Have you noticed a bit less Vegie Smugglers chatter lately? I’ve been a bit scarce, having just started back into magazine land, working on a 6 month, part-time contract. A two-day a week job doesn’t come along every day, and I would have been an idiot to say no. I should be able to do it and keep VS running as well, with no discernable difference to you guys (maybe a few more spelling miztakes).
Heading back into the traditional workforce means that my CV gets updated, there’s enough cash to get the gutters fixed, the kids finally get to join their friends at after-school care and I’m plonked back into the time-poor, stressed, parenting cycle.
I used to work three days a week, so two should be easy, right? Sigh. I’m slowly getting back into the swing of it, but getting everyone out of the house by 7am is stinging a little.
At least the kids are a bit older now and night-times aren’t the disaster zones that they used to be. There’s nothing quite as harrowing as picking up toddlers at 6pm (lets not even discuss how bad the guilt levels are when your child is the last one to be collected), getting them home (singing songs the whole way, so they don’t fall asleep in the car), washed (mid-tantrum) and somehow fed (banana, anyone?). These days I have a bit more time before their behaviour turns rancid, but without a hot, daycare-supplied lunch, I’m more on the hook for providing a decent dinner each night.
So I’m turning to my fabulous kitchen machines to help me out. I’ve just bought a slow-cooker (I never had the space to store one before I moved to a house) and so far I’ve made beef stew, Italian casserole, pulled pork, chicken mole and poached pears! I need to tweak these recipes, but will try to post one or two of the best soon. And I’ve had my rice cooker working overtime. With my love of rice, I’ve always found this gadget to be extremely worthwhile. I’ve got a slightly fancy one with a sauté function. If you do too, then HOORAY, this recipe is especially for you (although you can still make it without)…
Cauliflower and cashew pilaf
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, finely chopped into tiny bits
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods (give them a smash with the back of a knife)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
3/4 cup brown rice, rinsed
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 carrot, peeled, grated
1/3 cup sultanas
2/3 cup cashews, roughly chopped
Heat oil in the rice cooker (on the sauté function, if it has one). Add the onion, stir then cover for two minutes. Add the cauliflower and spices; stir then cover for another two minutes.
Add in the rinsed, drained rice and the stock. Stir well, cover and leave the cooker to do its thing on the regular cook setting.
Once done, add in the carrot, sultanas and cashews, mix and leave on the warm setting for 5-10 minutes.
Cook this the day before work (cool quickly and refrigerate), and then you can reheat it (topped with frozen peas) and fry up a couple of cutlets to pop on top. Delish!
*NO RICE COOKER? Cook everything in a saucepan, as described. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer until the rice has absorbed the liquid & is tender.