All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Ten of my favourite foods…

And we’re back. After running out of internet credit two days ago there’s been a slight pause in the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge, but I’m stocked up on GB again and raring to go with day eight: ten of my favourite foods.

Now, I’m not a very adventurous eater, nor am I a person who considers food to be something magical and delightful. Food, for me, is a necessity. It is something I must eat to stay alive. But saying that there are things I prefer eating above others…

~1~
Poached Eggs on Sourdough Toast

The best breakfast in the world. Ever. Nothing beats the poached egg on sourdough toast. Not even bacon.

poachedeggs

Ingredients

2 teaspoons white vinegar
4 eggs, at room temperature
Bread, toasted, buttered, to serve

Step 1: Pour cold water into a large saucepan until 8cm deep. Add vinegar. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low (water should still be simmering around the edge).

Step 2: Crack 1 egg into a shallow bowl. Using a wooden spoon, stir water to create a whirlpool. Tip egg into water. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes for a soft yolk or 3 to 4 minutes for firm. Using a slotted spoon, remove egg from water.

Step 3: Skim foam from water. Poach remaining eggs. Serve eggs on toast.

~ from Taste.com.au

~2~
Jacket Potato (with butter and cheese)

My idea of comfort food. I’m a huge fan of the humble potato. Especially when cheese is melted atop it!

jacketpotato

Ingredients

Sebago potatoes
Cheese (to taste)
Butter (to taste)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 200°C. Scrub potatoes with a brush. Pat dry with paper towels.

Step 2: Using a fork, pierce potatoes in about 6 places. Place directly on oven rack in the centre of oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until tender when a skewer is inserted into the centre.

Step 3: Cut a deep cross in top of each potato. Using a clean tea towel to hold potato, squeeze base gently to open up top. Add your choice of topping and serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~3~
Pesto Pasta

Simple. Easy to make. A refreshing, delectable meal.

pestopasta

Ingredients

375g dried linguine pasta
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Shaved parmesan cheese, to serve

Step 1: Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions until tender. Drain. Return to pan.

Step 2: Meanwhile, process basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan, scraping down sides occasionally, until almost smooth.

Step 3: With motor running, add oil in a slow, steady stream. Process to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Add pesto to pasta. Toss to combine. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~4~
Coconut Rice

Is there anything better than rice? Of course there is. Rice that tastes of coconut!

coconutrice

Ingredients

2 cups Thai jasmine-scented white rice
2 cups good-quality coconut milk
1 3/4 cups water
2 heaping Tbsp. dry shredded unsweetened coconut (baking type)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. coconut oil, OR vegetable oil

Step 1: Rub oil over the bottom of a deep-sided pot. You will also need a tight-fitting lid.

Step 2: Place rice, coconut milk, water, shredded coconut, and salt in the pot and set over medium-high to high heat. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.

Step 3: Once the coconut-water has begun to gently bubble, stop stirring and reduce heat to low (just above minimum). Cover tightly with a lid and let simmer 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. To check, pull rice aside with a fork. If most of the coconut milk-water is gone, go on to the next step.

Step 4: Replace the lid and turn off the heat, but leave the covered pot on the burner to steam another 5-10 minutes, or until you’re ready to eat.

~ from Thaifood.about.com

~5~
Lasagne

Ever wanted to pretend you were a loveable cartoon cat?

lasagne

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1kg beef mince
160ml (2/3 cup) red wine
2 x 700ml btls passata (tomato pasta sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 x 250g pkt dried lasagne sheets

Besciamella (bechamel sauce)
125g butter, chopped
115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
1.5L (6 cups) milk, warmed
40g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated cheddar
55g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated mozzarella
40g (1/2 cup) finely grated parmesan
Pinch of ground nutmeg

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes. Increase heat to high. Add the mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 4-5 minutes or until the mince changes colour.

Step 2: Add the wine. Cook for 4 minutes or until the wine has almost evaporated. Add the passata, tomato paste, oregano and thyme. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Meanwhile, to make the besciamella, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Remove from heat. Stir in the flour. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, until smooth. Place the milk mixture over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Add half the cheddar, half the mozzarella and half the parmesan. Stir until well combined. Stir in the nutmeg.

