Summer time, and the eating is easy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I love this time of year, with MC Senior on summer holidays. The days are free to do as we please, no need to rush, no sense of urgency to get from one task to the next. We take everything slowly including our meals. Breakfast has become something I look forward to now, rather than fuel hastily gobbled before rushing out the door. Even a simple slice of toast and a cup of tea can become a thing of beauty when eaten outside in the sunshine (in my pyjamas :) ).

Ok, so I had more than just toast. I bought some pannetone after Christmas. Why yes, I also wait till January to buy calenders so I can get them at half price. Why do you ask? Anyway, back to pannetone - it's glorious toasted, topped with gently cooked syrupy berries and a dollop of whipped cream. For the purists, if you want a recipe, try this one from Australian Gourmet Traveller. I made it last year and was very happy with the end result.

Although I don’t make new year’s resolutions, I’d like to try and stay in this languid frame of mind as much as I can during the year to come. So when I start spinning my wheels, someone kindly redirect me to this post, ok?

I do however, make food related resolutions. Well, actually last year was the first time I’d done so, and only because of the blog.  In a bid to feed the blog, I’ve tried many new and interesting ingredients and cooking techniques which I’d have put off otherwise.

Here's another thing you can make with pannetone, use the bread to line the bowl when you make summer pudding. Believe it or not, I've never made summer pudding before, something about using white bread as the outside of the pudding never appealed to me. Then I visited 3 Hungry Tummies, was tempted by pudding, and set off to make my own. I used a combination of fresh strawberries and blueberries, and frozen raspberries. I am definitely converted, it's so easy to make, and so, so tasty. Still not sure if I can use the white bread though (check out 3 Hungry Tummies for a recipe).

Let’s take a peek at what I wanted to do last year, and what I actually achieved:

 Fulfil a need to knead and get stuck into more yeasty things - although I haven’t really blogged about many of the yeasty things I made, apart from the Daring Baker’s stollen, I had actually made a bit more effort last year. But unfortunately so far, no loaves of bread have materialised , especially not the bread I wanted to make - sourdough (although I did make some flatbreads). I think this is one resolution I will keep working on this year. On the list are monkey bread, zebra bread and chinese steamed buns (mantou), plus I’m going to get myself a bread book. I’ve heard many bloggers extolling the virtues of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Anyone have any other recommendations?

Get cultured – the sourdough way. Sadly, never got around to this. But I will. Hopefully. Soon.

Keep my cool, and make more frozen desserts - yes, yes, yes! I’ve made granitas, sorbets AND ice-cream. And I got The Perfect Scoop for Christmas! Now all I need to work on is obtaining an ice-cream machine. (Oh Mr Kitchen Hand.....)

Stop being scared of caramel - again, another resounding yes. In part thanks to a couple of Daring Bakers challenges, I am no longer scared of the sticky stuff, and even made batches of caramels as gifts at Christmas time. Very proud of this achievement :)

That Puff Stuff – to get organised enough so that there is always home-made puff pastry in the freezer. Um, no, never got around to this. I just skip recipes that require puff pastry! In my defence, I make my own shortcrust pastry all the time. I used to make it completely by hand, but now I save a little time thanks to a great food processor recipe from Belinda Jeffery’s Mix and Bake.

So this year, some of my food resolutions are:

1) To work my way up to a proper loaf of sourdough bread while exploring other yeast baking.

2) Explore more food from other cultures. Although our family eats quite a variety of food, it’s mostly Asian, Indian or Italian influenced. This year I’m looking further afield, recipe suggestions welcome!

3) I want to reduce my reliance on the supermarket. Our family eats so much better when I make the effort to get myself off to the Farmer’s/ Organic markets every week (it involves getting out of bed really early on a weekend morning though, ergh!). We still buy a few things from the supermarket though, and while I probably won’t start making my own laundry detergent anytime soon (there are only so many hours in the day!), this year I might try making more of the snacky stuff we occasionally buy, like hard pretzels, grissini sticks and water crackers.

I think 3 is a manageable number. We’ll see how we go next January eh?

How are your resolutions holding up?


Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

I keep meaning to bake a sourdough too but the thought of having a grow a starter culture and keep it alive is rather intimidating.

Happy New Year and best of luck with your resolutions!

Hungry Dog said...

Mm, pannettone. I love it. Thanks for posting a link to the recipe, I may just motivate one day (by next christmas perhaps!) to try it. Looks like you did a pretty good job on last year's resolutions--impressive! Look forward to seeing what you do with 2011's! :)

Jennifurla said...

I am holdin up well, on day 4 of my 30 day workout body hurts.

Karen said...

Shaz, your posts make me miss summer really bad!! It's only the beginning of January and I am already so sick of winter clothes... Your summer pudding looks so tempting. And I like your New Year's resolutions, especially number 3. Here's to a great start to the New Year and many lazy breakfasts! :-)

chocolatesuze said...

your summer pudding is so pretty! i like food related resolutions too :D

Jeannie said...

Great looking pudding:D Resolutions? hmmmm...I figured if I don't make any, then there wont be any to stick to? Right? Right? :P

MaryMoh said...

Your pudding looks gorgeous...good start to the year. Well, didn't really make resolutions this year. I guess I just want to eat more healthy and live a healthier lifestyle so that I can enjoy life more :D Desserts will still be included...hehe

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

All the best with your new year resolutions, Shaz! I love summer too. Cooking is easy and no fuss. Love the summer pudding too :)

Sharon said...

Hi Sharon! Thanks for dropping by my blog :). At first I was wondering why you were saying it's summer then I remembered it's the opposite in Australia. I love that first photo, it simply shouts summer to me. Good luck with your resolutions! I think mine crumbled before I even began haha.

lena said...

no resolutions for me but i would like to get myself enrolled in some kind of dance exercises classes and perhaps meditation. your no 2 exploring food fr other cultures would be very interesting too

Anh said...

all the best for the new year! :)

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Heh, I totally stalk the holiday treat sale after the holidays. I'm glad to know someone else does the same. And I have zero luck with keep resolutions so now I've just stopped making em :)

pierre said...

you are lucky to be in summer !! nice dish !!

Jamie said...

Happy New Year!!! And oh lord your list of resolutions is mine as well and I have so many still to tackle and, yes, I am scared! Keep me posted how you do...

I actually love the simplicity of your panettone toast topped with lovely decadence...

PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

Sluuuuuuurp! Brekkie? Thought the panetone & juicy berry fruits and cream were a sublime dessert! :0o How you know how to enjoy a summer brekkie when school is out! :0D

shaz said...

Helen - thanks! I'm worried about feeding the culture and having it overflow over my countertop!

Hungry Dog - Hope you do give it a go, it wasn't too tricky but time consuming because there was a lot of proving involved.

Jennifurla - wow, I'm impressed! 30 days of working out, ouch.

Karen - oops, sorry :) I feel the same way when I see summertime posts in our winter.

chocolatesuze - easier to keep I think.

Jeannie - ha ha, right!

MaryMoh- of course! Dessert must always be included, he he he

Ellie - almost too easy, I am having trouble feeding the blog because I don't really feel like cooking :)

Sharon - thank you :) I'm so glad I discovered your blog.

lena - have you tried Zumba? It's great fun!

Anh - cheers dear, and to you.

Lawyer Loves Lunch - hehe, you should see me after Easter when the chocolates go on sale, woo hoo!

pierre - thank you, I love summer, can you tell? ;)

Jamie - I will! Good luck with yours and we'll try to spur each other on okay ? :)

PlumLeaf 李葉 - :) I surely do