Cold Day Minestrone

Texas winters may not compare to the winters experienced in Vermont, Alaska or even Missouri but we still get cold days and we still need our cold-day soups. As I covered some of our more fragile plants with blankets and sheets to protect from the impending freeze I knew it was going to be a soup night. But, what soup?

It didn’t take me long to enthusiastically decide to put on a huge pot of my new favorite soup, minestrone. This “big soup,” as it is translated, is chocked full of scrumptious vegetables, hearty legumes, incredible italian flavors, all backed by a delicious broth. In my book, that’s the makings of a perfect soup. Minestrone is definitely a meal on its own and the only thing that can make this soup even better is a big slice of delicious bread.

This is a fairly simple soup; depending on if you use fresh or canned beans, and if you decide to make your own broth–something I definitely suggest, as vegetable broths are super easy–this soup will take between 45 minutes and two hours. Of course, the pest part of soup is, most of that time is spent out of the kitchen while the soup does all the work.

My minestrone is also just one ingredient shy of being vegetarian, and just two shy of being vegan. Bacon and parmesan are those two ingredients and while I say they are vital for us omnivores and dairy eaters, if you are not, feel free to remove one or both. You will still get a delicious soup though you may need to use a tad more salt.

This recipe produces a lot of soup, enough to feed a small town, or eight hungry mouths two times over. You can cut the recipe in half if you’d like, but one of my favorite parts of soup is it’s incredible leftover potential. It’s perfect for a quick lunch–just heat a bowl up in the microwave for a couple minutes–or a quick dinner–just bring the soup to a slow simmer in a pot to heat through.


4 quarts Vegetable broth, preferably homemade
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 slices bacon, sliced fairly thin
1 1/2 cup chopped onion (1 1/2 medium onions)
2 cups sliced carrots (about 5 carrots)
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups chopped cabbage (1/2 cabbage)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped potatoes (2-3 medium potatoes)
1 parmesan cheese rind
5 ounces vermicelli
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 1/3 cup garbanzo beans, cooked
1 1/3 cup red kidney beans, cooked
1 1/3 cup navy beans, cooked
1/2 cup pesto, recipe below
Salt & pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan to taste, as garnish


Step One: Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook through, about five minutes.

Step Two: Add the onions, carrots, celery and cabbage. Cook about eight minutes, stirring the mixture often, until the notions are just translucent.

Step Three: Add the garlic and cook another two minutes.


Step Four: Add the hot broth, potatoes and Parmesan cheese rind. Bring the liquid to a slow simmer* and cook at a very slow simmer for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

*Do not let the pot come to a full boil. With a slow simmer you’ll see a few stray bubbles pop to the surface every few seconds. This low-temperate simmer is perfect for soups.

Step Five: Meanwhile, cook the vermicelli according to the box. Drain and set aside. Make the pesto (recipe & instructions below).

Step Six: After 30 minutes or once the vegetables are tender, add the cooked vermicelli, cooked beans and tomatoes.

Step Seven: Season the soup with pesto and salt and pepper to taste. Remove the parmesan rind.

Serve this soup with grated Parmesan on top and enjoy!

Pesto Ingredients:
3/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoon roasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/3 cup good olive oil

Pesto Instructions:
Step One: Add the basil, parsley, pine nuts, parmesan and garlic to a food processor or blender, pulse until broken down.

Step Two: With the processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and mix until you have a paste.

Cool Pocket Knives Guide

Most of us are very passionate about pocket knives, but choosing the right pocket knife all depends on what one will be using it for. We would recommend a few different types of pocket knives, but at the end of the day, the choice is ultimately yours. Whether you need a knife for camping, fishing or even self-defence, in these cases one should pick out a knife that will able to fit the job at hand. Maybe you are looking for the best bowie knife?

Several customers are more into the exterior looks of a knife; well we have several options in that case too. Several brands of knives offer looks as well as efficiency without compromising with the affordable price and quality of the knives. So what we are talking about in short is that there are several cool looking pocket knives out in the market today, as well as knives that can get all of your jobs done, that can provide you with great quality and all round durability. All that you will need for every day carry; you just have to choose which one suits your requirements. Read More

Lasagna with Homemade Semolina Pasta

There’s pasta and there’s pasta, and then there’s lasagna. Do you like pasta? Uh, yeah. Do you love lasgana? It’s scary how much you love it, huh? How can you say no to a meaty, cheesy, sauce-filled delicious baked pasta dish like lasagna? While there are many variations on this classic, my favorite is definitely the simple, original classic. Here is my version of that staple.

The star in this dish is not just one particular item, but the scrumptious combination of meat, tomato sauce, four cheeses, and homemade semolina pasta. Scared about making your own pasta? Don’t worry. It can be substituted with the store bought stuff, but I definitely suggest trying it with the homemade pasta! Not only is it delicious, but super fun to make.

The key to any delicious pasta dish is fresh ingredients, and homemade, always from scratch, sauce. The tomato sauce I use for my lasagna is super simple; it does all the work. And like all my recipes, I definitely suggest fresh herbs and good-quality cheeses.

If you’re a little unsure about the time involved in making everything for scratch, I can assure you it will only take about an hour and half of prep time before baking. If you go with the store bought pasta, which works great in this dish, then you can cut that time down to about 45 minutes. The key to a calm hour or so of prep is time management. Luckily for you I’ve made this lasagna over a dozen times, so if you follow the steps below you will have no problem at all. This is also a dish you can bring the family or friends in to help!

Because the pasta, and sauce are stand alone recipes that can be used for numerous other dishes, I have them housed on their own respective pages. I will include and reference each as “tomato sauce” and “semolina pasta” in this master recipe, each time with a link to their page.

I have the ingredients split between the various parts (meat mixture, ricotta mixture, etc), so you’ll notice some ingredients listed a few times. I feel this way is easiest, especially if you are the type to prep and separate all your ingredients before starting a single step.

Homemade Semolina Pasta (2 lb)

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce (2 quarts)

Meat Mixture
3 lb ground chuck beef (80% lean, 20% fat)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (2 teaspoons dry)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ricotta Mixture
30 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup roman cheese, grated
2 eggs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced

1/4 cup parmesan, grated
1/4 cup roman, grated
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil chiffonade


Step One: Preheat the oven to 375F.

Step Two: Mix/Knead the Semolina Dough. Let it rest while you prepare the rest of the lasagna parts.

Step Three: Prepare the tomato sauce. Let it simmer while you prepare the rest of the lasagna parts.

Step Four: Brown the ground beef in a heated pan over medium-high heat. Once the pink is gone, add the oregano, parsley, salt, pepper and 1 cup of the tomato sauce from the simmering pot. Stir well.

Step Five: Reduce the heat on the ground beef mixture to low. Cover and simmer while you prepare the rest of the lasagna parts.

Step Six: Mix the ricotta, parmesan, romano, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.

Step Seven: Cut the semolina pasta into long sheets, as long as the dish you are baking the pasta in and half as wide as the dish. You’ll need eight of these sheets Cook in salted, boiling water for 2 minutes. Dry the pasta on towels and set aside. You may want to cook the semolina pasta in batches to avoid crowding the pasta.

If you are using store-bought pasta, cook the pasta to aldente according to the box instructions.


Step One: In a large baking dish, about 15 inches long and 10 inches wide, pour just enough sauce in the bottom to coat the dish.

Step Two: Add a layer of pasta.

Step Three: Add 1/3 the ricotta mixture.

Step Four: Add 1/3 the meat mixture.

