Thursday, 31 October 2013

Yoghurt Barn Illustration

I had a glorious breakfast on Tuesday morning at the Yoghurt Barn in Utrecht. They really do make the best yoghurt in town. Not that I'm an expert but that merry berry special yoghurt that I ordered was excellent. You know it, I'll be back!

Here is a little illustration of my breakfast:


Oh, and I hope you all have a happy halloween! I was going to try and bake something fun for the kids but I must admit I just don't have the energy for baking today. And you know that I'm a firm believer that your mood influences the results of your cooking / baking. There is a big chance that I might risk making pancakes tonight though... or rather, I'll ask my husband to make them!


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Cupcakes

My kids have a really sweet tooth... and I indulge them occasionally by baking something on the weekend with them. We baked cute cupcakes three weeks ago and decorated them with a yoghurt icing. The icing was not quite what I expected but thats what you get when you experiment. 

Luckily the kids were happy with the colour and I managed to get a photo of one before we ate them all...



Monday, 28 October 2013

Basic Scones

In a moment of madness I decided to bake scones for the very first time in my life. Turns out it is pretty easy. The trick is to not overwork the dough. Try and resist the urge to work and knead it. The less you work it, the better they will be.

We enjoyed our scones as lunch with tea, jam, strawberries, blue berries and whipped cream. I also had a lot of fun taking photos of the scones... my poor family had to wait at least 10 minutes before I allowed them to tuck in. Next time I'm going to try to bake savoury scones!



Here is a link to the recipe from taste.com.au and here is a copy of it:

Ingredients:
plain flour, for dusting
3 cups self-raising flour
80g butter, cubed
1 to 1 1/4 cups milk
jam and whipped cream, to serve

Method:
Step 1
Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly dust a flat baking tray with plain flour. Sift self-raising flour into a large bowl.
Step 2
Using your fingertips, rub butter into flour until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Step 3
Make a well in the centre. Add 1 cup of milk. Mix with a flat-bladed knife until mixture forms a soft dough, adding more milk if required. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until smooth (don't knead dough too much or scones will be tough).
Step 4
Pat dough into a 2cm-thick round. Using a 5cm (diameter) round cutter, cut out 12 rounds. Press dough together and cut out remaining 4 rounds. Place scones onto prepared baking tray, 1cm apart. Sprinkle tops with a little plain flour. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and well risen. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm with jam and cream.


Friday, 25 October 2013

Forest fun

This week we had some lovely weather in the Netherlands. Exceptionally warm weather for this time of year!

On Tuesday we went to 't Berghuis in Amerongen where the kids had a great time running around, eating pancakes and climbing on some pretty cool adventure style equipment for the kids in the forest. They spent all their energy climbing and sliding and crawling around.

Then on Thursday we stayed a little closer to home when my neighbour suggested we join them for a forest walk in de Bilt on the Landgoed Beerschoten. What a find! Who would have thought that within 10 minutes we would be able to take a walk in such a beautiful place. The kids loved it, they ran out into the autumn leaves, imagining fairies and elves and little red riding hood... oh to be that young and innocent.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!!




Thursday, 24 October 2013

Bobotie

Funny how when you mention you are from South Africa and the discussion turns to food someone always asks about bobotie. It is a traditional South African dish which is basically a type of meatloaf infused with spices. I must admit that this was only the second time in my life that I ever made it... the last time was in 1993 which is a lifetime ago!

My mom is visiting and my husband got it into his head that he wanted something traditional so bobotie it was. Luckily my mom has made it quite a few times before so I had some assistance in the kitchen.

It is really not that hard to make and after browsing around I found a simple recipe on Nigella's site which my mom agreed is pretty much her standard way of making it. Remember to add some turmeric to your rice for a nice yellow colour and serve it with a big salad.


