Saturday, December 25, 2010

2 choc chip cookies, 1 carrot and a glass of milk !!!

"Oh my god ! Oh my god ! 1 sleep to go it's nearly Christmas."

Surprisingly my 3 year old daughter was very quiet on the Christmas front. I don't think that's going to last long. As you might or might not probably be thinking "What did he do for the night before Christmas ?"

Well let me tell you. The day started with my wife making Christmas themed gingerbread men and women and for me it started with cherry and chocolate honeycomb ice cream. Wow you might be saying. But before you go a bit too far and start proclaiming how good I am for a bloke and a husband to boot I learnt a little trick from my family. Why go the trouble in making the ice cream when others can do it for you.

Yes sadly to say the ice cream is store bought and I can't even tell my family that I made it because they saw me bring it in. So you get a 2 litre of vanilla ice cream, leave it out of the freezer for a little while just till it gets soft. Grab yourself roughly 150grams of cherries without the pips and roughly chop. Then get 100grams of chocolate honeycomb, place in a plastic bag, and with a rolling pin proceed to smash the crap out of it. Oh yeah that's what I'm talking about ! Mix the cherries and honeycomb together then add to the ice cream and mix. Oh, by the way, take the ice cream out of it's container and place in a large bowl. After mixing put it back together in the original container.

Put it all back in the freezer and leave for about 12 hours. So at the moment no-one can vouch for how good it's going to taste. Fingers crossed.

Now for dinner the easy part. I have been rostered off for the next two days. Woohoo. God it feels so amazing not to have go back into the kitchen. Don't get me wrong. Going in there, getting your hands dirty and seeing the end product come out is a great feeling but as I've only been cooking for 2 weeks it's good to get out. I don't know how my wife does it night in night out.

But I do have prepared my world famous breakfast smoothie for tomorrow. Well not prepared as it would be off by tomorrow morning but ingredients ready.

It takes: 2 cup of cherries, again without the pips, 1 litre of orange juice, ice and 1 cup of vanilla yogurt. Put all in a blender and ta da. Done.

Well to all who are reading this blog, I wish you a Merry and safe Christmas.

P.S. I did have a night snack made by my daughter. 2 choc chip cookies (I'm playing as Santa), 1 carrot (I'm also one of his reindeer) and a glass of milk (Santa again).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Nothing to write home about ! No really nothing !!

Dinner last night was non existent. Literally non existent. I had a lovely prepared chicken marinade from again another kiddy friendly cook book. Of course it assured me that your young one would eat this up until there was nothing on the plate. Well we all know this to be false.

Although it led me to an idea of writing a sarcastic kiddy cook book. Every recipe guaranteed 100% satisfaction from your child or children. Get the parents running around to make the meals and then comes the satisfaction I would get from knowing children wouldn't even go close to eating anything in the book. Haha. Nasty..

Anyway back to last night's meal. Everything was ready to go. The rice was cooking away. The chicken marinade was out of the fridge and smelling fantastic. The marinade was made of soy, honey,garlic, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Score the chicken breasts and season then marinade for 2 hours.

Then I went to cook it. It was after cooking for a few minutes, I and then the editor realised there was a funny smell coming from the grill. It was smelling of cleaning product. Goddamn ! I had cleaned this thoroughly a few days ago and made sure it was clean before I started cooking. With an explosion of fury both vocal and physical I let fly on the chicken. I didn't throw the grill plate but I felt like it. I kept my voice down and told the grill exactly what I thought of it.

Would have looked funny after I look back on it. A grown man giving a grill plate what for.

Dinner last night was: Rice. Hmm. Yummy and filling.

I'll tell you this. There is only so much rice you can eat before you get sick of it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

McNuggets anyone ??

The day started this time, thanks to me not cooking breakfast, quite well. My wife and daughter had an enjoyable breakfast.

Remember the problem laden chicken nuggets I attempted as I think my second dish ? Thanks to this blog I can't forget. Well I had a few left over, stored in the freezer from the last time so I thought it time to finish them off. Now if only I had a slingshot !!

The recipe for this meal is inspired from a kid's recipe book so I see no reason as to why my daughter wouldn't like them. Which surprises me because I've tried a few kid friendly recipes which are meant to be easy for them to eat and introduces them to favours and tastes. Load of bollocks really if you ask me. They definitely get her interested in helping me but eating is another all together. The only food she loves helping us with and then enjoys eating just as much is anything cake like. But I digress. As along as I don't burn them we should be sweet.

