Grow Gather Enjoy: made from scratch

Showing posts with label made from scratch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label made from scratch. Show all posts

A week in my kitchen: early spring

30 October 2018
A couple of months ago I shared what went on over a week in my kitchen (). I thought I might continue it seasonally to show how things shift and to share a snapshot into our eating here.

Smoked trout and spring veg pasta.


This was a big bake up day for me. In an effort to maximise the oven energy use I generally get a little crazy once the oven is turned on!!

Baking/making: everyday sourdough loaf, 2 sourdough fruit loaves, sourdough bagels, two pizzas, croutons, roasted up pumpkin for mid week meal and (adapted to include peanut butter and choc chips - so probably not really muesli balls anymore!).

Lunch: Bagels with bacon, mayonnaise and lettuce (the first harvested from the garden)

Dinner: slow cooked lamb inspired by a


Picked up fruit, veg and supplies for the week. I actually did my meal planning Sunday as I'd planned to go the markets but that turned into afternoon drinks with friends instead ;)

Lunch: leftover stew.

Dinner: Smoked trout, broad bean, asparagus and chard pasta in a creamy lemon sauce.


Baking/making: vanilla ice-cream to have with my daily iced coffee and some chocolate ice cream pops for the girls.

Lunch: chard & hummus on toast

Dinner: Roast pumpkin, avocado, crouton & lentil salad with a hummus and mayonnaise dressing.

Tuesday night dinner.


Baking/Making: pre-cooked beans for Thursday night dinner. Testing out my SIL's thermal cooker to see if we might get one for our travels. Accidentally made enough beans to feed a small army...or at least a month's worth of bean dinners once a week!!

Lunch: sharing platter with the girls of vegies, crackers, hummus, cheese and other bits.

Dinner: Beef Stroganoff (from the freezer) with pasta.


Fed my sourdough starter tonight to mix dough in the morning and bake in the evening.

Lunch: leftovers.

Dinner: Mexican beans with rice, and chilli


Baking/Making: everyday sourdough with a some rye flour added in, 2 loaves fruit bread, bagels, pizza (see dinner) and . And while the oven was on - a batch of marmalade based muesli balls and classic chocolate slice ( without the icing).

Lunch: Nachos - fully loaded. I like to add a heap of extra things on top of my nachos - this instance was leftover beans, coriander, avocado, salsa and . Also, because I'm a fan of the crunchy chip over the soggy chip I melt my cheese directly onto the chips to form a protective layer and then add the toppings - game changer!

Dinner: Pizza - tomato sauce/prosciutto/cheese and kale/preserved lemon/cheese



Lunch: Sausage sizzle at my niece's 3rd birthday party

Dinner: Roast pork belly, hasselback potatoes, asparagus and broccolini, served with spiced rhubarb paste on the side. I forgot to take a pic of the amazing looking pork belly! I had a friend over for dinner so went all a few glasses of chardonnay.

And that was a busy spring week in our kitchen. A few lighter meals coming in as I was chatting . I'm also currently trying to use up the freezer stockpile and all the other random bits and pieces before we move out of our rental in a few weeks.

What's happening in your kitchen this week?

How to Make Hummus from Scratch

27 September 2018
Hummus is such a versatile dip. It has so many uses and so many opportunities for variations. It's also simple to make from scratch. Hummus is actually the word for chick pea in Arabic, as well as now being the name that it's pureed alter ego goes by.

Versatile & delicious hummus.


4 Fave Cookbooks right now

25 September 2018
My cooking style and use of cookbooks has changed a lot since I first got interested in food and cooking back at the . I've gone through phases of having lots of cookbooks, then paring right back again. These days I do a lot of recipe searching online, but I still feel that you can't beat flicking through a book. In fact I love nothing more than settling in with one of my favourite cookbooks or a 'new to me' one and reading like a novel.

My current cookbook collection - only taking up 3 spaces in the bookshelf!


Birthday Cake Nostalgia

18 September 2018
This weekend we celebrated a little birthday in our house. Of course there was cake and when there is a birthday cake required out comes the classic: Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake book.

I have fond memories of pouring over the pages as a kid and picking which birthday cake I would have next time (and usually the next 4-5 times too). I can remember each incarnation that I was served as a celebration...and the ones I've missed out on too!


Meal Planning

13 September 2018
Meal planning can be a divisive topic. There are those who love them (hands up over here) and those that aren't too sold.

