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Happy 2014

Happy 2014

More and more I enjoy celebrating the transition from one year to the next. There is something soothing in looking back nostalgically. There is something powerful in visualising the coming year. But what I enjoy most, is the grounding realization that New Years Eve really is like every other night; there is no pause, no mark in time – this night feels significant because we make it so.

So on December the 31st 2013 I did not work on any New Year’s resolutions, instead I just decided to have a lovely afternoon in the kitchen making nibbles for a relaxed and happy evening.

And a perfect day of cooking for me just has to start with a lazy cup of coffee and browsing foodie blogs. As I already had my menu planned out, I started looking at ideas for drinks. And because I realized that I was chilling two bottles of bubbly a head and that these would – well, go to our head – I decided to try this non-alcoholic mocktail.

This drink tastes fabulous! A bit of sweetness a hint of spice and tons of moreishness. An amazing mocktail – and it gets better:  when we came in from watching the fireworks and we were frozen to the bone, my friend JvP had the fabulous idea of using  hot water to turn it into a tea.

So here I am, 1st of January 2014 sipping on some more of these fabulous bubbles.

I hope that right at this moment you are sitting there enjoying a happy New Year – my wishes are with you!

Ingredients
(from the blog ‘Girl Cooks World’)

30g (¼ cup) ginger
2-3  (¼ cup) stalks of lemongrass
200g (2 cups) sugar
150ml (¾ cup) water
(Thai) basil leaves
optional: ice
Sparkling water
a few limes

Recipe

  1. Peel and then thinly slice the ginger.
  2. Cut the lemongrass stalks into very thin slices (only use the bottom part of the stalks not the woody top section).
  3. Combine ginger, lemon grass sugar and water in a small saucepan.
  4. Cover and bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes without a lid.
  6. Allow to cool 30min or even 1 hour.
  7. Pour through a sieve into a clean bottle or jar.
  8. Allow to cool and use immediately or refrigerate for a few weeks.
  9. To finish the drink:
  10. Add some basil leaves to a glass.
  11. If using add ice.
  12. Top with sparkling water.
  13. Serve with some lime wedges and a spoon to smash the basil leaves and stir.
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Halloween is close again and it is time for dressing up and chasing out those demons.  This weekend my dear friends H & J MF invited me over for a fabulous Halloween party at their lovely (ups, sorry, horrific) house. Of course the question then was: what to wear;  who do I want to be this year?

So let me ask you:  If you would create a super hero alter ego for yourself, who would you be?

During the day I would be a wholsome-looking cook in a frilly apron, serving up platefuls of nurturing  and heart-warming food. But then when danger threatens my beautiful, safe and muffinscented world,  I would turn into a black flash of ligthening,  a master at using every day kitchen implements to defuse any type of dangerous situation.

My symbols? My civilian self would cradel a cup of warm anis-flavoured milk and smile beningnly at the folly of life. My alter ego, on the other hand, would be glaring over the edge of a cocktail glass, judging the world.

Of course this cocktail could not be an appeltini or a cosmopolitan; it would have to be a black widow.

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Ingredients

lime
Black or red salt
1 part silver tequila
2 parts good quality blackcurrant juice (mine was lightly sweetened with grape juice)
ice
blackberries

Recipe

  1. Chill the tequila and juice.
  2. Rub the rim of your cocktail glass with lime.
  3. Place salt on a plate and dip the glass in the salt to crust the rim.
  4. I would suggest making a small amount first so you can tweak the ratio to your own taste.
  5. Place lime juice, tequila, juice, ice in a cocktail shaker and blend. (you can skip this step and just pour the ingredients straight into a jug or glass).
  6. Pour into the glass without the ice cubes.
  7. Decorate the glass with a blackberry.

 Tips & Variations

Consider some of the following

  • vodka instead of tequila
  • add cassis

 Other Halloween ideas

Cheese Biscuits Disguised for Halloween

Dreaming of summertime and easy living

Dreaming of summertime and easy living

Sometimes simple is all we want! And this recipe is fabulously simple. I shouldn’t even call it a recipe –  one ingredient, a little mixing and you are set.

I have just spent almost three weeks travelling Malaysia and Singapore. What a culinary adventure! But after all that time of having other people cooking (fabulous!) dishes for me, I am not ready to return to the kitchen yet. I’d much rather laze around for a little longer sipping this fabulous summery drink. The taste takes me straight back to the bustle of small town streets and the quiet of deserted island beaches.

So here is to amazing memories and dreams of future adventures.

Cheers and selamat minum!

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Ingredients
3-4 glasses

1/2 ripe watermelon
a little water
optional: ice cubes
optional: fresh mint
optional: lime juice
optional: honey or agave syrup

 

Recipe

  1. Peel and cube the watermelon.
  2. Blend in a blender adding water if necessary.

 

Tips & Variations

Consider some of the following

  • strawberries
  • cucumber
  • vodka
  • Or make a mojito by crushing together the mint and lime leaves and then topping with watermelon puree, rum and a splash of sparkling water
Red fruit and veg smoothie. Full of healthy goodness, ever so tasty and really quick to make - what more can you ask for

Red fruit and veg smoothie. Full of healthy goodness, ever so tasty and really quick to make – what more can you ask for

There has been a dramatic shift in weather (the snow vanished overnight and temperatures are 10C above 0C instead of below). And no matter that it is January,  it feels  like spring. All of a sudden I am craving fresh vegetables and fruit.

I remembered the fabulous Green Smoothie that I was making  regularly before winter set in. I decided to experiment with some different ingredients. I remembered a recipe with beets that just seemed crazy enough to try. The result? A fabulous red smoothie that I just cannot get enough of. It is fresh and fruity with a deep earthy undertone.

Sound interesting? Try it, you will not be disappointed
Sound too weird to be any good? Try it, you will be surprised

 

Ingredients
Serves 2

150g (1 cup) blueberries or cherries
1 medium beet, baked or cooked until soft
1/2 medium cucumber
handful of spinach
juice of 1/2 lime
splash of vanilla essence
250ml 1 cup rice milk (or hemp or almond)*
optional: 1 tsp chia seeds
optional: 1 tsp faxseeds

Recipe

  1. For a wonderfully icy drink add frozen berries to the blender. Otherwise allow the berries to defrost first.
  2. Peel the beets and cut them into chunk and add.
  3. Cut cucumber into chunks and add.
  4. Add spinach, lime juice, vanilla and milk.
  5. Optional: add chia and flax seeds.
  6. Blend until smooth.

 

Tips & Variations

  • Spinach can be replaced with 3-4 kale leaves
  • Add a spoon full of protein powder or hemp
  • Truth be told: variations are endless

Green healthy goodness


I have no idea what possessed me to make a green smoothie.  The first time I poured this concoction into a glass I really thought I went one step too far with my desire to experiment.  

But then I took my first sip and I was shocked: I actually really, really liked this drink. I enjoy it so much I have stuck to this flavour combination for now despite all the variations that come to mind (apple, peach, strawberry, parsley, kale, rice milk….) 

Ingredients
1 pear
1 banana (optional: frozen)
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
2-3 hand full of spinach

Recipe

  1. Throw everything in a blender.
  2. And ….well blend.

    Green Smoothie - a boost of healthy veg and fruit