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Hosting vegetables to side with.

December 1, 2013

Roasted pumpkin

 

It’s been a long time since the last time I posted anything. The past year has been a frazzled blur. Returning to university and being in the classroom as a student teacher after 25 years has probably been the hardest thing I have ever done. Without the support of The Italian, my two boys and a very helpful neighbour, I could not have done it. A lot of things got neglected this year so that I could focus on my studies and teaching practise. The house has not been the cleanest, the laundry pile was forever sky high and there always seemed to be things that were slipping past me, but that I let go because I’ve learned to prioritise. Meals were often rushed affairs and baking is a distant memory. I missed watching the boys compete in their sporting events and did not attend assemblies and morning teas with other mums. The boys, although disappointed aren’t worse for wear.

But, now as I write this it is finally all over. I am thankful that from somewhere deep inside I found the staying power to see things through to the very end, even though there were days that I felt like nothing more than throwing in the towel.  I hope I have set an example to my own children that staying the distance is important and that giving up is never an option no matter how tough things get. All the hard work has been worth it, because the cherry on the cake is that I have been one of the few students who has managed to secure a full time teaching position for next year. I am thrilled to bits and after I get the house in order and get through the ironing and sort out my study and the piles and piles of paper and can begin to focus on the year ahead and start preparing myself for my very own classroom.

I hope to be more active on my blog and breathe a little life back into it. I hope you will stick around and check back from time to time to see what the new year brings. With Christmas around the corner (can you believe it?) everyone will be frantically planning their holidays and menus. I have no idea what we will do yet, except that I would like to have a typical Aussie Christmas…which means seafood and salads. I have already started to look in my cookbooks for inspiration.

Talking about inspiration, I have been following Straight into bed Cakefree and Dried for some time now. It’s one of those blogs that if you are gluten free (and even if you aren’t) you need to subscribe to. Naomi Devlin does a fantastic job of sharing gluten free recipes and even runs classes at River Cottage in Devon, UK. If I lived there, I would be attending her classes at the drop of a hat! Anyway, I meant to be hosting the November edition of  Go ahead honey it’s gluten free, but of course with all that was going on it was impossible to pull off. I did take photographs though. Photographs of beautiful, golden pumpkin that was roasted to sweet perfection and served alongside a roast. Pumpkin is one of my most favourite vegetables. I love roast pumpkin and sage risotto, pumpkin fritters are a favourite from my childhood memory bank and cooled roast pumpkin often features as a salad with baby spinach and roasted pumpkin seeds. I thought that with Christmas just around the corner you might like to share the vegetable side dishes you think you will be serving up. My offering for the Go ahead Honey it’s Gluten-Free will be roasted pumpkin with sage and garlic. Since it will be warm here over Christmas, we will certainly be eating salads, so mine will feature in a baby spinach salad with either roasted pumpkin seeds, or perhaps with crumbled gorgonzola and toasted walnuts. That sounds delicious doesn’t it?

To make the pumpkin is too easy. Simply cut into wedges and cut the hard outer skin off. Then drizzle generously with good olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh sage leaves and chopped garlic, some sea salt and black pepper. Pop it into a hot oven and roast until golden, and just cooked through.  There is nothing to it. Eat alongside your favourite roast or wait until cool and serve with baby spinach leaves and some nuts as a lovely salad.

Roast pumpkin3

 

 So, how about sharing your ideas here? Do a post on your favourite vegetable side. Send the link to your post to edwinacottino@mac.com and I will do a round up right here at My Mezzaluna ready to share with the world in time for Christmas. I can’t think of anything nicer to do this time of year…the perfect gift. Mention your participation in Go ahead Honey it’s Gluten free and link it to this post at My Mezzaluna. I will feature your recipe and link it back to you. Send me your links and and a photo by the 15th of December 2013. This way we are all sharing a little love and vegetable inspiration for the feastive and otherwise table.

Regards

Edwina

Light and Fresh Fennel and Olive Oil Lunch

July 11, 2013

Fennel and olive oil lunch

 

The Italian and I have taken to visiting Farmers’ Markets on Saturday mornings. It’s something our dog also looks forward to. We feel like an old couple going off with the dog and filling up our senses with the most beautiful sights, sounds and smells of the ever more bustling markets. So far we go most often to what is probably the most popular, Subiaco Farmers’ Market which is held on the grounds of Subiaco Primary School. Here we stock up on gluten free breads for the week ahead, locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables, beautiful gluten, nitrate and preservative  free pork sausages from Spencersbrookfarm, beef sausages and recently  Osso Bucco from Gingin Beef Farm all from free range animals with no additives of any kind. This kind of food certainly makes a difference. Not only to the animals, but ultimately to our own health not to mention the superior taste.

