Eat Pip-Life

Some Things We/I Have Been Eating

pip foods

Cooking for yourself and your favourite people (and gosh, even for your non-favourite people because why not make things better?!) is one of life’s great joys.

I am a proud spinster single lady now, and my growing-up family are now split over a number of households (sorry to harp on that, but I’m learning as I go and maybe talking about it is helpful to others?) Mostly it’s just Ari that I get to cook for regularly, now although we have family dinner once a fortnight too and all 3 kids are there.

It’s been an adjustment, but I am learning that I can always cook interesting or fun food, even if it’s just for myself. Nobody said feasts or special dishes or new recipes always have to be shared. Sometimes you can share these things with yourself, because babez you are totally worth it. I read recently that cooking yourself beautiful food is an act of love and kindness in your own direction, and honestly it is one thousand percent TRUE!

Okay, granted you might have quite a bunch of leftovers, but think of it as a much more celebratory form of meal planning which is less about controlling your portions/budget in the days ahead, and more about merrily revisiting the fancy-ass feast you gifted to yourself a day or so ago.

You’re so special, right?! I KNOW!!

So, I have been cooking for myself and others – old favourites and some new things too. I’ve also been making things up as I go along, with the things that are delivered in my favourite vegetable and fruit boxes, too.

Chicken and bean curry

Chicken and Green Bean Curry

serves two

Note:  you can make this with potato instead of chicken – just peel and roughly chop 3 medium sized nice quality potatoes

2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons of Best On Field Curry Paste (recipe below)
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup of chicken stock
a big handful of green beans, topped and tailed and cut into one inch pieces – then steamed until JUST tender
a slosh of peanut oil or vegetable oil

Heat your pan and add your slosh of oil.
Add the curry paste and fry for a minute or so. It will spatter a bit, but that is okay!
Add your chicken, tossing it to coat it in the paste.
Turn the heat down to low.
Add the coconut milk and stock.
Stir until combined.
Simmer on low heat until the chicken is NEARLY cooked through, so not SUPER soft, but not rubbery. Low and slow is the key here.
Throw the beans in. Give it a stir.
Turn the heat up and bring back to a high simmer, stirring it as you do.
That’s it! Serve with rice or flatbread of your choice!

Curry paste

Best On Field Curry Paste

(Makes enough for about 4 big curries)

1 stalk of lemongrass (just the white part)
10 long red chillies (NOT the little Birdseye ones) – green ends chopped off
1 inch piece of ginger – peeled
1 inch piece of fresh galangal – peeled
1 inch piece of fresh turmeric
5 kaffir lime leaves
5 curry leaves
6 cloves of garlic – peeled
3 golden shallots – peeled
a slosh of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of brown sugar or palm sugar

optional: also add 1/2 tsp of shrimp paste, wrapped in foil and pan roasted over a low heat for 5 minutes or so

Pile the lot into the food processor and pulse until paste-y! Pop into a big jar and drizzle some oil over the top to keep it fresh. This keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge, or you can freeze tablespoons full and defrost as needed.

Substitutions: Some people might not have access to galangal and fresh turmeric. You can use the powdered versions if so – a teaspoon of each. It will be different, but still nice. If you can’t access fresh lime leaves, add squeeze half a lime instead. Curry leaves are available dried at asian grocers, so you can use those if you can’t get the fresh ones.

soba salad

10 Minute Soba Salad

makes 4 serves

1 packet of soba noodles
100g fried tofu, diced haphazardly
1 red onion, sliced
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, diced
1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
handful of chopped coriander (if you like it! you can use another herb, if not!)
juice of 1/2 lemon
slosh of rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup of Kewpie brand roasted sesame dressing
handful of fried shallots (from a packet – Asian grocer!)

Cook the noodles until just tender – the packet tells you how – then drain under cold water. Shake well to get as much water off as poss.

Mix drained noodles – gently – with other ingredients. Top with more shallots and herbs, if you want it to look spesh. Eat it up!

Beef and Broccoli bowls

Japanese-inspired Steak and Broccoli Bowls

serves two

You need one piece of rump steak, one bit of broccoli, one clove of garlic, sesame oil, 1/4 cup of stock, soy sauce, a cucumber, an avocado (if you can get one!), wasabi (if you like it!) Oh, and some jasmine rice OR whatever rice you like.

Basically what you do is put on some rice. (I use a rice cooker and I prefer sushi rice for this, but Ari mostly likes jasmine rice, so we go for that.)

Then you cook a steak until medium rare ish. Honestly, it’s hard to cook a steak just right, I find. That said, I manage to get close most of the time. I make sure I have the pan very hot, then I brush the (paper-towel dried, cryvac-ed rump steak from Aldi) with sesame oil. Whack it in the pan. Cook it for about 3 minutes, until it’s nice and brown on the underside when I peek at said underside. Then flip it over and cook until medium rare – not too squishy, but not firm. Remove from pan and let it rest on a plate while you cook the broccoli.

