Tag Archives: Basil

Spaghetti with Fa(LOVE)el

Falafel is a wonderful word. At least when pronounced as a North American. If you say it a certain way it sounds like the word “love” is in it. And I certainly love falafel.

I decided to make pasta with falafel. Yummy!

Spaghetti with tomato sauce and falafel

There isn’t much for something special going on in this dish but I have really missed making food for myself so I had to make a simple little pasta. Plus I need to get to know the electric stove top. Going from a gas stove to an electric one with the snap of ones fingers is a hard adjustment!

It took far too long to get my water boiling actually! And how does one thoroughly clean their electric stovetop? I looked it up but I don’t know what a stove cleaner is! I guess I should thoroughly look at the cleaning aisle at the grocery store…

So this was honestly just your basic pasta and tomato sauce. Though I much prefer homemade sauce than the store bought stuff so here is my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz (114 g) spaghetti
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup (75g) yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 can (398ml) crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon basil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 falafel balls, halved
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot cook spaghetti as directed on box. Once spaghetti is near al dente, prepare sauce.

  2. In a small frying pan, heat olive oil to sauté garlic and onion until fragrant.

  3. Add can crushed tomatoes to the garlic and mix well. Add herbs and salt to tomato mixture.

  4. Once bubbling, allow to simmer for two minutes or until at desired consistency.

  5. Add halved falafel and cook until warm. Beware that falafel soften to a mush-like consistency if over cooked in sauce.

  6. Plate up and top with pepper.

  7. Enjoy

Like I said, my sauce is very basic. But it is fabulous. I quite enjoyed it. It has been a good while since I’ve had falafel. Now I just need to successfully make it from scratch. I tried once and thought it looked too dry and added water. Big big mistake. Never again.

So yeah, that was my dinner for the evening.

IMG_0438

Sorry it wasn’t all that impressive.

But I can tell you that I like to snap my spaghetti in half when I make a pasta. Less splatter when turning the noodles on the fork and smaller bites! It is perfect!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the generic recipe and if you make it enjoy the meal!

Happy Meatless Monday all!

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Spinach Lasagna with a “Secret” Ingredient

It is finally a traditional Meatless Monday! Usually I skip the whole meatless thing and end up making something completely different. If I recall, most of my Monday dishes tend to be shrimp dishes at that. At least they were when I would only cook for myself in Holland.

Well this week we are starting off with a good and healthy meal! Lasagna!

Simple. Easy. Healthy. What more could one ask for?!

All a girl needs is a meal with garlic and she is happy! (Well at least this girl is.)

And making a tomato sauce for your lasagna smells amazing. Chopping your garlic and onions, sautéing them in olive oil in a pan, getting it all aromatic – yummmm. That’s like the natural perfume of the kitchen. Best. Smell. EVER.

Until you burn your garlic. That doesn’t smell too good.

Anyway, I got the recipe from Relish though I did tweak it ever so slightly. The direct link to the recipe can be found here. This recipe made a great dinner and it was quick to make! Probably all due to the no-bake lasagna noodles!

Pre-Baking
Pre-Baking

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (400g) whole tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups (625g) ricotta cheese
  • 2 packages (750g each) frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • ½ package (20g) fresh arugula
  • 1 egg (or 2 small eggs)
  • 9 no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound (453g) mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup (73g) parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

  1. To prepare sauce, heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent.

  2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and spices/herbs and stir well. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. If sauce becomes too dry, pour water in one of the cans of tomatoes and mix into tomato mixture until a sufficient amount of liquid has been added. (I only poured half a can of water.)

  3. Preheat oven to 375ᵒF (190ᵒC).

  4. Meanwhile as sauce is simmering away, begin to prepare spinach ricotta mixture. Combine ricotta cheese, spinach, arugula, and an egg in a large bowl; mix well.

  5. Coat the bottom of baking dish with a third of the tomato sauce. Cover with 3 noodles without overlapping (break noodles to fit well in dish), half the ricotta mixture, and half the mozzarella slices. Add half remaining sauce, 3 noodles, remaining ricotta mixture and remaining mozzarella. Top with remaining 3 noodles, remaining sauce, and Parmesan cheese.

