Ten Things In The Last 2 Weeks…

Do you ever get the feeling that time has somehow slipped into overdrive and that each week is actually going even faster than the one before?   I do.  That’s the feeling I have right now.

I can’t believe how quickly time has passing and that it’s already April!

My plan to blog weekly with updates on what we’ve been cooking and eating, well frankly, it’s fallen a bit behind.   2 weeks behind to be exact.   We’ve had a lot of cooking adventures since then- but the time has passed in the blink of an eye!

I’ll try to summarise but so much tasty stuff has happened and I feel like I’ve conquered a few culinary mountains.

Highlight #1– Homemade 20 Minute Moo Shu Pork courtesy of the blog, Gimme Some Oven.  You may recall a few weeks ago I made my Mom’s favorite Chinese takeaway dish, Kung Pao Chicken.  Well, growing up Moo Shu Pork was my go to order, so it was my chance to make it at home.  It was actually super easy and super tasty because Gimme Some Oven used a genius hack—a bag of coleslaw (minus the mayonnaise, of course!)  Brilliant idea!   This recipe was super easy, especially in our electric wok.  Winner Winner (it can also be made with chicken) Dinner!

Highlight #2 (and #3)- Homemade Hot Cross Buns and Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream Sandwiches.  So it was Easter, and my favourite Easter food isn’t chocolate eggs or chocolate bunnies, it’s hot cross buns.  I think it’s because they’re such a novelty to me.  I don’t remember ever having one in the US—are they even a thing there?  I don’t remember ever seeing one in the supermarket growing up and I don’t remember ever encountering one as a child.

Actually, I lie.  I do remember encountering Hot Cross Buns as a child- in music class, when we were learning to play the recorder.

The recorder, for any of you who haven’t been traumatised by either having to listen to one or learning to play one, is possibly the worst musical instrument in the world.  First of all, it’s plastic.  Second of all, it was mandatory to learn.   Third of all, it doesn’t sound like anything remotely musical- it sounds like a tone deaf child blowing into plastic.  At our school, which valued the contributions of all individuals, they taught the recorder to everyone in school-  all the kids, even the ones with no inkling of musical ability.  Why?   A form of torture maybe.  Certainly not to give children an actual, useful musical talent.  If you’ve never heard a recorder before, I found this little gem for you- if you’re game.  I don’t recommend watching it, but…. I digress.

So, Hot Cross Buns are really big here in Australia.  They’re an English tradition and this year, I decided that I would make them from scratch.  And I did using a recipe from Donna Hay!  And they were delicious!  I’m not a baker but these were surprisingly easy, time consuming, but easy- except for the Cross bit.  The cross was more challenging than I thought it would be.  Hopefully when I make them next year (since they are only an Easter food) I’ll be better at the Cross.

Oh, and the best part of the Hot Cross Buns, making Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream Sandwiches.   They’re pretty easy and well worth the effort.

Step 1:  Procure Hot Cross Buns (it’s ok to buy them, I won’t tell)

Step 2:  Cut Hot Cross Bun in half

Step 3:  Scoop Ice Cream of your choice

Step 4:  Place ice cream in between bun halves

Step 5:  Eat however you want- smoosh it like a sandwich and eat all at once or eat with a spoon and tear off bits of bun.

Highlight #4- Cinnamon Raisin Brownies with Whisky Syrup from the April 2016 Delicious Magazine.  These nearly caused a fight in our household.  I made these for friends who just had a baby and only left The Runner one brownie and no sauce.  The brownies were delicious.  The sauce was even better.  I’ve promised to make them again.  They were unbelievably good.  There’s no recipe online yet from Delicious, which is disappointing but next time I make them, I’ll give you step by step instructions!

Highlight #5- Slow Cooked Pork Lasagna with Homemade Pasta-possibly the best thing I’ve ever made.  Not just was the dish itself delicious, but I finally perfected the art of making pasta.  I managed to do it without tears, without having to have a quiet word with myself, without The Runner having to give me a hug, without getting flour in every single crevice of the kitchen and most importantly without giving up!  And it was perfect!  Perfect pasta sheets, and even better slow cooked pork lasagne.  Seriously, I don’t think The Runner was as happy as I was when he did his first Ironman.  I was on Cloud 9, high fiving myself and telling myself I was AWESOME for finally doing an amazing pasta dish from scratch!  P.S.  the secret is flour.  I don’t think I was generous enough with the flour in previous attempts… flour is key.

I was so confident that a week later I made Gnocchi from scratch for the first time!  (Highlight #6!) Another delicious dish, Baked Sausage and Kale Gnocchi.

Highlight #7 and #8– Eating out at Alpha and Bar Luca (finally!).  Alpha is a fantastic Greek Restaurant in CBD, Bar Luca is well known for their crazy burgers.  Alpha- delicious and well worth a visit.  Bar Luca… sigh.  I got the plain cheeseburger and it was ok, nothing special.  Not worth a special trip.   The Runner had the Blame Canada burger, and it was Ah-maze-ing!  It was huge but delicious- beef, maple bacon, poutine, cheese and maple aioli.  Ok, I get what all the fuss is about.  I’m going back for the Blame Canada next time.  I’ll probably stuff myself stupid eating it, but it will probably be worth it!

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Highlight #9- Black Bean Sopa Azteca from Mexican Food Made Simple. The best of our weekly soups so far!

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Highlight #10- Coconut Salmon with Coconut Lime Dressing.  A Donna Hay recipe that I paired with Pina Colada rice- ok, so it was just rice with pineapple and coconut but the fish was delicious.

April 4 2016 iphone import 137

So there you have it, loads of fun things have happened in the last two weeks.  This week will be another huge week, someone is having a birthday, we’re going to Sepia (the best restaurant in Sydney), ACME, and organising a Champagne vs. Sparkling wine challenge…..I’m excited!


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