Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Random concoctions (or, 4 dishes that don't deserve their own recipe posts)

I know some food bloggers make new dishes more often than not. I can see the appeal of that approach. There are so many new dishes to try, and experimenting with them is fun. At the same time, new dishes often require more preparation time than the familiar ones. They also involve a certain amount of risk, whereas familiar dishes can guarantee an edible dinner.

Needless to say, I don't make new dishes more often than old ones. I probably make one to three new dishes each week, most of which will eventually make it on here. The rest of our meals are faithful standbys, including dishes that are on regular rotation (such as homemade pizza) and those that vary in their precise preparation method or ingredient list but are effectively the same dish at heart (such as rice-based dishes and stir fries).

In my kitchen, there is also a hybrid category of dish. This consists of meals and snacks that don't quite count as new recipes, but aren't really 'old' ones either. Generally, things in this category are extremely easy to prepare. More often than not, they also turn out pretty well.

Here are four examples from the past few months!

Sweet and sour kale.


Purple kale (about 1/2 a large kale bunch)
1 punnet baby corn
1 small carrot, sliced
~2 tsp soy sauce
~1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
~1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
~1/4 cup tinned pineapple + 1/4 cup pineapple juice


Mix all ingredients, stir fry, and serve. This would be a good base for tofu or beans, and would even work in a wrap. It's also pretty great as a stand alone side dish.





Tofu and brocolli stir fry.

1 batch tofu bacon, made as per Mel's recipe
1 head brocolli, chopped into florets
1 - 1 1/2 cups bean sprouts (I didn't actually measure)
1/4 - 1/2 cup mushrooms, diced

Brown rice, to serve


Stir fry the tofu and then set aside. Stir fry the vegetables in the leftover tofu marinade, until slightly softened but still crisp. Add the tofu back to the pan and leave over low heat for a further 10 minutes. Serve with rice or as desired.

I had this when craving broccoli and it was a perfect match for the craving. So much so that I want it again now on looking at the pictures.



Celeriac fries.

I made these the second time I bought celeriac and the fries went down well with me and with Mr Bite. Simply take 1 celeriac, peeled and sliced; some seasoning (I used smoked paprika and salt); some spray oil; and roast for 45 - 60 minutes in a moderate-hot oven.


Pretty wonderful, even if this photo is not!


Over-day tropical oats.

I rarely make overnight oats, but will throw oats (or other cereal) together in the morning when I have a hectic work day. Sometimes, I don't get a real chance to pause until it's nearly home time, and this is the sort of snack that I can look forward to and then relax into.


This tropical version is lighter and sweeter than milk-based varieties. Simply combine ~1/4 cup rolled oats, ~1/3 cup pineapple juice, tinned pineapple, a handful of strawberries, and ~1/4 cup frozen blueberries in the morning, and then enjoy 6 or so hours later.


It's colourful, too!

What quick and easy meals have come out of your kitchen lately? And tell me - how often do you make new recipes? I'm curious!

41 comments:

  1. I like your quick dishes - I am envious of your purple kale and I love the pairing of tofu bacon and broccoli. I am also pleased to see the you are really getting into the smoky flavours - they are just so delicious.

    As for new recipes, it depends on the week - I've just thought back over the meals of the past week - I have made about 3 new recipes but will only blog one because one didn't gel and one was a variation on an old one. I have also had a few tried and true recipes in the week and as usual have had a few nights of leftovers. I think I often have a 2-3 things to blog out of a week so this is unusual. (This includes bakes and breads as well as meals)

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    1. My new things definitely include bakes and other dishes too - they're over-represented really - although the discovery of smoky flavours has helped increase the quota of savoury things. Delicious is right!

      I do hope you turn up some purple kale soon as I'm sure you'd enjoy it as much as I have. It's still a bit hit and miss as to whether I see it but it's nice knowing it's there sometimes.

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  2. This is a great little collection of recipes - it is the every day dishes that I never post about that I treasure, as they are the stuff that life is made of.

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    1. Thank you - that is my view exactly :)

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  3. I love the celeriac fries. I would like a bowl-full of those. And I think you are an amazing cook to be able to be constantly experimenting xx

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    1. At least when I'm experimenting I have an excuse if things don't turn out well!

      On the celeriac fries - I just about did eat a bowl-full. Quite incredible!

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  4. I eat broccoli a lot just because it is easy to make. During the week I am usually crazy busy so I make 2-3 dinners and with left overs I am set for the week. My husband usually does his own thing for dinner (it usually involves a nasty microwave pizza!) so I usually eat by myself.

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    1. I used to be just like you - lots of leftovers and 2-3 dinners in total for the week :) Then my partner moved in and given we do eat similar things (or a meat / meatless equivalent) that approach doesn't work so well. It's forced me to cook more!

