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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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With the left overs of bramley apples, I made a very simple apple sauce. You can eat this on toast, but it goes really well with pork. Try it! You’ll see.

Below is how to make it. Please keep in mind that I didn’t follow a recipe, just used 4 large cooking apples. Some recipes require butter, but personally I can’t see the need for it.

Ingredients:

  • 225g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped

  • Lemon juice, to taste

  • Half a cup of water

  • Sugar or syrup, to taste
  1. Put the apples in a saucepan with the lemon juice, water and sugar/ and water. Cover and cook over a low heat until they are soft and mushy.
  2.  Take off the heat, stir until a smooth paste. Cool and pour into jars.

IMG_1900IMG_1887

Love,
Natasja

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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 create some deliciousness of your apples..

Toffee apple jam is more like a dessert, and you can enjoy it any way you like. It is sweet and tangy, and very easy to make.

Ingredients:

Toffee sauce

  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 100g of light Muscadvo sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 4 tbsp double cream

Apple jam

  • 600g Bramley apples (once cored and peeled)
  • 100ml water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 250g white granulated cane sugar flavoured
  • 1 vanilla pod with seeds taken out
  • 2 x 260g jars

Method:

  1. Firstly, melt the sugar, syrup and butter in a small pan and bring slowly to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes or so until thick. Stir in the cream and remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Secondly, place the apples, water, vanilla pods and lemon juice in a separate pan and cook down until soft and fluffy – this will take about 15-20minutes. Once the apples have become soft, add the sugar over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Then crank up the heat and bring to a simmering boil for approximately 4-5 minutes. The apple jam should be lovely and thick.
  3. Now the fun begins – add a layer of toffee sauce to the bottom of the jar and then a layer of apple jam and continue layering until you reach the top of the jar.

FullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRender

Love,
Natasja

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