Category Archives: cooking for just me

cropped-cookingjust4me-logo 1Since launching this site in 2012 and writing ‘Cooking for Me and You’ cookbook for Thermomix, I’ve meet so many people who are working through the unique challenges that small household managers face.

This made me realise it’s so important to give voice to our needs, as small households managers, and for me to continue to create recipes, share tips and create a place to share small household management wisdom. So I’ve redesigned my site. I trust you like the changes.

 Whats New?

More recipe methods – I’ve had lots of requests for recipes and tips for conventional as well as Thermomix cooking. And while I’m madly in love with my Thermomix  I do understand not everyone has one and not every dinner is cooked in one… I do love a BBQ.  Yes just4Me but more on that soon…

In this new site I will be sharing both Thermomix and conventional methods for the recipes.

Curried roasted cauliflowerHealthy ME – Like many of you, I’m currently focusing on being more healthily in my food choices. to help you and me in doing this I’ve added nutritional information for recipes going forward.

I also am using a new recipe app, so you can easily print recipes. I’m a ‘hard copy kind of girl’ at heart and have lots of little note books with pages stuffed in them with my precious adoptions of recipes.  so if that you my recipes will now be easy  to print recipes.

 Just4ME  – Baking- Not long after I finished the cookbook for Thermomix I realised that while I was  good at savoury cooking I was terrified of baking. why did I go walk at the knees when I had to make a cake for an event? Lack of knowledge, lack of practice, lack of skills?

I loved bake goods but just didn’t bake. It was for a mix of the reasons above. I thought about this and decided to learn to be a baker.

I set off on an adventure to discover the perfect cake to have with a cuppa (as that’s when I wanted  a little bit of cake) that journey for the last 3 years has lead to the creation of a site site to Cookingjust4Me…. the just4Me Bake Club.

If you like baked goods but don’t bake as there is just you or its not healthy or you can’t be bothered… check out my just4Me Bake Club which is an online cooking school that will show you how to make just4Me sized cakes (15cm /6 in) that are healthy treats and easy to make, even if your not a bake.

Me and youDinner for Two – Finally on this new site I’ll be sharing recipes for two.

Or as I say ‘Me +  You.

These recipes are mainly dinners, as that what we need to cook most often, designed for two people as one meal or for Me – a meal that can be cooked once and eaten twice but not in a boring way… I get bored with food very easily. So bring on variety!

 

I trust you enjoy the new look site and I welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Happy cooking just4 You…. because You matter!

Caroline

September 2017

 

 

empty muffin cases A quick update on these delish crustless

quiches…I found these paper muffin case in a regular size in my supermarket. ( I’d only ever seen them for super sized muffins before).

They are perfect to bake individual crustless quiches. The recipe on the website makes 6 of these little beauties.

The paper casing makes them easy to pack into a storeage container in the fridge and handy to grab for breakfast/ snack on the go, all pre-packed.

And a big plus the baking tray is much easier to clean.

I’ve also made an addition to the recipe… a few tablespoons of rolled rye oats. They give these little ones a bit more of a bakegood taste and are a bit more filling and a bit less eggy.

I think this will be my new go to option.

What are your go to ways to prevent baking sticking in muffin tins?

_MG_3996

crustless spinach quiche two waysHelp! I need to know if fellow just4Me cooks feel the same. Why are recipes always for 4 or more?

I’m on a little health kick at present which means I’m being very mindful of what I eat. While I can workout how much of what ingredients I can have to achieve my goals, it does require a bit of brain power when looking to eat differently ( read ‘more healthy’ here).

It means my usual go-to dinners are not suitable and I need to try some new recipes. To get inspiration for some healthy dishes to make I checked out some of the latest diet recipe books.

Some wonderful idea, healthy, tasty, using ingredients I like and have in the house.

Yeah! Let’s get cooking!

Well not so fast… when I read the small print the recipes are all for 4! Way more than I need for my household of one.

That’s 4 meals of the same stuff for me…. boring…. wasteful…. plus ever so tempting to over eat as the food is there.

Yes I know you can just cut the recipe in 4….but sometimes that doesn’t work.