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  5. I rarely make new or fancy savoury meals, which is why I mostly blog sweets. Well, that and it's far harder to photograph dinners, or at least it was in my apartment which had pretty much no clear natural light!

    These dishes of yours are totally the kind of thing I'd make all the time, though :)

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    1. I have no idea how bloggers photograph evening meals well. I certainly can't manage it - the only hope is when I have leftovers and can get home in time to photograph them in light the next day!

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  6. I`m quite similar to you! I make the same meals over and over again and most I wouldn`t call put together, more a random mish-mash of ingredients. It`s just too time consuming to try new things all the time!

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  7. Wow, I think you make heaps of new things. We probably make one new thing every two weeks, basically because most nights we are too tired to attempt anything new or creative.
    My latest quick thing is pin wheels. I've been making them to take to parties, they are so quick, tasty and we nearly always have all the ingredients in the house.
    Just spread a sheet of puff pastry with a quarter of a jar of sun-dried tomato pesto, sprinkle with half a chopped onion and a rasher of bacon (also finely chopped). Grate over a mix of cheddar and parmesan, roll up, cut into 1cm slices and bake at 200 till golden brown. So good.

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    1. Your pin wheels sound fantastic! And I'm impressed you call them quick because to me they sound more creative than the sorts of things I throw together. I imagine if you master the rolling they'd be fairly straightforward but I'm not always good with rolling pastry! I love the idea of them though so I may just have to try.

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  8. I just made a tofu stir-fry last night ;) Lately I've been all about lighter Mexican food. I can't get enough!

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    1. Mexican and tofu stir fries are things I can't get enough of either :)

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  9. oooh celeriac! i have never bought one because i had no idea what to do with it! very cool idea

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  10. Hi! I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do, but in any case I think the celeriac chips look really yummy!

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  11. Celeriac chips got my attention, but I did have a chuckle at over day oats. :)

    Sometimes I make new things and sometimes I make tried and true favorites. My decision on what to make is what I'm hungry for. Bet I'm not alone.

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  12. Your oats look so nice and colourful! May give this a try tonight and have it for breakfast tomorrow morning. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. I'm so glad you like the idea! I hope you enjoy it :)

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  13. I think if I were cooking for more than one person, I'd make new dishes less frequently but I only cook three meals a week so they are almost always all new! I love the sound of those tropical oats!!

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    1. Thanks Joanne! And you're right - people numbers make a huge difference.

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  14. I’m putting it on the menu next week!

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  15. Love these dishes! So unique!
    I bought kale to make with a dish this week. I don't use it often enough.
    I love the idea of purple kale! Such a fun color!

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    1. I don't use kale often enough either. Purple makes it easier though!

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  16. Thats funny Kari! Just this week I was thinking that I perhaps come up with new dishes way too much! About....4 times a week? But then I don't post everything in fear that I'll overwhelm myself and others :P and I like the look of these recipes! And I don't think I've ever heard of celeriac, hmmm

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    1. 4 times a week is an impressive effort Ellie!

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  17. what a creative idea for overnight oats! looks great!

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  18. Everything looks so good! I love that you have homemade pizza in your rotation....I could eat that every week. :) I have never added pineapple to my oats! I must try that. :)

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    1. I've been adding pineapple to everything lately. I love it!

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  19. The celeriac chips sound great, I love smoked paprika and salt on roast potatoes or potato wedges so I am sure I would enjoy these. I like the pairing of tofu bacon with broccoli too!

    I usually cook 3-4 new meals a week but I never have enough time to post about them. The 4 dishes in the title of your post sounds like one I have been working on for a while but it is so lengthy I'm having trouble finishing it! I don't post about side dishes or quicker meals often enough.

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    1. I can imagine you liking these dishes - I suspect some of my flavour combinations have been inspired by your cooking (obviously the tofu bacon and smoked paprika fall into that category!). It is hard getting to the 'everyday' dishes sometimes, they often fall off my radar too.

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  20. Mmm, the celeriac chips have grabbed my attention. I'll bet they tasted great.
    New recipes, I go in phases. Lately I've been finding one ingredient and doing lots of different things with that one. (Spelt is being played with at the moment.) I think I do more new stuff then old stuff actually, now I come to think about it! Might need to revisit a few things.

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    1. Celeriac in any form is still high on my Love list, but in chip form - oh yes. Pretty great :)

      I'll look forward to hearing of your spelt experiments as that is something I'm yet to do much with.

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  21. I love the sounds of all these dishes.... I too do the over-day oats/cereal thing.... I never do it over night! MUST try the tofu bacon!

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    1. Yay to over-day mixtures :) Much better than night versions!

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