apple butter

It’s time to talk about apples.

It’s already spring here in Australia but there are still some lovely apples to be had and I urge you, before it’s too late, to make this delectable condiment before it’s too hot to have the stove on for five hours.

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avocado orange salad

Just a quick post because I’m supposed to be writing a novel.

This post is about SALAD! Salad is good for you. Spring and summer are all about the salad, kind of like winter is all about the soup.

[It’s good to be writing something that has nothing to do with my novel. I’ll be getting back to it soon, though.]

I love this salad so much I’ve had it three times since I discovered it on Joy the Baker’s beautiful site. ┬áThere’s so much you can do with it!

I don’t have a photo of the first time because I took it from my sister’s camera and I forgot to get it from her. But it had sesame seeds scattered over and buttermilk in the dressing. We kind of had to scoff it down though because we went to see a movie together, after we’d been to Camberwell Market and bought pretty shoes. And daisies.

The second time, I had it for dinner. As did I the third time. (watching episodes of Firefly for the first time. Where were you my entire life, please?)

The dressing makes a lot but that’s an excellent excuse to make it again. And again. And again.

The first time we went pretty traditional, just swapping the romaine for baby spinach (I heard you kinda like it) and switching up the dressing a tad, adding some of the thousands of sesame seeds she had in her cupboard. The second time, I had greens from the garden and an orange and half an avocado and it was really good.

The third time, the ONLY photos I have because I just discovered I lost my photos from the second time, I had baby avocados and blood oranges and flaked almonds and rocket from the farmer’s market.

I love farmer’s markets. This one, I was kinda tired because I’d had a girl’s night the night before. [girl’s nights are fun. Also, bourbon gives you courage. It’s a good thing.]

So make salad. If you need a pep talk, try Tea and Cookies. Joy has some good salads too.

Or you can just make this one a few times, or a few times more or a few times more after that.

Avocado and Orange Salad

Adapted from Joy the Baker

As you probably could tell from the descriptions I gave you of my other salads, you can do a lot with this one. I still want to try it with romaine lettuce, maybe with some different citrus. Grapefruit, lime, tangerine, mandarin. Chuck some cashews on top? You’re a genius. I love you. Put an egg yolk in your dressing? (Just as long as you aren’t pregnant! If you are, congratulations, but don’t eat raw eggs. Yet.) I’m going to give you Joy’s recipe, my method, and implore you to use your own imagination.

Have fun, salad eaters!

For the salad:

1 large head of romaine lettuce

1 navel orange, segmented

2 ripe avocados, sliced

a handful of fresh, chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

For the dressing:

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

2 teaspoons honey

1 egg yolk (or 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt)

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

To segment the orange: Slice off the top and bottom of the skin so that the flesh shows. Use a knife to slice the skin off the sides, moving from the top down. Slice in between the natural segments at an angle, and you will find a segment pop out.

Roughly chop and rinse the lettuce, and shake dry. Scatter the segmented orange, sliced avocado and any other bits and pieces you want to over the top. Drizzle with dressing, and scoff down voraciously.

To make the dressing: Place all ingredients except olive oil, salt and pepper in a jar. Place the lid on and shake well. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Twist the lid tight and shake well. Drizzle over your salad. The dressing will last a few days in the fridge, probably up to a week.

wholemeal spring pasta

It’s spring time! Spring means peas.

Peas and sunshine and eating outdoors around a really tiny table because our landlords took their outdoor setting back. How dare they! [insert sarcasm here.]

Spring means fresh flavours and happy eating.

Spring means spring cleaning!

Spring means rain.

Spring means sproutlings! Update coming soon, I promise.

Now, spring also means November. [It’s November!] And this month, for the first time ever, I am registered for something called NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s really supposed to be INaNoWriMo, because it’s not just nationally for the United States any more, it’s international (thank you, internet!) So I’m going to be going a little more than crazy for the next thirty days or so. I will probably be making a lot of sweet baked goods to keep me going but I may be terrible at letting you know about them.

But who knows? I do my best when procrastinating from other things. I should be writing an essay? I clean my room. I should be cleaning my room? I write a blog post. I should be blogging? I organise my hard drive. I should be cleaning up my computer? I get myself ready for NaNo. I should be writing my novel? I bake cookies and tell you all about them.

So prepare for some crazy posts. Like, “I should be writing 2,000 words in my novel right now but my brain’s about to explode. Have some homemade peanut butter cups.

Happy Spring!

Wholemeal Pasta

Pasta is an approach more than a recipe. Take 100g flour for each person, and one egg. Whizz them in a food processor, if you have one big enough. If not, whisk them together and then use your hands to knead, adding olive oil if you need moisture. Don’t add too much, though; pasta dough is supposed to be dry. Knead until it’s smooth, then start rolling it through your pasta machine.

You need to knead [hah!] the dough a lot to work the gluten – that’s why it’s best to use a high-gluten flour, one specifically for bread or pizza or pasta. Part of this is putting it through your pasta machine a few times, although if you used a food processor that does the job for you. I used mostly wholemeal flour with a little pasta flour because that’s what I had.

So it’s best to roll your pasta through the widest setting a couple of times, then start rolling thinner and thinner. I stopped short of the thinnest setting for mine because I love thick pasta.

Fresh pasta only needs to be boiled for about three to five minutes. Boil a large pot of water and make sure it’s well salted. Drizzle with olive oil, toss in your pasta and test it after three minutes. When it’s to your liking, drain and toss with the sauce.

Burnt Butter Sage Sauce

125g butter

a few sprigs of sage leaves

Other vegies or add ins, whichever you like. I included:

three handfuls of fresh peas, shelled

half a lemon’s worth of juice

one orange sweet potato

two red onions

two cloves of garlic

olive oil

salt and pepper

 

Preheat oven to 180┬║Celsius. Peel sweet potato and chop into small cubes. Peel red onions and slice into wedges. Shell garlic, and toss sweet potato, onions and garlic with olive oil and salt. Place in oven for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the butter until nutty and brown. Add sage leaves, peas, lemon juice and pepper and fry a little longer. Toss through roasted veggies and pour over your pasta. Eat with friends on a sunshiny back porch in spring.

 

[other add ins may include: fetta, tossed through at the end; chorizo sausages, fried and sliced; sundried tomatoes, with the pepper; basil leaves, tossed through at the end; the list goes on.]

spring salad

Real Life: I had salad for lunch AND dinner today.

It’s true. And it was delicious.

I’ve gotten into the habit of making myself a salad for lunch at work. I work at a cafe, so we get lunches for free and we make them ourselves. (That’s why I don’t have a picture of my lunch salad. I ate it at work. It was really good.)

It is going to be the summer of salads. I can feel it.

And juice. I made juice. Apple and pineapple and mint juice. De-licious.

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