Friday, 13 January 2012

A tricky time of year

It’s a tricky time of year to take on the challenge of a waste free kitchen. The holiday season brings unexpected social outings and activities and the warmer weather (although you wouldn’t believe it this week) tends to encourage a less structured and flexible routine. It doesn’t help that the market is heaving with delicious seasonal produce at bargain prices.
So this week I focused my efforts less on my garden challenge and more on what to do with everything in my fridge.
I generally have a set way that I plan my cooking and shopping for the week ahead. I set menus Saturday through to Thursday, with Friday designated 'take it as it comes'. More often than not it’s a case of taking a pizza base and adding a home made topping. This week it's left over salami, with onions, capsicum and home grown tomatoes.  Unfortunately I made the sad discovery of  a tub of Mt Zero olives I bought before Christmas- but have now gone mouldy - such a waste!
In addition I always make sure I have at least one meal that can be flexible and held over to the following week if things come up.  A favourite is Thai Curry as I usually have some chicken in the freezer and just use whatever veg is around (onions, carrots and capsicum keep – so they are staples in my cupboard and fridge). This week I made Penang curry with some left over roo fillet that was languishing in the freezer.
This week I also decided to get back into my after work swimming routine so I need to ensure there was one meal that only needed to be heated and ready to serve. A perfect dish is Karen Martini's fantastic apricot chicken recipe (taken from the Age Sunday Life magazine). Dry roasting coriander and  cumin, grinding the spice mix and browning the chicken takes a little time so it’s a great dish to cook on weekend and enjoy the leftovers mid week. It also gave me an opportunity to try out our new season chillies. I will confess I am not responsible for chili growing – as that’s my partner Glenn’s job. Last year he didn't get much joy with the seed saved chillies given last year’s mild growing season so  it was off Bunnings and Masters for some new seedlings. I approached the chillies labelled ‘Kaysan’ with a certain degree of caution but turns out despite the label marked  hot they were no hotter than the green chillies I normally buy. I am looking forward to making some of Hasan M’Souli’s  green harissa soon.

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