If it feels like a long time since I posted a recipe here that’s probably because it feels like a long time since I last cooked properly! Life has a habit of taking over and in between changing nappies, writing essays and preaching sermons I’ve barely kept on top of the washing up let alone had chance to get creative in the kitchen. However (as you can probably guess) yesterday I decided I had had enough of this and, despite the chaos in kitchen, I rolled up my sleeves, put Toby in the high chair, and decided to make something delicious. Read the rest of this entry
New years day seems like as good a time as any to have a look back at my list of ’12 things to do in 2012′!
One thing that wasn’t on the list but was a definite highlight was Toby being born in May (so even if I failed at the rest of the list it was still a great year!)
Anyway, on with the rest of the list:
1) Only buy meat that we know has been looked after properly
We’ve done pretty well at this, buying meat mostly from the community farm where Charlie and I volunteer or a couple of good butchers. The main consequence of this challenge was that we just eat a lot less meat generally now which is much better for us and for the environment! 9/10
2) Regularly bake bread to give away to others
I’ve baked quite a lot of bread for other people (church breakfasts, communion services etc.) so on one level I’ve done pretty well on this but I was kind of hoping to intentionally bake bread at home to give away to people who might appreciate it. 6/10
3) Cook pizza in my pizza oven for some kind of public event
I have used the pizza oven for a few parties and have taken it to college and baked bread for communion during the service (which was fun if rather wet!). I was hoping to use it at a fair/farmers market but having looked into the regulations around being a caterer like that I’m not sure I’ve got the energy to do it properly! 4/10
4) Grow vegetables successfully
We managed to grow garlic, shallots, carrots and potatoes with varying degrees of success before having to move house in July. 10/10
5) Learn to make salami
I did make some salami and chorizo earlier in the year which was good fun, it tasted ok and I didn’t die so I think that counts as a success! 8/10
6) Read something by Charles Dickens
7) Read something from the Bible every day
I’m not sure I did this every day but I have been a bit more intentional about reading it. I have also said compline (night prayer) most nights and obviously the bible plays a fairly big part in that! 8/10
8) Write a poem a week (or at least do better than 2011 when I only wrote 8!)
Fail and fail! I think I wrote about 5 in the whole year! 1/10
9) Hand all my essays in early
Surprisingly enough I managed this! 10/10
10) Do something significant for Lent
I have a vague recollection that we did something for lent but to be honest I can’t for the life of me remember what it was! 2/10
11) Learn to play the Grade 5 Jazz Piano pieces
I have learned a couple of them and I do play the piano a lot at the moment but I haven’t managed to learn them all. 3/10
12) Use technology (especially my phone) less
I got a shiny new phone around Easter so have definitely not managed this one! 0/10
Just over half marks – not as good as last year but better than nothing! given that during this year we also had a baby and moved house I’m happy with that!
Sometimes it seemed like this day would never come
Like the waiting would be too much to bear
As we counted the weeks, the days, the hours
And whispered our hope-filled prayers
As these candle flames burst into life one by one
They reminded us week after week
That our God is not silent, he has given his word
As a baby, unable to speak.
Now the day has arrived we remember again
How he came without fanfare or distinction
To the heart of our dark, troubled world came a child
To bring light to the whole of creation
He came, not with the splendour or power of a king,
Though a king he undoubtedly is,
but with tantrums and tears and those fragile first breaths
and was crowned with a young mother’s kiss.
So today, as we celebrate the source of all joy
We must start to look forward again
For Christ who came to us is coming once more
To restore all creation to His rule and reign
I made a batch of Pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) a couple of days ago using eggs from the farm where Charlie and I volunteer. Unfortunately the custard split when i baked then in the oven so I’ll just have to try again before i post the recipe up here!
the problem with making custard tarts is that they only use the egg yolks. I invariably end up with a little bowl of egg whites sitting in the fridge for a week or so before Lucie or i get fed up and throw them away! However this week we are going on holiday and then as soon as we get back we are moving house so we’re on a bit of a drive to use up everything in the fridge and freezer. Having had a rough night with our 6 week old baby, Toby, i was in need of some energy this morning so decided to make meringue. As we had half a packet of hazelnuts in the cupboard as well i thought they might make it a bit more interesting so it ended up as hazelnut meringue.
this is the first time I’ve made a meringue so i got the proportions from the Bourke street bakery cookbook.
3 egg whites (about 100g)
200g caster sugar (or twice the weight of the egg whites)
75g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
How to make it
1) mix the egg white and sugar in a very clean Pyrex bowl, warm gently over a pan of boiled water until all the sugar is dissolved.
2) preheat the oven to 130°C
3) whisk the egg & sugar mix until the mixture forms soft peaks that holds their shape for 5-10 seconds. I would advise using an electric whisk for this as it takes a while!
4) line a 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper and pour in the mixture. Scatter the hazelnuts on top.
5) put the meringue mix into the oven and reduce the temperature to about 100°C.
6) bake for about 1hr 20 mins.
7) eat and enjoy!
Some of the best meals we eat are preceded by the statement “we don’t really have much food, I’ll just knock something up”. Whether it’s the ‘ready, steady, cook’ ethos of a limited set of ingredients or just that we are forced to think outside our usual repertoire of meals, the few days before we get round to doing an online food shop are often when we have our most interesting meals.
This week we had one of those meals when horror of horrors we realised that we had run out of pasta! Pasta is pretty much the core of our diet so this was a bigger problem than you might think!
Fortunately Lucie saved the day by knocking up an amazing meal, inspired by a recent addition to the menu at the Boston Tea Party, our favourite local café.
Ingredients (served 3)
5 cloves of Garlic
1/3 of a Chorizo
Small bowl leftover cooked Chicken (optional)
1 carton Passata
1tsp Smoked paprika
1tsp Lazy chilli
Generous glug of red wine vinegar
Squeeze of runny Honey
1tsp All spice
3 sweet potatoes
Vegetable oil for frying
How to make it
1) roughly chop the Shallots, garlic and Chorizo and fry gently in rapeseed (or olive) oil.
2) chop up the chicken if using and add to the pan.
3) once the onions are nicely cooked add the rest of the ingredients apart from the eggs and sweet potatoes and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken.
4) meanwhile cut the sweet potatoes into chips, fry in batches in the vegetable oil then keep warm in a medium oven.
5) once all the chips are cooked and the tomato sauce has thickened, make 3 wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each well.
6) turn the heat up so the eggs cook but try and restrain yourself from stirring them! If needed finish the eggs off under the grill.
7) eat and enjoy!