April 22, 2012

Lamb and veggie stew

The Easter is gone, but if you're anything like me, you will have a lot of leftover food in your fridge and freezer. Lamb is my favorite meat so I always make sure I have enough for the Easter weekend and also some saved for the future.

If you too have some lamb meet left that you want to use, try the delicious lamb and veggie stew. It's very easy to make and it's inexpensive as it uses any kind of veggies you might have left over in the pantry.

What you need is:

1 kg of lamb meet cut in larch pieces, about 3cm ( you can use any part of the lamb, whatever you have left from Easter)
100ml sunflower oil
1 white onions finely chopped
500g white potatoes pealed and cut in quarters
500g other veggies, whatever you might have in the fridge, you can use frozen as well ( I use sliced carrots, chopped celery, peas and cauliflower – it all comes in  a frozen mix bag from the supermarket)
5 garlic cloves finely diced
2 table spoons white wine vinegar
2 table spoons thyme ( fresh if possible, finely chopped)
1/2 table spoon of chili flakes
200ml white wine ( if you don't want alcohol in it, replace it with water)
200ml hot water
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large cooking pan  and fry the onions and garlic until golden and soft.... CONTINUE READING

April 20, 2012

Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad

Since I am still detoxing my body after the Easter holidays, I thought I should share a Lebanese salad recipe my sister used to make all the time and which I started to make after tasting it. It's a very easy to make salad, affordable and very healthy making it a perfect spring salad.

The tabbouleh salad is one of the most known Lebanese foods and it's served with starters such as humus paste, falafel and the like. I sometimes serve it next to humus but most of the times I serve it with lamb because it makes a perfect side salad.

What you need is:

-3-4 big bunches of parsley
-3 tomatoes
-1 red onion
-3 table spoons couscous (you can also use buckwheat )
-1 cucumber
-2 lemons
-1 table spoons oregano
-1 table spoon mint
-3 table spoons olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

Boil the couscous until soft, strain it and leave aside. I prefer couscous to buckwheat, i think it's more tasty, but you can use any, it all depends on your taste.

Wash the parsley... CONTINUE READING

April 18, 2012

10 Useful kitchen tips & tricks

I was recently going through my notebooks of tips and tricks in the kitchen I wrote through the years to refresh my memories and I puled out 10 useful kitchen tips you can use to make your life easier. This time it involved foods  and how to handle it better.

So here they are, I hope they are useful to you as they are to me. The are randomly selected but i am sure you can find at least one you can use next time you are cooking.

10 Useful kitchen tips & tricks:

1. Preserving ground coffee
Ground coffee looses its flavor if you keep it in the pantry. Put it in a box in the fridge and the flavor will last longer.

2. Green avocado
If you bought avocado fruits that are not fully riped, put them in a black bag....CONTINUE READING

April 15, 2012

5 Best egg salads made with Easter leftover food

So you have all those hard boiled eggs that you colored in all colors of the rainbow for Easter. I know I have a lot left over because I made 30 of them this Easter ( don't ask me why, I just got carried away and used a whole carton of eggs....). But since I hate wasting food, I used them in all sorts of salads which I nicely decorated and brought around to my family and friends when I was visiting.

Do the same and use the recipes I listed below to make delicious egg salads with the left over eggs and food from Easter. I usually make them by eye, meaning i never calculate quantities added, I just add whatever I have around. Leave the salads in the fridge 2-3 hours before serving to allow flavors to mix.

 Here is a list of my favorite ones:

1. Shrimp egg salad
I love this salad, I have to say it's my favorite of all because I love sea food. The best part about this salad is that you can use not only hard boiled eggs but also devil eggs.....


April 14, 2012

5 Miracle foods that will detox your body

We want to admit it or not, we all over dose on food during holidays and Easter for me was no different. Somehow I always end up making excuses for why it's ok to have that extra chocolate egg or have a second portion of lamb roast and in my mind things get twisted in such ways that even the hot cross buns are good for me. Then, after everything is over and I go back to my regular schedule, I realized what i've done and try to make up for it. Funny thing the human mind is!

If you're like me, you know that after any holiday the body needs to detox and the best way to do it is to drink lots and lots of green tea which is considered a safe diuretic ( I make a 1.5l pitcher of tea and drink it through the day) and incorporate foods in your diet that will help you detox your body without having to starve yourself.

