28 December 2009

My Cats

We are moving on Friday (what a painful process!) and to make it easier on my cats, we sent them to my parents, a full 6 hours' drive away! I miss them very much. It's so strange not to have a little furball sleeping at my feet at night, or not waking up to a kitty's purr. I also don't have my usual companion on my lap when blogging - how sad!

I have made a LO with them so you can see how absolutely adorable my cats are and why I miss them so much!

The black-and-white one is Didi, my 3-year-old girl and the other is my 1-year-old boy, Pablo.

We're not really moving in the sense of the word - we're not moving to a new house, but we are storing all our stuff, because we are going to Canada for 2 years! (More on this later). I have LOTS of packing to do, so I'm sure I won't have time to blog during the week.

Right after that we are going on holiday for another week and my life is so confusing right now with a new challenge with each new week, I don't even know what is in store for me for the next month! So, you probably won't hear from me during the next month, but I'll update you on everything once all has calmed down.

Have a lovely day... and month!

What's-in-the-fridge Quiche

I hope you had a wonderful festive season! I was lucky enough to have my parents and sisters over for Christmas and even though my husband was on call, it was a lovely day and we had so much fun!

While they were here, I decided to make them my Spinach and Seared Fillet Pasta, which they loved, so give it a try! I promised to post a photo next time I made it, so here it is:

(Click on the picture to go to the original post for the recipe)

And now for my new recipe! This is my favourite way to cook. You know the feeling - dinner is coming up, but you have no idea what to cook and your husband (and kids) will not be happy to go to bed with rumbling tummies!

So here I have a sollution for these days: Just make sure that you always have a few key ingredients on hand. I always have some ready rolled puff pasty (store bought) in my freezer and I (nearly) always have eggs and cheese, which are the only must-have ingredients for this quiche!

What's-in-the-fridge Quiche

Defrost the puff pastry, preferably at room temperature, but you can use the microwave - just don't let it cook!

Pre-heat the oven to 180◦C.

Spray, oil or butter an oven-proof dish and unroll the pastry into the dish. Cut to fit and put in the fridge until needed.

Now for the fun part: the fridge raid!
- Onions are always welcome and I never make a quiche without them
- Left-over meat like saussages, viennas, steak, etc. or a some bacon (skip the meat entirely for a vegetarian dish)
- Some veggies that will spoil if you don't use it right now, like broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, etc.
- Any cheese you like (or have in the fridge), grated
- Don't forget your cubpoard! There may be a forgotten can of mushrooms or asparagus that will be great in a quiche!

If you are using ingredients that need cooking, like raw onion (spring onions can go into the quiche without cooking), just stir-fry until cooked and place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Now is the time to add salt and pepper and other seasoning to taste. Mix thoroughly and scoop loosely into the dish with the pastry.

Beat 2 eggs in a separate bowl and add about 150ml milk and a heaped teaspoon of plain flour. Pour this over your ingredient mixture and pop into the oven for 45 minutes or until the eggs have been cooked through.

Serve hot or cold.

If you are still a bit insecure in the kitchen, you can try my fridge-raid quiche that I made yesterday (picture):

- 2 Onions (sliced and cooked)
- 1 Packet of diced bacon (cooked)
- 1 Left-over Kassler chop (smoked pork), sliced
- A few sundried tomatoes, quartered
- A handful of fresh rosa tomatoes, sliced in smaller pieces
- 1 can of sliced mushrooms (drained)
- 100g Gouda cheese, grated

And that's all there is to it!

A few good quiche ingredient ideas:
bacon, pancetta, viennas, sausages, onions, spring onions, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, baby marrows, tomatoes (sparingly, as they contain lots of juices), cooked potatoes, cheddar or gouda, feta, camembert or brie

22 December 2009

Christmas Addon

In the spirit of Christmas I have made a few more elements for your Christmas Layouts.

I hope you like it and it's always nice to hear your comments (good or bad) so that I know what I'm doing right or wrong and what to do in the future.

Have a wonderful, blessed Christmas!


16 December 2009

Christmas Kit

Christmas is coming up really soon and and Christmas is a time for giving, so I've created a kit for you. It includes 10 papers, 27 elements and 2 overlays. There are lots more than shown in the preview and I hope you like it!

14 December 2009

Smokey Chicken Pasta

Here's another recipe of mine that I have created in the beginning of this year. It's a shortcut to achieving lovely pasta that tastes like you've spent hours on it!

