Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The perfect tomato salad

Tomatoes are just perfect, don't you agree?
I am quite happy to have tomatoes with every meal of the day.
Seriously, breakfast, lunch and dinner can all do with some tomatoes.

Today I was lucky enough to arrive home from work to a cooked meal courtesy of my mother. What a pleasure!

I just had to contribute a side dish so I made a very basic tomato salad.
It is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe which I found in one of my many cookbooks.

All you need are some tomatoes (as many as you like in all shapes and sizes, chopped), half a clove of garlic (crushed), some fresh basil leaves, sea salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

That's it.

Combine above ingredients in a bowl and toss well.
Serve and enjoy!

P.S. If you have the time you can halve the tomatoes, sprinkle with some sea salt and then let them stand for twenty minutes in a colander. This enhances the tomato flavour :-)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Macaroni Cauliflower Cheese Bake

By now you should know that I am a Jamie Oliver fan.
His recipes are just so easy to make and delicious.

This macaroni cauliflower cheese bake is from his Ministry of Food recipe book.

It is really simple and what I like most about it is that Heidi loves it too. What a great way to get her to eat some vegetables. Serve it with a big green salad and it should guarantee happy faces at the dinner table.

Here is Jamie's recipe, with my improvisations in brackets:

Serves 4 - 6

Half a head of cauliflower (I used the whole head of cauliflower)
200gr Cheddar Cheese (I didn't use cheddar, any slightly aged cheese will do)
100gr Parmesan Cheese
A bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley (I omitted the parsley)
Sea Salt
400gr dried macaroni (I used the whole packet i.e. 500 gr)
200gr creme fraiche

To prepare your pasta
Remove the outer green leaves from the cauliflower and discard. Slice the end off the cauliflower stalk. Cut the head into small florets. Halve the thick stalk length ways, then slice thickly. Grate the Cheddar and Parmesan into a large heatproof bowl. Finely chop the parsley stalks and leaves.

To cook your pasta
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the macaroni and all your cauliflower and cook according to the macaroni packet instructions. Place the bow of cheese over the saucepan and add the creme fraiche. Carefully stir every so often until the cheese is smooth and melted. If the water boils up beneath the bowl, just turn the heat down slightly. Add all the parsley to the melted cheese and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Carefully remove the bowl of cheese using a towel or oven gloves and put aside. Drain the macaroni in a colander over a bowl, reserving the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan, pour in the melted cheese and stir. It should have a lovely, silky consistency, but if it is too thick for you, add a splash of your cooking water to thin it out a bit. At this point you can either serve the macaroni as is, or finish it under the grill to make it crispy and golden on top. To do this, preheat your grill to a medium to high heat. Add a 150ml of the reserved cooking water to the macaroni, stir in, then transfer to a baking dish. Place under the grill until golden and bubbling.

To serve your pasta
Divide the pasta between plates or bowls, or place the baking dish in the middle of the table next to a nice green salad and let everyone help themselves (that's what we did!).

Monday, 29 August 2011

Barbecue on a Monday evening

It's a little strange, but yet feels so right.
Having a barbecue on a Monday night.
It feels like a holiday, even though the skies are gray.

My father stands perfectly at ease, beer in his hand while working the barbecue.
It is such a comforting sight, and one I must have seen a million times.
How lucky we are to have my parents here, even if it is just a short visit.

To celebrate we open a big bottle of prosecco.
It tastes bubbly, dry and makes us feel a little giddy.
Barbecue and bubbles on a Monday evening.
Life is good!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Watermelon stars

Watermelon is one of my all time favourite fruits.

First of all, the colours are so enticing.

Deep pink and cool green... Makes me feel all summery and happy.

Then there is the taste.

The sweet refreshing watermelon taste.

I stumbled across the idea of making watermelon stars on Mowielicious and just couldn't resist.

It is so easy, just slice the watermelon and use a star shaped cookie cutter :-)

Happy Monday everybody!

Friday, 26 August 2011

DWZI - Barbie, oh darling Barbie

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

My parents are here!
And with them arrived bags full of gifts.
It feels like Christmas.

Heidi is in Barbie heaven.
She received a mountain of Barbie clothes... all the colours of the rainbow.
Too pretty for words.

How I wish I could fit into some of these adorable dresses!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Restaurant Vroeg

Last week I had the pleasure of joining two friends for lunch at Restaurant Vroeg.
It is on the way to Bunnik, in the Utrecht Province.

