I haven’t forgotten you. Honest. We’ve been down with the sick. It’s January, after all. But in spite of the symphony of sniffles, coughs and sleepless yawns, we’ve been eating alright. I am tired of take out and junk food and scrambling at the last minute to figure out what to eat, so I have been putting in a real effort to have proper food available for us. My efforts have not been perfect, but we have managed to cut down on eating out and ordering in.
Last night, I roasted a whole chicken with Za’atar, which is a lovely spice blend that you can read more about here. It is so wonderful with poultry, but I also added it to a cucumber salad with a little mint. Then I brushed pita halves with oil and sprinkled the spices over. Best pita chips EVER. The potatoes that the chicken roasted with absorbed the warm flavours and were superb.
Feeling quite inspired by the Middle East, we’ve enjoyed meatballs served with a wonderful yogurt sauce that had ingredients that I never would have considered combining. Garlic, cumin and dill. Eaten with soft pita and a green salad, it was a taste of summer in what’s been a pretty cold winter so far.
I’ve also attempted bagels again. They turned out better this time. I think I’m getting the hang of shaping them. And I tried my hand at a pre-ferment for bread dough. By making a biga (a bit of loose dough made in advance that adds complexity to the bread’s flavour and gives it staying power), I created some really nice sandwich bread. I am really enjoying playing with bread doughs.
Craving chocolate last night, I made my double chocolate muffins. And I have decided that the recipe needs reworking. They are delicious, but the batter is terribly thick, and the muffins aren’t as tender as I’d like them to be. I’m up to the challenge. More fat? Applesauce? Flax seeds? We’ll see what I can do with them. My little helpers will be keen to have these more often, I’m sure.
I also used the last of my Christmas money and bought myself a present. A Ninja Ultima blender. It’s one of those ones that can turn ice into fluffy snow and green smoothies into a drink that doesn’t need to be chewed. Yesterday, I made my first one. Pineapple, spinach and banana. It was so smooth and tasty. Soon I’ll have chia seeds, flax seeds and protein powder, which will turn a fun drink into a full meal.
Watch in the next few weeks for some throwback recipes. My grandmother downsized and I was given an old, old cookbook from her years in home-ec. And there are plenty more in the Mennonite Treasury that are calling to me. While I wait for us to return to full health, I’ll be browsing for inspiration.