Category Archives: Food and Drink

Greek (or Turkish) Kofta

When I lived in an independence training home, I learned to cook. There were a few dishes I could cook independently at the end. I will attempt to share these on my blog. Some I cooked from fresh ingredients, while with others, I used packaged foods. I have started to make an attempt at (blogging about!) healthy eating. I’m not likely to ever go all the way on an eating lifestyle, but I do try to at least educate myself about what I’m eating.

Kofta is a Greek or Turkish lamb mince recipe, although I’ve always used beef mince. When googling for recipes in English to find the English names of spices and such, I found that kofta can be served on pitas. I usually use a store-bought package of rice and spice and gravy mixtures and add tomatoes, zucchinis and bell peppers, and of course the minced meat. However, when making kofta with my husband, we discovered that there is peanut in one of the mixes, to which my husband is allergic. We decided to mix the spices ourselves. I can’t remember exactly which spices we used, so I looked up the ingredients of the Knorr mix, which I usually use, and removed what seemed to be unnecessary additives (or things that didn’t appeal to me and for which I was too lazy to look up the English words, LOL). This recipe contains the fresh spices, but you can of course buy a store-bought mixture too.

Prep time: 30 minutes.
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 to 3

Ingredients


  • 300 gram minced meat

  • Kofta spice mix:


    • Breadcrumbs

    • 1 shallot, very finely chopped

    • 1 garlic clove, crushed

    • 1 teasppon cumin

    • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  • Glaze mix:


    • Small can of tomato puree

    • 1 teaspoon cumin

    • 1 teaspoon thime

    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • 300 gram rice

  • 1 zucchini

  • 2 bell peppers

  • 400 gram (canned) tomatoes

Method


  • Slice the zucchini, bell peppers and tomatoes. If you bought canned tomatoes, here at least you can buy them diced.

  • Mix the minced meat and the spice mix. Mix until well combined, using your hands.

  • Divide the mince meat mixture into small portions and roll these into ball or sausage shapes.

  • Cook the rice for ten minutes.

  • Fry the meatballs or sausages until they’re ready. This in my experienece takes about 10-15 minutes, but may take longer if your meatballs/sausages are larger.

  • Add the zucchini and bell peppers. Cook for 5 minutes.

  • Add the tomatoes, glazing and 200 ml water. Cook until thick enough.


The Knorr package says you need to serve the kofta and the rice separately, but I actually love them combined.

Making Your Own Fruit Animals

When I was a child, I had a sbuscription to a Dutch audio magazine for blind children ages five to nine. The magazine was fun and educational at once, and usually had interviews in it, informative articles, as well as activities and recipes. It was here that I first learned about making a fruit hedgehog. A fruit hedgehog is made entirely of fruit, and is therefore healthy as well as being easy to make and delicious. You will need:


  • 1/2 cantaloupe or water melon

  • Lots of other fruit, whatever is available at the moment

  • 1 pear

  • Raisins or blueberries

  • Wooden skewers

Cut your chosen fruit into bite-sized portions. Put the 1/2 cantaloupe or water melon, flat side down, on a plate. This will be the hedgehog’s body. Stick fruit bites onto the skewers and stick the skewers into the melon. Cut the lower side off the pear and use the upper side to make the hedgehog’s head. Stick it into the melon using a skewer. Lastly, stick two raisins or blueberries into the pear to make eyes and one raisin or blueberry to make the nose. Use parts of your skewers to do this.

There are many variations to the fruit hedgehog. For example, instead of just fruit, you can combine fruit with cheese cubes. You can also make other animals from fruit. For example, here is how to make a fruit giraffe. For this, you will need:


  • 1 kiwifruit

  • Seedless grapes

  • 1 strawberry

  • 4 toothpicks and 1 longer skewer


The kiwifruit in this case is the body. Stick four toothpicks through one side of the kiwifruit and put two grapes on each toothpick. These are the legs. Use the longer skewer for the giraaffe’s neck, again sticking grapes onto it. Use the strawberry for the head.

