Sunday, 31 July 2011


I will not let this bad weather stop my fun.

We have a Weber and it had to be used today.

A lunch time barbecue on a Sunday. Yes? Yes!

My husband piled the charcoal into the Weber and before you know it I could smell that barbecue smoky aroma.

I made pap (a very South African traditional porridge served with a tomato based sauce), a salad, braai broodjies (yet another traditional barbecue staple a.k.a. tosti's but made on the Weber) and in less than an hour we had meat on the grill.

I cut open an avocado which turned out to be perfect and as I sliced the juicy red tomatoes I felt gloriously happy.

Summer might be hiding from us but at least it didn't rain while we barbecued!

Here is a Braai broodjies recipe :)

White or Brown Bread - 2 slices per tosti
Sliced Tomatoes
Sliced Onion
Cheese (sliced cheese is more convenient but any cheese that melts easily will do!)
Kitchen string or toothpicks

Spread the margarine on both sides of the sliced bread.
Layer some cheese, onion and tomatoes on the bread.
Feel free to add some sauces too like mayo or chutney.
Place another slice of bread on top and tie together with some kitchen string (to ensure it doesn't fall apart when flipping over on the grill). If, like me, you can't find your kitchen string then just use some toothpicks to hold them together... not ideal but it works.
Finally, place the braai broodjies last on the barbecue, when the coal has cooled down a bit but is still hot enough to give the bread a nice golden colour. Remove when the cheese has melted and before it becomes too brown.


Saturday, 30 July 2011

Late night oreo cookies

It is not my fault.


I did not bring them into the house.

It was my husband, and shame on him for bringing me into Oreo cookie temptation.

Friday, 29 July 2011

DWZI - zomer, echt?

Deze week zag ik... this week I saw.
(inspired by DezeWeekZagIk on the blogs by Daan en Roos)

I was totally absorbed in my mosaics that I didn't really pay as much attention to food as I usually do. I did however notice the fact that we are in the middle of summer and yet it feels like autumn.

Niet echt zomers. Helaas pindakaas.

In order to conjure up that summer feeling I bought strawberries and a Flow vakantieboek.

The strawberries were ripe and sweet and utterly delicious.

The flow magazine was colourful and full of fun ideas. It provided a distraction from the weather all week long. If only a temporary distraction.

Here's hoping for some sunshine this weekend (one can but dream...).

Thursday, 28 July 2011

An Early Dinner at Brasserie &Zo in Houten

Last night I met my friend Marjolein in Houten for an early dinner and a movie.

Houten is just outside Utrecht. It's has a sleepy suburban feeling to it and a really good movie theater. It is called the CineLounge - quite an apt name too since it has big comfy seats and no break in the middle of the movie (yay!). They also have a snack service where you press a button and a waiter comes to your seat and you order your snack right there and then!

We saw Bridesmaids and it was excellent. Really. Something totally different than you would expect. Go and see it!

But I digress, we had our dinner at Brasserie &Zo. It is a two minute walk from the movie theater in Houten.  The brasserie is lovely little restaurant, very tastefully decorated with excellent food.

We were a rushed for time so unfortunately we could not have a three course meal, but decided we had to have a main and a dessert.

I had the Chicken Fillet with potatoes, baby corn and a dragon herb sauce. Marjolein had a beautiful steak with chicory (witlof) and a potato layered "tart". Both dishes were delicious! Beautifully executed and very tasty.

Dessert was the perfect ending to the meal. I had a creme caramel with espresso foam and biscotti, Marjolein had the white chocolate parfait served with a puffed rice and chocolate square... simply divine.

All in all a lovely evening with good food, a good movie and above all really good company.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Cookbooks, oh my cookbooks

Can you ever have enough cookbooks? I think not.

I have quite a collection... so many that I can't keep them all on the bookshelf. Some of them are waiting patiently for me downstairs in a storage container. If it was up to my husband he would make me donate the lot to charity but he knows he won't win that battle. No sir, the cookbooks will stay where they are.

In fact, I anticipate the collection to grow since cookbooks make excellent birthday and Christmas gifts. My collection is far from finished!

I tend to read my cookbooks like fiction or a magazine. I'll just sit and browse through them when I've got spare time (which I don't have much of these days).

