Sunday, January 30, 2011

Super Sprouting (hopefully)

Having read about sprouts and their fabulous health benefits, I have decided to give them a go. Also, it is way too hot to be out gardening so this is like gardening but without having to leave the house.

I thought my foray into this unknown territory should be something easy so I decided on chickpeas.

I have just started with a small amount and in the a few days should have some lovely little sprouts to throw into a rocket and roast pumpkin salad.  The rocket is going absolutely crazy!

So I've rinsed and am now soaking these lovely little legumes. In about 12 to 18 hours they will be drained and rinsed and left in the jar to be rinsed at least twice a day. According to a few sources, the smell can get quite bad so rinsing is really important.

In a few days these should sprout little white tails and be ready to put in the fridge, where apparently the sprouting process stops.

I ended up adding a little more water to the jar and it is now on my kitchen bench covered with a muslin cloth.

I would really love to hear more about sprouting and find out what sort of things you sprout. All advise and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend.

Take care

Friday, January 28, 2011

Icecream On My Mind

Now that the hot weather is about to take hold again, pleas for some icecream can be heard throughout the house. I think everyone has cool, delicious desserts on their minds.

I have often been intrigued with icecream makers and thought it would be a great way to design our own flavours and use ingredients that we had carefully selected. The main draw back for me was buying a kitchen appliance that only did one thing.

Last year we visited some dear friends while on a trip away. They gave us a taste of some truly gorgeous icecream and I was gobsmacked when I was given the recipe.  It base of it uses two ingredients and takes less than five minutes to make.

Here goes

600mL whipping cream
1/2 tin condensed milk

Whip the cream until small peaks start to form.
Mix in the condensed milk

Now this is where the fun starts. There are so many options for flavouring. One of our favourites is vanilla so I add about a teaspoon of vanilla paste and mix that through. Being the paste, it has the little black seedy bits right through. Another favourite is to make some hokey pokey first and then break that up and mix it in. If we are feeling a little lazy, breaking up a chocolate bar is also a great option. After blueberry picking just before Christmas we made a great fruity option too.

This recipe doesn't involve any complicated procedures, expensive equipment or dodgy colours, flavours or other added ingredients. (According to Additive Alert p. 53 'white icecream usually contains a couple of colours'.) Whip. Mix. Freeze. Eat.

Thinking about icecream is much more fun than thinking about the fact I have to go back to work on Monday.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yoghurt and Labna

Yoghurt is one thing that I had always thought was way too hard for me to make. I thought that there must have been some secret trick to getting it to set properly and had always thought that is was safer for me just to stick to the store bought stuff. How wrong I was! Once I had the right tools (mainly a thermometer) and had done a little research on the 'how to' I was away. We now make a batch at least once a week using 2 litres of milk at a time. I usually end up giving one of the jars away to my parents but easily end up with enough for breakfast, smoothies and even to top a curry.

The consistency of homemake yoghurt is quite different to that of yoghurt from the supermarket. It is silky smooth but without being runny. I also love that I don't end up with any plastic yoghurt pots that need to be thrown into the recycling bin.

One thing I haven't made is a while is labna and with a fresh batch of yoghurt made last night I thought it was time to revisit an old favourite. Labna is a yoghurt cheese that is incredibly easy and tastes delicious. I came across a recipe for this about 6 years ago and started making it using yoghurt from the supermarket. There are so many different ways to eat this cheese. You may like it just on its own on a cracker. Sometimes if I have any capsicum relish from Mum, I will combine the two to make a lovely dip. Even on some toast with a sliced tomato is devine.

If you don't feel like giving yoghurt a go you must at least try labna. It is great to take along to a barbecue to impress your friends.

Take care.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gardening On My Mind

This weekend my little vege garden is on my mind.

I have been waiting for the weather to cool down a little so that my lovely little seedlings wouldn't perish before they had a chance to get going.

Gardening is still pretty new to me even though both of my parents have always been avid and talented green thumbs. With their guidance I have managed to get two gardens beds underway growing lovely leafy greens and capsicums at this stage. I have also found the Gardenate email reminders to be extremely helpful. Looking through supermarket fruit and vegetable sections no longer lets you know what season it is, so this guide and been extremely helpful.

