Have you seen the muffin blogger?


She’s been missing in action…again.  I’ve been a terrible blogger this year.

I shouldn’t make excuses again.  I was extremely sick with pneumonia and asthma though, so I’m going to cheat and throw that out there.  I’ve also just been a bit slack.

As an apology, I’m going to share a pretty-damn-tasty and super easy muffin recipe.  I made these yesterday and they were delicious and dense and filling and avoided any of the nasty things in most store-bought muffins or pre-packaged mixes.

They were so good, Gogol wanted to eat them before I even made them:

Blueberry and Walnut Oaty Muffins (closely adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups wholemeal flour

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if you’re using frozen, don’t defrost before adding to the mix)

3/4 cup of roughly chopped walnuts

2 large oranges

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup olive oil

2 heaped teaspoons of cinnamon

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1/2 cup boiling water

Method

1. Zest one of the oranges.  Juice both, for around 1 cup juice (I ended up with a bit less and it was fine).

2. Mix all of the dry ingredients together.

3. Mix in the blueberries and the orange zest

4. Mix in everything else, adding the boiling water last.  Hint: Don’t pour the boiling water onto the egg – you’ll cook it!

5. Leave to sit for around 15 minutes (i.e. enough time to wipe down the unholy mess of flour, honey and walnut dust you’ve got all over the bench.  Just me?  Ok.)

6. Spoon the mix into a muffin tray.  Bake at about 180 deg. Celsius for anywhere between 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven oomph.  When a fork comes out clean, they’re done.

(Note: I didn’t use baking soda because I like my muffins to be really dense.  If that’s not your thing, about 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda should do the trick)

Tada!

Advertisements

Food Friday: Spicy Roast Pumpkin Soup


I hadn’t posted any Food Friday recipes for a few weeks, so I did feel that it was about time. As such, one of my favourite experiments of the last couple of weeks…

Spicy Roast Pumpkin Soup

About a week ago, David came home with an entire Jap Pumpkin. Apparently this was the only size that our tiny local grocer had. We’ve been slowly chipping away at it, but with half a pumpkin at risk of getting mouldy and manky in our fridge, it was time for soup.

Ingredients

1/2 medium Jap Pumpkin (butternut pumpkin would work just as well)
3 small carrots (these were also a bit close to the edge)
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 400g can cannellini beans
2 tbsp Cajun spice OR a pinch each of cumin, ground chili, salt, pepper and oregano.

Cook It

Grease a baking dish with olive oil. Remove seeds of the pumpkin, chop into chunks (smaller is better if you’re in a hurry, as it will cook faster). Peel and chop carrots. Throw the lot into the baking dish and lightly coat in the oil. Roast at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes (this will depend on the size you chopped your pumpkin and carrots).

Meanwhile, add a touch of oil to a large saucepan and sauté the onion on low heat with the spices. Set aside.

Once your veggies are nice and roasted, add them to the pan. Rinse and drain the beans, then add them too. Mix thoroughly.

In batches, process the mix until it is smooth. It will have a fairly thick consistency.

I felt the need to share this photo of our awesomely retro blender. It's a hand-me-down from David's parents and I'm fairly sure it's got about 10 years on me.

Spoon into bowls and serve with bread (which I completely forgot!) and/or any other vegetables of your choice.

*I was super lazy and left the skin on.  I’d probably suggest being less lazy and removing this, as it did add an unusual (not bad, but slightly odd) undertaste.

**You could also add the spices to the roast instead of the onion mix.  I don’t know that it would ultimately change the flavour though.

Going local!


I am super excited about today’s post!

You see, we are trialling Foodconnect at the moment and we picked up our first box on Wednesday.  Squee!

So far, I’ve been really impressed with the contents.  One of the tastiest rockmelons I’ve had in years.  Tomatoes that taste like tomatoes.  Lettuce, kale, pumpkin, zucchini, spring onions, carrots, onions and peaches.

I even made kale chips!

We started trying Foodconnect on a recommendation from my lovely work friend, Bree.  I had been looking to ‘go local’ with my fruit and vegetables for quite some time, but wasn’t entirely sure where to start.  There is a weekly “farmers market” held about 30 minutes walk from where we live, but it tends to be very overpriced with very ordinary produce.  It’s also not necessarily organic, which Foodconnect generally is (although they do source some food from chemical free suppliers who don’t have organic status yet).

