And A Life In Between


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Taste of the Amalfi Coast – homemade Limoncello liqueur

  In a post from about a year go, titled “Memento“, I wrote a little story about one of my most treasured ornaments brought back from holiday.  It’s these two little ceramic glasses from Italy’s Amalfi Coast.  However, as much as the glasses are a memento in […]

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Roasted beef sirloin with bone marrow gravy

Roasted beef sirloin with bone marrow gravy

A few weeks ago it was my work’s annual staff conference. All the staff across the country get together for a weekend of presentations, team building (and definitely some partying)! Safe to say that come Sunday afternoon when the conference ends, you are totally exhausted and […]

Chicken and courgette noodles with cottage cheese and basil puree

Chicken and courgette noodles with cottage cheese and basil puree

So, what is the most difficult thing about having a food blog?  That you just want to eat all the time, of course!  Not being blessed with the best of genes (sorry, Mom!) it means that I always have to watch what I eat.  So yes, from time to time it can be a challenge if you want to make all kinds of deliciousness!  On the other hand though it provides the perfect opportunity to be a bit creative in the kitchen, so that’s what we’ve done this week.

Here in South Africa, the banting (or low-carb high fat) way of eating is all the rage.  The major retailers have also caught on to this and the shops are full with all kinds of low-carb goodies.  Anything from pumpkin noodles, cauliflower pizza bases to cauliflower rice is now available on the shelf and makes it very easy to make a healthy meal, especially after a long day at the office.

In the interest of shedding some holiday weight I have also embraced the low carb way of life and I’m trying hard to cut down on carbs and sugar.  So far it has actually gone quite well and I am not experiencing many cravings.  However, the one thing I really do miss is my pasta!  After witnessing my suffering for a few nights, hubby whipped up something just as yummy the other evening.  Low in carbs and tasting just as good as the real deal, this chicken and courgette noodle dish was delicious and perfect to satisfy that pasta craving.  The basil puree gives it a real kick, while the cottage cheese helps give it that yummy pasta goodness.

Now there is no excuse to give in to those cravings!

Chicken and courgette noodles with cottage cheese and basil puree

(serves 2)

Ingredients:

10 rosa tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Herbes de Provence (a mix of either origanum, basil, rosemary, marjoram will do fine)

salt & black pepper

For the basil puree:

20g basil

pinch of salt

1/4 cup olive oil

For the chicken:

2 chicken breasts

salt & black pepper

2 tsp Herbes de Provence

2 tbsp olive oil

For the courgette noodles:

340g courgette noodles

2 tbsp olive oil

salt & black pepper

125g chunky cottage cheese, plain

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C
  2. Cut the rosa tomatoes in half and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle with olive oil, herbs, salt and black pepper and mix well.
  3. Place on a roasting tray and put in the oven to roast for 40 minutes.
  4. For the basil puree, blend basil, salt and olive oil with a stick blender under a smooth consistency is reached.
  5. Take the chicken breasts, sprinkle over the salt, black pepper and herbs, ensuring chicken is coated well.
  6. Add 2 tbsp oil to the frying pan and fry the chicken for 3 minutes on each side, until the breasts are golden on the outside.
  7. Take off the heat and place in the oven at 160°C for another 5 minutes to cook through.
  8. Heat up a separate pan and add 2 tbsp olive oil.  Next, add the courgette noodles.  Give it a quick fry until the noodles are done, taking care not to over do it.  (There must still be a bit of a crunch to the noodles.)
  9. To serve, toss the noodles the cottage cheese and place on the bottom of the plate.
  10. Scatter the roasted tomatoes over the noodles.
  11. Slice the chicken thinly and place on top.  Finish off with a generous drizzle of the basil puree.

Who says healthy food should be difficult or boring?!

Chicken and courgette noodles with cottage cheese and basil puree

2017-02-22
: 2

By:

Ingredients
  • 10 rosa tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Herbes de Provence (a mix of either origanum, basil, rosemary, marjoram will do fine)
  • salt & black pepper
  • For the basil puree:
  • 20g basil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • For the chicken:
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • salt & black pepper
  • 2 tsp Herbes de Provence
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • For the courgette noodles:
  • 340g courgette noodles
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & black pepper
  • 125g chunky cottage cheese, plain
Directions
  • Step 1 Pre-heat the oven to 160°C
  • Step 2 Cut the rosa tomatoes in half and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with olive oil, herbs, salt and black pepper and mix well.
  • Step 3 Place on a roasting tray and put in the oven to roast for 40 minutes.
  • Step 4 For the basil puree, blend basil, salt and olive oil with a stick blender under a smooth consistency is reached.
  • Step 5 Take the chicken breasts, sprinkle over the salt, black pepper and herbs, ensuring chicken is coated well.
  • Step 6 Add 2 tbsp oil to the frying pan and fry the chicken for 3 minutes on each side, until the breasts are golden on the outside.
  • Step 7 Take off the heat and place in the oven at 160°C for another 5 minutes to cook through.
  • Step 8 Heat up a separate pan and add 2 tbsp olive oil. Next, add the courgette noodles. Give it a quick fry until the noodles are done, taking care not to over do it. (There must still be a bit of a crunch to the noodles.)
  • Step 9 To serve, toss the noodles the cottage cheese and place on the bottom of the plate.
  • Step 10 Scatter the roasted tomatoes over the noodles.
  • Step 11 Slice the chicken thinly and place on top. Finish off with a generous drizzle of the basil puree.
Love is in the air on this Valentine’s day… 5 memorable moments

