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HelloFresh Fail

I have had a really busy few weeks, which among other things involved starting a new job and forgetting my WordPress login details so apologies for the late post!

A few weeks ago now I decided to give a HelloFresh recipe ago. I love the idea of HelloFresh, sadly however they do not cater for my allergies so I have never tried one of their meal delivery boxes, I did however see a photo of their Herb & Mustard Chicken on facebook and thought I should give it ago.

The biggest issue with attempting to make a HelloFresh recipe yourself is that the ingredients list has things like ‘1 packet of chicken’ and ‘1 bag of shredded cabbage’ which meant that I had to really guess what the quantities are. For this recipe I used about 1/2 a red cabbage and 500g of chicken thighs.

First up I got the potatoes boiling with the skins on and popped the chicken in the oven. All seemed easy. I then went to shred the cabbage and realised what a noob I still am when it comes to cooking. For some reason I assumed that you used a grater to shred cabbage, luckily I was fast instructed that this was not the correct way to fo things and learnt about the wonderful and terrifying mandoline slicer. Thankfully no fingers were lost.

I then went to making the mustard sauce, the recipe says ‘1 unit lemon’ and I took this to mean the juice of one whole lemon, now looking back at my end product and the HelloFresh picture I definitely used to much. My sauce was more like a salad dressing.

 Cabbage & Carrots 2

Meanwhile the cabbage and carrots were coming along pretty well, although in the end I think I over cooked the cabbage and undercooked the carrots. I added the butter to the potatoes while I was mashing them rather than adding at the end like the recipe suggested, but this meant I totally forgot to add the parsley.

final

As you can see from the plated dish this dinner looked super average and it didn’t taste much better. The cabbage and carrots were tasty but could not rescue the rest of the dish nor my sad salad dressing sauce. I also was not a fan of the mash, personally I like my mash to be creamy but this was a lumpy mess thanks to leaving on the skins. I think if I am going to attempt a HelloFresh recipe in the future I will do so with a lot more caution.

What I leant:

  • Dont grate cabbage
  • Mandoline slicers are amazing and dangerous
  • HelloFresh recipes are vague AF
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Keep calm and curry on

I am a big fan of curry. They are always so full of flavour and colour and when done well despite a multitude of ingredients everything seems to compliment each other. For this reason I assumed that making a curry from scratch would be overly complicated and way beyond my skill set. Whenever my partner made curries at home I was instantly impressed with his skills. Well no longer. Turns out despite a large number of ingredients it was not hard to make at all!

I found a recipe online for  a one pot eggplant, pumpkin and chickpea curry. I went to the farmers market last weekend and had picked up some capcicums, pumpkin and eggplant so when it came time to deciding what to make I simply googled those ingredients and this was the first recipe to pop up. After having a look at the beautiful pictures I started to drool and had to give it ago.

I don’t actually know what a hokkaido pumpkin is, but I used half of a large butternut pumpkin instead. I also forgot to buy a chilli but added in some chilli flakes instead and used soy sauce as I did not have as tamari. While it turns out we did have tumeric in the house I wasn’t able to find it when I was cooking, however I found a jar of red curry paste in the fridge which had some in it so I used 1 teaspoon of that as well. I also used light coconut milk and two cans of chickpeas.

The recipe was pretty easy to follow, however I did manage to burn some of the garlic but I don’t think it mattered to much in the end.Curry 1

When it came time to bring everything together I had a little freak out that I had over done it with the vegetables and there wasn’t going to be enough curry sauce. I called my partner freaking out and he suggested to simply add more coconut milk however as I hate waste I had only purchased the exact right amount and didnt think about the fact that the veges I used were quite large. While on the phone however the liquid started to rise to the top of the pot so I decided to just leave it and keep my fingers crossed that it would turn out okay.

Curry 2

The final product didn’t look too beautiful but the whole kitchen smelled like heaven, I was so excited to try it that I also forgot to add in spinach.

Curry plated

If you have the chance to check out Lynn’s blog (which I highly recommend!) you will notice that my curry does not really look anything like hers. But this was still a really delicious meal and I can’t wait to make it again 🙂

What I learnt

  • Have extra coconut milk and diced tomatoes in the cupboard just in case
  • Keep an eye on garlic when cooking
  • Even if everything looks like it going wrong you can still make a delicious meal
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You can make friends with salad

The other week I invited my friends over to watch the bachelor in paradise and offered to make them dinner. When trying to work out what on earth I should make I realised we had a bunch of lemons and limes in the house that needed to be used so I did a google search for limes and corn and came across this delicious looking recipe for a mexican street corn salad.

When I visited Bali a few years ago my favourite thing to eat was spicy street corn and this recipe while different instantly reminded me of that experience so I had to give it ago. This salad was super easy and really tasty, in fact the girls I made it for liked it so much they both remade it for themselves the following week, if that is not #cookingwin then I don’t know what is.

