Friday, 23 November 2012

DWZI - 42

My parents are visiting. 
It is so lovely to have them here. 
They take care of the kids, buy groceries and make delicious meals.
We are truly blessed.

They also had their 42nd wedding anniversary on Wednesday.
Pretty impressive, don't you think?

Baie geluk Ouma en Oupa!!

You can find all the DWZI participants here.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Freshly Squeezed Juice

I have this juicer which I bought many years ago.
The main reason for buying it was because it looked so pretty.
It is shaped like an orange.
Who can resist that!

Now that winter is on its way and the grocery shops are filled with citrus fruit there is no better time for a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice.

The juice gives me almost as much pleasure as using the juicer!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Beef Stew Again

You know by now that I tend to just throw whatever I have available in a pot and hope for the best. Making beef stew is no different.
Only this time I actually had the time to let the stew simmer away for almost 3 hours!

Definitely a new record for me and the results were well worth the wait.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Monday, Monday

I have no idea what will be on the menu this week... 
But that is not a bad thing.

My parents are visiting and since it is going to be a busy week for me, it will be up to them to decide what to feed us.

I'm looking forward to being surprised :-)

And here is a cute photo of Stella, pretending to be a monster on Saturday.
Because that's what you do when you are almost two.

Friday, 16 November 2012

DWZI - Christmas Cards!

It is never too early to make and order Christmas cards, right?

Well I couldn't resist playing around in Photoshop this week with some watercolour paintings that I made. I think I came up with a pretty neat design and I cannot wait to see the finished results...

I ordered the cards from MOO. They are so professional and I love their products.

On the one hand I want to show you the finished design, but on the other hand I think I'm going to keep it a surprise :-)

Here is a tiny snippet:

Have a great weekend everyone!

You can find all the DWZI participants here.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Lunch at Umami

I had some free time the other day and walked into town to browse the shops.
Not that I had any plan whatsoever.
On my way home I realized that I was hungry and lunch time was almost over.
There are quite a few restaurants on the Oudegraght and I've never tried Umami.
I often walk past it on my home after my wednesday evening class at the UCK held at the ganzenmarkt, and it is always packed. It must be popular for a reason.

Lunch time is the perfect time to go there. It was relatively quiet and they have a really good lunch menu for only € 7,95 p.p! (this is a real bargain)

I enjoyed chicken salad and tja sieuw with white rice. As you can see from my instagram photos, the portion was generous and beautifully presented. Yummy.

Plus it felt kind of liberating having lunch all by myself :-)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Little Cupcakes

Heidi loves baking and she really loves eating the results even more...
Who can resist indulging such a sweet child.
My husband bought a 'just add an egg and milk' box of princess cupcakes.
It was dead simple and a good chance to use my oven for baking.

The cupcakes were on the small side but the kids loved them and they were gone within minutes.

I'm still thinking about what to bake next.
Any suggestions?

Monday, 12 November 2012

Kitchen Progress

We have not really done much work on the kitchen this past week.
It's more a matter of trying to get things cleaned up.
The dust is everywhere, you have to move everything to get rid of it.
We even managed to have dinner at our dining table for the first time in a month.

Yesterday was an exceptionally beautiful autumn day and I took a few photos of the kitchen.

This week I will enjoy my kitchen making dishes like vegetable soup, pasta bake, chicken with veggies, and fish with oven baked chips.

I hope you all have a great week ahead!

Friday, 9 November 2012

DWZI - Ender's Shadow

I have always loved to read. 
It is just something that I do to relax, to escape.
This week I immersed myself in Ender's Shadow.
An hour here, a few pages there.

I read the first book, Ender's Game, a few weeks ago and simply loved it. This book is also very enticing. A good dose of fiction.

Hopefully I manage to finish it this weekend and then it is on to the next book!

Have a great weekend :-)

You can find all the DWZI participants here.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

I'm sure I must have mentioned before that I am not the biggest fan of brussels sprouts. My husband keeps buying them and I eventually have to cook them.

There must be lots of ways to make them taste really good... my latest experiment seemed to have made it pretty tasty.

Bring a pot with hot water to the boil and add the brussels sprouts. Cook for about 10 minutes until tender. Drain the water and place the pot back on the heat. Add the brussel sprouts and some finely sliced pancetta. Stir together for a few minutes and add a knob of herb butter. Season as per your preference. Serve to one happy husband.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Pork Tenderloin

I decided that I should probably cook something other than chicken in my fancy oven ;-)
So as I walked through the grocery shop isles I found a nice piece of pork tenderloin (varkenshaas).
I vaguely remember preparing one years ago and it turned out dry and not that good.
Determined to remedy this I bought the pork and headed home.