I think the key, for me, is flexibility. If I viewed my meal plan like a 'must do' then it would not work. The way I find it works for me is thinking of it like an optional guideline - there if I need it but no worries if I want to 'go rogue'.

Cookbooks for inspiration if you need them.


How to Preserve Lemons

06 September 2018
This time of year is citrus season. If you are lucky enough to have your own tree or know someone with an established tree, you can guarantee a glut of lemons at some point over the citrus season. Once established lemon trees are quite prolific.

I was the recipient of a lemon tree for Christmas which is currently growing in a pot and has not reached glut-harvest levels as yet. However, once people know you like to take excess produce off their hands it does have a way of finding you. Enter a fruit bowl full of lemons needing some attention....

A mix of lemons.


Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding (egg-free)

04 September 2018
It's good to have a few go-to recipes up your sleeve. I like to have a few good desserts to turn to when I have extra mouths to feed or to keep the hungry hordes satisfied if we are having a lighter meal. Bonus points if that recipe can be made ahead, frozen and uses minimal ingredients. Extra bonus for being able to accommodate guests with intolerances and allergies or to simply accommodate a slightly 'barer than normal' ingredient stockpile.


Ham congee

30 August 2018
I first tasted congee on a flight to Europe with a Hong Kong stopover. As is sometimes the case, I was left with no option for breakfast and was served congee. I was a little worried I must admit as several years earlier I had been served Bibimbap in the same situation on a flight and it was a very poor imitation of what is actually a lovely dish. In this case however, the dish was delicious. Which had me thinking - if an aeroplane version of this dish is this good I must give it another go on land. So, on our return flight when we had a few hours stopover in Hong Kong we ventured out for Yum Cha. I was happy to enjoy my second serve of congee and happily found it even better.

A delicious bowl of comforting congee.


A week in my kitchen

28 August 2018
I'm always interested to read about what others are up to in their day-to-day lives. Not in a 'look at me' social media way but more a 'I'm not the only one' kind of way. When I first started on my simple living and values based eating journey it felt a little lonely. Most of my friends were living a very different lifestyle. I don't mind being different, but it's also nice to connect to people that share your interests and some experiences. Thankfully there's the internet!

So, I thought I'd share a week in my kitchen to give a snap shot of what goes on around here and a few of the things we eat.

Hommus and sauteed chard on toast - a quick and tasty lunch.


Stuffed Mexican Rolls (or another way to use up bread that's nearly past it)

21 August 2018
I got back from a weekend away at the snow (the reason for no Sunday post) to find some sad looking rolls that I forgot about. I had meant to pop them in the freezer but in my organising to head away with two small kiddos it somehow slipped my mind!

I really do so I was trying to think up a way to use them for dinner that didn't involve heating them with soup. I feared that even some generous warmth wouldn't quite be enough. I also had some black beans in the fridge in need of quick use and an idea was born: Stuffed Mexican Rolls.

Stuffed Mexican Rolls


Spinach & Cheese Master Mix: my #1 meat free meal base

14 August 2018
I've always enjoyed vegetarian meals. Well, I should say, since my mid-late teens when I was more exposed to different ways of cooking & eating.

I grew up in rural Australia and meals were decidedly not vegetarian. Any vegetables evident were cooked so far beyond 'done' as to not retain much of their original colours. The only vegetarian meal that my mum made growing up was quiche (when my dad was away!).  Unfortunately it wasn't the best rendition being from a 1980s weight watchers cookbook ('shudder').

So, it was a revelation for me to come across fresh tasting, full flavoured meals made from mostly veg.


Making food from scratch: an addictive process

29 July 2018

Yoghurt was the first food that took me down the rabbit hole of making things from scratch. I remember stumbling across a recipe for making yoghurt in a thermos and being completely intrigued. I did manage to botch my first yoghurt attempt by heating the milk a little too far but I didn't let that deter me and have been making my own for seven years now. It's definitely saved me a few dollars but also saved a few hundred plastic containers from the waste cycle, built my food prep knowledge base and increased my ability to 'fend for myself' a little more when it comes to feeding my family.

Salsas, jams, chutneys and all sorts of 'made from scratch' goodies.

Here & Now: July 2018

15 July 2018
This month has been filled with lots of lovely winter enjoyment and the prospect of a couple of weeks in sunnier climes. 


Pasta Dough: Plain and Flavoured

10 July 2018
I about my recent pasta making day. I'm aiming to incorporate a monthly pasta making and drying session into my routine so that I have homemade pasta at the ready as needed. Homemade pasta is so much tastier and of course it doesn't come in a packet so one less plastic bag to dispose of.

