Sunday, May 29, 2011

Jaj Istenem!

Tuesday is fast approaching …and there will be one extra person by my side this week…he is small, funny, super fast and extremely cheeky. Last week my kids were lucky enough to have their super energetic great, great Aunty Marika and her boyfriend Michael up in Sydney on Grandparent duty (they have way more energy than Max and I put together and way more patience). They were, and are, incredible and they will be missed this week. 
Wilco spent last Monday and Tuesday with them (whilst I was busy at the tuckshop). I didn’t have to worry about him for a second, which was so nice (and a rare treat for us). He was in good hands and I’m not sure who had more fun, them or him? (Aunty Marika is brilliant at looking after the small people in my family) I couldn’t have got through last week without you two. Hurry back soon, we could get used to having you around!
It’s always eventful when they are in town, Michael is always calm and patient, Aunty Marika is another story….she is one of a kind in the nicest possible way and we have almost got her down to fine art, making sure everything runs smoothly….
I don't remember allowing Mr wippy in my house?!
These are the things we’ve learnt over the years about keeping the peace whilst Aunty Marika is in town; after all she is a critic (that’s putting mildly – and her words need to be taken with a grain of salt, which trust me can be hard sometimes!).
Don’t let her into the house unless it’s spotless or you’ll send her into a frenzy and if by some strange reason our house is spotless, don’t let her invite any of her friends over (think Seinfeld, only people with Jewish/Hungarian grandparents will understand what I’m talking about here). Never take her anywhere that plays anything but classical music and never believe her when she says she wants to eat something different, only feed her Hungarian food. All in all she is gold all the way, she just likes things a certain way – her way!

      So this last visit, instead of following my instinct and making goulash, I made  risotto…….doo!doo!…..big mistake!
Here is my Goulash, adapted from all the tips Aunty Marika and Michael gave me over their visit: (Really the way I’ve always made it)
                                                           You’ll need:

                                                              Olive oil

                                                     1 ½ large onion

1kg chuck steak cleaned of fat and cubed
2 tablespoons of sweet paprika
½ -1 teaspoon of hot paprika
1 cup of beef stock or water
3 tomatoes – skin and seeds removed and chopped
1 small red capsicum sliced – seeds removed
1 green capsicum sliced - seeds removed
 To make;
Prep all your ingredients
Pre-heat your oven to 180c
Warm your pot on the stove, add a little oil and brown your onions
Once browned add you paprika and stir with the onions
Then add your meat and stir until all the meat is browned
Add your stock (or water if you don’t have stock) and tomato
Put the lid on your pot and pop in the oven – turning the heat down to 160c
After 2hours pop in the capsicum – stir well
Cook for a further hour
Then serve with nokedli (spaetzle), brown rice or pasta with finely chopped parsley and a big dollop of sour cream.
Aunty Marika and Micheal you both would have loved it! I’m pretty sure dad would have loved it too! (Yes, my dad also has his version)

Any leftovers could be frozen or made into pies – which I did.
When my girls were little, at fox studio’s there was a Russian couple who made a mean goulash pie, mine were equally as delish, the only thing I would change is a dollop of sour cream just before I put the lid on – I forgot, so I added it later.
Re your email Aunty Marika....Frankie would like soup and schnitz with salad for dinner next Saturday, I will drop her to you at 10am.

And Jemima got a B on her piano exam.

Will call you later. X
p.s Don’t forget your booked for Grandparents day!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Every child deserves healthy wholesome food


Finally I can breathe. The first Tasty Tuesday Tuckshop is over. Done and dusted!

And it was a huge, huge success! I slaved at the stove last week non stop…. 70 sausage rolls (took me a whole day), 15 litres of stock (which I cooked over 2 days, so to extract all the goodness from the bones), 50 beetroot brownies (which I made very close to midnight, Monday night) and lets not forget the 10kg of beetroot that I cooked, peeled and pureed to make those brownies and lastly 200 or so, freshly squeezed apple juice icypoles (juiced very kindly by Heidy), which Kaye and I did together – love a bit of team work!
But whinging aside, yesterday I had 10 wonderful mums and one super nanny help me pop popcorn, pick up pasta, cook pasta, deliver me 60 iggy’s bread rolls, write names of children on our bio-degradable containers, make the most delicious smoothie and finally clean up - which luckily I escaped!

And two special mum’s who without their help I am not sure I would have showed up on Tuesday morning. Kaye, thank you for keeping my very scattered brain in check, there is always two parts to every story and this would never have happened if you hadn’t got many systems in place and Daniella (Nonno’s daughter) who made a red sauce to die for – thank god I’ve got you to call on if it all goes pear, you are an amazing cook and a godsend! The thought of having to make that sauce as well as the 10,000 other things I needed to do, almost pushed me over the edge.

And this would never have been possible without the people who are as passionate about their food as me, the unbelievable food producers and suppliers, who helped this dream become a reality. Ludmilla and Igor at Iggy’s – best bread in the world, thank you for helping us again – the kids LOVED the rolls ! Grassroots Urban Butchery for the chicken bones and mince meat, Wholefoods house Woollahra for helping me out with suppliers. 
Late last night, after not stopping for a whole week (literally), I thought to myself, ‘Is this worth it?’ ‘Do I have it in me?’ Max had questioned my decision to do this, ‘For what???', he said, ‘Our kids will always have good lunches so why are you doing this, what are you trying to prove? You’re already busy enough.’ 