Step 4: Spread about 2 cups of the mince mixture over the base of a 3L (12-cup) capacity, 5cm-deep, 21 x 32cm (base measurement) ovenproof dish. Arrange 3 lasagne sheets on top. Spread with 2 cups of mince mixture. Pour over 21/2 cups of besciamella. Top with 3 lasagne sheets. Continue layering with remaining mince mixture, lasagne sheets and besciamella.

Step 5: Bake for 30 minutes. Combine remaining cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. Sprinkle over the lasagne. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender and golden. Set aside for 15 minutes to stand. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~6~
Potato Bake

Second only to the jacket potato in the comfort food stakes.

potatobake

Ingredients

Melted butter, to grease
1 x 300ml ctn thin cream
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
1.25kg sebago (brushed) potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
2 large brown onions, halved, thinly sliced
100g thinly sliced prosciutto
60g (3/4 cup) finely shredded parmesan

Step 1: Preheat oven to 170°C. Brush a 2.5L (10-cup) capacity ovenproof dish with melted butter to lightly grease. Combine the cream and milk in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Step 2: Arrange half the potato slices over the base of the prepared dish. Sprinkle with half the onion. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over half the cream mixture. Continue layering with the remaining potato slices, onion, salt and pepper and cream mixture.

Step 3: Cover with foil and place on a baking tray. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until potato is tender. Scatter prosciutto over the potato bake and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake, uncovered, for a further 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the potato is very tender.

Step 4: Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

~7~
Potato and Rosemary Pizza

You may overdose on carbohydrate, but at least you’ll die happy!

potatoandrosemarypizza

Ingredients

Dough
4 ½ cups organic plain four
1 ¾ tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
¼ cup olive oil
1 ¾ cups ice water
oil for brushing

Potato and Rosemary Topping
½ cup mozzarella, grated

¼ cup parmesan, grated
4 kipfler or dutch creams, peeled, boiled whole and sliced
1 sprig rosemary
sea salt + pepper
sprinkle of nutmeg

Step 1: Mix all dry ingredients together in bowl with a wooden spoon. Mix oil and water into the flour till all flour is incorporated. Continue mixing until the dough is of a slightly sticky consistency and sticks a little to the bottom of the bowl, but not to the sides. If dough IS sticking to the sides of the bowl, more flour is required. If it is not sticking to the very bottom, a little water (one to two teaspoons) should be added but make sure you add a little at a time. You can mix by hand or machine.

Step 2: Flour the bench surface before turning dough onto it and then shape into a rectangle and slice into six pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, flouring hands to stop sticking, then coat the surface with oil and wrap each ball in food grade plastic wrap. These will keep in the fridge for a maximum of three days and about 30 days in the freezer.

Step 3: Stretch dough to two centimetre thick and ten centimetres in diameter circles, or stretch to fit the pizza pan. The best way is to stretch to a smaller circle and then toss in the air, but a rolling pin will do the job, if not as well! If the dough is very elastic and keeps springing back to its original form, let it rest for a further 10 to 20 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

Step 4: Scatter the cheeses over the pizza and place in the oven at 230°C until the cheese has just melted. Take the pizza out of the oven and add the sliced, par cooked potato, rosemary leaves, and a little more cheese. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg and replace in the oven until the dough is cooked.

~ from Poh’s Kitchen

~8~
Spanakopita

The most adventurous food on my menu. But with something so delicious, how can you resist?

spanakopita

Ingredients

1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bunch shallots (spring onions), finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.2kg baby spinach or silverbeet
2 tablespoons chopped dill
250g feta cheese, crumbled
150g full-fat ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons grated kefalotyri or parmesan cheese
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
12 sheets filo pastry
120g butter, melted

Step 1: Heat oil in a frypan, then add onion, shallots and garlic. Cook for 1 minute until softened, then add spinach and half the dill. (If using silverbeet, remove leaves, and chop before adding; discard stalks). Cook, stirring, over low heat for 1-2 minutes or until spinach has wilted. Drain in a colander and cool, then combine with cheeses, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Step 2: Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 2 1/2-litre baking dish with butter. Lay one sheet of filo on base and sides and brush with butter. Repeat with 5 more sheets. Spread cheese mixture over top. Cover with remaining filo, brushing each sheet with butter. Trim excess pastry with kitchen scissors and tuck edges into sides of dish. Brush top with butter and score in diamond patterns.