Love is in the air on this Valentine’s day… 5 memorable moments

  With Valentine’s Day around the corner, love is indeed in the air!  Hubby and I never make a big fuss of Valentine’s Day; love should after all be celebrated every day.  (However, you know us by now – there should be no doubt that […]

Chargrilled beef with herb dressing and leeks

Chargrilled beef with herb dressing and leeks

Follow my blog with Bloglovin There is something to be said about ‘pure’ food.  I’m not talking organic food per say, but rather about food where the food speaks for itself.  Where the ingredients are shining in their own right. Don’t get me wrong! What is […]

Provençale inspired chicken breasts with roasted tomatoes

Provence_Roussillon
A view over the countryside from Roussillon
Driving in Provence, France
Hubby has his eyes on the road!

Our first trip to Provence was in 2015.  What an adventure it was!  We hired a little car and drove to the villages close to Avignon.  Driving on the right-hand side of the road was quite nerve wrecking, but hubby quickly got the hang of it. There were definitely a few hairy moments, like when we clearly misunderstood the GPS and found ourselves driving down this impossibly narrow little road, overgrown with bushes.  The bewildered, wide eyed stare of an elderly gentleman on his bicycle made us wonder if that road was even meant for a car!  We loved driving through the countryside, with the beautiful hilltop villages all around.  And we learnt to park like the French.  Which is anywhere where the car can fit, really!

Gordes, France
The town of Gordes, perched on a hilltop

But no one comes to Provence only for its beauty.  They most definitely come for the food too.  Think garlic, onions, tomatoes, olives, aubergines – think flavours of sunshine! And then there are the wonderfully aromatic “Herbes de Provence”.  It is typically a mixture of dried herbs which can include rosemary, oregano, marjoram and thyme.  It’s used in just about any dish; anything from meat to fish and even vegetables.  I just love the smell.  For me it’s the smell of Provence.  The tourist shops sells beautifully packaged little bags, but you have to shop carefully – if it just smells like dust, it probably is!  Of course, we did come home with a few bags… and a few grinders!  (It even inspired our own herb garden, so that we can grow and dry our own herbs, but that’s a story for another day!)

Herbes de Provence
Our stash of Herbes de Provence and the necessary grinder!
Fontvieille
A beautiful small town in Provence, Fontvieille

This dish is one of our favourite ways to celebrate the taste of Provence.  It is easy to make and the flavours really pack a punch; especially the combination of roasted tomatoes, olives and anchovies.  With the weekend coming up, it is a great little lunch to make in no time at all.  Go on, try it!

Provençale inspired chicken breasts with roasted tomatoes

(serves 2)

Ingredients:

For the chicken and marinade

2 chicken breasts

200ml olive oil

1 tbsp rosemary, chopped

1 tbsp thyme, chopped

6 basil leaves, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

pinch of salt

pinch of ground black pepper

1 lemon, juice and zest only

For the roasted tomatoes

4 tomatoes, cut into quarters

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp thyme

75ml olive oil

pinch of salt

pinch of ground black pepper

1 tsp sugar

For the salad

10 basil leaves

1 tbsp capers

20g black olives, pitted

6 anchovies, chopped

100g rocket

10ml balsamic vinegar

Method:

  1. First, make the marinade.  Mix the olive oil, rosemary, thyme, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice and lemon zest in a bowl.
  2. Pour about a quarter of the marinade into a separate jug.  This will be used to dress the salad at the end.
  3. Take the chicken breasts and wrap each one loosely in clingfilm.  Lightly smack each chicken breast so that it flattens slightly and are even.
  4. Rub the marinade all over the chicken.  Leave in the fridge to marinade for an hour.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  6. Take the tomatoes and cut them into quarters.
  7. Mix the garlic, thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar together.  Cover the tomatoes thoroughly and place on a baking tray.
  8. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes at 160°C
  9. Heat a griddle pan and grill the chicken breasts on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly charred and cooked through.
  10. For the salad, mix the basil, capers, olives, anchovies and rocket with the marinade set aside earlier.
  11. To dish up, place the chicken on a plate, followed by the roasted tomatoes.  Top with the salad.
  12. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar around the plate.

