South African Bobotie

South African Bobotie

 

South African Bobotie

South African Bobotie

Bobotie is a popular South African dish. It was most likely influenced by the Malaysian and Dutch cuisine. The creamy meatloaf balances a sweet-sour-spicy flavor. Optionally, you can make it as a stir-fry in a pan. The spice blend contains dried mango called amchoor. Don't miss the apricot-ginger chutney.
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine South African
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Shopping list

  • 1.5 lbs ground lamb or beef or mixed
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2-5 tsp sugar
  • butter & oil
  • salt & pepper

Suggested Sides

  • Cooked rice, opt. colored with turmeric 
  • Apricot-ginger-chutney (recipe in the blog) 
  • Salad of your choice 
  • Steamed root vegetables 

Culinary Spice Kit

  • Pouch [1] Amchoor, coriander, onion, chili, cumin, turmeric, garlic, curry leaves, fenugreek, cilantro leaves, ginger, yellow mustard, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper
  • Pouch [2] Lemon verbena, nutmeg. turmeric

Instructions
 

Meat

  • In a PAN, heat 2 tbsp butter.
  • Fry onions over medium-low heat until golden.
  • Add meat, salt to taste, and Bobotie [1] spices.
  • Stir-fry meat until it is crumbled and cooked.
  • In a BOWL, whisk 1 egg and mix it with a 1/4 cup of milk.
  • Add this egg-milk, sugar, and almonds to the meat. Mix well.
  • Stir in vinegar and lime juice. Adjust salt.
  • Fill into a non-sticking greased BAKING DISH (8 x 8).

Finishing

  • Preheat the OVEN to 350°F.
  • In a BOWL, whisk 2 eggs.
  • Mix it with 1/2 cup of milk, salt to taste, and Bobotie [2] spices.
  • Pour mixture over the meat.
  • Bake in the OVEN for 30-40 minutes until the topping is no longer liquid and turned slightly brown.

Serve

  • Serve bobotie with rice, and optional chutney and/ or vegetables or salad of your choice.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

▪ Substitute meat with lentils (tips in the blog).
▪ Substitute almonds with other nuts.
▪ Add 1/4 cup chopped almonds and/ or 1 oz raisins to the meat or rice.
▪ Press 3-4 fresh or dried leaves (bay, curry, or basil) into the topping before baking or add later as garnish.
Keyword amchoor, lemon thyme
The celtic tree of life

Samhain: Halloween’s Origin

Celtic Samhain

Halloween’s True Origin Story

The majority of us love to prepare for the spooky season. It is a time for decorations, pumpkin carving, fun foods, and amazing costumes. But, what if we told you that Halloween hasn’t always been Halloween? In fact, what if we told you that Halloween is derived from another holiday completely? Well, it is. 

 

Halloween is actually not as old as you might think. Originally, people in Ireland celebrated Samhain, and they still do to this day. In this post, you will learn about Samhain and some new easy dishes!

Halloween is derived from a Celtic festival called Samhain. It’s one of the four most important Celtic holidays, marking the transition between the summer and the dark winter. In this night, the gateway to the Otherworld was so thin that the souls of their ancestors could move freely between the two worlds. 

Are these just archaic ghost stories? A recent survey revealed that 1 out of 5 Americans state they have actually seen or felt the presence of a ghost.

What Is Samhain?

Samhain is a Celtic festival that has been celebrated for quite some time in Ireland. This ancient festival, which is commonly celebrated from October 31st to November 1st, is a time for fun, scares, and revelry. 

Samhain falls during the transition from summer and the dark winter, making it one of the prominent Celtic celebrations each year. 

The celtic tree of life
The celtic tree of life

Instead of merely focusing on all things scary, Samhain is known to be the day when the vale between the land of the living and the land of the dead is thin. The gateway, often shown as the Tree of Life, is believed to allow the spirits of the dead to travel back and forth between two planes. As you can imagine, people are a little unsettled by this, but some look to the bright side and consider the souls of their ancestors dropping by for a visit instead.

Lantern Carving

Halloween simply would not be Halloween without jack-o-lanterns, but this is not a Halloween-specific tradition. In fact, it is one of the many things carried over from Samhain. 

Traditionally, the people of Ireland would carve lanterns out of vegetables and place them in their window to frighten unwanted spirits. The most common vegetable of choice was the turnip, but beets and rutabagas were also quite popular. It is unclear when pumpkins joined the carving scene, but they are much easier to work with, which likely plays a role in this change.

