Monday, December 19, 2011

Lentil and Vegetable Stew

This was nom for dinner tonight and even Mr I-Don't-Liiiiike-That ate it, so it deserves to go on the blog for posterity.


4 small onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 1/2 cups dried mixed lentils (I used blue, brown and red)
3 cups diced pumpkin, carrot and sweet potato
1 bottle passata
1 cup kalamata olives
½ cup sun dried tomatoes
1 tsp each dried basil and oregano
½ – 1 tsp chilli (to taste, optional)
1-2 cups green beans, roughly chopped
shredded cabbage
tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Saute the onions til starting to turn translucent, then add the root vegetables and sweat for a while. Add the garlic, then after a few minutes, the lentils and enough water to cover everything generously. Put the lid on and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the lentils are part-cooked. Add the passata, olives and sun-dried tomatoes, herbs and chilli (if using), bring back to the boil and simmer until lentils are cooked. Check and add water occasionally to stop the lentils from sticking. About five minutes before serving, stir through the cabbage and green beans and balsamic vinegar.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hey ho, another change

This blog has become pretty erratic. I blame the acquisition of a life. This cottage farming bizzo dramatically lessens the allotment of sitting-on-arse-blogging time, who knew?

Anyway, latest news on the farm front is that we have a house cow. The two pigs we acquired a couple of months ago are not immediately contributing to the food supply, but the cow is another matter! So in the immediate future, this blog will probably move towards chronicling my attempt to find more lower-carb vegetarian dairy recipes. Lower-carb meaning not containing pasta, potatoes, rice or flour, which is a big ask in itself, and vegetarian because the point is to replace other sources of protein with our own produce. Meeting both of these requirements is actually quite tricky, especially since it will be a while until we can start incorporating any cheeses which require ageing. But since we can now provide pretty much all of our own yoghurt, butter, cream, sour cream and milk as well as paneer, haloumi, mozzarella and ricotta, there are still quite a few options out there. I just need to find them (and remember to write them down here).

Housemate Dylan is the dairy queen, so I'm not going to be sharing much of the actual basic recipes for any of the above, more what I then do with them. And hopefully, it will be really cool to watch this blog become more of a chronicle of how much of our own produce we can live off, as the garden becomes more productive and we add more animals. I, for one, am really really looking forward to the day when our Saturday morning ritual of Eggs Benedict is made with our own butter, eggs and ham!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Meatballs in a Fruity Chickpea Sauce

This can be made with your mince of choice. Lamb is particularly nice with the Moroccan flavours of the fruity chickpea sauce, but this is my go-to recipe for all mincey creations like hamburgers or meatloaf, or with cooked chickpeas, lentils, beans or even tofu in any combination substituted to make a vegetarian version (although they don't hold together as well as the meat ones). I make a variation of this recipe at a minimum once a fortnight, and no one ever gets tired of it. Just scale up the amounts if you're making something more substantial (eg. after I'd made the meatballs to this recipe, I used nearly a kilo of mince to make a dozen hamburgers and just increased the amounts of the dry ingredients and added another onion and another egg).

  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 6 mushrooms, roughly broken up
  • 4 heaps dessert spoons each ground almonds and wheatgerm
  • 250g mince
  • 1 egg
 Roughly whizz up the onions and mushrooms, then add the mince, ground almonds and wheatgerm and process until it starts coming together. Add the egg either when it starts coming together, or after a minute or so if it isn't combining properly. You want it to start folding over itself at the top and combining all the layers into a big sticky lump. When it's ready, wet your hands and roll small handfuls of the mix into balls. Refrigerate until the sauce is ready (or if you prefer to get rid of some of the fat, you can put them in the oven to par-cook and then drain before adding to the sauce).

