Lunch box: Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Every South African has enjoyed Babotie at least once in their life. Most Afrikaans speaking South Africans will have a family version of this traditional curry mince dish with custard topping. It is almost always served with a spicy yellow rice.

If you are like me you cheat and buy a very good version from Woolworth's ready meal section. We are having the worst weather this week so a warm meal versus a Cohen meal was necessary. I will continue with Cohen on Monday again.

For those interested here is a very good recipe for Babotie so give it a try. To make the rice just add turmeric to the water while boiling. Enjoy with a big dollop of strong peach chutney for an authentic South African evening meal.


The French Connection Bistro

Our little secret is the French Connection Bistro in Franschhoek. We go there as our date day or for a birthday. We sometimes even stay in a little cottage in the mountain and then go to the Bistro for lunch. 

Why do we keep going back? Well, the food is always great! I had the Garden Side Salad as a starter...

While Hungry Hubby decided to try the Japanese Tempura Prawns.it's almost as good as the ones we had at Mount Nelson

But I return for the Veal Schnitzel with Three Mushroom Sauce. It really is divine. 

Sometimes they have mash, which is my first choice but the Herb Potatoes were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Hungry Hubby is much more adventurous and had one of his favourite dishes: Slow Roasted Crispy Duck. Here it is served with a sweet and salty reduction of raspberry jus and strawberries. I think he now has a new favourite as well.

For dessert we always have Creme Brûlée if its on the menu.

But I was adventurous in this regard and had the Warm Belgian Chocolate Tart with chocolate spring roll and vanilla ice cream.  

13 - 14 July 2013 is Bastille Day at Franschhoek so join us in celebrating everything French!


Lunchbox: Thursday, 25 July 2013 - Cohen Diet

Today I thought I'll show how devious I am in little cheats to make me feel like I'm not dieting. It's all a mental thing: I'm breaking diet rules, i.e. I'm cheating therefore not dieting!

This is what the lunch box should look like: tuna with mayo and tomatoes diced, Provitas and broccoli with just a little salt and pepper.

And this is my little cheats: a small amount of cheese grated over my broccoli (no mixing of proteins and the wrong type of cheese), grapes (also excluded) and green Tabasco sauce (not natural) for my tuna mayo. Small changes but mentally it makes a huge difference in regards to my perseverance.


Lunchbox: Wednesday, 24 July 2013 - Cohen Diet

On doctor's orders I'm still sticking to the Cohen Diet, though not in the small portion prescribed but excluding all carbs and sugar. According to the doctor, Little Emma needs protein daily and will take the necessary energy from my (multiple) storage thereby slowing weight gain and decreasing the chances of complications. Strangely this time around I'm not struggling with the forbidden food so much. Let's just hope this is a continued blessing after Emma arrives!

Today was leftover orange chicken (I made double for last night's dinner) that merely consist of chicken breast cooked in a mixture of:

Orange Chicken

  • 1/2 an orange juices
  • Vinegar
  • Chilli flakes
  • Ginger
  • Coriander
I mix them all, pour over the chicken and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

Chicken and Apple Salad

  • 1 apple
  • 1 orange chicken breast
  • Mayo
  • Vinegar
  • Sauce left from the cooking
Dice the apple and chicken. Mix all sauce ingredient. Mix with the chicken. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

With the salad I had Provitas and cucumber sticks.

Saskia's 1st Birthday

My cousin Johan and his wife Terishka celebrated their first daughter, Saskia's, 1st Birthday before welcoming their second daughter, Kayla today. As a celebration of both events I thought I would share all the effort that was put into Saskia's birthday party.

Pink for a beautiful girl with a special "smash cake", pink milkshakes and finger foods.


Italian Cooking Class

Another wonderful cooking class with The Little Pink Chef and this time we did Italian. We made home made gnocchi (I will never buy pre-made ones from any store ever again it really is that easy to make!) with the best home made basil pesto (and that is saying something) that is even easier to make at home.


