Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

We had a scorcher of a heat wave last week, with soaring temperatures bothering on uncomfortable.

I walked around in a wide brimmed hat and tried to do as little as possible, eating mostly salads, fruits and ice cream for dinner. We spent time at the beach and stayed out on the balcony for as long as we could.

I kind of loved those hazy sultry days; the super long hot days, humid nights under the fan with the windows open and even those mysterious bug bites – it was almost as if we were living on some tropical island.

Temperatures cooled slightly over the weekend to almost fall-like weather, with grey clouds and light rain.

The change felt nice; it seemed the perfect opportunity to make porridge – it’s my go to comfort food for breakfast, and I don’t get to make it enough during the warmer months.

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

This buckwheat with mango and coconut cream is my take on the humble buckwheat porridge (kasha), and because it’s summer there are mangoes and coconut for a tropical twist.

I love the nutty chewy taste of buckwheat, and all its good-for-you properties, it’s easily digestible and doesn’t feel too heavy.

I like mine with an extra splash of almond milk, it makes it deliciously creamy!

I started making this porridge back in the spring when we’d just gotten out of the dark wintery days. They had Kent mangoes at my local grocery store; juicy, rich and sweet.

Chopped mangoes folded into whipped coconut cream are the ideal luscious warm weather topping for this kind of porridge – it’s bright and summery.

*To make whipped coconut cream, refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight, or freeze for the few hours. This is so that the cream (coconut fat) would rise to the top and harden. Open the chilled can of coconut and scoop out the fat leaving behind the watery liquid. Combine the coconut with 1/3 cup of icing sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla, whip until light and fluffy.

Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream


Buckwheat with Mango and Coconut Cream

Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich

Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich

If you follow me on Instagram (If you don’t, go take a peek, I’ll wait), you’ve probably seen a few photos of our balcony.

It’s a darling little balcony, dotted with colourful blooming flowers; hydrangeas, begonias, azaleas, lilies and a few other plants I can’t identify.

For years, come every summer, the balcony would lay bare save for the one plant that grew back, which always made me hopeful. I didn’t mind that the balcony was bare when we lived next door to one of the best parks in the world. We didn’t need plants on the balcony, we have a whole forest for our backyard, I used to think to myself.

However, we felt a little differently this summer, longing for a cozy spot just our own, a little refuge of an urban garden from the rest of the world.

Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich
Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich

From our local garden centre we got advice on the best suitable plants for our shaded north-facing balcony; we came home with flowers and outdoor furniture… and our serene urban retreat was born.

I think I’m more enamoured with how quick and easy it was to create a green oasis in our little city apartment, seamlessly extending our living space; but I do love the balcony too, so much that it’s where we start and end our day.

We spend most of our time home on the balcony now; we have meals, take naps and fill long sunny evenings chatting and watching the daylight fade away.

That first morning we woke up giddy and excited for breakfast out on the balcony; we planned on this pesto croissant sandwich simply because it’s ideal for those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to linger.

Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich

Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich

This is one of my favourite sandwiches; the combination of apple, pesto and croissant is a little unusual but so very good.
It’s fitting for a summer breakfast, light and satisfying and divine with a pot of good tea.

Continue Reading Apple and Pesto Croissant Sandwich + Recipe…!

Quinoa, Chickpea and Pesto

Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto

I’ve been feeling a little rushed lately; at work and at home… even my thoughts seem hurried and moments feel hastened.

I’ve never been a fan of this culture of busyness, what a truly bizarre way to live – It’s like everything I do is just so I can get to the next important thing,

I promised myself I’d have a real summer this year, so I’ve made a summer bucket list of sorts, of all the idyllic ways I want to spend this summer.

It’s not a crazy list, just a few perfectly ordinary things… like long hazy sundrenched days on the beach, impromptu picnics with old friends, lazy al fresco dining, endless road trips, and cozy evenings by a secluded lake alternating between naps and reading trashy novels.

Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto

With that in mind, I’m trying to step back from this constant itch to be dynamite and surge through everything.

I’m taking the slower approach and living more in the moment; the other day it occurred to me that we were already in the throes of summer and I hadn’t tackled my list yet.

So while I go off taking a shot at a memorable and slow summer, I’ll leave you with this ridiculously easy quinoa and chickpea tossed in pesto. It’s more of a concoction than a recipe, an addition to your ways-to-eat-pesto dish repertoire, especially if you’re as obsessed with making pesto as I am.

