st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Something I cooked recently:
- Basil-Walnut Pesto
Because the basil needed a big trim. This is sitting in the fridge in a jar waiting for pasta tomorrow, yay. I am always looking for condiment recipes that I can tailor to my needs (which means making them without garlic or onion) and this worked really well with leek and spring onion tops. It's definitely worth toasting the walnuts. And you need a lot of salt. A lot more than you think. It smells amazing, though.

- Gnocchi, again, this time without egg and with a bit more understanding of the dough. [personal profile] lilacsigil rolled them on the butter pat so they had nice ridges for holding sauce. I actually think I like it better with the egg in it? It fluffed up better with the egg, I thought. But nonetheless it was delicious and plentiful, and there are two bags in the freezer for another time. I do like gnocchi day - the industry of it, standing in a production line making tiny bites of delicious. (This is the recipe I use, though I didn't put an egg in this time: How to Make the Perfect Gnocchi.)

- The Browniest Cookies
The first tray of these turned into completely flat cookie-pancakes. They were tasty, but very flat. So I mixed some rolled oats into the batter, and then they stayed round, though they weren't as moist and gooey as they should have been. I used milk chocolate, so maybe that's a contributing factor?

- Spanakopita Rolls
YUM. These were much less messy, made good use of the rectangle shape of the filo pastry, and were really substantial for a meat-free meal. I subbed leek for onion, and left out the garlic to keep it FODMAP friendly for me. Would make again! Would make and freeze.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
I love King Arthur recipes, because they have a button that converts US cups to grams. Very handy! (US cups are slightly smaller than Australian ones.) It was a lovely cake, very brownie-like in texture. Is it weird that I'm starting to prefer the taste of chocolate cake with zucchini in it? I don't think I've made a chocolate cake out of zucchini season, actually. I made this in a bundt tin, and it worked well to stop it getting soggy in the middle, considering how much shredded zucchini I sneaked into it.

- Meatballs with Tomato and Zucchini
Here is my brilliant discovery: rolled oats are awesome in meatballs. I put in breadcrumbs, and the mixture wasn't holding the shape I wanted, so, based on the success with the chocolate cookies, I threw in enough rolled oats to get the right consistency. (And subbed leek for onion, left out the garlic, put in bunches and bunches of parsley since it needed a trim.) They tasted great, in terms of flavour and texture. Next time, I think I would like to give the mixture a little time to let the oats swell up and bind. And up the seasoning, since oats soak up salt a lot. But these meatballs were tasty; we ate them on pasta with a veggie tomato sauce.

Wow, I've cooked a lot since the last Recipe Friday. Good. It's a sign I'm feeling better.


Something I have concrete plans to cook soon:
Easter is coming! I have plans for Easter! Roast lamb, because it's lamb season here, yay.

- Orange Rice Cake, which is the closest recipe I've found to my nonna's rice cake. (Without oranges, because she never made hers with orange.) [personal profile] lilacsigil wants me to make a half-sized cake, because the last one spoiled before we ate it all, and I know that makes sense, but I feel like Nonna wouldn't be pleased with that.

Courgette and cheddar soda bread
To use up the last mini-glut of zucchinis from the garden. I love soda bread recipes - they're really quick to make, and the zucchini should stop it going stale quite so quickly.


Something I'm idly planning to cook in the future:
Takeout-style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
There's a wave of baby cucumbers about to become a glut of cucumbers, and I should be ready to make them into stuff. (Except pickles - I don't really like pickles?) Otherwise, it will be the usual 'make dinner and garnish it with a whole cucumber' situation all over again.

I guess that's why I bookmarked this six months ago when the northern hemisphere was in full cucumber production:
17 Recipes to Make When You're Simply Drowning in Cucumbers
That green gazpacho looks good.


Garden update

Oh, man, what a crappy season for tomatoes. Facebook kept bringing up memories from last year, of trays and trays of tomatoes going into the oven for roasting and freezing, while this year, the fruit was still green. We've had a few - more than a few - but not the overflowing numbers that mean eating them warm from the vine, giving them to your friends, and stowing away a freezer full for winter stews. At least it wasn't just us - everyone in the region had a bad crop this year.

Two zucchini plants were definitely adequate for two people plus a few for friends. It was nice not to have armfuls of marrow the size of babies, and we definitely had enough for regular meals plus some exciting 'how to cleverly use your zucchini' type recipes. I'd like to grow an heirloom type next year, though the Blackjack are really nice.

I wasn't sure if any of my cucumber plants grown from seed would even produce fruit, so I foolishly planted them all, and thus came the 12-cucumber days of late summer. I have exhausted many peoples' politeness in accepting cucumbery gifts. We grew two types from seed, Lebanese (smaller, wrinklier than English cucumbers) and crystal apple (pear shaped and milky white), and when they were not flourishing, we put in two Burpless seedlings from the garden shop. They all fruited, though very late: we didn't get any until March and then it was cucumbers all the way down. Still worth it, because fresh picked cucumber is a whole other thing compared to the kind you get at the grocery store. They're sweet and crisp and a bit peppery, they have texture and flavour and you can just eat them as it, like a giant green banana.

The same deal went with the button squash seedlings - but they didn't fruit as prolifically as the cucumbers, which is good, because there were six of them, and it could have been a zucchini-style apocalypse. They were lovely, though - for dinner, I'd chop them up very fine and stir them into the rice cooker to steam a little.