A quick search online and I found a recipe that seemed easy enough for a sweet marinated pork fillet. The website is called 'love food' so I had high hopes.

It turned out beautifully tender and Heidi loved it too.
The trick is probably marinating the pork, which for once I managed to do.
I served the pork fillet with gravy, roasted pumpkin and brussels sprouts with pancetta.

Here is a copy of the recipe with my changes in italics:

800 g (28.2oz) Pork fillets, trimmed (I used 400g pork fillet) 
1 tbsp Olive oil (I used slightly less)
1 tsp Cornflour
350 ml (12.3fl oz) Chicken stock (I used half a cup hot water)
3 tbsp Freshly squeezed orange juice (I used 1,5 tbsp)
1 tbsp Light soy sauce (I used regular soy sauce)
2 tbsp Maple syrup (I used about 1 tbsp)
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Grated ginger (I used a dash or two of ground ginger)
2 Garlic cloves crushed (I used 1 clove)
0.5 tsp Chinese five spice (I left this out)

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a large plastic container, add the pork and turn in the marinade to coat all over. Cover and pop in the fridge overnight. (I marinated it for 3,5 hours)
When ready, pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan), 200°C, gas mark 6.
In a non-stick frying pan add the olive oil, brown the pork fillets on all sides over a high heat. Then transfer to a roasting tray and roast for about 20-30 minutes. When they are ready, wrap in foil and rest for 5 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, mix the cornflour with 2 teaspoons of water and add to the marinade. Using the same frying pan, pour in the marinade mix and let it boil for about 10 minutes. Add the stock and let it reduce down. Sieve. Slice the pork fillets diagonally and pour the sauce over.
Serve with a squash and sweet potato mash and some steamed bok choi or my recipe for sexy spinach. Season on your plate.
For babies and kids; they really like the sweetness but its probably better to keep their portion sauce free.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Kitchen Progress

The kitchen is pretty much done :-)
Everything we do now feels cosmetic.
I had plans to take some photos yesterday so that I can show you just how much progress we have made... unfortunately the weather decided not to play along. All the photos turned out very dark and doesn't do the kitchen justice. So I'll post some photos later this week.

Here is a list of the remaining things to do:
- paint the wall;
- put up a few shelves;
- build the microwave oven unit and fix it to the wall;
- connect the new oven to the gas and electricity and move it into place;
- put up the extractor unit;
- unpack more all of the boxes filling up my living room.
- paint the last kitchen wall white.
- lay the laminate floor.
- buy skirting boards and put them up.
- build a bookshelf.
- build the pantry.
- build the new ikea cabinet.
- buy a new (or nearly new) radiator.
- paint the door and window frame.
- paint the indoor window cill and fix it to the frame.
- put up a trim on the outside of the new window.
- clean everything in the house.
- remove the floating shelves in the dining area.
- remove and sell the old radiator in the dining area.
- move the light fitting in the dining area and plaster the hole.
- paint the ceiling in the dining area and living room.
- plaster the new wall in the dining area.
- paint the new and old walls near the stairs in the dining area.
- go to the spa.

Once again this week's menu will be randomly decided on a daily basis, all I know for sure is that the new oven is awesome!!

Have a great week!

Friday, 2 November 2012

DWZI - Dutch Delight

What a week!

On Monday I spent the whole day with Heidi, real quality time.
On Tuesday I tried to relax but I found myself running around like a headless chicken.
On Wednesday I handed in my badge, my car, my phone, my laptop and said my final goodbyes.
On Thursday I walked into a new office where I met my new colleagues and where I'll be starting the next chapter in my career.

My sweet husband brought me a box of delicious chocolates... he knows just what I need :-)

Tonight the two of us will be attending a Diana Krall concert at the Carre Theatre.
Seems like a great way to start the weekend.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

You can find all the DWZI participants here.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Scrambled Eggs for Lunch

I like breakfast pretty much any time of the day or night.
So scrambled eggs with sausages on toast seemed like a pretty good lunch.
It's quick, easy and usually makes the family happy too.
Except this time.

The kids did not like the sausage mixed into the scrambled eggs.
Well, you can't please everyone!

I enjoyed my scrambled eggs with a little bit of grated cheese and some tomato and onions on toast.

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