Eating chilli con carne with sweet potato chips

Chilli Con Carne & Sweet Potato Chips

Chilli Con Carne & Sweet Potato Chips

This post is not about a recipe at all, more about the way I like eating this dish. It all came about in South Korea last year when I had one of those days that I did not feel like eating authentic Korean food. I just booked my tickets to go there again and maybe that is what made me think of the chilli con carne I had there of all places. It is exceptionally cold over there in Dec/Jan and I was in the mood for a hearty, warm, filling something that day, very hungry as always.

Sweet potato chips

Sweet potato chips

We were in a food court of a very big shopping centre and there were hundreds of Korean and Asian dishes to choose from which I normally did, but as I said, not really in the mood for it that day. I spotted an American Diner type place with burgers and of all things between all of the normal fast foods also a chilli con carne (originally a dish from Texas USA according to Wikepedia), served with freshly grated cheddar and crispy french fries. Chilli served in a bowl, topped with the cheese and dipping the chips in the sauce and melting cheese and there I just knew: I will forever remember that meal and will eat it like that forever more!

Dippin' n scoopin'

Dippin’ n scoopin’

Exactly like I made today, but I used sweet potatoes baked in the oven instead of french fries. Try it, fork in hand and dipping and scooping away.

Tex-mex!

Tex-mex!

I served it with guacamole as an extra and I mixed smashed avocado, lemon juice, white pepper, red spring onion and full cream cottage cheese to make a thick guacamole. Another thing I can eat by the bowl full. I would imagine if you combine the meal with tortilla chips or wraps it would not be half bad but it hit the mark, just as I served it.

Guacamole

Guacamole

Food memories. I wonder what my next trip there will bring me on that front, other than spending time with my one and only precious girl.

Hope you had a good Sunday.

Random Photo:

My African Violet is blooming!

African Violet

African Violet

Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends

Strawberry Cheese Cake and Nut Crumble

Today, as the saying goes: I shall stay in the moment…..unless of course I do not like the moment, in which case I shall take a nap!

Pink heaven

Pink heaven

I recently made this cheese cake originally blogged by drizzleanddip and it is honestly the nicest nut crumble I have ever had. The photo’s are not great as the light faded fast and a retake or re-do is time wise just not an option.

Recipe – makes 12 individual portions( however in this house only enough for 6….)
Nut crumble
250 g flour, 170 g butter, 110 g macadamia nuts, 110 g almonds, 110 g Demerara sugar, 1/2 t vanilla extract.

To make the crumble topping, preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas mark 3. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until the mixture is the texture of breadcrumbs. Spread out the crumble on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, being sure to stir the crumble mixture every 10 minutes. Remove when the mixture is golden brown and set aside to cool.

None of the utensils I have, wanted to work properly so I made the crumble in batches with my nifty little blender thingy I bought in Turkey. Yip, that was in the suitcase too!

image

Cheesecake

125 g crème fraîche, 225 g Philadelphia cheese, 100 g icing sugar, 150 ml Strawberry Syrup (plus extra to garnish), 250 ml cream, 3 leaves Gelatine, Fresh strawberries for garnish.
For the cheesecake, soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, and use a little bit of the cream and melt the gelatine over a double boiler. Set aside to cool.
Mix together the crème fraîche, cream cheese, sugar, and strawberry syrup (I used an electric stand mixer with whisk attachment). Put the cream in a separate bowl and whisk until stiff. Gently fold the gelatine into the cream mix and gradually fold the stiff cream into the cream cheese mixture little by little until completely combined.
To assemble the cheesecake, spoon out a layer of crumble at the bottom of your serving glass and top with a good dollop of strawberry cheesecake mix. refrigerate until ready to serve.
Decorate with a drizzle of strawberry syrup and a few slices of fresh strawberries.image

I made my own strawberry syrup by boiling frozen strawberries and sugar and blitzing it into a pulp.

Rich ingredients but not too rich in taste at all, only heavenly in fact .

Strawberr Cheese Cake&Nut Crumble

Strawberr Cheese Cake&Nut Crumble

Random Photo:

Cheers to November!

Cheers to November!

Blue Cheese Mousse & Balsamic Baked Pears

Blue Cheese Mousse, baby pear and walnut salad

Blue Cheese Mousse, baby pear and walnut salad

Long name for a quick process. I am not really a gadget person but I love the basics and bought my nifty little food processor/blitzer in Turkey, which I now use as often as I can. Perfect for blitzing smaller quantities, sauces, pestos and things. We are getting glimpses of spring and I made the blue cheese mousse and balsamic baked pear salad as a starter for a dinner with friends.

