I’ve been crazy busy over the last few months. It’s been a weird year all round to be fair and my time is always limited. I’ve recently started a new job and my boss is very big on goals. He told us he didn’t hire a guy coz he didn’t have a five year plan. As harsh as it sounds and as hard as if may be to come up with several goals over 5 years – coz let’s face it at a younger age everything is a whole load of ‘what is going on?!’ It’s still important to look ahead, yknow?
Over lunch today I said to my boyfriend ‘what are your goals for the week?’ as smart as he is he wasn’t super motivated to answer. I rattled off a list of a few things he talks about and we sat down and told each other what we wanted to achieve. I’m busy 12+ hours Monday to Saturday so my goals were small.
This week I want to: keep my room clean everyday; wake up every day and exercise before work; not eat McDonalds aka be prepared so I don’t eat junk and not drink.
The other day I was feeling very under the weather and all I wanted was a nice hot bowl of soup. My mum used to make this flavourless vegetable soup when we were younger which was amazing when you were unwell but not great on the taste buds otherwise. I wanted to pack as many vegetables while keeping a smooth consistency so I kept it pretty simple. It is spicy but if you can handle roti chenai you’ll probably be fine otherwise, just use half a teaspoon of chilli. If you’re sick the extra heat is great for clearing out your sinuses!
I reckon if you took away a can of tomatoes it would make a great sauce or purée but if your like your soup to have a more watery consistency then add another can of tomatoes.
1 medium onion diced
1 heaped tsp of minced garlic
2 zucchini diced
2 carrots diced
1 red pepper roughly chopped
3 x 400g chopped tin tomatoes
A good tablespoon and a bit of olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon of tumeric
1 heaped teaspoon of ground chilli powder
Chop all your ingredients as above and do the onions last (less awkward chopping while you’re crying) Heat the oil in the pan and add your vegetables. Sauté on a low heat as you want your vegetables to be nearly cooked. A good indicator is when your carrots are al dente. Add in your spices and stir until they’re fragrant and covering the vegetables. Add your tomatoes and turn up the heat until it’s boiling. Simmer until tomatoes have reduced but still leaving enough to purée. Add it to your food processor or blender in parts for ultimate smoothness. Serve with warmed bread or something that can give your mouth a break from the heat ;).
I’ve been slowly transitioning into a new job over the past 2 weeks and a whole new routine away from the ol 9 to 5. I have really enjoyed working nights because it means I get to sleep in and I’m so busy that I don’t really notice the time. My job has enough variety to not make me hate everything which in my opinion is a massive PLUS. My week is so ‘here and there’ that I don’t really have a proper Monday so when Sunday rolls around it’s my Wednesday or Thursday and it’s very nice not to hate Mondays.
Little things: babysitting the animals with my BFF; Pretty Little Liars marathons; seeing Arctic Monkeys on Saturday with my BFF and her beau; having the most raucous night out I’ve had in a very long time; date night; Cocoa Butter Kisses cocktails at Library; making the most epic soup; having a nice sense of calm; oranges from Moore Wilsons (perfect every time!); herbal tea; learning about the healing properties of spices; my Adventure Time mug; Demetri Martin – This is a Book; lavender laundry powder; my work uniform (um, yes I would very much like to wear a LBD everyday!) and being Romeo and Juliette with my best friend over and under her balcony.
At the beginning of my unemployment I vowed that I would spent more time cooking, baking and learning how to food style. I was knocked back a bit when my camera was stolen (still feeling the loss!) but a few weeks later I pushed on and after seeing it on the Great Food Race AND Masterchef I pushed on and decided to make an old favourite – pumpkin risotto.
Many years ago when I was 16 I was a staunch vegetarian. Much to my parents dismay I pursued it with gusto and had PETA stickers all over my school books. This was also a very good time for me to pick up some excellent culinary skills. Coming from a meat and 3 veg kinda household I knew I would have to expand my knowledge because vege sausages and vegetables became very boring very quickly!
Risottos were new to me and something that became a quick staple in my diet. They’re fairly quick, delicious and require very small amounts of prep. It definitely is a labour of love but after your first forkful you will not regret it one bit. There are many variations but this is similar to the Jaime Oliver one from memory.
Prepping everything beforehand is definitely the way to go as you need to keep a close eye on it to prevent it from burning. I also refrain from putting extra salt in as the stock, butter and Parmesan hold enough to season it. Ironically, I prefer to use chicken stock for this.
