Wednesday, 28 July 2010

I am a domestic goddess

I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was waiting for that moment - you know the one I mean - the moment when your date suddenly confesses to something you just can't stomach: he reveals himself as a racist or homophobe, admits he'd never marry anyone but another Baptist (Southerner, brunette, marathon runner, whatever), tells you about his children by his first three wives, describes his fondness for being paddled, or relates his youthful experiences in blowing up frogs or torturing cats. After that moment, no matter how much fun you have, you know it's not going anywhere.
Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

Some days I just want to spend all day in the I'm having a fantasy about being a (not so desperate) housewife. Odd, since I don't want to be a wife, or stuck at home in the kitchen instead of working or adventuring. But I do like being in the kitchen.

Anyway, it's these sort of days which are perfect for cooking up a storm and stocking up the pantry, the fridge and the freezer. First up we have a big batch of stewed fruit which I use on my breakfasts.

It's always a little different but this particular batch contained 2 x 1.5(ish)kg bags of organic granny smith apples (oh how I love having Harvest Wholefoods so close), a few handfuls of frozen mixed berries and about a cup of organic raisins...oh, and a dash of vanilla along with a good shake of cinnamon. This freezes really well too.

Next up was a giant batch of muesli (well, as giant as the oven dish would made 2 big containers full). Apparently muesli is granola. Is that correct? I don't know. We always call it muesli.

Hmmm, what's in it? I just tend to throw in what I have but I think it's got wholegrain oats, rye oats, rolled oats, some other kind of oats I can't remember (maybe buckwheat?), shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts and hazelnuts baked with a drizzle of molasses and a big spoonful of coconut oil. Once cooked and cooled I added ground flaxseed and dried fruit consisting of (I think) dates, pineapple, apricots and raisins (or were they sultanas? I can't remember).

There really is nothing like homemade muesli...I'm serious. Plus you can't really go wrong. Just don't talk on the phone while it's cooking 'cause you might forget about it. Luckily one of my flatmates was paying attention! Chuck in what you've got. I have a habit of finding stuff in my pantry and then emptying out the entire packet.

I also made my awesome muesli bars which I have before training every morning. They are SO good (an old flatmate once proclaimed them the best muesli bars they'd ever tried). Again, I just use what I have on hand but you can see one variant of my recipe

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

If you eat too much pudding you won't sleep

The whole night suddenly rose up and whalloped me one.
Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

So, as I said in the last post, my mate M was up for the weekend recently. Instead of hanging around Auckland we decided to head north a bit to my beach house. After a long car trip up through the Friday afternoon traffic and munching an entire packet of vegetable crackers (um, how can you have an ingredient listed that simply says vegetables. I mean, what vegetables? Aren't you going to list them?) I made us dinner.

Turning on the oven when it's this cold is a very good idea (so is huddling by the heater under a snuggly blanket). So dinner was pizza using bought bases (well, actually
Turkish Bread pizza bread which makes a mighty fine base) and a fancy tomato sauce then topped with onion, capsicum, mushrooms, courgette and black beans mixed together with a bit of oil and finished off with grated mozzarella cheezly and sliced tomato.

Oh and there were some veggies on the side...steamed broccoli and raw carrot sticks. I needed a veggie kick after way too much sugar at lunch.

Breakfast...some fancy store-bought muesli (which, no matter how fancy it is, never can taste as good as homemade), stewed apple and kiwifruit, soy yogurt and oat milk. There was also toast but that's not pictured. We were fueling up for a long run later that morning over the hills.

There was lunch in here at some point...leftover pizza on the hills somewhere and toast when we got back. You can just picture it instead. We all should use our imaginations a bit more (plus if you imagine it, what you see might be more exciting than what it really was which could be kinda cool).

Then dinner. Food always tastes amazing up here no matter what you cook. Perhaps it's because we tend to spend the days exploring and getting out in the fresh air. Or maybe it's just because this place is magic. It could, of course, be both.

I marinated some tofu and then stir-fried it with some veggies. This was served with two thirds of a packet of green tea soba noodles. Difficult to serve and messy to eat but delicious. I should eat these noodles more often.

Dessert was required. I made a mint chocolate self-saucing pudding adapted from a recipe in the Edmonds Flatters cookbook...although I got a bit impatient waiting for it to cook so we probably started eating it about 5 minutes before it was properly done but hey, it was just super fudgy and there is nothing wrong with that!

It was good pudding, very good pudding.

Now let me show you something disturbing(ly awesome?)...

Yes. What you are seeing is true.

To make up for that I made us both massive tofu and veggie sandwiches to take out to the orienteering the next day (hummus, marmite, lettuce, tomato, carrot, beetroot, fried tofu, soy cheese). Even after squashing this sandwich down to pack it up, it was still impossible to wrap my mouth around.

