Lockdown Cooking project #1

Who would have though it aye? Sophie, the girl who talks endlessly about adventure and mountains sat here writing up a cooking blog. Damn, this lockdown got me good didn’t it? I’m kidding, what you may not know is that I actually have a passion for cooking. Once upon a time I could cook jack shit, diddly squat, not a single healthy, nutritious meal came from my kitchen. That was until I moved away, pulled up my big girl pants, quit eating meat and taught myself how to cook meals that kept my energy levels high, packed full of goodness and taste bloody good.

Now that I have perfected a few of these dishes, tried and tested them on people from the outside, you know the ones that can’t lie to your face to save your feelings, I thought it was time t share with the internet, why? Why the bloody hell not?

Below are my top five, the meals I go to on the regular and right now during New Zealand’s lockdown are pretty damn good dinners for saving a few pennies. I am notorious for cooking for seven million when I pour rice or anything into a pan, so these five meals below actually stretch to seven meals with a nifty little addition the next day.

 

Tofu Buddha bowl

Ahh the Buddha bowl. A healthy, bright, beautiful looking dish that makes eating salad a whole lot more interesting. I love, love, love eating Buddha Bowls at least once a week. I like having cold meals, even in the winter and especially after a day hiking so when your chill time starts you don’t feel heavy with food. This is a great way to flavor and cook tofu, getting essential proteins into your body.

What you will need 

1 block of tofu

½ tin of sweetcorn, black beans, chickpeas

Siracha, Soy sauce, Salt, Pepper, Paprika

Edamame Beans

Spinach

Cherry Tomato

Cucumber

Red Cabbage

Grated Carrot

Red onion

Chopped Pickles

Pumpkin & Sunflower seeds

 

How to make the bowl 

  1. Chop your tofu into blocks & fry in a small amount of coconut oil. As the Tofu starts the crisp add in the sweetcorn, black beans and chickpeas, let it cook together.
  2. Season the goods. A generous squirt of Soy sauce, Siracha, 1 tsp of paprika with salt and pepper should do the trick. Stir it all up and then turn the temps down and let it simmer in the soy sauce until absorbed.
  3. Chop your salad. I’m not here to tell you how much to use or exactly what to use, just make sure you get a variety of crunchy veg options in there. Feel free to sub anything out.
  4. Boil up or steam some edamame beans, season with rock salt when cooled.
  5. Arrange your chopped salad in the bowl, make it look pretty by keeping everything in its own sections.
  6. Pop your crispy tofu and beans on top with a sprinkle of sunflower and pumpkin seeds and bombs away, you got yourself a buddha bowl.

Salad_1454

 

Homemade tomato vegetable soup with Croutons

When I first moved out of my parents’ house my Mum taught me a very simple tomato soup recipe. Its healthy, nutritious and simple. Tomato soup is something you should always be able to make from your cupboard with very basic ingredients. The soup below is Robbie’s delicacy and a dish he makes for us every week, all credit to him for this one.

What you will need 

1 tin of crushed tomato’s

Tomato paste

HP Sauce, Salt & pepper, mixed herbs, Chili flakes

1 white onion

4 cloves Garlic

2 x carrots

Handful of mushrooms

1 x tin of kidney beans

Broccoli, spinach or both

3 x pieces of bread, oil, salt, mix herbs

How to make tomato soup 

  1. Fry up your chopped onion, garlic carrot and mushrooms. Stick the lid on the pan to let them sweat.
  2. Add in your tin of tomato’s, fill the can with water and add this too. This rinses out the can and gives you that extra bit of juice.
  3. Chuck in your tomato paste, generous dollop of HP sauce, handful of mixed herds, salt, pepper and chili flakes (depending on how spicy you like) I only had a small sprinkle.
  4. Boil some broccoli separate and when soft pop that in the soup pan with the kidney beans and a handful of spinach.
  5. Give everything a stir, pop the lid on and turn the temp down. Cook for around 25 mins on a low heat.
  6. Chop up three pieces of bread – this is great if you have some bread on its way out. Pour over oil, salt, pepper and mixed herbs before popping in the oven to crisp up.
  7. When your croutons are crisp serve up the soup with some on top for added flavor.

