Mediterranean Morsels

Well.

That’s no good.

I’ve spent the last week or so, organising several years’ worth of photos for future blog posts – and everything was going swimmingly!

Then I decided I might just print out the recipes I’d already posted so I could see what was out there. You know, get an idea of the spread of topics I’ve covered.

Um.

It seems that the vast majority of actual posts have been dessert or treat related. Cookies, cakes and puddings have been flowing with alarming regularity to your inboxes.

This is not good. We are not supposed to live on sometimes foods.

I know why this happened.

  1. Treat recipes are usually short and uncomplicated, and
  2. The pictures are really quite pretty.

I mean, really. Wouldn’t you rather look at a picture of melted chocolate than a pan of half-cooked mince? Or is that just me?

Anyway, I shall attempt to remedy this. Starting with the next post.

In the meantime, are there any sorts of recipes that people would like to see more of? Give me your requests, my lovelies, and I will attempt to satisfy them!

ttfn

S.

The ever-magnificent Miss Bella

Hello my lovelies,

As I mentioned in my last note, I have been quite unwell. The change of seasons is always fraught for anyone with an autoimmune disease or two (or, in my case, six :/). The fluctuations in temperature from the daytime to the night seem to set one’s immune system on high alert and it goes off looking for things to kill.

Which means that the autoimmune diseases all get particularly active.

I have been fatigued beyond belief, in enough pain to fell a horse and swollen beyond recognition in parts. I have been spastic – a word which probably doesn’t mean what you think it means, look it up – unco-ordinated, as well as imaged, prodded and phlebotomised.

Ladies and Gents, I am a walking study in autoimmunity. Which means that I am also an expert in frustration, disbelief, stubbornness and – on occasion – swearing. In fact, I can swear fluently in three different languages and have been doing so at length.

I get rather fed up with it all.

There has been some cooking and pictures were indeed took, but I have been incapable of typing anything or using a mouse.

So I have been away from keyboard (afk).

Hopefully, things will improve from hereonin.

I am attempting to write things up, but the going will be slow as my fingers are one of those things that are puffed up.

Bear with me … I’m worth it.

In the interim, some happy cats.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Howdy do,

Today was very productive as far as the kitchen goes.

Yesterday, saw a lot accomplished elsewhere: lawns mowed, lawns fed, loads of laundry, etc. Oh and the Accidental Cat decided that I was okay and we were going to be friends after all. Naw!

Jam drops

Jam drops

Today, I harvested some silver-beet from our ‘allotment’, went out to take my first steps on our land – now the big, water-filled barriers to the development have been removed (and did a private little ‘happy dance’ in the rain) – then came home and baked biscuits and put dinner in the slow cooker, before The Boy reappeared from his travels.

So, dinner tonight was some slow-cooker Mongolian Beef that I jazzed up a bit – because that’s how I roll.

Do you remember the red basmati rice that I purchased way back here?

Red Basmati Rice.

Red Basmati Rice.

Yeah. I’d forgotten about it too until I came upon it during a small (very small)  tidying frenzy yesterday. So tonight I cooked it up with some regular basmati. Then, during that last five minutes off the heat, I put the smallest of the silver-beet leaves that I harvested today into the pot and replaced the lid. That way they wilted a little without cooking too much.

Red and White Rice and Silver-beet.

Red and White Rice and Silver-beet.

It all looked very pretty in the bowl. Then I topped it with the beef, and it tasted pretty darn good. The recipe is a keeper, I think.

Slow-cooker Mongolian Beef

Slow-cooker Mongolian Beef

So now, I’m going to sit down and write a post about those biscuits for all of you in the Land of Oz with kids on school holidays and the weather snapping cold again.

See how I think about you?

Naw!

Today started with an introduction to what – I think –  could be called vertigo. I’ve never really had it before. I bent down to get my slippers and the world spun around my head. This continued any time I was actually in motion.

I should have considered this before I headed off to a new local farmers market that is being held at our showgrounds. The Jiggety Jig market looked so interesting too! I left my walking stick in the car so my hands would be free for photography and then wobbled in unaided….

That was a mistake. Every time I turned my head to look at something the world spun, every step I took the world got spinnier. I left unsteadily, vowing to return at its next iteration.

*shakes fist at sky, shouts “Coises! Foiled again!”*

Thankfully, it wasn’t a problem when I was behind the wheel. Phew.

