Before Christmas I was selected as a prospective juror for two weeks from the 30th January, 2023, so whilst trying to do my civic duty, I said I would be available if my name was chosen in the second selection, and of course it was. This meant I needed to cancel any commitments for these two weeks, so that I would be available. However, late each afternoon last week I was messaged by the Supreme and District Court to the effect that I wouldn't be required the following day, so it's been a week of just planning things day by day. Next week could be exactly the same, with no assurance that I will be required but if I am I will have to be available or risk being heavily fined. It seems a strange system, but I can't think of a better one, so next week I will be living day by day as well. That means plenty of time in the kitchen, reading a good book, playing the piano, impromptu catch ups, etc., sounds good. One week to go without being able to make any definite daily plans in advance. I have already sat on a jury panel once, have you? Thankfully mine wasn't a disturbing case, and I found the experience quite interesting.
|Photo taken before the spinach started to wilt a little.|
I've made two vegetarian Lentil curries, a week apart, because the first one was so delicious. It was a Lentil, Mushroom and Spinach Curry, and I made this one when all of the flooding was occurring In Southern Queensland and New South Wales and there wasn't very much fresh fruit and vegetables available at the supermarkets or the farmer's markets because of the heat and then the rain. I bought a packet of spinach leaves and some mushrooms, which were close to the expiry date and made this curry. I always have jars of green and red lentils in the pantry, so they were the basis of an earthy and delicious lentil curry.Then a week later, I changed the vegetables slightly and made an eggplant and mushroom lentil curry, which we enjoyed even more, perfect for the wet weather at the time. Even though this is such a simple recipe, I'll post it on the blog soon, as I know you will enjoy it too. A simple vegetarian meal with leftovers during a busy week, is just what is needed sometimes. However leftover chicken could easily be added to it.
I had some leftover mashed pumpkin in the refrigerator so I made a batch of golden Pumpkin Scones from a Kent (Jap) pumpkin, just last week. Cooked mashed pumpkin keeps well in the frig. I made these ones slightly larger than normal, and the recipe made 8 instead of 10. I think a pumpkin scone needs to be on the larger side as they are so delicious with a cuppa. They also reheat beautifully in the microwave oven. I haven't made pumpkin scones for a while, and it pays to keep in practice don't you think?
|Beautiful sourdough bubbles|
I mixed up the sourdough for the bread, and then left it to rise slowly in two large bowls overnight at room temperature. I have just baked two loaves, a large hi-top loaf and a smaller loaf. The air conditioning is on during our heat wave, so it's perfect conditions inside for this dedicated baker. These loaves don't have the large holes like the round artisan loaves, as I used a lower hydration recipe, which works well for a standard loaf of sandwich bread. I didn't add any glaze or flour dusting to the surface of this loaf, so it is quite rustic in appearance, but tastes great after it has cooled slightly and is fresh out of the oven. I have made round artisan style loaves before, using the high-hydration method, which are great to have if visitors are coming over.
|The smaller loaf today from the second dough mix. Different lighting also?|
January included the Lunar New Year celebrations, celebrating the Year of the Rabbit, and whilst we don't get involved in any actual celebrations where we live, I was obviously influenced by all of the fun and publicity at the time. I made a Chinese Omelette for dinner one evening, named Egg Foo Young. I deconstructed it and made a very tasty pork filling to sit inside the omelette. It was a lot of fun to make with all those bean sprouts, and delicious to eat. Egg Foo Young was created by economical Chinese kitchen cooks to use up meat and vegetable leftovers, as was Fried Rice. It's very versatile as well.
I purchased a new Australian cookbook, simply called Dinner. I've been wanting Nagi Maehashi's cookbook for ages as I often try her recipes and she has built up a very reliable reputation with her everyday recipes here in Australia, and overseas too I believe.
|Chicken, snow pea, capsicum and carrot, and a special stir fry sauce about to be added.|
That's all folks for now. Thanks for dropping by. I'd love to hear from you, so if you do read my latest IMK or any of my posts, you can leave an anonymous comment at the end in the Comments section if you wish. Anonymity is guaranteed. And if I happen to know you personally, just type your first name at the end of your comment and say hi, and that would be great.