Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 31

Disaster day

So the dishwasher is broken, the computer is broken, the lock on the front door is broken, and to top it all off halfway through cooking chicken I realised the oven wasn't hot. So the oven is broken too. Lucky we kept the trusty frypan up in the cupboard. The chicken was rescued and was ok, not great but ok. Not a good day I'll admit.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 30

Quinoa face off

No Meat Monday, urgh. Ok so people have been banging on about quinoa for a while now and I thought I better get on board the grain train for Monday nights. Black quinoa, roasted pumpkin, feta and mint salad, super green salad (broccoli, zucchini, beans, asparagus, lettuce, olives and an orange vinaigrette), grilled haloumi and mini quiches. It was a fantastic meal, full of flavor and variety and all were satisfied. The quinoa was ok but I wasn't crazy about the the texture and mum steered clear of its all together. The whole meal was a lot of work. Do vegetarians have to work this hard every night for dinner? Thom went the extra step and had a raw vegan meal - at his request (carrot sticks, cucumber rings, olives, capsicum, crackers and a banana). So many different things were eaten tonight. So many dishes to wash up now.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 29


Paella is a funny one. It's risotto essentially, only of course it's not. For starters I always cook it in summer. A traditional paella pan heaving with prawns,chicken, capsicum, peas, onion and lots of chorizo sausage is the ultimate dish to serve with crisp cold beer. Alan made the most sumptuous strawberry swirl icecream which was really just heavenly. A lovely end to a steamy summer Sunday.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 28

Salad Days

Having done a round trip to Geelong today to see a model train show I was not in the mood for fancy cooking. I did however go to a little effort on the salad front. A lovely orzo and zucchini salad with fresh basil and parmesan, and a lovely warm salad of pumpkin, prosciutto, bitter greens and garden tomatoes. We could have just had the salads really but a slab of porterhouse was needed, tasty but tough as old boot leather. Everyone is cranky tonight. We ate in front of the tv to avoid any more squabbles. We're watching Irish film The Guard (using subtitles so we don't miss anything).

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 27

Bad catholic

Weather this warm means BBQ! I had planned on prawns but we had defrosted a marinated piece of veal yesterday and I couldn't bear to waste it. The corn was the last thing left in the crisper before market day tomorrow. It bbq'd up perfectly. Dinner was delicious. It's a shame Thom decided to have a major meltdown just as i was serving. Tantrums by definition are LOUD and not conducive to fine dinner table conversation. I think we all have indigestion. We are watching the Peter Weir classic film 'Gallipoli' tonight, so despite the stresses of the day we are counting our blessings.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 26


I got lucky last night, no cooking! I forgot to take a photo of course. On the left you can see my mothers handwriting. With great care she writes down what we all want and the corresponding number in the menu. I had a warm calamari salad with mint. Alan had a similar dish with prawns. Mum went for a lovely prawn curry and Hope had rice noodles with beef and vegetables. Can you imagine the amount of prep and then washing up it would take to recreate these meals? We did share our dishes a little and all enjoyed it. Perfect for watching Australian Open tennis.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 25

Dinner and a Show

For the past few years instead of gifts I've been buying my mother tickets to see things. It was a hell day today and we didn't feel like going to the theatre but I'd shelled out some hefty cash to see the MTC production of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. So to summon our last ounce of energy we carbed up with spag bol. This is a meal from my own childhood and tastes pretty much the same as it did in 1978. It's not my favourite meal but I can get it bubbling away in the afternoon so dinner is a 20 minute job from beginning to end. It got us through a three hour play set in 1950's Australia.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 24

Repeat offender

I got lucky today! Mum cooked the crumbed chicken tenderloins and I made the salad and orange gelato for dessert. It was blisteringly hot today and I didn't function too well I have to admit. The ladies went to the cinema while Thom and I flaked out on the couch. Alan worked a 13 hour day and looks like the walking dead. I realize when it's this hot it's hard to summon the energy to cook creatively. I'm hoping a cool change will usher in more interesting dinners. I was so grateful to not have cooking duty tonight.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day 23

Home bistrot

Despite it being Monday I couldn't subject my mum to vegetarian cooking her first night home. we went for her favourite meal: steak, salad, potato with sour cream and chives. Crazy jelly for dessert (lime, custard, whipped cream and shaved chocolate). Thom caught a glimpse of the jelly before dinner but was told in no uncertain terms that he must clean his plate before dessert would be served. He at his entire dinner in under 3 minutes and then yelled 'Jelly!'