I've re-seeded the lettuce patch, as it's starting to thin out. There's still enough to supply two or three big salads per week at the moment, but every time I go out, the patch is a little smaller. We're onto our third punnet of snow peas for the year. The basil is bolting, as usual, but I keep lopping the flowers off. The leeks have been thinned (we ate the thinned ones, om nom baby leeks) and the spring onion patch has about a dozen going at the moment. [personal profile] lilacsigil made the amazing discovery that leek ends will regrow just like spring onion ends, so the leeks that we grew from seed are going back in the ground as we pick them, to rejuvenate. It's amazing.

What else? We tried a punnet of pak choi, and it immediately became slug city, so [personal profile] lilacsigil pulled them out. (It was seriously gross.) Research suggests that we need to remove the mulch layer (because the slugs hide out under it during the day) and use a barrier of diatomaceous earth. We couldn't get any DE, but [personal profile] lilacsigil found a special snail gel that delivers a mild electric shock. IDK, it sounds very Star Trek to me, but if it works, I will be very happy.

Look! Two entries in two days. I really think I'm feeling better.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
I try not to be superstitious (lies) and I try not to put anything on the behaviour of the moon (lies) but it's Friday the thirteenth and a full moon and things have been superweird. Just - weird requests at work, weird stuff happening. The whole town lost power. I had a doctor call me to check on a thing because he ~had a bad feeling, and he was totally right. (I know that doesn't mean a thing - subconscious works that way sometimes - but it was weird! Even he thought it was weird.)

At least it rained all day. Everything is nice and fresh again. And while we were out of power and I couldn't dispense (apart from emergency handwritten labels on bottles, so old school!) I got to do a little bit of crochet, which was very nice and soothing.

[personal profile] alexcat made a suggestion for posting topics here, which I think is a great idea. Reading Wednesday is definitely a thing, and I usually do Recipe Friday, but that does leave a few more days in the week that could be filled. And having a schedule would definitely help me be a bit more organised about posting more often.

Crafting or Creative Tuesday could definitely work for me.


Anyway. On with Recipe Friday. Which is a thing I do sometimes.

Something I cooked recently:
Gnocchi
Gnocchi day finally happened, yay!! I used this: How to make the perfect gnocchi, but next time I'm just going to to leave the egg out and go with potato and flour because I had no problems with them being tough or chewy. And the store-bought passata was fine once I'd simmered it with some herbs. (Yay for the first of the basil from the garden!) I very, very quickly bored of rolling them on a fork once my hands were all floury and potato-y so they don't have grooves, but I think I'll get one of those butter pat board thingoes and make [personal profile] lilacsigil roll them with her tiny, neat fingers.

Two in-process photos under the cut )
THEY WERE SO GOOD OMG. A+++ WOULD GORGE AGAIN.

Walnut Pesto
Walnut Pesto
I misread the instructions and blended the sun dried tomatoes into the paste, rather than adding them chopped afterwards, and I think the second way would have been nicer, but otherwise, this was good! For a first try at pesto, anyway, I was pleased. I'll have a better idea of how to tinker with the oil quantities for texture and so on the next time I try it.

Beetroot Brownies
Beetroot brownies (cw: has 'healthy eating' type talk)
I know, I swore I wasn't going to do anymore of those dodgy 'secret ingredient' recipes, but actually these came out pretty great. I only had crappy cooking chocolate to put in them, and I think they'd really benefit from a good 70% dark chocolate (and maybe more cocoa?), but all things considered, they're rich and tender and very tasty. Also, 250g of sugar made them tooth-naggingly sweet for me, so I'd cut that back, especially with the bitterness of a better chocolate in them. Ooh, and maybe some espresso powder.

My ~insta layout process photo under the cut )

Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies
I made them too small. I hate small cookies, they're so ungenerous and miserable! I think, if they'd been bigger, they'd have been perfect; the roasted hazelnut flavour was delicious. Also, see above recipe re not having good chocolate on hand: chocolate chips didn't really work in the thumbprints. They looked like little rabbit droppings. So I put nutella in the second round, but again, I need to keep good meltable chocolate on hand. Without eating it. (That's the trick, really.)

Cheese and Spinach Scones
Which were basically my regular Lemonade scones with sauteed spinach and a cup of grated tasty cheese thrown in. I left out the sugar and threw some black pepper and sea-salt. The sweetener in the diet Sprite I used wasn't a problem in terms of taste, which is why I use it. (For US people, lemonade over here is fizzy stuff like Sprite etc. Not... um, the cloudy yellow stuff with actual lemons in it.) They were pretty great, actually.

They came out pretty! )


Something I have concrete plans to cook soon:
From [personal profile] applewoman: Apple-Cardamom Brown-Butter Dutch Baby
I mean, who doesn't want to cook a Dutch Baby. *snorts*

Grandma Dorie's Italian Ricotta Cookies
I have a tub of ricotta that needs using up and these look promising.


Something I'm idly planning to cook in the future:
Edamame Ginger Dip
In my eternal search for sandwich glue/condiments that are fodmap-friendly.

Some kind of energy ball from the endless energy ball recipes I've bookmarked. I've just got to the end of the trail-mix balls I made back in November. They kept really well in the fridge!