Lunchbox: Monday, 22 July 2013 - Cohen Diet

Today was another "assemble at work" lunch that turned out really tasty: Cohen Diet style melted cheese and tomato sandwich. It's a low carb diet and is just an easier way of limiting unnecessary calories and fat. 

This sandwich consist of :

2 crackerbreads, 
40g sliced mozzarella, 
1/2 a tomato slices, 
1 tsp mayo 
salt and pepper. 

Place the cheese at the bottom (to prevent it going soggy) layer the tomato on top, drizzle with mayo, season with salt and pepper, microwave until the cheese has melted.


Chicken and Roast Vegetable Crustless Quiche

This is essentially a light and cheesy, high protein, no carb quiche, but with the eggs it definitely isn't low fat so enjoy it with a salad. It's equally good served cold in a lunch box.

  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup roast veggies ( butternut, courgette, etc)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 medium egg yolks
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1/2 cup low fat smooth cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated extra mature cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ 350ºF.
  2. Spread the shredded chicken evenly across the bottom of the pie dish.
  3. Cut the roast veggies into small bites and spread evenly on top of the chicken.
  4. Place the eggs, egg yolks and cottage cheese in a big measuring cup and whisk until smooth.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. Add the milk and whisk again.
  6. Pour over the chicken and veggies. Sprinkle the cheeses over the quiche.
  7. Place on a tray in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle comes out smooth. Don't over cook it or it will become dry.

Lunchbox: Thursday, 18 July 2013

I have found the perfect gooey toasted cheese sandwich using (and don't judge) processed cheese slices! It melts perfectly in 30 seconds and doesn't become rubbery if you wait too long before you enjoy your sandwich! They also don't make those little strings that tend to burn you if you enjoy your sandwich too quickly (like I usually do!).

This sandwich is my favourite way of enjoying a cheese and tomato sandwich without touching a toasted but enjoying a 30 second nuke in the microwave. My secret ingredient is mayonnaise. I enjoyed this sandwich with a juicy apple and some strawberries.

Cheese and Tomato melted sandwich


Lunchbox: Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The lunch box packed the way it was looked like a lot of food just for lunch but all it was was a polony and mayo open sandwich, fresh strawberries and a piece of mango and ginger cheese. This sandwich is probably one of my most favourite combinations and probably not the healthiest either so I use low fat may and whole wheat buns and a small french polony. At the very least regular readers would have seen a version of this sandwich at least once a month (sometimes more).


Lunchbox: Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Today is another busy day and I forgot to prepare lunch last night (okay so I didn't so much forget as just refuse) but I have a quick lunch that I put together in the morning.

It's quick and tasty: a wholewheat bun with 1/2 an avocado, 2 Laughing Cow cheese triangle and fresh cherries. I add with this a low fat vanilla yoghurt and an apple. My latest snack attack is so simple yet so delicious that I can't believe I haven't thought of this before: 

Apple and Cheese Snack

• 1 Honey crunch or other sweet apple
• 2 Laughing Cow cheese triangles

1. Cut the Apple into thin slices.
2. As you eat, spread a little cheese on each slice.


Bastille Festival Franschhoek

As you enter the beautiful little town of Franschhoek you will see that every surface, every shop window, every pillar and every gate is covered in the French National Colours: Blue, White and Red. Every year  Franschhoek (who prides itself on being little France in South Africa) host this festival, which this year celebrated it's 20th anniversary. 

It's a time where there are markets everywhere, great food stalls and an opportunity to taste all the wine this little town has to offer.

Myoga Restaurant Newlands

Cheehou Beef, Chinese BBQ Sous-vide fillet, Red Knuckle Ragout, Herbed Potato Puree, Butter Poached Carrots, Chive Veloute

For my birthday dinner we tried a new Restaurant in Newlands, Cape Town, Myoga and I can easily state that this is probably my newest most favourite restaurant in Cape Town!

