PostHeaderIcon Pickled Onions

I planted onions in our small garden this year for the first time.  I was hoping to get nice large onions that I could chop up and freeze or use fresh in our meals, but that was not to be.  I do not know much about growing onions so it could just be my inexperience, but these these little onions in the picture below, would not get any bigger.  I read online that when the leaves fall to the ground and start turning brown they are ready to be harvested.  So instead of the nice large onions that I expected, I ended up with a couple of hand-fulls of small onions.  Well, that means only one thing.  Pickled onions!

When I googled “pickled onion recipe”, the first article that came up was this one from ezinearticles and it looked easy enough to try.  I mainly got a few ideas from there and then set out to try my own recipe.

I started by cleaning and trimming the onions.  I had to borrow the kids swimming goggles for this part (no really!)  One would think that such small onions would not be quite as strong as their larger cousins, but don’t be fooled, they are potent!


Once they were cleaned, I boiled about 2 pints of water and added 8 tablespoons of salt to it.  Ezinearticles suggest that you use pickling salts or  something without a flowing agent in it.  I used my regular table salt and the results were fine.  I let the water cool and once it was room temperature, the onions were placed into a large glass bowl, covered with plastic wrap and topped with a ceramic plate to weigh the onions down.   There they stayed for 24 hours.  Then, they got a quick cold water rinse and placed into mason jars.


Inside each jar I placed a bay leaf and a few coriander seeds, then topped it up with English malt vinegar.  In the process of making these I managed to drop a jar and lost all of my malt vinegar,  I had to us a concoction of red-wine vinegar and white vinegar in one of the jars.

I had watched a Youtube video on how to make a quick pickled onion and they put the onions in the refrigerator for three days and it was apparently done.  I figured that I would try this and put the red-wine pickles in the fridge.  Today, the kids and I tried them and they were very close to what I would call a pickled onion.  The center was still a little “raw” or untouched by the vinegar, but a few more days and it will be done.  It was also very tasty.


The two malt vinegar jars will stay out of the fridge for about a month before I will open them.  I am looking forward to trying them.

James will be home later and will get to taste the red-wine pickles so I will post again to say what he thought.

PostHeaderIcon Crunchy Granola Recipe

I found a great little cookbook at the library called More-with-Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre.  Simple recipes made with only the most basic ingredients, right up my alley.  There are about 15 recipes marked that I want to try before the book has to be returned to the library.  Today, I started making their Crunchy Granola recipe, only to find that I did not have half the ingredients and I had no desire to run to the store.   So, as always, I improvised and came up with my own granola.  The method for this recipe is different to the one that I have made in the past and honestly much easier.

Here is the recipe that I used today:



2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup crushed all bran cereal (put it in a bag, let the air out and then rush gently with your hands)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a sauce pan heat the following to a boil:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Once the honey mixture has boiled, pour it over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread onto a cookie sheet  and bake for about 20-30min at 325 ‘F.  You do not want it t brown too much, so keep an eye on it.
Allow to cool, then break into chunks and store in airtight container.


This recipe makes about 4-5 cups of Granola, but can easily be doubled.  I like to eat mine with homemade yogurt, but the kids eat it plain or with milk in the mornings.

PostHeaderIcon Corn Souffle

Corn souffle is part of our Sunday or weekend meal.  I normally make a roast of some kind and souffle has to be one of the sides.  It is easy (don’t let anyone tell you souffle has to be hard), does not cost much and taste wonderful.  This recipe is the very basic and still Yummy!


Corn Souffle Recipe
1 can creamed corn
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup milk

Whisk the 3 eggs together until it has small bubbles, about 1 minute with an electric mixer.


Add the flour, sugar and salt.  Mix for another minute.  Add the creamed corn.

Pour the mixture into a greased oven proof dish.  I used an 8x9x2.

Bake at 350 ‘F for 30-45minutes.  If you are not sure, insert a knife and if it comes out clean it is done.

Emily does not eat it (I think it has to do with the texture since she does not eat whipped foods), but the rest of us will gobble the whole thing up in one sitting.  Did I just admit that in public………?

PostHeaderIcon Snow-nuts

We woke up on Saturday morning with almost 4 inches of snow outside and all I could think about were DONUTS!  Or doughnuts for those South Africans who read the site.

Emily and James ran outside to start playing and building a snowman.  Alexia and I preferred to make Snow-nuts (snow-donuts) in the warm kitchen.

I found this recipe online and thought it looked easy enough to try.   Only now that I am typing this do I realise that I used water instead of milk.  I have no idea why, other than I miss read the recipe.  The recipe says that the donuts have to double in size at the final rising stage, mine did nothing, but it still came out really well.  As soon as they hit the hot oil they plumped up.  Once they were cooked, Alexia and I sprinkled powdered sugar on them and they were delicious.

