For the love of Food

I have always had a yearning from a young age to cook for my family.  Always thinking of new ways to make dinner more interesting and healthy.  Yes i will admit that my ideas do not always “pan out ” so to speak and my partner is very good at keeping a straight face when telling me dinner was lovely. My biggest enemy is the recipe something I just cannot follow to the letter. My childhood was very isolated so the ingredients often had to be exchanged in order to make many things.

 

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Eggplant Parmagana with steamed Pak Choy.( Find in Saldarys Recipies)

 

We had a wood stove in our kitchen growing up and this was a challenge for a young cook, the thing about cooking with wood is that not all wood is equal. The hottest wood and the best to heat the oven is definitely oak it burns so hot. However when you are learning this can be a challenge and there were many times i got it wrong, I remenber Mum made a French apple pie once and forgot it for 2 days it came out completely  cremated it held the perfect shape but was just charcoal.

If you have seen an episode of Live Free or Die this could be confused with how my family lived and will give you an idea of the ingredients or lack there of. I could make anything with Chicken. The rare chance that we got to eat Beef were the highlights. None of us are vegetarians however most of our meals contained very little meat so i have learned to make meals from beans and other pulses in order to add the protien that was needed. A quick soup can be made by taking
2 large carrots
1 large onion
1 large stick of celery
2 rashes of bacon
1 teaspoon vegeta
1 teaspoon vegeta chicken stock
1 cup of soup mix
1 cup split peas
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Cover with water cook about
1 hr

&nsp;

 

 

 

Turkey the forgotten Meat

Let me introduce you to Turkey, Of course we all know the roast Turkey that is a staple at Christmas and Thanks giving. But have you once thought of serving a turkey hindquarter for dinner one night or use turkey mince instead of chicken , Beef or Pork.

Turkey can be a very economical meat, available in the meat department of your local Coles or Woolworths for a fraction the price of beef. This lean versatile meat can make anything from tacos to meat balls.

Try turkey meat balls with pasta for a healthy and economical meal the whole family will love.

just grate some vegetables such as carrot, celery and onion mix together with 500g of turkey mince 1/2 a teaspoon of mixed herbs and some fresh parsley 1/2 a cup of bread crumbs and 1 egg. Mix well then shape into small balls placing them in 500mls of passata

That is all there is to it all that is left is to cook the shape of pasta that you like and serve with grated parmesan.

You will be surprised how wonderful this tastes and no one will be able to tell it is turkey.

Vegeta all you need for flavour

I have used Vegeta for many years and find it adds a great taste to all my soups and stews.

Vegeta makes it easy to add extra flavour to any dish you make, today for lunch as I sometimes do on Sunday I made soup. It is always good to have a bit of a plan for you meals on the weekend. This can save you a lot in gas or electricity, We had roast pork for dinner on Saturday night so I put a tray of pumpkin in to roast at the same time about a quarter of a large Jap pumpkin.

This I cooked until soft with a slight browning to give that lovely caramelised flavour, I then scooped the delicious pumpkin out of the skins and put it in the fridge till today.

This soup is so quick and delicious put a pan on the stove and add 3 chopped rashes of bacon 1 small onion chopped finely and 3 large cloves of garlic crushed. Cook until the onion is softened and the bacon browns then add pumpkin and mash it till smooth then add 1 teaspoon each of Vegeta chicken stock powder and Gourmet stock with enough hot water to cover and stir well if it seems to thick you can add more water, it is up to you how thick you want your soup. You can choose to blitz the soup in a food processor or have a more chunky soup with the bacon and onion in small pieces.

When I serve this soup I like to add a teaspoon of Greek yogurt or sour cream with a sprinkle of fresh parsley if you have some crusty bread this is nice if not crackers are something different with soup.

 

 

 

Everyday Cooking

Cooking the most basic thing can be really satisfying. Since I was 10 years old the goal in our house was to make the best loaf of bread possible. When I was about 30 years old I bought a bread maker, this was a great invention however the bread mixes and the recipes that came with the machine produced loaves that where heavy and very doughy tasting.

I spent a lot of time researching how bread is made and the way that the yeast makes the bread rise and what type of flour was best to make bread.

This recipe is one that works every time and makes a lovely light loaf I make it in the bread maker on French setting.

250 mls                Water

1 Tab spoon          Oil

1 Tab spoon          Sugar

2 1/2 Cups             Plain bread making flour 00 is good.

1 tsp                        Salt

2 1/2 tsp                Bread improver

2 tsps.                    Gluten Flour

1 1/4 tsp                 Dried Yeast

Add to bread machine in this order then set to French setting.

 

 

 

 

 

How Gardening influences the Kitchen.

What is produced in the kitchen is influenced greatly by the Garden. When the garden was going well this would make meals so much easier and also determine the type of food cooked.

Eggplant Parmigiana
Eggplant Parmigiana

I have found that you can quite easily make full meals from things you grow in your garden such as the Eggplant Parmigiana pictured is very filling and takes no time at all to prepare. I will post the recipe onto the Recipe page. In Far North Queensland it does become too hot to have a garden all year round but up here on the naturally cool Atherton Tablelands some plants such as Tomatoes, Celery, lettuce and Eggplants as well as a lot of herbs, will grow all year round.

hot house 2 I have a covered garden so that when it rains a lot I can regulate the water that it gets, this stops a lot of the problems associated with fungus and mould that usually becomes a problem during the wet season in North Queensland.  It also helps to keep the ground warmer during the colder months this is very important for healthy plants. I like to grow whatever I can at home because working at a Non-profit Organisation things never go to waste there is always someone that needs fresh vegetables.

Even Christmas presents for friends can depend on what is being produced in the garden last year they all got tomato relish as the crop of tomatoes was amazing and a homemade gift, I think is nicer than a bought one.

How my love of cooking began

I have always had a passion for all things food and cooking since I can remember. As a young girl I began cooking as a necessity. My Family would work till very late in the evening at our family tin mine and when they would finally make it home my Mother would be to tired to cook dinner so I would have it ready for them. My specialty was Lasagne a favourite with the whole Family. I was always up for a challenge  and as the collection of cookbooks grew so did my Menu. I was never afraid to try new things and was never one to follow recipes to the letter this was not always due to choice as we lived a long way from the local store it would depend more on the ingredients on hand at the time. This has given me an ability to substitute when you don’t have the chosen ingredient there is always something you can use. This came about not from desire but from necessity with the closest shops over 2 hours away there was no way of getting things so we just made do.