And the answer is, all children deserve healthy wholesome food. To me nothing is better than seeing the kids enjoying the food that we made! Not only did they love the food, but their brains would have loved it too! For me nothing beats watching them eat a delicious warm healthy lunch – nothing except, hearing how the little kindies perched their soup on the seats outside and knelt down so as not to spill a drop – nothing got me more than that!

And to hear the year 6’s (Mima’s class) talking about how yummy it was (and they can be quite tricky) was enough to get me through the week ahead!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I scored at the market!

Our weekends are busy, to say the least, but all I need to get me through a crazy weekend is breakfast and a purr-chase at the Carriage Works markets.

This weekend I really scored, all from the same grower. Purple carrots, artichokes and heirloom tomatoes – BINGO!
So after music lessons, whilst the baby was sleeping I prepared us lunch(and later, a pre dinner snack) – in lieu of favours!
Toast with fomage D’Lapage cheese (Swiss raw milk cheese) and slices of tomato with purple carrots - YUM!
Which was also payment for my hand model, (Max and what perfect hands they are) his services were much needed so everyone could see how to, kind of, prep your artichokes. He wanted me to point out that he’s not cleaned and trimmed artichokes since last year so he was a little rusty.....

Forgiven. They tasted delicious!


I will talk you through this by my photos;
Or you can check out Jamie Oliver’s first book (that’s where Max learned)


Anyway once they were cleaned and bathing in lemon water, I began prepping my other ingredients

3 cloves of garlic

Crushed chilli or fresh

Olive oil

1 lemon

½ cup of wine

Torn basil leaves (which I didn’t have this time)

Simply fry off your garlic and chilli

Throw in your artichokes minus the water

Season with salt and pepper

In goes your wine – cook this off so the alcohol smell goes

Then another ½ cup of water

A squeeze of lemon

Bring to a simmer and cook for around 20 min till the artichokes are cooked through

To finish the rest of the lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and some torn basil
Super delicious on their own with some bread to mop up the juices or with brown rice

Hard work but so worth it and they are really good for you – even better!
Another thing that we can’t get enough of in our house at the moment is Kohlrabi.
You have probably seen it and thought what the hell is that! Well it’s kind of tastes like a radish mixed with an apple and Frank and I LOVE them!

Peeled with a knife and sliced, eaten raw. My dad also loves them, so it must be in the genes.
So today for lunch I had Roquefort on Kohlrabi and it was a match made in heaven!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

I just love this.....

A must watch for all parents. x

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Warming and Delicious

The countdown is on to our new Tuesday Tuckshop at my girls school – notes to send out, suppliers to call, deals to be made…busy, busy, busy……

So what do I decide to do in the midst of the 4000 things that I have to get done by - tomorrow?

Cook a stew!

After all it’s super cold in Sydney (which I LOVE) and anyway, we’ve got to eat!

Slow cooked beef - Ragu

We all, (except frank) ate stew for dinner tonight and last night.

Wilco had it with brown rice.

Mima had it with gnocchi, baked in the oven with ricotta

Max and I had it with wet polent...mmm...delicious!

You’ll need;

1 ½ kilos of gravy beef (I would have loved shin or something with a little more 
connective tissue, but they were out) – cut up into bite size pieces

2 stalks of celery

2 carrots – peeled

1 large onion or 2 small – peeled

4 cloves of garlic – crushed

2 sprigs of rosemary

50g butter

olive oil

1 ½ cups of red wine

3 x 400g tins of crushed tomatoes

salt & pepper

To Cook;

Pre-heat the oven to 160c

Prep all your ingredients, because once the meat is browned it’s all pretty fast

Cut your meat – set aside

Pop your, celery, carrot, onion and rosemary (minus the stalks) in a food processor and blitz till very fine (this is your base for the stew)

Crush your garlic

Measure your wine

And de-lid your tomatoes

Ok, get your pot really hot and then add a little olive oil and start browning your meat in small batches – this is the bit that takes the longest, making sure your meat collects a lot of colour without burning

I ended up finishing browning my meat in 3 batches – remove meat into a bowl

If for some reason your pot looks a bit burnt from the browning of the meat, wash it. But if it looks like mine (see photo below) continue….

Add half the butter to the pan and the vegie mixture and cook until the vegies smell cooked about 10mins – stirring here and there

Remove the vegies from the pot, then add the rest of the butter and your garlic, cook gently being careful not to burn it (this will take a min or so)

Throw your meat back in and give it a good stir, so the garlic isn’t sitting on the bottom of the pan burning, pour in your wine and cook it off till that really sharp alcohol smell is gone – about 10min

Then put your veg in and tomatoes in – stir well and put it in the oven and forget about it till dinner. It needs at least 3 hours, but It will happily cook for 4-5 hours as long as you have the right kind of meat (with lots of connective tissue)

Serve with polenta, mashed potato, gnocchi, pasta, brown rice or eat it all by itself!

Leave enough to freeze in-case you need a quick meal during the week or something warm for the kids school lunch.
For me it’s back to all things ‘Tuckshop’!

(Tasty Tuesday Tuckshop is the Seasonal/Eco tuckshop I am trying to set up at our Public School, with the help of some other dedicated mum's. Finger's crossed we get the support and our kids can have a great place to order food!)

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps