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Category Archives: food

Tomatoes.

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Fresh from the garden.

In everything.

Well, nearly everything.

I use tomatoes a LOT. I find it difficult to make a meal without it. I use it in stews, soups, salads, and pasta dishes, of course. A bleak, grey stew looks horrible and unappetizing to me, so I always add some tomato paste or fresh tomatoes for a rich, dark colour and taste. I love growing tomatoes (as you can see in some of my previous posts), and those organic tomatoes fresh from my garden are just the best – they actually taste so much better that store bought ones! My SO eats tomatoes like other people eat apples – he loves them!

Vegetable soup I made last night, with freshly baked bread.

And my goodness, I have forgotten about toasties and hamburgers! What is better than a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich? To which you can add any number of extras – onions, pickles, ham, salami, herbs… Now my mouth is watering, and it is way too early for lunch, since I had a late breakfast! And a hamburger… I’ve heard of a strange sub species that does not like tomato on a hamburger. I have not encountered one of these weird beings yet, so I don’t believe they exist, because I can not imagine eating a juicy hamburger without a slice or three of the red fruit on it. (I’m assuming you all know by now that the tomato is actually a fruit, not a vegetable.)

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

As far as their benefit to our health goes – they are of course very healthy! It contains vitamin C and potassium, amongst a few other vitamins and minerals, and the lycopene in tomatoes has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. So don’t hold back, eat your tomatoes, it will be to your benefit, and that of your family.

I am impatiently waiting for my plants to grow and start producing some tomatoes. I planted this second batch a bit late in the season, and I am holding thumbs that I’ll manage to get a harvest out of them before it gets too cold. And should I maybe get around to posting a few more recipes on my blog, you will notice that I use tomatoes regularly.

New tomato plants.

Are you a fan of tomatoes? Or are you one of the sub species? 😉

All about the figs.

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A bowl of beautiful figs.

Figs. I love them.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to pick fresh figs off the trees on a wine farm in the area. Leipzig Wine Farm is situated in a beautiful area with mountains and views all around. It is situated in the Nuy Valley outside Worcester in the Western Cape. They have a fig orchard on the farm, and they opened it up to the public to go and pick to your heart’s content.

I love figs (have I mentioned that before?), so I jumped at the opportunity!

A few scenes on Leipzig Wine Farm.

As you can see, a beautiful place! And what about the sexy scarecrow on the bottom left? As far as I could see, she was not doing a very good job of scaring the birds away! 😀

So, now I had 2 kg of figs. Heaven. But those of you who know figs, also know that they go from firm to soggy as quick as you can say ‘fig!” I did climb into them and ate a lot while they were still fresh and firm, but yesterday I found myself with a bowl full of far from firm figs. (See what I did there? 😉 ) I had to make a plan. I came up with cinnamon and sugar roast figs. Or rather Pinterest did…

From the top left: preparing the figs, dipped in cinnamon sugar, under the broiler, done, and breakfast this morning.

Yum! It was gooooood… A first for me. I’ve had figs fresh off the tree, as jam, whole figs in syrup, dried figs, but never roast figs. I will do it again. I have some left over still, maybe I’ll make some custard to go with the rest of them this evening…

Afters.

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Crimson cherries.

I’m not really a dessert person.

That is not to say that I never eat dessert. I would rather have a starter and a main, than a main and a dessert. I do, however, sometimes order a little somethin’ sweet when we go out, but then it has to be an unusual dessert, something you won’t make and eat at home. Or when we are invited for dinner, I’ll have dessert.

At home I’ve got tons of recipes, and I’ve tried a lot of them, but I normally make my “go to’s”, of which there is a handful.

At Christmas I thought I’ll make a little bit more of an effort, and since we have seriously hot weather over December, and I’ve canned some cherries shortly before, I searched for a good old fashioned ice cream recipe. I do not have an ice cream maker, but I decided to give a traditional recipe a try anyway.

And we were all glad I did! It came out beautifully, and was an absolute hit with the cherries. I took it out of the freezer when it was more than halfway frozen, and whisked it all up until smooth again, and put it back to freeze. It was possibly not quite as smooth as it would have been had I used an ice cream maker, but it was good enough for us!

Cherries and ice cream.

Unfortunately not the best picture I’ve ever taken, but I was probably in a hurry to start eating! Or blame it on the champagne, I don’t mind! 😉

The recipe I used was from Pinterest, from the blog of homemadefoodjunkie.com. I tweaked it for countries that use the metric system.

VANILLA BEAN ICE CREAM

Ingredients

  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 500 ml heavy cream
  • 250 ml granulated sugar
  • 1.5 ml salt
  • 1 whole vanilla bean-halved and seeds scraped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 7.5 ml pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a large pot whisk together milk, cream, half of the sugar, salt and the scraped vanilla bean, including the pod. Bring the mixture just barely to a boil whisking constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Next combine the yolks and remaining sugar in a separate medium bowl with an electric mixer on low, until yolks are thick and pale yellow.
  3. Add about 1/3 of the milk mixture slowly into the yolks, whisking constantly. Add another 1/3 of the milk mixture and whisk until blended. Add remaining milk mixture into the yolks and mix.
  4. Return it all to the pot and set on low heat.
  5. With a wooden spoon, stir the pot until it thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon. Be careful not to boil it! (You will end up with scrambled eggs instead of custard.)
  6. The thickening process should take just a few minutes.
  7. Pour the custard mixture through a fine mesh strainer (discard the vanilla pod) and bring down to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or overnight – until THOROUGHLY chilled to refrigerator temperature!
  8. Follow your ice cream mixer directions and freeze until soft set. Five minutes before the mixer is done churning add in your favorite nuts, berries and candies as desired.
  9. Freeze finished ice cream for several hours or until it’s hardened to your desired consistency.

