How This Started and My Hope For This Experiment

My Husband and I are both big fans of Jamie Oliver. For Christmas I bought him Jamie's cookbook "Jamie's 30 Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast". As I read the preface of his cookbook I was inspired by his ideas. He felt that he was spending too much time cooking during the busy week and doing too much clean up. So he decided that for the week night meals there needed to be something quick and still healthy and yummy. He and his team did a lot of work and made the "30 Minute Meals". He has explicit directions for step by step getting the meal done in 30 min. He tells you what to do first, second, and third so that you have all dishes going at the same time, instead of making it dish by dish. Since we aren't doing once a month cooking right now I was captured by this idea and dying to start trying. I have been spending way too much time in the kitchen during the week and can't wait to be able to prepare good meals fast. My husband was all for it since he loves to eat great food and has a very particular palette. He will be making some of the meals on weekends when he isn't working because, this is after all, his cookbook :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fish Tacos

These fish tacos are one of our default meals. They are fast, comforting and full of fresh ingredients. And they taste AMAZING!! Plus you can throw whatever is in fridge on top :) 
Usually we do tomatoes, onions, cilantro, fish, cabbage, fresh lemon, tamarillos, cheese and either tartare sauce or sour cream and/or guacamole. Sometimes I grate carrots on top or capsicum/bell peppers. You can also grate a little beetroot over the top for some yummy and really healthy crunch. The problem with beetroot is that the dark red color of the beets stain :(
This time we ate them on flour tortillas (because that is really the only thing you can find here), but sometimes we make our own corn tortillas which are really yummy!
The next post will have our shrimp version of these tacos.  I usually keep some frozen fish on hand for these so that they are something I can make when I don't have the ingredients for anything else or when I need to use up some leftover fresh ingredients getting a little ripe in the fridge.

Monday, August 15, 2011

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Memphis Style Coleslaw

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Memphis Style Coleslaw
These are not "real" southern states BBQ sandwiches but they certainly hit the spot for us since we have been missing some good BBQ since we moved here.
The rolls are the same recipe I got from the cooking class I took. I brushed the tops with the beaten egg and then added my own touch of sprinkling them with dried herbs before baking 
(these had dried thyme on them).
I slow cooked the chicken in the crockpot with 1/2 a bottle of Smoked Manuka  BBQ sauce and 1/2- 3/4 of a can of coke. So good!
The recipe for the coleslaw came from here: 
and we were really happy with it.
We cut open the warm rolls and put on some hot chicken, squeezed on a little BBQ sauce and then topped with the cold coleslaw and the top of the bun. They were FANTASTIC and we have already repeated the recipe but with Pork shoulder and Root Beer instead of coke (either one works).

So like I said they aren't anything like southern BBQ but, as my sister-in-law pointed out, it's hard to beat a meat smoker. And as I added-yeah and some really good homemade southern BBQ sauce made by somebody named Dave or Bill who has been making if for 25 years or more :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Newest Kitchen Acquisition-And Learning to Appreciate Tea

These beautiful tea cups are my newest kitchen acquisition and I am in LOVE with them. They are made in Italy and I have had my eye on them since we moved here over 8 months ago.  I finally decided to buy a set of six and I am really enjoying them.
Here where we live now they have 3 meals a day and then morning and afternoon tea and sometimes pudding which comes after the last meal of the day. It depends on where your roots are I am told.  I used to have a huge amount of tea in my cupboards in the USA, but only drank it for medicinal purposes because I forgot it was there until someone couldn't sleep or had an upset tummy or something. Here I drink a glass of tea everyday and sometimes two.  I am really enjoying the Fijoa tea, the lemon and lemongrass tea, the strawberry and mango and my staple Mint tea. 
For me it makes it even more enjoyable to drink it out of my new tea cups. It combines beauty with taste which is something I have always had an appreciation for. My kids LOVE having tea as well. Their favorite (and mine) is to eat biscuits with their tea. I couldn't really understand the obsession with small hard round biscuits that are barely sweet. Until the day we had some with out tea and it all made sense.  They really are quite good with tea (not good for much else though).
My two year old really enjoys her tea and she and the boys were quite put out with me when I wouldn't let them drink it out of my new tea cups. But they would drink it from anything as long as these homemade gingerbread men were on the side :)
This is one of the homemade gingerbread men that we made to decorate at my sons birthday party. These were also really great with tea. I was glad I made an extra batch. I had to go all over to find molasses here. I finally found it at "Common Sense Organics" and it was just what I wanted-unsulferd molasses.  Here is the link for the recipe to make you own homemade gingerbread men to dunk in your tea:  I like this recipe because it is real gingerbread made with molasses. It has a wonderful flavor. I used fresh nutmeg in mine as well which was nice. Hope you enjoy your tea and little men as much as we have.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fruit Salad inspired by Jamie's "Fruit and Mint Sugar"

This fruit salad has become a favorite with my family. We love fresh fruit salads and this one is really yummy.  I didn't have all the things used in Jamie's "Fruit and Mint Sugar" so I came up with this version of fruit salad inspired by his use of mint and lime with pineapple. I cut up one fresh pineapple, 3 bananas, 2 apples and 5 clementines. I squeezed lime juice on the top, a small handful of walnut pieces and some fresh mint chopped.

Then...remember the coating for the coated ice cream in his book?? (if you don't remember it has gingernut biscuits, dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts ground up together in the food processor). Well I had some of that frozen so I sprinkled it over the top and it was fantastic. For a treat add a little whipped cream to the top and for a healthier treat add a little yoghurt.