Hi there, I’m still around although I’ve been a bit quieter lately. I’ve noticed I don’t seem to be the only blogger laying low, perhaps there’s something in the blogosphere at the moment… In any case, I can blame it on holiday brain, less than 36 hours til takeoff and I’m super excited. Bring on the relaxation and fun! I’ve still been in the kitchen but I’ve been turning to others for inspiration lately. It’s weird, although I love blogging, and reading other food blogs, I don’t actually often cook other recipes. I’m not quite sure why, but I’ve realised it’s a bit silly and so plan to attempt more recipes that interest me. This will be particularly handy in the baking department no doubt, my personal bete noire… First up is this super healthy looking soba noodle salad from Alexandra’s Kitchen. I love her blog as the recipes are beautiful and most really appeal to me. I totally relate to her post about indulging in must have, unique ingredients which sometimes don’t get used quite as much as initially anticipated. This salad was a great success, very filling and healthy. The dressing is redolent of a spicy satay, the only difference I made was using steamed broccoli and sesame seeds in place of cucumber and peanuts. It was delicious and a perfect lunch to take to work.
I recently came across this recipe to make your own crackers from The Kitchn. I love the idea of going back to basics and making things from scratch so you know exactly what’s in them. This recipe was really easy and I truly had a lot of fun making them. At first I wasn’t sure how much I liked them, but as I went back for more and more and more during the week, I realised I did indeed enjoy these crunchy little bites filled with flavour. I used a mix of wholemeal and white flavour and topped the crackers with a variety of seeds, sea salt and chilli flakes. Don’t make the same mistake I did with my first batch and forget to pierce the crackers with a fork before baking, otherwise you’ll end up with a batch of little pastry balloons.
My latest all out addiction is fennel tea. I’ve been drinking various versions of it here and there over the past year, and I was most dismayed about a month ago when my favourite brand was discontinued. Not a really popular tea, I had trouble finding it elsewhere. I jumped on the old internet and discovered that fennel tea was pretty much just fennel seeds anyways. With a great sense of anticipation I rushed home that day and threw a teaspoon of fennel seeds into my infuser with some hot water, and then five minutes later I had golden brew ready to drink. It tastes even better than any of the other teas I had bought previously. I’m not a big lover of the vegetable fennel, but I do love this clean tea with its subtle aniseed flavour. I have at least one or two cups a day. Best of all a big bag of fennel seeds costs me $1.50 so it’s just as sweet on the pocket.
I find Donna Hay recipes pretty simple to follow. They usually turn out well and don’t require a lot of ingredients. I had a morning tea coming up at work and wanted to bake something but knew I could not rely merely on my own abilities. I turned to Donna Hay’s banana bread recipe and it didn’t let me down. The golden loaf had a nice crust, yet was moist and dense inside. It went down a treat at work. I altered the recipe slightly by using half wholemeal flour, half regular flour, I added half a cup of roughly chopped walnuts, and I used maple syrup instead of golden syrup. The flavour was excellent, so good in fact I just made it again for for Mr Market Basket to take into his work for morning tea tomorrow.
I was lucky enough to receive a little surprise in the post the other day. A friend had sent me some of her homemade spice mix. When I tore open the envelope, a heady scent greeted me and I was blown away at the difference compared to the spices I normally use. I was fortunate enough to receive a packet of garam masala and one of curry powder (thanks Sonia). Both will indeed come in handy for curries, which I will be sure to use them for, but one thought instantly came to mind when I smelt that curry powder. I was immediately inspired to make an amazing curried egg sandwich. I used four hardboiled eggs, added a tablespoon of the precious curry powder with some sea salt and a tablespoon of mayonnaise. I mashed it up with a fork and served on a couple of pieces of fresh bread smeared with butter and layered with crisp lettuce. It was sensational. It took me back to my childhood. If you aren’t lucky enough to have bespoke curry powder as I was fortunate enough to, you can always use regular curry powder.
Sometimes there’s nothing like a good ol smoothie to kickstart the day. I love this concoction as it has the sweetness of the banana and blueberries, and a bit of texture with the addition of rolled oats. It’s healthy and supremely satisfying. I always cut my fruit up and freeze it so then it’s ready to throw in with some milk which results in a cool and thick smoothie. I whipped this beauty up after my morning market sesh and shared it with Mr Market Basket. Since moving up here I’ve yet to purchase a new blender and so I just used my stick blender which did the job. Next time you’re looking for a light yet filling breakfast just throw in a handful of your favourite frozen fruit with about 400mls of your milk of choice (I used skim), and a tablespoon of rolled oats. Whiz it up and you’ve got a great start to the day.
I have to share this with you – the other day I saw a blogger had mentioned her husband had a made a timber bath caddy for their bath and I thought it looked wonderful. I issued the challenge to my Mr Market Basket, with minimal expectations but I was most pleasantly surprised to come home after a lovely lunch out to discover he had indeed made one for us. Isn’t he clever? Just when you thought baths couldn’t get any better….
That’s all from me for a while, I’m off to Thailand on Friday and look forward to sampling lots of tasty treats over there. No doubt after a couple of weeks indulging I’ll be itching to get back in the kitchen. I hope you’re all getting creative in your own kitchens and sharing food love with the people that mean most to you.