Thursday, 28 February 2013


I love having flowers in the house.
Doesn't it just make you feel better about everything?

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Ham and Cheese Muffins

I am on a roll.
Muffins - sweet and savoury.
This week it is ham and cheese muffins.
I thought they would be a good breakfast for the kids.
And I was right.
Plus you can freeze them :-)

Of course the recipe called for buttermilk which I did not have. In fact, I never have buttermilk. Like ever. Luckily there is a way to simulate buttermilk and it is dead simple.
Add one tablespoon of lemon juice in a one cup measure and fill up with milk. Let it rest for 5 minutes and you will have curdled milk a.k.a buttermilk substitute.

The muffins are perfect kids food - go on, make some!

Here is a link to the site where I found the recipe and here is a copy:

TIP: make sure you use cheddar cheese or an aged cheese!!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup ham, chopped fine

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the first 5 dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.
3. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, oil and maple syrup and stir to combine.
4. Add the buttermilk to the egg mixture and stir.
5. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour and stir until just combined.
6. Fold in the cheese and ham.
7. Scoop the batter 2/3 of the way up into greased muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes (15 minutes if using mini muffin cups).
8. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Friday, 22 February 2013

DWZI - Hof van Saksen

The good news is that Stella seems to have recovered and is finally sleeping through the night again.

The bad news is that I will probably never catch up on my sleep... but that's to be expected when you have kids!

We managed to get away for a few days and went to Hof van Saksen in Drenthe. It was great!!!

Luxury accommodation, lots of indoor activities for the kids and good food. What more could we want?

Well, a little sunshine would have been nice :-)

I really was pleasantly surprised by this holiday park. We stayed in a kids friendly chalet and it really was kids friendly. A gate at the stairs, toys for the kids and even a night light in Heidi's room.

There is a big indoor kids entertainment centre where they even have little academies for kids with edutainment activities. Then there is the indoor swimmingpool where we spent most of our time.

Now it is not exactly cheap. But I found us a last minute deal with a big discount. They have a lot of restaurants in the park as well as a little supermarket but I would suggest taking your own groceries because it was  expensive to eat there.

I'm definitely going to try and go to Hof van Saksen again in a warmer season so we can enjoy more of the outdoors in Drenthe.

Have a lovely weekend!!

You can find all the DWZI participants here.
Deze week zag ik is iedere vrijdag een blik op de afgelopen week. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Vegetable Pot Pie

There is nothing better than enjoying a vegetable pot pie in the middle of winter. It is warm and comforting and just makes me happy.

In essence I chopped up a whole lot of veggies, added vegetable stock and let it simmer for a while. Think potatoes, pumpkin, green beans, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, onion and a courgette. Then I stirred in maizena mixed in cold water and let it thicken a little on the heat while stirring. Dish out all the veggies into an ovenproof bowl. Next you need to cover the whole bowl with pastry (see pastry recipe below).

Place it in the oven for about 35 minutes and serve!

I found the pastry recipe on this site.

Here is a copy of the recipe:

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole-wheat flour
¼ tsp. salt
4 Tbs. cold soy margarine, cut into pieces

Whisk together flours and salt in bowl. Cut or rub margarine into flour mixture until no large pieces remain. Stir in 3 to 4 Tbs. cold water until smooth dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill while making Filling.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Simple muffins

I can't decide whether to call them muffins or cupcakes... but they made the kids very happy.
It was a Friday afternoon and Heidi had a friend over.
How could I resist baking muffins with them?

They helped me all the way, and left a pretty messy kitchen in their wake but I think they had a good time doing it and that's fine with me.

We added a few finely sliced strawberries on top and placed them in the oven.
The kids could hardly wait the 25 minutes it took to bake them!

I had to do everything in my power to distract them while I let the muffins cool for a few minutes. The TV is pretty good for that ;-)

In the end they devoured their muffins, every little crumb so it must have been good.
Me on the other hand just looked at them eating the muffins because I'm on a diet.
I enjoyed them with my eyes :-)

Here is the recipe and a link to the page where I found it:

2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180°C or 160° fan-forced. Place muffin papers in one 12-hole muffin tray.

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.

In a jug, mix egg, milk and oil.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Pour 1/3 cup measures into muffin liners and smooth over top.

Bake for 22-25 minutes. Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.

Friday, 15 February 2013

DWZI - Enough already

I'm trying very hard to stay in control of my life.
Really, really, really hard.

Stella has not slept well for one whole week now.
She cries uncontrollably and is generally unhappy.
It is mentally and physically exhausting.

In the meantime I drive to work every day and once I get there I try to focus.
But I am so tired.
And work is, well, not easy.
Right now I need to be mentally alert to solve some big problems.
Do I sound mentally alert to you?

Am I going to survive this craziness?
Will Stella get better and let me sleep?
Does anyone have any ideas on how not to lose my mind???

Here's wishing you a restful weekend.

You can find all the DWZI participants here.
Deze week zag ik is iedere vrijdag een blik op de afgelopen week. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Tortano Bread Experiment

I'm not exactly known for my bread baking skills.
Although I do try occasionally...
Every time I find myself thinking that I won't be doing that again.
Let's see how long it lasts this time.

I was inspired by my fellow DWZI blogger, Schone Vrouw, to try this bread.
Clearly she was more successful than I was.
Firstly, it is my fault that the bread was not perfect. I did not use the right ingredients. I improvised with what I had in the house.
Secondly, it was actually not that bad. Everyone who had a slice liked it (or at least said they did!).
Will I make it again? Probably not... but who knows, with the right flour I might just make it work next time.

