Saturday, 22 June 2013

Catch up post - what I have been eating and not blogging

I have been so busy cooking over the past few months that I can afford to be choosy about what I blog.  Many good dishes have been photographed and fallen by the wayside.  Today I thought I would share a few with you.  It would be a shame to forget them altogether. 

First up is a recipe that I made last week.  It is a Mushroom stout stew with mashed potato dumplings from Where's the Beef?.  Cindy was right in advising you need a bit of time for this one.  I started by forgetting to buy stout and substituting red wine.  So you see I didn't follow the recipe exactly.  I tried cauliflower in it but that wasn't brilliant.  Most disappointing were the dumplings.  They were too doughy rather than fluffy.  Perhaps my leftover mashed potato had too much milk in it?  And next time I might reduce the sugar in the dumplings.  However the stew was lovely so I may try again.

A far more successful dish I made a few years back was a beetroot green and chickpea curry.  It is one of the few recipes in which I have really enjoyed beetroot greens.  So when I bought a leafy bunch of beetroot at the Coburg Farmers Market, I decided to use them in this dish.  Yet again it was delicious even though I think I altered the vegies and pulses slightly.

Quite some months ago when it was warmer I was inspired by Pinterest to make a Quinoa, cumin and french bean pilaf from In Pursuit of More.  It was full of quinoa, green beans, cauliflower, chickpeas, almonds, sun dried tomato, fried onion, mustard seeds, garlic, worcestershire sauce, spinach and parsley.  I added in the cauliflower serendipitously and served it with pizza.  I remember enjoying it but I have no desire to repeat it.  Sometimes when a meal doesn't look as amazing as someone else's photo it can be disappointing.

On the Mother's Day weekend I wanted quick healthy delicious potatoes.  I made a version of this Potato hash but without the red peppers.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted.  I enjoyed it most the next day for lunch when I mixed the fried potato with tomato, avocado and a squeeze of lemon. 

Finding myself with 2 bunches of kale after the Coburg Farmers Market, I was inspired by a Food 52 recipe for Spanish Chickpeas with Kale to make this pasta dish.  I cooked the kale more than the recipe suggested as I was kid-wrangling at the same time.  It was quite good but didn't feel different enough to other recipes I have made to post. 

I had leftover kale and chickpea pasta sauce.  I added in some roasted pumpkin and served it over soft polenta.  This was even better than the pasta.  I might have posted this if it felt like I had a method.  It was just a bit of this and a bit of that.  Sometimes that is the best way to cook.

The Coburg Farmers Market inspired me to try lots of new recipes as you may see here.  I wanted to make the most of my fresh walnuts.  They were perfect for my version of a pear, brie and caramelised walnut sandwich by Vegetable Matters.  I made a quick and delicious pesto using some potted basil in the back yard  that my mum gave me and the wild lime and garlic olive oil from the market.

I caramelised the walnuts on the stovetop using hazelnut agave.  They were good - as evidenced by us eating a lot out of the tub - yet not quite as carmelly as I would have liked nor quite as sugary as the ones at the market.  More experiments are needed.  My sandwich with pesto, pear, blue cheese and caramelised walnuts was just lovely and very posh.

One good sandwich makes others seem ho hum.  So the next day an effort was required.  I still had the lovely sourdough bread and packed it with pesto, spinach, tomato and blue cheese.  I did learn with these sandwiches that a little blue cheese goes a long way.

The rest of the pesto was spread on this pizza.  It was scattered with roast pumpkin and feta and popped in the oven.  When baked, I topped it with a generous handful of sliced sorrel.  The sour sorrrel finished it off very nicely.

My favourite way to eat the caramelised walnuts was with some strawberries and good vanilla ice cream.  I am not usually a big fan of fruit and ice cream.  This was amazing.

A while back I went through an Emily Rose phase.  I have written about her cookbook before.  Strangely enough, the more I read it the more I find to love in it and yet I have tried a few recipes that weren't right for me.  I tried a chocolate coconut slice that wasn't cakey enough for me and more recently I tried a chocolate and date cake.

I added coconut to the chocolate and date cake.  I told myself that it would then be healthy and full of chocolate and coconut.  However you may not be surprised to find I still had a chocolate and date cake not a chocolate coconut cake.  I wasn't so keen on the dates.  Perhaps because they got in the way of my coconut.  I am still seeking my perfect chocolate coconut cake.  But I do like how Emily Rose constructs her recipes.

A more successful baking experience from Emily Rose's book was her healthy banana bread.  It was full of nuts and seeds.  My main problems with it were that it was slightly damp inside and that it collapsed when I turned it out of the tin.  It was delicious spread with chocolate sauce.  Next time I will bake it slightly longer and will be more wary of silicone cake tins.  I also have a mind to try it with a little treacle because E loves treacle in anything.  Stay tuned...

