January 19, 2018

Friday Flavours: Pasta Primavera @Monthly Mystery Munchies #31 with Gen

Almost 3/4 into January and how is your new beginning into 2018 looking so far?

Back in the sweltering, blazing summer of South Africa, Gen, my long-distance and long-standing partner in food grime crime has decided upon a spring dish to usher us into the theme of a new beginning for this month. Now I should have featured this a day right after we post 2 weeks ago like I always would, but this time I couldn’t. 

But just because I couldn’t (at that time), does not mean I wouldn’t! Besides, new beginnings could happen at ANY time of the year, right? So there is still hope – any excuse to stretch this one out. 

Like me, Gen too had a little of  rough time figuring this one out. Who’d have thought this theme would be so difficult to crack! So, after her attempt of  dumplings as weapons of mass destruction,  Gen made this:

Credit: Eat, Play, Clove

 

Veggies, veggies and lots of veggies! In her worlds:

Now, it’s not spring in South Africa. It is summer. Sweltering, blazing summer, but all of these veggies are available here and I do love spring, and the idea of using these veggies that represent a new season. Plan B worked out well. Hallelujah! I really loved the idea of roasting a wide array of delicious, colourful vegetables, mixing them with butter and cream, topping with parmesan. It’s a creamy dish, but because it also uses a variety of vegetables, it’s bursting with flavour too. 

I think it’s a nice interpretation of theme, don’t you think? That’s quite a clever way to spin this with spring vegetables currently in season. The best part of this is you’ll only need 15 minutes to cook everything. Voila!

If you haven’t check out her recipe yet, I dare you to. So please,  pop over to one of my favourite cooks around for Gen’s Pasta Primavera’s recipe. It comes with a nice little story, too! 

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January 14, 2018

Sunday Humour: Rest Day

Category: Entertainment

This pretty much echos my Sunday…week after week after week:

Source: Google Image

The reason as to why Sunday is usually coined as rest day is becoming oh-so-clear. A day of “rests” alright! But hey, it’s not like we have lots to do after twiddling our thumbs around the clock Monday to Saturday.

Wishing you the rest of the week being all fun, fulfilling and fresh for a Sunday rest. ;p

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January 12, 2018

Friday Flavour: Mustard Chicken in Creamy Brie Sauce

For the life of me, I struggle trying to remember the recipe of this dish as this was something I had created on a fly. Add on to the fact that I made this months ago, trying to pry open my brains to remember each and every ingredients became an almost impossible task.

Did I even write it down after that? Here’s the thing: I thought I did. Apparently I didn’t. All I did was posted a picture of it on IG and then had conveniently forgotten about it. My mind seems to be failing me these days! 

So back to my mustardy, chickeny, creamy, brie-y and a little bit of dill-y on the top, this was made with no agenda and no creative intention. If anything, the ingredients were mainly left-overs that I needed to use before I had to throw them away.

That was how this dish happened. And it made for a very nice discovery of another brand new creation that’s worth every repeat. Just tell me you love me, OK! 😀

Mustard Chicken in Creamy Brie Sauce
Serves 4
A delicious dish packed with the goodness of mustard and brie sauce.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 pieces chicken drumsticks with skin
  2. 3 tbsp butter
  3. 1 clove garlic
  4. 1 medium size yellow onion, diced small
  5. 3 tspn black mustard seed
  6. 3 tbsp dijon mustard sauce (more if you prefer it to be more mustardy)
  7. 2 tbsp onion powder
  8. 1 tbsp black pepper
  9. 150 ml cooking cream
  10. A small block of brie cheese, sliced to pieces
  11. Salt & pepper to taste
  12. 1 tspn dill, topping
Instructions
  1. Season chicken with salt, pepper and some dijon mustard. Set aside for half an hour then pan-fry till it gets a little brown (not fully cooked). Set aside
  2. Melt butter in a hot pan. Throw in the black mustard seeds till they pop.
  3. Then add in garlic and (diced) onions. Saute till the onion becomes translucent
  4. Add dijon mustard, onion powder, black pepper and cooking cream
  5. Stir well till almost boiling then lower the fire and add in brie till it's all melted.
  6. Add in the half cooked chicken. Spread the brie sauce all over the chicken. If the sauce dries up, add in some water
  7. Cover for about half an hour till the chicken is cooked.
  8. Turn off the fire when done. Top with dill when ready to serve.
  9. Best eaten with rice or French bagguette
Notes
  1. Feel free to add more mustard or more brie to enhance the taste to your liking. If desired, add in some mushrooms for added flavour.
Grubbs n Critters http://grubbsncritters.com/

 

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January 5, 2018

Monthly Mystery Munchies #31: Meringues Tabula Rasa

New year, new beginning. Clean slate is where we shall begin!

