In the summer I like having a fresh batch of ice tea in our fridge every day. I make the tea early in the evening, let it cool and then refrigerate it. We use the (Korken) bottles from Ikea for this.
I make different iced tea every day. I am just listing some inspiration for you below. The process is always the same:
- Combine all ingredients with 1 to 2 liters of boiling water (depending on the size of your bottle).
- Add extra sweetener to taste, remember that cold drinks will need more flavoring!
- Stir and let it stand for at least 30 minutes.
- After cooling, transfer to a bottle or container and refrigerate.
- Serve with some fresh ingredients such as citrus slices or fresh spices.
- 1 lemon in wedges
- 4 sprigs of mint
- 2 tbsp of honey
Rooibos iced tea
- Rooibos tea bag
- ½ orange in wedges
- ½ lemon in wedges
- 1 tbsp honey
Tropical ice tea
- 1 lemon in wedges
- ½ orange in wedges
- 4 slices of ginger
- 2 tbsp sugar
This is our families new favorite dip: hummus. We like dunking into hummus with chunks of home made pita breads or freshly sliced veg such as paprika or cauliflower.
Hummus is surprisingly easy to make. All you need is a good blender. Every ingredient you put in is healthy, making it a guilt free dip full of nutrients. Hummus should be nice and smooth.
Dress up your hummus with lots of garnishes, as this is a feast for both your eyes and your taste buds. A large plate of hummus is great as a starter while you get the barbecue going, or when you are serving multiple dips like aioli and tzaziki.
- 220 gr tinned or boiled chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
- 70 ml olive oil
- 1 tbsp peanut butter (non chunky)
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp good spicy paprika
- To garnish:
- drizzle of olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- a few chickpeas
- chopped flat leaf parsley
- a dash of paprika
- Blend your hummus ingredients to a smooth dip, it should not contain chunks and be soothingly smooth.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. If your hummus needs freshening up, add lemon juice.
- You can keep this hummus in a jar or container in your fridge for a number of days.
- To serve, spread the dip out over a large serving dish and garnish generously.
Thrift stores are my favorite place to go shopping. Me and my toddler each go on our own treasure hunt. My son looks for the best toy car, I look for supplies for a project or dinner party!
I believe everyone can score in the thrift store. Anyone can benefit from these items and ideas:
1. Vintage porcelein – I have a soft spot for kitch china. My grandmother had such beautiful old teacups, they made every cup of tea special! I like using this china for:
- Use tea cups or pretty glasses for serving a soup starter or for a high tea.
- Use serving dishes as a gift wrapping for chocolates or home made cupcakes!
2. Vintage clothing – I like looking for dresses and tops. If they don’t fit nicely, I cut pieces of, or add some waist line with a belt.
The result of a recent thrift store treasure hunt.
3. Accessories – When you find that great dress, try finding accessories to match. After watching a documentary about Iris Apfel, I decided to have more fun with dressing up. This senior fashionista has so much fun and personality with using accessories, that it inspired me to stock up on necklaces, scarves, broches, sunglasses and more.
4. Kitchen utensils – The thrift store is full of items people got bored of, or maybe the hype passed. I am thinking of fondue pans and bread makers. Use your fondue pan for cheese fondue or surprise your dinner guests with a chocolate fondue with fruit for desert.
5. Supplies for parties like:
- High tea supplies – tea pots, cups, cake stands and beautiful table linnen.
- A color themed party, just get table wear in your chosen color! Like getting pink or blue supplies for a baby shower!
- Christmas dinner or Easter brunch.
- Serving dishes, decorations and outfits for your seventies, eighties or nineties party.
Have a tasty lentil salad for lunch! This salad is full of healthy and teasty ingredients. It is well balanced in so many ways. The crunch of the oninons against the soft cheese and potatoes, the fresh mint contrasts beautifully with the sweet flavors.
This salad would make a great lunch, a starter or a side dish with a barbeque.
Sweet potato and lentil salad ( 1 person lunch, or a great side dish)
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 150 gr (puy) lentils, tinned or freshly cooked
- 100 gr goat cheese
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 1 handfull of fresh mint, finely sliced
- 1/2 red paprika, in small squares
- 1 pepper, finely sliced
- Honey mustard dressing:
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dill (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C.
- Peel your potatoes and slice them into rustic chips. Coat them in oil, season them and bake them in the oven for 25 minutes or until they are tender.
- Combine with the other salad ingredients for a great lunch dish!
This is a great omelet to make with wild garlic. This humble but delicious plant grows abundantly under trees in the Netherlands. Officially this plant is protected in the Netherland, but where I live I see large patches full of the stuff.
Luckily my mother has a huge patch of wild garlic under her apple tree. As it is in season, she picked a large bunch of the leaves and flowers for me to prepare.
If you are not lucky or brave enough to get your own wild garlic, you can use spinache or swiss chard instead.
This omelet makes a great lunch or side dish. It can be eaten warm or cold.