Lastly is a hot chocolate that I trialled.  It seemed a good idea.  Jamie and Nigella couldn't be wrong.  Once I made it I remembered that I don't like really rich hot chocolates.  It was just too intense.  Since then I have been happy with E making me hot chocolate with a spoonful or two of hot chocolate powder in a mug of boiling water and a splash of milk.

So there you have a peek into what has not been making it onto the blog.  Lots of good food.  Not always quite right.  Sometimes just not for me.  Mostly delicious. 

23 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing Johanna. I think it's good to recognize that not every dish coming out of the kitchen is a winner. I'm sure we need to taste the not so great to really enjoy the spectacular, and discover what our own tastebuds like :)
    That said, some of these do look rather yummy to me...especially that kale chickpea polenta dish and the pizza.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Coconut and Berries - I think making meals that don't quite work are part of the learning experience that leads us to the great dishes - and interestingly you like the dishes the were just too simple to post rather than that they didn't work

      Delete
  2. It dazzles me somewhat that you have all of this going on that isn't even being blogged about (until today at least!) as well as your usual recipes. Your kitchen is an impressive place :-) The sound of your sandwiches is almost making me think I should become a sandwich person, and given I like dates in cake I am wondering if I'd have liked that chocolate cake. I would definitely have liked the caramlised walnuts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kari - I still have baked bean nights :-) Highly recommend you get into sandwiches - esp given your love of nut butter - love nut butter and salad in a sandwich. And now I must experiment more with caramelised walnuts

      Delete
  3. Whoa! You have been doing a LOT of eating! Delicious all around!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Joanne - ooh yeah - always lots of eating going on around here - only to clear the pantry to move onto the next recipe you understand :-)

      Delete
  4. Yum! What a delicious range of dinners you've had. I'm afraid that I'm a real sucker for a rich, intense hot chocolate so I'd gladly take those off your hands! :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lorraine - you are welcome to the hot chocolate - I do have my moments when I love a good intense hot chocolate but it has to be very very cold outside and someone else has to make it :-)

      Delete
  5. I'm glad my own food photos are so terrible. Now I'll know no one will ever be disappointed by their food looking worse than what I posted.

    Mmm, caramelised nuts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Hannah - I could say the same of many of my photos :-)

      Delete
  6. Wow it all looks so delicious! I completely understand taking pictures but not getting time to blog - lol that is my life story! I really love the look of the chickpea dish served over polenta :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sandy - it is amazing how quickly the time goes and suddenly the dish is a far off memory and I am trying to remember how it tasted - if I don't take good notes at the time I am far less likely to blog it

      Delete
  7. I'm glad you had a chance to try that stew, even though it didn't turn out quite as hoped. Our dumplings were definitely stickier than Isa's original and a bit doughier than a scone. I agree that you could definitely reduce the sugar!

    Meanwhile I'm most tempted by your sorrel-topped pumpkin pizza.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cindy - I was also glad to try the stew and am still intrigued by the dumplings - perhaps next time I will knead them to get the consistency right. And I sometimes does rocket or spinach on a pizza but liked the sourness of sorrel with the sweet and salty of feta and pumpkin

      Delete
  8. Mmmm, the quinoa dish and your reused pasta sauce look delicious! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kath - check out the link to the quinoa dish - I might return to it some time and vegies over polenta are terribly yummy

      Delete
  9. Oh. My. God. Everything you cooked looks like food heaven to me. Can I come live with you?! The chickpeas and Kale with Pumpkin on mash is my favourite though. It's making my mouth water!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cass - yes please come and live with me if you don't mind doing dishes :-) That polenta mash seems very popular - must do it again soon (and made oven baked polenta chips with the leftover that were also very good)

      Delete
  10. Mmm, mushroom stout stew and chocolate and date cake would work for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I usually like chocolate and daate but lately haven't been so into dates - not sure why

      Delete
  11. I'm so impressed with the amount food that hasn't made it onto your blog given you post so frequently. I go through periods where I have too much to write about but at the moment it's the opposite. Due to a recent chaotic period at work I've mainly been cooking favourite recipes and I keep forgetting to bring out the camera when I'm cooking something new.

    I love the sound of the beetroot greens and chickpea curry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mel - it does look a lot of cooking - I just looked and realised half of these recipes were following my recent farmers market visit - I think this is one of the reasons that I have so many recipes because a farmers market always makes my fridge full and makes me feel responsible for doing something interesting with the food. But I am cooking quite a lot at the moment compared to other times when my backlog just about disappears. Hope your chaotic period was not too stressful

      Delete

I love hearing from you. Please feel welcome to share your feedback and questions. I have started using word verification recently to combat an avalanche of spam. Apologies for the hassle of reading the mysterious captcha code (refresh to find an easy one).