Also trying doing the maths on a Friday night after a busy week when you are really tired and hungry… not that much fun.

Freeze the rest? I don’t see freezing as the answer…. it still the same stuff (read ‘boredom’ here) and for me it is never as nice as the fresh version when I finally defrost it weeks later.

Plus I need to remember to defrost it few days in advance, which I never do.

No, to me the answer is healthy recipes for one!

So fellow just4Me cooks as I’m need to the work for my own health program I’m planing to share my healthy meals with you.

The first recipe I have adapted is a yummy crustless quiche. I have quiche often and this version works as a dinner  on its own or 1/2 a sever with a side of veggies or salad is a good lunch which is my favourite way to enjoy it.

The bonus is I have a healthy breakfast  for when I’m pushed for time I the morning. A big win win in my book.

Do you find it frustrating how us just4Me household or overlooked by the popular healthy cookbooks?

Do you have some trick you use to convert recipes quickly?

I’d love to hear you thoughts. I then meantime enjoy this yummy, fast crustless quiche.

crustless spinach quiche

Crustless Spinach Quiche two ways

Number of servings: 2

Ingredients

75 g chopped spinach (I use frozen and thaw it in the oven while it is heating up.)

50 g strong hard cheese (like Cheddar), diced 2 cm cubes

50 g crème fraiche

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

Options

2 tbsp roasted capsicum (I used the ones in a jar, drained)

1 tsp mushroom powder (See tip)

Tip: Mill dried porcini mushrooms and shitake mushrooms to a powder and store in a jar. I use equal quantities of both in the mix.

Method 

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line 18 cm pie tin or a 6 hole regular muffin tin.

Place frozen spinach in a heat proof dish into oven to defrost while oven is heating.

Place cheese into mixing bowl and grate 10 sec/ speed 7. Scrape down sides.

Add crème fraiche and eggs mix 10 sec/speed 4.

Remove spinach from oven spread evenly into pie dish or divide between 6 muffin cups. Sprinkle nutmeg evenly over the top. Set aside.

Pour cheese and egg mix over spinach and top with roasted capsicum strips and mushroom dust, if using.

Bake for 20 minutes (pie dish) and about 15 minutes for muffin tins. They are cooked when lightly golden brown.

Eat warm or cold.

Crustless quiche will keep for several days in the refrigerator. Re-heat in oven.

Crustless spiniach quiche label
Crustless spinach quiche per serve. Quiche makes two servers.
crustless quiche muffins label
Crustless spinach quiche muffin per muffin

 

 

 

cooked chicken and stock
Fast chicken stock, cooked chicken meat and chicken soup

One chook so many options.

This classic chicken dinner is an example what I call a progressive ingredient adventure.

An ingredient that can reappear multiple times during the week in vastly different guises eliminating the boredom factor plus it prevents me from wasting food.

There were two guidelines to working the progressive ingredient:

  1. The ingredients are ones that can’t be bought in small quantities, but can work in multiple ways but look completely different each time and
  2. The recipes that are based around foods that don’t go off quickly or are enhanced with store cupboard/ frozen ingredients.

The start of my chook adventure is a healthy “roast” chicken that is steamed. The steaming water becomes the start of my chicken stock. Recipes below.

I often cook this part of the adventure on weekend when I have a little more time to cook the chicken and play with the stock.  I see it as an investment spending a little time cooking now sets me up for a whole range of fast meals later in the week.

The quantity in the recipe below, is based on a whole chicken, which still leaves plenty of chicken and vegetables to become my progressive ingredients to the coming week. however I have done it with a pack of chicken pieces.

After a chicken and veggie dinner, when the chicken has cooled, I stripped the moist chicken meat off the carcass and set it aside. I then use the water that is in the TM bowl from steaming the chicken to be the beginning of the chicken stock.

To this I add a few aromatic ingredients and a little more liquid with the chicken bones in the steamer basket and cook for about 20 to 40 minutes ( depending on my mood and the hour of day) to create a simple chicken stock that will be the basis for other dishes later in the week.