I simply love this restaurant.
It is my new favourite place to lunch and I really hope I get another chance to go there soon.

Not only do they make beautiful food, they also sell a variety of condiments, jams and freshly baked bread.

I ordered a pasta salad and it was fantastic. The perfect mix of pasta with plump sun dried tomatoes, salty feta cheese, gorgeous black olives and fresh greens. It was served with home made bread and butter. I was in heaven.

My friends were also very impressed with their lunch and we all left the restaurant feeling very content.

This is definitely a restaurant worth visiting - so go on, find a reason to go and do it soon!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Classic Tomato Spaghetti

Sometimes the most basic recipes are the best.

This classic tomato sauce is simply delicious.
You have to try it.

All you need is some spaghetti, olive oil, a can of tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, one red chilli pepper, Parmesan cheese and seasoning to taste. In my opinion these are basic ingredients that most of us should have in the house. And that is the beauty of this recipe, the simplicity of the ingredients.

It is also very quick and for someone like me it is great to be able to feed the family within half an hour of getting home from work.

Nothing beats the taste of a home made pasta sauce!

Thank you Jamie Oliver, for yet another winner of a recipe. Here is a link to a recipe which features this pasta sauce.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Jamie Oliver's lemon drizzle cake

It's my birthday, and I deserve a treat.

Lemon drizzle cake seemed like quite a treat to me :)

I found the recipe while browsing through my Cook with Jamie cookbook. Lemons, poppy seeds, cake. Doesn't that just sound delicious? Well I thought so.

It is very straightforward to make and it turned out lovely and very, very, very lemony.

Here is a link to to recipe on the Jamie Oliver website.
Scroll down if you want to see the Dutch version of the recipe.

If life hands you lemons, make a lemon drizzle cake!

As usual I didn't follow the recipe exactly (I know, I know).
- I didn't line the cake tine with greaseproof paper - I just buttered it well and the cake came out no problem.
- I forgot to sieve the flour and once again, no problem there...
- I didn't have enough icing sugar so I used what I had in the house, about 50 gr less than in the recipe. Doesn't look like it made a big difference to the end result!


nodig voor de taart:
115 gram boter, zacht geroerd
115 gram suiker
4 grote (biologische) scharreleieren
180 gram gemalen amandelen
30 gram maanzaad
geraspte schil en het sap van 2 citroenen
125 gram zelfrijzend bakmeel, gezeefd
nodig voor de citroensiroop:
100 gram suiker
90 ml citroensap
nodig voor citroenglazuur:
225 gram poedersuiker
de geraspte schil en sap van 1 citroen
Verwarm de oven voor op 180 graden Celsius of stand 4.
Vet de bodem en randen van een springvorm met een doorsnede van 20 cm in en bekleed hem met bakpapier.
Klop de boter en suiker met een elektrische mixer of houten lepel op tot een luchtige, romige massa. Klop de eieren er één voor één door. Voeg het volgende ei pas toe als de vorige helemaal is opgenomen.
Spatel de gemalen amandelen, maanzaadjes, citroenschil en -sap en de gezeefde bakmeel erdoor heen. Schep het mengsel in de springvorm en plaats het 40 minuten in de voorverwarmde oven, to het lichtbruin van kleur is.
Je kunt controleren of het gebak gaar is door een cocktailprikker middenin te steken. Haal hem na 5 seconden erweer uit. Is de prikker schoon en droog, dan is het gaar. Wanneer de prikker nog plakkerig is, moet het nog even in de oven.
Laat het gebak nog even in de vorm staan en stort het vervolgens op een rooster om volledig af te koelen.
Maak de citroensiroop door de suiker en het citroensap in een pan te koken tot alle suiker is opgelost. Prikin het hele oppervlak van het nog warme gebak kleine gaatjes met een coctailprikker en sprenkel daarna de siropp erover.
Zeef de poedersuiker voor het glazuur in een kom, doe de citroenschilrasp en het sap erbij en roer alles tot een glad papje. Leg het bijna afgekoelde gebak op een serveerschaal en schenk het glazuur er voorzichtig over. Als je op het midden van het gebak schenkt doet de zwaartekracht de rest! Een prachtig druipeffect!

