Wednesday, 23 May 2012

teacup cottage pie

So this will definitely be my last post on Blogger. Currently working on the layout over at my new Tumblr page to make it as pretty as possible before launching it along with a Twitter account for the cereal diner. Excitement plus!

Well I have previously expressed my love of eating things from mugs but now I have added to my love of eating from drinking vessels and have started making things in teacups. I must admit that my teacup is a rather large teacup but little ones work just as well.

I say teacups and mugs should be celebrated and embraced and everything should be enjoyed from them, not just tea and coffee and sometimes wine.

1 medium potato, peel & quarter
150 grams of lean beef mince

1 teaspoon of olive oil
1/2 small brown onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, diced
2 button mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup of peas
2 tablespoons of tomato sauce
1/2 a teaspoon of Vegemite (trust me)
1 teaspoon of stock powder
1/4 cup of cold water
2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of milk
1 tablespoon of grated cheese
Small handful of salad leaves
1 teaspoon of additional olive oil
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Grease your teacup.
Put the potato in a small pot of water and put on a high heat to cook whilst you prepare the mince mixture.

Heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a pot on a medium heat and sauté the onion until soft, add the beef mince and stir until starting to brown whilst trying to smoosh out any lumps. Add carrot, mushrooms, peas, sauce, Vegemite, stock powder, cold water and a good pinch of S&P. Stir together and then add the water. Cook until the carrots soften and the liquid reduces - but don't let it become too dry. Take off the heat and stir through the parsley.

Fill your greased up teacup 3/4 full with the mince mixture.

Check the potato and once cooked, strain and mash with the milk and then spoon on top of the mince mixture in the teacup. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the potato and pop in to the oven until the cheese has melted and become golden brown. Remove the pie from the oven remembering that the teacup will be mega hot. Let the teacup cool down before serving.

Dress the salad leaves with the additional olive oil and the balsamic vinegar and serve on the side with your teacup cottage pie. I used baby spinach and radicchio leaves, which I am totes digging at the moment.

Friday, 4 May 2012

spiced (but not spicy) pumpkin soup

So, with the help of my housemates I am in the midst of making some improvements to the cereal diner. Hopefully with the improvements and changes will come better formatting and layout which I am currently having a number of issues with when using Blogger. By the next post the changes will be in place and things will be looking better!

This pumpkin soup is kind of like the chai tea of soups, it is warming, slightly spiced and super comforting. I am rather fond of it. And even better is that it literally takes under 30 minutes to make. It is the perfect cold winter mid week or lazy Sunday treat.

I would like like to say it is a recipe past down from generation to generation but it isn't. It was kind of passed down to me by my Dad, Barry. Dad's pumpkin soup was one of the first things I ever learnt to cook and I remember being super proud that I could make something as simple as pumpkin soup taste super rad. I have made a few changes to the recipe since Dad gave it to me all those years ago but I am pretty happy with the way it is now.

2 cups of pumpkin, cubed
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 a small onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of thyme leaves
1 spring onion, finely sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon of natural yoghurt (optional)
1/2 a cup of cooked brown rice (optional)
Heat the oil in a medium sized pot and sauté the onion, garlic and ginger. Once the onion starts to become opaque add in the cinnamon, allspice and ground cumin seeds and continuously stir until a paste like consistency. Add the cubed pumpkin and stir until the pumpkin is coated in the spice mix. Pour in the stock and turn the heat down to a medium heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the thyme leaves and continue to cook until the pumpkin has broken down and your soup is now a thickish consistency.

I don't know why but I really like to eat my pumpkin soup with some brown rice in the bottom of the bowl, this is totes optional but I find it adds a bit of body to it. I also LOVE to eat my soup with a dollop of yoghurt on top and top it off with the sliced spring onions to add some texture.