While perusing one of my Bill Granger cookbooks I got stuck at a recipe for cheesecake. Now it is in my head and all I can think of is cheesecake. Cheesecake, cheesecake, cheesecake.

To make or not to make, that is the question... 

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Happiness Soup

Now this is one of my all time favourite recipes - happiness soup from Nigella Lawson.

It really makes me happy.

Courgette, lemon, basmati rice. Need I say more?

The recipe is very simple, the most difficult thing was to get hold of the turmeric. Not that it isn't readily available, its just that I didn't know the right word in Dutch (duh!).

Here it's called kurkuma so now you know if ever you went looking for it in the Super de Boer.

Follow the link to the original recipe, or here is a copy if you are too lazy to go to her page:

  • 500g yellow courgettes (2 large)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
  • 100g basmati rice
  • Maldon salt and pepper
Serves: 4-6.
  1. Cut the courgettes - wash them by all means if you want, but don't bother to peel them - into 5mm rings, and then finely dice them. Put them into a pan with the lemon zest and oil, stir to coat, then cook on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they've slightly softened.
  2. Stir in the turmeric and pour in the stock and lemon juice and then drop in the rice. And for the stock here, as usual I make up some bouillon concentrate with water; you could use vegetable stock if you prefer, but I love the mellow goldenness you get from chicken.
  3.  Cook, uncovered, for 10-20 minutes, or just until the courgettes and rice are tender. Taste for seasoning.
  4. Leave to cool slightly before serving so that you eat the soup warm rather than hot.

As always I modified the recipe slightly, I added onions and used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. I grated the courgette instead of dicing them. Also, watch out that you don't add too much rice... it will then become more of a rice dish than a soup but still delicious.

Easy peasy and yummy!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Excellent Greek Food at the Foot of the Dom Tower

I love Utrecht.

To me it always feels vibrant with lots of quaint shops along the Oude Gracht and of course the Dom keeping watch over the city centre.

There are many restaurants and take out places in the city and we are slowly working our way through them all. On Saturday we joined Lisl at the Zelfgemaakte Markt at the Mariaplaats to look at the stalls and to get a feel for what I would need to do if I got selected for the August market.

Afterwards we walked up the road towards the Dom Church and stopped at the best Greek take away food in town. It is a little place called Dimitri Petit / Mikro Sirtaki in Servetstraat. Across the road from them is their main restaurant, Sirtaki, where you can sit and enjoy your food with a glass of wine if you are not in a hurry.

We ordered quite a feast for ourselves, giros, pita's, salads and a spinach pastry. Delicious.
The servings are generous and the quality of the food is really good.
They also have a lot of vegetarian options.

So, if you ever find yourself near the Dom and you're feeling hungry then look no further for some delicious Greek food.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Yogurt pancakes on a Rainy Sunday Morning

It is a rainy, gray and cold Sunday morning.

So I try not to think about the fact that it is the middle of the summer here in the Netherlands... Instead I find some warm clothes and head to the kitchen with this idea in my head to make pancakes for breakfast.

The only problem is that we have no milk in the house.

I do have low fat yogurt left over, which I bought for the chocolate muffins I made earlier in the week. Can you substitute yogurt for milk in a recipe? I think not.

Thus I search the Internet for some recipe ideas and found one that seems simple enough. Here is the link to the recipe from the One Green Nation website.

I eagerly whisk together the ingredients and start making the pancakes.
Observation number 1: They are quite tricky to flip over and I had to add a bit of oil every time before I added a new pancake to the non stick pan;
Observation number 2: They become very brown, very quickly so timing is important;
Observation number 3: They are more like flap jacks than pancakes;
Observation number 4: They taste very "eggy" and salty (Maybe a little bit more sugar next time?).

I served them up with maple syrup and strawberries which turned out to be a fabulous combination and that greatly improved the overall pancake experience.

Will I make this recipe again? Honestly, I am not sure.