Desgewenst kun je het effect een handje helpen met een lepel.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Weekly menu... let me gaze into my crystal ball

Last week I didn't really plan our dinners and it was chaos.
It would seem that the adage: "failure to plan is planning to fail" doesn't just apply to project management!

I found some inspiration from Jamie Oliver this week, browsing through my cookbook collection. So here is my weekly menu:

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Pancakes and Pizza in Lage Vuursche

If you want to experience a quaint and quintessential Dutch pancake village then you need to visit Lage Vuursche in the Utrecht Province.

We have eaten in this town in all seasons. Come rain or shine, it never disappoints.

Our favourite restaurant is Restaurant Het Vuursche Bos.
Although this town is renowned for its pancakes, we go here mostly for the pizza... they simply make the best pizza you can imagine. It is the closest to what I call the real thing - wood fired oven, thin base, glorious toppings.

I always order the Quattro Stagioni pizza and it is delicious. Tomatoes, cheese, olives, mushrooms, ham and salami - extravagant, I know.

Regardless of your preference - pizza, pancake or even salads - you will enjoy an outing to Lage Vuursche!

Friday, 19 August 2011

DWZI - the beginning of a button jar

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

When I was young I used to play with my grandmother's box of buttons. It was fascinating. All the colours and shapes and different sizes... heaven to a small child.

My mother also had lots of buttons, she inherited some from my grandmother and supplemented it with her own through the years. She still has the same box in her treasure trove of a study.

My buttons, unfortunately, always seem to be lying around the house in bowls, jewelry cases, on the floor and sometimes they even end up in the bin.

So this week I finally decided to round up all the buttons I could find in the house.

It turned into a bit of a treasure hunt but sadly the bounty was quite small. And mostly black. Guess that's what happens when you work in a corporate environment.

At least I made a start, the beginning of a button jar.
For Heidi and for Stella.

Here are some sweet shots of Stella and the bunny Oma made. We are so happy that Oma and Opa will come visit soon and hopefully there will be more handmade 'knuffels' hidden away in their luggage!

P.S. If you happen to be in Utrecht tomorrow (Saturday 20/08), then please drop by the Zelfgemaakte markt at the Mariaplaats :)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

My Mom's banana bread

I love banana bread.

It conjures up happy childhood memories for me.
We must have had a lot of ripe bananas in the house when I was growing up because my Mom made banana bread all the time... but then again, it could just be a trick of the mind.

Here is my mom's recipe, which I bake more often than I should.

Please also scroll down to the bottom of the post because for the first time ever I am translating a recipe into Dutch!

0.5 cup butter (125 gr)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 - 6 small to medium sized ripe bananas - peeled and mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla (paste or essence will do)
0.5 teaspoons salt
A little bit of butter to grease the baking tin

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Cream the butter and the sugar.
Mix in the vanilla.
Mix in the eggs.
Add all the dry ingredients and beat together (do not over beat this mixture!).
Add the mashed bananas and just mix it through gently.
Pour the mixture into a greased bread loaf tin (or a rectangular baking tin).
Bake for one hour.
It is ready when a toothpick or a fine skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before turning it over onto a cooling rack.

You can either enjoy this warm or wait a day - the banana flavour tends to intensify if you leave it over night (in an airtight container of course!).


125 gr zachte boter (plus ekstra om in te vetten)
1 kop suiker
2 eieren
2 koppen bakmeel
2 tl bakpoeder
4 - 6 rijpe bananen - (pel de bananen en prak ze fijn met een vork)
1 tl vanille extract
0.5 tl zout


Verwarm de oven voor op 180 "Celsius en vet een broodvorm.
Klop in een grote kom de suiker en zachte boter door elkaar.
Roer de vanille extract er bij.
Klop de eieren door en vervolgens de droge ingredienten. 
Voeg de bananen toe aan het mengsel en roer rustig door.
Schep het mengsel in de broodvorm en bak voor 60 minuten in het midden van de oven.
Het bananenbrood is gaar wanneer een satestokje schoon uit het brood komt.
Laat het brood 5 - 10 minute afkoelen in de vorm en stort het dan op een rooster om verder af te koelen.

Eet smakelijk!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Green Goodness of Spinach Lasagna

Isn't is amazing how a really big bag of fresh spinach leaves can reduce to a lot less in a matter of minutes? Just a little bit of heat and steam and they wilt away.

Such beautiful green goodness, just waiting to be used.