  6. Place on baking sheet and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for about 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

  7. Serve and enjoy!

Can you guess my secret ingredient? Arugula! Or “rocket” as the Dutch call it! My absolute favourite green leafy vegetable would have to be arugula. It has such a lovely taste that I could add it to any sandwich or wrap.

As for the mozzarella, I ended up using two types of mozza. Now I know all of you have heard of buffalo mozzarella, you know that round moist ball of cheese that is incredibly creamy? Well I also used low-moisture mozzarella, this being a normal square of cheese that just so happens to be mozzarella. I have used this same cheese to make tequeños a few months ago as well. Which reminds me, I need to make those again and show you lot what they are and how to make them.

So, how does one photograph lasagna in the best way? I mean once removing it from the pan you made it in? It comes out so sloppy! Anything within a deep dish comes out in the most unattractive way ever! So how do people photograph lasagna in the best way possible? I could only take a photo from within the dish.

Spinach and Arugula LasagnaHow messy is that! Ugh. Nevertheless the meal was great! And super healthy as there was a minimal amount of salt in it! Low sodium meals is a great way to eventually try and lower your high blood pressure. This being something I had most of my childhood due to my heart issue. Honestly, because of that I cannot handle the taste of super salty dishes anyway. I even buy low sodium soy sauce!

Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy this meal as much as we all have!

Happy eating!

Green Food Made Right

Who loves healthy cuisine which is bright green in color?  I’m sure I can answer that one for you – me!

I am sure there is something wrong with me for liking bright (almost toxic) green foods. But they are just so pretty. To think Aqua is my favourite color with my love for bright green in food!

So for tonight’s meal we went for a simple healthy and bright green pasta sauce on spaghetti. Yum!

Keepin' It Green

I got the recipe from here and followed it to a Tee, but just had to share its amazingness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • 1 cup (45g) fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup (225g) spinach, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. In a small food processor combine avocado, basil, spinach, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper if desired.

  2. Add green sauce to pasta (if you’ve made some) and combine Parmesan cheese to pasta and sauce mixture.

  3. Serve immediately and enjoy!

How easy is that!? And so delicious. And you know what is even better? Before you mix Parmesan cheese to the pasta the sauce almost tastes like guacamole! This I love very much.

Avocado Pasta Sauce

Because I LOVE guacamole. Actually scratch that, I love avocados. Period. I would LOVE to have an avocado tree.

Imagine just walking through the back yard when you’re craving for a full and fleshy avocado for a snack or even a salad and being able to! That does sound heavenly. Shame it takes several years to actually be able to grow avocados on a tree! UGH.

Oh and if you’re wondering, the spaghetti I used was this fantastic gluten free stuff we got from Woolworths.

Gluten Free SpaghettiWhy doesn’t NL have this much gluten free goodness in our grocery stores? Good thing I’m in South Africa now!

Anyway, I hope y’all enjoy this meal as much as my mom and I did!

Eet smakelijk!

P.S. If you ever have a water shortage it would be best to refrain from making pasta in a food processor or at all as most of the tools used to make pasta (and a sauce) need to be rinsed if not washed immediately. Tools such as the strainer, food processor, cheese grater, as well as pans and plates. But with a water shortage this cannot be done.

Big mistake on my part!

But do enjoy your meal!

Panorama of Walk Haven dog Heaven
Panorama of Walk Haven dog Heaven

Colorful Lunch and Dinner for Spring Day

Happy belated Spring Day!

I learnt that yesterday was an official celebrated day in South Africa. A day called Spring Day. We don’t have that in North America and yet we have every other holiday it seems. So why don’t we have a Spring Day?

Well I spent my Spring Day relaxing in the sun. I am starting to get a nice tan, let me tell you! But our housekeeper told me that where she is from people splashed each other with water – think like the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS awareness, except it is to remind the locals that summer is on its way!

Tan lines!

All of yesterday was a pretty lazy day all in all, so I thought I’d do a whole bunch of cooking today. When Lizzie comes I like to make a special lunch for her sometimes so that she can get a great meal. So for today’s lunch I went for a pita bread type sandwich.

There was a perfect amount of colors and a balance of flavours. Perfect!

