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Nourish (Because Sometimes Doorknobs Just Fall Off)

It’s late at night.  You’re hungry.  You know you shouldn’t raid the pantry but to hell with diets and the whole “don’t eat after 8pm at night” nonsense (what am I, a gremlin?).  Time to check out what snacks are available to us.  

Enter kitchen.  Attempt to open pantry door.  Door knob falls off in hand – DISASTER! 

What can you do?  a.) Forget about the whole thing and go to bed, sad and unsatisfied?  b.) Try the fridge instead?  c.) Rummage through your handbag to see if there’s a long-forgotten mint or something?  d.) Wrench the pantry door open with a knife and vow to put a new door knob on tomorrow?  If you answered “all of the above except A”, you’d be correct.  Let’s face it, A was never an option. 

My house has many features that are, through age or just crappy design, falling off/breaking down/not performing so well.  Doorknobs are one example.  I’ve replaced several now in different rooms but, for the kitchen, decided to go with something a bit more jazzy.  I probably shouldn’t draw attention to my pantry (it’s not like I’m not VERY FAMILIAR with it already!) but I wanted to do this little project and not have to open the door with a knife 🙂

These little wooden doorknobs are currently available at Kmart, in Australia, for $1.00 each.  One dollar!  I do not want to know where the materials were sourced from at such a price – it would probably hurt my brain.  They had different shaped ones too, but I bought the regular round one.  I collaged on various scraps of patterned papers and washi tape, then (using a stencil I had made) draw on a heart shape.  I then painted the doorknob all over in blue, leaving out the heart-shaped area.  Details were added with permanent black pencil, a white paint pen and a bit of stamped text.  The whole thing was sealed and varnished and voila!  It was done.  (It looks a bit “cloudy” in places because I had literally just finished sealing it so nothing had dried before I took the photo).  I sanded back the edges slightly too, just to give a bit of extra detail.

So, an easy, inexpensive little decorator project that could be applied to lots of furniture and household items.  I’m still thinking I should have stamped “DO NOT ENTER” instead of “NOURISH” on my doorknob, but I will try and have some willpower of my own, instead of expecting inanimate objects to guide me and tell me what to do (or, in this case, what NOT to do) when I get the midnight munchies.

🙂

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Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder

Ah, soup.  I am such a fan.  It is easy to prepare, does not require difficult-to-get ingredients and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes (depending on the soup).  It’s filling, without being fattening, and can be flavoured and bulked-out with just about anything you have lying around the place.  Just bung it in, blend it up and hey presto! You have soup.  Or some weird-flavoured water (depending on the “anything” you bunged in).

Tonight I had a hankering for corn chowder.  I don’t know why.  It just appeared in my brain and took hold and made me desire its smokey, corny goodness beyond all other food stuffs.  I don’t make it very often.  Pretty much never.  The first time I ever made it was in catering class in high school.  I think I have made it three times in my entire life.  But it’s so yummy!  And filling and satisfying and feels like a meal rather than some sort of dietary punishment.  It never looks very attractive though.  Corn Chowder resembles, at best, dog vomit.  In fact, I hesitated when naming this blog post.  I wanted to call it “Corn Chunder” but I am far too mature for such a title.  I apologise if you are eating right now but, seriously, was there ever a more unattractive looking soup?

So my photo below is another fail.  I’m not even going to bother blaming it on bad lighting (even though the lighting in my kitchen is rubbish).  Let’s just ignore the picture and get on with the taste.  It’s yummy.  Delish. Tasty.

So here’s my recipe.  As always, for all my soup recipes, it is a bit approximate in terms of amounts used.  Again, just bung it in. I have, as is necessary for me, made this vegetarian, but substitute (if you must) real bacon etc.

Corn Chowder 

1 large onion, diced
4 rashers of vegetarian bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 potato, peeled and diced into roughly 1cm cubes
375ml can of evaporated milk + 2 canfuls of water – one mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of stock powder + one mixed with flour
2 cups frozen (or fresh) corn kernels
Chopped parsley

Method

Saute the onion in a bit of oil (I used sunflower) in a large saucepan  until soft.
Add bacon and fry for a minute (don’t let it brown).
Add milk and extra cans of water (with stock and flour).  Bring to a gentle boil (keep your eye on it) and add potato.  Keep stirring – the milk can burn or boil over so keep it simmering rather than rapid boiling.  Keep stirring for about 10 minutes until potato is tender (but not super squishy).  Add corn kernels and chopped parsley.

Continue simmering for about 5 mins.  Take off heat and take out a ladle or two of the chunky bits.  Give the remaining soup a bit of a blend with an upright stick blender (or whatever you have).  Don’t puree it until it’s smooth – this is supposed to be a chunky chowder!  Add the removed ingredients back into the pot and stir.  If it is too thick for your liking, you can add a half-cup of water if you wish.

Serve hot in bowls – garnish with parsley if desired.

Enjoy!  (just don’t look at it and you’ll be fine) 🙂

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Lemon & Baby Peas Pasta (Pauline’s Lemon Pasta)

Lemon & Baby Peas Pasta (Pauline’s Lemon Pasta)

Firstly, a warning.  The photo below is not good.  It does not look appetising at all.  I apologise.  As per usual, I tried to take a photo at night, in my little kitchen with barely any lighting.  Secondly, I tried to do that cheffy, twisting-the-pasta-around-artfully-on-the-plate kind of thing.  Which, blatantly obviously, did not work.

However, the completed dish was quite tasty and I am glad I broke my almost decade-long boycott on pasta.  I don’t do pasta.  It doesn’t like me and I am not a huge fan of it either.  I haven’t missed it at all since I stopped eating it some ten years or so ago, but tonight I saw this recipe in the magazine Daphne’s Diary and thought I would give it a go.  I like anything with lemon in and, let’s be honest, cheese.  So here’s the recipe (in which I substituted fettuccine for spaghetti and added peas as a way of assuaging my carb guilt):

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Pauline’s Lemon Pasta – Serves 4 

300g spaghetti
1 lemon
1 onion – sliced finely
Half a red chilli – chopped finely, seeds removed
2 cloves garlic – chopped finely
250ml single cream
40g parmesan – grated

Handful of chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Method

Cook the spaghetti in a large saucepan with plenty of salted water. Drain

Fry onion, chilli and garlic gently in a little olive oil in a saucepan.  Don’t let onion brown.

Add zest from the lemon and juice of half the lemon.  Stir to combine.

Add the single cream and heat quickly to prevent splitting.  Mine did a wee bit (mostly because I cheated and used milk instead of cream…duh) but came back together once I’d mixed it through.

Add the cooked pasta and stir through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with parmesan and parsley sprinkled on top.  Serve hot.

Oh, and I added the baby peas (cooked) at the end to add some more freshness and colour.

Voila.  Pretty easy. Give it a try if you’re looking for something different to the usual pasta and tomato-based sauce combo.

I’m still resting at home and trying not to eat everything in sight, but obviously failed tonight.  Sigh.  Will try again tomorrow and only eat things that are green and crispy.

🙂