Again, there are many variations to the fruit giraffe. For exaample, you can use blueberries instead of grapes for the legs and neck. You can also make the body out of a cantaloupe cut to shape. Kastly, try adding the giraffe’s typical spots. Use strawberry slices, raisins or blueberries for this.

I’m linking up with Mostly Homemade Monday. I hope my post qualifies. I apologize for no pictures. As you may’ve guessed, I’m blind, so I can’t really use pics.

Herbal Teas: My First Five Herbs

I promised already a while ago that I’d write a post on herbal teas. I bought a number of different herbs online and have been trying various blends. The herbs I’ve tried out so far are bladderwrack, raspberry leaf, lavender, chamomile and ginkgo biloba.

Bladderwrack has laxative properties and is therefore used for constipation. It is also recommended for weight loss, but I doubt its effectiveness for this, as laxatives don’t tend to work for that. When searching the web, actually looking for recipes to use bladderwrack in, I found some warnings about potential health risks. I only drink one cup every couple of days. I started by using the bladderwrack on its own, because I figured its salty taste would not go well with any other herb. Then, when I accidentally had some raspberry leaf left in my infuser, I liked the additional flavor. As I write this, I’m drinking bladderwrack tea with raspberry leaf and ginkgo biloba.

Raspberry leaf is well-known for its benefits on pregnant women, but can really be great for all women. It is high in magnesium, potassium, iron and B vitamins. It is claimed that this combination makes raspberry leaf good for the reproductive system. The store I bought my herbs at recommends raspberry leaf for cleansing the bloodstream and as an astringent. This means it is soothing and could help with diarrhea, nausea and such. Raspberry leaf is my favorite herb so far. Its taste is similar to regular black tea but smoother. It tastes well mixed with lavender, chamomile or as I just discovered bladderwrack.

Ginkgo biloba is another herb with quite a bland taste. It is said to be good for blood circulation and is useful for memory and thought disorders. When reading about ginkgo online, I found out that it interacts with many medications though. It tastes good mixed with lavender, chamomile or raspberry leaf.

Lavender was the most well-known herb I bought. I’ve used lavender oil as a calming scent in my essential oil diffuser for a long time, and wanted to see if it worked in a herbal tea too. Well, it did. Lavender has a spicy taste and it leaves a warm feeling down my body after I drink it. It is said to help soothe the respiratory tract and help against cough. Lavender is also said to have antidepressant properties. Due to its spicy taste, I do not recommend mixing it with other herbs which have a distinct taste, such as chamomile or bladderwrack. Instead, mix it with raspberry leaf or ginkgo biloba.

Lastly, chamomile. I had already tasted this several times before and didn’t like it then. On its own, I still don’t really like it, but mixed with ginkgo biloba or raspberry leaf, it’s quite nice. Chamomile is another calming herb, which helps with anxiety and sleep. I still need to try mixing it with lavender to gain optimal effectiveness.

Smoothies

For my birthday in 2012, I got a blender from my parents. I wanted one, because I wanted to make smoothies. Well, I did this a number of times during the summer (my birthday is in June) and then gave up. Until last Friday that is, when the idea popped into my head again. I bought some ingredients and on Saturday, made quite a delicious smoothie. Well, a nurse ended up doing most of the work, even the things I could do myself. Then yesterday, I made another smoothie myself. Both of these recipes are really easy. I noticed most people say prep time is only five minutes for smoothies, but I took a bit longer.

Banan-orange-kiwifruit smoothie

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 1 banana

  • 2 kiwi fruits

  • 1/2 orange

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup yoghurt


Throw all ingredients into the blender and blend till smooth.

Pear-kiwifruit smoothie with fresh mint

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 2 kiwi fruits

  • 2 pears

  • A bit of fresh mint (I used only 3 leaves)

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup yoghurt


Again, put everything into the blender and blend till smooth.

Being that I still have a lot of fresh mint left, I think I’m going to make tea out of this. Speaking of which, the idea of making my own herbal teas popped into my mind. I haven’t tried this yet, but when I have, will sure share a recipe.