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.

This time I did not put the book back on the shelf without making something. Frozen Blackberries with Labne and Honey and OMG it's delicious. I used frozen raspberries instead of fresh blackberries and greek yoghurt instead of the labne but she says you can use both those in her recipe anyway - just doesn't match the name. It's a yoghurt based ice cream or parfait like dessert that you don't need an ice cream maker for, just a pot, a whisk, a bowl and a freezer. You also don't need to make it days in advance, just 2-3 hours is enough, but you can if you need to. It was exactly what dessert should be on a hot summers night. Tart from the greek yoghurt and berries but also sweet and creamy from the honey and yoghurt but best of all, cooling. My photos do NOT do it justice at all! I forgot to take any photos on the night and these photo's are of the leftovers which look a little icy from not being left out to soften slightly.

I'm planning on making another batch for my freezer this week as the leftovers from Saturday were eaten up when I took it to my Wednesday night date. It's too good not to have some ready to go at all times this summer.

Sunday was shopping. Bridesmaid dress shopping that is!! I went with the bride-to-be and fellow bridesmaids to the City, slipping and squishing in and out of dresses for most of the day. Nothing was decided but there are now potential yes's and definite no's. Oh and for lunch I had my first Bao Bun, I ordered a BBQ Chicken one - holy smokes they are delicious! I've never eaten one before but see them everywhere at the moment on menus. They are my new obsession and I want more, it was so so tasty, I can't stop thinking about it. Do you have a good recipe for a bao bun?

How was your weekend/week? Any plans for this one other than survive the heat wave?

Stay cool and safe lovely people!

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

Frozen Raspberries with Greek Yoghurt and Honey

recipe adapted from Dining In by Alison Roman
(Frozen Blackberries with Labne and Honey)

340g fresh (or frozen) blackberries, raspberries or hulled strawberries
3/4 cup mild flavoured honey
1 cup pure cream
1 1/2 cup greek yogurt or labne
small pinch of salt
squeeze of lemon juice (optional, if berries are very sweet)

Spray a 9 x 4 inch loaf pan with oil (or rub a little around the tin with paper towel) then line it with cling wrap. The oil is to help the cling wrap stick to the tin.

Cook the fruit and 1/4 cup honey (and lemon juice, if using) in a small pan over medium-high heat until the berries have started to break down and the liquid has thickened, about 8 - 10 minutes. (Simmering the berries quickly will reduce and thicken the liquid while keeping many of the berries somewhat intact, which is what you want ). Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely. Place the mixture in the fridge if you want to speed up the process. Once cooled, the berries should have the texture of a loose, spreadable (not pourable) jam.

In a large bowl, whip the cream by either using an electric mixer or a good old fashioned whisk until the cream is at medium stiff peaks. Cloud-like, no mountains. Fold in the greek yoghurt (or labne), the remaining 1/2 cup honey and the salt until just combined.

Add the cooled berry mixture and using a spatular or large spoon, just fold it in (3 or 4 times, max) so you have large streaks of berry mix and creamy yoghurt mix. Pour mixture into the prepared tin and smoothing over the top.

Place the loaf tin in the freezer until it's firmed up, about 2-3 hours.

This is best served around the 2-3 hour mark so the texture isn't too soft and not too hard. If you are making this in advance, let it sit in the fridge for 10-15 minutes or so to soften up.

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.

So, to keep up the theme I see everywhere online and that's bombarding my emails. Instead of 'A New Year A New You' because I'm not sure what was ever wrong with the old you, I have something better, A New Year A New Salad. Lentil salad with cherry tomatoes, parsley, red onion, dressed in a mustardy dressing. Soooo good. It's great with a boiled egg or two on top (soft or cold hard boiled), some extra crunchy salad bits to make the salad enormous, fried halloumi, crumbled feta or even a can of chilli tuna on top. The best bit it keeps for 3 days in the fridge so makes a great lunch prep at the beginning of the week and you can spruce it up different each time you have it. You also feel super healthy eating it because you know - lentils and all.

I will try a different salad next week I think while I make my way through the freezer defrosting mystery pots for dinner. I am pinching my previous self for not writing whats inside each pot before I shoved it in the freezer. This way I am cooking, which I love, not eating the exact same thing every day and also eating my way through the freezer. Getting three birds stoned, thats the saying right? :)

What are you cooking after the silly season? Or were you sensible and not eat your body weight in cheese and wine?

Lentil Salad with Mustard + Tomatoes

recipe adapted from It's All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow & Julia Turshen
Serves 4

1 cup lentils (dark green french lentils work best)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon seeded mustard
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the lentils. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until just tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes (depending on the type of lentils you are using). Drain the lentils and set aside to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the two mustards, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and a large pinch of salt.

In a large bowl combine the lentils along with the diced onion, cherry tomatoes, vinaigrette and parsley. Taste for seasoning and add any extra salt, lemon juice or olive oil if you think it needs it. It is best served after allowing to sit for 30 minutes and at room temperature.

Serve by it's self or topped with a boiled egg, fried halloumi, feta, some crusty fresh bread or a can of spicy tuna.

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.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Camping + One Pan Chicken Laksa

I spoke too soon about feeling the shift, instead Mr-Weather-Man has only confirmed my theory that Sydney gets two seasons. And Summer seems to be lasting forever. I am ready for the cooler nights, ugg boots, track pants, socks and doonas. I've had my last sunburn for the season and I’ve had enough of every time I wash up, sweating like I’ve run a marathon.

Although it was beautiful weather for the Easter long weekend just past, but in saying that, waking up in a hot tent with sunburnt, sandy legs... mmm I think I prefer winter camping where snuggling is mandatory to keep toes warm.

Over the long weekend we camped for two nights, the first on Redhead Beach near Newcastle and the second in Olney State Forest. When we first got to Redhead beach on the Friday it was windy but the water was perfect for a swim, small waves and not too cold and the sun was out in full force, my rash vest (to Tris’ horror) even made an appearance. Setting up our tent was a slight nightmare but after we moved the car as a windbreaker it got easier, however our toilet tent on the spent the entire time folded in on itself making it very difficult to use but better then every other camper seeing my bare bum.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Anna Jones's one-pan pea, lemon & asparagus pasta.

Lets be honest, we don't really get four seasons in Sydney, we get two and a few days of odd change in between. For the past couple of days I've felt the cool change, the shift into Autumn, and I love it. It's cooler at night (Thankgawwd!!) and the days haven't been stifling hot. I've happily (against my waistline) craved more comfort foods, slept with the donna on and even considered turning the oven on to bake rather than avoiding it like the plague. I know this won't last, there are some hot days on the forecast but I am enjoying the shift while it's here and also enjoying the last of summers produce before tomatoes lose their taste and stoned fruit feels like a dream.