Oct 30, 2012

pearl barley risotto

In the spirit of trying new cooking things and recipes I had been wanting to try a pearl barley risotto.  I do quite a good mushroom risotto with traditional arborio rice but I wanted to expand my repertoire a bit and I absolutely love the taste and texture of pearl barley.  Watching Two Greedy Italians ... Still Hungry the other night I was very excited to see Gennaro do a pearl barley risotto using pork mince.

The recipe was very simple (serves 2):
150grams of pork mince
2-3 handfuls of dry pearl barley
1 litre of stock (I used salt reduced chicken stock but you can use vege stock)
1 onion
olive oil
parmesan cheese

Dice the onion (they used a small brown onion, I used half a red) and sweat off in some oil. Add in the mince, breaking it up and cook, do not brown the mince though.  Throw in your pearl barley and stir the mix as the bottom of your saucepan starts to go a bit toasty.  Deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine or stock.  Here your risotto goes along as a normal rice risotto would - adding your stock a cup at a time until your barley is cooked.  I added a little crack of black pepper towards the end.

At the end stir in a little olive oil to give it a creamy/emulsified feel.  Serve with a little parmesan on top.

The verdict here was great, we ate the whole lot just between the two of us!  I think we may try with some mushrooms next time or maybe some peas.

Oct 26, 2012

special memories

The relationship between Grandparent and Grandchild is special and important.  I am so happy that Little Guy and Amelie have very special relationships with their 4 Grandparents. Looking back I am so grateful for the relationships I had with my Grandparents over the years.  

When I was about 19 I used to spend quite a bit of time with my Granny - my Mum's Mum.  When we were kids she baked these really nice patty cakes with pink or white icing.  This was well before the time of cupcakes on every corner.  The other day I pulled out a recipe book that I had started years and years ago so I could write down some of the new recipes I'd found lately.  I made a lovely discovery - two handwritten recipes Granny gave me years ago - one for the patty cakes and one for a chocolate slice.

I often think that she would be so proud of the efforts I go to cook and provide the best food for my children and the gardening we do.

Oct 25, 2012

fridge art

I've been having so many ideas lately for little craft projects.  A lot involving magnets, washi tape, pegs and twine.  After my adventures on the weekend at the Craft Show I lashed out and bought a few rolls of washi tape.  It was a total 'everyone else is doing it' purchase.  Sad I know.  And then I bought some twine off the internet yesterday too, for almost the same reason.  But that's another post. 

I had a little play with my new supplies this morning and came up with this idea.  It needs a little refining but I think it's cute.  Fridge art!

Oct 23, 2012

a mother's thoughts

Look at these feet.  They are so soft, new, innocent, pure.

In years to come they will get hard, dry, squeezed into wildly impractical and uncomfortable footwear, countless blisters and generally mistreated. 

Hopefully though they will serve her well, take her on some interesting journeys and maybe enjoy a pedicure or two.

Oct 22, 2012

my European loot

Mum and Dad have just returned from a wonderful holiday cruising around Italy and visiting my Brother in London.  As with last time they went away they returned with lots of loot for me (and the children). 

beautiful handiwork from Croatia

a great book on Gaudi from Barcelona - and look what was on the first random page I flicked to!

a gorgeous bag from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam - totes jealous (haha get it?)

a couple of little cross stitch kits from Belgium

and the piece-de-resistance - a Vulcan Minor (to go with the Vulcan Major I already have) from an antiques fair in Scotland

Oct 21, 2012

quilt show

Cat 7 Amateur - Anne Meikle "Christine's Tiny 9 Patch"
Saturday saw the girls heading off to the Convention Centre to take in the Craft and Quilt Show.  It was really humming on Saturday around lunch time, which was nice considering last time we went, earlier this year, it was quite quiet.  I had vowed not to buy any fabric this time as I'm a tad embarressed by the HEAVING load of fabric crammed into my cabinet (and spilling out onto the floor).  I did purchase a couple more crochet hooks and a few rolls of washi tape.

The Challenge Quilts - I swear one year I will enter!
 As usual as well as the plethora of stalls to purchase all things quilt, bead, scrapbook, crochet, knitting and now cake decorating, there is also a quilt show.

the chicks enjoying the show

My favourite part by far this year was the Red and White quilts which came from the Mt Isa Quilters.  They decided after seeing the Red and White quilt exhibition that took part in the USA that they would like to emulate it.  I love red and white and the beautiful quilts that were on display did not disappoint.  Great credit is due to the Mt Isa Quilters for their wonderful quilts.

I also like these little ones from the Bundaberg Quilters which were made to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Here are a few more snippets.

Cat 4 Amateur - Trish Parker 'Gatton Stars'

Oct 18, 2012

strawberry and balsamic jam

After my post the other week about strawberry jam, Jen commented that she had made strawberry and balsamic jam to have with cheese.  I thought this was a brilliant idea as we do love a bit of quince or plum paste with a nice cheddar.  So I had a bit of a think about the recipe I'd used and how I'd need to tweak it to give a thicker jam and how much of a sugar/balsamic ratio I'd need.

