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

Red Rice, Wild rice, Brown Rice, White Rice

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Rice is a staple I have always used. In the Netherlands rice is as common as potatoes, due to the many great influences of good and fairly bad historical ties that Holland used to be involved in. Indonesia, Surinam, the Antilles, and later through more noble influences like the intake of refugees from places like Ethiopia, Turkey and Morocco.So I grew up enjoying and learning to make dishes like nasi goreng (indonesian fried rice) and nasi trafasi ( the surinam version with prawn paste and tamarind)

In New Zealand lucky for me, due to the large Asian and Pacific influence, rice is also a very well integrated staple. Here I discover new varieties, like Red Cargo Rice, black rice and white glutinous rice. It’s great to try and find the best recipe for the different types. Apparently there are 40,000 rice varieties!

I had a mixture of jasmine, red and black rice with freshly grilled salmon, spinach, cucumber and a light yogurt lemon vinaigrette the other day. It looked cool, and tasted even better. What’s your favourite rice variety?

  R