If you want to give it a go then here is the recipe copied from One Green Nation:


  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour (slightly more if you like thicker pancakes)
  • 1 1/2 T sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c yogurt (vanilla or plain)
  • 1 t vanilla (leave out if using vanilla yogurt)
  • 1 c fresh or frozen fruit (optional)


1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking soda). Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients.
2. Add wet ingredients into the hole and whisk together wet ingredients, until just barely mixed together, leaving it lumpy.
3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until mixed. Leave it lumpy.
4. Let mixture sit for at least 5 minutes, more if you can. It will almost double in size and bubbles will form from the baking soda reacting with the yogurt (see photo below).
5. Pre-warm a pan on medium-low heat.
6. If you want to add fresh or frozen fruit, let the mixture rise first (step #4), then place the fruit on top of the mixture and carefully fold in the fruit with a spatula. Let it rise a bit longer.
7. Coat the pan with a thin layer of butter.
8. Use a 1/3 c measuring cup to pour pancakes onto pan.
9. Wait to turn pancakes until they are golden in color on the pan side, and on the upper side they form bubbles (see photo below).
10. Turn over the pancakes once the bubbles begin to become solidified. The second side will take less than half the cooking time as the first.
11. Serve with a bit of warmed syrup, jam, compote, or something else that strikes your fancy!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Chocolate Muffins - a Delicious Magazine Slimmed Down Version

I stumbled across a 'slimmed down' chocolate muffin recipe in the delicious magazine and I've been looking for an excuse to try it out. So when my friend Alida stopped by for coffee it seemed like the perfect occasion for some muffins.

There is no oil or butter in the recipe, instead they used beetroot and low fat yogurt.

It was pretty easy to make and quite delicious. The beetroot has a very subtle earthy taste. It requires some effort to grate raw beetroot... use a food processor if you have one and try to grate it as finely as possible. Last but not least, watch out for stains on your hands!

Here is the recipe straight from the pages of the magazine.

3 medium free range eggs
175g soft light brown muscovado sugar
150g fresh beetroot, peeled and finely grated
175g self-raising flour
50g good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
100ml low-fat natural yogurt
1 tbsp vanilla bean past (I used vanilla essence)
100g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Line a muffin tray with paper cases
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together for 10 minutes until the batter is light and fluffy and has expanded in volume. Whisk in the grated beetroot.
Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder, then carefully fold into the mixture. Fold in the yogurt, vanilla paste and chocolate.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cases until they are three quarters full, then bake for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the tin. When they are cool enough to touch, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Obsessed, me?

So I've mentioned before that I am simply obsessed with my mosaics... and that it is a good thing. If you are wondering what I've been up to then check out my other blog, pieces of Elma.

And please hold thumbs that I get chosen for the zelfgemaakte markt in August!!

P.S. I made some low fat chocolate and beetroot muffins... will post the recipe tomorrow :)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Lovely Rosita

Have you ever heard of a country called Suriname?

Before moving to the Netherlands I didn't know it existed, nor that it was located in South America. (Would you have guessed that?)

We have a lovely little Suriname take away / sit down restaurant around the corned from us called Rosita. It has 4 tables but most people tend to get take aways rather than sit down. That was our intention too, but it started raining and we thought we might as well sit and enjoy the colourful ambiance.

They have all kinds of interesting dishes on the menu and lots of vegetarian options too. We ordered "roti" dishes and it was a lot of food. I had a roast chicken roti which was served with spicy potatoes and green vegetables. It was excellent. Really rustic and hearty food.

Stella happily chewed away on a piece of roti and Heidi had some chicken sate (her favourite these days). My dad would love this place and I can't wait for him to come visit.

Rosita you've definitely won me over.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Ikea Rye Bread

I've never actually baked a bread. It's just not something that I've tried before.

My friend Yolande told me about the Ikea rye bread which she often bakes so I thought I should give it a go. The bread mix comes in a box and all you have to do is add water! Surely this is something I could do...

I followed the instructions to the letter - add water, shake for 45 seconds, pour into bread tin, let it rise for 45 minutes and then bake at 200 degrees Celsius for an hour.

It came out o.k. Unfortunately it had some dry spots here and there (guess I didn't shake the mix well enough). Next time I will shake even more vigorously and add 10 minutes to the baking time.

The bread was served with a simple lentil vegetable soup. At least the soup went down very well on this cold and rainy 'summer' evening.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Jamie Oliver Magazine!!

I just got my hands on the Jamie magazine and I like it!

It is the Dutch version, of course, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I bought the barbecue edition and it is filled with lots of good recipes and also quite a few vegetarian recipes (gold star for you Jamie!).

