#14 A Simplicious Challenge: REDcycling, cold soup and an enormous beetroot cheesecake

The Simplicious Challenge: I’m cooking all 306 recipes from Sarah Wilson’s book Simplicious, to see the impact it has on the way I buy, cook, consume and waste food. Read the first post here, if you missed it.

Oops – that was a rather long blogging hiatus. I worked my butt off in January and early February until I finished my last uni subject (yippee!); and then promptly ran out of steam and hit the wall over the last month. I’ve been unusually tired and weary, and have felt the need to bunker down. In that busy parenting way, of course, which still requires the busy school-childcare-work run and all hands on deck!

But I’ve still gotta eat, right? So I’ve continued ticking along. It’s getting down to the final few Simplicious recipes now – closer to the ganache tart, but also the ones I can no longer avoid – like the Bone Marrow Bombs, which keep glaring at me from page 245 and which I keep skipping past.

In waste-related news, a commenter alerted me a few months ago to a fantastic initiative called REDcycle, which I’m really excited about. This initiative recycles soft plastics – think food wrappers and plastic bags – and turns them into outdoor furniture and play equipment. Awesome! Obviously, there is still a huge need to reduce the amount of plastic we all consume overall. Over the last few years we have reduced ours significantly, just by nature of eating less processed food, but it wasn’t until I started saving wrappers for the REDcycle initiative that I realised how much we do still use. Just in the last few days I’ve put aside frozen peas packaging, ziplock bags and freezer bags that are too far gone to be re-used, rice cake wrappers, bread bags – there’s heaps. It’s nice to think it’s being re-purposed for something functional.

Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to participate. Most Coles and Woolworths supermarkets have REDcycle bins out the front of the store (these are not well labelled, you may need to ask at the service desk) for easy disposal. You can check the map to see which stores in your local area are participating.

The food:

I made 22 recipes over January and February:

  • The Bright Side Cocktail (p 244): Well that went down quite easily. Albeit I didn’t have fennel seeds, much to my surprise – so I used star anise – and I can’t stand grapefruit juice so I used orange juice instead. I made a double!
  • Baked Mediterranean Summer Sardines (p 157): I have pretty much decided I don’t like sardines. I keep trying them, and I just can’t take to them. So I used mackerel for this dish – it was still delicious, and easy to throw together.
  • Celery and Pink Grapefruit Granita (p 171): A surprising delight! I used raspberries instead of grapefruit, which made a gorgeous pink icy granita – and the kids loved it too.
  • Lemon and Turmeric Tonic-Ade (p 347): I wanted to like this one, but I couldn’t. Like many of the fermented drinks, I found it far too salty. I’m not sure if I’m putting too much salt in, or if they are supposed to be like that?
  • Back to the 70s Lettuce Soup (p 172): I served this chilled in 40 degree weather, and it was delightful – light and minty. I told the kids it was ‘pea soup’ and they loved it too. I topped it with:
  • Caesar Salad Boats (p 245): I used baby cos leaves instead of expensive endive leaves – and this led to the discovery that my 5 year old loves cos lettuce! Who knew…
  • A really fat beet (p 190): I used a couple of big old beetroots in my fridge to make a smaller serving – this made a lovely sweet side dish.
  • Rainbow Rolls (p 124): A quick, easy and very filling lunch – the chia seeds add extra protein!
  • Simplicious Sauerkraut (p 337): I had made the pink version already, but finally got around to making this ‘regular’ version. The extra simple method Sarah uses in this book makes for a much less time-consuming version! I used it to make:
  • Brussels Sprout, Haloumi and Sauerkraut Sliders (p 120): My husband and I gobbled these up a little too quickly… they made a delightful, salty entree. Is there anything haloumi can’t do?
Brussels Sprout, Haloumi and Sauerkraut Sliders from Simplicious

Brussels Sprout, Haloumi and Sauerkraut Sliders from Simplicious

  • Green Smoothie Cake with Lemon Cheese Whip (p 330): I wasn’t sure the kids would go for this obviously green cake (which includes spinach and zucchini!) – but they LOVED it. In fact, they weren’t keen on the cream cheese icing (the bit I thought they would eat) and opted to eat only the green part. Which meant I got double topping. 😉 We served ours with fresh mango and raspberries which was a perfect match.
Green Smoothie Cake with Lemon Cheese Whip from Simplicious

Green Smoothie Cake with Lemon Cheese Whip from Simplicious

  • Bulletproof Coffee Squares (p 351): These were a refreshing delight! I took up Sarah’s suggestion to turn it into a ‘bubble tea’ – yum! My three year old also loved them, luckily they were decaf!
  • Kale Flakes (p 179): Super easy, surprisingly tasty and crunch. These made a great topper for the:
  • 4 Ingredient Green Chook Shred-up (p 133): A delicious throw-together lunch, also using Simplicious Sauerkraut, and some leftover dukkah.
  • Italian ‘Pasta’ Noodles (p 116): This is a variation of the 2-minute desk lunch noodles, using quinoa, zucchini, nomato sauce, chicken and basil. I also added olives. I love these quick ‘desk lunches’, they are so convenient.
  • Beetroot Red Velvet Cheesecake (p 321): This was one of those recipes that had intimidated me, mainly because the recipe was so long it was spread over two pages! But it wasn’t nearly as tricky as it looked! Rich, indulgent, and I loved the candied beetroot on top. Making chocolate shards in 41 degree heat probably wasn’t my smartest idea, however…..!
Beetroot Red Velvet Cheesecake from Simplicious

Beetroot Red Velvet Cheesecake from Simplicious

  • Slow-cooker Apple Cider Chicken (p 236): Yum!! I thoroughly enjoyed this, so much more than I thought I might. The apple cider and tamari give it a beautiful depth of flavour.
  • Cheesecake-Stuffed Peaches with Basil (p 294): I’d been waiting all summer to make these – as I hear the ‘loose-stoned’ peaches only come out towards the end of summer. My biggest mistake was only making two peaches (4 halves), which I shared with my husband. Rookie error. The baked cream cheese filling is lovely.
Cheesecake-Stuffed Peaches with Basil from Simplicious

Cheesecake-Stuffed Peaches with Basil from Simplicious

  • Middle Eastern Groaties; Sweet-Spiced Groaties; and Salted Caramel Groaties (p 27): As it was time to cook up another batch of buckwheat groats, I thought I’d make all three of these flavour bombs at once, and they are now handy in the pantry for making all sorts of things. I used the salted caramel groaties to make:
  • Friday Night Chockito on a Stick (p 286): I should have made these sooner! They are awesome. I had to restrain myself from eating the filling until they were covered in chocolate. I reckon peanut butter would also work really well in place of tahini.
Friday night Chockitos from Simplicious

Friday night Chockitos from Simplicious

263 recipes down, and 43 left. On the menu in March as we come back around into Autumn, are more treats – I’ve still got to make the Tam Tims, snickas ice-cream bars and off the wagon wheels; some more fermenting with Indian Kimchi and kombucha; and those bone marrow bombs aren’t going anywhere…

Read the previous post here – #13 A Simplicious Challenge: A very Simplicious Christmas.

Read the next post here – #15 A Simplicious Challenge: Finding flow through connection.

5 Comments

  1. denisewoo says:

    Thanks for the info on REDcycle. Didn’t know it existed. A great post – really enjoyed thank you. Back I go into the kitchen with my Simplicious cookbook … 🙂

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