Category Archives: Four Portion

Fantastic Dutch Cuisine and Goodies

I am the lucky girl who gets to live in a city with a relatively large Dutch community. This means they have an actual store that caters towards those who miss their homeland as much as I do. This means I get to have all the Dutch goodies in the world.

Like when was the last time you had pepernoten or hagelslag since having left the Netherlands? Are any of you actually Dutch? Well I haven’t had pepernoten since last November when mom and I flew back to Holland while renewing our visa’s for in South Africa. We stocked up on pepernoten, kruidnoten, stroopwafels, Pickwick tea, and Wilhelmina mints and brought a whole bunch home to SA.

Well this November we went to the Dutch bakery in the city. Yes, it isn’t as amazing as going to the Netherlands, but instead we just went to our local store. I felt the great need to introduce my boyfriend to what I call delicious treats from the Netherlands.

I’ve now introduced him to hagelsag and he loves it. He says he prefers the dark chocolate hagelsag over my childhood favourite, the colorful one.

So having just introduced him to the goodies of my country, I thought I should do more.

Growing up my favourite dish was stamppot. Stamppot is best described as a potato and vegetable casserole which is mostly paired with meat.

My favourite was stamppot zuurkool, this being sauerkraut casserole. When I was a kid it was with delicious meat sausages but as I do not eat red meat anymore I’ve altered the recipe a bit.

Ingredients:

  • 10 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup non-dairy sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of sauerkraut, drained
  • 6 rashers of turkey bacon
  • 3 chicken sausages, chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a large pan, boil your peeled and chopped potatoes for at least 20 minutes until potatoes are easily poked with a fork.

  2. Drain water and beat potatoes with an electric mixer or potato masher. Add sour cream, salt, and pepper until potatoes are at desired flavour.

  3. Spoon mashed potatoes into an ovensafe glass container and set aside.

  4. Take three of the rashers of bacon and slice into pieces and begin to cook in an oiled frying pan. As bacon begins to brown, add sauerkraut to the mix and cook until heated through.

  5. Once sauerkraut is cooked, spoon onto potatoes.

  6. In same frying pan, cook last three rashers of bacon and chicken sausages and cook until both are browned.

  7. Once cooked, spread onto sauerkraut and pop dish into the oven to heat stamppot thoroughly.

  8. Remove and enjoy!

The recipe that I followed wasn’t one from an online recipe, but from my own recollection (with the help of my mother through questions) of my favourite dish.

I am so glad I made this as we both loved it so much. He had up to three servings! Completely finished whatever leftovers I was hoping to have! Oh well, he was a happy camper after supper.

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We’ve been indulging in all sorts of Dutch goodies now. We actually feel the need to return to the Dutch bakery soon and getting more pepernoten and hagelslag!

Although stamppot is very Dutch, we also enjoy nasi and pindasaus, this being an Indonesian inspired rice dish with peanut sauce. I also got a package of a nasi seasoning and pindasaus package. Can’t wait to try it!

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How fantastic is this all?

Well we both were happy having had stamppot the other day and we cannot wait to keep experiencing new meals together!

I hope you all give this a try and enjoy it as much as we did!

 

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Ghoulish Peppers say Hello

Hello everyone!

It feels like forever since I’ve written. Though you know what? It probably has been forever!

I’ve just been preoccupied with other things like rating restaurants and such. Which is good, I mean it means I am still writing, however it just means I am not writing and working on my own pride and joy. I’ve been going to restaurants like crazy! All because the new man in my life feels the need to satisfy my belly with good food. Thank heavens that he too is a food enthusiast and finds joy when eating food. Best of all he has a sweet tooth and seems to like the idea of getting fat due to my baked goods! Love it!

Anyway it is my favourite month of the year! The month of Halloween!

Actually I spoke to a woman in line at Starbucks earlier in the month and she said that her five year old daughter said that it was the month of Halloween. She thought it was cute that her daughter said such a thing but  I am pretty sure she thought I was a weirdo for thinking the same thing! Oh well! October rocks!

Now because of this special month I have done all sorts of wonderful things like paint my nails to certain Halloween themes as well as making some Halloween themed suppers!

Spider Nail Art

Tonight was one of those nights!

