Thursday, April 16, 2015

Roasted Sweet Potato with Honey and Cinnamon Glaze

How does one get out of a dinner rut? You know, how you end up always cycling through the same meals and the same sort of ingredients, and it just gets a little monotonous?
Sometimes you just have to mix it up a little at the dinner table. I always think it's a good idea to buy one new thing a fortnight and force yourself to cook with it. It's a good way to spice up meals a bit and adds to your cooking repertoire, making it more diverse and less boring.
It's a little challenging with small kids, because often you have go-to meals because you know meal time will be easier to bear. Yep, that's right! My kids would rather eat dry cat food than some of the things I serve. It's humbling. I try to reassure myself that their taste-buds haven't sufficiently developed yet, while I force feed them.
I was reading an article written by a dietician the other day about the "shared responsibility eating" theory. Basically you place the dinner on the table buffet style, and your children get to serve themselves, deciding what they want to eat and how much they will eat. There is no obligation to finish or taste anything. Well I think that's crazy. My kids would starve themselves. Or eat crackers for the rest of their childhoods. (trust me, I have been there in my own childhood, resulting in one never-hungry and malnourished girl. That's right-I never felt hungry enough to eat.)
My kids get served a portion of what we are eating and have to finish it. They at least have to have a taste of the things they're not used to, for example, if I add a new veggie or make something they've never tried before, they will have to at least experience it once.
We usually have our sweet potato boiled and mashed, but for Christmas lunch I decided to roast the sweet potato in wedges, drizzled in a honey cinnamon glaze. This was served alongside Gordon Ramsey's Beef Wellington (Oh my. This is a must-make!) The roasted glazed sweet potato  was so divine that I could probably have eaten the lot of it in one sitting. I have since brought it to the dinner table as a side, and it's always been a much-savored hit.


4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thick fingers
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven at 190C.
Lay all the sweet potato fingers flat on a lined baking tray.
Combine the oil, honey and cinnamon in a small bowl until well incorporated. Drizzle this mixture over the top of the sweet potato. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until tender. If you prefer some more colour, you can finish off the roasting with a few minutes under the grill on a high setting.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired before serving.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chewy Choc Chip Biscuits

Mumma's got a bee in her bonnet, and it's got nothing to do with food.
Heading into the post office yesterday, the man behind the desk who was about to serve me stuck his nose further over the edge to peer down at three gorgeous little tykes in tow and one blossoming bump on the front of me. He counted the kids out loud, slowly and like a fool, as if there were just too many to number.
Then he looked at me with wide eyes and said, "Four? What are you doing? I mean, you obviously know what you're doing, but WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!"
I'm used to people commenting on the size of my little family with a wry smile, in semi joke form, and have found it easy to laugh off, with most people making no further comment. But this guy was unsmiling, obnoxious, and I knew he wasn't going to let it go.
"Have you got it worked out yet?" he asked. No, I'm just so uneducated, I don't now how babies are made.
My blood was steady boiling, but I had nothing to say. I just laughed, but inside I was punching in his irritating face. I wondered if I could get away with assault with the excuse of crazy pregnancy hormones raging around. A cat had totally got my tongue and I had no clever retaliation.
"Two is enough for me" grumbled the man, huffing. I turned around and there was a huge queue behind me.
"Well I admit, they're hard work, but so worth it" I smiled at him. "Four 500g satchels, please."
Inside I was saying "go screw yourself" but I am glad I didn't say that. My babies are my everything. Since when has it become okay for people to make rude comments on family size choices and pregnancy? It feels that as soon as you're showing a baby bump it gives every man and his dog the okay to go and judge and poke and make the rudest comments about fertility, family choices and the size of your body. "Don't you have a TV?" That's my favourite, along with "There are ways of not having more, you know."
As I left I turned back to him and said "I'm one of ten kids, you know. Four is nothing." I laughed at that jaw drop and out we all trotted.
Then I went home and stuffed my face with these biscuits. They're wonderful comfort food and packed full of happy-inducing chocolate chips. Bring on the questions as to whether I'm expecting twins, these thick, chewy delicious choc chip biscuits were well worth it.

CHEWY CHOC CHIP COOKIES (Adapted from All Recipes)

2 1/4 cups plain four
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
170g butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla essence/extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup chocolate chips (or more if desired)

Set the oven to 165C.
Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well combined. Add the vanilla and egg as well as the yolk. Beat until incorporated. Add the sifted mixture and beat until just combined. ix through the chocolate chips by hand.
Place rounded tablespoon-worths of mixture onto greased and lined trays, about 6 cms apart to allow for spreading. Bake for 15-17 minutes until they begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool on trays for 5 minutes, before removing and placing on a wire rack.

Makes at least 20 (they started getting eaten before I had the opportunity to count them all!)