I Made It: Dinner, Om Nom

Hello! I KNOW, this is me blogging for what, the third time in a week, or something like that? Don’t keel over in shock. I’ve finally come up with a Plan that I think might see me blogging more regularly–but then again, I’m currently Not At Work (because surgery), and we all know that full time teaching tends to play havoc with my most carefully laid plans all the time. So. Blogging: I have a plan; we’ll see if it survives contact with the enemy next week 😉

Anyway the net result of this is that a) you’ll hopefully have more blog posts to read, but the corollary is that b) random topics. I can’t be thinky and deep all the time (AH HA HA MY POSTS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THINKY AND DEEP WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING SHUT UP) so prepare for more randomness.

On that note, dinner. 1) Due to my recently acquired gallbladderlessness, I have to, er, tinker with the way I’ve been eating. Not outright change, but definitely, undeniably tinker. It’s possible that you don’t know, but I’m vegetarian, and have been my whole life. I’m not vegan, though, and I love me some dairy. Sadly, that’s part of the problem: I love me some dairy a little too much. Animals fats are high on the list of things that can exacerbate my digestive system now, so urgh, I have to learn to cook without cheese at every meal. (Meals without some variety of cheese? What even IS this?)

2) In my attempt to establish more regular blogging, I decided alliteratively that Mondays shall hence with be Made-it Mondays, wherein I can post pictures/evidence of something non-writingish that I have recently made. Dual purposes: a) I believe strongly that writers, as well as every other type of person in existence, should fundamentally be creative people. Being creative is soul nourishing, character developing, anxiety liberating, and a perfect antidote to an overly capitalist/consumerist society. People who are alive create; people who aren’t consume. (For the purposes of this argument, assume ‘create’ is defined in the broadest sense possible.) And b) this will force me to both i) make time to pursue my other creative hobbies that tend to fall by the wayside (music, drawing, photography, cooking, baking, building lego sculptures, etc :D) and ii) acknowledge the act of creation in the mundane. Because sometimes, like today, the most blog-worthy thing I created was dinner. But you know what? That’s totally okay, because creating food is still creating, and when you look at it that way making dinner is no longer drudgery, and is instead a creative and interesting endeavour 🙂

So! All of that preamble aside, dinner! I’ve had my eye on this recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s blog since Deb posted it because I am TOTALLY ADDICTED to all things sweet potato AND all things involving baked vegetables, and this not only ticked both those boxes BUT so long as I kept the yogurt dressing to a minimum it also fit my other ‘dietary requirement’ bills (yay non-animal protein). (sigh).

The recipe is Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt and it’s pretty much as it says on the can, except that the title neglects to mention the delicious spicy kick from the chilli and paprika, and the sour OM NOM from the Greek yogurt and lime juice. Either way, it was dead simple to make, incredibly tasty,* and it’s going on my regular roster – albeit as an Amy lunch food rather than dinner, since Mr 4 is currently incompatible with orange vegetables** and Mr Laurens was not a giant fan of the sum total of the parts.

Anyway. Crunchy, sweet, sour, spicy, and with a good hit of protein. Dead easy to make. Good weekday food. The only thing I changed in the recipe was the amount of lime juice – I only used one lime 🙂

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* So long as you’re a comparable sweet potato freak, I guess. Husband was not a massive fan.

** Though strangely enough carrots are still okay. Go figure. Still, better than my “I will not eat anything but corn kernels and cottage cheese” phase at an approximately similar age, I guess.

Random Lunch Recipe: Pear Salad

Because it’s autumn here and this was just the thing for a lovely, sunny, bright and breezy day 🙂

Ingredients (per person)

A large double handful of baby spinach leaves, torn
1 beurre bosc pear (or one with similar soft texture), cubed
50g of soft feta (more or less), crumbled
1T pecans, roughly crushed
1T black cherry vinegar*
1 med-large strawberry
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Finely chop or puree strawberry with vinegar. Let steep. Meanwhile, combine all other ingredients and gently toss. Pour over vinegar, season and consume 🙂

Alternatives

* Good quality balsamic vinegar should be a passable substitute for black cherry vinegar.
Try walnuts instead of pecans, apples instead of pears, or parmesan instead of feta.

This Is How We Party…

Family friend’s 18th party on Sunday, and it was the family team at work in all our usual roles: Mum on food, Jess on decorations, me on cake, and Em on stand-by/gofer/jack-of-all. Friend wanted a picnic in the park–less clean up, good choice!–and the weather held out, which is not usual for this time of year in Canberra–it’s usually teeth-blisteringly freezing by now.

