My four-year old niece Luka asked me to make a birthday cake for this year. This is not an easy task as she wants a Tinker Bell cake of all things. You see I am a cook but definitely not a cake baking or cake decorating person…. Baking for me is rather a tedious, scientific and boring affair as you have to follow the recipe 100% otherwise your recipe is going to flop – like most of my cakes I might add! And let it be known that when it comes to decorating I have two left hands.
So I had to make a plan somehow in order to get me started – I did not want to try my deal with Luka’s Tinker Bell cake first time around so I decided to make a simple Blue Monster cupcake to start with and in some way then prepare myself for the fairy monster ahead. Well, I had so much fun ….
Blue Monster Cupcakes
Cake food colouring # E133
Grass nozzle # 234 (ask for this at any cake decorating shop)
Eyes – you can buy them or make your own with white and black plastic icing
Mouth – chocolate chip cookies, broken in half
Mix the buttercream icing with a little blue food colouring until you get the real “monster” colour. Spread a thin layer of blue buttercream icing over the cupcake. Place the grass nozzle in your piping bag and fill-up ¾ with icing. Press the icing on top of the cupcake and then pull it up to get the effect of hair. Place the eyes and the mouth in place.
This dish is inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who loves the combination of warm bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. I turned it into a salad by adding mozzarella, basil and vinegar. This is utterly delicious and with a good piece of bread makes a perfect meal for this in-between season time of year.
Preparation and cooking time: 20 min
250 g bacon
1 T olive oil
400 g baby tomatoes, half some and keep some whole
3 gem lettuce heads, cut in half length-ways
1 T olive oil
2 T good red wine or sherry vinegar
150 g bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls), torn into pieces
Handful of fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Set aside and keep warm. Put the tomato and lettuce in a bowl, add the other tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss together. Add the lettuce and tomatoes into the bacon pan and fry for about 5 minutes until the lettuce halves are wilted and browned and the tomatoes are warmed through. Add the bacon and the two tablespoons of the vinegar for the last minute or two. Turn everything onto a flat salad dish – add the mozzarella and basil. Sprinkle with a bit more of the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
This easy Asian-style mussel recipe combines fresh mussels with a pungent coconut cream sauce consisting of fresh ginger, garlic, chillies and lemon. The whole process is so speedy that the total cooking time may be less than 5 minutes, depending on how fast your mussels cook!
Five minute Asian mussel pot
Cooking time: 5 min
250ml coconut cream
1 large thumb fresh ginger, grated
1 big clove or two small cloves of garlic, grated
2 green chillies, chopped
½ T freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ t salt
400g fresh mussels (I used the Woollies frozen mussels and just defrosted a bit under warm water)
Handful of fresh coriander
Bring coconut cream, ginger, garlic, chillies, lemon juice and salt to a boil. Add the mussels and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve hot.
The worst of the winter cold is possibly over but there is still a chill in the air on some nights. So wanting to beat off the crisp cold, my friend Leonard and I decided to pop in at the Belmond Mount Nelson’s Planet Restaurant for Chef Rudi’s Cheese Fondue for two. We had the Cheese Fondue as a starter – but let the truth be known this is really a main made for sharing – it is deceptively filling and utterly delicious. Made with local gruyère, emmentaler and mature cheddar cheese with a hint of garlic. Our dipping condiments were homemade breads, croutons and grissini – all complimented by radishes, apple, celery and gherkins. To boot, this little spring warmer is a treat at R260 for two people.
the delicious mushroom tortellini
I then indulged in one of the best mushroom dishes that I have ever tasted in my life. They brought me a red plate with mushroom tortellini, mushroom terrine and a giant mushroom. The balance of the dish was spot on and with a glass of chilled Pinot Noir … utter perfection.
The Planet is to be recommended … remember to have a drink in the garden before retreating to the talented culinary pampering of Chef Rudi.
Each time my man goes away on business, I get a little spring in my step. You see it is not that I won’t miss him, but it is then when I get a chance to indulge myself in one of my favourite dishes of all-time – curry tripe and trotters! I am just mad about it, but hubby runs a mile as soon as he gets a whiff of the stuff. I was raised in the Free State on offal. In later years I remember thinking how strange it was for people not to like tripe and trotters. I still don’t quite understand. Anyway, those who want to pull their noses up at this delicious treat, means that there is just that much more for the rest of us … And amen to that.
