Tag Archives: cooking

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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Like everyone else that I know, one of Seyfi and mine`s new years resolutions is to eat more healthy.  It`s not that we have a very unhealthy diet, but we have days where we can get a bit lazy, and eat anything, not thinking about the health benefits of it.

On this same track, we have decided that we should eat more vegetables, less meat, and try out as many new recipes as we can.

So far it is going really well.  We both feel so much better, more energetic, and the girls are eating everything so far as well.

Part of the new foods we have been eating is brussels sprouts.

I have never really liked brussels sprouts, the are a bit stinky, and have an odd taste.

Growing up my brother and I used to share one, just to be able to say that we had at least tried one.

I decided to give them a try, they do seem to be very trendy right now, and we are so close to Brussels, and they are in season…

However, I decided that I would not cook them the way my mother does… she boils them, and calls them delicious…

I found this recipe for them roasted with a Honey-Dijon sauce on them, they are so delicious!  I swapped out the honey for agave syrup so that Ela could have some as well.

If you think you don`t like brussels sprouts, give this recipe a try, it just may change your mind!

Honey-Dijon Brussels Sprouts

Adapted from Parents Magazine

1/4 c. dried cranberries

1 c. boiling water

2 Tbsp. agave syrup

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 kg. trimmed and quartered Brussels sprouts

1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 C.  Soak the cranberries in the boiling water for 5 minutes and then drain the water.

In a large bowl, mix the agave syrup, oil, mustard, salt and pepper.  Add the cranberries, brussels sprouts and walnuts.  Toss well.

Spread the dressed brussels sprouts in a single layer on a baking sheet.   Roast for 30 minutes or until the brussels sprouts are tender, and the leaves are just beginning to brown.

Enjoy!

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How to Poach an Egg


I’ve tried to poach eggs before, and it has always ended in disaster.

Soggy, undercooked eggs that are slimy.

I think I know now what the problem was, I wasn’t using fresh eggs.

Well, now that I’ve got loads of fresh eggs (ok, two to four eggs a day), I thought I would try poaching them again.

I’ve been working on this skill for the past week, and I think I’ve got it down now.

Here is my step by step guide to…

A Perfect Poached Egg


Start with a pot of water that has got about five centimeters of simmering water in it. Make sure that it hasn’t come to a rolling boil.

Crack a fresh egg into a separate bowl.


Pour your egg into the pot of water and let it sit for a few seconds. You can pull the edges of the egg up onto itself if necessary. This egg was really fresh, so it kept together really well.

Let it cook for about two minutes if you like your eggs drippy (runny, whatever adjective you use to describe an egg that you can dip toast into.)


When it is cooked to your liking, lift the egg out with a slotted spoon.


Let it dry a bit on some paper towel.


Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Very easy, and very delicious!

Baked Camembert


Cheese.

Is there anything better?

I love living in this part of Europe, if for nothing than the variety of cheeses.

Hard, soft, stinky, sweet, white, yellow, orange and blue, old, young, every kind of cheese you could ever imagine.

I have fallen in love with Camembert. A soft cheese, stinky cheese. It tastes so good on a piece of crusty baquette with some grapes on the side… Heavenly.

I do like my Camembert the traditional way. However, sometimes I buy a Camembert, and it ends up sitting in my fridge for a bit too long, and it is no longer as soft as I would like.

So I bake it.

It becomes so ooey-gooey, and the herbs give it a lovely new flavour layer.


Here’s my recipe for baked Camembert…

Baked Camembert

1 Camembert cheese in it’s wooden box.
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
A small handful of fresh oregano, torn
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C

Remove the cheese from the plastic wrapping and place it back in it’s wooden box.

Score a circle into the top of the cheese and pull of the circle of rind.

Put the garlic, oregano. Pepper and oil in the cut out circle.

Put in the oven for about ten minutes.

Remove and eat. If it is too runny, let it sit for a few minutes to firm up.

Chickens


One of the sad things about Seyfi’s job is that people are constantly in and out of our lives, either we are moving or they are moving.

It is even sadder when people are told they have to move earlier than expected.

This is how we got chickens this weekend.