A few Saturday mornings ago, the Italian almost lost it, when he saw the beautiful fennel on display from one of the local growers. He waxed lyrical about his time growing up in Italy and buying fresh produce from the markets there. Of course fennel, celery and a bunch of other vegetables that would last us for the next two or three days were selected and carried away in our jute bags. We have become creatures of habit. Once we have our bread, fruit and veg and a bit of meat we get a coffee and enjoy it under the shade of a large tree on the school’s grounds before heading home.

Once home I began unpacking our stash when I noticed The Italian busying himself with lunch. I was not complaining. We have become increasingly aware of reducing our waste and no food in our house gets thrown out anymore. Everything is either eaten or used up in salads or soups or it makes its way into lunch boxes the next day. This day was no exception.  He had prepared a lovely clean lunch using up the bits of artichoke in the fridge, some tuna, a simple tomato salad and pieces of the fresh fennel and celery. The boys looked at this lot very sceptically until their dad showed them what they were to do. Along with these tasty vegetables were small dishes of Australian pink sea salt and peppery olive oil (also Australian….I only buy local now) with a dash of balsamic vinegar. The idea is you dip the vegetables in the oil and vinegar mixture into wish you sprinkle the salt and crunch away. It was delicious. Of course you couldn’t eat this way with limp vegetables. The real taste comes from the freshness of the ingredients and I firmly believe the way it is grown…naturally without chemicals that harm us.

This was a beautiful walk down memory lane for my husband, but also an affirmation of a culture that knows how to eat well and healthily. Not only was this a lovely lunch, but I think it would make a great pre lunch or dinner snack for guests instead of chips and dips. Don’t you?

 

Fennel and Olive oil3

Eat well!

Edwina

Perfect Allergen and Egg-Free Omlette with onion (Frittata di ceci e cipolle)

April 27, 2013

Chickpea Omlette

The reason you are actually seeing a post here is because it’s school and uni holidays here in Perth. A much needed break. I have used the past week to catch up on sleep, spend more time with the boys and actually take a few photos of what I’ve been cooking. We had the good fortune to spend Easter with good friends and family and of course that meant lots of eating too. Ever since arriving in Perth, G and I have been eating bits and pieces that we really should have stayed away from.  Over Easter it was Colomba (an Italian Easter cake) and chocolate. Lots of chocolate. After being off gluten and dairy for two years I guess we got a bit slack and thought it was ok to try a nibble here and there. Perth also offers quite a few gluten free options. Eating Gluten free burgers without checking if they contain egg or corn and pizza (addition of corn?) or those delicious Nasi Goreng take-aways ( egg!). The result of all this cheating was not what we hoped for. G’s arms and hands broke out in angry red patches, his mood was worse than usual and for me of course the usual symptoms of sore and inflamed joints. All that cheating really wasn’t worth it!

This relapse has taught us that after two years of being off the intolerance triggers, we are no better and may never be able to eat gluten, dairy, eggs , corn and a few other things. This also means that even though life has somewhat changed with me being at uni now, I simply have to make time to make life in the kitchen interesting again without making us sick.

With this in mind I’ve become obsessed with making my own gluten-free sourdough bread. Yesterday I began making my wild yeast starter and so far…nothing! Nothing has happened! I’m determined to make this a part of our lives so I will be reporting back on my GF sourdough experience often. I also came across this delicious egg-free omelette. Yes, you read correctly. An egg-free omelette. The Italian found this fantastic recipe whilst surfing the net and of course it was too good to be true. I’ve made it twice this past week already! The first time for lunch and the second time for a very late breakfast with some grilled bacon.

The recipe calls for chickpea flour, water, salt and pepper and sliced onions. That’s it! Nothing else. I had some left over cauliflower and added that in too. The second time I added in left over broccoli. Clearly this recipe is open to creative interpretation and I’m sure I’ll be adding whatever left overs I have lurking in the fridge. It’s so easy you simply have to try it.

Frittata

Print and view the Chickpea Frittata recipe.

For your viewing pleasure I suggest you check out the Italian dish (interpret as you will ). Even without understanding Italian, you can see what the dish (sorry I mean cook ) does!

Enjoy!

http://video.d.repubblica.it/il-gusto-giusto/la-frittata-di-ceci-e-cipolle/429/437

Edwina

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