Anyone cook anything interesting? Anyone have any culinary adventures/disasters?
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Cat update
Generally good news! Some vet medical stuff )

Snake Update
We found experts! They came up from Geelong on the day that I called them, it was awesome. They were massive nerds like us, loved our nerdy bookshelves and the nerdy names we gave our cats and considering they had to go right through everything in the house, it actually felt much safer and familiar than you would think. Social anxiety and snake anxiety aside, it was about as good as that experience could be. If anyone of my Aussie flist needs a rec for a local snake team, drop me a PM because I'd rec them.

more snake specific than some people might want to read )

Quick Recipe Friday
You'd think I'd had no time to bake, wouldn't you? Ha! Every time I picked up a spatula, drama did happen. It was eerie. (Or I pick up a spatula very frequently.)

Something I cooked recently:
Ottolenghi’s Lemon-Semolina Cake

I made it in muffin form, I made the olive oil variant, and they're really good. But my oven cooked the tops really, really quickly, so next time I'm putting the temp down and the time longer. I will never learn, with my terrible, terrible oven, but I can't stand the idea of having tradies in the house right now to put in a new one, so I have to suck it up. Under the over-brown top though, they're nice and moist, are keeping for longer than muffins would, and the lemon taste is really good. Definitely a good GF option for a small, snacky/tea time cake or muffin thing

ETA: After [personal profile] lilacsigil said that the muffins were a little grittier in texture than she expected, I have discovered that semolina is not polenta. I like the slightly gritty texture, but perhaps next time I'll try actual semolina flour rather than polenta. But I thought they were the same!!

Trail Mix Energy Bites
I made these on Sunday, and Baggins started getting sick right in the middle of it, so I forgot to put the rolled oats in. They actually came out okay - but more of a confection than a snack food, if you know what I mean. They're nice! They're not technically a FODMAP friendly food, because of the honey and the fruit. And the pretzels, of which I had none so I smushed up some Ritz instead, but when we needed something sweet for our shocky little selves after the vet visits, they were awesome. Salty-sweet and satisfying. I will be trying them again with the oats in this time.



Something I have concrete plans to cook soon:
It is gnocchi weekend! It's nice and cool today, so I'm going to be roasting potatoes and making... Omg, I didn't bookmark my gnocchi recipe. *freaking out* It was a roast potato one, it worked really great, omg, I shouldn't even need a recipe! But I am a bad granddaughter and do not know it by heart, ohnoes.

I will use this one from the Guardian: How to make the perfect gnocchi though it be filled with terrible copy.

And I'm going to scoop out some of that potato mash and making this potato focaccia I linked last Friday.

I've got a bottle of passata that I'm going to oomph up with some fresh herbs, and bake the gnocchi in that - eat some, freeze some for Christmas meal time, and hopefully all will be good.


Something I'm idly planning to cook in the future:

Shredded chicken, cucumber and noodle salad

I'm still craving weird things, and single-ingredient foods, like, apparently cucumber. Also this looks nice and summery.

Walnut pesto
I have a bulk bag of walnuts, and I'm still looking for a good sandwich condiment that I can keep the garlic out of.


Yay getting back on track with posting, yay for a better cat, yay for a (probably probably) snake free house.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
No keen squid cravings today, who knew. But I could murder a salmon filet. If I had one and a pan and a knife om om om.

But I don't.


Recipe Friday
Something I cooked recently:
Pistachio and Raspberry Brownies

This recipe, guys, seriously - I have to stop falling for untested, ingredient-substituting recipes, because I am a sucker. There's cocoa powder in the list of ingredients and not in the procedure. The bake time is wrong, wrong, wrong - I don't think they tested it with eggs instead of chia seeds. It needs to cook longer and slower than they say. And with some foil over the top to stop the nuts from burning. I read the comments before I baked, saw that people had them come out runny, and dumped in a bunch more almond meal and the mysterious cocoa (which from the photo looks like they made some kind of glaze out of? IDK) until I got a suitable looking texture, then baked.

Having said that, they taste great and seem to be keeping great. And I'll make them again. Because sucker.


Something I'm idly planning to cook in the future:
The River Cottage’s Vegetable Bouillon (a.k.a. Souper Mix)

In my eternal search for stock I don't really want to make and skim and ugh, this seems like a flavour base type thing that I could try. With no garlic or onion. (Leeks are so great! I eat all the leeks!)


Something I have concrete plans to cook soon:
Random balls of varying degree of FODMAP suitability and dubious health eating advice:
Pumpkin No Bake Energy Bites
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites
Choc Crackle Peanut Protein Balls

BALLS.

Who am I kidding? I'm gonna buy a big bag of potatoes, make a ton of gnocchi and this:
Focaccia Bari-style.

That is why I bought one of your fancy American ricers after all. Heh heh heh heh. Not sure why the sinister laugh but it feels right. Probably because I read this: These 25 tweets from someone who is “definitely not a wolf pretending to be a man” are comedy genius

MY HUMAN LIPS AND I ARE ENJOYING SOME HOT AUTUMNAL CIDER
FEAR NOT
MY BODY CAN PROCESS THESE SUGARS
I WILL NOT BECOME ILL
— NOT A WOLF (@SICKOFWOLVES)

Yes. Those damn sugars.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Recipe Friday

Something I cooked recently:
Lime, coconut and mint balls (CW for talk of 'healthy eating')

I'm on the hunt for some kind of snack type thing that isn't going to upset my FODMAP issues, and I'm a bit wary of using dates which is the standard glue for this kind of food. Dates = fructose = bellyache. These were mostly almond meal for the solid part. I had to mess around with proportions to get the right texture to roll them into balls, but they are good. The flavour improved over time. You need to keep them in the fridge or they get very soft - I think I'd add a whole cup of coconut next time I make them. And a smidge less mint, because wow, mint is strong straight out of the garden.

