Friday, April 30, 2010

Lamb with Cous Cous...errr Rice... and Roast Veg Medley

On the way home from school, Ms D  asked "What's for dinner?" Same as every other day. "Lamb with cous cous." I said, which covered many possible combos. She put in her whiny voice, so delightful, and whinged "Ohhhhoo, do we have to have cous cous? I hate cous cous. Can't you do rice instead?"

I sighed. She couldn't just accept my answer, she always had to pick on it! Turns out, she went and put a curse on it as well.

You probably know how to prepare cous cous. Just add water! Easy. Hot or cold, both work. But not this time!! I had a solid block of cous cous in my bowl. What? TWICE! WHAT????? Dinner time had come and gone, so I thought 'Bugger it! Rice it is! Ms D  gets her wish.'

Ingredients:
  • 400-500 g diced lamb
  • Greek yogurt
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • garlic powder (trialling this for a change)
  • citric acid
  • ground sea salt
  • potatoes, pumpkin, parsnip
  • cous cous
  • oil for cooking/baste
Method:

  • Pre-heat oven 180. Place roasting tray in oven.
  • Cut vegies into small die, put them into bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a little oil and stir to cover all pieces.
  • Tip onto the preheated tray and roast until golden
  • Meanwhile, combine Greek yogurt, spring onion, a sprinkle of garlic and citric acid and put aside
  • Stir oil, pinch of salt and a sprinkle of citric acid over lamb and cook in fry pan
  • While lamb is resting, make the cous cous
  • Now, pile it up. Cous cous on the bottom, some lamb, drizzle over with yogurt and then lovely golden roast veg artistically falling off the pile.
  • Served my 5 eaters, with some green steamed veg, (and rice!) with no left overs
Verdict: I think the thing we like about this dish is the sharpness of the yogurt. It's a great flavour combined with the lamb and vegies.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Maccas

Lest anyone think I am holding myself up as some sort of Mum-of-Excellence, after driving around for 3 hours etc etc etc, we decided to have Maccas for dinner.

Of course, I'd never recommend this as a healthy or failsafe meal. It's not. It is what it is. And, happily, we seem to be able to get away with it if we only do it very occasionally amongst many days of 'good' food either side.

Verdict: Everyone loves me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chicken and Swede Corn Noodle Soup.

What's 'Swede Corn' you're wondering? Well, it's an unintentional pun.

Ms C: "Mummy, what's this called?"
Me: "Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup."
Ms C: "Ooooooh. Sweet? I thought it was Swede."
Me: "Well, there is swede in it, but it's 'sweet corn'."
Ms C: "Swede?"
Me: "This bit here. That's swede."
Ms C: "Oooooh, swede corn?"
Me: "..."
Me: "Okay. It's Chicken and Swede Corn Noodle Soup."
Ms C: "..."


Ingredients:
  • 1.5 litres chicken stock (homemade)
  • 2 tabs pearl barley
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 swede (rutabaga)
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 310g tin creamed corn*
  • 1 cup green cabbage
  • sea salt
  • fine noodles (eg Fantastic Longlife noodles)
  • 1 egg
Method:
  • In a large, heavy pot (at least 2 litres), heat stock to simmer
  • add barley
  • cut swede into small cubes, add to stock
  • cut chicken into small pieces, add to stock
  • finely slice spring onion, celery and cabbage and add to stock
  • Add creamed corn and salt and allow to simmer while someone pops out to get some yummy bread to eat with dinner
  • Add noodles and allow to soften and stir through
  • Lightly whisk egg and stir through soup, keep it moving for a little while to ensure the egg is well dispersed
*High amines and salicylates

Fed my family of 5 eaters easily, with lots of leftovers.
The soup I put into containers to freeze was quite thick and so when I defrost it, I will be adding enough water to make a new broth and let it simmer for a while to really pick up the flavours. A little more salt might be needed.

Verdict:
Everyone loved it!! Ms D  sussed the swede straight away and then declared "Swede is nice in soups! " Ms C was too busy eating to declare anything.