 Pesto Veggie Pita

I got the recipe from here though I did change it some.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup (7g) packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup (25g) finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • ½  zucchini cut into ½-inch slices
  • ½ squash cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1 medium green sweet peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package Halloumi cheese, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 2 large pita breads
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 cup (47g) shredded romaine lettuce

 

Directions:

  1. For pesto vinaigrette, in a food processor combine basil, olive oil, the Parmesan cheese, nuts, vinegar, and garlic. Cover and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl toss together squash, zucchini, sweet peppers, the olive oil, and oregano. Grill in a pan for 6 minutes or until lightly browned and soft. Meanwhile, lightly brush cheese slices the additional olive oil. Place on grill rack; cover and grill about 2 minutes or until heated through and cheese is golden brown, turning once halfway through grilling.

  3. Place pita breads in toaster to toast some. Remove from oven and fill pita with romaine lettuce, halloumi cheese, and grilled vegetables. Top with homemade pesto vinaigrette. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 Lizzie and I loved it to bits. She loved the flavours and everything. Makes me happy.

Then for dinner, well dinner was fantastic. Another vegetarian dish for the day, but a superb one. Both mom and dad went for seconds even! Everyone loves a good stew, right? Well this one obviously does not have moist meat, but protein packed with lentils and soft cauliflower!

Harissa Lentils and Cauliflower

Food is truly my happiness. I got the recipe from here and also tweaked it some. Some being an understatement. It came out like magic, anyway!

But can anyone tell me what adobo sauce is? I haven’t a clue and cannot find it in South Africa! But luckily I found a recipe for an adobo seasoning.

So this meal is called Harissa. What is Harissa? Lord knows I didn’t know. Only found out when writing this post even! It is a Northern African condiment type sauce. It is made with chilies and peppers and is used with meats usually. To make Harissa you need adobo sauce AND chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. None of which I had. So this is where Tracy’s adobo seasoning helped out like crazy! Though I am pretty sure my meal looked nothing like the recipe I followed!

Harissa with Lentils and CauliflowerHere’s the recipe I followed:

Ingredients:

Harissa

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon Tracy’s Adobo Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (15g) fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons dried cilantro

Lentils

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2 cups (200g) small cauliflower florets
  • ½ cup (100g) red lentils
  • 1 can (400g) stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups (500ml) low-sodium vegetable broth

Directions:

  1. In food processor, pulse garlic until minced. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until harissa is well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low. Add onion and sauté until translucent, 6-7 minutes. Add cauliflower and continue to cook for another 5-6 minutes. Stir in lentils, stewed tomatoes, ¾ cup of the harissa, and 2 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until lentils are tender, 20-24 minutes.

  3. Serve over grains and drizzle with remainder harissa sauce.

  4. Enjoy!

 IMG_5361So I am pretty damn sure that is not what it was meant to look like, BUT you know what? Who cares? It tasted amazing. Even the Harissa without this mysterious adobo sauce! That was quite spectacular actually. 

This could and probably would be made again! Although my father needed some additional salt, it was perfect for both mom and I. AND it was still pretty colorful to go with the Spring Day meal from lunch, right?

I hope you get around to eating one or both of these recipes. They were both delicious so they should be great in your kitchen and on your plate too!

Enjoy your meal everyone!

L

 

 

 

Risotto Made with Pasta?

That’s unheard of, absolutely unheard of! You can’t use pasta to make risotto, can you?

Well it doesn’t make a true risotto per sé, but it does make something similar. Ever heard of orzo? During this year’s spring (Europe and North America’s spring season), I started seeing a bunch of interesting recipes with orzo and went to my favourite health food grocery store AND my normal grocery store to look for it but could never find it. Then last week while walking up and down the aisles at Woolworths I found orzo. Had to get it. Had to experiment like I am known for doing.

So yesterday I made this salad with orzo pasta in it and let’s just say it didn’t turn out as I thought it would. I then thought I’d use it for something else. Something that called for basil. And let me tell you about this basil thing – yesterday mom and I went to our local grocery store Spar to get our groceries and you know what? They didn’t have fresh basil! The thing is, just before the weekend we went to look for basil as well and NADA! So do you know what we did? We went to the garden centre right beside it and bought our own basil plant with a parsley plant.

