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I’ve decided to go Mediterranean with my eating, and have not had butter nor bread since last Sunday. Not having bread isn’t an issue, but I’m a butter girl, and butter goes so well with bread! Now I have ryvita with avocado and lemon instead. Tonight’s dinner is a two bean and potato salad with a yoghurt, garlic and spring onion dressing, peppered smoked mackerel fillet, with a side salad of tomato, rocket and black olive. Strawberries and melon for after.

I aim to post a weekly food diary on. There’s no easy fix to lose the extra kilos, so I’ll be patient and consistent. Wish me luck!


Pictured is the beginning of my bean/potato salad, and the side salad + the finished meal.

Love, Natasja

This dish is perfect for a Friday dinner after a long working week. It only takes 20 minutes to make and is a very light and tasty meal.

For two people you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 lime
  • 6 tortilla wraps
  • 1 tbsp chipotle paste (I love, love, love this!)
  • Fresh coriander
  • Mayonnaise
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cod fillets

Step by step:

Preheat the oven to 180C/ gas 6

  1. Place the tortilla on a baking tray
  2. Chop the cherry tomatoes roughly
  3. Slice the spring onion finely
  4. Chop the coriander finely including the stalks
  5. Cut the lime in half
  6. Combine the chopped tomatoes, spring onions and coruander all together on your chopping board.
  7. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and then chop the lot together roughly.
  8. Add the salsa to a bowl and squeeze the juice of half lime, mix through and set aside.
  9.  Combine mayo and chipotle paste with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside.
  • Combine the smoked paprika and half of the ground allspice on a plate with a pinch of salt and pepper, and mix together.
  • Press the cod fillets into the spice mix to coat all over.
  • Heat a large wide-based pan with a drizzle of vegetable oil over a high heat.
  • Once hot, add the cod fillets and cook for 4 min, flipping once.

(Don’t worry if the cod looks like it’s burning, it will become “blackened”, which gives it the smoky, charred flavour you want)

  • Put the tortilla in the oven for 2-3 minute, just until they are warmed through.
  • Cut the remaining lime into wedges.
  • Divide the salsa and cod between the tortillas, and drizzle them with the spicy mayo.
  • Garnish with lime wedges and coriander leaves.

Enjoy!  I know I will, as I’m having this again tonight 😋

Love, Natasja

Dinner for dad

As Andrews dad, Reg, is recovering from a massive stroke, we’re trying to make small and tasty dinners for him. Because of the risk of him chocking on his food, it has to be mashed up. And he dislikes mushy food! After yesterday’s success and a clean plate, we’re continuing our mission of Dinner for Dad. It also helps out Maureen, who is not only his wife but also his full time carer. We made three dinners and two desserts from what we had in the house. Hopefully it goes down well

Dinner 1:

Lentil stew & creamed corn

Apple pie (minus the pastry) and ice cream. With apples from Reg’ garden. 

Dinner 2:

Gorgonzola, spinach and tuna bake 

Creamed chick peas 

Banana ice cream

Dinner 3:

Sausage casserole in tomato sauce 

Cous cous

Small meals, easy to swallow and hopefully full of flavours. 

Above is a picture of Maureen and Reg Clark
Take care of each other, folks. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

Love, Natasja 

Toffee apple jam

If you are lucky enough to have your own orchard, or just a few apple trees, this years yield seem to be a good one! And as autumn is upon us, with the clocks going back, the time has come to creat…

Source: Toffee apple jam

Oxtail soup 

This recipe is taken from the Guardian’s food pages (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/oct/30/traditional-british-soup-recipes), where you will find other British classics such as London particular, Mulligatawny, and Cock-a-leekie by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. You have got to love the British language!

“Though this is very simple to make, you need to start cooking the soup the day before you want to serve it, so you can remove the layer of fat from the stock once it’s cooled. Serves eight.

• 70g butter

• 1.5kg oxtail, cut into pieces and trimmed of excess fat

• 2 celery stalks, sliced

• 1 onion, stuck with 3 cloves

• 2 carrots, sliced

• 1 small turnip, peeled, quartered and sliced *I used two parsnips

• 1 leek, roughly chopped *I skipped this

• 1 bouquet garni *These can now be bought in handy ‘teabags’

• 10 black peppercorns

• 300ml red wine *I skipped this

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 60-80ml sherry *I skipped this

• 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley *I used the green of the celery

Warm the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and brown the oxtail pieces, in batches if necessary, until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan, set aside and sweat the vegetables in the meat juices for five minutes.

Return the meat to the pan, along with the bouquet garni, peppercorns, and 1 ½ – 2 litres of water. Season, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until the meat is very tender and just about falling off the bones – about three to four hours.

Strain the liquid into a bowl, cool and refrigerate. Discard the veg, peppercorns and bouquet garni. Pull the meat from the bones, discarding any skin and fat. Place in a bowl, season and refrigerate.

Next day, remove the solid layer of fat that will have formed on the top of the stock, pour the stock into a pan, add the meat and bring just to a simmer. Adjust the seasoning to taste, and simmer very gently for five minutes. Serve in warmed bowls, scattered with parsley.”
Verdict: I love this soup. It’s a bit greasy to make, and time consuming. The layer of fat is rather off-putting, but the flavours are lovely, and the soup a real winter warmer. As this was made for someone else, I skipped the wine and sherry, and also because I didn’t have any in the house

So enjoy! And thanks, Hugh!

Love,

Natasja

 

A classic winter warmer based on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s traditional British soup recipes found in the Guardian. Link & recipe to follow. 

So watch this space! 

Due to a small gas leak discovered earlier this week, cooking was a challenge (as the gas had to be turned off completely). We do have a microwave oven but I have never done anything other than heat or defrost food in it, and to be honest ready-made meals from a microwave oven does not fill me with glee. I wanted a home cooked and preferably warm meal. A’s mum came to the rescue with a slow cooker, and I’ve always been keen to try one out. 

We decided to make a butter chicken variant, a mildly spiced curry sauce from Punjab. However…. The recipe I tried was pretty bland and dull, so I have decided not to share the recipe with you. How great am I?!  

We also bought a shoulder of pork to try in the slow cooker. Shoulder of pork is an inexpensive cut of meat and goes a long way. The main ingredients would be apple and sage. 

I rubbed the pork with salt, pepper and paprika, and let it settle for a while. 

We had to brown the meat somehow and used A’s fishing stove. The meat was then transferred to the slow cooker on top of the cooking apples and sage leaves. 

We glaced the pan with some leftover rose wine and poured this over the meat. Then one large onion and several garlic cloves chopped, browned and added to cooker. The setting put on low and you’re done! 

5 hours later we adjusted the setting to medium and added chopped parsnip and carrot to the cooker and left it until the vegetables had cooked through. 

Verdict? A decent meal with flaky pork and vegetables in a flavoursome broth, served in deep bowls.  

I won’t run out and buy a slow cooker, I don’t think. It was fine in the emergency we did have, but it doesn’t really do anything I can’t do on the stove or in the oven. And I do prefer a good roast. 
   
 
1. A’s cooker was very unstable, so we had to brown the meat on the floor. 

2. Chicken laid to rest in slow cooker, with chopped coriander (cilantro) stems and a few tomatoes. 

Love,

Natasja 

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