Polenta – Enough Said

OMG I am slightly addicted to this beautiful ground cornmeal substance!

It was only a few weeks back when I was chatting with Kate, a girl I work with about polenta. She is gluten intolerant and I tend to cook a lot of dishes that are gluten free as my mother is also intolerant. I was telling her about the ready made stuff I used to use in the UK and how amazing it was. You see, I had attempted to make it from powder form and failed miserably. As I’m sure you’re cottoning onto, I don’t do measurements or timing so well and therefore this make it yourself polenta ended up in the bin.

I was super excited two weeks ago when i was just daydreaming down the pasta isle of Coles when I stopped to check a message on my phone and just glanced right and there, low and behold was this ready made polenta!

my pics 031 my pics 032

Super excited, I snapped a picture quickly and sent it to Kate, I placed the polenta back on it’s shelf and started walking away, only to find myself dashing back to this exciting find and throwing it into my trolley like a little guilty pleasure!

When I got home I popped all my groceries away and then sat and stared at this wonder, wondering what I would make to go with it! You see the ready made stuff, although super easy to use, only as a 3-4 day window from opening the packet and placing it in the fridge. I definitely didn’t want to waste this golden treasure so I started planning meals that I could do that would utilise it all.

The first dish I did I pan fried the polenta in thick steaks trying to achieve the rather difficult black line look. I served this with a T-bone steak, green beans and home made red onion relish. This recipe can be found here.

my pics 035

I had enough polenta left over to try a very simple polenta and rosemary fries recipe that I just made up. This time, however, I decided to spray the fries with olive oil and sprinkle salt and finely chopped fresh rosemary and then bake them rather then fry them. Although this took around 30 minutes to achieve, the result was mind blowing and I will post a recipe for this as soon as i make them again and remember to take a picture of it!

Last night, I had bought a new packet of this wonderful accompaniment and decided as it was Meatless Monday that I would use some frozen Salmon steaks and build on that. In the end I made a homemade salsa and served the dish with a swirl of Sweet Chilli Sauce. Not the cleanest of eating but OMG it just topped the dish off to a T! You can find that recipe here……

my pics 001

So my journey with polenta is really only starting. Maybe one day I will venture back to the “do it yourself” kind, but for now, I am happy in the knowledge that sat in my pantry (or fridge when I have opened the packet) is my ready made polenta just waiting to be eaten all up!

#Getinmybelly

Advertisements

Hubby in the Kitchen

As you are probably aware, I do tend to dominate the kitchen. This is really for a few reasons. 1) I love cooking, 2) I have more patience in the kitchen and 3) I hate washing up and the rule in our house is one person cooks, the other person cleans.

This weekend though ended up a bit of a role reversal with hubby taking to the kitchen and making delicious Banana Bread for morning and afternoon teas and his “to die for” Chicken Kievs (this was my recipe which he has now adapted and claimed as his own!) We had his children stay with us this weekend and that is what they requested, so as any dutiful dad will do – he complied!

In our family Brad is definitely the baker and I am the cook. I just have no patience in the measuring cup and spoon department and yet hubby just takes his time and writes everything down to perfect it even more the next time he does the recipe! He does tend to make me pretty anxious when he is in the kitchen though, so I do tend to stay as far away as I possibly can!

order-and-chaos

I must take my hat off to Brad though, I think maybe only twice in 5 years of being together has there been a disaster come out of the kitchen, always still edible just maybe not how he expected it to come out and then that makes him cranky. I love my husband to pieces but sometimes his competitive streak gets the better of him!

I really hope you enjoy both the Banana Bread recipe and the “to die for” Chicken Kievs. Brad is getting more involved with my blog now, so I’m sure we will see even more yummy things coming from him in the future!

Meatless Monday

Brad and I tend to eat a lot of meat. I think it has something to do with the fact that Brad thinks he is a pure carnivore and not a herbivore at all!

If Brad could get away without eating any vegetable I believe he would choose this option. Me, however, when I came to Australia it would have been very easy to slip into a “comfort food”, “non veggie” type of diet as it was the first time living out of home! I did, however, think back to what is good for you and made an elected decision to eat lots of veggies and fruit. I know Brad would agree that he is thankful that I plate up mounds of veggies on most evenings, sometimes even ones he has expressed a dislike too (Egg plant/Aubergine, Squash, asparagus) but he eats them. I don’t serve him sweet potato as he really dislikes that which is a shame because I love it and it’s a GREAT alternative to normal potato. I have on occasion mixed normal with sweet potato just as a compromise!