Blue Cheese Mousse

Blue Cheese Mousse

Blue Cheese Mousse

100gr blue cheese, 125ml cream, 75 ml creme fraiche , 2 table spoons tangy mayonaise, salad herbs

Blitz all of the ingredients together. The quantities above are just an indication and you can add more to taste. I absolutely love the consistency of the mousse and can see a lot of potential here. It is soft and fluffy but dense enough to use in a piping bag and I am getting the idea that it will hold well if gelatine is used to form something….anything with blue cheese!

Spring salad

Spring salad

Balsamic Glazed Pears 

Pears, olive oil and balsamic cream/reduction

Cut pears in thin slices, skin and all, no need to remove the skin. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic cream and bake in the oven at 180 C until soft

Balsamic glazed baked pear

Balsamic glazed baked pears

I served the mousse and pears with baby leaves, rocket, walnuts and a herb vinaigrette.

My friend Ina introduced me to these gorgeous tinned baby pears. See the pepper pot in the back ground, that is how small they are! Small or not, they became the centre piece and conversation topic of the night.

Baby pears in petit colander

Baby pears in petit colander

This mousse will become a spread or a topping for many a thing in future.

Blue cheese mousse starter

Blue cheese mousse starter

This one goes to Fromage Homage for the September Cheese Please! Challenge as hosted by The Garden Deli for the cheese and fruit combination for this month. Somehow I always end up sending some or other blue cheese for the challenge so let me not deviate this time then!

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Random Photo:

Yip, definitely a front rower …..

For sure right in the front!

For sure right in front!

Tray Baked Chicken in Turkish Colors

Streets of Istanbul

Streets of Istanbul

I will always think in color, so imagine what a trip to Turkey does to me. It is just everywhere and all around, in the carpets, the jewellery and the food, which by the way taste like no other in the world as there is something in the earth there that just makes a tomato taste like a tomato and a brinjal taste like heaven.

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is an onslaught to the senses and makes you feel giddy with excitement just to be there and experience it.

Jewels

Jewels

Spice Market

Spice Market

I fell in love with their Biber spices. It is peppers, chile pepper, sweet peppers, hot peppers etc. and  made up a good part of the weight I carried back in those suitcases. Can never go without it, ever again. 

My jewels

My jewels

Nowathome blogged the Jamie Oliver Tray Baked Chicken and I recreated the jewel-like colors of Turkey in the dish and added my Biber of course. I used the recipe with different colors peppers and added the Biber to the smoked paprika. Visit her post for exact measurements as my sister at Nowathome is better with that, I just shoot from the hip with cooking.  The basics are that you combine chicken pieces, tomatoes, onion( I used red) garlic and peppers in a baking tray. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil? Bake at 180 Degrees Celsius until you are happy thar the chicken is cooked. Fantastic flavour and smell. 

Smoked Paprika Tray Baked Chicken

Smoked Paprika Tray Baked Chicken

The Turkish Delight, also out of the suitcase was the desert after the meal. How I did not have to pay overweight on the suitcases at the airport I honestly still do no know? The 1,5 kg of Turkish Delight was brought all the way back home intending to be gifts, well it never got that far sorry……..image

Like a kid in a sweet shop

Like a kid in a sweet shop

Random Photo:

Cheers Istanbul

Is the girl in the background really there or see through?

Apple Tea

Apple Tea

 

 

Ahoy! Sailing in Fethiye, Turkey

Beneteau Oceanis, 40ft

Beneteau Oceanis, 40ft

And there I was flying from Istanbul to Dalaman and driving onwards to Fethiye. To the blue yonder. Where I wanted to be, far away on the water. image

We did not have much wind but enough to sail leisurely. So different from blasting through and over the ocean which I also love. On anchor and lazing, swimming in the ocean and eating the freshest of cold watermelon. That is life. image

Back in Fethiye town, at the local fish market with a court yard and various restaurants surrounding the raw fish buffet is where I tasted the best calamari ever.

Best calamari ever

Best calamari ever

You basically choose and buy fresh from the mongers what you would like to eat and then you walk around and choose a restaurant to prepare the seafood you bought and order the sides and drinks from them. Brilliant concept, wake up to the idea Cape Town….image

I could eat the stuff until I fell over but that did not happen, it nearly happened because of the Turkish puff- breads. If I did not walk all day, every day from morning to evening( or rest….) or swim or sail, I would have puffed up exactly like those breads. image

And we shall not talk about the baklava and ice cream all around…….it follows you everywhere, I swear…

Oh yes, the baklava

Oh yes, the baklava

 It is just the kind of place where you do not dare think that you may not ever see again.

Fethiye Marina

Fethiye Marina

Random Photo:

(or not so random on this holiday, come to think of it.)image

Running away to Turkey

Creating shade, street in Fethiye

Creating shade, street in Fethiye

This time I ran away to Turkey. The only way to get out of my office is to make a getaway a-la Bonnie&Clyde style. A true and proper, running down the stairs, jumping into a getaway car with tyres screaming around the nearest corner style, before they catch me….