Since this marks the first recipe of the year, Gen and I agreed to work on a dish symbolising “new beginning” as the theme for our January 2018’s Monthly Mystery Munchies.

When I first suggested this, the idea seemed appropriate and relevant. Easy even (!) since there should be plenty of foods around the globe that would be symbolical of “new beginnings”. Shouldn’t it?  

Source: Google Image

Well…there was and there isn’t; I’ll tell you why.

After spending days and days researching on this and thinking REALLY hard on the kind of traditional food I’ve been exposed to when I was growing up that would specifically symbolise a new beginning, nothing concrete came to mind.

Or at least, nothing I was remotely interested to make, in which I could feel a strong connection to comes to mind.

Most of the ideas that floated around have either very strong attachment to the holyness of the various religions (something I do not want to do) or something that’s attached to having a baby (not in my current or future state) or just for sheer good luck and requiring lots of work. (plenty of those, but not meaningful enough for me)

This new beginning thing is deep, my friend. Deeper than just food symbolising luck. Deeper than just deep fried batter in the form of Oliebollen (Silver Bullet’s specialty) and the significance it always brings during the New Year.

I mean, after such a shit-show of 2017, I want to CONSUME a proper tabula rasa – without spending hours and hours in the kitchen to get something done. Especially (!) without the unnecessary religious anointment and connotations to it.

So how?

After all that research and the agonising I did from behind-the-scenes, I finally stumbled upon a recipe that I could work with. It was easy enough, meaningful enough (sort of) and most importantly, symbolically-neutral of ANY religion.

It comes down to this super light meringue with pomegranate and pistachios:

Meringue topped with honeyed yoghurt, pomegranate seeds and crushed pistachios

 

I guess we make food as meaningful as we want them to be. In this case,  this particular recipe has the essentials of what would signify a new beginning as it blends the various significance of culture and food into one big explosive flavour:

Round or ring-shaped (Good Luck):

The Meringues

Represents the coming of full circle upon the years’ completion. The base of the meringue being round reflects this.

Since this is hand-made, each one is not a perfect circle – an apt symbolism that life is not always perfect; yet we make do with whatever base we choose to work on. We make it light and sweet as possible to make it work.

Pomegranate (Prosperity and Good Fortune):

Pomegranates!

In some parts of Eastern Europe, the pomegranate fruit will be smashed on the floor right in front of the door during the new year. It is believed that the more seeds that get into the door, the more prosperous the household would be. I thought it would be a waste of a good fruit, plus I do not want to be cleaning up the mess and scrubbing off the red stains.

That’s why this is a great recipe since the seeds of the pomegranate is put to good use i.e  on the meringue and right into your mouth! Good fortune is a no-waste deal. 

Pistachio (Health & Happiness):

Smiling nuts! Source: Google Image

Do you know that in China, Pistachio is known as the happy nut? If you look at the nut, you’ll notice that it is always smiling! And of course, if you smile back at it, you can also be certified as a nut.

Let’s sprinkle health and happiness in abundance, shall we!  

All in all, this captures the essence and the very ingredients of setting in the right foot to a new beginning, isn’t it? We start Tabula Rasa here:

