This month’s Universal Yums box featured typical Christmas snacks from around the world. It was a mixed bag. Some stuff was delicious. Other bits were… interesting… Read more…
This month The O’s tasted snacks from Turkey!
It was my birthday earlier this month and one of the best gifts I got was a care package from my friend, J, who lives in New Zealand. J and I have been friends for over 10 years and initially met when we both used to blog on Windows Live Spaces (yes, that was a thing). We hit it off so much that we took trips to visit each other (she was living in Australia at the time) and even ended up working together for a year.
J has gotten on board with my love of eating on camera so she sent me chocolate from New Zealand to try, along with a new pin, which is my latest obsession. You can check out J’s current blog here. And you can see what I thought of the Kiwi chocolate below. Read more…
I have been having such a fun time sharing my stories and posts of trying food from around the world that some of my friends have started joining in and helping me get my hands on new flavours.
I met Y, through Instagram when we both did a challenge to post a selfie every day for 100 days. Since then we have chatted regularly through Instagram and gotten to know each other through our stories and posts. Y lives in Tel Aviv in Israel and is a computer science student. She was recently kind enough to send me some Israeli snacks, which I have documented tasting below. I also sent her some British things which I can’t wait to see her reaction to.
This is what I tasted. Read more…
I don’t get to cook that much these days. When I get home from work I spend time with Little O and then bath and get him to bed. It makes sense for Mr O to cook while I am doing bed time so we don’t end up eating really late. Every now and then though, I sneak in a recipe and this one is a new favourite. It’s perfect for cold winter nights, doesn’t take very long to make at all and you can feel good about eating it as it’s full of veg. Read more…
In October Mr O and I tasted snacks from… Belgium! Normally what makes the Universal Yums boxes really exciting is that we get to taste stuff that we have never tasted before or possible even heard of. Even with the South Korean box that we didn’t really like there was a weirdness factor that made it cool.
Unfortunately this is kind of where the Belgian box fell down. it wasn’t that the snacks weren’t nice. It was more that Belgium is maybe a little bit close to home. There was nothing in the box that I hadn’t tasted or seen before, especially since I have quite often traveled to Belgium for work. It just didn’t pack a flavour punch and most of what we tasted was very sweet. Anyway, this is what we had. Read more…
Mr O and I have just finished tasting our fourth box of International snacks from Universal Yums. This time we had food from Pakistan and had to share quite a lot of it with Little O, who is ever more fascinated by what we are eating. It was a very successful box. We liked almost everything in it. I had a nightmare uploading videos to WordPress and I really don’t know why. So unfortunately there aren’t videos for everything. Read more…
This month Mr O and I tasted snacks from Colombia in our Universal Yums box. Neither of us were particularly keen on the South Korea box so the Colombia box was a really welcome surprise. There wasn’t a single thing in it that we didn’t like, in fact there were several things we absolutely loved. I think we need to go on a food tour of Colombia! As always, pictures and videos are from my Instagram stories, so the quality might not be perfect. Also unfortunately no videos for two of the crisp flavours because WordPress refuses to upload them. Read more…
I received our latest Universal Yums box before we went on holiday but with all the moving we didn’t have a chance to taste anything in it. This time we were treated to snacks from South Korea and the flavours were quite strange. While the Mexican box was bursting with really powerful flavours everything in this box seemed muted and a bit synthetic, which was kind of disappointing. Read more…
These days it seems there is a subscription box for almost everything. It all started with beauty samples (and I will admit I briefly got in on that) and then expanded out further and further to products for pets, fitness, children and everything in between. Mr O even gets vinyl from unsigned bands and razor blades. He actually contemplated getting a sock one but seriously, who needs that many socks.
I used to do loads of cooking but since we had Little O most of the food preparation in our household falls to Mr O as I tend to be trying to wrangle the little fella into bed at prime dinner making time. I decided I was definitely going to make at least one meal this week, even if it was a quick one. Enter this easy salad. Of course just as I finished making it Little O woke up and refused to go to bed for another two hours so I didn’t get to eat any until 10pm but it I enjoyed it none the less.
When I was a child growing up my mum always made our birthday cakes. She’s extremely creative and they were really elaborate affairs. There were trains, tractors, princesses, umbrellas, monsters… my brother even had one based on the band U2. I am nowhere near as skilled or patient as my mum is but I really wanted to make Little O’s birthday cake. With some help from Pinterest and a recipe from my mum that I adapted, I think I pulled off something passable that pretty much anyone with a couple of hours of spare time could manage. The sponge cake method used here is an oldie but a goodie and makes a really light fluffy cake.