I made jack-o-lanterns out of bell peppers!

I’ve actually been meaning to buy two pumpkins. One for the beau to do as its been a very long time since having made a jack-o-lantern and the other for myself as I do them annually. Only hard thing about it is carrying them from the grocery store all the way home! Having a car would have made things that much better. Oh well, guess we will be getting our exercise for the day if we buy some pumpkins!

So I ended up making stuffed peppers which I used to strongly dislike when growing up. I remember mom having made rice outside the pepper for my sister and I. Well now I make them inside the pepper!

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I got the recipe from Ceara’s Kitchen, a website on the well-being of living and eating in a happy life. The direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (285g) 7 grain rice
  • 3 cups (750ml) low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups (150g) mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup (150g) red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ (340ml) cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 can kidney beans (275g) rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn kernels (115g), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup (225ml) tomato sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon herbes de provence
  • 3 orange bell peppers, deseeded

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot on high heat, combine rice and broth and cook until rice has absorbed broth and is fully cooked.

  2. In a medium pan, sauté onions and garlic until fragrant. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add all seasoning and mix until combined. Combine rice with vegetables and pour in tomato sauce, beans, and corn. Mix well and set aside.

  3. If you do not have a deep casserole dish or a glass dish wash out your medium pot for the rice and prepare for your bell peppers.

  4. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF or 180ᵒC.

  5. In the casserole dish, pour tomato sauce and combine with garlic powder, cayenne powder, and herbes de provence. Mix well. Grab your bell peppers and cut out little jack-o-lantern faces with a small paring knife

  6. Fill each of the peppers with the rice dish and place in the tomato sauce. Cover casserole dish with tin foil and place in oven to cook for approximately fifty-five minutes.

  7. Once peppers are cooked, remove tin foil and place the pepper lids on top of the stuffed peppers and on broil for five to ten minutes.

  8. Enjoy once browned.

Best of all I had so much leftover rice that I decided to make a burrito! Perfect for breakfast!

Breakfast Burrito

I love being able to utilize the right leftovers for another type of meal!

When I make burritos (or just breakfast wraps) I make a scrambled egg but before scrambling it in the pan, I just let it cook on a the flat surface until it’s a pancake. I then place that flat scrambled egg-like pancake onto a wrap, add some sliced marble cheese (as I can’t just have plain cheddar), and top that with the leftover rice.

Breakfast Burrito Before WrappingBreakfast burrito after

I do the same tortilla wrap and egg thing with normal breakfast wraps, though I add some sort of leafy green, feta cheese, and sriracha sauce. Also all my scrambled egg pancakes are made without milk and with za’atar. Za’atar is an Arabic spice that I was introduced to by my older sister. She married a Leb and due to his family knows so much about Lebanese and Arabic cuisine! Not that I mind! Love it.

My using of the rice is like Bubble and Squeak but better! Well maybe not as I do not refry everything together, but I do reuse it one way or another!

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See! Even this guy agrees! Look at his cute smile!

If any of you give this puppy a go, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Happy eating!

Chicken Tortilla Soup and a Whole Bunch More!

It is a soup sorta day don’t you all think?

Although today wasn’t all that cold. But it still felt like the day to enjoy a Mexican inspired meal.

Today started off with a somewhat cool morning and ended with bright sunshine and warmth. The high of the day was about twenty-two degrees centigrade. Can you believe that tomorrow is said to be twenty-seven?! Yeah, both Friday and Saturday is pretty much bikini weather days! The following day however will end up being thirteen degrees.

Kind of sounds like April in the Netherlands.

Not been to the Netherlands in April? Well around the end of the month right around Koningsdag (King’s Day), we get like three days of really nice and hot weather. It goes up to thirty a lot of the time. Only thing is that the days before that it is like sixteen degrees and the days afterwards it is like nineteen degrees. Both pre and post Koningsdag are rainy days while during it is perfectly wonderful.

That honestly is like it is to be this week. It is even rumoured that we are going to have snow this coming Tuesday!

Speaking of snow and cold, a woman told me something very very interesting today!

The more berries on a tree, the more severe the winter will be!

What tree you may ask? Not a mulberry tree, but a Mountain Ash tree!

