581. Sunday 10th December 2017. A quiet week of cooking…

Christmas is rushing up to meet us. We have a Christmas morning tea to organise in the clubhouse next Thursday. A new specialist supermarket has opened next door and the owner will be our guest speaker.

Next Saturday we have a catered Christmas dinner in the clubhouse. We have 75 people already booked for that event. A dozen new folding tables arrived today. Just in time for the dinner next week.

Christmas Eve we have a planned Carols by Candlelight in our park beside the creek.

We have spent the week pretty much at home doing whatever it is that we do around the home. We play bowls, table tennis, indoor bowls, line dancing and swimming.I also do my bike riding.

The weather has been a mix of hot days with cool nights or rainy days with cooler nights.

There has not been any Commonwealth Games Training this week so instead I have been doing a little cooking. Hmmm! Maybe that’s a lot of cooking.

Over the years I have made a Zucchini Loaf which is delicious and seems to get eaten too quickly.

Recently I tried making a concoction using cooked brown rice and cooked red lentils with a capsicum sauce. Wow that sauce was a lot of effort for very little return. The rice lentil mixture was meant to be shaped into balls and baked with the sauce drizzled over the top when serving. I followed the recipe faithfully (it seemed like I was in the kitchen all afternoon – in fact I was) but the mixture seemed too crumbly to hold together in balls. Instead I put the mixture in a square pie dish and baked it like a flat loaf. A sort of rice lentil bread. It was tasty but seemed to be lacking – something. A week later I tried again this time adding some grated zucchini and two eggs. Now this was more like it but it was just a little too moist and still crumbly, not holding together like a loaf.

Hmmm! I thought. How can I improve on this?

So this week I tried again. I still kept the basic ingredients of brown rice and lentils, then added a grated carrot. I also grated a zucchini but sprinkled it generously with salt and left it for 20 minutes to draw out the moisture then squeezed it through muslin. I added that to the mix along with grated parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs. I cooked up an onion and three cloves of garlic in curry powder with pepper and salt and added that and three eggs to the mix. Instead of putting it in a blender as the recipe stated I used a mixmaster on very basic slow blend. The mix was now a bit like a thick cake batter. I lined a square pie dish with paper and poured in the mix. I sprinkled the top with a tomato relish, more grated cheese and panko breadcrumbs. A few slices of tomato from our garden sat on top.  Then into the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, turned the pan around for another 15 minutes and a toothpick inserted in the middle came out clean. I let it “rest” for about 10 minutes then cut into squares and served. Yummo. This is a winner. However next time I will add some peas and maybe some chopped cooked bacon. Serve bigger slices and a salad and you have a delicious satisfying meal. Serve smaller slices as a sort of replacement for potato.

While in the mood I made some coconut and cherry muffins. Donnis had bought a box of Australian cherries for $5 and after she pitted most of them, froze some, glaced` some and let me have some for the muffins. We also had a nice glass of cherry juice. The muffins have such a nice taste and texture. I sprinkled them with icing sugar. Froze some and will have the rest between us with our morning coffee.

Donnis also bought a box of mango’s for $5. Hmmm! I feel a recipe coming on. This time it will be a mango and coconut muffin. I will use the same recipe but replace the cherries with chopped mango. We will also make a mango syrup and serve with thick cream as dessert when friends come to visit next week

Our freezer is now at capacity with all the extra frozen fruit. Did I mention Donnis also bought a box of Strawberry’s for $5 last week. She blanched and froze most of them. While I am on the subject she also bought a box of Bluberries – you guessed it, she paid $5 – and they are also in the freezer.

See you later. I have to go and whip up a couple of storms in the kitchen.

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