I spent most of yesterday cooking and one of the things I made was a frittata.I was spurred into action when I noticed that we had 26 eggs. They can accumulate quite quickly when the chickens are laying.
There was half a pumpkin in the fridge which I was keen to use up and after checking Google I found this recipe – Pumpkin and Spinach Frittata.
I adapted the recipe to suit the quantities of ingredients I had available and my own requirements. The following ingredients will make 6 generous serves.
Many of my meals are really not recipes but simply creations which utilise whatever happens to need using up.
Tonight is a perfect example. This is the selection of ‘ingredients’ I decided to include.
At the back of the photo is some leftover mashed potato to which I added a small amount of tuna that I had not used when making tuna mornay. In addition to the 2 main ingredients there is some flaxseed meal which helps to bind the mixture together as well as nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard. This mixture became 4 tuna patties.
The sliced vegetables at the front are small quantities of 2 different varieties of zucchini and a button squash. I sauteed these in a little olive oil. The mushrooms were cooked with the garlic cloves (chopped) along with some parsley (not shown) and finished with a spoonful of sour cream.
Served with fresh cherry tomatoes and strips of capsicum.
The cherry tomatoes, garlic and parsley are from our garden while the zucchini and button squash were gifted to us from a friend’s garden.
I was looking back at the date of my last post which was a little over a week ago. Since then my focus has been firmly on my family. Even though GMan and I are the only ones living here, we are fortunate to have plenty of contact with family. Sometimes it seems to come all at once as has been the case in the past week.
Last Monday I went to Brisbane. I took my mother to a specialist medical appointment then we treated ourselves to lunch at Fuzzy Duck Cafe. I would recommend it. This was en route to visit my aunt who is in an aged care facility. Visiting has not been possible during COVID19 restrictions so it was good to be able to see her.
I stayed in Brisbane overnight and after another appointment the next day I picked GMan up from a dental appointment and we headed home.
It has been school holidays for the last 2 weeks and our daughter and granddaughters arrived on Wednesday evening. The girls stayed until Saturday afternoon while their mother went to work for the remainder of the week and picked them up again on Saturday.
During their stay we prepared meals, sorted through my fabric stash, went to the gym, shopped for shoes, went to the beach and park and checked out the garden.
Miss O making french dressing and learning the principle of adjusting the seasoning to taste.
Cutting broccoli for the soup.
A successful shopping trip to buy new sandals for Izzy.
More cooking – pizza bases ready for toppings.
The beginning of a dress for Miss O from a piece selected from the stash.
Some of the regular housework goes by the wayside when there are visitors and this time was no exception.
The refrigerator looked somewhat chaotic. There were several leftovers that I could incorporate into meals the following day.
I had invited my sister and brother-in-law for lunch on Sunday but had no specific menu planned for the meal. We did a small amount of grocery shopping late on Saturday afternoon.
Our lunch was predominately a selection of small plates and salads which worked perfectly as we sat outside in the very pleasant spring weather.
Photographing the spread was overlooked until I brought the salads out.
Homemade hummus, guacamole and sourdough bread, rice crackers, vegie sticks and brie for starters then kale salad, rice salad, cucumber and onion salad ad tomato wedges to serve with mini meatballs, vegie kofta balls and spiced cauliflower bites. Fresh fruit salad made the perfect finish to the meal.
While it sometimes works out that a particular period of time is mostly taken up by a single facet such as family events, I am trying to create more balance in the spread of activities in my week. More about that tomorrow.
One of the things I am passionate about is eating local, seasonal produce wherever possible so this freshly picked broccoli from our own garden was destined to become part of our evening meal.
A simple stir-fry of chicken and broccoli.
CHICKEN & BROCCOLI STIR-FRY (Serves 2)
1 chicken breast fillet, cut into strips
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1/2 head broccoli, broken into small florets
1 tablespoon toasted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon powdered chilli
2 teaspoons arrowroot
Heat the oil, saute the chicken until cooked then add the onion and broccoli. Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce. When the broccoli is lightly cooked add the sauce and stir until it has thickened and coated the chicken and vegetables. Stir in the sunflower seeds.
Serve with rice.
Delicious and the money spent on netting the raised beds containing the brassicas has definitely been a worthwhile exercise.
I am looking forward to plenty more meals featuring our homegrown broccoli.
