Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Thursdays are a thing.

I have decided I like Thursday the best.

The transition to full-time work has given me additional appreciation of the end of the week. The correct combination of a full day of hard work, plus that hint of Friday in the air, can only mean good things.

One year in, the novelty of coming home on a weeknight after work (and not needing to study) has also rekindled my enjoyment for cooking and sharing weeknight meals.

I get a lot of satisfaction an excitement from planning meals for friends - considering the season, finding what’s in the pantry and discovering the diner’s inclinations. This usually means checking-in during the afternoon to find the evening’s meat preferences from the protein-fiend plus one. My skills in picking up on said meat cravings have significantly improved over the past few months – gaining a 90% hit rate in ‘pick the protein’. The preference on this Thursday evening, is Lamb.

I tend to favour a variety of colours and textures in vegetables, with the meat taking a supporting role. 
However, considering the appetite of the aforementioned fiend, the focus tends to be #allofthemeat, some solid carbohydrates and plenty of sauce.
Lamb with Oregano and Red Onion, Capsicum Sauce – some sautéed capsicum with chickpeas and olives (note: current chickpea loving), Minty Peas with Goats Cheese and Zucchini, Roasted Carrots with Couscous, currants and almonds and some pita and olive bread to mop it all up.

Usually washed down with a solid adventure of the Pixar variety. And the wine.

With a Thursday evening well spent, bring on Friday.

Roasted Carrots with Couscous, Currants and Almonds.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish
Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
Allowing 1 carrot per person, Slice carrots to 0.5cm and place on a lined baking tray or roasting dish.  

Drizzle with olive oil, a big crack of salt and pepper and sprinkle with ground cumin. Place in oven and roast for approx. 20-25 minutes – turning or tossing them once.

Meanwhile, cook 1 cup of couscous, or quinoa, according to packet directions. While still warm, mix in 1 tsp of butter, ½ cup of currants and ½ cup of slivered almonds. Mix through a handful of chopped, fresh mint leaves. Top with Roasted Carrots, a crumble of marinated Goats Cheese or Feta and some extra mint leaves. 

Sarah x

A Wednesday Cakemergency.

I always get nervous when Nan calls me on my mobile.
Juggling a number of things on my way home from work, I pick up the phone as quickly as I could. The worst kind of emergency. #cakemergency.

I listened, anxiously, as she recounted a tragic tale of a delicious cake gone wrong.
She had an important book club meeting in the evening and had spent the day preparing a range of sandwiches and treats for her guests. She unwrapped a beautiful cake from her faithful Leo’s – the ultimate gourmet supermarket – only to find that it was uncharactersitically crumbly, and too difficult to serve to her guests. Disaster.

As Nan now lives around the corner and doesn’t drive anymore, she asked if I would be able pop in at the shops, pick a new one out and deliver it to her by 7.30pm ….but my ears already popped up when I heard the ‘crumble’ word.

The following is a favourite stand-by recipe in my kitchen, it is easily adaptable to be diabetes friendly (as I did in this case) and other ‘pantry fruits’ – frozen berries, stewed stone fruit could very easily be subbed in for the apple.
Perfect to be dress up with some vanilla bean crème or custard or dressed down as a lunchbox treat.

Hand delivered, just in time.

Perfect for your next cakemergency.

Sarah x

Apple and Blueberry Crumble Dessert Cake
DF = Diabetic Friendly
Cake base
150g butter, melted (DF – sub for light margarine spread)
2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour ½ cup castor sugar (DF -  3 tbs Stevia or other sweetener)
3/4 cup plain yoghurt (1 tub of Chobani – Plain or Apple Cinnamon)
1/3 cup Foster Clark's custard powder (DF - 2 tbs of Coconut Flour)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon
3 eggs
1 ½  cups of fresh or frozen fruit (I used canned pie apple, and a handful of blueberries)

Crumble topping
¼ cup plain flour
½ cup rolled oats (DF + 1 crushed Weet Bix biscuit)
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
60 grams melted butter (DF – use light margarine spread)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 5cm-deep, 20cm x 30cm (base) roasting dish or slab pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends. Pop the melted butter, eggs, flour, caster sugar, yoghurt, custard powder and vanilla essence an electric/stand mixer and beat for 3 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Pour the mixture into prepared dish or pan, drop pieces of apple over mixture, dot with blueberries.  
Make crumble topping: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Sprinkle topping over cake mixture. 
Bake cake for 45min-1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 3-4 minutes. Serve warm with yoghurt or custard.