Monday, August 25, 2014

Recipe: Chorizo and Kale Pasta

I've been on a bit of a kale journey recently. Yes, just as it was announced there is a world wide shortage of kale seeds, I've discovered this yummy veggie. Well I think it is yummy, I know the jury is out on this for a few of you, but I like it. This foray into cooking with kale has also coincided with a concerted plan to cook something new at least once a week, so several of my new recipes have featured kale.

I made this pasta out of what was left in the fridge and could be scavenged from the pantry. I made enough for dinner plus a leftover lunch, but S enjoyed it so much he had seconds and there were no leftovers! In his words it was something he could easily imagine having in a cafe - high praise for leftovers indeed.

The lemon and red wine vinegar give a real freshness to this dish, but are totally something to add to taste. I love vinegar so I put in quite a significant amount but add just as much as you would like.

Chorizo and Kale Pasta
olive oil
1 leek, white part only cut lengthwise then into strips
1 chorizo diced small
2-3 cargrilled capsicum cut in strips
3 cups kale leaves, cut off stem and torn into small pieces
lemon zest - roughly 1/4 large lemon, 1/2 small lemon
chili flakes to taste
1/2 cup grated parmesan
red wine vinegar
pasta of choice

Add a lug of olive oil to a hot frypan and cook down the leek and choritzo, until the leek is soft and caramlised and the chorizo is crispy. Add the capsicum, lemon zest and chili and stir to combine.

Meanwhile cook the pasta (I've done it with both spaghetti and pene) in a large pot of salted water. About 2 minutes before it is ready add the kale leaves.

Drain the cooked spaghetti and kale, return to the pan, add the chorizo mixture, the parmesan, a little more olive oil and red wine vinegar and toss to combine.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Xtending Myself

I have written before that I do not naturally take to exercise. I know people who look forward to the gym, voluntarily run and swim, play organised sport - I am not that person. I do love to dance, but as I always tell my classes, I'm a lazy dancer. With good technique I can get my partner to do a whole heap of the dancing for me and I'm just fine with that.

All that said, I come from a family with a genetic predisposition to osteoperosis and giant bums, so I know that I do need to exercise to keep myself healthy and able to walk through a door easily. So when I heard about an exercise class based on dance but low impact (bad knees and zumba are not a good combo) I was excited.

And so I started Xtend Barre classes. If you haven't heard of it, Xtend Barre is based on ballet and pilates. It uses lots of small, repetitive movements to build long lean muscle. You use small hand weights, yoga straps, small pilates balls and stretchy rubber bands (aka the moment everyone groans in class) to work out and work hard. Seriously I haven't sweated this much since I was in a tropical country.

But it is working. Just a few weeks of classes and I can feel a difference to my posture. My chiropractor commented on how much better my pelvis was being supported, it is making a difference.

And while I wouldn't say I enjoy the classes, there is too much sweat, groaning and pain for that, I do think it is something I can keep doing.

Do you exercise? Do you enjoy it? And what motivates you to keep going?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Baking Joy

I love to bake. Let me rephrase that. I LOVE to bake.

Cooking is a passion of mine. I really enjoy producing food that people enjoy eating. I love to cook for friends and family and having people over for a meal is a joy for me.

But the thing I love to do most is bake. Biscuits, cakes, tarts and pastries. I enjoy the amazing chemistry reactions that make things rise, becoming light and airy. I really love how the house smells as something delicious comes out of the oven. But the best bit is watching others enjoy the fruits of my labour.

Over the last few weeks the extra time I've had has allowed me to do a bit more baking that usual. I don't think I've made a cake in months until this weekend when I made two! We are eating home made biscuits and there are delicious desserts in the fridge. But the best bit is just how much fun I've had creating all this yummy food.

On a different but slightly related note I've also realised I need to start doing a whole lot more exercise.