After a long day of wrestling with letter sounds and refereeing fights, I almost always hurt my neck trying to look out for Papa Bear to finally get home to tag him, hand over the kids and run off to cook dinner. When that gets delayed, all hope is not lost although I cannot promise the same for my temper.
One such evening, IzGirl and NBoy were still bouncing off the walls and number 3, NBaby, surprises us with an early nap but my migraine decided to make an appearance, I decided to let them help and leave the delayed individual to attack the mess. Surprisingly, my children are very much unlike me in the kitchen. They cleaned up after themselves and actually made my job much easier.
Moreover, what better way to teach them life skills than in our own kitchen, with extra loads of love?
The following recipe is very special to us because it is the first dish we cooked together(without me nagging or micro managing them!). We hope you enjoy cooking it and sharing it with your family too!
7 years ago, I had no idea mayonnaise could be made at home.
Mayonnaise was something that came out of a jar and later on, in squeezy bottles. The first time I was introduced to fresh mayonnaise was at a diner when I was pregnant but that was only to learn that I could not eat my sandwich that was slathered with it since it contained raw egg. Since the bottled kind was not off limits, I managed to forget about this “novelty”.
Whilst binge watching 2 seasons of Masterchef after the birth of my second, I learnt mayo-making was a tedious task of trickling oil into a processor; I am more of a chuck-everything-in-one-go-and-hope-for-the-best kind.
And then one day, my interest was piqued again after watching mayo being made with an immersion or stick blender. The blender was lowered into liquids and when lifted out, it became creamy and spreadable; the moment was as magic would be to a completely naive person (or a “godayata magic wagey” moment, in Sinhala).
As easy as it seemed now, the raw egg still put me off, till I found free range eggs from hens that were vaccinated against salmonella. I did not do much of research into it after finding this; when has my incessant googling ever failed to increase my state of panic?
The stamp on the egg box spelt it out for me and that was enough for the moment.
After reading oh-so-many recipes, I was concerned about the wasted whites because almost all of them called for just the yolk. The whites could be stored and used later but I am very aware of a shelf in my fridge where good intentions go to die and end up in the bin, after weeks of sorry chilling.
Then I was concerned by the amount of oil used and fell off the healthy wagon and right into the waiting arms of the bottled kind.
Eventually, gave it a go with olive oil and sunflower oil but was not too convinced.
And then I tried this version and lo behold, it looks and tastes much better than any of the store-bought kind. I have now made a vow to never buy a bottle again and if you ever see me pick a bottle off the shelf in haste, do remind me of all the harmful additives I’ll be adding to my sandwich along with the taste.
I used a mix of good quality coconut and sesame oils; the coconut oil is what gives the creaminess that is hard to replicate with other oils. Mustard is the usual stabiliser but in this recipe, I have used a mix of lime and raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (preferably one with the “Mother” floating around) to act as the stabiliser.
Garlic crushed with pink salt was used to flavour it but plain salt would do.
I like to add the things in the same order every time because I am not sure how it would turn out and used eggs both at room temperature and straight out of the fridge too; same texture either way.
Although people claim to store this for over a week, I would advise to use within 4-5 days and to ensure that utensils are cleaned before use and kept well chilled to prevent contamination. Sterilising the jar is a good idea too. Check out: how to sterilise glass jars
Most recipes call for a cup of oil but using 3/4 cup of mild flavoured oil works with this. I have only used it as a spread but assume it would work well with salads too.
Give it a whir and leave your suggestions below or feel free to send me a message.
When the clock strikes 5pm, the only cuckoo bird rushing out will be me because it means that I need to have dinner ready in an hour. The temperamental little beings I am nurturing like seeing their hot dinner ready by 6, complain about it till 6:30, pick at it till 7 and start eating it once I turn from Mary Poppins to Professor Snape (I promised them to control my yelling but didn’t make any promises about toning down the glare). This cream of tomato soup is a nourishing but quick recipe that saved one such evening.
Despite their eccentrics, they are kind souls and never fail to give their honest opinions, albeit kindly.
