Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cheap Bone Stew in a Pressure Cooker

This is a rather low effort, quick recipe and the ingredients are cheap. You can get the meaty flavour without buying actual meat. Hooray for resourcefulness and for a good effort-to-tastiness ratio!

2 tbsp oil
1 tspn butter
1kg bones
1 onion
2 big stalks of celery
5 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
5 turnips, peeled & chopped
1 big head of broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup brown lentils, cooked (without salt)
1 medium aubergine, chopped and lightly fried

Brown the bones with some oil and melted butter in a hot pot or pressure cooker. 
Take the browned bones out and then start to brown the onions. 
Add the chopped carrots and celery at this stage to make a mirepoix.
Once those look nicely fried, add the bones back in and then also the rest of the roots (potatoes and turnips). 
Add enough water to almost cover the vegetables. We used a pressure cooker, so these ingredients only took 20 minutes to get cooked. A stove might take one to two hours.
Once the pressure is released from the cooker, take out the bones and discard them.
Add the broccoli, cooked lentils and fried aubergines.
Put the pressure cooker on for one minute (it takes a few minutes to get up to pressure as well). Don't over do the broccoli or else it will turn into green mush.

Enjoy this hearty meal with a piece of buttered, crusty fresh bread or with grated Parmesan on top.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Spongy Lentil Cake

Part of trying new things means that occasionally you'll find something that you don't quite enjoy. Case in point is this fluffy lentil sponge cake from Anjum's New Indian cook book. It was made with chickpea flour, tumeric, mustard and ginger and other spices. Maybe the chickpea and ginger flavours are what combined to make a really strange taste. Perhaps I need to develop my palate. But I wont be making this again for a while.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Poppy Seed Brioche French Toast with Honey, Lemon & Blueberries

Technically not a bread, brioche is a viennoiserie instead because of all the egg and butter used (hence more of a pastry, if you will)! It can be eaten plain, sweetened or even savoury and is characterised by the shiny, dark and flaky exterior, which is emphasised with a egg wash before baking. It tastes almost like croissant but is a lot easier and less time consuming to make.

After some searching, I found this awesome recipe for making brioche. It's super rich, delicate and melt-in-your-mouth. It freezes wonderfully and toasts very well in a toaster.

Once you've made your brioche you can prepare it for freezing (if that is your plan). Let it cool for a while before using an electric carving knife to cut through that soft, fluffy bread. You can store the slices in ziplock bags and then put them in the freezer in a spot where they won't be squashed. 

For the French toast slightly stale bread works best, so you can leave out a few slices to dry out overnight. Alternatively, start right away! One of my new favourite discoveries is The Sugar Hit, where you can get the recipe details on how to make this yummy French Toast (you can see from my photos that I added the poppy seeds into the bread rather than the French toast batter; and I used fresh blueberries).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Winter Salad Inspiration

For a crisp, sunny winter's day.

1/2 of a medium roasted butternut, peeled
1/3 wheel of feta
A few salad leaves
Some watercress
1 tsp sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp linseed
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil

Lay out the salad leaves on a plate and lay the roughly chopped butternut on top.
Next, break up the feta over the butternut. 
Mix together oil and lemon juice, adding salt & pepper to taste. 
Then gently pour this dressing over the feta and the butternut and top it off with the seeds.You can even roast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan beforehand if you would like them to have a more toasty flavour.

Gourmet it: 
Add in squares of roasted beetroot, chopped pieces of fresh orange and maybe even some ripe avocado.
Perhaps a touch of chilli and a teaspoon of Bulgarian yoghurt in the dressing will go down well too.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Aubergine Lasagne

This is probably one of my favourite Whole30 meals I've had so far. It doesn't take too long to make, so I'm probably going to make this again this week (double sized).

