#526 Blessing in disguise

As it has been for the last little while, we have been thinking and planning for our upcoming kitchen reno. And as I look forward with eagerness to the new, clean, fresh-looking cupboards and benchtops and appliances and work spaces, one little nagging thought has continually entered my mind…

Will I have any more storage space?

Storage for me, is a big thing. I am not just a hoarder. But in the kitchen, I do like to experiment. Cook like this, cook like that. I won’t ever say no to a different recipe, and if I fear a certain way of cooking/preparing/baking a dish, my curiosity and fascination always wins out and I do it anyway.

Curiosity is a powerful force. I find I rarely fail in these endeavours. I’m not saying I’m a Masterchef… but I do well.

So I have bagged up a few or so items/appliances/crockery/servingware in my culinary adventures. And I don’t intend on parting with them anytime soon… in fact, I plan on ADDING to the family.

Sheesh. Don’t tell Hubbie.

Which is why I look with concern as I scan my kitchen, my old, out-dated kitchen, NOW. I stare at it, squint my eyes, and think of the new kitchen… and I honestly don’t think there will be much additional storage.

This is a concern, because as mentioned in a post late last year, I still have about 7-8 boxes crammed-full of kitchen stuff, that currently does not fit in my kitchen. They have been piled into corners elsewhere, but currently are out of action…

Brow-furrowing issue. Hrmmmm….

Cue the inconvenient “gas heater break-down problem,” A.K.A. Blessing in Disguise.

So today, I found out, it probably wasn’t worth fixing our old heater that broke down on us last Friday morning. Sure, it could be repaired…. but after forking out even more $$$, there was no guarantee that another major issue wouldn’t occur for this almost 40 year old (not even exaggerating) heater that was seriously getting on.

Needing a new gas heater throws a spanner in the works, in that it obviously requires $$$, bills are coming in, we are focusing on the kitchen primarily, and also, it will need to be rejigged and refit outside.

Our current gas heater sits inside our house you see, right around the corner from the kitchen. It’s in the hallway, so almost in the kitchen. Ripping the old one out of the cupboard from there, will…

Leave the cupboard bare.

!!!

Despite the $$$ gas heater re-fit bill looming in my head, the storage lover in me could not help but see the beautiful potential.

The potential in turning the old gas heater cupboard, into another pantry/useful cupboard for my kitchen items.

Ta ding!

And just like that, a little bit like when I started this blog and was grateful that when that car hit me that fatefully annoying day in Feb of ’16, I slowly grew to be grateful for the fact that when he hit me, he hit my side, and so the car was less affected, and more easily repaired with just the removal of the back door.

This new gas heater will be a costly and time-consuming exercise, but when it is done, my kitchen will definitely have ample storage… and that, is nothing to squint at.

Grateful for our dying gas heater. Who would have thought?!

 

 

#519 Chicken and sweet corn soup

I just love this soup.

It’s easy to make, uses fairly ordinary staples (carrot, celery, onion, garlic) for the stock base, and then you add back the chicken that cooked in the broth, albeit shredded, some more spices, creamed corn, and heap on plenty of fresh spring onion and chilli… and serve!

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What I love even more? I am able to make a kid-friendly version too. I just make sure the bowl I pour for baby girl does not contain any spring onions and chilli, and she happily laps it up!

Making a meal on a cold Winter’s night, that warms your insides, provides you with great cold/flu protection, and is a winner for everyone in the household…

Why, I am so grateful for that!

#499 Baking: cappuccino cupcakes

Still on the theme of baking for Winter warmth: baking, more so, baking sweets.

There’s nothing like the scent of freshly baked sugary foods wafting out of your oven, filling the house with comforting joy. Today was such the case, as I baked one of my ol’ faithfuls, my cappuccino cupcakes.

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It certainly was a while since my last endeavour, and in a new kitchen with last-century appliances, it took some oven tweeking until they were ready… but when they were pulled out, were just as deliciously sweet as always.

And there’s nothing quite like the warmth of a freshly baked cupcake, to remove any previous winter chill that was lingering in your home 🙂

#498 Food: Winter Warmers

I’m actually in the midst of writing a blog post about all the wonderful things YOU, and I, should LOVE about Winter.

Todays gratitude post is a sneak peak, and it divulges one of my ideas.

Winter Food.

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Curry just isn’t the same unless it’s eaten on a cold Winter’s night, now is it? It’s been way too long since I made my vegetable curry, in fact we think at least 2 years… and why the wait? Well this thing called having a baby happened. And when something so monumental happens, everything changes… life, when you sleep, how you go out, how you react to things, how many people you see, and oh, what you eat.

