Inspiration from everywhere
Has Summer forgotten about us? Wherever you go lately, people are discussing how strange the weather has been. Of course we won’t complain about the rain, we just wish we could send some of ours down to Cape Town to alleviate the drought… which reminds me of the campaigns I’ve seen all over Social Media, making travellers aware of the restrictions in place. If you are heading to Cape Town this December, one of the campaigns you can follow on Twitter is #waterwisetourismCT with very helpful tips and updates for conscious water usage.
The inspiration for this particular week’s meals therefore came from everywhere but the weather! My eldest son came back from a holiday with his father on Monday and got to choose dinner… and so it became Pizza Monday! In my opinion, any week that starts with pizza can only be a great week!
The Meal Planner
Download your meal planner here and click on the recipe name below for the printable recipe card.
Tuesday’s recipe came from the lovely people at Pauli’s Food Co. I often rave about their sauces but this is the first time that I decided to try one of their recipes. There are so many delicious ideas on their blog as well and I was fortunate enough to be given quite a few of their recipe cards on my last visit to them. This Pauli’s Tomali Marinaded Chicken Pieces was one of them.
My Low Carb Cottage Pie has somewhat celebrity status in our house. It’s completely flop proof (I promise) and I have a few different variations of the same recipe. I have done a vegan cottage pie using lentils and sweet potato, of course there’s the regular potato mash version which is the perfect comfort food and when looking for some low carb inspiration I just added a little twist and topped it with sweet potato mash instead.
Thursday’s dinner popped into my mind as I was walking through the isles of the grocery shop, listening to a very chirpy rendition of Jingle Bells.
This Chicken & Red Pepper Pesto Pasta includes some spinach to add some healthy greenery to your gut. I used Ina Paarman’s Red Pepper Pesto and this is a dish you can literally serve up in 15 minutes!
There are so many options for pasta now and you can find just about anything to suit your dietary preference. Use some wholewheat pasta, gluten free pasta or even butternut spaghetti to change it up.
I shall call this one Fridge Friday, as the inspiration really came from the fridge. I had cooked some beetroot that was waiting to be roasted, had some carrots and hey presto! Kassler Chops & Roast Carrot, Beetroot and Lentil Salad
On the day, I ended up using Canellini beans instead of lentils, which were still tasty but I would have preferred lentils I think.
Over the next few weeks I will be trying out some “Festive” recipes. To help me with some inspiration for those, let me know what makes a festive recipe for you? Is it something that takes hours to cook like a turkey with all the sides? Is it summery and light (if you’re in a Summer Christmas zone like us, of course)?
Drop me a little note in the comments below or give me a shout on any of my social media! Love hearing from you as always!
Another one of my favourite things about winter (other than my most comfy pair of slippers) is soup. This split pea soup is absolutely delicious served piping hot with a warm and crispy bread roll.
Since it’s a slow cooker recipe as well, there’s practically no work to be done other than chuck ingredients into the pot and go on your merry little way! Super easy! In fact, as I was on my way home on Tuesday afternoon, I suddenly realised that I would arrive home to delicious soup that has already been cooked and the only thing I had to do was pop the rolls into the oven, dish up and take a photo for you! Happy, happy, happiness!
If you don’t have a minute for chopping/grating stuff, WOOLWORTHS SA fresh split pea soup mix also works fantastically! Just add some herbs and bits and bobs and away you go!
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 3 chopped celery ribs
- 1 Large leek, chopped and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon (heaped) crushed garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley OR some fresh sprigs
- 500grams dried green split peas
- 6 cups Vegetable stock
- ground salt & black pepper
- Optional: diced ham or bacon
Toss all the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.
Our Meat Free Monday dinner is an amazing Triple tomato and basil pasta, as usual with gluten free spaghetti. My favourite gluten free pasta is San Remo from Pick n Pay – so good that my guys don’t notice any difference at all!
On a soccer night this is quick and easy to make, although I did stray quite a bit from the original recipe. To be honest, pounds and ounces are just confusing and with a gang of hungry boys I didn’t have time to Google each amount! So Mamma “wung it”, as we do!
Recipe (feeds 4-6)
In a large pot, start cooking spaghetti (approx 400g) according to instructions on the packet.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add roughly chopped sundried tomatoes (1/3 cup) and chopped and peeled tomatoes (1 tin), simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring halfway. Add 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, salt, black pepper to taste (optional red chilli flakes). Stir well, simmer for 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta about 2 minutes before the end of its cooking time, leaving it in the pot.
Back at the stove, pour the tomato mixture over the pasta. Add 4 cups vegetable stock, approx. 180ml tomato paste, place over high heat and stir while rapidly boiling for about 5 minutes or until sauce has evaporated sufficiently to your liking and the pasta is cooked.
Remove the pot from heat, stir in 2 handfuls chopped fresh basil, cover and let stand for 2 minutes while opening a lovely bottle of red wine.
Serve with some extra basil and Parmesan cheese, if you wish.
Speaking of basil, let me tell you about the unfortunate basil incident…
I have a lovely little basil plant in my kitchen window and it gives me such a good feeling to use its leaves in my cooking. At one point, I noticed that it looked like some little buglet was munching on my basil! I couldn’t see any bugs and left it at that, until one evening I went to touch the plant and nearly squished a skinny little bright green worm who was making his way to the leaf right at the top of the plant! Could have been a hungry caterpillar, I don’t know! I screamed, I imagine he screamed and once everyone had had a chance to recover, he was relocated to a new home outside and away from my herbs!
The unfortunate part is that my basil plant did not recover as fast as the hungry caterpillar and I did and I now have to use store bought fresh basil. Tastes just as good though! 🙂
Share your thoughts and any yummy additions you made!
Butternut soup seems to be a controversial meal (in my house anyway – leading to a great debate about soups which eventually led to a victory for green soup!)… Nevertheless, this to me was amazing today! Warm, just a little sweet, perfect!
It’s also totally vegan (unless you sprinkle with crispy bacon before serving, gluten free, dairy free and sugar free… Win!
Butternut & Quinoa Soup
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and grated
800g butternut, peeled and diced
1 cup quinoa
1 sprig fresh sage
1 white onion, diced
Salt & pepper to taste
pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
optional garnishes: bacon, extra coconut milk and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or paprika
Add vegetable stock, garlic, carrot, apple, butternut squash, quinoa, sage, onion, salt, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg to slow cooker. Stir to combine.
Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high, or until the butternut is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork. Remove and discard the sage. Stir in the coconut milk.
Use a hand held blender to puree the soup until smooth. (Be very careful when working with the hot liquid.) Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper if needed.
Serve warm, with optional garnishes if desired and of course your choice of toasty and crispy bread, in our case ciabatta.
Let us know if you made any interesting additions or changes! Love to hear from you!