Tag Archives: basil

easy #lowcarb pumpkin skin #chips with basil mayo

easy #lowcarb pumpkin skin #chips with basil mayo

I never thought I would say this … but folks we (my husband and I) are low-carbing … or Banting or Atkins or whatever you want to call it. But we are doing it my way. Not the perfect Tim Noakes or Dr A’s way. Nope, we are not Banting or Atkins fanatics and will never be, but this is for now our practical journey to weight loss and a better health.

These chips will definitely satisfy your savoury carb craving

These chips will definitely satisfy your savoury carb craving

How on earth did this happen?
Our GP told my hubby and I that we both needed to lose a few kg’s – a few? I think she said this just to make me happy. I know I need to lose at least 20kg’s and my man, well I think he is sexy the way he is, but he has a something of a beer belly and he is also keen to get a little fitter … or is it just a little less out of breath when he reached for the remote?

So …?
Well, it has been two weeks and I have lost an astounding 2.5 kg’s! Really? This morning I thought my scale was broken but no, I really have lost the weight.

It IS a schlepp!
I found that it is a schlepp to plan meals. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s going to be easy. Be prepared. I have been working from the very comprehensive books by Tim Noakes (The real meal revolution), Vickie de Beer (My low carb kitchen) and Inè Reynierse (Low carb is lekker twee) – and of course the internet. The difficult part is not the protein but the side dishes that has to be served alongside the protein. Tell me honestly, how much cauli-mash and salad can a person eat? But I am starting to get the hang of it and will share my journey with you.

Week 1- Get rid of …
Get rid of all the bread in your house… including those frozen croissants and ciabatta’s in the freezer. Pre-low-carbing, I found myself quickly defrosting a roll and then … well the rest is history.
Get rid of all my hidden sweets and sugars. Yes, go into each and every cupboard, under your bed, throw out those chocolates and the tins of caramel and the smarties. Give it away! Hubby struggled with it… can you believe I found out he was stashing sweets in MY car! Hahaha.

Shop simple
It can be very daunting to think you have to change your kitchen, household and shopping patterns. I used The real meal revolution’s green list to start with but I added small apples to my list.
Get your meat and freeze these in portion sizes. Buy loads of veggies to start. Make Vickie de Beer’s broth and get some feta cheese, olives and fresh herbs to pimp your salads.

I did not buy special oils, flour or mayo. I threw all the flour out in my home and am still using olive oil, normal cooking oil and my fav brand of full fat mayo.

Our menu so far
Breakfast: boiled eggs, omelette with cheese etc.
Lunch: Salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers etc) with the previous night’s protein.
Dinner: Protein and veggies (beans, cauliflower, pumpkin, cabbage)
Snacks when hungry: 30 g biltong + apple + Vickie’s broth.

How to help you with that savoury carb and starch craving
One of the veggies I was quite surprised that you are able to eat while on the low carb plan is pumpkin. So bought a whole pumpkin (at the moment it costs R20 at Fruit & Veg). I peeled and cut the pumpkin into blocks and froze it. I reckon with one whole pumpkin you will be munching on these orange blocks for a month or two.

Pumpkin - Anel Potgieter
Delicious and satisfying pumpkin skin chips
I looked at the skin of the pumpkin and did not want to throw it away, so I tried to make chips! Well … let me tell you it’s divine and definitely has a great bite to it – very much like potato chips. With a bit of salt and basil mayo it satisfies that starch-craving at least one night a week. And no I did not make my own mayonnaise – I just use my favourite C&B full fat mayo. Also the oil – I am not going to buy the expensive Coconut oil – I used canola oil – finish klaar! Remember its my way, the practical way but not the perfect way. But it seems like it is working!

Good luck if you are starting this journey. If you have any tips and hints or questions please email me at anelpot@telkomsa.net.

Scrumptious pumpkin chips with basil mayonnaise
Pumpkin skin with a bit of flesh on
Oil for deep fry
Salt
125 ml mayonnaise
10 basil leaves, finely chopped

Cut the pumpkin skin into small strips – about the same size you like your potato chips. I fried it then at 160 °C for exactly 2 minutes. That is it. Put on paper towel to drain the excess oil. Mix the mayo and basil together … and Bob’s your uncle. Enjoy!