Fruity Chickpea Sauce
  • two onions, roughly diced
  • 4 sticks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp chili paste, or dried chili to taste
  • 1 tsp each coriander and cumin, or use a Moroccan spice blend if you have one
  • 2 cups diced pumpkin
  • 2 cups diced carrot
  • 1 turnip, grated (optional, but you can't tell it's in there and it bulks out the sauce)
  • 1 tbsp currants
  • two tins chickpeas (or two heaped cups of cooked chickpeas if you're more organised than me or at least don't switch around your weekly menu plan as much)
  • two tins of diced tomatoes
  • water
Saute the onions, add the celery, and then the garlic, chili and spices.Toss through the pumpkin, carrots and turnip (if using), then add the tins of tomato, currants, and enough water to cover. Put on a lid, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat a bit and simmer until the veges are soft but not disintegrating. Par-cook the meatballs while it's simmering, if you want to. When the pumpkin is just tender, put the meatballs on top of the sauce, put the lid back and simmer gently for about ten minutes until the meatballs are cooked through (depending on size). While the meatballs are cooking, make some instant couscous to serve it with. Nom.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Crockpot Baked Beans, refinements

About 500g (dry weight) navy beans, soaked and pre-cooked (for about half an hour), or any combination of cooked legumes (brown lentils and black beans in addition to navy beans is good!)
2 tins of tomatoes
3 tbsp each Worcestershire sauce*, golden syrup or honey, and apple cider vinegar
2 very large onions, finely diced
handful of diced bacon (use more if you have it, or leave it out)
3 heaping teaspoons (none of these anaemic measuring spoons, just splodge it in) of wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp paprika

I used to saute the onions and bacon, but now I can't be arsed, especially since I'm usually putting this in the crockpot at 11pm after forgetting about it until bedtime. It doesn't make a noticeable difference, but by all means saute away if you want to. Also, I used to only put in one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, but last time accidentally put in three and it was superb, so that's what I've included.

So, easy-as method: half fill the crockpot with beans or mixed legumes, then add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Add water until about an inch below the top of the crockpot (the top of the ingredients should be about two inches below, otherwise add more beans). Leave on Auto overnight. Provides breakfast for everyone on Sundays, and a couple of people most of the rest of the week.

* If like me you start making this at 11pm and realise you've run out, I've had success replacing the Worcestershire sauce with a mixture of Vegemite, fish sauce and Balsamic vinegar. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Spanish Fish and Chickpea Stew

Fish stews of various description seem to be a big hit around here. I'm trying to serve fish once a week, but the budget doesn't run to serving a fillet on a plate each. So I've been trying various recipes to stretch out around 500g of fish and half that of prawns between seven people. This one was really, really yummy. I was originally planning to add either chorizo or diced bacon, but I forgot, and it was very nice without it. I also forgot to add the lemon juice and parsley of the original recipe I adapted.

These quantities provided four adult servings, four child servings, and enough for all the kids to get some for lunch tomorrow.

Spanish Fish and Chickpea Stew

olive oil and butter
3 onions, finely diced
1 chorizo sausage, finely diced or a handful of diced bacon
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli spice mix (or to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
2 large carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
250g green beans, sliced
bay leaves
2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
500g cooked chickpeas
250g cooked cocktail prawns
500g skinless fish fillets (I used barramundi)
handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice

Saute the onion in the oil and butter til translucent. Add garlic, chorizo or bacon (if using) and spices and cook for a minute or two. Stir through the vegetables and let them brown for a little while. Then add tomatoes, bay leaves, chickpeas, and enough stock to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the carrots are cooked. Lay the fish on top, cover the pan, and simmer for five minutes or so until the fish flakes. Add the prawns for the last minute or two to warm through. If you are less forgetful than me and actually check the recipe at this point, stir through the lemon juice and parsley before serving. Nom!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Goan Fish Curry

This was gorgeous, and the fussiest person in the house devoured his serve and asked for more. Will definitely make this again!

Dylan cooked tonight, and she adjusted the recipe a little to use red chilli paste instead of the dried red chillies, and doubled the onion, tomatoes (two tins) and coconut milk and cream (1 tin each) and used 1kg of basa fillets. The carbivores had theirs with rice, but Dylan (who is going off carbs for a while too) and I had ours like soup with extra sauce and it was heaven in a spoon...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chicken Jambalaya

Based on this low-carb recipe. My quantities made two substantial roasting trays full of food, which was handy, because with two trays I could customise the sauce for our various cauliflower-hating peeps. So one tray was made with rice, as usual, and the other was low-carb, with the rice replaced by grated cauliflower as per the linked recipe.

