Daily Lunch Box for Grown Ups

We grown-ups need to eat too and sometimes it gets expensive to buy lunch everyday. In Cape Town central it can cost up to R40 for just a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich and a cup of coffe can be R28! So making your own lunches from goodies you buy n bulk is always a good idea. 

I add my breakfast, snack and lunch in one of the big Tupperware lunch boxes with 2 levels. At the bottom level I add 2 tbsp red pepper hummus, a mini cucumber, carrots and celery to dip into the hummus, some grapes, a clementine and a bran muffin (the muffin is breakfast).

On the second layer I add a big sandwich, which I will have for lunch. The sandwich is made from wholewheat bread, creamed cottacge cheese, some chutney, this sliced ham and some sweetmilk cheese. I cut it into 4 squares and was able to nibble on it for the whole day!


Lunchboxes Toddler and Mom

The Little One loves pizza so I am taking a chance and hopes she also loves these mini bacon quiches. I didn't add any extra protein but I added some Rosa tomatoes, a chesse triangle and fruit (banana, cherries and grapes).

Those mini quiches looked so good I decided to have some as well. I added 3 to mine, and essentially had exactly the same as the Little One (if it's good enough for her...)

I loved the little snack box - I can nibble from it throughout the whole day!


Birthday Brownies

By now you should know I am such a short-cut cook. Why reinvent the wheel? It was my birthday and I decided to take something sweet to work. The problem is that I don't want to stand in the kitchen baking for 4 hours! So decided on some brownies.


Better yet I decided to cheat and bake some Nomu Brownies! Just add butter and eggs. I love the Nomu products and have used their pancake mix before. So I decided to give this a go. Obviously to give it that "homebaked" touch, I add some extra goodies.

But I must warn you, this batter taste so unbelievably delicious raw, that I and the Little One ate the equivalent of 5 brownies' batter before we could bake it! This is really so simple. Follow the instructions (takes about fifteen minutes), add your own goodies and bake.

I made 2 batches (using 2 boxes and cut smaller so made about 40 brownies). In one I added about 1 1/2 slabs white chocolate, roughly chopped, which I poured right n top. When baked it turns brown and gets an almost caramel taste - really delicious. For the other batch I added peanut brittle, which I crushed and poured over the top before baking.

The peanut brittle one looked pretty but because the white chocolate turned brown, I decided to melt the 1/2 leftover slab of white chocolate (in the microwave at 30 second burtsuntil melted) and pour over the top. Then added sprinkles for colour.

You can add anything: mini marshmellows, caramels, nougat, Astros or any hard candy, biscuits, whatever you have on hand!
You can also bake this brownies in thicker batches and for less time, which makes them very fudgy in the middle. They are stunning too!

Go and make a batch!


Spaghetti Bolognese and Leftover Spaghetti Pie

We are trying to stop wasting so much food by re-using leftovers. But then again having the same food twice is never satisfying (unless it's a curry as that usually taste even better the next nigfht!).

So we had spaghetti bolognese for dinner the previous night. I added some leftover chopped raw butternut to my usual bolognese recipe. The next night I added a cheese sauce on top and bake it in a moderate oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. So easy and it taste almost like a lasagne!

Here is my usual spaghetti bolognese recipe (this is really so easy and cooking the pasta with the sauce makes it so amazing!):

What do you need:

  • 500g beef mince (we use extra lean)
  • 50g tomato puree (or more if you like the flavour)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (I use the one with the roast vegetables)
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1/2 packet linguine pasta (I love the flat serface and I like a lot of pasta in the mix)
  • 2 tbsp peach chutney (or onion marmalade - something to add sweetness)
  • Salt and pepper
  • optional: 5 strips bacon chopped
  • Fresh parsley and parmesan to serve

What to do:

  1. Heat some oil in a frying pan. Also a big pot with salt and water, allow to come to a boil.
  2. Add the onions (and bacon if using) to the frying pan and fry for 5 minutes until the onion is fragrant.
  3. Add the mince and break the big clumps up with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until 3/4 to al dente.
  5. Add the tomato puree and the canned tomato to the mince. Add the chutney and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Simmer until the pasta is ready.
  7. Using tongs add the pasta directly to the mince and mix through. If the mice mixture is a bit dry, then add some of the pasta water.
  8. Simmer until the pasta is cooked to your liking.
  9. Serve with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese.
  10. Enjoy!