And of course, if you are very industrious, you could make a pavlova with the egg whites left over from the ice cream, which I actually did this time! Yay me! But I forgot to take a picture… 🤦🏼‍♀️ I love pavlova with cream and fresh fruit (strawberries this time) – the combination of the sweet meringue, with the rich cream and slightly sour fruit is a winner every time. We had the pav on Christmas eve, and the cherries and ice cream after lunch on Christmas day.

Do you have a sweet tooth or not? And what is your favourite dessert?

Feelings, February and Food.

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My mosaic blanket – The Queen CAL.

Have you ever had a feeling that something bad is about to happen?

That feeling that sticks in your gut? It is nearly like you’ve been to the doctor and you are waiting for your test results. And it tends to stick, at least for a day.

I get that quite often, and I’m not sure how to interpret it. Is it normal anxiousness? Is it my sixth sense warning me about something I’m too dense to see?

I should probably start writing down when it happens and for how long. Maybe I can then pinpoint what triggers it, and if it has any validity. Other than that it does ease a bit when I take deep breaths, so at least I get enough oxygen for that day! I don’t like it when that happens, but today is a glorious day, so I will not let it spoil the day for me.

It is already the last Friday of the month. Monday is not only the start of a new week, but also of a new month. Have you had a look at your calendar yet? February is a perfect month this year. A beautiful, exact 4 week month – Mon. to Sun., four times. 🙂

I have at last finished my mosaic crochet baby blanket, as you can see from the picture above. It is one of the most enjoyable items I’ve ever made, and even though thousands of people have made much prettier and larger versions of this same blanket, I am quite proud of how it turned out. I will most definitely crochet a much bigger one in future.

I feel like something yummy to go with my afternoon coffee today, so I’m thinking that I’ll make a different version of the loaf in this previous post – I’ve got oranges, so I’ll swop the lemons for oranges, maybe add some rosemary to the syrup for an extra touch. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

You guys must have an awesome weekend, stay safe, stay happy!!! I’ll play you out with one of my favourite songs! Enjoy! 😀

Al fresco writing.

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Is that glass full enough?

So, today’s post is coming to you from my garden.

Yes, you read that correctly. It was a 31° C day today – not quite a scorcher, but hot enough. I just came back from taking Daisy for her walk, and the lovely cool breeze blowing at the moment persuaded me to take a seat at the patio table, with my glass of wine and my laptop.

I encountered a bit of a moral dilemma today. This specific issue has come up before, and my SO* and I talked about it a bit, and then I let it go. I was also really not sure if this is the place to discuss it, but I thought – this is a global platform, and I’ll surely get a few opinions on the matter. So, here goes…

I’ve got this little guesthouse, as I’ve mentioned before. And I have come to realize that it is often used as a place for trysts. (Oh, and right there, I’ve shown you my very conservative side…) Nothing has been said to confirm it, except once, when the couple was leaving, the woman said to me – ‘we were never here.’ Clear enough. But I KNOW that other couples have used the place for the same ‘thing’.

Number one, I do not want to become known as ‘the place to go if you’re having an affair’!!!! NOOOO!!! Number two, if I turn a blind eye, which I’ve pretty much been doing up to now, I am condoning what they are doing, which I’m not. Number three, I know what they are doing actually has nothing to do with me, and their money is as good as anybody else’s money, (so just take it and shut up), but since it is happening under my nose, I know what is happening and that makes it my business.

You see my dilemma?

This is the whatsapp ‘conversation’ I had today:

Can I make a booking for tomorrow evening?
No, sorry, I'm fully booked for the weekend.
Ok, can you please keep me up to speed with your bookings for next month? (Huh? )
Which dates are you interested in?
I'm not sure yet, I'll get back to you.
OK.
Is the place very private?
Yes it is. (That's how I advertise it, because some people like privacy. Wait....ooooooohhhhh.... )
Thank you. I want to self cater.
It is a self catering guesthouse.
Great. Is the room in your house, or outside. (By this time, I should have blocked the guy, which I didn't. What can I say...)
Outside.
Where can I see what the place looks like? (What? how are you contacting me, if you haven't seen my FB page or one of my other listings?)
How do you know about my place?
Through a friend. (Lightbulbs going of all over!!!!)

You see what I mean?

So, do I continue turning a blind eye? If not, what do I do? My reputation is at stake here, as is that of my little itty bitty business… HELP!!!!!

Yesterday I was going on about food, and how I’m going to do new recipes, blah blah blah…

Well, I actually did! Nothing difficult or earth shattering, but different.

I made a honey garlic chicken with roast broccoli and rice, which came out very well. Will do it again. I made some changes to the recipe – I added more red wine vinegar because it was waaay to sweet, and I added ginger and chili. Dinner for one coming up…

Yum -OOOOo!!