What a Pearler!

Pearl Couscous with Prawns

I’ve made a decision about couscous – I only like it in very small doses, and by that I really mean, hardly at all.  I haven’t made it since last year when I went out to the shops to buy hair dye and instead came home with couscous (read the post as I really would rather forget that day). I think I liked couscous that day but I’ve decided that I don’t, but will eat it if someone served it up to me, as long as it’s only a little bit.

What I do love however is  Pearl Couscous; I guess because it’s almost like pasta and not really like couscous at all. I love how it holds it’s shape and soaks up any flavour you add to it. Anyway, at the moment, I’m a little addicted to this nutty flavoured little pearler!

I made a rather large salad with it, with prawns, avocado, cherry tomatoes, lime and coriander and there is absolutely none left. My handsome man, who has never eaten this before, just devoured the lot – he’s a mighty good man and I love how much he loved it.

Not much of a post tonight as I’m shattered after a long week at work – I have had to take on a Coordinator position at work in addition to my teaching role, and I just have to get my head around that, my shoulder is killing me and my left shin hurts after my run (must get new runners!) so all I want to do right now is take a pain killer or two, finish my Vodka and drift off into lala land, even though it’s only 9pm on a Friday night.

Here’s the recipe and the pics

Cheers and good times 🙂

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1 juice of a small lime
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup shaoxing wine
  • 1 tblspn sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch pepper 
  • bunch of coriander

Method

  1. Add spices to oil in a deep pan and slightly heat, then add couscous and stir through very well over medium heat for 1 minute.
  2. Add boiling water ( see packet for quantity of water ) to the pan and stir periodically for 8 – 10 minutes.
  3. Once water is absorbed and the couscous is soft remove from heat and stir through 1 teaspoon of olive and then spread out evenly, so that you don’t get any clumps.
  4. Stir carefully about every 5 minutes till the couscous is cooled.
  5. Add more oil to the pan and saute onions then add the prawns and stir until almost cooked then add dressing. Remove prawns once cooked and set aside to cool.
  6. Cut  cherry tomatoes into quarters.
  7. Peel and dice avocado.
  8. Add dressing to the couscous and mix through well.
  9. Add all the other ingredients gently and mix through well.
  10. Top with coriander and lime wedges.
Love fresh ingredients!

Love fresh ingredients!

I could eat this every day!

I could eat this every day!

It’s Ok to Like Chai!

Chai Pistachio Cake

There are many things I try not admit to in my life. One of them is admitting that I was wrong about something or someone. After all I have a reputation to protect. But, there have been a few times in my life where I have had to do just that.

I hated the popular people at school. I was never one of them and never wanted to be. These people would probably say it was because I was jealous but honestly, the thought of feeling smug and beautiful in my stupidity and ignorance just didn’t appeal to me. The very idea of actively pursuing boys by putting on the dumb act was so disturbing to me, it actually gave me nightmares that I would one day turn 15 and become a brain dead boy crazy idiot!

However, I did turn 15 and I did become boy crazy but strangely, I didn’t become an idiot. It was ok to be smart and be boy crazy. So, I set out to over achieve (as usual) in both departments. Let’s just test how smart and boy crazy I can get! As it turned out, I could  get really, really smart and really, really, boy crazy!

I had to admit I was wrong. These girls weren’t stupid because they were boy crazy; they were just stupid…full stop! And, when I bump into them on the street today, they are still stupid – ugly, you can fix – stupid, you are stuck with!

Nor does, as it turns out, liking Chai Lattes transform one into an unwashed hippy who eats nothing but lentils and mung beans (not that there’s anything wrong with lentils or mung beans, I just don’t want to smell like them)…believe me, there is a smell…we hired a girl a couple of years ago (against my advice) – a hippy teacher and she smelt like lentils (she ate them every day). I was glad to say that that was one time I didn’t have to admit I was wrong and the others had to apologise to me.