Well, the big bag in my fridge didn't have to wait very long.
It was destined for a lasagna.

I didn't follow a recipe, I just combined what I had in the house and it came out pretty tasty.

All you need is a big bag of spinach, mushrooms, an onion, garlic, olive oil, lasagna sheets, mozzarella cheese, ready made pasta sauce (I used Jamie Oliver's tomato and basil sauce), two hands ful of grated Parmesan cheese and about 150ml soy cooking cream. (Use as much or as little of the ingredients as you feel fit)

Saute the garlic, diced onion and mushrooms for a few minutes in the olive oil. Add the spinach in batches and let them wilt - add some hot water to create steam if necessary. Put aside to rest for a few minutes. Heat up the tomato sauce until boiling point. Season as per your own personal preference.

Drain the spinach and then start layering the lasagna in a square oven dish.
Start with a some pasta sauce, then add some of mushroom and spinach mixture.
Drizzle the soy cooking cream over the spinach and sprinkle a handful of Parmesan cheese on top.
Now position the first layer of lasagna sheets.

Add as many layers as your ingredients allow. I only had two layers of lasagna sheets, thus on top of my final layer of lasagna I drizzled the last of the soy cooking cream, then the last of my Parmesan cheese and finally all the mozzarella cheese.

I placed it in a 160 degrees Celsius preheated oven for one hour. This was out of necessity since I had to pick up the kids and it seemed safer to cook it at a lower temperature to avoid it becoming too dark on top. It worked like a charm.

Remove the lasagna from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Serve up and enjoy!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Malva Pudding

Now this is a truly South African dessert.

Malva Pudding is a baked dessert which just melts in your mouth. Serve it warm slathered with custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you will be in heaven. You and your family and your friends. It is that good.

Best avoided if you are on a diet though...

1 cup flour
1 cup milk
0.5 cup sugar
1.5 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon apricot jam
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
a pinch of salt

Syrup ingredients:
125 gram butter
1.5 cups milk
1 cup sugar

Serves 4 (just double it if you are more than 4 people, or a bit of a glutton like me)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease an oven dish.
Beat the egg and the sugar together until pale.
Add everything except the milk and bicarbonate of soda and mix well.
Then add the milk in which the bicarbonate of soda has been dissolved and mix together.
It is quite a runny batter.
Pour into the greased oven dish and bake for one hour until dark and baked through.
Insert a skewer and if it comes out clean then you know it is done.
In a saucepan, bring the syrup ingredients to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Remove the pudding from the oven and prick some holes into the pudding with the skewer.
Now pour the syrup over the pudding.
It will be absorbed into the pudding within a few minutes...

Serve while warm, either with custard or vanilla ice cream.

Pure heaven.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Tortilla (Spanish omelette) delight

Catherine put together a vegetarian feast today.

Lunch included red peppers stuffed with couscous, a caprese salad and a glorious Spanish omelette.

She found the omelette recipe on BBC Food and it is by Delia Smith :)
Click here to go to the recipe.
I will definitely be making this myself in the near future!

Sunday, Sunday...

We have been invited over for lunch by our good friends, the Drury's.

All we have to do is show up, and bring along a dessert.

I am going to make a Malva Pudding... it is a South African favourite and trust me, try it and it will become a favourite of yours too. In about 50 minutes I will switch on my oven and begin baking.

You will have to wait until later this week for me to post the recipe :)

The weekly menu this week went o.k. I switched things around, and of course my weekend dinners just didn't work out at all as planned. We ordered pizza's on Friday night and they were not great. That will teach us for not sticking to our 'usual' pizza place.

I'm still thinking about what to put on this week's menu.

One thing that will definitely feature is a vegetarian lasagna with spinach. I bought a very big bag of spinach yesterday and can't wait to use it.

I hope that you are having a lovely lazy Sunday, where ever you are today.

Friday, 12 August 2011

DWZI - a portrait of mama

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

Heidi is my little artist.
This week she drew me a portrait.
It is, how shall I put it, well, you know, I'm trying to find the right words, I guess the best description would be... interesting.

To put it in context - the crosses all around me are kisses.
Sweet, sweet child.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Pesto pasta

My basil plant was begging to be used and what better use for basil leaves than in pesto.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

One of my fellow bloggers, Jolanda from ongezouten lekker, posted a pesto recipe on her blog. Of course I had to try it out!

