Saturday, February 04, 2012

Foodie adventures

Do you ever find yourself in a food rut? Eating the same old things over and over, just because you lack inspiration for new recipes, or you're busy and it's just easy to cook things you know like the back of your hand? Yeah, me too. I realised the other day that I hadn't done anything adventurous in the kitchen for ages.


Well, it's time to pull myself out of my boring old habits. But how to go about it?

I decided yesterday that I'd start by hunting out some ingredients I either haven't tried before, or that I don't regularly use. First stop was the greengrocer near work, where I usually buy our fruit & veg. I wasn't actively looking for anything unusual, but spotted this as I was grabbing some broccoli:

Confession: I have never eaten kale in my life. It seems to be the hip thing to eat in healthy living blogger circles, but I've never tried it. Mainly because I've never seen it in the shops I frequent. So of course I grabbed it. Tonight's mission is to have a go at kale chips, which Sara seems to live on, judging by the frequency of their appearance in her posts. Well, kale and chocolate cake, anyway.

I'll let you know how it goes.

My mission this morning was to replenish my cocoa and walnut supplies, pick up some plums, an orange and some dried apricots for a batch of fruit compote, and see what else appealed. I ended up with a coconut and knew I had some coconut water in the fridge as well. I had some vague ideas about making a chocolatey-coconut concoction, but as I was leaving the fruit shop, I spied pineapples on special. That made me think of..... Pina Coladas!

Not actually a pina colada, but any cocktail served in a giant fruit is pretty awesome!
Mmm. I remember picking every morsel of the meat out of that coconut after I finished the drink....whilst sitting at an outdoor bar on the beach in Krabi. *sigh*

*Coconut not included. For display purposes only.
In the end, I didn't use either the fresh coconut OR the coconut water. I had some leftover coconut-flavoured evaporated milk in the fridge from another recipe, so I threw that and some other stuff into the blender for my pina colada shake, which was truly awesome. Sweet, frothy, and just the right balance of coconut and pineapple:

I did try the coconut water and I don't hate it. I think it's one of those things that grows on you. It's sweet, slightly coconutty and a bit GREEN-tasting, if that makes sense. I don't think it would be very nice at room temperature, chilled is better.

I offered Bike Boy a taste and he practically gagged and spit it out. He proceeded to wash his mouth out with water... Pfft. Sook.

Well, I think it's refreshing!

I'm going to try to find a couple of recipes to incorporate it into. Suggestions would be welcome.

Other than that, I made use of my stevia/erythritol blend this morning. I whipped up a new batch of fruit compote, and instead of the brown sugar in my recipe, I used about two teaspoons of this:

Found this at Woolies with the sugar and sweeteners
This particular version has blood plums, white nectarines, dried apricots and the sweetest, juiciest Bartlett pear. Oh, also half a Pink Lady apple that was left over from something else. I forgot the damn cranberries. Oh well... Anyway, it tastes plenty sweet enough and there's no hint of bitterness at all. I'd call that a success!

I'm thinking of having another go at an avocado mousse - I wasn't thrilled by my first attempt. And I'll see what else I'm inspired to come up with over the remainder of the weekend.

Who else has tried something new recently? How was it - good, bad, disgusting?

P.S. I'm experimenting with image sizes. What do you think? Too big, or just right...?


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