171 – Ham hocks and green lentil soup

YUM.

It has been a good weekend. We caught up with a good friend out in the rainy hills of Huia. Snaffled one of her children away for the night to play with ours. Is it just our kid who turns in to a complete dork when they have friends over? Master 7 gets all hysterical and turns his younger brother in to a target for pranks and general fun. We all camped in the lounge – fur children and all – watching animated movies until the lads were all asleep, and the grown ups could sneak off to our bed. This morning we took the boys plus dog up the mountain to have a run around in the rain and then we headed home so I could get dinner started.

I love slow cooking meat on a rainy wintery weekend. The house fills up with warmth and the delicious smells and you know you can relax and do stuff. While dinner was cooking I managed to proofread reports, hang with the kids – and we still had time to head up the hill to visit Nana this afternoon.

Anyway – this recipe was so delicious that I didn’t have time to get a photo – it was eaten up so fast! I got it from bite.co.nz and because our slow cooker is broken I just did it on the stovetop in a big saucepan.

Ingredients;

1.8 kgs Ham hocks
2 Carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
1 Leek, white part only, well washed and finely sliced
1 stick Celery, strings lightly removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into 1cm dice
1 Bay leaf, few sprigs fresh thyme and a few parsley stalks, tied with string
1 Ltr Chicken stock, hot
1 can Chopped tomatoes, 400g, in juice
½ cup Green lentils

Method;

  1. Soak the hock in cold water overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the slow cooker for 20 minutes.
  3. Drain hock and place in a large saucepan. Just cover with fresh cold water. Bring to the boil, drain again and rinse. Set aside.
  4. Place the carrots, leek, celery, herbs and hock in the slow-cooker. Pour in the hot stock and cover with the lid.
  5. Cook on high for 2 hours. After 2 hours, add the tomatoes and lentils. Cook for a further 2 hours.
  6. Remove the hock to a chopping board and when cool enough to handle remove all the skin and bone. Shred the meat and return to the slow-cooker. Remove herbs and taste for seasoning.
  7. Ladle into warm soup bowls and serve with bread and butter.

It was SO yummy – I highly recommend it!

Tomorrow I am starting a 3 day course called ‘Restorative Justice in schools’. I am really looking forward to having three days to LEARN stuff and chat with other Deans. I have no doubt you’ll hear about it!

No photos of soup but here are some of the fam on the mountain;

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129 – hibernating or the nearest possible thing to it

oversized1  oversized2  oversized3

Recently my eldest has become obsessed with the idea of hibernation – following an article that we read about a 90 yr old tortoise that had been given wheels after her front legs were EATEN OFF HER by rats in hibernation. He is bummed, as am I, that humans don’t get to hibernate. That we, as a society, tend to look down upon people who take to their beds for winter – refusing to get up for anything other than food or ablutions. That we throw around labels like ‘lazy’, ‘unmotivated’ or ‘depressed’ simply because someone cannot bear the thought of crawling out of bed on another cold and rainy day for work or school or whatever. Well I think that attitude sucks tbh. Obvs it would be even better if we could slow our heartbeats down to one beat per minute and not require food or the bathroom during this time period as well and really settle in for good snooze (imagine the un-intentional weight loss and gut healing that would happen too without all the food! I’d wake up able to tackle all of the delicious-ness pain free!).

However in the absence of human hibernation, because – you know – I have to work and raise my children and boring responsible shit like that, there are a couple of things I do when the (slightly) colder days of Autumn kick in, to keep myself snuggly and at optimum comfort level no matter where I am.

The first thing is manipulation of the wardrobe. In order to ‘take the duvet with me’ wherever I go, I employ two rules when clothing myself in the morning;

  • Volume
  • Layers

The larger and more shapeless the dress or pants the better – like swimming around in a sheet – and then if you add an oversized cardi or coat it’s just like a walking around in a well dressed bed. If it’s raining I wear my rubber high top chucks. Interesting shoes and jewellery are key so you don’t look like a toddler who escaped daycare. This look is neither sexy or even vaguely figure flattering but it is damned comfortable. I also like to mix up fabrics and textures, wool with silk with leather etc. Very satisfying, very comfortable. I feel like I can cope with almost any weather Mother Nature throws at me and my clothes feel like they are giving me a cuddle all day long – Bliss. I’m really IN to clothes – I don’t know if you’ve picked up on that yet? Really, really in to clothes. Totes shallow and totes ok with that.

Number 2? Food. Comfort food to be exact. Cups of tea with toast. Hot soup. Roast dinners with heaps of roasted root veges. Mince and baked potatoes. Gf Pasta or rice dishes. This is not a diet that is kind to the waistline, but as I am wearing what amounts to a silk muu-muu most days anyway it’s a win win!

Speaking of food, I have been better at being sugar free for the latter part of this week. I had a splitting headache on Thursday to show for it which was to be expected but still sucked. And I have been trolling through old recipes.

Here is my favourite cold-weather breakfast, Brown rice porridge;

  • One cup brown rice
  • 400mls full cream coconut milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tblsp brown sugar or coconut sugar
  1. Cook the rice using the absorption method – bring to the boil in three cups of water, turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes or until most of the water has gone.
  2. Add the coconut milk, sugar and cinnamon and simmer for another 1o minutes

Store in the fridge in a plastic container, this will yield about 6 servings. The sugar doesn’t bother me because I figure it’s such a minimal amount when split 6 ways. I eat it heated up with a banana cut up on it or frozen berries (low fructose) to add some fruit. This brekkie keeps me full until lunchtime! Yum!

Selfie with the giant Tortoise at the Zoo
Selfie with the giant Tortoise at the Zoo