I have been a Jamie Oliver fan for a very long time and he never ceases to amaze me. That man is just filled with good ideas. I love the fact that he is always travelling around, learning about food across the globe. Love him or hate him, to me he is an inspiration.

Happy days everyone :)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Little boxes, little boxes

While chasing Heidi around the Jumbo, our supermarket, we stumbled across some ready made meals that looked good. In fact it is the packaging that attracted me to it first. Cute boxes, bright colours and the food itself looked fresh and ready to be eaten.

It is sold as a 'system' of sorts. You can mix and match a starter, main and dessert or just buy them all separately.

I had a caprese salad, chicken sate with peanut sauce, veggies and rice and for dessert a chocolate mousse. It was delicious and I was impressed by the overall quality. We had a great dinner in a matter of minutes. Perfect for a Saturday night.

Now what on earth am I going to make for dinner tonight?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Restaurant Vandaag

Continuing with the theme of not eating at home... we went to Restaurant Vandaag. It is in a building called the Food Spot which is visible as you drive on the A2 towards Utrecht. (I think you take Exit 6 but I am not sure and I am too lazy to look it up right now, either way you need a car to get to this restaurant)

It is actually one of our favourite places to eat. Not just because it is all you can eat buffet style (yes, I am a glutton and proud of it) but also because it has a great play area for kids with a babysitter.

Heidi loves it there - they have a special food section for kids and the play area makes it a winner.

The concept is that you pay your bill when you walk into the restaurant and all food and non alcoholic drinks are included in that price. You can either pay for two or three hours of eating pleasure. If you want alcohol you buy that additionally by paying an amount of your choice which is put on a swipe card. Any unused credit is returned when you leave the restaurant.

The quality of the food is really good and they have something for everyone. My favourite though is the dessert area. They have the most fabulous desserts. Little cakes made up beautifully, delicious creme brulee, crepes with caramel sauce, and more.

Unfortunately the restaurant seems to have been discovered by the masses and it is very busy there these days. The best thing is to book a table, but we never do. We always show up and they always have a spot for the four of us. I warn you though, do not go there on a weekend. It is just too busy with large groups of people celebrating birthdays and what not.

I know a buffet style restaurant isn't for everyone. But as long as I enjoy the food and my children are happy then I say hurray for Restaurant Vandaag!

Friday, 15 July 2011

To cook or not to cook...

I've not been in my kitchen much this week.

Somehow I just haven't felt that food inspiration, that feeling, the excitement I usually have when cooking.

Even the dishwasher hardly worked this week, only receiving a breakfast plate here and a glass there.

I actually know what caused this slump. I have started making mosaics and when I do that it consumes my every thought and action. Nothing else matters.

But don't worry, it won't last long.

Please be patient with me... and send some happy food thoughts my way.

P.S. I made this print by using LetterMPress on my IPad - it's a great new App.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

A guide to finding baking ingredients in Utrecht

Moving to a new country has its challenges.
One of them being how to source those essential baking ingredients which the local supermarkets simply don't stock. I have browsed many a Super de Boer and Albert Heijn in the Utrecht province in vain.

But don't despair, with the help of the Internet and friends with inside information I can share my findings with you.

Icing sugar - The stuff you find in the supermarket is not what you need to make icing (a.k.a poedersuiker in a cylindrical packaging). It is meant as a topping for pancakes and simply doesn't work as well as I want it to for butter cream icing. Of course you can use it of you like, I personally prefer what I call 'real' icing sugar.

Baking powder - you will find little packets called Baking Powder in the supermarket. They are not what most recipes call for when baking powder is listed as an ingredient. If you use them you will find that your cake won't rise much. You need the real thing. Trust me.

Cream of Tartar - don't waste your time searching for it in the supermarkets. You will not find it and if you ask for it people will look at you funny.

Bicarbonate of Soda - yet another tricky ingredient. Apparently you can find this at the 'drogist' or even at pharmacies but I prefer to get mine from the places below, with the rest of my baking goodies.


1. Order online -  Here you will find all kinds of ingredients for baking. Beware though, since they have a lot of fabulous things to buy on this site... it could hurt your wallet ever so slightly.

