Pocket of sunshine – Cooking Adventure #10

You know what’s great? Potatoes. You can’t really go wrong. Our path of cooking adventuring veered off into this versatile territory with our attempt at golden chicken, braised greens and potato gratin. Nom nom nom.

This took way longer than 15 minutes, hardly a surprise, but it was well worth it. The gratin is just the right kind of creamy and chicken and bacon is (as always) a killer combination. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I ever cooked a leek so that was interesting! For someone who never used to eat anything green, it’s quite a revelation to realise I actually like crisp, simple veggies.

Overall, don’t really have much to say about this dish because it was straightforward to pull together and everyone enjoyed it. It received 5 Grumpy Dads. Sound the gong of victory!

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Yellow submarine – Cooking Adventure #9

Way back near the end of March, we attempted the grilled mushroom sub with smoky pancetta, melted cheese and pears. My father is one of those people who thinks sandwiches don’t constitute a proper meal, so I was a bit reluctant to make this ginormous sub. We decided to make it for lunch so he couldn’t kick up too much of a fuss.

This is a ciabbata based sub with a simple, refreshing salad. I was a bit weirded out by putting pears on a sandwich but whatever, I figured Jamie knows what he’s doing. And he does because it’s actually delicious. We have some amazing (and gigantic) pears on offer here in WA and this recipe really showcased them. I’m not generally a fan of walnuts (in the salad) or mushrooms (in the sandwich) either, but I had no problems with either in this combo. Overall, it was a very successful meal AND we got it done in 15 minutes. Didn’t think we’d ever actually manage that!

It got 4.3 Grumpy Dads out of 5 – yes, the father has decided to start working in decimal points because we’re giving him such variety to choose from. Apparently.

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Sweet Tangerine – Cooking Adventure #8

Ventured into lamb territory for the ongoing kitchen adventures and tried out the totally satisfying quick lamb tanginge with pan-fried aubergine and cumin crunch. Dad is a big fan of couscous so I figured this one would go down well, and I was right.

This is a super easy recipe and actually pretty quick to make. We turned it around in 20 minutes, pretty pleased with that effort! The recipe calls for two small aubergines, but they only seem to come in one size here in Oz – ginormous. I opted to only use one. I’ve noticed this is a bit of a common issue with the Jamie recipes – our produce is, in general, a lot bigger so sometimes it’s a bit of a guesstimation with ingredients. But everything for this recipe is straightforward and easy to find, I discovered the preserved lemons at our local Asian market – a great spot for finding those kinda unusual ingredients not stocked by the major chains.

Overall, this got a very favourable response – 4 Grumpy Dads out of 5.

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Why don’t we have both – Cooking Adventure #7

For another lunchtime effort, we entered the wonderful world of ultimate pork tacos. Now tacos is not something that’s particularly popular in our household, so it was quite nice to shake things up a little.

I actually found this super quick and easy to make – and all the ingredients were present and accounted for with no fuss. I’m a fan of the salad, as I think the apple and lime based dressing is really refreshing which balances out the spice of the taco. Tasty! The salad was a lot nicer than the pic suggests – I’d already eaten some of it before I remembered to take a photo (also I detest avocado and did not want it anywhere near my plate).

The dish scored 3.5 Grumpy Dads out of 5 – mainly because dad finds tacos way too messy (and thus painful) to eat. So next time we might actually go for a soft shell taco instead…it’s a shame to lose the crunchiness but I figure we could always just add some nachos on the side to make up for it.

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Hideout in the Pyrenees – Cooking Adventure #6

As our last attempt wasn’t exactly a roaring success, I knew it was important that we got straight back on the bandwagon before we lost faith in the process. So the next day we returned to the land of pasta, something I knew dad couldn’t object to.

The challenge? Chorizo carbonara and catalan market salad. This was the best possible decision we could have made. For one thing, at around twenty minutes, it was our quickest attempt yet. For another, it was delicious and wonderfully refreshing on a hot day. We yet again had trouble finding the necessary vegetables – this time, chicory. We were already at our local Woolies and I couldn’t even be bothered looking up substitutes, so we just grabbed some kale and went with that. I know, I know. But it was fine! So, whatever.

It was wonderfully creamy, with a lot of flavour, and the Catalan salad was fab. Dad insists it was even better when he later had the leftovers at work. 5 Grumpy Dads.

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Paris when it sizzles – Cooking Adventure #5

The cooking trend came to a staggering halt when mum had to go to Sydney on a two week work trip. I went along during the first week, and dad absconded for most of the second. Bothering with recipes just seemed like too much effort and, to be honest, it’s something mum and I really enjoy doing together. It’s just not fun without her!

So it was almost four weeks before we returned to our experimenting with sizzling beef steak, hoi sin prawn and noodle bowls. Unfortunately this was also our least successful attempt. I do not do seafood and neither does mum. While I will have the odd battered fish or calamari, mum will not touch it with a ten foot pole. We’re just not keen. On the other hand, dad is a fan and that’s why we decided to make this – just with less prawns than the recipe required.

Now personally I had no problems with this dish. The flavours were great and I just love the hoi sin noodles. Sooo good. Both parentals aren’t keen on coriander though and thought it was way too overpowering – I didn’t even notice. So, next time, we’ll halve the amount and see if it’s better received! We also went over time again (around 30min) so dad found the steak too cold by the time it was served. And he thought it was underdone, but I think he was just being whiny.

It was really flavoursome though and, although disappointing compared to previous attempts, not a complete wash out. It received a sad 2 Grumpy Dads out of 5.

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Salsa baby – Cooking Adventure #4

My dad works shifts so I wanted to know if I could expand our new cooking fad to include lunches. I thumbed through 15 minute meals for things that looked lunch appropriate to start with and settled on falafel wraps with grilled veg and salsa. This was quite a progressive choice as it’s meat-free and vegetarianism makes my dad want to cry.

First up, I’ll admit I struggled with this one. It spiraled out to around 45 minutes of cooking, mostly because the falafel was proving problematic. I was obviously being way too slow shaping them, so it got a bit out of control! But! Got there eventually.

It was a perfect summer’s day though so the meal was perfect. The charred veggies were delicious, and we opted to serve it with beetroot rather than the recommended red cabbage. So tasty! Dad got over his initial shock of being presented with a veggie meal, so that was good. I think he was mostly just pleased with the cottage cheese marbled with sweet chili.

I’d like to try this again to see if I can actually make it in a decent time frame. It got 3.5 Grumpy Dads out of 5.

Sadly I don’t seem to have a photo of this one so here’s an apologetic dog instead.

Light of my life.

Light of my life.