500g beef mince (preferably not lean since there is no dairy fat being added)
2 handfuls of baby tomatoes and 1 tsp tomato paste (instead of making your own 'passata', you can use some from a can too)
1 onion, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2- 3 aubergines, sliced length-ways and fried in olive oil
A handful of olives, roughly chopped
Some thyme and oreganum

Fry the chopped onion in some oil on a medium-low heat until translucent.
Add the beef (if it's not yet defrosted you have to continuously keep scraping off the cooked bits to make sure it doesn't make one giant meatball) and fry it until browned. This might take some time and can be done on high heat. Add extra oil if it starts sticking to the pan.
Once the meat is browned, add the garlic and season with salt.
In a separate pan I sautéed the tomatoes until soft and then I used a blender to make a  sort of soup (or 'passata'). I added tomato paste to add extra flavour.
Then, add your tomato mixture to the beef and make sure that any extra liquid is reduced away. Now the beef is ready to be ladled into a casserole dish and topped with some chopped olives (for flavour). Start with about a third of the beef and use half the olives.
Next, layer the aubergine on top (about half of them / enough to fit your casserole dish dimensions). 
Repeat the beef layer, the olives and then the aubergines again. It might be a good idea to end with another layer of beef if possible because my aubergines dried out a bit.

Put your casserole dish in the oven at 180'C for 30 minutes and then it's ready!

Tip (from an olive-lover): The olives add a lot to the flavour so don't leave them out! If you're not an "olive-person", don't worry because you can't really taste them :P

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pot Au Feu

This French beef stew is eaten by both the rich and the poor as a comfort food.  Literally the name translates to "pot on the fire". It is relatively easy and cost-effective to make.
If you use marrow bones, the cooked marrow can be eaten on toast, the broth can be served separately as a soup and the vegetables and meat can be served on their own as a stew (one meal, three ways). If you live in the Meadowridge area, in Cape Town, The Fat German can supply you with super marrow bones for R25/kg (and other very tempting things).
Simple, deliciously comforting and cost-effective, this recipe is one of my favourites (especially the broth).
500g beef blade (you can also use beef shank, chuck, ribs)
500g large beef marrowbones
2 whole cloves
1 large white onion, peeled, halved
1 bouquet garni (something like 3 sprigs of thyme, parsley)
1 small cinnamon stick
1 tsp black peppercorns 
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 bay leaves
5 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
4 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
6 small turnips, peeled and quartered
500g new potatoes 
2 baby cabbages, optional
Place all the ingredients except for the last four (the vegetables) into the stockpot and pour enough cold water into the stockpot to cover the ingredients.

Bring this to boil and then turn it the heat down to a low simmer (just below boiling) for 2 1/2 hours. Add water, if needed, to keep the meat and marrowbones covered. 

After 2 1/2 hours, add the carrots, celery and turnips. Simmer these for 20 minutes. Add the baby potatoes and simmer for a further 20 minutes. 
Remove the vegetables and meat which should now be tender and cook the cabbages for ten minutes. When it's cooked through you can take the cabbage out and just reduce the broth.
To serve, spread the marrow onto toasted baguette and enjoy with gherkins, mustard, horseradish and sea salt. You can serve the broth also with some toasted baguette, and the stew can be eaten as is with the afore-mentioned condiments.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Potato Omelette

This could be a more English version of the Spanish omelette, which is made with only potato and egg (and maybe some onion). Serves 2.

3 eggs
2 medium potatoes
5 cherry tomatoes
Cheddar cheese
Oil for frying
Salt & pepper

Cut your potatoes into 1cm square pieces.
Put some oil in a pan and fry your potato pieces. It works best of you don't crowd the pan too much.
Once the potato is browned and cooked inside, you can remove these from the pan and rest them on paper towel to absorb extra oil.
Beat the eggs together and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Turn down the heat to medium-low and pour the egg into the pan and put a lid on to speed up the cooking.
Once it's no longer very liquid at the top, I usually like to flip my omelette to make sure that it's going to cook well on both sides. However, for this recipe I don't flip it, because when I add the potato I want to it to sink into the omelette a little bit (since it's not completely cooked through yet).
Once the potato is added, continue to cook the omelette with a lid on until done. 
Add the tomatoes and the cheese on one half.
Fold the omelette over and serve topped with a little extra cheese.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fried Aubergines with Gruyère and a Greek Yoghurt Dip

We had a great braai on New Year's Eve with some lovely rump steaks, sweet potato chips, roasted tomatoes, and for starters we had aubergines.

Having eaten aubergines a few times before dipped in egg and fried; they were my least favourite vegetable. Last year we gave the purple vegetables another chance. They've been a regular in our shopping basket ever since. This is my preferred way of cooking aubergines as a snack, side or starter.

