The Bank Holiday has come and gone but it was lovely, we just enjoyed the children and the lovely weather. How is it that I still feel we over commit or are busy when we are all staying at home! With the weekend came cocktails and all seemed to be served in short so alas they do not look very fancy, but they were truly refreshing and delicious.
We kept it simple, I am not going to pretend that we are master cocktailers. We started off proceedings with Whiskey smash recommended by our neighbour Emily. Per cocktails you need a double whiskey shot, lemon slices of a ¼ lemon, bunch of mint leaves and a teaspoon of sugar. Put it all in a shaker with ice and shake! Pour it over more ice and enjoy. I left two slices of lemon out on the side over night and it
Moscow mule, 1 shot of lime juice, ginger beer, and double shot of vodka. Combine the ginger beer and vodka in a glass with ice and stir, add your lime juice a gently stir garnish with a slice of lime.
Then the humble Margarita, party in a glass right! My husband does the honors with this one and I need to really fight to make a cocktail in this house. I love having cocktails made for me but noticed cocktails and fire is my husband’s domain. You will need a double shot of Tequila, single lime juice and a single Triple sec or Cointreau. Shake all the ingredients with ice in a shaker and pour into a glass we don’t serve ours over ice, but you are welcome to. This may be controversial, but we also do not salt our rim… personal choice, last time I did a tiny sprinkle on top to give that taste bud explosion.
Have a great weekend and take care, I know the rules are relaxing but still make sure to keep yourself and others safe.
This one was thought of from a need for a quick lunch that packed nutrition.
1 Carrot finely grated
½ tsp Garam Masala
1 small onion finely chopped
½ tsp paprika
2 Hand full of washed spinach chopped up
Ground black pepper
1 cup of self-raising flour
70ml whole milk
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/ baking powder
Pinch of Bouillon, optional
Heat the oil in pan and add the onion brown and soften that of add the carrot and fry for a further 2 minutes until the colour lightens, this shows that it is cooking. Add your spinach and flavouring’s fry until the spinach is wilted, turn off the heat. You can use what ever you like, we always use mixed herbs they add a lovely taste but also things like paprika, Garam masala, fennel seeds, cumin, coriander seeds, onion seeds. Experiment and find what you family enjoys, for this one the Garam Masala adds a lovely savoury note.
Now shive together the flour and raising agent in a bowl and once the vegetables have cooled mix them through the mixture. Now whisk the egg and milk together and add that to the dry ingredients and mix through I needed a splash more milk so just check your consistency. It should be able to be spooned easily into the pan, so not to stiff. A bit like American pancakes.
Add the oil to the pan and heat up on a medium heat and drop your cakes in a clockwise pattern. This helps for you to know which to turn first, I have them 2 minutes per side. I needed to remove my pan when scooping the next batch out as it got extremely hot.
Enjoy as is or spread some cream cheese on them. You can add a grating of cheese to the mix it is up to you.
This one started off by us needing to use an Aubergine from the fridge, we love Thai food and the paste adds such great flavour, for the children we use just a ½ teaspoon of paste to add flavour. It really delivered and as we ate dinner last night, I could have really eaten that in a restaurant and not complained. Please see below for the image where I kept aside a portion of the ingredients to make for the babies separately.
1 aubergine cubed and roasted
1 can chickpeas drained
Fish sauce adult only
1 can coconut milk
Brown sugar or palm sugar adults only
1 onion chopped
1 carrot pre steamed
Couple canned peaches for children
Thai curry paste, we used green
Add your oil to a frying pan once hot and melted add the onion, I wanted to get some nice colour on it. Once it has browned nicely add your steamed carrot and roast aubergine and fry for 2 minutes.I do this when cooking because it can happen without me being there, so we steam and roast our vegetables, also the roasting gives such great flavour it really gets the children enjoying the vegetables. A bit of prep in the morning or afternoon and there is much less to do at mealtime. With two babies you really want to avoid that ‘I am hungry’ screaming.
Remove a few spoons of the vegetables and set aside in a desert bowl to use for the babies. If you are making it now just do it in a small pan. Add a teaspoon or more of the curry paste to the adult portion and fry empty the chickpeas in the pan and about ¼ of the can in bowl, once fragrant add a spoon of the coconut milk cream and stir while that fries. Place a spoon of the cream in the children’s bowl and about a ¼ of the watery bit. Now empty the coconut milk can’s contents in the pan and stir. We added some fresh chopped coriander at this stage, it is not essential.
