29/08/2014

Chicken a la King Potjie




This really is one of our favourites potjies to make for the sole reason that it is one of the few ones that will give to 'falling of the bone' soft chicken with 1 hour instead of 6 to 8 hours (the usual amount of time required to do a proper potpie). It also makes great leftovers as any potjie tastes better the next day.


  • 1kg chicken pieces (with or without the skin)
  • olive oil
  • 3 packets Royco Chicken a la King Sauce powder
  • 2 Knorr Stock pots or any stock cubes, chicken flavor
  • 1 liter fat free milk
  • 2 x 250 ml single cream
  • 500g mushrooms, halved
  • 2 cups assorted vegetables (I used pumpkin, patty pans and zucchini) cut into quarters
  • rice to serve

  1. Make a fire and wait for enough coals for a medium heat. Place your cast iron pot above the coals and wait for it to heat up.
  2. Brown the chicken pieces in some oil and remove from the pot.
  3. Brown the mushrooms and add back the chicken.
  4. Mix the powder with the milk and pour over chicken. Add the stock pots as well.
  5. Remove some of the coals from underneath the pot to reduce the heat so the sauce is bubbling.
  6. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickens (otherwise it will burn) and add the cream. Stir well.
  7. Add any vegetables that will take longer to cook such as pumpkin or potatoes.
  8. Add the lid an allow to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring carefully every so often. If the sauce is too thick, add some more milk, until the chicken is soft and almost falls from the bone.
  9. Add the rest of the vegetables, stir and cover again with the lid.
  10. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is soft and the vegetables are cooked.
  11. Serve with a big bowl of rice and keep some for lunch tomorrow!


26/08/2014

Lunch box: Monday, 25 August 2014






Leftovers for lunch...again but when you have such great leftovers, why not extend it to your monday lunch box, saving you time (no lunch making issues due to lack of ideas etc) and money. I know I sound like a television advert but it just makes sense. We made Chicken a la King Potjie, which is a South African version of making a stew in a big black cast iron pot over an open fire. No charcoal please, we only use wood. Don't ask why, it might even be due to an abundance of trees but it is tradition. Slow roasted it really is the original "slow food". To give you an idea here is an oxtail potjie we made on a weekend away.


I didn't take pictures of it before we tucked in, really it smelled so good and we were hungry so there wasn't much left afterwards. But we do make it on a regular basis, especially sunny weekends so I will take better pictures then and share the recipe.


What leftovers do you love to repeat in your lunch box?

25/08/2014

Lunch box: Thursday 21 August 2014




Yes it looks like a lot of food for one person but this was intended almost as a "picnic" snack box for 3 and it worked perfectly. The Salami and Pesto Pizzas were a great hit and tasted even better cold! I added chicken schnitzel strips for added protein and a big chopped fruit salad for sweetness. Quick and easy! This would make a nice picnic box for a quick meeting or even a playdate.

But I need some decent sweetness in the form of chocolate!

21/08/2014

Sandwich Thins Salami and Pesto Pizzas



Well, how good do these little morsels look? I said yesterday that I think these wonderful little sandwich thins from Woolworth's would make fantastic little pizzas and I was right! The base is strong enough not to become soggy when adding watery vegetables such as tomatoes and these little buggers are really filling! 


I made 2 thins cut in half so 4 little pizzas and I must admit that one really is enough per person so I loaded up on the toppings. These are great cold (really great) and because of the square shape perfect for lunch boxes. Please use good quality mozzarella if you intend to eat these cold as the cheaper kind tend to have a tasteless rubbery consistency when cold. I don't mean buy the expensive fresh Buffalo mozzarella but I buy the Woolworth's one which is great.


Ingredients

  • 2 sandwich thins separated into 4 slices
  • 4 tsp coriander pesto
  • 4 big or 8 medium slices salami
  • 1 big or 2 small tomatoes sliced
  • 8 thick slices or 2 cups grated mozzarella
  • some fresh coriander
 Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ÂșC.
  2. Spread each slice with 1 tsp pesto.
  3. Top each slice with a big salami slice or 2 smaller ones. This is to prevent the bread from becoming soggy from the tomatoes.
  4. Top with enough slices of tomato to cover the slices.
  5. Top with an abundant of cheese. I find slices melt more evenly and doesn't spread as much.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and browning slightly.
  7. Remove, sprinkle with some fresh coriander and enjoy or cool down and take in to work!

