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Fire Roasted Tomatoes

Thursday, 31 October 2019
Hello Dear Reader,


This idea really caught my eye, it is a very quick and easy way to preserve a bountiful harvest of tomatoes. As you can see we have plenty growing at the moment and I certainly don't want to lose any as they are a really delicious tomato and also I know how much time, effort and water has gone into growing them, I won't waste a single one!


You simply cut the tomatoes in half, brush lightly with olive oil then grill {broil} the tomatoes until softened and starting to char in places. I think the idea is to have a small percentage of char otherwise the resulting tomato "sauce" would taste too burnt. Grilling these little tomatoes brings out their incredible sweetness and makes them fall apart tender, ideal for scooping into a glass jar and freezing, ready for when you need a "can" of tomatoes to add to a recipe.

Cut tomatoes in half lengthways, place them cut side down on the lined baking tray and brush them with a little olive oil

Grill {Broil} the tomatoes until soft, squishy and charred in a few places 

Let cool on tray then scoop all the soft tomatoes and resulting juice into jars, seal and use within 3  days or freeze until needed

Use a jar of these super delicious, slightly charred, tomatoes in juice whenever a "can" of tomatoes is called for, especially in recipes like this onethis one  or this one. I also grilled 2 trays until the tomatoes had just softened without taking on a char, I think these will be lovely too, again using them whenever a recipe calls for a "can" of tomatoes.

You can see they almost breakdown, giving up their sweet juice

I am super pleased with this little technique and also love that I can preserve my own produce without too much fuss or bother. 

Over to you Dear Reader, what simple method do you use to preserve your excess, home grown produce?

Have a lovely day,
🍅Fi

One Year Ago-Cleaning the Kitchen Sink
Two Years Ago-What's Growing in Our Garden, October 2017
Three Years Ago-The Best Homemade Tartare Sauce

4

Creamy Spiced Rice Pudding

Wednesday, 30 October 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

The cooled and thickened Rice Pudding

Just a quick little post today, as I am super tired and still suffering a headache. Yesterday was a really tough day, I had been awake since 2 am with a cracker of a headache and my darling sister is quite unwell at the moment which resulted in her presenting at the emergency department at the hospital where I work. She is okay, which is relief but they have referred her on to one of the specialty outpatients departments.

I battled with that headache till lunch time and then I went and sat with my sister in ED. It is a part of the hospital I don't get to see and they were just lovely to her, the Doctor and the Nurse who were attending her, were thorough, kind and patient. I got home about 3pm and did a few small jobs including giving the little woofs a walk, feeding them, Ninja and myself and then got into bed super early.

I still have a sore mouth from the mouth ulcers and have been eating this soft and comforting rice pudding for morning tea. It has been just perfect for me, sweet, slightly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon, soft and creamy and it is also nicely filling to get me through till lunchtime.

I was reminded of this type of dessert while I was cataloguing the recipes I could remember Mum making and wondered why I had never made it before. I have made it in my TM but it could easily be made the old fashioned way, on the stove top.

Ingredients for Creamy Spiced Rice Pudding, clockwise from right-80 grams of arborio rice, 1 egg at room temperature, beaten, 1 cardamon pod, lightly crushed, a good grate of fresh nutmeg plus more for finishing the pudding, a large pinch of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 30 grams of caster sugar and 480 grams of milk (I used powdered milk)

Add rice and milk to the TM bowl, cook for 25 minutes/90C/reverse/speed1.5

Add caster sugar, maple syrup, spices and beaten egg to the TM bowl and mix for 1 minute/reverse/speed 3

Pour into a bowl, grate over some more nutmeg and let cool slightly 

Before covering and popping in the fridge to get nice and cold

By covering it, you will prevent a skin from forming and while cooling the pudding will thicken to a nice spoonable consistency. Make it today.

