Monday, 18 January 2016

Current obsession: Yellow

I'm in hausfrau mode these days, entertaining guests with the tea trolley loaded with homemade goodies (parsnip and cheddar muffins plus elderberry cake), dreaming of new crockery and planning meals for the week. 

The crockery dream came true, like all good dreams it involved me making it come true. I went shopping today and picked up these four small bowls and one large one (above), for our daily salad (Dunnes 3 euros and 10 euros). As part of my our healthier lifestyle I'm making sure we all get raw veggies every day, so tonight saw me making a carrot and fennel salad (all grated courtesy of the food processor) with a rosemary dressing (rosemary ground in my coffee grinder with apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt) and roasted sunflower seeds and walnuts (another healthier addition, nuts and seeds now feature in our diets quite a bit).

Hausfrau also made her first batch of stock (above) for future use in soups or stews. Yesterday when preparing the veg for the roast Sunday lunch (yes, another new feature that is more of a monthly than a weekly thing, but we'll get there) I put the peelings of the washed organic celeriac into a saucepan, along with onion and celery trimmings and some other stuff I can't remember. I added water and simmered it for a good while, and left it sitting on the stove top overnight. Strained it through a sieve today and I've frozen it in two batches. I don't use stock cubes, so this will be a change from running around the kitchen finding herbs to add, a nice addition to future meals and cost nothing only a bit of time.

I also bought these mugs, we already had a couple, because as you can see I'm a bit obsessed with yellow in the kitchen. They were 2 euros each in Dunnes, and a good size for a cuppa. My new tea towel (behind the mugs) is NOT for wiping food spills... everyone has been warned.

I resisted the urge to shoo the kids out of the kitchen this morning as I was preparing dinner for the (cue angelic music) slow cooker. Instead, I let the elder mischief-maker chop an onion with a proper sharp knife, while the "flavour master" (he always needs a job title for some reason...nappy man, fire man...) ground pepper into the pot and shook herbs. This was a total success from start to finish, as in all the kids voted on the dinner-to-be, helped prepare it and actually ate it this evening, even having seconds. I let them choose between lasagne (which actually wouldn't have happened as we'd run out of cheese), curry or chilli, all to be made in the slow cooker. Chilli won. So what was in it? Em...

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chillis chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1.5 mugfuls of red lentils
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon molasses
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oregano

I added water after a couple of hours cooking, when it looked a bit dry. I'd forgotten the lentils soak up so much liquid. We ate it over lemon rice (basmati cooked the normal way, then tossed in melted butter, lemon juice and turmeric) with dollops of sour cream and grated vintage cheese (we shopped).

It cooked away all day first on high, then on low, from about 10.45am to 6pm. My kind of dinner. 

I don't know why I'm adding this photo of soaking cannellini beans, I just snapped a lot in my kitchen this afternoon. I have no plans yet for them, just needed a new pulse to be ready for meals, as we had a lot of brown and red lentils the last couple of weeks. I'll cook these and freeze in portions. 

I'm using the cutest tea pot which my boys gave me for Christmas, despite them never seeing it until I opened it. I chose it of course. This tea (nettle and raspberry leaf) is supposed to help me heal my insides which are still recovering from carrying a third baby... I'll keep you posted. But the herbalist who made this also sells a tincture which has cured my son's croup, so I do have high hopes for it. 

That's the extent of the excitement here. I'm spending less time on Facebook these days, as are all my friends from what I can see, unless they all have me blocked... I'm studying a LOT and am a bit boggled with information, that part of my brain has been dormant quite a while. Suffice to say that I am now au fait with cell biology and the intricate workings of the gut lining...

Ta-ta for now (I'm raving, I'm tired)
Nee x

Ps Hello to my special reader in West Canada, Lynn's mom, who I hear is a fan. Also hello and congratulations to my aunt Liz and her new husband Joe, also regular readers, I'm honoured you guys and thanks for the great day out on Friday xx

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