7 February 2011

Real food - simple and delicious

I haven't been doing all my regular work while I'm book writing but I'm still cooking, nothing stops that, and still knitting when I have a break.  As usual, we're eating leftovers when we have them and Hanno made about four litres of tomato relish/sauce so we can't complain about a lack of variety or quality.  Here are a few meals from the past few week.

On Saturday we had half this scone loaf fresh for lunch and finished most of the second half on Sunday.  A minute in the microwave freshened it up and made it warm again.  To make good scones you need a moist dough and then as you lightly knead it, you can add more flour in the kneading to make it easier to handle and cut.  There are many recipes for scones, this recipe makes a very tasty scone that is light and moist.

SCONES - these are similar to American and Canadian biscuits

  • 3 cups SR flour
  • good pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or natural yoghurt - this makes for a very light and tasty dough.  
  • enough milk to make a moist dough. If you have no sour cream or yoghurt, you could use buttermilk, whey or milk soured with vinegar or lemon juice

  1. Combine the flour, salt and sugar. 
  2. Rub the butter and sour cream/yoghurt into the flour with your fingertips.  When it's combined well ...
  3. Add the buttermilk/whey/soured milk and mix in.  You want a dough that is not sloppy but it looks too wet.
  4. Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a floured bench.  Knead for less than a minute, incorporating more flour.
  5. Form into whatever shape you want, place on a baking tray, put into a hot over and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden and it smells cooked.

We had a few sweet potatoes that were about to sprout (now they have, I'll plant the sprouting ends I cut off) so I wanted to use them straight away.  I made up a savoury mince - or ground beef with vegetables - with curry spices and liquid from the cooking tomato sauce.

After boiling the sweet potato, I mashed it and topped the meat with it.  Twenty minutes in the oven gave us a delicious, golden pie we dined on for two nights.

And this is Hanno's tomato relish/sauce.  He washed the tomatoes, chopped them an added two sticks celery and six large chopped onions.  In a large pot, add a slurp of olive oil, a couple of crushed garlic cloves, two tablespoons paprika, one tablespoon curry powder and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper - remember, it's a large pot.  Cook the spices, then add the vegetables and bring to the boil.  Leave the top off the pot and let the tomatoes to cook slowly allowing the liquid to evaporate off - this intensifies the flavour.  After about an hour, add one cup of sugar and one cup of vinegar - we used malt vinegar and white sugar, but you could use whatever you have in the cupboard.

When the sauce is thick and reduced by at least one third, take it off the stove and blend with a stick blender.  This is optional, we often have the chunkier relish, but it serves well as tomato sauce if you blend it.

This sauce/relish will develop in flavour as it's left to sit.  Use it on anything that needs tomato sauce, pizzas, sandwiches or pasta.  That amount made what you see in the containers above - about four litres/quarts.  We sterilised the jars in the oven and boiled the lids.  The sauce was added, the jars turned upside down and allowed to cool.  All the buttons on the lids were inverted and they're now stored in the fridge and the pantry cupboard.

And this is how I used the sauce last night on our dinner - more leftovers.  I made a meatloaf during the week and had a small portion left.  It wouldn't have been safe to keep it longer so last night I mashed some potatoes, made a coleslaw from white cabbage, onions, carrots and mayonnaise and served the meatloaf with the sauce.  It was delicious.

And finally, I saved the best till last - brown rice and sweet potato salad.  I could eat this salad every day.  Boil a cup of brown rice and bake a cut up sweet potato until it's cooked and browned.  When the rice is drained and  cool, add whatever vegetables you have on hand - I used sweet corn just picked from the garden, onions, celery and cucumber.  If I had red capsicum/pepper I would have added that too for the colour.  Add two level tablespoons mayo, salt and pepper to taste, mix it all together then add the sweet potato. Don't add it earlier as it will break up when you mix the salad.  We had this with cold chicken but it would be an excellent vegetarian dish served with tomato and radishes.

As you can see from this selection from the past week, we eat simple food but it's nourishing and delicious.  We had meat for almost every main meal last week but we often have meatless meals. Real food doesn't have to be expensive or complicated.  If you have a good recipe book, or someone to teach you, you will be able to feed your family a variety of good food that you don't pay an arm and a leg for.

Many thanks to everyone who voted for Down to Earth in the Bloggies. The voting ends in a couple of weeks.  I hope we all have a productive and interesting week and you enjoy your work and whatever you do in the coming days.



  1. How would this recipe work if you didn't have self rising flour? How much baking powder (or would it be soda) would you add?

    Or is that even what you would add?

    These look terrific and I'd love to make them!

    Tammy and Parker

  2. LOvely Rhonda to see the leftovers being uded they had an article in the newspaper recently about ho many sqillions of tons of leftovers ae thrown out, really shameful,the next generation of children will not even know the word unless your lovely young readers learn from your blog.

