Pic share and catch-up

We had a weekend of such absolute cuteness, I just have to share some stories and pictures.

Before I start, just a reminder that you will find this week’s Meat-free Monday post here.

Daniel has started whispering in our ears. Mostly sweet nothings, but often “I’ll be your Bestestbestest friend if..” I have been waiting to see if/when this was going to happen and am handling it better than I thought I would. So cute to see him whisper to his sisters.

We went to a kiddy birthday party on Saturday and my friend Chloe always has the BEST parties. She’s one of those Moms who always has the most amazing ideas of stuff to do with kids, always has home-baked cookies and has a legendary spread at each party.

As you can see our children played very nicely with all the other kids..


The girls watching the candles being blown out on the cake:


The cupcakes my friend made:


Watching tv:


Taking the dogs for a walk, love the light in this picture, I didn’t filter this at all:


Mignon playing with a branch against the tree:


Etienne had them today and will have them tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. To be honest, I expected grimness and chaos when I got home and instead he told me how much fun they had today. I’m a little (read: a lot) jealous. And lucky. And blessed.

MFM: Butternut and Cashew Curry

I decided to give this recipe a try tonight as I couldn’t face anything cold.  I really wanted something warm and filling.  As usual I did my own thing, but the original recipe is here.

I couldn’t find any proper red curry paste the recipe asks for so I used medium curry and left out the fish sauce.  It meant that the flavours of the cinnamon and cumin blended really nicely.  Yum.

  • 600 chopped butternut (medium-large butternut)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • oil for frying
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tin lite coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 pack baby spinach (I used a 90g pack and it was enough for me)
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted and salted cashews

Heat a little oil and fry the chopped butternut, cumin and salt for about 6 minutes or until brown in a large pan and tip into a plate.  Use the same pan, heat a little more oil and fry the onion for about 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of the coconut milk and boil for another 2 minutes.  Add the curry powder or paste and boil for a further 2 minutes.

Then add the butternut, water, remainder of the coconut milk, cinnamon and cloves and boil for another 8 – 10 minutes until the butternut is cooked but firm.  Lastly add the baby spinach and cashews, stir in and boil for another minute until the spinach is wilted.

I had it with brown basmati and am taking it with to work tomorrow.  I suspect I’ll have to beat people off with a stick!

If you make it please let me know what you thought?

Meat-free Monday – a rice and lentil affair

Tonight I tried a rice and lentil thing that ended up having the consistency of porridge.   Which is just revolting.  But it tasted ok.  A little bland but ok.  I found it on the mobile application of this website, How to cook Everything.

Here you go:

  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 medium onion, chopped PLUS a large onion, halved and sliced
  • 1tsp minced garlic
  • 1tsp cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups lentils, rinsed well (I use the orange lentils)
  • 1.4 litres vegetable stock
  • 200 grams rice (I use brown basmati)
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Fry chopped onion in large, deep saucepan and fry until tender (about 5 minutes).  Add garlic, cumin, salt and pepper and cook for a further 3 minutes.  Add the lentils, stir and add 900 ml of the stock.

Cook, stirring occasionally until the lentils begin to soften, about 20 minutes.  (If you are using brown basmati rice, maybe shorten this cooking time to about 10 minutes as it takes longer to cook).  Add remaining fluid and add rice.  Cover and turn the heat to low.

Meanwhile, fry remaining onion over medium-high heat until they are dark brown but not burned, about 15 minutes.  Scoop onion and drain on paper towel.

Check rice and lentils, should be cooked after 20 minutes and all the liquid absorbed.

The kids didn’t even sniff it and Etienne is so sick with flu he can’t taste anything, but I’ll definitely try making it again even if only so I can get it right.  I’m funny that way.


Meat Free Monday – Chickpea stew

Last night we had this Chickpea Stew I found on Epicurious.  It was lovely last night and absolutely delicious for lunch today!

As usual I did mostly what the recipe asked for.  This means I read the recipe, it looks good and I make a note of what to grab on the way home.  I then usually either forget half the stuff I was meant to get or they didn’t have it at the shop.  Yesterday I got lucky…

The recipe suggests serving with couscous, but we had roast potatoes and salad and it was yum.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 can water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

    1. Place the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion; stirring occasionally, cook until wilted, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic during the last 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook 2 minutes more to mellow the flavors.

    2. Add the chickpeas, the tomatoes with their juices, thyme, honey, lemon juice, water, stock, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust the seasonings and stir in the parsley.

    3. To serve, spoon couscous (if desired) into 4 shallow bowls and top with the stew. Serve immediately.


    Meat-free Monday: Quinoa risotto with Mushrooms and Thyme

    I need to start by saying I didn’t post a MFM recipe last week because of our camping trip, a broken fridge, some defrosted chicken and a resulting chicken pie.  Halfway through supper Etienne reminded me that it was Monday and then sat back and enjoyed my horror with a fork-full of chicken halfway to my mouth.

    This week I tried a Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms and Thyme from Epicurious.  Have I mentioned how much I love Epicurious? (Thanks Rose!)

    The very best thing is that I can be standing in Pick and Pay and look for an interesting recipe on my fancy iPhone, they have a fantastic Mobile application.

    I don’t normally like to make dishes that require more than a single pan or pot, but this was worth it.  None of the kids ate it of course, but at least they ate the baby butternuts Etienne had halved and stuck in the oven.  They even asked where the salad was.  Imagine.

    This is my slightly amended version as the original asks for fancy shiitake and crimini mushrooms.

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 2 onions)
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 250 g packs of mushrooms
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided (I used dried thyme, about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

    Bring 2 cups salted water to boil in medium saucepan. Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender and water is absorbed, about 13 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until onion begins to brown, 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and thyme. Sautée until mushrooms are tender, 6 minutes. Add wine, stir until wine is reduced and liquid is syrupy, 2 minutes. (it took about 6  minutes for this)

    Mix quinoa into mushroom mixture; season with salt and pepper.  You are meant to put the cheese over but we completely forgot.  Oops.