You see, up until a week ago I had refused to even say the word ‘chai’ out loud for fear of turning all hippy and shit. There was no way in hell I was drinking it! Strong coffee girl right here! But, my friend made one at her place last week while I was there for a scrumptious lunch, and the smell just hit me. Such a delightful, spicy aroma of all my favourites things. She urged, and goaded, dared me even, to try ‘just a little’ she said. ‘I drink it’ she said. ‘I’m not a hippy’ she said…So, I hesitantly sipped and hated to admit that I really, really liked it. I also told her that if we were ever out at a cafe that she must order it for me as I’m still not quite comfortable saying it loud, in public.

So, as I did years ago with the smart and boy crazy thing, I set out to over achieve in the Chai department to see if any signs of hippy crept in…so far, so good!

Needless to say that I am now making my own Chai using whole spices rather than buying the ready made stuff – although they’re pretty good too, just a little too sweet for my liking.

Again, I have had to admit I was wrong. Drinking Chai doesn’t make you a hippy – being a hippy makes you a hippy (not that there’s anything wrong with that – unless you smell like stale, dusty lentils!)

Today, I took it all one step further and made a ‘Chai and Pistachio Cake’ from a recipe I found on a blog called “Making it with Danielle” right here on wordpress.

Hers looks much better than mine

Hers looks much better than mine

Here is the link and recipe to her beautiful cake: (her cake looks much nicer than mine but it was seriously delicious) and the only thing I did differently was use dark muscovado sugar instead of just plain brown sugar – can’t get enough of that stuff and it adds to the spiciness.

http://makingitwithdanielle.com/2013/04/01/chai-pistachio-morning-cake/

My house smells divine!

So yummy...

So yummy…

 

Tastes and smells amazing!

Tastes and smells amazing!

 

 

The Great Aussie Pie

Finally the weather has cooled down. It even rained last night. I may even have to wear something light but with long sleeves. I’ve been reading some of my old posts and came across this one and realised, quite happily, that it’s almost pie night time again! I effn love pie nights!

pantryobsession

Pie Night at Sal’s

My best friend Sally and I have known each other since we were 13 years old. Let’s just say it’s been a friendship that has lasted many, many years.

One of my earliest memories of Sal and I at high school was a very cold day in winter standing in the school yard, freezing. We noticed a couple of kids walking passed eating hot pies with tomato sauce. I don’t know about you but being an Aussie, there is nothing like a steaming hot pie with tomato sauce on a really cold day. Of course you burn the roof of your mouth and scald your lips whereby little blisters pop up but that doesn’t stop you. You know it’s going to happen but you just can’t stop it.

As Sally and I lived close to the school we had lunch passes which meant we could leave…

View original post 929 more words

Cleaning out the Fridge

Grilled Lebanese Zucchini with Spicy Yoghurt

I think I have posted every day this week, maybe even 2 posts per day, I’m not sure.  I do know however that I have spent a hell of a lot of time on wordpress lately, checking out new blogs and looking through others I haven’t read for a while. Somehow I managed to finish reading a novel today, which I had only started reading last night, and still managed to cook, take photos and cook.

I even cleaned out the fridge, which is where I found a bag of Lebanese Zucchini (or baby marrow or itty bitty courgettes), and to my surprise they were still ok.

So, I sliced them and coated them in the same spice mix and olive oil I used on Mondays’ ‘souzoukakia’ and Tuesdays’ pumpkin soup and grilled them. I also had half a tub of Greek yoghurt left over so I made a garlic yoghurt dip thingy and served that up with the zucchini and some wonderful crusty bread and feta cheese.

After all my posting over the last few days, this is all I can cope with at the mo’

Check ya later 🙂

Get them ready, slice them and spice them up!

Get them ready, slice them and spice them up!

Grill them and make the dip.

Grill them and make the dip.

Serve, eat and be happy!

Serve, eat and be happy!

Happy Anniversary Baby!

It’s been a year!

Wow! WordPress just notified me that it’s our anniversary! I feel a little embarrassed that I didn’t remember. I haven’t planned anything or at the very least bought a card! It’s been a year since I registered with wordpress and started posting – Happy Anniversary Baby and sorry I forgot – but to celebrate this milestone I’m including the following links to my very first two food posts, which I posted on the same day, just to reminisce a bit and feel all warm and fuzzy, as well as to see how my writing and food may or may not have changed over the year.

Here they are:

https://pantryobsession.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/greek-easter-biscuits/

https://pantryobsession.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/wherere-the-salada-biscuits/

Happy blogging and cooking 🙂 🙂

Oops! Sorry and I Forgot!

Awards I haven’t acknowledged and feel really bad about!

The first time I received a blogging award I was so excited and quickly set out to follow the rules and respond – it took me the whole day!

Now, they are easier to respond to but I have a tendency to forget to do it…and I apologise to those who bestowed these awards upon me:

http://foodisthebestshitever.wordpress.com/ and http://feedthepiglet.wordpress.com/

I don’t do it deliberately but I really do forget and when I do remember it’s at really odd times, like at 3am or in the middle of a class I’m teaching. Something will trigger my memory and I usually let out a little gasp and think “Oh Shit!” and then as quickly as it entered my head, it’s gone again…the price you pay for having a great time in the late 80’s and early 90’s when the pub/music scene was awesome in Melbourne!

So, I’m going to respond to them together in this post…here goes:

Thank you to the above food bloggers – seriously love reading your stuff – entertaining, great food and photos and I do look forward to your posts. I may go off the radar for a while, but that’s usually just with the writing and posting. I still read your posts and enjoy them immensely – you rock my foodblogging world!

Firstly, I received the ‘food is the best thing ever’ award from  http://foodisthebestshitever.wordpress.com/, next came the ‘Blog of 2012 award’ from http://feedthepiglet.wordpress.com/ and finally yesterday I received another ward from those cooky characters at ‘foodisthebestshitever’ and that was a very strange looking award indeed: the “Illuminating blogger award” huh! who comes up with these award titles?

Anyway cheers and I will provide a few random things about myself: I love blue Cheese, I own more than 50 pairs of boots plus I don’t know how many pairs of shoes, I would like to live in Europe but I would miss the food stores here and I don’t like sub zero temperatures, I’m addicted to Vampire Porn (aka True Blood series), and finally, I am totally prepared for the zombie apocalypse!

Next time I will get around to nominating 5 bloggers for awards but you know that the two of you will be receiving them so no great surprise there!

great shit right here!

great shit right here!

This award brought tears to my eyes!
This award brought tears to my eyes!

...and this was just plain weird but love it anyway!
…and this was just plain weird but love it anyway!

Soup, Sex and Pink Floyd

Pumpkin Soup

I think pumpkin soup is one of my favourites. The weather is still quite warm and not exactly soup weather but I had a craving as well as pumpkin that needed to be used sitting in the fridge.

My holidays so far have consisted of lots of naps, reading and cooking. I could do this shit for a living!

Maybe, just maybe, I belong to the wrong era. Maybe, I could have been the perfect 1950’s housewife. I could shop for food, cook, wash clothes, raise a child, get my hair done, take Prozac, have an afternoon lie down and prepare nice cocktails for me and my man when he got home from work and sex would be easy – just lie there and do nothing until it was all over – hell, I could nap through it!

Actually, I do most of that now (except the sex bit – what can I say, I’m an over achiever)

Nah! I couldn’t be a 1950’s housewife (didn’t like the dresses and I’m not a white court shoe girl – I’m more your 1960’s go – go girl with the white knee high boots, false eyelashes and psychedelic clothes, dancing in a cage!

I have a theory that everyone should work like I do – 10 weeks of bloody hard work then 2 weeks off -then 12 weeks of more bloody hard work and another 2 weeks off – restores and regenerates the mind and body – people would be more productive, happy, eat better food and have more sex! A much nicer society to live in –  modern day Prozac should also be compulsory, to be taken each night after the evening meal with a big shot of Vodka, recreating the kind of calm you felt when you were 18yrs old after smoking dope and listening to ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Pink Floyd.

None of this has any relevance to the soup. It’s just rambling…and the title of the post is just some random words from here that sounded good when chucked together!

Ok, time to get back to the soup, which was the whole point of this post in the first place – I know it was just getting interesting but the whole point of this blog is to post about food not delve into my murky life.

Sometimes making soup gives me the simplicity I crave in my cooking (in other words, too lazy to do anything else) – simple to make but nothing simple about the flavour.

Firstly choose your favourite type of pumpkin – I’m a butternut pumpkin fan; cut it in chunks – peel 6 – 8 small onions (keep them whole, don’t chop) – 6 garlic cloves (whole, don’t peel) – slather the whole thing in olive oil, salt pepper, fresh oregano and rosemary and the spice mix I used in the meat balls last night – refer to this post for the ingredients: https://pantryobsession.wordpress.com/slasher-movie-hangover/ and bake in a hot oven until everything looks and smells wonderful.

Delicious goodness

Delicious goodness

Take out of the oven and transfer to a saucepan (remember to squeeze the garlic out of its skin before you add them to the pot) and add stock (chicken or vegetable stock – it’s up to you) and simmer until the stock has taken on all the flavours of the roasted pumpkin, onions and garlic.

All baked and ready for the pot

All baked and ready for the pot

 

the stock is awesome!

the stock is awesome!

Turn off and allow to cool for a while then use a stick blender to whizz everything together until nicely smooth and creamy. Spoon into bowls, add a dollop of sour crean and crunchy bacon bits and enjoy with crusty bread.

I love bacon!

I love bacon!

So dreamy and creamy!

So dreamy and creamy!

Slasher Movie Hangover

Souzoukakia (Greek Meatballs in tomato sauce)

It was a big day/night yesterday. Meat pies and sausage rolls for lunch, kilos of chocolate, 2 large bags of potato chips and of course, the obligatory alcohol to go with our ‘Friday the 13th’ movie marathon – 10 movies and I have to admit we only got to number 8 – finishing that at 5am and realising that I was still the only one awake – (the other two had dozed off) – I made everyone go to bed!

So, I’m the Queen of staying up late and sitting through all of mummy’s boy, Jason Voorhees’ kills. However, the most horrific thing about these films is not necessarily all the slashing, mincing and dicing but the ‘acting’. The acting is so poor that these films are borderline some of the best comedies I have ever seen and some of the characters are so unlikable that you just don’t give a shit what happens to them.  In fact some of them are so awful that you find yourself on the side of the killer – egging Jason on – “Oh that asshole needs to die in the most horribly gruesome way!” and cheering for “Good ‘ol Jas” when he impales that obnoxious blonde rich boy on the back of an old man’s truck.

I don’t quite know what this says about the people who make these films or the people who watch and enjoy them but they are fun. We all agreed that we liked Jason best in the later films, where he maintained a steady walk in pursuit of his victims, not the running he did in the earlier films – which is why I’m a much bigger fan of the ‘Halloween’ movies with Michael Myers – the slasher King of slasher movies!

Of course this meant a slow day for me today and a pounding headache. I still had to be up early, so not much sleep was had but I did manage, after dropping my daughter off at work and a quick trip to the butcher, to squeeze in 2 nanna naps on the couch with the dog – she stayed up too but by film number 6 she was well and truly over it as well as out of it.

I managed to grumble something to the butcher about mincing up some beef for me and as he did so, my mind drifted off to various scenes from the previous nights’ gore fest – I imaged limbs and eye balls being pushed and squeezed through the mincer. Combined with my fuzzy head from the alcohol and my queazy gut from all the junk we ate, it took every bit of strength I had to stay upright. But as I was the Queen of staying up late, drinking and watching slasher movies, I knew I had a reputation to protect, so upright I stood, and even managed a smile for the butcher.

