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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Mini-me minestrone

A winter warmer on a foggy grey day when everyone's slept in. Bonus: Using up the leftovers in the vegetable drawer. And a can from the pantry stash.

Mini-me (9 months old) enjoyed it. Purple cabbage confetti and crinkly celery crescents and twinkling pasta stars and all.

Minestrone My Way

2 medium red onions, chopped
1 bunch of celery stems, chopped
1 carrot, diced
Half a head of purple cabbage, chopped
2 large plum tomatoes, diced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 can Heinz organic baked beans
1 scant cup small pasta (I used stellini)
Sprinkling of cheese (Parm's the classic but it's too salty for a baby piglet, so I crumbled in some Gouda)

1. Heat olive oil and soften the onions, celery and carrot in pressure-cooker pan on low heat.
2. Add cabbage and sauté till starting to soften.
3. Mix in tomatoes and thyme.
4. Open the can of beans and pour in, plus a can and a half of water (you could use stock of course, or a splash of white wine for grown-ups; I was trying to dilute the salt in the beans for baby).
5. Throw in the pasta and close the lid. Increase to medium-high heat. Wait for the steam to hiss out, then reduce to a simmer.
6. Turn the gas off 10 minutes later and let the pressure dissipate.
7. Serve with cheese crumbled or grated on, a swirl of pesto for older persons and seasoning on the side.

Carnivores, feel free to start with chopped bacon rind or bits of ham in the pan!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I cooked last year

Plating up the bun in the oven, aka the baby burrito...

...now 6 months old.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Honey, I Burnt the Rice!

There is a simple lesson in that rice bowl: DO NOT be chopping copy upstairs while cooking dinner downstairs!

Here endeth the lesson on charcoal making at home.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Flowered eggs for Sunday morning

I'm sorry I didn't save you a picture.

But what a good idea it was to chop a few shrinking pumpkin flowers into this morning's buttered scrambled eggs

A couple of days old, they weren't vibrant enough for salad. The tired old tempura that everyone's grandmother made is one of the few matronly recipes I don't love — too heavy for the sprightly flowers, I always think, though the royal Thai version I first encountered at Bangkok's Ruen Mallika is rather more interesting and elevated. 

However, without all the fuss and even minus some freshness, these flowers turned out blooming good! A lovely little bite they added to the eggs, with a very fresh flavour that whispered virtuously of eating your vegetables but did not overpower the creamy scramble

Not the usual saltiness of sausage — though we did grate in a little Gruyere for savouriness — or the ferrous tang of spinach, nor even the more insistent spicy-sweet stride of roasted peppers. Though all of these are old favourites in our household of two. 

This was a surprisingly soothing and gently sunny partnership after a difficult day-before. So we polished it off before it could pose for photographs this lazy Sunday morning.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Salad Days, with the Other Orange

I clearly cannot get over the gorgeousness of the orange this year — and it's not even my favourite colour!

They do say it's the runaway top trend on the summer runways; but I'm better at wolfing it down than at wearing it. I'd use them to accessorize my snack bag, but I don't think I'll be seeing any fresh ones in summer around here!

Yes, I strive to eat mostly seasonal and local (smarter for my wallet too, because I can then buy more). But occasionally, I will buy just the one piece of exotic fruit that I can't get around here — at least not in good shape. So a couple of times a year, I actually buy an orange.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Golden Mandarin Cake (or, an Abundance of Oranges)

Darjeeling oranges, five to a red net 'sock', are one of my favourite things about winter.

The perfect packaging-free snack to bring along when I go sit in the weak afternoon sun. The nicest prep-free, pre-portioned, no-cook, peelable dessert. They are always so sweet! Round and juicy, fragrant with that velvety oil, small wonder the Chinese use them for auspicious New Year tokens. (Yes, Gong Xi Fa Cai!  Prosperous Year of the Water Dragon! to you too.) 

The Chinese? What are they doing here, invading Darjeeling?!

Well, geography may not be my strong point; but in fact, the Darjeeling 'oranges' are mandarinstangerines, according to some; clementines, to others — rather than true oranges.