Tag Archives: 2013

beef + veg and married life in the suburbs

beef + veg and married life in the suburbs

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{missing in action}
I have been missing in action for the past few months with work, the FreshlyBlogged competition and a host of other engagements. As a result Rick was somewhat neglected – we were like ships passing in the night. When we did see each other it was a bark about this or a mumble about that…you know how it goes when life just gets too busy. 🙂

{let me surprise hubby}
So when at long last I got the opportunity to get my life into my normal routine… I decided to make him his favourite meal – Beef and Veg. I thought I would surprise him with a beautifully set table, candles, a good bottle of red wine and a scrumptious meal.

I took a beef roast and placed it in the bottom of a roasting pan, added all the veggies and herbs that were lying at the bottom of my fridge and then poured some red wine and balsamic vinegar over the lot …. Well the dish was tender, flavourful and simply delicious.

{happpy night … nope}
Now you are probably thinking that we had this cosy, catch-up evening with candles and all. Nope, he phoned me early evening to say that he would not be home early – he had some work matters to attend to. So there I was sitting all on my own getting hammered on the wine.

Oh well this stuff happens, when he did get home I had a few sharp words to say…and so did he. We barked a bit more and I eventually gave Rick his dinner on a tray in front of the telly. You see married life in the suburbs is full of frustrations, trials and tribulations.

{what did i learn}
What did I learn this time around? Well nothing – but I still enjoyed cooking the dish, I still loved laying the table, I still loved photographing the dish the next morning before work … maybe next time…

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beef + veg roast
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1.2kg beef roll
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 potatoes, quartered
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • handful of parsley
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup of red wine
  • ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a baking tray. Toss the vegetables with your hands so that the beef and veggies are well seasoned with the salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the red wine.
  3. Bake for 1hr20 min or more in the oven till done – check every now and then. Take the roast out of the oven and cover with foil and then let it rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Cut the beef into slices and put some of the veggies and sauceover the meat.
  5. Serve with lashings of sourdough bread.

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baked fruit salad

baked fruit salad

baked fruit salad

I felt like a fruit salad the other day but because it was freezing cold and wintery outside I did not feel like cold fruit. I decided then and there to make a baked fruit salad. For me, a fruit salad is not specific fruit – it’s just fruit that you have in your bowl. On that day I had guavas, bananas, apples and pears. I just cored them and baked these with star anise, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.

It formed this delicious yummy tropical caramel-like sauce at the bottom and was devilish delicious with a dollop of ice cream. Sometimes in life, you have to do things differently. Try it, it sometimes holds some delightful surprises.

baked fruit salad

baked fruit salad

baked fruit salad

baked fruit salad

 

baked fruit salad
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Apple, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 Pear, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 Banana, peeled and cut into 2 lengths
  • 3 Guavas, cut into half
  • 3 Tbsp (15ml) Soft brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (15ml) Butter
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 1 Large cinnamon stick
  • Foil
  • Ice cream or cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C
  2. Add all the ingredients in an oven pan and cover with foil.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil and serve hot with a serving of ice cream or whipped cream.

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chicken + tangy coleslaw open sandwich

chicken + tangy coleslaw open sandwich

This deliciousness of a sandwich was introduced to me by my work colleague, the lovely American – Madeleine. I just love the combination of the fresh ingredients and the fantastic salad dressing that just lifts each bite. I realised once again how delicious homemade salad dressings are … and together with the coleslaw + chicken makes for a tangy-crunchy, rich-tasty, but above all healthy easy meal. For an even healthier option you can just grill your chicken.

What is also super is that you can use the coleslaw as a salad on its own – I added some fennel + flavourburst micro leaves + bean sprouts to give it extra flavour and crunch. This salad fits in perfectly with one of those impromptu braais that we so enjoy.