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candy-striped #beetroot + apple #salad

candy-striped #beetroot + apple #salad

candy stirpe beetroot salad

I looovvvveee crunchy food and this salad is perfect for a hot summers day. It not only tastes fabulous but it looks spectacular too. Delicious and easy to make.

Candy-striped beetroot and apple salad with walnuts and basil
candy-striped beets (you don’t have to peel it)
apples, peeled and cored 

walnuts, chopped 

basil leaves

mandolin slicer
Dressing 

15 ml Dijon mustard

45 ml white sherry vinegar 

62.5 ml good olive oil 

2.5 ml salt 

large pinch black pepper 



Slice the beets and apples thinly with a mandolin slicer. Stack or arrange the beets and apples on a plate. Sprinkle chopped walnuts and torn basil on top. Mix the dressing ingredients well and sprinkle over the salad.

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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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roasted tomato + feta salad

roasted tomato + feta salad

roasted tomato and feta salad

Tomatoes + feta + basil has always presented a really classic combination. By slow roasting the tomatoes one is able to extract that deep, concentrated sweet flavour. My suggestion would be to serve this salad with a slice of toasted sourdough bread or just as a spritely side dish at your summer braai.

Watch me make this by clicking here.

roasted tomato and feta salad

 

roasted tomato + feta salad
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 500g baby tomatoes, halved
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 200g feta cheese
  • handful of basil leaves
  • salt and black pepper for seasoning
Instructions
  1. Mix the tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar together and roast in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for one hour. Take out of oven, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, mix well and let it cool down. Taste for seasoning.
  2. Let it cool down to room temperature.
  3. Crumble the feta and add to the tomatoes and the juices. Serve with torn basil leaves.

roasted tomato and feta salad

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italian ramen – chicken soup for the soul

italian ramen – chicken soup for the soul

Soup 2 800

“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.
Soup 1 800

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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pizza … my style – just don’t tell mamma

pizza … my style – just don’t tell mamma

brown bread pizza

Watch me make this live by clicking here.

Stand back … I can honestly say this is one of the most amazing things I have ever made. It astounds me that I did not discover this earlier in my life … you know all those times you sat hankering after a pizza but were just too lazy to call the pizza delivery guys. Well, now there is just no excuse. Just take a slice of whole wheat bread + roll it out with a rolling pin + brush with garlic and olive oil + fry in griddle pan + add your toppings + and bake! This takes just minutes to prepare and you can decide on what toppings you want…healthy or decadent…the choice is yours.

Just tell me this isn’t good? I know that you cannot beat an original Italian pizza base….you know the ones they make in Italy – but this is just as delicious, believe me. Just don’t tell Mamma!

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pizza ... my style - just don't tell mamma
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Pizza base
  • 4 Slices of bread
  • 2 Cloves garlic – grated
  • 3T Olive oil
  • Topping
  • 140g Ina Paarman Sundried Tomato
  • 1 Small block of mozzarella cheese (this all depends on how much you want to layer on)
  • Dried origanum (optional) – a very small pinch per “pizza”
  • 8 Slices cooked salami
  • Kalamata Olives
  • 1 large onion – sliced and slowly fried in a bit of olive oil till golden brown
  • To serve
  • Rocket
  • Fresh basil
  • Chillies
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 220 ºC.
  2. Take a rolling pin and roll the bread till flat.
  3. Mix the garlic and olive oil and brush the slices of bread with it.
  4. Fry each slice on both sides in a griddle pan tuntil the brown etching lines appear on your bread
  5. Take the sundried tomato and mesh it together with a fork. Smear the tamato on one side of the bread.
  6. Then add the mozzarella and all the toppings.
  7. Pop in the oven at 220ºC till the cheese in melted and bubbly.
  8. Serve with fresh rocket, basil, chopped chillies and always wash down your creation with a glass of good wine.

