Whey what?

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Whey, what the heck is whey? I had no idea either, until I got my own cheese making kit earlier this year. When you make cheese out of milk, you end up with solids and liquid.The cheese are the solid bits, and the whey, well that’s all the liquid that’s leftover. There’s a lot of it and it feels a waste to throw it away. It still has lots of nutritious bits and pieces in it and since I have been brought up trying to not throw anything away that can be used, I looked for uses of whey. Apparently it’s great as a fertiliser for trees. My citrus trees therefore have enjoyed a bit of whey juice recently. We’ll see if they produce better next year! I also found out that whey is perfect as a base for making smoothies. After my last cheese making attempt I poured the whey into my mixer, added some pineapple, banana, coconut water and half a lemon and mixed it for a minute. It got lovely and fluffy, and tasted fantastic. Definitely a keeper!

What do you use whey for?

W

Vegetarian weeks

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Vegetarian weeks started when my step daughter, who lives with us week-on week-off, decided she didn’t want to eat meat anymore out of respect for the animals. We had no problem with that. I was quite proud of her that she stood up for something she believed so strongly in. So for the last 2 and a bit years, we’ve been eating vegetarian week-on week -off. And we like it so much that even on the week-off we quite regularly ‘forget’ meat or fish and end up eating vegetarian. It’s just another way of looking at cooking really. It’s not harder or easier then cooking with meat or fish, just different. And there is so much choice. In the beginning we sometimes bought packets of vegetarian sausages or burgers, as that is how we thought about food, but these days, we make everything, just without any meat or fish. I have learned to use tofu, soft and firm, in lots of different ways. Rubbed with cumin, coriander and paprika and then grilled, so it;s crisp on the outside and soft in the middle is one of the best things I discovered so far. It really is just so good you would not want to swap it for a steak,

When we took her on overseas holiday for the first time, we were a bit worried. We shouldn’t have. Having to look for vegetarian options actually expanded our options, and we ended up in some fantastic restaurants, cafe’s, suburbs and markets we otherwise would never have gone to.

If our daughter would decide she was going to eat meat again, I’m pretty certain we would continue our vegetarian weeks. What do you think? Can you be part-time vegetarian?

V

Undeniably the Ultimate coffee (or tea) biscuit

a dutch stroopwafel
a dutch stroopwafel

Undeniable, for me anyway, the stroopwafel will have to be the ultimate biscuit to enjoy with a good coffee. The stroopwafel consists of two thin wafers stuck together by a lovely sweet sugar syrup. The best way to eat them is freshly baked, still warm from a street vendor, syrup slightly drippy. Not what you would call healthy, but oh – so – good!!

The second best way is when you get one from a packet, which you can luckily buy here in New Zealand. Just put it on top of your hot steaming cup of coffee or tea and wait for a minute or so. The steam of the coffee or tea will heat up the syrup, soften it and slightly heat the wafers as well. Then you bite.

Oh yes, definitely undeniably the ultimate biscuit! Do you have another favourite?

U

Tempting trio’s

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Trio’s or presenting things in threes always seem to look better. I read somewhere once it’s because 3 is really the first number where things are sort of being seen in a pattern, a plan. 1 is nothing, 2 is coincidence, and yes 3, well 3 is just perfect.

I often use threes. Three different toppings for my baked potatoes, three fresh figs with blue cheese as an entrée, three salads as part of a BBQ meal.

And today I made a trio pizza. Three different pizza toppings. The first one had roasted capsicum sauce, pieces of roasted capsicum, broccoli, fresh onion and cheddar. The second roasted garlic sauce, roasted pumpkin, mint, basil and boccocini. The third one to top it off had pesto sauce, roasted potato, leek and feta.

It was hard to say which one was the best. All three were equally tempting. Do you present things in threes?

T

Soup makes my winter

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Soup. Slow cooked, hot steaming soup on a wet wintery day, isn’t that just the best? Actually I don’t mind a chilled cucumber or tomato soup on a steaming hot summery day either, but as we’re moving towards winter here in New Zealand, the hot version is more on my mind. I really don’t like cold winters, it’s one of the reasons I moved away from the Netherlands. But comfort food like soup make the wintery days a lot easier to get through, and even something to look forward to!

I love using my slow cooker for this. Cut the carrots, onions, parsnip, cabbage, leek, garlic, potato the night before. In the morning before going to work, quickly brown the veggies, add water, spices, salt and pepper, and turn it on.

As soon as you walk up the driveway in the evening, the beautiful aroma welcomes you. Hmmm, with some fresh crusty homemade garlic bread. Oh yes, bring on the winter days!

S