It is March in my kitchen. I hope it will be more relaxed than February. Three trips away in about 5 weeks made February a lot of work as two of the trips were for events I was organising. But I also feel lucky to go to interesting places, even if I am sort of glad I decided not to head on the work trip next week. It feels like everyone is trying to catch up on summer for the first time in 3 years. I have also had some time in lieu, birthday celebrations, the Sydney Road Street Festival and a visit to an amazing exhibition I will write about soon. Some fun food shopping but not that much cooking. And I read my first book of the year cover to cover on the weekend. Finally!
The above photo is of a birthday lunch I made for a few of my family. Sylvia was keen on nachos and who ever says no to nachos! I wanted to make something else and rediscovered this voracious vegan pate- I haven't made it for ages but it was really satisfying with the sides of guacamole, coleslaw, salsa, yoghurt either wrapped in a tortilla or eaten with the nachos. Sylvia made punch and .....
.... we made a vegan chocolate cake to have fun with decorations. We wanted to use the cake wheel and scrapers that I had got for Christmas. Sylvia suggested dots of colour on the cake but I wanted to try piping rainbow colours around the edge. It wasn't at all perfect so I have just collated a collage of how we did it - Sylvia has showed me this technique for coloured meringues before and it was fun to try it with buttercream. We did a crumb coat, arranged lines of coloured buttercream on clingfilm. Wrapped it into a cylinder, cut the edge and then inserted into a piping bag (cut side down) and piped it onto the cake.
The result was an overwhelmingly green cake but there are much worse colours that might dominate! And the cake was as reliably delicious as usual. A bit much buttercream icing for my liking but I put quite a bit of it aside.
We bought a few interesting groceries at the supermarket. The Bluey pizza crackers were fun with imprints of Bluey characters in the crackers. The chocolate drizzled popcorn was great. I wanted to try a non-alcoholic magarita but it was salty and odd. (I think I had a margarita years ago but can't remember the taste). Sylvia liked the inclusive oreos packaging. And she also chose the Golden Gaytime cake mix.
Sylvia loves to cook spaghetti lately and always has leftovers. We love a bit of crispy cheesy leftover spaghetti on home made pizza. My mum often cuts her pizza with scissors so I decided to do than once the pizza had cooled slightly. As you will see, they don't always cook that stright.
My mum makes tomato sauce every year. She has these massive preserving pans. And we always had Fowlers jars in our pantry but she hasn't found the orange seals for the jars anywhere this year. This year she had to be strategic about finding a cheap box of tomatoes. There is a tomato shortage being reported in the news for families who made passata and sauce. What the news does not report is that Ezy sauce has gone out of business. My mum has always made tomato sauce using Ezy sauce so this was bad news for her. So she tried using an online recipe to use her own Ezy sauce and was happy with her sauce. I look forward to tasting it. My dad helped with the tomato sauce this year as you can see in the photo.
One of my recent work meetings was at Cape Schanck RACV resort. It is odd to stay in a place surrounded by a golf course. I'd prefer to see the beach out the window than the driving green. But I really impressed by the array of food at the breakfast buffet. Not just the usual beans, hash browns, tomatoes and mushrooms. I could also add avocado, cheese and broccolini. I really loved a hearty breakfast because the days were busy and long.
And then there was a visit to USA Foods in Moorabbin. It was quite a drive which is a good thing as there were so many temptations for both of us. Sylvia was so excited to try Eggos because she loved Stranger Things. These were so easy and so delicious. We had them with chocolate ice cream, maple syrup and I had berries and Sylvia had sprinkles.
Here are some of the savoury snacks we bought. We've both wanted to try Goldfish crackers. They are so cute but the only box we could buy was huge and terribly expensive ($28). Not pictures is the Cheese-its which impressed me a bit less. Sylvia was very excited about the Cheetos mac and cheese in a box. She also had read about the Takis. I loved the blue colour but they were too spicy. I think there are still some in the pantry. Whereas those Munchies - Cheese Fix mix of corn chips, cheetos, waves and pretzels went very quickly because it was irresistible.
We loved looking at all the American drinks. The Butterscotch beer was all faux Harry Potter on the labels and it also tasted like lots of chemicals and way too sweet. I was tempted by the Wicked Apple Brew but concerned about the fact there was absolutely no apple juice in the ingredients. It was more drinkable than the Butterscotch beer but not great.
Here's some of the sweet USA treats. Mostly Sylvia's choices: Nerds, Jolly Ranchers, Twinkies, Donettes and Pilsbury Strawberry Cake mix. I chose the 3 Musketeers bar because I remember having these as a child and they take me back. Did they ever sell them in Australia? Sylvia enjoyed the rest of it except the Donettes which she only bought because she loves the Brooklyn 99 scene where Jake eats a messy sugary doughnut in Amy's car. The donettes were really dry so they were given to her dad. That strawberry cake was a bit intense in the strawberry flavouring but it was a nice pink.
Sylvia had a very lowkey but enjoyable birthday this year. My mum dropped in with cakes and we had a special brunch and pizza for tea. And these gorgeous biscuits (cookies) were dropped off by a colleague who is an amazing baker.
We also bought some bisquick at the USA foods because it was on special and I was curious. Sylvia wanted choc chip pancakes and I wanted just chocolate between them so we compromised on pancakes with choc chips melted on one side.
Sylvia had made the Golden Gaytime cake but had toffee icing and butterscotch crumbs leftover so I used them to make Golden Gaytime pancakes. The toffee icing was a bit sweet but I think some vanilla ice cream might have been good with these pancakes.
Finally I had a busy first weekend in March which included a trip to Pentridge shopping centre for a Vintage Market. It was busy but not the sort of stalls we were after. So we went to IGA which had lots of great salads. I bought this Spanish Grain Salad which was excellent. It had farro, black lentils, figs, salad dressing, romanescu dressing, sunflower seeds and almonds.
I am sending this post to Sherry of Sherry's Pickings for the In My Kitchen event. If you would like to join in, send your post to Sherry by 13th of the month. Or just head over to her blog to visit more kitchens and her gorgeous hand drawn header.