Slow roasted eggplant, garlic and lemon sandwich.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 6.48.13 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 6.47.36 PM

Last night I tried to makes something different for dinner.  We’ve become very lazy, uninspired in the kitchen so I decided to try and shake up our palates with something fresh.  Earlier in the day I’d picked up this vegetarian cook book and small space organic gardening guide…naturally my creativity was inspired.

This is an open faced sandwich that I conjured together in my mind while walking in the heat last night.  I was drawn to the shiny, deep purple silhouette in the supermarket and figured I could make something work with the ingredients we had at home.

This hot mess of a sandwich was much beloved by Mike (which is actually very rare!), he said “it was cooked perfectly” and that “he’d have it again”.

Anyway, if you’re tempted here is the recipe:

Preheat oven to 170 (or a medium heat) throw everything listed below into a deep pan and chuck into over for about 45 mins to 1 hour, covered with tinfoil or a lid

  • 1 large eggplant (aubergine) sliced into 1cm(ish) pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled whole
  • 3-5 thin slices of lemon
  • 1/2 sliced onion scattered throughout the dish
  • A few large glugs of extra virgin olive oil (make sure to get it all over the eggplant)
  • nutmeg (about 1 teaspoon) scatter all over the lot of stuff
  • salt and pepper (crack some all over the dish)

When the hour is up, place all of the contents into a skillet with about one cup of water to soften anything that might not have cooked.  When it’s getting soft, you’ll know it’s done (or the water evaporates nearly entirely) throw some spinach and sesame at the last second.

In the mean time, slice two thick pieces of sourdough bread and place onto a pan, finely chop some basil and slice two fat pieces of mozzarella.

Place the cooked eggplant, lemon, garlic and onion onto the bread pieces.  Sprinkle the basil over and carefully place the mozzarella brick on top (haha not a brick but enough to enjoy).  Pop this back into the oven until the cheese is golden.  Done.

bagna cauda + rosemary & olive focaccia

Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 5.43.35 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 5.43.13 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 5.42.55 PM

Lesmurie Falls: We visited Perth Hills first thing in the morning before we began preparing for dinner.  It was beautiful.Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 5.43.46 PM

 

Last weekend Mike and I had some friends over for dinner.  We chose Italian… and went all out!

2x trays of Lasagna (with italian sausage, ricotta, spinach and italian herbs), lemon and garlic aioli for the caesar salad, rosemary & olive focaccia, and bagna cauda.  

For three hours we prepped, baked, and whipped some delicious food.  We all ate until we were stuffed and didn’t even make it to dessert.  Cooking for group of people is such a nice experience, we haven’t had people over for dinner since we moved from the farm.

Two of the menu items disappeared pretty quickly and for my own indulgence (Mike’s away on site) I’ve made a second batch today. We were eating lasagne for days afterward, and still we couldn’t finish it. I’ve ended up freezing a few slices.

Bagna Cauda was first introduced to me when I worked with a chef in the Canadian Rockies at a lovely little space called “The Baker Creek Bistro”.  It was served with plain focaccia, to guest when the first sat at their table.  The bread dip (not it’s traditional use) consists of capers, garlic, anchovies and olive oil.  While it sounds like an unusual and disturbing combination…I assure you; you will not taste any of these ingredients as you might expect to.  They blend together to form a new super flavour!

I’m not much of a baker, but this bread is addictive; and matches perfectly with the olive oil dip.  I’ve been spreading the dip on toast with a poached egg for breakfast as well….

This is the recipe I used for the focaccia:

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/1789/olive+rosemary+focaccia

Bagna Cauda, put 1 can of anchovies, 4 cloves of garlic, and about 20 capers chopped finely into 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil.  You can also add a little salt and pepper.

Cling-wrap begone!

You could use that term in a rather humorous way if you found your partner to be particularly clingy…however, I’m quite pleased to say I’m using the term very literally.

Several weeks ago I was lured to a website called: www.abeego.com

I’m not sure if it was fate, random clicking, a shared interest in sustainability, or all of the above that led me to discover their environmentally friendly food storage options.  I contacted the owners with a few questions and immediately had a response.  Here is what I learned:

  • The product is strong, and is 100% biodegradable
  • Lasts up to 1 year, then you can chuck it straight into the compost
  • Is all natural, made of beeswax and a blend of organic cotton and hemp  fabric
  • Easy to care for: hand wash with cold water and environmentally sound soap for reuse
  • There are multiple sizes for a variety of uses, so essentially nothing is too big to cover!

