Saturday, 20 October 2007

The International Year of the Potato

Can you believe this? The world is FINALLY coming around to my way of thinking. It has taken the powers that be a long time to realise, but eventually, it just had to happen.... 2008 will be the International Year of the Potato.
Hmmmmmm, I think someone has been making some potato home-brew or something!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Another Warm Salad!

Lately I've been trying to be a but healthier by increasing my fruit and vegetable intake, and one of my "things" I've still got happening is the warm salad. I must admit, I am starting from a very low base of fruit and veg, so anything is an increase, really! Just to prove this is so, today, I ate (just one or two!) choc chip cookies and an egg jaffle. Not a green bit in sight!

However the other day, I was feeling a little more creative, so I decided to whip up another warm salad. I was feeling kind of pumpkin-y, or chicken-y or something, I wasn't really sure. So I did the old open-the-fridge-and-stare thing until I was inspired.

I was going to go with pumpkin, but I had half a kumera left, so I started with that. I also like to have a bit of protein to keep me a bit fuller, (in the vain hope that I will have 17 chocolates after lunch instead of my usual 25), so I threw in some chicken, and I was also feeling a bit Moroccan, so I thought I would have some couscous and some spices. Couscous is just pasta, really, so it's probably not even remotely Moroccan, but it always seems to be floating around somewhere in Moroccan recipes, so I officially deem it Moroccan!

My taste buds must have been having some sort of decision making crisis, because I rubbed the chicken with the Moroccan spices, but also made a maple syrup lemon mustard dressing! The dressing got put aside in the fridge for some other day and some other warm salad so I'll write about it once I have eaten it!

Couscous Chicken Salad
1/4 cup couscous
1/4 cup hot chicken stock
Small handful toasted flaked almonds
Small handful currants
1/2 kumera, peeled and diced
2 chicken tenderloins
1 tbs moroccan spice mix
Handful baby spinach

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degC. Spray the kumera with olive oil. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until browned to your liking.
Pour the stock over the couscous and set aside for 5 minutes.
Pour boiling water over the spinach, leave for one minute, drain, rinse with cold water, then drain again very well.
Add the spinach, currants and almonds to the couscous, mix well.
Spray chicken with olive oil then sprinkle over the spice mix.
Heat a small frypan over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil.
Cook chicken until just done.
Mix hot kumera with couscous mix. Serve topped with chicken.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Super Snack: Scrambled Eggs with Salsa

One of the benefits of getting older is that your taste buds die off. (It must be true if a website with this name says so.. ) Some of you may not necessarily see this as a benefit but just think - this allows you to eat all those strongly flavoured foods you thought were yuck when you were a kid! Think of avocado and mushrooms. Before….ewwwww! But now…..wooohooo!

Avocado is something I have only just started to enjoy. This is because all those sleepless nights are drastically ageing me and killing off my taste buds at a far more rapid rate, thus allowing me to eat this slimy green mush. This is not really the greatest theory, because PorkChop eats avocado, but it will do.

Anyway, I think avocado is healthy – good fats and all that – so it fits into my new health regime. This very stringent new regime involves me abstaining from any junk food until after 9 o’clock. (in the morning, of course). Today I managed to get all the way to 9:15am before cracking the marshmallows. I foolishly left them beside the computer from my post-dinner sugar hit last night, so they were still there this morning, softly calling my name. But I digress. Back to avocado.

One of my current favourite snacks is scrambled eggs with salsa. It’s one of those things you can have at 3pm to tide you over until dinner. The eggs give you that protein-filling-you-up-ness and the salsa cuts the richness of the eggs with a good burst of sharp flavour. It also adds to your vegetable score for the day! It’s also very tasty! It would be good for breakfast or even lunch with some toast or bread (followed by a croissant to wash it all down).

Two little tips for new players…
Maybe everyone else knows this, but because I am new to avocado, I only recently found out that it is the stone that keeps the avocado from going brown. So when you cut open your avocado, leave the stone in the half you are not going to use, cover with glad wrap and keep in the fridge. I always thought you had to put lemon juice on, but that is totally unnecessary.
My other fabulous tip for today - when you cook scrambled eggs, if you salt them before you cook them, they will be tough. I don’t know if this is true or not and I can’t remember where I read it, but it seems reasonable, so I go with it, and my scrambled eggs seem pretty good (according to me!)

Scrambled Eggs with Salsa
Serves 1

1 small roma tomato, seeds removed, diced
½ small tin corn kernels, drained
½ avocado, skin removed, chopped
1 green onion/shallot/scallion, chopped
Squeeze lemon or lime juice
Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together for the salsa. Serve with scrambled eggs! (You don’t really need a recipe for scrambled eggs, do you?!?!)

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


It's been a bit light on in the old post department this week - probably because I was away enjoying some quality time with the family. There is nothing better than being woken up at 5am by two children demanding attention and breakfast! Love it!

Anyway, just a short one today. For the most part I absolutely cannot stand all those smarmy lovey dovey the-world-is-beautiful type emails. As a general rule, if you send them, I will delete them. I will never send them on and I will never respond. But one came today with a great line at the bottom that I thought everyone should spend some serious time reflecting upon....

save the planet...... it's the only one with chocolate

Monday, 1 October 2007

I started doing cake decorating about 2 years ago. I’m certainly no professional, but I really enjoy it. Since the very beginning, the one cake I have wanted to make is Noah’s Ark. So a few weeks ago, I decided to take the plunge and make one for PorkChop’s birthday. I was talking about it with my friend Mopik and she commented that I really should do the best possible job considering it’s the cake I always wanted to make. No pressure there!!!

The animals can largely be made in advance, except for a few ears and tails which need to be molded to fit in and around the other animals, so over the past few weeks, when the kids had gone to bed and I wasn’t too tired, I made pigs and pandas and giraffes! I baked the cake a few weeks ago and put it in the freezer so I could carve the ark shape out of it. I just rented a cake tin - $2.75 to rent for one day, $45 to buy it outright – the decision was easy.

On Friday, Mum came over to help with PorkChop (Boof was at pre-school) while I constructed the ark. It actually came together much easier than I thought – it still took ages though! Each plank was cut and stuck on individually so that was a bit time consuming, and I wasn’t really happy with the roof in the original picture so I changed that, and I made a few extra small animals.

I love food, and I love to cook but I am not the most co-ordinated crafty person in the world, so I am absolutely over the moon with the results!!