Here is a link to the recipe (which serves 6) and here is my adapted version which serves 3 - 4 persons:

Ingredients:
500 grams minced beef
½ onion (diced)
15 ml cooking oil
10 ml butter
15 ml curry powder
5 ml salt
15 ml peach chutney (or apricot)
15 ml apricot jam (smooth)
15 ml worcestershire sauce
5 ml turmeric
15 ml malt vinegar
1 handful raisins
2 eggs
190 ml milk
1 slice brown bread
1 pinch of salt
3 bay leaves

Method

Put bread into bowl with milk and leave to soak. Heat oil and butter in large pan and fry onions. When onions are soft add curry powder, salt, chutney, Worcester sauce, jam, turmeric and vinegar. Mix well.
Drain bread, saving milk. Add bread, raisins and meat to pan. Cook over low heat until meat looses its pinkness. Remove from heat and add 1 well beaten egg. Mix well then spoon into greased ovenproof dish and level the top.
Beat remaining egg into the reserve milk, add turmeric and salt, mix well. Pour over meat mixture and place bay leaf on the top. Bake uncovered in 180C for approximately 1 hour or until set (nicely browned). Serve with yellow rice, banana, coconut & chutney.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Stir Fry Illustration

And here is a little illustration of our dinner last night - yes, stir fry!!


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Happy Birthday!

Today is my dad's birthday and my mom is not there to celebrate with him since she is visiting us! We had a lot of fun baking some cupcakes to celebrate in his absence.

Have a great day dad -  we miss you!






Monday, 21 October 2013

Quick Chicken Curry

Some days just call for a quick curry.
The kind where you simply look at your cupboard and find a tin of coconut cream which will form the basis of the whole meal. Curry powder, chicken pieces, onion, garlic, cauliflower, carrots, string beans and rice will complete it.
This is my favourite kind of day.



Friday, 18 October 2013

Heidi's Book

My little Heidi loves drawing and making up stories.
She's 'written' a few books before but this time she asked me to take a photo of it so it must be special. My husband filled in the actual words for her later. He also had to read it to the kids twice already as their bed time story.

Here it is with a very short interpretation of her illustrations:


 


Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Green Beans Illustration

A quick illustration on my iPad of the green beans we had for dinner last night!



Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Pasta with Sausage in a Roasted Pepper Sauce

I have a dear friend with two lovely sons. Her youngest boy of 4 years old was recently diagnosed with leukaemia. Now that just sucks. And it isn't fair.

But they are doing everything possible and following a treatment plan which if all goes well should have him better within two years. In the meantime they get to spend a lot of time at the hospital... which as you can imagine is not exactly fun.

She has a great circle of friends and lots of people who care about her so when she asked for some help in the form of frozen meals everyone immediately started cooking. Now you probably know by now that I'm not exactly someone who ever freezes food, except for the occasional muffin or banana bread. Plus my freezer is tiny.

I decided to stop my nonsense and make her something to eat. Pasta with sausage and a roasted pepper sauce. It is based on the Jamie Oliver recipe in his 15-minute meal book. I was pretty pleased with the results and it is currently in my freezer, ready for delivery this week. Hopefully she likes it!!



The recipe goes something like this and is open to interpretation: grill some beef sausages. Blend onions, garlic, roasted peppers from a jar (capsicum) and tomatoes. Make a sauce, add seasoning (mixed herbs, salt, pepper), balsamic vinegar and let it simmer for a while. Cook the pasta. Mix everything together and enjoy!


Monday, 14 October 2013

Theehuis Dennenoord

We stopped at a lovely little restaurant while we were in Twente. It is called the Theehuis Dennenoord and their speciality is serving an English high tea.

What a lovely place! We enjoyed an extensive high tea and they even had a kids high tea. Little tea pots for the girls with juice (of course). Delicious scones, clotted cream, quiche... and of course lots of tea.

If you happen to find yourself near Nutter in Twente then stop by this lovely tea house!




Friday, 11 October 2013

A Weekend on a Farm in Twente

Back in June I booked us a weekend away. October seemed so far away and yet here we are and our weekend is now all but a memory. A really good memory.

We stayed on a farm in Twente near Beuningen in accommodation from Boerderijlodges.nl. It was lovely. Just perfect. Scandinavian design and comfort in a farm setting. I'm talking a very big bath, huge shower, sauna cabin, comfortable beds, bunk beds for the kids called a bedstee (cupboardbed), nespresso machine, gas fire place and a view of the cows.

