Tag Archives: Dinner

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!

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One-Meal Bowl with Quinoa, Cilantro, and Chicken

What is your favourite herb? And do you pronounce the H in the word herb or pronounce it as “erb”? I guess because I was raised by my Canadian mother and speaking her English I tend to pronounce the H in herb. But although I speak Canadian English, there are a lot of American things I tend to do in English. Like I spell color without the U yet I spell a lot of other things with an RE at the end. Or I add the U to certain words like “neighbourhood”.

Anyway, what was I asking? Oh yeah, what is your favourite herb?

Mine is definitely cilantro (or coriander). The fresh stuff. Yum yum yum. Though I can tell you that it is difficult to grow. I’ve failed in Holland and in South Africa. Have any of you successfully grown cilantro?

So cilantro did feature in this evenings meal.

I made a fantastic quinoa and chicken bowls. Bowls being a meal combined in a bowl.

One Bowl Meal

I got the recipe from Eat. Drink. Love. – what a lovely name for a blog! The direct link for the recipe can be found here. I didn’t really make the bowl like the photos on Eat. Drink. Love., but it all tasted grand!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (170g) quinoa
  • 2 cups (470ml) chicken broth
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup (15g) cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can (425g) black beans
  • ¼ cup (59ml) water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (40g) cilantro, chopped
  • ¾ cup (115g) green peas
  • 1 large tomato, chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, honey, garlic, and salt and pepper then add chicken breasts to honey lime mixture and allow to marinade for 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile bring a pot of chicken broth to boil. Once boiling, add quinoa to bubbling chicken broth and cover pot. Remember to turn down heat to low to allow quinoa to simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes and do NOT remove lid until quinoa has fully absorbed broth. Then turn heat off.

  3. Mix in ¼ cup of cilantro and 1 ½ tablespoons into the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to quinoa for additional flavour.

  4. In a small frying pan on medium heat, add can of black beans WITH liquid. Mix in spices and mix well. Fill ¼ cup water to can of beans and then place in bean mixture. Turn heat down to low and allow black beans to simmer for 15 minutes.

  5. Then take chicken breasts from marinade and place in a frying pan at medium heat and begin to fry. Watch out that honey from marinade can cause chicken to burn easily.

  6. Once chicken is cooked set aside. Once cooled begin to shred chicken for bowls.

  7. When everything is ready begin setting up your bowls. Fill bowls in following order:

    1. Quinoa
    2. Chopped tomato
    3. Green peas
    4. Chopped cilantro
    5. Black beans
    6. Shredded chicken
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Now you do not need to fill your bowls as I have, but my mom isn’t all too keen on black beans so I wanted to remove the bean flavour from mixing in with the quinoa for her. Just to ensure it isn’t all too black bean-y. And if you want you could also add some dairy to your dish (cheese or sour cream), but I kept it simple.

Quinoa, Tomato, and Green Peas
Quinoa, Tomato, and Green Peas

Although it was simple without cheese or sour cream it came out great! I have to say cilantro is definitely the key ingredient in this masterpiece. It just adds so much flavour to the meal!

Quinoa, Cilantro, and Chicken bowl

God, I love cilantro!

Well this meal turned out fantastically. Mom and I even went for seconds after setting up a plate for our housekeeper for lunch tomorrow. It was wonderful! The beans made the dish more Mexican, but the honey and lime made think of a more Asian meal. Which I find weird, but whatever.

If you end up making this I hope you love it as much as we did!

Happy eating!

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!

Protein Packed Summer-Ready Salad

Everybody likes a little protein. Well actually, everybody needs protein to survive.

The average human needs 10-35% of their daily calories to come from protein. In total when looking at grams per day, a woman needs 46 grams of her daily food intake to be protein. That means each meal you consume should have almost twelve grams of protein in it. That is if you have four meals per day.

I know for myself I get a minimal amount of protein daily. When one does not eat as much meat as your average North American, it means you do not get all too much protein. Same can be said of iron.

Luckily for this evening’s meal I’ve had more than enough to make me big and strong! I sure won’t be revealing my Popeye guns of steel anytime soon, but my body will be somewhat happy with me.

So what’s a good pre-summer meal that is jam packed with protein?

A delicious salad with chickpeas and broccoli of course!