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 22

Kind of takeaway

Boy it was hot today. My beloved roasted a pork belly portion on the bbq and we ordered a salad and coconut rice around the corner from our local Thai restaurant (100 metres from our house). The Thai salad is great as it comes with egg, tofu and peanut sauce which makes it very substantial. The rice is cheap and no clean up is a bonus I'm full a good food and after a lovely Sunday crafting (not cooking!) ready for a cuppa tea. Mum is home tomorrow so I'll need to shift gears a little in the kitchen.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 21

Rogan Josh

While the eldest member is interstate it's a good opportunity for us to eat spicier food. Two Christmases ago I got a lovely tagine and have found its perfect for slow cooking a curry. I still keep it mild for the teenager and the toddler has a separate meal altogether. The turmeric potato was a little hotter, tempered by the sticky coconut rice, cucumber and pappadums. Only problem with this meal is there is way too much washing up. Lucky I wasn't the one doing it...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 20

Homemade takeaway

Three different homemade pizzas. #1 bocconcini, prosciutto and basil #2 mushroom, olive and cheese #3 mexican meat lovers (with the leftover taco meat and tasty cheese). I didn't make the bases I just couldn't face it. I know Jamie would chastise me for that but really at least the pizzas weren't from dominoes. They were delicious too.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

DAY 19

M's Birthday

Two dinners tonight. For a whole decade I've taken my friend m out to dinner and a movie on his birthday. So tonight it was 'tinker tailor soldier spy' and seafood ramen, both highly recommended. I made the family mexican, all they had to do was heat up the taco shells. I'd say it was a relief to eat a meal I hadn't cooked but to be honest with you because I'd done all the prep I still felt harried by dinner.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 18


My family joked that this dinner was so dull that I should lie and tell you that it's actually a Heston Blumenthal dessert that just looks like a boring family meal. Boring for a reason. Mum is off to Sydney in the morning and I think it's important to have an easy meal before the flight. With our eldest family member away well probably go for richer, crazier food over the next few days.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 17


Pork schnitzel is easier than the dreaded chicken tenderloins as it comes in bigger portions so not so much frying. Two salads #1 apple walnut pecorino #2 pasta salad (inspired by librarygirl) with celery and quails eggs, mayo and parsley. Now the quails eggs sound fancy but really you can pick up a tub at the market for $3.50 and they take 6 minutes to cook. They make the pasta salad very substantial which is good if there is only one schnitzel each. I took a photo of the knives and forks tonight as they were a Christmas present -beautiful Laguiole cutlery from France. Absolute objects of desire for any foodie! Im hoping for the spoon set for Valentines Day. Our dishwasher broke down so if we have to hand wash why not use the good china and cutlery? Desert was orange gelato which didn't come together to well but still tasted goooooood.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 16

No meat Monday

My weekly challenge was helped this week by a little online research into vegetarian cooking and a some forward planning. I made mini mixed mushroom quiches, grilled haloumi, and a super green salad that included broccoli, zucchini, baby spinach, peas, cucumber, salad greens, spring onion, pine nuts and a very light lemony vinaigrette. I think the trick with cooking vegetarian mains for meat eaters is a combination of texture and colour. They are never going to be happy with a mushy one pot wonder. It was absolutely delicious. My aim is to have 8 great non-pasta vegetarian mains in my repertoire by the end of the year.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 15

Homemade takeway

Sorry about the blurry photo, I had hungry people desperate for food waiting for me to take the picture! Homemade takeaway tonight was beef in black bean sauce, stir fry hoisin vegetables and garlic and Sichuan pepper prawn with jasmine rice. Took an hour to prepare and five minutes to eat. I think next week I'll treat myself to real takeaway, I could do with a night off.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 14

Pork and apples

We are having unseasonably cool weather for this time of year. A pork roast with gravy, crackling and 3 veg is the last thing to be cooking in the height of the Australian summer but with a definite chill in the air I went that extra mile and made apple pie too! My daughter has been making beautiful citrus cordials lately so we bought some mineral water and made our own pop with her fantastic pink grapefruit and lemon concoction. I plan to be in bed by 930 tonight, desperate for a big sleep.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 13

Tv dinner

Friday 13th so we're watching bad horror movies on the couch. No fish on Friday because our fish shop is closed until the fifth of feb. This buttermilk panko crusted chicken is delicious and because it's done in the oven and not fried there is very little mess. The family go crazy for potato salad. No herbs, eggs or nuts in it this week just mayo and paprika - my energy level is very very low. I'm pretty sure the b grade werewolf movie will help.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 12

Night off!

I was in the middle of a craft project so mum offered to cook. She beavered away and made her fantastic fried rice and Alan grilled the pork chops on the BBQ. It doesn't look like much but I relished it. I love not eating my own food. Everything tastes better when you haven't spent the previous hour making it. Dessert was a choc top at the movies. Midweek treats all round.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 11

Oh my lord are we really this boring?

