It was meant to be a low-key Christmas. And then ALL THE FOOD happened.

Boerewors, baked and fresh veggies with feta and sprouts, wine, more wine, and the richest cheesecake in the world. And that was only Christmas eve.


Part One: boerewors

Being a foreign orphan at Christmas means you get to toy with your traditions from home and make new ones. This time it turned into making South African boerewors for the first time. Traditional braai (barbecue) food, but not so much for Christmas dinner.

A friend and I decided we will try our hand(-s) at it. And… It is surprisingly easy! Playing with real intestines didn’t turn out nearly as slippery and gross as expected. It was actually fascinating working with them and feeling the strength and texture. Amazing stuff.

We learned some things that we “knew” before, but now we definitely know. Boerewors is all about the right spices and the texture. We used beef and pork mince, but next time we will be grinding our own. The texture needs to be rough enough so that you see bits of meat and fat in the sausage. Not giant globules though.

We used this recipe for our first attempt at wors:

South African Sausage (Boerewors)
I’m a bit of a boerewors snob. At home I almost exclusively have “Stilbaai Wors”. If you’ve had it, you’ll understand…  But, since their recipe is staatsgeheim, a state secret, this recipe will do just fine. We were very happy and shocked at how easy it was to make wors. I’ve spent the last 5+ years suffering crap sausages needlessly!

*I will post a separate boerewors recipe once we perfect our craft… We’ve already made more, but haven’t cooked and taste-tested yet. Watch this space.


Part Two: salmon and spinach roulade

Food for friends.

Christmas day was a big chill with friends and drink and food and movies. Everyone made and brought some food and we grazed all day. Perfect for a very rainy day in Scandinavia.

This salmon and spinach roulade is very easy to make, especially after you’ve made it once. I use a lot more spinach than the recipes I googled, partly because it’s not expensive and partly because I like it.

I based my own rolls on this recipe:

Spinach and egg rolls with smoked salmon and cream cheese,

but I googled around for a few recipes and used a combination. There really is no right or wrong with this kind of recipe, other than separating your eggs properly.


Part Three: brownie cheesecake

Wowsers. This cheesecake is incredibly rich and creamy and chocolatey. It is actually almost impossible to overeat because it is just so rich.

kaaskoek1

Brownie cheesecake in its naked, natural form.

I used this amazing recipe from the All Day I Dream About Food blog, of course:

Brownie cheesecake – low carb and gluten free.

This is my first time ever making a baked cheesecake, so I’m very happy that it turned out (a) round and (b) edible. Point is, if you’re scared of f-ing up, don’t be! Follow the recipe above word for word and you’ll be fine. 🙂

I added the raspberries and I cannot imagine not having them there. They bring a zing that both breaks and compliments the creamy richness. Next time I’ll also use much less erythritol – I don’t think quite so much is necessary.

I keep looking at this post as a useful reference for ganache:

How To Make Chocolate Ganache for Any Dessert.
I don’t make it often and the ingredients aren’t exactly cheap (crap or fake dark chocolate is not worth it), so definitely don’t want to mess this up.

This cheesecake is beautiful with a strong cup of coffee. 🙂

kaaskoek2

Brownie cheesecake clothed in ganache and raspberries.

This was my first “orphan” Christmas, and it was wonderful. Good friends and good food is all one can ask for. 🙂

Here’s an introduction to the world of lipids, proteins, and other pieces making up the internal language of goo that runs us.

It’s an almost-40min presentation by Dr. Cate Shanahan, medical doctor and previously trained biochemist (YAY for science ladies!).

I won’t do any of the jargon justice, not yet anyway. So, here’s the presentation with a good deal of useful explanations on PUFA’s, oxidative stress, lipid panel measurements and what the hell these words mean:

Angus beef patty sale! Hooray for spur-of-the-moment shopping trips.

Having one patty for lunch and cooking the rest for lunch the next few days.

 

Woot woot! Near expiry date, marked down. Yesss.

 

 

With ricotta and Dijon mustard ‘sauce’.

 

Yummmmmmmmmmmm.

Sorry to anyone in Bergen, Norwegia. All four packages went home with me.

unspecified-10

Completely flourless egg muffins, this time with bacon, pork mince, red bell pepper, onion and kale.


