I am usually quite good at using up vegetables before they spoil. I wish I could be more like Alex, and plan my weekly meals, but I am much more of a reactionary cook based on what ingredients are present and what inspires me. Let me tell you, this is where Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion is an absolute gem – being able to search an entire chapter based on one ingredient means it is often the first cook book I turn to.
This week however, between Easter and a few cheat days last week, I was left with a fridge full of vegetables. Not wanting to dispose of anything, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make stock for the very first time!
As I type I have stock pot simmering away. Quite excited by the prospect of home-made stock, I am now joyfully flicking through cook books and planning on what to cook this week.
Who knows, maybe I’ll actually plan a weekly menu!
Readers, do you regularly make stock? Any tips for a novice?
It’s quite amusing that Alex posted only recently a mouth watering recipe for Pho Bo. I say amusing, because like Alex, Asian cuisine is not my strong suit. I find it difficult to get the balance of flavours quite right, and often I find the list of ingredients daunting.
I was browsing my favourite spice store in Melbourne Gewurzhaus and came across their Laksa spice blend. Included on the packaging was a recipe that I knew I needed to try. I was glad I did. The dish was beautiful, fragrant and filling. While my presentation leaves a little to be desired, it’s something I know I’ll perfect soon, as I will be making it many times!
Winter is fast approaching here in Melbourne. As the temperature drops, the clouds darken and the kitchen becomes a welcome place of comfort and warmth. What better way to feed such desires than a cottage pie? I’ve been making this for many years and have yet to receive any complaints. It’s easy to increase the quantity and freeze the spare pie for rainy day!
From my understanding, Cottage Pie, similar in origins to Shepherds Pie, was first made to use up ingredients left over from the weeks roast. Cottage Pie uses beef, rather than lamb. It’s also called a pie, but there is no pastry involved in this version. The top is a lovely crust of mashed potatoes.
This recipe is inspired by Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros. What I love most about the cookbook is the recipes are categorised not by ingredient but rather by colour. As with any recipe I have taken some liberties with the ingredients! This is one of two recipes I use depending on what I have in the house (the other recipe uses stock, instead of tomatoes.). I intend on posting the other recipe eventually.
Using the quantities below this comfortably feeds 4 to 6 people. It can also be prepared the day before and kept in the fridge overnight.