Step Five: Pour 1/4th the remaining sauce over the meat mixture.

Step Six: Add 1/4 the mozzarella cheese.

Repeat Assembly steps Two through Six two more times for a total of three layers.

Step Seven: Add a final layer of pasta on top.

Step Eight: Pour the remaining sauce on top.

Step Nine: Add the remaining mozzarella cheese to the top.

Step Ten: Add the parmesan, roman, and pepper reserved for the topping.

Step Eleven: Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes, uncovered.

Step Twelve: Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chiffonade basil on top.

Serve right away, or you may let it cool for a moment. All this dish needs as a side, if anything, is a nice big loaf of bread.

This lasagna is also a great refrigerate-and-enjoy-for-the-week dish. I enjoyed this for dinner last night, and am munching on it for lunch now.

Best Pocket Knife of 2017 Reviews

Best Pocket Knife of 2017 Reviews

Today we are going to have a look at the many uses of “pocket knives“. Whether you’re interested in pocket knives as a collection hobby or a tool for your day to day activities, or even for protection, this article will help you succumb to all your needs. We are going to provide you with in-depth reviews of the best pocket knife ideal just for you!

Some may say, why carry a pocket knife? Isn’t it dangerous? Well, what people don’t realise is that a pocket knife has multiple uses other than self-defence. You could take your knife with you camping, so you can cut rope for a tent, or even if you’re doing some home DIY stuff. Pocket knives are very handy and portable and you get cool pocket knives that can go on your key chain, we have a range of pocket knife reviews under one site. From the best folding knife to top of the range combat knives, we are experts in the knives field. Let us look into answering, what is the best pocket knife? Read More

Smith & Wesson CH0014 tactical folding knife Review

Pros: The biggest advantage that this knife has is the price and the quality for it. The less price creates wide market. Such a quality knife for lesser price, everyone will now have a reason to have a pocket knife. The knife will last for 2+ years, with no doubt.
Cons: In regard with the price, Smith & Wesson have given the best, but however the blade could have been little be easier to open and close manually. And the product is manufactured in China, making few people question about the quality. The same model if manufactured with different blade material in USA, will surely hit the charts off.

Smith & Wesson CH0014 tactical folding knife, specs!

The Smith & Wesson CH0014 tactical folding knife stands way apart from the other knives. Smith & Wesson managed to give a powerful hand tool for a lesser price in the market. With a jaw dropping price of less than $10, Smith & Wesson pulled it off perfectly. The Massachusetts based Smith & Wesson are known internationally for their weapons and firearm manufacturing. Infact many law enforcement agencies and police departments use Smith & Wesson’s revolvers and pistols as their default firearm. The pistols from this company is also widely used by professional sports shooters.

Smith & Wesson CH0014 tactical folding knife

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Blade length: is 3.1inch (7.87cm).

Handle Length: is 4.5inch (11.43cm).

Total Weight: is 4.8ounces (136.078gram).

Materials used in the blade: 400 series stainless steel  and Aluminum.

From one of the least known manufacturing unit of Smith & Wesson, we have a tactical folding knife that have attracted lots of user for its durability, design, less-weight and more importantly, the price! The major focus of Smith & Wesson was always the pistols and other firearm equipment, as well as their accessories. For instance the pocket knife manufacturing is not known popularly with all the other major brands like Kershaw, Buck, and Spyderco taking the lead in pocket knife industry. But this marvel handheld tool is sure to stir things around. After first few models, the pocket knives from Smith & Wesson had bad build quality. But CH0014 is considered as one of the robust and strong pocket knife for such less price. It was featured on our Best EDC knife guide.

The Blade

Smith & Wesson CH0014 pointing

Our CH0014’s blade is built with 400 series stainless steel. Being very easy to sharpen and corrosion resistant, many knife manufacturers use 400 Stainless Steel in their low budget knives. The blade is very easy to clean, and the most interesting fact of this material is, it is resistant to deterioration. So there is no doubt in blade’s expectancy. The blade is so sharp and cuts through most of the things. The blade is designed in a way to allow smooth cutting, the tip of the blade can hold a lot of pressure because of its geometry. Poking into thick materials to break it, is no longer a tough job. The size of the blade also plays an important role in the delivery of power, when looked at that aspect, CH0014 comes in the right size, making its way into all things, cutting them through with its sharp edges. Not to forget, CH0014 comes with a thumb stud in the top corner, which allows users to open the blade in one hand. It’s as unique as the Gerber LMF II Infantry Knife.

The Handle

With most companies giving plastic handles for their top end pocket knives, Smith & Wesson have managed to give a 4.5inch aluminum handle for the least price possible. The handle is shaped perfect with a good jimping that catches the thumb well.  The ergonomically designed handle, feels so perfect and light when held in our palm, reducing the pain and stress of holding the knife for long. Two screws on top holds the handle intact. The handle also has a hole in the end to attach itself to a chain or something. The handle also features a clip at one side that allows the user to pin it to their belt or pocket. This powerful pocketknife doesn’t feel a thing when it’s inside our pocket, but does the toughest jobs so easily when in our hand. It cheap as the Tac Force TF-705.

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The Locking Mechanism

Smith & Wesson CH0014 folded

The knife has liner lock frame, the knife’s mechanism is engaged when the blade is opened. Even with easy and smooth motion of the knife, the blade didn’t shake or tend to be loose. This robust locking mechanism makes sure that the knife doesn’t get closed while in use. It shuts very similar to the Spyderco Civilian.

Our verdict on the Smith & Wesson CH0014

Without any questions, this is one the best pocket knife you will ever get for such a less price. Now seeing the price, the aluminum handle, 400 Stainless Steel known for its hardness, gives a glimpse of what we get for our $10. Definitely a best buy. Smith & Wesson have turned the tables for the mid-range knife companies. The quality of this product, though manufactured in China, is more than enough for such an investment. Smith & Wesson is back in business, and a lot can be expected in the coming years from them.

Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife

Pros: The pocket knife comes with a seatbelt cutter and glass breaker with no extra charge. Given the weight of this knife, the glass breaker is likely to break even strongest glass with few blows. The seatbelt cutter comes as a real life saver in many situation. This knife becomes a perfect tactical knife for self-defense with extra tools.
Cons: The cons of this knife may not be of a major issue, but yet it turns off people when it happens. Since the knife is manufactured in China, few people were found to get the knife in lowest grade, may be it was the last piece of the batch. The blade was too tight to open and close for many people. And in general, the weight of the knife is also a con, it feels as if holding a substantial weight when the knife is held. Even though the knife has a razor sharp blade, it wears out very soon and sharpening it again is not that easy.

Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS, specs!

The Massachusetts based Smith & Wesson is a public company that majors in manufacturing of firearms. The pistols and revolvers from Smith & Wesson are used by police, armed forces and also by sport shooters across the world. The Knife manufacturing from Smith & Wesson is small and non-famous part of the company that includes products like tools, light bars, and much more. This Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border guard 2 is not just a pocket knife, but a multi-function tool that has a sharp cutting edge, glass breaker and an integrated seat-belt cutter.

Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS>> Check latest price on Amazon! <<

Blade length: is 4.4inch.

Knife Overall Length: is 10inch.

Knife length when closed: is 5.6inch.

Total Weight: 10.4 ounces.

Materials used in the blade: 7Cr17 High Stainless Carbon Steel (Serrated Tanto Blade).