Never...

I had help this time. My wife was kind enough to nominate herself to help me with the prep as I was off trying to bribe the critic with a buttercup toy from Toy Story 3. I came home to prep already done beautifully.

This time I had the oil heated just perfectly which helped when I put the nuggets in. This time no burning of sesame seeds. No burnt smell.

They cooked perfectly. They were golden in colour and tasted great. I had about 8. My wife 5 and my daughter  1.5 which took the entire dinner to consume. She ate the rice though. After finishing her nugget and a bit, I asked her if she liked the chicken. She looked at me and said quite simply...

"No" and then preceded to walk back in to her toy room.

One minor victory. At least she tried it. She might not have liked it. But she tried it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Look at my eyes ! They've gone red !

Last night I had a vision of breakfast. Oh boy was it good. Tasted fantastic. Looked great. Then I made it this morning.

My vision was to be a quick and slightly quirky take on the old scrambled eggs and toast.

Ingredients were flour tortillas, eggs, butter, chili, spring onion and a red capsicum. Cut or rip up two flour tortillas and cook them in a pan till they start going golden, add the egg mixture, chili, spring onion and capsicum. And cook until the eggs are scrambled. Then hey presto. It's done.

Note for this following along at home. Cut the spring onion, chili, and capsicum finely. Don't leave them to chunky. If you do you'll get a mouthful of fresh chili, slightly warm and with a whole lot of kick. This happened and it wasn't pretty.

Also make sure you keep the tortillas in until they go golden and crispy or else you'll get soggy egg tasting used to resemble tortillas.

Always wash your hands after you have dealt with chili. I love chili and have cooked with it alot. So this basic rule I know but unfortunately I was more focused on the soggy remainders of my tortillas and how bad I had stuffed up to remember it. I spent the next 20 minutes of the day washing my eyes out trying to get rid of the sting.

At least the critic and editor enjoyed the scrambled eggs that didn't contain any of the said above "extra" ingredients. Sweat and tears people. Sweat and tears.

So feeling great about the day so far dinner was another new recipe. I knew that the critic was not going to enjoy it but we want her to try as many new foods and tastes as possible. So we keep trying. One day she'll surprise us.

Dinner was Homemade Red Curry Pork Patties. The title told me that the critic wouldn't enjoy it but hey you never know unless you try. A motto I try to live by.

The meal itself took less than 20 minutes to prepare and took about 10 minutes to cook. So was quick and easy. I added mash potato to the dish as a side because I knew the critic would enjoy that at least.

Use 500grams of lean pork mince, 2/3 cup of finely chopped spring onion, 2 tbs of chopped coriander, 3 tbs of red curry paste, 2 tsp of fish sauce and shallow fry in sunflower oil. Mix all ingredients minus the sunflower oil and mould into 12 patties. Leave them in fridge for 10 minutes to firm up. The critic smelled them at this stage and I've never seen a nose wrinkle up so quickly. Then heat the oil in a large fry pan on medium heat and cook the patties 5 minutes each side or until golden. Serve with a salad, sweet chili sauce and lime wedges.

My wife and I loved the meal. Was beautiful. My daughter, the critic, well she ate the mashed potato but said the pattie tasted yucky. When asked what about it tasted yucky. She looked at me like I was thick or something and said it was just yucky.

Tomorrow. No breakfast except plain old toast and cereal.

Monday, December 20, 2010

An ode to my sausage !

The day was about recreating an earlier meal and making it perfect. To do so it was all about the little things and getting them right.

Yesterdays Gingerbread Men and Women were still going strong. I feel funny saying that you should let your gingerbread age like a fine wine but these ones definitely are getting better. My daughter loves picking out a different one each time.

The dish to recreate was the oven roasted sausages with balsamic tomatoes. This time there was no side serving of mash potato. I cut the cherry tomatoes in half instead of leaving whole. Added an extra pinch of balsamic vinegar.

O sausage, O sausage,
How great thou art.
Oven roasted with tomatoes
Packed full of flavour
And devoured real fast !

As you may be well aware, meal tinkering + me = disaster. Would it be different this time ?

