Tag Archives: Cook

Nutty about…

2 Aug

All the people in London, getting to work, rush hour, the olympics, but most of all, nutty about all our gold medals that we have won already!!!! Go boys, go!!! That would be SA, just to clarify 🙂 GB is not doing too bad ;-p So after a few manic weeks after returning from our heavenly Cayman trip.. yes, it is already a month ago.. I finally have time for my little baby… to get back to posting some entries. In honour of the Olympics, I would like to share this nutty recipe.. I mean come on.. everyone is freakin nuts over here, the spirit is electric! Who is to say these nutty bars that I will be sharing with you might not help with some energy for our boys in their races!!

So this is not my own recipe, but a wonderful creation from the famous Hummingbird Bakery… just around the corner from us in Notting Hill. Its simply lovely.. and I am happy to say, that my Conan simply goes “nuts” for it!

You can use your own choice of nut mixture, just make sure that the same amount is as indicated in the recipe.

Mixed Nut Slices

For the base

150g Plain Flour

40g icing sugar

120g unsalted butter, softened

For the topping

50g unsalted butter

50g Golden syrup

110g soft light brown sugar

2 large eggs

40g walnut pieces

40g pecan halves

40g shelled pistachios

40g flaked almonds

40g roughly chopped hazelnuts

One 22 x 31cm baking tray

Preheat the oven to 170 C and line the baking tray with baking parchment. Using a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, icing sugar and butter into a dough. Alternatively, rub the ingredients together by hand in a bowl.

Press the dough into the prepared baking tray, making a slight lip around the edge to stop the filling from pouring over the sides of the tray. Place in the oven and bake the base in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown and the edges are a light golden brown and the middle is pale, but cooked.

Meanwhile, make the topping. Place the butter in a small saucepan along with the golden syrup and brown sugar, and melt together over a low heat. Remove the pan from the hob and allow to cool slightly.

Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly beat with a fork. Pour the butter and syrup mixture into the eggs and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Mix all the nuts together in a separate bowl, and scatter them over the part-cooked pastry base. Carefully pour the syrup and egg mixture over the nuts, making sure it is evenly spread over the base.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the topping is set and golden brown in colour. Allow to cool before carefully cutting into 12 slices.

Advertisements

“headless” exhausted chicken.. fillet

15 May

Double that! In one way I am very happy to know that the chicken I am making is headless, but in another, I feel like one running around.. and not stopping, which isn’t a good picture if you HAVE actually seen what a headless chicken running around looks like.

Exhaustion has kicked in, similar to my ideas that I have for cooking chicken. Sometimes I just really think, I don’t know what to cook anymore with this birdie.

Also, I enjoy cooking my food, but not eating it? Is that normal? In the end I just want an apple, or a pear. Not that you would say that looking at my physique ;-p Luckily you can tell how much I love food, by literally reading each blog entry I have posted over the months since I started this “coop”.

So, tonight I think I will create a “headless chicken” style meal as it has to be quick and I am probably going to throw everything together.. and hey.. life is like a box of “eggs” .. you never know what you’re gonna get .. As the man says.. he is sometimes scared of what he’s going to get when he comes walking through our door..

1 pack of chicken breast fillet, halved /pack of chicken thigh fillets

1 tablespoon of  garlic

2 sweet potatoes, cut in quarters and boiled for 8- 10 minutes, still firm

2 x tablespoons of olive oil

handful of fresh sage, roughly chopped, extra for scattering

2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 x tin of artichokes

1 red pepper, cut in medium slices

juice of half a lemon

1 big onion, roughly chopped

2 handfuls of mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 ziplock bag

Preheat your oven to 180C. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a heated pan and add your onion. Fry for about 5 minutes and add your chicken, season with salt and pepper. Squeeze over your lemon juice. All you’re going to do is seal your chicken.

Now, take a ziplock bag and place all the ingredients in it, besides the tomatoes. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, add the garlic, chicken spice and the sage leaves. Close it up and shake it all about!!!

Now all you do is take it out of the ziplock bag and place on a baking tray.

Scatter your tomatoes around in the tray. Season with salt and pepper and scatter another few sage leaves.Cover with foil.

Place in the oven for 45 minutes or untill cooked.

Serve with some rice or cous cous, or a lovely warm ciabattata dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar

On the healthy “chicken” wagon

26 Sep

And that is just because I am feeling so exhausted as if I might have been pushing one around! Also the very lame excuse as to the reason why there have been almost NO posts! Yes I know, but what can I do, I can’t be superwoman every day, I have tried to be like my inspiring mother, but alas, I really don’t know where she gets it from!! Even if you have a slight flu over here, it knocks you back for weeks!!

