Spiced peaches and learning to cook

My daughter is excited to have the first video on her new Youtube channel up and running.  She made a bunch of spiced peaches before Christmas, which we gave out as gifts to colleagues, neighbours and family.  Everyone seems to enjoy them.  We also make drunken pears and boozy fruit mince, but she didn’t record those.  I’m sure they’ll be recorded in due course.  The drunken pears are always a hit.  The boozy fruit mince tends to be successful with people of a certain generation or those that like to bake, as it’s intended to be used for Christmas cake/pudding or mince tarts.

Feel free to check it out.  There’s a link to the spiced peaches recipe on the Youtube page.  Leave your comments and likes on the actual video, so she gets to see them.

She’s already recorded two more videos that I need to edit.  She’s aiming to upload once a week.  It’s all dependent on me, of course, having the free time and energy to record her and then edit the videos for her, but she enjoys it, it keeps her busy, and the cooking ones are good practice for her.  She’s actually a pretty good cook.  She made chili last night, which we had as burritos and then I had some today with salad for my lunch.  Yum.  She probably makes dinner about four times a week on a normal basis.  My teenage son probably makes dinner twice a year.  *FacePalm*

When I left home to go flatting, I could make a roast dinner, and follow a recipe.  I used to make muffins, etc., for my flatmates.  One of my flatmates didn’t know how to cook at all.  My husband was a very good cook by the time he left home, partly because he’d had to fend for himself as his parents worked a lot, and partly because his parents were both in the food industry.  He’s still a better cook than I am.  I am slowly starting to veer away from using recipes and making things ‘a la Elle’, which is a big step for me.

When did you learn to cook?  Do you have a signature dish?  Mine is probably rice risotto.  It’s the only non-meat dish my husband really enjoys.  Win for me!  Sometimes I do it with bacon just to change it up.  I’m really good at steak too.  I’m better at cooking steak than my husband is, even though I like mine well done.  My husband’s signature dish is slow roast lamb, and his pork belly is to die for.  Man, I’m hungry now!

Lemony goodness

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.