Smith & Wesson’s SWBG2TS Border Guard 2 is a heavy knife that is made for heavy duty jobs. This knife can be used everywhere, for law enforcement, sporting as well as outdoor activities. The setting out of the blade is very fast. The knife has Teflon washers that gives a smooth flick, the sound made by the knife while opening is striking. This knife is far better than the other Smith & Wesson knife which has poor quality blade and handle. This Border Guard 2 is made to last and withstand the needs of everyday use.

The Blade

Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS handleTanto generally refers to short blade, designed and made for Japanese Samurai’s in past. After its wide use in west, the blade made its journey to USA and now is one of the common blade found in pocket knives. The deeply strengthened tip fits great for piercing and insertion movements.

The knife can be used in places where heavy force is required including tactical, personal and other purposes. The blade is pretty big compared to other knives of its class, providing a rich and powerful feel to the user. The knife’s usage can vary from person to person depending on the situation and the need. And Border Guard 2 promises to withstand the toughest of needs and challenges.

The Handle

The handle is made out of machined aluminium, which adds overall weight. This gives an edge to the knife compared to plastic body from other manufacturers. The handle is perfectly shaped with finger grooves that gives easy holding for right handed use and less ideal grip for left handed people. The handle also features clip on one side. The handle doesn’t come with spring to assist in opening and closing. The handle is painted jet black and has a polished finish. We can find steel liners inside the handle that holds the blade with the handle securely when folded. The handle is held in its place by 3 screws.

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Our verdict on the Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife

Border Guard 2 is pretty big than the other pocket knives in its class. It will fit perfect in those palms which are big enough. But in right hands the knife would do wonders, the blade and handle are solid that provides balance and greater durability. For the performance and the build quality, this knife does justice to the price. But for people who need smaller and compact pocket knife, Kershaw is an idle option. Manufactured in China by Taylor Brands, this knife gets labelled as Smith & Wesson.

Our opinion on this knife is, it is definitely worth the money spent. The quality of the blade is fine and sharp enough to pierce through hard surfaces which is the reason why it is being used extensively. Smith & Wesson have always been revered for their range of products and this one certainly holds their benchmark in their pocket knives catalogue. Furthermore, since the company has been in the market and has made a name for itself, thus it strongly believes that each and every one of its product has to stand above the products which are manufactured by other companies that are competing globally.

Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife Review

Pros: The tight sheath, the price and the ergonomical design of the handle are huge pros for a survival price available for such a less price. The inclusion of a Survival Basics from Bear Grylls himself is really a boon for those who are new in using the knife, this manual comes in a moisture-resistant paper that can be opened and used in all types of condition.
Cons: The only drawback was the cheap blade material usage and had it manufactured in China. This creates a wavering doubts among people about the quality. Few people on purchase received a defect products and for others the knife didn’t last long. Gerber could have manufactured the knife in its Oregon facility.

Gerber Bear Folding Sheath Knife, specs!

We bring to you the bear grylls folding sheath knife review, The Oregon based knife giant Gerber Legendary Blades, Inc. has a well-known reputation build over for 70+ years. Once pioneer of handmade kitchen knives, they just don’t manufacture knives now but also tools that are used by all kinds of persons, they were the second largest seller of multi-tools in US back in 2003. Gerber used the works of numerous knife designers in the past, Kershaw knives and Al Mar knives are widely famous, and few know that the founders were former designers of Gerber. Thus Gerber has a long line of experience and craftsmanship behind each of their product.

Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife

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Blade length: is 3.58 inches (9.1cm).

Knife Overall Length: is 8.5 inches (21.6cm).

Knife length when closed: is 4.8 inches (12.4cm).

Total Weight: is 4.4 ounces (125g)

Materials used in the blade: is High Carbon Stainless Steel.

Bear Grylls, the very famous wild life survivor, helped the company in designing a line of survival tools and knives, thus all the Bear Grylls knives from Gerber. Gerber gives one of the best survival knives in the market, while most of them sell only EDC or Tactical in their brand. As the name “Bear Grylls” star of Man vs. Wild this knife can be really used out there in wild during an adventure or trip, without any disappointment. This folding knife from Gerber is the lighter version of the Ultimate Survival knife, again designed by Bear Grylls. This knife meets all the needs in times of surviving against the odds.

The Blade

Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife setThe knife comes with a 9cm long, high carbon stainless steel that is serrated towards the handle. This drop point blade is razor sharp and has excellent edge retention. The serrated increases overall chopping, cutting and slicing power. The serrated are far better than the plain edge knife in terms of maintenance, so this blade will last longer, which is needed in a survival knife.

The 7Cr17Mov Stainless steel is the Chinese version of 440A Stainless Steel, with less Vanadium element, with no effect to the performance, the blade is strong, robust and corrosion resistant. The blade has got a nice belly and the sharp tip can be powerful enough while piercing. The blade has thumb stud at the spine on both sides assisting the right and left-handed people in single-hand opening. The company’s name, with the Bear Grylls signature on the blade gives an elegant look.

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The handle

The handle is made up of a tough injection molded plastic with an over-molding of textured rubber grip. The handle is ergonomically well-designed in order to give maximum comfort while holding the knife, the strategically placed finger cut-outs gives firm grip while in motion/action. The handle looks colorful and also has minimal screws holding it together. Gerber has given an additional jimping in the rear end top and bottom, and near the spine of the blade. These jimping gives extra traction while holding the knife in different positions. The hole on the back of the handle gives an extra option to tie the knife to a nylon wire, which comes in handy most of the time. The soft spot in the middle of the textured handle is the trademark that carries the name “Bear Grylls”. The knife comes with a nylon sheath that holds the knife intact inside with a Velcro lock on the top. It is sleek like the famous Victorinox Swiss Army Climber II Pocket Knife.Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife folded

The locking mechanism

The knife has a heavy-duty back locking mechanism, which locks the blade tightly in its place while open. This robust mechanism is really solid, as the knife was designed for outdoor activities. The locks offers safety while closing of the blade. The lock seems to withstand a high pressure, making it idle for heavy duty works.

Our final verdict on the Bear Grylls Folding Sheath Knife

With the right size for the blade, and the handle, this folding knife becomes an idle option for people who loves frequent hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities. This knife also serves as a compact EDC knife. Gerber has even released a plain edge model for those who didn’t get comfortable with the serrated blade. Overall this masterpiece, designed for complete assist in survival is the best knife for the given price tag and have gained its spot as our best pick.

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Benchmade 940 Osborne Review

Pros: With all of the highly durable materials used, and the fantastic locking system, the Benchmade 940 Osborne is a great addition to our inventory of pocket knives. In the outdoors, for self-defence, or even in the work place, this knife will be fit in your pocket with ease and safety.
Cons: The handle we believe could have been made more comfortable with maybe some rubber grip strips as holding the knife with power meant the plastic strip marks were imprinted on our palm. However for the price this is a great pocketknife which will last you for a long time!

There are many knife enthusiasts that have used and seen many different types of knives in their lifetime. Many pocket knife wielders believe that owning a pocket knife is as essential as putting on your shoes in the morning. Some pocket knife owners will never be found without their pocket knives. So we are here today to have a look at one of the more favourite EDC (every day carry) Knives. This great product is designed by Warren Osborne. The Benchmade 940 Osborne is most likely as close as you would be able to get to a perfect knife. In this next section we are going to have a look at the knife, and see what features and affordability it can offer you.

Benchmade 940 Osborne Review

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Benchmade 940 Osborne, specs!

Blade length: 3.40 Inches providing you with all of your needs for cutting and slicing.

Knife Overall Length: The length of the knife overall is 7.87 Inches.