The kids roamed freely, exploring the farm and admiring the cows. We enjoyed the peace and the fresh air. We also took a scenic drive and had a great English High Tea (but I'll save the details for another post).

We are already checking our calendars and planning another trip to Twente!











Thursday, 10 October 2013

Basil in the Kitchen

Time to make some pesto, don't you think?
I found a great spot for my basil in the kitchen.
Do you like it?

Today is as good a day as any to harvest my basil plant and make a big batch of pesto to last me all weekend. So lets start cooking!


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

French Toast

The kids deserve a little weekend breakfast treat every now and again.
French toast is usually quite a hit.
Although it is one of my favourites so it really doesn't last long.



French toast is really simple to make. All you need to do is mix a couple of eggs with about a cup of milk and dip the bread into it briefly, coating both sides. Then into a hot pan with a bit of butter, turn once the bread browns and serve with the topping of your choice. Maple syrup is my special treat!

Here is a link to a nice basic recipe since I agree my instructions above might be a little vague. As always with me it is trial and error...

Monday, 7 October 2013

Pumpkin!

I do love pumpkin.
This particular pumpkin got all mashed up into delicious pumpkin fritters.
It is the season so I predict a few more pumpkins will meet a similar fate...


Have a great week!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Temporary Tattoos

Now here is something you might not know about me. I love tattoos.
I mean if I had no self control and unlimited funds I might be covered with tattoos.
But I'm not.

I just find them so beautiful. Of course there is an art to it and sometimes it can go so very wrong which is probably why I'm quite cautious when it comes to adding permanent art to my body.

Luckily you can buy some awesome temporary tattoos to adorn yourself with!
I bought a few from Tattly last week. They have such beautiful designs and colours and even though I was primarily thinking of myself I also managed to buy some for my kids.

I've only applied one on myself and one on Heidi so far because I'm using them sparingly. You know, for special occasions or if I need a little pick me up. Although I think I might just go and apply another watch right now... the blue one is calling me!



Have a great weekend!!



Thursday, 3 October 2013

Cinnamon Banana Bread

I know what you are thinking.
How many banana breads can this woman bake...
Who knows. A trillion?

This time round I felt like experimenting a little and I happen to come across Orangette's blog. She has a lovely way of writing about food and her recipes sound great. So I had to try one.

The banana bread recipe is very straight forward and I like the addition of the cinnamon.
However it is quite a sweet banana bread and if I make it next time I might reduce the sugar and even consider not adding the topping.

The strangest thing happened while I was measuring the ingredients. The kids were running around, Stella started crying and I turned around to give her a quick hug and then I went back to baking. Except I could not remember how many cups of flour I added. Was it one or one and a half? So I added a dash more flour and it doesn't seem to have caused any harm because the banana bread came out of the oven beautifully dark, moist and delicious.

The kids loved it too, but then again they clearly take after me when it comes to my banana bread obsession.


Here is a link to the recipe and here is a copy with my notes:

Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumble Topping from Orangette
Adapted from Bakesale Betty and Bon App├ętit, September 2008

For bread:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (I used 2 bananas)
2 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup water

For topping:
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 ½ Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
Note: This was too much topping for me - I'll be using way less of this next time

Preheat the oven to 175° C.  Spray a 9 x 5 inch pan lightly with cooking spray and then line it with parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the sides. (I'm pretty sure my pan is bigger than 9 x 5 inch and I am just plan bad at conversions...)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the banana, eggs, oil, honey, and water. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir well. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

In a small bowl, mix together the topping ingredients. Sprinkle them evenly over the batter.

Bake the bread until a tester inserted into its center comes out clean, about 1 hour, give or take a little. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then carefully remove the bread from the pan, taking care not to dislodge the topping. Cool completely before slicing.
(yes, let it cool if you can resist it - I couldn't!!)

Yield: 1 loaf

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Coffee Illustration

First coffee of the day... I really need it right now!


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Pearl Couscous

So couscous is couscous, right?
Well in name but in shape and size there can be some variation.
I bought a packet of pearl couscous and was pleasantly surprised.
It is prepared the same as 'standard' couscous but the result is a much bigger sized couscous.
I mixed it into some roasted vegetables and served it with a chicken skewer.
Good stuff!






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