Cook this: Mini microwave matcha pudding cakes

Monday morning. You’re meant to be rested and ready to go on Monday mornings. As I begin to type this on Sunday night, I get the feeling that’s not going to be the case for me. A lifelong insomniac, I’m also struggling with depression and anxiety and disordered eating. Throw all that into the cauldron along with how busy things are getting in the lead up to Christmas (not very compatible with a textbook introvert who gets her energy from being along rather than in big social situations), a particularly frustrating work situation that I’m stuck with at the moment, and my body struggling to adjust to some new medication, and it’s just, well…. yeah. So at this point, every Monday I can get through in one piece is a massive win right now!

I know a lot of people like to reward themselves for getting through another Monday unscathed; for some, it’s a beer or a nice glass of wine. For others, it’s a spot of online shopping. Or maybe watching their favourite guilty pleasure trashy TV show. Personally, I like a cup of tea on the couch in my PJs with a little something sweet to eat. So if I get through today, this is what I’m gonna be treating myself with.

This is a magical little cup of happiness, based on the recipe I used for the chocolate mug cake. Other than the matcha powder, it uses staple pantry ingredients that you should always have handy, and it only takes about 5 minutes start to finish, so it’s the perfect end-of-the-day treat 🙂 I also like to use pandan kaya on top of mine, because it tastes fantastic with the matcha – this is the stuff I use, which I get from ARC Asian Grocers at Preston Market. It’s SO GOOD!!!

 

To make one big pudding cup or two small ones:
– ¼ cup plain flour or almond meal (if I have almond meal, I like a 50/50 mix)
– ½ tsp matcha powder
– ¼ tsp baking powder
– ½ tbsp caster sugar
– ½ tbsp shredded coconut
– ¼ cup milk (I like almond milk for this)
– 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
– optional – a few strawberries or raspberries, pandan kaya

And then:
1. Combine all the dry ingredients in a coffee mug or tea cup.
2. Add in the wet ingredients and stir to combine completely.
3. If you want to add in berries, stir them in now.

4. Microwave for 1 – 2 minutes, depending on how strong your microwave is.
5. Take it out, let it cool for a minute, top with pandan kaya and a little more shredded coconut if you want, and enjoy!

I hope everyone has a good Monday; make sure you make time to do a little something for yourself, and if you need a little treat tonight, I hope you can enjoy a matcha pudding cup, too!

Cook this: Cornbread pudding

I found this recipe while on The Culinesstress’ site last week, and the gorgeous photo caught my eye pretty quickly. I read on to find a pretty simple recipe, and thought I’d give it a go, too – it seemed a really great winter-warmer type dish.

I haven’t really messed around with this recipe as much as I usually would – I actually had most of the ingredients in my pantry already other than fresh corn, which only cost $1 per ear at the market. The great thing about this recipe, other than it’s simplicity and the fact that it’s actually not terribly unhealthy, is the fact that it’s already gluten free, can be made lactose free, and as well as being low FODMAP friendly (by using only the green tops of the spring onions). So here’s how we do…

 

Ingredients (serves 2)
– butter, to grease tin with, and to serve (optional)
– 1¾ cups corn kernels, fresh if possible
– 4 tbsp thinly sliced spring onions
– 2 eggs
– ½ cup milk
– ½ cup loosely packed grated parmesan cheese
– salt (optional)
– 4 tablespoons cornmeal (polenta)

 

Method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C  and grease two small baking dishes or larger ramekins with butter – I know the proper ‘Murican way to do cornbread is in a case iron skillet, but sadly I didn’t have any of those lying around…

2. Mix together ¾ cup of corn kernels and the spring onion, and set aside.

3. Throw the remaining 1 cup of corn along with the eggs, milk, cheese (if you’re like me, reserve a little of the cheese to sprinkle over the top at the end before baking!) and cornmeal into a food processor or blender, and blend until it a smooth batter just comes together – be careful not to over mix! You can add a little salt here too, if you want – the parmesan may make it salty enough for you anyway, or if you’re like me, you may want a little more, because salty food is delicious.

