A little lamb tagine

/ Saturday, April 27, 2013 /

The first sign of icy winter and the JJ comes home with a slow-cooker and all sorts of casserole, tagine, 8hr slow roasted lamb high hopes. Sweet but obviously he didn't know that I had been scarred by one too many slow-cooker-concoctions growing up... I'm sorry mum but throwing whatever is left in the fridge at the end of the week with a bit of water, parsely and garlic does not a dinner make. Nutritious? Eh probably. Delicious? Definitely not.

This little slow-cooker guy though, well he's just pretty freaking amazing. He's not fancy by any stretch, like an on and off button and nothing else not-fancy. But yeah he gets the job done, like soft, melting off the bone after 3 hours gets the job done.

Having slow-cookered 2 whole meals now, in our intensive recipe testing I think we may have stumbled onto the perfect tagine. This one with some modifications because everything tastes better when you 'you-ify' it, right? Right.

What to do:

Whizz up 1/2 cup coriander, 1/2tsp cumin seeds (or ground), small onion, 5 or 6 garlic cloves, big ginger chunk, 3tbsp olive oil (lemon infused is great), pinch of dried chilli (or a small fresh one), 3/4tsp all spice, salt and pepper. Mix in 1kg of good quality lamb chunks (beef works too) to marinate for however long you can wait.

1-12hrs later (sometimes I don't plan in advance and get hungry) brown off the meat with the marinade. Throw in 2 cups chicken stock, bring to the boil. Don't freak out your tagine is hulk-esque green. Transfer it all into your trusty slow-cooker and cook for a few hours (honestly the longer the better) add a can of chickpeas and 650g of chopped, peeled pumpkin (you could probably leave the skin on too or sweet potato or potato probably swede could work too, even carrot maybe?) cook for a bit until pumpkin (or whatever) is tender-ish and pop in a double handful of chopped mushrooms. Cook until everything is cooked. Serve with your favourite grain/carb or over greens and natural yoghurt and extra coriander.

This recipe is all about guess-timation but it just works.

Thursday tea time

/ Saturday, April 20, 2013 /

I enjoy all types of tea but my one true tea love has to be green tea. Green tea with lemon, green tea with ginger, jasmine green tea, sencha, matcha, I don't really care - any green tea will do as long as it's not Lipton. I picked up a particularly amazing first harvest genmaicha from a local Australian tea house (brewery? I'm not sure what you call a tea farm?), Perfect South. Genmaicha aka popcorn tea has a green tea base with the added bonus of roasted rice kernels which give it an almost nutty flavour. It's fairly mild tasting so a good starting point if you're not super keen on a pot of the green stuff.

Bet you didn't know that green tea and black tea actually come from the same plant, green tea is just harvested at a younger age. And they are processed in different ways to create two types of tea - black tea is fermented while green tea is not so it retains more nutritional goodness. Because it's less 'processed' green tea is chock full of catechin polyphenols which contain powerful antioxidants so aside from being delicious there are heaps of health benefits* to downing a mug or two or five:

1. Speeds up your metabolism apparently - honestly can't say I've seen any benefits to my waistline
2. Apply it topically to sooth sunburn (you can also do this with camomile)
3. Lowers the risk of various cancers
4. Improves cardiovascular health
5. Keeps your pearly whites pearly white - green tea is a natural source of fluoride
6. Catechin can kill some bacteria that causes mild food poisoning and toxins produced by the bacteria

It doesn't have as much caffeine as a coffee but I probably wouldn't be knocking back a mug just before bed especially if you're sensitive to caffeine. 

*Tea research is still in early stages, these are reported benefits. Mostly I just like drinking tea health benefits or not

I eat real food

/ Saturday, April 6, 2013 /
What I love about living in the Inner West is the amount of ethical, sustainable, organic etc cafes and restaurants that are walking distance from my house. Sure it's hipster-central on the weekends but for all the delicious food available I'm willing to button up my top button and slap on my bowler hat/lensless glasses.

I recently stumbled across Real Food Projects who are putting the spotlight on 'local, seasonal and sustainable foods, hand-crafted by Sydney-based artisans, chefs and urban farmers.' No need to buy that processed shit from Woolies when you can get the amazing products these guys have sourced.

Stopped by the pop-up shop in Newtown today and couldn't resist grabbing some tea and lime cordial. Yum!

Eat your vegetables

/ /
I LOVE food but I find food shopping really overwhelming, usually I'm in and out the door in about 15 minutes with exactly the same items each week. That's boring but I can't be bothered battling the crowds and after work has sucked the life out of me I am fresh out of food creativity. I have, from time to time, ordered a delivery from Woolies but the quality is not great - normally I would not choose a spongy apple but apparently this how Woolies thinks they are best eaten.

In fantasy life I head to the farmer's markets each weekend, unfortunately real life sees me working most weekends so it's not really an option. Then I figured online shopping could also probably be applied to a farmer's market situation and much to my delight I found Box Fresh. Wednesdays are now pretty exciting when I spot the new box at the front door.

Enough typing, here's tonight's dinner made out of Box Fresh produce and other random pantry/fridge/garden bits.

Pumpkin, rocket and feta salad with a side of not pictured chicken


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