Pasties

A rather ad hoc version of something that is usually made from left over meat. A kind of made up version of the Cornish Pasty.

So you’ll want some kind of variation on the following:

Potatoes: I used 2 medium large

Carrots: I used 2

Meat: I used about a pound (500g) of ground pork, but lots of people use left over roast.

Mushroom: I used 1-2 portabellas

Onions or garlic would also be good.

Meat or vegetable stock or a bouillon cube.

Herbs and seasoning to taste

I chopped or cubed all the vegetables and simmered in a pot with the bouillon and seasonings. When it got bubbly I added about a tablespoon of flour to thicken the mix.

I had intended to put some shredded brussel sprouts in mine, but ended up having it as a side. Adding that or shredded cabbage is a thought as well.

The ground pork.

The cooked meat and vegetable mix together.

Now you’ll also want some pie crust. You can use your favourite recipe.

Here’s what I did.

2/3 cup butter. I melted it in the microwave for easy mixing

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

salt

1/3 cup cold water.

Combine flour salt and baking powder and mix with butter. Mix until largest pieces are about pea sized. Add water.

To get extra flakiness out of it I put the mix in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. This was enough to chill it but not enough to freeze.

Roll out somewhat circular shapes and put a spoonful or two of the mix in the pastry and pinch closed.

Put on a baking sheet.

 

Or if you get lazy or have a hungry toddler throwing things at you you can just make a big pie. Or something like this which manages to combine pie crust and filling in a totally half assed way.

 

Bake 20 minutes at ~400F (200C)

 

It’s hand food. And more filling than you’d think. That’s a dessert plate.

 

Even the big one turned out ok.

Things you can do that I didn’t necessarily: Add cheese, add onions, change up the vegetables, use different meat, don’t use meat.

This recipe ought to feed us 3+ for at least 3 days of dinners if not 3 dinners and a lunch or two.

 


Please refer to the handout

On why we live here, or outside the US

Well I started this ages ago, but it’s taken some time to properly crystallize my thoughts (also to find writing time). I originally had in mind some large list thing, but I think I can sum it up in rather less words.

Short version, what the OWS thing stands for, that money should not translate to  privilege, legal or otherwise.

Before we really started working on our immigration application I voted. I voted like an old person. I’d vote in every little quarterly election on annexations, rezonings, city council elections and so on. And it was fucking depressing. Why? Because I voted against the same rezoning measure in the area we lived in three separate times in three separate small elections. It was locally opposed because it would open up a hill behind our neighborhood to development. We didn’t really want a development slapped down putting further pressure on our grocery shopping. If the initiative had included permissions for more shopping (and erosion control), hey, that would have been ok. But, no. It was just (expensive) houses with no yards. Each time the measure was worded slightly differently, had it’s own public relations spin and obviously had money behind it. Each time it failed the margin was narrower as the backers perfected their public relations spin. It was depressing to realize that no matter how much I and other people voted that people with money would always, eventually, get their agenda through through use of slick advertising, misleading media campaigns and just the money to keep persisting (to inevitably make more money). So just the idea that even though I could vote, or I could protest (though I tend not to like the type of protest hangers-on you get. That and protests are generally ineffectual in that they are easy to ignore), but no matter how much I do vote or protest someone with more money will get their way. Well, anyhow, I kind of wonder what ever came of that since that was right before the big housing mess in 2008-2009.

I voted today. It’s different, and I guess in some ways there are less individual options. It’s much simpler and there’s no confusingly written bill summaries (where yes is no, no is yes, and both really mean maybe and raised taxes). But, you know what? I don’t feel like I had to cut away swathes of advertising, look past slick political campaigning and put aside mudslinging and misinformation to be able to make a choice. New Zealand is getting more in the way of slick politicking, but it’s still not that bad yet.

Oh yeah, it’s pretty awesome to gradually learn to not feel nervous when you see a cop. So less overall this sort of thing.

