B has a lot of strong points – he’s caring, supportive, encouraging, loving and always positive. He makes a mean pot of tea, he’s always puts the bins out so I don’t have to and he washes my car for me “just because”.
But, as with all people, he has his weaker points too. Some are debatable – for example, I would argue that his hair cut is questionable whereas he would argue that the Noel Gallagher/Grug-like bowl cut is the most stylish hair cut going round at the moment.
But one thing we both agree on his that his cooking is not one of his strong points. It’s not that his creations turn out particularly bad but more that he find’s cooking a chore that he doesn’t enjoy. And I feel the same way. If you’d spent more than five minutes watching him slooooooowly peel a carrot and then chop it, bit by bit. By bit. By bit. Then you would know exactly what I mean.
But his one redeeming kitchen conquest, the one dish he does a damn fine job of is hot chips. I passed off the first lot he made me as pure luck. The second lot was a coincidence. But by the third time, I was impressed. They were GOOD. Really good. The boy knows how to make a might fine chip!
Hot chips are a weakness of mine. Every time I walk past a kid in the street eating a bucket of hot chips I desperately want to go past and quickly steal one off the top. Just one, that’s all I need to get my fix. I wonder if the kid would think it’s kinda funny, or just weird and a little scary. I’m leaning towards the latter, which is why I’ve not done it yet. But if I walked past a kid in the street eating THESE hot chips… Then I’d definitely have to reconsider.
Baked chips – or fries, whatever you want to call them, are something that seem so straight forward – you chop up some potatoes, season them and throw them in a hot oven with a little oil. But after experiencing a few recently not quite up to B’s standard, and even making my own batch which I’m sad to say didn’t quite cut the ketchup (see what I did there? ;) I had to get B to walk me through his process. So, without further ado – let me introduce you to the best homemade chip’s you’ll ever try!
My favorite Sunday night meal as a kid was canned tomato soup with buttered, slice white bread dunked in. We lived in a small rural town and even though there were both a pizza and fish and chips shop, we rarely ever got takeaway. I don’t really ever remember eating takeaway pizza as a kid and fish and chips were maybe a once or twice a year treat. When we wanted a special “treat” for a lazy Sunday night, our request was always for tomato soup – the canned variety which we loved nearly as much as Andy Warhol years before.
After our recent trip to visit my family up north and the huuugge amount of tomatoes sent home with us I thought I might try my hand at making tomato soup myself. I decided to roast the tomatoes because most vegetables taste better after roasting, right? The first batch I made “straight” with just tomatoes but I thought they needed a little somethin’ somethin’ so I decided to throw in the two small squash which my parents also sent back with us. The cute little golden nuggets were just begging to be carved and turned into little jack-o-lantern heads, something which I’ve never done but have listed high on my bucket list… but it remains there still after I decided a better use for the squash would be in my soup. The choice paid off – the roasted squash add a little extra depth and texture to the soup that it had been lacking before.
I had originally thought to thrown some roasted chestnuts in as well, however unfortunately someone got a little too excited about freshly roasted chestnuts and they didn’t quite last long enough to feature in the main event that day…
Tomato soup is just made for dunking bread into. Unfortunately, I was that focused on making the soup the first time round that I forgot to get some bread so I ate it au naturale. The second attempt however I was much better prepared for and picked up some sprouted rye sourdough which we buttered, sliced into “soldiers” and dunked into our soup, the way it should be done :)
This soup fits perfectly into the “childhood-favorite-remake-that’s-way-better-than-the-original” category – not only are the flavours a million times better than the processed soup (and bread) stars of the meal from my childhood, the soup is relatively easy to make – after you’ve chopped the veggies and popped them into the oven, all you really need to do is sit and wait while the oven does all the work for you. Post baking, they can go straight into the blender, forgoing the need for the normal big soup pot which, lets be honest – is a pain in the you-know-what to clean! So not only do we tick the “childhood-favorite-remake-that’s-way-better-than-the-original” box, we also tick the box for a perfect (read: easy and little clean up) Sunday night meal.
300g squash, washed and chopped to a similar size as the tomato halves
2 cup veg stock
2 Tbsp coconut cream
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra coconut cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 205C || 400F
Wash and chop the tomatoes and squash and spread out on a lined baking tray. Add the garlic cloves and bake for 50 - 60 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool a few minutes. Remove the garlic gloves from their skins and discard the skins. Add the garlic to a blender with the roast tomatoes and squash, and the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy, and then serve swirled with extra coconut cream and a generous sprinkle of cracked pepper.
Easter weekend has always marked the end of summer. Growing up, it was traditionally the last weekend of good weather where it was possible to head away camping for the weekend before the cooler temperatures and rain set in. This year was no different, and we spent quite a bit of time outside enjoying last of the warm sunshine that we were lucky to get. Certainly not swimming weather, but nice enough to be outside in.