2. Go to a shop called 'de tafel van 18' in Utrecht. Their address is Burg. Reigerstraat 33, Utrecht. Here is a link to their website:
They have everything you need and then some. If you crave instant satisfaction then nothing beats walking into the store and leaving with the goods in your hands.

3. I accidentally stumbled across the Cupcake section in Pipoos, a big hobby shop in the Netherlands. There are two in Utrecht and they also have a web shop - Their stock varies but they do have all kinds of cool baking ingredients.

4. There is also a little shop in the Steenweg in Utrecht called 'Delicatessen Jac Bostelaar'. Here is a link to their website: They sell a lot of British and US goods and you will definitely find bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cream of tartar here. Chances are you will probably leave the shop with lots of American treats too. You have been warned.

5. If, like me, you are South African then I suggest that you get in your car and drive to Amersfoort. It is about 20 minutes from Utrecht and is still in the Utrecht province. There you will find a South African shop called 'Die Spens'. Here is their website:
You will be in heaven and will probably spend a lot of money on things you simply must have... including biltong and boerewors.

I am sure there are more places to find what you need but the above shops have more than met my needs so far and I hope that you find this information useful.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Summer braai in Flevoland

Last Saturday we joined our friend Lisl at a summer braai.
It was organized by at a venue called Flevonice in Flevoland.

The weather wasn't very good. In fact, when we left our house it was raining and I was a bit worried. I didn't really want to spend my Saturday afternoon under an umbrella.

Luckily the skies cleared up and we happily sat outside all afternoon. The wind was a bit annoying, but it didn't rain!

There was a jumping castle and Heidi spent approximately 5 hours on it. Seriously.

While she was having the time of her life, we enjoyed some savanna's, biltong, boerewors rolls, and then for dinner potjiekos with salads. (you probably have to be a South African living abroad to really appreciate it). Dessert was carrot cake and milktart - yum yum yum.

We even got to see a show by a singer called Gerrie Pretorius (apparently he is well know in SA) and he played some classic songs that got the crowd dancing.

Nothing better than a good old South African braai :-)

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Tomato, Cucumber, Basil and Olive Pasta Salad

I was browsing the Internet for pasta salads and came across this recipe on Jamie Oliver's website. It's called 'the best pasta salad' and I must admit it is pretty good. Jamie Oliver is and will remain one of my favourite celebrity chefs. His recipes are always straightforward and delicious. Ironically I have about 4 of his cookbooks and yet I used the Internet to find this particular recipe. Sign of the times I guess!

Here is the link to the full recipe. The main ingredients are tomato, cucumber, olives, basil and pasta. For once I actually followed the recipe to the letter... except for the amount of extra virgin olive oil. I used slightly less than in the recipe.

It is very easy to make and the perfect accompaniment to any meal. I will definitely be making it again this summer, perhaps as a side dish to a barbecue!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Pancakes at Boerderij Groenestijn

What could be better on a Sunday than having pancakes :-)
In Heidi's world that is probably the best lunch in the world.
In my world... not so much.

I am more a fan of the crepe variety of pancakes but in the Netherlands they have a long tradition of big heavy pancakes with sweet or savoury ingredients thrown in the mix.

We stopped at a pancake restaurant on the way to de Bilt called Boerderij Groenestijn.
It has a little play area for kids and a jumping castle. We sat outside and enjoyed the sun... so did the flies.

There were lots and lots of flies. I guess that is to be expected on a farm with horse stables nearby. As you can tell I am not really a big fan of flies and a large portion of my time was spent swatting at them while my husband just sat and laughed at me. He is of the opinion that you should just let them be... and he is probably right.

The pancakes were really good, despite the flies tormenting me, and most importantly Heidi had her pancakes with some outdoor fun in the mix.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A not so great pasta dish

It happens.

Occasionally the ingredients and concept of a dish just don't quite work.

My pasta dish from the other night just wasn't great. It was mediocre at best.

I think the ingredient that didn't go well with the rest was some vegetarian shoarma "meat". I should have just left it out...

The rest of the ingredients were courgette, onion, portobello mushrooms, olives, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil.

It probably would have worked better with some big Parmesan shavings.

Lesson learnt, time to move on and plan the next meal.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Vegan Cupcake Experiment

I am in a bad mood. For some reason I woke up feeling generally unhappy and annoyed.
Usually I avoid baking things when I am in a bad mood because I really believe it impacts the result of the end product.