Here is a list of 5  foods i use to detox my body in a natural healthy way:

1. Lemons
Lemons are high in vitamin C which is one of the best detox vitamins around and they aid the liver in its cleansing processed. In the morning, when you prepare the green tea, add in the pitcher a sliced lemon. Add 3 green tea bags and poor boiling water on top. Leave to cool and drink it through the day.


April 12, 2012

Cream puffs with vanilla custard filling

Cream puffs are a sweet memory from childhood and every time i make them it takes me back in time, mainly because of the vanilla scent.

Whoever invented these delicious balls filled with creamy vanilla custard was a genius, they are easy to bake and mess free, perfect for any kind of party.

What you need is:

For the cream puffs:
-500ml water
-250g butter
-50g custer sugar
-350g all purpose flower
-a pinch of salt
-6 eggs

For vanilla custard:
-4 eggs
-250g custard sugar
-200g flour
-750ml milk
-3 table spoons vanilla essence

Chocolate topping (optional):
- 100g chocolate

Make the custard first so it has time to rest in the fridge. Start by breaking all the eggs in a large bowl ( don't use plastic) and beat them well. CONTINUE READING

April 10, 2012

10 Cooking tricks that will make your life easier

I was raised by both my grandma and my mother and both had a real passion for cooking. I often sat at the kitchen table playing and watching them cook and ,as I was growing up, they were teaching me their secrets.

Later in high school I developed a sort of a addiction to making lists and keeping a track of anything i thought was important going on in my life and as a result I wrote down a lot of my mother and my grandma's advices.

I still keep the notebooks and read them from time to time and I thought I should share them with you all. It's sometimes random stuff and you might have heard it before but who knows, it might help you too.

So here it is, the 10 cooking tricks that will make your life easier:

1. Add a little caster sugar or lemon juice when beating egg whites and you will get them stiff and fluffy in no time.

2. Roll out the bread dough in one direction only otherwise the yeast will not react properly and the bread will rise unevenly.


April 8, 2012

5 Ways to make Deviled Eggs

Devil eggs or stuffed eggs are a very easy to make, affordable and a must have appetizer on any festive table.

There are many recipes on how to cook these delicious treats, I prefer to make a few of each, that way my guests have options since some tolerate cheese better than others or some prefer it without any type of meat.

I wrote before how to cook the perfect boiled egg. This is very important because if you can't peal the egg properly they won't look good on the platter. So take a minute to read and follow the instructions on how to properly boil eggs before you go on with the devil eggs recipe.

I usually don't measure the quantities i use for the stuffing, just keep in mind that the mustard and sour cream are used to bind everything together so it usually takes about 1-2 table spoons ( for 6 eggs). The mix between the egg yolks and the other main ingredient should be half-half but if you prefer differently, go ahead and do it your way. And keep tasting!

So here they are, 5 different stuffing for devil eggs:

1. chives, mayonnaise & mustard
For this stuffing you don't need to add half chives-half egg yolks, you can use the chives just to flavor the yolks. I like it half and half though.... CONTINUE READING

April 7, 2012

7 Tips & tricks on how to cook and eat healthy on Easter

Easter doesn't have to be a tough time for you and your diet. You don't have to stop your diet to be able to enjoy all the good things Easter brings. All you have to do is keep in mind a few tips and trick on how to cook and eat healthy and you'll come out of the Easter holidays with no added pounds.

So here they are, 7 tips and tricks on how to cook and eat healthy on Easter:

1. Substitute ingredients to lower the calories and keep the flavor
You can still cook those delicious Easter food recipes, all you have to do is substitute ingredients with similar ones but lower in calories: use wild rice instead of white rice, use whole grain pasta instead of the regular one, replace sweet potatoes with white potatoes...... CONTINUE READING

April 6, 2012

Roasted leg of lamb for Easter

Nothing reminds me more of Easter than roast leg of lamb. The meat has a specific flavour and smell and the meat is so tender and juicy and it's a perfect recipe for any festive day, especially for Easter.

It's easy to make and low in calories compared with other meats like pork for example. The best lamb meat is the early spring lamb, the older the animal is the tougher the meat will be.

