Category Archives: Family Bonding

Colorful Taco’s and Tulips

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend doing all sorts of great stuff.

I spent my weekend with my father who came up to Europe for work. He’s been in and around Scotland, France, Germany, and had a weekend off and spent it with my sister and I. Although I did see him about three weeks ago before he and mom moved to South Africa, it was nice having him over and spending quality time with him.

Dad and his two daughters at the Keukenhof
Dad and his two daughters at the Keukenhof

Because Daddy was here I didn’t really cook as I tend to more experiment in the kitchen rather than make dishes I know I like. So I feared I would make something absolutely disgusting and we’d have to go out anyway. Instead we went out rather than my cookery making us all ill. We had Greek on Friday, Japanese and Indian on Saturday, and McDonald’s on Sunday. It had been a long time since both my sister and I had McDonald’s so it was a nice change.

Question: When you go to restaurant outings do you ever rate the place? I try to always do so on TripAdvisor!

Now that Dad has gone back to being all over Europe I am back to making my own healthy meals.

Spicy Pangasius Taco Bowl

For tonight’s meal I went for a Spicy Pangasius Taco Bowl. Now I know I swore I wouldn’t be eating meat anymore due to my last incident with causing my smoke alarm to go off, but I couldn’t help myself. This meal looked so good online that I had to make it myself. I found the recipe here, but used a different fish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 heaping teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Pangasius filets
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can (150g)  fresh sweet corn kernels 
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 can (150g) black beans
  • 1 cups (250ml) cooked brown rice
  • fresh cilantro, avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, or pico de gallo for topping

Instructions:

  1. Mix the spices together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over both sides of the fish filets. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  2. In a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the fish filets to the pan. Grill the fish on each side for several minutes, checking the middle whether if done or not (fish should be completely white and flake apart easily). Remove fish filets and set aside.

  3. Add corn, red peppers, and onions to the pan with no additional oil. Heat over high heat for several minutes WITHOUT stirring to get a brown/black roasted look on the outside. Repeat for several minutes (stir, wait, stir, wait) until the peppers and onions are tender-crisp. Add the black beans and heat through.

  4. Layer rice, corn/pepper mixture, and fish in a bowl – or mix everything together in the skillet. Top with any of the toppings listed above!

Pangasius Taco Bowl

Just one plate (or bowl) of this can really fill you up! I haven’t eaten much today and yet I was full before I could even finish my plate. Luckily I had made enough to make another bowl and place in the fridge for tomorrow.

If you do not really like fish because of the fishiness, then this is honestly the best dish for you. Both tilapia and pangasius are wonderful fishes to cook as they are not fishy at all! So I really think you all should try this.

On a side note, if you’re ever in the Netherlands between March to May you should try and visit the Keukenhof. If you like flowers or you like to see what is typical of the country you visit then the Keukenhof is a place to attend! It is a giant park filled with tulips of all sorts lined up to make designs when looked upon from above. Truly beautiful.

Rows of Flowers

Tulipa "Caribbean Parrot"
Tulipa “Caribbean Parrot”

The Tulip Covered Cow and II hope you enjoy the recipe and one day come to our beautiful country of the Netherlands!

Eet smakelijk!

 

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Mint Chocolate Cake to Celebrate the Year!

Hello two thousand and fourteen! What great things will come for us as we experience another year in the twenty-first century?

To start the year I thought to make a mint chocolate cake which we brought to my aunt’s house to give as a celebratory dish for 2014. That family has a wonderful sweet tooth which means I can experiment more in the kitchen and let them indulge in my sweet desires without actually eating such creations myself.

This cake is my most basic cake that I make every time we crave for something sweet but not THAT sweet. When you eat sweet things do you prefer to have a super sweet treat or something light but still good enough to hit the craving you lust? I personally cannot stand super sweet. I could never own a candy shop. If I did I would probably be ill all the time.

Mint Chocolate CakeThis was what the cake I made looked like. The recipe for the chocolate cake is super duper easy and very delicious! If you just exclude the mint extract you will find the recipe here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup room temperature water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF or 175ᵒC and grease a 9×5 rectangular loaf pan.

  2. In large bowl, sift all dry ingredients and mix. Then add all wet ingredients and mix well until all dry ingredients have become wet and liquidy.

  3. Pour chocolate cake recipe into prepared pan and place in oven.

  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes. When time is up check if cake is baked through with a toothpick, if not bake for additional ten minutes until cake is thoroughly baked.

  5. Once finished take out from oven and allow to cool. Remove mold from cake and allow cake to cool on plate or wire cooling rack.

  6. When cool, cut cake to make two layers. (I cut the cake just below the “crown” of the cake)

Next make the icing layer for both in between and on top of the cake. This I am not all too keen on, but it did the job.

Thick Mint Icing on Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powder sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix butter and powdered sugar together using a spatula. (Doing this will prevent the sugar to not fly up when later mixed with an electric mixer)

  2. Once the sugar and butter mix has made a very sandy-like texture, add vanilla and mint extract as well as milk and mix with electric mixer.

