I've been trying to make sure we eat relatively healthily this week. It doesn't always work.
Above: I always thought that rice paper rolls were a bit like haircuts - best done by professionals. But the recipe in Nigella's Forever Summer showed me that they were in fact, incredibly do-able. A little fiddly, yes, but nevertheless a simple, impressive, and healthy nibble. We even made them while camping last year, if that is any indication of their non-threateningness (should such a word exist.) I made very simple rolls on Sunday night - just grated carrot, sliced avocado and mint, no noodles or anything. I think they were in fact the nicest ones I have ever made. Once you get into a rhythm of dunking the rice paper, laying the filling on their softened surfaces, and rolling them up, there's not much to it at all.
Above: The rice paper rolls were a precursor to our actual dinner, which consisted of roasted vegetables, boiled potatoes, and my usual fall-back when I have no idea what to cook for dinner but Tim wants some kind of meat component to the meal - mince spiced with cumin, cinnamon, etc. I added some cooked down red lentils to the mince, just to make it all the more sparklingly healthy, and grated in some carrot. All in all a model dinner...until...
Above: The real Canadian cake! Alicia's friend sent her a box of Betty Crocker cake mix, complete with a TUB OF ICING and we made it after dinner. Although I am generally vehemently opposed to cakes made from boxes, I was intrigued to say the least. You might not be able to see it in the photo but everything on the packaging is charmingly translated into French as well as English. Anyway, we mixed this up and baked it while watching the Simpsons movie on DVD. How do I put this - the cake was appallingly fabulous. It had this spookily puffy, moist texture, like something not found in nature, and the icing tasted like butter. It also had little clumps of e-numbers, I mean sprinkles, clustered throughout. It tasted pretty amazing, but left me rolling around groaning afterwards, filled with too much sugar.
Above: This was last night's dinner and I have to say, all self-congratulatory, that it was an absolute stonker of a feed. Tim and I went to New World Metro in town to grab some milk after work and ended up spontaneously buying some steak for dinner. I followed a recipe from the New Zealand cookbook, which basically involves frying it and deglazing the pan with sherry and cream. I used the sherry Mum gave me, and the little bit of cream that I had leftover from the pav. Well. It tasted INCREDIBLE, like restaurant food or something. The smell, when the sherry hits the hot pan and starts sizzling, is sensational.
To go with I made a salad of raw, sliced beetroot, blanched brocolli, and cashews, which was very fresh and crisp tasting, and roasted some potatoes. What a feast.
Above: Tonight I kept it fairly simple. Penne pasta, with avocado and roasted beetroot, capsicum, and courgette. I drizzled over a little of the basil oil that Mum and Dad got me when they went to Australia earlier this year, and it was the perfect foil for the mix of flavours on the plate. The beetroot inevitably stained the pasta, but I thought the combo looked rather festive.
Above: Well, I kept it simple until I started to make baked cheesecake, that is...Apparently we are having some kind of flat barbeque tomorrow, I say apparently because it is Emma that is organising it and I'm not quite sure on the particulars. As long as it doesn't rain like it did today we should have a jolly old time. Either way I'm always up for feeding people and so volunteered to make the Chocolate Lime Cheesecake from Nigella Bites, using gluten free cookies for the base. It is largely a case of bunging all the ingredients in the processor, the difficult bit is baking it in a waterbath, but not much is difficult in the kitchen when you have Tim to lift things for you. It is cooling on the bench now and smells pretty amazing. I'll let you know tomorrow night what the general consensus is. I've never made a cheesecake before so it's all a bit exciting.
Alright, it's now past midnight and I have to brave a shopping mall tomorrow, so I need my sleep.