Our really great friends have been told that they have to move on to their next position, a whole year earlier than expected. We are so sad to be seeing them go. They are a wonderful family, and great people to be friends with.

After talking to them, and seeing their chickens, we had decided that we would like to raise chickens as well for our last year in Belgium. We were just about to get started on the process of getting chicks, when they offered us their chickens.

It’s like getting a dog that is already trained, these chickens are already laying eggs!

So on Saturday afternoon, they came over, we built up the chicken coop, and moved the ladies in.

We thought that the stress of moving to a new place might make the girls a bit nervous about laying eggs so we weren’t expecting anything for a few days.

But, the on Sunday morning…


Our first egg!

Our first egg, which Alara promptly, took to the kitchen,


Scrambled…


Cooked…


And ate. All by her self!

I can say that we are an egg family, and these chickens couldn’t be a better gift, it’s just too bad we gained them by losing our good friends.

Chicken Cacciatore


This week has been feeling a bit crazy for some reason.

Probably because Alara’s normal school has been on break, so we have sent her to an art class in the afternoons.

The art class is actually really great. She is going to an artist studio with some other kids, and they are making art together. She is loving it!

The only problem for me is that the class finishes at five, and then we come home for a bit, and then head out to get Seyfi from work.

This time lapse means that I need to be cooking something that is a bit forgiving… Something that can sit for a bit and still be delicious.

This chicken cacciatore is just that. Easy to throw together, than throw it in the oven, pull it out and it can rest.

Here’s the recipe:

4 chicken legs
1 red pepper, sliced a bit large
1 onion, largely sliced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, sliced
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 can of tomatoes
1 cup of tomato sauce (plain)
1 Tbsp basil
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C
In a big oven dish mix all the ingredients together, covering the chicken.
Cover with tin foil.
Bake for twenty minutes.
Remove the cover and bake for twenty more minutes.
Serve.

I served it with rice, but I’m sure pasta would be nice too.

Seyfi Cooks – Hūnkar Beğendi (Sultan’s Delight)


Did you know, I’m married to a pretty amazing guy.

I’ve truly never met anyone like him in my life. One of the things I love most about him is how he is always trying to improve himself, never happy with how he is, he always wants to learn, do or be something more.

Learn a new language, get a second masters degree, learn to play guitar, keep fit, and now, his newest adventure, cooking.

Seyfi grew up in a pretty typical Turkish home, mom cooked, dad and kids ate. In fact, I don’t think Seyfi was really even allowed to be in the kitchen.

When we met, cooking was not a skill that he possessed, and to be honest, that was fine by me. I like preparing meals for my man, showing him how much I love him with all the thought and care I put into the things we ate.

Then we had a baby, and then another one, and although I can still keep up with all the daily cooking, I think Seyfi wants to give me a bit of a break, so he has taken up cooking at the weekends, and it has been a big help.

He even does the dishes!

Hünkar Beğendi is a pretty famous Turkish dish, and it isn’t that easy to make, but boy, can Seyfi ever make it well!

First, let me tell you, it involves eggplant, before your run away screaming (or calling it ‘crap plant’ like my brother does), the eggplant tastes so good in this dish, that if I hadn’t told you it was there, you wouldn’t have even known it!

Trust me!

So here’s the recipe, if you can, grill the eggplants on a barbecue, the smokey taste makes it even better!

Hūnkar Beğendi

500 grams lamb, cubed
5 Tbsp oil
2 tomatoes, cubed
4 eggplants
2 onions, chopped
2 heaping Tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 cups kaşar cheese, grated (cheddar can also work)
Salt
1 lemon’s juice

Grill the eggplant over a barbecue, gas stove top, or in your oven, until soft. Allow to cool and peel, and smush, in a bowl, add the juice of one lemon and let it rest.
In a pan, sauté the lamb in three tbsps of oil, when browned, add the tomatoes and onions until all is soft.
In a separate pot, heat the last two Tbsps of oil, add the flour, and allow to brown, add the milk, slowly, until it starts to thicken.
Drain any extra liquid off the eggplant and add to the milk mixture. Mixing well so that it stays smooth.
Add the cheese, and let it melt, it should be thick, and bubbling.

To serve, put a generous spoonful of the eggplant purée in the middle of the plate, and then top with the lamb.