On my Soapbox or is that Soupbox!
I was watching the news yesterday and much was made of the cost of food especially fresh fruit and vegetables. Families saying they live on junk because they can't afford to buy fresh fruit and vegetables for their kids. While I can understand that $15kg for tomatoes is ridiculous, but this is just because all of our tomatoes in winter come from Queensland and we all know how the growers their have been hit with floods recently. My reaction to these prices is just walk on by. I don't need tomatoes in my sandwiches in winter any more than I need a green salad. New Zealanders seem to have forgotten how to eat in season. My family eat cabbage, carrots, cauliflour, celery, pumpkin, apples etc at this time of the year and leave the expensive imported product on the shelves. I also find lots of other ways to get fruit and vegetables into our diet using frozen vegetables and canned tomatoes. You can't go past canned tomatoes, they are as cheap as chips.
One of my favorite ways to get more fruit into our diet is muffins which I made yesterday using jam made from plums my kids collected at the local park in the summer. They had so much fun climbing through the fallen tree branch and picking and eating the beautiful organic produce and bringing it home to me to make into jam. These muffins are just vanilla with a little surprise plum jam hit in the middle...with a hot coffee and a dusting of icing sugar and fresh from the oven...yum!
Pumpkin is another thing I stock up on when they are cheap in the autumn. We store them in the garden shed where it is nice and cool. Unfortunately my yard is not big enough to grow crops as large as pumpkins so these we buy in. Sunday roast is not the same without pumpkin in my opinion. One of my favorite things to do with pumpkin is Thai pumpkin soup. It is cheap as chips to make and makes a tasty and nourishing meal in the cold of winter. One of the current All Blacks wives put me onto this soup. She gets hers from a local deli when her husband is away, which is a lot! I found the recipe online adapted it to my taste and have been hooked ever since. Thursday night is a big sporting training night in my house so pumpkin soup was just what the doctor/mum ordered after the sporting members of the household had run around the park in the cold. It also has the advantage that when meal times are split as last night was in our house, it is easy to keep warm throughout the meal time shifts.
2 1/4c self raising flour
1 egg lightly beaten
1t vanilla essence
100g melted butter/melted table spread
2T golden syrup
6T Jam of your choice
Mix all ingredients except jam together. Spray trays and spoon half the mixture into muffin trays. Put 1t jam into the middle of each muffin and cover with remaining mixture. Bake approx 15mins 180 deg C or until a knife comes out clean. Makes 12.
Thai Pumpkin Soup
1 medium onion
1 t green curry paste
2 large cups chicken stock
1/2 kg peeled and seeded pumpkin
1 medium potato
200mls coconut cream
1T fish Sauce
Cook chopped onion with oil, add curry paste and cook 2-3 minutes. Cook vegetables in stock until soft, put through a blender, add coconut cream and fish sauce, heat and serve. Serves 4