Tag Archives: bacon

warm #BLT salad with mozzarella + basil + red wine vinegar

warm #BLT salad with mozzarella + basil + red wine vinegar

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.

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Serves 4
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
Maldon salt
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.

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the universe + marcus wareing

the universe + marcus wareing

Doing what I do best is lying in my sun-kissed bed on a Saturday…with a gorgeous chef…

This past Saturday I was in bed with Marcus Wareing … paging through some of his recipe books. He is an adventurous and genius chef. I decided to cook for Marcus and do my best to impress him with something cheffy and spectacular, you know, something out of this world …almost cosmic.

{This recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #7 competition}

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So I set about recreating a culinary universe. The deep red tomato passata casts a nebula cloud, the rice and Gruyere ball is the moon whilst the bacon soil reflects the milky way of stars. The braised leeks are shooting stars falling from a distant galaxy and the butternut terrine is representing my layered personality all tightly packed into a cube of energy, shaped by the forces swirling around it. The tomato passata, bacon and thyme tie everything together into an alluring stream of cosmic energy and intrigue. Marcus, I made your butternut terrine but made it my own with burnt butter, cooked bacon fat and thyme.

I am always amazed what you can do with the simplest of ingredients. With just rice, butternut, leeks, tomatoes, thyme and bread – I created the universe. Who would have thought it Marcus?

Tips for making bread crumbs without a food processor
Put slices of bread (fresh or stale) on a rack and put it in the sun for an hour or two.
Then great it with a grater or just rub it between your hands – it will crumble easily.
Keep in an airtight container.
Breadcrumbs freeze very well.

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bacon soil
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 250g bacon, finely sliced into small cubes
  • 1 Tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. Fry the bacon on high heat until crispy.
  2. Put on a paper towel to drain and set aside.
  3. Keep the cooked bacon fat. We are using it in the butternut terrine.

 
butternut terrine
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 350 g butternut top, thinly sliced with mandoline slicer
  • 2 Tbsp cooked bacon fat
  • 80g butter
  • 3 big twigs of thyme
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven 180 °C.
  2. Place the butter, thyme and bacon fat in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. Allow the butter to turn a slightly brown colour and the thyme to infuse. Pass through a sieve.
  3. Layer the butternut in a silicone baking dish approximately 6cm x 15 cm, brushing each layer with melted butter and a sprinkle of salt.
  4. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, pressing down 4 times throughout the baking process, then remove and chill in the fridge. When completely cool, cut into small cubes.

 
gruyere balls
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Spekko rice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 20g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Bread crumbs – add some seasoning in the crumbs
  • Oil for deep frying
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice as per packet instruction but stir regularly when cooking. You want mushy/ sticky consistency (you don’t want fluffy rice). If need be add more water. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Roll the parmesan cheese into 12 small grape size balls.
  3. Take the rice and form a ball. Add a Parmesan ball in the middle.
  4. Roll in egg and then in bread crumbs.
  5. Deep fry until golden brown.

 
tomato passata
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 can PnP chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 big sprig of thyme
  • ¾ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients in small pot and simmer 15 - 20 minutes until thick consistency.
  2. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Pass through a sieve and set aside.

 
braised leeks
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large leek, peeled and cut in two and then halved length ways
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 tsp wine vinegar
  • 50 ml chicken stock (I used NoMU)
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the leeks and thyme and braise for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vinegar and stock cook for another 10 minutes.

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pork sausage + bacon + beer + veg = modern irish coddle

pork sausage + bacon + beer + veg = modern irish coddle

pork sausage + bacon + beer + veg=modern irish coddle
Porks sausages + bacon + beer + vegetables – my version of the Irish coddle is one of Rick’s favourite dishes. I am married to a man of Irish descent and what I have learned from our family visits to Ireland – and my husband is that the Irish love beer (Guinness only when in the Emerald Isle) + whiskey + eating potatoes + pork sausages + salmon + they only start a party at 9pm and even if you are around the ripe age of 75 there is still nothing wrong with partying till 4am and passing out on the couch at you friends house if you had too much to drink!! I just love the Irish, it is their spirit, their joviality and perhaps the fact that they are never shy to drink more than me.