I find fruit harder to consume then vegetables, maybe its the time it takes to prepare? Or the fact that it is cold? With veggies, I guess you prepare them as you prepare any dinner where I don’t know anyone who has fruit salad all the time for dinner or lunches? Fruit generally, in my eyes, just takes more effort overall to consume.

meatlessmonday-11

So this leads me to Meatless Mondays. I think I saw this somewhere on the internet whilst I was looking for a funny wine meme or something along those lines. The two words “Meatless Monday” stuck and I decided over the weekend that I was going to uphold this. I did however have turkey mince at lunch time so have decided that it will just be our dinners on a Monday that will become meatless.

To ease Brad into this I decided on a Spicy Indian Dahl with pumpkin, which would have been great on it’s own, but I did spice up some fish and baked it before adding it into the Dahl. This dish is DELISH! I mean it! Although it took about an hour to cook it was well worth the wait! The texture and flavour that oozed out of those little lentils was amazing, the plain basa fish coasted in dried spices really works a treat and overall was a hit with hubby and I. There was even enough left over for lunches the next day (dahl and pumpkin only).

So watch this space for more meatless Monday recipes and experiences!

You can find the Dahl Recipe under Vegetables/Sides

my pics 009

Mourning in a cooking sense

My husband woke me up early yesterday morning. By my request as I had gone out the night before with work and had pulled out my sausages from the freezer.

I had planned to make my slow cooked curried sausages (recipe under beef, pork and lamb) put it in the dish, into the fridge and then whip it out early on Wednesday morning to be able to come home from a long day in work and have my dinner all ready made. When I got home from my pretty alcohol fuelled night the thought of boiling my sausages, stripping their skin and cutting up my veggies was just not there so I requested an early morning call.

I got up with my fresh coffee that Brad had made me and progressed into making our dinner for that night. Previously using my Slow Cooker I had realised that the screen that shows you the time of cooking was fading out – i wasn’t going to rush out and buy myself a new slow cooker when this beautiful machine still cooked.

I assembled the bowl with my onions, peas, potatoes, stock and coconut cream and whacked on the time limit. This time though i saw no numbers. I was dubious that this slow cooker was working but I popped into the bathroom and carried on getting ready for my long day ahead at work.

When i spoke to my husband at 5pm he was heading home and was ETA earlier then me. I requested that he checked the slow cooker as I was a little worried that something wasn’t going to be right. All was confirmed when I got home to find my husband stood in the kitchen with a sad and shaken head look that the slow cooker was still stone cold. Devastated. My slow cooker had finally died.

Now I’m not sure if my mourning is more due to the fact that this amazing slow cooker had just died or because of how I had originally came across my slow cooker. You see, When Brad and I got together we had no money. I was a back packer and Brad had come out of a marriage with nothing. We had no money to rub together but of course enjoyed cooking so we signed up to Robins Kitchen mailing list and started buying all of our kitchen “stuff” through them. One weekend we popped in and bought a load of pots and pans only to be rewards with $30 of vouchers to come back into the store and spend. Being as skint as we were we went in the following week and got a few things – What we weren’t aware was when you spent money in that store this particular week you were entered into a draw to win a slow cooker or a pressure cooked.

You have probably guessed it, we won! Out of the whole of Australia we won! And to make matters even more amazing out email account that was linked to our application had been shut down and Robins Kitchen had even made the effort to ring us after we had not responded to their “you’re a winner” email to make sure we still wanted this product!

I was obsessed with my slow cooker, to the point that Brad had to stop me from entering the kitchen and cooking/slow cooking again as there was no more rom in our freezer!

So yesterday, when I came home to find my slow cooker had died I was devastated, one because it was died and two because my dinner was not cooked. As I rummaged through my pots and pans cupboard trying to find a casserole dish to decant my mixture and blast it in the oven Brad told me to just “put the removable pot from the slow cooker in the oven”

I did question this but followed my husbands “orders” and 20 minutes later I smelt melting plastic. You got it. The lid melted! Luckily I caught it in time, wrapped the dish in foil and continues baking it on high.

IMG_0528

I still can’t believe my slow cooker has died but it has given me the opportunity to go out and buy the new machine that came on the market over a year ago! A slow cooked, steamer, pressure cooker new fandangle thing that it going to be amazing.  Mourning my free appliance is still very real but I look forward to the future where I continue with my cooking!

Men and Meat

The first time I attempted a risotto I chose to keep it easy. As my husband kept saying, “isn’t this the dish that everyone is petrified by on those cooking shows you love?” He had a point, no-one has ever said they “love making a risotto” and no-one on my beloved cooking shows has ever come close to perfection! So it was a big challenge but I felt positive that I could pull it off.