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 9.52.26 AM Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 9.52.13 AM Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 9.52.05 AMScreen Shot 2014-05-03 at 9.51.06 AM

As soon as I received some samples last week, I tore the package open and held the waxed hemp fabric in my hands.  It is lovely to behold, and has a distinct smell of beeswax that is actually quite pleasant.  Mike was home when I opened the goods and so he too was handling and smelling the product.

Immediately I took a piece and wrapped some fresh mozzarella in it.  I also took a chunk of onion, and zucchini and wrapped them separately.

Throughout the week, I’ve used these items while cooking and here is what I’ve found:

  • My mozzarella has retained it’s perfect scent and moisture…absolutely no issues there.
  • My zucchini was still very moist and mould free where as the piece I left unsealed in the fridge was mouldy and dry.
  • The potent onion, also retained it’s moisture and scent.
  • None of these items smelled like beeswax, even the delicate mozzarella.
  • Even more impressive, the stinky onion did not fuze it’s strong odour to the fabric.
  • It was very easy to wrap and unwrap the items.  I am the worlds least fussy gift wrapper, and this product does it’s job even if you don’t make it look pretty.

I am really excited to stop using plastic to wrap our food, and feel really good that we’ve got a product here that we can use again and again…I’ve got peace of mind knowing it’s not going to harm the environment when we’re through using it.  In fact it will give back.  I’ll be ordering some large sheets in the very near future.

Many thanks to Abeego for creating such a thoughtful product!

If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about how much we use and waste as a society, please take a look at this really helpful video:

See if it doesn’t worry you…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqM

Nostalgia and A Plate of Nachos.

When I was a kid, I loved nacho night.  I don’t recall it being too often but I do recall being in seventh heaven every time that night rolled around.  Mom would treat her five growing daughters to a plate of oozy cheese, with beef piled onto a heaping pile of golden tortilla chips.

Sorry none of these photos have anything to do with Mexican food!  They were taken today.

Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 4.01.27 PM Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 4.01.37 PMScreen Shot 2013-03-11 at 4.39.50 PM Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 4.40.01 PMScreen Shot 2013-03-11 at 4.54.26 PMScreen Shot 2013-03-11 at 11.49.20 AM

Last year, out of the blue Mike casually mentioned “Taco’s again?” while I was deciding what to make for dinner…  I was floored!

How could he say such a thing?  Surely I didn’t make them that often?  Sacrilege!

I was making them too often. 

I got thinking about it.  At that point it was once a week.  I could sense I might have a Taco revolution on my hands.  I realised that my enthusiasm for tacos was not quite as infectious as I had believed.

Now it’s probably once a month, but I’ll tell you…  I can taste it for days before; I get so excited!

Tonight, we’re making tacos.  We both appreciate them more now.

These evenings transport me right back to our old kitchen.  Mom would be lining up 5 plates on the green countertop.  Cheese piled high, lettuce shredded, onions, salsa and sour cream at the ready.  We’d get to eat and watch the Simpsons in the living room, or some other popular program.  It was cheesy heaven.

This scene would also be similar to mom’s home made pizza night.  Which is probably why I also have a serious fondness for pizza.

Thanks so much for those awesome nights mom! xo

Does your family have a special food/theme evening?  What do you eat? 

 

 

Sushi for two!

I made some sushi last night for the first time!  I love sushi, and since Mike and I have been together it has grown on him as well.  We never get to eat it here in the country so I took a stab at it.

If I scored myself, I’d probably give it a 3 out of 5 for effort.  The sushi masters would be pretty offended at this sloppy mess.  Oh well it was delicious and nutritious!

Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 7.58.22 PMScreen Shot 2013-03-03 at 5.52.11 PM Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 7.56.21 PM

So what did we cram into these suckers?  Smoked salmon, faux crab, cucumber, avocado and spicy mayo (just cajun seasoning whipped into mayo).  Et voila!  

Do you like sushi?

Today, we spent about 8 hours working with the ewes.  Brian and Tessa hire a really nice man (from New Zealand) every year to give each and every single one of them an ultra sound.  It’s a lot of work, but they are able to determine if there will be twins or singles or if they are even pregnant at all.  The twin mums will be taken extra feed and put into the most “abundant” food filled paddocks.  It’s hard work!  I smashed my knee in a fence today as a ewe hit my leg from behind.  And also managed to get a ridiculously red sunburn (I forgot to put some sunscreen on my good arm).  It was cool, windy and cloudy which made it easy to forget.

I wasn’t able to take any photos of the ultrasound, but as a consolation…

Here are a couple of photos from last week!

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 3.27.39 PM Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 3.28.02 PMScreen Shot 2013-03-03 at 8.10.19 PM