Basil and Parsley Plants

If you’ve been reading my posts for a while now you’d know I had some herb plants in Holland. Well I missed being able to sit by the basil or chives and just smell their aromatic aromas so we decided to get herbs for here too! Plus with this fresh basil plant I could make the dinner I wanted to make.

This is what I made:

Parmesan Orzo Risotto

It does look quite like risotto, doesn’t it? Shame it isn’t long grain rice but pasta shaped like rice! Sneaky starch!

I got the recipe from here but I did change it up ever so slightly.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (946ml) chicken stock
  • 2 cups (170g) orzo pasta
  • ½ cup (43g) parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup (45g) fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Pour stock into a large pan and bring to boil at medium heat.

  2. Once boiling add dried orzo pasta and cook for approximately nine minutes (or until cooked), remember to stir often as to prevent sticking to pan.

  3. Remove from heat (if water remains do not fret, it will make for creamy dish) and mix in both dried and fresh basil.

  4. Stir in Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes and finish off with salt and pepper.

  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Pretty simple eh? I didn’t even look at the recipe to re-write the directions. My only problem is converting cups into grams or milliliters. My cooking style will ALWAYS be American when it comes to measuring things out. Though I can tell you that working with an oven at Celsius rather than Fahrenheit is much easier. What a contradiction, right?

Well that is how you know that I am an expat.

I measure height of people in feet and inches, small lengths in meters and feet, long lengths in kilometers, weight in kilos, temperature of weather in Celsius, body temperature and fever points in Fahrenheit, and cooking measurements in cups, Tablespoons, and teaspoons. I am a lost cause! Really, I am! I don’t even know how I became like this!

I mean you can tell me you are 1.85 meters in height and all I would know is that is 10 centimeters taller than I am, but I have such poor math skills that I wouldn’t be able to find out that height in feet and inches that I would just nod my head and find that interesting. But google has just informed me that 1.85m is 6’1.

Anyway, enough about how weird I am, back to orzo.

I don’t think I am a fan of it. After cooking it both yesterday and today I’ve decided it is a bit too creamy for my likings. The water makes it as though I’ve put cream into it to make it into cream of chicken soup with rice. Except I just add water and cook. How odd is that?

Parmesan Orzo Risotto

Creamy pasta without the use of cream.

Weird weird weird. 

Well, I won’t be experimenting with orzo for a while. Two dishes in two days is enough to satisfy my experimentation for some time. 

Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this recipe and at least think of it better than we do! 

Eet smakelijk!

Filled Pasta Dish for Summer

I love summer, I truly do. I did however realize that it makes me into one helluva lazy woman. I have put off going to the grocery store for about a week long. When I do go out I end up avoiding the grocery store altogether, but when I stay home I keep getting dressed and ready to leave around twelve, and then I never do because I want to avoid the busyness in the grocery store. How lame am I?!

I’ve even been running out of things to create in my kitchen that I ended up ordering in on what we call Thuisbezorgd (this being an online website to order from). The food wasn’t even all that good! So finally today I went to the grocery store. My body is quite happy having cherry tomatoes, avocado, and bread again.

But for tonight’s dinner I went for something very Summer-festive. I think y’all will like it too!

Parmesan Perline Pasta Dish

I saw a photo online and thought it looked grand so I had to make it myself. There was no recipe so I created one on my own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup (250g) perline purse pasta filled with Parmesan cheese (you can also use ravioli or another filled pasta)
  • ½ cup (50g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ball (125g) mozzarella, chopped
  • 6 leaves basil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Fill a pan with water and set to boil, once boiling cook perline pasta as directed on packages

  2. On a chopping board, halve tomatoes, chop mozzarella, and slice 3 leaves of basil.

  3. Once pasta is cooked, drain and replace in pan. Once cool, add tomatoes, mozza, and basil to pasta and mix.

  4. Sprinkle dried parsley and oregano onto pasta mixture and mix with vinegar and olive oil.

  5. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and serve immediately.

  6. Enjoy!

First, I apologize for neither knowing what perline pasta is in English, nor being able to find it online. If you know what it is, please leave a message to let me know!

