Archive for Cooking

Veg box challange – week 1

Ok, so perhaps if I blog what arrives in the veg box each week and what I do with it I might manage to eat more and compost less. My veg box is from Abel and Cole because I like the fact that you can create a likes and dislikes list which affects what you receive – you won’t be sent any dislikes although there is a limit to the number of things you can add to this list. This week I have received:

  • Aubergine
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Courgettes
  • Chard
  • Jersey Royals
  • Radish
  • Spring greens

The things I’ll need to try hardest to use up will be the celery and the radish. Not sure what to do with them, particularly the radish.

Half the jersey royals have gone already, with fish or quorn, last weeks spring greens, carrot and asparagus for tonights dinner, yummy.

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How to eat more greens, part 2.

The chard, a few mushrooms, an onion, 3 eggs, lots of grated parmesan, black pepper and a splash of cream all went into making a veggie carbonara with pasta twirls (fusili, possibly, the young man’s favorite shape anyway). It was good, even if I do say so myself. Actually the 3 empty bowls back me up so I will do this again next time I have some chard or similar to use up. It was a nice change from the tomato based sauce I usually end up making to use up veggies.

Still don’t know what to do with the spring greens tomorrow night – I’m thinking it will be stir fryed with some chinese 5 spice or similar, because that’s what I usually do with cabbage. Perhaps inspiration will hit me at some point. I’ll let you know anyway and what arrives in the veg box.

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How to eat more greens?

I need some suggestions on how to eat more greens. We have a weekly veg box delivery, due tomorrow, and I was just having a look in the fridge to see what needs using up before it arrives and what has gone past its best and is heading for the compost bin. I’m afraid to say its mostly green leafy veg in both camps. I have some kale which will go in pasta sauce tonight and a bag of spring greens i must use up tomorrow (ideas anyone?). Unfortunatly there is a small cabbage, possibly from my mum’s veg box I don’t remember it arriving in mine, a few leaves of pak choi and a bag of ‘salad mix’ (exotic lettuce by another name) that are only fit for the compost. I thought I’d specified no lettuce because I have some growing in the garden and none of us particularly like the very peppery leaves, but this arrived last week. If my parent’s hadn’t been away I’d have probably passed it on to them.

I really ought to do better, especially when you consider there are 2 adults, 1 toddler and 2 bearded dragons in the house who all eat, or ought to eat, their greens.

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I made a version of this for dinner tonight with the fennel from the veg box and it was very yummy. I don’t think I had cooked anything from Jamie’s Italy before, I think I’ll have to look at it again and try some more recipes. Definatly looking forward to more fennel tho, I’ll have to try something else next time.

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A day of baking

This was actually last week, but I haven’t had time to write about it until now. Last wednesday I had a baking day and made 3 dozen fairy cakes (double the recipe of p39 of Nigella’s ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess‘) including icing most of them in tasteful shades of pink, yellow and white. Her recipe warns you it doesn’t look enough for 12 (one quantity) but I had no problems making a double quantity fill 36 cases, perhaps she uses the larger muffin sized cases whereas I used the small fairy cake sized ones. One day I will make tiny ones in petite four cases, they will be so cute. Can you tell I like fairy cakes?

I also made her Banana bread for the first time; this includes sultanas soaked in rum so it yery yummy but possibly not one for children. This might become my new favorite banana cake recipe, my previous one is a really quick one from one of Cas Clarke’s ‘Grub on a Grant‘ books, although that one uses less bowls and makes less washing up, the Nigella one is a lovely light, moist banana cake. I’m sure I could omit the rum next time and there will be a next time both because the recipe was yummy and because I often end up with slightly too ripe bananas that need using up. Actually, I have been know to let bananas go very ripe on purpose, I just like banana cake.

The final lot of baking was actually a recipe from my cookbook challange book: Flapjacks. I usually use my Mum’s recipe which, in my opinion, is the nicest flapjack ever, just the right amount of crunch, but I couldn’t find it. This recipe also includes coconut and sesame seeds and the only sugar comes from honey (actually the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of malt extract and 1 of honey or 3 of honey which I used as I don’t have malt extract. The malt extract might make the honey taste less pronounced). They are yummy, and are probably better for you with the coconut and sesame seeds, so I’ll be cooking these again but I do hope I find Mum’s recipe soon. Flapjacks are great for lunch boxes as they don’t end up a mass of crumbs.

