The Hangover Breakfast

Grease Is The Word!

There has been a lot written about hangover cures – cold pizza, hamburgers and fries and indeed anything greasy to ginger based drinks to sports drinks and even getting stuck right back in – hair of the dog!

There’s a huge list of do’s and don’ts and believe it or not, greasy food is on the don’t list – although I suspect that many of us don’t believe it and reach for a bacon toastie or a fried egg sanga.

Having had a few hangovers over the last couple of months I can tell you that drinking lots of water is good and then getting plenty of sleep but I think my favourite hangover food was my fried Turkish bread – one with tomato chutney and melted cheese and the other with a fried egg.

There’s something about fried bread – it’s not something I do very often at all – in fact I cannot remember the last time I ate it. But, it was just the thing on this particular morning – mind you not too early in the morning – this was more a lunch thing after about a litre of water.

No recipe just photos.

homemade spicy tomato chutney with melted cheese!

homemade spicy tomato chutney with melted cheese!

At least the eggs were organic!

At least the eggs were organic!

Two Very Different Types of Soup!

Greek Bean Soup (Fasolada) and Miso Soup

I have so much to catch up on in the bloglovin’ world. So much food has gone down and I’ve been away so long that it’s taking time to sort through all the pics and recipes.

I also realise that it is Spring here and maybe you feel that soup shouldn’t be on the menu. Did I mention how schizo Melbourne weather has been lately? Soup weather it was indeed!

I had a need for comfort so I called my mum and requested her bean soup for dinner the next night – sometimes, only mum’s cooking will do.

Being the wonderful mumma bear that she is, she made it for me and even got dad to deliver it to my door in time for dinner the following night. How’s that for service? I never do this to my parents and yes I decided to take advantage of their good nature,  just this once – hey don’t judge! I was in a bad way emotionally but curiously still hungry!

It was lovely – comforting and filling. Love my mum!

Greek Bean Soup (Fasolada)

Ingredients

1 – 2 cups haricot beans
1 large onion grated
2 carrots diced
1 tablespoons roughly chopped celery leaves
1 red hot chilli pepper
½ tablespoon tomato paste
150 ml slightly concentrated tomato juice
150 ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
Method
Soak the beans overnight.
The next day put the beans in a deep pan with enough water to cover them.
Boil them, but before they come to the boil remove with a wooden spoon the froth that comes up to the surface.
After they come to the boil simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the beans and drain them in a colander.
Put them back in the pan and add enough boiled water to cover them. (about 2 fingers above the surface of the beans)
Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour or more – until the beans are tender.
Wonderful 🙂
IMG_1545

The following evening I made a very different soup. I needed restoration and a different flavour altogether. So, I headed down the Miso Soup path. The recipe called for soba noodles but that sounded too much like ‘sober’ and I wasn’t feeling anywhere near sober/a so I used udon noodles – plus that’s all I had. I had made some Miso soup the week before with ginger marinated tofu but I just wasn’t feeling the vegetarian thing that night so I made it with a chargrilled chicken fillet on the side – on the side is good!

Chargrilled Chicken, Udon Noodles Miso Soup

Ingredients

1 chicken breast
750ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon red or white miso paste
3cm piece of ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 small packet udon noodles
Chinese broccoli, roughly chopped

Marinade

2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon mirin

Method

To make the marinade, combine the hoisin sauce, fish sauce and mirin. Add the chicken breast and toss well. Set aside for an hour; overnight in the fridge is even better.

Chargrill or grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes each side until cooked. Place the chicken stock, miso paste, ginger and garlic in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the udon noodles and chinese broccoli and cook for 3 minutes or until the noodles are just cooked.

Slice the chicken on the diagonal and place on the noodles and broth. I topped mine with coriander because I love coriander!

This is enough for 2 people and I invited my bestie over and just enjoyed the wonderful restorative, clean flavours.

IMG_1565

Easy but not necessarily cheap!

I managed to get away from home last week. My bestie and I headed down the coast for a few days of eating, drinking and general slothliness. The weather has been totally schizo here in Melbourne – worse than usual!