Anyway after much dilly-dallying, which included the regular cat-claw-trimming and fish-feeding ritual, The Boy finally left for his camping trip sometime around 15:30. Ahem.

When shall we three meet again?

When shall we three meet again?

So I got to do some food prep.

I sat perfectly still and cubed one of those packages of chuck steak that I showed you all yesterday. It was then divided into zip lock bags, introduced to spices and sauces and popped into the freezer for ‘slow-cooker meals without thinking’ in the future.

Dinners of the future.

Dinners of the future.

All to the accompaniment of the Accidental Cat, who woke up from her fish coma, discovered that The Boy was gone, and started calling for him.

FIVE AND A HALF HOURS AGO!

Kill me now. Please.

The Accidental Cat wants chicken

The Accidental Cat

I then made up some dough for pizza bases, got it portioned up and in bags for freezing.

Future pizza bases.

Future pizza bases.

I freeze it before it rises/proves. I find that, if I get it out of the freezer the day before I want to use it, it thaws and starts to rise in the refrigerator. Then all I need to do is ask The Boy to roll it out and get it in the pizza tray for me. See what I did there? Very good.

The evening was upon me by this stage so Pasta à la Sharon was made with enough leftover for dinner tomorrow too.

Pasta a la Sharon.

Pasta a la Sharon.

Tomorrow, I shall process that rather large package of bacon, hopefully bake some biscuits/cookies and get to our plot at the Community Garden.

Assuming I get any sleep tonight – which assumes that Sara, The Accidental Cat, stops calling out for The Boy anytime soon.

Sigh.

At least the world has stopped spinning.

ttfn

 

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Traffic lights = antioxidants galore.

Hi everyone,

sorry I wasn’t on last night. I had my semi-annual review with my neurologist yesterday. This is an occasion which takes a lot out of me emotionally, so I came home and curled up into a small ball before the television and stayed there. Surrounded by cats.

Toasted sandwiches were had for dinner.

Today, however, I greeted the dawn mid-morning with renewed vitality and went out to shop.

We don’t really need that much at the moment, so I stocked up on baking supplies and bought a fair amount of meat – for us anyway.

H ere is the breakdown. For all my new readers *waves hello!* a gentle reminder that the prices are in Australian Dollars (AUD) so, if you are in the USA, you could probably comfortably halve the amount mentioned. Okay? Moving on then…

At Aldi was bought:

Dry goods.

   Dry goods.

  • 1 x 397 g tin condensed milk              $1.69
  • 1 x 400 ml tin coconut cream             $0.89
  • 1 x 225 g olive oil spray                        $2.99
  • 1 x 800 g tin apple pie filling               $2.99
  • 1 x 500 g baking soda                           $1.79
  • 1 kg Self-raising flour                           $0.75
  • 1 kg Plain flour                                       $0.75
  • 2 kg sugar                                                $1.79
  • 2 x 1 litre UHT milk                                $1.80
  • 2x largish sweet potatoes                   $3.38

Total = $18.82

I also bought meat at Aldi

Freezer stuffers

Freezer stuffers

  • 1 kg of middle rasher bacon         $7.69
  • 1.5 kg chuck steak                         $16.41
  • 500 g kassler steaks                        $4.78

Total = $28.88

Then I toddled off to the green grocer and bought the following:

Traffic lights = antioxidants galore.

Traffic lights = antioxidants galore.

  • bok choy                                           $1.59
  • zucchini                                             $3.92
  • pumpkin                                           $3.46
  • red capsicums                                 $2.38
  • cup mushrooms                             $2.50

Total = $13.85

Then I went to Woolworths and gathered a few things there:

  • 1 litre Soy Milk                                 $2.99
  • Tartaric Acid                                     $2.75
  • wonton skins                                   $2.60
  • Beer batter chips                            $3.00

Total = $11.34

Grand total = $72.89

Which leaves me $27.11 for anything else that may occur to me during the next fortnight.

I also bought a 1.5 litre (1 quart) slow cooker at Woolies for a student friend of ours who is doing it hard at the moment. It cost $20 and, if an opportunity to give it to them doesn’t present itself sooner, it will make an excellent Christmas gift. It’s only a few months away you know!

I’d not seen Kassler steaks before – so they were the “fun” thing for this shop. They’re thick slices of ham, and no doubt I shall find a use for them.