What I needed was this:

Good advice from a friend

Good advice from a friend

And I got it. In Fethiye Turkey. 

Yay sailing!

Yay sailing!

Living almost on the tip of the southern part of the African continent means loooong flights and that took me right out of a cold and wet winter to high summer and all that goes with it in Turkey. My last holiday when I “ran away” was right out of summer into serious winter. Can I just not make up my flippen mind in which season I am or want to be or what? Clothes in and out of storage all the time to get the right season into the suitcase, but I am not complaining noooooo, huh-uh.Too nice to see bits of the world and to eat my way around it.

Market day in Fethiye is hectic, sights sounds and smells and half naked tourists bartering for everything in sight. I got a lot of: “Where are you from.Dutch?” No, I am too short to be Dutch even though the Afrikaans accent is similar to the Dutch and Flemish. “South Africa?? Noooo,  you are too white……”.  Really?! Perceptions people, perceptions…

Market Fethiye

Market Fethiye

People watching at its best with heat into the 40′s (yes Celsius!) and these women cook without breaking a sweat. How?????image

See Polianthus, I did not disappear on you permanently! Still working out devious get-away plans, alive, breathing and still eating as always!

Turkish pancakes with spinach and cheese

Turkish pancakes with spinach and cheese

I could not post anything while in Turkey what with the slow inter-webs but now that my soul is back in my body and my mind rested, I shall break the blogging hiatus and it seems my food slump is over! How can it not be with all I had and seen(eaten) in Turkey..

Random photo:

One has to rest in the shade after watching those women cook in the heat.image

Roast carrot and ginger soup with coriander foam

Glass house/ Greenhouse

Glass house/ Greenhouse

The colour of winter is orange. Well, that will of course all depend on where you are and what you are doing but today my winter’s colour was orange and it all started with a buchu tea/palate cleanser concoction with orange marigold flowers floating in it. It actually started before that with a spectacular rainbow after a early morning winter rain. Not bad to wake up to this.image I do not see much daylight lately. Work is taking up all available and non- available time and we did one of our overnight trips just to get the soul back into the body again. Heading in the direction of Stellenbosch, we took a detour to Babylonstoren in Franschhoek for brunch. This has got to be one of my favourite places in the world.

Buchu palet cleanser

Buchu palet cleanser

The Greenhouse is so atmospheric and the back drop is the daily weather! Clever people. I had the scone with cream and cheese and my husband the hot dog with golden fried chips which I ended up politely “helping” him to finish……

Scones&cream please!

Scones&cream please!

imageA stroll through the gardens gave me this!

Typical detail Babylonstoren

Typical detail Babylonstoren

Soul restored, we drove to the Stellenbosch wine farms and log fires, cheese (me), wine tasting (husband) followed by a very cheffy dinner and I am not complaining at all. Back into food heaven after I went through a bit of a food slump lately. My starter was a honey glazed, roast carrot and ginger soup that set my brain into a recreation obsession for the rest of the weekend and that is exactly what I made when I got home, even before I unpacked my overnight bag, handbag still slung over my shoulder (just kidding or did I…..?)

I used:

a bunch of medium sized carrots

50 ml marmalade( you can also use honey and orange peal instead)

fresh ginger

cinnamon

1 liter liquid vegetable stock or more if you want a running consistency

125 ml cream

olive oil to drizzleimage

The secret is to first roast the vegetables, mixed with the ginger and marmalade and drizzled with olive oil to intensify the flavours at 180 C for about 45 minutes. When soft and gooey, add to the boiling stock for 5 minutes. Liquidize in the blender and add the cream.

Roasted carrot, marmalade and ginger soup

Roast carrot, marmalade and ginger soup

and then came the foam……

Coriander spiced foam

Coriander spiced foam

At the crafty cheffy dinner everything had a foam or a jus or a bit and a bob and of course my soup needed foam! This is where I started getting very clever. I have a milk frother! I frothed the milk and added dried coriander spice and voi- la! Coriander foam!

Random Photo:

Still at BabylonstorenimageOn the way to Stellenboschimage

Well, at last I did a Cheese Soufflé

image

I was always(still is) in awe of a soufflé. Any kind which rises straight up from the rim of the dish/ ramekin. All I did not want to hear was the pfffeouffffff! of the thing deflating (my imagination of course). Well I did not hear that sound but it still sort of deflated, just after I took the photo’s. I think my base sauce was a bit too heavy so I will try to aerate the batter better next time as I absolutely ADORE the taste. I can just keep on eating it.

