a bowl full of sushi

It’s quiet.

Not a murmur, not a word. Just the rhythmic sound of two forks being taken from bowl to mouth.

The Monkeys are eating two bowls of sushi. This is their favourite dinner at the moment. Not daintily rolled between a sushi bamboo mat, instead carefully constructed by their own little hands. I get it all out, prepare the ingredients and then they assemble what they would like to go in there.

Healthy, looks good, they get to help put it together and most of all they love to eat it.

I can’t help but feel a teeny bit pleased. Pleased and proud of my vegetable loving children. Sure they won’t touch zucchini, mushrooms, sweet potato or spinach. Eggplant also isn’t getting a look in any time soon, but what they won’t eat- they make up for. If that means a bowl full of sushi, with a selection of raw vegetables in there, I’m more than happy to give it to them.

I know kids can be picky little things, but if you plant the seeds of eating healthily from the very beginning and get them involved it sets them up for later on. Once a week, the Monkeys wrestle over who gets to bring in the vegetable box after it’s been delivered to our back door. Carefully sorting what’s in there and what exactly it all is. We don’t get to harvest a great deal from our (rather pathetic at the moment) plant pots, so this along with going to farmer’s markets is a second best. Sorting, learning, preparing and then eating it.

As a child, the idea of sitting through an eggplant or mushroom dish set me up for an hours worth of good solid gagging. These truly were horror vegetables that were put on this earth just to torture me. A few decades on and funnily enough what are two of my favourite vegetables?… Eggplant and mushrooms. The seed had been planted, the palate had already been explored, and then it was just a matter of finding out how I liked to eat those two little vegetables.

So that’s what I’m doing with The Monkeys. Expanding their palates and planting seeds. No, they don’t have to eat handfuls of mushrooms, broccoli, and zucchini. They can try a little bit each time though, just so to remember what it tastes like and then they can move on to what they really love. Vegetables like peas, capsicum (peppers), tomatoes, cucumber, corn, avocado, lettuce, pumpkin and carrot. Pop it all in a bowl of rice, with some shredded seaweed and a little line caught tuna, (Good Fish.)

There they have, a bowl full of sushi.

spiced warm hug

Brown slop. Thats what I hear you say. Brown slop in a pretty bowl….Actually you are right, it is.

But, it’s good brown slop.

Had a light dinner and need a little something else to ease you into the evening?

One spiced warm hug coming up. That’s what this dish is, or that’s what it feels like when you eat it. Warm, nourishing, you can feel those spiced milky arms envelope you. Feeding your inner soul with its goodness of spices and hint of lemon. Giving you the quiet sugar kick that you were after with out crushing all your taste buds in one mighty swoop. Some nights don’t suit chocolate, some nights are a simple curl up on the couch with a spiced warm hug.

Some people might say brown sloppy rice pudding, I say spiced warm hug please.

Spiced Warm Hug

2 cups milk

150mls cream

1/3 cup muscavdo or molasses sugar (or any other dark unrefined sugar)

6 green cardamom pods

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried ginger

1/3 cup any short grain rice

1/4 cup sultanas

1 large strip of lemon rind

Bring milk, cream, spices to a simmer, turn it down a little lower, so it doesn’t bubble over. Now add the rest of the ingredients and stir continuously on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes. Then put the lid on the pot, turn off the hot plate and leave it for 20 minutes. Don’t peek, it’s still doing its thing.

Eat on the couch, with a blanket on your lap, and a book by your side.

Basmati Kale- Frugal Friday

Kale is something that has been sneaking into more and more of my cooking lately. It’s an easy one to chop up and quickly cook, provided you are not using the stalks which can take a little longer. (It’s also known as tuscan kale or cavolo nero.)

I find it a subtle taste, which somehow quite often gets by The Monkeys.  They seem to ignore the obvious green foliage in their dinner and any time that happens I’m certainly up for making the dish again. Being a dark leafy green it’s also loaded with all things exceptionally good for you.

The leaves cook up quickly like spinach or silverbeet, in a wilty kind of fashion that doesn’t require a whole lot of stove time. Perfect for a Frugal Friday dinner.

I used my flat bottomed wok with this little number because, 1/ I’m addicted to using the thing and 2/….actually there is no two. I just really like using the flat bottomed wok. Easily done in a regular pot though.

Basmati Kale

A couple of slurps of olive oil in the pan

add some diced garlic

the chopped kale leaves

and some basmati rice

cover the rice and kale mixture with water until it’s just over the top

add a good couple of shakes of dried cumin, coriander, (don’t be shy) and salt to taste

pop the lid on

keep a beady eye on the pot, add some more water to the top of the rice mixture when it’s all absorbed

give it a stir around and pop that lid on again

when the water has disappeared again, check to see rice is juuussst about cooked

turn hot plate off and leave the lid on for 5-ish minutes (it’s still doing it’s thing)

serve with natural yogurt or fetta and some local nuts*

for a vegan option just drizzle with extra olive oil and local nuts

and a dusting of dried chilli if you like a kick in the pants.

* I used pecan halves here. Pine nuts, walnuts, cashews etc. would all taste great though. Use what ever you can get that is grown locally. Alternatively try your local bar at closing time on a Saturday night… local nuts a plenty, (although not so great on top of your kale.)

Basmati Yogurt Breadrolls

I was given Dan Lepard’s, The Handmade Loaf recently by a good friend and inside is a lovely collection of launching pads of recipes. Now as it’s begun to be known around these parts, I can’t follow a recipe to save myself. So with this in mind I saw Dan’s recipe for Rice Bread and thought I could fiddle with that.

Let’s see…

With some basmati languishing in the fridge and yogurt that needed to be seen to as well, these little fellas did me proud. Healthy, with a sourdough-yogurt-basmati mix, they would have to be quite low GI, and they give a bit more oomph to your standard bread roll. Once cooked, I added some chunky cheese and some old lady pickle*, and I was a happy woman.

* Don’t worry, it’s not really made out of old ladies. Just what I call mustard pickles…. usually made by little old ladies.

Basmati Yogurt Breadrolls

(adapted from Dan Lepard’s Rice Bread)

150gms cooked left over basmati rice

110gms yogurt

250gms strong bakers flour

200gms sourdough starter

3/4 tps salt

40mls water

The usual mix, prove, fold, prove, shape, prove. Then baked at 240C for 10 minutes with steam and then another 10 minutes at 220C.

A chewy toothsome breadroll, that also freezes well, and I’m really looking forward to making these again.

This post submitted to the wonderful yeastspotting.