I bought the tartaric acid for the ginger beer I’m attempting to make; apparently it’s not the same thing as Cream of Tartar, which would be why my first attempt was rather lack lustre. Sigh.

The won ton skins will enable me to restock the freezer with gyoza-like dumplings at some stage. In fact, I might use some of the remaining money to get some chicken or pork mince and do that in the next few weeks. They’re a really tasty and easy lunch dish to have to hand.

I shall dice up the chuck steak and freeze in portions; some with marinade and some without. I have a new slow-cooker recipe for teriyaki beef that I really want to try and I can see that happening relatively soon.

The bacon will be divvied up and frozen in portions.

We do not currently need any of the flour I purchased – indeed there’s no room for any of it in the storage containers!  However, I want to make 4 pizza bases worth of dough to freeze and that will use a large chunk of what is there.  We used to buy wholemeal bases from the supermarket for around $3, but recently they have gone up to $5.50!  Buying those is just not happening when they are so very easy to make. I must do a post on them…

The Boy has decided to go camping tomorrow afternoon, so I shall be cooking for one this weekend. The mushrooms are a treat for me and I shall be including them in everything I possibly can.

Hasta mañana,

S.

Today we are having Chilli con Carne from the slow cooker, served over the refrigerator supplies of rice and freekeh.

I’ve just come to the realisation that today is Wednesday and I don’t have a shopping list prepared – which isn’t like me. However, there’s not much needed.

I think I will concentrate on fresh vegetables and possibly some good cuts of meat. I’m keen to have some more of our local butcher’s sausages. They’re expensive, but well worth it.

Today bread was made and the Accidental Cat has so far avoided biting anyone.

Bewdy.

 

ttfn.

Chick pea tikka masala.

Howdy do.

Today was not a cooking day as our power was out for most of it while the company fixed whatever caused our issue the other night.

We’d had a week’s warning though, so I read a bit of my bookclub book in between bouts with the Accidental Cat. I ended up locking her in the study so she wouldn’t bite me and the other cats.

It’s been a trying day in many ways.

Dinner tonight has been a repeat of the vegetarian/vegan curry I made a week or so ago.

If only I ate a plant-based, whole foods diet, my health would be so much better...

I’ve had so many of the people I know say how delicious it looked, so I did it again. This time however, I made it on our little butane cooker under better lighting so I could get photos for a future recipe post.

Just for all of you lovely peeps out there. Natch.

It was served on a mix of the rice and freekeh I cooked yesterday and was lovely and filling for something that is so simple to make.

You get a lot of nosh for your dosh in this one.2015-09-15 19.11.20

Speak soon.

S

Freshly cooked freekeh.

Today I was a martyr to MS fatigue and achieved very little.

Although I did manage to locate my tea!

A few weeks ago, when we hit our savings target, I decided to treat myself to a haircut and a shipment of my favourite tea from Adore Tea back in Canberra. It was supposed to arrive last Tuesday. I received an email from Australia Post on Monday evening saying it had been delivered – which had me literally racing for the front door…

I was running toward disappointment – it wasn’t there. I called Auspost the following morning and they started an investigation. The tea had been delivered, but to the wrong address, someone was trying to get it back, I’d be kept informed…

But I wasn’t. In the meantime, Adore Tea sent me a complimentary 50g pack of my fave to tide me over. I called Auspost again today and was told it was at the local delivery centre – drove over there to find they had no idea where it was. Having used all my energy, I got back in the car and left the Fort Knox-like facility to get a call saying they’d found it!

So I went back. The package had been opened (SMH) but everything was there. Yay!  Got home, slept for 4 hours. Then I drank tea.

Tonight we shopped the fridge for dinner (because, see above). Basically we finished the leftovers from Saturday’s pasta bake.

Bits and bobs pasta bake

Bits and bobs pasta bake

I also mustered enough energy to cook some rice to stock up our refrigerator for quick meals. I used chicken stock instead of plain water this time, just to add a bit more flavour to future meals.

Rice steamed in chicken stock

Rice steamed in chicken stock

While that was cooking, I put some freekeh on to cook and took a few pictures so I can write all of you lovely people out there an informative and interesting post about it at some stage in the future.

Freshly cooked freekeh.

Freshly cooked freekeh.

It will also go to stock the fridge and add some wonderful wholefood, high fibre, slow carb goodness to meals during the days to come.