As I picked the leaves one by one, the kitchen was filled with the unmistakable aroma of fresh basil. I blitzed all the ingredients together in my food processor and admired the beautiful green pesto.

It was delicious. I mixed it into penne pasta and then added some sauteed onions, mushrooms and courgette.

I repeat: simply delicious!

To see the Dutch version of Jolanda's recipe, click here.
If you don't understand Dutch then here is a quick translation.

Basil leaves - 20 or more
Pine nuts
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Pecorino cheese (I added slightly more than a tablespoon)
Water as needed

Combine all ingredients in the food processor and add water as needed to help to make the mixture smooth.

Mix into cooked pasta, then add sauteed veggies and serve with some grated Pecorino cheese.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The best roast chicken!

Purely by accident I made the best roast chicken ever.

I had the chicken in the oven for about 35 minutes, so at least 30 minutes to go when my husband called. He was stuck in a meeting and I had to rush to pick up the kids. What to do, what to do?

I hastily covered the chicken with tin foil, reduced the heat from 200 to 160 degrees Celsius and left the house. I knew it would take me about 50 minutes there and back. What's the worst that could happen to the chicken?

It turned out to be the best thing that could happen to the chicken!

Once home, I pulled the chicken out of the oven and checked that the juices ran clear. Then I turned up the grill to give it some colour and crisp up the skin, just 3 minutes or so.

I let it rest with the breast side down for about 20 minutes and once we carved that bird it was perfect. So perfect I couldn't believe it. The skin was crisp. The meat was soft, tender and juicy.

Simply perfection.

1.1 kg whole chicken
half a lemon
4 garlic cloves
1 white onion
6 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
700 gr peeled potatoes
olive oil (enough to drizzle over the veggies and to rub the chicken)
Jamaican jerk seasoning
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Rub the chicken with olive oil, then stuff with half a lemon, half an onion and a clove of garlic that has been bruised.
Now cover with the seasoning of your choice - I used Jamaican jerk seasoning.
In a large roasting tin, combine the potatoes, garlic, onions and carrots and sprinkle with olive oil.
Now place the chicken on top of the potatoes and pop into the oven.
After 35 minutes, remove the chicken and cover it with tin foil.
Reduce the heat to 160 degrees Celsius and roast for another 50 minutes.
(you might need to adjust the cooking time if you have a bigger bird)
Switch the oven to grill and let the chicken grill for 2 or 3 minutes to crisp and brown the skin.
Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest with the breast side down for at least 20 - 30 minutes. Letting it rest like this will let some of the juices flow down to the breasts and make them more juicy.
Serve up and enjoy!!

p.s. I love squeezing the lemon over the chicken - just be careful since it is hot!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Rio de Bio

I am so lucky.

Not only do we live a quick stroll away from the Utrecht city centre, but we also have a great "bio" grocery store literally around the corner. Very handy indeed.

It is called Rio de Bio.

The shop is like a treasure trove, and I love just browsing around.
It bakes fresh bread every day, as well as chocolate chip cookies :)
In fact it is almost impossible to walk past it without Heidi wanting to go in to buy a cookie. My fault for introducing the tradition when we walk back from the peuterspeelzaal...

P.S. the butternut and feta risotto we had for dinner last night was delicious - as usual! :)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Weekly menu, here we go again!

Yes, I drew up another weekly menu.

It definitely helped me with my grocery shopping, and in my opinion it reduces the stress of wondering what to make at the last minute.

Let's see how it goes this week... I like a good plan, but I also have to learn to accept that things don't always go according to plan.

Have a good week everybody!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Nigella's sweetcorn chowder

I happened to catch one of Nigella's tv shows last week, one where she makes a sweetcorn chowder with toasted tortillas and I decided there and then that I had to make it.

So I bought all the ingredients and somehow the week just raced by without me getting around to trying out the recipe.

Finally on this rainy Saturday evening I got my chance.

It is very simple to make and the subtle sweet taste of the chowder went really well with the salty tortilla chips. This recipe is a keeper.