Have a lovely day,
💖Fi

One Year Ago-Ricotta Doughnuts 
Two Years Ago-My Clutter Magnet #2 
1

Food Memories

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Hello Dear Reader,

One of my lovely, long time readers, Maria, left a beautiful comment the other day and it really struck a cord with me, the following is an exert of her comment-

"Isn't food amazing in its ability to bring back memories, mostly lovely nostalgic memories but also some not so pleasant. I would love for you to post more about the dishes that your mum made. It is a lovely way to keep the memories and recipes alive and it is also a way to feel close to the precious people we no longer have in our lives"

Thank you Fiona for today's post. It has evoked some very special childhood memories.

Cheers, Maria xx.

Thank you, Dear Maria for todays post inspiration-

Our home in Gympie that Dad built

It is so true, the food you were bought up with, stays with you forever, no matter how humble the food was, it was cooked with love by the most important people in your life, at that time. We are all the sum of our upbringing and food was central to mine. I can remember being in class in primary school thinking what was in my lunch box that day and how I was looking forward to it, well you know what? Not much has changed, I am always thinking of my next meal.

My Darling Sister and I with our Nan. Mum always dressed us the same and often made the outfits herself.

Mum was a stay at home Mum, only working on Saturday's at the local TAB, we would either go to work with Dad or our Grandparents, who lived across the road from us, would look after us. Looking back we were so very lucky to have a Mum at home, always in the kitchen cooking something lovely to eat. Mum grew up in the depression so most of our meals were very simple, a small amount of meat per person, stretched out with lots of vegetables and always a dessert to finish.

Mum, Sis and I

Mum always wanted to be a Home Economics Teacher but lack of money, living in the country and being very unwell saw to that idea. She did however teach my sister and I the fundamentals of keeping a home humming along. She sewed, cooked, baked, gardened and did fancy work and in doing so taught us, simply by involving us in all she did and by her being a constant in our young lives.

Dad, Sis and I

Over the last few days I have been jotting down dishes that Mum made and I also rang my sister to see what she could remember. I can tell you it was like opening the flood gates, all those wonderful food memories came rushing back. I'm sure a lot of readers that were born in the 50's and 60's will nod and smile when remembering some of these meals.

Mum, Dad and I

To go with dinners, we ate a lot of mashed potato and pumpkin along with frozen beans or peas, that was it in the way of veg, we didn't think there was anything wrong with that. Occasionally we would have cauliflower, carrots, corn on the cob, purple sweet potato, cabbage or kohlrabi.

This list is in no particular order, I just wrote them down as I remembered them-

Main Meals

Meat Pie with the leftovers made into little turnovers for lunch the next day, the pastry was made with dripping and was totally delicious, crumbly and flaky. The pie filling was just beef mince and onion thickened with cornflour, nothing fancy but my goodness, it was so delicious.

Pork Chops with home made apple sauce

Sausages with Tomato and Onion Gravy

Rissoles with the same Tomato and Onion Gravy

Meatloaf with a layer of sliced tomatoes on top

Scrambled eggs on toast

Creamed Corn on toast

Curried Eggs

Egg and Bacon Pie

Tomato soup with toast

Roast Mutton with the leftover meat made into a sweet curry with sultanas and apple, it was Dads absolute favourite

Bacon Bone Soup

Chicken Giblet Soup

Pea and Ham soup

Y-Bone Steak in onion gravy

Beef stew made simply with gravy beef, carrots, onions and celery

Corned Silverside with the left overs made into Fritters

Salmon Rissoles

Fish Fingers and the very best home made chips fried in Supafry

Fresh Fish like Taylor, Bream and Whiting

Lamb Chops with Mint sauce

Chicken Chow Mein

Apricot Chicken

Roast Chicken with the most amazing, buttery, mint and onion stuffing

...................................................................................................................................................................
Desserts

Sliced banana with coconut and custard-Dads favourite!