Step 3: Bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Rest for 10 minutes. Warm remaining butter, add remaining dill and, when serving, pour over sliced spanakopita.

~ from Taste.com.au

~9~
Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken. The only way it can be improved is to slather it in herbalicious breadcrumbs!

chickenschnitzel

Ingredients

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup plain flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
550g chicken breast schnitzel (uncrumbed)
Vegetable oil, for shallow-frying

Step 1: Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, lemon rind, parsley and garlic powder on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour on a plate. Whisk egg and milk together in a shallow bowl.

Step 2: Coat 1 piece of chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture. Coat in breadcrumb mixture. Place on a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken, flour, egg mixture and breadcrumb mixture.

Step 3: Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, in batches, for 4 to 5 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Serve.

~ from Taste.com.au

 

and

~10~
Chocolate Caramel Slice

Because we all need something sweet in our life. And with this delicious dessert, there is nothing sweeter!

chocolatecaramelslice

Ingredients

1 cup plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, melted

Filling
400g can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
60g butter, melted

Topping
60g copha, chopped
125g cooking chocolate, chopped

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 3cm deep, 28 x 18cm (base) lamington pan.

Step 2: Combine all base ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Press into prepared lamington pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden. Remove from oven. Cool.

Step 3: Make filling: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking, for 8 minutes or until golden. Pour over cooked base. Bake for 12 minutes or until firm. Cool completely. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or until set.

Step 4: Make topping: Place copha and chocolate into a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted. Pour over caramel. Refrigerate to set. Cut into squares to serve.

~ from Taste.com.au


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Two foods I can’t get through Christmas without…

Ever since making Australia my home I’ve been locked in a constant battle between the Northern and Southern hemispheres of my soul; a battle that reaches its peak every Christmas time. For however much I love the chance to relax in the warm weather, surreptitiously ogle the beautiful women wearing next to nothing and relish in the frequent thunderstorms, a part of me deeply misses cozying up in front of a fire, surreptitiously ogling beautiful women doing Eskimo impersonations and relishing the endless dark nights.

So it doesn’t surprise me that the foods I crave each and every Christmas reflects the eternal struggle between my lust of Australia and love of Scotland.

Since moving into my unit nearly two years ago I decided that one of the safety measures I could implement to help me survive this upsetting and lonely time of year was to create some new traditions. One of these traditions was the cooking (and eating) of Yorkshire Puddings each and every Christmas day.

These simple, delicious mounds of light, crispy batter have been one of my favourite foodstuffs for as long as I can remember. In fact, many of my UK memories revolve around the eating of these heavenly orbs of mouth-watering perfection; the Yorkshire Puddings as big as your plate that a pub in Inverness served up, the mini-puddings that my father made from scratch, the addition of sausages into the mix to create Toad in the Hole and the ‘eat as many as you like’ offer in numerous mid-market restaurants.

I never eat Yorkshire Puddings at any other time of year, only Christmas, because I want the flood of memories; of family, of friends, of laughter, of bliss, of nostalgia, to be something special, something unique, something that comes only once a year. For this way, it gives me something to look forward to amidst the bleak, depressing nothingness that floods my soul during the festive season.

Christmas Dinner 2013

Yesterday’s Christmas Dinner…complete with scrumptious Yorkshire Puddings! :D

The second food – the Southern hemisphere’s weapon of choice – is the humble Calippo. There is a reason that this triangle of frozen water, reconstituted fruit juice, cane sugar, glucose and numerous flavours and additives made my list of 101 Things That Make Me Happy; because sucking on one fills me with a level of bliss that few other foods even come close to.

Whether it’s the cooling effect these icy treats contain on a 30-40 degree day, the fact they remind me of sunny days with bikini clad babes or simply the additives playing havoc with my mind, it is categorically impossible for me to eat a Calippo without an ear-to-ear smile on my face.

Hence why, as with the Yorkshire Puddings above, a box of Pineapple and Raspberry Callipos has become a tradition during my Christmas Eve food shop.


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5 Foods…

As I missed a day yesterday, today we have two installments of the challenge.