Smokey Chicken Pasta
(serves 2)

200 - 300g Pasta of your choice
200ml Cream (if you are health concious, use milk, but it won't be so creamy)
250g Button Mushrooms, quartered
2 Smoked Chicken Breasts (fully cooked), in bitesize slices
20g (half a packet) Potato Bake: Bacon & Cheese flavour
Spring Onions / Chives to garnish

Cook the pasta in boliling water with salt and some oil for 10 minutes.
Fry the mushrooms in a little oil until cooked. Add the chicken to warm it.
Pour the cream into a bowl and add the Potato Bake. Whisk until blended and add to the mushrooms & chicken.
Stir the mixture until it thickens slightly, until the potato bake is cooked, about 5 minutes.
Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce.
Plate up and garnish with spring onions or chives and some freshly ground black pepper.

It cannot be easier than that! I'm not sure what ingredients are available in other countries, but the Royco Potato Bake in South Africa is delicious with this and it is really smokey. It it always sure to impress!

PS: You do have to use white button mushrooms. I once used black mushrooms because I love the taste so much, but the sauce ended up a yucky, greyish color!

Thank you!

Thanks for all your lovely comments! It really makes me smile to know that you enjoy my freebies and recipes! I hope to bring you lots more and that I'll get better with each freebie.
Have a wonderful day!

07 December 2009

Ceramic Garden Elements

Hi Everybody!

I've created another freebie for you. This one has a few elements, including wire flowers and pink mosaic flowers. The mosaics are arty coasters I bought and thought it would look great in layouts. The rest of the flowers are gifts my husband gave to me at various stages of our relationship and I hope you'll like it!

I am also busy with some Christmas elements and a Beach kit! So don't go too far and check back for my next freebies!

Your comments are always appreciated. Enjoy!


03 December 2009

Art Deco Mini Kit

Ooh, this is exciting! I've completed my first mini kit as a freebie for you!

Download it, use it, tell me what you think, send me your LO's and enjoy!

02 December 2009

Spinach Pasta with Seared Fillet

I love being creative in the kitchen and I pick up many tips from BBC Food. I almost never cook a recipe as it is and love to experiment and substitute ingredients. Of course, this is sometimes necessary as we don't have the same ingredients as the presenters do in England, France and Australia.

I had one of those days when I just wanted to cook and my spinach in the garden was ready to be eaten. I also had a fillet in the freezer that needed something to be done with, so, I came up with this recipe:

Spinach Pasta with Seared Fillet
(serves 2)

Ingredient List

200g Beef Fillet
- 50ml Oil (olive or sunflower)
- 5ml Balsamic Vinegar
- 15ml Worcestershire Sauce
- 15ml Soy Sauce
- 15ml Lemon Juice
- Black Pepper & Salt
- Chili Flakes (optional)
- Fresh Herbs, eg. Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Marjoram, etc. (optional)
200g Dry Pasta (any kind you like)
200ml Milk
15ml Butter / Margarine
15ml Flour
A few Spinach Leaves (use more or less to your taste)
Half a Camembert Cheese (optional)
Parmesan to garnish (optional)

Marinade about 200g fillet in a mixture of oil, a few drops of balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, black pepper, salt, lemon juice and any other herbs and spices you like.
I used some fresh thyme and marjoram that I had in the garden and for a little kick I added some dry chili flakes.
Marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can marinade this up to 24 hours, but an hour or so is more than efficient.

Dump the pasta in boiling salt water and add a little oil so they won't stick together.

Make a thin white sauce with about 200ml milk, 1 tablespoon of butter/margarine and flour each and salt to taste.

Sear the fillet in a hot pan on all sides (about 4 minutes per side) and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.

Once the white sauce is cooked, add sliced spinach and stir through. While the spinach is wilting, slice the fillet in the thinnest strips you can manage.

Toss the pasta in the spinach sauce, add cubed Camembert cheese (optional) and scoop into a serving dish. Arrange the slivers of beef on top and grate some Parmesan over everything to finish.

Serve immediately.

This recipe multiplies really easily and can be altered to suit your taste. The raw meat can look a bit daunting, especially for someone who has never eaten carpaccio before, but I assure you, it tastes great!
I served this to some "carpaccio virgins" at my Bible study group and they were a bit sceptical, but all of them had extra helpings and said they were pleasantly surprised!

Try it! (I dare you!) And tell me what you think!