I know it is hard to believe it but I am treading slowly back into the blogging world and finally joining in on a Sunday Supper. Something that hasn’t happened in ages.
Today we are celebrating retro foods, foods popular in the 60’s and 70’s. I decided it was time to take up a challenge I have been meaning to do for a while and make a beef wellington. There is very little known about that actual origination of this dish. There were theories is named after the 1st Duke of Wellington but there is very little evidence to back this up. Especially since the earliest recording of the dish is in the 1960’s.
But what ever the source this was a dish made classic in the 1960’s in England and so I decided to give it a try. I do have to confess that the traditional methods using a large joint produce a bit better results as it is easier to overcook the meat when it is in the more individual size. But since I am all about not wasting food and there are only 2 and a half eaters here I decided to opt for this method. I am a bit sad that baby decided to get cranky half way through preparing it so I got distracted and didn’t take the photos of the steps but it isn’t as intimidating as I always felt it was. The Prosciutto layer helps a bit with the meat juices. A tip a friend gave too was to paint the inside of the pastry with the egg before you start to assemble it to add a moisture barrier. I should have thought of that since I do it with my pies. Oh well, next time. 🙂
What is your favourite retro recipe? I can imagine a few of these recipes shared my the rest of the Sunday Supper crew are going to be must tries for us.
I have done so much soul searching about this blog and where it needed to go. And after a much needed posting where I expressed to you my feelings I felt inspired by the responses enough to come to a decision. I am continuing to blog, doing what I love but in doing so I am going to set things up a bit different. You see my purpose for starting this blog was initially a challenge to improve our food budget and eat healthier. One of the many things I loved about this blog is how it felt to be challenged and even more so how it felt to succeed. I also loved when I would hear from readers how I had inspired them to change their spending and cooking habits.
So I have decided two things, one I won’t be blogging quite as often as I was per month so as not to overwhelm myself but secondly every month I am going to give myself personal challenges and sometimes asking you to challenge me so focusing on quality postings rather then quantity. So every month with my new challenge I will post within the rules of my challenge and push myself to grow even more. As I am about to become a mother again one recurring challenge is going to be how to make sure I continue to provide us with meals that are easy to put together so it fits into our crazy lives. Along with the new focus I am hoping to launch a new redesign which is going to be very recipe orientated to make it easier for people who use this blog as their cookbook, like I do, to find the recipes they want. Thank you everyone for your impute over the past month and I hope you enjoy the journey with Small Wallet, Big Appetite.
So Challenge number 1 for October is going to be 30 minute meals. This month I want to focus on meals that from start to finish take only 30 minutes or less because lets face it when you have a family and/or a busy career you don’t always have the time to assemble more complex meals. This pasta dish was very kid friendly and makes enough for 6 portions which for us is perfect because that means it fed us for two nights in a row which gave me a night off from cooking. Served with a different vegetable side each night it satisfied both the toddler and the adults in the family.
500g (1 lb) lean minced beef
1 medium onion, minced
1 garlic, clove
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
225g (8 oz) uncooked pasta any shape
750mL (3 c.) reduced-sodium beef stock
150mL (3/4 c.) milk
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp mustard*
80g (1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
*If using English mustard like I was be aware you might want to use less as it will be very hot. I use about 1/3 tsp of English mustard
The Sunday Supper team isn’t adverse to a little competition so today we are excited to share a chili contest. We have all been challenged to share our best chilli recipe and it is up to you to vote on which one you think is the best. After reading through everyone’s titles I am so excited to say that competition seems to bring out the best in us because we have come up with some incredible sounding chilies.
And just to make things interesting, there will be prizes involved. The dish with the most votes at the end of the voting period will get one ticket to the 2014 Food and Wine Conference, being held once again in sunny Orlando, Florida this July + a $25 gift card. If the person with the most votes is unable to attend, then they will still get to keep the gift card, but the ticket will be passed on to the person with the next highest votes.
How do you vote? We will be holding votes through Thursday February 27th on the Sunday Supper website. Choose a tried and true one that you have attempted or let your taste bud imagination make the choice. This is such an incredible list I know it won’t be an easy choice to make.
What I have decided to try and tempt you with today was an attempt to step a little outside my box of regular chili thinking. I have actually already shared some of my favourite chili recipes so I wanted to challenge myself by creating something completely new that I had never tried before. Seeing as how my natural instincts is to go more towards Asian flavours I decided to play around with Hoisin sauce. The result was incredible but definitely a 9 out of 10 on the heat scale. So make sure you serve it with a nice big scoop of sour cream for those nervous about heat.
Hoisin Beef Chili
1 400g (14.5oz) tin diced tomatoes
65g (1/4 c.) tomato paste
1-2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
80g (1/4 c) Hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cocoa powder
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
1 Kilo (2 lbs) top round or beef chuck, cubed
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 large onion , chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 4oog (14.5 oz) tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
*Optional: Sour cream.
I have talked about it before but I often come up with these ideas that I just can’t get out of my head when I am trying to fall asleep. I wasn’t sure about this one though. I always paired artichokes with chicken and when doing some research didn’t find a lot of recipes that paired with with beef. But for some reason combining artichokes in a family favourite dish just seemed right. Not only did it turn out amazing it comes close to winning our hearts over our traditional version with mushrooms. And coming from a mushroom obsessed family that is a big deal.
I have a confession to make, a few months ago I decided to start eating healthier and reduced my intake of carbs and started working out. I was so happy as I was feeling great and seeing results. But yet again life got in the way and derailed me. I get stuck in this pattern every time. I set out with such determination to change my life and finally lose the weight and it lasts for maybe a month. I have no will power and sadly neither does my husband so we always seem to derail our healthy goals. I keep thinking that I must not really want it badly enough if I keep failing at it but I know that isn’t true. I do want to be healthier and to not pass on my bad habits to my daughter. What is annoying is that the reason I keep falling off the wagon isn’t because I don’t enjoy eating healthy. I actually would often choose some of the healthier meals when given a choice, it is all down to time and money. Cutting out carbs increased our family budget quite a bit. We found that our portion sizes had to be a bit larger in order to feel full and eating that much fresh veggies just ended up costing more. But I know the cost of my health is far greater then the financial cost of buy more produce. I am not entirely sure what it is going to take to make these changes permanent as I have been a yoyo health eater for years now. But yet again I am climbing back on to the wagon. I stared off the week with this stew, similar to a stroganoff, and served it over a bed of greens from my garden. It was yet another reminder how good and filling healthy food can be. Lets hope this time I stick with it. I will let you know how my progress is going over the weeks. Maybe talking about it more on here will keep me accountable.