Watch me make this by clicking here.

chicken and coleslaw

chicken and coleslaw chicken and coleslaw chicken and coleslaw

chicken + tangy coleslaw open sandwich
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 Slices of bread
  • 300g Crumbed chicken pieces / steaklets
  • Coleslaw
  • 50g White cabbage, finely sliced
  • 50g Red cabbage, finely sliced
  • 2 Spring onions or salad onions, chopped
  • 2 Baby fennel bulbs, finely sliced
  • 40g Mung bean sprouts or any sprouts
  • 1 Red chilli, chopped
  • 10 g Parsley, chopped
  • 10g Flavourburst micro leaf salad (optional)
  • Salad dressing
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 3 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
  • 10g Parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Large pinch of milled black pepper
  • ¼ Cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 °C and bake the crumbed chicken pieces for 20 minutes – or as per the instructions indicated on the packet.
  2. Mix all the coleslaw ingredients together.
  3. Mix the salad dressing ingredients together and drizzle over coleslaw. Mix well and make sure you coat all of the coleslaw. Season to taste.
  4. Place the just fried or oven baked chicken pieces onto your bread and top it with the coleslaw.
  5. Note: I don’t butter my bread but you can if you want to.

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warm bean salad with olive oil + lemon + parsley

warm bean salad with olive oil + lemon + parsley

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My mom used to make this side dish for us for years back in our days in the Free State…to help stave off the winter chill and provide some good nourishment to accompany a meat dish as opposed to just the ‘vleis, rys en aartapples” (meat, rice & potatoes) staple. We were fortunate enough to have a large vegetable garden in which my brothers and I had to do our time in turning the soil and tendering to the veg patch. I remember there were always these long green beans – and delicious ones too. While in matric (Grade 12) I had to lose a kilo or two so that I could fit into my matric dance dress – I was a size 10 in those days! I lived for weeks on beans and tomatoes – just cooked up, plain and simple … and fitted in my dress! The flavours have stayed with me to this day. The big secret to this simple fare is not to overcook the beans…. They still need to have a bit of a bite.

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Filled with nostalgia, I made this dish once again and served it as a warm bean salad – I added some freshly ground black pepper a drizzle of the best olive oil and to complete the dish a generous squeeze of lemon juice and some twigs of parsely. The olive oil, lemon juice and parsley renders the dish into a modern veggie serving that I absolutely love. If you like, you can always eat this as a main meal with a slice or two of freshly baked bread. Just paddle the bread through some of the lovely juices….just plain delicious is what it is…unadulterated veg at its best.

Three more ideas with green beans:
Steam or boil the beans until just cooked – add some bacon and a knob of butter.
Steam or boil the beans – add salt, black pepper, a bit of garlic and a knob of butter.
Cook beans with potato and onions and flavour with salt, white pepper and a knob of butter.

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warm bean salad with olive oil + lemon + parsley
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 400g Green beans (ends and strings removed)
  • 300g Tomatoes, sliced
  • 200g Onions, sliced
  • 125 ml Water
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Freshly chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients into a pot with the water. Cook on medium heat for +- 5-10 minutes until all is soft and cooked - but not overcooked.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and give a generous squirt of olive oil. Mix the lemon juice and chopped parsley through and serve immediately as hot as you can.

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ragù with potato + carrot crush = pick n pay freshlyblogged challenge #2

ragù with potato + carrot crush = pick n pay freshlyblogged challenge #2

Pick n Pay freshlyblogged challenge #2

This delicios recipe was inspired by a very interesting ingredient list (see list below) I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged competition. See list of ingredients and rules below.

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As a family, when I was growing up we used to eat “mince and pasta” every Saturday. You see we used to have dishes for Monday, Tuesday etc. and this was our Saturday dish. So l decided last Saturday that I wanted to make a ragù with the beef shin and I replaced the pasta with carrot and potato crush. I also added fresh parsley to the ragù and the crush for that fresh Italian originality. This crush with pepper and butter was also something I grew up with during my childhood. I remember it was one of my dads’ favourite dishes – he loved to scoop it onto his plate while it was still piping hot. He always added that extra bit of butter and a pinch more black pepper. He was so in my thoughts when I made this dish. You would have loved it dad… today I missed you so much. Love always…

ragu

Ingredient List and rules for challenge #2
1 Knorr beef stock pot
1 Block of beef suet
1 Punnet PnP Soup Mix (containing one potato, one carrot, one celery stalk)
500g Beef Shin
PnP star anise
PnP white wine vinegar

Rules
You may omit one ingredient (except the 1 Knorr Beef Stock Pot) from the above list.
You may add two fresh ingredients (fruit, vegetables or herbs)
You may add one grocery item.
You can use any and all ingredients from the approved Freshly Blogged Pantry List. Olive oil, Vegetable oil, Salt, Pepper, Flours (cake, wholewheat, bread and self raising), Baking powder, Bicarbonate of soda, Yeast, Butter, Milk, Eggs, Sugar (granulated, castor, icing, brown and treacle),Stock (powder or liquid – beef, chicken, fish, vegetable)

ragu

 

