Sunday, November 25, 2012

Taste & Create: Mushroom Ragout

This month I did my first Taste & Create in months and months and months and... ages!

Taste & Create is a monthly blogging event where the lovely Min of the Bad Girl's Kitchen pairs you up with another blogger and you each get to make, and report on one of each other's recipes.

This month I was paired with Min herself and I chose to experiment with her recipe for Mushroom Ragout... I followed the index link for FAST recipes because I didn't want to have to make anything too complicated. Complicated and/or time consuming are just not valid options when you're sharing a kitchen with 11 other people (not to mention their friends)!

And it was a good choice. As Min mentions in her own post - this ragout has bacon in it! How could it be anything but a good thing!

It came together very quickly with minimal effort and dishes and maximum flavour! I served mine over boiled brussel sprouts, rather than pasta - but this is a recipe for a sauce! Put it on whatever you want! It'd be awesome in a toastie-pie sandwich!

This is a tasty ragout that I've already made twice! I thoroughly recommend it!

Gado Gad-ish

Gado-Gado is an Indonesian dish which consists of veggies and a peanut sauce. Essentially. This is my interpretation...

So many colours!
 Okay, so basically I providing you with a "recipe" for my style satay sauce... and a serving suggestion. But! It's an excellent serving suggestion! And Gado-Gado sounds like a much more legitimate meal than peanut-butter scooped out of the jar an onto a carrot stick... and there's only a *little* bit more effort required!

Veggies? Check! Peanut sauce? Check! Extra protein kick? Check!!!
We have here stir fried pepper, carrot strips and bean sprouts on greens with a soft-set boiled egg. Probably 10 minutes effort start to finish (not counting dishes) and the peanut sauce! Oh! The peanut sauce!

Wanna see?

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Taste of Home: Afghans

What else is a girl to do when her body is all...

"No. Screw you! You missed those three seconds wherein I was actually tired... and now I'm gonna stay up AAALL NIGHT!!! WoooOOO!!!"


"No, I don't particularly care that you have to be up at 6:30am to go count people in a train station. I'M GONNA KEEP YOU AWAKE UNTIL 3AM ANYWAYS!!!"


...but blog? About food. It's the logical solution.

...What's a girl to do when she starts referring to herself in the 2nd person and giving her "Body" a voice and opinion of its own? Probably see a therapist... Well, I am studying psychology (still!) and you know what they say about us Psyc(o) kids...

As for the counting people in at train station? Yes. I'm actually doing that. It's for science. Leave me alone.

Anyway. I thought I said I was gonna blog about food? Yes. Right. Um.

So... I'm in Sweden at the moment - have been for the last almost four months (!)... Haven't really been cooking a lot. Cooking for one sucks. It's horrible! So horrible that I currently cook very rarely. And when I do I make massive amounts of whatever it is and then I have to eat it for days and days because I have THE smallest drawer in the freezer. You know the one. The bottom one which is shorter than all the others anyway... even before it loses half its depth to the freezer motor thingy. Oh! Woe is me! And stuff.

One thing I have gotten really into while over here is proper Kiwi Kai... which is a bit of a misnomer, really... because the only foods (according to Wiki) that are truly unique to New Zealand and New Zealand alone are sweet things... which don't really count as "proper" food... Sorry guys, turns out we didn't invent fush and chups, the BBQ or roast lamb... Who knew?!

But sweets we do well! And they've gone over pretty well too! I've made Lolly Cake (but I ate it all... *ahem* I mean, shared it with all my friends before I remembered to snap a photo), Chups and dup (chips and dip - not exactly a "sweet" but junkie all the same...) and Afghan biscuits! Now referred to by my corridor mates as "those cookies you make" - I've only made them once guys! But I smashed them out of the paaark!

 So - it turns out no one else makes cookies quite like these little babies? I've taken to describing them as "shortbread with cocoa and cornflakes topped with icing and a walnut" ... which works well until the person you're talking to asks in their cute, European accent "what is shortbread?"


Describing things. Not one of my greater talents. I usually say - "Look, next time I make 'em - I'll give you a call, yeah?" ... but I haven't made them since. Mostly because I used up the last of my flour and cocoa to make the photographed batch here... and as I'm basically moving out in a month (!) I can't really justify the Swedish prices to buy more...

Don't get me wrong though, these are totally student appropriate! There're only, like, 5 ish ingredients most of which you probably have naturally occurring in your pantries!

I'm talking about a shit-tonne of butter (technical term), some flour, a bit o' cocoa, a very small quantity of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of cornflakes... and that's it. Then there's the icing and essential walnut... but the cookie part is basically a pantry given!

The recipe I followed is fairly simple... there are some negative reviews on the basis of the biscuits being to "crumbly"... Guys. This is shortbread. It is crumbly. That's the point. Squish it! Or - start with only one cup of cornflakes they'll be what gets in the way of the sticking power of the butter.

Oh, and there's not a whole lotta sugar in the cookie for a reason - the icing is a little bit non-negotiable. Buttercream or icing/glaze is up to you! Just as long as it's there! The walnut? Up to you. For me, they make the cookie. The recipe I was using suggested flaked almonds (WTF?!)... some people go without entirely! O_o

Intrigued? I hope so! Read on, Mac Duff!