Parsnip

Mashed Potatoes with Parsnip

Try mash potatoes with a little sweet note without any sweetener:

Cook and mash one or two parsnips with the potatoes. You won’t note a difference until you taste it.

Beetroot

A Root Side Dish 

Try this recipe as a new non-sweet side dish to steaks or roasted turkey: Cut 1 lb turnip, rutabaga, or other beets in 1/2-inch cubes. Cook them in a closed pot with one cup of salted water until they are cooked but not too soft. Fry the beet cubes in vegetable oil.

Rutabaga

Modern holidays are often derived from older and more ancient customs. Whatever the origin story of your favorite holiday is, these nights are always at their best when celebrated with great food and amazing company. Whether you are celebrating with the family or throwing a full party, make sure to take a moment to appreciate the people who made it all possible, and pay tribute to Samhain in your Halloween celebrations. You might be surprised by just how much it adds to your celebrations!

Lebanese Pumpkin Kibbeh
Lebanese Pumpkin Kibbeh
Oriental Pumpkin Spice Latte
Oriental Pumpkin Spice Latte
Moroccan Couscous 7 Vegetables
Moroccan Couscous 7 Vegetables
Lebanese Pumpkin Kibbeh

Lebanese Pumpkin Kibbeh

 

Lebanese Pumpkin Kibbeh

Lebanese Pumpkin Kibbeh

Kibbeh is a very popular dish in most Middle Eastern countries that has often the form of a small football. Baked Kibbeh is a kind of pie. For the crust mix bulgur (cracked wheat) with pumpkin. The filling combines meat, spinach, and optional nuts with a baharat spice blend. Or substitute garbanzo beans for meat.
 
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Lebanese
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 10 oz baby spinach washed
  • 1 cup bulgur number 1 fine
  • 1/2 lb pumpkin peeled, deseeded, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup yogurt plain
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 lemon for juice
  • butter
  • salt

Optional

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • salad of your choice

Kibbeh Culinary Spice Kit

  • Pouch [1] Chili, black pepper, cumin, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves
  • Pouch [2] Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, fenugreek, allspice, ginger

Instructions
 

Filling

  • In a PAN, heat 1 tbsp butter over medium heat.
  • Cook onion slices for 5 minutes.
  • Add meat, Kibbeh [1] spices, salt to taste, and nuts (optional).
  • Cook until meat is cooked through. Stir frequently to break the meat up.
  • Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Kibbeh

  • Cook pumpkin in salted water until soft. Take it out.
  • Use the cooking water to prepare bulgur according to package instructions.
  • Mash pumpkin and mix with chopped onions.
  • Gradually stir in bulgur to receive a moist mixture.
  • Add Kibbeh [2] spices and salt to taste.

Bake

  • Preheat OVEN to 375°F.
  • Grease a 2 qt. BAKING DISH.
  • Add 3 layers:
  • half of the Kibbeh, the filling, then the rest of the Kibbeh.
  • Press and flatten the surface.
  • Create a nice pattern with a fork.
  • Spread 1 tbsp melted butter on top.
  • Bake in the OVEN 30 – 45 minutes until the surface begins to brown.

Serve

  • Serve with yogurt mixed with lemon juice to taste as dressing and salad as a side (optional).
  • Enjoy!

Notes

▪ Substitute beef with lamb, chicken, or 1 can garbanzo beans (15 oz).
▪ Substitute pumpkin with zucchini or potatoes.
Keyword cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg
Indian Mulligatawny

Indian Mulligatawny

Indian Mulligatawny

Indian Mulligatawny

Originally, Mulligatawny was a hot pepper sauce served with rice. It became very popular as a soup during the British colonial era in India. Today it is the national soup of India, and still very popular in England. There are many different versions. Try this one with tamarind as a main ingredient of the spice blend and add as much pepper as you like.
 
