recipes

Trash

Good Housekeeping Magazine

There has been the odd day where I’ve felt the need to herald from a high vantage point, ”OK, stick a fork in me, I’m done!” Well done. Done washing, done grocery shopping, done bed making, done basin scrubbing, done path sweeping. On these occasions, the only way to self-tenderise, is to make like the meat does after a big roasting – and rest. And what better way to get some juice flowing back into the soul, than a bit of quiet trashy mag time.

As much as I love some thought-provoking non-fiction or a masterful piece of literary excellence, at certain times of the week, the developments of a Kardashian relationship or a royal outing are about all I have the head space to absorb. In fact, I consider time spent with a glossy and a coffee, to be time well spent. Apart from the celebrity trials and trysts, I really enjoy the convenience of leafing through the snapshots of up-and-coming fashion peeks, the latest beauty product and ways to scatter my cushions, without having to leave the kitchen. By the time I have read the entire mag (usually 30 minutes), I have been recharged with a posse of new ideas and feel abreast of emerging trends.

Personal development aside, I love the humour these magazines elicit. Articles on weight-loss programs followed by pages of pudding recipes, never fail to make me smile. The outrageous claims made by ”close sources” of the famous are also worth a chuckle. And of course there are also the latest research snippets: people who eat less and exercise more are inclined to live longer….

Of course the food coverage always takes my eye – and the growing pile of tear sheets next to my recipe books bears evidence of this. There would be very few weekly publications that I would reach the end of without at least one recipe snaring my attention. This week was no different. When I flipped the page to this Chicken, artichoke and lemon dish and saw that I had most of the ingredients on hand and they could all cook together in one dish, an instant ripping of paper broke the sunny afternoon silence.

Chicken Artichoke and Lemon

1/4 cup olive oil
8 chicken drumsticks
500g potatoes, cut into wedges (skin left on)
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 lemon, sliced into rings
4 thyme sprigs
1/2 cup white wine
170g jar artichokes, drained
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. In an ovenproof pan, heat half of the oil and brown off the drumsticks until golden.
  3. Add potatoes and onion with the rest of the oil and mix around. Top with lemon slices and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place pan in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  5. Pour over wine, and stir in artichokes and tomatoes.
  6. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes, ensuring chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender.
    (Even though this dish contains potatoes, I served it over steamed rice because the sauce is delicious when absorbed into the rice.)

Postscript: and after reading of the births, remarriages and body makeovers it’s heartening to realise your own life is not that exhausting after all.

recipes

Upcycle

baked glazed ham

It’s heartening to observe the recent trend of repurposing old goods into workable, worthwhile objects of value and especially so, if you were the one responsible for the transformation. We have had the pleasure of watching Kirstie pick up furniture orphans from junk yards and resourcefully transform them into prized family members on her weekly program. Clothing, toys and linens have all been fair game for the passionate upcycler, with vintage and charity shopping now a popular pastime. So after a beautifully baked leg of ham had served its dinnertime purpose, but still boasted a plentiful supply of succulent meat to carve, it was time for some upcycling in our kitchen.

Being well out of the festive season, purchasing a leg of ham is very affordable – in fact quite a canny choice. Simple to prepare and quick to bake, this is an overlooked roasted ‘joint’ with the potential to be so many other meals.

When you bring your ham home, carefully run the knife around the narrow end and gently work off the outer skin, leaving the fat underneath in place. Once the skin is peeled away, score the fat in a cross-hatch fashion. Warm a small jar of marmalade and brush this over the ham generously. Poke a whole clove into the centre of each diamond shape. Sit your decorated leg in a large baking tray and bake in a moderate oven (ie 180 degrees celsius) for 45 minutes or until it is nicely browned. Your ham is ready to carve.

My carnivorous family barely makes a dent on a baked ham in one sitting, so throughout the week rolls are filled, grills are served and finally I unwrap a calico covered shape that begins to resemble a bone. Still well covered, this joint is upcycled once again – pea and ham soup.

Traditional Pea and Ham soup

A plentiful soup can be produced by plonking the bone holus-bolus into the pot and using this recipe  (which I discovered on the back of my McKenzie’s Green Split Peas packet). Put your ham bone in, follow McKenzie’s steps and lunch/after school feeding frenzies are covered for the rest of the week.

As your ham leg makes its way through all of its various mealtime identities, it can be stored very effectively in the refrigerator in a calico ham bag. No ham bag? No problem – because you too are a resourceful upcycler, a dampened tea towel repurposes wonderfully.

Traditional Pea and Ham soup

Postscript: and just when you thought the upcycling was complete, the long simmered soup bone, after cooling on the bench, became a happy dog’s chew on a sunny afternoon.