Monthly Archives: October 2011

Orange seems to be the Color of the Day

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Since it’s Halloween today, I thought I’d eat accordingly, which means orange foods. Breakfast wasn’t really themed, I had the regular oatmeal. However, I did get creative for lunch. I made soup using only orange ingredients and it turned out to be delicious and warming. Here’s the recipe:

Spicy Sweet Potato, Carrot, Butternut Squash Soup

For 2 portions you will need:

  • water
  • 1 potato, peeled
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1/2 onion
  • oil
  • seasoning: salt, pepper, vegetable broth, chili
  1. Bring water to boil in a medium pot, add vegetable broth.
  2. Peel and cut the vegetables into large chunks and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes in the water.
  3. In the meantime, cut the onion and fry it in some oil (I used coconut oil for some extra taste, but olive oil will also do)
  4. Add the onion to the vegetables which should be softening by now.
  5. Then pour all the ingredients in a blender and mix well so that no large chunks are left.
  6. Pour the soup back into the pot and heat it up for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper and chili.

I added some “home-made” croutons to my soup, basically torn up toast. I’m continuing the orange theme and having clementines for desert.

 

Happy Halloween!

Salmon-icious Ideas

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Here are 2 ideas involving salmon, either for lunch or dinner.

I had this salad earlier in the week for lunch. It included Le Pain Quotidien bread with salmon, drizzled with fresh lemon. The salad was half spinach, half Italian mixed salad, some cherry tomatoes and some tamari-roasted chickpeas.

 

This was my lunch today. I prepared the vegetables (kale, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms and red onion) on a baking tray in the oven. I simply added some coconut oil for some extra taste and seasoned it with salt and pepper. The smell was heavenly. After about 20 minutes in the oven, I added the salmon to the vegetables and left it in the oven for another 20 minutes or so. On the side: brown rice.

 

Hope everyone is enjoying their last October/ Halloween weekend!

Nasi Goreng

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The following recipe is a family favorite and has pretty much been a family secret. Having lived in Indonesia my mum has learned how to cook it directly from Indonesian women and has perfected it over the years. Nasi Goreng, translated Fried Rice, is perfect for when you have friends over for dinner or need a “pre-cooked” meal because you can literally prepare everything beforehand. When we make this at home we tend to always end up with  some (greatly appreciated) leftovers just because it’s always hard to estimate how much rice and vegetables you’ll need. The amounts listed below are estimates since we’ve never only made 2 portions. However, this is definitely one of those meal where you’ll want to make more of because I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as I do!

For 2 portions (this already includes leftovers!) you will need:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 cup chinese cabbage, cut
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup tomatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • chilli (use however much you can handle)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, cut
  • 150g turkey breast (or tofu if you’re vegetarian), cubed (traditionally neither meat nor tofu are added to the rice)
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 7-8 tbsp. kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce with a thick consistency)

For all the ingredients above you can either add more of your favorite vegetables or leave out ingredients that you don’t like that much. However much you use is really up to you and you won’t ruin the dish by leaving anything out completely.

Optional ingredients:

  • Krupuk (prawn crackers)
  • egg (as a topping)
  • cucumber slices (used as a decoration)

 

1. Start by cooking the rice. This should be done ahead of time (e.g. the night before). Use 2 cups of water for every cup of rice.

 

2. In a wok, heat up some oil and add the crushed garlic and cut onion. Once that is lightly brown, add the meat (or tofu). Stir occasionally until fully cooked.

 

3. Then start adding vegetables. The order doesn’t really matter but we tend to start with the cabbage, then bean sprouts, carrots and then the tomatoes.  After a few minutes add the basmati  rice. The rice is usually quite sticky so you will have to try and  break the big lumps apart.

 

4. When everything is mixed together add the kecap manis. The rice should then have a brownish color and taste slightly sweet. Season with salt, pepper and chilli.

5. If you decide to have the krupuk with your rice you can either buy them ready-to-eat in most Asian markets. We usually fry them ourselves by using sun-dried chips and then deep frying them. Both options aren’t exactly the healthiest of foods, but will definitely add more flavor to your Nasi Goreng experience.

 

Hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Beauty of Nature

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Don’t you just love beautiful, warm autumn days. This morning when I woke up, the sun was shining and the leaves on the trees were highlighted in the most beautiful yellow, orange and green tones possible. It’s amazing how quickly the seasons change. The first picture was taken a couple of weeks ago, the second one today!