Here is a link to the recipe which is on a really lovely Swedish site.


15 g (1/2 oz) fresh yeast
300 ml (1/2 pint) lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoons flaked salt
150 g (5 oz) durum flour
240 g (8 ½ oz) strong flour
200 g (7 oz) mozzarella
200 g (7 oz) prosciutto
1 bunch fresh basil
1 handful mixed stoned olives

Crumble the yeast in a bowl and dissolve it in the water together with olive oil, honey and flaked salt.
Mix in the durum flour and then add the strong flour a little at a time until the dough becomes elastic.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to prove for about 30 minutes.
Press the dough out into a rectangle, about 1 cm/1/3 inch thick. Do not roll it since the air will be pressed out of the dough.
Slice the mozzarella and layer it on top of the dough with the prosciutto, basil and olives.
Brush the edges of the dough with water and roll it into a roll. Shape it into a wreath.
Preheat the oven to 250°C/500°F/gas 9.
Place the wreath on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper and leave to prove under a tea towel for about 30 minutes.
Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven and lower the heat to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Bake the bread for 20-25 minutes and leave to cool on an oven shelf.

Friday, 8 February 2013

DWZI - Jamie

Now if you know me you might think that I have enough cookbooks written by Jamie Oliver.
But no, I believe one can never have enough cookbooks 
(whether they are written by good old Jamie or not).

My dear husband surprised me this week with Jamie's latest book: 15 minute meals.


I've been watching the tv-series and I must admit I love the concept of 15 minute meals.
Being a working mom means I get home pretty late and by then the kids are starving (so am I) and spending an hour cooking is just not ideal. Plus the cookbook includes the calories per serving and you know me, I do try to watch those calories.

I cannot wait to start trying out some recipes!

Have a delicious weekend :-)

You can find all the DWZI participants here.
Deze week zag ik is iedere vrijdag een blik op de afgelopen week. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Blueberry Muffins

Friends of ours were coming over for lunch and I decided to bake muffins for dessert.
Specifically blueberry muffins.
Now I know it does not really sound like dessert.
But that did not stop me.
Besides, I already had all the ingredients for blueberry muffins.

I found a Donna Hay recipe on this site.
The main reason I picked this recipe is because everything is measured in cups and grams. See, my scale died on me and I still had to go and buy a new battery so weighing ingredients was not really an option.

In retrospect I'm wondering if I shouldn't just have run to the shop for that battery before I started baking. My mixture was pretty dry... and that made me worry.

Luckily the muffins turned out beautifully.
Everyone agreed.
Definitely a recipe worth repeating.

Blueberry Muffins
Recipe by Donna Hay
(makes 12)

2½ cups (375g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
½ cup (125ml) vegetable oil
1 egg
½ cup (125ml) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g fresh or frozen blueberries
granulated sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
2. Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Place the oil, egg, milk and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the blueberries and mix to combine.
4. Spoon mixture into a 12-hole ½-cup capacity (125ml) muffin tin lined with paper patty cases. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for 30–35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

I suggest serving them with cream.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Pumpkin Fritters a.k.a Pampoenkoekies

One of my favourite vegetable side dishes is pumpkin fritters.
In South Africa it is known as pampoenkoekies.
Of course, my mother makes them best and I often long for her version of this treat.

Over the last few months I've been experimenting with various recipes which I found on the internet. Sadly they disappointed. It might also be due to my cooking skills or interpretation of the recipe or perhaps that I have this expectation that cannot be met...

Well finally I called my mom and she gave me the recipe at the bottom of the post to try. You see, she has a few recipes that she uses and this one, well this one is a winner.

The kids and I devoured them.

1,5 cups cooked pumpkin
1 egg
0,5 tsp salt
1 cup self raising flour (sifted)
1,5 tsp baking powder (sifted)
1 cup cooking oil

1 cup sugar
0,5 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp maizena

Mix the pumpkin, eggs and salt.
Mix in the sifted flour and baking powder.
Heat the oil and add spoonfuls of the pumpkin mixture.
Cook until light brown and cooked through.

Heat the syrup ingredients, except for the maizena. Mix the maizena with a little bit of cold water and stir into the syrup. Mix well.

Pour the syrup over the pumpkin fritters and serve to very happy kids.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Weekly Menu

I am going to be very, very, very good this week.

I even bought a lot of vegetables for the week ahead.
We are eating mostly vegetarian.

The vegetables are in my house and my plan right now is to make it up as I come home after work.
Good plan, right?

Friday, 1 February 2013

DWZI - Heineken!

This week I travelled a lot for work.
By travelling I mean driving in my car.
From Utrecht to Hoorn, from Utrecht to Schiphol, from Schiphol to Zwolle, from Zwolle to Utrecht and from Utrecht to Amsterdam.
Looks like I might be making the trip from Utrecht to Zwolle every day soon...

But on to more fun things.

Last night my team at work went to the Heineken Experience and then to a wonderful restaurant in Amsterdam.

The Heineken Experience is definitely worth doing if you haven't yet had the chance!

Restaurant Fyra serves the most delicious food. It does not have a Michelin star but it should if you ask me.

Small, but perfectly and beautifully prepared dishes... and a good wine selection to go with it!

Just to tease you a bit, the first course was 'erwtensoep' (pea soup) served with beetroot macarons.

Hope you have a great weekend!

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