So, firstly today, I wanted to play chicken with with my “much more fitted” clothes this morning and this is the reason for a warm chicken salad. Something light, but still full of crunch and happiness!! Still thinking how I am going to run this past my very, oh so beautiful, muscled man! ;-p Yes he is, and he is all mine.He’s just going to have to deal with this chicken salad. Luckily there are still some of my dauphinois potatoes left from yesterday, so I know those little buggers will fill him right up!!

Nothing exciting really, all I can say is that it is quick, light and still colourful to lift us into happiness in these glum, dark days that are sneaking into our London home. Also, if you were as lazy and exhausted as I was this weekend, it gives you enough time to still properly clean your house and do the washing that is still looking at you with a VERY angry face. So, all in all everybody is smiling!

Warm chicken & vegetable salad

2 to 3 chicken breasts

2 teaspoons of season all spice

2 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped

1 pack of French green beans

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

3 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts

1 courgette, grated in ribbons, roasted

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 handful of cherry tomatoes, halved and roasted

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tablespoon balsamic glaze

Put your oven on grill. Place your courgette ribbons on the tray, along with your cumin seeds sprinkled over and tomatoes, flavoured with salt and pepper, drizzled with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Grill them for 10 minutes.

Watch them, as they can burn very quickly. As this is cooking in the oven, sprinkle the season all over the chicken and rub and pat it slightly.

Now heat a frying pan, add the remaining olive oil to the pan and fry your chicken until brown. Watch it so that you don’t overcook it and it is then to dry. Turn then halfway, the season all will create a lovely, thin crispy layer.

Meanwhile, while this is cooking, boil your french beans in water for about 7 minutes, just so that they go slightly soft, but are still firm. Drain them. Remove your courgette & tomatoes from the oven.

Now take your chicken breasts from the pan and slice them into medium sized slices. Place your french beans, along with the tomatoes, roasted pepper & chicken pieces back in the pan the chicken was cooked in. Add your teaspoon of balsamic glaze. Cook for 4 minutes. Take off the heat.

Now take your pine nuts and toast them for 5-7 minutes in a warm pan.

Voila!! Take your warm chicken salad and dish up onto a plate. Sprinkle your salad with the pine nuts.

Lastly, crumble over your feta cheese and sit back, relax and enjoy my friends!

What the heck, lets have pork neck

30 Aug

Unlike the flavourful dish I will talk about shortly, I would like to give you the true definition of a pig and how it is part of my morning, every morning. No, not the lovely crispy bacon, this pig is alive 🙂 PIG: A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives. Pigs are omnivores and are highly social and intelligent animals. As you might have realized, these pigs dress up in suits in the morning and tramp all over you to get on the train. They are also omnivores, which means, they will basically eat you alive! Their second, more well known name would be – middle aged bankers, on the overland rail.  Highly intelligent creatures, but that is about it, for an animal 🙂 For some reason when I always get angry in the morning, I always feel better when I know we will enjoy pork for supper 🙂 There is something very satisfying in teaching a piggy some manners. Marinate it, cook it properly and it is the most well-mannered taste that you will enjoy for the day 🙂

Hey, pigs have great taste ;-p  Simply put, I am not a happy camper after having to go back to work after bank holiday, so obviously there will be a bit of negativity 🙂 Well, skip that part because the positivity just came back after I enjoyed a lovely supper 🙂 This is a love and leave dish – for the pork that is. I am sure you will enjoy this and all negative spirits will disappear!

Zingy pork

One pack of pork neck steak

One whole garlic’s cloves, lightly crushed

2 tablespoons of olive oil

salt & pepper

1 twig of fresh rosemary

handful of twigs of fresh thyme

30ml dry white wine

1 tin of tinned, chopped tomatoes

30ml balsamic vinegar

juice of half lemon

4 spring onions, snipped

1/2 leek, roughly chopped

2 handfuls of mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 red pepper finely chopped

1 teaspoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon of olive oil for the sauce

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Place your pork on a non-stick baking tray.

Flavour with salt and black pepper. Toss around your garlic. Sprinkle your thyme and rosemary over the pork. Drizzle with your olive oil. Now place in the oven and cook dor 30 – 35 minutes, or until golden and cooked. While this is cooking, add  the remaining olive oil to a frying pan.

Add your crushed garlic, leeks, spring onion & red pepper to a frying pan. Now fry for about 8-10 minutes. Add your mushrooms. Fryn until almost done and flavour with salt. Add the white wine. Mix through and allow to simmer.

After 10 minutes, add your tinned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Flavour with salt according to your personal taste. Meanwhile, you can cook some pasta, I used orzo pasta, as your base for the pork and sauce.

