A long time ago, I used to have a blog called Cooking with Caitie which started because my daughter was mad for anything cooking or baking related. She was super cute too, and as I was working on my family recipe book (which is still not finished), I started documenting our adventures in the kitchen.
It’s hard work though, especially when you’re a working parent like I am. We only had time to potter in the kitchen on the weekends, and I’d forget to take photos or forget to update the blog, and eventually it fell by the wayside as so many blogs do.
Caitie still loves cooking and baking though. She’s 12 now, and has just started taking on the role of making the weekday dinners. I usually get home after 6:30pm and while my husband might be home a little earlier than that, he usually disappears into his study to do more work (he runs his own business). Having Caitie make the weekday dinners is a huge help, but it does require some pre-planning. I try to always keep mince (ground beef) in the freezer, because that’s an easy one for her to make nachos or spag bol with. Today I went out and bought a roast chicken for her to do tomorrow night. A couple of days ago she made One Pot Cheesy Italian Pasta Chicken, from The Slow Roasted Italian which turned out brilliantly. My husband and son had second helpings, and I had some for lunch the next day. It was easy for her to make, filling and yum. What more can you ask for?
On the weekends we try and experiment a little if we have time. Last Sunday we made slow cooker cabbage rolls which were a sad fail. They were really mushy (to the point where I couldn’t take them individually out of the slow cooker, I just had to serve scoopfuls) and exceedingly bland. Tonight we’re making Chicken Lettuce Cups and Easy Pad Thai from Epicurious which I’m looking forward to trying.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Kat from Bad Mum Cooking had an overload of citrus fruit, and I ended up with a couple of supermarket bags of lemons. I decided to take Caitie up to my mother’s to make some lemony things, and we stopped in at my dad’s house to drop off some of Kat’s kimchi to him (more on kimchi in another post!), only to be told he had excess lemons too. His lemons were small but super juicy, and Caitie and I picked a whole ‘nother bag full from his tree. Now, what were we going to do with three bags of lemons?!
I wanted to make some of Mum’s famous lemon drink. It’s in the family recipe book for a reason! She was given the recipe by the Plunket lady when we were very small children. We were living on the farm then, and had a small orchard, so I imagine lemons were fairly easy to come by. The recipe makes a very sweet concentrate that you then dilute to taste with water. Mum says she used to make it during shearing season for the men shearing the sheep, as it was very refreshing.
So Mum made the lemon drink, which we separated into two bottles, one for her to keep and one for me to take home. While she was doing that, Caitie made lemon and coconut biscuits using a Chelsea Sugar recipe. They were really hard to put on the tray without getting them overly warm from our hands, but Caitie did a good job. Next time I think we’ll freeze the dough into a roll, then just slice off portions to put on the baking tray. They were delicious though, very moreish.
I was busy making lemon curd, which used a recipe I found back when I was doing that old Cooking with Caitie blog. It’s from Kitchen Alchemy, and I’ve used the recipe multiple times and it always turns out perfectly.
And after the drink was made, Mum and Caitie made a lemon cheesecake, and Mum’s Cointreau-infused citrus salad to go with it. Mum said the cheesecake didn’t transport well, as she’s made it a few times, so we took our portion home ‘deconstructed’ and had deconstructed cheesecake with alcoholic citrus salad on the side. Well, the kids obviously didn’t have the alcoholic part, they just had cheesecake. It was really yum.
On the way home from Mum’s, I stopped by Kat’s house and left a jar of lemon curd and a container of lemon coconut biscuits on her doorstep to say thank you for the lemons. She said she enjoyed both.
For dinner we had lemon fish, with leek rice risotto.
So overall, a very productive, albeit lemony, day! We ended up with lemon drink, lemon and coconut biscuits, lemon curd, lemon cheesecake, citrus salad, and lemon fish with leek risotto. Yum!
If anyone wants any of the non-linked recipes, just let me know in the comments.