Last night I took a different path and used the eggplant as the bases. 2 separate events led me to try this option. In fact, this blog post could easily have been titled, ‘A Tale of 2 Julias’. In 2014 we were privileged to meet a fellow blogger, Julia Davis-Coombs from Creative Economy in the Kitchen. Julia lives on the other side of the world so it was a delight to meet her when we were on our travels. Our shared lunch included mini pizzas made with slices of a very large zucchini as the base. Although I have not re-created this dish, it is a meal I have not forgotten. The second Julia was a recent online encounter with Julia B. in a group when I was canvassing ideas for a vegetarian meal and I mentioned that one of the vegetables I had on hand was eggplant. While I did not use her suggestion that night, it seemed ideal when I came to make dinner last night.
1 large eggplant
Pizza toppings as desired
Cut the eggplant into slices about 1 – 1.5cm in thickness. Place on a baking tray, lightly brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for 10 minutes at 160C.
Remove eggplant from the oven and add toppings. I used homemade tomato pizza sauce and mixed herbs then chopped mushroom and capsicum (bell pepper) and finally, sliced olives and cheddar cheese.
Return pizzas to the oven for about 5 – 7 minutes.
This was a light and tasty alternative to a traditional pizza and perfect for lunch.
NOTE: You do need a knife and fork when eating these.
This afternoon I posted the following question on a Facebook group.
When I was working I used to menu plan for a week at a time but not so much now.
I have no shortage of ingredients but not too much in the way of inspiration. We eat a predominantly vegetarian and also gluten free. I have eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, carrots, mushrooms and celery as well as all the usual pantry staples.
There were heaps of great suggestions, many of which I will save for another day but this particular one caught my eye.
I’d keep it simple. Roast the veges and toss with GF pasta spirals or chick peas, olive oil, seasoning and toasted nuts. If you’re looking for a flavour hit, Moroccan seasoning and fresh coriander is an interesting twist.
We do not eat a great deal of pasta but I do have some for occasional use. I don’t keep Moroccan seasoning but a quick Google search revealed that it is ground cumin, paprika, ground coriander, ground turmeric, ground allspice, ground cloves, ground ginger, and ground cinnamon. I had all of these apart from the coriander, however, I have an abundance of fresh coriander. I had cooked chickpeas in the freezer as well as the selection of vegetables I mentioned in my original question.
So, I set to work.
Zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms and capsicum of a tray drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. I cooked them for about 20 minutes at 160C.
Chickpeas with Moroccan spices and 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes.
Once the pasta was cooked I tossed the vegetables and chickpea mixture through the pasta, added a spoonful of olive oil and served it topped with chopped coriander and toasted sunflower seeds.
This was really delicious and I will definitely be making it again.
It is difficult to believe but I reached a point in February where I felt as though I never wanted to see another mango. Fortunately, the feeling does not last and we we able to freeze some of the summer abundance. A few months later and it was time to dive into our frozen supplies.
Mango Chicken Curry
2 chicken breast fillets
1 large onion
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon oil
1 can coconut cream
2 fresh mangoes
Frozen or canned mango
Cut onion into wedges and chicken fillets into strips. Heat oil in a large pan, add onion and spices and fry for a couple of minutes. Add chicken and fry until cooked. Add coconut cream and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes.
Add sliced mango and coriander, cook until heated through.
Serve with rice and vegetables as desired. We had stir-fried bok choy and snow peas.
One of the by-products of growing your own food is a need for increased creativity when it comes to meals. What we eat is at least somewhat dependent on what is available in the garden.
Bok choy, a type of chinese cabbage, is a quick-growing vegetable. Commercial crops are harvested while they are relatively young and generally sold in bunches of three. We ate some of our current crop while they were small, however, the few remaining plants are now quite mature and strongly flavoured.
New ways to use up the mature bok choy leaves and stems.
Freshly picked leaves shredded and sauteed with cherry tomatoes, snow peas and mushrooms for breakfast.
Tonight I made a vegetarian lasagne with layers of lightly roasted eggplant slices, bok choy mixed with ricotta and finally, crushed tomatoes.
It was topped with a mixture of parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese and flaxseed meal.
Served with beans and carrots.
1 large eggplant, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
Handful of large bok choy leaves and stems, sliced and shredded
180g ricotta cheese
Can of crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
Place slices of eggplant on roasting tray. Brush with a little olive oil and bake at 160C for about 10 minutes – until soft.
Saute diced onion and bok choy stems until soft, add shredded leaves and stir until wilted. Add vegetable mixture to ricotta and combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add mixed herbs to crushed tomatoes. Place a layer of eggplant slices in dish followed by the ricotta mixture then tomatoes. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Combine ingredients for topping and sprinkle over the lasagne. Bake until heated through and browned on top.
This is not a definitive recipe but simply what I made today. The quantities quoted would serve 3 adults.