Tuesday, 25 April 2017

One Pot Chorizo and Chicken Stew: Hot Mess

This meal was one of the Dragon's concoctions. He likes to call it "Hot Mess" but I prefer to use more descriptive titles most of the time, with the exception of my recent Blood of My Enemies recipe, because, well, it is awesome and who wouldn't want to start their day with it?  This meal was born out of what we had left in the fridge.  Trust me - Hot Mess cooking can become something truly divine.  This meal does not really belong in any particular country's cuisine given that it is such a  hodge-podge of ingredients and of spices.  We will call it Australian since that is where we live.

The Dragon and I cook very differently. I usually create meals based on a mix of research and prior experience of what works well together and what doesn't. The dragon's method is to take what we have in the house, then use his sense of smell to decide on a mix of spices for flavour. Often I vehemently disagree with his choice of which spices to mix, but he says "no - I smelled it and it's perfect, trust me".  I am learning to trust the Dragon's snout. In the end, Hot Mess was absolutely delicious and lasted 3 nights for both of us.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Blood of my Enemies (Beetroot, Ginger, Celery, Pineapple and Rockmelon Juice)

Last week I spent a few nights away at a training workshop down south.  Unfortunately the workshop itself did not live up to its reputation, but there were a few other good things I took away instead.  For one, I made some lovely friends and had a ball outside of the workshop.  Secondly, I fell in love with juices.  One in particular included beetroot and carrot and a few other ingredients, and was red and frothy. This may sound a little gross but it looked a bit like blood with coagulate on the surface. We laughed about drinking the blood of our enemies, and I felt great afterwards. I was inspired to create my own version at home. Its a power drink!

The Dragon and I usually just do smoothies in our nutrininja. Usually we take a banana and almond milk base, then add various fruits/veggies/other add ins.  We don't really do much juicing. Juicers themselves seem a waste because they take out all of the good fibre, so the nutrinja seemed like the perfect way to start making yum juices at home.  We have been having this particular one with breakfast every day this week and we have been feeling really healthy as a result. I've been pre-chopping all the fruit and veg on the weekend so they are ready to assemble in the nutrininja cup each night before bed, put into the fridge, then in the morning we can just grab, blitz, laugh maniacally and go!

From my very un-educated trawl of the internet, pseudoscience tells me that this may benefit blood pressure, the liver, kidneys and pancreas, but just eating healthily generally will do that for you.  Don't be fooled into thinking drinking one juice is going to make you healthy, but in combination with a balanced and healthy diet generally, this juice is a great addition.

I present to you the Blood of My Enemies.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Love Pizza

Who needs it to be Valentines Day to do a cheesy romantic gesture? These are always much more fun every other day of the year.  Around Valentines Day this year all of my usual amusing picture websites were flooded with images of terribly constructed heat shaped pizzas which people ordered for home delivery on V Day. We all know that V Day is a completely commercialised venture, and it would seem that a variety of (primarily American) franchise pizza establishments required their franchises to create something "romantic" with very limited training. This did not work. We can do better.

Enlivening Orange, Ginger and Mint Juice

Welcome back! After a long hiatus I am ready to return to blogging again. Life had gotten really hectic with home renovations and my being unwell for some time, so I haven't been able to dedicate the time to this.  I've made a bunch of changes to my life to simplify things now (which includes dedicated rest days with no plans and no projects/jobs) and I am feeling healthier and more relaxed. In addition to that, I have time again!  So without further ado.....

This juice is perfect for a Saturday afternoon.  It is so simple - just three ingredients - and it tastes zingy and delicious.  Interestingly it also tastes quite creamy, despite not having any ingredients in it which would usually be used to make a "creamy" finish.  One of the many things I love about my nutrininja is how it can use the whole fruit and make it into something great.  For this, I don't even need to take the seeds out of the oranges - simply chop it up, take off the skin and you are good to go! It has heaps of fibre and goodness, including vitamin C, folate and calcium.

Also I figured out how to put text on my photos using Gimp, which makes me happy.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Chicken, Bacon and Leek Casserole

This meal is not pretty. At all. It is, however, delicious. Sometimes I want pure comfort food but I don't want to feel bloated and guilty afterwards.  This meal hits that spot.  And  more.  Plus it has stupidly high amounts of protein. I can't emphasise enough how much you need to cook this meal. It tastes so so naughty but is so so nice.