Another option is to leave out the bacon and add veggies such as small chopped butternut, frozen peas, mushrooms (fried with the onions) or anything else. You can also make it creamy by adding 2 to 3 tablespoons cream cheese and stir through in the pan before serving with more cheese on top - but I won't do this if you are making the pie the next day.

The cheese sauce I make without measurements but here goes:

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (eaqual amounts)
  • 2-3 cups milk
  • 2 cups cheese

What you do:

  1. Melt the butter in a pot.
  2. Add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes or until it changes colour.
  3. Take it of the heat and add 1 cup milk and stir quickly. Whisk until there are no clumps.
  4. Add more milk if it becomes to thick.
  5. Return to the heat and simmer.
  6. Add more milk until you get the consistency you like.
  7. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and stir until melted.
  8. Season with salt, pepper and some peri-peri if no kids are eating with.

To make the pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Add spaghetti bolognese to a pie dish (oven safe).
  3. Puor the cheese sauce over the top.
  4. Mix throught lightly.
  5. Top with the left over grated cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until it is golden and bubly.
  7. Enjoy!


Anniversary Mount Nelson

Hubby and I were fortunate enough to enjoy our wedding at the Mount Nelson Hotel so to make life easier in the selection process, we always return to the scene of the crime (it really is a crime to be this happy and no we have our bad days like any normal couple). Luckily we love their food! It is just such a shame that the photos are always so dark.

Prawns poached in olive oil
Malay curry sauce | shaved fennel | pickled carrot | yogurt | curry leaf dressing

We both had starters and we really shouldn't have taken two, but I'm allergic to shellfish so we just had no choice...okay I lie, I would always order because here you get to explore and try something new.

Seared duck breast

confit leg corn dog | liver parfait | dried prune purée | salted pear sorbet | candied pickle ginger

Grilled springbok loin
Jerusalem artichoke | spinach | spätzle | crushed nuts | braised shank croquette

Hubby usually has the steak and I try something different but he decided to have a go at the Springbok. He actually said he thinks his food tasted better than mine (the nerve!)


Grilled beef rib-eye steak (300g)
hand cut fries |pepper sauce | chef's salad

I love how you just receive the steak on the plate and on the side is a little brass pot with your sauce, your fries and a lovely fresh salad. That pepper sauce is too die for. Hubby had it last time and I so craved it!

Because we already had starters (and homemade bread with fresh homemade butter people!), we were a bit full and decided to fight our nature and order just one dessert to share. So after deliberating (read intense stand off) for about 30 minutes, we decided on this coffee beauty. And we were not disappointed!

Caramel Irish coffee
whiskey ice cream | white coffee foam | sunflower crumble | butterscotch caramel crème

And the reason we always go back is the small things, the attention to detail, the extra mile they go to. Like this little plate with homemade goodies to say happy anniversary. I can't wait until I have an excuse to go again.


Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

This is another quick recipe (you shouldn't expect long recipes from me because 1: I am busy and 2: I am lazy!) and this recipe is not only quick but requires very little work from you!

What you need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 can Indian spiced chopped tomatoes (or use plain chopped tomatoes and /21 tsp chili flakes, 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2 turmeric)
  • extra chilli or paprika if you like things hot
  • Fresh coriander
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 croissants to serve

What to do:
  1. Fry the onion in a bit of oil until translucent. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Make a small hole and add an egg (make 5 more).
  3. Simmer untill the egg whites have cooked but the yolk is still runny.
  4. Heat the croissants in the oven until crispy.
  5. Serve 2 eggs per person on the croissant and enjoy.