Another Friday, another Fave Five. This meme, hosted by Susanne at Living to tell the Story is something I look forward to each week. Knowing that I’m going to be sharing my favorite moments makes me enjoy them even more intense. This week was just an ordinary week, nothing big. No visits, no photo walks, no meetings with friends or family, no big purchases. But that does not mean it was a dull or a boring week. Not in the least …
This week was all about HOME SWEET HOME …
1. Waking up to a gorgeous pink sunrise. Keeping busy all day with whatever it is that needs to be done around the house, and just enjoy doing it. Finish the last bit of ironing in front of the television, watching a new cooking program.
I don’t watch much television, but I’m a huge fan of cooking programs. In this new program two three Michelin starred chefs (numbers 26 and 29 of the world’s top 50 chefs!!!!) – I’m very proud to be Belgian, thank you! - are looking for the amateur cook of the year. It’s based on the Master Chef concept. This week they were separating the wheat from the chaff, and some of the candidates were absolutely hilarious. To serve top chef Peter Goossens peas out of a tin? Or mussels that smelled nasty? In a cooking challenge? I mean really!!
They should have called the new program” So you think you can cook?” ROFL!!
2. This week I challenged myself to watch my budget a little in the kitchen. I used some leftovers and made a lovely pasta dish with it. And I had some fish stock left in the fridge to make the sauce. It made a delicious meal. And then yesterday when I went shopping I noticed that two pieces of chicken breast filet cost as much as an entire chicken!! That’s ridiculous!! So I bought two chickens, I filleted them myself, packed the pieces separately and put them in the freezer. I cooked the other one and the extra wings and bones made my chicken stock extra tasty. With that stock I made chicken noodle soup, and a lovely ragout with a velvety white sauce with mushrooms.
I know we can eat at least twice from that, I’ll just put the rest in the freezer and have a delicious home cooked meal stashed away for one of those days when I have no time to cook!
And then there were the stuffed tomatoes …
3. The stuffed tomatoes. I’m giving you the recipe.
I emptied the tomatoes, and used the pulp to make the sauce. I chopped some fresh thyme, flat leaved parsley and oregano and a small shallot. I used half of the herbs in the meat mixture, and the other half to make the tomato sauce. I mixed the minced pork with an egg, pepper salt and the herbs and some breadcrumbs , and stuffed the tomatoes with them. A little olive oil drizzle on them and put them in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, I think. I’m not sure, I did not really pay much attention. LOL!( You should test it with a knitting needle, if the needle is warm, they’re cooked )
To make the sauce, heat some olive oil in a pan, add the herbs, let it cook for a little while before you add the tomato pulp and a little bit of water. You can add some white wine if you have some. Let it simmer under a closed lid, and reduce a little at the last minute before serving if necessary. I added just a pinch of dark brown rock sugar to remove the tartness. I think the caramelized flavor of brown sugar works better with tomatoes than plain white sugar.
4. Another little tip from this blissfully domestic housewife! Ahem. Vinegar!
I use vinegar all the time. I need it to make my own mayonnaise and yesterday I made tarragon vinegar with some of the harvest from my herb garden. I washed and dried a couple of sprigs, put them in a bottle and filled it with plain vinegar. Put a cork on it and let it rest a couple of weeks. It’s perfect for dressings and as a base for a béarnaise sauce. I chopped the rest of the tarragon and put it in the freezer.
But there is a lot more I use vinegar for. It’s perfect to clean your pots and pans when you have burnt something ( yes, that does happen to me too!) I let it soak for a while with vinegar, and I can clean it without effort! And then when I cleaned the windows yesterday, I used some on my sponge to remove some very nasty stains that would not go away. They’re spotless now! It costs nothing and it’s probably a lot more eco friendly than all the other cleaning products on the market.
5. My downstairs neighbor who is vacationing in Greece at the moment gave me four of her hanging baskets. By the time she gets back they would have withered and she figured it would be a shame to throw them away. She gave them to me so I can enjoy their last blooms. In return, I promised to keep an eye on her garden and water the plants when necessary. I enjoyed every ray of sunshine this week. There have been a couple of good days in between some rainy and windy ones, and I used the sunny hours to be outside as much as possible. I cleaned the other half of the patio, oiled the table, worked on my lace outside and had fun watching all the birds feasting on the feeders. And of course, I had my camera within reach at all times…
So there, another wonderful week in words and pictures …
Look for more Fave Five posts at Susanne’s Living to tell the Story.