Made It Monday: Disappearing Zucchini Soup (Courgettes, For Some Of You ;))

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Food, this week, because despite spending an intense day in the last week of holidays making two weeks’ worth of meals and freezing them for when school went back and I’d be smashingly exhausted, it’s been a pretty inspiring food week and I haven’t actually *used* anything from the freezer yet! (Despite being smashingly exhausted. Me and food are on good terms this week. Possibly because I *devoured* Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in two days – no pun intended ;))

I had a run of like three or four REALLY GOOD meals in a row, including the very first time I’ve ever cooked fish that didn’t involve just wrapping it in foil with herbs and butter and baking it in the oven.* But the recipe I’m sharing today is actually mine, so I feel like it’s a little more in line with the ‘Made It Monday’ concept, so this is the one I’m sharing.

Also, it’s a really good way to use up those giant, surplus zucchinis that always end up hanging around at the end of the season, AND it freezes well, so you can have your zucchini hit well into autumn and winter 🙂 It’s called ‘disappearing zucchini soup’ party because it’s a good way of ‘disappearing’ those extra zucchinis, and partly because they kind of do disappear into the soup 🙂

 

* Yes, yes, I’m vegetarian, but we’ll eat fish if/when my husband catches it fresh, so 2-4 times per year. After the success of this experiment, we may try to make that more often! 😀

Pot of chunky, vibrantly green soup simmering on the stove

DISAPPEARING ZUCCHINI SOUP
Makes 6-8 serves*

INGREDIENTS
1 large bunch of spring onions (actually green onions or scallions, I dunno why we persist in calling them SPRING onions in Australia)
1 leek
Oil, for sauteing
6-8 heaped teaspoons of vegetable stock powder
8c water
6-8 medium potates
2 large (forearm-length) zucchinis
1 handful fresh basil leaves
Salt, to taste
1T dried chives
2t dried ground sage
1/3c grated cheese (cheddar or tasty etc)
1/2c milk (or more to taste)
1 can corn kernels, drained.

METHOD
Slice up the whites and some of the greens of the onions and leeks. Saute gently in olive oil (or other oil or butter or whatever).
Add stock powder, mix until pasty and heat for a minute (this helps release the flavours in the stock).
Add your water and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, finely dice your potatoes and grate the zucchinis. Once the water is boiling, add the potatoes for 5 mins then the zucchinis and basil for an additional 3-4, until the potatoes are soft. Add salt to taste.
Add the chives, sage and cheese and stir until cheese is melted, then add milk.
Use a bar mix to blend until smooth, then add the drained corn kernels. Adjust seasonings if necessary and serve with sour cream and, if you can bothered, a grate of parmesan. Om nom. 🙂

* Honestly I have no idea how many serves this makes because I serve two adults and two small children who may or may not be hungry and then package up some of the rest for my lunches for the week and then throw the rest in the freezer. But on the basis that one cup of water equals one serving, you can assume about 8. For reference, we got out of it two adult dinners, two tiny dinners, four adult lunches and then probably another two adult dinners for the freezer.

What have you made this week? (It doesn’t have to be fancy!!) Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

#MadeItMonday: Zucchini Pasta/Courgette Pasta

Welcome to #MadeItMonday, where I post something I’ve made in the previous week, and where you can join in and post something you made too! The rules are easy: post a pic somewhere of something you’ve made in the last week (ish; let’s say in the last month as the hard-and-fast) and tag it. Sit back and enjoy scrolling through all the beautiful things we’ve collectively created, and celebrate the fact that humans can be awesome! 🙂

Today I’m sharing a recipe that was first made by my sister, and then was further developed to increase the degree of laziness required to make the dish. Lazy dishes are a must when you get home from work exhausted and brain-dead, and healthy, filling food is a must when you’re feeding small hungry people (and husbands, ha). This is now a two-pot dish, one for the pasta and one for the sauce, and it takes as long to make as it does to boil a large pot of water and cook the pasta, so not terribly long. As for the brain-dead component, literally all you have to do is a bit of chopping, then dump everything in a pan and let it fry. ‘S my kind of weeknight recipe!!

Pasta dish with delicious chunks of zucchini, baked sweet potato, home-made garlic bread and topped with parmesan cheese in a white bowl with a silver fork

INGREDIENTS
Spaghetti for 4 (or spirals, they work great in this)
2 sml or 1 lrg orange sweet potato (might be a yam where you live)
Olive oil for frying
1/2 t Moroccan seasoning
1/2 t ground sage
1/4 t lemon pepper seasoning (or just pepper, and add a dash of lemon juice)
1/4 t chili flakes
generous shake of garlic salt, to taste (or salt to taste, and add crushed garlic to taste)
1/4 c pine nuts (or crumbled pecans)
90g butter (ish; more or less depending on how much fat the frying needs – about 3 ounces)
1/3 c breadcrumbs (preferably the herbs-included variety; more if you need more crunch towards the end or need to use up the packet)
1/4 c fresh grated parmesan (using fresh grated really does make a difference; more or less to taste)
2 sml zucchini, sliced (might be a courgette where you live)
150g soft (Danish) feta, or other soft, salty cheese (about 5 ounces)

METHOD
1) If you’re organised and have time, peel the sweet potato, chop it into 1-inch-ish sort of shapes, and bake it with olive oil and salt until blackened around the edges. If, like most people, you’re pressed for time, just microwave it until it’s tender (7 mins in my microwave at full power).