4. Pour the blended batter into the pie tins and mix in the corn/spring onion mix, diving evenly between the two tins. If you saved some cheese from step 1, now would be the time to sprinkle it on top, before it goes into the oven.

5. Bake corn pudding at for 30 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown on top. Optionally, serve with a dollop of butter and sprinkle of salt on top.

It’s soft, surprisingly light and full of flavour, real winter comfort food 🙂 If you’re also enjoying the Melbourne cold at the moment, think about this for a quick, warming dinner this week!

Eat here: Parkway Bakery & Tavern, New Orleans

Parkway Bakery & Tavern
538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans
http://www.parkwaypoorboys.com

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I was having a sook yesterday via Instagram about a) boredom levels of sitting in a hospital room for a few hours getting hydrogen breath testing done to work out what the hell is wrong with my body and what foods it doesn’t like, b) hunger levels after 15 hours fasting, and c) very, very high “take me back to New Orleans” levels, exacerbated by listening to Trombone Shorty and scrolling through the AMAZING work of Seph Lawless, who’s been shooting in NoLa, whilst in said waiting room. Hunger and take-me-back factors combined, and had me thinking about how badly I wished I had a left nut to give for another proper, legit, New Orleans po-boy. Damn…

If you’re like me and prioritise eating well when you’re travelling, chances are you might do a little Google search for must eat items in the places you’re visiting. When I performed this ceremonious task for New Orleans, Parkway Bakery & Tavern just kept coming up. It also made appearances on various travel/food shows I watched leading up to the trip. So, obviously, it made its way onto the list.

Parkway is a true New Orleans institution, having opened in 1911, changing ownership in the early 1920’s, and having the signature po’ boy introduced in 1929 to help feed the poor and hungry victims of the street car strike. It’s changed hands a few more times, going through a few periodical closings and openings… you can read more about the history of Parkway here, but all you really need to know is that they make really damn good sandwiches.

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First thing you need to know before you visit is that this place is insanely, inhumanely busy, ALL THE TIME! If you want a quick lunch, you’re in the wrong place; you need to adopt the attitude that it’s an experience, not just a quick feed. We arrived  literally 5 minutes before opening time, and the line was already snaking its way through the restaurant itself, through the indoor entryway, out the front and spilling onto the street. We waited just under 45 minutes to get to the counter and place our orders, and the incredible thing was, we did not hear a single word of complaint from anyone in line! If anything, there was an atmosphere of gratitude, to be able to have the opportunity and good fortune to be lining up for this stuff… amazing! Anyway, use your time wisely while you’re in line – grab a menu and start studying, because if you don’t know what you want when you get to the front and become “that guy” who holds everyone up, I have a feeling the happy atmosphere will turn on you pretty quickly.

Anyway, our minds were made up well and truly before we hit the counter – we couldn’t decide between a fried shrimp and a roast beef, so we got the Surf & Turf and enjoyed the best of both worlds! We saw the monster sandwiches coming past us while we were lined up so opted to just get the one, as well as a serve of sweet potato fries and a bread pudding with rum sauce, because why the hell not?

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So. Po Boy. There are truly not many foods I’d be able to justify a 45 minute wait for; this is one of those very rare exceptions. Shrimp – crispy and golden outside, tender and white inside. Beef – soft, tender, smothered in the most tasty gravy you can imagine. Bread – soft and fluffy and just crunchy enough. And perfectly dressed with tomato, lettuce and mayo. It was just a really, deliciously perfect sandwich, and I couldn’t be happier we made the trip out there for it!

The sweet potato fries were nice, but not necessary due to the size of the sandwich. And unfortunately for me, the bread pudding was smothered in cinnamon, so I had a dessert of more sweet potato fries (no, I don’t eat cinnamon. It makes me gag. Eww.), which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

 

Verdict: absolutely fantastic po boy, easy to see why it’s always a contender for the best in the city. And not only is the food unreal, the atmosphere and experience of it all is so much fun, too! Consider it a must visit while you’re in New Orleans.

 

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