Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 59

Give the people what they want

There they are in all their glory - crumbed chicken tenders. I opted for pasta rather than potato and kept the salad simple. Everyone at home is in various stages of illness so the comfort food was appreciated. I forgot about the jelly I made for dessert, they can have it tonight - I ate mine at midnight!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 58

Keep it simple stupid

I don't often resort to a BBQ chook but the 2nd day in row that qualifies as memorable for all the wrong reasons meant dinner was out of my hands tonight. Alan made the chook run while mum made the salad and I set the table. Yes corn is back on the menu, despite me banning it a couple of weeks back. Tomorrow life should be a little easier so a bit of effort will need to be made to make up for the past few chaotic nights. Bed time now.

Day 57

Looks bad, tastes good

Ok I apologies for the photo. I had a day and a half, starting at 5am waiting in a car queue at coburg trash and treasure. Not so fun on the hottest day of the year. As awful as this metal looks it tasted lovely after a hell day. Ratatouille, rice and a BBQd marinated veal roast. Real comfort food. The way my week is going I'm going to need some comfort!

Day 56

Hot Sauce

What a treat! Because we were going out for the evening we thought we'd have a fancy pants dinner to start it off. But it was hot, really hot. And we were tired, really tired. So we walked to the end of our street with a couple of beers and bought gumbo and a shrimp po boy from the gumbo truck. Absolutely delicious.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 55


I'm not the best catholic that's for sure. I do try and commit to fish on Friday, and during lent I'm far more rigid about it. I give up several things for lent and I get to mass most weeks leading up to the big day. One thing I give up every year is icecream. Simply because that's what I gave up as child. Of course it's 30 degrees and all I want is a magnum. Dinner was divine by the way. Potato salad with quails eggs and paprika, sautéed asparagus, zucchini and rocket salad, green salad and prosciutto wrapped basa fillets.

Yes prosciutto. Told you I'm not the best catholic.

Day 54

Take away

Thursdays have become a default takeaway night for us of late. We all love Vietnamese so it's an easy choice. I always forget to take a photo when we buy out. Take my word for it, delicious. Except for the pork. Mum announced she's never having take away again. Sigh.

Day 53

Phony maceroni

Jamie's Maceroni Cheese was a mild success. I replaced the tub of mascapone cheese with a tablespoon of light sour cream and omitted the fried rosemary (too sharp of my taste). This was listed as a vegetarian main but I decided to celebrate my new oven by roasting a bird coated in garlic butter and stuffed with lemon and fresh bay leaves. Oh Lordy. You really get what you pay for with chook, and this one was gorgeous. Lots for sandwiches tomorrow.

Day 52


Pork Chow Mein was a disaster, no one enjoyed this one.just not enough flavor, tough meat and no sauce. Maybe this very Anglo version just wasn't to our taste. Next week I'm going to cook Charmaine Solomon's chicken chow Mein to compare the two recipes. Blech.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 51

Four and twenty blackbirds

Oh I really had a bit of a day. Teen meltdown, toddler tantrums, pick ups, drop offs, technology issues, printer problems and a 6pm meeting that stretched to 8pm. Somewhere wedged in the afternoon madness I managed to make Jamie's creamy chicken, leek and ham pie. It took an unreasonable amount of time but I also made mini pies for school lunch tomorrow and an extra couple for my aunt who ribs me a little about this blog (she asked if she can order take away). My sweet family waited until I got home to eat and it was delicious even at 9pm. Hope said we should have pie more than once a quarter, so a bright moment in an otherwise cloudy day.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 50

It's all about the pudding

Hope and I met English philosopher Alain de Botton this evening. He was launching his new book 'Religion for Atheists' . He was very amused to hear that Hope is an atheist and I'm religious. He quipped it must make for some interesting family dinners. And yes, despite our differences, our passion for pudding prevails. This one was made with choc chip brioche. Oh Lordy!

Day 49

Jamie Week

So this blog has indicated to me that I'm in a bit of a cooking rut. So I thought I'd actually make use of some of my iPad cooking apps to plan a different weeks menu for the family. Starting with these salmon fish fingers, pea and potato creamy mash and home made tartare sauce. As you can see, apart from the addition of the ubiquitous salad, it turned out pretty much exactly as Jamie Oliver instructed. He gets the whole week to challenge me. Next week it's Nigella, then Mario Batali. It will be interesting to see how I go. The family loved this one, of course because it was crumbed. Sigh.