The amount of color on this dish makes it the perfect summer meal. Although the actual ingredients and taste make it more summer-worthy than the look of the meal itself.

Parmesan Perline Pasta Dish

Be sure that your pasta is cooled or the mozzarella will harden and take on a more solid-like cheese than the soft almost solid that it is.

Besides the fact that my mozzarella is kind of a rock-hard solid, my meal was fantastic! And so easy! I don’t know about y’all, but I love easy meals to go with the summer fun. Or as it seems to me (my summer laziness).

Oh well, I have food again! Hope you all have had a lovely Canada Day and have a fabulous American Independence Day (AKA, 4th of July) tomorrow!

Buen provecho!

What’s Your Lazy Day Go-To Meal?

Recently I realized that my “lazy day” food tends to fall under the same thing, but it constantly has a twist! Sometimes it has beans in it, sometimes peas, sometimes fresh tomatoes, sometimes ground veggie crumbles, and sometimes just plain ole tomato sauce.

Can you guess what my lazy day food is?

Well it is pasta of course!

And today I added this amazing stuff I saw at my health food store.

Ground "Beef" from the Vegetarian Butchers

It is Ground “Beef” from the Vegetarian Butchers! How amazing is that!? And on that green circular sticker it says that this stuff won the award for the best tasting vegetarian beef in 2012, that is how good this stuff is!

Cooking my Ground "Beef"

I ended up cooking it all but only using a half of that slab of “ground beef”. It was rather fulfilling even with only a half of that used.

Bolognese Sauce on Multicolored Spaghetti

That was my complete meal. I never just warm up a jar of pasta sauce, I always make my own from scratch. If you are also interested in making your own sauce just look below to my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped thinly
  • ½ cup (125g) ground “beef” 
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups (390g) chopped tomato in juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Microwave ground “beef” for  about a minute to allow frozen meat to thaw out. Break in half and place one half in fridge and the other on a frying pan with one tablespoon of olive oil. 

  2. Begin chopping onion and garlic and set aside. Keep eye on meat to keep from burning. Once cooked remove meat from pan and place on plate or in a bowl. 

  3. Add chopped onion and garlic to hot frying pan with second tablespoon of olive oil. Fry until fragrant then add meat back into pan. Cook for about two minutes. Then add tomatoes in juice to meat mixture. 

  4. Add spices to the sauce to add flavour. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer to combine flavours. If sauce becomes too dry add a couple tablespoons of water to mixture. 

  5. Serve immediately over any sort of pasta you’ve cooked and enjoy!

Ground "beef" pasta sauce

This was a fantastic meal and I cannot wait to make something else with this ground “beef” from the Vegetarian Butchers.

Where you’re from do they have meat like this? From a Vegetarische Slagerij? Or do you only get Vegetarian Meat Crumbles from your basic grocery store?

If you are ever in the Netherlands and you happen to be a vegetarian, I do suggest you take a visit to Den Haag and go to the Vegetarische Slager.  Although according to the website (which I just visited) they are located everywhere it would seem. SO you wouldn’t have to only visit The Hague, but you could go pretty much anywhere. Awesome!

Well you definitely should and enjoy it! I know I am!

While my lazy day go-to meal is pasta, I know others tend to go for take-out pizza, McDonald’s, soup, porridge, etc. So what is yours since you now know mine!

Eet smakelijk!

Refining a Favourite Eggplant Meal

Let’s all just be a little lazy and just have ice cream for dinner? God I wish I could! But my body would hate me. Hate me more than it already does for cooking in this heat.

A little tip for someone house hunting – do NOT rent an apartment on the top floor which is without an air conditioning unit! Also take into consideration of where the sun rises and sets. If there is no air conditioning unit and you are on the side of the building where the sun sets, you will most likely die. Lord knows I have today.

Last night I decided to sleep with the window open, thinking that that would cool my room down. It didn’t. I woke up suffocating in the heat. I had plans to leave the apartment today too, but I couldn’t manage to do so because of the heat.

So I stayed in, dying. I realized though that this heat either makes you not want to eat at all or it makes you want to eat easy things. Like junk food.

Well I made something healthy for dinner, though I regret it now after feeling the temperature from the frying pan.

