Tag Archives: sundried tomatoes

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

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Dishwasher disasters and bank holidays

2 May

Ok, I am not making this seem as if it was the dishwasher’s fault for fewer posts, or the fact that we have been braaiing like someone that has never seen flames before, but there have been a few problems. Firstly, we were braaiing at least 3 times a week 🙂 Secondly, after making hot cross buns and screaming at our new oven, I turned around, fell over the OPEN dishwasher, right into a very sharp, brand new braai fork.

Adding that I redecorated the carpet in a beautiful crimson splash ( which I might add is now in fashion again ;-p) and that this ended up in quite a painful experience = no heavy lifting and less cooking. So, the hubby has been replacing the role of the lion cub, moving into the role of the female lion – the hunter, which would mean he was doing most of the cooking = Braaiing & toasted bagels and muffins!

This was quite an experience, he is a master at all three of them 🙂 However, I happen to have two very tasty, simple dishes that I did make, and after tossing the pain killers a bit I am now in a state to write something that makes sense ;-p

So, the two dishes are, fried spicy pork steak with steamed broccoli & garlic butter, accompanied by roasted sweet potato wedges. Then we also have simple, tasty stirfry, with the brilliant Udon Noodles, honey and very tender steak and veggies 🙂 So here we go with the first one :

1 Pork steak ( it was already in it’s own marinade..yes, lazy!!)

2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks and boiled for 5 – 10 minutes

Veggie spice or a mixture of cumin and coriander seeds, coriander, garlic flakes

Olive oil

1 head of broccoli

2 tablespoons of garlic butter

So, this is easy, simple and tasty. Boil some water and start steaming your broccoli. Arrange your sweet potato on a baking tray with baking paper, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over your spices. Place in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes at 180 degrees celcius. Add some butter to your pan and start frying your pork steak. Your broccoli should now be ready. Mix in your garlic butter and flavour with salt and pepper. Remove your sweet potatoes from the oven, serve up on a plate and enjoy!

So, now for the second one:

Beef Veggie stirfry with Udon Noodles

2 minute steaks, cut into bitesize pieces

1 leek chopped

1 courgette, grated

handful of mangetout

5 sundried tomatoes

1 pack of Udon noodles

1 teaspoon of garlic

1 teaspoon of grated ginger

3 tablespoons of soya sauce

5 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of vinegar

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 green pepper, chopped

1 red pepper chopped

handful of broccoli, steamed

Firstly, add olive oil to a frying pan. Add your leeks and cook until soft, but still firm. Season with salt. Start steaming your broccoli. Now add your peppers, mangetout and sundried tomatoes. Fry for about 5 – 7 minutes.

Now, mix together your garlic, ginger, soya sauce, honey, vinegar and brown sugar. Mix it through properly. Now add your beef to the stirfry. When the meat is almost done, add the sauce. Mix through. Now also add your Udon noodles and broccoli and mix through. The Udon noodles should be done in about 5 – 7 minutes. Cover with a lid and remove from the heat. This should flavour the noodles through. Sprinkle with some fresh coriander and enjoy 🙂