Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mmmmm Soup!

With the cost of food on the up and up I have been finding that incorporating a few vegetarian meals in the week really helps to reduce our grocery bills. This recipe is super cheap and really yummy with a few slices of toasted home made bread. I found that this tasted even better the second day for lunch (hence the take away containers).

Lentil and Vegetable Soup
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 x 400g cans brown lentils, rinsed and drained
400g can diced tomatoes
500ml vegetable stock
500ml water
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt & pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook until the vegetables soften and turn gold.

Add the lentils, tomato, stock, water and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, partially uncovered, for 10 minutes or until tender. Add the parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

Serve up with some toasted home made bread and enjoy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Goulash, Fire and Cats

Another wintery day here in Adelaide making it an absolutely perfect day to relax in front of the fire with our cats Logan (the spotty oriental) and Harry (the chocolate burmese). They both get extremely spoilt in winter cuddling up by the fire.

Last Thursday I also made a very quick and easy Goulash that was quite yummy and again perfect for a cold winter's night. My large soup pot is certainly getting a work out this winter.

Beef Goulash
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
500g beef, chopped into 2cm cubes
1 onion, sliced
200g mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tbsp paprika
400g can condensed tomato soup
400g can diced tomatoes

Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, stirring often. Transfer the beef to a plate.

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the saucepan and cook the onion and mushrooms until tender. Add the paprika and cook for another minute. Add the tins of soup and tomatoes, stir until combined and then bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to low, add the beef to the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Finally serve with steamed rice and enjoy!!

It is still extremely cold and therefore a nice tummy warming Goulash is always a good idea. We have been keeping the fire going here all weekend and the cats are loving it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Soup and Ragout

Well it is an extremely cold week here in Adelaide - so I think more yummy winter recipes are required. So this week has seen me cooking a very tasty chicken and corn soup, and an excellent mushroom and tomato ragout.

Chicken and Corn Soup
Serves 4

2 cups water
1 chicken stock cube
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 onion, chopped
4 parsley sprigs
4 chicken thighs
410g can of creamed corn
1 tsp extra ginger, grated
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp water
100g double smoked ham, sliced
2 green shallots, chopped

Combine the water, chicken stock, ginger, onion, parsley and chicken in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is just tender. Strain the stock and put the chicken aside (throw out the onion/ginger/parsley or put in your compost).

Return the stock to the saucepan and add the creamed corn and extra ginger. Bring this to the boil and then add the cornflour (blended with the 1 tbsp of water). Stir constantly until the soup boils and thickens.

Chop the chicken, add the chicken, ham and shallots to the soup. Heat through before serving.

Mushroom and Tomato Ragout
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
500g mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size
800g can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
2/3 cup rissoni
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are tender.

Add crushed tomatoes, water and rissoni and simmer for 15 minutes or until the rissoni is al dente. Stir in the basil and season to tasted. Voila!!

Bok Choy Roses

A few days ago when I was cooking up a stir fry I noticed that when you cut the ends off of your bok choy bunches they look remarkably like roses. Just thought I would share that moment of realisation with the world.

Baby Shower Invitations

Check out my handiwork! I am having a baby shower in early September - so thought I better get my act together and get some invitations organised. Now I just need to talk my boss into letting me print some off - handy working for a printing company.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Awesome Pork Stew

Well it is cold and wintery here in Adelaide, Australia - so of course it is perfect weather for a lovely warm stew. I was planning on making a beef stew - but it turns out I am not very good at reading labels in the freezer so we have a lovely tender pork stew instead.

Pork Stew
Serves 6

600g Pork Scotch Fillet, cubed
2 tbsp Wholemeal Flour
2 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Onions, diced
4 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
2 Stalks of Celery, diced
2 Small Carrots, diced
750ml Beef Stock
200g Mushrooms, sliced
140g Tomato Paste
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
410g Can of Butter Beans
150g Green Beans, chopped

Combine the flour, oregano, salt and pepper on a plate - and toss the pork in the flour mixture. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over a medium-high heat and brown the pork in batches. Remove the pork and set aside on a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions, garlic, celery and carrot with any remaining flour mixture until the vegetables start to turn golden. Add the stock, mushrooms, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, add the pork and simmer for 1 hour or until the pork is tender. Add the butter beans and green beans to the pot and cook until the green beans are just tender.

Serve with some yummy crusty bread and enjoy!

Setting Up The Nursery

This week Mat (my husband) and I have made leaps and bounds in our nursery decorating progress. We managed to finish the paint job and I am quite happy with how it all turned out. It is warm, clean and neutral - just perfect for future babies as well. We also finally got around to constructing our cot and change table. I love the white finish, for such a tiny room I think it is necessary to brighten up the room a bit. So it is all starting to come together, and all of sudden it feels like we really are having a baby girl in 3 months time!

Here you can see the new paint job, change table and rocking chair. One day we will change that awful carpet.

And here is the cot - soooo cute!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Baking Date and Walnut Biscuits

I made these Date and Walnut biscuits today as a snack for morning tea at work - they were easy enough to make, but the final result is a not-so-sweet biscuit. Probably a good thing to not be having too much sugar - but they just taste too damn healthy! So without further ado here is the recipe for not-so-sweet date and walnut biscuits....

Not-So-Sweet Date and Walnut Biscuits
Makes about 3 dozen biscuits

120g Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg
120g Dates, chopped
1/2 cup Walnuts, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
2 cups Self Raising Flour, sifted

Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg and beat well. Fold the walnuts and dates into the butter mixture. Add the flour and lemon juice and stir until all the ingredients are combined. Roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place them on lined baking trays, flatten them slightly to get a nice shape. Bake in a moderate oven for 15 minutes, or until golden.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Nervous First Post

Well here goes nothing…my first ever blog post. This is something that I have been planning to do for some time now, but like many things it has been pushed aside when life continually gets in the way. Primarily I want this blog as a central place for me to collect my thoughts, ideas and projects on everything from cooking, baking, arts, crafts and anything else I am up to at the time. Hopefully it will serve as a way to keep myself motivated and busy so that I can keep on creating new and wonderful things each and every day. Well that is dream anyway.

Before I get carried away though, I think a short snippet about me is in order. I am a happily married 25 year old woman living in Adelaide Australia, with her husband and two lovely cats. We are currently expecting a new addition to the household in late October, which makes me 26 weeks pregnant and an expectant mother. I am currently working full time at a printing company in an administrative role, but will soon be heading towards maternity leave – which may even lead to a full time stay at home position if finances permit.

Well that is it from me and my first ever post, hopefully there will be many more to come!