Meringue Tabula Rasa
Yields 30
A light meringue topped with honeyed yogurt, pomegranate seeds and crushed pistachos guaranteed to give you an explosion of flavours in your mouth!
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 55 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 55 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 egg whites
  2. 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 4-6 tbsp Greek yogurt
  5. 1 tbsp honey
  6. Pomegranate seeds
  7. Crushed/chopped pistachios
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 120 degree celcius
  2. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl. Make sure that the bowl is clean and completely dry
  3. Once it starts to foam, slowly mix in sugar
  4. Beat the egg whites on high till stiff. Do the "mixing-bowl inversion" test - if the egg whites does not drip when you flip the bowl over, your egg white is ready for use
  5. Line the baking tray with wax paper. You can choose to trace a circle on the underside of the wax paper so you can gauge the size of your merengue
  6. Place a dollop of egg white into each of the circle. The use the back of the spoon to create flatten the center to make a well
  7. Bake for 60 minutes. Then turn off the oven and leave it to cool for another 1 hour to ensure that the meringues are completely dry
  8. Remove the meringues from the tray ans store in an air-tight container
For the filling
  1. Whisk Greek yogurt and honey in a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Spoon the yogurt and place it on top of the merigue.
  3. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top and finish off with crushed pistachios.
  4. Serve!
Notes
  1. It is important to ensure that the mixing bowl for the egg whites is clean and dry, else you will never get a stiff batter.
Adapted from Cooking Canuck
Adapted from Cooking Canuck
Grubbs n Critters http://grubbsncritters.com/
Now that that’s done, click away and come with me to check out what our South African Cheftress is up to with her recipe depicting a new beginning. I bet you it’s going to be oh-so-droolicious-good! 

If you please, I’m bringing along my Meringue Tabula Rasa to #FiestaFriday so make sure you make it there for more bites, too.

Here’s wishing you a very sweet, prosperous life ahead of you filled with the top of health and happiness. 

==========================================
Monthly Mystery Munchies features every first Friday of the month in collaboration with Gen, Author of Eat, Play, Clove. Stay tuned with next month’s edition from the Grubbs ‘n Critters’ Kitchen!

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December 31, 2017

2017 into 2018

Here we go again. 

Another year scuttling by and in a few hours, Chapter 2017 will be behind closed doors never to be revisited again.

 

Credit:Getty Image

It’s been a strange year. I do not have any reflection to ponder upon since everything has been one hell of a maze and I’m still navigating it. 

With much uncertainties and many moments of anxiousness, my footings have been wary, uncertain and nervous. 

Resolution? I have none. I don’t do resolution; it’s been that way for more than 3 decades now. But I do have hope.

Hope for better tidings, better health, better luck, better mental capacity and better everything. 

Most of all, the deepest of hope on the work front for another chance of another new beginning to harvest the seeds which have been planted; one that nourishes the soul, not kill it. 

My energy has been low of late. The feeling in my head feels weird – it’s busy and full; yet at the same time… empty.

Thanks to sleep deprivation and work stress, I find grasping concepts, words and forming my thoughts an arduous process. I find it hard to take things in, digest and process the things I need to do, have to do, obliged to do and want to do.

It’s all been quite overwhelming. I’ve been on a verge of a burn-out but I’ll be damned if I allow myself to get to that. 

To simplify my numb mind, we’ve decided on a no-festivities, no big cook-out, no home-made oliebollen, no overtly loud gatherings and no nothing.

This time, we opted for a quiet family retreat away from the hoolabaloos of noise. By noise, I not only mean the physical yapping noise in my ears but also noise from the social media world of me-s. 

It was all getting a bit much.

That said, I have stopped using Facebook and LinkedIn altogether by deleting the apps on my phone. 

I still use LinkedIn intermittently mainly on a need-to-basis. I have since stopped scrolling my newsfeed and reading some of the what-used-to-be-inspirational now nothing but mindless-look-at-me articles and status updates because I’ve been more irked than inspired.

The creation of BS clutter in there is amazing… amazingly pointless!

With Facebook, apart from very specific work-related mandatories, I have not log-in for about 2 months now. I choose not to and I am not sorry that I have no idea what is going on in the Facebook world. I can’t say that I miss it. 

Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram each serve a different purpose for me. I still do indulge in them every once in a while.

So there! 

No reflection of 2017. I reject 2017 and the whole lot of it. I’ve swallowed enough insults and I want it to be over because I am so.bloody.done. with it. It has been utter rubbish.

This will be a new beginning. 

To getting back to a better, coherent mind. To start living life again. To start writing again. To get that one more break so I can get back on my feet again. 

Things have gotta to be better. They just have to!

This was today; they say recurring numbers is a sign…

Here’s us at Grubbs ‘n Critters wishing you an incredible new year. May 2018 be a much better year for the manifestation of a higher purpose in life.

And when the stars are aligned, perhaps (borrowing a quote from the Dutch King) we all can work towards to being a bigger us, instead of becoming a bigger asshole me

(Amen)

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