Friday, September 19, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Lazy Lentil Soup

It’s not often I make soup, in fact I can’t actually remember the last time I made soup before today.

I don’t often make soup because my darling hubby once said that soup wasn’t food, it was drink. So its relegated to starters or lunch on my own, that means that if I’m in a hurry I want to make something simple I don’t make soup, because that usually means making another dish besides.

But this week, I decided to do a cleanse and the best thing about lentil soup is, its great if your on a fast or detoxing or anything like that. Why? Because its liquid, so you can have it on a liquid fast, its totally vegetarian so its allowed on a green fast, its nourishing, full of vitamins and quite filling.

Also lentils are super easy to cook.

This is a even easier way to make lentil soup.

Lentil Soup, the Cheat’s way!

You will need:

  • 1 onion
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 can of green lentils
  • 1 can of red lentils
  • 500ml of vegetable stock

Mrs Egeland’s Note: Lentils are so easy to cook that even if you can’t get canned lentils then dried will work just as well.

In a frying pan, warm a little olive oil and a teaspoon of butter. Dice the onion and fry it until clear. Add the chickpeas, and lentils and stir.

If you’ve got dried lentils, switch to a saucepan and add the vegetable stock, simmer until the lentils are tender which won’t be long. Then blend and reheat.

Otherwise, put your onion lentil mix in a blender. They should be well seasoned from the vegetable stock, but taste and season if you think it needs it. Once they’ve been blended and are smooth, turn the mixture into a saucepan and add the stock.

Stir, mixing the stock well into the mixture and heat.

Your done, serve, eat as much as you like without having to worry too much about the calories. Unfortunately I liked this soup so much that we finished before I remembered to photograph the results.

Pretty short post, huh?

Well I will do better next time. Enjoy the soup.

Don’t forget to subscribe and follow. Comment below, show me your skills with photos.

Until Next Time


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Inspiring Crafts From History: The Art of Letter-Writing

Today I was looking at StumbleUpon and I came across a blogger who had a recipe for Cocoa Smoothie, and she was lamenting the lack of letters we write these days.

She longed for the days when we communicated in a much simpler way. Before the advent of Facebook, mobile phones and emails. When you got more than bills, packages from eBay and junk mail in the post. When young lovers awaited love-letters, when mothers awaited letters from sons fighting in wars far away and letters didn’t have to mean dread or final demands.

It got me to thinking about that myself, and it inspired me to write to my mum. We both enjoy writing and receiving letters, we don’t always have the time and with Skype, sometimes there seems little point.

The Art Of The Letter

The art of the letter should be celebrated, it needs to be taught to the newer generations. We still have uses for the humble letter, quite often a good letter to a prospective employer can help you along, or a letter of query or complaint to a service provider may help you get information or even a rebate on a bill.

Letter writing skills can help write a professional looking email, so even though you may not need a “hard copy” for snail mail, you can still cultivate the art of letter writing for the 21st Century.

The beauty of a letter or even a card is that its easily available to be re-read as many times as the receiver wishes without having to search in your Inbox. I think letters can be comforting and encouraging things, and if I know of a friend that feels down I will send a card or letter to let them know they are not alone. To send some words of encouragement that will be there when I can’t be, say at 2:30 am.

Some Pointers For The Would-Be Letter Writer

Letters don’t need fancy stationary, and in fact the planer the better when it comes to a professional letter to a prospective employer, a letter requiring information or a letter of complaint.

IMG_2008[1]However, with a pencil or pen you can decorate a plan piece of paper, and make a letter more of an occasion when you write to a friend or loved one.

This is my humble example of decorating a sheet of paper, ready for a hand written letter.

There are many blogs and websites where you can find tips for writing in a professional context. When I did a search I even found a website that has free cover letters. I would recommend anyone wanting to write a letter to Google “How to write a letter” and going from there.

When writing to friends or family, I’d suggest putting the place of writing and the date in the right hand corner. A letter will begin differently for different purposes, so if your writing to a family member or close friend: Dear Jenny/Dear Mum. Ending “with love”, “best wishes” or something else equally affectionate.

If your writing to someone you don’t know well about a personal matter, like an invite or something like that: Dear Mr John Doe/Dear Mrs Joanna Bloggs. Ending with “Yours Sincerely”.

Address the envelope so that the address sits in the centre, sometimes its appropriate to put a senders address on the back of the envelope. I often do, that way the reader will know who sent it before they even open the letter.

Consider Writing A Letter

Whether its to a loved one or some other kind of letter, I hope that I have inspired you to write a letter. To acquire the skill of bygone days.

I’m sure the receiver will appreciate your effort. I know a love letter is always appreciated by the receiver. So listen you lads, if you want to charm a girl, a well written letter would be a good place to start.

Until Next Time

Don’t forget to subscribe, follow and comment.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Imaginative Cookery: Party Food

Its not often that I attend or even arrange a party, this time I am only one of some friends organising a baby shower for a dear friend of ours. Thank goodness! I have organised a baby shower single handed, I have to say it was quite stressful, and I have no wish to do it alone again.

Our dear friend is having a little girl quite soon, no doubt she will be a marvellous mother. We decided we wanted to give her a baby shower, and of course there had to be a lot of pink! We invited her friends and asked everyone to bring food as well as presents.

My Contributions

I thought I’d better make both a savoury dish and a sweet, because in my experience everyone tends to bring sweet and then there’s nothing else.

So I decided to make chicken vol-au-vant, an 80’s classic, although I have tweaked the recipe a little because I didn’t want to add white wine.

I cheated and bought pastry cases, I was planning on making them but time escaped me. So this is really just a recipe for the chicken filling.

Chicken Vol-Au-Vant Filling

  • 1 medium sized leek IMG_2003[1]
  • A handful of button mushrooms.
  • 1 tsp dried thyme.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Butter.
  • 400-600 grs chicken fillet, diced
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese
  • Chicken stock
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Slice the leek and the mushrooms, and fry in a pan with some butter. When the mushrooms are cooked and the leek has separated add the diced chicken. Continue to fry, and cook the chicken. Add the cream cheese and add enough chicken stock to make a sauce with the cream cheese. Simmer for about 5 mins, or until the sauce thickens, add the thyme and cornflour at the end simmering for another 2 mins.

Fill your pastry cases and serve.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Taken from Muffins og Kaker, published by Spektrum.IMG_2002[1]

  • 6 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 55g chocolate chips
  • 225g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 25g good quality cocoa
For Frosting
  • 225g bar of white chocolate
  • 150g cream cheese

Preheat the oven to 200C. On a baking tray arrange 18 paper cupcake cases. In a bowl, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to beat each egg in well to combine. Add the milk, and fold in the chocolate chips. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa, folding them carefully into the mixture so as not to beat out the air. Fill the paper cases, and try to flatten out the tops of the cakes.

Bake in the oven for 20 mins, or until firm and well risen. Allow them to cool.

Mrs Egeland’s Note: I actually used a packet frosting this time around, it happened to be white chocolate flavour. The frosting here would have made a delicious alternative.

For the frosting, break the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl, and put the bowl over a saucepan of rolling boiling water, making sure that the water doesn’t actually touch the bowl or splash water into the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted, white chocolate is always a bit delicate, so don’t hurry it. Allow to cool a little. In another bowl have the cream cheese, and whisk it until its softened. Add the melted chocolate. Decorate your cupcakes. Chill them in the fridge for an hour before serving, to firm up your frosting.

Delicious Food, Good Company

The party was a success. Everyone had made delicious food, and my small offerings was well received. There were gifts and I’m sure the little baby girl will be beautifully dressed for a long time to come.

Until Next Time