I have made loads of brownies in my life and my go to recipe is always Hummingbird Bakery, but there isn’t always time for all the melting and the long cook time especially when trying to bake around a small human. Plus with all that high content cocoa dark chocolate, they’re really expensive to make. This recipe is quick, easy and a lot cheaper and they are sooo good and sooo gooey. I am definitely making these my new everyday brownies. (Disclaimer: I don’t eat brownies every day and I am not suggesting that you do either…)
I am not a fan of bananas and never have been but as I have gotten older I have started to enjoy banana flavoured things as well as things with bananas in them. Mr O hates bananas to the point of being almost phobic of them but he’s very conscious of passing on his food preferences to Little O, so recently he decided he’d like to try something with a little banana in it and requested a banoffee pie. This combo of caramel, banana and cream is a British favourite and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately Mr O’s verdict was that he could still taste the bananas and it wasn’t for him. Back to the drawing board…
Being back at work means a willing audience to try out my baking on. I didn’t do much baking on maternity leave because it’s quite challenging with a little person constantly needing your attention but also because Mr O is not particularly interested in sweet things and with nowhere to take what I have created, I end up eating far too much of it myself… or ending up chucking bits away once they’ve passed their prime. As Easter is around the corner I decided to to some themed baking for my colleagues.
Last week it was really warm so I got very excited and decided it was spring. I was so excited that I decided to buy a whole lot of ingredients to make salads. It turned out it was not spring. It was basically spring teasing us and then deciding to hold off until a yet to be named date. Fortunately even though it was cold and windy when I made this, it was still delicious so we didn’t feel too sad that we had to eat it wearing jumpers.
I really love a good quiche (plus they make good baby led weaning food) but making crusts is tedious, especially when you are trying to wrangle a little person. When I spotted this idea on the Tesco website of using tortillas to make a crust I was skeptical. I figured the tortillas would go soggy and the filling would go everywhere. I was pleasantly surprised that they actually went lovely and crispy. I have already made it twice and Mr O and Little O are big fans.
Growing up in South Africa, you wouldn’t think we were very good at wintery food. However in Johannesburg, where I grew up, while the winter days are sunny and warm by Northern European standards, the temperature drops dramatically at night and it can get very chilly. One of my favourite wintery things that my mum used to make was warm baked puddings, always served with lashings of cold custard, which Mr O finds bizarre.
When our friend N (who is also South Afircan), visited a couple of weekends ago I decided to make a classic baked pudding to warm our cockles and he confirmed that cold custard was definitely the way to go. It must be a South African thing.
This pudding is named after some chap called Jan Ellis. I have no idea who he is but it has a subtle spicy, slightly orangey flavour and it took me right back to my childhood.
A couple of weeks ago I bought some spinach and feta rolls from the bakery stall in the food market that pops up in the centre of town on Fridays and Saturdays. They were delicious but a little pricey so I decided to have a go at making my own. They were so tasty we’ve ended up having them as a quick meal on several occasions since. They’re particularly good for when Mr O is working in the evening as he can just pop one in the oven for 5 minutes to reheat and have a fresh, hot snack when he gets home.
Spinach and feta pies
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
200g frozen chopped spinach
200g feta cheese, crumbled
150g ricotta cheese
2 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 200 C.
Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil over a low heat for 5 minutes in a saucepan with a lid. Add the spinach and put on the lid. Cook until the spinach is completely defrosted and hot through (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the feta and ricotta and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Unroll the pastry sheets and cut each one into six (in half lengthwise and then into thirds). Place some of the spinach mixture in the centre of half the pastry rectangles. Don’t put it too close to the edges because you need room to seal. Brush all four of the edges around the spinach mixture of each rectangle with egg and then cover with another rectangle and press down the edges to close. Take a fork and press down all around the edges to make a nice pattern. Then use a sharp knife to make a few slashes across the top of each pie. Brush with more egg.
Place on a baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Makes 6 pies
What’s the smartest way to use up leftover ricotta cheese, you ask? I decided it was by making pancakes. Usually in this house we make more crepe style pancakes because Mr O isn’t really a fan of the American ones… and I have managed to cock them up royally each time I have tried to make them. These however were very easy and very delicious and definitely a good use of leftover ricotta. Plus if no one else will eat them and you can manage your greed, the batter keeps well.