First up, five foods. Much like other days of this challenge they haven’t specified what sort of foods – so as I recently wrote about foods I love – today I shall share five foods I hate.

And yes, that is a strong word, but given these foods will make me vomit I am happy to use it in this instance :p

1. Ham

I believe my dislike of ham began in high school. For a home economics project we had to take some sliced ham to use during the lesson, only I didn’t use it all and brought the remaining slices home and promptly forgot to put them in the fridge. Instead, they festered in my room for several days until I became overwhelmed by a grotesque smell that I soon learnt came from the maggots that had invested the rotting meat and begun crawling around my room!

Although, strangely, Kettle Chips’ Honey Roasted Ham is one of my favourite potato chip flavours.

2. Squid

Why? Seriously! WHY? Why would anyone would to eat small, eight legged, slimy things? What is wrong with you people?

3. Olives

I once ate an olive. I once threw up shortly after eating this olive. It is the only time I have ever consumed an olive and I never will again.

Happily, my girlfriends loved olives, and relished the chance to steal them if they appeared on a meal I ordered in a restaurant.

4. Coffee Cake (in fact, anything with coffee in it!)

I hate the smell of coffee. I hate the taste of coffee. I hate everything about coffee. Why do people feel the need to make coffee cake or coffee ice-cream or coffee muffins or coffee anything? Are you so addicted to this obnoxious substance that you can’t go one course without consuming it? What’s next? Coffee gravy? Roast chicken marinated in a coffee sauce? Coffee soup? Coffee Starburst?

5. Mushrooms

One evening in a backpacker hostel a friend made me mushrooms on toast. After politely consuming the meal and hiding the fact I was gagging on every mouthful I went for a walk and promptly threw up in an alleyway. Since then other people have fed me mushrooms and on each occasion I ate them and then threw up a safe distance away as I didn’t want to offend.

However, from this point in time onwards, I will be polite no more.

I do not like mushrooms, I do not want to eat mushrooms, thus, I will never consciously eat mushrooms again.

 


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Day #7: What did you eat today? (Not really a question to ask someone living in poverty if you want a happy answer!)

English: Fish and chips in Ireland

Yes…I am a masochist! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day seven of the ’30 Day Blog Challenge’ sees a question that you really shouldn’t ask someone living in poverty if you want a happy answer.

In fact, if this blog were a motion picture, just after that question was asked would be a moment of silence followed by a tumbleweed rolling slowly across the screen. You see, for those who missed it, I am one of the 2,265,000 who live in poverty (academics, until you’ve experienced poverty, you can take your ‘relative poverty’ and feed it to the starfish) which means I don’t always have the luxury of eating on a daily basis.

My food budget is what some people spend on coffee and pastries every day and although I do my level best to make it stretch through the week, sometimes it’s just not possible to do this.

Thus my food intake for the day has been zip, zilch, nada, nothing. Unless you count air, I did have a nice couple of mouthfuls of hearty air.

So to say I’m looking forward to silencing the growling belly demon when I get my Newstart Allowance tomorrow would be an understatement!

In the meantime, whilst you’re munching down a sandwich or enjoying your Friday Fish and Chips, I urge you to read the best article I have read all week on the subject of poverty; Walk a mile in someone else’s battered shoes… (via The Punch) and then, if you can handle them, read the comments – most of which illustrate the writer’s point perfectly and echo the same uninformed judgemental statements I’ve heard over the last five years.

And people wonder why it’s so difficult for someone to fight their way out of poverty?


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8 Favourite foods…

Although I’m complicated in many weird and wondrous ways, food isn’t one of them. When it comes to culinary delights I’m very much a traditionalist; simple ingrediants, simple cooking, simple presentation. As long as it puts a smile on my face and satisfies my belly, I’m a happy man. The eight meals here (plus a couple of naughty treats) are dishes that are guaranteed to fill me with bloated bliss.




and who can resist the occasional naughty pleasure,

~ CLICK EACH IMAGE TO OPEN A RECIPE FROM THE DELICIOUS WEBSITES I USE FOR MEAL IDEAS ~
(WHEN I HAVE FOOD, THAT IS. IT’S A LITTLE HARD TO COOK WITHOUT IT!)