My curried tripe and trotters
1.1 kg sheep tripe and trotters, cut the tripe into blocks
1 bay leaf
5 black peppercorns
1 ½ t salt
½ t coriander seed, finely ground
2 cups of water
3 t curry powder (medium or hot)
1.5 table spoons white vinegar
3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
Place the tripe and trotters, bay leaf, lemon leaf and peppercorns in your pressure cooker. Mix all the other ingredients (except for the potatoes) together and add to the offal. Steam for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes and steam for another 15 minutes. Taste for salt if needed. Serve with rice or pap or a thick slice of bread.
South Africa’s leading olive oil producers were honoured with gold medals at the annual SA Olive Awards last night. A total of 17 exceptional extra virgin oils received gold medals in three categories.
1. Delicate olive oil: Cederberg Olives, Muiskraal and Porterville Olives.
2. Medium olive oil: Tokara and Willow Creek clinched 2 gold medals each while Gabriëlskloof, Groote Vallei and Rio Largo Olive Estate each won one gold.
3. Intense olive oil: L’Ormarins, Marbrin Farm, Morgenster Estate, Mulderbosch Vineyards, Rio Largo Olive Estate and The Ou Pastorie.
Fudge brings back so many childhood memories. I have such fond recollections of standing with mom in the kitchen making these sweet treats and then sitting somewhere quietly nibbling away on a few blocks. This is such an easy recipe I have been making it for years – you just throw everything into a pot and let it cook until the mixture turns into a soft sludge. To make things even easier I use an electric whisk to get it to that lovely fudgy consistency.
Put the butter, condensed milk, milk, syrup and sugar all together into a heavy bottom pot or pan and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil until the mixture reaches 118 °C or the soft-ball stage. When the fudge is at soft-ball stage, remove the pan from the stove and stir in the vanilla. With an electric whisk beat for about five minutes, by which time the fudge will have thickened to the texture of stiff peanut butter. Pour into prepared baking. Smooth the top of the fudge as well as you can. Allow to cool and then cut into squares.
Last Thursday I had an exclusive peek into the new Banting Kitchen in Green Point, 47 Main Road (in front of Cape Royale Hotel), Cape Town. Tim Noakes and his many Banting fans will be extremely happy about this new eatery. The entire menu is based on Banting ingredients, ranging from home smoked salmon (delicious!), mussels in cream, lasagna, steak to the always popular cauli-mash through to dessert. As is to be expected, the dishes are obviously very rich given all the cream and butter – and as you know where there is cream and butter – it is always delicious.
Two things stood out for me – the bread and the dessert. On our arrival we were offered bread and butter and I have to admit that I was somewhat sceptical about the bread – I’ve have tried to bake Tim Noakes’s bread – and it was not pleasant. But the bread I had at The Banting Kitchen was surprisingly good and tasty. Banters who miss their slice of bread will find this a real treat.
And then the dessert, it’s just so hard to get a Banting dessert without that awful xylotil (sugar substitute) taste. Yet, I had the most wonderful-lemon panna cotta and baked cheesecake. I could not taste the xylotil and both were absolute winners. Our waitron, Brilliance was, well just brilliant … his friendly face and his knowledge of the menu was refreshing and he certainly lived up to his name.
For more information, visit www.thebantingkitchen.co.za or contact via telephone on 021 – 430 0506. Join The Banting Kitchen on Facebook (TheBantingKitchen) and Twitter (@bantingkitchen).
main | oriental spiced cream cheese chicken supreme
I made this lovely pasta e fagioli (pasta + bean soup) the past weekend. This is the best-known peasant dish in Italy and Antonio Carluccio’s recipe. He says that every Italian region, sometimes every town, has a pasta e fagioli, which is a charming and warming cucina povera (“poor kitchen”) dish. It can be very thick or more soupy according to the area of its origin.
Antonio sees this soup as the benchmark of every restaurant! If a chef cannot make it properly, then he is not a good, nor conscientious chef.