So we left on a really warm but wildly windy morning, enjoyed a very warm and calm evening and woke to a freezing cold, miserable rainy with hail day the next day – schizo, yes, but perfect for lounging.

We had brought so much food with us – we did not need to leave the house for anything! Good  thing considering the weather.

Of course time away for me means plenty of cheese, avocado, bread and wine – so I bought lots!

I bought my favorites: Roquefort, D’affinois and Jarlsberg! The bread was still warm when we bought it and I chargrilled some zucchini and capsicum…so good!

Nigella Lawson made this wonderful ‘dip’ in an old episode and I have been making it ever since.

Roquamole – easy to make, not cheap but definitely worth it!

Ingredients
1 cup crumbled Roquefort
1/4 cup sour cream
2 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons finely sliced spring onions
1/4 cup jarred sliced pickled green jalapeños (I also added red chillies)
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions
Crumble or mash the blue cheese with the sour cream in a bowl. Mash in the avocados. If they are ripe, a fork should be all you need. Roughly chop the sliced jalapenos and stir them into the mixture along with the finely sliced spring onions.  Add red chiilies if you like – I like!!!!!

Toast some Turkish bread rolls and spoon this on top – or on crackers or even just by the spoonful.

IMG_1557IMG_1559

Hold The Oil…

So, when I set out to make this wonderful dinner for myself on Friday night, I had a sneaky suspicion that not all would go to plan. I thought the chicken might not be crispy or that the flavours wouldn’t be quite right or that I would forget to add something.

I planned and orgnised everything well in advance – you need to do this when deep frying in a very, very hot wok or indeed stir frying anything. Get everything ready – it’s hot, quick and you most certainly do not want limp stir fried veggies – actually limp is not good in a lot of situations! (and not just in the kitchen!)

There does come a point however, when you do need to slow down. And that, dear readers, is when you are pouring out the hot oil from the wok into a bowl in order to begin stage two of you cooking. The Vietnamese crispy chicken tasted awesome and was sitting on the platter waiting for the simple veggies to be stir fried.

Sounds simple enough…Right?

I was in fast mode and not a drop of alcohol had been consumed. As I poured the hot oil into the bowl I totally missed and you guessed it – poured that oil right over Mr. Thumbkin and Mr. Pointer (why are they male?)

Yep, that’s right folks, not only were the stir fried veggies off the menu for the evening but I was bringing along some stir fried digits just for the hell of it – and my chicken went cold!

Yes, I did the cold water thing for 20 mins but my fingers were still boiling hot so an hour later I was finally able to take my hands out of the bowl of water that needed to be changed every 10 mins because it was heating up – such was the level of heat coming out of my skin. A visit to the chemist where they applied gel and a bandage and off I went home and begrudgingly ate my cold chicken, called my best friend who came over with some wine (bless her cotton socks!), drank way too much wine, baked yo yo biscuits, sent some drunken texts, sang really loud to some bad 70s songs and passed out at some point.

I haven’t had a Friday night like that in a while!

Tonight, I thought it best to get right back on the wok that burnt me and made my stir fried veggies for dinner. I will post both photos together like I ate them together like I was supposed to. Yes, I did manage to take photos of the chicken before I deep fried myself!

Just wasn’t the same but the veggies were a nice healthy dinner tonight.

Marinating the chicken.

Marinating the chicken.

Frying that chicken - 5 mins away from contact!!!

Frying that chicken – 5 mins away from contact!!!

Waiting for the veggies - they never turned up - My chicken had been stood up...

Waiting for the veggies – they never turned up – My chicken had been stood up…

Simple and delicious!...

Simple and delicious!…

I may dress in the typical Melbourne black but I like to eat in colour!

I may dress in the typical Melbourne black but I like to eat in colour!

Ingredients:

  • chicken thigh fillets, cut into pieces & marinated in the following.
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese wine or shao hsing wine
  • 6 tablespoons water

Sweet potato flour for coating before frying.  You can  use cornflour but sweet potato flour gives a more crispy texture. Sometimes I use coconut flour.

