Friday, May 20, 2011

Pastitsio Love

I cooked an old favourite last night, that I'm so glad I remembered after a year or so of absence. I have no idea why it fell out of use, but it's back now. It tasted so good that I just had to share the recipe and share the love. No photo unfortunately, it was eaten before I thought of that. I'll put one up next time I make it. 

Pastitsio is a bit like a greek version of lasagna. I have no idea how authentic our recipe is, but it's all we know. It originally came from a book called 'Cooking with Herbs and Spices', whose author I didn't record. And it really is the herbs and spices that make the dish - if you don't have cinnamon, cumin & mint, buy them! Do not substitute or it just won't be the same :(

2 cups macaroni (I used pasta spirals because that's what we had)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
450g mince (I used a bit less mince and some beans, because I often do)
300mL beef stock (or water if you're out of stock powder, as we were yesterday)
2 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mint
50g butter
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1 1/2 cups grated cheese

- Cook pasta & drain
- In frying pan, heat oil & cook onion & garlic for 8-10 mins until soft
- Add mince, stir until browned
- Stir in stock, tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin & mint
- Cook gently for 10-15 mins until sauce is thick and flavoursome.
- Melt butter in saucepan
- Stir in flour, cook 1 min
- Remove from heat, gradually stir in milk & yoghurt
- Cook gently 5 minutes
- Stir in half the cheese & all the pasta
- To Assemble: Spread half the pasta mixture in the base of your dish. Cover with meat sauce and top with remaining pasta. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. 
- Bake 45 mins or until golden brown. 


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A is for Up

Imagine SP and I discussing the letters on my shirt, as we often seem to these days. On this occasion, the 'A' in 'Istanbul' is of particular importance to him, but there's some confusion.

"A. Up."

I gently correct. "A is for aeroplane."

"A. Up."

He usually knows this one. I try again. "A is for apple. A is for ant."

SP remains adamant. "A. Up."

I try a different tack. "U is for up."

A pause, and a confused little face.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mothers Day is looking good

I'm banned from the kitchen while Dave cooks up a storm.

Mums-don't-cook-on-mothers-day is one family tradition that I've been very happy to adopt :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The cuteness of toddler speech

SP's speech isn't his strongest point, but it's getting there. 

He's had proper nouns for some time: Mum, Dad, and other extended family members (including Nana's dogs - very important). 

Other nouns he generally signs. Except barber - Grandma taught him to say that one and it comes out a lot, especially as he's desperately in need of a hair cut. 

Verbs he also signs, or imitates. It surprises me how accurately he can reproduce an action that he's only seen a small number of times. 

SP's favourite part of speech at the moment: prepositions! Up, in, out & on mostly. Useful for almost any situation. I never realised how many different phrases and contexts include 'up' until it became SP's favourite word to imitate. Apart from the obvious directional meaning, there's clean up, pack up, fix up, tie up, makeup,  and many more that I can't think of right now. 

Here's SP yesterday, reading up on local news and events...