2) Put your large pot of water for the pasta on to boil.

3) In a frying pan or saute pan, heat up your oil over a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add your herbs and spices, the nuts, and the breadcrumbs. Fry ’em up, stirring constantly, for about a minute or two. Don’t let them burn. Crispy is good. Charred is not.

4) Add in your zucchini and parmesan. You don’t have to stir constantly, but do flip the mixture over and around every so often to give new zucchini slices a chance at the heat, and to make sure the crumby-nutty mix doesn’t burn.

5) Around now, you should be right to put your pasta into a boiling pot of water. Cook it until tender according to packet instructions.

6) Sweet potato will now also be ready. Drain it and dump it in the pan with the zucchini mix. As per 4: you want the veggies to have the chance to develop a little bit of a crispy crust if you can, without the crumby mix burning. You’ll probably be right to turn it off before the pasta is cooked, giving you the chance to dig out some bowls.

7) Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and dish it out into bowls. Portion over the veggie mix, and then garnish with the crumbled feta. Alternatively, you could dump the pasta into the veggie pan and mix it all through, because who can be bothered plating up twice? 😉

BONUS: The recipe is vegetarian, and if you simply omit the butter (use a little more oil instead if you need it) and the cheeses, it could be vegan!
What have YOU made this week? Don’t forget to tag your contribution, or even better, leave a link in the comments!! I love seeing what inspiring things other people have made 🙂 🙂 🙂

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The Making Of…

We’re nearly out of baby wipes. I went to the supermarket about a week ago, intending to buy some (along with groceries for the week), and came out with none. Every single brand except one was choc full of parabens (emerging research – example – shows that high concentrations of parabens are found in breast cancers, and that they encourage tumour growth; the exact link is as yet unknown, and of course, for every study linking the two, there is a study claiming no link – and bearing in mind the fact that a lot of scientific reserach is funded by companies who have a significantly vested interest in parabens NOT being linked to breast cancers… Well, let’s just say I’d much rather be safe than sorry.), and the one that had no parabens was – yay – the organic brand, but – boo – more expensive than I was willing to pay.

Given I’d read like a year or more ago, when still pregnant, that making your own was dead easy, I figured it was time to give it a try. It’s taken a week and of course I decided to do it on the day when I’m sick and feel like my face is going to explode. Maybe trying to distract myself from how ick I feel? But anyway. I’m quite pleased with the result.

I decided to go with the spray-on method. I’d bought a box of wipes (rather than a packet) relatively recently, half-thinking that I’d use the box to make my own wipes when it was empty, but reading around and thinking about it, there doesn’t seem to be a way to avoid making new batches of wipes pretty frequently with this method – too much liquid in the box, it’ll spill everywhere, and the bottoms ones will be soaked and useless, not enough liquid and the paper towel that is the base of the wipes will dry out, and as a friend pointed out, there is always the potential for mould o.O

So. Another blog I found talked about using cloth wipes, and to do that, you just dampen the cloth before using. Tried that at one point, and it was massively inconvenient, because I’d sit down to nappy-change and realise I haven’t wet the cloth, and kid was now half naked, and it was all just too late.

Enter the spray bottle. Which, once I thought of it, I saw in a bazillion places around the web, so you know. A friend linked me to this page, with some ‘recipes’ on it, and being the person I am I mixed and matched. This is what I ended up doing:

 

  • Boil some water, and make a large mug of chamomile tea. The brand I have also includes citrus peel, rosehip, and liquorice root. Double checked, and all are not only safe but good for the skin, so win there.
  • Add the mucousy pulpy insides of an aloe vera leaf. I think it was probably a little less than a tablespoon of the gunk in the end.
  • 4 drops of lavendar essential oil (remember to go easy on the essential oils as they can irritate the skin otherwise).
  • 2 ish tablespoons of grape seed oil (or any good-for-the-skin oil).
  • Put it all into a spray bottle, top it up with cold water if there’s room, wait for it to cool, and use! Spray it onto cloth wipes or paper towels or whatever else you’d like to use, and change those nappies! :o)

 

Also under the category of ‘making of’, I’m in the middle of making a batch of the world’s most heavenly body butter today – it’s in the fridge cooling. It smells like chocolate, you can spread it on toast, it hydrates without stripping your natural oils, and it really is just amazing. Recipe is from my friend Steph here, but instead of coconut and macadamia oils I used grape seed and apricot kernel (and lessened the amount slightly to compensate for the fact that neither are solid like coconut oil). Can’t wait to see how it turns out!

 

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)