Knife length when closed: Knife length when closed is overall a 4.47 inches.

Total Weight: Total weight of the entire knife is a very portable 2.9 Ounces.

Materials used in the blade: S30V Stainless Steel.

The Benchmade Knife Company was founded back in 1988 and has been producing knives for round about 14 years.  They have always been quite popular in the consumer market and have proved to always sell very well. Benchmade have always proved to be industry leaders in knife creation. Quality is of most importance in all of their creation. And have been said to stand behind their products with exceptional service. Many have said that this knife is of a new species.

The Blade

benchmade-940-bothThe sports blade in the Reptilian, is a modified drop point blade. The length of this blade is 3.45 inches. And is created using 154cm of steel this helps make the blade extremely weather resistant and highly durable. At first glance out of the box for the first time, the blade is so sharp that you will be able shave the hair on the back of your arm, and promises to keep its edge over time, this is achieved using its strong steel.

One of the key features on the knife are the thumb studs. These enable the knife to open a lot smoother. The slide opens with a small rotation of your thumb. Which means this knife is good to go for one handed opening. This system is completely ambidextrous. This also means that right handed or left handed persons can use this knife with complete ease. The blade on the benchmade is honestly a work of art. And was clearly well thought out and allows you to slice with ease.

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The handle

The Benchmade 940 Osborne’s handle sports a very simple but effective handle. The moulded plastic handle does its job well. Although the handle is not very fancy, but to be honest, this knife concentrates on comfort and a good grip. Some might think that the only downfall of this knife is that the handle does feel a little “cheap” or “plastic” but once you have this knife in action, you will quickly forget about the handle and focus on the pure performance of the knife.

I personally disagree that the knife feels “cheap” but each to their own. The handle is solid, and sturdy, and is all round a lot simpler to use, and it brings you back to basics. It will sit in your hand nicely and be able to provide you with that much needed grip wont corrode over time, This makes the handle a lot more usable in prolonged out door situations.

The locking mechanism

benchmade-940-foldingThe Axis locking system that is used in the Benchmade, is housed inside the handle, this special feature is a must have for a pocket knife. Benchmade is famous for using this system and it is 100% ambidextrous. The locking system has a hardened steel bar, that slides back and forth, which does all of the locking and unlocking. The slot that is cut into both sides of the steel liners sit inside the handle.

This provides you with all the safety you need. When opening, the Axis is positioned over the rear of the blade. Then the stop pin slides down an angled part of the tang. This locking system has been proven to work extremely well, and is used universally by many types of different Benchmade knives. And a lot of users really enjoy working with these, and will not let you down, when you need it most.

Our verdict on the Benchmade 940 Osborne

As far as EDC (every day carry knives) go. The Benchmade 940 Osborne will be able to provide you with all of the reliability you will need as well as pure power needed when needed. This is another great knife from a knife company who have years of experience in knife crafting, and like we said before, they will stand behind their products. If you need a good EDC knife, we would highly recommend this BenchMade 940.

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Benchmade Griptilian Review

Pros: This knife will definitely make you appreciate the craftsman construction. Then, there is the added perk of an impeccable customer service. The Griptilian is equipped with proven and well-respected blade. The ergonomics of this knife is appreciably smooth and comfortable. It has been bestowed with a super smooth blade action. Plus, it has a perfect lock-up mechanism. And the knife has an amazing grip textured handle.
Cons: The knife can be nominated as a little bit large. The handle material may feel plastic like to some but, the sturdiness of the handle makes up to this feeling. The locking sound has a somewhat loud click to it.

The Benchmade Griptilian is a full-size, high quality folding pocket knife. With this model, Benchmade showcases a knife that consists of a smooth operating punch. The blade is excellent, versatile, light-weight and opens more smoothly. This knife can be returned to the company throughout the knife’s lifespan for very inexpensive factory sharpening. It is an extremely utilitarian knife. Since it is both practical and neutral from tip to toe, it can be classified as one of the ever so functional everyday carry knifes.

The Benchmade Griptilian is without a doubt, one of the best folding knives in the making. In terms of customization, there is something for everybody in this knife. With Griptilian, Benchmade has offered a wide variety of options, starting from different sizes to different colours, as well as slightly varied features of blade. Now, let us check out the specifications and features of this knife.

Benchmade Griptilian knife

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Benchmade Griptilian, specs!

Blade length: 3.45 inches.

Knife Overall Length: 8.07 inches.

Knife length when closed: 4.62 inches.

Total Weight: 3.25 ounces.

Materials used in the blade: Ambidextrous Thumb-Studs, 551 Modified Drop-Point and stainless steel.

The Griptilian gives a light feel in hand. Full-size handle of the knife, fits in very easily in a loosely clenched fist and leaves smooth curves to press through the sturdiest cutting tasks. The Axis locking mechanism is exclusive to Benchmade. The knife opens quite smoothly, but once it’s open the blade tends to be rigid in its place, until the Axis lock is actuated. The Axis lock is just a spring laden bar, which automatically descends in place as soon as the knife is opened and can be easily glided back, to let the knife close. This mechanism makes it rigid enough not to move without purposely being pulled. When the bar is dragged back, the blade closes with a smooth stroke with just a bit of smashing at the end.

The Blade

Benchmade Griptilian foldedThe premium stainless steel blade has been carried over. The drop-point blade has a perfect length for varied number of everyday tasks, but it is still a tad bit small to carry. The blade is sharpened on both sides. And it claims to stay sharp for several months with moderate use. Moreover, Benchmade offers lifetime sharpening service for this knife. The 154CM blade has been rated 58-61 HRC on the hardness scale, so will absolutely retain that tough nature over the time.

The pocket clip in the knife has been fitted in such a way, that you can pull the knife from its clipped location and expand the blade with just a flick of thumb. And all of this, without even slightly overhauling the knife. Pocket clip can be swapped for this action, irrespective of the knife being carried in left or right pocket. This makes it easier for the left handed people to use the knife.

>> Check latest price on Amazon <<

The handle

The handle consists of glass-reinforced polymer, which provides a grip with a firmly composed surface. The grips are going to fit well in the hand, and the knife can be held hard and steady with comfort. When folded, the knife appears lean enough to fit into your pocket. The handle is held together by stainless steel liners, this increases its durability. It has a lanyard hole at the back, to facilitate those who like to carry their knives that way. A little bit of disappointment is that a separate sheath has not been included with this model.

The locking mechanism

Benchmade Griptilian knife foldedAlthough, the Griptilian is much lighter for its size, but it still takes the space of a Godzilla, when kept in a pocket or purse. It can be kept as backup hunting knife, in a glove box for very occasional trips.

Our verdict on the Benchmade Griptilian

Griptilian has impressively mated a signature blade with the traditional Benchmade construction. The opening and closing workings of the knife are absolutely smooth and well planned. The versatile blade, light weighted feel, impressive lock up mechanism, all of this outruns the space neediness of this knife. Hence we would suggest, if you are used to your knife a lot, or may be if you deal with a large number of heavy tasks, then this Benchmade Griptilian knife is the perfect fit for you, however if you are after a cheaper pocket knife we also recommend you read our review on the Smith & Wesson SWBG2TS Border Guard 2 Rescue Knife.