ETA: I just remembered that when I made these, I toasted the almond meal and the coconut, because raw almond meal is bleh to me.

Something I have concrete plans to cook soon:
This is a bit of a cheat because I make it every week, but I've been meaning to write down the recipe so I don't lose it from my mind (because I'm sure to stop making it soon and forget how.)
Toasted Granola )

Something I'm idly planning to cook in the future:
Chard and Feta Filo Bundt
I'm craving spinach and it really needs a cut-back in the garden, so this looks like an option. And I love that it's in a bundt tin - it would be really easy to serve slices of it that way.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Self-care Links:
From [personal profile] runpunkrun: Three LGBT romance novels from Riptide Publishing
Because everyone deserves comfort reads.

From [personal profile] lilysea: How To Get Through This: Tips From A Lifelong Depressive
(Lots of self-care and self-checks in here, cw for talking about depression)

From SBS:
Living with mental health issues? There's an app for that

Advice on evaluating apps for anxiety or depression to determine if they're good mental health and wellbeing tools. I haven't tried the apps it suggests but I'm planning to check them out.


And onto recipes! (I haven't done this in a while!)

Something I cooked recently:
Dorie Greenspan's Custardy Apple Squares
Aaaah, so good! It's very sliceable, and would probably freeze well. The custard isn't a runny kind of custard, it's more like a glue holding all the apple slices together.

I peeled and cored the apples then sliced them on the mandolin, and completely did not slice off a digit. (I am very frightened of the mandolin.) We cooked it in a glass dish rather than a cake tin, and it worked fine.

A+++ would bake again. (Have, in fact, baked again. A double recipe.)

Jaffa cakes ala Bake-off
For me, it was too many bits and pieces, and I'm not fussy enough a baker to bother. But I do know a British expat who suffers from a lack of Jaffa cakes in Australia and loved the recipe. They tasted okay? But not so great that I'm craving them again.

C+ Would not bother again - too fiddly for something I don't have a nostalgic connection to.


Something I have concrete plans to cook soon:
Jam and Coconut Slice
This is a lunch box classic for our house. It's basically coconut fluff over raspberry jam on a biscuit base, and it's tasty and reliable.


Something I'm idly planning to cook in the future:
Monkey Face Biscuits *content warning: creepy puppet*

I'm transcribing this because the recipe at the site is baked by a scary puppet and I can't look at it. I have made these biscuits and the recipe works really well but that puppet is a big nope.

Monkey Face Biscuits )
st_aurafina: woman's face close up, she has big hoop earrings and sunglasses (sens8: amanita)
Ugh, my concentration is so messed up at the moment. I can't read! Nothing more than a page or two at a time, anyway, which is boring and depressing. I know why I'm stressed but for some reason, even when you know what's stressing you out, it still stresses you out. Seems unfair.

I am crocheting a whole damn lot, though, and intend to continue until my brain comes back or my wrist gives out. I started a ginormous blanket, as part of Project Cover Every Bed With Handicrafts, and it's very satisfying. (I'm following the As We Go pattern here: As We Go Stripey Blanket.)

Crochet pics )


Recipe Friday (because it is Friday here):

Yoghurt Pot Cake
I love the sound of those pot cake recipes where the quantities are based on the size of the yoghurt pot you buy, which is fine, except that I buy really big pots of yoghurt which would (presumably) result in a giant cake. This recipe has quantities in grams and ml. And it works. And it's a bit fussy because it has egg whites whipped separately but the texture is really nice. But it needs a lot more lemon - I'd add zest and juice to this, for a really lemony flavour.


Coconut Macaroons
Made these again. SO GOOD. And they keep for ages. I bet they'd keep for years, but they never last long.

New York Cheesecake
I have been craving lemon lately. And of course, cheesecake is an excellent way to get more lemon into me. Right? I actually made this as a slice rather than in the springform pan, so I could cut it into bars and portion it out through the week. I needed more biscuit for the base - for the Aussies, this was a pack and a half of Marie and 125g of butter - but it worked really well.


Soft Pretzel Buns
I am so glad I conquered my fear of the soda bath, because pretzel buns are the bomb. So good.


[community profile] femslashficlets has a prompt table challenge going. You can make a claim here: Prompt Table Challenge. I am going to try!


One adorable thing I did read was this Bad Blood/Daredevil crossver. Short but very much in the spirit of the song:
we're so fancy (700 words) by anonymousdaredevils
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Daredevil (TV), Bad Blood - Taylor Swift (Music Video)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Frostbyte (Bad Blood), Catastrophe (Bad Blood), Matt Murdock, Karen Page, Franklin "Foggy" Nelson
Additional Tags: Crack, how much do i love that bad blood IS A FANDOM, Sort of RPF
Summary:

Catastrophe and her crew invade Hell's Kitchen.

"And - what - you're jealous because it's not you punching people and destroying property?" Karen asked.




Oh! I started watching Sense8! And [personal profile] such_heights made a bunch of Sense8 icons, so beautiful. And a comm for Sense8 fans, [community profile] thecluster. All here: New Comm and icons.