Flourless breakfast muffins, the pork mince version (18)

What
18 eggs
220g bacon, chopped
220g pork mince, break apart in pan
1 white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
100g kale, finely chopped
salt, pepper and other spices that you think will make this interesting…

How
1. All eggs in giant mixing bowl.
2. Chop everything else.
3. Pre-heat oven to… 180° C, or even 200° C (350 – 400° F).
3. Cook bacon and onions in pan. (Bacon first, add onions once there is lots of bacon fat all over.)
4. Cook mince and kale in pan. (Mince first, add kale once mince is cooked. Mix up with spatula.)
5. Add everything to giant mixing bowl and mix very well.
6. Divide into 18 muffin cups. I use (and love) silicone forms.
7. Bake at 180° C – 200° C (350 – 400° F) for 10-15min until the egg muffins rise well. My oven is old an creative with temperature, hence vague temperature and time guideline…

Stats
*Note: these are very rough numbers with a lot of “let’s just round this up” going on.

Total for 18 muffins:
2 627kCal
194g fat
36g net cho
189g protein

Per muffin:
146 kCal
11g fat
2g net cho
10,5g protein


 

These egg muffins are easy to make, I promise, even if you suck at making food. Making so many at once will save you a lot of time and sweat throughout the rest of the week, so the effort really is worth it.

I added pork mince this time, purely because there was a sale and I couldn’t ignore the price, especially considering I live in Norwegia where good food hardly ever comes at a good price.

Process, in pictures

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

As  always, you live and learn… Once I had added all the ingredients into the mixing bowl, I realised the mixture was a bit too solid and not eggy enough. I started with a dozen eggs, so I decided to add half a dozen more. Random decision, I think four would have been enough.

Cooking time was a very approximate 15min. I’ve made these before a long time ago in a better oven far, far away. That time it took 10 minutes to get delicious egg muffins, this time I had to experiment. My mom was telling the absolute truth when she told me that you always have to get to know your oven first… It’s a long-term relationship that shouldn’t be based on false expectations.

A note about using silicone pans: put them on the oven rack before you add any ingredients! They are soft and you will spill all the raw ‘dough’ out if you try to pick it up like a normal, rigid pan. Other than that, they are awesome, the best thing being the  almost non-existent cleaning time. 🙂

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And, done!

I was freaking hungry while making these,  so it was great to finally to dig into a hot, fresh egg muffin! I added some avocado that needed to be eaten asap. AND a great surprise from my not-so-great oven was that there was still a little bit of hot runny egg yolk in the middle.

I used to hate egg yolks when I was little. I have no idea what was wrong with me.

I added rosemary and basil to this recipe and I’m very happy with the result. Will repeat.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sometimes a good thought strikes when you least expect it.

Today I wanted something after spending a few hours in a cold pool teaching many a kidlette how to swim.

Something warm and smooth, preferably.

And there it is!
Well, this is what it is:


50g plain Philadelphia cream cheese

2 teaspoons deepest darkest cacao

Dash of cinnamon

Microwave 45sec.

Mix it up.


Success! 😀

Take a look at this blog and this blog post, specifically:
Dropping My Cholesterol At Record Speeds – Part 1.

 

This is just one man’s journey into the [real] science of cholesterols, but it is a fascinating process to watch (or read, rather) unfold!

Blogger Dave is kind enough to share all of his body data online. He is truly “putting himself out there” for everyone to see and showing what food input does to all your inner data.

Have a look!



— RECIPE —
1. Crisp bacon in pan. Slice liver and other stuff while this is happening.

2. Bacon out.
3. Fry sliced liver in bacon fat, a few minutes each side depending on thickness. It will darken as it cooks.
4. Add other stuff before liver is completely done, including bacon. Toss in pan.
*Note: I am not a fancy-hat chef. Making it up as I go. Did not die from this meal.


Liver. I had a go at it.

I’m in the “oh no, it’s liver, run!” camp, but I promised myself that I had to at least try to make it, once. And eat it.

I got a whole lamb liver on Friday from the local butcher. First impression: what this is so cheap! Should eat more often!

Today was the big day, but I ended up sick with some or other virus the whole weekend, so my plan of liver and onions and mushrooms vanished. The though of going out just to buy onions and shrooms was not appealing enough.

Lamb liver on the left. That is one amazing biological-computational processor right there. Respect it (even if it tastes liker… liver).

Plan B: liver with whatever is in the fridge.

This became liver with crispy bacon, garlic, cherry tomatoes, kale and a little marinara sauce.

First step: cook and crispify the bacon. Chop up the rest and slice the liver.
*Side note: slicing the liver was trippy! It felt like cutting through a hammerhead shark’s head. That was what was going through my own mind, in any case. It was a little mental and tactile adventure: the texture and colour is very, very different to muscle meat.
Once the bacon was crispy, I took it out and put the liver in to fry on medium high heat. I have no idea if this was the right way to do it…

Bacon up top, liver below.

