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Oh Man! What a long time since my last post.
So sorry my dear faithful following bloggers. Both of you.
I have to say that since my daughter has started eating the same meals as us, my wife’s cooking has taken a huge turn towards wholesome nourishing food.
She’s really embraced the Weston A. Price movement of cooking. I’d like to take a moment and pass along some hearsay from someone who knows better than me the benefits of consuming unpasteurized dairy products. Our milk supplier says that unpasteurized milk is more easily digestible and introduces healthy enzymes into your gut that not only help you digest and make the most of your milk but also make the most of any other food you eat.
We’re getting our milk and yoghurt from a small dairy farm near where we live. It’s a small herd and they’re treated much the same as they would be if they were being farmed in India instead of New Zealand. They are holy cows.
We’ve been drinking and eating unpasteurized dairy since November and while I haven’t yet ate myself thin, I definitely feel better about what I’m giving my daughter to drink.
Also, Sara’s been making her own beef stock and chicken stock and adding it to a variety of staples— it’s excellent when added to a pot of rice.
We recently gave up on a diet—the 4 Hour Body diet—(think Atkins, then add beans and some eccentric life habits) and we’ve kept the weight off (with no more losses sadly, not that we had any substantial losses after 3 weeks of dieting). I’m attributing this to two life changes: we’ve been busy as one armed paper hangers getting our house and section ready for open homes, and I started casually enjoying a appetite suppressant known as ‘cigarettes,’ maybe you’ve heard of them. It’s a cyclical habit with me and I’m sure will only last until the day I die.
Last nights dinner… I should get to that, because it was yummy and lovely and you should eat the same thing as me, put on a few extra kilos and only look at yourself in the mirror from the one angle that flatters your figure and resolutely tell yourself that you still look fit.
We had lightly breaded Monk fish on a bed of organic brown rice and dried currents (chicken stock in the pot of rice) and roasted butternut squash and kumara. Drizzled with yoghurt and eaten vociferously, as if another meal would never come.
I would say Delish, but I know it’s not a word but an unrecognized derivation of a delicious. Delicious I wouldn’t say because it wouldn’t hold much meaning as it’s a trite way of describing good food. It was soul satisfying, the roasted vege was slightly sweet, the monk fish was supple and meaty but not crunchy or oily, the rice an excellent companion with the yoghurt which provided the necessary sour to give the meal the personality of someone you met at band camp that you sorta hung out with and had a crush on but never mentioned it and now you just stalk them occasionally on facebook imagining what your children would have looked like. So, I guess it tasted cool and attractive but with a pang of sorrow that it’s all gone.
Yeah, it was that good.
P.S. I’ll try and add a foodie picture next time. Guess what my camera is full to the 2 GB brim with? Elinor photos.
Last night Sara made sufganiot (doughnuts).
There are times when language fails to illuminate, cannot express the multifaceted and transportive delight that are my wife’s sufganiot.
If I said “tasty” not only would I be understating the experience, I would merely be saying they had some sort or taste. Hardly an apt descriptor.
If, instead, I used “yummy” or “scruptious” or “delightful” I would again fall short of describing the culinary prowess and adeptness with which Sara crafted this bohemian nirvana of fried bread and confectionary sugar. Or perhaps one would ask me what “scrupt” is that these little fried brown morsels might be filled with it.
Perhaps I could tell you they were “very nice” but that wouldn’t tell you anything other than I have no ability to communicate beyond the banal or trite experience that comes from eating a glucose lolly.
Turning instead to a epicurious thesaurus and the words “salivatory” and “tantalizing” effectively render me a pretentious dick who just wants to glorify his wife’s doughnuts. You’d probably slap me.
No. Simplicity is quite beautiful sometimes.
And simplicity begs the use of the word “moreish.”
Especially in the context “Wrap your laughing gear around these moreish doughnuts, and fill your gut until you’re induced into a coma”
That, by way of transition, is what Sara and I did last night. We had a competition of who-can-complain-more-about-how-many-sufganiot-they-ate. I would have won but I was too busy.
If you’re interested in the recipe, I might post it in the comments section. If you ask nicely.
Yesterday after dinner, Sara and I pushed Elinor around our neighborhood looking for elderflower trees. There were scant amounts at a park near our house, but Elinor was happy to stop and play on the newly installed playground equipment.
Then we went down a street I used to walk down a lot and I KNEW had an elderflower tree and found two more flower heads.
The recipe I have calls for 10-50 elderflower heads.