Creamy Broccoli Salad with Feta

Now I first had this salad in the heart of summer last year. It was a lovely day to enjoy a cool salad and a glass of chilled wine with the sun just dipping behind the house. It was also my twenty-first birthday.

(That’s how I remember the last time having eaten it, it has nothing to do with having a freaky memory like Carrie Wells from Unforgettable)

The salad was a hit at my birthday,  so much so that my picky sister even liked it! I realized from that evening that she likes chickpeas a lot, so now I know that it is safe to make meals with chickpeas for her.

The recipe is super simple and ends up with a fantastic salad which I found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek  yoghurt
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 broccoli head, trimmed and finely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 400g can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a medium size bowl whisk together feta, yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, and ground pepper. Set aside.

  2. Chop broccoli until crowns are in small pieces and add to feta mixture.

  3. Add chickpeas and bell peppers and mix until all is coated in creamy feta mixture. 

  4. Eat alone or serve as a side dish.

Broccoi Salad with Creamy Feta Dressing

I had my salad with these star shaped pumpkin nuggets.

I’ll have enough left over that I can enjoy the salad on its own tomorrow as a lunch. Deeeelicious!

This salad is so good that I wanted to go for seconds, but I was just so full that I couldn’t actually go through with eating more.

It really is filling and gives you the protein you need.

You really must try this salad! And if you are interested in knowing more about amounts of protein needed on a daily basis here is where I got my information.

Eet smakelijk!

Sweet Potato Chili without the Chili Powder

Good evening (or afternoon) everyone! Hope you’ve had a lovely day.

It has been super hot here. Although according to yahoo weather (the weather app on my apple devices) it was only 21ᵒC, while right now it is 19ᵒC. If I am honest, that isn’t hot at all. Especially since I was raised almost on the equator so I’ve seen my fair share of hot days.

Today I’ve been cleaning my apartment thoroughly as the last couple of days I’ve been neglecting any cleanly activities. In a couple of hours an old friend is coming over for dinner and to spend the night. So I’ve decided to cook her a homemade meal. Now usually that would be an easy feat except she’s got a whole array of allergies. So I have to make something without cane sugar (which is usually in normal sugar), citrus, cow’s dairy products, and a few other things which I do not cook with often (like coffee or aspartame). Oh and to top that off, she is a vegetarian.

Good thing I cook mostly healthy foods without cow’s dairy products and keep it predominately vegetarian! This should be easy!

Cooking my Meal

So there aren’t any final photos of the meal as it is still simmering away in my cauldron-like pot.

But I can tell you that this is a Sweet Potato and Lentil chili. Totally vegetarian and set for eating.

I got the recipe from here. But like always, there are a few tweaks!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 bell peppers, diced
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups canned lentils
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and bell peppers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, lentils, and spices and salt and pepper.

  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.

  • Serve immediately.

UPDATE: Complete photo of Chili with Parmesan on top
UPDATE: Complete photo of Chili with Parmesan on top

Really straight forward, eh?

Now, can someone tell me what caraway seeds are usually used for? I went to the grocery store looking for cumin but couldn’t find it! Weird right? In Dutch cumin is komijn which is easy, but my grocery store does NOT have it. I’ve looked at this store a few times even and every time I can’t find cumin. What is wrong with you Albert Heijn!

Anyway I’ve tasted this as I have cooked it and it tastes great, even with this said ingredient called caraway. Hopefully my friend also likes it! If not… there’s always take out!

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a wonderful evening!

P.S. here is a picture of the heavy looking sky as the day ends.

Smoggy Den Haag

It looks lighter now, but during the actual day when the sun is high above the city, the sky looks so heavy! Like smog, except we don’t have a lot of pollution here. This heaviness is definitely why it is so hot though!

Hope you aren’t feeling that heavy!

L

Jam Packed Nutritious Curry!

I am so glad that even though my family is carnivorous, they enjoy vegetarian meals. I guess that makes them more omnivorous, but I like deeming any red meat eaters as solely carnivores.

