A New Feature for 2016: What We Ate This Week!

So in 2015, The Runner and I tried to keep a record of everything that we had for dinner all year. We were diligent (mostly) in the recording, however we never actually DID anything with the information.  We should have entered it into a database (or at least an excel spreadsheet) and analysed, rated, remembered or at least done something with the info.  But we didn’t.  So now, we have 12 Months of barely legible scrawl which once we decode it will be a record of what we ate in 2015.  If/when I make time to put it all into excel and make sense of it.

However, it’s a new year and in 2016, we’re going to be more organised and do this properly.  Every week, I’m going to post what we ate- where it came from, whether we ate out, and if we’d make it again.  I’m sure patterns will start to emerge (we don’t eat a lot of fish at home) and it might get boring. (tacos again!)   Whatever it works out to be, it’s going to be a time capsule for the year!

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No Turkey Sandwiches Here…

Last Saturday was our annual Thanksgiving party and it’s an event that gets bigger and bigger every year- which I’m grateful for because it means that every year, we have more and more friends.

This year, if I had one regret, it was that we didn’t have enough food.  For Me. For leftovers.  Or to eat on the day.  Yep, we had a pack of hungry people come through and we barely had a scrap left.  Luckily, I followed my Grandmother’s old mantra, “always hold some back”- and luckily I did because after the first round of people, there was not a scrap left on the table.  I put out some more of nearly everything but it still wasn’t enough!  Neither The Runner nor I got to eat!  And I was really looking forward to a turkey sandwich on Sunday morning!

But we had great feedback about the food, so it was worth not getting to eat.  As always, my Grandmother’s Corn Casserole Recipe was the hero dish of the day, followed by the Sweet Potato Casserole.  Non-Americans are always quite surprised by the combination of marshmallow and sweet potato.  For those of you who have enquired about the recipe, I use a mixture of a few different recipes- one of which is this one from Martha Stewart.  It’s really easy- basically mash a few sweet potatoes, season with spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, etc), top with marshmallows and bake!  It’s not rocket science but it’s delicious.  Of course, I do add a bit more to mine, but that recipe or a google of sweet potato casserole should get you started.  P.S.- the hardest part will be finding white marshmallows in Australia- for some reason all marshmallows are sold in pink and white packets rather than just white.  You have no idea how many packets we had to buy to get all white marshmallows to top the casserole with!

If you missed out on anything, the full menu was:

 

Turkey

Corn Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallow Topping

Green Bean Casserole

Pasta salad with feta, bacon, tomato and mint

Watermelon and Haloumi Tabbouleh

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad

Potato Salad with Scallions and Dill

Cornbread

Sausages

Pumpkin Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Fruit Mince Brownies

Trifle (made by Eleni)

Egg Nog

 

I’m so thankful for everyone who came out to celebrate the day with us- if you happen to have any photos, please send them to steph@herunsicook.com

See you next year- the date as so many other things is triathlon dependent!  We’ll keep you posted!

A taste of Harmony!

One of my favourite parts about living in Australia is the diversity of people, food, and culture.  Just look at The Runner and I, and our American-Irish-Australian trio of passports.  As you know by now, one day I’m whipping up a classic American dish like Sweet potato casserole and the next trying Irish soda bread whilst eating Vietnamese takeaway.   PS, I’m not sure how the soda bread actually went down, there’s still a rather large, now rock hard hunk of it left!  Hmmmm…. 

Anyway, did you know that over 1/3 of Sydneysiders were born overseas???  Crazy when you think about it – another city with similar stats?  London!  So, it’s no surprise that Australia and most Australians (unless you count the horrible taxi driver we had the other day) embrace and celebrate the diversity that surrounds them.  I have to say our office has always been ahead of the curve, we’ve had International Food Day for years!  International Food Day is definitely a highlight, most people get involved, even if it’s just sausage rolls or meat pies or fish and chips!   It was such a good idea, that it’s now being rolled out across Australia under the brand “A Taste of Harmony”, http://www.tasteofharmony.org.au/, a week which “ celebrates diversity in Australian workplaces by encouraging colleagues to share food and stories from different cultural backgrounds.”  Great idea!

So tonight, instead of going to yoga or going to bed early, I’m cooking.  It was tough at first to think of what to make, but in the back of my mind, I think I always knew I would make something from my favourite cookbook for American food, yes, you guessed it Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine- (and no, I’m not related to the authors). 

It was a pretty easy choice really, the recipes are simple and I know The Mom loves the cookbook so it definitely represents by heritage and culture.  Plus, it’s sort of tough to pin down American food…. I mean, what’s American food to you?  Bagels?  Apple Pie?  Burgers?  Crabcakes?  There’s a lot to choose from, but I chose Macaroni and Cheese.  And no, not fancy Mac and Cheese like I’ve made in the past, it won’t be three or four cheeses meant together, it’s going to be comfort food.  Basic, homey, like a big Mom hug.  I’ve made the recipe before so I know just how simple it is.

Boil water with salt, cook the macaroni (about 2 cups) and cook for about 9 minutes.  Drain it and run under cold water.  Put it in a casserole dish with ½ a stick of melted butter and mix in 8 oz of sharp, grated, cheddar cheese, 2 eggs, and 1 ½ cups of evaporated milk.  Add another 4 oz of cheese on the top and bake for 30 minutes.  I might even get fancy and sprinkle breadcrumbs on first.  Easy, simple, serves 8! 

I toyed around with Martha Stewart’s recipe, which looks yummy, http://www.marthastewart.com/271998/perfect-macaroni-and-cheese, but I figured I should stick with The Mom’s favourite Mac and Cheese recipe instead.  I’ll save Martha for another day!  And I’m even making some extra for The Runner and I for dinner !  YUM!