Saturday, 31 August 2013

Friday's kitchen adventures!

What a day Friday was in the kitchen.
I put all my sewing work aside and immersed myself in cooking, baking, and food preparation for the weekend ahead. Truly, I was in a blissful state of heart.
Breakfast was a bowl of my sprouted buckwheat granola, which is fast running out...
I served it with strawberries and soy milk...
...and then soaked a fresh batch of buckwheat kernels to sprout.
I also soaked some medium grain rice in some warm water and whey for a baked rice pudding on Saturday night.

The rye sour dough starter I began a few days ago was ready for me to turn it into bread...
Years ago I used to make bread completely by hand every day, but after surgery on my a finger in 2010 I've never had the same level of sustained strength to knead for twenty minutes. However, I still start my dough by hand when making sour dough bread because I need to 'feel' the dough in order to be satisfied with my ingredients - I don't measure anything you see! 
When I'm pleased with the consistency I put the dough in my bread maker for kneading and the first rise.

After that first rise I take the dough out and give it a quick knead before shaping it for the second rise, and adding a few slashes across the top for the bread to 'spread out and up'...
30 minutes later the bread was ready for the oven. It's always warm in the tropics so bread rises very quickly...
 I used my hot stone for the baking, and 40 minutes later this delicious loaf was ready!

The Labne cheese I made the day before was lavishly spread across slices for our lunch - yum!

Next on my recipe list was homemade orange and passionfruit jelly. No sugar; just orange juice, strained passionfruit, a little water, and gelatine. The perfect dessert...

With strawberries at their peak in the tropics at the end of winter I've been buying punnets for $1.50 and using them in smoothies and freshly cut in cereals for breakfast. It's been a while since I've made jam so those strawberries became apple & strawberry jam!

My husband and I are cutting back on the amount of sugar in our diet so I used only one third of the sugar used in most recipes. The grated apple, and teaspoon of lemon juice gave the jam enough natural pectin, so the only ingredients were 250g chopped strawberries, two small organic apples (grated), 1/3 cup of rapadura sugar, one tablespoon of water, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. My husband raved about the flavours! "It's can taste the fruit instead of sugar..."

I found a new store to get organic supplies, 'Sprout', so after lunch I went for a look and came home with a box of goodies to cook with. I used the organic flour and some buttermilk as the base to make pikelets for afternoon tea...
 ...which we served with that lovely jam!
In preparation for dinner I made a marinade of lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, oregano and olive oil. As we were having lamb skewers I rubbed the marinade through chopped pieces of lamb and set them aside in the fridge. The lemon juice breaks down the lamb if left for a few hours and apart from cooking faster the meat is incredibly soft...

I also made a new hummus recipe from HERE.
5 minute Chilli & Lime Hummus... well as Tzatziki using the yoghurt I made earlier in the week.

My last bit of prep was to soak dried fruit in a cup of Prince of Wales tea, ready to be baked into an Irish Tea Cake on Saturday morning.

 For dinner I skewered the lamb chunks and fried them in a lightly greased frypan, before serving alongside a tossed green salad with an olive oil and orange juice dressing. 
I served the hummus and the Tzatziki on the side with a slice of the sour dough bread.
(Sorry, forgot to take a photo of it!)

Some things I'm doing in the kitchen these days...

1. using only 1/3 - 1/2 of the sugar quantity listed in recipes
2. eating smaller servings
3.  looking at what I have already in the pantry and fridge to use before purchasing more food
4. thinking seasonally, and like with the strawberries that are cheap and at their peak, choosing recipes that make the most of what's local and ripe right now
5. planning ahead, and doing some food prep before bed each night if things need to soak
6. brushing up on my health studies to remind me why we, as a family, need this

 Things I have noticed...

1. we eat less naturally because the food I make is not loaded with refined ingredients or an overload of sugar, and therefore it's more nutritionally hearty
2. the less sugar we eat the less we desire it (and we are huge lolly and chocolate lovers!)
3. we're drinking less coffee
4. we are saving $$'s
5. sleep is far more restful
6. cravings have gone 
7. our digestive systems are working really well

I won't be posting again until Monday as I avoid the computer on Sunday. 
I hope you have a restful and refreshing weekend. :-)




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