Like always I did alter the recipe a bit. Because I am lazy I bought frozen corn rather than cutting it from the cob, and I used about 600 grams, I also used 1 whole red capcium and 1 whole green capcium while the reciepe only asks for 1/2 a red one. I also deicded to include some grilled chicken breast and used about 600 grams as well. I totally forgot to get a jalapeno which is a shame and somehow forgot about adding the avocado at the end – going to blame my friends for that one, was too busy talking to them and not thinking about the recipe 😛

I also chose to use yoghurt rather than sour cream and feta cheese rather than cotija cheese. I have actually never heard of cotija cheese and don’t actually think the coles in Canberra sells it .

corn 1

So I started off by cooking the chicken, once that was done I cooked the corn in the same pan so they would also get some of that flavour. I sprinkled some cumin and smoked paprika to the corn while it cooked and my goodness it smelled amazing. Once the corn was done I decided to lightly cook the capcium and onion as well, as I am not really a fan of raw onion. I also added a little of the spices to them while they were cooking.

Next I surprised myself a squeezed the limes into a bowl rather than directly to the mixture so I could scoop out the seeds #learning. I then decided to add the mayo, yogurt and spices into the same bowl and mixed all together before adding to the salad.

corn 2

Probably should have wiped the sides of the bowl before taking a picture ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

There was enough for 6 servings so I got to enjoy the salad again for lunch the next day. When I make it next time I think I will add a bit more corn, while there was a lot because of everything else I included it didn’t really remind me of street corn but was a crazy delicious meal!

Corn - plated

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Not fal-awful at all

Not going to lie, I googled falafel puns. I actually feel like a MasterChef right now, I mean I made falafel from scratch! I mean turns out this is insanely simple to do but I will take my cooking wins wherever I find them.

I used a taste.com recipe but made a few changes along the way. Rather than edamame I used peas, simply because I like peas more than edamame, I also replaced the pistachios with almonds due to being allergic to pistachios. Also I used about 4 cloves of garlic not one because garlic is life.

This recipe was super easy to follow, I just chucked everything in the food processor and blended away. It said to add the lemon juice just as everything started to come together. I didn’t really know what that meant but stopped when it looked like the picture below.

Food processor

I did forget to mention above that I doubled this recipe as I was making dinner for a few people to eat while we watched the Bachelor in Paradise, so if you try to make this yourself your food processor may not look so full. I have no idea how much lemon juice I ended up using, roughly 3/4 of a large one. As I was squeezing it in a few seeds feel in the mixture, but I think I got them all out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I also realised at this point I forgot to buy fresh mint, so I just sprinkled a little dried mint in, same difference right?

When everything was all mixed up I started to make little balls and place on the baking tray, they look really pretty but the mixture was super wet, at this point I was quite worried that I had messed it all up.

pre oven

I made 19 falafel balls in total, it was pretty difficult getting them to the same size due to how wet the mixture was. I also cooked them for 30 minutes in total, the recipe says 25-30 and they definitely needed the extra 5 minutes.

Cooked

As you can see they came out looking like weird healthy cookies but my goodness they were tasty!

plated

I chose to mix hummus with the yoghurt for the dressing, and someone also added harissa paste to yoghurt for their dressing both were delicious additions. The falafel had a really great lemony taste and they weren’t too dry.

What I learnt

  • I am a MasterChef 😛
  • Falafel is super easy to make
  • I should squeeze lemon juice into a cup before adding into a dish
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Fully loaded

There is something so cathartic about baking, it really is one of my favourite hobbies. When looking for inspiration I always visit  averiecooks.com if you haven’t checked out her website before you are seriously missing out. However Averie doesn’t just post incredible recipes for cookies and cakes, but also has a large selection for mains as well. Earlier this week I just couldnt find anything to cook that actually interested me so I decided to browse through her collection and came across a seriously tasty looking dish, Loaded Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats.

Even though I decided to be lazy and skip a step by purchasing pre-shredded roast chicken, this meal still took me over an hour from prep to table, but it was definitely worth it. I think it was scooping out the zucchini that took the most time, the first one was especially hard, lucky these are loaded so no one noticed how demented it looked, I did get better and maybe faster the more I did though.

loaded 1

So I actually only made one mistake this time, I completely missed the step where it said to pre-cook the zucchini for 20 minutes before adding the rest of the fillings, oops. It wasn’t until I put the dish in the oven and went to check how long to cook for that I realised my mistake. I ended up just leaving it all in there for 25 minutes, I think the addition of cheese meant that the dish did not dry out.

loaded 3

I will admit that I was super nervous waiting for this to come out, I was scared that it would be both over and undercooked thanks to my mistake.

loaded cooked

When the dish finally came out I was super hungry and excited to give it a try. So excited and hungry in fact that I totally forgot I had guacamole and sour cream sitting in the fridge. I don’t think it was needed in the end anyway

loaded plate

Overall this was a big hit for everyone at home and I will definitely try more reciepes by Averie in the future.

