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Pumpkin Enchilladas with Mole Sauce

Pumpkin Enchilladas

There's really not much more I can say about this dish then to say... go out and make this, right now!

Pumpkin Enchilladas with Mole Sauce

Ingredients:
* Vegetable oil
* 2 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into cubes
* 15oz can of refried beans
* fresh, chopped cilantro leaves
* 1 red chili, chopped
* 12 soft flour or corn tortillas
* salt and pepper to season
* sour cream, lime wedges and extra cilantro to serve

For the Sauce:
* 10 red chiles
* 2 tsp coriander seeds
* 1 tsp sesame seeds
* 2 tbsp slivered almonds
* 5 black peppercorns
* 2-3 cloves
* 1 onion, sliced
* 3 garlic cloves, crushed
* 1 tbsp cocoa powder
* vegetable oil
* 15oz can of chopped tomatos
* pinch of cinnamon
* sugar to taste
* 2/3 cup of stock
* 3.5oz of best-quality dark chocolate, grated

To make:

1. To make the sauce, put the chiles, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, peppercorns and cloves in a mortar and pestle and crush. (I used my little whizzy chopper thing since I don't have a mortar and pestle). Tip into a skillet and dry-fry for a minute or so until lightly charred.

2. In a separate pan, fry the onion, garlic and cocoa in a little oil for 2 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, then add the dry-fried spices, the cinnamon, sugar and stock and cook for 25 minutes. Transfer to a blender and whiz until smooth. Fold in the chocolate.

4. Preheat the oven to 400C. Coat the squash in oil and roast for 40 minutes until soft.

5. Put the squash in a bowl, add the refried beans, cilantro and red chile and stir well to mix.

6. Divide the mixture between the tortillas, roll up and put into a baking dish. Cover and cook in the oven for about 12 minutes; until warmed through.

7. To serve, put two tortillas on each plate and spoon over some of the sauce (it's pretty heady so not too much!). Serve with some sour cream, lime wedges and cilantro.

I highly recommend it with a decent pale ale as well. I even have plenty of sauce for leftovers! Yumyumyumyumyum

Mtuzi wa Samaki

I'll be cooking dinners at home two days out of the week and I'm pretty keen to experiment with new and interesting recipes. In one of the blogs I'm following (and damned if I can remember right now which one it is, argh!), they've set up little "themes" for choosing recipes each week. Some are pretty specific ("Citrus") and some are more open ended ("Love").

This weeks theme is "Rice/Noodles", which gave me a perfect excuse to try out an East African recipe I discovered called Mtuzi wa Samaki. (White Fish in Coconut Curry)

Mtuzi wa Samaki

This recipe originates from the tiny island of Zanzibar, but the use of Indian-style curry shows it's history of trade. Now it's popular all along the coastal region of East Africa, and oh my goodness is it now popular in my home.
I can not begin to tell you how delicious this is!

Mtuzi wa Samaki

Ingredients:
*  Oil
*  White fish filets (I used 250g local whiting)
*  1 Onion, diced
*  2 Capsicums (suggested red and green for colour, I could only get red ones at my local markets), chopped roughly
*  6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
*  1 cups worth of tomatoes that have been seeded and diced
*  1 1/2 cups coconut milk
*  2-3 teaspoons of Garam Masala
*  1-2 tablespoons of Tamarind paste
*  Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it:
1.  Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Sear the fish on both sides and remove from heat. Do not cook them all the way through, just set them aside on a plate for now.

2.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the onion and capsicum. Sauté until the onion is translucent. Have patience on this, it's worth it! Add the garlic and sauté for a further 1-2 minutes.

3.  Add in the coconut milk, garam masala and tamarind paste. Bring it up to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover and let simmer for 6-8 minutes.

4.  Add the fish fillets, nestle them down into the juices then cover once more and continue to simmer for a further 5-10 minutes; until the fish is cooked through.

You can serve it with whatever you like! We had leftover rice, but Naan bread would have been lovely to have had as well.

Please, PLEASE, try making this dish. It's easy to do, the fish can easily be substituted out with something veg-friendly, there's so little dishes to clean up afterwards and it is SO damn delicious.

I seriously licked my plate clean. It's that good.

Mtuzi wa Samaki

Foxy and Feet

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras

It was great having my Uncle come visit for a couple of weeks, it meant I got to pretend I had a dog again for a little while. A quiet afternoon in bed with a good book and a good dog is heavenly.

I have spent a good part of today listening to helicopters flying endlessly back and forth overhead.

The flooding that is currently going on to the north of me has weighed pretty heavy on my head for the past couple of days. It's a horrid situation and it looks like it's not going to be improving anytime soon.

I've been gathering my thoughts, maybe I'll be able to write them into something legible sometime in the near future, but for now I'm still a bit shell-shocked, I suppose. Between this and the shooting that happened in Arizona and the endless gray drizzle of rain, I've been stuck in a bit of a rut.

If you are able to help at all to the poor souls in Queensland, I would encourage you to donate to the relief appeal.

One Small Change: January

Rainy Garden

For my first month of One Small Change, my goal for January is to pay some extra attention to my garden while I have the time. I have been enjoying quite a few surprising successes (as well as a few failures) and my garden is producing nicely right now. I'd like to make it even MORE productive, though, including trying new plants as well as digging in a whole extra veggie bed to fill with yummy things!