1 big aubergine
Mixed herbs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Gruyère cheese
Greek Yoghurt 
Calamata olives

Cut your aubergine into 1cm thick slices and set your pan on a medium heat. 
Make a 'dressing' with olive oil, salt, pepper and the herbs to baste your slices with. 
Put one or two layers of oil on each side of each slice.
Put a little oil in the pan and fry the first few slices (only one layer, so no overlapping).
In about 5 minutes you can turn these slices and they should have brown spots (from the frying) on them and have changed to a darker colour (they will be much softer too). Cook the new side until done and remove from the pan.
Add the next few slices.
Once they are all done, you can top them with the grated cheese and serve with calamata olives. To make the dip a bit moreexciting, you can mix chopped garlic, mint and some additional olive oil into the yoghurt.

Tip: If you want the brinjal to cook quicker, you can steam the slices a bit by putting on a lid (they aren't going to be crispy anyway because they have too much liquid). 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Pan-fried Trout

We recently had a rather interesting meal for breakfast: pan-fried trout with a few fresh salad ingredients (pepper, tomato, cucumber) and a Greek yoghurt dip (sprinkled with spices like pepper, cumin and paprika).

Frying fish is really easy. Put a little oil in a pan and let it heat up on a medium high heat. You start with the skinless side facing down. Cook the fish for about 5-8 minutes before turning it over and cooking the skin side down for a further 5 minutes or so until golden. This way the skin is crispy when you serve it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Great for a hot summer's day.

A punnet of baby tomatoes
A big aubergine / egg plant / brinjal sliced & chopped
A yellow pepper, sliced
Half a cup of dry couscous
3 leaves of sage
5 leaves of mint
3 leaves of rocket
Olive oil
Flax Seeds
Greek yoghurt

Get out a nice big roasting pan and put all your veggies in there. Sprinkle over the herbs (chopped), a bit of salt and pepper. And coat with olive oil (stir it up).
Roast this on 180 degress Celcius for 45 minutes.
While that is roasting, just cover your couscous with water and let it soak it up. You can also lightly salt it.
Add flax seeds to your couscous.
Serve the hot veggies around the couscous and top with Greek yoghurt and garnish with a spring of mint.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Olive Bread

I can count the number of times that I've baked bread on one hand. I'm looking forward to baking new and exciting breads with my new Christmas present (a bread machine). Recently, as photographed, I baked a bread that was half white and half brown (I ran out of white flour) with olive oil and pimento-stuffed olives. I added some thyme to it as well. It was great with extra olive oil and some balsamic vinegar.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Quick Chicken Soup

Sometimes after roasting chicken you're left with a sauce in the roasting pan that you can use to make a gravy with. Otherwise, you can use it as a stock to make a soup. Add some chopped potatoes, a carrot, parsley, cream, pepper and maybe a touch of tomato. All the other seasoning from your chicken roast will be in the stock so you won't even have to add salt. Boil it for a few minutes and serve with fresh bread.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Butternut Fritters

I tried to make pumpkin fritters with roasted butternut. It was a taste fail, but they still look kind of good, right? 

If you've got a good pumpkin fritter recipe to share with me, please leave it in the comments below.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thai pork patties

I've never made pork burgers before so I decided to give it a try and  quite liked the idea of thai flavours, but I didn't have quite all the ingredients. Here is the original recipe, as usual I changed some things which to almost make a new recipe as you'll see below.

Ingredients that I used for the patties:
4 lemon grass stalks\ chopped
2 cloves of crushed garlic
500g pork mince
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp of crushed coriander
A handful of parsley
1tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar

Other ingredients you may need:
Burger rolls
Tomato sauce

Mix all the ingredients except for the oil and sugar.
Form 8 patties. 
Mix the oil & sugar and baste the patties.
Grill. Members of my family were concerned about only putting pork under the grill for only ten minutes, so we did 15 - 20 minutes at 200'C which was also alright - they weren't dried out or anything. 
Put your patties in a burger bun with some tomato, lettuce, cheese and serve with sweet potato chips and tomato sauce.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Chicken and Mushroom Pasta (with some avocado)

This is more of a supper-inspiration post:

Sautéd mushrooms and fried chicken mixed into some al dente penne makes a great meal. Since it's still avo season, add some chopped pieces of that and sprinkle over some black pepper and blue cheese for a kick.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Herman's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Around here these cookies, or biscuits of you will, have quite a delicious reputation. Our family friends, the Herman's, generously shared the recipe with me a bunch of years ago, and they stand the test of time and are still a firm favourite today. 