Donuts Recipe

1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 beaten egg
1/4 cup butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
8 cups vegetable oil for frying

Place the milk and egg into the pan of your automatic bread machine.  Add the butter, flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in that order, with the yeast on top. Select the dough setting, and start the machine. If you do not have a machine you can still make it by mixing everything together and kneading for about 10 minutes.  Then let it rest for 40min and knock it down before starting the next stage.


When the dough cycle is finished, remove the dough to a floured work surface, and knead a few times to get the bubbles out. Cut the dough into 16 pieces, cover them with a damp cloth, and allow to rest for 20 minutes.  I made about 14 pieces and Alexia helped so they were all different sizes.


Stretch each ball out into a disk about 1/4 inch thick, and use a small cutter to cut a hole in the center.  We used a bottle top.  Let the donuts rise on the floured surface until doubled, 30 to 40 minutes.


Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  I have a deep fryer, but hate getting it out so I used a large pan filled about 1/4 inch full of oil and it worked well.  I do not have a kitchen thermometer that will go as high as 350 degrees, instead I just guessed and it all turned out fine. 


Gently place a few donuts at a time into the hot oil, and fry until they float to the top and turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip them over, and fry on the other side. Remove from the oil, and drain on paper towels.


Sprinkle with powdered sugar or top with frosting or a glaze.

These were great and I will make them again this coming weekend.  This time I plan to make a chocolate glaze to go on top.

PostHeaderIcon I’ll be back!

No really…watch this space…I’ll be back..

Feel free to watch this youtube video until you see a new post.

(Click on the picture)


PostHeaderIcon No new entries for a while


This image brings back memories of sitting in front of the television at about 5:55pm waiting for the clock on the test pattern to hit 6:00pm, and the broadcast to start.  I am sure the US had all day television long before we did in South Africa, so while this image is fresh in my mind, some of you may not know it at all.  The point is, this is what you will see for some time here.  Although I am still feeding my family and trying new things in the kitchen, I will not blog about it.  So for now, enjoy the recipes on the blog and maybe I will be back to continue at a later stage.

PostHeaderIcon Meal Plan – 12-18 October


Most weeks I plan our meals ahead of time by looking at what the grocery stores have on sale and what I get from the veggie co-op.  Tonight I sat down and prepared our meals for the week.  Here is a list as well as a few links to recipes that I have posted previously on the site.




Waffles with fresh strawberries


Crackers, cheese, raw carrots and 1/2 banana each

Lunch James and Melenie
Salad with Lettuce, Tomato, carrots, radishes and cheese

Veggie and beef soup with grilled cheese sandwiches (onion added for James and me)



Boiled egg on toast, fresh strawberries

Banana bread and raisins

Elbow macaroni with pasta sauce and shredded cheese, sliced apple


Soup and sandwiches

Soup, crackers and goats cheese

Lemon and herb grilled chicken, grilled broccoli, cauliflower and carrots



Blueberry oatmeal with honey

Banana or pear

Leftover chicken and grilled veggies


Chicken and mayo sandwiches

Grilled veggie rolled in tortilla with cheese

Pork chops with apple-sausage dressing and glazed carrots

Apple pie bread



Scrambled egg and salsa on toast

Apple pie bread

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fresh strawberries




Crockpot beef stew with ciabatta bread



Fruit smoothie, boiled egg and toast

Raw carrots and pretzels

Lunch Everyone
Leftover beef stew

Pizza, grilled veggies and fruit salad



Scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage patties on biscuits

Grilled pork loin, potato salad, green beans and salad



Steak and artichoke dip hors devours, fruit and salad

PostHeaderIcon Breakfast Sausage Patties

Before living in the South (of USA)  I had never heard of sausage patties for breakfast.  Sausages came in casings and was either cooked on the braai (coals from burning wood), fried in a pan along with fresh tomatoes and onion or simmered with sauerkraut and beer.  I never did meet a sausage without his little see-through jacket until I landed here.

We have a great selection of breakfast sausages here in South, some are hot and spicy, others have a milder flavor and are filled with herbs and you even get the sweeter sausages that have maple syrup in them.  Because of the kids I tend to buy the milder flavored sausage, Emily and Alexia love having sausage for breakfast, James will eat it any way I make it and along with eating it for breakfast I use it in my stuffing for pork chops or dressing.