4 large chicken Maryland portions
250g Spanish chorizo sausages
250g diced ham
2 onions, diced
2 huge cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 large green capsicum, diced
2 celery stalks (I didn't have any so I subbed the rest of the green beans in the fridge)
1/2 medium cauliflower
1 cup rice
2 tins tomatoes
2-3 tsp Cajun seasoning

Trim all the manky bits off the chicken portions. If you are a clever person, you will already know that chicken Maryland means "chop the back half of a chook into half again, and leave spine and gristle and horrible squishy bits cunningly hidden at the bottom of the nice tidy packaging to surprise the unwary", and you will have a cleaver ready. If you are not, you will try and do this with kitchen scissors and an inadequate knife, and It Will Not Be Pretty. But when you have finally tidied everything up, remove the skin, brown the chicken in a frying pan and then transfer to the two roasting trays. Chop the chorizo and scatter the sausage chunks and ham all around the chicken portions. Then you should probably refrigerate the trays until the sauce is ready, although I didn't.

Saute all the veges in olive oil and butter until tender (do not do what I did and use the really hot burner and burn the crap out of the onions, okay?). While they are cooking, chop the cauliflower into florets and whizz them in a food processor until they are about as grainy as rice. Don't over-fill the food processor or it will probably turn into mush with lumps in it. I did it in two batches, added the first one to the pan, then realised that Certain People in my house have an irreconcilable hatred of cauliflower. So at that point, I decided to make two different sauces.

I separated the sauteed vegetables into two, leaving as much of the cauliflower as I could in the pan, and put the other half into a pot to wait. Then I added tomatoes and Cajun seasoning to the pan, and about half a cup of water, brought it to the boil, and poured it over one of the trays of chicken. Then I returned the second batch to the pan, added tomatoes and seasonings, about a cup of rice (it may have been more - put in as much as you think will fill up your roasting tray when it's cooked, and add more water if necessary), and two cups of water. When it was hot, I poured it over the second tray and put both into the oven at 180C.

Check the rice after about half an hour and add more water if it needs it. If the rice on the top is going crunchy, stir it around a bit. I baked mine for about an hour, but it's ready whenever the rice is cooked. I served out the rice or cauliflower mixture, then we hacked the chicken off the bones and shared that out. This made enough for three adults, four kids, and one lunch-worth of leftovers. And everyone ate it, or at least some of it, which makes it successful enough to be worth a blog entry.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Crockpot Baked Beans

A different recipe this time; I've never used Worcestershire sauce before. I made this last night and so far the verdict from all the kids in the house (plus a ring-in) is that it's at least edible. So here's the recipe, so I don't forget what I changed. Adapted from here. (ETA: I've adjusted my original recipe again to reflect my standardised quantities. I now put this in the crockpot every Saturday night).

About 500g (dry weight) navy beans, soaked and pre-cooked (for about half an hour)
2 tins of tomatoes
1 tub of tomato paste (optional)
3 tbsp each Worcestershire sauce and golden syrup or honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 very large onions, finely diced
handful of diced bacon (use more if you have it, or leave it out)
2 heaping teaspoons (none of these anaemic measuring spoons, just splodge it in) of wholegrain mustard
3 heaping teaspoons or 4-5 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 tsp each cumin and coriander
1 tbsp paprika
4-5 bay leaves

Combine beans, tomatoes and paste, and liquid ingredients in the crockpot. Saute onions in butter and olive oil until soft, then add the other measured ingredients and stir over heat until fragrant. Add to bean mixture and stir thoroughly, deglaze the pan with some water and add to the crockpot. Finally, add enough water to cover the beans by about 2cms. I put my crockpot onto Auto (in case I forgot to turn it down) until I went to bed, when I turned it down to Low, and we woke up to an extremely fragrant kitchen. Nom.