  3. I've been looking for something new to make. Thank you!

    Thank you also for posting on here regularly. I don't always comment but I do read every single one.

  4. It's amazing what delicious meals we can make from wholesome, simple ingredients! Everything looks scrumptious!


  5. Tammy, instead of SR flour, substitute all purpose flour with one teaspoon of baking powder to each cup of flour. I hope you enjoy them.

  6. Everything looks scrumpious..nothing like using your harvest...

  7. Hi Rhonda,
    Can't wait for your book to be adorning the shelves, it will make such a good present for almost everyone.
    I've always cooked as you do except I've not made the relishes/preserves, will get into it very soon as there are lots of specials with peaches/tomatoes/nectarines.
    I wonder why some people have an aversion to 'left over's? It's pre-cooked food that cost money and took time to prepare. There is a huge demand for pre-owned clothes and jewelery, house fittings, books...you name it but why the stigma when it comes to food?

  8. Rhonda, the meals all look pretty good to me. I would dine with you any day!! I have voted for you- and congratulations. What an honour. See you next week- I'm having a break with Petal. Maa.

  9. Hi Rhonda, your bread looks lovely! Good to hear the writing is progressing too. I finally (after 7.5 years!) had my PhD signed off last Thursday, goodness me what a relief! I've thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, cooking and making cards and wrapping parcels and pottering about, and I'm looking forward to more of it.

    I enjoyed your piece last week about slowing down. I've been working full time and writing in the evenings and at weekends since Christmas, and it's really taken its toll. Even though I'll still be working full time, I do 3 days a week from home, and I'm looking forward to slowing down, and making sure I focus on my work and savour it - I really do enjoy it!


    Jenni x

  10. Jenni, how fabulous! Congratulations.

  11. Dear Rhonda, Thanks for the scone loaf recipe. It does look very tasty!!! Plus all that other food you shared with us...just delicious. I'm so hungry now. Good thing my dad is making a late lunch for us for Super Bowl Sunday :) :) I've made a recipe for buttermilk biscuits...and I don't knead the dough very much at all...and they turned out really nice, and flaky and buttery :) :) I enjoy them with butter and honey :) :) Have a lovey week...you and Hanno!! Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  12. Dining like kings, as always. I plan to try that savoury mince idea this week. I love things you can pop in the oven to bake.

    Cheers - Joolz

  13. Dear Rhonda That food looks so delicious I am writing some of the recipes down. I love leftovers the flavour always seems to be better.
    We will eat leftovers at least twice maybe three times a week, most times I can make a very hardy soup with just about any leftover.Thank You. B

  14. As the Menu Madwoman (Forum thread) I am delighted to see this post, thank you Rhonda. And thanks for the rice salad recipe I'll certainly try that.

    Way to go Hanno with the tomato relish.

    Pats to The Lovely Alice.

  15. we'll definitely be trying your scone/bread recipe! It looks delish!

    We've always enjoyed our leftovers...especially at breakfast! ;-) I also plan how many meals I can get of items. For example, one chicken can be made into a chicken dinner AND chicken noodle soup (with home baked bread) - 2 suppers from one chicken!

    Thanks for sharing Rhonda and have a wonderful day!


  16. Hi Rhonda, great recipes, thanks! I'm making your/Hanno's tomato relish/sauce as I type! I'm wondering how many kilo's of tom's you used in this recipe? I'm using two kilo's of tom's. Thanks and good luck in the Bloggies, I've voted. Stef x

  17. Stef, Hanno used about 4 kilos of tomatoes. I hope you enjoy it.

  18. Thanks Rhonda, I reckoned about 4 kilo's so halved the other ingredients. Looking forward to consuming it and hoping the kids don't go :o(

  19. It might be just me but I think leftovers often taste better than the meal they came from. Of course that could just be because I have managed to get out of cooking a complete meal...vbg. Love the look of Hanno's relish. Very nice.

  20. Thanks for explaining scones! Here in KY the Art of Making Biscuits is mastered by few but enjoyed by everyone.

    The only "scone" I've ever eaten here was like stale dry bread. Obviously it was an imitation. :)

  21. I made your brown rice and sweet potato salad last evening. It is delicious. I liked it even with the onions, which I generally don't favor, but my fellows do. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.

  22. I LOVE baking scones! With my Scottish and Irish ancestors, I picture myself in the kitchen baking them as the must have done generations ago. One of my favorite recipes is for lemon scones. Similar to your recipe except with the addition of the zest of one large fresh lemon and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. So good. Especially warm out of the oven with fresh butter...

  23. My South African/British family pronounce "scones" the 'correct' way: 'scahnes'...not the American version: 'scones' to rhyme with 'bones'. Just thought I'd mention that. Not to be a snob, but just FYI. How do the Australians pronounce the word?

  24. We pronounce scone to rhyme with "ON".


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