I got everything set up and prepared and gradually added my stock to the rice. One word of advice on this……don’t think about cooking a risotto if you are hungry…..it takes a while!

When I finally got the rice perfect and all my stock had been absorbed, I ladled the risotto into my warmed bowls and served it to Brad. I watched as my husband picked his fork up and progressed to moving the risotto around his plate. After about two minutes I piped up and asked if everything was OK? to which Brad replied “where is the meat?”

Now this leads me into the real aspect of this post. What is it with men and meat? Why are vegetables to foreign to men? Why are vegetarian men deemed weaker then meat eating men?

funny-Homer-eating-meat

I did some research on the cavemen diet. The paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet) is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years which ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets. In common usage, such terms as “paleolithic diet” also refer to the actual ancestral human diet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleolithic_diet

So what is with this great need for meat with every meal? Even breakfast! Go to McDonalds and your breakfast muffins are egg with bacon or egg with sausage! What about just egg?? Yes, I know you can request it, or even opt for the pancakes and maple syrup but still, when did every meal of the day have to contain meat?

I understand those of you who are going to talk to me about the protein in meat, but I get loads of protein from a hard boiled egg after a work out, I do not need to chow down on a steak!

On the flip side of the coin I am concious that I could not make that decision to become vegetarian, nor could I sustain on just fish. I do love a well cooked T-bone, a succulent plump chicken breast, even that naughty pork roast with all the trimming and the best pork, crackling! I wouldn’t say I crave meat, but I sure do enjoy it when it is popped on my plate, or more likely that I have cooked it up and served it!

If cavemen survived on meat and plants around them, why did it become so horrendous to eat vegetables? Plants that are so good for your health have been branded with a taboo of being disgusting? Why? Why are the good things for us so bad? And why do we have this addiction, this need and reliance on eating meat all the time?

My husband does eat my broccoli and blue cheese soup without mentioning at all the word meat, but then I wonder, “is that because it’s a liquid and therefore his brain isn’t registering that this delicious, satisfying dish contains not one ounce of meat?”

I guess we will never get an answer to this (unless there is some scientific research that I have failed to uncover whilst thinking about writing this post!) So enjoy you meat and three veg, your juicy steak and plump chicken breasts. But remember, vegetable are not the enemy, you just think they are!!

demotivating-posters-demotivational-posters-funny-posters-posters-cow-meat-salad

Friday, Friday – What to do for dinner?

Friday arrives but this Friday becomes one of those catch twenty two scenarios!

This decision of “what to cook for dinner tonight” is make increasingly harder when I know my beautiful step children are coming for the three weekly stay with us and they are among the fussiest eaters I have EVER come across! Well I should take that back for Katie, at 12 years (going on 21) she is now opening her eyes and opinions to trying new things! I have her now requesting my healthy dishes rather then MacDonald or chicken nuggets! When I offered her the choice of anything for her birthday dinner she opted for my super clean beef stroganoff much to the disappointment of her father thinking she would choose Chinese takeaway!

Her brother on the other hand is still two year behind in the experimental phase of food but I have however converted him to Spinach and Mushrooms. The problem I have with Mitchell is that although he will eat these foods when put in front of him he is still happier to opt for the least healthy option and will not eat these things when his mother cooks them…….cheese for Mitchell is a struggle. He will eat pizza and cheese and bacon rolls but it has taken me over 3 years to get him to have cheese in his toasted sandwiches! That’s right, he would only have ham  between two slices of bread – toasted. He has revised his distaste of cheese by advising me a couple of months ago that he only likes melted cheese now. Well that’s a step forward I guess?!

So what to cook tonight? They both love my chicken enchilada recipe, Tacos and even a good butter chicken. I’d like to try new things with them but after long week in work, the last thing I feel like is slaving over a hot oven for a dish that they “may not” like.

With 8 hours until they are here – watch this space I will either come up with an awesome foodie idea or you will see what Mr Foongs Chinese takeaway has to deliver!

tearing-your-hair-out

Where I’m heading with this blog.

I had a thought last night about where I can head with this blog. I mean, it’s all well and good that I load up pictures of food I cook and then the recipe to follow but I’m not going to cook something new every night (I will try but it’s probably not going to happen!!) So I’m going to write about food experiences (restaurants and take away etc) and see how I go with that!

If you have any questions or would like me to feature your recipes please don’t hesitate to email me 🙂