Day 48

Take out

I'm hoping the 365 gods will forgive me for not taking a photo of my pho. Today was pretty dire and we all needed a break. Our local Vietnamese place has a master stock that can cure almost any ailment. We all felt better for it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 47

Sweet beet

I was pretty sure dinner tonight was going to be drab. We had a stressful ride home from the school pick up trying to beat the rain to get the four loads of washing off the line. We had planned a trip to the pool but with dark skies above we all just wanted to get home. Turns out Alan had grabbed the washing in before the worst of the rain. So fortified with coffee I did manage to summon energy to make two beautiful salads. One with baby beets, grilled haloumi and fresh mint, the other with baby tomatoes, cucumber, olives and crispy proscuitto. The potato gems reappeared on the menu as we have a brand new oven to crisp things up in. The gigantic tbone steaks were grilled. Jelly for dessert, which thrilled Thom no end.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 46

Hump day

The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurous believed that happiness could be found in life's simple pleasures: working hard,surrounding yourself with family and friends and eating well. I know this because contemporary philosopher Alain de Botton told me so. Today I won tickets to meet him so perhaps we can chat about all matters epicurean. salad tonight was great - homemade garlic croutons, bocconcini, homegrown cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber and some leaves. The schnitzel was a disaster, so over it. No more crumbling for me for at least three weeks - you heard it here first.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 45

Fancy pants

I absolutely love eating in fancy restaurants. There is nothing better than great food created by a professional chef. Sadly our budget only allows for special occasion dining of that nature. Last night being Valentines Day Alan and I went to the über cool 'Huxtable' on Smith Street and spent a days wages on dinner! It was designed around share plates, which we love but it did mean that we ate way too much food. Everything you see on the small bites menu above we ate - one of everything with relish. Of course exhaustion set in halfway through and it became a bit of an endurance test, dessert was a bridge too far I suspect. But it was lovely to spend the evening together, and it was lovely not to cook!

Ps my valentines gift was a new Heston Blumenthal cook book called 'at home' ... I would love to look at it but I'm too busy crumbing schnitzels.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 44

Meat Monday

I had a bit of a day today. Backwards and forwards with meetings, drop offs, shopping, pick ups. I couldn't summon the energy for a vegetarian feast tonight so (as is the cooks prerogative) swapped days. Tonight was my fortnightly takeaway at home meal. Hoisin pork, udon noodles and stir fry vegetables with garlic and ginger. really I could have left off the pork and doubled the vegetables to have it be no meat Monday but I wasn't confident enough. we ate on the couch, as you do with takeaway and then settled in to watch the BAFTAs. Bed beckons.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 43

The bleh bleh blehs

This is what happens when you start a craft project too late in the day and you have no interest in cooking dinner. I think that's it for the corn, we are officially over it and it will now be relegated to Thoms plate exclusively for a while. Hope genuinely hates sour cream with potato and the steak was overcooked. So really it looks nicer in the photo than it did in real life. Was excited to put dishes in my brand new dishwasher and clear the table and get back to my project. Extra scoops of icecream for dessert for everyone.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 42

I'd like to be under the sea

I wrote a fan letter to food writer and chef Rick Stein once. I dropped it in to a restaurant he was hosting a dinner at. I was too shy and poor to front up myself. I wasn't sure they had given it to him or even remembered what it said. Three months later I received a postcard from Padstow on the Cornish coast of England. He thanked me for my kind letter and was pleased that I had stains and scribbles on my cookbooks. I use his postcard as a bookmark now. This is Rick Steins hearty seafood stew. White fish, scallops, prawns, mussels with tomato, white wine, fresh dill, pepper and lemon. Saturday night's alright.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 41

BBQ rescue

Well I did buy the fish, my intentions were good...aren't they always? But we hadn't eaten the lamb chops from yesterday and I couldn't see bad food go to waste. I'm sure God feels the same and doesn't give a hoot about fish on friday. Alan set about fixing the BBQ up after the fire, what a drab job that was. Mum suggested the risoni with fresh oregano and I made the crazy 'use everything up' Friday night salad. It was all easy and all delicious. Please note the new placemats from ikea, I think everyone has them! I noticed them in my lovely neighbors house today too. They don't have a tv and there is always room in their bin. I'm pretty sure they are better than we are.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 40

Spicy nuts

I made the fatal error of going to Ikea at 330 in the afternoon without having done any prep for dinner apart from getting unappetizing lamb forequarter chops out of the freezer. This error was compounded by taking both my kids with me. Hope was exhausted from a day of dealing with fools and charlatans and Thom was beside himself with excitement pretending we actually live at Ikea by testing out every bed. I was a frazzled headachy mess by the time we got home. Alan had finished a 12 hour a day that included his truck sitting by the side of the road for three hours waiting for a repair guy. So the suggestion of thai takeaway was met with weary cheers all round. Fish cakes, calamari salad, pud puk with beef and pud se ew with prawns, coconut rice and roti bread washed down by gigantic glasses of coke and three episodes of Parks and Recreation. Done.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 39

