I went outside to water the garden and picked some cherry tomatoes. The chives are getting a bit overgrown, so I snipped most of it off and will find a use for it. I also found some roma tomatoes growing on a little tomato plant that was hiding beside a large pot. Mum likes to bury her food scraps in the backyard amongst her vegetables as a sort of slow release fertiliser I suppose. Sometimes we get surprised by a little seedling popping up out of nowhere. Before we went on holidays (back when my garden was in it's prime!), my mum found some tomato plants had sprung up near her mango tree where she'd been burying food scraps - obviously bits of tomato!
Penne with Prawns & Pancetta
I bought a piece of pancetta from Cannington Fresh last week. I cut some slices about half a centimetre thick, then chopped them into smaller pieces. I love pancetta!! It gives a sweeter taste than bacon when you use it in dishes.
- Sautee some sliced onion, crushed garlic and dried chilli flakes in some olive oil in a pan.
- Add a splash of white wine.
- Add the chopped pancetta and some fresh thyme. Fry for a few minutes, adding more wine if required.
- Meanwhile, cook some penne pasta al dente and drain.
- Throw some peeled and deveined prawns into the pan with the sauce, cook for a few minutes.
- Add the penne and toss around in the pan to coat with the sauce.
- Serve with fresh cut chillies and a splash of olive oil if desired.
After lunch, a lightglobe sparked on above my head! I am going to make sundried tomatoes with the tomatoes I'd picked from the garden this morning.
I googled a few methods for making sundried tomatoes and they were all pretty similar.
- Slice tomatoes in half (or slices if they're larger sized).
- Lay them on a mesh or wire rack with the cut side facing up
- Sprinkle with seasalt and herbs if desired, then dry outside in the sun.
You can also dry them in the oven but with the weather this hot, I wanted to make use of the heat somehow.
I sliced the cherry tomatoes in half and the roma tomatoes aren't very big so I only sliced them in half too. I found a wire baking rack and put that on top of a plastic try. I then put a piece of baking paper on the rack, lay the tomatoes on the rack and sprinkled some sea salt over them. I need the baking paper because the cherry tomatoes will shrink in size as they dry and fall right through the gaps in the rack! I'm not going to add any herbs because I can do that later when I put them in olive oil. I took the tray outside, feeling like a little girl about to do something naughty! I thought the best place to put them would be above the shadecloth my mum had set up to shade her plants by the fence. They would also be out of Simba's reach.
It was a bit windy, so I had to go back inside and get some elastic bands to hold the edges of the baking paper down. To prevent bugs from getting at my tomatoes, I covered the tray with the protector thing - anyone know what it's called!? - and voila! Count down to homemade sundried tomatoes!
Most of my plants had gone to seed while I was on holidays, and some of the seeds have broken free and lodged themselves in the soil and little new seedlings are popping up in my herb planter boxes.
In the afternoon, I found a chicken thigh in the fridge...a lonesome chicken thigh. So, I decided to make one of my favourites that I haven't had for a while.
Jocelyn's eyes lit up when she saw what I'd cooked and asked to have some.
For dinner tonight, both Christina and Jocelyn were eating at home so I was making dinner for three. Since they're both sort of on restricted diets due to their self-inflicted healthy living regimes, I thought chicken with vegetables would be a safe bet.
I marinated the chicken marylands with Masterfoods's 'Portugese Chicken' spice blend. Into the fridge to allow the flavours to infuse. Meanwhile, I diced up some vegetables and put them into a baking dish. A drizzle of olive oil, honey and a sprinkle of dried rosemary.
I like to be organised. I treat cooking for my sisters no differently than cooking for friends. I like to have everything prepared and for the food to be ready all at once so you don't have side dishes getting cold while waiting for the meat to cook. For the past few weeks, I've made dinner and had it plated up nicely - presentation is very important! It does frustrate me that I go to all the effort and it's in vain. Knowing that dinner will be served soon, Jocelyn will still continue her workout on the crosstrainer and her food goes cold. She doesn't mind reheating it when she is ready to eat...but still...it's the 'chef' in me complaining I suppose.
Portugese Roasted Chicken
Honey Roasted Vegetables
Christina did some baking tonight. She made a lemon slice with some fresh lemons from the tree in the backyard. She cut a slice and scooped some vanilla ice cream for me. I never ate it though...I turned my back for a minute and Jocelyn had polished it off!
Before bed, I made rolls for everyone to take to work tomorrow.