Soul warming soup

There is something magical about soup. On these colder winter evenings your soul almost craves some inner warmth and few things can beat a deliciously prepared soup. I’m terrible at cooking as I have mentioned before, so I doubt I’ll ever do a soup from scratch. Come to think of it, I can actually make an amazingly delicious mushroom soup. I think purely because it consists of only 4 ingredients, oh wait.. 5 ingredients.

The other more deliciously challenging ones elude me, and if they include some sort of meat that has to be all tender and falling to pieces, then I can so definitely not do that. I have made a butternut and orange soup before, but I reckon that it doesn’t really count as there is not much to it either.

Sigh, I do so love the warm array of delicious flavors all swimming together on my spoon, savoring every mouth full. Then there is the added bonus of enjoying some fresh goldenly crisp bread which it covered in satisfying salty butter… Yum

Oh yes, there are some small benefits to an otherwise dismally cold winter… Like good company, a warm bowl of soup and a glass of wine, bliss 🙂

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Sugar, spice…nice

So yes… As the winter chill creeps ever closer, so my insatiable cravings for all things super sugary sweet start.

When the sky is filled with dark fluffy winter clouds holding promise of rain, I always feel the urge to grab the nearest thing containing sugary bliss to warm my senses.

Since this morning I have had an endless craving for some warm cinnamon pancakes… Mmmm, yum yum. To go along with it some cookies. In my search for cookies “healthy-but-oh-so-yummy” I came across the old favorite; golden oats cookies with the possibility of endless flavors as you can add whatever you want to them. BIG smile… Yip that’s definitely a winner in my book.

So after picking the girls up at school, we quickly popped in at the shop and bought a few “add-ins” consisting of bananas, chocolate with whole nuts and apples. I wanted to keep it somewhat healthy so seemed like a responsible enough shopping list.

After I got home I immediately started making a batch scanning over my freshly googled recipe. Reading the part where I was supposed to melt the butter,sugar and syrup together I realized I had already added the sugar to the oats… But oh well, carrying on I whipped (such a chef like word 😉 ) up a batch and then proceeded to divide it and add some apples with cinnamon, chocolate and banana in the three separate batches.

Wha-la, into the oven and 15 min later I had some oh-so-delicious cookies. My earlier error in forgetting to melt the sugar, resulted in it bubbling ever so slightly out and caramelizing… Like sweet sugary brittle here and there on the cookies. YUM!

Supper did of course consist of delicious pancakes with a savory filling followed by pancakes filled with cinnamon sugar gloriousness. Big smile…

In these sugary moments I briefly forget my intolerance to Winter 🙂

Wha laa – Maybe Not

Bored stiff as a plank this morning, I decided to look through an old cookery book that once belonged to my husband’s grandmother.

It is really old, with yellowed pages, a strange smell and absolutely NO pictures!!!

As many of you know I prefer fully illustrated, 5 step recipes that won’t leave me heaving with stress.

So paging through the smelly bundle, I came across the weirdest recipes. For all I know they may be quite popular amongst people who do a lot of cooking, like dormers, macaroni custard, skate and morue.

What on earth is Skate? And in the jam recipes they just say “strawberries, granulated sugar, water” … How much strawberries? Isn’t sugar always granulated?

They tell you to pop popcorn over the fire and use a lot of animals to cook with… Weird fish things like plaice (???), eels, rabbit, wild duck, guinea fowl and loads more. And they specify in certain recipes that the eggs must be NEW laid.

I don’t know about the whole “pluck the feathers business” – gag
Think I’ll stick to store bought and pretending that it never lived.

And trying some of these recipes … Maybe not too soon in the near future.

Mind you, I might be able to make black butter – I’m quite good at burning things 😉

Super Salad

Super Salad indeed!!! I admit getting the very green wart-looking hubbard squash into cubes wasn’t completely difficult, made a whopper of a mess in the process, but with success of culinary level I got it cubed and actually cooked.  The salad turned out perfectly supreme, and scrumptiously delicious!!! Gold stars for me  🙂

Here is the recipe for this very morish, gloriously colourful salad that will without a doubt leave you with a smug smile on your face:

Salad:                                                                                                   
½ hubbard squash cut into pieces                                           
2 tbsp olive oil                                                                  
1 red pepper
150g baby spinach                            
1 avocado                                                              
60ml toasted pine nuts                        
100g feta
 
Dressing:
60ml olive oil
60ml red wine vinegar
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
 
Preheat oven to 200 C. Toss the squash with the oil in a baking dish and bake for 20 min until tender. Gently toss the pepper through. Combine with other ingredients. Top with feta.
 
For the dressing whisk all the ingredients together in a small jug. Season to taste.

Whala.. It’s so Jaime-Oliver-ish… These are the benefits of being in a book club with people that do actually know how to cook. Enjoy!!

Hubbard Who??

Tomorrow night my brother in law is coming over for dinner.  I have this recipe for a super delicious, ultra healthy salad that I had recently at one of my book club evenings.  With determination I set off to the local fruit and veg shop as I needed to buy some Hubbard squash for the salad.  Of course I went straight to the gem squash section, looking for the Hubbard squash…to absolutely no avail… so I approached the shop assistant and asked her if she could point me in the direction of the Hubbard squash, telling her I did look at the gems, but it wasn’t there. She proceeded to tell me I must go to the pumpkin isle, after which I asked if she could just please come show me which one of the pumpkins is the Hubbard squash.  She rolled her eyes (yes … only in South Africa would the shop assistant roll their eyes at a customer) and walked over to the pumpkins, handing me a very dark green, wart covered one.  I mean, how on earth was I supposed to know that hubbard squash doesn’t resemble gem squash in the faintest way, and that it is like normal pumpkin?  At least I know now, very educational morning indeed.  So all that I have to do is somehow get it into cubes, and cook it…not in water??? Weird, but that’s the recipe.  Oh and this recipe gets roasted pine nuts…and I must admit I had to Google how to roast nuts…and yes, I would never have guessed that you don’t use any oil… but oh well… I have all the knowledge and hopefully it will not be a total super saggy, half burnt warty hubbard squash dish, but a sensational salad.