>> Check latest price on Amazon <<

Benchmade Mini Barrage Review

Pros: The knife shows of an epic blade construction. The assisted opening mechanism is absolutely impressive. And further, the knife is compact when it comes to portability and the size is pretty much usable.
Cons: Cons aren’t really noticeable. But, the knife can be considered a tad bit expensive. The blade-closed lock mechanism is an art, which requires to be mastered before getting comfortable with the knife.
There is everything to love about the Benchmade Mini Barrage 585. Its dimensions and features, strike one of those rare perfect balances of compact carriage and ergonomic structure. This one slides almost unnoticed in the pocket, but the ergonomics needs the user to apply a good deal of pressure to the blade. The assisted-opening blade, amazingly positioned pocket clip, and the spontaneous but smooth blade lock, adds to the beauty of this knife. We found it better then the Benchmade Griptilian.

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Russell’s Really Spicy Chili con Carne

Apples and pears; cranberries and pumpkins; soups and so much more. Fall is a wonderful time, especially when it comes delicious food. Of course, you can’t forget about Chili–and while chili may be more suited for a cold winter night, I think it works perfectly for fall. This chili, like so many great dishes that make the south wonderful, is layered with spices and in-turn is quite spicy. Not quite spicy-chili-contest spicy, but it definitely a hold-on-to-your-hat spicy, or a dish that will not go over too well with those who are not spicy aficionados.

Russell's Really Spicy Chili con Carne
Russell’s Really Spicy Chili con Carne

Chili was invented right here in Texas many, many years ago–chili con carne is even the official dish of Texas. And even though the exact origins of chili is disputed, the concept has remained pretty much the same. Back then, and even to some purists today, chili is a beanless dish–this came to be thanks to the availability and cheapness of beef in Texas’s numerous cattle towns. I personally think the beans add a nice texture and a little depth to the flavor so I use them, despite what the Chili Appreciation Society says.

I fed this chili to six hungry friends and everyone loved it. I served this chili with corn chips, freshly baked french bread, a sharp cheddar, a spicy cheddar, and sour cream; I let everyone choose their toppings/additions. I had mine with a big pile of sharp cheddar, though I tried some with a sour cream mixed in and that combo was delicious as well. Scooping some chili out with a corn chip was also very tasty, and dipping some french bread in the chili was a treat. So, I’ll give you the recipe for the chili and let you decide how you serve it.

Oh, and did I mention this is one of those kitchen-sink chilis. It has a lot–and I mean a lot–of ingredients.  So hold on to your hat and get ready to take copious notes. Of course, if you have a printer, you may just want to click print and save yourself the time. But dont worry, aside from having an entire pantry of ingredients, making it is pretty simple.


Olive oil
1 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1 serano, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 lb chili meat (80/20 ; protein/fat)
1 1/3 lb ground chuck (80/20)
12 oz Chorizo, removed from the casings
3 strips bacon, chopped & pan fried

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Cholula hot sauce
1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
2 teaspoons Tabasco-Habeñero hot sauce
8 oz tomato paste
1 30 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 30 oz can ranch-style beans
1  15 oz can chili beans
2 1/2 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves

Salt & pepper


1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, jalapeño, serrano, and celery and saute until tender for about 7 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add all the spices (cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, crushed red pepper and cinnamon) and cook for another minute or two.

4. Add all the meat, minus the bacon, and cook until browned.

5. Add the cooked bacon, worcestershire sauce, three hot sauces, tomato paste, tomatos, beans, beef broth and bay leaves. Stir until well mixed.

6. Bring the chili to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for two hours.

8. After an hour, using a spoon, smash apart the tomatos if you used whole tomatoes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

9. After the total two hours taste the chili again and add salt & pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and serve.

Allowing the chili to simmer for two hours will help break down the fattiness in the meat, making it tender, and will also help meld all the flavors. As many aficionados will say, the longer you simmer chili the better it will taste; some people will even say you must refrigerate the chili overnight before serving. I say two hours should be just fine!


The Best Coffee Maker of 2017 Reviews

The Most and The Best For Your Budget

Best Coffeer Maker of  2017
Best Coffeer Maker of 2017

When looking for the best coffee makers, it is a case finding the best coffee maker for your situation. I mean if you live by yourself you will need a different coffee maker compared to the person that has an office where 15 people work.

Something else that has an effect on choosing that machine producing that heavenly brown liquid is of course your budget, we don’t all live in a Hollywood mansion. So when I show you the best coffee machines I will take all these aspects into consideration. To be quite honest to get a good cup of Joe is not a case of the more money you spend the better the coffee will be.
On the contrary is more a case of how does the coffee maker work.

Garbage in garbage out. If you use poor quality coffee beans, or low quality water, you cannot expect to get a good cup of coffee. So that is why you start with those good quality ingredients.

Now the best coffee you get is when the coffee beans are ground just before you brew that coffee. That way the flavors don’t have a chance to get away. You can do that by either grind your beans in a seperate grinder.

Or you can buy a coffee maker that has a built-in grinder. Some people don’t have much time in the morning so they prefer a coffee maker that works on a timer.

But all of you have a common interest: To find the best coffee maker for your money.
Now I have tested many different coffee makers. From the drip coffee maker to the super automatic espresso machines.

Below are the best coffee maker each in their own category. For most of the machines you will find a link to Amazon or other stores if you want to buy.
To be able to improve my services I ask you to submit a review or a post that will be published on a seperate page.

The Best Coffee Makers by Category

Mouse over the picture to see the price.

Filter Coffee Makers


  • Built-in grinder
  • Preprogrammable 24 hours
  • Permanent filter

Attention price depends on color!Automatic drip coffee makers have come a long way since they were first introduced to the coffee maker market. This style of coffee maker can be very basic or come with all the bells and whistles. Either way, it is one of the most popular styles of coffee makers purchased by consumers today. Brewing is quick and relatively easy which appeals to a great number of people.

Single Cup
Do you have several coffee drinkers in your household? If you like a variety of coffee flavors, the best pod coffee makers are the ideal choice for making one cup of coffee at a time, with each single cup tailored to individual taste. Drink a robust cup of Columbian coffee one morning and Hazelnut coffee the next. Each cup from the single cup coffee brewer is guaranteed to be fresh, hot, and just the way you like it because it never has time to sit on the burner.
Espresso Machines
The best espresso coffee machines deliver bold, rich tasting coffee that packs a punch. Die hard espresso drinkers prefer to make their own using a manual espresso coffee maker. For those who still love a good cup of espresso, but don’t have the time or patience to do it manually, the automatic espresso coffee maker is an excellent choice. The coffee beans are ground and the espresso brewed, all in one machine.
Vacuum Coffee Machines
A vacuum style coffee maker is a rather unusual looking apparatus. It is constructed from two glass chambers that are situated one above the other. Fans of vacuum systems will say they can brew the cleanest, best tasting coffee with this style of coffee maker. It takes a bit of experimentation in order to determine just the right amount of coffee grounds and brewing time, but the results are well worth the effort.


Is counter space an issue in your apartment, condominium, or home?

Space-saving models of coffee makers are readily available on today’s market as well.

Choose from under the cabinet coffee makers, one-mug coffee makers, or French press coffee makers that can be stored in a cabinet when not in use.


Then there is the car coffee maker , that gives you a cup of coffee when you are traveling or camping. These use the 12 volt that is supplied by your vehicle.

We’re here to give you as much information as possible to enable you to make the best choice as a consumer. Take the time to check out our coffee makers review pages to discover the best coffee maker for your household.

You’ll have access to reviews from consumers like yourself who have already purchased a particular brand or type of coffee maker. You’ll be able to read their first-hand accounts about what they think of their coffee maker. The advantages and disadvantages of each brand and model of coffee maker will be outlined for you as well.