I've only seen up to the second episode, but I already love this show so much - I love telepathy type stories, and stories where people are mentored through telepathy and soul bonds and all of that stuff. So, telepathy and visible queerness? This is going to be awesome. (Please be awesome!!)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
The weather is bleeeugh. Humid and hot enough to be draining, even if it's not roasting hot. And we have a simultaneous flood and fire warning. Fucken Lolstralia.


I swear a lot. I only really noticed it after the last friending meme, and I realised that I was dropping f-bombs in front of people that I didn't know so well. I'm not going to stop, though, so maybe I should have had a warning or something. I'll remember that for the next meme.

Other things I have to remember:

- make Christmas cards in June, so I can send them out during NaNo.

- note down peoples' fandom_stockings when they're posting them, because it's so much easier than rummaging through the comm.

- pants first, then shoes. Lefty-loosey, Righty-tighty. (I can't do taps. Faucets, or whatever you call them over there.)


[community profile] fandom_stocking: in the end, I got four done!! I surprised myself. Agents of SHIELD:Tony Stark/Leo Fitz, MCU: Clint/Natasha/Bucky, Agents of SHIELD: Fitz/Mac, an Elementary drabble )



I used to do this thing I called Recipe Friday, then I kind of tailed off. But it's Friday, right? And I cooked heaps of things over Christmas, so I'm going to do it.


Something I've cooked recently:

Gluten-Free Shortbread

This is where I learned that not all gluten-free flour blends are the same. The dough looked great but they turned into beautiful lace doilies in the oven. Really tasty lace doilies, but not very presentable. From the comments, I wasn't the only person this happened to. I need to check the brand, or use a recipe that lists single ingredients.


Coconut Macaroons

My fall-back option for my gluten-free guest. I was in the middle of the recipe when suddenly I realised that Nigella makes this into EIGHT macaroons. "Form into clementine-sized domes", it says. I got about twenty regular macaroons shaped with my tablespoon measure. But you need to bake them for a much shorter time - it was lucky I checked the oven when I smelled toasty coconut because they were done. A little overdone, maybe.

Next time, I'm using an extra egg white for this quantity. And drizzling them with chocolate.


Chocolate Crackle Slice
2 cups of Rice Bubbles
1/2 cup of icing sugar
5 tablespoons of cocoa
1 cup of dessicated coconut
250g coconut oil, melted
100s & 1000's or your choice of sprinkles

Mix all of this. Squash it into a lined slice tray (or small tin or whatever you make your bar cookies or brownies in), sprinkle with 100's and 1000's, stick in the fridge to set. Take it out, slice it how you like it. Store in the fridge.



Something I'm planning on cooking soon:

Feta and Vegetable loaf
As soon as I can get my hands on more spinach. I need iron. You could say I crave that mineral.


Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Squares

Because I have leftover puff pastry in the freezer. And a ham nugget in the fridge. (It's this cute little off-cut of ham from the Otway free-range pig farm.)


Fruity Irish Soda Bread
Man, soda bread is where it's at when you want bread now, NOW, NOW. I made this a couple of times while I had visitors, because it's quick and it's impressive and it's easy to make with a hangover. It's basically a giant scone you can slice up and butter. I put in more fruit than this recipe calls for, though. I use currents, sultanas and raisins. I don't fuck around when it comes to vine fruit. I want it all.


Something I'm idly thinking of cooking:

Calabrian Walnut Cake
Because (a) gluten-free, and I need to expand my repertoire. And (b) I've got a big bag of walnuts in the pantry. And (c), my Nonna has a Calabrian neighbour at her nursing home, and their intense rivalry cracks me up. (Nonna is Abruzzese, but I am not informed enough to tell what's going on there. She says they're all gangsters, but I'll bet that's what her neighbour would say, too.)


Fruitcake Bar
David Lebovitz's recipes are always reliable, and this looks really nice.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
I am totally abusing the dateline and posting on Saturday, mostly because [personal profile] kindkit was talking about baked polenta and that's a new discovery of mine, too.


Something I've cooked:

Breakfast Polenta Squares with Spinach (and Bacon)

I didn't use bacon, but I did cut up some grilled sausages and mix them in. So good, especially the utter foodgasm of spinach from the garden wilted in the skillet I had just sauteed the onions in. Ugh, so amazing and so green. More spinach went in my mouth than it did into the polenta.

I slice it into squares, freeze it and eat it for breakfast. This recipe was definitely a good find.



Caramelised Almond Honey Squares

SO GOOD! SO SO SO SO GOOD! The orange zest is so unexpectedly present in this, and so tasty! The only problem I have with this recipe is that the base pastry came out way too wet to cook, so I ended up adding a lot more flour to it to make it into a kind of shortbread texture. Having to tweak a recipe so much would generally dissuade me from making it more than once, but this tastes just that good. I would recommend taking it out of the oven just before the topping turns bronze, because it keeps cooking for a little while after. So far, I've overpitched it and underpitched it, but haven't quite hit the happy medium of just right yet. I don't care: it's still incredibly tasty.



Flatbread Stuffed with Curried Potatoes, Spinach, & Chickpeas

So good. Went exactly to plan. Looked just like the photo. Grilling bread is awesome fun.