Mountain Ash Tree

Apparently the Mountain Ash trees are very much covered right now. So all this talk that it will be an Il Niño type of winter doesn’t seem t actually apply. Or does it? Can one actually tell the forecast for the upcoming winter?

To be or not to be a warm winter, that is the question.

Well back to my soup! Sorry for blabbing on about everything else but the food!

So I made a very simple and quick Chicken Tortilla soup. I’m someone who has made a good few of these soups and thought I would try for this one. I definitely saw why it was a twenty minute soup! I also saw that I am lacking some serious herbs and spices in my kitchen. I mean I have a whole bunch of them but I am missing two of the most critical types of spices!

  • Chilli powder
  • Red pepper flakes

How do I not have these for a soup such as this one is beyond me!

I got the recipe from Nutritionist in the Kitch, the direct link for the recipe can be found here. I added a few more ingredients that I feel really needs to be in every tortilla soup. I also removed a few ingredients.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 breast of chicken (283g), cooked and shredded
  • 1 medium yellow onion (150g), chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper (175g), chopped
  • 1 small jalepeño, sliced and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder
  • 1 can (398ml) stewed diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups (940ml) chicken broth
  • 1 can (398ml) red kidney beans
  • 1 can (199ml) corn
  • 1/3 cup (15g) cilantro, chopped
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 1 lime, quartered and squirted in each bowl (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small tortilla, sliced

Instructions:

  • In a large deep pot, sauté garlic, onion, bell pepper, and jalepeño in olive oil until soft and fragrant.

  • Add stewed tomatoes to vegetables and mix. Add cumin and paprika powder. Mix well before adding chicken broth to the tomato mixture. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for five minutes.

  • Now add shredded chicken, kidney beans, and corn and reduce heat and allow to boil onwards for five minutes.

  • While soup is simmering, in a small frying pan heat oil up and fry tortillas until chip-like in consistency.

  • Stir through cilantro and ladle into individual bowls.

  • Top with three strips of the tortilla chips, top with several cilantro leaves, and top that with three slices of avocado. Now squirt some lime juice into soup if doing that.

  • Enjoy!

I love love love this sort of soup. But I love anything with shredded chicken such as a normal chicken soup, an arepa, an epanada, avocado chicken salad, etc. Love it all.

Anyway, I ended up enjoying the soup with a very cool and almost luminescent looking juice! One of the best things about being in North America are having those frozen Minute Maid juices! Like this one!

Almost Glowing juice
Almost Glowing juice

And to go with this Limeade I am also enjoying this Limoncello scented hand cream. I now live in a very dry part of the world (however Johannesburg was also very dry), and I am in constant need of creaming my hands. I recently went to Bath & Body Works and bought about three hand creams for just $12. So beside every sink in my apartment (and luckily there’s only three) I have one of these cream bottles to soften your hands up! This is the one I have in my personal washroom.

Limoncello Hand cream
Limoncello Hand cream

By the way, this Limoncello hand cream smells A MILLION times better than the actual Limoncello liquour. A couple years ago I tried to make a Limoncello cocktail for my little sister and I and well…. it tasted much worse than medicine generally tastes! Blegh!

And before I am done, have you all heard of the amazing story that archaeologists found the another humanoid creature that may change history as we know it? They found it just outside of Johannesburg in a cave! This creature being part Neanderthal and part cro-magnon! While watching the news they said that these humanoids had long hands like ours, however instead of being straight in length like ours, they were longer and curved to be able to climb! How cool is that!

I am just amazed by all that is discovered in this fantastic world we live in.

Anyway I am so sorry for just going on and on like crazy today.

Guess I had just so much to say! Hope you all have a fabulous rest of the day and enjoy your meal!

Happy eating… and learning!

Super Filling Lentil and Wild Rice bowl

Good evening y’all!

Remember how in my last post how I complained about the cold weather? Well would you believe that its shorts and t-shirt weather again? It went from six degrees on Sunday to what should be twenty-seven degrees come the end of the week!

How crazy is that?

Well I sure don’t mind! Though I will hopefully be getting a pair of boots in the mail from JustFab soon. Even if the weather isn’t as cold as it was the other day, it will be colder soon enough and I can rock my taupe wide-calved heeled boots!