There you go.


I hate food

That’s right. You read it, you can’t unread it. I have a perpetually annoyed relationship with food. I mean, yeah eating is ok. I’m not the biggest fan, but some things taste good. There’s nothing I really go all

over (ok maybe pineapple), but I like to eat things sometimes. I have a minor weakness for toast, peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese. Yeah, really horrible stuff. This horrible stuff? It’s not like I eat it all the time, or even frequently. Grilled cheese? Been over 2 years since I had one of those. Peanut butter and jelly? Not even once every 2 weeks, and even then it’s more likely to be a bite of the kidlet’s food that she either wants to feed me or has discarded. Been over a year since a whole sandwich happened. Pineapple, every so often (once every 2 months?) I’ll buy a few cans of pineapple or a fresh pineapple and eat it. Toast, yes. That’s a vice that had been daily, but for crying out loud, it’s toast! It’s not supposed to be a bad-for-you food. Two slices a day is not supposed to prevent someone on a 1500 calorie per day diet from losing weight.

I love my vegetables. I have no problem eating my 5 a day, often in one meal. For a long time after having kidlet I’d made rice and oatmeal my staples. Fine, but nothing was happening. So I cut out the rice and the oatmeal in favor of other things. For some weeks now in an effort to slim down I’ve been making cauliflower my meal staple. Instead of noodles or potatoes or rice, cauliflower. Fine with me. But now, that hasn’t worked. At all. In fact I ate some pasta a few days in a row out of busyness and laziness and gained 5-10lbs in a week. I am so frustrated with food. It’s not like I’m nutritionally inept either. I really try to eat as well as I can. I’ve used this http://cronometer.com/ for a few years now. Before it was a web app at any rate. So there’s me counting grams and portion sizes and not finding it doing any good. And exercise. I’ve had personal trainers, I’ve been good about going to the gym and it has only been minimally helpful. I used to go 5 days a week, 2 cardio, 3 strength days. I mean, I got toned, but weight loss was minimal. Now of course with a toddler, the gym is more or less out. I bought a treadmill and I manage 30 minutes a day 1-4 days a week. Usually 2-3 days a week. It’s all depending on how napping is going and then I work 3 days a week as well. Long story short I can not figure out what I am doing wrong. Probably nothing. I suspect I’m metabolically impaired, but not much of a fix for that.  I mean, sure I’m on the sedentary side but this is ridiculous.

I’ve always kind of been a fan of the idea of people chow. I mean, it’s judged that meeting a dog’s nutritional requirements might be too complex or time consuming for the average joe dog owner, but feeding ourselves whatever, even if we are clueless is fine? Silly. Why isn’t there people chow? I mean there could be so many types.  Oh, right. Lawsuits.

When we lived in the US meal replacement was fairly regulated. You had things like Slimfast (all sugar) and then you had things like EAS Myoplex for helping your workout performance. Or diet plans that you had to pay extra to join. Even prepacked meals of real food a la Jenny Craig would be cool if you could just buy them. Real meal replacement, like that for Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCD) was under prescription only. Not so here. You can buy them at a pharmacy. And I used them when despite everything I was doing I hadn’t lost enough for our immigration application. Using those barely squeaked me under the line. I even kept the weight off for close to a year until I got pregnant. Something about only wanting to eat french fries for a few months…

I’ve been trying to get some of that baby weight off again. But no luck 16 months down the line. Nothing that’s supposed to work is. Not breastfeeding (which although it’s supposed to burn 22 calories per ounce, a.k.a. 500 calories for a exclusively fed infant has thus far failed to seem to help at all), not toddler chasing, not our swim class, not the treadmill, not having cauliflower be the main ingredient in my meal. So I’m back on the people chow wagon. Because clearly I’m doing something wrong. I mean, I’m not asking a lot. Buying clothes that are under size 20 would be cool.  I mean, at least then I could reliably shop at a normal store. I don’t really want to do the VLCD thing again. It does have risks (like dying!). So I’m eating at least a meal a day. Letting my toddler feed me if she wants to (she likes to share her food). Licking the spoon when I cook family dinner. Eating my vegetables.

