Tag Archives: Spicy

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!

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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!

Flu-Fighting and Air Way Opening Soup

The cold and flu season comes at the two worst times of the year: during the winter time and before a long flight overseas. Thing is the flight could be at any time of year and even more than once, it depends on how much you fly.

As it is not winter time in South Africa, I definitely have a long haul flight that I have to take. And you know what? I developed some sniffles earlier in the week. So I thought a soup would be the best way to cure my illness. Plus we all know that Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup has always been the way to cure any cold or flu.

Although a chicken soup is a great way to diminish any trace of a bug in your body, there are other great tools to ensuring you come out perfectly healthy! Epicurious has a list of six ingredients that should be in your flue fighting diet, the link for that is here.

So although I love a good chicken soup to fight any illness, I don’t ever go for the boring old chicken soup you get in a package, I like to spice it up. Literally. Mexican infused soup with a good kick makes it all that much better. I mean you get the chicken to fight the power, and chili to open your airways. Pretty perfect if you ask me!

Chicken and Rice Soup

I got the recipe from Food.com though the direct link to the recipe can be found here. Lately I’ve been thinking about chicken rice soup. Not chicken noodle, but rice. And I remember mom used to make chicken rice soup when my sister and I were kids. I remember hating it though. The faces I would make in our small kitchen in Ciudad Ojeda was pretty ridiculous. Especially with how I just made a chicken and rice soup right now. No idea why I wasn’t fond of the soup before because I quite like it today!

Chicken and Rice soup
Mom’s Plate, with Avo on the Side

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups (1,410ml) chicken stock
  • ½ cup (97.5g) white basmati
  • 1 cup (235ml) water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (200g) tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup (75g) onion, chopped thinly
  • ½ jalepeño, sliced and chopped
  • 1 cup (125g) chicken breast, shredded
  • ¼ cup (59ml) lime juice
  • ½ cup (15g) cilantro, chopped
  • ½ avocado, sliced (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, bring water to boil, once boiling add rice and turn heat to low and allow rice to simmer with lid on pot for 15 minutes.

  2. In a separate pot (a large one), bring chicken stock to boil. Once boiling turn heat down and allow to simmer.

  3. Finally in a small pan, fry chicken with salt and pepper seasoning until brown. Remove from pan once cooked and set aside. In same pan add olive oil and sauté onion and jalepeño for a minute until fragrant. Then remove from heat.

  4. Chicken should be able to be handled now, so shred chicken and set aside.

  5. Begin to fill bowl in these steps: 

    Solids in Soup before Broth
    Solids in Soup before Broth
    1. Rice
    2. Onion/jalepeño mixture
    3. Tomato
    4. Cilantro
    5. Chicken
    6. Chicken stock
    7. Lime juice (only a teaspoon or more if desired)
    8. Avocado
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Chicken and Rice Soup
Chicken and Rice soup with Avo

Chicken and Rice SoupThis was absolutely fantastic! Although I did completely forget about the lime juice, but with cilantro and jalepeño, who needs lime?

I loved this. Truly did. It was the right amount of kick to open up our airways and fight the illness that made its way into my body.

The thing about flying with a cold or flu is that you could be quarantined as a threat for having Ebola. And that isn’t even a lie. If I am flying from South Africa to Europe (which I will be) there is a big threat that anyone with a fever could have Ebola. That is something NO one wants. Especially when going from one continent to the next.

So a flu-fighting soup was the ultimate way to go.

I think this was a success. Though we will only see for sure tomorrow evening when I hop onto the 11 hour airplane to the Netherlands. My poor body will be in pain after sitting for hours on end!

AND we will go from 32C days to 6C days. Sooo cold. Luckily I’ll have my blanket sweater with me and my two pairs of boots. I’ll definitely be needing lots of tea and coffee from Starbucks to survive the cold.

Anyway, this is my meal for the evening and it was incredible! Chicken with pimiento in a soup is my favourite type of soup. If you end up making this I hope you enjoy it as much as my mother and I did.

Happy eating!

Rice Noodles with Shrimp Scampi

Food. Food is a deadly thing. It is amazingly delicious most of the time, but it is so grand that sometimes you end up stuffing your face. And you know what? I stuffed my face today. I really did. I have a food baby in my belly.

So today mom and I had it lazy. Initially we had planned to go down to the neighbourhood clubhouse for dinner (as every Wednesday they have a buffet dinner), but instead we made our own meals at home. And mom didn’t even make her own meal. She popped her “meal box” into the microwave though and ended up with sweet and sour chicken curry. I however made a real meal. Best of all it was my favourite protein ever!