In the end I think I got quite close on my first try.

the finished jam on my bread with some triple cream Brie

 You will need:

350g punnet of strawberries, cut into small pieces
100g of jam making sugar (in Australia CSR make Jam sugar with Pectin in it, comes in a red packet)
half a cup of good balsamic vinegar
a squeeze of lemon juice

Cut the strawberries into small pieces and leave to macerate in the balsamic vinegar and sugar for a couple of hours.  I give it a little mix about half way through to try and get the sugar dissolving in the liquid.

Strain the liquid off, reserving the strawberries, and heat on the stove until the liquid has reduced to approximately half its original volume and it is starting to thicken.  If you want a thicker jam you will need to go further with this stage.

Add in the strawberry pieces and cook for a bit longer until you are getting quite a jammy consistency, add the squeeze of lemon and adjust your flavours as you want. 

Transfer to sterile jars and put in the fridge.  It will harden up in the jars in the fridge so don't worry if it is still a bit runny for your liking. 

You could use balsamic reduction for a much richer balsamic flavour or a little less sugar.  It is really just a matter of your taste.  And if you want a paste instead of a jam then you will need to reduce your jam more or add some more pectin.

This is a nice jam to have with cheese and even on bread on its own as it is just that little bit less sweet than regular strawberry jam. 

Oct 17, 2012

kale pesto

A few years ago my in laws grew a butt load of Kale. Blue Kale I believe, not curly Kale. After eating it steamed and in stir fries they were starting to crave new avenues. I'd vaguely seen something once on the TV about Kale pesto.

So one day my mother in law and I set up a full on test kitchen to try and make a dent in the huge backlog of Kale. After experimenting with different combinations we hit the Kale pesto sweet spot.

So would you like to know the magic combination? Since Kale is the new super food and all.  Assemble the following: Kale, parmesan cheese, pinch of salt, blanched almonds and macadamia oil. Toast your almonds and assemble your pesto as you would normally and blitz. Now you can use olive oil ( as I did the other day) but macadamia oil just adds another layer of flavour.

This pesto is really good on pasta.... and rice cakes as I discovered at lunch time yesterday.

Oct 15, 2012

first Christmas gift finished

I've finished my first Christmas gift -yay!! Having been pretty quiet last year due to renovations and a new babe, I'm going hard core on Christmas this year. Speaking of which, did you know it was my 4 year bloggiversary last week? Four years since I've been doing my own personal handmade gift challenge. Now it is my habit and my joy to hand make nearly all our birthday and Christmas gifts.

This year I have set myself some fairly large goals but I have started early.  Here is my first finished item. A hand crocheted throw rug.

See you later, I'm off to work on number two.

Oct 12, 2012

ten things for ten months

My dear baby girl is ten months today. I want to record a few of my thoughts and memories since the baby book(s) I have are very sadly neglected.

1.  You have a big, bold personality my baby.
2.  You adore your brother and Dadda but Mama is still number one.
3.  Sleeping at night is not your forte however you aren't too bad during the day.
4. You are very musical. You groove along to songs and love it when we sing Incy Wincy Spider and Row Row Row Your Boat.
5.  You have a lot to say, even more than your brother did at this age, and we thought he was vocal. Mama, Dadda, Guy, dog dog, woof woof, no, out, Grandad.

6.  You haven't officially rolled over but are very speedy scooting around on your bottom.
7.  Sometimes when your brother is upset you go out in sympathy with him other times you laugh at him.
8.  You have a killer smile and love making friends. You stare at people until they acknowledge you and then you flash them a big dimply smile.
9.  Your tongue is frequently out testing the world around you or just for concentration.  You remind me of a little lizard.
10.  You are an absolute delight to everyone who meets you and such a special addition to our family.

Oct 8, 2012

Monkey and Me

I want to introduce you to a friend of mine - Monkey and Me. Gemma and I used to work in the bank together and have a mutual love of all things fabric and crafty. I think she may have even have had a part in my love for the name Amelie.

Pop on over to the Monkey and Me Facebook page for your chance to win a super cute clutch purse.

And if you don't happen to win you can always purchase your very own clutch or iPad sleeve or other great handmade object.

Oct 5, 2012

strawberry jam verdict

Verdict on the strawberry jam was awesome. A teeny bit runny but very tasty and inherently slatherable. Husband Guy's only complaint was that if it was thicker he could load more onto his bread! I will be making it again for sure.

Oct 4, 2012

strawberry jam challenge

I've felt like challenging myself lately. Usually when it comes to all things kitchen I defer to my Husband or my Mum. If I feel like tackling something new I talk
it over with one of them and then usually persuade one of them to help/ supervise.  But more and more as I examine what my little family eats and what I keep in the fridge or pantry I find myself wanting to try new things.

So today I made strawberry jam. All by myself. Strawberries are in season here at the moment and I picked up two big punnets for $6 the other day. One for eating and one for the jam. My mother in law had shared an easy jam recipe with me over the weekend and I was all prepped up to try it. 

The finished jars are in the fridge now so maybe by tonight or tomorrow I'll be able to give you the results of the official taste testers. I have a sneaking suspicion that it may be a bit sweet for our taste and maybe a tad runny but hey, you don't know until you try right?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...