We’ll just see.


Venison cauliflower pumpkin soup.

Or cauliflower venison pumpkin. Or pumpkin venison cauliflower.

I’ve been eating a lot of cauliflower. Just kind of in the mood for it, plus it’s been on special at the store. I had half a pumpkin left over from a batch of pumpkin sauce, and half a rutabaga left over from beet soup. I thought, hmm. I want a cauliflower soup. I bet it would work with pumpkin and some kind of beefy stock.

Cauliflower. I chopped the stems off but otherwise will put the florets in whole. This is probably at least 1 kg.

Venison, 2 neck chops.

Pumpkin, 1/2

Rutabaga, 1/2 large one, peeled and chopped up.

Garlic (I used somewhere between 3-5 cloves)

Cornstarch

Salt, pepper, other herbs you like.

So instead of putting everything in a pot and hoping for the best I think this needs a distinct order to it.

Venison and water and garlic first.

Got a rather nice reflection of my magnetic knife hanger there.

Let that start bubbling some then add some well whisked corn starch. Mix or smash out the lumps. I whisked 1/2 cup corn starch in about 2 cups warm water and added that.

Before corn starch:

After corn starch:

Let that cook for at least an hour.

Add the pumpkin. No need to peel, once it cooks up some the meat can be scooped right out. Cook until pumpkin soft. Scoop meat out and stir.

Add the rutabaga.

(this is a rutabaga or swede. The cut up photo is above in the ingredient list)

Cook for at least another hour. Add water to taste. The consistency of the soup at this point should be not overly thick, but not thin. Textured.

Add cauliflower.

Cook until tender, but not disintegrating. No more than another hour. Remove soup bones and put meat back into soup.

Mmmm.


Spinach encrusted oven baked oca (New Zealand Yam)

The oca is a funny thing. It’s some kind of Andean tuber. Ranges from dark red to pale yellow on the outside, and red streaked to pale on the inside. It’s sort of potato flavoured, and this recipe works well with potatoes too. The oca looks a bit  funny and noduley but has a nice flavor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxalis_tuberosa

I’ve gotten in the habit of pureeing spinach to feed my picky picky husband. If I don’t cut things up small enough he doesn’t like to eat them. So I just toss things in the food processor. Which seems to go over well. But it also means I often have more spinach puree than I know what to do with.

This is oil, garlic salt, regular salt, pepper, spinach puree and oca spears all mixed in a bowl.

I spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 350-400F (well around 200 C) for 20-30 minutes, until nicely browned.

Then they get eaten which is why there are no more pictures!


Root vegetable surprise.

This was meant to be a sort of borscht. However, I didn’t take into account that beets (or as they say here, beet root) will get mashy if roasted a bit first, not so much if they are just simmered in soup. It was still good.

I used 5 beets

1/2 rutabaga (aka swede). It was a big one.

3 potatoes, peeled.

carrots, 3-4 medium large

Leeks

garlic, 3 cloves

2 venison neck chops (this is a really common cut of meat here for lamb, pork, beef, venison. It makes a good soup bone. It’s cheap and fairly meaty).

Oil

Chop all vegetables. I also peeled everything that was peelable. Except the carrots.

Add some water, salt, pepper any other herbs and spices. Oh, and the meat.

Cook cook cook… I think I cooked this for at least 4 hours.

As I said, most things kept their shape rather well. Everything was also a charming purple color. Which was not really what I had intended. I had wanted a thicker soup, not vegetables and a broth. Not enough starch! But it was still good, and best thing was I could pick vegetables out of this for Lucy to eat.


