It is funny that we say we ‘return to work’ after being at home with children as though I have just been at home with lots of time to bake and blog without noticing the demands of a child. Ha ha, that is my little joke about how much I have got to blog while at home with Sylvia. Much more than I expected but I had to fit it around a lot of work that a baby requires, even if it is a labour of love.
Returning to the office was a challenge. I think I miss the time to prepare dinner but in reality, I often was busy with Sylvia and still not getting dinner ready till late. However, work in the office can exhaust me , especially when bookended by work at home looking after Sylvia. And I am lucky to have E to help out, unlike some mothers I know.
But E does not cook. We discussed meal preparation prior to last week. I need to keep it simple and not spend all night on extravagant meals inspired by blogging. So we have decided to try having loose themes for each night. Monday is pizza (or tortilla or bread), Tuesday is soup or salad, Wednesday I am not in the office and can make what I like, Thursday is pasta night and Friday is rice night. I hope these themes will also appeal to Sylvia, and help us make meals she can share with us. Of course we wont always stick to these but it might help me think about what to make when I am really tired.
So how did it go? On Sunday I did a large shopping expedition to make sure we had lots of fruit and veg, given that I couldn’t go for walks to the shops with Sylvia each day. We stuck fairly closely to the plan.
Monday is the day that E is home looking after Sylvia. I made pizza dough the night before and left it in the fridge overnight for a slow rise. When I got home from work the gluten looked quite stretchy but it tasted good. E helped with the toppings and Sylvia had a small taste but wasn’t keen. Both E and I loved it.
The recipe for pizza dough came from Maybelle’s Mom. It had wholemeal flour, wheat germ and mashed potato. I was keen to try the mashed potato as I love it in baking and this was no exception. We topped it with tomato pasta sauce, zucchini, mushroom, red capsicum, pineapple and cheese. I serve it with a simple rocket and tomato salad.
Tuesday was the day for soup or salad. I was inspired by Mangocheeks Thai Butternut Squash Soup to dig out my Thai curry paste. I wanted to follow her recipe but also wanted lots of veg and vermicelli noodles in it. It ended up looking nothing like it but tasted delicious.
Wednesday was the day I thought I would have lots of time for dinner but as usual was racing and ended up with an odd tofu scramble with creamed corn, peanuts, mushroom, tomato and rocket and Asian seasoning like san choy bau. It tasted good but I did look longingly at Sylvia’s noodles, tofu and veg.
Hence on Thursday for pasta night I made a veg, noodle and tofu dish. It was simply vegetables lightly fried in water, soy sauce, ketjup manis and lemon juice with some vermicelli and microwaved pumpkin thrown in at the last moment. It was even good for lunch the next day with a few chopped peanuts.
Finally on Friday I was too tired to cook. The rice night theme went out the window and I reheated some pasta stew from the freezer and put together a salad. I had intended to make dal but ddn’t have the energy. However as I had quite a few vegetables that I had intended to throw into it, I made it yesterday. It was handy when my sister Fran and her partner John came to babysit Sylvia last night and I could offer them dinner. We at at a 40th birthday party last night but will eat it tonight and another serve is in the freezer.
Not a bad week of eating. Less time is going into cooking and thinking about cooking but we are still eating decent meals. Below is the recipe for the pizza dough. I highly recommend it, even though I suspect my method is not quite orthodox. So it is going to Susan at Wild Yeast for Yeast Spotting. Now I am off to the shops for the coming week.
Wholemeal Mashed Potato Pizza Dough
Adapted from Maybelle’s Mom
Makes 4 medium pizzas or 2 large
2 cups mashed potatoes (just potatoes no salt or milk or butter)
1 tsp dried yeast in 1 cup warm water
3 cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup wheat germ
1 tsp salt
Extra white or wholemeal flour for kneading
Mix together all ingredients except extra flour. It will be a very sticky dough. Maybelle’s Mom did this in a stand mixer but I did it with a spoon and mixing bowl. Knead and gradually add in white flour til the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. (I kept adding flour for about 10 minutes but the dough was still sticky. I was tired of kneading so I just went on to the next step..
You can let it rise for an hour, punch it down and then let rise another hour.
If you want to make it the night before using it, place in a greased bowl, cover with a damp teatowel and place in fridge overnight. In the morning punch it down and shape into a round ball. Cover again and return to the fridge until you are ready to make pizza at dinner time. My dough had very stretchy gluten strings by then but I think it was ok.
Punch down. Cut dough into 3 or 4 pieces. I only used one piece and put the other two in the freezer. Pull and push dough out into a round circle. Place on a greased pizza tray (or a warmed pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal) and arrange toppings on the pizza. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes at 240 C or until topping is golden and crispy and the dough is lightly browned.
On the stereo:
Winter Ruins: Shattered Hand & Strydwolf