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Quick pasta supper

Last night we had this quick mushroom pasta for tea. I spotted the recipe on maggiedon’s blog and thought it would be nice and quick when we got in after swimming. I could have done with a few more mushrooms (I pinched some sunday for my lunch, woops!) and I also cut down the amount of butter. I used some real Italian pasta I was given after someone’s holiday in Italy. I don’t know what the shape is called but it looke like long bunny ears (individual, not pairs!) and had a nice bite to the edges. Very tasty, very garliky and judging by how fast A ate his he liked it too.

I do need to cook more of my cookbook challange recipes, rather than other peoples, trouble is reading all these yummy cooking blogs is giving me more ideas than time to cook.

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Mother’s Day

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the UK and I got a lovely card and a planted hanging basket so that was really nice. The hanging basket is currently outside my kitchen window but will probably be moved outside the front door as soon as I can arrange for a bracket to be put up there.

I cooked sunday lunch for my parents and made my mum some rocky road after some hints were dropped. I’ll have to let you know whether they tasted ok. I did offer A one of the marshmallows while I was making them, and after eagerly trying it he pulled a really funny face and picked it out of hs mouth with his fingers and gave it back to me, lovely! So that’s the second thing he’s tried and doesn’t like, the other is ice cream. Funny child!

After lunch we attacked the three cornus bushes in the front garden. They were about 18ft high and hadn’t been pruned for several years. I also think that three is too many for the space, but I can’t do a lot about that. They are now cut right down and I have my fingers crossed they will shoot again, if not, I’ll replace them with something else. I do like cornus, just not ones that are threatening to shade the upstairs window.

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Mmmm moussaka

This has to be my all time favorite moussaka recipe and when I saw two aubergines peeking out of the veg box I knew what I would be cooking with them. I don’t eat it as often as I’d like as M doesn’t like aubergines, but it was easy enough to make a small lasagna for him as well, and as the moussaka doesn’t need you to faff about grilling slices of aubergine and layering it, it is much easier than I imagine. I ought to make it more often.

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Kitchen Gadgets

I love kitchen gadgets. I found it quite difficult in the flat as there was no room for storage and even less worktop space so gadgets had to be put away on top of cupboards and other inaccessible places and they didn’t get used as much as they might. In the bigger kitchen however I have space for the bread machine and a newly aquired microwave combination oven on the work top as well as the steamer, which was one of the few gadgets I did use a lot in the flat. I also have a nice big cupboard to keep the others in so they all get used more.

However the kitchen gadget I couldn’t live without is my slicer – a mandolin (not the musical instrument) – I love it and it makes chopping onions a breeze and is the only way I can get even thin slices of things like potato. Its a rare day I do any cooking and don’t use it. Well, unless I’m baking a cake!

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Curry night and leftovers

I cooked curry for dinner tonight which was a first for A, he loved it! I didn’t follow the recipe exactly as M prefers hotter curries, while I’m the mild and creamy korma type, but veggie, so I quickly boiled a little cubed butternut squash for a couple of minutes and added that instead of the chicken. A then had some cooked chicken added at the end. If the recipe is supposed to make two childs portions then I think I’m in for a shock at how much little people eat. A and I had plenty to eat plus there is a small amount left to go in the freezer for a quick dinner another time. Ok, so I didn’t weigh everything, but I don’t think I over estimated too much, I did measure the liquid ingrediants and there was a lot of (yummy) sauce.

I don’t usually use specific child recipes as I have always tried to cook things we can all eat rather than A having special food, but this recipe sounded nice when I read it in a free leaflet and I fancied trying it as well. I’m glad I did.

I am accumulating an odd selection of leftovers in the fridge:

  • Half a carton of passata
  • Half a tin of coconut milk
  • One egg white
  • Half a butternut squash
  • Lots of kiwi fruit (I haven’t made the sorbet yet)
  • Some over-ripe pears (crumble?)
  • Cabbage
  • Variety of cheeses
  • Cooked chicken
  • Cold roast lamb

Plus I have the usual everyday stuff. I usually make soup if I have things that need using up but this list does not say soup to me. The coconut milk is the most difficult one for me as I usually only use it in curry but I don’t think it will last until next week’s curry night.

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