Pumpkin sauce

I hope to have a few updates over the next few weeks at least. And a change of appearance! This blog has been long abandoned in favor of my other one. One that has nothing to do with cooking. Which I still don’t update that often, in blog land terms, but it gets some action every few weeks at the minimum.

Anyhow, I thought the Northern hemisphere going into fall and all would appreciate this recipe. This is what happens when pumpkin pie and applesauce have a delicious baby. This is a regular staple in Lucy’s diet. People here tend to see pumpkins as a more savoury item. Pumpkin pie is a foreign idea and, though even as an American I wouldn’t think it, it’s very much considered American food. So when people exclaim, ‘oh that smells so good, what is that?’, and I say it’s pumpkin applesauce all we get are funny looks. I guess it’s the cultural equivalent of putting apples and potatoes together. It’s just seen as a little odd.

I make it in the slow cooker, but if you have another preferred way you generally make applesauce, go for it.

You will need:

Apples. Several kilos or pounds at least. I usually buy whatever is on clearance or seconds or similar. After all what do we care if they are bruisey or damaged?

Cinnamon

Allspice

Cloves-ground (unless you want to be picking cloves out of your sauce or have some kind of straining cooking device)

Vanilla extract. Real or fake.

Pumpkin. Now, don’t use a jack-o-lantern one. Get a sweet cooking one. Something like a butternut squash. Or canned pumpkin. Probably 1 12 or 16oz can (I don’t remember the sizes they come in because they don’t sell canned pumpkin here, as I said, pumpkin, while very popular is eaten whole, roasted, savory, like potatoes) will do for a 4-5l (1 gallon) batch of sauce. Less for less. Same thing with the butternut squash. Probably one whole one will be fine, use half if making less.

Peel apples and cut them up into chunks. I think this was 3-4kg of seconds apples. The bags didn’t have weights on them, but there were probably 10-15 small-medium apples per bag, and this is 2 bags worth. This is a 5L crockpot.

I kind of felt like I had more peels than apple. Or at least 50/50. But the peels didn’t weigh very much.

Add your spices. I’d say a tsp of cinnamon, a dash or two of allspice, 1/tsp of cloves (a little goes a really long way with that stuff), a tsp of vanilla. I just kind of add stuff though. Nutmeg if you’ve got it. I don’t usually.

Pumpkin. No need to peel it. Just stick it in there. When it cooks you can scoop it out of it’s peel easily enough. I had to cut it up some to get it to fit in the crockpot.

Crockpot on high, let it cook for 4-6 hours. Scoop out your pumpkin,

give it a stir to mix it all up and serve, freeze, or refrigerate. It freezes well, stores in the fridge for quite some time as well.

It’s actually much oranger than that.

You can also use pears if you like, but peel them! That’s a mistake I’ve made.


Gugeluph, gugelhuph, gah

However you spell it, it was one of my childhood treats. It’s a German coffee cake type thing. Mildly sweet and bread like, my best memories of it are eating pieces several days old lightly toasted in a toaster oven or in the big oven broiler.

You can vary it up a bit and I’ve seen recipes where fruit and nuts are rolled into the dough rather than mixed in. We always made it with raisins, but I’ve made it with grated orange peel and dried cranberries which is wonderful.

Here is the recipe I use, from my mother:

2 tbls yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.

1 1/2 cup milk, scalded

2/3 cup butter, margarine…or I’ve used oil with ok results.

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

lemon or orange rind grated. I usually use 1-3 whole lemons or 1-2 oranges. Avoid too much pith!

Optional: 1-2 tsp vanilla extract or the real stuff

Enough flour to make dough soft but not sticky

1/2 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, or…? Even nuts if you like that sort of thing)

I’ve also had good success cutting this recipe down. It’s easy enough to make 1/3, and if you don’t have a bundt or ring pan (funny story, I was trying to explain what a bundt pan was to my workmates and realized that neither bundt pans/cake, pound cake or angelfood cake are part of the kiwi home made cake experience).