Irish Apple Cake with Custard Sauce

IDK what makes this an Irish cake? It was good though, easy to manage, and the apple chunks stayed nicely suspended in the batter. We didn't make custard from scratch because, honestly, I only make custard from scratch when I'm making ice-cream.



Oatmeal Molasses Rolls

I didn't realise till I was halfway in just how much butter there was in these - I would probably cut that back a little bit, though the bread did have a good texture. I definitely liked the molasses - I used treacle - but I did find that they had kind of a boozy aftertaste on the second day.


Something I'm planning to cook:

Pumpkin... something. Pumpkin soup? The mixed bag of heirloom pumpkin seeds that I bought last year has brought forth many mysterious gourds - I think I might have a spaghetti squash? I guess I won't know till I cut it open - and I need to get roasting.


Something I'm idly considering cooking:

The buttery rolls made me crave proper buttery bread, so I might make a brioche or challah or something.




Just had a city dude walk into my shop and tell me how there was nothing in this town and why would anyone come here?

I really wanted to say "That's because we hide the good stuff from bastards like you."
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Something I cooked recently:

Gateau aux prunes, or, fancy plum cake. Becuse the plumber brought plums.

Does this beat my cake demons? I'm not sure. )


Four-Grain Bread from [personal profile] kindkit.

Considering I stuffed all the rising times, and then by the time I had to cook it, the cast iron pot was full of lamb curry so I cooked it freeform on a tray, this came out pretty well! The bread had a lovely, chewy texture, and the flavour was good. The crust was a little tougher than I like, but I think that came from cooking it on a tray, not enclosed in a pot, though I did put some water in the oven to give it as good a chance as I could.

I need to figure out a concrete plan for the long rises, and once I've done that, I can see this becoming a weekly habit.


Oh, and I made calzones, thanks to [personal profile] lostdragonfound's Recipe Friday post - I put beef, onion, tomato and cheese in mine. They went well, except that I had way too much dough and way too little filling. But that's easily tweaked next time around.



Something I have solid plans to cook soon:

Peanut butter oat cookies.
I want cookies. With peanut butter. And now that I know I can chop rolled oats into flour with the blender, I can give these a go.

Also, this recipe from the back of the sultana packet:

Muesli Bar Slice

The best recipes come off the back of boxes. )


Something I'm idly thinking of cooking in the future:


Turkish Lamb Pizza

Guh, this just came across my dash. I don't know if I'm protein deficient or what, but I want to eat that right now. I'll probably tweak it by using slow-cooked lamb shredded up. It looks so good!


Man, it's just occurred to me that when we eventually move into this new house, I'll have a gas cooktop. All my knowledge of basic stuff will have to be re-established. Bleh. Still, maybe the oven will be more predictable.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Oh, lordy, tonight's X-Files rewatch is 'The Field Where I Died'. It's, like, 75% a good episode, and 25% stubbing your toe repeatedly against a brick wall. Mulder's past life regression hypnosis scene is so painful and embarrassing I had to stick my fingers in my ears.



Gosh, when you miss a week, the recipes actually pile up.

Something I cooked recently:

Mango Cream Cheese Ice-Cream, based off this: Strawberry Ice-Cream

This was the actual recipe:
3 mangoes, which gives about 2.5 cups of pulp
2 blocks of cream cheese
3/4 cup of sugar (I'm still playing around with the quantities, and I think I could have used less.)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1.5 cups of skim milk
A good squeeze of lemon juice


Blend the mango pulp. Add all the other ingredients. Blend more. Freeze in machine. I use the kitchenaid ice-cream maker attachment, and this pretty much perfectly fitted in the bowl. It made about 1.5 litres of ice-cream. And it's super, super tasty. I wasn't sure that the vanilla was a good idea, but it really was.

I'm always surprised at how little cream cheese taste this recipe has - it really doesn't taste like cheesecake to me. And my particular lactose intolerance handles this recipe a lot more gracefully than ice-cream made with cream or custard.


Coffee Jelly Or Jello, if you prefer.

I love this - it's an extremely dignified way to absorb caffeine on a really hot day. We ate it with a really nice vanilla yoghurt.



Zucchini Herb Bread

This is a bread machine recipe, and I don't have a bread machine so I make it by hand.

Adapted recipe )


Zucchini Sheet Cake

I found out, with a giant bowl of cake batter, that not only have I never made a sheet cake before, I didn't have anything to bake a sheet cake in. (For other Aussies, they're 13 x 18.5 inches, 2 inches deep.) So, I improvised and split the batter between two roasting pans, and it worked out okay.

So, I guess I made a cake, of sorts? It wasn't a real cake, though, it had a very unusual fudgy texture, thanks to the shredded zucchini. I wanted to try a different kind of icing/frosting, since [personal profile] lilacsigil hates buttercream and ganache is out because the cream is not good for me. I like this boiled milk icing in this recipe - it tasted good, and it's extremely convenient to be able to pour it on the hot cake. Will definitely try it again, especially as there is an avalanche of zucchini coming for us.


Something I have solid plans to cook soon:

Kindkit's Four Grain No-Knead Bread

I love no-knead bread cooked in a cast-iron pot! I don't have any rye flour, though, and the supermarket doesn't stock it. I'll try the health food shop in Warrnambool next week, but if I can't wait, I'll just tinker. Maybe substitute wholemeal wheat? Or I've got some spelt.