 

ragù with potato + carrot crush = pick n pay freshlyblogged challenge #2
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Ragù
  • 2Tbsp (30ml) Atora shredded suet
  • 1Tbsp (15ml) Olive Oil
  • 350g Boneless beef shin, cut into small blocks
  • ½ Cup (50g) Carrots, cut into very small blocks
  • ½ Cup (50g) Celery, sliced finely
  • 1Tbsp (15ml) White wine vinegar
  • 1 Cup (250ml) Water
  • 1 Beef stock pot
  • ½ Cup (125ml) Milk
  • 600g Ripe red tomatoes grated
  • Salt
  • Milled black pepper
  • 3Tbsp (45ml) Parsley coarsely chopped
  • Potato and carrot crush
  • 1 Cup (150g) Potato, cut into blocks
  • 1 Cup (150g) Carrot, cut into blocks - cut potatoes and carrots in the same size blocks so they can cook evenly
  • 1 ½ Tbsp (22.5 ml) Butter
  • 1Tbsp (15ml) Parsley coarsely chopped
  • ⅛ tsp (0.6 ml) Salt
  • Big pinch of milled black pepper
  • To serve
  • Olive oil
  • ½ Tomato, deseeded and chopped into small blocks
  • Parmesan cheese to serve
Instructions
  1. Ragù - Heat the suet and olive oil in a pot. Add the beef and sauté over medium heat until brown. Take the meat out of the pot and set aside.
  2. Add the carrots and celery into the same pot and cook gently for two minutes.
  3. Transfer the beef back in the pot and add the water, vinegar and stock pot. Cook stirring occasionally, until all the water has evaporated.
  4. Add the milk and cook until the milk has evaporated, stirring occasionally.
  5. Next add the grated tomatoes and stir well. When the pot starts to bubble turn down the heat to the very lowest so the ragù can cook at a simmer.
  6. Cook uncovered for a minimum of 1 ½ hours stirring occasionally. If it starts to reduce too much add little water and continue to cook. When cooked taste and correct the seasoning.
  7. Add the parsley to the sauce, stir and serve over the potato mash.
  8. Potato and carrot crush - Boil carrots and potatoes together till cooked.
  9. Crush with a fork – this is not mash so we don’t want it fine like mash.
  10. Add the rest of the ingredients – mix well and serve hot with ragù.
  11. To serve - drizzle with good olive oil add some parmesan shavings and finally add the chopped tomato blocks and a few extra sprigs of parsley.

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flamboyant guavas poached in ginger

flamboyant guavas poached in ginger

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At work I have this amazing colleague, Niaz. He brings me a surprise every now and then … some times a bouquet of curry leaves and then other times some of his special firebrand chillies (these are HOT!). The other day he was generous enough to bring a huge bag of guavas to the office and told everyone to just help themselves. They were still completely green – so I took 5.

The green guavas lay in the fruit bowl on my kitchen for about a week like sunbathing pensioners on a cruise ship. One day after work I came home and the quavas had ripened and their intoxicating aroma permeated the kitchen. I realised then it was time …

Guavas for me are just so very flavoursome but it is rather difficult to pair them with something because of their distinct and sometimes overbearing flavour (…in a good sense that is…) and taste. You see some fruits are subtle to the palate and others somewhat flamboyant. Well, these guavas were flamboyant and juicy, all dressed up in their natural skins with nowhere to go. I peeled them and poached them in a lovely ginger syrup. The ginger works so delicately and perfectly with guava (*put in mind to remember this) – it gives a bit of heat that’s just intoxicatingly delicious. To round of this pairing I added a little touch of mint.

I served it with a scoop of ice cream. Flamboyant with a capital F is perhaps the only way I could describe it.

guava

ginger poached guava

ginger poached guava

 

flamboyant guavas poached in ginger
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 200 g Guavas peeled
  • 250ml (1 cup) Water
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) Sugar
  • 1 Thumb of ginger– thinly sliced in matchsticks
  • A few mint leaves
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a pot and poach the guavas on low heat for about 10 minutes and allow the guavas to rest in the ginger infused syrup until luke- warm. Add a sprig of mint to the syrup and a generous dollop of the best full-cream ice cream you can find.

