Make Monday

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Last night I thought I made a pretty bad ass pizza. I was having cravings for it and I didn’t have enough money to go and buy one. Usually at this end of the pay fortnight I am skint and the cupboards are super empty so the spinach which was looking a little bit sad had to do. I usually buy enough food to last us a fortnight so we don’t have to worry about anything but I’m still learning to balance it out better. Improvising is key when you want to stop spending all your money on takeaways!

I made the dough from this recipe which was extremely easy to make and made enough for four mini pizzas or two oblong shaped pizzas (I don’t have a pizza tray) The best thing about pizza is you can go as simple or as nuts as you want and today I kept it hella simple. Chicken, almonds, spinach, and the most deliciously simply tomato sauce.

Ingredients
1 c almonds
1 chicken breast sliced lengthwise and 1 cm thick
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp cajun seasoning
1 c parmesan
salt and pepper
5 tomatoes roughly chopped
1/2 onion thinly sliced
1 large clove of garlic

Roll out your dough till it is about even all the way around. Prick with a fork and put in the oven in bursts of 5 minutes on high to get it cooking so you wont have raw dough. Chop your onions and garlic nice and fine and chuck in the pan once your desired fat has melted. Let it get semi translucent then chuck the tomatoes in and stir until the juice starts to evaporate. While the sauce is cooking away mix the herbs, cajun seasoning, and salt and pepper and evenly disperse all over the chicken. Remove sauce from pan and add chicken. Meanwhile, blitz the almonds till they are in fairly decent size bits and set aside. Once your pizza base it brown and doesn’t feel too doughy cover with all ingredients and bake until cooked.

 

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Make Monday – My go-to breakfast smoothie

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When I do my groceries online I’m more inclined to buy in bulk and freeze. By the second week I’m so bloody poor that going out and buying fresh fruit and veges is not really a go-er. Countdown usually have two big bunches of bananas for $6 so when my order arrives they’re one of the many items to be frozen. Most things I like and create in the kitchen are things I keep on hand pretty much all the time . There is nothing worse than wanting to make something then having to go out and buy extra ingredients and spend half an hour dilly dallying because you’ve bumped into Roxanne who you worked with three years ago and she won’t let you go. This is my go to smoothie. I don’t believe in spending $8.00 out and about for one. On my wages it’s just a ludicrous (accidentally spelled that like the rapper first time) expense! Plus, this one is just as good. Feel free to add extra milk if you are so inclined or if you’re adding an extra weet-bix. I have added spinach to this before but it was the worst idea ever. If you want to make this into a more dessert-y shake then use almond milk for a richer result but if you’re having it for breakfast and you find
Weet-bix and milk don’t really fill you up then feel free to boil a couple of eggs to go with.

Ingredients
1 cup frozen or fresh bananas
1 tablespoon peanut butter (I use Pic’s)
2 Weet-Bix crumbled
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup of your desired milk

Blend all ingredients until smooth. If you’re using frozen bananas you’ll need to give it a real good go around the blender. Once done, fill your blender up with a bit of water and a bit of dish washing liquid for the quickest clean of your life.

Make Monday

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Love makes you fat. The dating, the alcohol, the snacks. The past (nearly) two years has resulted in 12kgs (!!!) of weight gain. Food has definitely become a hobby of ours and we are so not happy about the repercussions! Why didn’t anyone warn me about this?! This is how it sort of happened: If you’ve ever been around someone and they mention something like wanting pizza and then all you think about is pizza then you buy pizza and you both enjoy the shit out of that pizza until it starts to effect your waist line. When I’m single I eat incredibly healthy as in Mc Donalds makes me feel miserable afterwards.

I live right by all the food places so after years of being by them they all sort to get a bit….boring. Minus Burger Fuel, of course. I love to cook a lot which makes my life so much easier. Cooking is therapeutic and nothing is better to me than sitting down and thinking ‘fuck yeah!’ to myself as I devour whatever I have made. This recipe is one of them. I’ve seen a lot of recipes like it so excuse the minor plagiarism I just wanted to have one of my own.

Ingredients
1 large chicken breast
1 can tinned chopped tomatoes
1 onion
1 medium sized kumara
1 grated carrot
2 cup kidney beans
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp paprika
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tsp cajun seasoning
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 160 degrees on fan bake. Peel your kumara then chop into one centimeter pieces. Be very careful not to cut them too thick otherwise they will take forever to cook. Keep an eye on these during the cooking duration (usually about 20-30 mins) and make sure you flip them when they are cooked so both sides get colour but are tender.

Melt your desired fat in your pan (I used butter) and add finely chopped onion. While onion is becoming translucent, cut your chicken into very small bite sized pieces and season well with salt and pepper. Add your carrot in with the onions till the carrot gets some good colour going through it then put the beans in. Add your chicken let it brown slightly then chuck in the can of tomatoes. Let it simmer and get nice and bubbly then add the vegetable stock cube, turmeric and paprika then pour in water. Let the sauce reduce and add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the mixture over the kumara then top with cheese, sour cream and avocado.

 

 

Make Monday – Spicy tomato soup

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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.

Ingredients
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 ;).

Make Monday

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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.

Ingredients
1/4 butternut pumpkin cubed
3 tbslp olive oil
Pepper
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!

Make Monday – Chickpea and Spinach Curry

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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.

Ingredients
1 medium onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 cans of chickpeas
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 dessert spoon of curry powder
Frozen spinach

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.