Soup is always a reason for moaning because my eldest does not like certain textures but I knew I was on to a winner when she drank it without a peep. She did tell me not to make it everyday but I’ll take my compliments wherever I can.
A love for eating does not necessarily lead to a love for cooking. In that context,a love for cooking does not necessarily result in a love for cleaning up.
My averison to cleaning up is such that I would go to extremes to find recipes that call out for the least number of utensils and pots.
Pasta is a staple in our house for its relatively versatile options that could be covered with just the right amount of bechamel if an experiment of flavours goes awry.
The process of boiling and draining the steaming pot by my clumsy self would be the only drawback, if nitpicking for problems in my current pasta cooking methods.
Keeping an eye out for a solution in the videos flooding the social networking pages brought me to one particular video that seemed to be the answer. Having heard a success story from my lovely aunt who was quick to test it out, here is my version of the one pot pasta wonder.
Do not exclude the capsicum in this recipe because it is necessary to accentuate the flavour. If you are not a fan, I implore you to give this quite overlooked green capsicum a try.
One pot Mushroom & capsicum pasta
Ingredients (serves 4, comfortably)
Half packet of pasta, uncooked(around 2 and half cups) 1/2 cup of cooking cream Box of fresh mushrooms, sliced 1 large capsicum, chopped 1 onion, chopped 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crushed Water Salt and pepper to taste 1 tbsp. butter
1. Melt the butter in a large pan with a splash of regular cooking oil to stop it from burning.
2. Brown and cook the mushrooms with a pinch of salt.
3. Toss in the onions, garlic and capsicum. Pour in the cream and add the uncooked pasta.
4. Mix well and check seasoning. Add water till it just about covers the contents of the pot. Leave to cook covered for few minutes.
5. Once the pasta is softened, turn up the heat and cook uncovered till the liquid is fully absorbed.
You could gobble it up as a meal or accompany it with a juicy lamb chop or any protein you fancy. A tangy salad would work too.
Fondue. The glorious bubbling concoction of white goodness scooped up with bits of vegetables and bread. Delicately cut ripe fruits dipped in rich chocolate warmth.
Countless cooking shows and articles later, I had yet to try it myself.
When I did get to try the chocolate version at a lovely restaurant that I would review about another time, I was not disappointed. This just elevated my yearning for the cheese version.
Remembering that I had a fondue set that was yet to be used, coupled with extreme exhaustion at the thought of cooking up an edible yet nutritious dinner, tonight would be the night.
This recipe might not constitute as an authentic fondue blend but assuming there is no fondue-police on the watch, I can safely say that this would satisfy a craving.
Lazy Daisy Fondue
Do excuse the hastily chopped condition of the poor vegetables and the lack of any form of skill in photography. The most I can do and have the patience to check is to ensure that everything fits into a frame, which I sadly managed to forget in this photograph.
Heat a cup of cooking cream with a tablespoon of garlic butter.
Once it starts to bubble, add 1 cup of grated mild German cheddar cheese mixed with a tablespoon of all-purpose flour. You could use any kind of cheddar or any other cheese that would melt easily, but I found that the mild German cheddar was less salty and had a more subtle taste to suit the delicate palate of my tiny connoisseur who has taken a slight dislike towards cheese.
The moment you start stirring the cheese into the cream, it comes together almost immediately into a gloriously thick cheese sauce that you can pour into a fondue pot and begin spearing away.
Any vegetable or bread would be fine as I live with the strong belief that even chalk would be edible with copious amounts of good quality cheese coating it. We made do with carrots, cucumbers, blanched broccoli florets and boiled baby potatoes. Since there was no bread and it was obviously too late to make some, I told myself the potatoes would provide the quota of carbohydrates.
Although we used a fondue set, I personally felt that it was not a vital aspect since we had to blow out the candle within minutes to avoid scorching our tongues. A heat proof bowl and couple of forks would do the trick.
However, if like me, you are prone to insisting on all the trimmings to simply feel as if you accomplished a good meal/cuisine, go ahead and get yourself a fondue set. You could always use it to burn incense if you ever happen to start disliking cheese or chocolate.