yellow curry with chickpeas and veggies

Some nights feel like a curry night. Today was such a day, so I had a go at this yellow curry. In the van I make no apologies for using a jar of curry paste :-) rather than making the curry from scratch, although one day, with time, I'll give it a crack. Equipment chopping board and knife saucepan for cooking rice covered pan for curry measuring cup Ingredients olive oil salt and pepper onion (x1 small, segmented) yellow curry paste. I used ½ jar of AYAM Thai curry, I estimate it is about ⅓ cup coconut milk (small tin) chickpeas (x1 tin) veggies: I used eggplant (sliced and quartered, broccoli (flowers), green beans (cut in smallish pieces), spinach basmati rice (½ cup) cherries tomatoes (handful, cut in half) soy sauce x1 tbsp (or fish sauce but I don't have any in the van at the moment) raw sugar x1 tbsp (could use brown, but I have raw in the van) coriander to garnish (½ bunch chopped) Method heat oil in the pan add eggplant and season with pepper and salt add onion and cook

Maria's pasties

It's hard to beat a pastie with sauce for lunch on Saturday. This recipe is one from Maria's mum that has become a favourite, partly because it's so easy. At home, we usually make a large batch and have a stock in the freezer. The pasties are smallish (we do 4 per pastry sheet), so the hardest, or at least the tedious bit is chopping the veggies nice and small so the consistency of the filling. Ingredients packet of puff pastry Filling beef mince - 500g short cut bacon - 6 rashes, chopped tiny potatoes - x2 medium, diced very small carrot - x2, diced very small peas - 1 cup or more if you like peas swede - 1 small, diced very small (We also add whatever is in the fridge or garden that is suitable. This time it was finely chopped kale) pepper and salt (be generous) mixed herbs (be generous, and use fresh if available) eggs - x2 to bind Method construct the pasties lay the pastry sheets out on a bench to thaw mix all the filling ingredients in a large bowl cut a sheet of past

Green lentil soup

We've got three go-to soups ... ones that we have made countless times because they always deliver. But they are all meat based, so this original recipe is an attempt to do a simple but satisfying veg soup. It will be nothing like it, but there is some inspiration from Tiamo 's lentil soup (not on the menu anymore from what I can tell), that was a favourite. One of the advantages of this soup will be not having to cook it for as long as we do with chicken, lamb or beef based soups. Recipe will serve 4-6 depending on serving size. Equipment chopping board and knife Decent size pot Ingredients Veg leek, 1 chopped celery, 2 sticks chopped carrot, 2 diced peas, 1 cup green lentils, 300g Spices minced ginger, 1 heaped tbsp minced garlic, 1 heaped tbsp garam masala, 2 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp paprika, 1 tsp bay leaves, x4 parsley, handful, chopped pepper and salt liquid olive oil tomatoes, 1 400g tin veg stock, 1 litre Method sauté onion, celery, carrot in oil, wit

Ballarat Salad

A few months ago, on the spur of the moment we decided to drive to Ballarat for the day. We found ourselves at Racers Cafe for lunch and decided to try Janine's salad. I've never committed to understanding and making good salads, but this simple lunch inspired me to have a crack. Since then, I've tried a few variations on the original. Never the same because you go with the available ingredients, but the basic idea is retained. Today on the drive home from Lismore, we agreed we needed something vegetable-y for dinner, After we cycled through baked veggies and a veggie lasagna, we decided to stop in at FoodWorks in Bangalow to pick up some ingredients to make what I'll now call our Ballarat Salad. I love the textures, flavours and colours in this mixture. The halloumi adds saltiness, the beetroot and sauerkraut some acidic bite. The avo and humus offer some creaminess, the nuts and seeds some crunch and the fritters some warmth and substance. Ingredients mixed lettuce le

South India Chicken Soup

This is a recipe from The Chicken Manifesto  and comes from the Konga Nadu area of India, which I adapted with simplified ingredients for the van. This meant using spices that I had, for example ground cumin rather than cumin seeds. I also added greens (broccoli and beans) and a dollop of yogurt to serve.  We've been in Brunswick Heads for a while, and even though it's not cold, the perpetual rain showers make it feel like soup weather. We're also cooking big pots of food to share with Johanna, Luke and Willow while they wait for a new little human to come into the world. I've been making pots of soup to fill their freezer ... Unlike most chicken soups I've cooked, this one cooks the chicken in water/stock, then adds it later to a paste flavoured broth prepared in parallel. Servings pot of soup, 4-6 people Time 2½ hours, most of that cooking time. Equipment (main) Chopping boards and knife Wooden spoon soup pot, plus saucepan for cooking chicken and rice pan for fry

Lemon tartlets

A couple of nights on a row having diner with friends prompted a new baking endeavour: lemon tart. Many years ago I remember Brown's Bakery publishing their lemon tart recipe ... I hoped to find it online, but alas, no go. I ended up just buying shortcrust pastry (rather than making from scratch, but still spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen. I adapted this recipe . Baking is not really a van kitchen thing, and this was done at home, not in my little kitchen, but this blog is the best place to record what I did for future reference.  Recipe made 22 tartlets. Ingredients Eggs x5 plus yoke (reserve white for sealing the bottom of the tarts Super fine sugar (I blended caster sugar) 280g Lemon juice 200ml Crème fraîche 200g (icing sugar for serving) Short crust pastry x3 sheets (also used patty pans in the muffin tray and another set for blind baking) Method Beat the 5+ eggs lightly Stir in the sugar and let it sit until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally - abo

Everyday fruitcake

I eat a lot of fruitcake. I've had a lifelong love affair with them which I unpacked in my last blog . As much as I really like the previous recipe, the ingredients are expensive and it takes a while to make. So having resorted to bought Christmas cake to get me through, I set out to develop an 'everyday' fruitcake recipe that was really good quality, but relatively simple to make.  Add to that, Maria and I are continuing our long quest to eliminate plastic packaging from food we buy ... so the extra challenge was to get the ingredients without having single use plastic with the ingredients. Rather than do more Google research I decided on a different plan. I called my dad and asked him to forage through my mum's old recipe books to see if he could find the tried and true recipe that she rolled out whenever there was a cake worthy special occasion. I was so pleased that he managed to find it, and it was a bonus to discover that she'd made a note on the bottom that s

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