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mini-chocolate-crumpet-caramel-cakes

mini-chocolate-crumpet-caramel-cakes

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I have some wonderful memories of warm crumpets with melting butter and golden syrup dripping down the side. I used to scoff these up as a kid – so the other day I felt like baking a cake but when it came to it, I did not have the energy to go through all that kind of “baking” trouble – you know you get those days sometime 🙂 . Instead I decided to build a crumpet cake stack with caramel in between – you very well know by now that caramel is my downfall and is my ultimate sweet treat. To change the normal crumpet, I added some cocoa and a little vanilla essence.

So without baking for hours I presented my guests with these mini-chocolate-pancake-caramel-cakes and well … It was the best “bake” yet … sweet temptation at its best!

Watch me make this by clicking here.

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choc crumpet

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choc crumpet

 

mini-chocolate-crumpet-caramel-cakes
 
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Author:
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 Egg
  • 30ml Sugar
  • 5ml Vanilla essence
  • 125ml Milk
  • 15ml Melted butter
  • 250 ml Flour
  • 2.5ml Salt
  • 15ml Cocoa powder
  • 10ml Baking powder
  • ½ Tin of caramel
  • Ice cream or cream to serve
Instructions
  1. Beat the egg, sugar and vanilla essence together.
  2. Add half the amount of milk and melted butter.
  3. Add the sifted flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder to the egg mixture. Mix through.
  4. Gradually stir in the remaining milk to form a smooth batter.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a hot greased pan.
  6. Cook on one side and when air bubbles appear, turn with a spatula and cook on the other side until golden brown.
  7. Stack with caramel generously smeared in-between the layers of crumpet and serve with ice cream or cream.
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cabbage sexy? i say yes! = roasted savoy cabbage salad

cabbage sexy? i say yes! = roasted savoy cabbage salad

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When people hear the word cabbage I often see them cringing – thinking of how they were forced to eat cabbage in school and varsity hostels. Even between kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts it was often seen as the poor cousin of the vegetable. But the Savoy cabbage is the sexy cabbage – she is so petite and beautiful – in looks + colour + flavour. And when you treat this evocative and sultry lady with the respect and love she deserves – she will be the star of the night and your dining table.

roasted savoy cabbage salad

I served this as a starter for my friends and eventually the people were quite perturbed that there was no more of the sexy Savoy left for seconds….. The crispy leaves of this baby cabbage combine with the thyme gives it a unique flavour and taste. Once you have added the walnuts and the dressing to the mix…. well this little foxy Savoy revs-up a notch, setting-off somewhat of a flavour explosion in your mouth. It’s extremely easy, sassy and delicious – give it a try this winter!

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cabbage sexy? i say yes! = roasted savoy cabbage salad
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 Baby Savoy cabbages
  • 3T Olive oil
  • 2T Fresh thyme – leaves picked
  • 80g Walnuts
  • Dressing
  • 2T Red wine vinegar
  • 2t Sugar
  • 3t Parmesan cheese – finely grated [you can also omit it here and just add shavings on top of your dish]
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Add the thyme to the olive oil and heat for two to three minutes allowing for the thyme to infuse.
  3. Pull the cabbage apart so you are left with just the leaves.
  4. Sprinkle with olive oil – make sure that you rub each leave with your hands to make sure each leaf attracts some of the flavour of the thyme.
  5. Roast in preheated oven for 15 minutes – or till crisp.
  6. After cooked add the walnuts to the pan and just leave in the oven for two minutes for the walnuts to warm-up.
  7. Salad dressing - Mix all the ingredients together
  8. To serve - Sprinkle the combined cabbage and walnuts with dressing and toss salad to cover all the leaves. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and tuck in and enjoy!

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roasted chicken curry = frindian chicken

roasted chicken curry = frindian chicken

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It’s winter and its time to cook something that will help keep the chill of winter at bay. For this, there is nothing better than a wonderful curry.

I was very fortunate to spend a weekend with renowned Chef, Reza Mahammad a month or so ago and he told me about the new trend that he had started – “Frindian cuisine” – yip Frindian … this is where you combine classic French cooking techniques with the wonderful variety and diversity of Indian spices.