Shrimp.

I love love love shrimp. I’m not too keen on removing the shell from king or queen shrimp, but normal shrimp that has already been deveined and such is perfect for me.

Rice Noodle Shrimp Dish

I got the recipe from The Recipe Club but if you would like to see the recipe directly, here is the link. The original recipe feeds four people while my recipe is perfect for two. Or even just one very hungry mouth (like mine was).

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 brick rice noodles
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon (approx. 3 cloves) garlic, chopped
  • 2/3 cup (205g) frozen shrimp, thawed
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 3 slices of half a lemon
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add salt and vegetable oil to water as you bring you water to boil.

  2. Meanwhile in a small skillet or frying pan combine butter and olive oil until bubbling. Add chopped garlic and cook until aromatic (be careful as garlic burns easily). Add shrimp and cook until pink (approx. 5 minutes), then remove from heat and add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon slices. Add last two ingredients and set aside.

  3. Water should be boiling now. Place your rice noodles into the pot and allow to cook. Noodles should be cooked in just 3 minutes.

  4. Drain noodles and return to pot. Combine shrimp mixture with noodles and toss till all is coated.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

Shrimp with Rice NoodlesOkay, so I didn’t quite combine my shrimp and noodles all that well because rice noodles are a difficult thing to deal with, BUT I tried. And it still came out pretty well! I may have placed a few too much lemon juice in it though. I also could have done more by adding more garlic as I am a garlic lover, though I was quite content with this. I mean an hour later and I am still very very full.

I really do have a food baby.

Anyway, you may have noticed I called the measurement for the rice noodles a brick. The reason I do that is because the noodles come in a rolled up chunk which is very brick-like. Think like your raw egg noodles that you get for ichiban instant noodles. The noodles are shaped in a brick. Well rice noodles are much the same.

This was a delicious and I am glad to have enjoyed a lovely shrimp dish. Shrimp is definitely my favourite shellfish from the shellfish family. It is just a shame my mom doesn’t like them. That is one good thing to look forward to when living alone again. More delicious shrimp dishes!

Oh well! I hope you all enjoyed this recipe and have a wonderful rest of the day!

Lentil Curry Meatless Monday

It has been a very long time since I’ve had a Meatless Monday and you know what? Today I’ve got a Meatless Monday Meal for y’all! Woohoo!

So my dad thinks he should go on a diet and his version of a diet is meat and veg. Well since I do not eat most of the meat he likes I thought I would give him a protein packed vegetarian meal. The best protein packed ingredient that I know he also enjoys would have to be lentils so that is what I made for dinner tonight, something very lentil filled.

I got the recipe from here but I was very dissatisfied by the way it was written. Both the instructions and the grammar were atrocious. Though it could just be that I dislike poor spelling and grammar. So if you are like me and dislike poorly written recipes just read below and you will see my version of the recipe!

Spinach Lentil Curry

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (200g) dried red lentils
  • 5 cups (565g) spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¾ cup (115g) red onion, diced
  • 1 small green chili
  • 2 cups (470ml) water
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • A pinch red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. Sauté the red lentils, spinach, half the garlic, red onion, and green chili in a large pan until spinach has wilted. Then pour water and bouillon cube into pan and allow lentils to cook. When lentils are finally soft drain water (though keep it to adjust consistency of curry).

  2. With a handheld food processor or potato masher mash cooked lentils and vegetables to a semi-purée with chunks. Add salt for more flavour.

  3. Use stock water to make a more curry-like consistency.

  4. In a small frying pan fry the remainder of the garlic, add cumin, mustard, and red pepper flakes. Cook until a smooth hot consistency.

  5. Pour hot garlic-mustard mixture into lentils and mix well.

  6. Serve with rice and/or naan.

Lentil Spinach CurryI’m sure cumin seeds and mustard seeds would have made a better combination for the flavouring but I just used American mustard and cumin powder from a jar. Why buy something you won’t end up using another day?

I do not know if you all know of my background in the hospitality industry, but I had a teacher who would call the handheld food processor a dildo and now to this day I call that device the dildo. Thanks Mr. Young! There are a few items that I sexualize due to my teachers actually. Mr. Young made certain kitchen devices sexual while Mr. C would make the professional coffee machine in the restaurant dirty. I guess it is a good way to remember what to do and how to clean things. Kind of like acronyms to help you remember certain things in school.

