Saturday, May 7, 2011

Garbanzo pasta tomato soup

It's been a while since I cooked from scratch. Let's see if I remember how.
Garbanzo pasta tomato soup

  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup small seashell pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped, juice reserved
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until translucent. Stir into pasta and add garbanzo beans, tomatoes, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Heat through and serve.

I forgot how good fried onion smells.
Done!  So easy and so tasty!  This recipe is a keeper.
Note: used chicken stock instead of veg. The vegetarian kind.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fried Brown Rice

This recipe evolved from one that Em found online for me in response to my comment about my garden brocollini. The basic recipe was bacon and brocollini, stir fried in olive oil. It was delicious.

Over several successive goes, each time with the addition of more ingredients, it turned into this: Fried Brown Rice.

2 cups brown rice (uncooked)
2 onions (medium sized)
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups diced roast pumpkin
1 cup diced roast red pepper
1 cup diced roast eggplant
1 large bunch brocollini (or 1 brocolli head)
Olive oil (several tablespoons)
1 cup mixed beans
1/2 cup corn


First soak the dried beans. I had a mix of chickpea, red kidney, borlotti and lima.

Then roast the pumpkin. To cheat, I sliced it into thin (1/2 inch) wedges and sat them upright in a baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the top then sprinkle with whole cumin seeds. It didn't need salt.
And roast the eggplant and red pepper for about 20 minutes in a hot oven (180'C / 350'F). I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the slices. The eggplant is sliced lengthways, each slice is about 1/4 inch thick.
While the vegetables are roasting put the 2 cups of brown rice, with 5 cups of water, into the rice cooker.
When the rice is cooked, let it cool. When the roast vegetables are cooked, take them from the oven and allow them to cool.
Because my brocollini is growing in the garden, I headed outside to pick some.
Don't they make a pretty bouquet?
Back in the kitchen, I fired up the burner, poured in about a tablespoon of olive oil and tossed in the onion (chopped) and garlic (minced).
When the onion was soft, but not brown, I added the paprika. As this will be a vegetarian dish, the smoked paprika adds a nice smoky, barbeque flavour.
When that's softened, but not burned (don't leave this alone and don't let it cook too long otherwise the paprika will burn), add the brocollini (or brocolli). I roughly cut the brocollini with scissors, flowers and all. Even the narrower stems are edible.
 Next I roughly chop (or food process) the roast red pepper and eggplant. I have a small food processor so I did mine in batches.
Add the eggplant and red pepper to the vegetable mixture.
Next I added the beans and corn. All of that is mixed around.
The vegetable mixture is now done and can be moved to a large enough bowl to accommodate the vegetables, all of the rice and still allow room for the mixture to be combined. Or use a large cooking pot, which is what I did.

I then lightly fried the rice in olive oil. I used about a tablespoon of olive oil each time and divided the rice into three batches. Stir frying time was brief, only a few minutes, just to bring out the nutty flavour and to dry the rice a little. It didn't really brown it that much.
When each batch of rice is ready, add it to the vegetable mixture and mix with a large spoon to combine. 

Remember that the pumpkin hasn't been added yet. I left it until last because I didn't want the soft pumpkin to be mushed in with the rest of the mix. I roughly chopped the roast pumpkin, after removing the skin (I just sliced around that and dumped it in the compost), then added that to the rice/vegetable mixture.
The mixture distributed evenly across five containers, which I labelled and put into the freezer.
Each is a complete meal, which can be boosted with the addition of protein, but if eaten on its own then each cost $0.71 to make. Not bad, huh!?  :-)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rain, rain, rain and spuds

Market day again yesterday and mum and I netted a huge haul. A big box of apples, a bag each of pears, bananas and mandarins, a couple of bags of potatoes (two kinds), a bag of carrots and one of onions. Without the little trolley, we'd never have made it back home!  All up, that enormous amount of produce came to about $10. We're not sure because we combined a pile of loose change and didn't count it first.

Today is one of those ultimate changeable days. It started off pouring with rain, then turned overcast and threatening, then the sun burst out and drew me out into the garden where I captured most of the photos you will see below. The sun lasted about an hour before down came the rain again. Now, as I type this, it's back to overcast and threatening. Though it's inconvenient and makes planning for outdoor activities difficult, I do enjoy the unpredictability. Those brief snatches of sunlight are all the more precious as a consequence.

After rain and in the bright sunshine, water droplets are a magical sight. I captured several on the pea flowers.
I adore the purple pea flowers. The variety is an heirloom variety and the pods are meant to be purple as well. I can't wait to see those babies!

From there, I wandered the garden, snapping photos of anything that caught my eye or seemed different from the last update. First up, look at this amazing pattern that the rainwater made on the underside of the apple tree boughs.
I'm trying to keep a cherry tomato plant alive for as long as I can over winter. To this end, I enclose it in a plastic shroud overnight and on cold days. This is the first time in over a week that it's been open to the air and sunlight. I need to do that in order to have a chance for the flowers to be pollenated so they will form fruit.
Some pollenation has occurred and there is new growth and new flowers, which suggests that my mini hot-house is working... to some degree anyway.
I have another, larger, hot-house type structure covering the basil and pepper plants. This one is not so successful, I think becuase that part of the yard receives significantly less sun than the other. Also, the area is larger and the plastic enclosure less secure. I'm not yet to give up though. It might still work.
The hot-house is on the left, inside the hot-house is on the right.

Last weekend I moved Ruby the rhubarb as I had noticed her dying back. Maybe it's the time of year when she does... I'm not sure, but she's looking better since having been moved. I'd still like to see some new growth though.
Here's some views of the backyard and the thriving garden that Em and I built just a few months ago.
The broad beans, mixed lettuce, spinach and turnips are going great. No flowers on the broad beans yet, but I trust they will come.
The remainder of the potatoes that I bought a month ago have now passed the stage of edibility. I tossed them in a bucket and took them down to the potato patch. Em, you know where that is.  :-)  The area doesn't receive sunlight, but given that there are already potato shoots coming up, I figure what the hell. I have nothing to lose and a lot to gain if they work.
Paddy helped plant the potatoes. He considers himself quite the green thumb... paw. 
I have a cute video as well, of Paddy chasing the shovel and digging in the soil but it's too big for You Tube. *sigh*  But, trust me, it's cute!  ;-)  He's a great little gardener.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Garden update

I wandered around the garden on Saturday, admiring and plucking ingredients for dinner. Here are some photos.

Em, remember when we planted these as seeds....
Kohl Rabi. I have no idea what to do with these crazy vegetables but will figure it out quick. One will be ready for harvesting in another week or two.
Radish. I ate this on Saturday night with dinner. Yum!
Ladybird that I rescued from drowning. Now go eat aphids...
Beans. These suckers will grow anywhere.
Not much has changed here since Em left. I've still not decided what to plant. Maybe this weekend I'll make some decisions and get some seeds in.
Chester doing his 'king of the castle' routine.
Anyone for celery!?
Only a month or so ago, this was pared back to bare earth. It's amazing how quickly things grow.
That's it for this tour. I've missed out on a few things but will do another round of the garden when some of the newer plants start producing. I'm hanging out for home grown brussel sprouts and broad beans!!  Amazing!! I can't wait!