This is a not an easy task but Reza, the genius, makes this work so brilliantly.

Back home I decided to try my own Frindian chicken – by roasting a chicken the French way { the technique I always use is from the book “Le Cordon Bleu at home”} and using my own Indian spice mix – this dish was such a hit around the table there were only a few bony morsels left. This is the kind of dish where you need to get stuck in with your hands and eat this with gusto – it’s delicious, tasty and extremely alluring. Not only does the dish dress up to impress, but the taste is hot and complex. The flavours seem to just stitch two continental food styles in seamless fashion and so worth the effort.

On how to truss a chicken click here.

Frindian Chicken

 

 

roasted chicken curry = frindian chicken
 
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Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 Chicken – about 2 kg’s
  • 3T Butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1T Vegetable oil
  • My spice mix – mix all the ingredients below together.
  • 1T Grated fresh garlic
  • 1T Grated fresh ginger
  • 2t Chillie flakes – you can replace these with 1 or 2 chopped strong red chillies depending on your individual taste
  • 2T Masala mix [strong curry powder]
  • 1T Cumin seeds
  • 1T Coriander [fine]
  • ½t Cinnamon [fine]
  • Fresh coriander for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Loosen the skin on the topside of the chicken and take the Marsala mix and try to massage it under the skin – make sure you rub it all over the chicken. Do it carefully and take your time. You don’t want to break the skin at any point. Even try and get some Marsala into the little legs and wings. Rub the spice on the inside of the chicken as well.
  4. Now season the cavity with salt and pepper.
  5. Truss the chicken.
  6. Then rub the outside of the chicken with the butter and oil and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Place the chicken on the side in a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes.
  8. Then turn the chicken onto its other side and roast for another 20 minutes.
  9. Finally turn the chicken with the breast side-up, add a ½ cup of water to the pan and roast till the juices run clear – about another 20 – 30 minutes.
  10. Let it rest for 15 minutes covered with aluminium foil. The juices will be absorbed into the meat and it will be far easier to carve.
  11. While resting the chicken, bring the remaining juices in the roasting tray to the boil on top of the stove – scrape to release any cooked meat that is still at the bottom of the tray. Add a bit of water and reduce till ⅓. Spoon this over your meat at the table.
  12. Remove the twine, carve and enjoy your Frindian chicken with your bestest friends.

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banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds

banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds

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Ever since I started writing my blog my husband has been pestering me to bake a banana bread. He is just crazy about the flavour, sweetness and cake like texture. It’s such an easy thing to bake and we always have a few overripe bananas loitering in our fruit bowl. What I do like about banana bread is that it is a no fuss thing – and very easy to put together. Once you have the basic recipe you can always add raisins, nuts, chocolate chips – actually just about anything you fancy to make it your own.

Watch me make this by clicking here.
banana bread

The way I made this a lifeisazoobsicuit banana flan bread was by:
#1 changing the shape – I decided to bake it in a flan pan and serve it in a tart of sorts instead of a loaf and then
#2 I added three components that work extremely well together with bananas – white chocolate buttons, amaretto biscuits and almond flakes
#3 I was not keen to serve it with the traditional icing – so I opted to serve it with the crème fraiche instead.

My hubby, Rick had three helpings … Need I say more?

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A few banana facts or fiction I found on the www 🙂

1. Bananas float in water, as do apples and watermelons.
2. More than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year in the world, making them the fourth most popular agricultural product.
3. A cluster of bananas is called a hand, and a single banana is called a finger. Each banana hand has about 10 to 20 fingers.
4. Thanks to its oil, rubbing the inside of a banana peel on a mosquito bite – will help keep it from itching and getting inflamed.
5. To whiten teeth naturally, rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth for about two minutes every night. If you gargle with salt water, this will heighten the effect. Expect results in about two weeks. It works because of the effect of the potassium, magnesium, and manganese in the banana peel.
6. If you peel a banana from the bottom up (holding on to the stem like a handle), you will avoid the stringy bits that cling to the fruit inside.
7. Bananas are low in calories and have no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol. They contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6.
8. More songs have been written about bananas than about any other fruit.
9. Bananas are the only fruit that contains the amino acid tryptophan plus vitamin B6. They help your body produce serotonin—a natural substance that alleviates depression.
10. If you put a banana in the refrigerator, the peel will turn dark brown or black, but it won’t affect the fruit inside.