500g butter
2 cup treacle sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
6 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g dark chocolate

1. Beat the butter into the sugar until it's creamy.
2. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them in.
3. Add the vanilla and beat that in.
4. Use another bowl for mixing the dry ingredients: sieve the flour, salt and bicarb.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet.
6. Mix in the chocolate (chopped into bits) and then roll the dough into 3cm wide balls.
7. I use a non-stick baking tray to put the dough onto. The cookies grow quite a lot in the oven, so I usually can only fit about 12 cookies on one baking tray.
8. Bake at 180'C for 20 minutes. If your oven is hotter at the back, be sure to turn the tray so that the biscuits closer to the element don't burn at the bottom.

Sometimes I only use regular sugar if I don't have treacle sugar at hand.
I also like to divide the dough into thirds and then flavour each third differently. Flavours I've tried before include adding a little cocoa powder, some nuts, or cocoa powder and chilli, or just plain cardamom seeds with out any chocolate.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Miso Soup

I love miso and it's so healthy and easy to make. 

Just cut up some vegetables, like carrots and mushrooms and so on. Boil them for a few minutes in some water. Towards the end of cooking, turn off the heat and dissolve in some miso paste. You can serve it with rice but I don't think you're really supposed to, Anyway, here's a photo:

For more details, see this post.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Guaca mole

You might have noticed that if you mash an avocado and add salt and pepper you have a pretty good mole. Then you need to add some lemon or lime juice to stop it from browning. And that would be good and you'd be done.

But what if you wanted to make a really good guacamole, how would you do it? Well, this is my suggestion:

1 ripe avo
Lemon or lime juice
1/2 red pepper
1/2 tomato
1 red or green chilli (optional)
1 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tbsp of sour cream (or greek yoghurt if you must)
1 rasher of bacon
Tabasco sauce
A few stalks of dhania / coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the bacon until crispy and then remove it from the pan and chop it up into tiny bits.
Finely chop your chilli, tomato & red pepper and fry that in the bacon pan. Afterwards you can also fry the garlic a little bit.
Mash your peeled avocado and mix in some lime juice to preserve the green. Add in the sour cream and the bacon pieces. Add the tomato, chilli and red pepper. Tabasco can be added just for the flavour if you already used a hot chilli.
Salt and pepper can add a great dimension, so do add that as well.

Go and enjoy that with some crumbed fish or a burger.

Fact: Avocados are also called "alligator pears" and they are classified as berries.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cooking Quinces

Apparently quince isn't as much of a popular fruit as it once was. One of the reasons could be that they are too sour and hard to eat raw and so need to be cooked. Their toughness also makes them difficult to prepare.

The fruit are beautiful and rather like really big, hard pears, but a bit more apple shaped.

You will need a bug knife and some good strength to cut through them.

Once they have been cut into quarters or eighths you will need to take the seeds out. It's not a good idea to eat many of the seeds because they can turn into something horrid in your stomach. 

Then you can peel them.

And, because they turn brown easily like most fruit, you can keep them in some water until you are ready to cook them. 

We cooked our quinces in a pressure cooker with some sugary water. As they cook, they turn a lovely guava colour, all on their own! 

The pressure cooker was possibly not the best way of doing things as the quince ended up losing it's shape quite a lot. It was nice and soft though. We ate it with custard.

The best part was the sugary liquid left in the pressure cooker which we strained out and kept as a juice. It was really, really good. 

If you are dedicated, or bored, you could also make some beautiful quince jelly.

Roasted Shallots

Purple, raw shallots

This is the first time we've eaten shallots. We don't get them around here so often. So, when I saw them, I just got them (for my husband).

He cooked them. He said they're supposed to taste a bit like garlic, but they were mostly just like really tasty onions.

He used red wine vinegar and sugar instead of balsamic. He also used butter. This recipe says olive oil so I'm not sure if it's exactly the same one, but here it is anyway.

Golden shallots, yum.

 Black and white shallots.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Avocado, the friend of Pasta

Oh, this poor, poor blog! I have dreams, aspirations and so many good intentions of making this blog something compatible with the Food Fox. You laugh, mock, and think I can't hear you. 