We walked more, with the hunt creating an interesting dimension to strolling through the streets of south Invercargill. We stopped at each intersection, scanning down the side streets— looking for the conspicuous white plate shape of th elderflower head. There were many in people’s back gardens or just far enough in their front gardens that my mild mannered spine couldn’t stiffen up enough to sneak in a pick some flowers. So we hunted, and I’d slink from one opportunity to the next.
We walked until we were only one street away from being back home. Then, in a vacated rental property, in the front yard, next to the footpath, with especially low hanging branches. The quintessential motherflippin elderflower from which all elderflowers are modeled.
At first, I wasn’t positive the property was vacant. I was damned if I wasn’t taking all the flowers I could reach though. I plucked and pulled and picked and yanked at a feverish pace, trying to get them out of my hand and into my plastic back as fast as I could until—- I turned to see Sara and Elinor standing behind me and I was grateful. I was grateful that I had suppressed my instinctive high-pitch squeal that usually issues involuntarily when Sara gives me a fright. On top of that, I caught my reflection in the window of the house and my beard was decorated with a fanciful garland of fallen elderflowers.
After I had picked my fill, we came home and I remembered that there was an elderflower tree in my garden that I could reach from the garden shed roof.
I picked at least 50 flower heads from that tree alone.
1 Lemon, juiced and rind grated
2 tsp white wine vinegar
10-50 Elderflower heads
Use plastic pop bottles. Either clean really well or use sterilising tablets. The pop bottles can hand CO2 gases and this reciped definates ends with a fizz.
In a clean pot, boil and cool 5L of water. This takes a while so start this early in the day. Add the sugar, the lemon juice and rind, the vinegar and the flower heads. I stir it with a wooden spoon until the sugar is diluted, and I make sure the flower heads are all pushed under the water. Then I put the lid on the pot and keep it somewhere warm for 24hrs, stirring every 6 hrs.
Then I strain, then sieve, then muslin cloth, then cheese cloth into the plastic bottles.
It’s mildly alcoholic and is an inexpensive and refreshing summer drink. You can always make it more alcoholic by adding spirits but I caution you with this warning:
Results may vary.
Tonight was a roast chicken with risotto and a garden salad. Delicious, wholesome, filling and an easy clean-up. The weather was fine enough to eat outside, and Sara and I tucked in while Elinor danced around the outside table swapping around everyone’s cutlery and singing some unknowable song to herself.
Lunch was actually more interesting. Well, interesting from a literary point of view. Tuesday is the day before the big grocery shopping trip. Our house has meager offerings on Tuesday.
There was silverside but no bread, so no silverside sandwich.
There was cheese and butter but no bread, so no grilled cheese sandwich.
There were eggs but no bread, so no eggs on toast.
Actually, we’re only really out of bread. My diet is pretty dependent on a couple slices of bread for lunch. Today however, there was none.
Instead I polished off the rest of a jar of salsa and the rest of a kumara and sundried tomato hummus with some nacho cheese flavoured chips and drained the rest of a stale bottle of soda. Then I had one gherkin (leaving the remaining 2 and half in the jar) and a meusli bar.
We don’t buy soda, but we’d had a pot luck dinner on Saturday and some of our guests had never heard of the rules of pot luck. I guess it was bad pot luck.
We wound up with half a perch, a bag of nacho cheese flavoured chips and half a bottle of soda.
The perch was gone by Sunday afternoon.
Coming Soon: Elderflower Champagne.
I know this isn’t really my wife’s cooking, and really this last post was more anecdotal evidence of how I’ll consume any combination of meager portions to fill my gut and not a story of Sara’s beautiful cooking, but I want to share a recipe with you. I like making alcohol from freely available resources and I made elderflower champagne last year.
It was nice, but I mixed a good deal of it with half a bottle of gin and ending up being very sick in a dark corner of my friends’ back garden (the other half is in plain site at all times, serving as a grim reminder of why I don’t drink gin).
I’ll wait until tomorrow, after the big shop.
Note: Picture is unrelated to the story. But it’s pretty effing adorable, if you ask me.
Tonight, Sara made pasta.
Last week, we went to the bank to make a few deposits. While I waited for the next teller, Sara sat in the waiting area with Elinor and read a food magazine. After I’d finished my business, Sara was reading a page and was NOT ready to leave.
“I really want this recipe”
I coughed, purposefully to cover the sound of ripping paper.
Sara was still reading the recipe.
I coughed again.
Sara was still reading the recipe.
She looked up at me and said in a hushed voice, “Cover me,”
“What do you think I’ve been doing, just rip the damn page and let’s go.”