Picnic in the park; pretty simple, right? Ha. This is how we party.

 

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(There were originally a whole bunch of paper lanterns hanging across the top of the shelter, and a big pink parasol hanging at the back. Alack, the wind…)

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And the cake, a milk-choc mud cake with orange marmalade filling (since friend wanted jaffa), with cinnamon and cloves in the cake (to blend better with the orange). The filling, meh. I’d do it differently next time. The cake–well. Husband dislikes cake. He usually declines, or if pressed for politeness, will have the tiniest of nibbles. He devoured an entire bowlful of trimmings and lamented the subsequent empty bowl. I call that a win.

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No candles – we used sparklers instead 🙂 Four down each side to make eight, then one in the middle to make “eighteen” 😀

 

Sugar-free Chocolate!

Also, in other (much more exciting) news, I am now making sugar-free chocolate by the block, and you can have some, if you’d like. Check it out at http://cobbettandpaws.wordpress.com 🙂

In fact, because I am excited about my chocolate, how about I offer you a block? Comment below with your name and some way to get in contact with you (email, facebook, twitter, phone if you live in Australia, whatever), and on Friday I’ll draw the names out of a hat. Metaphorically speaking. Winner can choose a block – at the moment I have 60% dark (all blocks are based on this, so they’re all dark), almond, coconut rough (dark with a touch of milk), and mint (not pictured). Go to, and if you spread the word somehow and let me know you can have an extra entry 😉

Five Pack of Cobbett&Paws Chocolate

What To Do When You’re Feeding An Army…

…at home, and you lack the flatware for everyone to eat off. Seriously, guys: this is an AWESOME IDEA. If we hadn’t just had a massive dinnerware set donated to us, I’d totes be doing this next time I needed to feed a bunch of people 😀

(seriously, read the link – it’s cheaper than disposable plates and so insanely clever it almost feels like you’re doing something illegal…)

http://theyearofless.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/day-87-better-than-disposable-dishware.html

Sweet Potato Savoury Slice

My best friend in high school introduced me to this, and I haven’t made it in yeeeeears. But, I have lovely fresh sweet potatoes grown only a couple of hours away from here waiting to be used, and a bazillion and one eggs (otherwise known as 43 o.O) in the fridge because both Boyo and I thought we were out. Oops. So. Lunch, that is tasy and filling and nutritious and all those other good things.

 

Sweet Potato SliceIngredients

400g ish of sweet potato – peel it, and slice it thinly

200g of feta – hard, soft, whatever you like best

1T crumbled basil (I used frozen from fresh for the first time, which was surprisingly good, actually)

6 eggs – free range of course 😉

1/3c of cream – I used thickened as that’s all we had

 

Microwave/steam the sweet potato until nearly cooked. Layer half in the bottom of a greased baking dish – mine was about 15cm x 22cm at a guess. Crumble over half the feta and sprinkle over half the basil. Mix eggs and cream – I beat lightly with a fork until combined. Pour half of it over the sweet potato etc in the dish. Layer on the rest of the sweet potato, feta, basil and egg mixuture. Bake at 180C for 20-25 mins until nearly set and just browning. Remove from oven and sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy hot or cold :o)

Octopuses Achieve Consciousness

This makes me irrationally happy. Octopuses and I have a very love-terror relationship: the freak the heck out of me, but I also adore them.

 

In other news, I think I have begun to clarify my relationship with writing. Happy days. Also, the bread-shoggoth is beginning to make bubbles; hopefully we shall have an active culture soon and can start experimenting with this whole bread-making idea. Rah. Also-also, I totally survived the English teacher Professional Development workship that I was asked to run last night, and it went swimmingly. They have encouragd me to volunteer to run it again next year. Also-also-also and also finally, I must now run away to do Sekrit Project things for tomorrow’s hens night (for my high school bestie, not me). Pictures forthcoming. Woo-rah.

Enter: A Shoggoth

Husband has decided he wants a shoggoth – not quite the Lovecraftian version, but the edible version, which is actually fairly close 😛 Anyway, that is what the Sparkly One calls it, and I have adopted the name.

So, I am researching shoggoth-making, and we have our first little experiment sitting in a jar on the bench. He’s to be fed every day this week, and hopefully, weather-dependant, he make be ready for bread-making next weekend. Stay turned, bwa ha ha. O:)

(Also, because we have yeast in the cupboard that needed using, we made a quick loaf which is now in the oven. A little suspicious about how it will turn out, because we… made a few mistakes. Like forgetting to add yeast until it was already all mixed up. Oops. Again: stay tuned.)