Aunty Elisabeth’s School of Cookery Lesson 2

This evening I had a wee chat with my niece from the other side of the planet, and promised her some more recipes. It’s only been three years since the last one, and she’s starting to feel peckish again.

She has graduated from university in the meantime, and is now living at home with her mum (my sister) again. This means her meals now need to not just be vegetarian, but also cater for some tricky food intolerances. I’m hoping this dish will be suitable for them to both enjoy.

Tomato and Spinach on Polenta
Tomatoes and spinach on polenta

Ingredients

Polenta

  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 5 cups of cold water
  • 1 teaspoon stock powder
  • a dash or knob of fat (I used a knob of coconut oil)
  • oil for frying

Sauce

  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 2 – 3 cups of chopped spinach or silver beet, or the same of baby spinach leaves
  • a dash of chilli powder (go easy on it though)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oil

Method

Polenta

I had never made polenta before, so I had to do some googling when I decided I wanted to try it. I liked the instructions I found at Serious Eats  the best.

Pour the water in to a large saucepan. Add the cornmeal and stock powder. Stir regularly for about an hour, adding the knob/dash of fat at the end of this time, stirring it in.
Grease a slice tin, then pour the polenta into it. Cover with clingfilm, then leave to cool. After a bit, put it in the fridge. I left mine overnight.

When you’re ready to make your meal, heat a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan.

Flip the polenta out on to a chopping board, and chop it into squares. You’ll have enough for four servings, but the sauce is for two, so put half of it back into the fridge for tomorrow.

Pan fry the squares of polenta over a medium-hot element. They’ll kind of go all melt-y like cheese, but this is what you want. After a few minutes, use a fish slice to flip it over. You’ll have a crisp layer, which might move off centre a bit, but don’t worry about that. Leave the other side to cook.

Sauce

While the polenta is cooking, heat the oil in a sauté pan. Chop your garlic and sauté it for about a minute.

If you are using big spinach or silver beet leaves, put them in a colander and pour boiling water over them, then transfer to the pan. If you are using baby spinach leaves, add them a minute or so before serving.

Start adding the tomatoes. You’ll want to add about 1/3 of a cup at a time to start with, so the tomato flavour is intensified. Once you’ve added about half the can, you can add the rest in one go, and sprinkle in a little chilli powder at this point as well. Cook until the tomato has thickened up a bit. If you’re using baby spinach, now is the time to add the leaves, and let them wilt a bit. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: I used fresh tomatoes in the picture above, but I made this same recipe 2 nights ago with canned, so either will work. If you use fresh, just add all the tomatoes at the same time.

Serving

Use a fish slice to remove the polenta from the pan, and put three squares on each plate. Spoon over the sauce.  That’s it, nice and simple.

 

 

 

Surprise!

I’ve been silent for way too long!  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been making things… more that I haven’t been able to convince my hubster to take great pictures of the things I have made.  Really, I should just use the self-timer more.

So, since I last posted, I’ve made myself a burgandy stretch velvet skirt, an awesome pair of jeans (which I then grew out of, I must do something about that) and most recently a pair of dress pants for work.

For the latter, I started with a Burda pattern (Vol 8/04, adapted from style 105).  For length, I cut to the line for style 104, I didn’t make cuffs, and I didn’t add the front pocket flap either.  The back features faux pocket flaps – I wanted the detail without the fuss.  Because I’m carrying a little extra weight at the moment, I also made some changes to the actual pattern pieces.  The style went up to 42, which was fine for the waist (in fact, I had to remove some material from the back waist), but I have chunkier hips and thighs.  Instead of playing with the outside leg seams, I made the adjustments on the crotch and inner leg seams, effectively scaling them to a 44 from my wider bits.  In the past I’ve done this using the marked pattern lines, and just rejoining them, but as this style didn’t go up quite big enough, in this case I actually had to do the measuring and drafting work myself on those seams.  So I can tick off a new skill!

Do these pants make me look short?
Full length rear view

 

Here, Kitty Kitty!
And the all important question: Does my butt look good in these?

I think these pants are a success.  I don’t have a pic to prove it, but the fly is very nicely done.

Purple silk top from Veronica Main, shoes from Hannahs, handmade earrings by zippitydoodah.

Kitty model is M from next door.  Hobbes was hiding (and I needed to distract M from stealing his food).

Forward Planning

Help Elisabeth choose her first project for her handmade makeover.

Ok, so here’s my list of projects that I want to complete in the next wee while.  Help me choose what to make first!

  • new casual trousers
  • new trousers for work
  • new top for work
  • new dress for work
  • new jeans
  • new jeans for the hubby
  • new handbag (for me!)
  • re-cover my lounge chairs
  • new roman-blind for my bedroom

So, what should I start with?  Leave a comment below to help motivate me 🙂