Baked Zucchini Chips

A ha ha, there are so many zucchinis coming. So very many. I don't have a mandolin - they scare me so much! - but I'm hoping I can cut these fine enough with the chef's knife. (It scares me less.)



Something I'm idly thinking about cooking in the future:

A real cake. One that you cream butter and sugar, add flour, etc. And don't over/under bake. Our plumber dropped by with a bag of plums, so maybe a plum cake? Maybe Gâteau aux Prunes? I have all the ingredients.


Work on a granola bar recipe. I've got a bunch bookmarked, here, and I'm hoping to hit the goldilocks zone of chewy but not gooey, toothy but not crumbly.


Oh, and this actual recipe that a customer gave me today. She wrote it down on the bottom of her prescription. It's for an apple slice. (For those who've heard me talk about my customers before, this is Mrs Lemon. She's a boss.

See actual recipe here! It's large, because you need to see the hand writing. )


Now we're watching the Canadian broadcast of the pairs figure skating short routine. One of the Canadian skaters looks an awful lot like Natale Morales, which has given me a Middleman plotbunny that is not an ice-skating AU so much as it is an ice-skating case fic. *makes note to include the German team's giant cow bell*


Think of us tomorrow. It's going to be a billion degrees. We will surely dry.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Tonight's Monster of the Week X-Files rewatch is Teliko, aka the one with the melanin vampire. It is dire.

I bought some ginger cordial to mix with vodka tonight. Genius. That's not a recipe, as such. More like life advice.

Something I cooked recently:

Chargrilled zucchini (and some meat, in case that's something you don't want to look at) )

We brushed it with olive oil and grilled it until it was soft in the middle. It was very tasty!


Panini bread

Honestly, I didn't see much difference in this to my regular pizza recipe, despite it being a long and complex recipe involving a starter sponge and a whole lot of mess. I was anticipating something with a more open texture, like a ciabatta. I wouldn't bother with all the mess of the very sticky dough again, for what I got out of it. It tasted okay, though. But my pizza recipe would have worked just as well.

Mergatrude's Super Easy Butter Cake

[Disclaimer: the recipe is good. The baker suffers under a curse.]

I followed the recipe faithfully, and it all looked good when I put it in the oven. After the alloted twenty five minutes, it felt suspiciously liquid, so I left it for another ten. By then, it had cooked on the outside, and smelled amazing, but still felt a bit... sloshy. I used a skewer, which came out clean (OH TREACHEROUS SKEWER!!), and it was getting very brown on top, so I took it out. I let it cool in the pan, then I turned it out, and like the Titanic, it broke in half. Unlike the Titanic, it oozed raw cake batter. Oh, the humanity. It was a terrible caketastrophe. No, actually, the bits that cooked were really freaking tasty. But my shame and disappointment left a bitter aftertaste.

I think that either my oven is misbehaving (in which case, I've got a thermometer to check what the actual temperature is) OR I had it on the wrong temperature. The markings on the dial are getting smaller and smaller as time goes by. (Solution: get [personal profile] lilacsigil to check the setting, because according to the optometrist, she has the eyes of a ten year old.)


Something I have solid plans to cook soon:

The before mentioned butter cake. I WILL NEVER SURRENDER. ALSO THE COOKED BITS TASTED GOOD.


Strawberry Cream Cheese Ice-Cream, only with mangoes. Because I walked into the greengrocer this week, and the mangoes smelled amazing. I think it should work well? All of the ingredients taste good on their own, and that's usually a good sign.



Something I'm idly thinking about cooking in the future:

The zucchinis are coming. I think we're going to get four or five this week. Big ones. Hence:

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins


Zucchini Bread, which is more like a spice bread than a bread bread. It makes a good teacake.




We're going out to dinner on Sunday night with my brother and sister in law, and our two nephews. I am trying to be less socially anxious about things. I wish I knew how to go about being less socially anxious about things.
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
It's so much cooler now. The sky is eerily orange from the fires in the Grampians, but there's nothing close to us at the moment. It's nice to be able to open up the house and get some fresh air into it. Now I'm watching [personal profile] lilacsigil play Lego Marvel Super Heroes. She's driving in New York. We couldn't figure out why everyone was on the wrong side of the road. Hopefully, they will just assume that Tony is wasted. It seems reasonable.


We ventured into the garden for the first time this week, and holy cow, the zucchinis are coming. THE ZUCCHINIS ARE COMING! Fortunately I have been stashing zucchini recipes on Pinboard, so I am ready. The basil is looking awesome. There are tomatoes everywhere but all still green. The pumpkins have gone ballistic in the heat - huge leaves, lots of buds. Watermelons are looking a bit sad; I think they were still a bit small when the heat came, and even though we had plastic over them, they've suffered a bit. The cos lettuce has bolted, but the other lettuces are doing well, and so is the spinach. Peas everywhere! So many peas! And beans! And the eggplant tree is looking alive, at least, even if there are no blossoms. We just can't eggplant here, and it's so sad.


Recipe Friday! Let's make it happen!

Something I've cooked recently:

Braised leg of lamb:

Basically, you get a leg of lamb, preferably with the bone in, stud it with garlic and sprigs of rosemary, and rub it with olive oil and sea salt. Then put it in a cast iron pot. Add a brown onion peeled and cut in two. Chop a head of garlic in half and throw that in, with a bunch of rosemary and thyme. (And maybe some peppercorns, maybe a bayleaf, maybe some brown sugar or honey, but this time we didn't bother because we'd left it too late in the day to be fussy.) Pour white wine over the lot, cover and cook it in the oven at 150C for five hours. Check it occasionally to make sure there's still liquid in the pot. Take the lid off for the last hour. It's done when it can be flaked with a fork.