Once the liver looked cooked through, I added the tomatoes, kale and garlic (which I had forgotten about, oops). On top came some spoons of marinara sauce.
I left this to heat for a while and finally tossed the bacon back in.

All together.

And that was about it. Pretty damn easy, but the smell of cooking liver was already making me nervous… Time to eat!

The verdict: liver is… liver, and will always be. It was quite okay with the crispy bacon, kale and tomatoes, and it was good enough that I will make it again.

The major upside is that I felt absolutely no need to overeat, one helping was more than enough for today. Lol.

Making it through a meal of liver was like a new “achievement unlocked” moment for me. The next achievement will be tomorrow’s leftovers… 😉

Lol.
Dinner today: kale, alfalfa sprouts, 3 cherry tomatoes and mince (ground beef) that was in the form of meatballs until shortly prior to hitting the plate.

Halfway through: o shit I forgot to wash the kale and found some extra protein wandering around. Well, I hope he didn’t have any friends…

My idea of a Saturday evening well spent now includes epic food prepping with some loud music and epically fail singing.

This means the kitchen is a giant mess for a few hours, but it’s also nice to clean up properly afterwards and know you’re done with big meals for the week.

On the food-prep menu tonight, almost as usual: mince (ground beef) with garlic and onion, and a heap of veggies. ALSO… A keto-friendly and EASY marinara sauce from my bible of recipes:
I Breathe I’m Hungry’s “Easy Keto Marinara Sauce”. Quite literally as the title says.

I’ve made it twice this week now (which really does prove that it is easy to make, I am lazy), and it will definitely be a staple. Freaking delicioussssssss. I used half of the recipe with the mince that I cooked, and by pure unplanned magic, the rest fit in perfectly into an old peanut butter jar.

The Food

I don’t really have a recipe, other than fry a chopped onion and some garlic in a fat of your choice (I usually use lard or ghee), add mince and cook covered for a while until it looks cooked through. Cook uncovered afterwards to brown a little and add salt, spices and sauce.

Today I added creme fraiche and marinara sauce. I usually add the veggies, too, but today the pan was filled to the brim with mince, so I cooked the veggies, broccoli and courgette, afterwards.

A Note About Cooking Fats

I have saved SO MUCH MONEY by saving the fat after cooking bacon, pork ribs, lamb or any other fatty cuts of meat. These keep remarkably well in the fridge and you can just scoop out whatever you need for your frying and cooking as you go. There’s no need to spend a ton of money on good butter all the time.

And everything tastes amazing! For reals. Omelettes cooked in lamb fat send my brain soaring. Veggies fried in leftover bacon fat are transformed.

Cooking with these fats also means less issues with food burning and sticking to the pan. I now use a stainless steel pan and it works wonderfully with e.g. lard.

Other Than Food

This evening’s loud and false singing was mostly to the following tune:
Oor Teen Die Grond – Ryno Velvet

An Afrikaans tune for a somewhat homesick day in Norwegia.

After epic food prepping, it’s time to chill on the balcony with tea and deep, dark chocolate (mmmm 90%) and watch the clouds roll in.

dsc_0884

Blurry evening outside, before winter comes.

FINALLY.

Some more mainstream coverage that actually has the potential to make a positive difference in a lot of lives.

Today in The New York Times:
How Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat“.

This is a report on the special communication article releases today on JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association):
Sugar Industry and Coronary Heart Disease Research“, authored by Cristin E. Kearns (the dentist from “Sugar Coated” who stumbled on the sugary version of the Holy Grail), Laura A. Schmidt and Stanton A. Glantz.

 

Here is the abstract, I hope you read the rest, too:

Early warning signals of the coronary heart disease (CHD) risk of sugar (sucrose) emerged in the 1950s. We examined Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) internal documents, historical reports, and statements relevant to early debates about the dietary causes of CHD and assembled findings chronologically into a narrative case study. The SRF sponsored its first CHD research project in 1965, a literature review published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which singled out fat and cholesterol as the dietary causes of CHD and downplayed evidence that sucrose consumption was also a risk factor. The SRF set the review’s objective, contributed articles for inclusion, and received drafts. The SRF’s funding and role was not disclosed. Together with other recent analyses of sugar industry documents, our findings suggest the industry sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in CHD. Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry–funded studies and include mechanistic and animal studies as well as studies appraising the effect of added sugars on multiple CHD biomarkers and disease development.