More pointed coughing and a bit of vision-blocking-stretching and she had it folded in her purse.
The recipe was for homemade pasta noodles, a dish we’d recently eaten at our friends’ house and Elinor had eaten well that night.
In my humble opinion, the preparation was too long and monopolized the dinner table and the kitchen counter; resulting in the three of us dining on the floor on a small coffe table. Elinor had eaten too many snacks (breakfast cereal) and didn’t eat very much.
By the time Sara and I finished though, we felt like beached whales…
Well, maybe not exactly like beached whales, they’d probably be feeling a bit silly and wishing the tide would hurry up a bit. We did feel absolutely full and fit to burst on the kitchen walls…
Yikes! What a wretched and meloncholy tableau that would make. No that description won’t do either. We ate more that we should have and now we both have indigestion.
Jeez, how words can really fail to capture an accurate picture of two fatties gorging on homemade pasta. You have a few unanswered challenges Mr and Mrs. Literati.
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I’m going to change up the format a bit.
Tonight, no recipe.
I’ve chosen to forego the recipe in favor of my relationship with my wife, Sara. She’s thought that MWC was adding a layer of stress, (much like a layer of delicious lasagne that I ate tonight) that she didn’t need.
And as the responsible party and a dutiful and respectful and almost tall husband, I decided that I will try and post something insightful, provoking, humorous or at least a collection of sentences that make up a coherent sentence.
Occasionally I will include a recipe.
Now, you might be saying to your self, “Noooooo,” but never fear. Never fear…. um… the reaper? No, you should fear the reaper, definitely. Never fear, everclear, have a beer…
I’m looking forward to sharing my dinner with you all. Even if it doesn’t include how to cook.
Tonight, was a simple lasagne and garden salad. Which I happily shoved, rather forcefully, down my gullet like I was avoiding breathing.
I was stressed. I received an email when I arrived home that unsettled me enough to make me angry, petulant and mean. Lucky I had lasagne for dinner, with a beautiful pinot noir from a vineyard in Central Otago.
Alls well that ends well, I always say. But don’t listen to me, cause I also always say “What doesn’t kill you, better not come after me.”
I hope no one has been disappointed by my absence. My wife has been cooking. I have been eating her cooking. It has been immaculate, as usual.
I will resume posting, with new batteries in the camera, and new vigor in my rigor. Soon.
I have, of course, been both busy and feeling guilty for not regaling a small corner of the blogoshpere with yummy meals.
In the future, the format may be a bit different, i.e. instead of a recipe for the meal we ate that night, I may have to share a recipe that is a specialty of Sara’s.
That being said, after the busy hectic nature of our life settles and the Jewish chaggim are over, I will dutifully return to my duty of sharing my wonderful wholesome family meals with you poor sods.
Chin chin, and bon apetit. And to you living in Denver: Wipe your chin, there’s yolk for Africa and you look a mess.
The only positive thing (two positives if you count tonight’s dinner) is that today wasn’t Monday of last week.
Las week was a long week and I’m glad to be done with it.
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
1 C unbleached white flour
¼ C wholemeal flour
¼ C white flour (for rolling the dough on)
¼ C olive oil
1 t baking powder
Put the wholemeal and the unbleached flour, olive oil and salt in a bowl (It can be done in a food processor) and gradually ad water until it’s a nice soft dough. Place in the fridge for about an hour. If you need you can add water and the last ¼ c white flour until you get a nice soft dough.
1 sweet potato
½ c diced pumpkin or squash
4 NZ yams (VERY different form North American yams)
5 button mushrooms
200 G frozen cubed tofu [defrost and sqeeze water out)
For cooking the tofu:
½ T olive oil
½ T soy sauce
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 C soup stock
salt and pepper
½ t paprika
½ t basil
¼ c milk
2 T olive oil
Cop all the vege into medium size cubes, then sautee all vegetable until slightly soft, Remove vege from pan and set aside in a bowl.
Place the pan back on the heat, melt the butter and add the flour and stir until flour is golden brown. Add the soup stock and stir until the flour isn’t clumpy but a smooth consistency. Add the basil, peprika and salt and pepper. Then add the milk. Stir until creamy, adding milk if needed.
In a sepearte non stick pan, heat oil and add tofu until golden brown, then add the soy sauce and stir fry until the soy sauce has been absorbed by the tofu. Add the tofu to your veges.
topping: (mashed potatoes)
5 small potatos (desiree)
salt and pepper
Make mash potatoes. If you can’t make mashed potatoes, you can buy a plane ticket and I’ll come to your hose and show you. You’ll probably need me to tie your shoes too.
