Thursday, 12 November 2009

The Tasty Side of Nesting

We just ordered carpet for our bare, stripped but unfinished stairs and I've been throwing out tons of crap to make space for baby drawers, diapers and fun things like that. People say I'm nesting in preparation for bubba. Call it what you like, but it does feel long overdue (the throwing out crap part at least) and kind of therapeutic.

What I'm really enjoying though, is my raring interest for cookery! I've always enjoyed cooking but don't have the time to be uber-creative in the kitchen after a long a day at work. Now with baby on the way and my pregnant body to fuel, I'm upping the ante and broadening the scope of culinary delights that I can serve up.

Practice makes perfect, or more accurately, makes edible, enjoyable meals so my newfound dedication will hopefully pay off even if some meals go awry along the way. And while I'm up for attempting a more challenging slow cooked lamb shank or texmex jambalaya, I'm not talking all fancy complicated recipes here. I'm talking practical, healthy and a step off the beaten path from the tried and tested stock meals I can dish out with my eyes closed on a weekly basis.

I'm sharing one dinner and one dessert option I recently came across. Both are pretty tasty and easy to pull off.  The salmon dish is chock full of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which our bodies don't make naturally and thus need from our diet. Sorry if you're not a fish person.  The omegas are also important brain fuel for baby. The cookie recipe is super fiberlicious and thus a great answer to the dreaded pregnancy constipation I keep hearing about.

Oh, sorry about the mix of C vs. F temperatures and grams vs. cups below....I've shared one UK and one US recipe and don't have the energy to do the conversions!

Salmon with pine nuts & lime

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients: 2 salmon fillets weighing approx 130g each, lime (juice & rind), 1 tsp chopped parsley, 2 tbsp pine nuts, finely chopped lemongrass


Preheat oven to 180C / Gas mark 4.

Place salmon pieces on a flat piece of foil in baking dish.  Squeeze over the lime juice, zest & lemongrass. Sprinkle with parsley and black pepper; fold over foil to create parcel.

Cook in oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle over pine nuts.  Return to oven to brown the nuts and finish cooking the fish for about 5 minutes.

Serve with new potatoes & steamed broccoli or spinach, pouring cooking liquid from parcel over potatoes and veggies.

Oaty Apricot & Cranberry Cookies

Ingredients: 2/3 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup sugar, ½ cup softened butter, 1 egg, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 ¾ cup oats, ½ cup chopped dried cranberries, 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots, 1 cup flour, ½ cup wholemeal flour, ¾ tsp baking soda, ¾ tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment.

Cream together sugars and butter. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.

Combine the flour, soda and salt; stir to mix. Add to the creamed mixture, kneading with the back of a wooden spoon to moisten all the dry ingredients. The dough will be stiff. Form tbsp sized balls of dough and place on baking sheet. Allow about 4 inches between each cookie.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

Happy cooking and more importantly, happy eating!
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