2022 saw many changes for us, with a lot of challenges along the way. In March I took on a new part-time role as Kitchen Specialist for the Garden to Table programme at Howick Primary School, where I helped teach Year 5 and 6 students how to cook. At the beginning of April daughter Joanna left New Zealand again to take up a job in Brisbane. In May, the biggest change of all, husband, Andrew decided to have a break from the work force.
I started this blog nearly 10 years ago. I was having my own break from the work force, when I attended a Food Bloggers evening in town. Most of the women I met had a food blog, and I thought what a great idea and so this blog was born. The original name of Lemons and limes was changed a few year’s back to reflect my identity, and where my food is created. Tracey’s Kitchen.
During 2022, I did not make time to focus on this blog. The Garden to Table role took up a lot of my “food thinking” time, and I had little energy left to create new blog posts. Would I find the time to resume this blog? I realised people still read my blog. Quietly in the background, my food blog had found a new reader.
The new reader, was my husband, Andrew. Now that he was a full-time house husband, Andrew needed ideas for those week-day nights and my blog seemed a great place to start.
As the year progressed, a new routine began. I would come in the door after work at around 5.30pm, and Andrew would say “Honey, I’m home”. Something he used to say when he came home from work himself. Andrew would be busy working in the kitchen cooking, and dinner would be served around 6pm. Some nights I would guide Andrew on how to cook something, other nights he would refer to my blog.
A “standard” week meal pattern emerged. On Sunday we usually have roast chicken and use the leftover chicken to make meals for at least the next 2 nights. Monday night most likely – Creamy Chicken Pasta. Tuesday night – Chicken/Prawn and Pea Risotto. Andrew has lots of patience and you need it making risotto. The risotto uses home-made chicken stock, which is made from the bones of the roast chicken. After the roast meal dinner, Andrew strips the chicken off the bones, and puts away for later use. The bones are then used to make a stock. This can either be frozen or used within a couple of days of making.
Our daughters Joanna and Jen came to stay with us over the recent Christmas period. Andrew wanted to cook them a meal showing off his new-found skills. So he decided to use the “Creamy Chicken Pasta” from my blog, and substitute the chicken with ham to make some lunch for us all. We had some leftover ham from Christmas Day. On a hot summer’s day Andrew went about cooking lunch. First make the pasta, and set aside in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Make the sauce using Tracey’s blog recipe, but this time leave out the paprika, chicken and parmesan cheese. The parmesan cheese was forgotten, but Andrew used a bit of leftover cream instead and so Creamy Ham Sauce recipe was born! Sous chef was food tech daughter, Joanna.
I must highlight Andrew makes the pasta from scratch. Andrew is a great listener, and he easily picked up my instructions for making pasta. I learnt to make pasta at some Italian cooking lessons a few years back and it seems deep down Andrew wanted to learn this skill too. He has used our pasta machine many more times than me. Recipe for Home-made pasta is below.
(For most of us who don’t have the time or energy, just use dried pasta for this recipe)
As I reflect on the year that was, I am proud of sharing my cooking skills to primary school students, my friends and colleagues, my daughters and most of all my husband. There are many more recipes for Andrew to learn, so watch this space and maybe you will find some inspiration too.
Andrew making Fettuccine
CREAMY HAM SAUCE
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup of cream/parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp pesto
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp butter
- 300g chopped ham
Use a small food processor to combine cream cheese, sour cream, cream, pesto and water. Process until cream cheese is smooth. Heat butter in frying pan on a medium heat and add chopped ham. Add the cream mixture to the pan, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Cook a little longer if the sauce has not thickened.
Serve sauce on cooked pasta, and top with fresh herbs if desired.
HOME MADE PASTA
(Enough for 4 servings)
200g Type 00 Flour
Place flour in bowl, and make a well. Add the eggs to the flour and mix to combine. Knead the dough on the bench until the dough is smooth. Place in fridge for 30 minutes.
Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Using small batches of the pasta dough, use pasta machine to flatten dough. Start using a thick setting and keep re-rolling down to a small setting. Some flour may be needed to stop the dough sticking to the machine. Set aside flat pieces of dough until ready to cut into pasta shape. You may need to cut these thin pieces of dough to a size easier to handle. Taking one piece at at time, feed through fettucine shape cutter on the pasta machine. Place cut pasta onto drying racks, or in our case on to a roasting rack. Place pasta in hot salted boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Good luck! Practice makes perfect when it comes to making your own pasta!
(This is a very rough guide!)