I kinda figured that I may as well combine the beef mince I had bought with the pork mince I had defrosted overnight and make a Greek dish called ‘souzoukakia’ (say it as it’s spelt).  I don’t actually know what the literal translation is for this, I just know that this is what they are called.  They’re oval shaped spiced meat balls fried and then cooked in a tomato sauce and are usually served with steamed rice or roast potatoes and salad. We went with the steamed rice. They are so incredibly tasty with all the spices and white wine in them and it was quite good to sit on the kitchen stool, stare off into space and roll them.

Overall I would say that I did rather well today considering I felt like 10 different types of pooh!

Some good shit right here:

Ingredients

Mince

1 kilo mince – I used a combination of beef and pork but you can use whatever you like.

5 cloves garlic

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 – 3  slices thick soaked crustless bread

1 egg

salt, pepper

oil for frying

flour for coating

Spice Blend

4 tspn ground coriander

4 tspn ground cumin

2 tspn sweet paprika

1 tspn ground nutmeg

1 tspn cinnamon

1/2 tspn ground cloves

1/2 tspn cayenne pepper

Tomato Sauce

2 tins crushed tomatoes

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup water

1 tsp butter

1/2 tspn cinnamon and 1/2 tspn allspice

Method

Put all the mince and spice ingredients into a large bowl and knead well. Use your hands for this – it’s the only way.

get yer shit together

get yer shit together

Mould the mixture into small rolls of longish shape and coat them with flour.

shape them nicely

shape them nicely

Not too much flour

Not too much flour

Heat oil in large frying pan and fry until half done. Remove souzoukakia from pan and prepare sauce. Bring the sauce to the boil for 5 mins then turn down heat. Before the sauce thickens, add the little fried mince rolls and allow them to slowly boil on low heat for a further 10 – 15 mins.

Bubbly awesomness!

Bubbly awesomness!

Do I really need to tell you how to steam rice? – No, I thought not!

Serve with rice…Mmmmm…delish 🙂

eat! eat! eat!

eat! eat! eat!

When my little chickens sleep over!

Lemon Pepper Chicken Strips

I think I’m a good auntie but I don’t have my niece and nephew stay over very often. So, after promising them a sleep over about a year ago, they finally came over tonight. They only live 5 mins away and we do see each other regularly but they were so excited to sleep over tonight and to be honest, so were we!.

I have another nephew and he will be 21yrs old in July but I thought it would be fun to invite him over too. Here’s the message I sent to my almost 21yr old nephew…“Hi honey, Luke and Mia are coming for a sleep over on Friday night. Do you want to come too? We can make fairy floss!”

Yes, that’s right, I attempted to entice my ‘almost a man’ nephew to come over on a Friday night with fairy floss – and guess what? – It worked! Although he did mis-read my text and thought I was making ‘fairy bread’ – don’t know if that’s any less strange but hey, we made fairy bread too. My nephew is no lonely loser with nothing to do on a Friday night (that would be me!). He has lots of mates and goes out regularly. It is purely because I’m the coolest most awesome auntie who cooks great food for him and he loves to shit stir me. Last time he came over I made him a tub of vanilla ice cream but told him I wanted my tupperware back, so he wrapped up the empty tub and gave it to me for Christmas – smart arse runs in my family!

These chicken strips don’t look like much but taste great. Placed in wraps with a mustard mayo and salad, they are crunchy on the outside and the chicken is nice and tangy and juicy on the inside.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts fillets, trimmed and coated in olive oil, lemon juice and garlic
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 1 lemon, rind finely grated
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • extra-light olive oil, for frying

Method

Preheat oven to 130°C. Place chicken between 2 sheets plastic wrap. Pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until 4mm thick. Coat chicken in marinade.

Combine flour and salt and pepper on a large plate. Lightly whisk eggs in a shallow dish. Combine breadcrumbs, lemon rind, parsley and sage in a separate shallow dish.