Start your milk scalding. I read somewhere that scalding the milk changes it somehow, carmelizes the sugars or something, so I do it even though it’s a bit of a pain.

Get some warm water and put your yeast in. I figured that 2 packets is 2 tablespoons. When I cut the recipe down I used 1 packet and it was fine.

Cut up and add your butter (or not if you have a mixer) or add your oil and eggs.

Add your sugar and give it all a mix.

Stir in your grated citrus rind and vanilla.

Start adding your flour and keep mixing. Somewhere along the way add your raisins and any other mix ins.

Continue adding your flour and mix until smooth but not sticky.

Allow this mix to rise until doubled in size (or overflowing your bowl, eep!)

Now if you have a bundt or ring pan, you know, something with a hole in it, grease that up and place the dough in. If you don’t you can try what I did on a baking sheet.

If you made 1/3 recipe or have several loaf pans I found 1/3 recipe worked ok in a smallish loaf pan. You can see what a full recipe looks like below. I often have to eat it myself (oh, the horror) because my husband thinks raisins in bread is yucky. Does not know what he’s missing!

Bake at 350F (180C) for about an hour. The gugeluph should sound hollow when knocked on and pass clean the knife test.

As you can see my clever plan to have a hand shaped ring came to naught.

It can be frosted with a sugar glazing or powdered sugar dusting. I don’t like either so have it as is. Slice away.

Best served warm or slightly toasted. Something about the toasting brings out the subtle sweetness. Mmmm.


Ugly dolly

It’s Lucy’s birthday in less than a week. We bought her some things, but not really caring so much for plastic dollies I thought I’d make one. So behold: a very ugly dolly.

I freehanded with sharpie (mistake) on some fabric. It’s bamboo jersey.

I cut it out and sewed it up. I made one arm a bit too skinny. I didn’t use any pins because Glenn is always worried if I use pins for anything I’ll drop one and Lucy will eat it.

Here is where the doll goes from mildly whimsical to ugly. I used the sewing machine and colored thread to freehand (again with the freehanding) eyes and a mouth on there. Embroidery thread would have been the right option here. Or button eyes even, but I thought she’d try and eat them.

I crocheted some hair and sewed it on. And made it something to wear. A dress and what was supposed to be a head scarf.

 

Stuffed and with the clothes again.

All dressed up. Hope she likes it!

 


Green tomato pickles

Once again I ended up with green tomatoes. I had seeds left over from last year and though I’d give growing them another go. However, as of the end of April (like October for the Northern Hemisphere) many of the tomatoes were still green. So, the sauce was only a middling hit last year. In fact we just polished off the last of it a few days ago as part of a freezer cleaning out effort. So something a bit more immediate. More useful, and requiring far less tomatoes.

So as you can see not so many. I did actually get some red ones this year. And I only had a few plants as well. But these have been sitting outside off the plants, on the vine, failing to ripen any more. So time to pickle them!

I read about a few green tomato pickle recipes, but they all seemed like bread and butter pickles (so sugary) and involved onions. I’m still onion free for the baby so that was out. And I’m not a huge fan of sugary pickles. So I thought I’d adapt my refrigerator pickle recipe to these.

Pickling spice, dill seed, salt and vinegar:

Now, on measurements. What I did was add about  1/4 cup pickling spice, a tablespoon or more of dill seed, maybe a cup or two of while distilled vinegar, and 1/4 cup of salt. These are guesses as I just kind of put things in. Taste it before adding your sliced tomatoes. It should be vinegary, but light. I think that’s about a 2 liter container (so around 1/2 gallon).

This is what vinegar looks like:

Now before adding the tomatoes I topped up my mix with boiling water fresh from the kettle. I didn’t fully fill my container, but I wanted the salt dissloved and the liquid warm for the tomatoes.

Put in the fridge to cool and cure. Only a day later I’ve had them on cheese and tuna sandwiches and they are light, flavorful and crisp. Yum!