I don’t know how you are personally coping with the current global pandemic but I do know that it is affecting us all differently and to some in ways that others cannot imagine. I will admit that in our little bubble we have been both lucky and unlucky. While my work has been constant (and I have worked through all lockdowns) I sadly cannot say the same for my husband. He has spent days and weeks off work (he is an electrical spotter/dogman) and I have watched how the state of the pandemic has affected him as a person and it's ultimately affected us as a couple and as a family. We have had weeks of little to no income, but we have always had weeks of togetherness as a couple and as a family.
For me, personally, I have had good days and bad days. The ups and downs of dealing with not only my feelings, those of my family and friends, my fellow workers have weighed heavily on my mind and there are days that I haven’t felt like doing anything positive or advantageous to help my day-to-day situation and the tasks I have on hand. Some days I put my feet on the floor when I awake and take off running – other days I don’t even want to get out of bed. I am sure that we have all been feeling the same or something similar over that last 2 years.
Anyway, before I keep rambling on and more importantly - how are you doing? How have you been coping with the world around us. We all know it’s been hard especially for many so if you need help, besides the agencies and the support companies who provide a mammoth amount of good support, please reach out to me and I try will help you to the best of my ability. It’s a very different situation we are all living in at the moment and if the only thing we did was to support each other the best we can that would definitely be a step in the right direction.
Since I was much younger, one of my favourite things I enjoy doing is cooking. In fact, a few years ago I would have classed it as my one and only passion. I have always loved cooking not to mention entertaining family and friends. When my husband and I met and moved into our first house together it became evident that he too enjoyed food and not just eating it. I loved cooking so much I started this blog in 2008 sharing almost daily on what was being cooked at The House of Murray.
Thirteen years later, and yes, we are still cooking, eating and entertaining and I am still persisting with sharing recipes. The last few years have been random and very spasmodic to say the least and to be fair it upsets me with the lack of effort I have spent on this passion. With change of work roles, moving house, emotional and mental health issues and of course now the effects of the recent COVID lockdowns, I have found we have been cooking foods on repeat or recipes that require less effort and occasionally, just occasionally, enjoyed the pleasures of an UFO – Unidentified Frozen Object!
But I have decided all the above needs to change. We cannot keep meandering daily through with the lack of hope and willingness. These are definitely not any of my personality traits – in fact I am the total opposite by nature. So it’s quite obvious really I need to find my mojo, my desire and my passion again. And I need to do it fast before I lose all or what is left of my self-control.
Which brings us to recent times, hubby and I have been discussing us, our life, our lifestyle and more importantly how we are eating and what we are eating. I think our conversations of late have brought back my inspiration and I have finally found my passion again (think it was hiding in the back of the pantry of all places) and have started to enjoy spending time in the kitchen again – creating, experimenting, tasting, eating and of course, now that we can, entertaining.
Many of you who know us well will know that we also menu plan weekly. This is to ensure that we can get home, know what we are cooking, have all the ingredients on hand and get dinner on the table in a timely manner. Does anyone else menu plan? Recently I had popped into Coles (who am I kidding I pop in nearly every day) and happened to pick up their free monthly magazine. This magazine always has really good recipes and I actually get excited when I see a new edition sitting on the counter. This month I have found quite a few recipes that not only would I like to try so we have decided to try a couple of soups into our menu planner especially as it’s definitely soup weather here in Melbourne at the moment.
The one that caught my attention, not just because the picture was so enticing, was Corn Chowder. I love Chowder especially a good seafood chowder. My favourite is definitely cooked at The Drunken Admiral in Hobart, Tasmania. Oh take me back there please? Oops so back to reality I found upon reading the ingredients list for this recipe, to me it sounded that every mouthful would be bursting with all the flavours and elements I enjoy and it did not disappoint at all.
For such a hearty and flavoursome soup it is low fat, gluten free and can be vegetarian/vegan if you choose. This easy and quick Corn Chowder was thick and creamy yet no cream was used. It has a spicy smokiness that comes from using Cajun seasoning. The crunchiness from the remaining corn, the capsicum and the celery.
Oh wow – every mouthful was amazing. Exactly what is needed to be eaten on a cold winter's night or day or anytime really - afterall it is chowder!
(recipe adapted from Coles Magazine July 2021)
💚 sp 9 per serve
💙 sp 0 per serve
💜 sp 0 per serve
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1kilogram frozen corn kernels
2 teaspoons chicken or vegetable stock powder or 2 cups of chicken or vegetable liquid stock (vegan if preferred)
4 cups water (if using stock powder or 2 cups if you use liquid stock)
1 red capsicum, seeded, finely chopped
1 celery stick, cut into 1 cm pieces
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 x 400 gram can black beans, rinsed, drained
freshly ground black pepper
freshly chopped coriander, for garnish
Spray a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 mins or until onion softens.
Add 4 cups (640g) corn kernels, 1 cup (250ml) water and half the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 mins. Cool slightly.
Use a stick blender to carefully blend until almost smooth. Transfer to a heatproof bowl.
Place the saucepan over medium heat. Spray with olive oil spray. Add the capsicum and celery. Cook, stirring, for 3 mins or until tender. Stir in Cajun seasoning.
Add blended corn mixture, remaining stock, remaining corn and 1 cup (250ml) water. Bring to a simmer.
Cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until heated through. Stir in the beans. Season to taste.
Serve garnished with coriander if desired.