As always we never know what is good and what we should have so we tried the new dining experience: 7 course tasting menu! It allows you to choose 3 starters, 1 sorbet, 1 main and 1 dessert all for only R265 per person. One would think that because it's referred to as a "tasting menu" the portions would be too small to satisfy and I would state now you would be wrong. By course 5 we were almost bursting and I can honestly not be a reliant guide to course 7: the dessert as I was too full to enjoy it! (My advise don't drink fruity non-alcoholic cocktails before dinner!).

 Slow Cooked Lamb Spring roll, sirachi chili sauce; Twice Cooked Pork Belly, Apple Parsnip Puree, Bacon Chutney; Massaman Curry Lamb Pie, Pea Truffle Puree.

The restaurant has beautiful mood lighting which is terrible for photo's but you can take my word for it: almost al the selections were fantastic. It was so good we have changed tradition and go there more often!

Twice Cooked Pork Belly, Apple Parsnip Puree, Bacon Chutney

Our selections were: (mine first then Hungry Hubby's)

1st course: 
Slow Cooked Lamb Spring Roll, Sirachi Chili Sauce (the chili sauce is a bit hot but really tasty); 
Kataifi Prawn, Orange Gastrique, Coriander Pesto (crispy batter, with tasty sauce).

Roast Chicken Salad, Mustard Mayonnaise, Baby Greens, Sundried Tomatoes, Cashews, Pineapple, Sweet Chili, coconut Parmesan

2nd course: 
Twice Cooked Pork Belly, Apple Parsnip Puree, Bacon Chutney (amazing, one of our favourites);
Massaman Curry Lamb Pie, Pea Truffle Puree (absolutely brilliant, will have again).

3rd course:
Roast Chicken Salad, Mustard Mayonnaise, Baby Greens, Sundried Tomatoes, Cashews, Pineapple, Sweet Chili, coconut Parmesan (Super moist chicken and interesting flavours but not my favourite)); 
Roast Leek Soup, Honey Carmelized Chorizo.

Massaman Curry Lamb Pie, Pea Truffle Puree

4th course:
Gnocchi, Smoked Pumpkin, Spring Onion Spuma, Feta Pangrattato (almost like a soup, a bit of a let down)
Duck Crespelle, Sauce l'orange, Creamed Spinach (amazing, will have again)

5th course:
Coconut & Lemon Sorbet
Passion & Banana Sorbet

BBQ Pork Tenderloin, Pan Crisped Potatoes, Sautéed Apples, Red Cabbage, Chorizo, Asparagus, Red Currant Jus and Chive Sauce
6th course:
Cheehou Beef, Chinese BBQ Sous-vide fillet, Red Knuckle Ragout, Herbed Potato Puree, Butter Poached Carrots, Chive Veloute (was really good, nice change of flavours for steak & mash)
BBQ Pork Tenderloin, Pan Crisped Potatoes, Sautéed Apples, Red Cabbage, Chorizo, Asparagus, Red Currant Jus and Chive Sauce (Hungry Hubby really enjoyed it and will order it again.)

7the course:
Butter Toffee Sponge, Creamed Sweet Potato, Beetroot Fudge Parfait (not my favourite)
Pear Tarte Tatin, Carmelized Walnuts and Gorgonzola Ice Cream (with cheesy after taste, really good)



Lunchbox: Friday, 12 July 2013

Since I've been eating the very unhealthy (or so I've been told) quiche at work, I decided to make my own. Firstly I got rid of the crust as I think it's unnecessary calories and since I'm only really after the filling. Secondly I got rid of all the fat from the bacon and only used the medallions and lastly I added loads of mushrooms. And there you go.

From what I worked out it serves 4 with only 9 WeighWatchers PoPoints.

Bacon, mushroom quiche

A quick and easy WeightWatchers inspired quiche that takes only 15 minutes to prepare. Don't bake it too long or it will become dry.


Lunchbox: Thursday, 11 July 2013

Today's lunch is a variation of the Chicken, avocado and beetroot pita and Iremoved the beetroot and replaced it with apple. Just top the pita in step 2 before placing it in the oven an there you go.