I also really want to make sure that I am picking, using and storing what I grow as well; especially with my herbs. In the past I have not been storing as much as I could have and therefore a lot of my plants have gone to "waste".
At the moment this is primarily turning a glut of basil (and I do mean a glut!) into lots of pesto that I have been freezing. I'm sure I'll have lots of tasty pesto-y dishes to enjoy over winter, there's still lots of pesto to make! (and I do love me some pesto. Yum yum yum!)

The one major hitch to my plan at the moment is this endless, heavy rain we've been getting! We're scheduled to get several more days of it yet as well... but I'm hoping soon I'll get a couple of dry days in so I can get this new veggie patch in!

Rainy Garden

Happy New Year!

Riberry Punch

It's funny; although on occasion I do miss a snowy "white" Christmas, I can not imagine spending New Years on anything but a steamy, hot summer's day.

It's been a while, hasn't it?
Life got a bit busy the last half of last year; namely I took on a second TAFE course (Bookkeeping) on top of the one I was already doing (Horticulture) as well as the various voluntary and family commitments I take up as often as possible. In general, my presence online was very slim.
That's all done now, I passed both my courses and have even managed to survived the Silly Season that is the last few weeks of the year, and here I am!

It's a new year! Happy 2011 to you all! I hope you all had a very nice New Year and are looking forward to the months to come. I know I am!

I've made a couple of Resolutions for the new year.

1. Get in shape. That's everyone's number 1 isn't it? Well I'm no different. I want to get back into routine exercises as much as I can. Look into a couple classes that are available in my area. I've also signed up to SparkPeople.com and is proving to be interesting and useful (although the nutrition tracker is utterly useless, I don't use it)

2. Wear more skirts. I have them, I even have some nice new ones I found at op shops. So I should wear them more often.

3. Post more blog posts then I did in 2010. I've only signed up for one TAFE course in the coming year (the next Horticulture Certificate, woo!!) So hopefully I should still be able to have free time to feel up to making decent, routine blog posts.

4. Increase my online presence. I have a higher monthly bandwidth for internet now, which is exciting! I now no longer feel so guilty about spending time online and uploading my photos. I want to comment more on the blogs I read and participate more in conversations going on in forums that I read. I know how appreciative I am when someone comments on my posts, so I need to really start going out of my way and commenting in posts that I like!

I'm sure that there will be more, good intentions are always ongoing, right?
It's good to be back.

The Envelope Project

Meet Me At Mike's is a craft shop in Melbourne. I know about them because of the fantastic blogging done by owner Pip. When I get down to Melbourne, this shop is one of the places I intend to seek out first!

I discovered Pip was holding an Envelope Project calling for people from all over Australia and the world to mail in decorated envelopes to display in her shop window I knew I wanted to participate!
I've been super busy of late (thus the quietness on my end) so a couple of hours break with mindless crafting was exactly what I needed.

Meet Me At Mikes Envelope Project

This is what I ended up with. Everything came from my stash, in fact most of it was just me using up the rest of bits and pieces I had. A good reminder on why I hang on to all this stuff!

We were encouraged to fill the envelopes with some interesting things; bits of fabric, papercraft things, paper scraps, etc.

Meet Me At Mikes Envelope Project

Here's what I sent down. Mostly just some leftover scrapbooking stuff I have floating around, a little knit heart and felted rose, that week's grocery shopping list and some really kitchy hankies that were excess in an opshop find.

Simple and oh so satisfying. And the best part about it? Look! A couple of days later and there I am:
P6230050

A little bit of me hanging up in Melbourne on display. You can see more of the gorgeous submitted envelopes and the whole display on Pip's Flickr Stream.

If you happen to be in Melbourne, go check it out!

Perennial Coriander

Perennial Coriander

This is a new-to-me herb I just happened to come across at one of my local nurseries over the past couple of months. It's a perennial coriander plant(!)
It has very thick, fleshy leaves and very, very spikey margins (almost like a thistle!) But they smell and taste exactly like the more delicate coriander plants!
I love them, because these are so hardy, and they're perennial. Just chop them up finely just like you would regular coriander and cook away!

Corianders
Hanging out with his more delicate coriander buddy.

Coriander is such a hit or miss for me in terms of growing; they're notoriously difficult though and certainly they don't seem to last very long (I guess my family and I cook with them too much) but this perennial version is really doing fantastic. So well in fact that I bought myself a second one the other week!

Weekend Vacation Part 7: Nambucca

The very last part of our little get-away was a stop in Nambucca.
We had a reservation for lunch at the Jaaning Tree restaurant there. The place is run by chef Clayton Donovon who mum and I had met at the Saltwater/Freshwater Festival earlier this year. He's a fantastic personality and cooks amazing food, specialising in native bush food (he actually sources several of his native fruits from Vally of the Mist!)

We had some time to kill before our reservation though, so we took a little stroll through town.
Nambucca

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The next morning we were up early with the sunrise. We were heading to the highlight of the trip.
Mum and I had come across the Valley of the Mist farm in my latest Australian Permaculture magazine.

Valley of the Mist is a farm run by a couple (Dennis and Marilyn) in Macksville. They grow Australian bush food for market; Lemon Myrtle, Lilli Pillis, Davidson Plums, Finger Limes and a dozen others.
Not only that, though. But their property includes this incredible wetland ecosystem with a wealth of unique plants and animals; including the largest nesting colony of black swans in this part of Australia.

Dennis was kind enough to paddle us around in his canoe. There are no words for this experience. It was simply amazing.

Valley of the Mists

I'll let my photographs do the talking for me.
Prepare to hold your breath.Collapse )