Tweaks:
I suppose it just depends on the vegies in the fridge on the day, but I really was aiming for 'not another chicken and vegie soup'. So I avoided carrots, peas etc. I was going to use frozen corn, but there wasn't any!! Corn is not low is Sals, but it's not super high either so I decided it would be okay. Her one serve of Sals of the day. Also, thigh would have been tastier than breast, but you use what you've got!! This is obviously an adaptation of a more traditional Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup, but doesn't have the ginger or soy sauce. If a non-failsafer in the family desperately needed it, then this could be stirred in after the others had been served, but really it's surprisingly tasty and satisfying. A great one-pot winter meal.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pumpkin and Lentil Lasagne with Ricotta

I was ‘making up’ a meal tonight. I make them up, because we can't eat what we used to eat. We can't enjoy the flavours we used to. We've all gone FAILSAFE. There are a few things I miss more than others. One of the biggies is Lasagne. I used to make it with lots of red wine, oregano and plenty of cheese in the bechamel (white) sauce. Yummo!! We'd eat it with salad or steamed veg. A glass of red. Okay, there's still a glass of red.
Anyway, I thought, "I'm making up all these meals... some work and some don't and some need tweaking or more inspiration. I need to keep track!!!" And so, here we are. My blog on meals that really work... or not... that are BAD-additive free, low in salicylates, amines and glutamate. 'Look Mum! *waves* I've got a blog!'

Ingredients

'Meat' Sauce
  • 2 tins brown lentils
  • 1 tin red kidney beans
  • 1 leek
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 spring onion
  • butternut pumpkin*
  • citric acid
  • water

Bechamel Sauce

  • 60 grams butter
  • 4 tabs flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • about 200-300 g ricotta
Method:

  • I'm not sure how much pumpkin I used, but let's have a stab at about 1/4 of a medium sized one. Chopped up to large chunks, a little sea salt and roasted.
  • Meanwhile, take 1 tin of lentils and 1 tin of kidney beans and drain and rinse. Put them into the food processor.
  • Chop and slice the leek, garlic and spring onion and add to the beans, along with the citric acid.
  • Puree, adding water as you go to keep it moving. Not sloppy, but 'mobile'
  • Cook enough pasta to fit your lasagne dish. I used about 250g of spirals.
  • Add roasted pumpkin (skin off) to the processor and puree until well combined
  • Put your other tin of lentils into a medium saucepan and add pureed bean mix
  • Heat this up slowly, adding water. I don't have a lot of experience with cooking lentils, but they sure seem to absorb a lot of water. Keep it moving as it heats up and cooks and then allow to simmer... keep on adding liquid as needed
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add flour, mixing constantly on the heat to cook the flour.
  • Remove from heat and gradually add milk, keep stirring to ensure it's smooth. Use all the milk.
  • Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until it thickens. Add the ricotta and stir until well blended and smooth.
  • Construct by putting half the pasta into dish, top with half lentil mix, top that with half white sauce and then do it again. If your dish isn't deep enough to do that, then just do all at once. Pasta, lentils then white sauce in layers.
  • Pop into MOD OVEN for 20-30 minutes, when it has a nice toasty colour on top.
  • Serve with a pile of steamed veg.
  • Serves my family of 5 eaters with enough left over for 3 kids to have for another meal.
*Moderate Salicylates

Verdict:

Ms D didn't like it. But that may be because she got a lump of pumpkin and so was looking for an excuse to not eat something she knew had pumpkin in. It might also be because she's 10 and misses all the 'old' food still.
  Ms C, the one all this is for, ate up most of it. Certainly no complaints.
  Mr JR, the nearly-3-year-old, ate a little, mostly the pasta portion and left his vegies (ha ha ha. There are vegies in the pasta!!) Everyone left a little as we had some leftover cheesecake for dessert.
  Mr frillypants & I ate it just fine. Sure, it's not the old lasagne, but nothing is! But I found the bechamel quite nice... even without the usual Extra tasty cheese and Grana Padano. It's still missing 'something'. Perhaps you might know?




Tweaks:

I wondered if next time I might try roasting the garlic as well as the pumpkin. And sauteing the leek etc before adding it to the lentils mix.