 

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meatballs with mint + pine nuts + butternut

meatballs with mint + pine nuts + butternut
spaghetti and meatballs delicious, easy

#spaghetti + meatballs

When I first opened my mystery basket on Dinner Divas and saw the mince the only thing that went through my mind was MEATBALLS!! Nothing else … I never saw the chicken … in fact I did not register any of the other mystery ingredients … but at that moment in time and space, in front of all the cameras your brain just freezes. In retrospect you always end up quizzing yourself … I could have done this or I could of done that … in situations like this hysteria creeps in and disrupt your thoughts but I was resolute and determined to make this dish and prepare it well.

The other thing was that I had made a commitment to myself before I entered the competition … to stick with my gut, make a decision, go with it and not entertain any reservations. When you start doubting or second guessing yourself, this is when things tend to go awry and in a competition there is no time for messing about.

When I saw Kristy making the same dish, I have to admit I was apprehensive and the seeds of doubt were teasing my brain. Fortunately I had the clarity of mind to press on – it was too late to back track – I had to stick to what I believe in and what I know I can do well …

Well the judges did not think so – “oh dear another meatball dish – really” + “the meatballs were just disgusting” … this cut deep at that moment in time – but now I am laughing about it all. I love Caro + Aubrey + Andrew – they have crept deep into my heart and they will have a very special place in my life forever and ever …

So here is my  version of meatballs – something between my mom’s meatballs + what i have tasted in New York + something I have tasted in Italy. I added some mint + pine nuts + loads of veggies and used my fantastic tomato sauce which you can look up here

meatballs and tomato sauce and spaghetti

#spaghetti + meatballs

 

meatballs with mint + pine nuts = fab grecian fare
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 500g Extra lean mince
  • 4 Garlic cloves - grated
  • 1 Potato large - grated
  • 3 Thick butternut rings – grated
  • 1 Carrot - grated
  • 2 Small onions – grated
  • 50g Pine nuts – lightly fried in a non stick pan till golden brown
  • 1 Slice of white bread – soaked in water and excess water squeezed out
  • 1 Egg
  • Handful of finely chopped parsley
  • 1 t Dry mint
  • 1 t Salt
  • ½ t Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Put your oven on grill.
  2. Mix all ingredients together. Fry a small teaspoon and taste for seasoning – I normally use the microwave.
  3. Make small balls and grill till done - +- 10 minutes. After first 5 minutes turn them around and cook for another few minutes.
  4. Put in pasta sauce and simmer for a minute or two. Serve on spaghetti + parmesan shavings + fresh basil.

 

Tomato Sauce 

Click here for recipe.

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poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

We’re fortunate enough to live in a real suburban neigbourhood – picket fences, children in the streets, we don’t ever lock our doors and then we had this most amazing relationship with our neighbours.  Poppy (fromGreece) and Giuseppe (from Malta) were our neighbours for the past 8 years and they have  really become like a  second set of parents.  Poppy and I have always shared an incredible  love for food while the men shared the same love for their gardens.   When  I woke up in the mornings I would hear Poppy working in her kitchen – cooking and baking away on one of her many Greek creations.  There is no-one  in my eyes that  can cook like Poppy – or better than Poppy for that matter.  She is someone who can  take the simplest of ingredients and transform them  into these most amazing dishes.

At times when I was sad or  lonely when hubby was away I used  to sit in her kitchen in my pajamas, having a cup of coffee and waiting for a fresh bread or croissant coming out of her oven – she nurtured my body and soul. In the evenings I will hear a holler from over the wall….Aaa-néééél – then I rushed to the wall and there Poppy would be with a sample (enough for  Rick and I and another two people) of what she cooked during the day.

One of the dishes that she sent over the wall on several occasions was roasted chicken with orzo. Poppy taught me how to make this dish – yes, I have I added my own twist to it – but it’s still my Poppy’s dish.

Poppy and Giuseppe have since moved and our life is not quite the same without them but they are not too far away and never out of my thoughts.