Anyway I had the BEST supper tonight! You know when you have just one plate/bowl and you are instantly full? Well the meal for the evening was one of those meals.

I have a love/hate relationship for those types of meals though. Because they are generally so good that you just want more however your body is so full that you can’t have any! How heart breaking is that? My poor stomach is sobbing. And no it isn’t just gas! It wants to eat more!

I got the recipe from A Family Feast, this is the first time I’ve ever visited this place, but with this recipe I will definitely be coming back for more fabulous recipes! The direct link to this recipe can be found here.

Wild Rice and Lentils with Feta

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (200g) wild rice
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock
  • 1 cup (400g) orange lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups (1000ml) water
  • 4 green onions, both green and whites, sliced
  • 1 medium sized red bell pepper (90g) (I used yellow though), diced
  • 1 medium sized zucchini (115g), cubed
  • ½ cup (50g) feta, crumbled
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan cook wild rice in vegetable stock (or water) as directed on the package.

  2. In a large sauce pan combine lentils, bay leaves, and water and cook until lentils are soft.

  3. Once both rice and lentils are cooked, drain and combine in a large bowl.

  4. Chop green onions, bell pepper, and zucchini and add to the rice and lentil bowl.

  5. Add feta, olive oil, white vinegar, thyme, lemon pepper, and salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Mix well and serve!

Love this! It was the perfect amount of heaven.

I absolutely loved this meal! Oh my god! I will be enjoying this for lunch tomorrow too! Can’t wait! Because I’m already too full to have anymore right now.

Anyway, do any of you hate cross contamination when it comes to chopping boards? Because I majored in international hotel and business management, I know all about chopping boards and like things neat and tidy in my kitchen. Especially when it comes to the chopping boards.

Chopping Boards

I finally got the permanent markers I needed to write on the chopping boards. I’ve been needing those markers for a good long while and only JUST got them. I’m very happy now!

So now I feel organized, content, and my stomach is happy.

I hope you all think about making this dish too and enjoy it as much as I did!

Happy eating

Cold Weather Food means Pie!

I hate the cold. I really do.

In the Netherlands, winter is generally just under ten degrees centigrade and very very wet. Well it isn’t even officially autumn here and it is like a Dutch winter as it is only six degrees and super duper rainy. It is so wet and cold that I actually had to turn up the thermostat from fourteen to nineteen! So if this is the temperature for a Dutch winter… want to know what a Canadian winter is like?

You know it is cold when you actually feel the need to touch your thermostat! Usually I can brave the cold though that wasn’t the story today.

So with this ridiculous cold I thought to make an almost-winter meal!

Plus I bought two boxes of pie crust with two individual rolls of pie crust in them. So I was thinking of using those up rather than freezing them.

What better way to utilize pie crust than to make a pie? Better yet a chicken pot pie!

How wonderful is that?

Chicken Pot Pie Before Baking

This was the first time I have ever made such a thing. I was speaking to dad on the phone this morning and he told me to use seasoning and herbs to make the pot pie flavourful! So I did that and it smelled AMAZING but I have a feeling I used just too many herbs. Oops.

I got the recipe from Pip and Ebby, but the direct link for the recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (50g) carrots, chopped
  • 1 ½ cup (225g) frozen peas
  • 4 asparagus stalks chopped in ¾ inch length
  • 1 yellow onion (150g), chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ cup (190g) chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup (240ml) chicken broth
  • 1 can (284ml) cream of mushroom soup
  • ¼ cup (60ml) almond milk
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 2 rolls of refrigerated pie crust

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF (176ᵒC)

  2. In a large frying pan, combine garlic and vegetables in olive oil at medium heat and fry until soft and fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Add shredded chicken, chicken broth, cream of mushroom soup, milk, and flour and mix until combined.

  4. Mix well adding herbs and seasoning until you’re happy.

  5. Now place one sheet of pie crust in a pie plate and pour chicken mixture into pie crust. Top with second pie crust sheet and seal sides. With a sharp knife, cut slits to allow pie to breathe when cooking.

  6. Place pie plate on a cookie sheet and put in oven for forty minutes or until golden brown.

  7. Remove from oven and enjoy!

I’m happy to have accomplished this for the first time! But I did over season. Too much thyme!