One of our local grocery stores had a special on pork butt roast and this was the perfect time to try making my own.  Our last attempt at sausage was a success in one way, but James did not like the flavor of them.  Instead of following a recipe this time, I found a few examples online and used them all to come up with something that we would like.  It was a great hit.  James loved it, I think his words were something like; “yum, this is so good, how did you get it to taste so smokey?”  Don’t tell him or the kids that it has several herbs in it or none of them will eat it!

Breakfast Sausage Patties:

2 pounds pork butt, diced into small pieces
1/2 cup Bacon fat choped (I trimmed the fat from a packet of bacon I had in the fridge)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped Thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Nutmeg

Combine all the above ingredients well and feed it through your meat grinder.
(I used an old fashioned crank grinder and it worked great, as long as you put the blades in the right way around, lessons learned from our last attempt)

Refrigerate the ground sausage for an hour or longer then form the breakfast patties.  The recipe makes about 20 small patties.  You can either fry them up immediately or freeze them for later use.

I froze 12 of them, we had 4 for brunch and I have 2 more in the fridge waiting to be used to stuff pork chops or turned into dressing.

I am off to the grocery store to buy another pork butt to make more sausage for the freezer.  I was also thinking of  changing the recipe up a bit and making sausage links for a sausage and mushroom dish that I make.  This is another grocery item that I no longer need to buy,  I get to control what goes into the sausage, no preservatives, no fillers, just the good stuff.

PostHeaderIcon Sandwich Bread

Years ago I found this recipe on the back of a King Arthur bag of flour and I have made it ever since.  This is one loaf of bread that always comes out really well.  The only problem with it is that half the loaf gets eaten within minutes of it coming out of the oven!  I have made it twice this week and plan to make a third loaf on Sunday.  Between the Ciabatta bread and this loaf I really have no reason to buy bread any longer.  Here is the link to the recipe and a few pictures of the bread baked in my kitchen.

King Arthur Flour – Classic Sandwich Bread Recipe


For this recipe I used 2 cups of All purpose flour and 1 cup Whole wheat flour.  My second loaf was half white and half wheat and it came out just as great.


After an hour of rising the dough goes from looking like this to ….




After another hour of rising.


The loaf.  Isn’t it pretty!!  I LOVE bread, the smell, the taste just the process is magical…. well scientific actually, but it feels like magic.


No words…….aaahhhhh

PostHeaderIcon No-knead ciabatta bread


My mom and sister have been visiting us for a month from South Africa and although we did a lot of cooking, eating and generally having a great time around the table, there was no time for blogging about it.  Life is back to normal now and I am ready to try a few new things.

Last night while looking through a copy of Cooking light magazine (thanks to my 2 free trial issues) I saw a delicious looking sandwich made with ciabatta bread and roasted veggies.  I figured since I have not had much luck with my sour dough bread and ciabatta bread is already flatter than normal sandwich breads it would be a good intro back to bread making.  I came across this blog called Foodwishes and it a has a great little video attached that shows you exactly how to make a no-knead ciabatta bread.   The blog has everything that you need to make this bread and the video is a hoot so I did not take many pictures of the process, just a few of the final bread and what I ate for lunch today.


This was a very easy bread to make and the taste is fantastic! The crust is hard and chewy and the inside is soft with loads of air bubbles.   Emily (my soft white bread lover) gobbled it up and asked for more.  I ate it for lunch with last nights left overs.  A tomato, basil and balsamic vinegar salad on one slice and left over pork, and roasted veggies on another.  The kids ate theirs with a generous amount of homemade butter.


The Recipe:
4 cups bread flour or 3 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup wheat flour (you can use all purpose flour)
1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the ingredients using a spatula until you have a sticky wet dough.  Depending on the temperature of your house let it rise between 12-18 hours.  I left mine for 18 hours in a very hot house and it did not over-rise, so the dough is very forgiving.

After the 18 hours, punch the dough down using the spatula and transfer to plastic wrap or as I did parchment paper.

The only thing that I did differently, (it made things a little easier) is using parchment paper.  Instead of shaping the dough on plastic wrap and later transferring it to the baking sheet as suggested in the video, I shaped it on parchment paper.  Lightly oil the paper with olive oil and sprinkle with corn meal.  Shape the loaf, punching out the air bubbles as you move and shape the dough.

Let the shaped dough rise for 2 more hours on the parchment paper.  Then pull the parchment paper onto your baking sheet, I used a pizza stone, but you can use any cookie sheet.

Bake at 425 ‘F for 35-45 min – mine took about 40 min to get that nice brown color.

This bread will be great with soups and stews during the cold months and a great building block for a rustic hardy sandwich.  You have got to try it, it is so easy!