Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Super Simple "Emergency" Soup

Well, it was cold last night, and the realisation that I could have been at work, without my car all day... well... it made me want comfort food.  This soup just needs to boil for about 20 minutes, then just boil again during breakfast to be hot to take to work.  And it only takes about 5 minutes to prepare.  This is why I call it "Emergency" soup.  It's super easy to make for an unexpected group for lunch or dinner, and always makes enough for left overs.  In case of people arriving while soup is on... add more water and croutons. 

1 packet Kings Hearty Vegetable soup mix (I know... it is a cheat... but I like that it already has barley and lentils in the packet....)
1 small onion
1/2 leek
1/2 bunch of celery
2 carrots
Salt and pepper
1 thingy of vegetable stock (I used to use cubes, now I get little tubs of vegetable stock concentrate)
2 litres water

1.  Turn the heat on low, and place a large saucepan on the stove.
2.  Dice the onion, throw into the pot.  Slice the celery and leek, to about 7mm in width, throw in the pot.  Give it a wee stir.  The celery will smell amazing.
3.  Peel and slice the carrot.  I usually make carrot hearts, but I was in a rush.  Throw in pot.  Give everything a good stir.
4.  Add the soup mix, stock, salt and pepper, stir.
5.  Add the water.  Let everything boil for about 20 minutes, turn off the heat, and place the lid on top of the pot.

Next morning, boil and take in a travel mug.  Nom.  The only issue... I clearly did not take enough soup today. :(

Monday, April 22, 2013

Spicy Corn Fritters

I'm a fritter fan.  And on cold days, I find nothing nicer than corn fritters with tomato sauce.  Yes, I am THAT classy.

Spicy Corn Fritters

1 small red onion - diced
1 can cream corn
3/4 cup flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 egg
1 tspn curry powder
1 green chilli - finely chopped
Salt and pepper

1.  Chop all the raw ingredients

2.  Mix all fresh ingredients, with the corn and the sifted flour.  Mix with a fork.

3.  Fry in a hot pan with a little olive oil

Sunday, April 21, 2013

15 Posts... 15 Days

This is the plan....

I have school holidays... (YAY!) and a list of 200 things I have to do (BOO!)... and that doesn't include any of the normal day-to-day stuff.  So I figure, I need to stay focussed on what is important during this time.  The plan is simple... 15 food posts in 15 days.  Something that will force me to write in the blog every day, even though the rest of my life will be chaotic.

Well... plans are good.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tie-dye Rainbow Cake

I admit it... I have become known for my Rainbow Cake... but even I admit that it is sweet to the extreme.  With 5 layers, jam holding the layers together, and 2 layers of icing, it is a mouthful.  It also takes a couple of days to compile.  Literally.  So this is an easier alternative.  And I did need to make a cake to farewell my fantastic student teacher.

How to do this....

Make one batch of White Cake.

Then using the 1 cup scoop (I have a cup scoop that is a little less than a full cup, 235ml, which is great).  Scoop a cup, and colour with red colouring.  Mix with a small spatula, then dump in the middle of a cake tin. Take anther scoop and colour with orange.  Dump this into the middle of the red.  Repeat until you have run out of cake mix or colours.

Smooth the cake batter around the pan carefully, trying not to disturb the colour mix as much as possible.

Bake as usual.  I like a chocolate icing, covered with sprinkles. ;)

When cut, the colours look pretty impressive.

There is my layered Rainbow Cake taking centre stage at the last staff morning tea shout.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bombay Potatoes

Okay, these are truly nomlicious.  And I could eat them all day.

Bombay Potatoes on the Left.  (the other side is a meh chickpea curry)

5 medium potatoes
Olive oil
1tsp yellow mustard seeds or fenugreek
2 bay leaves
1 onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1tsp turmeric
1tsp coriander (ground)
1tsp chilli powder or 3 green chillies (finely sliced, seeds in)
juice of one small lemon


1.  Boil the potatoes whole, skins on.  When soft to the touch, but skins still attached, drain in a colander and allow to cool.

2.  Heat oil in a deep fry pan.  Throw in the bay leaves and the mustard seeds.  Lid on the pan as the little seeds jump everywhere. Add onions.  Saute until they are clear.

3.  Throw in the garlic, turmeric, coriander, chilli and mix until all combined.  Add the lemon juice to the hot pan.

4.  Dice the potatoes into big chunks and throw them in the pan.  Stir to coat all the flavours over them.  Fry with the lid off to get them crispy. 

Serve with fresh coriander, or on the side of another curry.  They keep in the fridge for a couple of days... in theory... but these never last longer than next-day-lunch.

A lesson in Mastercheffing.