Anyway this was my meal for the day and it went pretty well. I am definitely full and believe my parents are too. Lentils definitely rock and keep us well fed!

If you all end up making this I hope you enjoy it too! Curry is always nice for a cold day for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere.

Happy eating!

Potato Overload

Just about a week ago Daddy left for Angola for work. Now I know that may seem like an interesting fact but really it isn’t. Just a normal occurrence for us. BUT although it is a normal occurrence for both mom and I, we try to give him a special home cooked meal before he leaves and for when he comes back.

Tuesday for us was very potato filled.

If you’ve been reading my blogs since I started, you may know that I was raised traveling. That I have lived in four continents now and that I love international cuisine. Well last Tuesday I craved for some of the cuisine I enjoyed when living in the Caribbean. Something everyone in my immediate family seems to love. So Tuesday was a bit of a Trinidadian Tuesday as the main creation was Aloo Pies. Aloo meaning potato in Hindi.

Although I made Aloo Pie, I also made twice baked potatoes for dinner. Told you it was a potato filled Tuesday!

So here I will give you both recipes, though the show stopper is definitely the Aloo Pie.

Ingredients for Aloo Pie:

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into quarters
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chili pepper, sliced and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • ¼ cup (65g) Greek yoghurt
  • 3 cups (384g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • ¾ cup (177g) water (more if needed) to knead dough
  • ¼ cup (50ml) canola oil

Instructions:

  1. Fill a large pot with salted water and boil the potatoes until able to be pierced with a fork (approx. 30 minutes).

  2. Meanwhile as potatoes cook, in a medium sized bowl place flour, baking powder, and salt together and mix. Add canola oil and water and kneed into a dough. Once all is incorporated well, cover and let sit for a minimum of 20 minutes.

  3. Once potatoes are cooked, drain and place back in pot. Mash until somewhat smooth, add Greek yoghurt to further smoothen. Mix with garlic, chili pepper, cumin, and fresh coriander until flavours are blended together well.

  4. In a large frying pan, add ¼ cup canola oil and turn burner to medium heat. Make sure oil is not smoking, that will ensure that oil is too hot for dough.

  5. Roll out dough into ping-pong sized balls and roll out into an oval shape. Place a teaspoon of potato mixture into the centre and close up. Using water coat the edges to confirm dough stays sealed while frying.

  6. Place raw aloo pie into frying pan and cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove from pan and place on a plate covered with paper towel to remove excess grease.

  7. Repeat again until all dough is used. Then enjoy!

Pile of Aloo PiesI ended up making fourteen but I had to taste whether the dough was cooked well with a few (also sharing the cooked pieces with Austin), then when I knew there were proper cooked ones, I shared with Lizzie! Who I must say loved the potato filled fried goodness! Though who wouldn’t?

Cooking Aloo Pies

Then for dinner some hours later I made some more potato goodness.

I pride myself for not being a meat and potatoes type of person, but I sorta was a potato person on Tuesday, I mean with all that starch? Dayum!

I actually found this twice baked potato while I was on Pinterest a few weeks ago. It looked fabulous so when mom brought up something to make for Daddy before he flew out I offered to make twice baked potatoes which she was interested in. Yay Pinterest.

I got the recipe from here, but I have to say as someone who has made a vegan buttermilk before – normal buttermilk is bloody disgusting! Both are equally gross, but what is better? Chunky REAL buttermilk or curdled vegan buttermilk? I’m pretty sure I’d take curdled stuff over chunky blobs of “milk” anyday!

Ingredients:

  • 4 russet potatoes
  • 1 ½ cup (265g) broccoli florets
  • 2 cups (200g) cauliflower, chopped
  • ½ cup (50ml) buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon chives, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (100g) cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Pierce potatoes several times with a fork and place in microwave on potato settings until cooked thoroughly. (You can also bake for an hour at 425ᵒF (218ᵒC)) 

  2. While potatoes are cooking in microwave or oven, in a large sauce pan add broccoli and cauliflower florets and some salted water and cover and cook vegetables until al dente, (about three minutes). Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon and allow to drain. Continue to cook cauliflower until soft (about an additional five minutes). Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

  3. Preheat oven to 400ᵒF (204ᵒC). Remove potatoes from microwave (or oven) and allow to cool some. Cut in half length-wise and remove the potato from skins leaving 1 centimetre of potato near skin.

  4. Place potato “meat” into bowl with cauliflower and mash with potato masher or hand mixer. Add buttermilk and salt to make as smooth as possible. Fold in cheddar cheese and chives.