Method

  • Toss the chicken in sweet potato flour.
  • Heat a deep frying pan, add enough oil to deep fry the chicken.
  • When the oil is smoking hot, turn off the stove, and add the chicken.  Immediately turn the stove on again to a high heat, stir the chicken to prevent them from sticking.
  • Fry chicken until it is golden brown.
  • Don’t fry your fingers!

Dunk chicken in awesome Vietnamese dipping sauce and eat with stir fried veggies – or in my case – Not!

…and drunken yo yo biscuits!

hmmm...not quite sure I remember making these!

hmmm…not quite sure I remember making these!

Freeform and rustic - wondered where they came from when I woke up this morning!

Freeform and rustic – wondered where they came from when I woke up this morning!

Creamy Pasta Bolognese (Pastitsio)

There is nothing special about this. I’m not a chef nor am I an exceptional, super refined, make everything look awesome type of cook. I just have an absolute love of how food makes me feel.

My mother began her work as a domestic at The Freemasons Hospital in Melbourne in the 1950s – without a word of English, she cleaned, mopped, swept and changed sheets on beds – she pushed trolleys and was always on time for work and never missed a day. Her boss liked her and promoted her to the kitchen.

There weren’t any Greeks working in the kitchen so mum learned to speak English very quickly. My grandmother was a wonderful cook and had taught my mother a thing or two about food. Mum was pretty disgusted with the quality of food and how it was being prepared at the hospital. She remembers quite clearly a day when she became very frustrated watching the cook trying to make a simple dish – with very little English and a lot of nerve, mum pushed the cook aside and took over the preparation of the dish – she became the head cook there with no qualifications and not being able to read or write a single word in English. They just told her what was to be prepared and she did it…and she did it for the next 30 years!

She had her photo taken and published in the newspaper in the 1970s with the Prime Minister of the time (Malcolm Fraser) who was in that hospital for an operation and was genuinely shocked with the quality of the food – he asked to meet the cook as hospital food is never good and wanted to know who was preparing his meals. Of course his meals were being specially prepared for him – by my mother and a very small team of people – you couldn’t dish up the same crap you gave to the common folk now could you!

So, this is how my love for food began – I watched mum and listened and shopped with her. She taught me to make this when I was about 8 years old – I had to make the béchamel sauce and I remember the milk splattering all over me and mum telling me ‘a little at a time’ and ‘whisk gently until combined…now add more…’ always grate fresh nutmeg in’… sometimes she would slap my hand and take the whisk and say “watch – learn!”

So, mum had come over on Tuesday and we had lunch and a glass of wine together and I made this while she was at my place and gave her half  to take home to share with dad. Yes, it would have been much easier for dad to come over to eat as this is not easy to cut up while it’s hot but as dad said… “Nah, can’t be arsed moving from the couch – Greek news is on – send some home will ya!” – Yep, that’s my dad!

It’s pure comfort food and reminds me of my childhood.

I guess there is something very special about this after all.

You are meant to let it set and cut it in squares - but I can never wait that long!

You are meant to let it set and cut it in squares – but I can never wait that long!

I just love it creamy like this!

I just love it creamy like this!

Holds its shape better and tastes even more wonderful the next day!

Holds its shape better and tastes even more wonderful the next day!

Enjoy

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  •  ground beef (or ground lamb, or a mixture of both)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bottle tomato puree/pasata
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (or Kefalotyri if available)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pkg. #2 Macaroni for Pastitsio. You can substitute with rigatoni or penne. I used these shell like ones because that’s what I had.
  • 4 egg whites (reserve the yolks for bechamel sauce)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • For the bechamel sauce:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 litre milk, warmed
  • 8 egg yolks, beaten lightly
  • a pinch or two of ground nutmeg

Begin with the Meat Filling:

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add ground beef and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.  Add onions and cook until they are translucent, about 5 minutes more.

Add wine, tomato sauce, parsley, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and allow sauce to simmer over low heat for about 20 – 30 mins. I really like to cook it down and not too watery at all.  While sauce is simmering put water on to boil for pasta.

Cook pasta noodles according to package directions and drain well.  Rinse noodles in colander under cold water to cool them slightly.

