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Day #22 – Sausages-In-Pastry & Kumara Fries

Since starting this side blog about mealtimes, I have fallen into the following process when planning what I’m going to cook for dinner:

  1. Get an idea
  2. Search internet for recipes
  3. Gather ingredients and photograph for the “before” shot
  4. Cook meal
  5. Take “after” shot of completed meal on plate

Well, gosh. Today I skipped a vital step and it completely ruined my entire plan. MY ENTIRE PLAN. See, I was going to cook Toad-in-the-hole. Sausages in batter, yum. A favourite from my childhood. So confident was I that we had the ingredients, I thought hey, I’ll photograph them after I make the batter. No. Just, no. Fail, Mrs T. Because, as luck would have it, after I had mixed in the flour and the soy milk, I realised that this is what I had in my egg carton.

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1 egg. 1 measly egg. No worries, I thought, I can go and get more. No. Just, no. Fail, Mrs T. Because, as luck would have it, BabyGirl has decided that now is a great time for her to sleep. Not last night, mind. Not this morning. Now. So, going out to get the eggs wasn’t an option. Sigh. Back to the drawing board, I thought, as I sadly disposed of my little eggless batter.

Mr T has been at work all day today with no food, so he told me in a phone call that he was Very Hungry. He was looking forward to dinner, he couldn’t wait. I needed something quick, something with minimal ingredients and something tasty and filling. Voila. Sausages in Pastry (aka Easy Sausage Rolls) & Kumara Fries (oven baked). I should say, many Kumara (or, Sweet Potato) chip recipes seem to be laden with sugar. For me, the Kumara is sweet enough as it is, so I tried cooking them without the need for any seasoning aside from salt. I would have used pepper as well had BoyChild not destroyed my pepper mill and hidden the part required to fix it. Sigh.

Sausages in Pastry

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Sausages

Pastry

Egg

Wrap the sausages in pastry and then brush with whisked egg. Bake until sausages are cooked and pastry is brown and crispy.

Kumara Fries

Kumara

Salt

Oil

Peel the kumara and slice into nice chunky-chip-sized pieces. Place in an oven tray and coat with oil and salt. Assemble in the tray so the chips are on a single layer. Bake until they are crispy and crunchy.

Verdict

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I served this meal with veges that I stir fried with garlic and I have to say, these Sausages in Pastry were pretty fantastic. It’s hard to get BoyChild to sit at the table, let alone eat a meal but tonight, he did. He pulled the sausage out of the pastry and ate that, then wolfed back the pastry. He loved it, and so did the girls. Lucky that I made 9 of these because both BoyChild and Princess asked for more. Mr T was pretty satisfied too, a nice meal for him to walk in to after work. More than a win tonight, this meal blew the other meals out of the playing field!

I think I need to go to the supermarket tomorrow, least of all to buy eggs (and chocolate – Mum’s Supply is running on empty …)

 

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Day #21 – Chicken, Bacon and Egg Salad

Today I did the 5km “Color Run” with Princess. For those who don’t know, it’s “the happiest 5km of your life” – a fun run where they throw paint at you at certain intervals. It’s crazy, ridiculous, awesome fun. We got very painted. And, Princess walked, jogged and skipped the whole way as well which is quite a feat for a 4 year old girl.

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And so, I felt like a relatively healthy dinner tonight. I went to the supermarket with BoyChild this afternoon and found some Chilli and Lime cashews for only $1.20 a bag (bargain!) and thought they would be a really nice topping on a salad. And so Princess and I made Bacon, Chicken and Egg Salad with Crispy Noods and Chilli and Lime Cashews.

Chicken, Bacon and Egg Salad

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Chicken (I used chicken tenderloins)

Bacon

Eggs

Salad ingredients (we used lettuce, carrot, sprouts and cabbage)

Mayonnaise

Red Wine Vinegar

Sugar

Crispy Noods

Chilli and Lime Cashews

Cook the chicken in a pan with some oil and a little bit of dried rosemary. When cooked through, set aside. Chop up the bacon and cook that as well. While this is going on, hard boil some eggs. Put together the salad ingredients and mix in the dressing – for the dressing, mix the Mayo, vinegar and sugar together as per your tastes. Assemble the salad onto the plate and then top with chicken and bacon. Peel the hard boiled eggs and cut into quarters, add these onto the salad. Top with noodles and cashews.

Verdict

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Absolute win. The kids had a variation of this, but their components were placed on their plate separately rather than in a pile (kids are funny about food touching). Mr T was quite excited when his plate was put in front of him, he described it as being “delicious and sensational”. It really was a very filling and delicious meal. Well done, me.

And now, I rest. I walked 5km today, I’ve earned that chocolate bar that I’ve hidden away from everybody. Now to get the kids to bed so I can enjoy it in peace! Ah, such is the life of a mum 🙂

 

 

 

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Day #20 – Sweet and Sour Pork

Before embarking on this journey of cooking meals from scratch and not using packets or buying takeaways, our grocery load was more or less the same every week. There were some very basic items that I simply never bought.