  5. Spoon in potato and cauliflower mixture into the potato shells and top with broccoli and remaining cheese and place back in oven (for about 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted)

  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Twice Baked PotatoAlthough we ended up eating our dinner around like nine in the evening, it was a wonderful potato dish. Still not as good as the Aloo Pie, but it worked!

Inside of Aloo Pie

I can tell you that the following morning when dad was headed to the airport he ended up having an Aloo Pie for breakfast and then SMSed mom to say he won’t be getting near his colleague anytime soon as there was enough garlic to kill off the vampires.

But you know what? It is all worth killing off vampires for Trinidadian cuisine!

Anyway, that was my Potato-Filled Tuesday! Hope you liked the recipes as much as we did.

Enjoy your meal!

Here’s a Pilaf for Meatless Monday

I had planned to make dinner at three in the afternoon, but you know what happened? I couldn’t for the life of me find the bay leaf! And I needed that bay leaf! I searched high and low for it and came up empty. So instead I had to wait for 5 o’clock to roll around so I could ask mom where she had hidden it.

Well when she came she too could not find the packet of bay leaves. It is as though they have gone missing!

Well luckily dinner is super-fast and easy tonight, with our without the bay leaf! So I just started dinner at five, two hours later than I had hoped. But I can tell you I did make some homemade raita at three-ish. That can hint off the theme for tonight’s meal.

But if you are not so culturally experienced in cuisines, tonight’s theme of a meal comes from India! And you know what? It fits with Meatless Monday!

Indian Pilaf with Raita

I love Indian cuisine. So much that I told my parents the other day that I should fall in love with an Indian so that his mama and I can be in the kitchen together so I can learn proper traditional Indian food. Sounds good does it not? I guess I should go down to Durban for that. Apparently that is where all the Indians are located in South Africa.

Anyway, I got the recipe from here, but pretty much followed the recipe except for the fact that I didn’t have a bay leaf. This fact really annoys me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup (250g) Jasmine rice
  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 cup (170g) frozen assorted vegetables, thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small tomato, chopped small
  • 1 Large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green chili, chopped finely
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • Juice from one lemon
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped

Spices

  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mango, baked
  • ½ teaspoon Garam Masala

Instructions:

  1. Wash and soak rice in water for a half hour, while soaking add all spices excluding cumin and Garam Masala together in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. In a large pan, heat oil and cook cumin until its aromatic (10 seconds)

  3. Add minced garlic, ginger, and green chilies to oil and cumin mix, fry for a minute and then add chopped onion and cook until lightly caramelized.

  4. Once onions are lightly browned, add spices in small bowl to mixture as well as thawed vegetables. Mix and cover and cook for five minutes.

  5. Add chickpeas and chopped tomato to mix and combine.

  6. Now add strained rice and 1 ½ cups water to mixture and gently fold in. Allow mixture to begin to boil at medium heat and cover and turn to simmer. Cook rice for 10-12 minutes or until rice is cooked completely.

  7. Once rice is cooked, add lemon juice and stir lightly. Turn heat off and add Garam Masala to the mix.

  8. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and raita to lessen bite.

  9. Enjoy!

Pretty easy right? Yum yum. But do you know how to make raita? If not here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cucumber, grated
  • 1 cup (250ml) Greek yoghurt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon, Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Instructions:

  1. Grate half a cucumber (with skin on) and press until dry with paper towels. Once drained place in a small bowl.

  2. Add minced garlic and yoghurt and mix thoroughly.

  3. Sprinkle Garam Masala and mix well.

  4. Once ready to serve, sprinkle chili on top and enjoy!

So the recipe for the raita I got from here, but it didn’t have garlic in it and well I LOVE garlic (plus isn’t raita meant to have that spicy kick that garlic makes?) so I added that key ingredient.

If you checked out the original recipe for the pilaf you would have noticed that it called for Mango Powder. If you were anything like me you would have wondered what the hell that was. Well I googled to see how to make it and was pretty bummed to find out it takes five days to create. BUT if you are interested in creating it click here to find the recipe.

Vegan Indian PilafIf you aren’t a fan of spicy I would opt out from adding chili powder to the raita, otherwise follow all that is above. It should make a spectacular meal that you will very much enjoy!

I know I did.

So if you make this meal I hope you do enjoy.

