Chickpea and Spinach Curry


This is a quick and easy vegan (or vegetarian if you use cream instead of coconut cream /milk) curry.


    • Oil for frying  (coconut oil works really well)
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1t garlic flakes)
    • 1 tomato chopped
    • 1 t chili flakes, or to taste
    • 1 t coriander powder
    • 1 t cumin powder
    • ¼ t nutmeg (optional)
    • pinch of clove powder
    • salt to taste
    • 2 cans of chickpeas/ garbanzo beans
    • 1 cup frozen spinach
    • ½ t brown sugar (or to tasted)…   or  try 1 t mango powder for extra flavour



  1. Fry  the onions until nearly soft
  2. Add garlic and chili. Stir well.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook   until they soften ( about 5 min)
  4. Add the spices
  5. Add the chickpeas and spinach
  6. Cook until the spinach is nearly done (about 5 min)
  7. Add the coconut cream
  8. Simmer on a low heat (flavour develops more,  the longer you simmer the curry, but it’s pretty munch done at this point)







Remy Curry

cooking like remy.JPG

with my fractured wrist i find it nearly impossible to cook.

i made curry tonight with the help of my mom. i felt a bit like remy, the rat from the animated movie ratatouille cooking like this.


she copped the onions and garlic. she added most of the ingredients. i told her what to add, she added it.  measurements were not precise. the balance of the spices is probably a little off. i tweaked the chickpea & spinach curry a bit. i just stirred a bit. i omitted the coconut cream, because then i’d have half a can left over in the fridge and i don’t know if i will use it. i decided to add peanuts on a whim. it turned quite nice. i had my curry with some brown basmati rice.

fry in oil:

    • chopped onion
    • chopped garlic

add and create a sauce:

    • tomato paste
    • water (enough to make a sauce with the tomato paste)
    • 1 t chili flakes, or to taste
    • 1 t coriander powder
    • 1 t cumin powder
    • ½ t ginger powder
    • ¼ t nutmeg (optional)
    • pinch of clove powder
    • salt to taste

bring to boil. add the rest of the ingredients and cook until spinach is done. 

    • can of chickpeas/ garbanzo beans
    • frozen spinach
    • roasted peanuts
    • ½ t brown sugar

you can keep it on the stove at a lower heat for a while to develop more flavour. it’s probably better to add the spinach a bit later… but we were in a hurry.

it was a weird way for me to cook.


10 Foods I Miss from China

I lived in China between 2006 and 2008. I first lived in a small town called Xiantao (near Wuhan) in Hubei province. I then lived in a larger city Zhenjiang (near Nanjing and Shanghai) in Jiangsu province. There is typical Chinese dishes found throughout China, but also foods that are very regional.

Meals in Chinese restaurants tend to be made for sharing. Every one has their bowl of rice and then there are several dishes in the centre of the table for everyone to share, like: soups, meat, fish, vegetables and tofu.  Dining out on your own can be tricky. If you’re going solo a Western franchise or street food would probably be your easiest option.

Chinese restaurants will usually bring you complementary boiled water to drink, even if you haven’t asked for it. Most Chinese people tend to prefer drinking boiled water over cold water.

vegetarian restuarant  veg restaurant food.
                                                                         vegetarian/ vegan

Vegetable dishes sometimes contain animal ingredients. There are some vegetarian restaurants which serve mostly vegan dishes. These eateries will have plant-based versions of traditional Chinese dishes and things like tofu scramble. If you don’t eat pork (猪肉 zhūròu),  lamian (soupy noodles) or anything from a lamian shop, will probably be a safe bet, as these stores are usually owned by people following a halaal diet.
You don’t have to be worried about getting dog meat (狗肉 gǒuròu) when you order something else, since it is considered a delicacy. At a buffet though, if you’re unsure ask someone what kind of meat (肉 ròu) it is.


Food usually contains MSG. I could only ever find MSG in supermarkets and never any regular salt (sodium chloride).

Chinese foods I miss:

1.Stinky Tofu chou doufu 臭豆腐
Fried cubes of tofu in various spices, chilies and sauces. Usually served with brown vinegar. It’s a bit of an acquired taste for some, but strangely addictive. Mostly sold as a street food.

2.Re Gan Mian (hot dry noodles) 热干面
Street food. Noodles with spices (including chilies), things like spring onion, fresh coriander (cilantro) and a sesame sauce.  I only ever found this in Hubei province, since it is a regional cuisine. This is one of the foods I miss the most.

3.Fresh water-chestnuts  热干面
Chinese people like to eat freshly peeled water chestnuts.  You can even buy several water chestnuts on a stick as street food. I ate quite a lot of them. They’re a bit like a fresh pear, yet different. In south Africa you can only buy them in cans from Asian supermarkets. Canned water chestnut taste HORRIBLE raw. They’re okay in stir fries, but I’m not a big fan.

4.Lotus root ou / lian ou 莲藕
The root of  the lotus (water plant).  It can be prepared in various ways, including: boiled, fried or pickled. Tastiness depends on how it’s cooked. Lotus root is very common in Chinese cuisine and I miss it.

Steamed buns (bao 包) and dumplings (jiao 饺)
There are various types of steamed buns, including plain and with vegetable or meaty fillings. Bao are often eating for breakfast accompanied by a cup of sweet soy milk. Dumplings can be fried or steamed and can also have vegetable or meat fillings. Vegetable fillings may contain animal fat “for flavour”, so be aware of that.

6. Chinese greens vegetable: 蔬菜 shucai
Varies types of leafy greens, shoots and stem vegetables, often made with oil and garlic. (Some cooks will add bacon fat or lard to the veggies, with out specifying. So if you’re vegetarian/vegan/kosher/halaal look out for that.)