Provencale inspired chicken breasts with roasted tomoatoes

2017-02-02
: 2

By:

Ingredients
  • For the chicken and marinade
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme, chopped
  • 6 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest only
  • For the roasted tomatoes
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 75ml olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • For the salad
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 20g black olives, pitted
  • 6 anchovies, chopped
  • 100g rocket
  • 10ml balsamic vinegar
Directions
  • Step 1 First, make the marinade. Mix the olive oil, rosemary, thyme, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice and lemon zest in a bowl.
  • Step 2 Pour about a quarter of the marinade into a separate jug. This will be used to dress the salad at the end.
  • Step 3 Take the chicken breasts and wrap each one loosely in clingfilm. Lightly smack each chicken breast so that it flattens slightly and are even.
  • Step 4 Rub the marinade all over the chicken. Leave in the fridge to marinade for an hour.
  • Step 5 Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  • Step 6 Take the tomatoes and cut them into quarters.
  • Step 7 Mix the garlic, thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar together. Cover the tomatoes thoroughly and place on a baking tray.
  • Step 8 Roast in the oven for 40 minutes at 160°C
  • Step 9 Heat a griddle pan and grill the chicken breasts on each side for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly charred and cooked through.
  • Step 10 For the salad, mix the basil, capers, olives, anchovies and rocket with the marinade set aside earlier.
  • Step 11 To dish up, place the chicken on a plate, followed by the roasted tomatoes. Top with the salad.
  • Step 12 Finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar around the plate.
WorkFoodHome is growing

WorkFoodHome is growing

  In my inaugural post for 2017 I promised that this year WorkFoodHome would really showcase the things I am passionate about; more recipes, travel, photography – and hubby of course!  I am therefore very proud to share WorkFoodHome’s brand new look with you all […]

Sundried tomato and anchovy breadsticks

Sundried tomato and anchovy breadsticks

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I’m baaaaaaaaaaack!

I’m baaaaaaaaaaack!

img_2523-copyWow, I can’t believe that it has been over four months since my last post!  As the saying goes – time flies when you’re having fun – but for me the past year was more a case of time that flew even though I was not having fun.

2016 was a tough year for me; probably one of the toughest yet.  It was professionally challenging more than anything else, but unfortunately I let that spill over into (and to a large extent consume) my personal life and it really had a negative impact on me.  I felt despondent, emotionally drained, not good enough, angry, sad, tired and sorry for myself.  And there was no way I could hide all of that in my writing.  So I stopped.  And I didn’t want to start again until I was sure that I was ready to be the real me again.

‘And now, what’s changed?’, I hear you ask.

Well, not a whole lot.  In reality, only one thing really.  Me.  My outlook on life.  My mindset.  And I’m back!

With the help of the love of my life, a.k.a my amazing husband and my friends (a special mention to the CoreCore team and my friend who had to come to the work’s kitchen with tissues on more than one occasion!), I’ve found my stride again.  I am so grateful to each and everyone one of you for putting up with my moods, my silences, my sarcastic comments, my tears, my self-doubt.  Never judging, always supporting and encouraging, and just being there for me.  I would not have made it through 2016 without you!

So there was no big epiphany.  Just a gradual realization (and acceptance) of what I already knew deep down inside.  That no one could do anything about the way I was feeling or the way I was reacting to what was happening to me, but myself.  I saw one of those motivational posters that read:  “There comes a point in your life when you realize that turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because there’s so much more to the book that the page you were stuck on.”  I was holding on to all the negative feelings for so long because it was just easier to do so than figuring out how to move forward.  So slowly I worked through the things I had going on in my head until I came to a point where I was finally ready to admit that only I could change the way I was feeling.  And yes, while the world around me is still pretty much the same, I now remember that I have control over how I react to those things that upset me and that just ignoring how I feel about it won’t make it go away either.  It’s like the old saying of not being able to fill a cup that is already full…  And going forward I will always make sure that there is always room in my cup for something more!

And what better way to celebrate than getting back to writing!

If I look back at my first blog post in December last year, I am so proud of having started WorkFoodHome!  I remember how scared I was when I pressed “publish” that first time!  (To be honest, most of my friends and family still don’t know that I have a blog, but that’s about to change! Deep breaths, deep breaths!)

So, in 2107 you can look forward WorkFoodHome really showcasing the things I am passionate about – more recipes, more travel stories and more beautiful photography – all with hubby by my side!

Here is to 2017 being filled with joie de vivre!

On weekend getaways… and pushing ‘reset’…

On weekend getaways… and pushing ‘reset’…

My blog has been a bit quiet lately – but I have had a very good excuse!  It’s been almost a year since I’ve had some proper leave from work;  I’m not just talking of a day here or there – but rather about proper […]


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