What I learnt:

  • Read the whole recipe before I start cooking
  • Read it all again
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Tart it up

So after a one month hiatus I am back and blogging. I did cook throughout february, making a very disappointing ‘spanish pork’ recipe found in the CRISO cookbook and another fail with a creamy pasta dish however I don’t actually remember enough about making them now to post. Turns out I am not as good at prioritizing my time to blog as I had originally hoped, however new month and new me and a new recipe.

Yesterday my boss kindly gave me a massive bag of tomatoes from his garden. Following from this I googled easy recipes with tomatoes and found a recipe on taste.com for an ‘Easy vegetable and ricotta tart’ and I can now confirm this recipe was both easy and delicious, although I did make a few changes.

The ingredients list for this tart were actually pretty vague such as: 2 x 145g tubs Mediterranean vegetables, drained and Mixed salad. I have no idea what they actually meant by the mediterranean vegetables and just grabbed some kalamata olives because I love them. The recipe also asked for 150g cream-cheese-stuffed bell peppers, drained but I decided that since there was enough fat already so I just grabbed a large green capcisum. I also didn’t end up using goats cheese because supermarkets don’t make it easy to find anything and settled on some feta instead ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

tart pre oven

Tart before it went in the oven

If you have ever cooked with filo pastry you will understand how annoying and fiddly it is. I did struggle a little putting the pastry together and ripped pretty much every sheet, I gave up up 7 sheets (recipe asked for 10). It wasn’t just the pastry where I totally ignored the quantities,  I used the whole capcium, and was quite rough with the amount of olives and tomatoes I added. For the ricotta I didn’t bother measuring anything out and just added a thin layer to the bottom of the tart. When everything came together it looked pretty good so I dont think this really mattered.

tart cooked

Cooked and ready to get in my belly

So apparently this tart feeds 6 people, but I cut it into 4 and had a slice for dinner. It was really really good, and as soon as I finish this post I am going to have a slice for lunch 🙂

tart on plate

This was definitely a success, and I think it will be a good base recipe to build off and try different toppings. Lets hope this is a sign that March will be a good cooking month.

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Baked spinach and pumpkin couscous

Right now I am at Sydney International Airport patiently waiting for the check in counter to open up before I can check in. I always get super anxious about travelling overseas and like to give myself lots of time to get to the airport because Sydney traffic can be a nightmare. Today however the traffic was fine and I now have to wait another hour before I can even check into my flight. So here I am, picture of a millennial, with a glass of wine, laptop out and writing a blog 😛

Earlier this week I decided to try a recipe from Michelle Bridges ‘no excuses’ cookbook. When flipping through her recipes I came across a really delicious sounding chicken recipe but then realised that is all I have made so far and didn’t want anyone thinking I have some weird obsession with chicken (although I totally do it’s so versatile and delicious). This was the first vegetarian meal I found in the book and it looked really tasty so I decided to give it ago. You can find a link to this recipe here

I actually managed to learn something from my previous cooking attempt and remembered to take a photo of the ingredients the night before so I knew what to look for when I went to the shops after work. Despite my new found organisational skills I still managed to forget a key ingredient (passata) and had to send someone out to grab a bottle while I was cooking.

Because I was making this dish on a weeknight I let myself be a bit lazy and bought pre-cut pumpkin from the supermarket. I got a 500g bag even though the recipe said it only needed 200g but really can anyone have too much pumpkin? I think not. Again because I was being lazy I just grabbed a bag of spinach rather than weighing it out and ended up with a 60g bag rather than 40g. I figured since I increased the amount pumpkin I might as well use the whole bag of spinach too and so the amounts in this recipe were completely ignored. The only issue here was that I didn’t choose a big enough bowl to mix everything together

IMG_1181

I think the best part about this dish was that because I had to cook the pumpkin before mixing everything cooking it at the end didn’t take very long at all. Once everything was mixed and I had added the passata, and because quantities had been made up so far I also didn’t bother measuring this out and used about 2/3rd of a jar but I did forget to add in the garlic. To fix this I just grabbed a jar of garlic powder and sprinkled it over the top before adding cheese.

IMG_E1185

Overall this was a great recipe. I like that I completely messed up the quantities but because it was so simple it really didn’t matter at all and the final product tasted awesome.

What I learnt:

  • Unlike when baking, proportions are not always important in cooking (although time will tell how true this is)
  • You can never have too much pumpkin (did I learn this? maybe more of a philosophy)
  • Always choose a bigger bowl for mixing