Currently I have at least 11 favourite dishes that I make from the leftover chicken stock or meat. This gives me lots of choice as to what I can have later in the week. no waste or boredom!

My current dishes:

  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Chicken Salad with Ferment Veggies and Avocado
  • Pho Style Bowls
  • Chicken Pasta Bake
  • Homemade Chicken Nuggets
  • Chicken Rissoles
  • Chicken and Veggie Sausage Rolls
  • Chicken sandwiches
  • Chicken toasty
  • Chicken Stir fry
  • Chicken Risotto

Recipes for my versions of the about are coming soon, but I’m sure you will have your own versions of may of the above.

In the meantime enjoy a healthy roast chook and quick stock.

My Steamed ‘Roast’ Chicken and Stock

Number of servings: 4 or use as the cooked meat in other dishes

Ingredients – Chicken

1.5 kg whole chicken

2 tsp garlic infused olive oil

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 carrot, cut lengthwise

1 onion, peeled and quartered

tops of several stalks of celery

1.8 litre of water

Method – Chicken

Place chicken in Varoma bowl, rub all over with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Add carrot, onion and celery leaves in and around chicken.

Place water in TM bowl and set Varoma in place. Steam chicken for 60 minutes / Varoma / speed 2.  Using a food thermometer check if chicken is cooked (74°C or when juices run clear). If not cooked, check water level, top up if required and cook for extra time (10-15 mins).  Keep cooking water for stock.

Allow chicken to cool, then shred meat keeping all the bones and carcass to make stock.

 Tip for Crispy roast chicken

About 10 minutes before chicken is finished, heat oven grill and a roasting pan. When chicken is cooked, pat it down with paper towel and place on hot baking tray and grill until golden – 10-15 minutes.

Ingredients – Stock

Cooking water from steamed chicken (above) topped up to be 1.5 litre.

1 tbsp vinegar

Bones and carcass of cooked chicken (above)

salt and pepper to taste

bay leaf

Method – Stock

Add cooking water and vinegar to TM bowl and top up to 1.5 litre.

Place chicken bones and carcass into steamer basket and insert into bowl.

Season with salt, pepper, bay leaf and then cook for 30 minutes / 90°C / speed 2.

Remove steamer basket with bones and discard.

Pour stock into storage container and chill in fridge.

When it is chilled, the fat will rise to the top and can be removed by placing paper towel onto it.

Stock can then be frozen or kept in the fridge for a few days.

Progressive Ingredient Chicken A steamed chook can provide up to four meals for one person plus 1.5 l of home made stock.

The meat from this recipe is used in the other dishes in this collection.

 

 

Do you feel like you are the only person who cooks for themselves?
I did…
…as most of my friends are couples or families it felt as if I was the only one who cook just for Me.
That was until I saw the census data a few years ago and discovered that a significant number of Australian households were ‘lone person’ household.
In the 2016 that figure is now 24.4%. That’s nearly 1 in 4 household are like me, cooking and baking for themselves. I’m not alone.
In 2016 the average household size is 2.6 person decreased from 2.8. The average household size is getting smaller with one or two persons household making up the majority of households.
So why is it that food is alway in family size pack, and recipes are for 4 or 6 servers!
I’m tired of food always being about others and the many… why can’t it be about what I like, need and want?
Why can’t the focus be on ME size.
I don’t see this as selfish and uncaring. I see it as showing love and valuing ME.
After all if I don’t look after ME who will? But is still doesn’t seem to be a topic to talk about .. I cook for just me. conversations are about cooking for family and sharing with others. which for me is fine every so often but not on most week night!
I’ve decided to stop hiding as a household of one and shout from the rooftops that it’s ok to be a ‘lone person’ household and that my needs are important and I am looking after them.
That’s why I’ve created my recipes and videos in the just4Me Bake Club.  Why I’m working on more recipes for cookingjust4Me and convinced  Thermomix they need the cooking for you and me book.
I’m a just4ME baker and cook  ’cause the ME matters!
How do you feel about just4Me household management?
What are your strategies and tips for dealing with the world of supersize?
I’d love to hear your views.