For tonight we all enjoyed a wonderful meal of curry with pumpkin and chickpeas.Pumpkin, Chickpea, and Spinach Curry on a bed of Brown Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 small pumpkin, chopped (I used a store-bought bag of chopped pumpkin)
  • 1 ½ cup Spinach
  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 ½ cans cubed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Handful chopped coriander

Spices:

  • 1 Tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander
  • ½ Tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Place a large pan on the stove at medium-low heat and allow coconut oil to warm up. Once liquid add chopped onion and garlic and cook until translucent and fragrant. Add spices to the onion mixture and allow to become aromatic.

  2. Pour in cubed canned tomatoes and coconut milk and mix well.

  3. Add chopped pumpkin to liquid and allow to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Once pumpkin is soft add chickpeas.

  4. Once warmed up, add spinach and kale to curry and allow to become wilted and serve immediately. Top with fresh coriander and enjoy.

Pumpkin, Chickpea, Kale, and Spinach CurryYou can serve this with a side of bread or on top of some rice. I went for brown basmati rice as that is all we had. This meal was actually made of whatever goods we had in our house. Well mostly that is. My mom had to run to the grocery store as soon as we found out we didn’t have cumin in any of our spice drawers. That was pretty disastrous. Well not really, improvisation is an easy task, but cumin is great for a lot of other dishes too.

As for the use of both kale and spinach – I ran out of spinach so I decided to add more green with some kale. Usually meals contain either one or the other, but what’s wrong with both!?

This meal is my mom’s favourite. Last year when I first made it during my month of making pumpkin obsessed meals, I had to make it two or three times because she loved it so much. This though is the first pumpkin curry of 2014. Not bad eh?

And it is a great way to show my Dutch pride with an orange looking meal. Although it is 100% Indian being a curry and all. Oh well, orange meal to show my Dutch pride during the end of the Olympics and an Indian meal to show my love to my Indian boyfriend? That sounds better.

If you end up making this you can exclude the kale from the mix and use 2-3 cups of spinach instead. Also if pumpkin isn’t on hand, go for butternut squash! Both are equally delicious.

I hope you enjoy your meal! Or rather बॉन एपेतीत as said in Hindu. 

Vegetable Enchiladas for a Colorful Evening

So… there was a fiesta in my oven last night. No seriously, it seemed that I was at a proper Mexican party where a piñata let out enough color to celebrate. It was delightful. Most of all delicious too.

Last night’s meal was a mix of healthy vegetables and salsa to create a perfect enchilada. What a great thing to be eating on a Tuesday which kick starts the warmth to come during the week. It has been quite cold as of late, but yesterday was pretty warm and the remainder of the week will increase in temperature as well. So enchiladas definitely are making week look good.

Fiesta in Oven

Okay, so that doesn’t quite look like a fiesta or a piñata, but when it came out it sure looked impressive.

Colorful

Look at all those beautiful colors! Layers of colors at that. Perfection.

The recipe can be found here:

Ingredients

  • 1 poblano chile, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower (or one small cauliflower head), cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and slivered
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 3 Tablespoons heat-safe olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups homemade or store bought salsa/pico de gallo
  • 2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
  • 5 corn tortillas, teared into appropriate slices as needed
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (sharp cheese works best)
  • sour cream and thinly sliced scallions for garnish, if desired

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 218ᵒC (425ᵒF). Lightly oil a large shallow roasting pan or rimmed cookie sheet.
  2. Place poblanos, red bell peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle oil and sprinkle the cumin and minced garlic over top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. After everything is coated well, spread the vegetables evenly in the pan. Roast for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 175ᵒC (350ᵒF).
  3. Prepare an 8x8x2 or 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir the cilantro into the salsa. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, a handful of spinach, and 1/3 of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, vegetables, spinach, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, salsa, vegetables, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.
  5. Let it sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares. Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions.

Beautiful LayersCheck out those fantastic layers. Does it actually even look like layers to y’all?

Well when it came to plating the meal I opted out from using sour cream and chives. It really was unnecessary for both the reason of adding more fat to the dish as well as the taste is fantastic without it!

You really should try this. It doesn’t plate all too attractively, but it tastes great.

Stacked Vegetable Enchiladas

Plus to make things even better, I took a little bit back to my apartment and decided to make an omelette with the enchilada mixture inside. Seriously that was perfection. I before eight in the morning and I am still full at four.  Usually I would be peckish but I am satisfied. Well maybe not now after writing an entry on food.