But it was pretty good for a first time!

I mean generally pot pies are under seasoned with a complete lack of flavour but I just slightly over did it! At least for my taste buds. I am sure my father would have loved it! Though he has a love for sauces and seasonings…

Chicken Pot PieHow does one prevent a pot pie from oozing out the sides though? It makes things very very messy looking.

And does a pot pie ever not look messy? You know how when you slice a cake it looks whole? Well do pot pies always look so blegh?

Chicken Pot Pie

I would think there would be a more solid consistency but that wasn’t quite the case. Is that normal? I am sure it is but I am not a fan of mess. And this is surely extremely messy!

I can say that I feel really warm now! Whether it is that the heat has now been turned on or due to the meal, I don’t know, but I feel good!

No longer cold! But speaking of the cold, I was told that there is meant to be snowfall in southern Alberta one of these days. I was also told that just last month there was snowfall down there as well. How crazy is that? It is meant to be colder in central Alberta, not in southern Alberta! Geez.

But clearly I’m in the right area if I haven’t seen the snow as of yet!

Anyway, this is it for me! Hope you all try this out… maybe with less thyme and rosemary! You won’t regret it!

Happy eating!

Keeping things Green and Healthy

I feel healthy this week.

Though after watching Carnival Cravings with Anthony Anderson I am craving a twinkie! Or a chocolate bar…. However I have been making vegetarian meals most of this week! And vegetarian food makes me happy.

Just as I am sure beef is making my parents happy.

You know, as they no longer have their picky non-meat-eating daughter living with them!

So this evening I wanted to make a quiche… well a quiche or a chicken pot pie. But I didn’t feel like thawing my chicken out so quiche it was!

I feel like my quiche lacked some egg though. It was very veggie filled but, but was low on egg.

Spinach, Asparagus, and Feta Quiche prior to Baking

This being odd as I followed the recipe. Which I got from Two Peas & Their Pod, the direct link to the recipe can be found here. If you’ve not visited Two Peas & Their Pod you’d best do so soon! Great site!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 asparagus spears, ends removed and chopped into ¾ an inch
  • ½ cup (285g) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) almond milk
  • ½ cup (50g) feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup (56g) shredded mozzarella
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pie crust

Instructions:

  1. In a medium frying pan sauté asparagus until soft and set aside with thawed spinach.

  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk eggs with milk. Add feta, mozzarella, and salt and pepper until combined.

  3. Remove pie crust from refrigerator and place in a lined 9 x 9 baking dish.

  4. Place vegetables in the pie crust and pour egg mixture over vegetables and place in oven for forty-five minutes. The crust and egg should be golden-brown by then.

  5. Once cooked allow quiche to sit for around five minutes and then enjoy!

I also think I missed out on a bit of salt. Oops.

Asparagus, Spinach, and Feta quiche

It did taste good though. Well quiche tastes fabulous with ketchup so of course it tasted good.

My dad introduced me to ketchup with quiche and now I can’t eat quiche without it. I also love paninis and ketchup. Yum!

So my meal filled me right up and I have enough for breakfast tomorrow too!

I almost feel like sending some quiche over to Angola to treat my dad to some of this puppy. But we all know that wouldn’t make it to him in a quick enough fashion to still be edible. Sorry dad! 

Saved a Slice for Dad

Anyway, if you like quiche for supper (or breakfast) and you want to keep it healthy, go for this beauty and definitely enjoy it!

I would have put some paprika powder and red chili flakes in it if I thought of it, but this was still good!

So please enjoy!

Happy eating!

Perfect Vegetable Soup for any Diet!

As of Monday, my parents decided to get back on the diet train to slim down some. So since then they’ve been nixing carbohydrates, fats, and mostly every beverage out there. With their diet, they end up running out vegetables to enjoy for their meal this means I am keeping an open eye on other meals that will spice up their lives. I’ve found a lovely shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash instead of potato mash with the normal ground beef as one interesting meal.

However for this evening’s meal I thought I’d try to keep a normal dish but keeping it super healthy to follow their diet.

I went for a vegetable soup with a tuna salad sandwich. Except without the bread, but with lettuce. Making it into a wrap.