Orange Tart

Pavlova

Stewed Fruit and Custard, Mum always made custard with "Poppy" custard powder. The stewed fruit would be prunes, apricots, peaches or apples

Creamed Rice

Steamed Golden Syrup Pudding with Tongola Cream which was cream in a can

Steamed Jam Pudding

Steamed Ginger Pudding

Sago Plum Pudding

Plain Steamed Pudding with either stewed pineapple or apricots underneath

Passionfruit Cheese Cake

Fruit Salad with Tongola Cream

Caramel Tart made by boiling the cans of condensed milk
...................................................................................................................................................................
Baking

Chocolate Slice

Bakewell tart

Chocolate Cake

Orange Cake

Passionfruit Sponge

Sultana Cake-this and the passionfruit sponge were Dads favourite

Anzac biscuits

Afghans

Custard Biscuits

Jam Drops

Monte Carlos

Lamingtons

Cornflake biscuits

Little iced cupcakes

Ginger Nuts

Sugar Biscuits

Pikelets

Sunshine Milk Scones

Cream Puffs

Little Pastry Shells filled with jam and cream

I am sure there is more to add to the list but that is all I can remember at the moment.

Your turn, let me know your food memories that still live with you.

Have a lovely day,
💗Fi

Two Years Ago-My Clutter Magnet 
Three Years Ago-Peanut Butter Jam Drops
13

Self Love Soup

Monday, 28 October 2019
Hello Dear Reader,


Here's a fun fact-I have suffered with mouth ulcers all my life, I can remember, vividly, having painful mouth ulcers from when I was very young. They are so painful that talking and eating is difficult. I know the ulcers are just about healed when they are at their most painful. Saturday was that day. I woke in terrible pain and when I went to speak to LH I couldn't hold my mouth right to talk clearly, it was just awful. I must have munched my tongue in my sleep a few nights before and I am now sporting a row of little ulcerated puncture marks along the underside of my tongue.

As I am always thinking about my next meal I wanted something soft and soothing but also super yummy for dinner that night, this particular soup had been posted on another blog just the day before and I thought how perfect it would be. As always I have fiddled with the original recipe to suit our tastes and to reflect the ingredients I had at home. In the original recipe you cooked the chicken thigh fillets whole and then took them out before shredding them and adding them back in. I wasn't going to do that as it made the whole idea of a comforting soup overwhelming and complicated. I wanted ease, simplicity and a soup that would make me and my painful mouth, feel better.

So this is my version of this recipe from Lindsay over at "A Pinch of Yum"

Ingredients for Self Love Soup, clockwise from bottom left-A large knob of ginger, finely sliced, 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced, 1/2 a red onion, sliced into half moons, 450 grams of chicken thigh fillets,  cut into 1 inch chunks, 4 cups shredded spinach (I have Perennial Spinach growing at the moment) 8 cups chicken stock, a small splash of fish sauce OR an 1/8 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, juice of 1 or 2 limes (I went with 1, because acid=ouch) 1 cup white rice of choice, mint, coriander and roasted peanuts to finish 

Sauté the red onion, garlic and ginger slices in a splash of oil till fragrant, do not let colour

Turn heat up a little, push the onion mixture to one side and add the chicken, don't stir it around, just let it sit in the one spot and get a little colour going on it. Now add the turmeric and salt if using, bung on a lid and take off the heat. Let it sit for 2 minutes, this will loosen the chicken pieces.

Put back on the heat and stir well, cooking for about another 5 minutes

Now add the rice and mix everything together 

Pour over the stock and fish sauce if using, bring to a gentle boil, turn heat to very low, pop on the lid and let cook till rice is soft and chicken is cooked through

Add the spinach and let wilt down for a minute or two 

Lastly squeeze in the lime juice and throw in the squeezed out lime halves also 

Serve with finely chopped mint and coriander with some roasted peanuts for crunch

I had this soup for Saturday's dinner and yesterday's lunch and dinner also. It did me the world of good to eat something, yummy, soft and comforting. My mouth is still sore but it is now on the mend and I will enjoy this soup over the next few days. 

Your turn, what do you crave when you are not feeling the best?

Have a lovely day,
💙Fi

10

Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 27 October 2019
Hello Dear Reader,


Today I am grateful for my obsession of collecting glass jars. Storing home made produce is never an issue when you have jars of all shapes and sizes. Yesterday I made a batch of Tomato Relish and a batch of yoghurt, I have sparkling clean jars ready just for these occasions.