So this is definitely a five star meal. If I could have made it gluten free I would have too. But where does one find gluten free tortillas in the country of the Netherlands? If anyone can help me on that one please do!

I really hope you all try this meal out. It is great.

Buen provecho!

Dinner where Indian Curry meets Cajun Shrimp

When you live in a world of expatriates you learn to find normality in multiculturalism. Be it by just living amongst several different people  of different backgrounds or eating multicultural cuisine types, you are more open to the foreign aspect of life. With all my moves, I now live a life of cultural combinations.

So last Sunday when my mom went out for her friend’s birthday gathering it gave both my sister and I a free day to enjoy shellfish such as shrimp. Mom does not like shellfish which means her children do not eat it either, this means when she leaves the house we can enjoy the small things she dislikes. The top of the food pyramid of products which cannot be had when mom is home is shrimp.

Because mom knew she was going out Sunday night she decided to buy chickpeas and spinach knowing full well that those are two items I love to either cook with or just have to eat, so I decided to make a chickpea and spinach curry to go with my shrimp. This is where my multiculturalism comes in. For our Sunday dinner my little sister and I had a chickpea curry over a bed wild rice with a side of spicy Cajun shrimp and a yoghurt dip with lemon and chopped cilantro. Yes, that is a combination of Cajun (from Louisiana) and Indian cuisine.

Luckily the two together tasted delicious although it was very foreign. I mean who combines such things? What a weird confused cuisine type of night.

Chickpea Spinach Curry and Cajun Shrimp

Here is the recipe for the Spinach Chickpea Curry:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth, plus more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoons minced (or grated) fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 15-ounce cans chickpeas
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Combine spinach and your preferred broth in a powerful blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Set spinach puree aside.

2. Heat butter in a medium pan over medium-low heat. As soon as it melts, add the ginger (1/2 teaspoon for a milder ginger flavor) and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn heat to low and add garam masala, cumin, coriander and curry powder. Toast the spices for 3-4 minutes, until they are fragrant and take on a deep color.

3. Add spinach puree to the pan, along with the lemon juice. Cook for about a minute, to bring the flavors together, then add the chickpeas. Continue cooking until the chickpeas are heated through and all of the watery liquid cooks down leaving a puree. Add more broth if you end up needing to make adjustments to the consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Suggestion: serve with rice.

When I made this I used just a bit too much broth making the simmering process for the chickpea spinach curry lengthy, but using half a cup should make the simmering (thickening) process much shorter for a quicker meal.

Below you can see the recipe for the Spicy Cajun Shrimp:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (500 grams) shrimp
  • Shrimp Seasoning:
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne
    pinch cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 (6 oz) container plain yoghurt
  • ½ Tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Naan bread (optional)

Directions:

1. Mix together the above spices. Sprinkle half of shrimp over 1 pound of peeled shrimp.

2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to pan — try to get the spiced side down — and saute 5 minutes until done, flip shrimp around and add remainder of spices and cook further.

3. In the meantime chop cilantro and mix with plain yoghurt and lemon.

3. Toast a few pieces of Naan (such as Kontos brand) and serve with cooked shrimp, a spoonful of plain yogurt, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lemon.

Now I know the combination of both Cajun and Indian seems quite bizarre, but it tasted pretty darn good. Although I know my sister likes chickpeas a lot and thoroughly enjoys shrimp, so that could be why.

If you think about giving this a shot, you may prefer the different parts of the meal separate. I won’t judge!

Spinach Chickpea Curry with Cajun ShrimpBut it does taste wonderful, separate or combined! So give’er a go!

¡Y buen provecho!

Tofu Curry on a bed of Mash

I’ve been living life all wrong and I realized this today. Why eat mashed potatoes when everyone knows they are so filled with calories when you can have a wonderful substitute which is so much better for you and that much more delicious? I realized that potatoes are so not the way to the heart but cauliflower is.

For dinner tonight I’ve made cauliflower mash with a tofu curry. This meal is extremely easy and so good. Keep in mind that I did not even have all the spices needed, so if I find it good how it is then imagine what it would be like with the correct spices! Heaven!

Tofu curry on a bed of Cauliflower Mash

To make this I made the mash first but in reality I could have done it whilst the spices and tofu were combining in the pan. Alas I used the same pan for both the mash and the curry so I did the mash first then washed the pan and made the curry.