Now I am sitting down with a pot of Golden Mao Feng (OMG!) and a bowl of vanilla ice cream drizzled with pomegranate molasses to watch the Australian leadership spill on TV.

You simply must try this sometime.

You simply must try this sometime.

The world will be different tomorrow – come what may.

Until then, sweet dreams all.

S.

My treasure from the market.

Hello,

today I feel every bit the lesser mortal that I am.

We finished weeding and mulching the poisonous, barren soil of the garden beds that form our backyard and then went out to our plot at the community garden. Once there, we discovered that the broccolini that had been just starting to put up buds on Wednesday is now in full flower.

Four days, people.

Four days between a possible crop and a lost one. Sigh. Well, we harvested anyway and I resolved to peel the stalks and cook those.

Dinner was to be freekeh, corn, broccolini and coconut chicken fillets.

I thought I’d try steaming the freekeh in the rice cooker and put the vegies in to steam with it.

Steaming corn and broccolini stalks.

Steaming corn and broccolini stalks.

Unfortunately the freekeh seemed to be taking much longer to cook than I had anticipated and I ended up serving the chicken – breaded with panko and coconut  – with the vegies, while I waited for the light on the rice cooker to switch from cooking to warm…

Chicken and veg.

Chicken and veg.

I had come to the conclusion that, in future, I should freeze the chicken uncooked as it was a tad dry reheated. I was also complaining that it was taking longer to cook the freekeh in the rice cooker than it would have on the stove … when The Boy investigated and found it had boiled dry.

Ahem.

But, Your Honour, the lights! The lights was all wrong!

There was enough uncremated for The Boy to have some slow carbs with his meal. I’d quite gone off the whole idea by then.

We all have days in the kitchen when things don’t quite go to plan and this was one of mine.

Tomorrow I shall cook freekeh on the stove top, take photos and wax lyrical about it to you all. Until then, I’m making a cup of tea and going to bed with a cat and a book.

Night,

S.

P.S. Oh and I seem to have missed the first birthday of this site. So, to celebrate that and getting over the 100 mark on Facebook likes, I’m thinking of holding a small competition.

Details to come.

Bits and Bobs Pasta Bake

Hello everyone, especially all my new followers!

Today was quite a productive one in spite of myself. I slept in until lunchtime and so did The Boy. I don’t think we’d realised just how stressed-out we were about the whole house financing business and, now that it’s all pretty much settled, we fell in a messy heap.

Thankfully, last night’s 15 minute tidy up in the kitchen and dining area achieved results in 10 minutes – so I had a clean kitchen to drag myself into for my morning cuppa. The herd of cats got to have a tumble outside and then it was off to the car wash to vacuum up the snail bait in the boot (trunk).

Because everyone has snail bait loose in their car, don’t they? Ahem.

My new canisters for tea and cat deterrence.

My new canisters for tea and cat deterrence.

I decided to treat myself to some canisters I had been wanting for our kitchen counter-top and have a little splurge before we head back into Saving For The House Mode. Because the mortgage is only the first step and nowhere near the last.

Anyway, our counter has been cluttered with tins of different sizes filled with tea bags, cookies and other sundry items for as long as we’ve been here. It’s not because we need these things to be on the counter for our convenience, but more to discourage the cats from getting up there. It’s mostly successful, but it looked horrendous. I saw these little guys at Big W a few weeks ago and thought they’d be just the ticket. Add to that the fact that they are the colours we are wanting to be using in the new house and they were only $10 each, and they were an easy sell.

I played with those for a bit when I got home and then spent a good hour weeding and mulching what laughingly passes for a garden here. I then engaged in the therapeutic activity of baking cookies.

The Boy's favourite cookies.

The Boy’s favourite cookies.

These look uninspiring, but contain chunks of dark chocolate and a sprinkling of sea salt. The Boy loves them and the look on his face as he bites into one makes just about everything seem worthwhile. Even weeding.

They are a riff on the cookie recipe I posted here, but I shall do a post just on them in the next few days.

Then it was time to make dinner. We had a small amount of corned beef left in the refrigerator, so I used it for a pasta bake with some macaroni, a red capsicum, a tin of chickpeas (for texture and fibre), some frozen peas and corn and a cheese sauce.

Bits and bobs pasta bake

Bits and bobs pasta bake

While we ate ,The Boy totted up the cost and declared that I had spent $5 to make enough to feed 6.  Not too shabby, just quietly.

Looks like the savings drive is back on track.

Later, S.