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So I didn't cook anything all that new this week that was themed. I did, on the other hand, cook a 10hr bolognese sauce and today I did a beef pot roast in my new slow cooker :-) So I think all that counts.

I've got a photo every day for this week so far apart from today, but I still have time to do that. If you want to see, pop over to my Tumblr!
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I'm going to end up doing 3 recipes today. It'll mean I only have one to do before my challenge is finished! =D I don't mind being ahead of schedule - it gives me breathing space in the last week of classes and the lead-up to Christmas.

I'm not doing them all this morning, so I'll edit this post tonight when I've done the other two.

Recipe #49 is gingerbread. Apparently this recipe is a bit different because the cookies start of quite firm but soten up over the course of a week or two, making them perfect for Christmas decorations! You bake 'em up, decorate them, hang them, then eat them! :-)

I messed it up a bit to start with. For some reason I decided that half of a 100g block of butter weighed 500g, so I ended up only putting 75g of butter into the original mixture. Oops. Luckily I figured it out after I noticed that the mixture was far too dry to be of any use and was able to add the rest in.

I tasted a bikkie that had lost its tail before it ever went into the oven, and it was quite yummy :-) These guys will be decorated tomorrow morning (Phil's mum will be making a massive batch of royal icing so we're going to play with that) and then they'll go on our tree!


Recipe #50 is roast beef. Sure it only has 3 ingredients, but it still counts! :-p I drizzled the roast with olive oil, then I rubbed some salt in it. I also put some flour on it, because apparently this helps the fat become crispy or something.

Recipe #51 is creamed spinach, which I got in my "commonsense guide to vegetarian cooking". It involved spinach (no surprise there), pure cream (no surprise there either), and garlic. It will have some grated parmesan on it as a garnish when it is served. It was pretty simple and should be tasty!

Recipe #52 is a red wine gravy, which is a modified version of this one, as I didn't have eschalots or green peppercorns.

And THAT'S IT! XD I have completed my challenge, well ahead of time!!!

The main goal of this was to improve my confidence in the kitchen and increase me repertoire. I've done both, but the first I don't feel has been done to my satisfaction. This means I'll be continuing the challenge next year, starting in the first week of January :-)

Now, I have something else to reward myself for!


Dec. 4th, 2011 08:58 am
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Recipes #47 and #48 are: Corn and Polenta Pancakes, and salsa.

I got them from Vegetairan Cooking: A Commonsense Guide. I wasn't able to follow the recipe perfectly as I couldn't find all the ingredients last night, so the polenta was a great big hulking block (which I now need to use up - thankfully it's a reasonable substitute for mashed potato) and I used cannellini beans instead of fava beans for the salsa, because I couldn't find fava beans.

I think I may have made the mixture a bit too runny because, instead of four thick pancakes, I ended up with about 8 thinner ones. None the less, both recipes were delicious :-)

At this point, I'm on track to finish in the last week of december as long as I do one recipe per week from now on. Woo!


Nov. 21st, 2011 10:45 am
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Recipe #46 is cauliflower soup, courtesy of my friend, Ozone! Ingredients are:

- Cauliflower
- Bacon
- Ricotta cheese
- Vegetable stock
- Onion
- Garlic

It's seriously so yummy! Love it! =D

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Recipe #45 was hash browns! I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I found that I needed 2 eggs and an extra tablespoon of flour, otherwise they just didn't hold together. So their consistency and appearance improved as I made more of them :-p 

They were quite tasty :-)

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Recipe #44 is spinach gnocchi. This was a very tough one for me, mostly because I've been utterly scatter-brained. First I panicked that the dough wasn't a rollable consistency (you need to roll them into a log) so I added too much flour. I then added another egg to make up for that which helped. Unfortunately, I'd used up all my plain flour so I had to dust my surface with self-raising.

On that note, if it's very sticky, don't panic! It's supposed to be. When you're rolling it on a floured surface it turns out fine.

While we were cooking them, we put my slotted spoon too close to the stove and melted it, which set off the smoke alarm.

BUT! They turned out good. I served them with a sauce, though. Turned out to be a good thing otherwise they'd be a bit too dry. I made one up with chopped onion, a can of chopped tomatoes, some garlic and a dollop of pure cream.

All in all I'm quite happy with how it turned out! Next time I won't panic and it'll hopefully be even better.

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Hopefully that will change as soon as this exam's over and I have a bit more brain space to work with. But I promise there's more to this than just me going on about what a brilliant cook I am :-)

Recipe #43 is "Rustic Greek Pie", which I found in a vegetarian cook book. It involves spinach, grated haloumi, crumbed feta, egg, and cream. It was very tasty! I need to do more stuff like this. There is one thing I want to try doing differently, and that's using puff pastry insted of shortcrust. The shortcrust worked well, but I think it could be better.

Phil and I bought Christmas decorations tonight! =D I'm finally properly excited about Christmas again. I hated it for several years while I worked at arse Kmart, still hated it in my first year out teaching, and hated it reasonably less last year. Now, I'm finally glad to be having one :-)

We don't have a tree yet. We'll be getting that at some point in the near future and putting it up in December. I'm also planning to buy modelling clay to make decorations of my own!