IMG_1942Update: This little book was republished in 2014 by Thermomix as a cookbook and chip for the TM5, the first cookbook and chip for Australia. It has gone on to be one of the best selling cookbooks for Thermomix. Plus it has more recipes!

To purchase the book visit Thermomix  here.

This great recipe booklet contains 53 wonderful recipes for those who cook for one and two, all designed for your Thermomix. It includes breakfast ideas, quick lunches for home or to pack to take on the go, dinners and beautiful desserts.

How do I know they are wonderful, when the book is not yet available I hear you ask. I know as I spent much of the last 12 months creating and testing the recipes.

Check out your chance to win a Cooking for One and Two prize pack visit Thermomix in Australia’s Facebook page. Hurry the competition closes on February 4.

I’ll be posting more about the recipe book next week.

In the meantime good luck in the competition.

What a night!  The first Cookingjust4Me+ you cooking class has happened.

And here are the recipes I shared with those who joined me at Prospect this evening.

Early Spring class recipes V6  (it a big file as I’ve added some pictures)

I’ll write more about the class and the stories behind this collection of recipes over the coming weeks for those who could not join me tonight.

For those at the class you know some of the stories and have tasted all the recipes.

What was your favourite?

Which ones will you make first?

The vote from the team of kitchen angels, who help me make the class possible, was green sauce in the savoury category and the coffee brûlée in the sweets. Happy to say the bread  also top a big thumbs up.

Please try these recipes in your kitchen and send me your stories and comments.

Oh, I mentioned at the class I’m dyslexic. Happy to correct any of my ooops with spelling, but just tell me gently.

Happy cooking!

Cooking Classes 22 Oct and 26 Nov - Book now!

Exciting news!

I’m organising my first Cookingjust4Me cooking classes that will be showcasing recipes for those who cook for just themselves or maybe for two.

At the classes, on October 22 and November 26 at the Prospect Community Centre from 7.00-9.00 pm (booking details follow), I’ll be showing how to make a week’s worth of fast, healthy breakfasts, appetising dinners and some quick and interesting lunches.

Plus I’ve planned some delicious desserts, just for one. I’ll also  introduce you to a few of my ‘Flavour Friends’; tasty mixes or ingredients that add instant panache to everyday meals, in a healthy way.

As spring has sprung in South Australia, I’ll be featuring new season ingredients as the hero of many of my dishes.  The menu for the classes includes some wonderful vegetarian and gluten free dishes.

Most of the dishes are new recipes that I’ve been working on for the last few months but I will be making a few favourites from recipes already on my site.

My Thermomix will be working hard during the class as all recipes use this amazing kitchen appliance, that has changed my life for the better.

I’ve been long time preparing for these cooking class

What a twelve months it has been for me!

Since I did my short talk to my Thermomix group on the challenges and rewards of cooking just for me about this time last year, I started this blog, have written a little cookbook of Thermomix recipes for those who cook for one and two, have spent many hours (days) researching and testing recipes, become a volunteer in a CSIRO diet and lifestyle study, travelled to the Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights and now I’m running my own special cooking classes.

What I’ve not done over the last few months is post on my blog. However stand by as I’ve lots of great ideas, tips and recipes to share with you in the next few months.

Meanwhile here are the details of my cooking classes.

Booking Details

Caroline and her Theremoix
Join me and my Thermomix at a cooking class

When: Tuesday 22 October and Tuesday 26 November, 7.00pm- 9.00pm

Where: Prospect Community Hall, next to Prospect Town Hall, Prospect Road, SA

All dishes available for tasting on the night.

Cost: $25  payable in advance.

Bookings essential.

To book: Email me.   I’ll confirm your booking and send you an email with the banking details so you can make payment.

I look forward to seeing you at one of the classes.

Potted scrambled eggs and ham
Potted scrambled eggs and ham

One of the great things about cooking just4Me is that I don’t have to compromise on how I cook things. I can focus on cooking things the way I enjoy them. No ifs, buts or maybes. I can cook my way and not worry about any other ways.