This planting gets me thinking that I will need to be making some ricotta and pasta in a few months.

Happy gardening.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A New Baby

I have been to visit a dear friend, who I have known since primary school, and her beautiful 6 week old baby boy. I really don't know where the weeks keep going.
I had spent quite a while looking through shops for something that I felt I really wanted to buy as a welcome gift. It would have been so easy to just walk up to the first shelf of baby toys and grab a handful of brightly painted plastic toys, but that just didn't sit right with me. I figure that I want to spend my hard earned money on something that reflects my minimal-waste beliefs. Finally I decided on some beautiful organic bamboo muslin style wraps, which from experience are great for summer babes.
I also feel that something a mother of a toddler and newborn would hopefully appreciate are some food parcels. In our house we have been eating some amazing granola (recipe care of Soulemama) with some delicious homemade yoghurt.

We have been making our own yoghurt now for a few months and I wouldn't go back to the store bought one again unless absolutely necessary. It is so creamy and I know exactly what is in it. I used to think I made my own yoghurt when I used the Easiyo maker but I shudder to think what it contained. The yoghurt we make now is just milk and some yoghurt from the previous batch. It took a few attempts to get the technique just right, but now it is incredibly easy.

A few weeks ago I was inspired by The Opies to try and make some English muffins. Now, as I do not own a Thermomix I searched around for a manual version. I came across this recipe and the muffins turned out really well. These were all eaten so I figure that is a good sign. Seeing my bread maker sitting in the corner of the kitchen sent me off looking for a bread maker version and I found this amazing recipe. I have made about 4 batches in the last week and have the recipe committed to memory. I cannot recommend this highly enough. Once you have tried these, I don't think you would go back to the store bought version. The muffins freeze really well but I find that I need to make them when I am alone otherwise little hands keep popping into the kitchen, leaving very few muffins to make it into the freezer.

A beautifully moist ginger cake was also on the menu as I had promised to bring morning tea as long as she could provide hot water for a cup of tea. Seeing as the oven was already on I thought it only right to make 2.

I thoroughly enjoy cooking, knowing exactly what has gone into the food we eat. I had my eyes opened after reading Additive Alert. This is definitely a book that every parent should read. It is based in Australia and I think we have many misconceptions about what we eat as well as the organisations that regulate what is allowed to be put in our food.

Take care

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Using Leftovers

I had one of those moments the other day when I opened the fridge and caught sight of some foods that were on their way out.  Just seeing the combination of a few half used onions, a piece of pumpkin and 4 apricots that were just too squishy made me think of relish.  I very roughly followed this recipe but added the pumpkin and apricots for a little more sweetness. The kitchen smelled heavenly while this simmered away on the stove.
It always feels wonderful turning something that could be destined for the compost into something new. Knowing exactly what is in the chutney is great too.
 I have seen gourmet varieties of caramelise onion relishes in shops for between $5 and $10 for a small and I know that this version came in lower than that.
What do you do with food in your fridge that is soon to be compost?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Problem with Plastic

One of the environmental issues that I feel very passionate about is the banning of plastic shopping bags. I think it is fabulous that South Australia have now banned the use of these bags and hope that other Australian states follow.
I was recently at a local supermarket buying some milk when the checkout operator almost robotically went to put this one item in a bag. I should also mention that this one item was of the three litre variety so it already has a handle. The look of shock came across the girl's face when I told her not to bother with a plastic bag.
There are so many alternatives that there is really no reason to need to take plastic bags. Anyone with access to a sewing machine could be cheaply making their own reusable bags. There are some great bag patterns by
Let me know of any other favourite sites with great bag patterns
I thought I would include what I think is one of the best environmental videos.

Here goes

Writing a blog is something that I have been thinking about for a while. Over the past few years my little family and I have been working towards living a more environmentally aware life. I see this blog as a forum for me to share what I have found as well as, probably more importantly, a way for me to ask for help in the areas that I still struggle.
I hope you come along for the ride.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...