23 May 2012

Mexican Corn Soup

I've become slightly addicted to Pinterest! It is perhaps slowing down my actual blogging (and my actual life) but I have so many ideas floating around my head!

One of the many recipes I have pinned waiting to try was this Mexican Corn Soup from the Vanilla Bean Blog. The picture in the Pin had gorgeous subdued autumnal colours - I was a bit surprised when mine had an incredibly bright vibrant summertime yellow. (Perhaps different corn? We don't seem to have the varieties I saw in the US here in Australia.) In any case it was still a beautiful colour.
My next surprise was how quick and easy it was to make - the cooking time is a fraction of many soups. (So on an evening with a dentist appointment, a long wait at the doctor for a sick child, some last minute shopping for school cooking tomorrow and some homework I still managed to get this on the table by 7pm.) 

The final surprise was how delicious it was and that the whole family felt the same!
This one will definitely be made again.

Mexican Corn Soup - served 4 (just)

4 1/2 cups corn kernels (This was 8 fairly small cobs of corn)
1 cup vegetable stock
60g (4 Tb) butter 
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cups milk 
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
1 large green chili, seeds removed, finely sliced
a dash of Tabasco sauce
1 cup tasty cheese, grated
salt and pepper, to taste 
1 large avocado, diced  
1 lime
few sprigs of coriander (cilantro) Optional

In a blender or food processor, puree 3 1/2 cups corn and the stock, thoroughly, until smooth. 
Melt the butter in a stockpot. Add the corn puree and simmer over low heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Stir in the milk, cumin, and garlic. 
Heat to boiling, reduce heat and stir in green chili and Tabasco sauce. 
Add shredded cheese and remaining 1 cup of corn to the simmering soup, and stir until the cheese melts. 
Add salt and pepper to taste. 
Top soup with avocado which has been tossed in the lime juice and some coriander leaves (cilantro). 
Serve with Tortillas.


14 May 2012

Gorgeous Mother's Day

I had a gorgeous Mother's Day.

Mother's and Father's Days around here normally concentrate on sleep-ins and breakfast in bed made by the kids.

This last year both girls have done a lot more cooking and it really showed how much their skills have improved in the meal they produced yesterday. Makes me wish I'd kept a record of what they made each year. I do remember a few tea and toast years, some french toast, and quite a bit of Dad help but can't remember much more.

Anyway this year there was a cup of tea followed by a delicious banana and oat smoothie in bed. 
After leisurely getting up and ready there was a brunch of pumpkin, fakin (vegetarian bacon) and caramelised onion mini quiches and salmon, dill and cream cheese finger sandwiches,    

lemon and cardamon bun and chocolate pastry swirl with a latte to go!

Finally an early afternoon sweet course of lemon and cardamon buns and chocolate pastry swirls with coffee. 


And done with no help - (and all went smoothly except the spilling of milk all over the laptop with the recipe on it which was sitting on kitchen bench!! We need to rethink this habit!! Insurance claim in, fingers crossed!)

I suspect you may see their recipes if you follow Mia's Blog. 

In the afternoon friends lent us their season passes to the netball and we saw our first professional level netball match - NSW Swifts vs Melbourne Vixens. What a game! Swifts won - just - and it was very exciting with a great atmosphere. Always good to try something new. Ian even one a lucky door prize at the after match members event. 

Thank you Gorgeous Girls and Lovely Husband. It was a great day!
Nicola / Mum

Brunch for a cool Autumn Morning

Do you know the "Australian Crawl" song "Beautiful People"? It's a classic piece of Australian 80s Rock from my formative years. It has 2 lines that come back to me from time to time - "Beautiful People - their garden's full of furniture, their house is full of plants" which I just like and "They've got friends who just flew in from L.A." And I sometimes do have those friends - 2 of my very favourite people came for breakfast on Saturday morning - fairly fresh off the plane from LA - Merran, a friend from high school and her nearly one year old baby, Oliver. We feel a special bond with him because we were staying with them when he came home from hospital and for those first few days which was very special.

They came early (due to jet-lag body-clocks and a busy schedule of people to show Oliver to on his first trip to Australia) so I guess it was actually breakfast.

We started with freshly squeezed orange and pineapple juice (well really we started with a round of enthusiastic hugs - but you want to know about the food I expect)

Then we had a fruit and yoghurt breakfast entree.

Honeydew melon, kiwi fruit and fresh figs with greek yoghurt drizzled in honey, whilst playing with Oliver on the rug. 

Next was breakfast main - Eggs Florentine with fried roma tomatoes. I haven't made Hollandaise Sauce since catering college - but will definitely do it again. Found a very detailed recipe on taste.com.au which worked really well. Had one dash to the sink for cold water as the eggs appeared to begin scrambling - but rescued it! So there were:
* toasted wholemeal english muffins, 
* 2 bunches of English Spinach washed and very quickly wilted in melted butter while still a little wet - (I love the colour of the spinach) and then put in a seive for a few minutes to drain)
* poached eggs from our chickens
* lashings of Hollandaise Sauce on top! I used the recipe above, except that I used a white wine vinegar reduction instead of water as the base.

There was also some Roma tomatoes, diced and slowly cooked with salt, pepper and olive oil for the side. 

We took a break to introduce Oliver to chickens and a trampoline - both of which were a hit and then he fell gorgeously asleep on the rug.

Finally Mia made fabulous Ginger Scones for Breakfast dessert with a pot of T2 French Earl Grey Tea. Delicious! I think you'll be able to get the recipe for them on her blog some day soon.

A great way to start the weekend!!


9 May 2012

BiBimBap inspired weeknight meal

I haven't written in so long!!!

Mostly because our meals have been a little uninspiring in light of the overwhelming busy-ness of this household over the last few weeks. Ian and Mia have been away for big chunks of time and there's a lot going on!

I promised myself I'd blog something tonight no matter what. So after working, taking Eva and I to the dentist, helping Eva with maths homework and some research on the Super Moon, cooking dinner, helping test Mia on Japanese Vocabulary for her year 9 exam tomorrow, washing up, re-registering the car on-line and changing the sticker, locking up the chooks and chasing both kids into bed later than is ideal here I am!!!

This was our dinner - a BiBimBap-ish dish!

I love real BibimBap and have made more authentic versions in the past with Kimchi and Marinated soybeans and the authentic Korean Beef. The idea hasn't surfaced for a while but I saw a Bibim Quinoa on Pinterest earlier in the week and was inspired to go there again - but this time as a Vegetarian.

I cooked Rice for the base (White for Eva, Brown for Mia to keep everyone happy!!)

For the Vegies I cooked:-

  • Shiitakes cooked with Ginger, Chilli and Mirin (Yum)
  • Carrot batons, stir fried
  • Wong Bok cabbage and Silverbeet stir-fried
  • Red capsicum slices
  • Fried Japanese eggplant rounds
  • Corn cut off the cob
  • Steamed Green Beans

On top I put an egg. (I am a well-practised egg cook who normally gets them just right -  but was so short of time I quickly fried the eggs in a pan I was already using and managed to over cook them while serving up the other parts!!!)

The mushrooms really make it. They had a lot of flavour and some sauce which stirred through the rest and stood in really well where the meat would normally be.

It was really tasty, nutritious, kept both kids happy (because I only served them the parts they like), used up the things that are left from the vegie co-op and looks lovely on the plate (apart from the overcooked egg!!!) I think I'll work on different versions of this in the future. The only downside was the amount of pans I used!

I've also mixed up all the left-overs as a savoury rice for tomorrows lunch thermoses.

Feels good to rediscover a food you've loved and lost!
Also feels good to have written again.