Bits and Pieces

I hate it when you have people over for a BBQ and there isn’t any room in the fridge for a big salad, yet you don’t want to make it and leave it out at room temp on a stinking hot day, and you also don’t want to miss out on having a cold drink with your guests because you are stuck in the kitchen making the salad.
What to do!? What to do?!

Or coming home from a long day at work and having to pull everything out of the fridge to make that salad you crave?
Yet a pre made salad never lasts more than a day- wilted lettuce, soggy tomato.. What to do?! What to do?!

Make a bag of bits.
Easy!

I like to cut all the goodies that go in my favourite green salad, keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge, all ready to be layered with the greenery of choice to make a fresh, crisp, delish salad…

Ideas for bits:
Radish
Cucumber
Courgette
Capsicum
Spring onion or red onion
Tasty cheese (feta is a bit too soft for this- but easy to add after)
Mung beans
Whole cherry tomatoes (cut tomatoes are too messy- best to add later)
Carrot
Raw broccoli or cauliflower
Just to name a few!!Cut everything into salad size pieces, put in a plastic bag, mix around and keep in the fridge till you want to make your salad. All you need to do is layer the bits with your favorite greens- or not- after all the bits are the well best bits šŸ™‚

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Take two

So as I said yesterday when I make dinner I always think a day or two in advanced to save me time in the kitchen.
Whether it be making extra for Mr Lids packed lunch to take to the office the next day or making extra to use as a base to make something yummy for the next nights dinner- it’s a little something called mes en plas, which means everything in its place- sorta like saying get everything ready now, so later you can just put things together to make your dish- a fancy way of saying get organised.
There is nothing worse than coming home after a long day and having to start dinner from scratch.
Once you build a little confidence in throwing things together- left overs will become your best friend!

Parsnip and carrot fritters with spiced yoghurt

Leftover mashed carrot and parsnip
Ground cumin, coriander and caraway
Egg
Self raising flour
Chilli
Natural Yoghurt
Lemon
I prefer to get whole spices toast them on a low heat in a dry pan till fragrant, leave to cool and grind in a mortar and pestle.
Add spices and some chilli (either dried or fresh) to the left over mash, season with salt and pepper.
Add an egg or two- you want enough egg to help bind the fritters, but not do much that they are eggy.
If you want the fritters to be gluten free use a blend of rice flour and potato starch with some baking powder (a blend of gluten free flours is more stable than using one type on its own)
If you can have gluten use self raising flour- add 1/4 cup at a time and fold in- do not mix too much because you will develop the gluten and make the fritters doughy.
Lightly oil a fry pan and spoon mix into ring moulds, cook both sides till golden.
Put fritters on grease proof paper and cook in the oven till firm to touch.
180c dependent on size about 10-15min
For the spiced yoghurt add some of the spice mix, a squeeze of lemon and salt to taste.

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http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mise_en_place

Kill two birds

When thinking of what to cook for dinner I am always thinking a day in advanced- at least.
Trying to kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes.
Tonight Mr Lid has steak- it’s sitting in the fridge waiting to be turned into a magical experience as I type- lets be honest, it is just steak. As long as it turns into a well balanced meal and Mr Lid eats it all, my mission can be considered a success.

I skipped the fruit and vege shop on my way home from the gym this morning opting for a stop at the dairy instead to get milk for Mr Lids morning coffee.

So I shall make do with what I have, and I’m kinda excited about it.
Not because of what it will make for tonight’s dinner- but for what I going to turn the left overs into for tomorrow’s dinner!

Make more than you need so there are leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner…

Baked potato
Potato
Parsnip
Carrot
Goats cheese
Butter
Peel and chop carrot and parsnip- remove the core of the parsnip if too woody. Top the pot with water add some salt and boil till soft, drain and leave the lid off to help dry the mash out.
Pop washed whole potato in the oven 180-200c 30-40 min adjust time depending on the size of the potatoes.
Once soft when squeezed cut the top off the potato and scoop out the insides. Add the potato to the carrot mix- add seasoning and butter and mash, I like my mash a little chunky gives some texture.
Pull out the mixture you won’t be needing for tonight, save it for tomorrow.
Add goats cheese to mash and stuff back into potato shells- serve now or keep warm in the oven. If you don’t like goats cheese use nothing, or any cheese you have, or cream cheese, or even a dab of mayonnaise.

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Clever Cake

Carrot cake- the cleverest of cakes,vegetables disguised as cake.

What is even cleverer is that parents seem to have this thing about carrot cake and making it for their kids because it is healthy.

But carrot cake is the master deceiver as it is full of sugars and oil to give those said carrots the most delicious moist taste in said ‘healthy’ cake…

The part I like the most about carrot cake is the cream cheese frosting. YUM.

So I made one of those un-baked carrot cakes, the icing was thick and creamy and made of cashews- no an ounce of cream cheese to be seen… I fed some to Master Eight my eldest nephew, the fussiest eater I know… The room went silent- all eyes on him but in a subtle way as not to draw attention to the fact that we were all holding our breath (without knowing) to see if we could get away with feeding him ‘cake’ that is actually good for him…

He LOVED it! Especially the icing.

Un-Baked Carrot Cake with Cashew frosting

2 1/4 cups Grated Carrot

1 cup Nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)

2Tbs candied ginger cut into small pieces

10 Medjool Dates + 3 Figs = one cup of this type of dried fruit

1/2 cup Desiccated coconut

3/4 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Pinch of Salt

Grated Carrots by hand or use a food processor- set aside.

Process nuts and dried fruit+ ginger till the texture of bread crumbs.

Add in carrot, spices and coconut- blend till combined.

Press into a paper lined tray- set aside in the fridge.

Cashew Cream FrostingĀ 

1 cup Raw Cashews, soaked overnight
1/4 cup Water
3 Tbs Golden syrup (or Honey, or Agave)
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Lemon juiced
Pinch of Salt
1/3 cup Coconut oil, melted

Blend everything except the coconut oil till smooth- I mean smooth smooth.

Blend in melted coconut oil.

Spread over cake- set in fridge or in the freezer.

Will need to defrost before eating if in freezer.

mmmm raw carrot cake

I found this recipe on this lovely siteĀ http://www.thesweetlifeonline.com/2012/11/04/raw-carrot-cake-bites/