source: thebananapolice.com

banana bread

 

 

banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 60ml Butter at room temperature
  • 125ml Castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Bananas smashed
  • 1t Vanilla essence
  • 250ml Cake flour
  • 1t Baking powder
  • ¼t Salt
  • 50g White chocolate buttons
  • 50g Amaretto biscuits – broken into pieces
  • 40g Almond flakes
  • Crème Fraiche for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Butter a medium loose bottom flan pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Then add the egg and mix it in with the butter and sugar mix.
  3. Mix the bananas and vanilla essence into the mixture.
  4. Add all the dry ingredients gently – be careful not to over mix – and pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with a sprinkling of icing sugar and a few dollops of crème fraiche

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italian ramen – chicken soup for the soul

italian ramen – chicken soup for the soul

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“The Italian Ramen is a delicious cross-cultural take on chicken soup. The angel hair pasta represents Italy; the soft-boiled egg and chile oil evoke Japan” – Food & Wine

Italian Ramen – I have this lovely American colleague that started working with me this year and she reports to me what she cooked the night before (and I of course report to her :-)) and sometimes she brings along a small tester portion for me to taste. The American’s name is Madeleine. I needed to clarify that because I have another American in my life that I love dearly – she is another talented foodie and I will talk about her at a later stage.

So one morning Madeleine brought this delicious chicken based soup to the office – an Italian Ramen. It just blew me away – the chicken broth was so intense and just perfectly infused with the herbs. The chicken was cooked to perfection and the crunchy carrots added a wonderful sweetness and texture to the dish. Madeleine sent me a link to this specific recipe on Food & Wine’s website and I decided to make it – this is not a dish you want to fiddle with – It is perfect as is. It takes about 3.5 hours to make but its well worth doing it.
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This soup is served with a beautiful soft boiled egg – the traditional Ramen way … the egg compliments the dish but does not steal the limelight from the perfect chicken broth and succulent fleshiness of the white chicken meat.

So here is a quick guide to boiling the perfect soft boil egg:
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil add the eggs and cook for 5 minutes. While the eggs are boiling fill another large bowl with cold water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the bowl of cold water for 2 minutes. Crack the shells and peel the eggs.

Italian Ramen - chicken soup for the soul

 

italian ramen - chicken soup for the soul
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • For the broth
  • 1.3kg Chicken, cut into quarters
  • 2 White skinned onions, quartered
  • 4 Large carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 4 Celery sticks, cut into large chunks
  • 4 Thyme sprigs
  • 2 Rosemary sprigs
  • 2 Basil sprigs
  • Salt
  • Other ingredients
  • 2 Carrots cut into fine matchsticks
  • 6 Large soft boiled eggs
  • 500g Angel hair pasta
  • Chilli oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Few basil leaves to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 260°C. Arrange the chicken in a roasting pan and roast until the skin is lightly browned – for +- 20 – 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chicken and any juices to a soup pot. Add the onions, carrot chunks, celery and herb sprigs. Add 3.8L of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.
  3. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the broth and let cool slightly.
  4. Remove the meat from the bones and pull into shreds; discard the skin.
  5. Return the bones to the pot and simmer until the broth is reduced to 8 cups, about 1½ hours.
  6. Strain the broth, discard the solids and skim off the fat. Season the broth with salt and keep warm.
  7. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain and divide the pasta between 6 large soup bowls.
  8. Top with the shredded chicken, carrot matchsticks and soft-boiled eggs.
  9. Ladle the hot broth on top, add some chillie oil and garnish with basil leaves and serve hot.

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zingy warm mushroom and three cheese sandwich = decadent + delicious winter sandwich

zingy warm mushroom and three cheese sandwich = decadent + delicious winter sandwich

three cheese mushroom sandwich

If you want to watch me making this sandwich … click here.