Anyway, before I gave up meat this was one of my favourites. I remember having lived in the Caribbean and being at a fellow Canadians house and enjoying this meal my mom had made. So I decided to try it myself. But with a twist.

Eggplant Parmesan

Do you know what this is? It is a very neatly plated meal of Eggplant Parmesan.

I don’t think anyone can truly succeed in making it look so attractive unless they work at a Michelin star restaurant.

 Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Risotto

Well this was my meal. Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa Risotto. I got the recipe from here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1  eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 1 cup (240ml) dry quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc commonly used)
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup (57g) grated parmesan cheese + extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup (113g) thinly sliced basil + extra for serving

Instructions:

  1. First, saute the eggplant. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add eggplant and saute, stirring occasionally, until browned all over. Add garlic, along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and saute until garlic is fragrant, about 1 more minute. Scoop eggplant into a bowl and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa. Bring quinoa and vegetable stock to a boil in a small pot. Simmer until quinoa is tender and chewy, about 20 minutes. 

  3. In the same saute pan you used for the eggplant, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and chopped tomatoes, reserving a handful for garnish. Simmer until the wine is syrupy, about 3 minutes. Stir in cooked quinoa and eggplant.

  4. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and basil. Serve immediately, with additional chopped tomatoes, parmesan, basil, and salt and pepper.

Eggplant Parmesan Quinoa RisottoThis was different from my normal favourite. I am not too sure if I liked it or not. Probably not if I am unsure, but I would still love to hear if you all liked it!

Oh and the wine I used was a South African one as my entire immediate family is in SA right now.

Albert Heijn Droog Wijn

I’ve been thinking about something totally unrelated to my meal. Why do women either gain or lose weight when heart broken or breaking up with their partners? I remember how both Arnold Schwarzenegger’s and Tiger Woods’ wives lost an incredible amount of weight upon going through the divorce. While when women break up with their partners they too either lose or gain weight. I know I am gaining now.

I am no longer stressing on what I’ve been trying to fix and not succeeding, but still I am gaining. My internal strength has lessened with the giving up of my one-sided relationship. And I am someone who has always been able to say no to chocolate, yet now all I crave is it. What is going on here!?

I need to get back on my healthy train! And fast! Any advice?

Anyway, happy eating!

L

Warm Weather Food and a Restaurant Outing

How do you gear up for summer? Do you buy a bathing suit you know you are going to rock on the beach? Do you go to tanning salons to get that nice bronzed glow or do you buy tanning cream to brown your skin gradually? Or are you like me and make meals which are suitable for those fabulous days when you sit outside in your back patio roasting something on the barbecue?

Well obviously I am all about the last option as I am a food lover. Although I can say that I am guilty for having bought a bathing suit not too long ago. Alas I truly gear up for great weather with even better food.

For this evenings meal I made shish kebobs! Is there not a greater meal to have in the summer?

Tofu Shish-Kabob's with Baked Corn on the Cob and a Side Salad

Although I do not own a barbecue, or have a balcony to actually house a barbecue, I do have a microwave oven which can cook shish kebabs like a barbecue!

Preparing Summer Supper

What can you use to make these delicious things? Well you can use whatever vegetable or meat suits you! I personally made it strictly vegetarian… vegan even!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (150g) button mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 cup (150g) cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 package pre-marinated tofu, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch of salt and paprika powder to taste
  • 1 cob of corn, halved
  • 2 teaspoons margarine

Instructions:

  1. Line cookie sheet with tin foil and preheat oven to 450ᵒF (220ᵒC). Begin to chop vegetables as instructed.

  2. Open package of pre-marinated tofu and cut into appropriate pieces. Insert saté stick (skewer) into tofu and chopped vegetables. Place on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and paprika powder.

  3. Take cob of corn and cut in half. Smear margarine over each half of the cob and place in sheet of tin foil. Sprinkle you choice of herbs or spices and place on cookie sheet.

  4. Place sheet into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. When finished remove from oven and prepare side salad of choice.

  5. Enjoy!

Summer Supper

This was the perfect meal for me. Especially with that tofu! If you haven’t tried pre-marinated tofu before, you should! If you don’t need to buy pre-marinated tofu as you have managed to figure out a way to marinate your own tofu, please teach me!