7. Pumpkin & Turnip
A restaurant dish.  You should be easily able to recognize it from the menu picture. It is shaped like a yin-yang with mashed pumpkin as the one half and mashed turnip as the other.  Something like pickeled onions will usually serve as the circles inside the two parts of the yin-yang. These two vegetables complement each other well. Again this is something you could probably easily make at home (Assuming you turnips are readily available and your cohabitants like pumpkin).

8. Fried eggplant eggplant: qiezi 茄子
Eggplant friend in oil with chilies and spices.  You could probably make this at home, though I don’t really make a lot of fried foods. In China I ate this all the time. At restaurants, at people’s houses and in school cafeterias (I was an English teacher).

9. Street barbecue
In my first few months in China, before I stopped eating meat, I used to eat a lot of barbecued mutton on skewers. Later, I ate things like barbecue eggplant, corn and other veggies.  Barbecued foods reminded me a bit of home. Though I never saw any Chinese people having a backyard barbecue.

10. Milk Tea (bubble tea)  naicha 奶茶
I used to drink this all the time. It’s was very popular with my Chinese friends (mostly women in their early twenties) . They have all sorts of flavours including strawberry, watermelon and chocolate. My favourite was taro and black sesame. I once had a lavender flavour which was the best thing ever.  Available hot or cold. Chinese people actually drink a lot of hot beverages, even things Westerners would normally drink iced. (A friend once bought me a orange juice from a KFC. It was hot! It completely took me by surprise. )
A few years ago a Asian drinks store selling things like bubble milk opened near my house. It wasn’t as good. Or maybe I just lost my taste for it. I don’r consume a lot of dairy these days, due to my food allergy.

©lowercase v   2017

Foodie Alphabet

Nobody actually tagged me in this challenge, but I saw it on Beafree‘s blog, so I thought I’d do it just for fun. List a food you like, starting with that letter,  for every letter of the alphabet. I tag whoever feels like doing this. 🙂


Burgers (veggie burger!)
Irish coffee
Kiwi fruit
Quinoa (Could not think of a different one. Also, I eat quinoa all the time!)
Roti (the Indian wraps with a curry filling. veg/bean roti)
Tequila (that counts, right?)
Ugli fruit (okay I have not actually tried this, but it sounds cool)
White chocolate
X-mas cookies?
Ystervarkies (Afrikaans for Lamingtons, the Australian cakes). If that doesn’t count, then yogurt.

Peanut Oat Cookies

Yields up 12 dozen cookies.

This is a cookie from my childhood.  The are really scrumptious. My mother found the recipe in a 1990 collection called: Die Beste van Huisgenoot Wenresepte (published in English as: The Best of Winning Recipes from Huisgenoot).   Huisgenoot is a Afrikaans, South African magazine, also published in English as You.  The recipe was called “Koekies vir hongerige kinders” (Cookies for hungry-ish kids) and was submitted by a Mrs SJ Nel.

Supposedly this can yield up to 12 dozen cookies (yikes!), but I made mine kinda big so I got about 6 dozen.   Yeah, it’s a rather large recipe (so make sure you’re using a LARGE mixing bowl). You could probably half or quarter it. Or make the whole thing and have cookies for days!

peanutoat cookies


500 g/ 1 lb (2 cups)  baking margarine*
1½ cups soft brown sugar
4 eggs
1½ cups white sugar
425 g (800 ml /  3 cups + 3 Tbsp)  cake flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
200 g (1½ cups) peanuts (salt/ unsalted according to preference)
6 cups oats
2 tsp Vanilla essence

*I  normally use butter.  I sometimes replace 1/5  of the butter with  ±¼ cup peanut butter

If you mistakenly use barbecue flavoured peanuts it will be weird… edible, but weird (unless you’re into that kind of flavour profile, then go ahead and try it on purpose).


  1. Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F) — if your oven takes long. I usually do this just before putting the do onto the trays.
  2. Grease/ spray baking trays
  3. Cream  (with a mixer) the butter and brown sugar
  4. In a different bowl beat the eggs and white sugar until fluffy and most of  the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture and mix well.
  6. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together.
  7. Mix the sifted ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.
  8. Add the peanuts, oats and vanilla and mix well
  9. Roll the dough into little balls and place on the baking tray and flatten with a fork…
    or scoop dough onto the trays with a spoon.  The dough spreads out quite a bit during baking,  so keep it smallish (unless you want giant cookies),  with enough space between cookies.
  10. Bake 16-20 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Allow to cool on cooling rack.


©lowercase v     2017 



White Chocolate Fail

I absolutely adore white chocolate. it is however the unhealthiest of chocolate varieties. It contains no cacao solid/powder and is loaded with sugar and other additives.

I tried to make my own dairy-free, sugar-free white chocolate with some cacao butter (which, by the way isn’t cheap).

I melted a chunk of cacao butter (it does smell like white chocolate!) and added some coconut oil, a teaspoon of coconut sugar and a teaspoon of stevia leaf powder. The mixture was a dark green slick oil.

I poured it into a small plastic ice-tray. The granulated coconut oil sat behind in the saucepan. Once it set, I could see that the stevia had sunk to the bottom of the mould.  A liquid sweetener would probably have been a better option.

white choc fail

It didn’t tasted too horrible, but it wasn’t even close to the treat I had hoped for.

I guess I’ll keep these blocks in the fridge, re-melt them at some point and add cocoa powder to make chocolates.

Have you ever made your own white chocolate?

©lowercase v   2017