Here is a link to the recipe on Nigella's site.
Here is a copy of the recipe:

1kg frozen sweetcorn, defrosted (I used tinned corn and it worked fine)
3 spring onions, each one debearded and halved
1 clove garlic, peeled
35g semolina
1.5 litres hot vegetable stock made from concentrate or cube
400g lightly salted tortilla chips
200g grated cheese
2 long red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)

Serves: 6

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Drain the sweetcorn and put into a food processor with the spring onions, garlic and semolina. Blitz to a speckled primrose mush; unless you have a big processor you may have to do this in two batches.
Tip this mixture into a large saucepan, add the hot vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and let the chowder simmer, partially covered for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, spread the tortilla chips out on a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the cheese over. Warm in the hot oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese melts over the chips.
Ladle the soup into bowls and put a small mound of cheese-molten chips into the middle of each bowl. Sprinkle some of the red chilli on top, if you feel like it, and serve immediately.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

't Berghuis in Amerongen

Yes, it is true. We went to yet another pancake restaurant last weekend... t'Berghuis.
This one is special though, it is in the middle of a forest.
It is a paradise for kids with a playground right in front of the restaurant terrace, and just a little deeper into the forest they have a zip line, fallen tree trunks and bugs. (You know how kids love bugs...)

The food is o.k. and the kids loved their pancakes.
The grownups ordered chicken sate and uitsmijters, deciding to forgo the pancakes for once. They served a mountain of fries with the sate. They also got confused with our order and forgot to bring us our bitterballen (helaas!) but all in all we had a good experience here.

It definitely deserves a big gold star for being child friendly and for that alone we will return!

Friday, 5 August 2011

DWZI - the cutest push bike

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

I turn my back for a few minutes and it turns out that Heidi has hidden talents.
She grabbed some stickers from the Hema and decorated her push bike.
My little artist :)

On a different note... here is the modified plan for the rest of the week:

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Weekly plan... not going to plan

It turns out that it is not so easy to stick to my weekly plan.

It was so hot yesterday and I picked up the kids and got stuck in traffic and it was really hot and humid and then by the time I got home I just didn't have it in me to cook.

You guessed it.

We ordered sushi.

That's what we do when it's hot outside and we want cold food!

As usual Sushi Wang did not disappoint. We enjoyed it so much I didn't even remember to take a photo :) 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Curried Chicken Rice a la Bill Granger

Now this is my husband's favourite dish.

I stumbled across it a few years ago when I first discovered Bill Granger's cookbooks. It is very easy to make and simply delicious. Essentially it is a one pot dish, once the prep work is done you just pop it in the oven and about 50 minutes later dinner is served. Chicken with rice, served with a salad. Yum yum yum.

Trust me, this dish is a winner and you simply have to make it.

As always I modified the original recipe slightly... I added peas to the dish since I think peas go really well with rice.

Here is the recipe as per Simply Bill by Bill Granger.

1kg chicken pieces on the bone, with skin
2 tbsp Indian curry powder
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, crushed
300g basmati rice
750ml chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas


Preheat oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F).
Put the chicken in a large bowl, add the curry powder and toss to coat well.
Place a heavy-based casserole pan with tight fitting lid over medium heat.
Add the oil and chicken pieces and cook until they are sealed and browned all over.
Remove the chicken to a place.
Add the onion and garlic to the casserole and cook until the onion is soft and pale golden.
Add the rice, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.
Put the chicken back into the casserole in a single layer over the rice and carefully pour in the stock.
Scatter the peas over the chicken.
Put on the lid and bake in the oven for 45 minutes of until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid and the chicken is cooked through.
Serves 4.

The choice is yours, add peas or not, serve with a lovely cucumber salad or some greens.
Go on, rush to the shop and buy the ingredients. You won't be sorry!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Ice cream and sunshine

Today was surprisingly beautiful.

The sun was shining and even though I had to work, it just felt like a summers day. Finally.

I even stuck to the menu which I so diligently drew up for the week. Monday can be crossed off the list. The roasted vegetables were quite yummy, although I was rather annoyed when I grabbed the broccoli from the fridge only to find it not fit for consumption any more. Luckily the rest of the veggies were fine. They were even better drizzled with olive oil and after about an hour in the oven.

The highlight for the day was a quick trip to our local ice cream parlor: Il Mulino.
It is Heidi's favourite place, for obvious reasons.

Heidi graciously gave Stella a taste and both girls were happy as can be.

What a lovely end to this sunny day.

A new week, a new menu

So this week I decided to put together a menu for our dinners. I thought that perhaps that would give me some structure and more control on my spending... It just feels like I spend too much money on random grocery items.

Let's see if I am able to stick to it!!

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