Our dinner table conversation tonight consisted of an in depth discussion of other things we would be prepared to eat other than meat and salad. I said soup was no go because it reminded me of being unwell, vegan food is out because we aren't sure what it is, an antipasto evening was eventually scrapped due to high levels of salt (and expense). So it was decided we'd go with a pasta night, separate from no meat Monday. Anyone for lasagna? Burp. Tonight was butterflied leg o lamb with roasted kipflers and (you guessed it) salad. Of course the real highlight was the brownies made specially for our Wednesday big night of tv.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 10

Food on a stick

We try to have dinner together at the table most nights, sometimes we don't pull it off and we end up on the couch. We have found that the toddler eats more if he can see us all eating too. I thought I'd include a photo of his plate to show how we adapt his meals a little. He enjoyed the kebab (as we all did) and still claims corn as his best vegetable. The garlic bread was the second stick made on Saturday. The avocados finally ripened and made a great summer salad.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 9

No meat Monday

The concept of no meat Monday is not a new one. A campaign promoting healthy choices for families was started up officially in the states in 2003. Paul and Stella Mcartney have had big success in the UK with their own version and I'm trying it out on my clan. We eat meat every day: beef, lamb, chicken, veal, pork, mince and seafood (7 meats, 7 days). Granted it's lean and small portioned but it is meat. I can't promise to not serve meat on a Monday, my vegetarian recipes are fairly limited and my carnivorous clan resistant. Tonight I did a mixed mushroom pasta in white wine and cream sauce. Using fresh oregano from the garden was lovely. No one suggested it would have been better with bacon, so success!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 8

Baa baa

As many traditional home cooks do, I usually cook a roast on Sunday. Knowing I was going to be driving back from a long day in the country I compromised with BBQ lamb chops, potato gems (disgusting but the teens favourite) and the super green veggie salad. Beans, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, spring onions, cucumber and toasted pine nuts. I can get 6 vegetables into them all without them noticing. My beloved and I skipped the potato weirdness, the toddler ate mine and thought they were 'yumbo tumbo'.
They got a lemon delicious pudding for dessert.
So ends week 1!
We eat too much Salad.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 7

Steak night

Saturday night is steak night. We go to Queen Victoria market in the morning and buy all our provisions for the week. We do this not to be smug but to save an enormous amount of money. It comes with it's own pleasures too of course, chocolate brioche being one! We know we are so lucky to have access to great fresh food all year round. As much as we love it, steak runs at such a premium now that we can only afford it once a week. So I get the very best eye fillet I can afford. I make fresh garlic bread and a big green salad (we eat a lot of salad as you can see!) and we savor every mouthful. Perfectly simple.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 6

Friday night we should be having fish. Fish shop closed til feb so I'm hoping the pope will forgive me- we had hamburgers instead. Bacon lettuce tomato and cheese. - no egg, no onion. All members of the family enjoyed this classic tv dinner. Shame the 3 year old refused to eat in front of anything except Dora the Explorer. Ola!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 5

Not takeaway night

We love takeaway but really for a family this size that means $60 - which is crazy. So I've started making 'takeaway'. This generally means more effort on my part earlier in the day - because good takeaway is alway more than one dish. So tonight we had prawns in black bean sauce and toasted sesame seeds, stir fry vegetables with soy and garlic (using up all the vegetables before market Saturday) udon noodles and, for the seafood hating teen, teriyaki pork. We have Vietnamese mint in the garden, it's pretty pungent, I'm not sure about it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 4

TV Dinner

Good night on TV so pasta it is. Last of the Christmas ham, some fresh asparagus, cream, Parmesan, lemon zest, parsley. Wish we had nicer pasta. I made lemon gelato for dessert. What is the difference between sherbet and gelato? Delicious with vanilla ice-cream. Everyone ensconced in front of the box watching one great British show after another.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 3

A strange Tuesday

This meal is so boring it makes my head hurt. Crumbed chicken tenderloins, oven chips, green salad and mayo. I hate preparing it, cooking it, cleaning up after it. But my family loves it. It's a rare thing to get them all to agree on a meal and I only cook it once a month so I'll just keep quiet and let someone bring me a cup of tea. They think it's hilarious, taking a photo of dinner. Strange weather.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Day 2

Public holiday. Very hot.

Lamb leg done on the BBQ. Potato salad and green salad.
Dessert was a treat.
Homemade vanilla apricot swirl ice-cream
Churned in my bright yellow machine
incorporating jam from delicious backyard fruit
from my best friend Beck.
Very hot today and tempers are frayed.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 1

New years day.

Three quiches: mushroom, ham, tomato & olive. Made them early morning to avoid the heat. Big green salad with everything in it. No dessert, just tea and a piece of chocolate.