Marriage and Meal Plans

R and I have been married for just about 5 months now, and I've got a massive blog post waiting to be finished on the actual wedding festivities (all about Malaysian-Muslim wedding customs and stuff), but I'm just trying to find time to sit down on a weekend afternoon and write, edit and the such.

So while I'm still very new to the marriage game, and have much to learn on living with another person whose emotions are not only affected but also affect mine, I do have a few early learning points. I'm not gonna share them here cos I don't feel I've earned the right to speak with any authority on the matter, though to be fair, I'm sure everyone has a different experience. The main thing I've learned really is that being with someone all the time doesn't mean not having time for yourself. I think R and I have been quite good at balancing ourselves so far, like we can be in the same room, on the same sofa, but still be doing our own things... just together. I like that.

Anyway, the purpose of this post was not to just muse about marriage, but rather to apologise to any readers and friends who keep asking me to post new recipes. I'm sure most of you have realised by now that I've shifted to doing a lot more savoury recipes since I moved into my own place last year; I also have less time to bake sweets and more need to cook actual meals for myself - and now, R. So it's a damned good thing I love cooking as much as I do.

So I'm just here to let you guys know that starting this week, I'm going to do weekly meal plans for 3 reasons:

  1. To plan my food intake (I seriously need to lose weight, dudes, I've put on 10kg since I started this job)
  2. To manage my own time better (quick meals for heavy work days, and full 3 course meals for easy peasy days)
  3. To minimise waste (better grocery planning means I buy less crap at the supermarkets and I waste less precious food every week cos I didn't use them)
I'll try to take good pics as we trot along, and will post meal plans, recipes and grocery lists when I can. I'm also really looking forward to doing this as I'm in need of a new personal project. 

x Nabs


Flourless Fudge Cookies

There are some days where you just need to bake or cook or create something tangible with your bare hands. On those days where you feel just plain old shitty, I find one of two things helps: making something in the kitchen, or re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (especially the QWC campsite scenes).

I haven't baked anything since the honey lemon poppyseed cake, but I'm happy to say I've cooked a lot and have at least also made more of an effort to try new savoury recipes. I'm still contemplating sharing those as they seem pretty basic, but whatever, this is my blog and my outlet, right? I'll write what I want, and hopefully what I write helps somebody else too.

This weekend was Father's Day weekend, so I cooked up a bit of a frenzy today. Made dad a lemon Victoria sponge trifle (cream and curd were too runny, so I stuffed everything into a trifle bowl and added more cream and curd), taught dad how to make his own beef burger patties (and hence had a bit of a burger party at home), and this last one was for myself... I made these little fudgy chocolate cookies that really bear absolutely no resemblance to any cookies I've ever made or had. They're little imposters; just pieces of fudge pretending to be cookies and therefore harmless.

They're easy enough to whip up, and I kind of freaking love them, so thought I'd put it up for my own safekeeping (sincerely doubt anybody still reads this blog considering my lack of discipline in updating it).

Flourless Fudge Cookies
Makes 30 large, hand sized cookies
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
  • Sea salt flakes to top (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line 2 or 3 baking tins with parchment paper
  2. Combine the sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a large mixing bowl, then add the egg whites and vanilla extract. Stir to wet the ingredients, don't worry... it really is meant to be that sticky and tough to handle 
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips
  4. Dollop 1 tablespoon sized bits of the batter onto the tins, be sure to space them quite generously as these things will spread. (edit: upon tasting these again, I'd say add some sea salt flakes on top before baking to counter the sweetness) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the tops are glossy and crack a little like in the photos 
  5. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the tins. Don't attempt to move them too early, they stick to the paper and you'll end up leaving half the cookie on the tin. Store in an airtight container

Moroccan meatballs with lemony couscous

I was down with a really bad fever over the weekend, caused by a raw and inflamed throat. I traced it back to having had extremely hot soup, at which point I had scalded my throat and caused this stupid thing. My throat's still quite raw, but not as bad as it was on Friday. So since I was feeling slightly more human today, I thought to make dinner for R and myself as a thank you of sorts for taking care of me over the past few days.

I need to start planning my photography better... especially with a hungry husband around, rushing me to eat and thus taking away my styling time. That's not entirely fair, I've also just really fallen out of practice and have gotten lazy. I assure you though, the recipe may be simple, the photos may be crap, but the food is good!

Moroccan Meatballs with Lemony Couscous
Serves: 2
  • 500g minced lamb (or beef)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped 
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1cm root ginger, grated
  • Pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tin (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 100g couscous
  • 25g butter
  • 175ml chicken stock, boiling
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Crumbled feta (optional)
  1. Combine the minced lamb, onion, half of the garlic, half of the ginger and half of the spices in a medium sized bowl, season lightly and mix with your hands (clean, of course), then form the mix into small meatballs
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, nonstick pan, add the meatballs and cook in batches until they're all nice and browned all around. Remove from the pan and add the remaining crushed garlic, ginger and spices and cook in the oil and meat juices for a while. 
  3. Add the tinned tomato (with the liquid) and chicken stock to the pan and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, then add the meatballs back in and cook for 20 minutes. Season well. 
  4. Place the couscous and butter in a small-medium heatproof bowl, pour the boiling chicken stock and lemon juice then cover the bowl with clingwrap and leave for 10 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork, stir the coriander and feta through and serve with the mealtballs.


Brown Butter Sage Gnocchi with Beef Salami

I went back to work last week, and it's not quite so busy yet but still calls for the usual later evenings. So on Friday night, after a week of craving (quite inexplicably) gnocchi, I decided to cook up this super simple, super easy, super tasty dish for the hubs and myself.

Also, since I've done less and less baking and more and more quick weeknight cooking, I thought I'd start sharing more of those recipes (assuming I figure out my lighting issues for photography at night). So for all you working people out there who want to whip up quick, no fuss dinners for yourself or to impress your significant other with your culinary skills, here's one of many weeknight dinner recipes I aim to share.

Brown Butter Sage Gnocchi with Beef Salami
  • 500g gnocchi 
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped sage (dried or fresh)
  • 3-4 tbsp grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Salami, rough chopped (optional)
  • Flat leaf parsley to garnish (optional, basically I had some in the fridge I didn't want to go bad)
  1. Cook the gnocchi according to the packet's instructions (pop in a pot of boiling, salted water and strain as soon as they come to the top). 
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the sage and let it cook til it begins to brown and the sweet, nutty aroma of browned butter starts to fill your senses (can you tell that I love brown butter?). Toss the cooked gnocchi into the butter, along with two tbsp of the grated parmesan. Season to taste
  3. Optional: Add the salami to the skillet and stir to mix and coat everything in delicious buttery goodness. 
  4. Serve immediately with another generous sprinkling of parmesan, and if you, like me, have leftover parsley you don't want to waste, toss that on too. Why not?