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I’ve finally bought a good, old fashioned griddle pan in cast iron, and am having loads of fun with it. The fire alarm is tested weekly to its limit and my hair often smell of charcoal, but who cares – the vegetables are great!
Based on a recipe from the Foodnetwork.

This serves 3-4 people as a side dish.
Prep time is about 15 minutes, and 25 minutes for cooking.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 red & 1 yellow pepper, both seeded and sliced

1 courgette, sliced in rounds or lengthwise

1 aubergine, sliced in rounds or lengthwise

12 mushrooms

4 spring onions

Small bunch of asparagus, when in season

2 fresh figs, sliced

Feta

60 ml, plus 2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp fresh basil, chopped

1/2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

 

Method:

 

1. Place a griddle pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue to medium-high heat. Brush the vegetables with 60ml of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper.

2. Working in batches, griddle the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the peppers, 7 minutes for the courgette, aubergine, and mushrooms, 4 minutes for the asparagus and spring onions. Arrange the vegetables on a platter. The key to getting those great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables too frequently once they’ve been placed on the hot griddle.

3. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tbsp of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Crumble in the feta cheese. Add the sliced fresh figs, then serve the vegetables, warm or at room temperature.

The vegetable salad goes really well with roast lamb shoulder. Massive flavours, perfect for autumn.

Enjoy!

Natasja

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My Brexit testimony 

This post isn’t food related, but it has been on my mind since the referendum. And as this is my blog I can post what I like. And just so you know, I may not be the biggest EU supporter, but I don’t believe leaving once you’re in is the most sensible option….

I am (as many of you know) a Norwegian who has been living and working in the UK for several decades. My life is here, but also in Norway. Do I feel unwelcome? Not by those that matters. But I do feel in limbo and slightly overwhelmed by the PR application I am reluctantly initiating. This piece of paper I’d never thought I’d need, is now needed. And who knows what else is needed once the UK has brexited. But I will remain Norwegian, not changing my nationality. I would consider dual citizenship – however the Norwegian government doesn’t allow it (yet). I am very disappointed and saddened that the United Kingdom has chosen to exit. I think it is a big mistake and a decision based on inaccurate facts. 

I do live in hope that the UK  may revoke its decision. It could happen in this quirky nation. Anyone for a cuppa?   

A Letter to Leave supporters – from a Remain supporter

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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 

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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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Friday 13th November 2015 is going to be a date to remember, especially for us living in the Western Hemisphere, and especially for those living in Paris, France. And let us not forget Beirut, Baghdad and elsewhere the unmentionables wage their idiotic, messed up war against all things sivilised and progressive. And with the lyrics of Imagine, let us all try and make this a better place. How, I don’t know. Anyway, life goes on, and so does cooking and eating. And as there seem to be something wrong with my liver, further tests in January, I might as well try and make a start living more healthily. Walk more, eat less of the stuff I love etc etc. 

This week I will make poached chicken and seasonal vegetables, grilled aubergine & tomato sandwiches, pea and lettuce soup, which I’ve made many times but not shared with you, and tonight spicy spinach soup, which promotes a good mood. Life is constantly full of worry, but as illustrated below, worry serves no useful purpose. 

So live long & in peace! 

Love, 

Natasja 

   
 

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Source: Stamppot – the ultimate winter comfort food

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My mother is Dutch and several of my favourite childhood dishes have exotic sounding names like bitterballen, oliebollen, poffertjes, stamppot. And don’t get me started on the Indonesian part of Dutch cuisine!

But back to the stamppot….

Stamppot is basically mashed potatoes with vegetables, and a sausage on top. In my version I use fresh spinach and bacon lardons. Occasionally I use smoked sausage that I buy from the Polish delicatessen. Last night A served it with green kale, and it was delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 500g peeled cooked potatoes
  • 500g washed spinach/green kale, shredded
  • Large knob of butter
  • 100g bacon lardons
  • 1dl milk
  • 1 smoked sausage in slices
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  • Fry the bacon lardons in the butter until crispy
  • Mash the potatoes in with the bacon-butter mixture.
  • Stir in the milk and spinach/green kale
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with smoked sausage on top and tuck in.

It is calorific & stodgy & wholly comforting.

Love,
Natasja

  

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