When your pork is done, take it out of the oven. Place your orzo in your plate. Place the pork on top of that and top it off with your lovely sauce. Enjoy with a simple veggies or a side salad 🙂

Celebratory Duck – It looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, so it has to be a duck…

24 Aug

Or so it was…. before I picked it up in the supermarket ;-p Ahh… just like water of a duck’s back! Effortless! That is today’s dish 🙂 I know, I have neglected my little love post. However, after being woman down with the stomach flu, (No, it wasn’t dodgy chinese duck) I am now back on track, overly focused and inspired, so I felt like inspiring my inner food goddess today! I finished a contract on monday, so I was literally like a “duck in water”! Happy as can be, relaxing, working on my new little jewellery venture, picking up a package from my loving mother, all the way from SA, and coming home, inspired to cook a lovely dinner 🙂

This is also a little celebratory dinner for the hubby as he passed his exams!! And as I, the do-gooder wife ( tssskk tssssk) joined him at the gym today as another present, he has no excuse to feel guilty for enjoying this little delicacy!! To me, duck has always been “rich man’s food”. Although, if you think about it, I grew up next to a dam with millions of ducks! However, I would never dream of killing one to eat, they are such lovely little things 🙂 Away with the guilt, since I no longer live in that little paradise, I thought what harm would come from enjoying one aspect of it , in a certain sense 🙂  It sounds like a lot of work, but this is a “love and leave” dish 🙂 Everything in one tray, poke an eye on them every now and then, and it turns into lovely, golden delicious dreams 🙂 Easy as pie!

Celebratory Duck

2 Duck Breasts

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks

1 teaspoon of olive oil

4-5 cloves of garlic, slightly crushed, in it’s skin

a handful of dried apricots

Salt & Pepper to taste

handful of fresh thyme

Veggie stirfry

1 red pepper

handful of mangetout

handful of baby corn

4 spring onions

2 tablespoons of soya sauce

1 tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of olive oil

5 mushrooms, sliced

1 cup of finely sliced carrots

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Now, get yourself a casserole pan that can go into the oven, or any pan that can go into the oven. Season your duck breasts with salt and pepper. Pour in your olive oil and heat your pan up. Place the duck breast fat/skin side down. Now add your garlic, still in it’s skin.

Make sure you hear the slight crackling sound when the skin on the duck starts to brown. It will create a lot of cooking juices from the skin. When the skin is lovely and brown, add your potatoes, and mix them about so that they are coated in the juices. Now sprinkle over your thyme.

Place in the oven for 45 mins. While this is in the oven, you can work on your veggies.

Add your oil to a heated pan and add the veggies.

Add your mushrooms last.


Add your soya sauce, vinegar and honey and fry until tender, but still firm. When your duck is done, dish up and savour the moment 🙂 Utter bliss!

She’s always a “hearty” woman to me…

11 Jul

Today’s post was inspired by my beautiful mother, which includes the song -“She’s always a woman to me” from Billy Joel. There was a recent add on tv from John Lewis and the way that they portrayed this woman, with the song, was almost a replica of my mother. It depicts how she met her husband, got married, worked, started and fed a family and how her life turned out… tune in, I will attach the video to my blog, just so all of you will know what I am talking about. This is the wikipedia explanation for Billy Joel’s song: “She’s Always a Woman” is a song from Billy Joel‘s 1977 album The Stranger. It is a love song about a modern woman, with whom he falls in love for her quirks as well as her flaws. Now, just to clarify this, my mother has NO flaws! She is the most perfect woman, and oh how I am blessed to have such a mother!

Ever heard of having your heart connected to another with a long string? That is what it feels like to me, with my mother in another country. Till this day, it amazes the hubby how my mother and I are connected. One example? I asked my mother one afternoon in a email what she was cooking that night and it turns out we were cooking the exact same dish, without even speaking to each other. We share everything, from cleaning tips to “calming down after the toilet seat was left up again” and how to make a wilting, dying plant grow again and flourish! So, this brings me to the rest of the inspiration for today, “harvest diaries”, a book I am reading about the daily chores on a organic wine and fruit farm. The way the writer describes her day is so similar to my mother. From when I was little, everything my mother grew, always flourished. She would tend to the garden, make fresh delicious food, be a shoulder to cry on, be a career woman,wife, mother, sister, a friend and make all of it seem so simple and easy. She puts her heart in everything, and that is why this blog is titled “hearty” woman to me.

In winter, we would come home and you could hear the fire crackling, which she lit earlier and smell a lovely waft of homemade lentil soup and fresh bread and when entering the kitchen be embraced by her in a warm hug. This is beauty to me. She can enjoy anything and everything, mend anything, cook anything and it is all a picture of love and contentment. Of course, I could never be close to this, but, I now live for planting flowers, herbs and vegetables, making our house a home, to cook something simple and turn it into a feast, and all the while,not thinking about not being a stick and embracing my curves, pale skin and loud personality, because this is who I am, and all of this came from my mother ( and of course I have to say my father ;-p) She showed me what is important in life. So, in her words, when I am not particularly feeling like the beauty prom queen I am ( wink wink) look at yourself in the mirror and say “hello you drop dead gorgeous, beautiful thing!”