What you need is:

1.5 kg leg of lamb with bone ( less if it's boneless)
50 grams chopped parsley
4 sliced cloves of garlic
100 grams bacon cut in small pieces
3 table spoons sunflower oil
salt & pepper to taste
200 ml semi-sweet red wine
100 ml vegetable stock or water
2 table spoons butter
kitchen string

Preheat the oven to 180 degree C. In a bowl mix the bacon, garlic, parsley, oil, salt and pepper.... CONTINUE READING

April 5, 2012

Rhubarb & Strawberries Crumble

My husband loves tart deserts so I am always in a look out for such recipes. The Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble is the perfect mix between sweet and tart and an absolute favorite in our house. It's easy and cheap to make, will take you a little over an hour to prepare and bake.

So here's what you need for this delicious desert:

For the crumble:
-150 grams flour
-150 grams sugar
-100 grams butter
-50 grams sliced almonds

For the fruit mixture
-1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract ( i extract, it's cheaper and tastes almost the same)
-300 grams straberries, halved
-250 grams rhubarb cut into 3 centimeters long pieces
-75 grams sugar
butter to coat the baking dish

For the topping:
-vanilla ice crem

Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C. Combine the dry crumble ingredients in a bowl.... CONTINUE READING

April 4, 2012

How to properly cook eggs

Eggs are one of the most versatile foods around, they can be cooked in many ways and used in numerous recipes, from quiches and caseroles to salads and deserts. Eggs are cheap, available year-round and low in calories and if you used just the egg white, low in cholesterol as well.

It is important to know how to properly cook eggs not just for your own health but for the success of the recipe you're cooking. Besides, it makes your life easier in the kitchen, so here we go:

1. boiled eggs
The secret to make the perfect boiled eggs is to take the eggs out of the fridge, have them at the room temperature and immerse them in boiling water. If you place the eggs in cold water.... CONTINUE READING

April 3, 2012

My favorite potato salad ever!

This is my favorite potato salad ever since I was a child. My mother makes it every holiday, either is Christmas or Easter or just a birthday, this salad was always on the table, so I've always associated it with good times. Because of that, it became my comfort food and when I have a bad day, i cuddle in front of the TV with a big bowl of this delicious potato salad and everything is good again.

It's a very easy to make and it last in the fridge for days. I alway make large quantities of it so feel free to cut the quantities in half. And of course, if you're a vegetarian, don't use the meat, it's just as tasty.

What you need is:
  • 10 medium size red potatoes ( they are more firm when boiled)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 300 grams green peas
  • 400 grams chicken breast
  • 5 dill pickles (medium sized, not the tiny ones)
  • 3 table spoons regular mustard
  • 400 grams light mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper to your taste
  • for decoration (optional): a few table spoons of mayonnaise, 1 boiled egg, 1 dill pickle, black olives
Boil the potatoes and then peal them. At the same time, in a different pot, boil the pealed carrots and... CONTINUE READING

April 2, 2012

22 Tricks on how to cut down calories Part 2

As I was saying in a previous article, you don't have to do big changes in your diet to start loosing weight. As I've noticed, on the long run, it is easier and more realistic to make small changes in the way we eat than drastically change our diets.

So start now with small steps and make life-long changes in your diet and you will see those stubborn pounds come off in no time.

So here they are, the last 11 of the 22 tricks on how to cut down calories:
  1. Always start with soup
When dining out, or even at home, make an habit of ordering soup first. They are low in calories and will make you feel full faster that any other type of meals.

April 1, 2012

Italian minestrone soup

There are all sorts of ways to make minestrone soup but as long as you keep a few things in mind, you will be safe. So remember, this is a traditional italian thick soup full of all sorts of vegetable, it's almost like a liquid vegetable stew, so feel free to add whatever veggies you have left in the pantry.
It's originally a vegetarian meal, but if you wish so, you can add beef or chicken cut in small cubes.

What you need is:
  • 1 finely chopped white onion
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 table spoon of dried oregano
  • 1 table spoon of dried basil
  • 1 table spoon dried parsley
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 diced potato
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 100 grams green beans
  • 2 deseeded zichini cut in small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons canned red beans
  • 3 table spoons canned sweet corn
  • 2 cans of diced pealed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of pasta
  • sunflower oil for cooking the veggies
  • salt and pepper to your taste
In a big cooking pot heat up 4 table spoons of sunflower oil and.... CONTINUE READING