1/4 butternut pumpkin cubed
3 tbslp olive oil
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of fresh garlic finely chopped
1 carrot finely diced
2 stems of celery finely diced
1 c arborio rice
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1 knob of butter
Pre heat your oven to fan bake and about 200 degrees. Mix your chopped pumpkin and seasonings until your pumpkin is covered. Place in the oven and check every ten minutes or until you can start smelling the pumpkin. Once this is cooked, put your stock on the heat and once is starts boiling keep it at a low heat.
Meanwhile prep your onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Heat oil in the pan and add your veges. Once they start softening, add your rice and make sure it is coated in oil. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly start adding in the stock ladle by ladle and keep stirring until the stock is slowly absorbed. Repeat this until your risotto reaches a lava consistency (Masterchef NZ fans will remember this as advice Chef Simon Gault gave to the contestants during the challenge) Stir through your quarter cup or Parmesan cheese and knob of butter until melted. Leaving this to set a little bit improves it’s flavour and is the reason why you do not need to add cream. Season to taste and enjoy!
This photo is beyond terrible and for that, I apologise. I also had some lemon on stand by which made it that much better and I don’t even like lemons in my cooking.
Last week I was strapped for cash to the point where I nearly caved in and bought Mee Goreng. I think I had about $8 to my name and several meals to survive. If there is one thing that bothers me about budget meals they always require little bits and pieces but this is an absolute winner and I’m sure if I served it to a crowd it would be a crowd please. Bonus points coz it freezes well.
In my 5 years of flatting I have eaten countless amounts of home made tomato sauce with pasta and tins of tomatoes are so cheap! Usually you can get them for 99c at Chaffers New World or the lovely Biotalia ones at Moore Wilsons bulk part for 96c.
It feels insulting to call this a curry but to be fair it is nicely spiced with curry powder so I’m not sure where it stands on the lines of being culinary/politically correct. It is incredibly delicious and clears the ol’ senses.
It goes best with rice but if you’re feeling mash on these cold days be my guest. You could also add a can of coconut cream right before serving, chop some chorizo to put in with the chickpeas or use it as a bed for roast chicken breasts. All up, this cost me $5.40 (minus curry powder, frozen spinach and garlic) FYI – 99c per can of chick peas and canned tomatoes, can’t remember the price of the onion and a small bag of Uncle Ben’s short grain brown rice was $1.29.
1 medium onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 cans of chickpeas
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 dessert spoon of curry powder
Put your pan on heat and dice your onion and garlic. Sauté you onion and garlic until borderline translucent , turn down the heat and then add in your curry powder. Fry your ingredients for about two minutes then add your chickpeas with a bit of water to deglaze your pan. Coat your chickpeas in the mix and then add your tomatoes. Let them get up to heat then then turn it down till it simmers. If you’re using fresh spinach add it (without the stems) at the last minute but I recommend cooking frozen spinach to reduce the water and simmering time. Once curry is cooked then serve with rice and enjoy.
Hallelujah! Last Friday afternoon rolled around with good news in tow – I am employed! It’s feels like I’m going in reverse job wise but I am happy because it is a 7 minute walk from my apartment and right next door to my best friends apartment. All of the convenience! I’m really happy because I can now enjoy the next two weeks in peace. I am also happy because I get to stay in my loft with the boys I’ve lived with for the past 2 and a bit years and I’m quite confident they were secretly relieved I wouldn’t be moving out ;).
Little things: Generation Cryo; burning incense; getting out of the apartment; my BFF getting a cat!; electric blankets; having a very clean apartment; spring cleaning; reading a lot; being so lucky to have such supportive and kind people in my life; making laksa; David Sedaris; track pants; our landlord; reading all day; slowly building up my weights to what they once were; and celebrating our best Friendaversary!
Last year, my best friend and I were having a couple of beers on a day very like today discussing how long we’d been friends for. It was crazy to us coz we counted 16 years of friendship. We wish we knew the day so we could have an official day to celebrate it. We decided that we would make it nearly smack bang in the middle of our birthdays which is today! We’ve had so many ups and downs but once Aimee moved back from a stint in Australia last year it sealed our friendship once and for all and really made us appreciate one another.
I love you, Aimee! You have been an integral part of my development and I am forever grateful that I chose you out of everyone to be friends with (even if you weren’t initially keen haha)