I love you and miss you, Poppy. I made this specially for you on Dinner Divas.

roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Chicken
  • 6 Chicken thighs
  • 1t Dry oreganum
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Tomato Mix
  • ½ Tin (205g) Rhodes Oreganum and Basil Tomato Mix
  • 1 Tin (410g) Rhodes Whole Peeled Tomatoes – chopped
  • 1t Rhodes Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cloves of garlic finely grated
  • 60ml Olive oil
  • 200g Cherry tomatoes
  • 125ml Dry white wine
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1t Ground black pepper
  • 1t Sugar
  • Pasta Rice
  • 300g Cooked pasta rice
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 250g Grated Halloumni cheese (if you don’t have Halloumni cheese you can replace this with hard grated feta cheese)
  • 1t Dry mint
  • 2T Fresh parsley – finely chopped
  • 2 T Fresh basil – finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 °C.
  2. Rub some olive oil onto the chicken pieces.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, sprinkle with the oreganum and then set aside.
  4. Add all the ingredients of the tomato mix into an oven roasting pan and stir well.
  5. Then place the chicken pieces on top of the tomato mix.
  6. Put in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  7. In the meanwhile cook your pasta rice.
  8. Drain the pasta rice with a sieve (not a colander as the rice drops through) and wash under hot water.
  9. Add the olive oil and mix.
  10. Then add the rest of the pasta rice ingredients and mix well.
  11. After 35 minutes take the chicken dish out of the oven.
  12. Remove the chicken pieces and set these aside for the moment.
  13. Also remove the whole baby tomatoes as we are going to use these for the salad later.
  14. Add the pasta rice to the tomato mixture – mix well then add the chicken and thereafter put the whole dish back in the oven for 10 minutes and bake.
  15. Take out of the oven and taste whether further seasoning if necessary.
  16. Serve hot in individual bowls with the pasta rice serving as a bed on which to rest the roasted chicken breasts.

 

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herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta = healthy springtime surprise

herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta = healthy springtime surprise

herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta

My mom, Babs, is in her eighties, extremely healthy and has been a size 10 her whole life. She is one of those “odd” people who does not like butter, cream, fatty foods, deep fried foods, chips and crisps or anything unhealthy and then she also does’nt like too much spices either – not like her not-so-small-foodie-wine-drinking-spice-loving-daughter! Lean proteins, huge salads, vegetables, different kinds of fruit and whole grains are part of her daily regimen – washed down with a cuppa tea or two or ten – and then … always a healthy strong whiskey every single night. I have to admit though that she has been prone to a bit of strong cheese and a dash of olive oil here and there just to keep the body parts in good working order.

So when Babs comes to visit I have to cook something healthy and therefore for our Sunday lunch recently I prepared a chicken breast covered in fresh herbs, some stem broccoli and I served it on parmesan + lemon flavoured pasta. It was delicious, fresh with a light and dreamy springtime flavour… but most importantly … mom approved. Enjoy!



herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta = healthy springtime surprise
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the chicken
  • 4 Skinless deboned chicken breasts
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 1 Clove garlic – peeled and sliced in 4 slices length ways
  • 2 T Fresh coriander – chopped
  • 2T Fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1T Fresh basil – chopped
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • For the spaghetti
  • Cook enough spaghetti for 4 people
  • 2T Olive oil
  • 75g Grated parmesan cheese
  • 2T Fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • For the stem broccoli
  • 4 or more stem broccoli
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Chicken: Make small incisions into the chicken breasts and insert a sliver of garlic into each breast.
  2. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix all chopped herbs together – parsley, coriander and basil.
  4. Then press the breasts in the fresh herbs – so that the herbs coat both sides of the chicken breasts.
  5. Using a non-stick pan fry the breasts till done – while frying squeeze a bit of lemon over the chicken.
  6. When done put aside.
  7. Pasta: Add the parmesan, olive oil and lemon in a bowl – mix well and add to the cooked pasta.
  8. Then mix the parsley through.
  9. Taste the pasta for seasoning – add some more salt and add the black pepper.
  10. Stem broccoli: Cook as per packet instructions – normally only 3-4 minutes.
  11. Immediately put in a bath of ice water.
  12. After a while, warm the broccoli up again in the same pot you have cooked them – add a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  13. To assemble: Place the cooked pasta the bottom of the bowl. Add the stem broccoli and then the chicken breast. To serve, add another drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and parmesan shavings.