We added a tablespoon of fish sauce and a teaspoon of sugar now, do this to your own taste stir and simmer for 10 -15 minutes stirring every so often. The coconut milk we use was so creamy that we needed to add some boiling water to loosen it I added a ½ -1 teaspoon of turmeric now it adds a nice colour and the stuff is good for you too. It should have a think soup consistency not gloopy when reduced. We always put our rice on 20 minutes from when we need it, we use a rice cooker and this is such a great help, you don’t even need to think about it.
For the children’s meal I took the bowl set aside out of the fridge, warmed some oil in a pan and added a ½ teaspoon of paste to the hot pan let it fry and add a spoon of the coconut cream and fry off. You are replicating the adult meal just less spice, salt and sugar. Empty the rest of the ingredients into the hot pan and stir, I also added some boiling water, turmeric and a few chopped tinned peaches to theirs stir and reduce for just under 10 minutes. Add the rice to the mixture to warm through, turn off the heat and add some natural yogurt for creaminess and to reduce any heat there may be from the paste. My children just love it! I served theirs with some steamed frozen veg such a blessing as a Mom.
This one it absolutely amazing and we all enjoy it, too much really. It is finger licking delicious. It is a great way to get some added goodness into a pasta dish. Our twins love pasta, they seem almost Italian! You can add any veg you enjoy just fry it off and add to the pasta and sauce at the end, we use courgetti this time but mushroom, broccoli will work too.
Pasta (half a bag makes enough for all of us)
½ Large Butternut, sweet potato works too
Mixed Herbs and Rosemary
1-2 tbs Plain flour
Whole milk about a cup
Cup of grated cheese or your choice
1 Medium Courgette
Mushrooms if desired
Chop your vegetables into large chunks and drizzle with olive oil and herbs of choice to roast. I have a roast veg mix that is super tasty, it is from South Africa and I have not come across one here, but anything will do. Roast your butternut till cooked and delicious looking, the one we used was a bit young I think so didn’t have that deep orange but was tasty none the less.
While that is roasting fry your onion and the other vegetables you want to put in the dish, season to taste. Once the roasting the done remove the and place the roast vegetables in a container, add the milk and blend. This can be set aside until the evening when you are ready to cook.
Cook your pasta 15 minutes before you need the dish to be ready. While that is cooking put 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and the same of flour, mix it a bit and let the flour cook for a minute or so. Remove this from the heat and add your butternut and milk mixture while stirring. Once it is stirred in well return it to the heat and stir while it thickens, turn off the heat once it is the desired consistency. If it thickens too much add a bit more milk. Crack some pepper into the sauce.
Once removed from the heat add your cheese and stir until it is combined, it may be a bit stringy, but I don’t mind that. You can use cheddar or parmigiana and you can use less if you don’t want to add too much either, it is your dish. Once your pasta is cooked and drained you can add your sauce and fried vegetables to it and stir. I always have enough sauce to keep some for when I do not have time to cook and usually, I only cook the adult portion away the kids have gone to bed but everything is ready to go.
Finely sliced sundried tomatoes or crumbled feta will be nice on top. If you enjoy this recipe our Red Pepper Pasta is just as good.
This is a technique that I found about a year ago and it is a keeper. I never do the belly any other way and it is very versatile; we used it with noodles or rice for Asian and in warps or for these awesome homemade tacos.
500G Pork belly strips
4 tbsp. Soy sauce
Small onion finely sliced
Mini tortilla wraps
1-2tsp Sweet chilli sauce
Rice wine vinegar
Smashed avocado or guacamole
Sugar or alternative
Salt and pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika
We use the pork belly strips you buy in the supermarket; they are a cheap cut and taste so good. We do look for ones with more meat on just so you not eating pure fat. Warm the oven to 177 C.
You need to score the fat in a crosshatch format but do not cut through to the meat. I use a Portuguese spice rub but add smoked paprika and garlic powder to it and rub it all over. I also rub some plain salt into the fat before starting to cook. I line them up like soldiers in a backing tray that will hold some liquid, put them in the pre-heated oven for an hour.
Prepare your basting sauce by combining Soy Sauce, honey and sweet chilli sauce; whisk it with a fork or shack up in a jar. You can prepare your Pickled Onion now, combine the vinegars’, sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl and warm through in the microwave, 30 seconds are fine. I added some red food colouring to give it the authentic colour and a pinch of onion seeds. You could use red onion and skip the food colouring.