Marcona Almond and Mint Pesto Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto
Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto

This meal requires turning on the stove, which I guess isn’t a very summery activity when temperatures are high, but it’s quick, can be made ahead of time and ideal for dinner on the beach or enjoyed al fresco on your patio or balcony with a glass of rosé.

I always almost have a jar of pesto in the fridge; you’ll remember this marcona almond and mint pesto from a few posts ago.
It’s delicious with quinoa; I sauté onions and sundried tomato in olive oil, throw in some cooked chickpea, a generous heaping of pesto, and add cooked quinoa – and that’s it, a nice change from the traditional pasta.

I can’t wait to share my wonderful summer escapades, hope you’re having a wonderful summer too; even if it’s not summer where you are – savour the moment!

Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto
Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto


Quinoa, Chickpeas and Pesto

Chocolate Pizza

Chocolate Pizza

There are a few interesting stories to this chocolate pizza; two involve children, sort of – fitting since I’m pretty sure kids would love this sweet pizza.

Both are cute stories, of how I came to own a box of colourful Dutch sprinkles and a gooey tub of chocolate spread made with cocoa from Ghana.

Months ago, when I was strolling the canals of Amsterdam, my friend N who was expecting a baby at the time, sent me a text asking if I could pick her up some sugar-coated aniseed sprinkles (Muisjes) – auspiciously, I was standing in front of an Albert Heijn and they were the first things I spotted upon entering the store.
I got a pink one and a blue one since I didn’t know the sex of N’s baby.

N’s baby came this January past, a sweet little boy with the most adorable smile. She borrowed the Dutch custom and served guests who came to see the baby, donuts sprinkled with blue and white Muisjes, and I came home to a box of pink and white sugar-coated aniseed sprinkles.

Chocolate Pizza
Chocolate Pizza

Then there’s my little friend E, a passionate nine-year old with a slight obsession with vampires and Goth.
Choco Delight, a chocolate peanut butter spread from Ghana is on her list of favourite things at the moment – it’s better than Nutella, she said and I was intrigued. Her dad graciously got us a tub to try.

I initially wanted to make this chocolate pizza for E; to share with her on one of the evenings she passes by my place on her way to Girls Guide, but our timing was always off and I was sure we’d run out of chocolate spread if I waited for that perfect opportunity.

Chocolate Pizza Chocolate Pizza

So one morning when we would have just had bread with chocolate spread with our tea, I made chocolate pizza instead.
It’s simple really; bread dough slathered in chocolate and baked to perfection with a sprinkle of aniseed.
The sprinkles were an afterthought, but I do love the combination, the chocolate and the subtle liquorice flavour do well together.

I love it with tea; it’s like bread with your favourite chocolate spread, but so much more – it’s soft warm chewy bread with gooey melted chocolate – so good!

I used ’00′ flour for the dough, I got a small bag from the Italian store months ago to try out. I put my bread machine to work using a very simple dough recipe, same one I used here.
The dough can be made by hand too; here is a great step-by-step direction on how to.

I’m hopeful, E and I have set a date this summer, to get together and make chocolate pizza, and I’ll even let her choose the toppings.

Chocolate Pizza Chocolate Pizza

Chocolate Pizza

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

We spent last weekend getting our little balcony summer ready.We’ve had many wonderfully long sun-filled days – the neighbourhood is awakened, with the beaches and parks are bustling with people. It feels decidedly like summer now.

Our local farmers’ market started last weekend; that to me is the sign of summer’s start; the vibrant and cheerful energy of the open market, fresh local produce – colourful and abundant, it all just feels very summer-ry.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad
Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

I snagged the most beautiful bunch of radish not quite sure what to make with them, I brought them home, saw my copy of Jerusalem and I just knew… I went back out and got tomatoes, cilantro and parsley – I was going to make Ottolenghi’s spiced chickpea and fresh vegetable salad again.

This is one of the very first recipes I tried from the Jerusalem cookbook; it seemed so simple and unfussy.
I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderfully the flavours melded.

I love this salad because it’s refreshing and tasty and plays well with the warm aromatic spices in the chickpeas.
I also love how easy it is to put together and the fact that it uses simple and nourishing seasonal produce.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad
Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Colourful meals eaten on lovely sunny balconies will make for happier people…

I want to stretch out on my little patio with salads like this, enjoy the lovely views and perhaps fall in love with my quirky neighbourhood again

That’s my wish for this summer, and for unending bright days that make everything seem possible.

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad

Spiced Chickpea and Fresh Vegetable Salad


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