Macaroon Pudding

Mrs. L. was a tiny woman who came to live in the nursing home where I worked after her husband couldn’t cope with her Alzheimer’s anymore. When she came in she was walking, but within a few months she was in bed, unable to get out, stand or walk. She was lying in a fetal position most of the time. It was very sad to see her like that, with her husband on the side of the bed most days.

Mrs. L. rapidly deteriorated and eventually she couldn’t do anything herself anymore. She began to bite, scratch and pinch when she was unable to tell us what she wanted. She couldn’t talk anymore, couldn’t find any words. And we thought she didn’t understand us most of the time. I can’t even count the times I had bruises on my arms and hands. A coworker had to walk around with a black eye for a week when Mrs. L. managed to hit her full on the eye.

This particular sunday I was giving Mrs. L. her food. Despite being a tiny woman, she could eat loads and always enjoyed her food. At least, that’s what I thought. On the menu was chicken soup, meatloaf, cooked potatoes with carrots and macaroon pudding. Up until now I’d always told Mrs. L. what I was giving her, but I never ever felt like she understood what I was saying. So I decided I could get away with not telling her.

“Here’s your soup, Mina.” I said while I held the spoon in front of her face. She opened her mouth and the soup went down in no time. The meatloaf followed, as did the carrots. By the time I wanted to give her the pudding Mrs. L. tried to grab the spoon. I gently put her hands under the duvet as I really didn’t want to change the bedding again. I’d already done it that morning when she managed to grab the spoon with porridge while I looked to her roommate for a moment. Mrs. L. got angry and tried to pinch me. I tucked in the duvet so she couldn’t grab my hands or any other part of my body she wanted to grab.

“Open wide, Mina.” I told her. But Mrs. L. kept her mouth shut. I tried again. “Mina, it’s your pudding.” Still nothing. I could see she was getting tired and not only did she keep her mouth shut, her eyes were glazing over as well. I had to get that pudding in fast or else she wouldn’t get any pudding at all. So I tried one last time. “Come on, Mina, you won’t get any if you don’t open your mouth.”

And she did open her mouth. Then it happened…
Mrs. L. took one spoonful of macaroon pudding, opened her eyes and said: “Oh delicious, macaroon pudding.”

From that moment I always told Mrs. L. what I was feeding her. And when I found a portion of macaroon pudding lying around in the fridge I always took time to give her some. Even if it wasn’t time for food.

Vegetarians Nightmare Pizza

I thought I’d share my recipe for my infamous pizza. It’s really easy and fun to make and it’s the most delicious pizza. It’s better then those horrible store-bought frozen pizzas. This will be enough for two to three people.

First the dough:

  • 200 gr of flower (not self rising flower)
  • 125 ml of water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 gr bakingpowder
  • 5 gr herbamare seasoning

Put the flower into a mixing bowl or foodprocessor. Add the olive oil, the bakingpowder, the seasoning and half of the water. Mix it gently and add water just bits at a time. When the dough forms a nice ball that’s not too sticky it’s done. Don’t worry if you didn’t add all the water. If the dough is a bit sticky, add a bit more flower.

When the weather’s nice outside I place the dough in a glass bowl, with cling film over the top, on the grass in the sun for around 45 minutes. When it’s cold or shady I’ll preheat the oven at 90° Celsius. Place the glass bowl in the oven (aluminium foil on top, as I have no idea if cling film can go in the oven) and heat it for 3 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Now it’s ready for the next stage.

Take the tray you want to use for your pizza. I use a huge round earthenware tray for this (∅ 40 cm). Rub it with olive oil (or butter). Roll the risen dough really flat and place it in the tray. Push the dough into the corners so it rises up a bit around the rim. It now needs to rise again. And again, there are two ways. Either place it outside in a see-through bin liner for 45 minutes or preheat the oven again on 90° Celsius and put it in (with aluminium foil) for 3 minutes. Turn the oven off and let it rest for another 20 minutes.

Your dough is now ready.

 

In the time your dough is rising you can get all the other ingredients ready. You need:

  • 700 gr chickenbreast in cubes
  • 10 gr of piripiri seasoning
  • Pizza sauce
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 6 slices of ham
  • 6 slices of salami
  • grated cheese
  • pineapple pieces
  • Little bit of olive oil

First make a paste of the olive oil and the pirpiri seasoning. Put in the chickenbreast cubes and leave it for at least 2 hours. If your chicken is still frozen, make sure you’ll leave it to marinade even longer. (tip: I slice the chicken into cubes when it’s still half frozen. This way it’s much easier to slice. But you need a VERY sharp knife to do this!) Fry them til there just about done.

Put the pizza sauce onto the waiting dough. Put as much on it as you like. Then slice the bacon, ham and salami in half and place them on the pizza. Put the fried chicken over the top and make sure to distribute it evenly around the whole pizza. Put the grated cheese over the top and place the pineapple  on the grated cheese. Again, put as much on it as you like.

Put the whole thing into a pre0heated oven on 175° Celsius for 30 minutes. Enjoy your Vegetarians Nightmare!

 

Note: I’m not responsible for any over-eating, nor am I responsible for never wanting another pizza again! 😉

Butcher’s Goulash

Yesterday I cooked up my infamous goulash and I posted a pic on Twitter. Today I figured I’d post the recipe for those that are interested in how to make this dish. Note that this isn’t the original recipe, but one I learned when I worked in a butchery, hence the name. This recipe serves 4 people.

Ingredients:

  • 800 grams of pork meat; use what you like, but I love to use pork shoulder for this, as that’s very tender when cooked for quite some time.
  • 3 bell peppers; I tend to use one red, one yellow and one green to get a bit of colour in.
  • 2 big onions.
  • 2 tomatoes
  • chili seasoning mix; in the Netherlands it’s called “stroganoff seasoning” but it’s hard to come by.
  • Butter

Directions:

  • Cut the meat in cubes; about half an inch each.
  • Mix the meat with the seasoning and let it rest for at least 4 hours; the longer the better. I usually season the meat the day before.
  • Put a large deep pan on the stove; I like to use a casserole pan or dutch oven for this, but a deep frying pan with a lid will do just fine.
  • Put the butter in the pan and let it melt til it’s just turning golden.
  • Put the meat into the pan and stir it regularly til it’s brown on all sides.
  • Chop the onion and the bell peppers and place them in a bowl to one side. Do the same with the tomatoes.
  • Put the lid on the pan and stir every 5 minutes or so for the next hour.
  • Then, put in the onion and bell peppers; depending on how you like them you can do this earlier or later. Stir it every once in a while for the next 1 to 2 hours.
  • Half an hour before finishing the dish, put in the tomatoes.
  • Again, keep stirring every few minutes.

If you’re lucky, you won’t have to put in extra stock or anything. If it looks too dry and it’s sticking to the pan, put in a bit of stock. If it’s too watery, you can thicken it with some flour or cornstarch. Note that cornstarch can change the flavour a bit.

Serve with cooked potatoes or, as I do, with rice and have a great meal!

Please tell me if you liked this recipe, or if you need any help. I’d be happy to give you some advice, but note that I’m not the best cook in the world…