You can steam the broccoli if you like, but I do this:

Cut broccoli up into little crumby flowerettes. Heat a pan, add some veg or peanut oil. Thrown the broccoli in next. Stir fry it in the oil over a high heat, now add a slosh of Chinese Cooking Wine, a slosh of soy sauce and a 1/4 cup of stock (chicken or beef or whatever you have). Keep the heat high and keep stirring. When the liquid has reduced and the broccoli is almost cooked (Just bite a little bit!) throw in a clove of crushed garlic and a drizzle of sesame oil. Stir for a minute or so and it’s done.

THEN, slice up the steak. Chop up a cucumber. Maybe an avocado. Pop your now-ready-rice into 2 bowls. Plonk the other bits and bobs in. Serve with nice quality soy sauce and some wasabi, if you like it. Yum!

pip food

Brown Sugar Roasted Potatoes

Serves 4 as a side dish

Grab one kilogram of nice potatoes. Cut them into rustic chunks. Chop up one onion. Toss onion and potato in olive oil. Throw into an oven tray. Sprinkle with your fave herb (rosemary? oregano?) and salt and pepper. NOW – the best bit – sprinkle with two tablespoons of sugar. I use brown or raw sugar, but use what you have. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, turning the potatoes halfway through.  Serve hot or cold.

Note – you can omit the onion, if you like! Sometimes I do when I am in a hurry, but I like it better WITH.

Jools' soup

Tried and tested

And … here are some other recipes from other people … things we have been liking a lot, too!

AND I’ve been having lots of excellent vegetables – from the Ceres Fair Food boxes – steamed and tossed in olive oil (or butter) with fresh herbs, pink salt and lots of fresh ground black pepper too!

Phew. So there you go. What have you guys been eating? I’d love to know and I bet other readers would too.

x pip

#YassSpinsterssss! x

  • DeborahS
    June 24, 2018 at 4:12 AM

    I LOVE cooking ‘just’ for myself. On those times I can indulge exactly what I like best. No adjustments / compromises to fit with other people’s likes and dislikes, just me to please. Maybe on those occasions when it’s ‘just you’ you can give yourself permission to really treat yourself well, just like you would honour a guest. Because you really are worth it. xxxx

  • Dani
    June 21, 2018 at 4:36 PM

    This all sounds so so delicious! Can’t wait to be cooking again (with a dishwasher soon!! Woop!) x

  • Lauren Blakeney
    June 20, 2018 at 4:16 PM

    Cooking for yourself is the absolute best! Cheaper too, might I add. 2 nights ago I had cripsy baked potato with rosemary, sea-salt and LOTS of ghee. It was made up and so yum. Enjoy pip xx

  • Hannah
    June 19, 2018 at 9:08 PM

    Thanks for sharing your generous, homey recipes Pip! I’m inspired to try all of them!
    I think cooking a hearty, wholesome meal for one is a great self-love exercise; it’s the simple things that seem to bring the most joy to me.
    Take care xx

  • Reannon
    June 18, 2018 at 11:52 AM

    I want to eat all this food right away! I’m going to add some into the weekly mix, maybe over the weekend, it’s where i usually try new things 🙂

  • yvonne
    June 18, 2018 at 7:05 AM

    I AM GOING TO MAKE ALL OF THE THINGS! Your posts and your pics and recipes (own or curated) are simply magnificent and this internet would be a dull place without you Pip x

  • kate
    June 17, 2018 at 5:06 PM

    oh man I’m so bad at this, I just can’t be bothered anymore. That makes me sad, I used to love cooking, it was definitely my love language, now it’s just fuel and something to do to fill in time. No pleasure anymore. I dunno where it’s gone or why I don’t think I’m worth it. Gotta say though some of those things look delish and if someone else dished them up to me I’d be pretty darned happy. I’m off to look at the recipes, who knows you may just inspire me and the fire might be reignited.
    cheers Kate

  • Annette
    June 17, 2018 at 3:40 PM

    Hey SpinSister, I’m all about the veggies lately. As I type this, there’s a tray of mini tomatoes and pepper, balsamic and oil and a tray of cauliflower and chickpeas in sumac and cumin and oil in the oven, and a tray of glossy carrots and garlic standing in line. The sweet potatoes are out and I’ll chop them up next. I’ll cook a pot of quinoa and then make yummy lunches out of all these bits and bobs. Maybe I’ll try some pea falafel and cauli fritters next? Hooray for great food, it’s totally an act of love to cook well for yourself!
    Thanks for sharing these recipes Pip, some good inspiration there. ??

  • Jane @ Shady Baker
    June 17, 2018 at 2:49 PM

    Your meals look so homely and comforting and delicious Pip! Just this morning on the radio I heard Jane Mathews, author of a book: The Art of Living Alone and Loving It talking about cooking proper meals for one. I hope you are staying warm, thank you for all of the lovely links x

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