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Cauliflower and Feta Fritters

Everyone is so into cauliflower right now.  It seems everywhere I look there’s cauliflower rice, pizza bases made with cauliflower, and cauliflower mash to replace the good old potato variety.  I have a slight issue with this humble brassica – it gives me tummy ache – and I have to be very careful about eating it.  Sometimes I can have it and it causes no problems but, other times, it KILLS ME and leaves me writhing about in agony wishing for death.  It’s not pretty.
That said, I have been craving some cauliflower action for the last few weeks and thought I would give it a gentle try.  My renal diet is so restrictive and I am always looking for fruit and veg alternatives to give me some variety.  So, I made these fritters.  I was bad and fried them (I never fry anything) because the batter was fairly wet, but I used only a spray of oil.  They cooked super quickly and were easy to flip etc.  Very tasty indeed.  And only a slight tummy ache afterwards (note to self : give up on cauliflower!) which was totally worth it, and may not have even been related…  Try them for yourself – you could substitute any vegies into the basic batter mix, which is what I’m going to do next time for a more
pain-free meal! 🙂

Cauliflower & Feta Fritters

Ingredients

salt & pepper
olive oil
1 head cauliflower, trimmed into small florets

2 eggs
½ cup wholemeal flour
¼ cup milk
1/2 cup crumbed feta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
½ garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp dried parsley

Method

Spread the florets of cauliflower out on a baking tray.  Drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper (don’t go overboard with the salt – the feta has plenty in it). Bake in oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, until cauliflower is starting to char and become soft.  Remove from oven and allow to cool down.  Tip onto a chopping board and roughly chop.

Combine other ingredients in a large bowl and add cauliflower to form a batter. Mix well.

Heat a fry pan and spray with a little cooking oil.  Drop  spoonfuls of mixture onto fry pan and fry on both sides until firm and golden brown (this takes only a few minutes).  Place on kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil and repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with wedges of lime or some salsa or anything you like!  This recipe makes about 12 small-medium fritters.

Enjoy!

PS If you happen to be photographing your culinary efforts, I strongly recommend paying close attention to what you’re doing.  This way, you don’t trip over and throw the entire plate of fritters all over your freshly-mopped floor, like I did.  You wouldn’t know it from the photo, but my fritters were thrown far and wide across my lounge room in a spectacular display of clumsiness.  See?  It’s the cauliflower…it hates me 🙂

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Strawberry Ricotta Sweet Treat

Strawberry Ricotta Sweet Treat

Today the temperatures in Perth soared to well over 44 degrees celsius – that’s over 100F in the old money – and everyone just about melted.  Plants wilted and died, pets panted and everyone stayed indoors as much as possible.  I don’t mind the heat but even I was a tad uncomfortable today.  Didn’t stop me going out like a madman and heading for the shops though.  I needed beads and jewellery supplies and also needed to get my invitations for my birthday bash printed.  I probably could have waited until a cooler day but hey, where would the fun be in that?  Besides, the roads were quiet, as sensible, less heat-tolerant people stayed home.

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This afternoon I had a talk with hubby (soon to be ex hubby I suppose – hate saying that but have to come to terms with it) and it made me feel so much better about things.  Not because we are going to get back together – we’re not – and not because I think deep down he still loves me – he doesn’t – but because I stood up for myself and told him how much he had hurt me.  I made him apologise to me.  I don’t care if the apology was sincere or not – I just needed to hear it; its sincerity is irrelevant to me at this point.  I needed to show him that, hurt and damaged as I am, I’m not beaten.  I deserve better and expect it for myself from now on. He’s not a bad guy and I don’t wish him any harm, I really don’t (although I was glad to see he had put on weight – which is nasty of me but I think I’m allowed at least one smug moment).  I want him to be happy and to figure out who he is.  I just don’t need to be around while he does it. So, I feel that, in the end, I am stronger than
I thought and maybe I can get through this and come out the other end smiling and resilient.  Maybe.

So, this evening, feeling the need for a sweet treat and not wanting to completely destroy my diet, I rummaged around in the fridge and cupboard to see what I could rustle up.  I purposely keep my fridge pretty bare so that I am not tempted by easy (i.e. fattening) foods and it was pretty slim pickings in there.  I did, however, have some leftover low-fat ricotta, one sad little English muffin, some maple syrup and a punnet of frozen strawberries (I froze a batch of them last time I went shopping – they go off so quickly and I don’t like to waste them so I froze them after eating the best ones, thinking I could use the others in smoothies or whatever and it didn’t matter if they were a bit over-ripe).

