Thursday, January 30, 2014

Back to school - lunchbox treats

All over Australia children are putting on uncomfortable school shoes, scratchy uniforms and backpacks and heading back to the classroom.
The irony that they head back as  we inch towards February, traditionally the hottest month of the year, is lost on no one. Not the teachers, the kids or their parents.
It makes filling lunch boxes all the more challenging.
We like to vary our lunch boxes a bit. I'm not the mother who makes her kid's sandwich into art work but I'm also not the one who sends the same thing every day year in year out.
Some of the favourites staples here are:
- homemade sushi
- pasta salad
- chicken salad wraps
- meatloaf sandwiches
- leftover sausages on a roll
- leftover meatballs on a roll (aka a meatball sub)
- savoury muffins
- homemade scrolls
I'm big on protein so I try and ensure there is plenty for young minds to work to capacity...and older ones too as my husband also takes lunch...I work from home so my options are wider.
Our lunch boxes always contain fruit. One of the best summer fruits are frozen orange segments. They help keep the lunch cold and well they're refreshing. Just be sure to cut them up before you freeze them!
Other additions we like vary:
- homemade weetbix slice
- homemade mini muffins - 2 make a nice sized snack (banana nut, banana choc chip, apple, orange poppy seed, lemon curd) (Here are some frozen and ready to grab in the morning)
- dip and veggies or crackers (hummus or guacamole usually)
- banana bread
- wholemeal banana carrot cake
Last year I relied too much on pre-packaged snacks. This year I'm trying to
move back away from that both for cost and nutrition.
I'll be posting more recipes and options over the coming weeks.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Summer food - lamb koftas

It's always amazing to me how differently we eat in summer to winter. It's not just what's in season, which of course has an impact, but it's also what looks good to us.
Soup in the middle of a heatwave? Not so appealing.
Here are a few things we've had this last week or so - Asparagus Tart. To me this is summer on a plate.
Caprese salad - the Italians sure know a thing or two about food and there's a reason this dish is a summer classic.
Hummus - this is actually a white bean hummus because I was out of chick peas. It was super yummy and I think less work for my poor old food processor than grinding chick peas. I made this to take on a picnic. And I ended up with two tubs worth so I kept one for later. I had some dukkah so I sprinkled some on top. Those sprinkled dips are very popular now in the deli and supermarket.
Finally last night we had lamb koftas. This was a great way to use up the rest of the hummus. I also made some tabbouli to have with them and we wrapped them in Lebanese bread with homemade tzaziki.
Lamb koftas
700g of lamb mince
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 egg
dash of tomato sauce
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed.
8 bamboo skewers (soaked)
1. Combine above and mix together really well (You do need to use your hands. If you're squeamish wear disposable gloves).
2. Form lamb into sausage shapes and shape around bamboo skewers.
3. BBQ or grill until done.
4. Enjoy on their own with tzazkiki or like we did in Lebanese bread with salad.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 New Year for blogging and some goals (and a recipe for Simple Salmon Dip)

Somehow the end of 2013 got a little crazy and my time  and ability to blog evaporated, it seems.
I would make something new and forget to take a photo or realise I was making the same old things  to save myself time and energy so it didn't seem blog-worthy.
I have a few goals for 2014 for the blog and my kitchen. Hopefully they are simple and manageable.
1. Blog weekly (hopefully more).
2. Waste less food
I read an appalling statistic about Australians and how much food we waste. When you consider how many people go without, the affect on the environment and the personal economic cost well it makes sense to waste less.
This isn't the article I read but it sure makes the point.
3. Buy less pre-prepared food.
Some of the things I buy for convenience I could just as easily make myself and this would help with the food waste issue as well.
I've already started on this and I'm doing pretty well so far. Below is an example. We were heading out on our boat and we wanted to take some snacks. I often go buy some nice cheese or dip but instead using some things lurking in my fridge I made this yummy dip which was as nice if not nicer than store bought and I was able to use up some things that would have ended up being tossed otherwise.
Simple Salmon Dip
50g smoked salmon
1/2 tub of leftover cream cheese (about 100g)
1/2 tub of leftover sour cream (about 100g, you could easily use natural yoghurt)
1 teaspoon of fresh dill (dried would work)
a squeeze of lemon juice
1 dill pickle diced.
1. Place ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth.
2. Enjoy!
(Not the best picture or presentation but boating can be a bit rustic!)