TSoup_1475

 

Coconut Pumpkin curry & Turmeric infused rice

My winter go to is right here. Around Autumn time in New Zealand the price of pumpkins drops so dramatically. I remember one year you could get 5 fully grown, big ass pumpkins for $5! I would even know what to do with all that pumpkin. Many of our dishes from April through the winter included pumpkin but I love it so no complaints in our household. Here is a veg packed Pumpkin curry with Turmeric infused rice.

What you will need 

¼ pumpkin

1 x white Onion

4 x Garlic cloves

6 Mushrooms

1 x Courgette

1 x tin coconut cream

Curry powder, turmeric, cumin

2 cups rice

Veg stock

Turmeric powder

1 tsp paprika

Frozen peas

Pumpkin seeds & chia seeds

Fresh spinach on the side

How to make curry 

  1. Chop up your pumpkin into cubes, season with curry powder and pop in the oven to roast.
  2. Chop onion, garlic, mushrooms and courgette. Chuck all veggies in the pan and fry up while your pumpkin is roasting. Salt and pepper your veggies as they soften.
  3. Add pumpkin to the frying pan once roasted. Add in 1tsp of curry powder, turmeric and cumin, let this all fry up together for a few minutes.
  4. Open your coconut cream and pour into the frying pan, mix around. Rinse out the tin halfway and pour into the pan, getting all that stubborn cream from the sides of the can.
  5. Lower the temps and let it simmer away as your rice cooks.
  6. To make the rice, pour two cups into a saucepan with boiling water. For extra flavor add a veggie stock cube to the mix. As the rice is boiling ass 1 tsp of turmeric and paprika.
  7. When the rice is cooked stir in your cooked peas, handful of chia and pumpkin seeds.
  8. Serve up with fresh spinach on the side.

If you’re feeling extra naughty, then grab some naan bread or papodoms from the shop.

This dish will easily feed four or be perfect leftovers the next day. To make the dish a little different you can mix the curry and rice to make a Biriyani style dish, chuck in some extra peas and steam up some broccoli for the side. Bam, an extra evening meal.

Pumpkin Curry_1512

 

Jackfruit (chicken) pot pie

When Robbie and I first met we would make chicken and mushroom pie ALL the time, we loved it! When I stopped eating meat, I stopped making pie, sad day I know. That was until I found Jackfruit and how versatile this fruit in a can, can be. Jackfruit will taste like whatever you want it to, it’s a perfect pulled pork or shredded chicken alternative SO perfect for chicken pot pie. Pack in some veggies, top with mash and you got your perfect pie.

What you will need 

1 x onion

2 x carrot

2 x garlic

1 x Courgette

6 mushrooms

1 tin of sweetcorn

1 tin of organic jackfruit

½ head of broccoli

Salt & pepper & mixed herbs

3 x potato’s

Cheese sauce

1 cup of grated cheese

Knob of butter

Scoop of flour

1 cup of milk (soy)

How to make the pie 

  1. Open your tin of jackfruit and drain the juice. I wash my jackfruit to, sometimes the brine is a little sweet. Pull apart the jackfruit as best you can into an oven dish. Drop of oil, salt, pepper and mixed herbs. Pop in the over to bake / dry it out. Once it starts the crisp a little take it out.
  2. Chop all your veggies and add to a frying pan to soften up. Once they are soft and ready add in the sweetcorn, boiled broccoli and jackfruit from the oven. Season with salt and pepper and let the mix sit together on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. To make a cheese sauce, add the butter in a saucepan. Once melted pop in the flour and mix up to make a roux. Add in the milk, whisking constantly while adding in the cheese. On a high heat with constant stirring this should start the thicken. You may need to add a tiny bit more flour if it takes ages. Season with salt, pepper and mixed herbs.
  4. Boil your chopped potato’s and make a bowl of mash for the topping.
  5. Pour the sauce into the veggies and stir around making sure everything is fully coated.
  6. Transfer to an oven dish and distribute your mash over the top, flattening with a fork.
  7. Pop in the oven on 170 for around 15/20 mins so everything is warmed up and that mash is a little crispy on top.