I imagine myself carefully styling a dish and moving a colourful serviette just the right amount of millimeters and getting the focus on just the right glossy part of my carefully dished up meal in a hand-made ceramic bowl. That's not real life. Well, not at the moment. Various choices in life have left me spending my time elsewhere and the only space to create good-enough-to-pass-and-look-edible photos, is in my mind. In real life, I make something different for breakfast, lunch and supper almost everyday (if I cook) or my husband does and then in a moment of triumph and finality, I gobble down what I have just cooked, famished and tired. 

The moral of this short story is that people with nice food blogs do not cook on an empty stomach. Maybe one day I will have the time and discipline to do that. Here's to good intentions.

Guacamole can go on a pasta because it can go on a pizza. Here's how:

Serves 3

For the guacamole
1 finely chopped tomato
1 finely chopped red pepper
1 finely chopped clove of garlic
1 mashed ripe avocado
1 tsp chipotle Tabasco
Juice of one lemon

For the pasta sauce
(200g cooked spaghetti or whichever pasta you like)
2 chicken breasts
A sprinkle of dried chilli
A sprinkle of dried herbs
1/2 tub of crème fraîche

Fry the tomato, red pepper & garlic with some olive oil until soft and saucy. Add a touch of water if necessary to de-glaze the pan. Take that out of the pan & let it cool.
Mash the avo with the lemon juice and Tabasco sauce. Season with salt & pepper until it's tasty enough.
Fry the chicken breasts with the salt, pepper, herbs and chilli. Once cooked, chop them up into bite-sized pieces and mix in the crème fraîche. You can use Greek yoghurt as well I would think. It's definitely cheaper, but also less cheesy.
Now that the tomato and red pepper is cool, add it to the guacamole. If it's too hot it could cook your avo and make it go a strange colour or make it taste bitter (depending on the variety) as it could get cooked by the heat.

Serve your pasta, layer the chicken pieces over it and top with the guacamole! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I haven't tried adding bread to gaspacho before, but onions I have, and I can tell you: it didn't taste good. Both are more or less traditional ingredients for this chilled, refreshing Spanish soup. These days I just include generally green salad ingredients.

6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Get your blender out. Blend. Serve chilled with parsley leaves and a good bread. Enjoy thoroughly and pretend you are in a Spanish landscape painting.

Get some insight:
Apparently gaspacho, the food of shepards and peasant of old, even goes back to Roman times in a very basic form: bread, water, vinegar, oil and salt. That sounds more like a sauce. Today there are quite a few variations from that root. When we were in Spain we bought some of the red variety, which is more well known, in a one liter carton and drank it just like that for lunch. We should have kept an eye out for the cousins: green and white.

While the red variety is tomato based, white ones can contain nuts and dried fruits and the green ones are basically the same as the white but contain spices that make them colourful. Something new to try! Nuts in a soup!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sweet Potato Chips

Or if you want to be, like, American, just call them "fries". But I refuse (I'm not American).

If you haven't made vegetable chips before, now's a good time to start. It's quite simple and not too time consuming. It's worth the bit of effort, definitely. You can flavour them however you want which means that each time you make them, you can add a new twist. My ingredient list is completely variable, except for the potatoes, salt, pepper and the oil.

2 medium / small sweet potatoes
Olive oil to coat
1 tsp pepper
A sprinkle of salt
1 tsp dhania / coriander powdered
1 tsp jeera / cumin whole or powdered
1/2 tsp chilli flakes

Chop the sweet potatoes into any size from 1/2 - 1 cm wide with a depth of up to 2cm - depending on how crunchy you want them. Leave the skin on for a more chewy effect, but wash them well if you are leaving the skin on - perhaps with a vegetable brush if you have one.

Toss all the ingredients with your chopped vegetables and coat with olive oil. Lay out your pieces on a baking tray without them touching if possible - if they touch don't worry, but they probably won't be as crunchy.

Bake at 200'C for 15 minutes, then check them, turn them if required and keep an eye on them until lightly browned.

Tip: The more even the width of your potatoes are, the less they taper at the ends of the slices, the less likely the tips will be to burn.

For supper tonight, I just made vegetable chips with carrots (I flavoured them with chilli, garlic and pepper - yum).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sweet Tomato Soup

Unfortunately my memory on how I made this is now quite rusty, having been starved of the Internet at home for more than a month, I'm only getting back to updates now.