We did this ahead of the heat, knowing we'd be unlikely to cook this week. The lamb, and some pumpkin rolls from the bakery did us for lunches, and with rice and veggies for dinner on a couple of nights when we were really flaked out from work.


Crispy Roasted Chickpeas:

I was totally inspired by the chickpeas in my Harvest Box last week - all the toasted lentils have been really tasty, and we always have a can of chickpeas to throw in curry, so it seemed like a good option. They were terrible! I don't think it's the fault of the recipe - the spices tasted great, but the chickpeas tasted like ass. I think I'll try soaking my own, maybe? Or a different brand of chickpeas? The problem is that the canned ones always smell really bad to me, and I could totally smell that bad smell, even covered in a billion spices and salt. I need to figure this out, because I love chickpeas, and I want to try hummus again soon.



Something I've got concrete plans to cook soon:

Well, we're going to chargrill the first zucchini tomorrow. The Weber barbecue is working out great! We bought outdoor furniture to go with it - I sit there with my iPad, reading fic and grilling like a boss, while [personal profile] lilacsigil potters in the garden. We chat over the balcony. It's really nice.


[personal profile] mergatrude's Super Easy Butter Cake:

Part of my quest for an easy cake - that recipe I linked last week was actually pretty complex, so I abandoned it. I will have cake that is tender and has a nice rise and doesn't taste like dry paste. I will achieve this. I will be precise. As [personal profile] ducened said, "Cake is your finicky English teacher who marks you off for forgetting the Oxford Comma."



Something I'm idly thinking of cooking in the future

Homemade Vanilla Bean Chai Syrup

This could be nice, right? You basically grab a can of sweetened condensed milk and stir in a whole bunch of spices to make a spiced syrup, then when you want chai, you stir some of the syrup into some black tea. It sounds like a good idea on paper, and I've got everything I need to make it on hand, so I'd like to give it a go.


Panini bread

We've got the sandwich press out, and I'd forgotten how nice it is to just squish good things into bread and toast it. I'm going to make some nice panini-style breads to toast. To follow on with [personal profile] ducened's analogy, unlike cake, bread is your mellowed out art teacher who wants you to get your hands dirty and feel for the right texture.



I've been trying to get this into a post but keep backing out of it: our elderly cat is on the decline. Cut for talk of ailing pets )
st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
Recipe Friday. I made it up.

Something I've cooked recently:
Ricotta pancakes with fig jam.

These were good! Not really a pancake person, but we had these for breakfast on Boxing Day. They were fluffy and thick and not too sweet. You really do need to have two pans going at once, though, for adequate pancake to person supply.We didn't have fig jam, so I used raspberry. (Fig jam! Always cracks me up. Fuck, I'm Good, Just Ask Me!)


Nigella's Sticky Gingerbread

This was the breakout recipe of Christmas 2013 for us. It's so good! So treacly and sticky and tasty and also huge. (You bake it in a roasting dish!) It seems to keep well, too. I'm definitely going to make this again, even if it's not Christmas.


Something I've got concrete plans to cook soon:
Chocolate Pound Cake

With no substitutions, not overbeating, using Australian sized measuring cups for an Australian recipe. Basic cake, you will be defeated. By me. Eating you.


Something I'm idly thinking of cooking in the future:
Orange and ginger glazed pot roast

It's going to be super hot for the next week, so I won't be wanting to put the oven on at all, but after that, I'd like to try this in my cast iron pot. I love pot roast, and it makes such nice leftovers for the rest of the week. And we have a jar of marmalade in the cupboard which needs to be used up. It's lemon, but [personal profile] lilacsigil's dad made it and it will probably be pretty good.



In the garden, we have our first zucchinis! It's very late, because it's been a really cold summer for us. The rest of Australia has been in a massive heat wave, apparently. We've had hot water bottles and long sleeves and gale warnings and mud. Caterpillars are sorted, thank goodness. Peas are advancing. Cucumbers are flowering. Pumpkins are growing like weeks. Tomatoes still green. Lettuce still weird and bitter but I kind of like it. We've got a few hot days up ahead, and I'm hoping it will resuscitate the basil.


[community profile] fandom_stocking is live! I didn't hang a stocking, but I wrote some fics:

The Long Game (777 words) by st_aurafina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Regulus Black/Severus Snape
Summary:

The night Regulus was named as a traitor, Severus wrote two lists.




Two-in-Hand (735 words) by st_aurafina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Sleepy Hollow (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Abbie Mills, Ichabod Crane (TV)
Summary:

The crisis is over, and Ichabod is in the stables.




Flying Lessons (551 words) by st_aurafina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Twelfth Doctor/River Song
Characters: Clara Oswin Oswald, Twelfth Doctor, River Song
Summary:

The Doctor's regeneration brings chaos to the TARDIS, and Clara searches for help.




Naked in Barings (812 words) by st_aurafina
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Sanctuary (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Nigel Griffin/James Watson
Characters: Nigel Griffin, James Watson
Summary:

Nigel wakes up naked and chained to a bed in Watson's cellar. Things could be worse.




Thanks to [personal profile] medie for another great year. I love this fest!

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