Thursday, January 22, 2015


Still here, but haven't been doing any posting due to serious illness in the family. Back soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Honey soy pork and pizza

Last Saturday night the kids helped daddy make honey soy pork cutlets with Asian slaw and mashed potato. The mashed potato was great, as usual, daddy's specialty. The rest, a new recipe, not so great.  I won't bother to copy the recipe here as we won't be making it again. The sauce was so strongly soy, reduced down the a thick syrup, overpowering everything. Also we didn't really have the right tools to make the slaw fine enough, and Tim's knife skills aren't quite expert level.

Although the food wasn't great, I was really happy with the kids' attitude. They are getting into this cooking gig! And it is lovely for me having a night off cooking. I am learning not to stress and keep checking on them, they are fine.

Sunday lunch was pizza. We use store-bought pita bread then everyone puts on their own favourite toppings. Aiden had pepperoni, jalapenos and pineapple, not much cheese:
Mine is pepperoni and jalapenos:

Jasmine had Hawaiian:

And Tim's (large base) is supreme:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Turkey burgers

Sunday 30 November 2014

Today for lunch the kids made turkey burgers. Jasmine has actually made these a few times before so she didn't need much supervision at all. The recipe is just what I think works well.

Turkey Burgers

500g turkey mince
1 egg
some breadcrumbs, about 1/4 cup
onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika

1. Mix it all together, using enough breadcrumbs that it is the right moistness. Shape into patties. Fry in some olive oil until both sides are brown and the meat is cooked through.
2. Serve with bread rolls, lettuce, sliced tomato and your choice of sauce.

The only thing they needed help with today was checking that the patties were cooked through. Otherwise Jasmine did everything and supervised her little brother in the turkey squishing.

Citrus chicken skewers and Heirloom tomato and haloumi salad

Saturday 29 Nov 2014

The first lesson. I had a couple of new recipes, from magazines I subscribe to (I love food porn), and Tim and the kids cooked them while I relaxed with a book.

I forgot to take any pictures until we were halfway through the meal so we put some of the skewers back on the hot plate and pretended the kids were cooking them.

Citrus Chicken Skewers

6 chicken thigh fillets
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbs canola oil
2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp smoked paprika
3 cloves garlic, crushed
lime slices to serve

1. Cut fillets in to four pieces each. Thread onto skewers and lay in a shallow baking dish. Whisk juices, oil, chilli, paprika and garlic together in a bowl. Pour over skewers and chill for an hour to marinate.
2. Preheat a chargrill pan or barbecue grill over medium-high heat. Cook skewers for 5 minutes each side or until cooked and slightly charred. Serve with sliced lime.

* I bought the very last lime in the supermarket and it wasn't enough so they used lemon juice as well. Also we were very nearly out of paprika so only used about 1/4 tsp instead of 2 tsp.

Heirloom Tomato and Haloumi Salad

140ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbs red wine vinegar
50g unsalted butter
4 slices sourdough bread, torn
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g haloumi, sliced, pan fried
500g mixed heirloom tomatoes, sliced
1 cup each baby spinach, rocket and basil leaves

1. Whisk 1/3 cup (80ml) oil, garlic and vinegar together in a bowl. Season and set aside.
2. Heat 2 tbs oil and butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook sourdough, stirring, for 4 minutes until crisp. Add garlic and remaining 1 tbs oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Drain on paper towel. Cool.
3. Combine croutons, dressing and remaining ingredients in a bowl to serve.

* I can't promise that the tomatoes were heirloom, I bought a punnet of mixed colours and shapes including black and yellow. Also the green leaves were a premixed bag including rocket and a few kinds of lettuce. No basil.
* The sourdough croutons went soggy very quickly in the dressed salad. I preferred mine scattered on top after it had been dressed and served. There was far too much dressing, as well, we used about half of it and a quarter would have been better.

Here is my half-eaten plate, at the point I remember to take a photo. As you can see, we also had corn on the cob.

The whole cooking process went well, the kids were enthusiastic about helping, and it all tasted great! Aiden said it was the best salad he had ever tasted, although he picked out the haloumi (he doesn't like cheese). An excellent first cooking lesson.

Teaching my kids to cook

When I was a kid, my mum did all the cooking. She wasn't very good at it! She has bad asthma and sinus problems and therefore has little sense of smell or taste. But she cooked, and we ate the results because we had no other choice. I don't recall her ever trying to teach me or my brother anything about cooking (or housework).

As a result, when I moved out at the age of 24 I didn't know how to cook anything (or use a washing machine). I gradually taught myself, from scratch. I lived alone for quite a while, buying miniscule amounts of various things and perfecting my recipes. I had lots of disasters along the way, of course, but eventually I was pretty happy with my cooking skills. There weren't many vegetables involved, and quite a few things were out of jars and packets, but I had some tasty dinners. I've evolved a bit since then and make a lot more things from scratch. Still not enough vegetables, I don't know many ways of cooking them to make them taste good.

Now I have two children at an age when they should be handle most things in the kitchen - I no longer have the excuse of being terrified of them using knives and hot plates. Jasmine is ten, nearly eleven, and my son Aiden is eight. Old enough to be careful. But they know almost nothing about cooking. They mix cakes and recently Jasmine has helped make burger patties, but that is about it.

I don't want them to grow up, as I did, having no experience in the kitchen. It happened this way because when they were littler I used the TV/computer as a babysitter to keep them out from under my feet while I was cooking dinner. They had restricted "screen time" and that seemed a good time for them to have it - an hour when I was cooking. But it meant that they were always kept away from the kitchen.

Recently I decided this needed to change. So every Saturday that we are home (most of them!) the kids are going to help in the kitchen. They can have their screen time after dinner instead. Sometimes I will cook with them, but often it will be my night off from the kitchen and my husband Tim will do it - he is home too late during the week to help other nights. They will also help prepare Sunday lunch if we do anything more elaborate than toasted cheese - I suppose even then.

Fifty dinners and fifty lunches a year - that is a thousand meals they will help prepare (and eventually prepare alone) in the next ten years. A good introduction to cooking.

I'm going to post recipes and photos on this blog to keep a record of what they have learned.