The tofu I used was from a brand called Taifun which seems to be a German company. The taste I went for was basil infused tofu.

Right after I made and had this divine meal I went back to sipping on some green tea and overdosing on vitamin C.

Somewhere between last nights dinner gathering and this morning, I seem to have contracted some sort of virus which itches my throat to the point where I am trying to withhold a bunch of coughing. I hate colds. However the dinner gathering last night was great!

If you are ever in the Netherlands – the Hague to be exact, you should go to this fabulous restaurant where the meals are a flat rate of €17.50. Here is the meal that I had yesterday:

Amuse: Smoked haddock over a slice of quiche with some spicy tomato sauce
Amuse: Smoked haddock over a slice of quiche with some spicy tomato sauce
Starter: Cream of Asparagus soup which was Silver Serviced (waiter poured it into your bowl)
Starter: Cream of Asparagus soup which was Silver Serviced (waiter poured it into your bowl)

 

Dinner: Baked Hake with Broccoli, Tomatoes, and Olives on a bed of Garlic Mash
Dinner: Baked Hake with Broccoli, Tomatoes, and Olives on a bed of Garlic Mash
Dessert: Selection of Assorted Desserts - Flan, Raspberry Mousse, Profiterole with Vanilla Ice Cream, and a Dollop of Chocolate Mousse
Dessert: Selection of Assorted Desserts – Flan, Raspberry Mousse, Profiterole with Vanilla Ice Cream, and a Dollop of Chocolate Mousse

If that meal does not strike you as delicious then you are crazy! The restaurant is called In Den Ooyevaer. Beware that link may be in Dutch so you may need to translate!

Have you noticed a trend? I seem to be trying to get more tourism in the Netherlands with my most recent posts! But these places that I go to seem to be so great. So please come and visit this country!

If you do not do so, at least try and enjoy my recipe of the evening!

Eet smakelijk!

Basil Chicken, So Good It Should Be Take-Out!

Have you ever gone to an Italian restaurant? Well of course you have as everyone who has not gone to Italy loves Italian food! Actually no, even Italians love their food! So really everyone loves Italian food!

Have you ever tried making an Italian dish which has the aroma and taste of something you could order at an Italian restaurant? That mouth watering balance between basil, tomatoes, and butter?

If you have tried making such a dish, was it easy or rather complex?

Well whether you have tried making an Italian dish or not, I have found the most amazing and simple recipe ever. This is a recipe I may have to make twice this week because it was so good!

Oregano Basil Chicken over Whole Wheat Penne

Now I know that photo doesn’t look quite as attractive, but the next photo you see after I give you the recipe definitely will look spectacularly delicious! The recipe I got was from here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (500 g) pre-sliced chicken
  • 3/4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 300 g of wholewheat penne pasta, cooked

Instructions:

  1. Place a medium frying pan on a stove top burner at medium-high heat, add olive oil and allow to heat up. 

  2. Season pre-sliced chicken with oregano, salt, and pepper and place in frying pan, Cook for eight minutes or until cooked thoroughly. 

  3. Turn heat down to medium and add halved tomatoes and garlic and cook for four minutes. 

  4. Add chopped basil and butter to chicken mix and allow butter to melt.

  5. Turn burner to a low and bring a sauce pan to boil to cook your pasta as directed on the box/package. 

  6. Once al dente, pour pasta into a colander and return penne to pan. Pour olive oil onto pasta to prevent from sticking and then spoon penne into a bowlplate and place chicken over penne. 

  7. Then dig in!

Tomato Basil ChickenI do not know about you, but I think that looks absolutely divine! The entire house smelled of pasta you could get at the restaurant Vapiano.

Then as soon as I gave a plate to mom the first thing I heard from her mouth was “sweet good!”, I asked her what she said and then she changed her statement to “really good!!”

Then when I took my first bite I could definitely agree with her. It both smelled amazing as it was being prepared and it tasted even better than amazing. This is 100% what you would call food heaven. Maybe even two hundred percent!

And this is saying something as I don’t quite like eating meat products. But this is seriously something I will be making again. And probably before the week is over.

There shouldn’t be any ifs, you should make this.

Tomato Basil Chicken on Penne

Buon appetito!