sugar and i

I was definitely not baking dessert with the heat which meant no cake or pie or crumble because that meant turning on the oven. Instead, I scoured Alison Roman's cookbook 'Dining In' for inspiration. I've owned her cookbook for a few months now but haven't made a thing from it. I seem to pick it up, oooo over all the recipes and then realise I'm missing an ingredient and the book goes back on the shelf. It's got some delicious looking recipes to share and make with friends, and it's definitely got a summery feel to it, no heavy wintery stews like her current NY Times recipe that's gone viral.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Lentil salad with tomatoes and a mustardy dressing


I don't know how you feel after the silly season we've just had but after eating and drinking like I wasn't ever going to see food or wine again I need a little kick up the butt. I do NOT mean a diet or a restart or a detox. Just a little more moderation, a little less wine, a little less cheese and a little more movement, aka gym. Which should be much easier to get up and go now that I won't wake with a foggy wine head... well Monday to Fridays anyway. I would love to say I'm back into routine but to be honest I am still trying to figure out my routine for being back at work and with this new FIFO (Fly In Fly Out) Hubby of mine. 5 weeks on, 5 weeks off. Some days I get to midday and the only one I've spoke to is Arthur, the cat. The downside of working from home too I guess.

My mission while Hubby is away is to eat my way through our freezer. I hate waste so I freeze portions of meals when we have leftovers and to avoid them ending up as the bowl of shame in the fridge (this is what happens to egg whites most of the time) I stick them in the freezer.  Our freezer is now chockers because I CANNOT cook for 2 people, let alone one!! And the downside of freezer eating is that I crave fresh foods so I've been making salads for lunches, the heartier ones keep for a couple of days and get better as the flavours are left to mingle.

Friday, 4 January 2019

So long 2018 | Bring on 30

Dear 2018 - you flew by.... so long sucker!

You weren't a huge one for cooking as you probably realise my posts were far and few between. It's been a year though. A big year for change. A little bruised in areas but stronger in the end, I think. There have been some moments which have taken my breath away (crossed things off my bucket list) and moments that knocked me for six and made me realise how short life really is and how important it is to cherish the time we have together.

For a little round up of my 2018 and what might be useful for 2019.

  • One pot pasta's are fabulous, delicious and easy to clean up.
  • Time away from technology and internet is a much needed detox in our world. Go off grid, you'll feel better after.
  • Disease doesn't discriminate.
  • I am terrible at keeping secrets.
  • Just put your exercise gear on - it's too late to change your mind and cancel the class then and you'll feel better for it mentally after.
  • Air Con is god.
  • Snorkelling is terrifying but is easier with pool noodles and gets less terrifying when you just breathe.
  • I miss long physically exhausting days on my feet.
  • You are never too old to learn something new.
  • You can never have too much patience.
  • There is a lovely bush walk down the road from our apartment which I NEVER knew about and I should make this a regular walk.
  • Water dragons can loose their tails and they will grow back.
  • Nursing homes are interesting places. Laugh along with them or you'll cry.
  • Families are mad
  • Families are love.
  • Friends are family too.
  • Learn to cook a roast this year with all the trimmings. I will be doing this.
  • Take more photos. I will also be doing this.
  • Print photos. Very 00's but nothing beats a stack of printed photos to flip through.
  • Christmas is much more fun when you are not a grinch.
  • New Year Eve is best spent at home on the couch with prawns and bubbles.
  • I got the best birthday present (see below).


Tuesday, 6 November 2018

North West Island 2018


So here I am, back from the chaos of moving and the bliss of holidays. Oh take me back to where the sun was warm, the sand was ouchy and the water was crystal blue. Take me back to North West Island where the only plans anyone had were sunset drinks by the log. *sigh*

What did we do on an island for two weeks with no cars or shops or mobile reception?

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Minestrone Veloce from Gennaro's Fast Cook Italian

Hello old friend. I’m sitting here writing this surrounded by boxes and bags waiting for pizza to arrive. We’re moving on Monday you see. Across the road. Yep. All we need to do is walk our belongings out the front door, around the corner and across the road… it’s about 100 metres away. You’d think that would make moving a whole lot easier but I don’t think it will as we are determined to do it all ourselves. We = husband and I. I’ve been packing this week while Tris is away for work and eating my way through the freezer. I’ve found all sorts. Smokey mexican beans, pork and fennel bolognese, peas, edamame, pumpkin soup, two types of dumplings, lots of crusty bread, veggie fried rice and even two portions of minestrone soup that had a dollop of pesto on top and everything. Oh how I loved my past self this week.

Minestrone Veloce | Gennaro's Fast Cook Italian | salt sugar and i

The kitchen was the first thing we started packing and I finished off. I don’t know if that was a good idea but I guess picking the most challenging room first was better than leaving it last and now that it’s completely done, the rest feels like it’ll be a sinch. Only thing is, we still have two nights and I’ve packed everything except two bowls, one plate and a couple of utensils, hence the takeaway tonight.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Coca (Savoury Flatbreads) from Barcelona Cult Recipes

Coca, Savoury Flatbread from Barcelona Cult Recipes by Stephan Mitsch | salt sugar and i

The other week I had some friends over on a friday night and went a little crazy at the fancy grocery store near work buying cheeses and antipasto goodies. I over catered for three but I always seem to over cater when it comes to snacks. I’d rather have too much than not enough, I have nightmares of people leaving hungry.

What do you do with leftovers bits and pieces of an antipasto? sure, you can just eat them as is - delicious! But where’s the adventure in that?

I have also recently been sent a copy of Barcelona Cult Recipes by Stephan Mitsch and as much as I wish I could tell you a story of a time I went to Barcelona and fell in love with a dish and have now recreated it, I can’t. I’ve never been to Barcelona but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate their foods from afar which is what this book really does. The tapas in this book look incredible; croquettes with chorizo, meatballs with peas, pickled anchovies, stuffed potato balls, artichoke chips and stuffed piquillo peppers to name a few. There are definitely a couple recipes which sound a little adventurous for me...baked snails and mushroom stuffed pig’s trotter but the recipe that really caught my eye was the Coca, savoury flatbreads. They use up the leftover bits and pieces (perfect!) and are covered in garlicky herbed olive oil... um, yum.