After the pork has had its hour turn the oven down to 120 C, baste the pork with the marinade and put back in the oven for 20 minutes. Baste it one more time in the cooking liquor from the baking tray. The meat is super tender and shreds or slices easily.
For the children’s wraps I steamed cauliflower, broccoli and sweetcorn. The Broccoli and sweet corn were served on the side and the cauliflower mashed was layered in the wrap with cheese, shredded pork and folded in half like a quesadilla and served with some yogurt. You can heat it in a pan or the microwave for a few seconds to melt the cheese.
The brushed both sides of the mini wraps and toasted them in a hot pan then topped with a little Mexican rice, pulled pork, Guacamole, yogurt, shredded lettuce and picked onion. Finally, some hot sauce from the guys at All Sauce and some lie wedges. Taco truck delicious!!
This post is slightly delayed, apologies for that, but you have it in time to be inspired for Bank Holiday next weekend. The weather being so grey is partly what delayed the post, rainy days don’t exactly scream cocktails in the garden. I hope you are all well, safe and having a good weekend at home?!
It was last weekend that we tried a few simple mixes after stocking up the bar for the lockdown and summer period. The measures below are for one drink.
Firstly, an Elderflower Gin Fizz, refreshing and an instant happy hit. We combined a 4cl measure of Gin and a 2cl Elderflower liquor shaken over ice and topped up with Cava. My personal preference is Cava but if you are a Prosecco lover that is totally fine too.
Fever Tree have brought out a cocktail book that showcases their tonic and a huge variety of cocktails you can make. Our neighbour recommended the Japanese Blossom as we had bought a lovely French Caribbean Rum, Clément. You will need the rum, Elderflower liquor, lemon juice, tonic water or Elderflower tonic, pineapple juice and honey. Remember you can substitute if you do not have all these ingredients, it’s your cocktail your rules!
The Expresso Martini, we used 4cl Vodka and 2cl Coffee Liquor and some sugar syrup, we didn’t use fresh coffee and it tasted great all the same. For the garnish all we had was white chocolate eggs from Easter that I bashed up in the Pestel and Mortar.
We used this lovely Gatsby Cocktail Book for some of the recipes such as the Old Fashioned. We used Bourbon, Angostura Bitters, sugar syrup and an orange peel for garnish. Muddle the ingredients in a glass over ice and then garnish once you have combined the mixed to your taste.
Here is a quick little share; a recipe from The Toasted Pine Nut that I adapted slightly too what we had in our cupboard. Lindsay makes lovely super healthy, gluten free and lower carb recipes, myself I take the old school plain flour and sugar approach. We are using what we have in the cupboard and you can just substitute your sugars, flour and even fruit for what you have in the house. We even used Walnuts instead peacan nuts!
Follow the link above for Lindsay’s recipe and for mine I used brown sugar instead of Coconut sugar and self raising flour instead of cashew flour.
The icing we only had half a tub of cream cheese so did what I could, but it is really tasty anyway! Just note mine had a wet consistency. Combine cream cheese and 25g butter, room temperature for both, whisk till combined, I had to pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds to loosen more. Sift in icing sugar, I just guessed the amounts to be honest whisk and a teaspoon of vanilla essence, then I decide some lemon zest would be a nice so added that too.
Wait until the cake part has cooled to room temperature before putting the icing on. Put the iced cake in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour and cut into the bars. Yum! I left some of mine un iced and cut into smaller cubes for the babies.
During these times it is more prevalent but should always be applied. Use what you have, adapt the recipes, and do not fear, just consider what can be interchanged with what. I saw the video for this one and loved the idea and convinced myself that Nigella used green peppers, they were green chilli. That is fine we ended up using yellow and orange peppers and added a hint of chilli at the end after a ladle was removed for children meals.
1 Green Pepper (or whatever colour)
1 tsp Ground turmeric
150g of shallots cubed or 1 small/medium onion
2 tsp Tamarind paste
25g Fresh ginger
Pinch of salt
1 Lemongrass stalk
Coconut oil or alternative
400 ml Coconut milk
1 egg per person
Rice to serve or flatbread to dip
2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Spring onion, onion seeds & crispy onion to serve
Blend the peppers, garlic, onion, and ginger with a stick blender. I added the turmeric and stir through. Heat the oil in the pan and add the paste and lemon grass and fry for 5 minutes until cooked. Add the coconut milk and bring to boil and then simmer for 7 minutes until reduced, thick, and golden. At this point I removed a large ladle of the curry and set aside for the children.