B and I headed up to my Dad’s house in the north of the state and spent a few days with family up there. We took Maggie along for the ride, who slept the entire time on both car trips, but was a little confused and upset about having to stay outside once we reached our destination. We have become increasingly more relaxed with rules for Maggie since we got her and she now sleeps inside -on the spare bed which she has claimed as her own – so to be kept outside at my Dad’s left her somewhat bewildered and disgruntled.
On Saturday we went for a day trip – in the morning we headed off to Derby, a quaint little town about 20 minutes drive further north-east where we took the dog for a walk and had the most delicious Devonshire tea, something I had been hanging out for since my last trip to Derby about 10 years ago! There’s something about a freshly brewed pot of tea and a warm scone straight out of the oven with homemade jam and freshly whipped cream that I can never say no to. It reminds me of home.
In the afternoon we went on a tour of some of the local wineries with my Dad, which was a very fun way to spend the afternoon. The wine region in the north east of the state has a temperate best suited to white wines which pleased B who is more of a beer drinker, and only just starting to appreciate some lighter styles of wine, whilst Dad and I both prefer a more full-bodied red. In saying that though we still all found a few wines we liked and shared a few glasses and a cheese platter full of locally made cheese at the finally vineyard we went to – a lovely old restored building overlooking a dam and row upon row of grape vines glowing beautifully in the late afternoon sun.
While I don’t often spend my days eating scones for morning tea and then wine and cheese in the afternoon, I’m a firm believer that there is a place in a wholefoods, plant-based diet for the occasional treat, and special occasions like Easter are definitely a time for a little indulgence, whether it’s a glass or two of wine or a Cadbury chocolate (or both!)
One of the things I love about heading up to see my family up north (asides from the actual ‘seeing them’ part of course!) is the bounty of fresh veggies they gift us from my Dad’s amazing veggie garden. This time round we came home with a fair few kilo of tomatoes, some squash, and some freshly foraged mushrooms.
I spent the rest of the weekend cooking the tomatoes any which way I could think of – roasting them, turning them into soup, sauce and a stew. Expect quite a few more tomato recipes on here over the next few weeks!
I had been wanting to experiment with soaked buckwheat pancakes since first hearing about them over at The Briny. The recipe is ridiculously simple and the pancakes themselves are not only delicious but also healthy being made with soaked buckwheat (for more information on the hows and whys of soaking grains head over here). They are thinner than a traditional pancake – more like a crepe – and work great at wrapping up your favorite pancake topping. I’m sharing my favorite topping with you today, as well as a simplified recipe for the pancakes (I used an egg, but for a tried and tested vegan version, head over to see Jaime’s version) which makes the most of the late summer produce around at the moment. The salsa is amazing on it’s own and I’ve made it again since and served with a fried egg on top, and again with some lightly toasted brown rice – even if you prefer your pancakes with a more traditional sweeter topping, the salsa holds it’s own and I definitely recommend you try it too!
Soaked buckwheat pancakes with roasted tomato salsa
The night before you wish to eat the pancakes, add the raw buckwheat to a large jar or container and cover by an inch with water and 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. In the morning, rinse and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190 C || 375 F
Halve the cherry tomatoes and spread out in a single layer on a lined and lightly greased oven tray. Place in the oven and roast for 40 minutes.
In the meantime, sour the milk by placing just shy of a cup of milk in a jar and stirring through 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or white/apple cider vinegar. Stir and leave to sit around 15 minutes.
Remove cooked tomatoes from the oven and set aside. Heat the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat and add the corn and spring onions. Fry over high heat for a minute or so until just starting the soften and the onions starting to colour. Set aside and allow to cool slightly,
To make the pancakes add the rinsed buckwheat to a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix with the soured milk, egg and pinch salt. Blend until combined and smooth.
Heat a medium sized fry pan over medium heat and add 1 - 2 tsp coconut oil. Pour in about 2 - 3 Tbsp of the pancake mixture and swirl the pan or use a spatula the spread out the pancake to be about 1/3 cm in width. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom side, then flip and cook until the other side is also lightly browned - this should take a minute or two each side.
Once cooked, placed the cooked pancake on a plate and then continue to cook the rest of the mixture following the process above.
To prepare the salsa, combine the roasted tomatoes with the other ingredients and toss together.
To make the salad dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar and stir/shake until smooth and combined.
To serve, place one or two pancakes on a plate, spoon over some of the salsa and drizzle with the dressing.
After roasting the tomatoes, place the cooked pancakes on an oven-proof plate and place in the still-warm oven until they've all been cooked.