Well, I don’t need that anymore, because I know that certain things aren’t worth fussing about. I would rather fuss about my Lentil soup and try and figure out what I would add to make it taste like something magical happened in my kitchen ;-p So on the menu today, Red split lentil soup and home made bread 🙂 This one is for you mom, still know I won’t be able to top your lentil soup, but I might come close!

Homemade bread

125ml warm water

15g instant yeast

250g strong white bread flour

1 teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

twig of rosemary

3 sundried tomatoes

Mix your yeast into your warm water. Set aside and allow it to stand for about 10 minutes, until it starts creating a thick froth. Sieve your flour and salt into a bowl.  Mix together with the yeast and olive oil and put it in your mixing bowl with a kneading hook. Put the machine on low and keep it going for about 10 minutes, adding flour and warm water if neccesary. The dough is correct if you touch it and it springs back immediately. Now, rub a bowl with olive oil and rub the dough ball around it. Cover with a cloth and blanket and keep in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours. Punch it back about 7 times and knead again for 4 minutes. Cover again and allow to rise double the size. Preheat your oven to 230 degrees celcius. Rub your loaftin with olive oil. Now place your dough in the tin. Push some rosemary sprigs in your bread, and put the sundried tomatoes on top. Grind some salt over. Now allow it to bake. It is done when it has a hollow sound when you tap it.

Red Split Lentil Soup

2 onions roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

2 teaspoons of curry powder

juice of 1 lemon

75g of strong mature cheddar, grated

4 teaspoons of red pesto

1.5 litre of vegetable or chicken stock

Grated parmesan for garnish

salt & pepper to taste

Heat a casserole saucepan with the oil and add your onion and cumin seeds. Fry for about 5 minutes and now add your curry powder.

Add your lentils and stock and bring to the boil. Squash your garlic slightly and add to the soup. After this, simmer your soup for about 30 minutes. Then, add the lemon juice, cheese and pesto and mix through.

Flavour with salt and pepper. Dish up, grate over some parmesan and enjoy with your freshly baked bread! Happiness! 🙂

And for those that would like to watch the add that I think resembles my mother, here you go 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYOsWWKHZVw

Light spring pasta with a spring in my step :-)

15 Mar

Move over Bree, Nadia’s arrived! You heard it!! Not only do I work full day, I now come home, cook and…. wait for it…. do exercise from my excersise home dvd!!

Yes, I have turned into a modern-day Jane Fonda – without the small waist!! hahahaha! Coming soon – small waisted Nadia!! So, I wanted to make something tasty, light, beautiful and filling for the hubby’s tummy. Say no more – that means anything with pasta! He’s not called the “carb man” for nothing ;-p He loves pasta!! Not as much as pizza, but the two are very close.

So I rushed to make this dish, of course because I still had to do my excercise and spend time with the hubby. How do we do it??? It is a little insane. However, after sitting at my desk today, and literally feeling my muffintop… yes, muffintop !!!! – I decided excercise will also be on the menu tonight!! However, I am very proud of my dish I made tonight, because it contains no cream!!! It’s still very tasty!!! Another reason for the spring in my step – the hubby came home with a bunch of red roses and a kenwood chopper!! How lucky am I???

More lucky than the “acorn obsessed” squirrel in Ice Age when he is surrounded with all the acorns he can imagine!! Yup, I even have the crazy eyes!! My hubby is the beeeeeessssstt!!! So of course I have to give him great food, sprinkled with love 🙂 So here we go:

1 pack of chicken thighs diced

4 slices of bacon cut into little slices

1 leek, chopped

2 teaspoons of garlic

100ml white wine

3 tablespoons olive oil

5 sprigs of fresh thyme

4 teaspoons of lemon juice

Salt & black pepper

1 cup of frozen peas

2 cups of penne pasta

grated parmesan

Salad to serve

Get hold of your mortar & pestle. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of garlic, the lemon juice, thyme leaves and sprinkle in a pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix with your pestle. Now allow the chicken to marinate in this. It gives a beautiful flavour. While it is marinating, drizzle a little bit of olive oil in a heated pan and add the remaining garlic. Start frying your leeks. After about 7 minutes, add your bacon. Now add your chicken and the marinade. Fry for 10 minutes and add the white wine. Simmer for 1o minutes. While this is simmering, boil water for your pasta. Follow the instructions on your past packet. Now add the peas and mix through gently. Simmer for 5 minutes. Drain your pasta and mix it through with your chicken and peas. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and allow to stand for about 7 minutes.

While all the flavours are mixing together in your pan, make a simple salad to serve with your pasta dish. When your salad is done, remove the lid from your pan, transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle over your grated parmesan. Enjoy!! 🙂