I have jars that smell a little from what was in there previously but I make sure I don't put delicate things like the Lemon Myrtle Yoghurt into an old chutney jar! I am currently doing a little experiment to see what works best to take any lingering odour out of jars and lids. If I am successful with this experiment, I will blog about it, of course, cause you know how exciting my life is!

The yoghurt cultured overnight in the Thermoserver, which is the metal container you can see on the right, it was wrapped in a towel to keep it warm. I have now put the Thermosever in the fridge to set the yoghurt before scooping into the waiting jars 

I have already started packing the bag I take with me up to Simply Good next Saturday to fill up the clean jars and bottles with bulk produce. I write what I need on the bottom of the jar or bottle. 

What are you grateful for today?

Have a lovely day,
💕Fi

2

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 26 October 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Does your well thought out menu change much as the week goes on? Our's does, especially when we have left overs to use up. We had a family BBQ on Sunday night using a brisket and sausages we bought a while ago from our Butcher. I really didn't think we would have any meat left over, as all the boys are meat lovers, but to my surprise there was plenty leftover, enough to send home a meal each for the kids and their partners and also enough for another meal for LH and myself on Monday night.

The Chicken Korma that I mentioned in the video also didn't happen as we had enough fish, salad and Pita breads for two meals, I love leftovers and will happily use them up. No use cooking more when there is perfectly good food hanging around in the fridge.

I think I have mentioned it before but my late FIL wouldn't eat leftovers, I have no idea where this notion came from but I am so glad that that family tradition wasn't continued by LH, he'll happily eat anything I put in front of him as well as eating any leftovers for lunch the next day.

Wendy from "My Abundant Life" is even more careful with leftovers, freezing them as future dinners, she feels having things like left over, meat based meals are too expensive to have as a lunch. She is very savvy with her money and makes every penny count. How do you feel about leftovers? Do you eat them up for lunch the next day or freeze for another meal?

Now on with the food-

What we bought



What we spent
Coles-$17.85
Aldi-$46.45
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$24.11 + $5 on Sunday for Basil

TOTAL-$93.41

What we ate

Friday- Left over Chorizo, Cabbage and Potato Stew

Sunday-Family BBQ-Slow Cooked Brisket, Sausages, Coleslaw, Tomato, Feta and Avocado Salad with Balsamic Dressing,  Pull Apart Garlic Bread and Steamed Potatoes

Monday-Left Overs

Tuesday-Alla Checca

Wednesday and Thursday-Fish Burger made with Pita Bread 

Your turn, Dear Reader, what did you spend and eat this week?

Have a lovely day,
💗Fi

10

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 25 October 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

And hello Friday, undoubtably the best day of the week! I seem to be like a broken record lately, in reflecting on my week, I don't seem to have much to report. Kinda boring? Yes, but in truth I wouldn't have it any other way.

Most of my morning role like this-an early rise, boil the kettle and make my tea, feed Ninja, empty the dishwasher and pop everything away, make our fruit salads for breakfast and put them in the fridge, check what is for dinner, blog, walk the little woofs and give them their small breakfast, have my breakfast, then its time for a few jobs before leaving for work at 8.45am. It is usually a mixture of inside and outside jobs.


On Wednesday morning, before I left for work I made the dough for our Pita breads to go with dinner that night (fish burgers) as well as some basil pesto. I had bought two bunches of basil on Sunday, from the Northside Discount Fruit Barn for $5.00, it was destined for a recipe called Alla Checca. I didn't end up using as much as I thought so the rest went into a quick pesto. I used cashews and macadamias instead of pine nuts as pine nuts are absurdly expensive and I almost always have nuts on hand for making our muesli, so nuts it was. I froze the pesto to preserve its bright green colour and will use it some time down the track. Absolutely love no waste.


Here is what else I got up to on the frugal front-

1. Continued to pick tomatoes from the garden, as you can see I pulled the last of the large truss tomatoes off the vine while they were still green. A bug had discovered them so to stop the waste I removed the rest of the fruit and pulled the plant out too. The green ones have continued to ripen. 