 

This morning was perfect for a warm bowl of oatmeal, plus I’ve been wanting to try some of the granola I bought at Le Pain Quotidien last weekend. Breakfast is my favorite meal and it’s something I never ever miss. In fact, on cold, dark mornings the thought of breakfast is actually my motivation to get out of bed. My oatmeal this morning included Scottish porridge oats, almond milk, water, 1/2 banana, chia seeds and goji berries. I topped the oatmeal off with some granola and coconut.

 

London-Weekend Recap

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Now that the weekend has official begun for me I thought I’d sit down and share some pictures from my previous weekend which I spent mostly  in London. My 2 best friends Lisa and Nina flew over from Austria and I had an exciting girls weekend planned in London, showing them the main London sights and attractions and a few extra goodies I was really excited about.  On Sunday night we then came back to Reading (where I study) so I could show them around. We spend most of Tuesday in Windsor, where we saw Windsor Castle and Eton College (both Prince William and Prince Harry attended Eton College). Here are some of the highlights:

Scones served with Strawberry Preserve, Clotted Cream and Lemon Curd

On Saturday we quickly stopped by Wholefoods, which is a pretty big deal for me since there aren’t that many around in the UK. I absolutely love it there and the only thing that’s really stopping me from buying tonnes of food is the fact that I have to take the train back to Uni carrying loads of shopping bags. We then went to Harrods to check out the Christmas section (never too early for that). The main event however was definitely having Afternoon Tea. I thought it would be a fun and very British thing to do. I have been to several hotels that offer Afternoon Tea and  have to say this has got to be the best one yet. I’ve never had scones that were this good and the sandwiches were amazing as well (even though I usually don’t like those too much)

 

 

Sunday was pretty cool as well. I booked tickets for a musical (Jersey Boys, which was really good – go see it if you get a chance) and we also saw a lot of London: Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, etc. Before heading to the musical we stopped at Ladurée to pick up some macaroons to eat during the musical. They are worth every penny!

 

 

 

And because we are rapidly approaching Halloween here are some Halloween cupcakes we saw at the Hummingbird Bakery.

 

 

 

I love my Daily Bread

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Before I share some of the amazing (food) pictures of London I took over the past few days I wanted to write about one of my favorite restaurants/ bakeries: Le Pain Quotidien (“the daily bread”). I first discovered this bakery during a family trip to New York in 2008 and even though it is originally from Europe (Belgium to be exact) I had never heard of it before then. New York is filled with LPQs so it was inevitable to go in and check the place out for ourselves. Everything about this place is amazing: the food, the atmosphere and the constant hustle and bustle (I’ve never been to one that was not crowded, which is a sign that everyone loves the food).

Le Pain Quotidien was founded in 1990 in Brussels by Alain Coumont , a chef who was unsatisfied with the bread quality in Belgium. He began baking his own bread in his first little bakery which soon thereafter began selling a larger variety of bread in addition to pastries. His bakery was furnished with antique pieces he had discovered at flea markets, one of the items being a large communal table which is up to today the center piece of each bakery.

Organic Baker's Basket and Fruit Bowl

On Saturday I insisted that we go to LPQ in London so my friends, Nina and Lisa could see for themselves why I love it so much and keep babbling on about the amazing crispy bread and wonderfully creamy chocolate spreads. It really didn’t take much convincing and everyone absolutely loved their breakfast!

Our Breakfast:

We shared the Organic Baker’s Basket on Sunday and I had the Bircher Muesli on Saturday. Check out my recipe for the Bircher Muesli if you’re interested.

 

Nina had the carrot cake (seriously the cutest carrot cake I’ve seen) and Lisa and I had the Fruit Bowl (scrumptious!)

This is a Salmon Tartine that we shared for lunch.

 

 

Off to London

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A quick post before I’m off to London. This is one of this week’s dinners. I had some leftover Oven-Roasted Butternut Squash and decided to incorporate it into a “Stir-Fry”. The base for the stir-fry was quinoa, which I really like because it’s a good source of plant protein. To that I just added a whole lot of vegetables.

A bed of Italian mixed salad topped with stir-fry, which included broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes and oven-roasted butternut squash.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend. I know I will!