Alright... I am not a masterchef.... but.... sometimes I cook like one.  Alright, so once a week I cook like a masterchef.  Why?  Because I can.


No, it's because otherwise I end up spending over 100 bucks a week on buying lunch and/or breakfast or takeaways for tea.  And I would rather buy ridiculous leggings (Blackmilk), geek supplies (thinkgeek) or travelling.  (I am aware that without my other obsessions I would be able to travel FAR more often than I do now).

So I use Sundays for preparation.  We go grocery shopping on a Friday night, so I have to be rather organised mentally for what we buy.... but generally I am at a loose end, and we grab the usuals, with whatever fresh is on special/in season.... and whatever is growing in the garden.  Saturday becomes housework and garden... by which time I am mentally prepared for the week ahead.  We also make curry with all the fixin's, yep, the husband is Indian and a week without curry isn't worth living I have been told.  Also, it's the time that I would have seen my mother and my sister and a bit of a swap of fresh veg occurs.  (The sister has tomatoes and blackberries aplenty atm and the mother is a great source of lemons...)

Today broke all records I believe....
  • Red Lentil Dahl made.  The sister wants some, and it is super easy, so I made it. ;)
  • Bombay Potatoes.  The husband wanted these... and they are super easy...
  • Frittata
  • Mac 'n' Cheese
  • Pasta salad
  • Vegies prepped for a mid-week vegetable soup and a leek and mushroom penne.
I hate boiling potatoes for one reason... so I end up doing a double batch- hence the frittata and the Bombay potatoes..... and Pasta seems to come in bags that are too big for one dish.... but I hate half bags that the mice, dogs or clumsy elbows get into and cause a pantry mess.... so the pasta salad.

The plan.

Tonight:  Curry.... We have lamb, Bombay potatoes, dahl, roti and I'll make rice.  (Some of this will become onigiri balls)
Monday:  Lunch - leftover curry for him, mini-mac-n-cheese, frittata and salads.  Dinner... leftovers!
Tuesday:  Leek and Mushroom Penne for him.... I'll have leftovers.  Wraps for lunch.
Wednesday:  Vegetable soup for me, stuffed peppers and roasted chicken legs for him.  Penne for lunch for him.
Thursday:  Chicken stir fry - either noodles or rice... depending on how much time I have after work.  I'll have soup.
Friday:  Stir-fry for his lunch.  I'll be lunching in Wellington on a school trip.

All that remains is to put things in containers.... I'll make rice tonight and container-ise his leftovers.  I'll do a set for the sister as well who with 3 kids under 5 tends to forget to cook for herself.  I'll end up with 4 meal servings of mac and cheese... which I COULD freeze.... but they never last long around here... and 12 mini-macs.  And 6 servings of frittata for lunch during the week for both of us.  The vegies are all prepped and bagged ready to go during the week for stress-free cooking.  Or at least... that is the plan.

Mince selected and bagged, labled and frozen.

I can't believe it's not bacon! Fritatta

 Well, I can believe it's not bacon, but the husband doesn't pay that much attention. ;)  This is my potato oven baked fritatta with red onions.  It is super easy, and fantastic for cold days when a sandwich for lunch is unappealing.  I like it cold, the husband likes it re-heated.

Ingredients (for 6 large servings)
8 eggs (I used 9 because I didn't want to leave one all lonesome in the fridge...)
2 Tbs milk
6 medium potatoes (I use the red ones because I like the colour)
1/2 red onion (diced)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese
Slice the potatoes, about 1cm thick.  You want these as similar as possible.  You could use a mandolin, but I have been showing off my newly accquired knife skills ;) (well, I didn't cut myself so that is a skill).  Boil the potatoes until ALMOST cooked.  Let them drain in a colander.

 Place the eggs in a bowl with the milk and salt and pepper.  Add a bit of salt to create the bacon-esque illusion.  I don't like salt, so I keep it to a minimum.  Whisk until all combined.  There should be a bit of "air" in the mix.

In an oven proof dish, layer the potatoes across the bottom, sprinkle diced onion, then pour some of the egg mixture on top.  I do this 3 times.... but generally until you have run out of potato slices or egg mixture.

Sprinkle cheese on top, with more salt and pepper.  Then place into a hot oven at 180 degrees.  Watch the fritatta.  Cooking times will vary.  Mine was thick so took like 45 minutes.  A thinner fritatta takes less time.  Just wait until the egg is solid and the cheese is browned.

Cut while warm into servings.  We had 2 servings for dinner, and the rest were cooled, wrapped and refrigerated and sent in lunchboxes.  It holds up well over the journey to work/school, and tastes great hot or cold.  I have also been known to include corn kernels,  peas, carrots, capsicum or other bits and pieces leftover in the fridge... but this was made at the end of a grocery week.