Tuesday, September 28, 2010

October Challenge: Nothing New Month

This October, I'm taking part in the Salvos "Nothing New Month". What is it? Well, from their website:

"Simple: sustainable shopping, saving money and reducing the impact on our environment all at the same time.
Buying nothing new doesn’t mean going without. Make a Buy Nothing New Month pledge and you can beg, buy, barter and swap for whatever you need, as long as it is pre-loved, but with the exceptions of necessities (including food, drink, medications and hygiene products) you can’t buy anything new."

So while that doesn't necessarily impact on my cooking, I'm going to make it. Why? BECAUSE I CAN, THATS WHY. This means I'm going to make things from scratch wherever possible (and plausible!) - no canned tomatoes, store-bought bread, pre-grated cheese, pasta sauces, or things of that nature! Obviously, some things I can't make - I'm too lazy to make my own cornflakes (is that even possible? GOOGLE TRIP), for example. But bread? Sure, I'll do that. I might even coerce the Uber-Blonde into making croissants with me :)


Wish me luck!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gordo's Fish

It almost pains me to post this recipe, because as much as I love Gordo (so named for his resemblance to this guy right here - Lizzie McGuire, anyone?), he seems to hate my cooking. Except for these cupcakes. I know the first time, it was because I made him stir-fry for me to eat at 5pm, so by the time he'd finished an exam at 6pm and walked across campus to the theatre, it is completely understandable that the rice was dry and that is not a reflection on my cooking. Everything else though, I have no idea :P

So during our weekly shopping trip, this is how he suggested I cook my fish next time. Which was about half an hour ago. And then I ate it and forgot to take a photo. Oops.

GORDO'S FISH


Serves one


1 fish fillet - I don't even, how much are you meant to eat? I just asked for one and the lady gave it to me.
Half a lemon
One potato
Salt
Pepper
Vegetables

1. Make three or so slits into the fish on each side

2. Rub each side with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper

3. Cut up the potato into chips and put them in the oven

4. Prepare the vegetables how you wish. I'm lazy and used frozen ones.

5. Fry the fish

6. Put everything on a plate.

NOM.

Daring Bakers: Sugar Cookies

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.


This was my first Daring Bakers challenge, which I completed with DB veteran The Uber-Blonde. The theme for this challenge was "September", and the cookies had to be decorated in a way that represented September to you. Easily done for us - yesterday was the bump out for the pantomime we were just in! Needless to say, the cast liked having biscuits with quotes from the show, double rainbows, and in-jokes. NOT TO MENTION THEY WERE DELICIOUS.


I'd really like to do these again, looking at the pictures on the webpage some of them are INCREDIBLE. And I like to talk up my artistic talent, particularly when its also edible :)



These were my cookies - my favourites are the MiS: ARC (Macbeth in Space: A Romantic Comedy) and "My delicious radish of knowledge". 

The recipe for sugar cookies can be found here





Thursday, September 16, 2010

Summer Lunch & "pulling a Nigella"

Money has been kind of tight lately, since I booked flights for Boyfriend & I to go over east in January for my gorgeous cousin's 21st and to see AM! *squee* Also, I had to buy ink for the printer this week. Who knew it was so expensive? Luckily, the weather has been delightful enough to get away with snacking on fresh fruit & vegetables all day and sustaining myself with leftovers from Tara's pasta bake at night :)

I've been meaning to post lately but considering I've been having Tara's pasta bake and the delicious deli-counter fiesta of a pasta that Boy & I created almost exclusively, I don't want to pull a Nigella.

The phrase originated on Saturday when the Uber-Blonde and I were discussing our shared love of Jamie Oliver. I mentioned that I liked Nigella Lawson (she had an episode on comfort food where she made mashed potato and gravy, what is not to love?!). UB disagreed, saying she watched an episode of one of her shows marketed as an "Oh, working mothers, you have no time to cook, but make these nutritious meals for your family!"-type gig, and proceeded to make pasta tossed with a jar of antipasto vegetables and olive oil.

For the record, that is almost identical to the deli-counter fiesta, but as the name suggests we get olives, sundried tomato and stuffed peppers from the deli counter and have that with feta and pasta. NOM. Hence, posting that recipe would be somewhat "pulling a Nigella".

Much like the following recipe, in fact!




AMAZING SUMMER LUNCH


1 avocado per person
Salt and Pepper

1. Cut the avocado in half and remove the stone

2. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Nom down like it's nobody's business.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Macaroni Cheese

See, I promised, didn't I?



MACARONI CHEESE

Serves four very hungry students

400g pasta
Double quantity of white sauce
MOAR CHEESE

1. Cook the pasta while you make the white sauce, and get the oven to preheat at 180C while you do that. This is the hardest step! So much to coordinate!

2. Put the pasta into a baking dish.

3. Pour the sauce over the pasta.

4. Grate some more cheese on the top

5. Put it in the oven and wait for it to delicious itself.

Olive, Rosemary and Feta bread

I like bread. I like almost anything with carbohydrates, really. I was planning to make ciabatta for my friend's Italian feast last Sunday, but it looked too hard. So I made this instead. True story. But a bit different, because I don't know what a dutch oven is.






















Olive, Rosemary and Feta Bread

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup crumbed feta
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped roughly


1. Combine lukewarm water, yeast, sugar, dried rosemary and 1 cup of flour. Cover with glad wrap and set aside for 15-20 minutes, after which it should be light and airy.

2. Add the rest of the bread flour and salt, and knead until the dough is light and airy.

3. Add olive oil, feta and olives, and knead until combined. Drizzle some olive oil in a plastic bag and whack the bread in there, making sure its covered on all sides by the olive oil so it can chill in the refrigerator for a while.

4. After at least an hour, knead the dough in the bag (but not in the fridge) to knock the air out of it. Pop it back in the fridge.

5. Go and have a nap, or a good night's sleep.

6. The next day, or post-8 hour nap (however it works out), thoroughly knead the bread while still in the plastic bag. Leave it to warm to room temperature.

THIS BIT I AM NOT SO SURE ABOUT BUT THIS IS WHAT I DID.

7. Knead the bread again once it has gotten to room temperature. Shape it into the shape you want, cover with a damp teatowel, and leave to rise until it has doubled in size. While you're waiting, preheat the oven to 200C.

8. Put the bread in the oven and cook until it is done. Then cut it up and enjoy it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cooking basics: White sauce

White sauce is wonderful, because its quite easy to make (as long as you aren't totally averse to stirring) and you can use it as pasta sauce, in mac and cheese (more on that later), in lasagne... probably other things but that's all I've gotten to so far!

*oh hello, one day when the white sauce isn't quite so delicious and I am not quite so hungry, a picture will go here!*

WHITE SAUCE

For two people to have with pasta

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
Cheese. As much cheese as your heart desires.


1. Melt the butter over a low heat

2. Add the flour, stir for one minute.

3. Take off the heat and add a little milk, stir over heat until thick. Repeat until all milk is added.

4. Add grated cheese and stir to combine. You can raise the heat a little at this point to help it melt faster and save your arm from falling off.