A crowd pleaser – Nids de tartiflette – cheese and potato nests

Nids de tartiflette_2Whenever I plan a meal, I will usually look at what happens to be available in my fridge or pantry, and cook up the meal from what’s already there. I rarely buy a truckload of ingredients to make that one dish. However, if I happen to chance upon an ingredient that I have been dying to try, I will make that effort. This time, I got my hands on a stinky French cheese, Reblochon* and I am certainly super excited about using it. Continue Reading →

Bun thit – cold Vietnamese vermicelli noodles

bun thit

Like most people who love eating, I also love reading about eating. And sometimes, a particular chapter from a book or an article would trigger a very specific craving, one that begs to be scratched. So when I came across this article last year about bun thit – cold Vietnamese rice noodles – it became the immediate trigger for more research into this healthy and delicious recipe that can be easily adapted to whatever meat, seafood or veggie option you happen to have in your fridge.

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A smoky and potent dip: burnt eggplant with tahini

Burnt eggplant with tahiniMy current food obsession is “burning” fruit and vegetables. I bet you are scratching your head and wondering what is wrong with me and why I’m destroying perfectly good food. Actually, by exposing certain fruit and vegetables to open fire or high heat can actually intensify the taste or change the flavour profile. So next time, when you roast a chicken, put in some halved lemons. After roasting, you will realise the juice has transformed from one that is high in acidity to a mild sweet-sour liquid (which you can use to dress salad or squeeze over the roasted chicken). Continue Reading →

Power Breakfasts: Peanut Butter Pancakes

peanut butter pancakes

A very bizarre thing about my hubby, is that he slathers peanut butter onto his cheese burgers, nestling it between the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise, melted cheese, ketchup and pickles. It’s apparently the way things are done in a family diner called Triple XXX in West Lafeyette, Indiana (where he spent six years, as a young and impressionable student). The Duane Purvis All-American is a house favourite among Triple XXX’s avid followers, and after all these years, the hubby still deems it the best burger in the world. We could be eating the most sumptuous Waygu burger, and he would still woefully lament that it lacked creamy peanut butter (never chunky!), preferably a ¼-inch thick.

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Spinach, cherry tomato and garlic pasta

spinach cherry tomato garlic pasta

Popeye owes much of his strength to spinach, and I fondly remember my three young nephews scarfing down entire plates of sautéed and creamed spinach after watching the cartoons. If spinach was absent from dinner, they would collectively rain hell and fury like you’ve never seen. I don’t blame them, and their allegiance is well-justified, because apart from being delicious, spinach features on most superfoods lists. Continue Reading →

Root Vegetable Patties

root veg patties

Root vegetables are a firm favourite with my kids. My son particularly loves parsnips and raw carrots, and the baby girl adores beetroot and sweet potatoes. I usually cut an assortment into batons, toss in olive oil and simply roast in the oven until crispy and crunchy (best with parsnips), and they really enjoy them that way. But with my little ones, it’s important to keep things interesting so they don’t get bored and start rejecting the food (as much as they liked it before). Cooking the humble but nutritious veggies this way is a fun and novel alternative, and my cheeky daughter thoroughly enjoys getting dirty and messy eating the patties with her hands. Continue Reading →

Power Breakfasts: Cottage Cheese Pancakes

cottage cheese pancakes

My son loves pancakes, especially if I use his favourite shape cutters to make police car-pancakes or mammoth-shaped pancakes. I’m sure he would be just as pleased as pie if I just cooked him his breakfast using an instant mix. But as mothers do, I’m always thinking of ways to feed my children food that is tastier and more nutritious. Packed with protein and calcium, these power pancakes give the little ones extra muscle-building oomph for a great start to the day! I think they are best eaten with fruit preserves, which complement the tang of the cottage cheese very well. Continue Reading →

A tasty and healthy “cream” of tomato recipe

Since my baby girl C was born slightly more than a year ago, I’ve started on a collection of hand-written recipes in a book, to be eventually given to her as her sixteenth birthday present. When the day comes for her to live on her own and cook for herself, she will have the recipes on hand to make the food that I cooked for her, food that she loved, and food that we ate together as a family. Continue Reading →

Honey and cinnamon-glazed butternut squash and spiced bar nuts

Without a doubt, Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love the glittery lights and vintage ornaments on our tree, my son’s non-stop singing of his rendition of “Jingle Bells” at the top of his voice, mad shopping for presents followed by mad gift-wrapping, and most of all, catching up with extended family and close friends over endless days of gorging on rich, decadent food. Continue Reading →

Power Breakfasts: honey, banana and peanut butter bars

When I think of a nutritious breakfast on-the-go, muesli bars are the ideal. Compact, tasty and substantial enough to keep you filled until lunch, I keep a container of these in the fridge at all times, for a quick bite in the car when we are strapped for time in the mornings. My son loves them as an afternoon snack when he comes home from school, and because these bars are so moist, soft and chewy, I also give small bits (after taking out the nuts) to my 14 month-old daughter to nibble on when she’s peckish. Some added chocolate chips will take them into dessert territory; a healthy, yet still indulgent accompaniment to a cup of tea after dinner. Continue Reading →

Wholemeal Carrot Cake

Every afternoon, between 4-5pm, I put my feet up for ten minutes to savour a slice of something sweet with my cuppa. This slot is pretty much etched in my schedule. It allows me to catch my breath and re-charge before I get on with what I call “evening mayhem”; the dinner-bath-bed routine for my two kids. On the really crazy busy days when I’m deprived of my afternoon snack, I turn into something rather scary. Continue Reading →