 

 

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the simplicity of mince meat + eggs + chillies + basil . a thai match made in heaven

the simplicity of mince meat + eggs + chillies + basil . a thai match made in heaven

the simplicity of mince meat + chillies + basil . a thai match made in heaven

When I arrived at home on Friday night there was a huge red gift on my kitchen table from my loving husband. It was a huge, huge bag of red chillies – do you perhaps think he wanted to tell me something? Anyway, seeing these beautiful chillies took me back to Thailand – and my dear friend Pierre (kitchenbabble.com) in Bangkok. In 2010 I was privileged enough to spend a week in Bangkok where we shared the most wonderful times preparing all sorts of Thai dishes and specialities … but back to the chillies … chillies can be found in nearly every Thai dish or element of Thai cuisine – and rightfully so. I left Bangkok with the most fantastic memories and loads of recipes … but this one –  is my ultimate favourite – I gave the Grapua Moo Sub a bit of a twist.  Its easy to make and soooo tasty! Just so you know though … I added a bit of lemon juice and black pepper to the dish. Its heaven when that yellow of the egg breaks and spills over the cooked mince and rice.

mince meat + eggs + chillies + basil . a thai match made in heaven
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 500g Extra lean mince meat
  • 2T Oil for frying
  • 8 Cloves of garlic – finely crushed - I love grating my garlic on the smallest side of the grater
  • 2T Fish sauce – I tend to use more – taste and see what your palette says
  • 3 - 4 Red chillies – chopped -I don't take the seeds out - I do like things hot
  • One nice big pinch of freshly grounded black pepper
  • A big squeeze of lemon juice
  • A huge handful of fresh basil leaves - please be generous
  • 3-4 Eggs (1 egg per person)
  • Cooked basmati rice or if you prefer normal rice
Instructions
  1. Heat your oil + add the mince - loosen the meat with your fork. It must be loose, fine and brown. Fry slowly till the meat is cooked.
  2. Now all you do is add the garlic, fish sauce, chillies and pepper. Stir it and let it cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the lemon juice, taste and correct the seasoning with salt (I prefer fish sauce) and pepper.
  4. Poach or fry the eggs( if you fry your eggs make sure that these are sunny-side up and soft).
  5. To serve: Add the fresh basil to the mince. Scoop some rice into a bowl. Then add some mince to the rice. Top the dish with a soft poached or fried egg - season you egg with salt to taste. Enjoy!

 

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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
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
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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tomato + onion + basil + puff pastry = easy + hearty tomato tart

tomato + onion + basil + puff pastry = easy + hearty tomato tart

“If you enjoy reading my blog please vote for it in the Eat Out Best Local Food Blog Award by 1) clicking on this link {eat out best local food blog award} 2) and casting your vote at the bottom of the Eat Out web page” – anél

tomato + onion + basil + puff pastry=easy + hearty tomato tart

I just LOVE tomatoes – and I need no inspiration to cook with these amazing and nutritional gifts from nature’s wonderful garden. This is probably the easiest and most delicious tomato tart you will ever taste – simple, hearty, sweet and sour and such a rich taste when combined with the caramalised onions! Try my easy puff pastry – you only need 1.5 hours and its fluffy and flaky.
Serve this with a side serving of rocket salad + balsamic dressing!

 

tomato + onion + basil + puff pastry = easy + hearty tomato tart
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ Big onion – thinly sliced
  • 2 T Olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 500g Rosa tomatoes
  • 1 Roll puff pastry
  • 30 - 40 g Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 handful of shredded fresh basil leaves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • To serve
  • Parmesan shavings
  • Handful of basil leaves – shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  2. In a pan - on medium heat - caramalise the onions for about 10 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Take a +- 37cm by 25cm pan (+- the same size as the puff pastry) put the tomatoes in the pan. Sprinkle with olive oil and roll around till each tomato is lightly coated in oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and a bit of black pepper.
  4. Take the caramalised onion and scoop these over the tomatoes.
  5. Sprinkle the grated parmesan and a hand full of shredded basil over the tomatoes.
  6. Take the whole piece of pastry and cover the tomatoes. Don’t press it down or anything. I you want you can tuck the sides in.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or till pastry is a lovely golden colour.
  8. Turn over on a big dish (so the tomatoes are on top) and sprinkle some shredded fresh basil and parmesan shavings.
  9. Cut into pieces and serve with your green rocket salad….
  10. Remember to never forget the "pomme d’amour"!

 

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