The other benefit of making your own, which I've talked about many times before, is the ability to adjust flavours and ingredients to your liking. In this instance I was able to play around with different flavours to add a bit of variety and colour.

Herb & tomato fettuccine.


Pasta Day

08 July 2018
I've been meaning to get back into making my own pasta for a while but somehow things haven't been going to plan. In fact, I haven't even used my pasta machine since we moved in November last year. I needed something to get me started and back in the swing of things, and lucky for me motivation came in the form of Plastic Free July.

about how I had decided to do PFJ this year and one of my goals was to start making pasta again to cut out another plastic packaged product. We love pasta around here and it's such a great quick meal to get together for hungry kiddos - but not when you have to make it from scratch at dinner time. Enter pasta day...

Colourful pasta dough.


A very versatile sourdough flat bread dough

01 July 2018
On my quest to extend my sourdough baking repertoire I spent a little time (ok, a lot!) researching flatbread options. Previously I've used commercial yeast, yoghurt or even no raising agent at all in my variety of flatbread recipes. I'm happy to report that I found a sourdough winner.

This flatbread dough recipe is quick, easy and serves many purposes. It started out as a flat bread and gozleme dough and then one day I got distracted and never got around to rolling and cooking. So, by the time I got back to it I thought I'd try it out as a pizza dough and was happy with the result. I've also used it to make naan and tortilla for Enchiladas and quesadillas. I haven't found a flatbread style use yet that it hasn't worked for.

Versatile flatbread pan fried and ready to enjoy.


sourdough bagels: further bread adventures

21 June 2018
I declared 2018 the year I got my sourdough experimenting on. I wanted to try out new recipes and also to get a bit more of a feel for why some bakes worked well and otherwise, well, not so much. There has been lots of baking and lots of learning.

I've been trying out a few recipes but mostly slowly working my way through an awesome Christmas present: Artisan Sourdough Made Simple. I started with an everyday loaf and a cinnamon swirl () and then tested out one of the sandwich loaves (). I've also been baking her focaccia and some tasty thyme rolls (yet to be blogged). I haven't found a dud recipe yet.

But what I've been eyeing off from the start has been the bagels. I've previously made yeast based bagels and was intrigued to give sourdough ones a go. Let me tell you I wasn't disappointed.

Sourdough bagel success


Using up your savoury preserves

19 June 2018
Preserving up your garden bounty, foraging windfalls or market bargains is a great way to extend the availability of seasonal ingredients. Personally I find preserving a little addictive and each season I love to experiment with a few new pickles, relishes and the like.

If you too enjoy preserving your own or even just purchasing unique preserves on your foodie jaunts you might find a stockpile in the cupboard or a few half used jars in the fridge. There is only so many roast meat and relish sandwiches one can have so what to do with these pantry preserves? Here are a few ideas to give you some inspiration.

Rhubarb and cranberry chutney.


Easy Homemade Dry Cured Bacon

17 June 2018
Bacon is a much loved food product in the GGE household. Mr GGE in particular, is an avid bacon fan. His love is well known and he often receives bacon inspired gifts. One of the tastiest was a bacon jam and the most useful was, by far, a bacon making kit.

I had been pondering and researching (read: a lot of researching and even more procrastinating) making my own bacon but had not yet taken the plunge (how surprising!!) when the kit came into our lives. And suddenly all my excuses to make my own were gone. I gave Mr GGE a couple of months to give it a go and then I took matters into my own hands and put the kit to work.

It was a very simple process in the end and one that I have since replicated many times sans kit supply. More recently I've been a bit slack on making my own but this past week I got to it and we enjoyed the results for breakfast yesterday. Delish!

Homemade bacon on toast with avocado - hello tastiness!


Preserving olives three ways

14 June 2018
For many years I dismissed the idea of preserving my own olives. I had tasted several home made attempts over the years from others and was left unimpressed. So, I figured this was just one of those things that was better left to the experts.

All this changed when I tried a good friend's attempts a couple of years ago. These were delicious, clearly surpassing any other home made attempt I'd tried and rivaling many bought options. This, coupled with the free olives available for foraging in my suburb, spurred me on to give it a go.

I'm glad I did, as now I can tick one more item off the 'to buy' list and look to my own preserves for delicious and tasty olives. Here are three different ways you can take the plunge and preserve your own too.


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