Melt 1/2 cup butter in pasta pot and return cooked noodles to the pot. Stir in beaten egg whites and 1 cup of grated cheese and toss lightly, being careful not to break the noodles.

Brush the bottom and sides of the lasagna pan with olive oil. Layer the bottom with half the pasta noodles and press down so that they are somewhat flat.

Add the meat filling in an even layer to the pasta. Top with remaining pasta noodles and flatten top layer as best you can.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C degrees while you prepare the béchamel  sauce.

Bechamel Sauce:

Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Using a whisk, add flour to melted butter whisking continuously to make a smooth paste or roux. Allow the flour/butter mixture to cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.

Add warmed milk to mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Simmer over low heat until it thickens but does not boil.

Remove from heat and stir in beaten egg yolks. Add pinch of nutmeg. If sauce still needs to thicken, return to heat and cook over very low heat while continuing to stir.

One way to tell if the béchamel sauce is thick enough is to dip your wooden spoon in the sauce and draw your finger across the back of the spoon. If the sauce holds a visible line then it is thick enough.

Pour the bechamel over the pasta noodles making sure to pour sauce down in to the corners as well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan (or Greek equivalent) cheese. Bake in 180C degree oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the top is a nice golden color.

Another Risotto

I think I’ve been making a different risotto once a week now for quite a while. I just can’t get enough.

I have loads of time on my hands and there’s a certain type of comfort I feel in standing and stirring the pot, only taking a break in order to sip my wine. I feel special – not, ‘don’t eat the paste’ special but happy and in love with the knowledge that making risotto is not a scary or indeed a fussy thing at all – I love making it and certainly love eating it.

I had brunched with the girls earlier in the day – I know right! – brunched! – Pft – so wanky but there you have it – we brunched! On my way home I found myself wandering through an amazing international grocers and found a wondrous collection of mushrooms and bags of carnaroli rice – dinner for the evening was set.

My parents have this thing for dropping by with huge amounts of things they find on special – so, another 5 kilo bag of red onions were begging to be used. Last time they did this I made French Onion Soup but as it’s just me here on my little lonesome now, that wasn’t an option.

I spent half the afternoon slicing onions and the other half caramelizing them. I now have a jar of sweet caramalised onions just waiting to be added to whatever they go with.

Mushroom and Caramalised Onion Risotto it was…and it was all mine! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • butter and olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • whatever mushrooms you like just use lots of them
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons dried herbs – I used an Italian mix
  • 1 cup carnaroli or aborio rice – I used carnaroli
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 litre (approx) vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon good flaky salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to garnish
  • some more butter and parmesan
  • caramalised onions

Place oil and half the butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Cook onions stirring, for 6-8 minutes until soft. Add garlic and rice, stirring to coat grains, then add wine and simmer for 1-2 minutes or until almost evaporated. Stir in stock, a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 20 minutes or until al dente (you may not need all the stock – I didn’t).

Drink wine while you do this otherwise go away and don’t make it!

Melt remaining 30g butter in a pan over high heat. Add the caramelized onions and chopped mushrooms and fry for 4 -5 minutes or until mushrooms are golden. Season.

Add the onions and mushrooms to the risotto and stir through. Add more butter and parmesan – love this risotto really creamy but not soupy so make sure you don’t over do the stock.

Serve risotto immediately and make lots of ‘mmmmm and aaahhhhh’ noises – drink wine with it… 🙂 🙂 🙂

lovely ingredients

lovely ingredients

 

 

mmmmeeeeaaatttt - for vegetarians!

mmmmeeeeaaatttt – for vegetarians!

 

frying the onions and mushrooms together makes the house smell awesome!

frying the onions and mushrooms together makes the house smell awesome!

 

I make myself so happy!

I make myself so happy!

 

 

 

What Have You Been Up To…?

Uh Oh! I went AWOL again!

To say that this year has been a big one for me would be an understatement. But life is what life is – and that is – it’s just life!

So, what have you been up to?