300g fresh borlotti beans, or 200g dried beans soaked in cold water overnight and drained (I used 400g tinned beans)
6 tbsp olive oil
a few pieces of cured Italian ham (I used a packet of good bacon)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 basil leaves
1 rosemary sprig
1 liter chicken or vegetable stock
1 red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper
150g tubetti pasta (I used macaroni)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to serve
Put the beans into a heatproof earthenware pot or large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook gently, allowing one hour if using fresh beans, 1½-2 hours if using dried. Don't salt the water or the skins will remain tough. When soft, drain and puree half of the beans in a blender or food processor, then mix together with the whole beans.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and bacon and fry until softened. Add the basil, rosemary, stock, chilli if using, tomato puree, beans and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
Leave to stand for 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to mingle. Reheat if you like, but in Italy soups are more often served warm rather than hot, even cold in summer. Top each portion with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Pork is such an economical yet extremely tasty cut of meat. I bought 5 fillets at the deli in Joostenberg the other day for R60. It was those thick cuts with the minimal fat on. This is one of Rick’s favourite dishes and this is comfort food at its best. Enjoy.
Apples - Heat oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the apples, cumin, cinnamon and salt and cook for 4 minutes. Add the honey and cook for a further 4 minutes - stirring occasionally. Once tender, remove from pan.
Pork fillet - Season your pork fillets with salt and pepper and place these into the same pan in which you have cooked the apples. Fry for 4 minutes on each side. It depends on the thickness of the pork, so test the pork before serving to make sure that it is cooked through.
Crushed potatoes - Boil potatoes till cooked and drain. Add the salt, mustard, butter and milk. Mix with a fork and crush the potatoes with fork.
The olive tree is surely the biggest gift of heaven – Thomas Jefferson
I grew up with sunflower oil and butter but these days I have five different extra virgin olive oils next to my stove. Ordinary olive oil for frying my chicken breasts, truffle olive oil that I add to my mashed potatoes, orange olive oil that I sprinkle on my pumpkin before I put it into the oven, parmesan olive oil to be added in good measures over hot pasta and then lime olive oil for dressing my salads. Olive oil is a completely natural oil (straight from heaven, I would say) with no preservatives added.
SA Olive Association
In South Africa, the SA Olive Association keeps a watchful eye over our olive industry and if you want to be sure that you have a good South African olive oil you should be on the lookout for the organization’s seal of approval on the bottle.
Now, how should a good olive oil taste?
Well, once tasted, it should have fruity flavours such as apple and this should be followed by a bitter taste at the back of your tongue, giving way to a sharp peppery sensation in the back of your throat. Feel free to take a half teaspoon of olive oil, put it in your mouth, breathe the oil in as if you are tasting wine and see whether you experience theses sensations.
Beware of oils that smell or taste winey, metallic, musty or rancid.
Interesting facts and tips about olive oil
• Use olive oil while it is still young and fresh. It is not like wine which gets better as it gets older.
• Store oil in a cool, dark place.
• Do not store the olive oil in the refrigerator, the condensation will promote oxidation.
• Olive oil is more heat stable than, for example, sunflower oil and can be reused seven times.
3 tablespoons orange olive oil (this can be replaced with ordinary olive oil and the juice of one orange)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. Place the butter on a baking tray and then the pumpkin, sweet potatoes and pears. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and cumin seeds and bake for 30 minutes. Mix the honey, sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the pumpkin and bake for a further half hour.
Last week Cape Town Tourism invited me to have lunch at The Purple House in the Bo-Kaap.
Faldela Tolker prepared an authentic Cape Malay lunch for me, La Carmina (CNN TV Host) and Cape Town Tourism.
Wale Street – the heart of the Bo-Kaap. The Bo-Kaap is tucked into the fold of Signal Hill.
We visited the Bo-Kaap museum, a social history museum that documents life in the area. A visit to the museum is a must and I felt I was stepping back in time. You are not allowed to take pics inside the museum.
I buy all my spices from this 70 year old shop. The first thing you will notice is the strong and fragrant spice smell.
Mr Ahmed weighing some spices.
I always add a bit of Atlas’ mother-in-law masala to my masala mix.