Vegetable Soup and Tuna Lettuce Wraps

That way mom got to have all her vegetables for her dinner AND her protein. So going into detail abuot their diet, for lunch and dinner they enjoy any veggies and a protein with whatever dressing for their veg.

Meal

Food

Beverage

Breakfast
2 eggs, 2 rashers bacon 1 cup grapefruit juice
Lunch
Any vegetable and protein 1 cup grapefruit juice
Dinner
Any vegetable and protein 1 cup grapefruit juice
Before bed

1 cup tomato juice OR low fat milk

If you do not want to have a cup of grapefruit juice, you can avoid it and have a half a grapefruit instead, though most people find it easier to pour juice out of a carton rather than halve a giant citrus fruit and cut out piece by piece. Also, when you are not drinking the above beverages you will be drinking water.

Anyway, I got the recipe from Cooking Classy, though as for the tuna wrap I didn’t follow a single recipe and just used my imagination and created! The direct link for the soup recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup (75g) yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves (25g) garlic, crushed and chopped
  • ¾ bag (525g) mixed vegetables
  • 1 can (475ml) diced tomatoes, in juices
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups (750ml) vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Chopped parsley as garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a medium pot, heat olive oil on medium heat and sauté onion and garlic until fragrant.

  2. Pour in vegetables and sauté until soft, then when ready pour in can of diced tomatoes and stir until it begins to simmer.

  3. Mix in parsley and thyme as well as salt and pepper before pouring in vegetable broth. Place bay leaf in contents and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

  4. Once ready, remove that single bay leaf and add any additional herbs to perfect the taste before you pour it into your bowl.

  5. Garnish with chopped parsley and enjoy!

Now I didn’t really follow the recipe I linked above, but I did get the idea to make it a tomato based soup from it! Plus I didn’t want to overdo it on vegetables if I already had a bag of pre-packed vegetables!

Pre-Packed Soup Vegetables
Pre-Packed Soup Vegetables

The wraps were literally leaves of lettuce with a tablespoon of tuna salad in the piece of lettuce. I made it with only 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise making it as healthy as possible but still a source of protein for mom!

At any rate, this is a fabulous soup! Dad even had a small bowl-full before he went out for supper with his work colleagues! He thoroughly enjoyed it too.

If you are interested in slimming down and need a good meal for that diet, this may be perfect for you! Just follow the diet I’ve written out above and you’ll be losing kilos as quickly as a day into the diet! Though remember, men lose weight quicker than women. It sucks, but it is a fact.

Anyway, happy eating!

Craving for a Cajun Favourite

It is bloody cold.

I mean it.

Each person feels the cold differently, we are all effected by the lower temperatures in different ways. For me my nose feels it. It gets so incredibly cold and even starts to hurt. I never noticed the sharp pain until today when I noticed the one side of my septum aching. If I still had it pierced I would understand but now? Weird.

Well today was very cold. Winter is officially here. I thought I could rock a thin sweater when I went out with my friend but I was very wrong. I should have worn a wool sweater or something. It is ridiculous how cold I was today!

Cold weather (Don't judge, I know most of you will say this isn't cold)
Cold weather (Don’t judge, I know most of you will say this isn’t cold)

Anyway, it is these types of days that we should enjoy something hot to warm our insides. Heat helps whether it is spice or temperature doesn’t really matter, just as long as it warms you up!

So today I wanted to make a gumbo. Now I had no idea it was going to be such a chilly day, but I am still very happy to have made a gumbo.

Gumbo comes from Louisiana, though it was first made in the mid 1700’s when the African slaves would cook a French soup combined with fish stew. Talk about an ancient food!

When I first was introduced to gumbo I was fifteen and we were invited to a get-together with a couple of daddy’s colleagues. I’m pretty sure the lad who cooked up the gumbo wasn’t even Cajun himself. BUT the meal was spectacular!

It seems that everyone in the oil industry is an expert in something that isn’t originally from their place of origin or passport country. For example dad has a colleague who is Scottish but has a Spanish accent and is far more Venezuelan than he is Scottish. Dad also knows a lad who is Dutch and also is far more Venezuelan than Dutch. So if the non-Cajun whipped up a fantastic gumbo it is pretty normal. At least to us.

