Oh I have been a neglectful blogger and sadly this time it hasn’t been an absence caused by too much fun stuff happening around here. Instead I’ve been finishing up a big assignment, managing the kind of family stuff you hope never happens and with a severe lack of good things to write about. Uni is now finished for the semester and soon kinder will be on a break too. I’m hoping to get back to reading some fiction so I will have some book reviews to write and I might even do a garden update soon…. with pictures. I’ve got the prettiest red cabbage growing, even if it doesn’t form a head, it’s worth it’s place in the garden for pure aesthetic appeal. One thing I have managed to do quite a bit of recently is cook, some new recipes and some old favourites, that I thought I would share with you. I am totally a winter comfort food kind of girl so bringing on the cool weather and I can’t help but get stuck into the kitchen. Plus a couple of new cooks books are providing me with added motivation.
First up were some designer okonomyaki (Japanese pancakes). These have been on my dinner schedule every now and again (usually when I need to use up some cabbage) for a while. I’ve posted the recipe previously, but it’s well worth a look if you missed it first time around. These were actually Miss Five’s request from the Vegie Smugglers 1 cook book (I recently bought both 1 and 2 and would highly recommend them if you need some inspiration for family meals that are packed full of vegies and not the usual boring, tasteless kids fare). She was drawn to the star shape so of course I had to traipse through countless cookware stores to find them (it was torture I tell you!). I usually make these vegetarian and often add mushrooms, but this time I added ham as in the cook book. They go down well either way.
Miss Three picked the carrot triangles from the Vegie Smuggler 2 book (sorry recipe not online so you might have to order the book if you want that one), which are basically filo triangles filled with carrot, cheese, herbs etc and baked. They’re totally delicious, but I over-filled mine so they split while cooking and were not photo worthy. Next time a couple of extra layers of pastry and a little less filling and I think they will work better.
Continuing my Vegie Smuggling obsession, I’ve made the ravioli with orange sauce with a few small alterations. I used some frozen oven roasted tomatoes from the end of my summer harvest and added olives because they’re a favourite of my kids. I also whizzed up some of the basil leaves in the sauce so kids would get the flavour (which they like) without the obvious bits of green (which they DON’T like). Using store bought ravioli made this such a super fast meal, great for mid week.
Ma po dofu was next up, swapping the port mince for some chicken. The kids and Mr Good gobbled this one up, but I’d have to say I still not that keen on tofu…. I added sweet chilli sauce and coriander leaves to the adults servings, but Miss Three picked the leaves off Mr Good’s and ate them herself and insisted on some sauce too. She’s definitely going to be my curry/spicy food girl.
Finally I’ve done the pink meatloaf (no pictures as I’ve had some logistical issues…. it falls apart as I cut it) and the chocolate beetroot brownies (no pictures, because I was far too concerned with eating to bother snapping any) . Let’s just say I’ve had plenty of beetroots to use up. Both are delicious and great for this time of year when beetroot is being harvested locally.
The old favourite I thought I’d share with you is one of my versions of smuggling vegies into small (and big) bodies, my sister’s Creamy Chicken Strudel, with my own tweaking.
Creamy Chicken Strudel
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, chopped,
2 gloves garlic, crushed
250g chicken mince
1 carrot grated
1 zucchini grated
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup sour cream
10 sheets filo pastry
90g melted butter
1 stick celery, choped
1 small red capsicum, chopped
1 small avocado, sliced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Pre heat oven to 180C. Line oven tray with baking paper. Heat oil in a frying pan, add onion and garlic and stir fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
Add chicken mince, stir fry over high heat until browned and all liquid is evaporated. Break up any lumps with a fork. Add carrot and zucchini and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add curry powder and fry for 1 minute then cool and mixture a little. Combine chicken mix with ricotta and sour cream.
Place 1 sheet of filo pastry on the work surface, brush with melted butter. Place the second sheet on top and brush with melted butter again. Repeat with the remaining sheets of pastry. Spoon the chicken mixture along the long side of the pastry, leaving a few centimeters at either end of fold in later. Top with the chopped celery, capsicum and avocado. Roll up the pastry, tucking in each end and place seam side down on the prepared tray. Brush with a little more melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
So that’s a small insight into my kitchen over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully I can keep up my motivation and share a few more recipes with you next week. In the meantime, tell me what’s been on your menu. Any good recipes to share? What’s your best vegie smuggling, sneaky family favourite?