And what you cook.

Once baby girl was of a certain age to start experimenting with food, well of course I was going to be making fairly safe, baby-friendly inoffensive tasting food. Which meant the curry we used to eat so much and so often of in Winter, was gone.

Yeah, I could have made two meals. But you could get two jobs too, couldn’t you?

😉

Yep. So it’s been a while. And as we ate it tonight, Hubbie swore it was like we were in our old house in the Northern suburbs. I think that means it was good 🙂

And as for baby girl? Well she gorged on the rice that was underneath the curry, in fact she completely overdosed on it. Did I mention my girl loves carbs? She does. I’d rather she overdose on rice than chocolate, so massive parental win there.

Winter Foods… get yourself into some warming curry and feel the heat 🙂

#436 Tea and reclaimed Easter egg muffins

You know how some days you just need a tea? I’m talking to you coffee drinkers out there. I don’t have to reconvert a tea aficionado to know how good a drink of little-itty-bitty leaves can be.

But today, I knew from the morning, on this cold and dreary day, that I would eventually need a tea. My soul was asking for it. And how rude of me to ignore the inner wishes of my psyche, so of course, I complied.

But I went further. I had seen a fellow facebook ‘friend’ post a photo of some muffins she had made using some box mix, and thrown in a whole heap of chopped up Easter chocolate, to use it up.

‘What a great idea!’ I had thought. Hubbie and I are way more cake people than we are chocolate ones. However if I left baby girl to her own devices, she may just block herself up on all the Easter treats she received this year, let’s be honest. So I have most of it stashed away, and like all the other years before it, it would eventually get to a crumbly white faded texture, and then we’d throw the poor chocolate away.

But this?! Popping chocolate into a plain old muffin mixture? I could do that every week!

So I found a reasonably simple muffin recipe I had, that used orange and strawberry as an afternoon treat, and instead substituted that with a bunch of Easter eggs chopped up.

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I was surprised at how good they were. And as per usual, my soul’s wish for tea, was touched indeed. Ahhh 🙂

#289 Leek, Mushroom and Ricotta Frittata

It’s really satisfying when you can throw a few simple ingredients together, and with some light and easy prep put together a really lovely, healthy, moorish and delicious meal.

A while ago I went through a bit of a ‘baked eggs’ phase, and I still am in it apparently. Which is why I was more than pleasantly rapt with the coincidental nature of the Universe, when in searching for a recipe to use up a lot of leeks my MIL gave us, I came across the above title.

Mmmm, and with egg? I was already winning.

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I made it last week, and today once again it came out of the oven looking scrumptious and puffy and golden. So easy too, that I don’t even need to refer to the ingredients or prep details to share with you…

  1. Slice up 2 leeks and about 300 grams of mushrooms, and put them in a frying pan with 50g of butter, melted. Fry and stir until most of the water has evaporated. The kitchen will be smelling delish by this stage.
  2. Lightly grease a baking dish – the one I used in the photo is a tad too big. Just grab a medium-size whatever and grease away.
  3. Pour your mushroom/leek mixture into the baking dish, top with about 200g of fresh ricotta (today I used the tub ricotta and spooned it all over the mixture, worked a treat) and then generously sprinkle over with salt and pepper.
  4. Whisk 6 eggs with half a cup of cream (like the thickened cream in the cold section of the supermarket). Pour this over everything in the baking dish, and pop in a pre-heated oven that’s doing 180 degrees if fan-forced, maybe 200 degrees if not.
  5. Bake for 15-20 or so, until golden and puffy. You will know! Trust me. My old oven takes slightly over 20 minutes at 200, so you just need to wing this a little…

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And enjoy!

#122 Food like this on the table

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It’s always a great night when you have a variety of food on the table. You know it’s a better night, when you have this much on it though.

You also know, it’s most likely a Saturday night.

I love to entertain. But most importantly, when it’s for my nearest and dearest, I take great pleasure in bringing to the table all of my love, and all of me with that love. That was what tonight was about.

I am grateful we can do things like this. I love it.

(Clockwise from top: frenched lamb chops; garden salad with creamy dressing; vegetable and lentil soup; Sarma (Croatian dish courtesy of Mum); steamed corn; bread rolls from Baker’s (all gone now); sausages from Hubbie’s work; Jamie’s cucumber and olive salad; roasted semolina potatoes in duck fat; Kentucky style chicken tenderloins; and in the middle my saucy rice… we are all full, my job here is done 🙂 ).