Monthly Archives: September 2012

Exciting times ahead

Hello all!

Today I spent all day cooking and baking. It feels like it slipped by very quickly, hopefully it was worth it. I made:

Kumara and Chipotle soup
Tomato and Basil soup
Black bean soup
Ginger scones
Boysenberry brownie

I realise that it seems like I’ve forgotten that we’re currently heading out of – not into – winter, but soup is an easily frozen meal and when you work in an office the temperature is pretty consistent year-round. However, I’m sure there will be no complaints when I post the recipes and you go off and make them (which I know you all do religiously), because they are delicious

Here’s a little teaser…




Pink lemonade: But my finger hurts!

Moving cities is hard. Especially when you move from a small city in a small country to a large city in a large country. I was reminiscing the other day on how I used to be so anxious every time I got on the train or tram or even walked somewhere. What if I got off at the wrong stop? Got lost? That doesn’t happen anymore, and I feel a lot more comfortable in Melbourne now. But I miss home, I always miss home. Not because I am a small city dweller at heart (even though this is true), mostly I miss the people that make a city somewhere I can call home. I don’t just miss sitting and watching ships shuffle around Lyttelton Harbour, or looking down from the top floor of the library at the people walking below. Most of all I miss the people that would sit or walk beside me while I did these things.

Although nothing can or will ever replace those places and people that make me call Christchurch home, this weekend was a reminder of how the experiences I love most about living in a small city can still translate to big city life. Saturday started with my neighbours bringing over a loaf of bread they bought for me from a bakery over an hour out of town because they know it is my favourite. This was followed by a visit to the local library, then my favourite lunch place, where even though they know how much of a cheapskate I am they put up with me anyway and gave me a free milkshake. The walk home saw a detour via my favourite produce shop, the owner of which who I not-so-secretly love despite his produce being terrible, him not really speaking much English and an age gap of at least 35 years. After this fantastic start, the only way was up with the weekend also including writing postcards on the roof in the sun until it got dark and cold, pulled pork tacos at a great pub in the company of a great friend, Con Air (were Nicolas Cage and John Cusack always so hot?!), and a Sunday rummage sale followed by lawn bowls.

So where is this rambling, diary-like blog entry going? Even I’m not sure but I think the point is that no matter how homesick you are, if you are spending your weekend in good company, relaxed and having a good time you are doing something right, especially if you are barefoot and drinking a beer at 1pm. And what better way to make or keep friends than with the below recipe (terrible segway but just go with it people)!

Cheats Pink lemonade
3 lemons, cut in half and juiced
1.5 litres lemonade
2 blood oranges, cut into quarters/slices
1 lime, cut into wedges
a handful of mint
1 large jug

Mix the lemon juice and lemonade in the jug
Add the mint, lime wedges and orange wedges, squeeze a few of the wedges to make the lemonade good and pink

As you can see, not the most difficult of drinks to make especially as no extra sugar is required with store-bought lemonade being so sweet anyway. But guaranteed to look impressive and taste great. Plus if it is a day where it feels like the sky is desperately cupping its hands to keep the sun from running through them at the end of a pretty chilly week, lemonade is guaranteed to remind you that summer is on its way.

Pink lemonade party mix
The Lonely Goatherd – Sound of Music soundtrack
Sitting Inside My Head – Supergroove
Spoonful – Canned Heat
All I Have Is Love – Gregory Isaacs

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Easy cheesy: Tortilla lasagne

I’m not going to dwell for long on this one. It’s not the type of recipe to make you go ‘oh I wish I was able to make that’ or ‘it looks too good to eat.’

It’s more of a born-of-necessity recipe, an ‘I have leftovers of many weird things and defrosted some mince when I didn’t need to.’ Those are my favourite ones The kind that takes 20 minutes from start to finish but will provide you at least 3 solid meals. Cheap and cheerful, quick and easy, and all the other cheesy, Flatter’s guide to food in a minute sayings that a meal centred around mince and veges conjures up. I am not ashamed to say this adapted lasagne was inspired by a recipe in a kids magazine and the need to use up leftover tortillas without a single morsel of coriander or salsa in sight.

Tortilla lasagne
4 large tortillas
1/2 red onion
500g mince
1 can tomatoes
4 small red chillies
any veges you want (I used leftovers from the above recipe, a mixture of courgette/zucchini, potato, onion and red pepper)
a few handfuls of grated cheese

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius
Fry the onion over medium heat for 5 mins until soft, add mince and veges and fry till mince is browned
Add chillies and can of tomatoes, simmer for about 15 mins until sauce has reduced a bit
Layer mince, tortillas and cheese into a casserole dish (if you are lucky you’ll have a round one, otherwise cut tortillas to fit)
Bake at 200 degrees celcius for about 15 mins until cheese is golden

I would recommend this if you have a horde of hungry children (your own or otherwise) to feed, or if you know you won’t have much time to make lunch/dinner anytime in the next few days. There is also so much that can be done with this; add in any veges you want, take out the chillies, add in more chillies, make the sauce more exciting (this I would recommend most of all). Have fun with it, that’s what food is about.

All the cooking on the weekend must have affected my capacity to remember to take photos (even though for once it was daytime), so here you will see a vaguely relevant picture of the veges that went into the burritos, the leftovers of which contributed to this lasagne


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Quick food for busy mums: Eggplant, asparagus and basil pesto pasta

Just kidding mum and dad! I might not have posted a blog in a while but I have not spent my time off making babies and pasta. And here I am, back again with another recipe for time deprived cheapskates.

After an afternoon of drinking on the roof with hardy NZ friends – ‘Sun? Time to get out the tshirts and beer!’ – hunger didn’t so much creep up as it did sneak attack from within a sparsely stocked fridge. From the necessity for a quick and easy meal using minimum ingredients, the below recipe was born.

Eggplant, asparagus and basil pesto pasta

1 eggplant, chopped roughly
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped roughly
1 tbsp coconut oil, to cook
500g pasta (or enough for 2 people)
2 cups basil, roughly chopped
1 cup finely grated parmesan
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Fry eggplant and asparagus on medium heat in coconut oil for 10-15 minutes or until eggplant is soft
Boil water in a large saucepan, add pasta, olive oil and salt to taste. Cook for 8 minutes or so until al dente then drain
Combine basil, parmesan, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor
Combine veges, pasta and pesto and serve, topped with more parmesan

The Internet will tell you that to cook eggplant you need to salt it, dry it, peel it and do various other things to it. I’m sure this makes it taste fantastic, however don’t be afraid to just cook it up as above. As long as you don’t give it too much oil to absorb it will still taste just fine.

No photo today sorry! You’ll have to get your blurry, out of focus kicks somewhere else.

I think the most important thing to take from this post is that I can I successfully made basil pesto without removing any fingers or even being physically harmed at all. I don’t know about you but I count that as a win.

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