La Carmina in the colourful row of houses in Chiappini Street.
Starters | Chicken and corn samosas + chilli bites
Tomato bredie with flavoured rice.
We finished this perfect lunch with traditional koesisters.
Make your own cardamom tea by adding five cardamom pods to a pot of tea.
Koesisters vs Koeksisters – recipe Lanice Snyman via food24
There are two types: koeksisters and koesisters (without the “k” in the middle).
KOESISTERS Spongier, plumper and spicier than koeksisters (spelt with a “k”) – and never plaited – these traditional Sunday morning Cape-Malay treats were hawked by District Six children, to enthusiastic response from passers-by.
lunch at the purple house in the bo-kaap + koe(k)sisters
Sift together flour, sugar, salt, yeast and spices into a bowl. Lightly mix together the oil and egg, and mix thoroughly into the dry ingredients.
Mix together milk and water, heat to blood temperature, and mix in to form a soft dough. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and set aside in a warm spot until double in bulk (about 2 hours, depending on the weather).
Roll out with your hands on a lightly oiled surface into a sausage about 5cm thick. Cut into 2cm lengths, form into flattened doughnut shapes and arrange on a tray; leave space for rising. Cover and set aside for about 30 minutes until double in size.
SYRUP Bring the water and sugar to the boil in a large saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil uncovered for about 5 minutes until thickened to a light syrup. Stir in the bicarb and butter.
Deep fry the koesisters in medium-hot oil for about 5 minutes, turning constantly, until golden, crisp and cooked through. Drain briefly on kitchen paper. Add to the syrup and simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Lift onto a serving plate and sprinkle with coconut.
If there ever was a man who could work with a small amount of money and still eat like a king, it was my father, Coen Potgieter. Dad taught us all how to count our pennies without being stingy and taught us the valuable lesson of how to eat like a king on a cash-strapped budget.
Yes, my parents were very smart – they bought their meat in bulk, we packed, marked it with one of those big fat koki pens just before it was put into the freezer.
I remember when the whole family used to go fishing on Saturdays. Of the fish that we caught, some of them were cut up into thick slices and frozen whilst the other portions were made into curry fish and stored in the pantry. Growing up we also had a huge garden and our parents taught us how to grow our own fruit and vegetables.
These lessons have stayed with me my whole life. So last month when I bought one of those bulk packs of lamb for R69.99 p/kg, I packed it, labelled it and froze it – just as we always used to do when I was young. A few days later I hauled a pack out of the freezer and made this glorious koolbredie. It serves six people – all for under R50. By the way the cabbage came out of my garden. Dad would have been proud.
500g lamb on the bone, cut in large cubes (R35.00)
1 large onion, grated (R3.00)
1 clove garlic, grated (R1.00)
3 medium potatoes, quartered (R5.00)
1 kg of cabbage, about half a cabbage, sliced finely (R0.00 - from my garden)
3 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
juice of half a lemon (R2.00)
Fry the meat in oil for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown - stirring constantly. Do not try to shorten this process. Add the onion and cook for a further 5 minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients and cook slowly for at least one and a half hours until the meat is tender and cooked though. It should be dry but still juicy. Finally add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a thick slice of fresh bread.
Who bakes bread these days? Not me. I buy the best bread on Saturdays at the market and I actually do not have the time for the kneading and proofing. The other day I was watching Masterchef and saw Matt Preston making his no-knead bread. This is definitely my kind of recipe. Simple ingredients, simple techniques (if any, that is) and when Matt Preston says it will work who am I to argue? He took flour, yeast, salt and warm water – mixed it all together, put the whole lot in the fridge overnight and baked it the next morning. ..and hey Presto!
I did the same and it turned out to be the first perfect bread I have ever baked. For people like me and for whom baking bread is a big challenge, I want to encourage you to try this recipe. It is simple, delicious and just impossible for it to flop.
Combine flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Stir in water until the ingredients are all well combined. Cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight.
Remove bowl from fridge 1 hour prior to baking, and allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 220°C. Line baking sheet with baking paper, and generously dust sheet with flour. Divide the dough in two and place the two pieces on the tray. Bake for 1 hour or until golden, and the inside sounds hollow when knocked on the base.