I used 650 grams of the little tomatoes in the Alla Checca recipe but I also added chopped Kalamata olives and cubes of feta cheese for some protein. It was totally delicious. 


2. Washed and spun out the lettuce we bought last Friday, I then stored it in a cloth napkin lined container to make it last all week. 


3. Made some "buttermilk" for a pancake recipe, the recipe only called for 300 mls of buttermilk but I went ahead and made up nearly a litre of it using the last of the container of milk, I have frozen 2 jars of the buttermilk to have on hand for future pancake making. 






3. Fed, turned and watered the compost bin, it is humming along nicely and smells like a rainforest, I feed the compost bin coffee grounds, fruit and veg scraps and shredded paper from the office every Sunday. 


4. Gave the fridge a good clean out yesterday morning as it was looking untidy, that is when items may be forgotten leading to waste. I like to know and use what is in my fridge before going shopping again.



5. Kept the rendered fat from bacon that I cooked up for breakfast last Sunday. I use it to cook our usual weekend breakfast eggs in. The little woofs then get the cooked and crunchy rind of the bacon as a treat so there is absolutely no waste. I keep the jar of bacon fat in the fridge and just add to it when I cook bacon. 



Your turn, how did you save money or time this week?

Have a lovely day,
💕Fi



6

Best Ever, Pull Apart Garlic Bread-Thermomix Style

Thursday, 24 October 2019
Hello Dear Reader,


Todays recipe comes courtesy of Martha, you know, the super home maker, Martha Stewart. It showed up on my Instagram feed last week and knew immediately I would have to make it. Just look how beautiful it is and the taste, holy bread, it is amazing. Think buttery brioche with the very best garlic butter, which, wonderfully, is exactly the same as my best garlic butter which I posted a few weeks ago. 

I have fiddled with the method from the original recipe to make it suitable for the Thermomix, I have also reduced the amount of sugar by a third from the original recipe as, for my taste, I thought it would make the dough way too sweet.

It is a pull apart bread which actually does pull apart beautifully thanks to the super easy folding method which is just like making a sandwich by spreading on the magical garlic butter and folding the pillowy soft dough over in half. Want to know more? Read on-

Ingredients for the Garlic Butter-115 grams of softened butter, a clove or more of garlic, grated on a microplane, 1 tablespoon each of finely chopped chives and parsley and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix together with a fork and set aside till needed. Don't put it in the fridge as you want it super soft for spreading later.

Ingredients for the brioche, clockwise from top right-4 1/2 cups plain white flour, 1 cup full cream milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, 7 grams of yeast, 80 grams of butter, melted, 3 eggs and 1 tablespoon salt

Add the yeast and the sugar to the bowl of the TM and add 1/4 cup tepid water, mix for 2 minutes on speed 3, scrape down the sides of the TM bowl

Let prove till bubbly and frothy, about 30 minutes

Add the eggs, salt and butter

And blitz on speed 3 for 20 seconds, scrape down sides and repeat

Now add the flour

And knead for 6 minutes, it is quite a sticky dough but still manageable

Scrape dough into a large oiled bowl

Let prove and rise for 2 hours or until puffed and spongy. Meanwhile preheat oven to 180C and grease 2 @ 5 x 9 inch bread tins and shake over sesame seeds to coat tin


Scrape pillowy dough onto a well floured surface, with your hands, coax the soft dough into a rectangle measuring 12 x 16 inches.

Then spread with the soft garlic butter

 Cut dough lengthwise into 3 equal strips, then cut dough crosswise into 4 equal sections, as you can see you end up with 12 fairly equal squares.

Fold each square in half and place in bread tin with the fold facing down, shake over some more sesame seeds

Let prove again for about 30 minutes

Then bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a 180C oven

Let cool a little in the tins, then gently tip out the loaves onto a cooling rack

I know it is a bit fiddly but not terribly so, I always think that if I can do it, anyone can, I'm really not that clever! Have a go, it is so delicious and just look how gorgeous it is. 

Have a lovely day,
💗Fi

One Year Ago-Bolognese Bake 
2