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 1 chicken breast about 0.5 lb, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup red lentils well rinsed
  • 1 cup carrots + celery mixed, diced
  • 1 can coconut milk 13.5 oz
  • 2 cups cooked rice basmati recommended
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • inch ginger grated
  • oil coconut, ghee, or vegetable
  • salt

Mulligatawny Culinary Spice Kit

  • Pouch [1] Tamarind, coriander, cumin, yellow mustard, fenugreek, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, chili
  • Pouch [2] Black pepper

Optional for Garnish

  • fresh cilantro or parsley chopped

Instructions
 

  • In a large POT, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, and ginger.
  • Cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add Mulligatawny [1] spices, vegetables, and Mulligatawny [2] spices to taste.
  • Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add lentils, coconut milk, 2 cups of water, chicken, and salt to taste.
  • Cover. Bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat to medium-low.
  • Cook 15 - 20 minutes until lentils are soft and chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the chicken. Shred-it with two forks and return it to the POT.
  • Cook shortly to reheat the chicken.
  • Optionally, add more Mulligatawny [2] spices to taste.
  • Serve soup over rice.
  • Optionally, garnish with cilantro or parsley.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

▪ Omit the chicken and skip the shredding and reheating of the chicken in the cooking instructions.
▪ Substitute carrots and/ or celery with other vegetables, for instance: parsnip, rutabaga, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or leek.
Keyword black pepper, fenugreek, tamarind
Italian Lasagne in Padella

Italian Lasagne in Padella

 

Italian Lasagne in Padella

Italian Lasagne in Padella

The name Lasagna, or Italian Lasagne, is derived from the Ancient Greek word ‘Laganon’ which refers to a flat dough. Lasagna is #11 on the world's best food list voted by CNN readers. Make the tomato sauce ahead of time and cook this delicious comfort food with layers of ricotta, kale, and mozzarella on any weeknight quick and easy in a pan ("in padella").
 
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 12 oz lasagna*
  • 1/2 lb ground meat e.g. beef, pork
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 8 oz ricotta
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale chopped
  • 8 oz mozzarella thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • salt

Lasagne Culinary Spice Kit

  • Onion, oregano, basil, marjoram, sage, garlic, chile, celery 

Instructions
 

Sauce**

  • In a PAN, heat 2 tbsp oil.
  • Careful of splatters, add tomato puree, ground meat, salt to taste, and Lasagne spices.
  • Cook over medium-low heat for 30 to 90 minutes.

Ricotta

  • In a BOWL, mix ricotta with 4 tbsp of the sauce.

Lasagne

  • In a large PAN, spread one ladle of the sauce on the bottom.
  • Create a layer of pasta, crossing the sheets slightly between them.
  • Add the following layers in this order:
  • sauce, ricotta, kale, mozzarella.
  • Make sure all layers are thin.
  • Repeat the layers until the pasta is used up.
  • Finish with a layer of parmesan and basil.
  • Cover with a LID and cook the lasagne in the PAN for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat until the pasta is cooked.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Use pasta that doesn't require precooking.
** The sauce is best when made 1-3 days ahead.
▪ Substitute kale with spinach.
▪ Use one layer of ham instead of the ground meat.
▪ Omit the meat for a vegetarian version.
▪ Substitute ricotta and mozzarella with your favorite sliced cheese or with a béchamel sauce.
Keyword celery, marjoram, sage
French Ratatouille

French Ratatouille

 

French Ratatouille

French Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a famous vegetable stew from Provence, a French region that spreads along the southern Mediterranean coast. The seasoning Herbes de Provence includes a not so common herb: European hyssop. This 'holy herb’ has a minty, slightly bitter, but pleasurable taste, different from North American anise hyssop.
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 bell pepper different colors
  • 2 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 French baguette sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Optional

  • Mild sausages of your choice.

Ratatouille  Culinary Spice Kit

  • Pouch [1] Thyme, rosemary, savory, oregano, sage, marjoram 
  • Pouch [2] European Hyssop 

Instructions
 

  • Cut all vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • In a large POT, heat oil over medium heat.
  • Fry eggplant, and zucchini for 5 minutes.
  • Scoop the vegetables out and set them aside.
  • To the same POT, add bell pepper, onion, and garlic .
  • Optionally, add sausages.
  • Fry for 5 minutes.
  • Return eggplant and zucchini to the POT.
  • Add broth, tomato puree, salt to taste, and Ratatouille [1] spices.
  • Add more broth if you prefer it as a soup.
  • Mix well. Cover. Bring to a boil.
  • Cook over low-medium heat for 15 minutes, or longer if you like the vegetables softer.
  • Add Ratatouille [2] spices to taste. Start with a pinch, try it, and add slowly more to your taste.
  • Serve Ratatouille with slices of fresh French baguette.

Notes

▪ Add sausages of your choice, cut into bite-size slices.
▪ Roast the vegetables in the oven before adding them to the pot.
▪ Substitute tomato puree with 2 large tomatoes, chopped.
Keyword hyssop