  • Onions. I have an intolerance to onions if they are even moderately undercooked, so I tended to avoid them.
  • Herbs and Spices. I started this challenge using the dregs from whatever I had in my pantry.
  • Potatoes. Seems like a strange thing not to buy because they are such an integral part of whatever I’m cooking at the moment.
  • Fresh veges, such as capsicum, courgette, cauliflower etc.

As I was retrieving the onion required for tonight’s meal, I realised that I am nearly at the end of a 1.5kg bag of them. After accusing the kids of eating raw onion (yes, I heard myself too as I said it, but in my defence, BoyChild eats chalk), I realised that I have been using them! In my cooking! Stop it! And, we have no more potatoes left! I’ve used them all. Goodness. This cooking thing must be working. We are also nearly through a bag of carrots, all the capsicums have gone and I needed to pop out to buy Cornflour from the dairy (because, apparently, I don’t own that either).

I have had a tin of pineapple in the cupboard for a long time and Mr T’s favourite Chinese takeaway meal is Sweet and Sour Pork so I decided to cook that up tonight, served on rice (also, nearly run out).

Sweet and Sour Pork

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Lean Pork

1 Capsicum

1 Carrot

1 Onion

1 T Soy Sauce

1 1/2 T Vinegar

1 1/2 T Tomato Sauce

1 1/2 T Brown Sugar

1 tin of Pineapple Pieces – reserve the juice

1 T Cornflour

Cut the pork into slices or pieces and stir fry until cooked. Add in the diced capsicum, diced onion and sliced carrot. Stir fry for a further few minutes. In a bowl, mix together the pineapple juice, tomato sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and vinegar. Add in with the pork and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10-15 minutes (until the veges are tender). Dissolve the cornflour and add to the pan, then add the pineapple. Serve over rice. I added Crispy Noodles, because, well, Crispy Noods are awesome.

Verdict

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Win 100%. Mr T was very happy, he said it was brilliant. And, BabyGirl loves pineapple, we learnt today! This particular dish I was pretty proud of, because it was entirely from scratch, healthy and packed full of everything we want/need in a meal. Very pleased with oneself.

I should mention, Crispy Noods is not a typo – I used to work with someone who called them that and, well, the name stuck. Now you will forever call them Crispy Noods as well. You are welcome.

 

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Day #19 – Bacon and Banana Pancakes. For Dinner. Yes.

I’m no Domesticated Goddess. I have never claimed to be even close. My house is a mess on a good day, I feed my kids sweets and have been known to fall asleep while they play quietly (just once or twice, when I was very pregnant). I’m sorry if this pops a bubble of illusion in you – I know, I know, I come across as something a bit like this –

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But, to be honest, I’m not. I didn’t even know how to clean an oven until recently, and I had to google the instructions.

So, some days things go up the haywire. I do occasional work which requires meetings with clients at all random hours of the day (*gasp* not that kind of work!) and so things don’t always go as planned at home. Today was one of those days (in fact, these days happen as often as they don’t, some weeks). I had an appointment at 6pm so I wasn’t going to be around for dinner.

I asked Mr T what creative and exciting meal would he like, based around bacon. He said, “Pancakes with Bananas and Bacon“. I said, “No, for dinner”. And he replied, “Pancakes with banana and bacon, please”. So, he and the kids had pancakes for tea. I view it as the lesser of two evils – prior to No Takeaways, they would most certainly have had fish and chips. So, win.

Pancakes

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1 C Self Raising flour (we had none so I used regular flour + baking powder)

Milk (I made two lots, one with normal milk and one with soy)

1 egg

1 T sugar

Mix up a relatively thick batter with the ingredients and cook on medium heat until yummy and cooked. These are quite thick pancakes, the way Mr T likes them. We served them with bacon and sliced banana. And Maple syrup.

Verdict

Win, of course. I mean, come on – pancakes for dinner? Definite win. Oh, and no “cooked meal” picture because the food was wolfed down before I got the chance. Ah, my lovely family. So, here is an artist’s impression of the meal. You are welcome.

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note: not to scale

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Day #18 – Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding

It’s a bit funny when I decide to cook a meal and I refer back to one of my own blogs for guidance. I feel a bit fancy, really. Like this whole cooking-and-blogging thing is actually working! Cooking Roast Beef once more because, as previously mentioned, we have a freezer full of beef and lamb. I used the same recipe that I used on Day #5 because it worked so well the first time. Today, however, I was determined to make Yorkshire Puddings as well. Yum. I mean, just – Yum. And, I added roast kumara in as well (kumara = sweet potato = yummo)

I am not a fan of soy milk. I guess it’s fair to say I’m not really a fan of regular milk either, but I find soy milk tastes a bit peculiar. Having a dairy free little lass means that we are trying more and more soy products. BabyGirl had a soy Fluffy today at the coffee shop (for those unfamiliar, a Fluffy is a little milk drink that kids get when Mums and Dads get coffees. Very cute. Comes with marshmallows and, if you are lucky, a chocolate fish!) and she was not a fan at all. Luckily her little buddy was on hand to drink it!