But after this high dosage of wholesome veggies and grainy bread I felt much more like a healthy human (I suspect I looked like a crazy monster attempting to eat it though).

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Boys can't choose dessert

She read the way a cat eats: furtively, daring anyone to notice.
Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

There is a new vegetarian cafe in town (well, apparently it's all vegan or something like that but I don't really know). Okay, not technically in town 'cause it's in Mt Albert but that's still in Auckland city (until this whole supercity thing kicks in and then everyone is in Auckland I guess). Anyway, it's called
Cosset. I had my mate M visiting from Christchurch last weekend so it seemed a good time to go check it out.

This is M's hot chocolate. It came with some kind of spicy biscuit which I got to taste. It tasted like a spicy biscuit.

This was my berry smoothie. It was really yummy and so thick that I ate it with the spoon that they thoughtfully provided.

I ordered the hotcakes. I don't know why other than that it isn't every day you can go into a cafe and order vegan hotcakes. I wanted something savoury but picked something sweet...! They were really sweet (okay, so I did douse them in maple syrup as well so that could account for some of it) and not nearly as thick as I imagined hotcakes were supposed to be. They seemed more like crepes.

So instead I suffered order envy looking at M's toasted sandwich thing with turkish bread and lots of veggies and stuff. It looked and smelled exactly like what I wanted...unfortunately I didn't order it.

I left M in charge of picking some sweet things to finish (you might well say that I'd already had enough sweet stuff for the day...and you'd be right there but that's just too logical for me). Rule of thumb...don't leave a guy in charge of picking dessert when you sort of know already the kind of thing you want and you haven't told them (i.e. I wanted chocolate and cake which is no surprise really if you know me well. M clearly had forgotten this).

So we started okay I guess...dark chocolate and apricot balls (or something like that). They were okay but not earth-shattering or anything.

Next up was some kind of oaty cookie which I attempted to halve but it was very stubborn and rock-hard. It's the kind of cookie you want to dunk in a nice hot cup of tea.

And finally, a spicy, fruity muffin which was the best of the bunch but still not what I wanted (this is not to say it wasn't a nice muffin 'cause it really was).

So all in all, I didn't exactly love my meal but I suspect that was what was picked. Next time I'll get something savoury ('cause that all looked awesome) and then make sure I get to pick dessert. Yes, it's a plan!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

We are family

Here we were, bounding through the cemetery, going toward the Wicked Witch of the West, instead of hiding in a dark hole where she couldn't find us. This was so smart.
Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

(I think someone has a Sookie Stackhouse addiction...and I think that someone might be me)

My new flat is on the edge of an orienteering cool is that?! Admittedly it's just a park map but still, it's pretty awesome. I mean, I've lived down the road from maps but never, well, actually on a map before. I've run past this house countless times. I know this area backwards. You just don't understand how cool this is!

Okay, rant over! Moving on...

A couple of weeks ago my beautiful cousin K and my awesome brother C came round for one final dinner at my old flat. I was trying to clean out my fridge and pantry so I cooked up all the potatoes I could find, a block of tofu and every vegetable I had left (apart from all the carrots because if I'd done that we would have turned orange). Oh, and finished off the last of a jar of peanut butter and one of macadamia nut butter.

And here's my plate.

Dessert was also made (a team effort) but unfortunately I forgot to take a photo! I made the Lower Fat Banana Bread from
Veganomicon but since I didn't have any apple sauce I actually just added an extra banana and it seemed fine...until I overcooked it in the oven (I think I had it turned up a bit high). It was still good hot and slathered in olivani.

Also recently was my Dad's birthday which, naturally, called for cake. But before we can get to cake you've got to eat dinner like a good girl right?

Mum made the vegetarian shepherds pie from Alison and Simon Holst's Meals Without Meat but adapted a dumpling recipe to put on top instead of the usual potato mash mixture. It's good. I should get the recipe.

Anyway, how about cake...?

I was, unsurprisingly, in charge of cake and spent ages trying to decide what to make. I ended up going for the Peanut Butter Banana Cake from
The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. It is basically a banana cake with peanut butter cream cheese icing...and is really tasty!!! I can't believe I hadn't made it until now considering how many of Kris's other cakes I've made.

I like cake!

Monday, 5 July 2010

A world full of ginger

The vanity of others offends our taste only when it offends our vanity.
Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

I haven't plugged my camera into my computer to get photos off it in ages and right now I'm not really sure where my camera is since I moved flats yesterday and there are boxes
everywhere! So you will have to make do with another tiny teaser from a few weeks ago...

...good old ginger crunch based on the traditional
Edmonds Cookbook recipe but veganised and with an increased ginger content (you can find the recipe here. Love...!

So good. Next time I want to make the icing a thicker consistency and, um, perhaps double it (and trust me, there will be a next time)!

Coming up next time (if I can get some space to breathe)...lots of food and maybe a little explore of my new flat (if it ever stops raining).