  3. Continuously add milk until at desired consistency (I prefer it to be able to still stick to the spatula, while being thick enough to spread well as a middle layer, – you can thin the icing out even more to make a glaze on the top layer of the cake)

** This recipe is enough for two of the loaf cakes above, so halve the mint buttercream icing if you’re making it for one cake!

I decided to add some dragees and chocolate chips for a design on top. With those candies I tried to design a firework. The final product ended up looking like this:

Firework Mint Chocolate CakeAfter baking this I then made dinner and attempted to make the blog entry for the meal. I ended up falling asleep for a bit too long of a period of time. Oops.

Luckily I was able to shower up and do my makeup just in time (45 minutes) to head to my aunts place at 10:30pm. We brought the cake and the ingredients to make some strawberry punch. Those ingredients are the following:

1 container of Strawberries, washed and sliced
1 Bottle White Zinfandel
½ a 2L Bottle of Lemonade
½ a 2L bottle of Ginger ale

If you like a sweet and slightly tart punch which looks very classy, this is definitely something for you!

I do not have a photo of the actual punch in the bowl, but I have a small photo of the punch in a glass. Not the best of photos, but you can see what it is like!

Strawberry PunchMom & I at 12:30am

If you make any of the above I hope you enjoy all!

Last Weekend of 2013

It is Monday, the eve before New Year’s Eve. Are you excited for a fabulous 2014? But first, what sort of fun did you have during the last weekend of 2013?

On Saturday I met up with a friend of mine who was working in Paris at the Millennium hotel and later went out with my sister’s boyfriends parents for a friendly game of bowling followed by an interesting meal with a stone grill. Have you ever attended Benihana? A Japanese restaurant where they cook your meal at an arm’s length? Well this restaurant is very similar except for the fact that there is no chef. You cook your meat yourself on this hot grill.

The meat offered here is mostly for people who are on the carnivorous side, so this would be a bad place for vegetarians. Luckily we pesco pollo vegetarians can always find something edible even in the places with little available food.

Festive Bowling Alley
Festive Bowling Alley

Before we started with the meal, the four of us in our family got together with my sisters boyfriends family of three to play ten-pin bowling. The men in our group were amazing at playing. As soon as daddy got a spare, my sister suspected he cheated. (When we were younger we’d do swimming races, play ping pong, go ice skating, etc with dad and he would always do expert moves where we just decided to say he was cheating) this move was no different. Although the winner of our game was my sisters boyfriend. The runner up was his father and in third place was dad. I got a poor 78 points, but got a couple spares and one strike, so that’s good!

Hanna, myself, and Laurens (sisters boyfriend father)
Hanna, myself, and Laurens (sisters boyfriend father)

After that we migrated to dinner in the restaurant of De Oude Tol. Unfortunately the link for the restaurant can only be seen in Dutch, so I hope you have an automatic translator for your own language.

As soon as we sat down at the table, we had these stone grills in front of us emitting wonderful heat. If you’re always cold like I am, this method of cooking is definitely one you should try out.

Stone Grill Cookery
Stone Grill Cookery

A server came to us, took our orders for our beverages of choice, then told us that as a starter we could have a choice of tomato and mushroom soup. I opted out once remembering that most vegetarian soups in the Netherlands have little meat balls in them. How weird is that? Meat balls in a vegetarian soup!

Once those who had soup finished, our main course was brought out. The servers delivered plates of raw meat which we were to cook ourselves.

Cooking our Own Meals

In the photo above you can see on the bottom right corner (my section) where I am cooking a chicken skewer and a small breast of chicken. In the tin folds was the fish I could eat. Once my fish was done (a very quick cook) the remainder of the hot plate was for my sister, her boyfriend, and his mom where they ate burgers and pieces of steak. According to them, the red meat was very delicious.

Not only were we eating meat, we also had the option to go to the salad bar and eat some greens. There were also some lovely crunchy french fries to go with our meal.  One cannot go without produce and a starch can they? Well we all know it is possible, but a meal consisting of only meat is not all that good for you. Unless of course you just so happened to be part animal. Werewolves do not exist. 

We continued talking, cooking, and eating, enjoying each others company. Once everyone became full from their main course, we relocated to the lounge for dessert.

DessertDessert was a mango mousse square on a thin pastry crust, a ball of chocolate ice cream coated in dark chocolate bites, and a dollop of whipped cream with a single strawberry on top. The little red spot was a drop of raspberry syrup to go with the mousse. It was a very light assortment of treats to hit the right spot on the palate. The mango mousse with the raspberry syrup was a particularly wonderful way to end a meal.

A cup of coffee and a cup of tea was had by the four parents of the group while more interesting conversation was had. Finally around 10:30pm we went our separate ways. My sister went with her possibly potential in-laws while myself and my parents went home.

It was a truly wonderful night which I enjoyed greatly. I am sure everyone else agreed.

I hope you all had an equally as enjoyable weekend.

L