Baked Cheese Souffle

Baked Cheese Souffle

I am in a bit of a food slump lately. Living precariously through my blogging friend’s creations and no inclination to be creatively involved. Well, that is why we have blogs and bloggers. To keep us entertained and reading and dreaming. Thank you to my two loyal friends in blogging Mrs. Choux and Ahila for nominating me for the Wonderful Team Member Readership and Liebster Awards. Much appreciated and as is my habit, I shall have to take up my tools and bake you a thank you cake, which seems to be the only time I bake unless it is baking for national safety like I did here. 

imageI followed the Cheese Soufflé of Pomegranate Days and will change nothing, just concentrate more with the process next time. I read that the step where you cover the base and sides of the ramekin with parmesan, after brushing it with butter is important as it helps the soufflé rising straight above the rim, upwards. That is the step I skipped and which I will not skip again next time as mine did not do the “straight up” thing.

You will need:

500 ml milk
80 g butter
5 ml Dijon Mustard
80 g cake flour
5 ml  nutmeg
65 ml grated parmesan cheese
500 ml grated cheddar cheese
30 ml parsley and basil leaves, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 eggs, separated

Whip it up

Whip it up

Method:
Prepare 6 ramekins (soufflé dishes) by brushing them well with melted butter and thereafter sprinkling the bottom and the sides of each ramekin with the grated parmesan cheese.
Heat the milk.In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the Dijon mustard and stir well. Add the flour and use a wooden spoon to stir the butter and flour together into a thick, smooth paste.
Using a whisk add 250 ml of the milk to the paste and continue whisking until the sauce is smooth and thick. Repeat with the remaining milk. Cook the sauce over a low heat for a 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the cheeses and the herbs. Once the cheeses are melted into the sauce, season the sauce to taste.Whisk in the egg yolks and set aside to cool.
In the meantime, in a clean dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm. Gently and lightly fold the egg whites, ⅓ at a time, into the base sauce. Take care to keep the mixture as light as possible.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the ramekins, filling them ¾ of the way up. Run your thumb around the edge of the ramekin.
Place the ramekins onto a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 190˚C for 25 – 30 minutes or until the soufflés are well risen and firm to the touch.
Serve immediately

Cheese Souffle

Cheese Souffle

Seeing that I have herbs & cheese going on here, this recipe will go straight to the June’s Cheese Please! Blog Challenge on Fromage Homage, one of my favorite reads.

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Random Photo:

 

Artist unknown. I want to paint you...

Artist unknown. I want to paint you…

Same color palate in my ” front yard”.

Floating buildings in the mist. Cape Town

Floating buildings in the mist. Cape Town

Chinese Vegetables

It could have been a flower

It could have been a flower

I think bok choy is just a beautiful thing. I went to the Chinese Supermarket to buy Chinese Five Spice and I found fresh bok choy and white Chinese radish. I have never cooked with either.  Technically bok choy is part of the cabbage family but does not taste like cabbage at all. I should have bought two to keep one as decoration-just so pretty. I did a bit of reading up and a lot of the fried cabbage dishes also contain garlic and ginger and I already had those in the Asian meatballs I was making and did not want to repeat them again with the vegetables. image Trim the bok choy stem, separate the leaves and rinse. I also halved the bigger leaves to have them evenly sized. image Heat up a pan/wok with a bit of peanut oil and add soy sauce to the hot oil just before you add the vegetables, flash fry the leaves and toss fast. I find that tongs work the best. Do that for about 30 seconds and then add a splash of water to create steam and cover the pan. Steam for about 3 minutes and turn it over with the tongs in between. Add another splash of water if necessary to create steam. Plate and season with salt and a drizzle of peanut oil.image Let me tell you it tastes great. I also used half of the Chinese radish to stir fry with carrots and baby cabbage and the other I pickled.

Asian meat balls and stirfry

Asian meat balls and stirfry

Random photo:

Art

Man

Man

 

All in a day

Sometimes it is better not to plan. Just go on a whim by the seat of your pants. This weekend was one of those.

Room with a view-Simon's Town

Room with a view-Simon’s Town

We went for a one night stay in the sleepy Naval village of Simon’s Town about 40 km from Cape Town. Browsing, shopping a bit, eating a lot and sleeping well.

Simon's Town

Simon’s Town

The next morning the full intention was to go straight home but a detour here and there and playing tourists in our own area, we ended up at Cape Point. To most it feels like the most southern tip of Africa but is is not, it is however open water from there right to Antarctica. Ahoy sailer!

Cape Point and then Antarctica!

Cape Point and then Antarctica!

A very nice weekend always has to end with a special lunch of sorts……

White and dark chocolate desert. Hotel Hohenhort Constantia

White and dark chocolate desert. Hotel Hohenhort Constantia

Random Photo: #ilovecapetown

This is how far we are

This is how far we are