Our coffee maker reviews are broken down both by brand and by type so you’ll have the most useful information possible in hand when you decide to make a purchase for the best coffee maker.

Once you’ve decided on which coffee maker to purchase, enjoy perusing our other pages on various topics related to coffee. We have great tips on how to buy the best tasting coffee beans , how to properly grind coffee beans in order to brew the best coffee , how to care for your coffee maker , delicious coffee recipes, and much more.

What is the Best Coffee Maker for you?

What made you buy it??

Which brand did you choose?

Does it do the job?

Share your experience with other visitors of this website and help them make a better choice.

Four Cheese Baked Mac & Cheese

Four Cheese Baked Mac & Cheese
Four Cheese Baked Mac & Cheese

Mac & cheese. Two words–well, one word and one abbreviation–that together mean perfection. Kill me now so I can live a life in heaven, which I can only imagine consists of swimming in pools and lakes and seas and oceans of delicious, creamy, cheesy mac & cheese. If you can’t tell, I love macaroni and cheese. If mac & cheese wasn’t your favorite childhood food then you just might be an alien. If it isn’t one of your favorite meals to this day, then I don’t even know what to say.

I constantly praise the joys of being an adult–eating doughnuts whenever you want, dessert for breakfast, alcohol with meals or without meals or for breakfast–and reinvented mac & cheeses have to be one of the best parts. No longer is mac & cheese stale noodles in a box and “cheese” in a shiny pouch; it’s your favorite cheeses mixed into a well seasoned thick béchamel sauce made from a no-food-corporation-can-touch-this, classic white roux. The possibilities are almost endless and the differences achieved by playing with new cheeses always remind me why I love mac & cheese.

This could possibly be the 200th mac and cheese I have made. I usually always use three or four cheeses and rarely do I use the same cheeses, aside from when I find a recipe I like, such as this. I usually always use at least a couple cheddars–typically a very sharp variation.

Here I use three different cheddars for sharpness and tanginess (a sharp cheddar, extra sharp new york cheddar, and white artesian cheddar). I also use havarti to add creaminess and sweetness. The combination is fantastic. So, if you haven’t had a good mac & cheese in a while, I definitely suggest trying this recipe out. Now don’t get me wrong, I love throwing bacon or ham or tomato or broccolli or some other delicious addition in to mac & cheese, but this time I just wanted the mac & cheese. So here it is, my four cheese, only cheese, mac & cheese. Say cheese again. Cheese (I hope everyone got the Mean Girls reference there. If not drop what you’re doing and go rent Mean Girls).

Four Cheese Baked Mac & Cheese Ingredients
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste
2 oz sharp cheddar
2 oz extra sharp cheddar
4 oz Artisian cheddar plus 2 oz set aside
4 oz Havarti

1/2 lb Rigatoni (or any tubular, ridged pasta)

Four Cheese Baked Mac & Cheese Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat the milk in a pot until its scalded.

2. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan (big enough to hold the cheese sauce plus all the pasta). Add the onion and saute over medium/medium-high heat until tender (about five to seven minutes)

3. Add the garlic and bay leave. Saute for another two minutes.

4. Add the flour and cook over low heat for a couple minutes to cook out the flour taste.

5. Pour the scaled milk into the roux. Simmer for ten minutes.

6. Off the heat stir in the cheeses, a little at a time (about a couple ounces at a time). Save the 2 oz of Artisian cheddar.

7. Pour the finished pasta into the cheese mixture and stir thoroughly. Pour the mac & cheese into a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top.


8. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on top and the cheese is bubbly.

Be careful though. Once you pull it out of the oven, it is going to go quick. I blinked and half of it was gone!


Lemon Rosemary Grilled Chicken

Lemon Rosemary Grilled Chicken recipe
Lemon Rosemary Grilled Chicken

Summer may be over but that doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up the grill. The other night we had a particularly gorgeous evening–one of those nights where you have to be outside. We decided since it was starting to get a little chilly too we’d build a fire to go along with our outdoor evening. Of course it wasn’t long before everybody noticed I was neglecting my dinner-making responsibilities. “I don’t want to go inside!” I was ready to point everybody to the pantry to get snacks for dinner when it hit me, “the grill!

My grill was mere feet away from our make-shift bonfire so I had no problem whipping up a quick meal. Of course, I couldn’t just grill up chicken and call it a meal. There needed to be some sort of side, but I wasn’t going to cook inside. No sir, no way. Luckily my grill has a side burner so I threw on an oiled cast iron skillet and ran inside to see what I had. There they were, begging to be fried up, little new potatoes! Don’t have a burner on your grill? Throw the cast iron skillet straight on the grill!

This is one of those easy, quick meals that can be made all on the grill, and will let you walk away to tend to guests, or that beautiful evening. Besides, its grilled chicken! Yum! And the rosemary? Delicious!

Lemon Rosemary Grilled Chicken

1 chicken cut up, bone-in
1 sprig rosemary
1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

1. Heat the grill grates over high heat. Leave half of the grill on high and the other half on low.

2. Generously drizzle olive oil over the chicken on both sides. Add a generous portion of salt and freshly ground pepper to both sides also.

3. Roughly chop the rosemary and add it to the chicken on both sides. Squeeze the juice from one lemon all over the chicken.

4. Brush the grates with oil. Add the chicken to the grill grates, over the high heat. Sear each side of the chicken a few minutes until the chicken just begins to turn white, and the grate marks are browned on the chicken.

5. Move the chicken to side of the grill over low heat. Grill the meat for about twenty-five minutes, turning occasionally until the skin is browned, and the meat is cooked through. Add olive oil and more lemon juice occasionally as the meat cooks.  You can check the doneness by cutting into the thickest piece of meat; the juices should run clear.

Fried New Potatoes

25 small new potatoes
1 onion cut into eighths
5 cloves garlic
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

1. Heat a cast iron skillet over a burner or grill on high heat. Add olive oil and lower the heat to low.

2. Add the potatoes, onion, rosemary and garlic. Generously sprinkle everything with salt and freshly ground pepper.

3. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes, adding oil occasionally.

So get out there and heat up that grill before it gets way too cold–I have to admit if we got snow here in Texas, I would probably still grill in a blizzard. Summer may be over, but the time to grill never ends.


Lamb Burgers & Onion Rings Recipes

It’s no secret; I like burgers. In fact, it’s been said that on the day of my birth I came out with a note attached, “this one likes burgers.” From that day on I began a stringent regiment of eating burgers almost daily. They’re messy, they’re greasy, they’re far from healthy, and they’re delicious! When asked that all-too-common, “if you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?” I typically answer with Sushi, but out of fear of mercury poisoning, I quickly change my answer to burgers. When I lived in Austin I was spoiled with countless delicious burger joints; here in cypress I am being tortured with a serious lack there of. I’ve learned to make my own.

The best part of making burgers at home is the control. You get to choose what kind–and quality–of meat you’re getting, the ingredients and flavors your adding, and how you cook it. The second best part is the experimentation. That’s what I did here. I had left over ground meat, specifically lamb and pork from my Bobotie post, so I decided to experiment a bit with a new burger.

Yes, my lamb burgers are actually lamb and pork burgers, but the lamb is the star here. The pork adds juiciness; the lamb contributes that delicious, unique lamb taste. They are a pair made in heaven, and perfect for a unique take on the burger. As for the onion rings, they’re the perfect side for any burger. Here, they’re also perfect for sitting atop the burger.


