Not too naughty green risotto

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Risotto is one of my go to recipes when it comes to having guests over. Firstly, people with a gluten intolerance can eat it and it can easily be made vegetarian. It is also one of Archer’s favourite meals so I will make this in a big batch and freeze it. I call this not too naughty risotto because its full of green veggies and we use greek yoghurt to make it creamy!

Ingredients

  • 50 grams of butter
  • 1 x onion finely chopped
  • 1x teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 x cup risotto
  • 1 x tablespoon of thyme (can be left out if you don’t have on hand)
  • 1 x lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • 1 x zucchini diced
  • 1 x cup of frozen peas
  • 1 x cup of spinach roughly chopped
  • 1.5 tablespoons of greek yoghurt (Naughty option use creme fraiche instead)

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Method

  1. Melt butter on a low heat and the add onion and cook until soft (5-8 minutes). It is important not to burn the onion as this can discolour the risotto.
  2. Once the onion is soft, add garlic and cook for one minute.
  3. Add the risotto and mix well with the onion and garlic.
  4. Add one ladle of vegetable stock, the lemon juice and thyme.
  5. When nearly all the stock is dissolved add another ladle of stock and continue to do so until the rice is tender. When you add the third ladle of stock also add the zucchini.
  6. While the risotto continues to cook put the peas in a bowl with two cups of boiling water for five minutes and then remove the water.
  7. When the risotto is tender season with salt and pepper and add the lemon zest, peas, cup of spinach and greek yoghurt.
  8. Top with parmesan to serve.

Slow cooker basil and strawberry jam

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In a moment of absolute madness I offered to make my sister 90 bottles of jam to use as bombonieres for her wedding in December. Archer’s naps had just started getting better and longer and I thought that learning to make jam would be a good way to fill some time. As I know now, you can never ever rely on a baby to nap consistently haha. Anyway I was determined to make these bloody jams and as quickly as possible.

Firstly, I tried to make jam in the traditional way on the stove top, this took way too much time and also we had an incident with some overspill and burnt jam being stuck all over my stove top.  Next I decided to try and make jam in the microwave. This was actually not to bad, but I couldn’t make it in large enough quantities using the recipe.

Finally, I started to trial slow cooker jam recipes. BINGO!! While it tool a while to perfect by the end I could make decent sized batches and it wasn’t overly intensive. I used this as my base recipe but below is the final recipe I used that I personally think ended up making a pretty damn good jam.

Ingredients

  • 500g of strawberries, hulled and chopped in half
  • Juice of half a lemon or juice of a whole lime
  • 1 cup of sugar (caster sugar is best)
  • 1/4 cup of basil roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of whiskey or bourbon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds

Method

  1. Place all of the ingredients except the chia seeds in the slow cooker on low for two hours
  2. After two hours remove lid. Jizz with a stick beater. And add chia seeds.
  3. Cook for an additional three hours. DO NOT replace the lid.
  4. When jam is ready place jars in 160 degree oven for 10 minutes to sterilise. Pour jam into jars while both are still hot, the jam will continue to thicken in jars.

Note – I doubled the recipe on occasion to get more done but if you do this you need to cook for longer at step 3, 4-6 hours.  The recipe works best if you do not double it.

I used these jam jars from Kmart – 3 for $3.

Photos by Mark Quade 

 

The Front, Lyneham

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I use to live in North Lyneham, many afternoons were spent at Tilly’s or The Front doing uni work until friends would eventually begin to fill in, the uni work quickly forgotten and beers and wine ordered. The Front was always an eclectic spot, homely and welcoming, the food was hit or miss depending on the chef at the time but regardless it become a Canberra institution.

In May 2018 The Front has opened under new management with a glossy new look, not so eclectic anymore (the mix match of lounges and coffee tables have been removed) but  a little of “The Front” vibe still remains. Local artists work continues to line the walls and it appears from their website that they may open at night sometimes for performing artists.

I went in for breakfast (surprise, surprise) to suss out all the important details for you about the new Front:

Location: 1 Wattle Place, Lyneham

Parking: Ample free parking is available

Opening hours: Checkout their FB page for current opening hours

Menu: The menu is available here. I went for the hotcakes served with ginger and sweet potato puree. The ginger taste was quite explicit but not overpowering and the hotcakes were fluffy, the macadamia and honey crumble adding texture. Next time I plan to go back for lunch and have the chicken burger.

Atmosphere: Busy and buzzing, but I don’t feel like it was particularly loud.

Allergies/food preferences: Despite having zero food allergies or preferences the first thing that struck me about the menu was the number of options available for people with dietry requirements. There are a delicious options available for people who are gluten free, vegetarian and vegan.

Pram/baby friendly: rookie error I forgot to see if they had highchairs but there was two of us with prams and we easily fit in and didn’t seem to bother the staff.

Service: excellent! Drink order was promptly taken and delivered. We wouldn’t have waited much over 5 minutes for our food after ordering even though the place was really busy. Everyone was friendly and accomodating. I will definitely be adding The Front to my weekend brunch list!

Social media: Find them on Facebook and Instagram

 

Hummingbird cake

hummingbird cake

Do you ever see something at a cafe and then instantly need to go home and make it? This happened to me just last week. After a very fresh walk around Lake Burley Griffen we retreated  to Bookplate to warm up with coffee. Inside there was a scrumptious looking Hummingbird cake but I got the ordering jitters and ended up with a cornflake cookie. Seriously?! A cornflake cookie. WTF was I thinking? It was actually a pretty good cookie but it was no Hummingbird cake.

When I got home all I could think about was the bloody Hummingbird cake. I had serious buyers remorse and decided I needed to make my own straight away.  Unfortunately I didn’t have all the right ingredients and to be honest could not be bothered to go out again with Archer in tow so I had to get a little creative.  I am happy to report though that all the substitutes I used ended up creating a really delicious, moist Hummingbird cake, so good (and easy) that the recipe deserves to be shared!

Ingredients

Cake

  • 250 grams self raising flour (Sifted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (Sifted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger (Sifted)
  • 270 grams brown sugar
  • 440 gram can of pineapple pieces
  • 2 ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sultanas
  • 2 eggs (Lightly beaten)
  • 1 cup of canola oil

Icing

  • 250 grams of cream cheese (room tempreture)
  • 2 x cups of icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup of crushed walnuts or 1/4 cup of shredded coc

Method

  1. Mix all cake ingredients together and bake at 170 degrees celsius (fan-forced). Allow to cool before icing.
  2. For the icing, beat the cream cheese until soft and then slowly add icing sugar until well mixed. Ice cake and top with crushed walnuts.