Soup weather

Winter, the season for soup.

So far I’ve made a pot of chicken soup and a pot of zucchini soup (requested by the boy child).

I wasnt sure about the zucchini soup. I like it roasted or as zucchini noodles but soup…?

So I searched the interwebs and found a few recipes but none really appealed to me. What did appeal to me were the recipes that had garlic in them.

So armed with a list of various recipes, a bag of zucchini, a garlic bulb and my spice rack I created my own recipe.

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Dairy Free Peppermint Tart

As you all probably know, we keep a kosher home. That means that if we have a meat meal, the dessert needs to be dairy free.

This Rosh Hashanah, my brother hosted the meal, which was a feast of amazing chicken, deli roll, veggies and more, and I was making the desserts.

I really really wanted to make a Peppermint Crisp Tart (click on the link for the original recipe) but it needed to be parve/dairy free.

Fresh mint in closeup

My one issue was finding a solid slab of dairy free peppermint chocolate. Not so easy apparently. You can get After Eights but the peppermint part is soft and I didnt think that would work. I found an artisan, bean to bar, locally made chocolate but I could not get the peppermint one for love nor money. Eventually I gave in and bought plain dairy free chocolate and then found a peppermint extract to add to the cream. 

Another concern was what to swap the dulche de leche for. It had to be sweet but diary free and I came up with using Biscoff Lotus spread. I’m not sure this is available in SA but Im sure you can find some type of dairy free alternative.

All in all the dessert was a hit, everyone loved it and it was as close to a regular peppermint crisp tart as one could hope for.

Here is the recipe.

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Just call me Jamie

A while back I got a bee in my bonnet to haul out my pasta machine and make home made pasta.

What possessed me to start the process at 6pm for dinner that night will forever be unknown.

Making pasta from scratch should never be rushed. 

Actually making the dough, is a process that can take up to half an hour. You really need to give the kneading process time. The longer you work the dough the smoother and more elastic it is. You also need to let the dough rest before rolling it.

Then, since the machine is small, you need to actually make your pasta in small batches. Rolling the pasta takes time, you need to roll the dough through each setting a few times to ensure its even. Rolling the entire ball of dough can take over an hour.

But, its worth it, Fresh pasta is delicious!

So before I give you the recipe, here are a few tips from me to you.

  1. Plan ahead. Set aside a morning or afternoon where you have at least 2-3 hours uninterrupted time. I suggest an afternoon because of tip #3 below.
  2. Don’t make pasta alone. Rope in the kids to help. Mine had a blast helping me roll out the pasta and choose which type of pasta to cut. Alternatively invite some friends around and make a day of it. Make the pasta, make the sauces from scratch, maybe even make a batch of artisan bread to go with your fresh pasta.
  3. If you go the friend route (or even the kids route), open a bottle of wine and enjoy a sip or two between rolling batches.
  4. Take a break. The kneading and then the rolling takes work. Your shoulders will get sore. This is also why you need time. Sit between batches. Maybe stop rolling the dough for a while and make one of the sauces.
  5. Take the time to let your pasta dry a bit before cooking. You can cook it right away, but I find letting it dry for at least 20 minutes helps the pasta maintain its shape when cooking.

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Bonus tip! If you don’t have a pasta drying rack, you can use a folding clothes drying stand. Just make sure the rack is clean before you start hanging your pasta to dry!

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We eat the food, then we do the things.

One of the things we decided when we made aliyah was that we were going to try live as Israelis as much as possible. In particular food. We decided to buy and eat Israeli products as much as we could. 

One, buying imported things is expensive. 

Two, support the local economy.

Three, the kids are growing up Israeli, they need to be comfortable eating foods we may not have eaten in South Africa.

All of this is not to say we don’t eat the same foods we used to eat in South Africa. I’m yet to see cottage pie on a restaurant menu but we often have it for dinner. 

Israelis also tend to eat larger, heavier meals at lunch and smaller, lighter meals at dinner time. We still eat a proper cooked meal for dinner, mostly, this summer we have tried eating lighter, smaller meals at night.

All this brings me to things that we don’t/cant buy here (there is one big store that imports food stuffs from SA and Australia and the UK, but it is hellishly expensive). Things that I miss. Things that I have asked people to bring me and that I hoard and cherish like a certain gold ring.

