Roasted baby carrots with cumin for Easter

Upon smelling a new perfume I was given for my birthday, Kid 1 made the following comment.

Kid 1: It smells like melted Easter eggs.

I am not sure whether to be displeased or not. I envisage myself swanning around attracting small chocolate-loving children and perhaps even the E.B. (Easter Bunny) himself. Not sure if that’s what the perfumier was aiming for when creating this parfum. ‘Eau de Chocolate Easter Egg.’ Give it a whirl, it’s all the rage in the Easter circles.

If you are looking for side dishes to accompany your Easter feast this coming weekend, please consider this wee recipe idea. Calling anything ‘baby’ that you are about to devour and consume has always creeped me out a bit. However, there is no escaping the fact that young veggies are usually the most tender and sweet. Let alone, super cute. Just like a real life human baby! Rest assured, only vegetable babies were harmed in the making of this dish. (That’s OK, right? Told you the whole thing is just, well, odd.)

These carrots were sweet with lovely undertones of the earthy cumin. Tender and juicy, I am positive that all, including the Easter Bunny, will love them.

ROASTED BABY CARROTS WITH CUMIN

WHAT YOU NEED
1 bunch baby carrots
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbl butter, unsalted
Salt
Pepper
2 tbl white wine

WHAT YOU DO
Preheat oven to 180C.
Scrub or lightly peel the carrots.
Place in a foil package, add the cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Dob the butter over the carrots, add the wine and close the foil package.
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender.
Try it with https://cheergerm.com/2015/03/08/a-cheergerm-gluten-free-roasted-vegetable-lasagna/ or https://cheergerm.com/2015/01/02/millefeuilles-aux-tomates-et-lentilles-and-a-lady-crush/ or https://cheergerm.com/2014/11/09/a-side-of-herb-polenta-bake-and-an-aside/

A Cheergerm Creation

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Roasted sumac asparagus and rap

Macklemore, aka Ben Haggerty, is part of a rap duo called Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. These modern day musical poets produced an album the lads and I love, named The Heist. Imagine tuneful rap with a social conscience. Naturally, half of the album is full of ‘swear’ words, hence, the boys do NOT listen to those songs.

Kid 2 was recently singing this song he made up. I wrote it down verbatim.

Macklemore swears a lot
In his songs
But he’s an awesome singer and rapper
I never heard him say a rude word
But I know that he does
He sings them quietly
It is the ‘S’ word
But I wouldn’t know it if I heard it
My maniac mum loves Macklemore even if he swears a lot
Which is weird cause she doesn’t like swearing
Even though she says the ‘S’ word

Just to be clear.

I never did.

Well, I may have but I am NOT a maniac.

This is more of an idea than a recipe, albeit a delicious idea. The lemony sumac was the bomb when paired with the sweet roasted asparagus.

If only McDonalds sold these little darlings in french fry boxes. ‘Will you have asparagus with that?’

ROASTED SUMAC ASPARAGUS

WHAT YOU NEED
2 or 3 bunches asparagus
Olive oil to drizzle
1 tsp sumac
Salt and pepper

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Wash and trim the asparagus, place on the tray.
Drizzle the asparagus in olive oil, add the sumac and season with salt and pepper to your taste. Mix well to ensure the asparagus is well coated in the seasoning.
Cook the asparagus for ten to 15 minutes until tender.
Remove from oven and et voila! As easy as that. A great accompaniment to a vast array of whatever takes your fancy. That evening we ate it with roasted carrots and pork fillet steaks that had been marinated in mustard seeds, honey, oil and vinegar.

A Cheergerm creation


The Yak can cook

The Yak made a special request that I blog his special Boxing Day potato fry up. I decided to honour this request, despite the fact that he was wearing a child’s Nerf gun in a holster and he had shot foam bullets at me whenever I entered the kitchen.

The Yak Speaks

I’ve always found potatoes to be the elixir of life, us pale skinny English boys love them.