Spring forest omelet (2 lunch portions)
- 3 handfulls of wild garlic leaves and flowers
- 150 gr mixed mushrooms, sliced
- 3 large free range eggs
- 100 gr creme fraiche
- about 75 gr butter
- pinch of nutmeg
- Wash your wild garlic in very salty water, to get rid of any sand and wildlife.
- In a bit of oil or butter, fry the wild garlic untill it wilts down.
- Let your wild garlic cool slightlybefore roughly shopping it.
- Fry the mushrooms in some butter, season them generously with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs and creme fraiche. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg.
- Mix in the wild garlic and mushrooms.
- In a non stick frying pan, melt a generous amount of butter on high heat.
- Pour the mix in the hot pan and turn the heat down. If you have a lid, clamp it on.
- Wait for your eggs to just set before turning it onto a plate.
Cooking times vary, so just stay near your stove.
There are several reasons I grow edible plants in my garden. It occured to me that people sometimes wrongly think that vegetable garden is something for country folk. As a women living in the suburbs with a post stamp garden I can tell you anyone can grow edible plants.
Chives in my rock garden
Vegetables and greens that are easy to grow:
- Wild garlic, I took some bulbs from my mothers garden and planted them under my pear tree. The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. The garlic flavour and spinach texture combine well with steaks, mushrooms or salmon. I rarely eat mine raw, just because that’s safer.
Rocket in our gnome garden
- Rocket, once you have had this plant in your garden, you will never need to sow it again. It spreads like a weed! When I have to harvest great amounts, I make my own rocket pesto. It is also great to mix through my salad leaves, or to garnish my pizza‘s.
- Rhubarb, a zero maintenance plant! I have this plant thanks to my parents garden. My father made a rhubarb patch next to the house. He devided some rhubarb plants from my grandfathers garden to create this patch. Now I have a piece of this patch in my garden. I like to use the rhubarb to make rhubarb crumble. I freeze some rhubarb in the summer, so I can even enjoy this dish in the winter!
- Nasturtiums. Another easy plant to sow. You can eat the leaves and flowers of this annual plant in a salad. On top of all this, they look great too. I like to grow lots of edible flowers, such as pansies.
Tomatoe salad with nasturtium
- Herbs. Nothing beats fresh herbs, so I like to always have these herbs on hand:
- Chives (we even eat the flowers!)
- Flat leaf parsley
- Regular mint, balm mint and peppermint – also great for making (iced) teas
You can plant these plants in a seperate vegatable patch, but my garden is so small that I choose to let my edible plants live among the decorative plants. But all the plants in this list would also be very happy living in a flower pot or window box.
Adding edible plants to your garden or balcony is also a great way to teach your children how their vegetables grow. You could even consider making a gnome garden. For children I would always recommend including some strawberry plants. They are low maintenance, high reward plants for children.
I recommend choosing plants you enjoy eating and easy to grow & maintain. This way you are more likely succeed and reap the rewards soon!
This makes a great simple meal, especially if you have made the garlic chicken a day in advance. I like to serve it with a green salad, for a complete and healthy meal.
Chicken & beans
- 800 gr large white beans
- 1 chili pepper, finely sliced
- 1 handful of parsley roughly chopped
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 recipe garlic chicken (crush the garlic cloves into a paste)
- Scoop 1 spoon of fat from the top of the stew, fry the chicken pieces in this with the skin side down.
- On a medium heat brown and reheat your chicken.
- Add the beans, chili pepper, the garlic paste and a couple of spoon fulls of broth.
- Heat this mix for 10 minutes while stirring.
- Sprinkle the beans with lemon and parsley before serving.
This dish is so great for creating lovely finger food. The chicken is delicious on toasted bread. It also makes a simple and great meal when combined with beans.
The chicken is very tender when it is cooked this way. It is cooked long and slowly, emerged in a tasty mix to keep it moist. The large quantity of garlic makes everything taste unique and sweet! Any leftover garlic can be mixed with some butter to make a great garlic butter. The leftover broth makes a great gravy base.
- 4 chicken thighs
- 2 bulbs of garlic
- 125 gram of butter
- 500 ml chicken stock
- For this recipe you don’t need to peel the garlic cloves. Just remove the ends.
- Season your chicken.
- Melt 50 grams of butter in a frying pan and brown you chicken.
- Add the cloves, stock and the rest of the butter.
- Let this simmer for 1 hour or until the chicken just doesn’t fall of the bone.
- Let your stew cool down.
- Take the garlic out of the peels and collect them in a bowl.
- Keep the chicken and gravy and the garlic cloves in the fridge.
This chicken is lovely on grilled bread, with a spread of the garlic cloves, the chicken and some salt and pepper. You can also use this garlic chicken for making chicken & beans.
Find more chicken inspiration here.
For this easter we are staying at home with our little family. Some of you might have bigger plans and feel a little overwhelmed by now. These are some easy recipes with maximum impact on your guests:
Remember to keep your cooking for the day simple (put more effort in the preperations) and make sure you have plenty of time to enjoy your family and guests!