It was. I'm no expert at cooking and don't profess to be. But once you've cooked a dish before it makes it easier to cook it the next time. The tomatoes melted beautifully and with the balsamic vinegar and juice from the sausage and onion created a perfect sauce for dipping in bread. I licked the plate clean as did my wife.

As to the question on every one's lips, what about the critic ?

She came out of her toy room to proudly show us a clean plate. Yes. Who's the man !

So with a fantastic result I've pushing boundaries for tomorrow. The dish will have a bit of zing and I for one don't know how this will go down with the critic.

Fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm buggered and it's only the end of the first week

Today was one of those lazy video or cuddling up on the sofa with a book days. You look out side the window and there is a gentle rain falling. Temperature drops just slightly. Enough to make the decision of going out a worthy pause.

Indeed today was spent inside. Lunch was a lovely serving of mini sausage rolls and pies. Which went down well although the pastry, I thought, was a little on the thick side.

Then came the family fun side of the day. Homemade Gingerbread Men and Women. The critic oversaw all of the important parts of the process. The tasting. She did help with the cracking of eggs (a natural compared to me), cutting of the gingerbread shapes and the icing design. But proved that tasting was her strength. She wanted to taste every part of the process. We had to constantly taste the gingerbread dough because the first 10 tens couldn't prove anything to her.

With those done and sitting on the bench to cool dinner was started. Nothing to flash. A lovely piece of porterhouse with buttered corn, peas and sloppy potatoes. The editor helped by dealing with the sloppy potatoes meanwhile I created an olive oil infused with garlic and rosemary and used it to cover the meat. Seasoned well and cooked.

The meal was a nice simple one and funny enough the critic ate most of it. She polished off more of the sloppy potatoes than anything else as if to say "See that's how you cook".

Again my arch nemesis, paddle pop, made an appearance but couldn't change the feeling that the meal was a good one.

My thoughts after the first week or so of my journey is that:
  • keep the meals simple. It might be fantastic to cook meals that require a degree to assemble and plate but keep those meals to once every so often. They take time and that is something most of us don't have.
  • Cooking is tiring. I don't know how my wife does it or let alone my mother. I finish the prep, then the cooking and the cleaning and I'm buggered. I have a new found respect for all the wives out there.
It's like running the 400 metres as fast as you can and then hitting that brick wall where your body just wants to give in.

4 weeks to go and I'll be in for the long haul.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The longest "quick" chocolate mousse in history

Today was to be the creation of a meal that I would be remembered for. People would just remember the moment they ate it and would talk about it to others. But as all things to do with me the day became a matter of survival. Just trying to keep my head above the water as my boat sank.

Today the requests just came flowing in.

Today's menu was Roast Chicken with avocado, cherry tomato salad followed by my take on the 10 minute chocolate mousse.

The plan was to create Roast Chicken skin out of a mix of ingredients that would end up looking like chicken skin but when eaten would give you a totally different taste experience. That was the plan. Unfortunately before I knew it, time had slipped past me like my daughter ducking into the pantry to grab herself a snack.

The creation of chicken skin was to be put on hold for the moment. It will be done. That I promise.

The chicken was covered in my secret mix of herbs and spices, seasoned and in the oven before I knew it. No I didn't order KFC. I was on fire. Things were looking good. I then had to make my take on the 10 minute chocolate mousse. What's my take on the 10 minute chocolate mousse called ? The 45 minute chocolate mousse cause that's how long it took !

Had the chocolate mixture slowly cooking when I reached for the cream. Started to mix it only to find that it was curdling. After much swearing and nearly a tribute to a beloved family member I raced to the shops. Only to find the local shopping centre was closed. It was 5:20pm. I've never known a supermarket to close so early on a Saturday until I moved up here. But anyway. Finally finding a shop open, I raced home to complete the dish.

The finished product must have been good as the critic and editor both licked the two serving spoons and enjoyed it. The critic herself had the bottom half of her face covered in chocolate mousse. I had the critic backed into a corner and on the ropes.

The roast chicken and salad dish minus fake chicken skin went down a treat. The critic even tried some of the salad. I was much surprised. The mousse was served and devoured.

I had done it. The critic had been silenced and my dish went down quite well. It was easy to do as well minus all the running around for the mousse. 
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