It's all very fun :-)

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So, I made another batch of cookies (recipe #42). This comes from a standard cookie recipe involving equal amounts of flour, sugar, butter, some vanilla essence and an egg.

I learned one very important lesson doing this: Biscuits EXPAND. And get stuck together. So I'll use 2 oven trays next time, I think!

This recipe is one with which you can use cookie cutters, so I made them in the shape of cars and dragonflies (those are the only two I have) :-)

Does anyone know a good icing recipe for biscuits? I remember back when I was a kid you'd have those stalls at fetes where you could decorate teddybear biscuits. The cars would look great with smarties for wheels! And if anyone knows where I can get icing that can be used for writing/drawing with, that'd be really good for the dragonflies and for more interesting designs :-)

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Recipe #41 is Lentil and Kidney Bean Chilli, which [ profile] ikona_rakasha recommended :-)

It is DELICIOUS. I had it as nachos, though I didn't do any baking. We just scooped the chilli onto the corn chips, put grated cheese over it, and then added sour cream.

This is going into the favourites box. I might try adding red wine next time - that could work :-)

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I have today off to study for my physics exam. It's going ok, though I am struggling a bit on the concentration front. I may need a cup of tea.

As a break from study, I did Recipe #40! It is for Refrigerator Biscuits, courtesy of my lovely mother-in-law :-) These are fantastic because, once you've mixed it all up, you can put them in the freezer and keep them there until you next feel like eating them!

It's a fairly standard sort of biscuit recipe from what I've seen, involving butter, fluor, brown sugar, an egg, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. And they only took about 10mins to bake. If you want it, let me know and I'll send it to you privately.

The recipe I have makes about 3 dozen, so I think that I'll probably make extra in future and have a bit more in the freezer.

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The Domestic Part:

We got a washing machine this morning! XD It does stuff! We got a Fisher Paykel front loader and did some washing in it today. It feels so much more like a home now! The last furniture we're waiting on is the coffee table and the TV stand. They should arrive within the next fortnight, and that will be awesome.

I also managed to finally get some more tidying of the study done, and we now have space for my husband's piano against the wall. There's a bit more to go, unfortunately. We're in that "bits and pieces" stage which basically means whe have a whole bunch of miscellaneous stuff in boxes and and on surfaces which don't really have anywhere specific to go. This means lots of sorting, which I hate.

We're also still very much deciding on where things belong. A few things ahve been moved from their oritinal space to somewhere else by now, including the bookshelves, drinking glasses, kitchen appliances, and various tools. Hopefully this won't happen too much over the next while and things will have definite homes to live in.

The Recipe Part:

I'm trying to catch up on cooking, so recipe #39 is home-made tomato sauce. Anyone who's been to a barbecue with me knows I do not like tomato sauce. My problem with most of the ones you get at the supermarket is that they're just too sweet. So, I decided it's high time I made my own!

I looked around online to get the general gist of how to make them, and from there I made it my own, so here it is.


1 brown onion
1tsp salt (or to taste)
1tbs oil
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
3 cloves garlic
3tsp paprika


Chop the onion and cook it in a saucepan until it's soft.
Add the garlic and the salt and cook it for a few minutes, then add the tomato.
Cook that, stirring occasionally, for about 10mins.
Use a potato masher to crush it up a bit, add the paprika, and then cook for a few minutes more.
Take the pot off the flame and put it on a heat-proof mat. Allow it to cool a bit and then blend the mixture until it's smooth.
When it's cool enough, serve!

Ta-dah! :-) So there it is: Low in sugar, preservative-free, and really yummy.

I imagine you'd need to keep it refrigerated and use it up fairly quickly. This makes about 500mL, so you won't be running short.

The Career Part

I've started looking for jobs for next year. It's not that I particularly want to leave my current school, but I would be stupid to just assume that they'll have a position for me next year. I also do have good reasons for wanting to go elsewhere, such as the fact that I long to be in a school where the parents give a damn and where expulsion is a real threat.

I've applied to a campus of my old high school. It's 10-15mins away by bicycle and I'm seriously hoping that it's 3rd time lucky. The first time I applied was fresh out of uni and I didn't even get an interview. The second time was at the end of my first year teaching and I got a 2nd round interview (so, top 5 candidates sort of thing). I'm really hoping that this will be third time lucky. You have NO idea how badly I want this!

Wish me luck!


Oct. 5th, 2011 12:46 pm
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So I've been offline for a while, and this is for a couple of reasons:

- Busy with work and Physics
- Busy with househunting
- Busy with moving house
- Lack of Internet after moving in

But I have now moved in and I have INTERNET!!! WOO!

The house is gorgeous and I LOVE it! It's bigger than my old place and has a better yard. My in-laws have decided to give us a barbecue for Christmas, and we will host the family Christmass shinding here :-)

I also had my heart procedure yesterday. It went well and I should have no more problems from now on! For the next day or so I'm not allowed to do very much and certainly not allowed to lift anything heavier than a kettle. This is helped by the fact that I can't spend more than about 5mins walking around before I end up in rather a lot of pain and have to sit back down. Fortunately, my husband has stayed home today to look after me and keep me from forgetting myself while my leg feels fine and trying to lift something heavy. Like a cat, or a kichen cabinet...