For this recipe I have added a few herbs, mustard seeds and some beer and then also added some lemon. I think it’s a bit of modern Coddle and it’s hearty and just perfect in the dead of winter. It is so easy to prepare …everything is in one bowl, meat, veggies etc. So between my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law I think we have come up with a rather decent local version of the Irish coddle! Sleinte!

pork sausage + bacon + beer + veg = modern irish coddle
 
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Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 6 Pork sausages
  • 4 Garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 125g Bacon finely chopped
  • 4T Olive oil
  • 2 Onions - sliced
  • 2 Celery sticks - chopped finely
  • 2 Large carrots - chopped
  • 2 t Mustard seeds - if you dint have just add 2t mustard
  • 30 g Flour
  • 3 Large potatoes - peeled and cut in quarters
  • 50g Tomato paste
  • 1t Lemon juice
  • 1t Balsamic vinegar
  • 2.5 Cups of stock - I used beef stock
  • ½ cup of beer (I used a lager – no Guinness on hand I’m afraid)
  • 2T Chopped parsley
  • 1T Fresh sage (optional)
  • 1t Black pepper corns
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Fry the sausages in an oven proof dish with 2T olive oil. Just brown them and then remove from dish. Now fry the fry the bacon and take out.
  3. Add the other 2 T oil and fry the onions till golden brown.
  4. Add carrots and the celery and garlic sweat veggies till translucent.
  5. Add 30 g flour, let it fry for a minute or two.
  6. Now add all the other ingredients.
  7. Put the lid on and bake for 1hour.
  8. Serve with fresh bread.

 

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tomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it up

tomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it up

tomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it uptomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it uptomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it up
I made a tomato pasta sauce with well-renowned and fabulous Nina Timm at her home earlier today. What an honour and absolute delight to meet and spend a day with this amazing woman! Yip, she is the wonder behind the much followed www.my-easy-cooking.com blog. We laughed, we cooked and shared so many stories from our past and talked about the thrills of living in today…. I will be chatting to her tomorrow on her RSG radio broadcast between 9 and 10 am and share what we did today. I am so inspired and so alive … Nina I thank you for one of the best days of my life and to cooking up many more memories in the future!

Back to the sauce … I am a freakishly mad about tomatoes. So obviously my most favourite pasta sauce is a tomato-based sauce … made from fresh, ripe, juicy tomatoes that brim with flavour. I read about this method to make tomato sauce a few years ago in a magazine – unfortunately I cannot remember or find the magazine between the thousands of foodie magazines lying around in my house – please try this, it is definitely the most delicious tomato sauce you will ever taste!!

Variations you can add to the tomato sauce + remember always sprinkle generously with shaved parmesan!

  1. Cut chorizo sausages in slices and add – this makes it a rich and spicy dish.
  2. Bacon (+ chilies optional) – everyone loves bacon! Adding a somewhat smoky flavour to your pasta.
  3. Meatballs – you can make this on Sunday and just add in the week to your pasta dish.
  4. Lots of fresh chopped chilies – simple, yet always deliciously and one of my favourites.
  5. Capers + olives + anchovies + chilies – my absolute favourite!
  6. Any seafood – prawns, calamari, fish, mussels – add them to the tomato based sauce at the end of the cooking process – let it simmer through for 5 minutes – taste for seasoning again after you have added any seafood.
  7. Fresh herbs (basil, parsley) and lots of rocket – mix it with the sauce – yum.
  8. Roasted vegetables + olives + capers + crumbled feta – these produce lovely Mediterranean tastes.
  9. Artichokes, creamy feta cheese + sprinkle of dry oregano (use the oregano very sparingly).
  10. Fresh slices of buffalo mozzarella + sprinkled with smoked Maldon salt .

 

tomato pasta sauce + 10 variations to spice it up
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 900g Rosa tomatoes
  • 200ml Olive oil – good quality (I know this sounds a lot but the tomatoes burst open to combine with the olive oil, garlic and basil - and creates the most amazing sauce )
  • 8 Garlic cloves – peeled but kept in whole segments
  • Handful fresh Basil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 150 – 200g Fresh parmesan cheese – shaved with potato peeler
  • 500g Penne pasta (or spaghetti)
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil to a large pan / pot and add the garlic and about one handful of torn basil leaves. Heat the oil very slowly on low-medium – we want to infuse the oil with the garlic and basil. Infuse for about 5 minutes – please don’t burn the garlic.
  2. Add all the tomatoes, turn up the heat to medium high and cook for +- 20 minutes without the saucepan lid.
  3. You will see the tomatoes will start to burst open and infuse with the olive oil.
  4. Season generously with salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Please be sure to taste when you season!
  5. Just before serving, add the rest of the basil and sprinkle generously with shaved parmesan
  6. You can use the sauce just as is or see the 10 variations above you can add at the end for an interesting twist.

 

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