Putting it all together;
Remove dough from fridege. Place on lightly floured surface. Roll out dough to ¼ inch thick. Butter a round baking dish, place the rolled dough in the baking dish. Place the filling inside the dough, and pour the gravy over the top;. Place the mashed potatoes on top. Then flattten and fold in the edges of the dough.
Bake at 185 C for 45 min or until golden brown.
Sara also made yummy bread and a salad dressing that I wanted to drink from the salad bowl.
Again, I ate.
Monday just got a little better.
No posts for the last couple of days. What you all must have thought.
“Has Sara’s cooking been a bit off?”
“Is John purposefully ignoring me?”
“What the heck did they eat on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday?”
Well, no, Sara’s cooking has not been off and I wasn’t ignoring you. Sara made spaghetti one night, lasagna another night, and we got fish and chips on the weekend (and a deep fried moro bar which tasted like heaven and damnation in the same bite. After I had just finished the last bite and was moaning about how I’m going to die in my sleep from a heart attack, Sara said “You didn’t save me a bite?”) and curries last night.
I didn’t feel the need to share a recipe for spaghetti, nor the lasagna. And I’m still trying to forget the takeaways. (Not the curries, I love my Palak Paneer. Or just the paneer. I love paneer.)
Anyway onto tonights meal:
Monk Fish with Sweet Rice
1 t freshly grated ginger
1 clove of garlic, crushed
¼ C of chopped fresh coriander
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients together and pour over fish. Let sit for 2 hours. Works well with any meaty white fish.
3 Fillets, cut into big cubes (more than a mouthful) and marinated
1 T butter
1 t tumeric
Melt the butter in a skillet on medium high, add the tumeric. Using tongs, remove one piece of fish at a time into the skillet. Sautee for 5 minutes on each side, depending on how meaty for your fish is.
1 C Rice
1 small onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
¼ C chopped almonds
¼ C raisins
½ t cinammon
½ t paprika
½ t garam masala
½ t asafoetida
bit of salt
1 T olive oil
2 C water, boiling.
In a small saucepan, sautee the the onions and garlice in olive oil until brown. Add the almonds and raisins and sautee for a couple more minutes. Add the rice and spices and sautee for another 2 minutes. Pour over 2 C boiling water and turn the heat to low. Cook covered for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
We had the BEST weekend. First, we went to a wicked party for a three-year-old’s birthday. Then we had take-aways that night, pizza from a brick pizza oven in tiny restaurant attached to a movie theater. The next day we went to an convention and ate convention food (Sara had a veggie burger and I had a venison burger) and apart from food and some compost-able tooth brushes spent no money at all. Awesome. There was enough sun and heat to enjoy some cold bears in a hot sun, in a singlet and shorts no less. Once the sun was gone, however, I had to put a sweatshirt on. It is winter after all.
This morning I got in the work van and my colleague, John, shared one thing with me. “I’ve got Monday-itis” The weather was in agreement. It’s overcast and occasionally precipitative.
However, I knew when the day was through, I would be greeted with a happy little girl and wonderful wife.
And my wife’s cooking.
1 bunch of silverbeet, removed from stalks and thinly sliced.
100 G feta cheese
salt and pepper
1 t paprika
juice of half a lemon
Then following the instructions for the Mushroom Log
Risoni with leek and spinach
1½ C Risoni
1 small leek
3 small bunches of spinach
½ C Chicken Stock
1 T butter
1 T flour
Salt and Pepper
½ t paprika
½ t sweet basil
½ t brown sugar
1 T olive oil
In a saucepan, you sautee the leek in the olive oil until soft, add the spinach and sautee for another minute and take it off the heat and place in a bowl. Melt the butter in the same sauce pan and medium heat and add the flour stirring until golden brown/ Add the chicken stock and spices, stir continuously until it thickens and take off the heat. Prepare the risoni like any other pasta, in boiling water with a pinch of salt and boil until soft. Drain the risoni and add to the soft, add the cooked veges and stir until well mixed.
I love log. I finished it off.
Eli’s pretty good with noodles and pasta but I think she was hesitant because the purity was compromised by leeks and spinach. She had 3 or 4 bites and then started throwing food around.
We also had steamed broccoli with butter and soy sauce. Eli love’s broccoli so it was about all she ate.
Dinner was well complemented with a bottle of Stella Artois.
Roll on Tuesday, cause I just pwned Monday.
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