Well, I got the recipe from The Housewife in Training Files – LOVE that name! Makes me think of the X-Files but girly, gosh what a nerd I am. The direct link to the recipe can be found here though. I followed mostly everything perfectly except I used fresh okra.

Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo
Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 (130g) green bell peppers, chopped
  • ½ cup (115g) celery, chopped
  • ½ cup (75g) yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 (large) clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (100g) okra, chopped
  • 1 can (410g) diced tomatoes
  • ½ Tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ Tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ Tablespoon dried thyme
  • ½ Tablespoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika powder
  • Small pinch of dried red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups (750ml) chicken broth
  • 2 breasts (566g) of chicken, diced
  • ¾ cup (400g) frozen shrimp, slightly thawed with tails removed
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 1/8 a cup cold water – this makes a slurry

What is a slurry? Well it is a semi-liquid mixture such as cement, manure, or cornstarch and water!

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil at a medium heat and mix in flour to make a roux. Once like a paste and fragrant, turn heat to low and mix in vegetables and stir well until vegetables soften. Add diced tomatoes and herbs and spices and cook for an additional five minutes.

  2. While gumbo is cooking, cook your side dish. This usually is rice, however you can also use quinoa as I’ve done.

  3. Add chicken broth, diced chicken, and frozen shrimp. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for ten minutes or until chicken is cooked. Add slurry and bring to a boil until gumbo has thickened. Serve with your choice of starch.

  4. Enjoy!

So for some weird reason my gumbo was more of a soup consistency than a stew. Kinda annoying if you ask me. But it tasted good. AND it warmed us all up. Though I am back to my cold state. If you guys could feel my nose you would all shiver too! It is like ICE!

Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo

To try and thicken the consistency we mixed our multicolored quinoa into it. That definitely did the trick.

The biggest issue I had making this was definitely my inability to open up the tin can! Do you ever have the issue where you cannot open a can? I definitely did. Dad actually had to run out to the grocery store and buy TWO more can openers because we were both unable to open my can of diced tomatoes. Ridiculous right?

Assortment of Can Openers
Assortment of Can Openers

So now we have an army can opener – does anyone know how to use it? We have a normal one that cuts around the inside of the circumference of the inside of the lid, and there is the can opener that cuts the entire top of the lip off. The first two from the right are the new ones. That last left hand one is the one I couldn’t work. I feel like an idiot.

But I guess we all have our failures in the kitchen. For some people it is forgetting to put flour in brownies, for others it is sprinkling your breakfast with cumin rather than cinnamon (my friends son does this), and then there is me who is unable to open the can with the can opener.

Cold Trees
Cold Trees

Back to the cold, yesterday I learnt that for the winter the gardeners tend to warm the trees up by wrapping them with the long grass. I guess it really does get cold. This 15ᵒC weather is really cold. Everyone says it. So I guess the trees feel it too. These trees are from the western Cape (closer to Capetown) where it is much warmer, so that is when they wrap ’em in long grass. Interesting right?

Alright, I’m done blabbering. I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we have!

Happy eating!

Spicy Chicken and Cilantro Soup

Well, it’s officially cold in South Africa!

Now I know you will say it isn’t cold, but look at it how I see it – over the summer it was rainy and hot and somewhat humid at a high of 40 degrees Celsius, NOW though it is getting dry and the highs are like 20 degrees.

It is kind of like how people who encounter snowy winters think that 20 degrees is hot. But that’s not hot, hot is the peak of summer along the equator. Yet I know that it is hot when you have lived in the cold that comes with winter. Just like this is rather cold after living in a hot summer in Africa.

So with the cold that has decided to show its face in my life, a soup was needed. A soup with kick? Even better!

Peruvian Chicken Cilantro Soup

With my love for Latin American cuisine, this meal showcases Peruvian cuisine. If you end up loving this meal as much as we have you will surely love Peruvians as well!