However, Heidi desperately wanted to bake something and I eventually gave in.
So I searched for vegan cake and found a recipe that looked promising (no eggs and no diary).

Here is the link to the original recipe. It is on a website called and the idea is that they give step by step instructions on a variety of things from cooking to making a camouflage net (seriously!).

As usual I made a few modifications to the recipe... and I didn't make any icing. We ate them just as they were although icing would have finished the cupcake off nicely.

Both Heidi and my husband really liked the cupcakes but I am not completely sold on them. They reminded me of brownies, but not quite. I am definitely going to keep on experimenting with vegan baking - this was just the beginning!

1 1/4 cups flour (I used wholemeal flour)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar

Switch on the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Mix all the dry ingredients together.
Add the wet ingredients and mix well until it becomes a runny batter.
Dish into a muffin tin (I suggest using paper muffin cases since they do tend to stick to the sides).
Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let them cool down, then remove from tin and let them rest some more.
Apply the icing of your choice once they have cooled down.

Make 16 cupcakes.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Lunch at Nourish

I just love it when I discover new restaurants, especially when they offer something different to the usual fare.

My good friend Sandy took me to a restaurant in Utrecht on the Twijnstraat called Nourish.
It is all about raw food but they do have some cooked dishes too.

We had a leisurely lunch, chatting away while we enjoyed our food.
I especially loved the soy latte and chocolate cake... I am such a sucker for the sweet stuff.

The concept of serving mostly raw food is very interesting and the restaurant has a lovely fresh feeling about it. Check out their menu - it has lots to choose from. The fresh juice is simply heavenly and so was the sandwiches with pumpkin, tomato, Parmesan and onion.

I will definitely return to sample some more raw dishes!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Chicken and Vegetable Red Curry

I've been threatening to make a red curry for a while now.
Mostly because I happen to have a can of coconut milk just waiting to be used.

I was going to make a vegetarian curry but I had two chicken breasts in the freezer that had to be used or thrown away and you know by now that I hate to waste food.

300 gr chicken breast
1 head of pak choi
1 head of broccoli
1 fennel bulb
1 white onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons red curry paste (I buy ready made curry paste because I am lazy)
1 can of coconut milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
A handful of cashew nuts - roughly chopped
Basmati rice - enough to feed 2 to 3 people

Wash and chop up the vegetables.
Boil water in a pan and add the basmati rice - follow the instructions on your packaging.
I cook the rice for about 8 to 10 minutes, drain and then rest it for about 10 minutes.
Heat up a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok, add the onions and saute until slightly softened.
Add the garlic and saute for a minute.
Add the rest of the vegetables and stir fry until al dente, which should be about 5 to 10 minutes.
I add a tablespoon or two of water to the wok while the veggies are cooking since this gives off a little steam and cooks my veggies quicker.
Put the vegetables aside.
Add a bit more vegetable oil to the wok and then add the chicken with a dash of soy sauce.
Stir fry for a couple of minutes just to give it some colour. Set aside.
Add the curry paste and stir for a minute - a lovely curry aroma will develop.
Now add the coconut milk and mix well.
Stir for a minute and then add the chicken back into the wok.
Let it simmer for a few minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
Now add the vegetables and mix well ensuring the curry sauce covers everything and the veggies are heated through.

Dish up the basmati rice and add generous helpings of the curry to the plate.
Sprinkle the cashew nuts on top and enjoy.

P.S. If you have some fresh coriander then go ahead and add that at the end. I had basil which I added with the nuts but I think coriander is better with a curry.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Pretty Pineapple

Pineapples are delicious, don't you agree?
And they are so pretty too.
Somehow they make me think of hot summer days, good times and fruit salad.

I'm not sure if there is a technique to cutting up a pineapple... but here you can see my method.

Chopping up things gives me tremendous pleasure.
Nothing is too difficult to peel, slice and dice.
Especially if the end result is going to be as good as this particular pineapple was.
Pity it didn't last very long... time to go shopping again!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Lots of roasted vegetables

So I had some carrots, potatoes, aubergine, onion, garlic, courgette and mushrooms. Not that I had to eat them all but they just looked so good and I figured what would be easier than to toss them in vegetable oil, season and roast them all together for about an hour.

