Saturday, 28 February 2015

Hello Again!!

So, yes, I'm back. I was in winter sleep, kind of...
Winter sleep + work stress + getting sick quite a bit + back problems + apartment trouble (the boiler -yes the thing that controls both heating and hot water- decided to malfunction on us at the end of January. 3 pretty glacial days ensued).

Things are starting to get better now, and we are actually having a few rays of sunshine again and days are becoming less ridiculously short, so I might start to emerge from winter sleep:-)

I might even post a few recipes or sewing projects;-)

Roast Beef Sandwich with Green Tea Extract!?

I just had a roast beef sandwich from the store, and had a look at the ingredients...

This says: "bĂ©arnaise dressing (rapeseed oil, vinegar, mustard (water, mustard seeds, vinegar, salt, turmeric), sugar, water, tarragon, egg yolk, natural extracts, herbs, food colouring E160a, salt, onion powder, green tea extract, antioxidant E392, preservative E202, thickener E415, acidifying agent E330)".

So, erm... Why do they need green tea extract in béarnaise sauce? I mean, it's probably better for you than all the Es, but so is chocolate, and I hope that wasn't on the shortlist of ingredients!
Maybe the recipe was optimised by a computer...

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Red mullet with fennel, couscous and black olives


Kristof made this for me yesterday:) I had shown him out to make something like that once or twice before, and he did a great job!
Plus, this was not long after being able to eat only soup and yoghurt for 3 days due to gastro-enteritis, so it was really appreciated!

Basically what you need to do:
1. Chop and steam the fennel, for example in a bamboo steaming basket like this one (available from your local Asian supermarket):

This will take the longest, about 20 min of steaming (stab a thick piece of fennel to check if it's done).

2. Unpit the olives and cook the couscous (usually levelling it in a shallow dish and pouring some boiling water for it absorb is enough - Kristof used the steaming water from the fennel for more flavour).

3. Pan fry the red mullets in a little olive oil. Assemble all on a plate and drizzle some more olive oil (we used lemon flavoured olive oil which worked very well with this). Enjoy with a glass of white wine:)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

"Get Well Soon" Chicken Soup


I'm stuck at home with a gastro-enteritis, or as they call it here, "stomach flu".

Unfortunately this is something I tend to get quite a bit (at least once every 2 years, so probably every time there's an epidemic!).
The silver lining is that by now I know how to deal with it! The formula is: lots of rest, lots of water, and only light and "safe" food. That means nothing with fat, too much fibre or spice, basically nothing that can irritate your digestive system further...
The best thing being a nice homemade chicken soup (alternating with some good natural yoghurt for breakfast or tea time).

The soup in the picture above has (for a big pot):
4 carrots 
2 leeks
5 small potatoes
about 600g chicken
about 2l water
2 stock cubes
thyme

The only trick here is to add the ingredients according to their cooking time: so first the carrots while you chop the rest of the veggies, then the potatoes, then a bit afterwards the leeks then the chicken.

Note: I'm going for the chicken being tender because it's cooked but not over cooked, as opposed to boiling the heck out of it then simmering for hours to get it tender again. If you want to do that, obviously put in the chicken first then the veggies a good bit later, otherwise they'll be very very limp...

Note 2: If you're worried about not being sure the chicken is cooked through, split the biggest chicken piece to confirm it is, then leave it on another couple of minutes anyway for good measure (if the fire is low and it's only a few minutes extra it won't toughen up too much).

So that was Chicken Soup #1, here's Chicken Soup #2:


This one has:
4 carrots 
2 leeks
100g baby corn
about 600g chicken
a few black Asian mushrooms (didn't see the type on the packaging)
300g rice vermicelli
about 1cm ginger root
about 2l water
2 stock cubes
a small splash of soy sauce

It was also yummy and comforting (and Kristof was happy I had to skip the chilli  peppers this time!).

Of course this all supposes you are not too sick to cook. If you are, maybe you can point your nearest loved one to this page so they can make it for you?:)
And if they need a little bribe, maybe you can promise to make them some muffins or a strawberry tart later in return...