Long story short, I mixed a little bit of syrup into the ricotta with a bit of cinnamon, spread it over the toasted English muffin and topped it with the frozen strawberries (which were delicious – they might be my new favourite thing!) and drizzled the whole lot with maple syrup to finish.  Oh yummy!  Tasted so delish and was reasonably healthy, satisfied my sweet cravings and didn’t leave me feeling guilty the way I would have done if I had given in and picked up some ice cream from Baskin Robbins (’cause you know that’s what I was thinking of doing).  It was cooling and sweet and super tasty.  Perfect!  A nice change and something I will make again if I desperately need something dessert-like in a pinch.  Try it yourself 🙂

 Please excuse bad photo – it was late at night and I had no decent lighting – had to take the shot inside the fridge and the strawberries kept keeling over – they were very uncooperative!  🙂

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Stay cool everyone (on this side of the globe – everyone else try and stay warm!) 🙂

Oven-Baked Risotto

Oven-Baked Risotto

Sometimes you just want something easy for dinner.  Something comforting and simple.  Something you can just shovel in while you digest the day’s proceedings.  Risotto fits the bill.  I actually enjoy making “proper” risotto – standing there stirring and adding stock, it’s cathartic and relaxing.  But there are also times when I just want to chuck it all in the oven and let it sort itself out.  Which is what you can do with this “cheat’s” recipe.  Plus you can just add in whatever you have lying around the place or in the fridge.  That’s what I do anyway.

Oven-Baked Risotto

You will need:

5 cups Arborio rice
2 cups stock
2 TBs butter or margarine
½ large onion, diced

Now that’s the “basic” ingredients.  To them, you can add whatever you feel like.  I usually bung in some diced celery, baby peas, some chopped fake bacon, a few sundried tomatoes and some chopped mushrooms, grated cheese and chopped herbs.  It’s all just meant to be spontaneous so don’t worry too much.  It will taste yummy whatever you put in it.  I’ve made one with just celery and peas, with some grated parmesan and it was delicious.

Mix it all together in a large oven-proof dish (usually a shallow oblong or rectangle one – maybe a 6-8 cup capacity…) and cover it with foil.  It doesn’t have to be a tight cover, it’s just to stop the top burning and the ingredients from drying out.  Be careful while putting it in the oven – don’t spill it or drop half of it all over your slippers like I did last night.  Gross!  The oven should be on a fairly high temp  – around 200 C.  Bake for about 30 mins – you can check on it after about 15 mins and give it a stir if you like but I don’t always, it usually takes care of itself – risotto is done when all the rice is tender.  Sometimes might take up to 45 minutes – it’s not an exact science but I usually find 30-35 minutess is enough.  Serve with a nice grating of parmesan or whatever cheese you like.  Voila!

A good dish to make if you don’t like cooking but you somehow managed to invite someone over for dinner.    This recipe is enough for about 6 people or 4 piggies.

Enjoy!

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It’s Friday night and all I can say is TGIF!!!  It’s been a long, exhausting week.  I’ve been in horrible pain with my back and neck and I just want to strap heat packs and hot water bottles to every muscle in my body and lie down for two days straight.  Will have to make do with just a couple of hours probably.

Hope your weekend is shaping up to be something awesome 🙂

Lavender Sugar Cookies

Lavender Sugar Cookies

After yesterday’s attempt at, well, nothing in the end, I gave up and did what I always do when I can’t get my act together – bake.  And besides, baking is still a form of creating, right?  I make just as much mess in the kitchen as I do in the craft room, so I figure it counts.  My hubby just complains less when there’s food at the end of the mess.

These biscuits are really easy to make and taste delicious.  If you don’t have a food processor, just cream the butter and sugar together by hand and mix in the other ingredients.  It works well either way.

LAVENDER SUGAR COOKIES

100g Unsalted Butter – cubed

75g Caster Sugar + extra for sprinkling

175g Self Raising Flour

2 TBS chopped Lavender Flowers (dried or fresh)

Water

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Put the butter and sugar into a food processor and “whizz” up until you get a mixture resembling breadcrumbs.

Add the flour and flowers and pulse again.  Add some water (about 1-2 tablespoons) until a smooth, workable dough forms.

Remove from processor and knead on a floured board or counter top.  Roll out to about 5mm thickness. Cut out into desired shapes and place on a tray lined with baking paper.  Sprinkle with additional sugar.

Bake for approx 15-20 minutes until slightly golden.  Cool on wire rack and enjoy with a nice cup of tea.  Get hubby to do dishes (this is a very important step).

Makes about 20 cookies depending on size!