About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, October 30, 2006
Three Strikes, You're Out!
Phew, sometimes kids can be such hard work. My daughter M had her friend A for a sleepover Friday night. The minute A arrived it was off with all the clothes for both of them and dress ups were the order of the day - and the next day. A found M's princess costume from a previous birthday party and wore it for the entire two days, only taking it off to wear M's nightie to sleep.

A has been over before and I was aware that she didn't like sausages, though that prejudice was tossed casually aside at the butchers when she was offered some kabana and greedily gobbled it down, then asked for more. At the supermarket A informed me that she didn't drink cow's milk and needed rice milk instead. It is not unusual for autistic children to either be dairy or wheat free as there are some beliefs that people with autism show signs of improvement by eliminating either or both from the diet, though strictly speaking, I have never seen any hard evidence of the efficacy of this strategy, though some parents do report a marked improvement in their child's behaviours.

Strange, her mum hadn't mentioned that to me at the handover, but still, we wouldn't be able to come back and get some later, so a carton was purchased. After we got home the girls immersed themselves in their dressups and I plotted a kick-arse children's dinner of chicken nuggets and chips, and steak and chips for me.

When I set the food on the table, A said that she didn't like chicken nuggets, which I can tell you is the first time I've ever heard that in my life, no matter, my home made chips were good and A happily chowed down on those. Later on that night, I made chocolate milk for the girls, with the rice milk for A. After a couple of sips, A says she doesn't like rice milk and could she have some regular stuff? Sensing a scam, I rang her mum who said that she really had to have the rice milk and happily drank it at home. On hearing this, A drank her milk down to the last drop!

The next morning it didn't get any better when I made porridge and A told me that she didn't eat porridge. Not wanting to call her mum again I persisted with it telling her that we didn't have anything else to eat, but A was equal to the task and after an exploratory taste declared that she wouldn't eat it. Having told her that there was nothing else for breakfast I could hardly rustle up an alternative, so that was it, but I thought an early lunch with pasta would make things to right. How wrong I was. As soon as I set the pasta carbonara down in front of her, A said she didn't eat pasta!

That made three strikes in a row. I'm out!

When I dropped A off, I chatted to her mum and told her of the culinary failures and she assured me that the food served really were things M wouldn't eat and I instantly felt sorry for her, for she cooks for six kids.

All that was soon behind me when I went home and asked D what she would like for dinner. My mate M from Bendigo in the country was staying the night for we were going fishing the next day. D said she felt like hard shell tacos and so I went to the shops and rounded up the ingredients, mainly fresh vegetables for the salsa and the taco shells. I don't bother with the taco kits because it's so easy to make everything yourself, including the spice mix for the meat and of course it tastes so much better than the kit could ever be.

I'd recently bought chipotle chillies in adobo sauce and was looking for a use. They would be great in the meat, but I can't make it spicy hot because our daughter doesn't eat chillies yet. That left one place for them to go, yep, into the salsa. Broadly speaking there are two sorts of salsa, if you don't count the supermarket ones and I don't, they're damn awful. There are fresh salsas and cooked and they are worlds apart. Fresh salsas taste of summer vegetables and herbs, cooked are earthy and pungent and a great in the winter when tomatoes and the like have lost their zing.

Chipotle chillies are a jalepeno chile that has been dried and smoked. Strictly speaking, chipotles in adobo would be perfect in a cooked salsa, but there is nothing wrong with adapting them into a fresh one. What was interesting was that while the salsa made with chipotles tastes pretty good on its own, it took on a different and very tasty character when layered into the taco shell, a case of the sum being better than the component parts.

Fresh Salsa with Chipotle Chillies

3 large ripe tomatoes, diced small
2 spring (green) onions, finely chopped
1 green capsicum, roasted, peeled and diced small
1/2 small bunch coriander, washed and chopped
2 chipotle chillies in adobo, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Combine everything in a bowl and season. If you think it looks a little watery, that's because you've had too many supermarket salsas, though even in this household it is not unheard of to mix in some supermarket salsa for texture.
  posted at 8:41 am


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