Ingredients (as I remember)
1 onion, roughly chopped
1kg tomatoes halved
5 cloves of garlic
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
Olive oil
Some milk
Pickled jalapenos

Roast the onion, tomatoes, garlic and pepper drizzled with a generous tablespoon of honey and some olive oil until soft (just over an hour at 180 degrees Celsius). Blend the vegetables with some milk to make it creamier and add some salt and pepper if required.

Tear up a handful of basil leaves and stir them in. Serve chilled and garnish with some basil leaves and pickled jalapenos for some spice. A massive blob of sour cream would have been the ideal addition.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chilli Con Carne

So, I thought I was making Bolognese Sauce - embarrassingly  it turned out that what I really was in the mood for was Chilli Con Carne!

Serves 6

1 chopped onion
1 chopped red pepper
2 medium-hot chillis
3 cloves of crushed garlic 
1 tsp of dried origanum
1 tsp of dried basil
2 tspn of dried coriander, powdered
1 tspn of cumin
A good pinch of salt
3 tsp of pepper
500g lean free range beef mince
400g can of tomatoes, puréed
400g can of Rhodes Mexican Salsa
400g can of kidney beans
400g can of butter beans
A good glug of red wine (dry Shiraz/ Merlot)
1 cup of water

Fry the onion and when translucent, add the mince.

Throw in the red pepper, chilli, garlic and fry for 5 minutes with the herbs and spices.

Add in the drained beans, and cans of tomato and salsa. Stir around with the wine and water and leave to reduce for about an hour.

Use as an addition to any Mexican meal, or wraps, or even enjoy with pasta!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Moroccan Chicken with Lentils

At the moment we are trying to cut down on carbs, one of the yummiest and healthier ways to do that is to eat lots of lentils! So, I found a recipe and adapted it a bit.

2 tbsp oil
8 - 10 little skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or leave this out and keep it vegetarian)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1 tbsp paprika
3 whole thai chillis 
1 large onion , finely sliced
1 cup dry split red lentils
400g can chopped tomato
1 tbsp tomato sauce / paste / puree
Some chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick (about 4 cm long)
100g whole dried apricots

Fry the onion, garlic and chicken in the oil and add the ground spices. After about 10 minutes of frying, the chicken should be cooked. Add the tomatoes and let it cook for another 15 minutes to combine the flavours.

In another pot, cook the lentils in some chicken stock (they need to be covered). Add the apricots and the chilies there too. Cooking lentils takes about 30 minutes. Once it was cooked, I let the stock reduce and thicken for a while. 

Mix it all together in a casserole dish and put it in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about a half an hour (this isn't a necessary step,but maybe it helps the flavours mix better).

Because if the large amount of lentils, you can eat it just like that, or you can have it with rice or bread.

A Note on Lentils:

Lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight of any legume or nut. So, lentils are a source of inexpensive protein and also of iron for vegetarians. They are also healthy because of the of the folate, vitamin B1, other minerals and fiber (consisting of 11% - 31% fiber depending on the colour - red is the least fibrous). 

They are mentioned many times in the Hebrew Bible, the first time being the time when Jacob purchases the birthright from Esau with stewed lentils (they are tasty indeed).

In Jewish mourning tradition lentils and eggs are considered as food for mourners because their round shape symbolising the life cycle from birth to death.

In Italy, eating lentils on New Year's Eve traditionally symbolizes the hope for a prosperous new year, most likely because of their round, coin-like form.

Original recipe:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Simple Vanilla Cupakes

I'm going to try these today!

1 Cup butter, 
3 cups icing sugar, 
1 tsp vanilla extract /  2 tsp essence 
Some milk / cream to make it nice and smooth

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Roast Pumpkin & Aubergine Salad

Having limited ingredients in the house sometimes kind of encourages me to be more creative with food and putting things together that I would never have thought of otherwise. This is one of those surprising combinations.

1/2 half small pumpkin, peeled & chopped in chunks
2 big aubergines, chopped in chunks
handful of pumpkin seeds
2 little wheels of feta
olive oil
herbes de provence

Lay out your pumpkin & aubergine in a baking dish - it's alright if it's not a single layer. Add some salt, a little pepper, a generous amount of herbes and some olive oil. Toss around & roast at 190 degreees celsius for 1.5 hours until soft.

When the veggies are looking a little wrinkly, you can take them out and toss them with the feta (crumbed) and the seeds. Add more olive oil if you like.