Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kale, Tomato & Bean Soup

Normally when I post a new recipe on my blog I like to try it several times first to make sure everything is just right, however this is a new recipe for both you and I! I've been watching a lot of Nigel Slater recently and I love his relaxed approach to food and cooking and just using what you have and what's available, so perhaps he inspired me because the other day a friend came round to visit with her kids and they brought a huge bag of Kale and Tomatoes that they had grown in their garden. They were so amazing and I couldn't wait to use them in something, but since I had my meal plan done for the week (and was desperate to finish all of the curries from the weekend so I had some room in my fridge!) I thought how about a delicious, healthy soup! So that's what I did. I knew before I made it that it would taste good and it did - it was so good and even Ben absolutely loved it! 

The quantities for the tomatoes and kale are approximate since it just depends on what you have and your own tastes. I had more of both but felt that the amounts below were perfect for this batch, plus it means I still have enough kale leftover to enjoy a bowl of Spaghetti with Kale, Garlic & Lemon for a quick Saturday night supper after a day on the boat - double bonus! 

This soup is what cooking (and growing your own vegetables) is all about - using what you have at the right time of year paired with a few pantry staples and ending up with something so simple and easy to make but full of wonderful fresh flavours. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays Sept. 8th ~ 14th

Well I survived the Birthday weekend and I have to say, it was great although I did spend 3 days cooking and baking for it! Still it was well worth all the effort! On Saturday we had a lovely time with friends and all of the kids so it was a great catch up with lots of good company and tons of great food! As I posted on last week's meal plan we had Burgers and I made a giant batch of Coleslaw for everyone as it also disappears so fast. There were so many other salads that had been made (Pasta Salad, Bean Salad, Tomato & Cucumber Salad) as well as lots of fresh, local Corn on the Cob and roasted potatoes and vegetables! It was a true feast and it was finished off with lots of Cupcakes (Vanilla & Mint Chocolate), Top Hats, Krispie Cakes and 3 delicious cheesecakes! You certainly can't complain about that!! The weather was absolutely beautiful and it really was just a perfect party.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pork & Udon Noodle Soup

I’m not going to lie – this recipe was the result of a rainy, cold day and me needing and craving a satisfying but light soup to warm me up. Since I had some leftover Chinese BBQ Pork in the fridge and am currently addicted to Udon noodles, this soup was a natural choice. I hadn’t made this version before but being a lover of Pho I used that as inspiration and simply used what I had in the house. Even better I had homemade chicken stock in the freezer just waiting to be used in a dish just like this. I have to admit there is something really satisfying about using what you have and creating exactly what you were craving. This soup took no time to make at all and was absolutely perfect….The perfect pick-me-up for a rainy, cold September day.

Serves 2 generously (easily doubled)

750ml chicken stock (homemade or the best quality you can get)
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
3 slices of ginger
1 star anise
1 red chilli, sliced (remove the seeds for less heat)
2 or 3 lime leaves (fresh if possible but dried is fine)
1tsp fish sauce (or to taste)
½ lime
200g packet of udon noodles
Leftover pork, shredded (or other meat of your choice) – as much as you have or want in your soup
Handful of sugar snap peas (approx. 100g), cut in half diagonally
Sprinkling of fresh coriander (optional)

Put the stock into a medium sized pan then add the garlic, ginger, star anise, red chilli, lime leaves, fish stock and a good squeeze of lime juice. Bring it to a boil then leave to gently simmer for about 5-10 minutes to let the flavours infuse the stock (you can leave it for longer if you like, it’s more about how much time you have, just don’t let it reduce too much).

Add the udon noodles and cook for a couple of minutes (or according to the time on the packet). For the last minute add the pork and the sugar snap peas and cook just long enough to warm the pork and slightly soften the peas. Taste to check the balance of flavours and adjust if necessary adding more lime or fish sauce as needed, then ladle into deep bowls and serve at once. Chop sticks are optional but they are perfect for slurping up the noodles!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Meal Planning Mondays Sept. 1st ~ 7th

I love long weekends.... In fact I think that Monday's should always be a holiday!! Although with it being Labour Day I don't like the idea that Summer is now technically over.... I'm hopeful that Mother Nature thinks otherwise and we see a final burst of sun before Autumn takes over!

Last week once again saw a few changes to our meal plan... The Nicoise Pasta made so much (and that was with me messing up and putting in 50 grams less pasta than suggested!) that it pretty much lasted us for 3 days! So the Risotto was pushed to Friday, Pizza was Saturday and once again Burgers were kyboshed!! This week however we are absolutely having Burgers! Seriously!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Grilled Halloumi with Quinoa & Beetroot Salad (& my struggle with blogging)

Before I jump to the recipe for this delicious salad there is something I need to address with regards to my blogging...

It's hard to believe it but I started blogging 5 years ago. My reason for starting this blog was simple....I loved to cook and this was the easiest way for me to share my often-requested recipes with family and friends. To this day I still love cooking, I am a total food-oholic! I get excited about shopping for food, finding new ingredients, getting reacquainted with recipes and ingredients from my past and exploring new cuisines throughout the world from the comfort of my own kitchen.You are far more likely to find me reading a cookbook or food magazine than any other book and with a library of 1000 cookbooks (and growing) I'm never short of something to read! Of course the books and magazines just feed my enthusiasm for cooking by offering endless new ideas and inspiration and so it was only a matter of time before I started reviewing cookbooks and really putting them to the test to see if they were worth a place on my overloaded, sagging shelves! I love reviewing cookbooks and so I do plan to do a lot more of that on this blog but without doubt my favourite thing to do still is come up with my own ideas and recipes and share them with you. 

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