Thursday, 30 July 2015

Chicken and mushroom quiche


There's nothing better than a delicious homemade quiche and this one couldn't be simpler.

Ingredients:
Roll of puff pastry
6 chicken breasts
250g mushrooms
125ml milk
2 cups Greek yoghurt
4 eggs
150g cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Roll out the puff pastry to the size of the dish and press into the dish and along the sides. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. You can either make one large quiche or cut your pastry into smaller rounds and divide the filling to make mini quiches.
3. In a pan, sauté the chicken until golden and cooked through.
4. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the chopped onion. Fry until soft, then add the mushrooms. Sauté gently for five minutes.
5. Mix together the eggs, milk, yoghurt, parsley and season.
6. Spoon the onions, mushrooms and chicken into the pastry base, sprinkle with cheese and then slowly add the egg mixture.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the quiche is golden brown and slightly firm to the touch.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The benefits of giving up smoking


We all know that giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do for good health, but what happens to your body when you stop smoking?

Heart: Nicotine raises your heart rate significantly but it returns to normal soon after quitting.


Lungs: The chemicals and tar contained in cigarettes cause a great deal of damage to your lungs and respiratory passages, and reduce the amount of oxygen channelled to your blood. Giving up smoking quickly improves lung function. It also reduces your risk of contracting respiratory diseases such as chest infections, bronchitis and pneumonia.

Sleep: If you are a serious addict you may well wake up in the middle of the night craving a cigarette. Once you give up smoking the cravings will soon pass leaving you free to get a good night's sleep. Coughing, which is another ugly by-product of smoking, will also be alleviated once you kick the habit. The loss of this irritation will also free you up to sleep undisturbed at night.

Appetite: Smoking suppresses appetite and many smokers are reluctant to kick the habit for fear of spiralling weight gain. But although your appetite may be raised for a few months after quitting it will eventually return to normal and if you watch what you eat you will not gain weight.

Sense of smell and taste: Smoking can mask your senses and most non-smokers report a heightened sense of taste and smell after giving up smoking. The truth is your senses are not heightened at all, but you are able to taste and smell like a non-smoker!

Skin: Smoking reduces blood flow to the skin and it may well leave your face looking grey and unhealthy. Your complexion will soon improve and you will have a healthy glow in no time at all.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Boerewors and bean soup


Give your soup some South African flavour by adding boerewors. Serve with warm, buttered bread.

Ingredients:
500g boerewors
2 tsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
2 carrots grated
2 potatoes, grated
1 tin of red kidney beans
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
250ml vegetable or chicken stock
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp of dried oregano

Method:
1. In a large saucepan brown the onion in the oil and add the garlic.
2. When the onion has coloured a little add the chopped celery, grated carrots and potatoes.
3. Add the beans with their liquid and the tinned tomato.
4. Add the vegetable or chicken stock.
5. Stir all together. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes while you cook the boerewors.
6. Heat the oil and brown the boerewors.
7. Add a couple of spoons of water to cover the base of the pan and close the lid, turning the heat to medium-low.
8. Let the boerewors simmer for a few minutes, then open the lid and turn the wors.
9. Add more water if it is sticking, replace the lid and cook for a few more minutes.
10. Cut the wors up into bite-sized pieces and add it to the soup mixture. Add the dried thyme and oregano herbs. Allow to cook on a slow heat for further 10 minutes.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Car safety


More children are killed as passengers in cars in road accidents than from any other type of injury. So make sure your children are always safe and buckled up in an appropriate car seat.

• Follow the car seat manufacturer's instructions and your own vehicle owner's instruction manual to make sure the seat is correctly installed.
• The back seat is always the safest place for an infant or small child.
• Never use a rear-facing car seat on the front seat of a car that has an active airbag.
• Use the correct harness slots for the size of the child, make sure the belts are snug but not too tight and make sure the straps lie flat and are not twisted.
• Keep your child in a car seat for as long as possible. At the age of eight to 10 years they should be ready to buckle up in a standard car seat belt.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Beef tagine


A hearty beef tagine that will keep your family's tummies full and warm.

Ingredients:
600g stewing beef
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
A small bunch of fresh coriander
400g can of chickpeas
400g can chopped tomatoes
800ml vegetable stock
1 small butternut (about 800g), deseeded and cut into 5cm chunks
2 tbsp slivered almonds – toasted

Spice rub:
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp Ras El Hanout Spice mix*
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp sweet paprika

Method:
1. Mix all the spice rub ingredients and beef in a bowl and give it a good massage. Cover and chill in the fridge for a few hours, or even better, overnight.
2. To start cooking, heat olive oil in a tagine or casserole and sauté the meat on medium heat for five minutes. Add onion and coriander stalks and fry for another five minutes.
3. Add in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in 400ml of stock. Bring to boil, and reduce to a simmer for one hour.
4. After an hour, add your squash, and the rest of the stock. Gently stir and let it simmer for another hour. Keep a eye on it and add some water if it looks too dry.
5. Once the time is up, check the consistency. If it seems watery, simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Season with a pinch or two of salt.
6. Garnish with coriander leaves and toasted almonds, and serve with couscous.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Get to grips with your stomach ache


Was it a slightly dodgy chicken sandwich or is there another reason your stomach is protesting?

Gastroenteritis
is characterised by stomach ache coupled with diarrhoea and vomiting. Drink plenty of fluids and take to your bed. Consult your doctor if the diarrhoea persists for longer than 24 hours, or 12 hours in the case of small children.


Eating too much, eating too quickly, or wolfing down too much rich food and drink may cause indigestion. Prevent indigestion by eating slowly and not overloading your stomach.

Constipation can cause stomach ache too. Drinking lots of fluids and upping your intake of fresh fruit and veggies, whole-wheat breads and pastas – instead of their refined white counterparts – and brown rice can prevent this. Also make sure you're getting enough exercise and don't put off going to the loo when you feel the need.

Flatulence, belching and abdominal bloating may be caused by excess wind in the stomach and intestine. It is caused by swallowing too much air when eating or drinking, and may also be the result of normal interaction of digestive juices and the fermentation of foods such as beans and cabbage in the intestinal tract.

There are a number of other serious causes of stomach ache that include cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones, diverticular disease and gastritis. If your symptoms persist, do not hesitate to contact a doctor.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Lemon bars


These delicious lemon bars are a must-have for any afternoon tea or birthday celebration.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

250g unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For the filling:

6 large eggs at room temperature
3 cups white sugar
2 tbsp grated lemon zest (4 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
Icing sugar, for dusting

Method:
1. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar in the bowl with an electric mixer.
2. Add the flour and salt and mix on low until just combined.
3. Place the dough on a well-floured surface and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a baking sheet, building up an edge of just over a centimetre on all sides. Put the baking sheet into the fridge for 20 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
5. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
6. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set.
7. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into squares and dust with icing sugar.
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