Take eggs for example. ‘How cooked is the perfect egg’ is a subject everyone has decisive views on and I’ve learnt that these views are not moveable.

Despite famous chefs waxing lyrical about gooey, oozy, soft eggs yokes and most of my friends shying rapturously as they cut into an egg and release a running golden yoke, I like my eggs hard boiled. No golden soft stuff for me, only pale yellow firmness.

So if you are a lover of gooey eggs, a warning that this post is might not be for you. Lovers of firmness read on.

I’ve long admired the sophisticated looking potted eggs in cookbooks and on TV shows, but ‘oeufs en cocotte’ are always the gooey, oozy type therefore not for me. Till last weekend.

On Sunday I had a quiet morning and felt like a change from my usual breakfast. With wonderfully fresh eggs from my friend’s chooks and some lovely Barossa gypsy ham in the fridge I decide to make ‘oeufs en cocotte’ my way and created scrambled eggs and ham in pots.

It was much less fuss than I had anticipated. Mix the eggs in my Thermomix, line the pots with ham, pour in egg mix and place in the Varoma tray with foil on top to prevent moisture running into my egg mix.

Line souffe pots with ham
Line souffe pots with ham

I then rinsed the TM bowl, ½ filled with water and set it on Varoma to steam for 20 mins while I went back to bed with a cup of coffee to read the paper.

By the time I’d drunk my coffee the eggs were ready.

While they looked so cute in the little green pots, I decided to go the whole way on presentation and plated up my scrambled eggs and ham. Perfect eggs – my way!

I made two little pots of scrambled eggs and ham and took the second one to work on Monday to have with some salad as a light lunch.

How do you like your eggs?

Scrabled eggs and ham in pots
Oeufs en cocotte – my way

Potted scrambled eggs and ham

Method

Place eggs in TM bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix for 6 seconds on speed 6.

Cut ham slices in ½. Line each small ceramic soufflé pot with the ½ pieces of ham. One section on the bottom of the pot and two around the sides. Pour egg mix in to pots. Rinse TM bowl and ½ fill with water.

Cover pots loosely with foil, to prevent steam from running into the eggs. Place covered pots into Varoma bowl. Steam for 20 minutes on Varoma at speed 2.

Serve from pots or plated with salad. De-pot by running a knife around the edge of the pot to loosen, then invert onto the plate.

Hello, thanks for stopping by my blog.

I don’t know how you see cooking  but for me, as a single household,  I’ve spent a lot of years seeing ‘real’  cooking as the cooking I did when I entertained family and friends.

I saw this as my chance to try all the wonderful, real recipes I’d read in the endless pile of cookbooks that sit beside my bed. It was the time I saw myself as a ‘real’ cook, making proper meals and glowing with satisfaction as my friends and family enjoyed the fruits of my all effort. And I did make a big effort, beautiful food, great ingredients, the best china – all matching – and a table decorated with creative flair.

However if you dropped by on a weeknight, my cooking was not so grand, after all it was only me so why bother too much?

When I started to think about this, the truth was that I spent more time doing ‘why bother’ cooking than I did ‘real’ cooking. There were many, many more days of the week I cooked just 4Me than cooking for other people yet I showed myself  so little respect.

When I read that 24% of Australian household were single person I realised I was not alone. And so began my journey to rethink the centre of my cooking world.

To explore the world of cooking for small households, to discover ways to experience the joy and satisfaction that I got cooking for others cooking just4Me.

I’ve thought about this a lot.

I’ve talked about this a lot.

And I’ve found that many other single households face similar challenges. Me being me I started to work out ways to meet these challenges.

I talked some more.

I thought more.

I shared more ideas.

And everyone said….’write your recipes down and please share them’… ‘but I’m dyslexic’ I cried. ‘I’m not good at writing”…. ‘we don’t care, share your recipes and ideas’

…so finally I am. Welcome to the new centre of my world  – Cooking just 4Me.

Check out my first Progressive Ingredient story for six cooking just 4Me recipes that I’ve  been cooking for me over the last few months.

I hope they bring you as much enjoyment as they have me.

Let me know if they suit your busy week.

Caroline

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