As they say in Hindi:

अपने भोजन का आनंद लें or

Apanē bhōjana kā ānanda lēṁ

Avocado Green Pasta for a Delightful Dinner

On most blogs… or pinterst, Monday is all about being meatless. But I have noticed that my Mondays tend to be all about shrimp. Probably because every other day of the week is all about vegetarian cuisine! Guess my Mondays are my version of opposite day!

So as you may have guessed, today’s meal has something to do with shrimp.

I made a beautiful green pasta with spicy shrimp. As many of you may know, I am obsessed with the color green when it comes to food, so this meal was pretty great. Especially since the green from this meal is from an avocado sauce! Delicious!

I learnt that this meal is Latin and Italian inspired and if you want to read about it click here. That is also where the original recipe is.

Pasta with Avocado Sauce and Spicy Shrimp

Although it was a bit too spicy, it was quite delicious.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz (170g) spaghetti
    Avocado Sauce:
  • 1 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon of plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 slices jalapeño pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    Garlic Shrimp:
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • a pinch dried hot red pepper flakes
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • ½ lb (226g) large shrimp, deveined

Directions:

  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and cook it according to the package directions until al dente, about 8-10 minutes.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, cook the shrimp in a large pan, heat the butter and olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper and cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is tender but not browned.

  3. Increase heat to medium and add shrimp and sauté, turning the shrimp once with tongs, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 2 minutes each side. Set aside.

  4. Make the avocado sauce: Place the avocado in a blender or food processor, add the remaining sauce ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.

  5. When pasta is done cooking, drain and place pasta into a large bowl. Add the avocado sauce to the pasta and toss until pasta is well coated.

  6. Using tongs, add the shrimp to the pasta and pour the garlic sauce over the shrimp. Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve immediately.

Green Pasta with Spicy Shrimp

 

Looks quite attractive right? I love that the sauce is kind of like a carbonara sauce in its thickness. Yet it is very much vegetarian. If I nicks the shrimp this could be a fantastic “meatless Monday” meal.

It is truly wonderful. So I would hope y’all try it as well!

¡Buen provecho! 

Spicy Chicken Soup for a Goodbye Meal

If you were moving, or knew you were not going to be with the people you’ve been with forever, what would your last meal as one be?

I wasn’t sure what ours would be as I tend to prefer vegetarian meals, but I have been craving to make a soup for a while. Especially a chicken tortilla soup. But instead of making a tortilla soup I opted for something a little different.

Chicken Parmesan Soup

Looks a bit like chicken tortilla soup, but this one is Chicken Parmesan soup with wholewheat penne in it! How good does that sound? Or rather how good does that look!?

In my opinion that looks pretty damn good. And it tasted amazing. Perfect amount of kick to open up your airways and keep you wanting more. Yet you can’t handle more as one bowl fills you up completely. Well unless you’re my dad or myself. A half a bowl more was perfect.

I got the recipe from here, but this recipe is made using a slow cooker. If you do not have a slow cooker then following my recipe will work best for you!

Ingredients:

  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ pound (250g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces gemelli or penne pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Chopped fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Oil a large frying pan and fry chicken breasts covered in chili powder.

  2. While chicken breasts are cooking, place a pot on medium heat and add coconut oil to melt, add chopped onion and garlic and allow to brown and become aromatic. 

  3. Once brown, add chopped bell peppers and allow to become soft. Then add spices to blend through with tomato and onion mixture. 

  4. Add chopped basil and have wilt before adding chicken broth to mixture. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes. 

  5. Meanwhile cook penne as per instructions on package. Once al dente, drain and coat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Set aside. 

  6. Once breasts of chicken are cooked thoroughly, allow to cool. When cooled, shred to pieces for soup. 

  7. Next add shredded chicken and Parmesan cheese to soup. 

  8. Before serving, spoon penne pasta into bowl and pour soup over pasta. 

  9. Enjoy!

Chicken Parmesan Soup with PenneEveryone loved this soup a lot. It is the perfect dinner for the last meal in the Netherlands.

If you are wondering – no, I am not moving house. At least not anytime soon. The ones moving are my parents. Oh and dog. Austin is moving with mom and dad to South Africa.

Austin has already departed on his flight this morning (and has arrived safely), while mom and dad will head over to South Africa tomorrow morning. It is slightly sad, but I’ve still got my little sister and my aunt and uncle are always in the country. So I’m hardly alone.

But before my parents go on their trip leaving the country, I’ve gotten some great family portraits.

Austin and I, preparing for our walkDaddy and his DaughtersThe Gang Selfie

Hope you’ve enjoyed the photos and recipe.

Enjoy your meal if you make this recipe!

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!