Milk is a key component of yorkshire pudding so I needed to buy Soy Milk and give it a go. I was concerned that the taste would overpower but I was pleasantly surprised 🙂

Roast Beef, Gravy, Potatoes

Refer Day #5, the recipe is identical except today I used Topside beef instead of Rump. And, I added in kumara. Because, yum.

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Yorkshire Pudding

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80g Flour

1 egg

125ml Soy Milk

Oil/Fat to cook

In a cupcake tray/patty pan thingamee (highly technical term), fill each little hole with about 5mm of oil. Preheat the oven to 220C and when oven is hot, put the tray in. Heat the oil for 5 minutes. In that time, whisk the ingredients together in a bowl to form a thickish batter. Once 5 minutes has passed, add the batter into the trays and cook until risen (about 15 minutes).

Verdict

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Yum. Win x 1,000,000. This roast was long awaited (due to my meeting taking longer than planned, poor Mr T waited very patiently for me to come home!) and well worth the wait. To quote Mr T, “that meat was exceptional, the potatoes and kumara were splendid, the gravy was awesome and the yorkshire puddings were to die for. Did I mention the meat?”.

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So, there you go. And, there are leftovers. Although, I do admit when looking at that picture, the meal was lacking anything of colour! I seem to have forgotten the peas and carrots. Oh well. YOLO.

 

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Day #17 – Curried Sausages

When you are a Proper Grown Up, you tend to have dinner at, say, 7:30pm. 8pm even. When you have children, dinner gets earlier and earlier. And then you go out for dinner with Proper Grown Ups and they say, let’s meet at 7:30. And you stare at them, not quite sure if they mean 7:30am or maybe they mean it’s not dinner but coffee and cake? Because you already had your tea at 4:45pm?

Anyone with children knows how chaotic the household gets from around 4:30pm, so everything is meticulously planned to avoid Complete and Utter Meltdown. At our house, if dinner isn’t served by 6pm, it doesn’t get eaten. It gets thrown and yelled at and cried upon. By me as much as the kids.

I had every intention of cooking roast beef today but some days, today happens. As in, the meeting that was supposed to be half an hour, was an hour. Picking up the kids became a full play date (which I am not  complaining about, I enjoy catching up with my friend while the kids play!). However, we didn’t walk in the door until 4:15pm which is a bit late to cook a roast when you eat by 6pm. So, I peered into the fridge, saw sausages, and made Curried Sausages.

Curried Sausages

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6 Sausages

Carrot

Onion

Potato

1 t Curry Powder

1 T Brown Sugar

1 T Worcester Sauce

1 T Tomato Paste (I didn’t have any so used Tomato Sauce)

2 Cups Water

Cook the sausages then put aside. Chop the potato, onion and carrot and cook for two minutes. Add in the curry powder, tomato paste, brown sugar and Worcester sauce. Cook for two more minutes then add the water and stir. Add the sausages (I chopped them up at this point) and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Verdict

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Win. Really, really yummy. Not at all like what I expected – not even remotely like a curry. Nonetheless, they were very delicious. Because they were packed full of veges etc we didn’t need a side dish. A definite winner, though next time I would be more creative with spices I think.

And now it’s 7:37pm, must be time for supper.

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Day #16 – Spag. Bol.

When I was 12 I was interviewed on a panel for the local newspaper, discussing cereals. Such was my love of tomatoes, I declared (and was quoted in the paper) that if I could choose any flavour of cereal, I would make tomato flavoured breakfast cereals. I wonder why that suggestion didn’t take off?! I don’t love tomatoes that much these days but they are still pretty delish. I would love to say that I make my own pasta sauces but I don’t.  If fresh tomatoes were cheap and readily available then I think I would make my own tomato sauces and pastes but they just aren’t within the grocery budget most of the year.

Ask practically any Kiwi man to cook you dinner and they will probably cook sausages. Or steak and chips. Or get Fish and Chips. Ask any Kiwi man to cook you a nice meal and they will muster up some variety of Spaghetti Bolognese. Spag Bol, if you will. Which, by our definition, is a tomato-based minced beef sauce over spaghetti of some variation. Easy. And, actually, quite delicious.

 

Spaghetti Bolognese

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Mince

Onion

Garlic

Can of Pasta Sauce

Red Capsicum, diced

Grated Carrot

Chilli (I added this once I had plated the kids’ meals, I just like the kick)

Pasta (Ideally spaghetti but we were out, so we used Penne)

Dice the onion and cook with the garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the mince in and cook until browned through. Add the capsicum and carrot, then the pasta sauce. The trick with a really nice meat sauce is letting it simmer until it is thick and tasty. Cook the pasta while this is going on. Once plated, top with grated cheese if you like.

Verdict

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Win. Absolutely delicious, if I do say so myself. The kids loved it which is a bonus because of the veges scattered throughout. An oldie but a goodie. A bit like tomato cereal, really.