It only required a little bit of prep work and then I had a whole hour to do other stuff like read my flow magazine :)

When there was 15 minutes remaining on the timer I added some vegetarian nuggets to the oven. Easy peasy and before you know it dinner was ready. 

Monday, 4 July 2011

A packed salad for lunch

I am being a very good wife, even if I have to say so myself.

Lately I have been making my husband salad for his lunch. Every morning I get up with him and head to the kitchen to pack his lunch. Lettuce, tomato and cucumber are the main ingredients. To this I add whatever the fridge and pantry yields... capers, carrots, beans, peppers, onions, olives, etc.

This mission to be healthy is not just mine, no no no, we are doing it together.

Plus it is Monday. A new week, a new beginning.
Time to cut out the meat and focus on being full time vegetarians again!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Ikea madness

I am feeling a little depressed today. Missing my family who lives too far away.
Unfortunately I have this bad habit of eating junk when my state of mind is not so good.

Today was no exception... bad Elma, bad bad bad.

We went to Ikea and ended up having dinner there.
I even had dessert, that is how bad I was. A slice of daim cake and it was glorious.
In fact, we had more desserts on our trays than food.
Swedish meatballs, fries and lots of sweet stuff.
You guessed it -  I left Ikea feeling stuffed and guilty.
In fact, it was the second time this week that I went to Ikea. I kid you not.

Besides the easy to assemble furniture and cheap dinner, they have a kids play area.
Let me rephrase:  they have a FREE kids play area where they look after your child for one hour. Heidi loves it there and it gives us a chance to shop in peace.

I've had my fill of Ikea for a while though...

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Wraps and pitas = staple foods

How many times can we eat either wraps or pitas?
Well at least once per week!

It is simply the easiest meal to prepare and delicious too.
I always have wraps in the house - they tend to have a long shelf life but make sure you check the sell by date every now and again.

The beauty about making wraps is that you can really fill it with absolutely anything. I like to fill mine with hummus, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Mostly that is because I usually have those ingredients in the house. Add some interesting vegetarian filling and everyone is happy. This week we had vegetarian sweet chilli filled 'fingers'... interesting indeed.

Let your imagination roam wild - saute some mushrooms, stir fry some vegetarian 'meat' or chicken strips, how about making a bean chili with sour cream and guacamole?

One thing is for sure, wraps will remain a staple in this house.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Vegetable Stir Fry with Udon Noodles

Hmmmm... what to make for dinner.

I was all out of ideas until I switched on the television and caught two minutes of Nigella's Express.

She was making a noodle salad with a peanut sauce and that gave me the idea for the stir fry with noodles - don't you just love light bulb moments :)

I promptly had to switch the channel to something on baby TV since Heidi was being very demanding and I didn't have the energy to fight her on it. Besides, I needed a distraction for her so I could make dinner. At least I had an idea and based on that proceeded to the kitchen to gather my ingredients.

The fridge yielded a good crop and the result of my improvised dinner was pretty good.

Ingredients - Stir fry:
One courgette
One white onion
One bowl full of white button mushrooms
One cup mange tout
One can of baby corn
Two teaspoons sesame seeds
A dash of soy sauce
A dash of vegetable oil
One packet of Udon noodles

Ingredients - Peanut sauce:
Two cloves of garlic
One tablespoon sesame oil
One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Two tablespoons lemon juice
Four tablespoons peanut butter
Two tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

Make the peanut sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients and mix well together. Set aside.
Chop the vegetables and heat up a dash of vegetable oil in a wok.
Add the onions and saute until softened, then add the courgette, mushrooms and a few minutes later the mange tout.
Add a dash of soy sauce and stir fry for about 10 minutes in total or until tender, be careful not to overcook the vegetables.
While the veggies are cooking, boil about 2 litres of water in a pan and add the Udon noodles. Follow the instructions on the packaging and cook until ready (in my case it was about 8 minutes).
Drain the noodles and add to the vegetables.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and mix in the sauce.
Serve and enjoy!

- If you have it, then add some freshly chopped coriander to the end product.
- The baby corn didn't really add much to the dish so leave it out if it doesn't appeal to you. Add some carrots or peppers instead.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...