Lamb Burger Ingredients
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground pork
1 white onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons mint, finely chopped
2 teaspoons oregano, finely chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Lamb Burger Instructions

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Ina Garten has a great tip here: Use one hand to mix everything up so that you don’t overmix. You just want everything mixed through.


2. Shape the patties. Each burger should be about 3/4 inch thick. You should get eight medium sized burgers or five to six larger burgers.


3. On a heated grill, over high heat (highest setting for propane, or over very hot coals) cook the burgers for five minutes on each side.  Remember, only flip each burger once, and never squish of flatten the burgers with a spatula (this will help keep the burgers from falling apart, and will keep the burgers juicy respectively).


I served my burgers with an option of kaiser, ciabatta, or onion rolls. My favorite ws the ciabatta. As for toppings all this burger needs is some sliced tomato, and some delicious homemade onion rings. Want to know how to make those onion rings? Keep reading.

Onion Ring Ingredients
2 large yellow onions
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
1 cup cream
3 eggs

Onion Ring Instructions
1. Heat frying oil to 350 degrees (I use canola or a mix of canola and vegetable).

2. Prepare the process. Slice the onions into 1/2 inch rings, then pop out each layer so that you have individual rings. In one bowl mix all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and pepper). In another bowl beat together the cream and eggs.


3. Dip each onion ring first in the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture, then back in the flour mixture, coating the onion rings thoroughly each time.


4. In batches, fry the onion rings for two minutes on each side, flipping just once.


Not only are these onion rings incredibly easy to make, but they are very, very delicious! If you’ve never made onion rings before, I suggest trying it out.

So, what’s better than a burger and onion rings? Homemade lamb burgers and onion rings of course! These burgers are all about the lamb. The mint and oregano in the meat pull out that delicious lamb flavor; the sweet bite of the yellow onion rings pair so well with the lamb burger.

What’s your favorite burger? How about your favorite Lamb Burgers & Onion Rings side to have with a burger?

Bobotie, South Africa’s Definition of Delicious

Bobotie, South Africa's Definition of Delicious
Bobotie, South Africa’s Definition of Delicious

When I think of South Africa I think first and foremost of my heritage, but also of how far removed I am from this seemingly bizarre world seven time zones and many miles away. My memory struggles to recall the sights and experiences of a seven week trip I made to the country fourteen years ago. I was there to visit what at the time seemed like my long lost family. I was there to learn about a tumultuous world that had an inner beauty so strong it managed to hold captive all of my paternal family, except one: my father. He escaped to the states long before I was born. Even though he never forgot his roots, any sort of South African influence in my life was so watered down that it is hard for me to say I am half Afrikaaner. I’ve never cooked a South African dish and it’s been nearly a decade since I last tasted a dish from that country.

The country, like it’s beginnings, is an eclectic mix of cultures coming together in an astonishingly beautiful setting. The food, like Its people, is eclectic too, with roots in many different parts of the world. This is what drew me to bobotie (pronounced buh-booty!–excuse my phoenetic short hand). Bobotie, a dish which could be considered South Africa’s national dish, came to be nearly three-hundred years ago. As a settlement–an ancient truck stop of sorts–developed in the Cape of Good Hope, so did this very peculiar and delicious dish. This stop serviced Dutch traders as they made the trek from Indonesia to Holland; the food at this stop reflected the collision of flavors from these two cultures. It stayed with the country ever since.

This dish is one memory I cannot forget from my trip to South Africa. It is a dish I have so long wanted to try on my own. Now, I finally have an excuse. To prepare, I began looking through recipes. Shock overcame me as I browsed through the various ingredient lists. How could this be?! Can these ingredients really come together to create something so delicious? I quickly found myself in what had to have been a Chopped nightmare.

Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but this recipe really does manage to combine some very different, exotic flavors that juxtapose each other perfectly. This dish is best served on yellow rice with uie & tamatie (onion and tomato condiment). A recipe for both follows the bobotie recipe and each can be prepared after you put the bobotie in the oven. This recipe also uses a mango chutney, both in the bobotie and as a condiment. You can go with store bought but making it on your own isn’t that hard. Check out my recipe here. Shopping for kitchen blender to make this recipe at this article.

Bobotie Ingredients:
3 slices white bread (crust removed)
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon curry
2 teaspoons turmeric
Juice from 1 lemon
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground pork
4 bay leaves (or lemon leaves if you can find them)
3 tablespoons mango chutney
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup chopped raisins
Rind from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
4 eggs

Coconut shavings

Bobotie Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degress. Soak the bread slices in the milk until saturated. Remove from the milk and allow the excess milk to drain. Save both the bread and milk.
2. Add the oil and butter to a large saute pan and heat over medium heat.
3. Add the onion and brown, about ten minutes.
4. Add the garlic, cooking another two minutes.
5. Add the spices (curry & turmeric). Cook, stirring for a minute then add the lemon juice and continue to cook for another minute.
6. Add the lamb and pork; cook until the pink is just gone.

7. Add the bay leaves, mango chutney, almonds, raisins, lemon rind and sugar. Stir to mix thoroughly.
8.  Beat 1 egg and add to the mixture. Add the bread from earlier. Mix well.
9. Put the mixture into a baking dish. Do not press it into the dish.

10. Beat the remaining three eggs with the reserved milk from above. Pour the custard evenly over everything in the baking dish. Leaving the meat light/fluffy will allow the custard to fill into the dish. You may need to use a knife of fork to aid this process.
11. Bake for 45 minutes.

While you wait for the bobotie to bake, prepare the condiments and yellow rice.

Uie & Tamatie Condiment Ingredients:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 small onion finely chopped
3 small tomatoes chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt & pepper to taste

Uie & Tamatie condiment Instructions:
1. Put the chopped tomato and onion in a bowl.
2. Mix together the vinegar, water, brown sugar, salt, pepper and oregano.
3. Add the vinegar mix to the bowl and toss. Allow this mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes.

Yellow Rice Ingredients:
2 cups rice
4 1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup raisins
Salt and pepper to taste.

Yellow Rice Instructions:
1. Place all the ingredients except the raisins into a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce to a simmer and cook 25 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
3. Add the raisins in once the rice is cooked. Stir to combine.

Time the rice so it will be ready to serve when the bobotie is ready.

Bobotie is a great family style meal.

Not only is the uie & tamatie a great condiment for this dish, but so is mango chutney, freshly sliced bananas and coconut shavings.

I’d you’ve never had a South African dish, or bobotie I urge you try this recipe! It may look intimidating but it is a pretty simple dish to compose and it is down right delicious!

The best part is piling up your plate with all the delicious components.

Of course that neat, organized pile won’t last long. You’ll quickly discover this dish is best all mixed up, allowing the savory, spicy and sweet to all play so well together.



Mango Chutney

Chutneys, often used in and originating from Indian cuisine, are delicious sauces that accompany a main dish. Here I have a mango chutney that contains an idiosyncratic combination of spices and fruit, but that is no doubt delicious. Chutneys are fairly easy to make as well; it’s almost like making jam.

3/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 Clove garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 cups sliced mango

1. Place the vinegar, sugars, and spices in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and maintain a low boil for 30 minutes.
2. Add the onion, garlic and raisins and boil for another 30 minutes.
3. Add the sliced mango and boil for 30 minutes to an hour until the mango just begins to break down.
4. Let cool before serving. You can pour the chutney into sterilized jars if you wish to store them.

Mom’s Tuna Melt

The tuna sandwich is all too often left plain, boring, and unappealing (see exhibit 1.A). Untoasted bread, boring; no cheese, what?! Where are the veggies? Where’s that something extra?