So, we signed for four boxes with Foodconnect.  The average food mileage per box is 250km (although some would be a lot less, while others slightly more).  I’m really looking forward to getting a better understanding of  seasonal foods (the boxes are based on what’s available right now and aren’t even scheduled until the week before) and having fresher, tastier fruits and vegetables.  I’m also looking forward to trying new things . Believe it or not, I’d only had kale once before yesterday! There should be a lot of opportunity for experimentation which will be interesting and challenging.

I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes and what we decide at the end of the four weeks.

Kale Chips

So, the picture isn’t real pretty, but these were amazingly delicious and simple.

You’ll need:

Kale

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt (probably less than I used -David described it at 10% less than the lethal dose.  Kale also has a really unique and delicious flavour that you’ll want to keep on show)*

Do:

Preheat the over to about 140 degrees celsius.  Remove stalks, rinse and dry the kale thoroughly, then slice into potato-chip-sized pieces.

Arrange the kale on an oven tray.  Drizzle lightly with the olive oil and sprinkle on the salt.

Bake for approx 10-15 minutes until the edges are almost starting to brown and the kale is slightly crisped.

Eat!

* I think these would work really well with some Cajun seasoning too

A recipe


So, with food becoming an increasing focus of my life and this blog, I thought I’d start sharing some of the creations that I come up with on my Vege Adventures.

Going vegetarian has been a surprisingly steep learning curve in terms of the way we’ve cooked.  It’s continued to be one because at the end of last year, we got lazy and ate a lot of take away. As I’ve mentioned before, we have excellent Mexican, Thai, pizza and Middle Eastern foods right on our doorstep, so the temptation to just not bother with cooking is pretty high.

As such, we’ve been fumbling in the dark a little with the whole balanced-vegetarian-dinner fandango.  We’ve been cooking a lot of the things we used to make and just removing the meat – probably not that nutritious and definitely not that satisfying.  Finding good food that is inherently vegetarian seems to be the way forward.

So, here is the first of my adventures.  Please remember though, I am not a food blogger and I am most definitely not a food photographer.  I’m not going to guarantee that my meals look pretty.  I also cook in a pretty ad-hoc manner, so feel free to tweak anything you try!  I make absolutely NO promises!  These are just things that I have tried that have tasted good to us.

Firstly, acknowledgement – this is heavily based on this recipe from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients

A decent sized splash of olive oil – about 2 tbsp in total

1 large onion or 2 small onions, roughly chopped

Lots of garlic – I used about 4 or 5 cloves.  That said, I adore garlic so you could definitely play with the quantity a bit!

1 cup/250g quinoa

1 1/2 to 2 cups vegetable stock

1 can black beans (rinse them off – they tend to be weirdly goo-covered)

1 red capsicum, roughly chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen or canned corn

Any other veges that take your fancy, also roughly chopped

Lashings of Cajun Spices (I use a pre-mixed one which is basically Cayenne Pepper, Sweet Paprika, Cumin, Onion Powder, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Oregano and Salt.  I have all of these spices as well, but I know that the quantities in the pre-mixed one are accurate!)

Put about a tablespoon of the olive oil into a heavy bottomed pan.  Throw in garlic and onion, cook until soft.  Remove from heat (burnt garlic is not that tasty folks).  Add quinoa to the pan, rattle it around in the oil for a bit until it’s lightly coated.  Add vege stock, return to heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  It won’t look very pretty at this point (also, apparently my ability to cook and take iPhone photos at the same time sort of sucks – at least you’re getting pictures though!).  Make sure to gently stir the quinoa every few minutes so that it doesn’t stick to the pot.

In another pan, heat up the other tablespoon of olive oil.  Add capsicum, black beans and your truckload of Cajun Spice, followed by the peas and frozen corn.  There didn’t end up being any corn in our meal the other night – apparently the corn had suffered a little too much in the move between house freezers and had died a rather frosty death.  You really can add just about any vegetables you like to this meal though – it’d also be good with mushrooms I think.

Keep stirring your vegies and quinoa until the beans and peas are heated through and the capsicum is cooked to your liking.  Take the vegies off the heat if the quinoa is taking longer than anticipated to cook – soggy capsicum is a no no!

Once the quinoa is cooked through, mix in your Cajun-ified vegetables.  Put in bowl, realise it looks sort of ugly.  Serve.  Enjoy!  It’s super tasty!

If anyone has any other good veg recipes they’d like to share, they’d be gratefully received and experimented with.  Just be warned though – David is a little afraid of tofu and lentils…