I got the recipe from the website Nutrients, You Fools, however the direct link to the recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter (unsalted)
  • 1 (75g) small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 (44g) small leek, sliced
  • 1 (90g) green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (25g) small carrot, chopped
  • 1 green serrano chili, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon powdered cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups (1L) warmed chicken broth
  • 4 (520g) small potatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (275g) baby corn, roughly chopped
  • 4 (1.1kg) breasts chicken, cooked and shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (30g) bunch cilantro
  • 1 green serrano chili
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 cups (500mL) warm chicken broth
  • 2 small limes, chopped (optional)
  • 1 green onion, sliced (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, on medium heat melt butter and sauté onion, leek, pepper, carrot and chili peppers for five minutes or until all vegetables are soft.Chopped vegetables

  2. Add grated garlic, cumin, and oregano to vegetables and sauté until fragrant.

  3. Add four cups of broth, potatoes, baby corn, and shredded chicken breast to vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  4. While chicken is cooking, blend cilantro, serrano chili, garlic, and two cups chicken broth in blender. Add mixture to soup and mix.

  5. Once everything is blended through, add additional salt and pepper or adjust additional flavours to mixture if needed.

  6. Serve with chopped lime and green onions. This is optional.

  7. Enjoy!

This soup was fabulous! My body was thoroughly warmed up.

Is anyone else lazy about making broths like I am? If so I made today’s chicken broth with three of these individual packets of chicken seasoning. These packets are pretty amazing and flavoursome!

Roast Chicken Stock IMG_2872

So these serrano chilies, did you know that they are called serenade chilies in English? I didn’t till I Googled serenade chilies!

Anyway, this was a great meal and I’m sure I’ll be sipping at the soup for a few hours to come. May even have some with the housekeeper for lunch tomorrow! It’ll definitely help me with the weather.

Hope you all enjoy it!

Apple and Cinnamon Pastry Roses

I made the best breakfast/dessert ever!

I’ve recently started a new diet which I will get into another day, but with my new diet I make new things which suit me better.

Less sugar and yet more heavenly.

This is the first time in two weeks that I have actually had something legitimately sweet. You know what though? This wasn’t even all that sweet. It was as I said: heavenly.

Pre-Baking

Last night I made a quiche for the first time ever and had so much extra puff pastry, so rather than toss it out as mom would have done, I saved it. I looked up some great desserts and breakfasts which utilized the puff pastry and found something amazing.

I got the recipe from trusty ole Betty Crocker, however the direct link to the recipe can be found here.

As for the ingredients, the recipe says to use 3 medium apples, I however used 5 small apples. Because in Africa there seem to only be 3 types of apples at the grocery stores. Green ones, red ones, and small ones. Where I’m from the green one is usually a Granny Smith apple, the red one is a Red Delicious apple, and the small one? I’m pretty sure it is a small Jonagold but I can’t be too sure.

apple-types

Anyway here are the ingredients:

  • 3 medium (450g) apples
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Flour for sprinkling
  • Puffy pastry dough (leftovers from previous meal work)
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 204ᵒC (400ᵒF) and grease 9 silicone muffin cups. (Silicone is less likely to stick to your cinnamon apple roses)

  2. Wash and core apples and slice thinly, leave on the peel.

  3. In small saucepan, fill with four cups (a thousand mL) water, four tablespoons sugar and two tablespoons lemon juice. Bring water to boil and blanche your sliced apples for three minutes or until soft.

  4. Drain apples from water and allow to dry in paper towel.

  5. Sprinkle flour on work space and roll out dough sheet. Sprinkle four tablespoons sugar and two tablespoons cinnamon on dough and slice with pizza knife. Each line of dough should be an inch wide.

  6. Arrange cooled apples (skin-side down) on cinnamon covered dough and roll up to make a rose.

  7. Bake for twenty-five minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and allow to cool on cooling rack.

  8. Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Pastry Roses
Apple Cinnamon Pastry Rosess

These were fantastic! Absolutely fantastic! Best of all when Daddy came home from running errands he said he didn’t know that cinnamon rolls came like that, I told him that they didn’t, that this was all me! He was very impressed. Then he bit into one and was even more impressed.

Only issue I had with this recipe was that my oven sucks. Does anyone else have trouble reading the dials on their oven? This house I live in has been a company house for the last five years and before that was lived in by the owner. Because of that there is a lot of wear and tear to it. Like on the oven! UGH

Dials rubbed off

Overall great recipe! A must try for each of you and something I’ll have to make again one day!

Happy eating!