This is just a really delicious winter sandwich that will send your taste buds into somewhat of a happy twirl. This is definitely not for someone on a strict diet but it will definitely impress all your friends and loved ones. I used three of my favourite soft cheeses – Boursin (my ultimate!!), some blue cheese and normal cream cheese. What gives this sandwich somewhat of an edge is the fact that the cheese fillings are at room temperature and the luscious mushrooms are somewhat zingy, warm and juicy. The important element in preparing this sandwich is the preparation of the mushrooms.

three cheese mushroom sandwich

Here are a few tips for frying mushrooms:
1. You need to add oil and butter to your non-stick pan – the butter adds that buttery, nutty flavour to the woody flavour of the mushrooms.
2. The pan must be smoking hot – if your pan is not hot enough the mushrooms will become soggy.
3. If you are cooking a lot of mushrooms – it is a good idea to cook them in batches.
4. Season your mushrooms while frying – for me the salt and pepper get etched into the delicious graininess of the mushrooms
5. Lemon and parsley always elevate the taste of the mushroom – try it.

three cheese mushroom sandwich

 

zingy warm mushroom + three cheese sandwich = decadent + delicious winter sandwich
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 6 Slices of bread
  • Butter
  • 1 Packet of micro leaves
  • Mushrooms
  • 300g Mushrooms
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 1T Butter
  • 1T Fresh thyme –leaves picked
  • Pinch of chilli powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • A generous squeeze of lemon juice (from ½ lemon or more)
  • 5g Chopped parsley
  • Cheese filling
  • (cheeses must be at room temperature)
  • 3T Cream cheese
  • 3T Boursin cheese
  • 3T Blue cheese
Instructions
  1. Prepare the cheese filling first by mixing all ingredients.
  2. Butter one slice of the bread very lightly. Divide the cheese fillings into three and add to the other side of the bread.
  3. Then prepare your mushrooms: Cook the mushrooms + thyme in the olive oil and butter in a very hot pan – season with salt and black pepper. Do not let the mushrooms become soggy; they should be a beautiful nutty and brown colour. At the end at the chilli powder, a big squeeze of lemon juice and chopped parsley.
  4. Add your mushrooms to the cheese filling side of your sandwich, top it with the delicious micro burst leaves and top with the other slice of bread. YUM!

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mac + cheese + tomato sauce = no frills + no fuss + just eat

mac + cheese + tomato sauce = no frills + no fuss + just eat

SONY DSC

This one is quick + easy and been a firm family favourite through the years. I remember sitting around the kitchen table, the radio playing in the background (there was no TV in those days)… My dad saying grace and thereafter mom bringing in this big baking tray full of steaming mac + cheese.

We did not have the fancy or posh mac and cheese – there was no bacon, no mushrooms, no cream etc … our mac and cheese came straight out of the Kook and Geniet and straight out of the oven. The basic ingredients are milk, eggs, macaroni and cheese. It’s the baked version that you can cut in blocks. We used to just get these blocks on our plates and in the middle of the table was a bottle of tomato sauce – and that was it for us … heaven.

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So today I took the same recipe my mom used and tweaked the ingredients to suit my adult taste buds. When it came to the tomato sauce I had to make a few changes – I fried some plump delicious rosa tomatoes in olive oil, added tomato sauce and fresh basil. Its still my  mom’s mac + cheese + tomato sauce – with a little twist. Life seemed much more simpler then. At least I can say that this recipe has remained simple and easy … give it a go.

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mac and cheese

 

mac + cheese + tomato sauce = no frills + no fuss + just eat
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1L Milk
  • 5 Eggs
  • 3t Mustard powder
  • 1t Salt
  • ½t Black pepper
  • 3 Cups of grated cheese
  • 4 Cups of cooked macaroni
  • Tomato sauce
  • 250g Rosa tomatoes - cut in half
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 80 ml Water
  • 1t Sugar
  • 250ml Tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves – shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Mix the milk, eggs, mustard powder, salt and pepper all together. Then add the cheese and cooked macaroni.
  3. Butter a baking dish well and add the mixture and bake for 1 hour.
  4. For tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil and fry tomatoes till the pan is quite dry. Add the water and cook again till quite dry.Then add the sugar + tomato sauce – heat through. Finally add the fresh basil + season to taste + serve with your mac + cheese.

 

 

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shades of night – the alluring aubergine

shades of night – the alluring aubergine

Although I did not quite start painting I decided I wanted to bring this mysterious aura of the aubergine into one photograph – to highlight its mysteriousness and allow the almost reclusive mood of the vegetable to translate onto the plate – anel

aubergine and tomato pasta

I always had a deep love for aubergines – something more than the usual obsession … when I see aubergines I want to design and create. I want to take out a canvas and start painting all its deep and alluring hues. The aubergine is just so mysterious and captivating, I don’t know if it is the beautiful shape with the green crown or that dark purple colour – or when you cut them they are full of these beautiful seeds and flesh – something dark, almost sinister yet enticing.