1.A - A boring tuna sandwich
1.A – A boring tuna sandwich

Luckily the drab tuna sandwich can quickly be converted into a sandwich god: the tuna melt (see exhibit 1.B). And while it is almost as easy as adding a good cheese, there are a few other things that can make the sandwich truly perfect and super delicious.

For one, add tomatoes. Don’t stop there though (see figure 1.C). After you’ve melted the cheese throw the tomatoes on top and throw em under the broiler for a few minutes (see figure 1.D).

1.C - Tomatoes are great and all...
1.C – Tomatoes are great and all…
1.D - Thats better... Tomatoes love to bathe under a broiler
1.D – Thats better… Tomatoes love to bathe under a broiler

Since I’m a cheddar freak, I used a very mature white cheddar; it adds a lovely sharpness with just a hint of sweetness. As for the recipe for the tuna salad, well that’s super simple. I call this my mom’s tuna melt because the tuna salad portion is what I grew up on. It was and is a recipe I never tire of.

1 large can tuna drained
1 stalk celery chopped
2 tablespoons onion (yellow or sweet) chopped
1/2 cup miracle whip (use this mayonnaise for sweetness)
Salt & pepper to taste
1 roma tomato sliced
2 leaves romain lettuce
4 slices extra sharp or mature cheddar cheese
2 slices whole wheat bread
1. Turn the broiler on. Broil one side of both pieces of toast. On a baking sheet.
2. Mix the tuna, celery, onion, miracle whip, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
3. Add the tuna salad on the untested side of one slice. Flip the other slice. Crumble the cheese over the tuna salad. Put the baking sheet with everything back under the broiler until the cheese has melted, about five minutes Be sure to take out the other slice before it browns too much.
4. Add the tomato slices onto of the cheese and place under the broiler for another 5 minutes until the tomatoes just begin to cook.
5. Move to a plate, add the romaine, a little fresh cracked black pepper, and top with the other puce of toast.
Ta-da! A tuna melt as easy as can be, and tasty as tasty gets. The tuna salad is sweet, so are the tomatoes; the sharpness of the cheddar adds a nice bite and pop. The romaine adds just a slight hint of that bitter herb flavor. Together all the pieces make a great sandwich. My first slice was devoured before I could even move away from the kitchen counter ( see exhibit 1.E, 1.F, 1.G, 1.H).

1.H - Maybe I should sit down?
1.H – Maybe I should sit down?

What’s your favorite tuna salad recipe?

Deliciously Simple Potato & Leek Soup

Who loves soup? I know I do! Although, I actually managed to forget how much I liked soup, and how easy soup can be to make. Last night I decided to try my hand at a slow simmered soup; last night I fell in love with making soup all over again. This is one of those soups where you wonder how so few ingredients can create such a delicious soup. Then you remember the main ingredient is the leek and that these almost forgotten cousin of the onion provide a wonderfully tame/mild onion flavor; boiling them keeps the flavor quite mild and are perfect for soup.


The ingredients are as simple as counting to six: 1 lb potatoes, 2 leeks, 3 garlic cloves, 4 pints water, 5 links sausage and 6 tablespoons creme. Incase my little trick to help you remember does little to actually help you remember, here are the ingredients listed in normal fashion:

2 quarts water (4 pints)
2 leeks thinly sliced (use all the white and a little of the light green – yields about 4 cups)
1 lb chopped potatoes (I use red potatoes with the skin on-yields about 3 to 4 cups)
3 garlic cloves smashed but whole*
1 tablespoon salt
5 links sausage (about 1-1 1/2 lb)
6 tablespoons cream

Light handful chopped parsley
Salt & pepper to taste

*Before removing the skin from the garlic clove take a wide faced knife and lay it side-down on the clove(s). With a quick powerful hit from the side of your first, whack the side of the knife where the garlic lay underneat. This will make it easier to remove the skin and it will help the garlic flavor the soup.


1. Fill a large pot with the water. Toss in the potatoes, leeks, garlic cloves and salt.

2.  Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat immediately and simmer for 45 minutes (make sure the soup remains at a simmer).

3. While the soup is simmering, cook the sausage links. I usually fill a sauce pan with an inch of water and place the links in the pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. It should take 10-15 minutes for the sausage to cook through. Set aside until it cools.

4. Chop the sausage into cubes and add to the soup five minutes before the soup is to be done (4o minutes in).

5. When the soup is finished remove from the heat. Remove the garlic cloves. Stir in the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. Correct the seasonings with a little salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped parsley and stir.

I suggest serving this with a nice big hunk of bread. Some suggest serving soup with a salad and other items if it is dinner, but I suggest grabbing a bigger bowl and a bigger chunk of bread!



That’s really all that needs to be said about tortilla soup. From the intensely spicy, to the calm mild variations, there always exists the yum factor with a good tortilla soup. That’s why I’ve decided to finish off my Cinco de Mayo week with one. That and I needed to feed 8 (plus a few second servings) and what is better than tortilla soup to make tons of!


I decided not to make a crazy spicy one, instead one that would let the flavors of the chicken, onion, tomato, and corn tortillas come through. This is a soup that is quite yummy on its own, and even more delicious with a bite homemade baked  corn tortilla, or slice of avocado, or both. I also employed the use of mild banana peppers, a new sweet favorite pepper of mine. Combined with everything else this tortilla soup is definitely one worth trying.

I served the soup with some delicious homemade cornbread and I suggest doing the same. I happened to find the recipe on the back of a corn meal bag (photos below) and it was one of the best cornbreads I’ve had. If you have your own recipe I think it will work just fine here.

[Now, by this point you might be wondering where are the pictures of this so called delicious Tortilla soup?! I mean we all know that is the best part of a food blog. And yes, I can assure you that this soup does look scrumptious. Unfortunately though I lent my camera to my father today without thinking to upload my photos from last night, my photos of my delicious tortilla soup. Sad I know. So, as soon as I get my camera back, I will quickly get those photos up. Until then though you’ll just have to read plain, boring, never-ending text. Lucky for you though I was able to use my mother’s camera to snap the recipe for the corn bread–while I may not have the blogging skills that demand a large audience (and therefore large sponsors) I’m going to go ahead and say bravo to Canon as I use a 7D usually and my mother’s point and shoot Powershot SD780 more than stood up to the challenge and saved the day. So expect a picture someone down below! Until then, back to the pictureless recipe for tortilla soup!]

Meat from 1 whole chicken
5 corn tortillas sliced
2 1/2 quarts chicken stock
5 garlic cloves
1 1/2 yellow onions quartered
2 mild banana peppers rough chopped
1 cup yellow corn
3 tomatoes chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
olive oil

1 avacado sliced
3 corn totillas sliced & baked (Bake in an oven at 350 for 10 minutes or until crispy)
Fresh Cilantro

1. In a food processor coarsley chop the garlic, onion & banana peppers. Set aside.

2. In a large soup pot heat olive oil over low heat. Throw in the 5 sliced corn tortillas and cook until just crispy.

3. Add the onion mixture and simmer until coated with olive oil.

4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and cumin. Simmer for ten minutes.

5. Slowly Add the chicken stock and simmer over low until the soup is reduced by 1/3 about 30 minutes. Add the cooked chicken in for the last ten minutes.

6. Serve with tortilla strips, avacado and cilantro.

If you’re like me you love bread with soup, and corn bread is one of my favorites, especially with a tortilla soup.

I found a wonderful recipe on the back of a wonderful corn meal.

I suggest trying both!