By mixing through steamed frozen peas and a grated carrot and mixing with rice, a teaspoon of yogurt and half the sauce set aside it made 2 meals for our twins, so 4 if you have one baby. Once the babies’ portion is removed add chilli to taste, when you are ready to eat bring the curry back up to boiling break 2 eggs in and cover to steam. About 2 minutes for a soft egg but just keep an eye on it and cook as desired.
We have a rice cooker, so we put the rice on 20 minutes before we need it. I scooped it out with a bowl for a dome. Chop the green of spring onion finely and plate; first the rice then ladle the egg and curry sauce over that and top with the garnishes as per the image. A drizzle of siracha was a lovely touch and for not a lot of work you have a flavour explosion.
Happy Monday people, I trust your day went well? I have always said that I would be honest because I do not want to send out a false image into the world that may affect other negatively. This weekend however was such a HOOT that I will share that it! My husband and I were meant to be going to Budapest without the children, our first trip away from them. As exiting as that was and disappointing it was to be cancelled, we had a lovely time here at home in our little paradise/ suntrap.
On Friday we played in the garden most of the day. We were still suffering the effects from the night before when Aria would not go to sleep( dummy removal related) so we needed to postpone a video chat we set up with some friends. We did spend the early evening in the garden eating dinner and just relaxing into the weekend. Hubby made us a delicious Old-Fashioned cocktail and we got an early night.
We had loads of plans for the weekend but sometimes you just need to adjust and tweak till you find your comfortable place. Matt and I did a great strength workout in the garden and prepared some meats for our braai later in the afternoon. Luckily, I had already made the Potato Puffs for the kids, so their lunch was sorted.
Our menu consisted of yogurt and sweet chilli marinaded chicken thighs and Asian pork belly (my favourite!!) with corn on the cob and braai bread as sides. The babies enjoyed some roast sweet potato that we warmed on the braai. So just to give some context, a Braai is a South African version of the BBQ, there is generally home made marinades, many sides and it is more of a journey than a quick preparation of food. Also, we allow tasters, so as you cook you cut the meat into small chunks and pass around for guest to enjoy. We just passed it between the two of us under the current circumstances.
We had some refreshing Shandy’s in the afternoon and once the children had gone to bed, we made some cocktails, starting with an Elderflower gin Fizz for sundowners. Followed by Japanese Blossoms recommended to us by our awesome neighbours and friends while listen to Another Ambition’s mix. Once we had come into the house and put Netfliks Unorthodox on we had a night cap. Keep an eye you for my next piece that tells you more about the cocktails and ingredients.
Sunday rolled round and the kids were in the garden from 10:00 with my hubby doing the food prep, tidying and iced coffee preparation. Thanks darling!! The day was mostly tanning for me and Matt in the studio while the children had their naps and the afternoon more of the same really and a walk to the park so the children could run around. I do not know if it is just me, but they keep running to the risky areas, rubbish or anything that could remotely be covered in Corona?! My husband kindly informed me that the virus can not live on items exposed to the sun for longer than 5 minutes.
We had an over the fence catch up with Emi and Etti, as the kids call our neighbours and watched the last episode of Unorthodox. It was very good, and I was much disappointed that the 4th episode was the last! What?! Here is to everyone having a great week and hope to hear from some of you how you are doing during lockdown. Keep safe!
Stumped for lunch or need a quick snack this is so easy to prepare, and you can do it around other morning tasks. Most of the preparation is steaming the potatoes!! Heat your oven to 180 degrees C
2 potatoes, cooked and mashed
30g Cheese grated
3 slices of ham diced into cubs
¼ cup Frozen peas and corn
To the mashed potato add a bit of butter and splash of milk so you can mix it well. To this add your cheese, ham, vegetables and herbs and spices mix through. Feel free to substiture the vegetables for something you or your little ones love! Wisk your eggs with a bit of milk and add that to the mix combine well. You can separate your eggs and whisk the egg white and fold through after but for a busy lift there is no need for that.
Spoon your mixture into greased muffins tray, mine stuck a little so I searched, and online they advised butter and breadcrumbs… Mamma ain’t got no time for that but you are welcome to add that step.
Pop these in your preheated oven for 20 minutes, it will leave your house smelling lush! I topped them with a little grated cheese before heating them in the microwave for lunch and served with yogurt for dipping. The taste so good that they would make a lovely little canape for adult too!