In light that one should make the curry before the mash I will provide you with the recipe for the curry first. With that the recipe I followed can be found here, while the recipe for the mashed cauliflower can be found here.

  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • ½ Tablespoon ginger, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • ½ cup green peas
  • ½ cup tofu, cut into small pieces
  • Water as needed
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish

Spices

  • 2 teaspoons Turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika powder

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add onion, garlic, and ginger to oil and sauté until brown.

  2. Once fragrant, add spices and mix well. Then add chopped tomato and green peas and mix well. Next add tofu and mix.

  3. Add enough water to make a gravy and allow to simmer blending flavours together.

  4. As flavours bind make your cauliflower mash.

Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium pan pour water inside (an inch in depth) and add about ½ teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling add cauliflower and allow to steam for five minutes or so.

  2. Once soft, drain cauliflower of water and add milk, butter, and goat cheese to mix. Blend well with stick blender or place into food processor and mix until smooth.

  3. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.

By the time the cauliflower mash is complete your curry should be finished as well. Now you can place enough of the mash in a bowl-plate and make a little hole in the centre to put more of the curry in. Add the curry to the cauliflower mash and enjoy.

Tofu Curry with Peas on a bed of Cauliflower Mash

Want to know a weird and funny fact about the stick blender? When I used to work in the kitchen upon getting my education in the hospitality industry my one teacher would call it a dildo. Because of that whenever I see this tool I have to hold back on calling it such an awful thing. Mr. Young if you’re reading this you’ve changed my view on such a simple thing like the stick blender for life!

Well this meal was completely filling. So much so that I actually couldn’t finish my plate. I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t succeed.

Unable to FinishThat’s when you know it is truly too good that you want to finish but just can’t go through with it.  I would like to make this again, maybe with the correct herbs if that is possible. The cauliflower mash will be a must, that’s for sure.

I hope you also make this. You won’t regret it!

As they say in Hindi, कृपया भोजन का आनंद लीजिये !
(please enjoy your meal)

Turkey Wrap Lunch & Quinoa Fried Rice Dinner

 When you live on your own do you just make one plate of food for the night or do you make a couple servings worth for a couple nights?

Usually I just make a meal for the one night, but last night I went for the big meal. It will probably benefit me to have a good lunch for tomorrow anyway. Although today’s lunch wasn’t all that bad either.

For lunch I made a turkey wrap with a sun dried tomato and corn salad while for dinner I went for quinoa fried “rice”. Both very healthy and very filling, thus being great meals!

For the wrap all you will need is the following:

  • A couple slices of turkey
  • Small head of lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons canned corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 2 whole wheat tortilla wraps

Directions:

  1. Mix tomatoes and corn kernels together with oil and vinegar.

  2. Lay out two whole wheat tortillas and add turkey slices.

  3. Spread chopped head of lettuce over turkey and then spread tomato and corn mixture over that.

  4. Wrap up tortilla and keep tight, then enjoy.

Turkey, Tomato, and Corn wrapsThe recipe above is obviously for two people but I was a hungry monkey so I had both. Skipping breakfast means dealing with a hungry lady. Not smart.

So for dinner I had the not so fried rice, as it was quinoa. The recipe for that one can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned corn
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • ½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa as instructed on the bag (1 cup quinoa; 2 cups water)

  2. Chop all vegetables and set aside. 

  3. In a large frying pan or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry eggs. Flip once and then set aside. Once cool enough cut into thin slices.

  4. In same frying pan or wok heat another tablespoon of olive oil and add garlic and shallots. Cook until translucent. 

  5. Add chopped mushrooms, zucchini, and broccoli to garlic and onion and fry for approximately 4 minutes. 

  6. Next add quinoa, corn, and chopped carrots and cook for another 2 minutes.

  7. Add ginger and soy sauce and toss in with quinoa mixture.

  8. Finally add egg and green onions and serve. 

Quinoa Fried RiceI am aware that this plate looks to be more vegetables than quinoa, but that is because the rest of the quinoa is in a tupperware container in my refrigerator. I didn’t quite proportion my plate that well.

All in all it was a very productive food filled day.

If you end up making either meal I am sure you will enjoy them. I definitely did.

Eet smakelijk!