Monthly Archives: March 2017

Slow Living

My love of slow cooking has been well documented on this site already, but it has become a necessity since I returned to work and renewed my commitment to family dinner. I use it at least once a week. Sometimes, I use it to make to make a batch of baked beans that I portion into freezer containers. Other days, I need help with Taco Tuesday, which follows swimming lessons – meaning I have 3.5 seconds to get dinner on the table after we walk in the front door. Often, I let a ham simmer away all Sunday afternoon with some oranges, cloves, and brown sugar. By the time it’s finished it falls apart into gorgeous strands of smoky deliciousness. (Although, if you are patient enough to let it cool, it slices beautifully) We nosh away on it all week in sandwiches, on top of pasta, or in salads.

This morning though, I peeked at my menu plan and realised that I had absolutely NO interested in making the pretzel crusted chicken that I had planned. Also, I had failed to actually buy pretzels. So I turned to my trusty slow cooker and threw together some absolutely delicious Sesame Honey Chicken, which I served with brown rice, cauliflower, and broccoli. It was a total hit! (OK, the threenager only ate the rice, but still…whole grains!) I’ve also made this recipe with a pork tenderloin instead of chicken and it is delicious. The shredded pork is incredibly tender and the leftovers make great pulled pork sandwiches.

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On the topic of leftovers…I used up tonight’s by making some chicken fried rice. I sautéed some onion & ginger in sesame oil and scrambled an egg. I folded them into the cold rice* & vegetables, threw in the leftover shredded chicken and topped it all off with some chopped peanuts and chives. (I am a firm believer that almost anything is better with chives!) I am looking forward to my latest not sad desk lunch.

*Aways make friend rice with cold rice, or things start to turn into a weird savoury rice pudding.

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Speaking of lunch, I’m excited to be heading here for a Mother’s Day treat with the men in my life. Other weekend plans include eating my weight in Macroom Buffalo Mozarella on pizza night, and making some chocolate truffles for Saturday night’s book club. It’s been a long week…we deserve it!

 

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What’s for Dinner?

So, I used to dread those words because I didn’t always have an answer…now that I have become an obsessive meal planner, I dread them for a totally different reason: I live with a threenager. Here he is:

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Super cute, right? And tonnes of fun, really. 90% of the time. Because the other 10% of the time he’s throwing a tantrum because he just asked, ‘What’s for dinner/lunch/breakfast?’ and you answered something that didn’t involve sausages, ketchup, or chocolate biscuits – his three main food groups. It’s driving me nuts. Maybe because my first born is a fantastic eater (the kind you can bring for midweek sashimi dates and who has been eating pulpo since he was three), I’ve been a bit spoilt. I’ve never really known what it’s like to live with a picky eater. I like to tell myself it’s a phase, but…it’s been happening since he started eating solids, so I think it’s time to stop fooling myself.

I was particularly tired and cranky last Taco Tuesday (yes, that is a weekly thing in our house – a key aspect of my  aforementioned obsessive meal planning…), so I did something I’m not particularly proud of. When Josh decided that he wasn’t going to eat my (very delicious) slow cooker chicken & black bean enchiladas, I cried. Yep. Had a proper tantrum at the dinner table, had to go on timeout in my room, and come downstairs and apologise to everyone. Super mature stuff.

Fortunately, my husband has a much more even temper than I do (excluding rugby-related issues), so he calmly handled dinner cleanup and, the next day, sent me this life-affirming article about family dinner strategy. I already engage in some of the articles suggestions in a casual way, but I was comforted by the idea that we can still have a family meal with reasonable standards and all be happy.

So I started the week with a renewed sense of purpose. Monday night’s dinner looked like this:

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I roasted a huge tray of veggies (whatever was in the fridge, really) and let people take whatever they wanted as a topping for some fresh tagliatelle. Josh opted for none, but did not have a tantrum, Dan choose broccoli & peppers, and Ben & I went for the whole kit’n’caboodle, with a dash of lemon zest and generous shaving of pecorino romano. Garlic bread was a universal hit, and NO ONE CRIED.

Maybe I’m just a bit slow, and I should have thought of this years ago, but thinking about dinner in this way has refocused my meal planning. For tonight’s Taco Tuesday, I made turkey chili, but instead of stressing about what Mr. Picky would eat, I planned a side of  quesadillas. Josh scarfed them up, and even dipped them into his otherwise untouched chili, but I looked at it as baby steps. (Also, Dan had two helpings of chili, which fed my ego enormously.) Next week, I think I’ll put a baked potato bar and a ‘Breakfast for Dinner’ buffet into the calendar. And, no matter what anyone does or doesn’t eat, I’ll remember not to cry.

Also, in my foodie world this week:

  • I’m excited about an upcoming dinner reservation here.
  • I’ll be baking this on Friday, for the day that’s in it.
  • I’m currently completely obsessed with Wall & Keogh loose leaf Irish Breakfast tea. It is the Best. Thing. Ever.

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m ba-ack…

So I went out to dinner with some friends in London last week. OK – fine – we went for drinks, and then I insisted on dinner because this girl can’t really handle her pints any more. Thanks to some impeccable local knowledge of one pal, we ended up in the most gorgeous Italian restaurant in Shoreditch. While shoving forkfuls of tiny, light-as-air gnocchi and sticky, tender lamb ragu into my mouth, I learned that one of my dinner companions was a former food blogger. ‘NO WAY – I used to have a food blog!’ I exclaimed with my mouth full.

And then I was sad. I used to have one? Huh? I still have one! It’s just…been a while. Goodness knows that I haven’t stopped thinking about food, reading about food, or cooking food, so why haven’t I been writing about it? Frankly, to quote a non-foodie guru of mine, I haven’t been making it a priority. But I still have so much to say! I haven’t told you about my Cookbook Club, shared all of the things that Jenny Rosenstrach has taught us about family dinner, or loudly sung the praises of Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce. I have so many avocado toast photos to share!

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Seriously. So many avocado toast photos. Isn’t it just the best? Anyway…I guess this is me saying hey, hi there, and I’m going to try and do this more. Because I miss it. Here’s to all the crusty Italian bread & limoncello shots that reminded me of that!

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