Jackpie_1533

 

Pumpkin, Lentil & potato soup

I feel like we have a little theme going on here, comforting, hot, tasty winter inspired dishes. Well the temps just dropped in New Zealand, so I’m here for the big soups and crusty bread evenings. Pumpkin soup is one of my all-time faves and you can spice it up however you like. If I’m feeling like a treat I add crumbled feta to the top and some extra croutons or I roast chickpeas in the oven for a crispy topping.

What you will need 

¼ pumpkin

1 x onion

4 x garlic cloves

2 x carrot

Cumin, turmeric, curry powder

Salt & Pepper

3 potato’s (white or sweet)

1 cup of dried red lentils

1L veg stock

Croutons

Pumpkin seeds to top

How to make pumpkin soup 

  1. To get the most flavor out of your pumpkin, roast it up with a sprinkle of curry powder.
  2. Chop all veggies and fry in a soup pot in coconut oil. When soft add potato’s and roasted pumpkin from the oven
  3. Season with 1tsp of Turmeric, cumin and hot curry powder stir so everything is covered and let it cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add in 1L of vegetable stock and turn down the heat. Let everything boil together for 15 mins.
  5. Take off the lid and with a hand whisk gently whisk the soup, leaving some chucky veg in there. Wisk on and off until you are happy with the consistency. Return to the hob and add in 1 cup of lentils. Let the soup boil the lentils up for a further 15 mins while you cook the croutons.
  6. Chop up three pieces of bread – this is great if you have some bread on its way out. Pour over oil, salt, pepper and mixed herbs before popping in the oven to crisp up.
  7. When your croutons are crisp serve up the soup with croutons and pumpkin seeds on top for added flavor.

Pumpsoup_1553

 

Lentil Stew with pumpkin & potato mash

Another cold weather fave right here. I found a similar recipe online and tweaked it for us. I love packing veggies into every meal and here you can really add in whatever you like. The stew works best when left on the stove to bubble and thicken, however keeping a little bit of juice is good.

What you will need 

2 x carrot

1 x white onion

3 x garlic cloves

8 Mushrooms

1 x courgetti

2 tins of brown lentils

2 veg stock cubes

Soy sauce

Salt & Pepper

2 x potato’s

Pumpkin

Kale

Chopped pickles

 

How to make stew 

  1. First get all your veggies fried up. So, in a deep frying pan with some coconut oil add in your chopped carrots, white onion, garlic, mushroom and courgette.
  2. When soft and cooked, add in the tins of drained lentils. Season the goods with Salt, pepper and a generous squirt of Soy Sauce.
  3. Make up some stock. I use two stock cubes and just under 1L of water, around 850ml. Add your stock and let it simmer.
  4. Boil your pumpkin and potato’s and mash up with a knob of butter and pepper when ready.
  5. Add in a dash of soy or coconut milk to the lentil pan and simmer for an extra five.
  6. Chop garlic and kale and fry up until crispy.
  7. Serve everything together with some extra chopped pickles on the top. (Robbie hates pickles so he leaves them off but if you’re a fan, I highly recommend)

This is another dish that feeds the fam or your household. For next day ideas we put the remaining stew in an oven tray, boil up some spuds, mash them up and spread on top. Sprinkle some cheese and pepper and pop in the oven to bake. While baking crush some garlic and chopped kale and fry up. Here you have Lentil cottage pie with a side of crispy kale. Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by

Full-time​ adventure seeker, based in Queenstown NZ. Obsessed with everything outdoors. My blog is filled with all our adventures and weekly happenings, feel free to get in touch. I love meeting new people!

2 thoughts on “Lockdown Cooking project #1

  1. this is brilliant, thanks! I am going to print this out and try most of them as they look simple yet delicious; variations of what I know.. My kids never saw me cooking and baking as much as in the last few weeks! lol

    Like

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