Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cooking marathon

Some things never change. Staying with my mum over the weekend always, absolutely always means I'll lug home at least two large bags of produce, fresh organic eggs procured at the neighbour's, fruit from the local farm....

I cringe at the idea of having to waste food, however eating all of the food my mum has prepared would require a family the size of The Brady Bunch. So I start preparing my cooking plan just as soon as the car engine starts. My method is always the same: plan lots of meals with hearty salads to use the vegetables, fruit and fruit salads for snacks the rest is either refrigerated, frozen, cooked or baked.
Easy start: simple hummus spread with fresh parsley and thyme
 The cooking/baking session lasts about four hours.  It's a tightly run military operation :-)
Project lasagna
Specially if lasagna is on the list. You can't make a proper lasagna without making a huge mess in the process. It requires three separate pots, one for pasta, one for tomato sauce and one for white sauce. And if you have to grind your own beef, things get massively more complicated. But it's worth it in the end.
* And a tiny little trick I use when cooking pasta is to add a few drops of olive oil into the water. This prevents the pasta from sticking together.
Tomato sauce

Next up: using all of the yummy tomatoes and making and easy tomato sauce. I love to use white onions or shallots and slowly fry them in olive oil and then pour a small amount of red balsamic vinegar and let it all slowly simmer until the acid has dissipated entirely and you're left with a thick fragrant onion sauce. And then it's just the matter of adding tomatoes, spices and letting the sauce slowly simmer for an hour.
Peach jam
Making jam is just as easy and gratifying as making tomato sauce. I decided to try a recipe that partially substituted sugar with honey. It's definitely better than standard sugary jam but in retrospect I think I'd be better off using a mildly fragrant honey. I only ever use chestnut honey which proved to be too heavy for the delicate peaches. Ah well, lesson learned for next time.
Pound cake with homemade nutella
And finally I made a pound cake for dessert because I've had two opened jars of homemade nutella that I needed to use up. If anyone is interested click here to see the original recipe for this cake. The only thing I did differently was to use both white and black nutella.
If I had any energy left I would have made some homemade crackers to go with hummus but I settled for store bought ones.


  1. Your house must have smelled amazing after all that cooking! Our apple trees and basil plants are ready for harvest so I imagine I'll be making applesauce and pesto this weekend.

    1. Yum, I love pesto. Surprisingly my favourite is parsley pesto. Mum made it as a novely a few years ago and I got hooked on it immediately.

  2. Look at all your lovely food!! Really like the way you shot your photos too! We don't have white Nutella here. I like your cooking style, lady!!

    1. Sanda the photos have been "sexified" using a free web program called Fotor. Very easy and fun to use :-) I'm surprised you don't have white nutella, not even the Black & White in one jar? Hmm... I guess, it's an inspiration for a coming post: homemade white nutella

    2. No, not even black and white in one jar! Of course, these could be available in larger markets in the U.S. As you know, I live "out in the country" and we don't always have the choices city dwellers have. Homemade white nutella? Yes, please!

  3. Oh dear, I am on a diet and this post made me hungry! All of your creations look scrumptious. Btw, while I am here, Martin wants to know whether you want the new pattern with minimal changes or the really super duper new pattern based on the new grading rules. If the latter, just be aware that it will be a slightly different shirt.

    1. I hate diets! I've been on a quasi diet for a few weeks now and as it turns out Mr. C was the one who lost some weight. But still more food posts to come, one in particular about the lovely dinner we had about a week ago ;-)