Here’s a brief overview of what’s been going on my end of town…

1. New position at work = work overload = too tired to do anything but sleep.

2. My daughter left for Europe six weeks ago and won’t be back for another six weeks = miss her but getting loads of presents…my favourite being the chef’s hat she bought me from Paris!

3. I ate quinoa – finally – made my own quinoa tabbouleh = hooked on the stuff.

4. I am now a single woman (after 5 years! Damn!) = I wonder if it was the quinoa?

5. Went to the wineries with the girls = shit load of wine just chillin’ out waiting for me to say ‘come to mumma baby.’

6. 2 weeks school holidays now over but I have another 2 weeks off on paid leave = Yay! Time to drink that wine!

7. Did a huge meat shopping trip = freezer is full so don’t have to get out of my pyjamas for the next 2 weeks!

8. Made my own parmesan/herb focaccia today = too lazy to get dressed and go to the shops to buy bread.

9. Took the dog for a walk/run/walk/run this afternoon…this of course is an out right lie…I had a snooze!

10. Woke up from snooze and wrote this…

…and…yes folks, all in that order!

Here are some pics of what I’ve been cooking and remembered to photograph!

Saying farewell to my daughter for 3 months!

Saying farewell to my daughter for 3 months!

Super huge meatballs! If they're not super huge, they just aint meatballs!

Super huge meatballs! If they’re not super huge, they just aint meatballs!

Ricotta pancakes with my home made salted caramel and sliced bananas - this was dinner for me one night!

Ricotta pancakes with my home made salted caramel and sliced bananas – this was dinner for me one night!

This was another gourmet dinner for me - blackberry, banana, honey, almond milk (how do you milk almonds?) and chia seeds - super shake!

This was another gourmet dinner for me – blackberry, banana, honey, almond milk (how do you milk almonds?) and chia seeds – super shake!

Thought I should eat something substantial so I made this kick ass saffron and porcini mushroom risotto!

Thought I should eat something substantial so I made this kick ass saffron and porcini mushroom risotto!

Mum gave me a whole squid to clean and cook - bless her! So, another risotto it was - but I like this one more on the soupy side - just like my mum used to make it for me when I was a kid! My favourite food of all time!

Mum gave me a whole squid to clean and cook – bless her! So, another risotto it was – but I like this one more on the soupy side – just like my mum used to make it for me when I was a kid! My favourite food of all time!

Getting things ready for that quinoa tabbouli :)

Getting things ready for that quinoa tabbouli 🙂

Ta Daaaaa!!! I lived on this for the next couple of days!

Ta Daaaaa!!! I lived on this for the next couple of days!

oops...forgot about the lack of red meat in my diet - succulent spicy beef.

oops…forgot about the lack of red meat in my diet – succulent spicy beef.

Put it all together - toasted afghan bread topped with that awesome tabbouli, beef and lemon and dill spicy assed mustard.

Put it all together – toasted afghan bread topped with that awesome tabbouli, beef and lemon and dill spicy assed mustard.

Had an urge to make my grandma's fried flat breads - plain and simple. I used to eat these with crumbled feta cheese on top and rolled up - food from the heart!

Had an urge to make my grandma’s fried flat breads – plain and simple. I used to eat these with crumbled feta cheese on top and rolled up – food from the heart!

I love how yeast is so...yeasty!

I love how yeast is so…yeasty!

I know there's the pleasure of kneading dough by hand but I figure that's what dough hooks are for!

I know there’s the pleasure of kneading dough by hand but I figure that’s what dough hooks are for!

Gettin' that parmesan and herb focaccia ready for the oven!

Gettin’ that parmesan and herb focaccia ready for the oven!

Straight out of the oven...

Straight out of the oven…

...and...topped with avocado, tomato, cheese, mustard and all sorts of yummies - went down a treat with a glass of chilled Pinot Gris!!!

…and…topped with avocado, tomato, cheese, mustard and all sorts of yummies – went down a treat with a glass of chilled Pinot Gris!!!

So, there you have it – the last 3 – 4 months on one page! A bit sad isn’t it? Maybe not!

Not sure when I will be back writing on a more regular basis but rest assured that I do visit your blogs and enjoy reading and thinking about your food!!

Cheers people 🙂