I've also cooked Recipe #38, which was a peanut sauce for a stir fry. It is a friend's recipe and involved soy sauce, peanut butter, and honey. Turned out quite nice :-)

I have no idea just how behind I am with cooking, but I'm hoping to catch up before too long. Or at least to keep going until the end of the year! Then I might modify it to make it a specific Ingredient of the Month, or some such.

We'll see :-)

I cooked

Sep. 20th, 2011 07:35 pm
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Recipe #37 was beef burgers. I know I've done burgers before, but they've been either vegetarian burgers or kangaroo burgers.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly in that I used 500g of mince, a small onion, and two eggs.

Next time I'd add a bit more salt than I did and I would use less tabasco. It was actually really nice and not too spicy, but I still think it was a little bit more than I'd normally prefer.

And yes, they were yummy! My modifications also made well more than 6 burgers.Those things were HUGE!

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Recipes #35 and #36 were chicken parma and garlic sauteé'd mushrooms. I'll put a photo up later (if I remeber) and both were extremely yummy :-)
nimthiriel: (Default)
Recipe #34 is a lentil bolognese which I found in my recipe book titled "Vegetarian: A collection of over 100 essential recipes". 
It involved: lentils (duh), mushrooms, celery, carrot, capsicum, garlic, red wine, paprika (to replace the sugar the recipe called for), basil, thyme, and pepper.

I didn't realise we were out of onion and I think that this would have improved it a great deal. I also didn't have a courgette, so that was omitted.

I took some pictures of it but I'm really struggling with my husband's camera. I really need to find my own one because this one's pictures just keep coming out blurry whenever I'm under low light. It's just not very good at focusing.

It turned out pretty good and I think I'll make it again, if only to try the things which I think will improve it!


Aug. 7th, 2011 06:03 pm
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 The surprise dip on Friday night turned out to be a very good thing, because it looks like lentil bolognese isn't happening tonight. I'm just so very, very tired. I think I just used myself up completely this weekend.

Yesterday I had my first aid re-accreditation. That started at 9:30am and ended up finishing at around 6pm. It was a really good and generally useful day, but it was also quite tiring to deal with. After the re-accred, I went out for dinner with a different group of people. Also really good, but it means that I was doing social stuff for 12 hours, almost non-stop.

Today I had professional development from 9am until about 2:30. End result was that I got home and crashed. I just went straight to my room and was antisocial for a couple of hours, then I fell asleep and stayed that way for another couple of hours! I'm still wrecked, AND I still have to do my physics homework for tomorrow afternoon, and I also need my husband to migrate a bunch of stuff to my computer from my back-up drive because I needed to get my computer wiped on Thursday night (it developed a random bug that the Apple store people couldn't fix).

So, no cooking tonight. I've just done way too much and I don't plan to do this much in one weekend ever again!
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Recipe #33 happened without my meaning it to. I was at my mother-in-law's place, helping her set up for a dinner thing. She was going to start the evening with nibbles and a dip, as you do. I tried the dip and it was fizzy. Dips should not be fizzy. So we made an impromptu dip out of things she already had in the fridge!

Cathy's Avocado Dip:

1 Avocado
150g ricotta cheese
Squeeze of lemon juice

Mash it all up, and the end result is something extremely yummy!

I'm still planning to do another recipe tomorrow (the one I'd actually planned), so I'm still a little bit ahead. I'm ok with this! :-)


Jul. 31st, 2011 08:34 pm
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Recipe #32 was Eggs In Purgatory, thanks to [ profile] ikona_rakasha :-) I didn't get it quite right, though. I couldn't find whole roast capsica, so I bought the jar of strips and just threw the lot in to the pan. I also didn't have any crushed tomatoes, so I had my husband crush some for me and I included some Leggo's tomato paste and water. the egg yolks were also a little bit overdone, but it was still delicious :-) I highly recommend it.

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This morning I made Recipe #31 (to get me through week 3 of term), which was hollandaise sauce! I found it here.

It was surprisingly easy to make, though I wouldn't like to have to do it without assistance (easier to keep whisking when someone else is adding ingredients for you). I don't have a "double boiler", so I put some water into a pan and then a thick ceramic bowl into that:

I didn't do poached eggs with this one (after failing that a number of times, I have temporarily put it in the "too hard" basket), but my lovely husband fried some and we had it with toast :-)

It was quite yummy! My husband even thought it was ok, and he doesn't normally like hollandaise sauce, so I'm hapy with that endorsement :-)

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Tonight I did Recipe #30, which will cover week 2 of term. This recipe was french onion soup! I got it from this book:

Which my husband bought me for Christmas (I went a bit crazy over it when I found it in the book shop)!

It consisted of onions, red wine, and beef stock. Also some sugar, salt and pepper. It was served with toasted bread that had garlic rubbed into it and cheese melted on under the grill There was also a splash of brandy in there toward the end of the cooking process. Here's a picture of the finished product:

I'm happy to report that it didn't taste particularly oniony, and that it was quite delicious! =D


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