Lightly coat chicken in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg then coat in breadcrumb mixture, pressing crumbs on with fingertips to secure.

Place 1 tablespoon butter in a large frying pan. Pour oil into pan until 1cm deep. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Cook schnitzels, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden. Drain on paper towel. Place on a baking tray in oven to keep warm while cooking remaining schnitzels.

Once you are ready to eat cut them into strips and place in warm wraps. Top with salad and a mustard mayonnaise  then roll up and enjoy!…hehehe…I served up chicken to my chickens!

crunchy chicken strips

crunchy chicken strips

A night of great fun was had – blue fairy floss – fairy bread – followed by all my 4 chickens (my daughter included) and us watching “Wreck it Ralf” on the huge 3D screen we have in the lounge, all nicely tucked up on the recliners…they are awesome children and it’s true what they say…nieces and nephews get their awesomness from their auntie…

Best Christmas present ever!

Best Christmas present ever!

The men ate all the fairy bread - I love men who love fairy bread!

The men ate all the fairy bread – I love men who love fairy bread!

Left Overs

Baked Rigatoni with Lamb

While I’m in a communicative mood I’m going to post, post, post as I really have no idea how long this mood will last. I am never quite sure how my mood will affect my ability to write, think, be nice, cook and whatever else. At times I completely surprise myself by the things I do and at other times I surprise myself by not being surprised at all by the things I do…

Things I’ve done this week – I spent almost a whole day sleeping, only getting out of bed to visit the little girl’s room (twice) or to make coffee (again, twice) – Yes, I’m one of those people who can drink coffee and go straight to sleep. I  followed my sleepy, lazy day by pulling everything out of my wardrobe and undertaking a major cull – 4 garbage bags of clothes and more than 20 pairs of shoes are still sitting in the boot of my car, ready for the local op shops – was it to downsize? – Don’t be stupid – It was purely to make room for new stock – it’s nearly boot season after all.

I have a confession to make you see. I may seem like a cool dudette who loves loud music and could out drink you in Vodka but I have a weakness for shopping – mainly shoes – usually boots! To be fair, I do keep things for a very long time so some of the shoes I got rid of I have had for more than 10 years. Remember that my blog is called ‘pantryobsession’ – my pantry is just one obsession I’m afraid and I’m picky about the things I buy and how they are stored…don’t judge me, it doesn’t make me superficial, it just makes me…superspecial…and don’t worry, I won’t exactly be going barefoot – I still have a substantial amount of shoes sitting snuggly and safely in my wardrobe.

...or it really is just because I'm a Gemini...

…or it really is just because I’m a Gemini…

Then I spent a day watching cooking shows and I’m feeling a little inspired. Food Safari tonight featured Afghan food – just wonderful and now have a few more ideas about what to do with all the home grown chillies I have. Looks like an Afghan feast coming up this weekend. In a round about way I’m getting closer to the point of this story, I promise. Actually it’s not much of a story really and there’s not really a point…but anyway!

Yesterday’s slow cooked lamb got in me in the mood for some more cooking and my thoughts began to drift towards what I would do with the left over lamb.

Usually I slice it up and make some baked risoni in a tomato sauce and add the lamb and top with strands of Greek Kaseri cheese – this is just so tasty but alas, I wasn’t able to find any risoni – very strange indeed! Where had all the risoni gone? I tried two delis, both places filled with every type of pasta imaginable but no risoni! Were the local Greeks hoarding it all? What was going on?

I used rigatoni instead and it was just so good…told you it wasn’t much of a story…I couldn’t find risoni so I used rigatoni…Pfft!

No recipe required here…slice up left over lamb (chuck in the bones too for flavour), add pasta and pour over hot water with tomato paste. I scrape all the bits of herbs that have fallen off the lamb onto the plate in there as well for extra flavour. Top with grated Greek Kaseri Cheese and bake in the oven…too simple and too good!

Love my shoes, my food and my mad, mad world 🙂

Good use of left overs.

Good use of left overs.