A study in Brown

Yeah there it is. The crumbed chicken tenderloins strike again. This week I coated them with panko breadcrumbs mixed with dried oregano and parmesan. The maple carrots reappeared due to popular demand, the corn ditto. The potatoes were cubed and cooked in butter and bacon until crispy and rested on bitter greens to soak up the sauciness. I snuck in chermoula just to spice them up a bit. Everyone is so weary today, we've all had our individual burdens to bear and dinner was quiet as we all processed our experiences. We will all retire to the couch now to share a packet of tim tams and cups of tea.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 38


After their disastrous Mexican takeaway the other night, Alan and Hope were not super keen to have Mexican again so soon. With mum out this evening it is my policy to have a spicy meal and we miraculously had all we needed for a taco feast. Everything except a working oven to heat up the shells. I opted for soft tortillas and organic corn chips instead. We all made our own version of nachos with a good dash of lime. Lovely evening.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 37

One pot wonder

I have to admit I'm no longer fond of pasta. I think I ate far too much of it in my 20's and 30's and you really can have too much of a good thing. of course no meat Mondays is proving quite the challenge for me but pasta is a much easier solution than the four different dishes I often juggle on a Monday. So I have relented and added it to the menu. The success of last weeks ratatouille inspired this weeks sauce. I replaced the red wine vinegar with actual wine and went a little easier on the onion. Eggplant, which has never been a friend of mine, was absolutely beautiful and very filling. I need to find a great vegetarian cookbook I think.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 36

Jazz hands

I have a confession to make. That is not a a photo of my dinner. Because mum and I were making a pilgrimage to musical theatre land, Alan and Hope took a chance on the new Mexican takeaway at the end of the street (there is A LOT at the end of our street). Apparently it was pretty awful which is disappointing. Mum and I had Japanese in the city pre show. I was way too excited to take a photo. This probably breaks the 365 rules but cest la vie!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 35

Fire and the food truck

So I've got the corn on the BBQ. Alan and Hope have gone to the video store and mum is sautéing potatoes in the kitchen. All of a sudden I notice the BBQ is engulfed in flames and the thermostat is on 600. Thom of course was thrilled by the drama and refused to go inside. I had to hose the BBQ down rendering the corn inedible and then hose mum down (metaphorically) who was so worried Thom and I were going to go up in smoke like the corn.
After the drama Alan decided he'd skip the home cooked dinner and go up to the gumbo truck he's been obsessing about. It's the new big thing here, food trucks parked in weird places with a sea of hipsters following them on facebook waiting for locations. Tonight it just happened to be at the end of our street. That gumbo, despite looking hideous, was damn tasty. We couldn't waste the steaks so we fried them up in the safety of our kitchen,
Our meal was beyond ordinary but for some reason we were so cheery it was fun around the table tonight. Maybe the stamped napkins helped - sometimes my family think I'm mad!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 34

Madman at the ovens

Al Albero is a hole in the wall pizza joint down the road. It's wedged in between Danny's burgers, Nth Fitzroy Fish and Chippery and Cristos Charcoal Chooks. It's one crazy bald guy and a giant pizza oven. Online reviews vary wildly from 'I would drive from Sydney to get this pizza' to 'this man is a psycho, beware!' he's been known to throw people out for ordering extra cheese. Last night the joint was jammed with hipsters enjoying his Jagger impersonation while the Stones blared at full volume. The only assistance he has is from a gormless hippy girl with a thousand yard stare. His marinara pizza, laden with scallops, fish and prawns, is simply the very best I have had outside of Italy. His slow cooked lamb with feta is award worthy and his margherita made with fresh tomato, oregano and buffalo mozzarella is worth the wait. This is fast food but slow food. He's a tool. He's a genius. 5 stars.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 33

Hello schnitzel my old friend...

In some ways a broken oven is helpful in that If I don't eat and oven baked chip for the next 20 years it will be too soon. In an attempt to stave off kidney disease Alan has reduced his carbohydrate intake significantly anyway so other veges have come forward on the menu. Less potato has meant I lost two KGs without doing anything. The colorful medley of veges tonight was delicious. The broccoli, beans, and asparagus were tossed with sautéed bacon and spring onion and seasoned with chermoula (a north African spice mix). The baby carrots were maple glazed and the corn keeps everyone happy. A winner of a meal and the vege drawer in the fridge is empty.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 32


I made ratatouille for the first time in ages. It's the only eggplant friendly recipe I know, everything else renders the submerging indelible to my clan. The lamb chump chops were cheap but cheerful after a long day marinating in garlic and lemon and then bbq'd to perfection. The salad was leftover from last night and the rice was to mop up the sauce. It was all delicious but so retro I was a little embarrassed to put it on the blog! Somedays you just have to get the people fed.