Monday, April 26, 2010

Eleven, exercise and enchiladas

I went to the gym today for the first time since Wednesday. I have had a cold and have been waiting out the congestion. The good news is I was as fit as I was last week (I fear deconditioning!) and I have now lost 11kilos. In honour of this milestone being met, I did 4.4km on the treadmill and ran at least half of it. I have been trying to turn myself into a runner using the Couch to 5k training program. I really don't think I was born to run (sorry, Bruce). My feet are very flat and anything faster than a shuffle makes my shins scream. Still, I am getting there.

Dinner was truly great- sweet potato, corn and blackbean enchiladas, served with avocado, mixed greens from my garden and garnished with coriander, also from the 'vegie pot patch'. Delish.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vegetables in pots

Well, it's hit and miss in my garden at the moment. A healthy crop of beans and lettuces were destroyed by heavy rain, and the leaf eating grasshoppers continue to wreak havoc (hey, it's autumn, guys. Time for you to leave). I am still getting used to gardening in Brisbane and have realised the sun's arc is really different to Melbourne (I'm a quick learner, not!). So, I've planted out a vegetable pot garden on our driveway in order to make the most of the available light.

All is well so far - I have two healthy zucchinis, a happy curry leaf tree, mixed lettuces and rocket, and very happy coriander. A rogue eggplant has also come up. I don't think it will survive the winter, but I'm going to let it go and see what happens. So far, the possums have stayed away from everything except the parsley. I have been dressing the vegies with blood and bone; being herbivores, our possum buddies don't like the smell. Looking forward to my first zucchini harvest this week.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mmmm...rice paper rolls....

After Mexican food, my all time favourite cuisine is Vietnamese (but don't tell my Lebanese aunties, or I'll be in strife for culinary disloyalty!). Rice paper rolls are a reasonably regular staple at our place these days, as Brisbane isn't quite the mecca of Vietnamese cuisine we were used to in Melbourne, so we make our own.

I fill mine with rice vermicelli, firm tofu marinated in whatever spins my wheels at the time, grated carrot and cucumber, finely chopped shitake mushroom (the dry kind, rehydrated), coriander, mint, and crushed dry roasted peanuts (or cashews). I dress the filling with fish sauce, lime and a bit of sweet chilli (hmmm, sounds a bit Thai-Vietnamese fusiony).The mixture is awesomely good and carries me through in standalone form as a salad for work lunches. However, it takes on an even more stellar flavour when wrapped in rice paper skins and dipped in...a combo of hoi-sin, fresh peanut butter, lime juice and chopped chillies. Tasty!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter recovery dinner

Today I indulged in an Easter ritual; the cooking and consumption of Bill Granger's chocolate french toast (you can find the recipe and photo here). After four months of a pretty 'whole foodie' diet, this was quite a shock to the system. After several days of dreaming and planning out the french toast extravaganza, the reality left me feeling sick (sorry, Bill). I managed to stave off the worst of it with a 65 minute run on the crosstrainer. But my body was still in need of revival, so dinner was my version of gado gado:

As many veggies as I could get my hands on - broccoli, carrot, green beans, snow peas, squash, zucchini and choi sum, thrown in the steamer with some tempeh. Steamed for as long as it took me to make a dressing of fresh peanut butter, soy sauce, sweet chilli, cumin, tumeric and cider vinegar, with some warm water added to thin it out. The whole thing assembled along with some red capsicum and a hard boiled egg and slathered with dressing. Very tasty. Made my tummy feel better, and enough left for lunch tomorrow. Wish I didn't have to go back to work :(

What a difference aspect makes

Two zucchini seeds, planted on the same day, into the same medium, and receiving the same watering and feeding regime....
This one faces north, gets full sun until about 3pm each day:

This one face east, gets morning light and falls into shadow about 11am each day:

This guy and his three mates are just not happy. Time to pull them out and start again. I am opting for a container garden for my veggies now, so I can move them around as the sun's arc changes.