It was really good as the apples were so juicy. It was healthy too as the whole pita is on 7 WeightWatchers ProPoints.

Chicken, avocado and beetroot pita

These are almost like a mini pizza but without the pizza sauce. I love the creaminess of the avo with the tang of the beetroot and no tomatoes in sight! I tend to cut the pita bread in half so I save on WeightWatchers ProPoints.


Lunchbox: Wednesday, 10 July 2013

It might sound like a weird combination to some but it really is brilliant! Curried beans and hummus are really good together!


Homemade Quick Minestrone Soup

Today's lunch is virtuous in that it is filled to the brim with homemade Minestrone Soup (my own little version).

This is dedicated to our honeymoon as last year on 9 July 2012 we were on a Mediterranean Cruise visiting the coastline of Italy! Now I would have preferred lasagna or macaroni and cheese or even home-made pizza but as I am not allowed to eat any of the above in large quantities (and believe me if any were homemade even a tornado would not stop me!) I opted for something healthy.

My version is as follows:

  • 500g extra lean mince
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 2 Knorr Stock Pots (chicken or beef)
  • 1 packet minestrone vegetable and bean mix from Woolworth's (or a mixture of carrots, celery, onion, cannalini and butter beans)
  • 2 cups dry pasta
  • 2 1/2 to 3 litres of boiled water

What to do:

  1. Brown the mince in a little bit of oil. When cooked through add the tomato puree and stock pots.
  2. Add a little bit of water to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the vegetables then enough water to cover the vegetables and mince, then add another 500ml.
  4. Cook on medium heat for 45 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the beans are almost cooked through.
  5. Add the pasta (and more water if necessary). and cook for another 25 minutes or until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
Enjoy with grated Parmesan or mozzarella and a tsp of pesto.



Lunchbox: Monday, 8 July 2013

Today's lunch is a sad story I know. It had to be quick and small to carry around. Worst of all I did not even have the decency to put it in  a lunchbox. But I have run out of lunch boxes because they are left at the office!

I resorted to a kiddies meal from Woolworth's: The Cheeky Chicky Curry Pot. It's quite good and portion controlled and best of all it fitted into a zip-lock bag!


Sweet Jalapeño Poppers wrapped in Bacon

The idea for these struck me after I attempted the Sweet Jalapeño Popper Sandwich that almost hit the spot. I say almost because I was still searching for that perfect balance between sweet and spicy. Then one day after making my Famous Family Rice Salad I thought that I should try maraschino cherries in a traditional popper instead. Then I still wanted the meatiness but the salami and feta made it too salty so I decided to swap out the salami for bacon. The idea was to have crispy pieces on the inside but then it means additional cooking, and as you know I'm lazy. So by wrapping the poppers with bacon I can keep the filling inside, get the meaty flavour and crisp up the bacon all in the oven.


Lunchbox: Thursday, 4 July 2013

I cheated. Yes I did! I bought Woolworth's pasta pot.

Specifically the Teriyaki Beef Noodle Pot (with 9 WeightWatchers ProPoints) and it's really good: saucy noodles, pieces of beef and lots of veggies! All you need is 2 minutes and 30 seconds in a microwave!


Club Med Kani, Maldives Holiday

So finally I have time to share some photos of our holiday.

What I most want to share though is the amazing food!

There were 2 restaurants: one serving buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner and another one that served a late breakfast, late lunch and a la carte dinner. One thing is for sure - it is impossible to go hungry!


Lunchbox: Monday, 2 July 2013

After a weekend of indulgence for our 1st Wedding Anniversary, I was "ordered" to eat sensible for the day and therefore this uncomplicated lunch. A whole grain sandwich with ham, cheese, tomato and lettuce enjoyed with strawberries that are huge, juicy and dark red.

Breakfast is plain, low-fat yoghurt and cherries and in between snacks are cucumber with hummus. Well, that's the idea at least but I can't promise that a bag of salty chips won't attack me and force themselves down my throat despite my good intentions!