My mom used to sprinkle it with salt, then just roll it into some flour and fry then in a pan of oil. She then gave it a little sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce – and I was in heaven. Soft, delicious and packed with flavour.

pasta 2 800

So with this all said, I decided to keep this recipe simple using only tomatoes and some red peppers however, my creativity got the better of me after I took the pics. Although I did not quite start painting I decided I wanted to bring this mysterious aura of the aubergine into one photograph – to highlight its mysteriousness and allow the almost reclusive mood of the vegetable to translate onto the plate. Enjoy.

aubergine and tomato pasta

 

aubergine + tomato pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 5-6
Ingredients
  • 500g Aubergines – cut into 1 cm circles - leave the skin on
  • 500g Rosa tomatoes
  • One whole garlic bulb – cut in half (do not peel or break into smaller cloves)
  • 1 Red pepper sliced thinly
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh parsley
  • Fresh basil
  • 500g Pasta – cooked as per packet instructions
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 190 C°. Sprinkle the tomatoes, red pepper, garlic generously with olive oil and paint both sides of the aubergine with the olive oil. Place everything on a baking tray sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and bake for 40 minutes.
  2. In the mean time cook your pasta until al dente.
  3. When done squeeze some of the roasted tomatoes with your hands into a pulp over the pasta – mix into the pasta. It forms a tomato sauce for the pasta.
  4. Tear the aubergines and add the red peppers. Squeeze the garlic out of the shells and add to the dish.
  5. Season liberally with Maldon salt and some pepper and a good sprinkle with olive oil.
  6. Finish the dish off by adding parmesan shavings and freshly chopped parsley and some basil leaves.

 

 

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my aunt bettie’s bread pudding with a soft meringue blanket

my aunt bettie’s bread pudding with a soft meringue blanket

bread pudding

There are a few desserts that will always be on top of my nostalgic pudding list … and one of them is my mom’s bread pudding. She tells me that her version of bread pudding comes from my aunt Bettie from Kroonstad in the Free State. In this recipe you don’t use slices of bread but rather bread crumbs and you add nutmeg and this soft meringue blanket on top. In my version I used ghee to add a nutty flavour to the dish and if you want to be a traditionalist you can add some apricot jam on top of the pudding before you add the meringue. In our house, bread pudding was always served with homemade custard or a crème anglaise.

Watch me make this by clicking here.

mom's brood pudding recipe

This dessert’s simplicity lends itself to different interpretations and countless variations and any type of bread may be used – although white breads are the more commonly used. For me bread pudding is definitely comfort food with a big C.

bread pudding

But where does the original bread pudding come from? Bread puddings date back many centuries. Its origins can even be traced back to the days of the Romans! Back in those ancient times citizens could ill-afford to waste food so a variety of recipes stale bread were invented and became commonplace. Bread pudding was one of these recipes. Bread puddings were not only made by the Romans. Ancient versions of bread pudding include Om Ali, an Egyptian dessert made from bread, milk or cream, raisins and almonds; Eish es Serny, a Middle Eastern dish made from dried bread, sugar, honey syrup, rosewater and caramel; and Shahi Tukra, an Indian dish made from bread, ghee, saffron, sugar, rosewater and almonds.

bread pudding

my aunt bettie's bread pudding with a soft meringue blanket
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups bread crumbs (6 slices of bread)
  • 2¼ Cups milk
  • 4 Egg yolks – beaten
  • ¼t Nutmeg
  • 2T Sugar
  • 3T Melted ghee (clarified butter)
  • ¼t Salt
  • To smear on after the first bake
  • 2T Apricot jam (optional)
  • For meringue
  • 4 Egg whites
  • 2T Sugar
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for a few minutes and then add all the other ingredients.
  3. Put in a buttered baking dish and bake for one hour.
  4. While the pudding is baking beat the eggs till soft peaks and then add the cream of tartar + salt + add the sugar spoon by spoon. Beat till you get a soft meringue.
  5. Smear some apricot jam thinly on top of the pudding and then add the meringue on top of the pudding - bake till golden brown for about 8 minutes.
  6. Serve with homemade custard.

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