It’s Time … Dr Sista Outlaw’s annual zucchini fest

Zucchini, how I love it. There is nothing more delightfully buttery or charmingly versatile, or, for that matter, quite so easy to grow. Mine are bursting at the seams right now, pushing over the chook wire, and trying to run over the ground, fruiting in black and green stripes, with a pattern like 1960s barkcloth. Having just had a quarter of a year’s worth of rain in one weekend, they’re turning into marrows. And, as I am dead broke until the arrival of the Kevin Bucks, it’s time to get working on ways to use this luxurious, yet cheap, food.

Zucchini Muffins look so damned good the boy recanted his anti-zucchini stance and tucked in. They are also easy. Take a giant marrow or a few small ones and grate until you have 400 grammes worth. Then add: 1 cup white flour, 1 cup of polenta or some polenta and wholemeal, 1 tsp of baking soda, 1 tsp sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 lightly beaten egg and 60g of butter you’ve melted in the microwave. You can add flavourings such as a big handful of grated parmesan; a small handful of shredded herbs; six semi-sundried tomatoes sliced up; a big chunk of crumbled feta; ham, bacon, salami or smoked salmon in chunks; a handful of lightly toasted pine nuts or walnuts. Or any combo. Mix it all together until it just comes together into a lumpy mess and put big spoonfuls, lumps and all, into a lightly greased muffin pan. Bake at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes in a shiny new electric fan-forced oven, if, like me, you have one (I truly love my oven), but any one will do.

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Harry presents: Vivid Dream Lasagne

(This post is part three of a series which begins here and continues here.)

(Note: very rich, and you will have really vivid dreams that night.)
(Note 2: I tried this initially as a cannelloni, but stuffing the bastards is too annoying, but if you have OCD it will work fine.)

This recipe emerged from a misguided attempt to make two styles of mushroom-and-nut pasta. Forest-nymphs were involved in the plan, but the pasta making was a complete failure and there was no preying-on-the-earth-children for me. After trialling the salvaged remains I took the best bits of both to make one Ultimate Dish.

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A Dinner of Righteous Maturity to conclude a three lolly bag weekend

Five Kinds of Fuck-Off Rad

Rachel of Thus Bakes Zarathustra is presently sojourning with a bunch of Yankee pointyheads in pursuit of her PhD. Writing at TBZ’s previous incarnation she said:

The thing is the next day I came home from the library starving and sick of books, and there was a bowl of carrot and avocado salad in the fridge and this cake, and I ate it and I felt a rush of righteous maturity akin to flossing my teeth or getting a pap smear.

We all need that feeling sometimes, don’t we?

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Nabakov presents: Spag Bol al Dante

compleat bachelor fare archive

Ah Spaghetti Bolognaise! The bachelor’s friend, muse and destroyer of waistlines. Here I offer a hot new take on an old favourite. All measures are calculated for two people of firm appetite with enough left over to fill a few jaffles on a hungover late winter morning.

This one’s a bit tricky though as it involves not one (1) but two (2) hotplates. You’ll need all your project management skills here.

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The gift of food

I’ve been sick for nearly two weeks (I’m never sick!) and both the kids are feverish snot covered whirlwinds. So yeah, not cooking much.

Thank God for my friends Nigel and Willa. Nigel turned up early yesterday morning bearing his mother’s heirloom casserole dish full of a beautiful tomato and silverbeet soup (with cinnamon) made by Willa.

Some cous cous to improve the child spoonability factor, and lots of pepper and a squeeze of one neighbour Billy’s Meyer lemons for the grown ups. Wonderful.

Giving food is a beautiful gift, particularly for new parents or single parents. Don’t be shy, just make up a big tray of something delicious and take it around. This is the one situation where I think disposable foil cooking trays can be a Good Thing, because the new parents feel no obligation to clean and return other people’s cooking equipment. (I prefer the beautiful dish this came in and will enjoy returning it, but I don’t have a newborn. Which is also a Good Thing.)

When my dear friend Jude had her second child, her neighbour arranged seven households into a roster, and for one night a week for six weeks, we cooked for the enlarged family. It was such a wonderful thing to turn up, drop off the food and see the relieved faces. Sometimes I would stay for a glass of wine, but usually I would just scoot off after no more than ten minutes or so. And how I loved cooking for them! I would turn up with things like a big bowl of washed and picked over leaves, a little bag of really good vinaigrette and a container of marinated and grilled chicken, baked sweet potato and very fresh nuts. And always a dessert. Breastfeeding women need sweets.

There’s a simpler way we can give food too, by just clicking at the hunger site.

She’s got eggs. Knows how to use ‘em

Like Mr Perry in last night’s BBC Emma (go here to discuss!), I am not altogether against eggs. We’re lucky enough to keep some chickens which crap free range all over the yard. Despite having pretty much the best eggs available to humanity, I’m not a huge fan of the breakfast egg. In fact while I love eggs in quiches, frittatas or a nice spanish-style tortilla, I almost never face off an egg straight up.

We often have two breakfasts on weekends. The first is emergency carbo loading of early waking children, usually porridge, often at an inhumane hour. A hour or so later is still a very long time before morning tea, let alone lunch. This weekend’s second breakfast was baked eggs, from a recipe in the Sydney Morning Herald/Age weekend colour magazine last month by Andrew McCo. I ripped the end of his name off, poor love, and the paper doesn’t seem to include the weekend recipes on their zhuszhy site. So sorry, Andrew.

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Lebanese breakfast pizza and other coincidences

Phil Lees writes a terrific blog called The Last Appetite and has just started a world food blog at the SBS television site, cooking from the Food Safari back catalogue. It should be fantastic, as his writing is characterised by great humour and expertise. I have already left a comment asking him to do something about Maeve O’Meara’s shirts, so no need for you to worry about that.

maeve-fashion

Coincidently I caught the last bit of SBS Food Safari last night, where O’Meara explored Lebanese food. The last item, running quickly over the credits, was a breakfast pizza called manouche. Owen started groaning about how good it looked – and as we’d coincidently had pizza for dinner and there was coincidently some dough left over I told him he was in luck.

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