Family tradition dictates that the Yak (me) makes a big fry up for Boxing Day dinner. There are always plenty of leftover potatoes from the Christmas evening dinner feast, as we cook enough to attempt to feed a small army. These leftover spuds are the base for this fry up.

Slicing the potatoes, put them into a well oiled pan and fry for 15 or so minutes, turning them over once they are golden brown. Use the leftover butter that’s set at the bottom of the bowl where the leftover potatoes were sitting and put it on top of the potatoes for extra buttery goodness.

As there’s so many (family and potatoes) I usually have two frypans going at once. Potatoes that are fried to perfection are placed in an ovenproof dish and kept warm in the oven until all the potatoes are fried. Whilst the fried potato treasure is keeping hot in the oven, fry as many eggs as you possibly can.

Thanks Mr Yak for sharing your culinary glory. We leave you with a few images from our Christmas and Boxing Day festivities.

Happy New Year.


A side of herb polenta bake and an aside

Yak: You are a good lad, will you look after me when I am old?
Kid 2: Probably, but I might be somewhere else.
Me: Kid 2, if I were you, I would start running now. Unfortunately, I have nowhere left to run.

This hearty side of polenta is magnificent Yak food. It helps trick convince The Yak into feeling like he is not ‘missing out’. There is very little that this side dish doesn’t go with. We have scoffed it down with a ratatouille like vegetarian sauce as well as a creamy braised mushroom dish. It goes beautifully with a myriad of casseroles or good piece of meat or fish. Breakfast for dinner? Try it with a fried or poached egg and some steamed asparagus.

Chuck in whatever herb combination tickles your fancy. No fresh herbs? Then throw in a teaspoon of dried Italian herbs and let them steep in the stock whilst it comes to the boil. This version has parsley, thyme and a smidgen of sage. In the time it took me to prepare the thyme (boom tish) for this dish, my lads had gone to high school, got degrees, travelled the world and started families. Picking the leaves off thyme is one of the worst kitchen jobs. I would love to say I find it meditative but I don’t.

Take note if you will, of the beautiful wooden board that this polenta sits upon. Uncle R, a veritable goldmine of funny and punny one liners and the master of the ‘aside’ made this for me back in 1993. Whilst staying in Christchurch, NZ, with the always hospitable Uncle R and Aunty L, we took a day trip to Akaroa and stopped in at French Farm winery for a snack with flavour. Some of the food was served upon divine wooden boards that were labelled ‘French Farm Vineyards’. I admired them greatly and Uncle R, a collector of bits of wood (as well as of puns) said ‘Don’t worry niece, I shall make you a board just as nice as this one.’ (He would have said this in a silly voice, cause that’s how he rolls.)

Back at their house, he whipped up a piece of kauri (wood) into this gorgeous wee board, copying the details from the one back at the vineyard. It is exactly the same as the original version I had coveted. Bar one thing. It’s made with the love, care and thoughtful detail of my uncle, and it is far better than anything I could have ever purchased for myself. And that my friends, is something that you just don’t get bored of.

GARLIC AND HERB POLENTA BAKE

WHAT YOU NEED
1 cup gluten free veggie stock and 2 cups water (the original recipe calls for 3 cups of stock but I find it too salty for my taste.)
1 cup instant polenta
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, sage, thyme, oregano) this is a bit flexible I have also used 1-2 to 1 cup with great results.
3 tbl grated Parmesan
30g butter
Salt to taste
3 tbl grated Parmesan extra for topping

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 15cm x 15cm baking dish with baking paper. I use a larger one and it makes a wedge of polenta that is about 22cm x 18cm and 3cm high.)
Bring the stock and water to the boil in a medium saucepan.
Pour in the polenta and cook over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, the mixture should be very thick.
Stir in the garlic, chopped herbs, parmesan and butter and taste for seasoning.
Pour/spread the mixture into the baking dish. Smooth the surface and sprinkle with the extra Parmesan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
Cut into triangles, squares or into whatever damn crazy shape you wish.
Serves 8 with one piece each.

Recipe from The Gluten-free Kitchen by Sue Shepherd

http://frenchfarm.co.nz/wordpress/