Sunday, July 31, 2011

There and back again!

Today I went to the Local Food Conversation at Edendale Farm in Eltham.
This was a meeting put on by Local Food Connect.
They wanted to hear from people in the North East suburbs who had food projects, so I put up my hand and went along.

I can't wait to tell you all about it! It was wonderful and I think I have a few posts to write as a result of it.
However, YamDaisy activism and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are tricky bedfellows! One of my CFS symptoms is Orthostatic Intolerance, and that means that while I am out and about: (even when sitting at a sociable meeting) my body thinks it is setting out from Everest base camp and trudging steadily up the mountain. I start to develop all the symptoms of altitude sickness.

So I am taking it easy for a day or so and then will post again.  But in between doing all the things that help me recover I am thinking of all the interesting things there are to blog about.

As I was leaving the meeting I
a) didn't put in a gold coin to help with room hire
b) did take some food swap chillies and tamarillos even though I didn't have anything to swap with.
(Going gaga is a symptom of altitude sickness!)
I am owning up now and will remedy the unhappy situation next time I go!

You can see a tamarillo on this meal I made when I got home: Mushroom and polenta bake (ready to go) with fresh avocado, parsley and tamarillo, with some marigold petals to finish. Lovely!

The photo at the top is the huge beautiful picture in the meeting room.
Cheers folk!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daughters make dinner!

What a treat!
An evening at a friends house, where my daughter and hers were out in the kitchen cooking up a storm.... while we sat and chatted in the cosy living room!
It was a magnificent dinner with chicken stuffed with herbs on a bed of sauce flavoured with red wine and mushrooms, and beautifully cooked veggies to accompany it!

How wonderful it was to come out to the table with the plates presented so beautifully!

And here are the cooks!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Cleaver, A Cleaver, A Pumpkin

See the small cleaver in the middle of the photo? That is my everyday knife. Every day it chops for me!

If I remember rightly (I am going a little Chairman Kaga here), it came from a shared student household on the outskirts of Bendigo. When everyone moved out, I was left with the clean up ~ and this handy chopper!

My friends, that was a quarter of a century ago! And since then the cleaver has chopped my veggies every day. And finally, on Saturday, I took it to a professional knife sharpener, and it is now the sharpest I have ever known it. Crikey it has been blunt the last few years and all the steeling hasn't been able to do much.

As a (mostly) vegetarian, this is pretty well all I need in the way of knives.... except for a couple of things!
Meet Big Cleaver!
Big Cleaver lives at the bottom of the drawer and comes out especially for pumpkins and coconuts! (Sharp side for pumpkins, blunt side for coconuts).

I needed it yesterday when I cracked the lovely Jap pumpkin that has been waiting patiently in the fruit bowl for a couple of months, Thankyou Big Cleaver!

I made a lovely hearty winter soup (we are in the depths of winter here) with celery, pumpkin and split peas and both my cleavers were in such fine form!

Hooray for professional knife sharpeners, for beautiful pumpkins and for all sizes of cleaver!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beetroot Pasta Sauce!

I have seen a couple of recipes for using beetroot in a sauce, and they were typical, straightforward pasta sauces using beets along with tomatoes.
I couldn't really imagine what such a sauce would taste like: but I loved the colour!

So I made a pretty typical pasta sauce by putting in my blender tomatoes (from a tin) onion, garlic, olive oil and a little chilli, plus the two cooked beetroots (see here) with their skins and stalks rubbed off. I blended them all up and then popped them in a saucepan to cook for half an hour. The sauce spat a bit and made glorious coloured splatters all over my stove, but other than that - it couldn't be easier!
While I cooked up the pasta (big tubes which I broke into thirds to make them more manageable) I also cooked the beet leaves by slicing them thinly and braising them in a little butter and the water left on them from washing them.
The walnuts made a lovely garnish!

Then I ate it. YUM! I couldn't imagine the tastes of tomato and beetroots together, but it was glorious! It was a delicious comforting tasty sauce that was beautifully balanced by the greens and walnuts. Simple and very special! I can't wait to wow some visitors with this dish!

Highly recommended!
(Plate when finished!)

A beetrooty gift!

A friend called in after shopping.
"Help!" she cried! "How on earth do you shop for one?"

I laughed (sympathetically). I have been through that transition too!
When you are cooking for a household you buy in bulk,. When the carrots are all used up and the potatoes are getting low.... you know it is time to go shopping again.

But when there is just you, it is amazing how little food is needed! When all the carrots and potatoes are gone, you can still find meals for the next three days!

"Look, I've bought too much!" said my friend. "Please help me by taking some. Have half the bunch of celery. Half the lettuce. O please take a couple of beetroots! They have their lovely fresh leaves attached too! O and I couldn't resist this bag of potatoes. Take 8!"

So here are the beetroot. I pressure cooked them for a short 10 minutes (maybe 8?) which was perfect. Their lovely fresh leaves were removed first.
What do you think I made with them?

(I'll tell you tomorrow!)

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I was delighted to discover a few weeks ago, that this blog rated on the BIG List of Food Blogs! and It had 6 recommendations!
It was at number 5649 I think! I went back to check the listing exactly ~ and it had gone. O sad face! That's what comes of being such a sometimes blogger and, not to mention, putting up blogs about non food subjects.
O well, fame is fleeting!

But here I am doing a lovely food post to show you my delicious breakfast! Every component was special. I'll tell you what I mean:
The toast is made from my delicious chestnut bread (about 2/3 cup of mashed chestnuts from my friend's trees added to the usual ingredients).
The arrabbiata sauce I made for my sisters visit. It is a pasta sauce with chili in it. My sisters have gone home, but I had sauce left over! I heated a little of it until it was very thick and smeared it on my toast.
The avocado was a gift from one of my sisters. It grew on her farm! It had been sitting in my fruit bowl ripening and when I cut into it it was so soft and creamy!
A friend introduced me to these big fat green olives they have for sale at Cozzella Brothers Thornbury, and gave me a container full!
And the parsley is growing in my garden.

And it all came together for my delicious breakfast! 
Wishing you all delicious breakfasts too!