20/08/2014

Lunchbox: Tuesday, 19 August 2014



How good does this little sandwich look? Cheese, salami and avocado on a bread thin with lots of Irish butter. yum! I just couldn't resist the temptation after shopping while hungry. Very much like right now I am licking a spoon full of Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread while typing one-handed trying to satisfy a severe chocolate craving while at work.


At least the rest of my lunch was healthy. I had a fruit salad, smoked chicken breast and crunchy sugarsnap peas. I really am loving the bread thins I bought yesterday. So much potential! I think maybe pizza bread for lunch tomorrow...






19/08/2014

Lunchbox: Monday, 18 August 2014



We are back and in full swing of things! (Whether we like it or not). Now we have to get used to making our meals ourselves and not having a selection of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian and Western AT EVERY MEAL! Can you believe that is what Club Med does? 

Anyway, I digress. What we have for lunch is a little do-it-yourself sandwich. I discovered these lovely bread thins at Woolworth's, which has been the rage in the US and even UK for a long time, but have only really been available here now. It is not the low calorie options to bread that one might want but better than a bread roll. 




I added fresh avocado ,doused in some lemon juice, a juicy red tomato, sliced, seasoned with salt, pepper and some fresh basil leaves torn to pieces. These were then used to make sandwiches using the bread thins with either just tomato, just avocado, or as the photo above show, a little of both. I also added some fresh strawberries and half a juicy lemon. I also added some mayonnaise at the last minute as I love fresh tomato and basil with a touch of mayonnaise.


The little one had full fat strawberry yoghurt with some fresh strawberries, mini sweet corn and carrot batons steamed, some mozzarella cheese and crispy celery as her afternoon snack.




18/08/2014

Club Med, Phuket Thailand



We have finally returned after 7 days in Phuket and we stayed at the amazing Club Med Hotel and Spa. The most amazing part really was the Hotel. It had fantastic gardens and a beautiful pool and even better: a Petit Club geared towards babies from 4 months old! A little creche during the day and babysitters after 5pm for 100Baht an hour (about R30.00 per hour!). I was really hesitant to use them in the beginning (I brought my baby with just to put her in another creche!) but after issues with the heat and seeing how much effort they put into entertaining the little ones I lost all guilt and just went for it: my tip - use them!


Phuket is not the prettiest place with a lot of wires hanging everywhere. Whether it is still from the tsunami that devastated the island or whether it always looked like this I can't tell. Still a new culture to explore and the shops are so much better in the malls than in South Africa (Starbucks people!). 



The one thing that really surprised me was, that for such a poor country, we didn't see one beggar. Most people have modified little bikes (tuk-tuk) to double up as a little restaurant selling food or anything you can think off.



We did a lot of things and there are so many things to do that we couldn't do it all but we did some:  


Elephant trekking - this was strange, sitting on top of a swaying elephant, feeding them these mini bananas. And there were baby elephants everywhere!


Temple watching - so many of them everywhere and all in red and gold not to mentions the little shrines outside every shop and house.



A trip to see the FantaSea Show that was like a mini version of Las Vegas (they even have chickens that are trained!). There were lights and shows and shops and everything in between, even a shop where you can dress in traditional clothing and take pictures. Amazing!





And a trip to Phi-Phi Islands were not to be missed. No kiddies under 4 though as we were travelling by speed boat (so little Em spend the day being entertained by Club Med babysitters and probably had more fun than us as the circus was in town). We visited one just for the beach, one for swimming, one to shop and have lunch and one again for catching some sun.



All those beautiful photos you always see, ever wondered if they were fake? Well I can testify they are not. Even a crappy photographer like myself could not help but accidentally take a beautiful photo everywhere!





Little Em enjoyed her time so much despite the enormous heat. She flew like a trooper (I will add my little list of essential baby-travel tips later) but the heat itself was a bit much and she had a fever if she was in the heat too much. Thank goodness for the baby-club where she could play inside whenever the heat got too much for her.



Despite the heat we had a great time and all thanks to great company and fantastic people at the hotel!

Where should we go next?



01/08/2014

Lunch box: Friday 1 August 2014



Doing lunch on a Friday seems pointless, as I never get to eat it. Everything else gets in the way. This lunch box has leftover slices steak, curry and peach noodle salad, juicy plums cut into slices, bright red strawberries, crunchy celery sticks and some of little Em's leftover jelly and custard. So what if I ate it on the run?

This is the only way to ensure the family eats their fruit and veggies (me included) and it works. So no more laziness!