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Happy Tropical Smoothie

I've been through a very challenging time in my personal life recently after losing a close family member, which is why I haven't been posting very much for a while.  When life hits you for a ringer, it is easy to stop taking care of yourself.  I ate a lot of comfort food even though I know better, and the Dragon helped out by doing a lot of the cooking for me and generally being a superstar husband by helping my family and I through a really difficult time.  After allowing myself a week or so of leeway, though, I needed something yummy and healthy to help light the way back on track towards a healthy and bright future. It is time to start taking better care of myself again.  I wanted to make something which reminded me of a happier time, so what could be a better mood lifter than a delicious tropical smoothie to remind us of our honeymoon in Fiji? I have to say that it helped! This smoothie will lift you up when you need it and will also help you to celebrate the happiest of times.  It would also work as a delicious party mocktail.  Add a dash of champagne (post blending) and you have a tropical cocktail!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Rasberry, Mint and Banana Protein Smoothie

Inspired by the razzberries in Pokemon Go, I bought some frozen rasberries a while ago which have been sitting in my deep freeze waiting to be used.  This morning I wanted a pick me up smoothie to help wake me up because we have been working very hard turning our long garage/laundry into two rooms, with a garage in one and a laundry/storage space/workbench area in the other.  It has taken a looooong time (bye bye weekends and most of my social life for some time now) and we have another big day of work ahead us installing the workbench itself and shelving above it.  I figured that the sweet tang of rasberries would hit the spot.  Our newly potted mint has started growing on our balcony garden and is looking fresh and plump so I couldn't resist combining the two. I pretty much always include bananas because they make smoothies creamy and breakfasty. The resulting smoothie is simple, high protein and just plain yum.  It would coax any pokemon into being happy to be caught!

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Berry Beautiful Smoothie

I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to get sick of smoothies. They are too darn good. We would have them every weekday morning if we could drag ourselves out of bed early enough to actually EAT breakfast.  We were so good for so long, and lately with all of the renovation we have been doing in all of our spare time, we are over-tired so rarely manage to get up early enough to eat at home. This means hitting the egg bacon and cheese muffin for breakfast from the work cafeteria way more often than I should admit.  My waistline cannot lie though. Sigh.

We miss our morning routine and are working on it.  One of the strategies involves making things easier. Our nutrininja is great and makes the smoothest smoothies we have ever smoothed.  We also recently bought a vertical deep freeze (lifelong dream of mine, yes I am that boring).  A couple of weekends ago I  filled two drawers with smoothie supplies.....I got some funny looks at the checkout I can tell you that!

I found out that bananas keep for 6 months in the freezer. Given the large variability in banana prices over the course of the year where I live, as well as the fact that frozen bananas require no peeling and make for a creamier smoothie, I bought all of the ready-to-eat ones in the store. ALL of them.  We took them home, peeled them, chopped them, put the pieces flat into freezer bags (with 5 bananas per bag to provide one week of smoothies per bag) and filled a drawer. Another drawer is now filled with various other frozen fruit when it was on special - pinapple chunks, rasberries, strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, mangoes, cherries...you name it. Now each week we simply have to grab a bag of bananas and a bag of fruit from the deep freeze on Sundays, move it to the normal freezer for the week and its a breeze! Smoothies don't even require ice if the other ingredients are already frozen!  We even have frozen spinach in cube form!  Now to actually get up in time.....

All of that aside, here is the delicious smoothie that I made for us both this morning. Simple and yummy. Pictured with one of the gorgeous flowers the Dragon got me - the colour is out of this world.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Portuguese Chicken and Lentil Casserole

It is Winter here and we are loving warming casseroles. Who doesn't?  This meal was born out of having chicken and lentils ready to be used and having wanted to try Portuguese spices for some time. The flavour is fresh and hearty.  The first time I made this we served it as a casserole on top of rice, but lately I have found that adding rice to casseroles bulks them out well, reduces the amount of rice you eat over all and tastes great! Plus you don't need to spend the time cooking rice the next night. Much simpler.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Strawberry and Apple Smoothie - Strawbapple!

Despite my current romance with smoothies, I didn't used to like fruit very much.  As a kid I only ate apples.  I was generally picky, but struggled with the texture of most fruit.  I loved the flavour of a peach, but its squishy texture was offputting.  Pineapple is yum but stringy. Oranges are messy.  Yes - I was a weird kid.  But as an adult I learnt that blitzing them together means that you get to enjoy all of the yum flavours with a nice smooth texture (no down side!) and this became my default way to enjoy fruit.  Prior to smoothies, the one other tasty fruit option I discovered in my early adulthood was these little punnets of pureed apple and strawberry.  The flavour combo just works. Its so good.  Given that, how could I not try it in smoothie form? Adding a banana ensures that it will have the perfect texture.

Here's to delicious breakfasts for the week. This smoothie is so pretty, and on top of that it tastes fresh and enlivening. What a way to start the day.