  • Anita mentioned on Facebook, samp, which I haven’t had in years and now have a hectic craving for. 
  • Along with samp, is a good stiff pap with tomato gravy. You can buy polenta here but its just not the same.
  • Boerewors. I’ve had locally prepared boeries but its just not the same. The meat here is very different to SA and you can tell.
  • Peppermint Crisp. Anybody who visits has to bring me at least 1 slab. 
  • Five Roses Tea. Israeli black tea is rather weak. At least that’s my opinion. I love a good cup of Five Roses. 
  • Biltong. I actually have a biltong maker, I just need to figure out what’s the best cut of meat to use so I can make some.
  • Mrs Ball’s Chutney. I dont even really like chutney but I use to use it for cooking. Maybe I should try make my own…

All in all I think we manage just fine using local products and ingredients. And I don’t really miss anything to point of agonising over not having it. But I wouldn’t say no, if someone gave me any of the above.

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Photo taken by Paul in 2005 (I cannot for the life of me remember which game reserve it was)

Scottish oatcakes of yumminess!

As you know, Paul is diabetic, and I am always trying to find yummy sugar free food to bake or cook for him.

Paul tends to eat a bowl of oats with fresh fruit in the mornings but its getting boring. I work with a lot of UK products and last week, Scottish oatcakes kept popping up. So I googled and found a variety of recipes and yesterday I tried out a simple Scottish oatcake recipe.

These biscuits can be used in place of bread. Spread some butter, honey, jam or cheese on top or just have them plain right out the oven!

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Peanut butter ice cream

I usually make ice cream in my churner but that requires some forethought and planning and since this was a last minute decision I went will a ‘no cook’ ice cream. 

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Pumpkin!

My mommy in law sent me a recipe for pumpkin bread and last night I finally managed to make it.

The original recipe called for 3 cups of sugar and white flour. Since Paul is diabetic I switched things around a bit so he could also enjoy it.

When I started writing up this post I realised that I had only taken a quick picture of the breads before going into the oven.

bread

The loaf I brought to work went so quickly I didn’t have a chance to take a picture either. So I asked Paul to take a quick picture and send it to me.

Why I was surprised when he didn’t just send a quick cell phone pic is beyond me. I know better.

What follows is the gorgeous styled photo shoot he did.

Baked pumpkin bread 

Baked pumpkin bread 

Baked pumpkin bread 

Baked pumpkin bread 

Baked pumpkin bread 

And now for the recipe.

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Whisky: The water of life (and dinner)

I often use wine when I cook. I dont only drink it, I use it in the dishes too.

Many of my chicken dishes use wine, especially when baking the chicken.

A while back I purchased a bottle of Golan Heights Distillery Whisky. Its the first Israeli whisky and I think its pretty decent.

whisky

So I got to thinking, if I can cook with wine why not whisky?

A quick google search showed quite a few whisky chicken recipes so I mashed a few recipes together according to the ingredients I had on hand and O. M. G! I wish the internet allowed you to smell images. This was one of the best roast chickens I have ever made!

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Cheese, cheese, everywhere!

Shavuot, a celebration of the day the Jewish people received the Torah. As with all Jewish celebrations, we have special food related to the holiday. For Shavuot that means dairy.

Cheese, cheesecakes, pasta with lots of cheese and cream, ice cream, and most importantly (to me anyway), cheese blintzes. Yummy crepes filled with a sweet cream cheese mix and fried. They can also be made as savoury blintzes.

I found a recipe on Tori Avey’s site and modified it slightly. They were delicious!! Recipe below. All the lovely pictures taken by Paul.

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batter

 

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Fold over the bottom

 

Fold sides in
Fold sides in 

 

Keep rolling up and tucking the sides in
Keep rolling up and tucking the sides in 

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#Zombieprompts Week 14

Share your best soup recipe.

We’ve just seen the end of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere (good riddance!) so no more soup for us. Although chicken soup is always welcome, even in 40°C weather.

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This winter I made a few ‘throw everything in the pot’ soups and they all actually turned out really well.

In my opinion there are a few basic steps that MUST happen in order for any soup to be good, regardless of the ingredients.

  • Onion. Diced finely and fried until golden. Every soup should start with this as a base.
  • Herbs. Dried or fresh or frozen. You can use whatever you have on hand and don’t be shy, the more the merrier.
  • Time. You cant rush a good soup. Cook your veggies on a lower heat for longer. If you can, make your soup the day before you need it. Soup always tastes better the next day.

So, here is a basic recipe. You can adapt it depending what veggies you have in your fridge.

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