Friday, July 24, 2009

Winter Veggie Patch 2009

Life is a lot slower these days, lots of time spent feeding babies, playing with toddlers, taking long slow walks every day (slow by necessity not choice thanks to pushing a pram with 2 children in it), trying to catch up on sleep & if there is any energy left over then I try to get out into the garden. Amongst other things I am trying to get a veggie patch happening. Here is my new herb garden featuring sage (2 kinds), oregano, blueberry bush (I know it's not a herb!), mint, chives & yes a lot of weeds that I am constantly trying to keep on top of.
Veggie plot no. 1 - sugar snap or snow peas at the back (sorry cant remember which I planted so will have to wait until they grow), beetroots, carrots & Parsnips & silverbeets yet to rear their heads.
Veggie plot no. 2 - Broad beans, peas, lettuces, strawberry plant & the ever present weeds.

This weekend I have more seeds to sow & a lemon tree, blood orange tree & raspberry bush to plant - lets hope the weather holds up for me.

And yes I have been doing plenty of cooking, lots of cakes, cookies, kid friendly meals & even some adult fare, just havent had the time to do much posting of these dishes as yet, sure they will soon follow....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Macaroons the easy way

I caught a bit of Master chef the other week when they were all recreating a dessert dish which featured macaroons. The contestants seemed to be freaking out over the macaroons & most of their results were disastrous in the end too.

Now I have never cooked a macaroon before but have read lots of blogs & they seem to be fairly common so of course I just had to try some myself. I picked out a recipe for Almond & White Chocolate Macaroons from Donna Hay - celebrate issue, read through it & it seemed pretty straight forward to me. Basically it was whisked egg whites with some caster sugar thrown in, then some icing sugar & almond meal folded through. This mixture was dropped onto baking sheets with a teaspoon, left to rest for 10 minutes & then cooked & left to cool on the trays. (Note I finally used both my ovens at the same time, ie I had 4 trays to cook & instead of waiting for one batch to finish until the next got to go in, I cooked them all at the same time, for me this was very exciting indeed!). Once cooled they were filled with a white chocolate & cream mixture. From what I could gather on the tele, their recipe was a hell of a lot more complicated. I was a bit distracted by Chloe who never lets me watch anything properly while she was awake but from what I remember there were bits that had to be brought up to an exact temperature, liquid mixes added to the egg whites which made some of the mixtures too runny & all other sorts of nonsense. I like my recipe much better & they turned out beautiful, with a delicate & thin crisp outer sheel & nice & moist on the inside.

Now that I have made my first batch I am keen to experiment with more recipes & flavour combinations.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Baking for 2 year olds

Now that I am home every day of the week, with a baby & a 2 and a bit year old to keep happy all day long I have had to get creative to keep everyone busy & to stop us from going stir crazy. We try & get out for a walk to the shops & park each day (Melbourne Winter weather permitting) which still leaves a lot of the day to fill. As I love cooking, what better way to get Chloe interested than to get her involved, up until now she has had a bit of stirring involvement & lots of spoon licking but thats about it. So this week I started with Nigella Lawson’s Cheesy Feet from Feast. I didn't have any feet though so just pulled out whatever cookie cutters I could find. The variety was more fun for Chloe anyway than boring old feet. She loved the rolling & cutting out process even though she didnt end up loving or eating the biscuits. Michael & I loved them though so we are happy to let her help out whenver she wants so we can have them again.

The next day Chloe wanted to make more biscuits and as it was the process & not the end result she was after I made my first ever batch of playdough & now we spend hours each day making 'biscuits.' I have even finally managed to get the green food coloring off my hands which is a relief. Any other suggestions for 2 year olds more than welcome.