Tag Archives: best blogger

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
 
Prep time
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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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picasso’s chicken

picasso’s chicken

“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them”- Pablo Picasso

When I saw Anke’s article in Fresh Living magazine using Picasso as one of her inspirations, I knew that I would have to look no further. The first thing that came to my mind was the Spanish painter’s beautiful chicken drawings. These were not paintings, just beautiful drawings. It was like he wanted to be normal – to be like us, to draw and not paint. But these were still no normal chickens – these were Picasso’s chickens.

{This recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #8 competition}

Picasso's chicken

I could never match up to his artistic genius, but to a certain measure our philosophical palette shares similar thoughts about life.

“I am an artist too, you see, when it comes to cooking, I cook ingredients the way I think of them, not the way I see them.”

My food creation is something of a deconstructed paella – just without the rice of course. Each of the ingredients – including the sherry can be found in your traditional Spanish paella.

I really wanted a smoky paprika taste to my chicken so I char grilled the peppers and added them with the chorizo under the skin and then used the peppers with garlic and lemon on top of the skin. The garlic mash was a layer of colour and flavour I added to this food canvas and works brilliantly with chicken.

So this is my culinary interpretation of a Picasso’s chicken. Remember … we are all artists in our own right and we must remember to draw inspiration from the canvas of life. Carpe diem!

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Tips for char grilling peppers

Oven: Preheat the grill. Half your peppers and coat with olive oil. Place the peppers skin side-up under the grill. Grill until the skin is blackened. Place the charred peppers into a plastic bag and allow to sweat. Remove the skin filament from the peppers ( I love to keep the skin on).

To grill: over a gas hob: Using a tong (or long braai tong) hold the peppers over the open flame until blackened. Place directly on the hob and rotate over the open flame occasionally. Put in bag to sweat. Remove skin.
Preserve: Add the peppers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt to a jar. Leave in closed jar in fridge. Delicious on sandwiches – try it on toast too!

picasso's chicken
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Chicken and marinade
  • 1.3 kg chicken spatchcocked and cut in half
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup Sedgwick’s Old Brown Sherry
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1tsp salt (use smoked salt if you have)
  • 1tsp milled black pepper
  • Chorizo Stuffing
  • ½ onion, chopped into small blocks
  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • 100g chorizo, sliced into small blocks
  • 1tsp fresh origanum, chiffonade
  • ½ red char grilled pepper, chopped with skin (see below tips how to char grill a pepper)
  • Wet smoky pepper rub
  • 2½ red char grilled peppers, chopped with skin on
  • 2 tsp fresh origanum, chiffonade
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp lemon rind, grated
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp salt (use smoked salt if you have)
  • ½ tsp milled black pepper
Instructions
  1. Marinade - Mix all the marinade ingredients together and rub into chicken and marinade for about 1 hour. Set aside. Turn a few times.
  2. Chorizo stuffing - Fry the onion in the butter until translucent.
  3. Add to all the other ingredients. Don’t fry the chorizo, we want it to cook underneath the skin so the fat can seep in and flavour the chicken. Set aside.
  4. Wet smoky pepper rub - Blitz all the ingredients together to a pulp. Set aside.
  5. Basting, stuffing and roasting the chicken
  6. Chicken - Preheat the oven to 200 ºC.
  7. Take the marinated chicken and loosen the skin carefully with your fingers – as far as you can down the thigh and wing as well. Stuff the chorizo mixture under the skin. Take toothpicks and fasten the sides. We don’t want the stuffing to fall out or to lose the flavour of the chorizo fat.
  8. Then generously pour the wet rub over the chicken. Make sure the whole chicken is covered.
  9. Roast for 40 minutes until cooked through. The juices must run clear.
  10. Remove the cooked chicken from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before carving into portions.

 
garlic mash
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 650 g boiled potatoes, skinned and passed through a potato press
  • ¾ cup milk, warmed-up
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Cook the potatoes and mash. Add the milk and salt.
  2. Fry the garlic in the butter – wait for the butter just to start to discolour then add it piping hot to the mash. The garlic must just slightly brown and crisp up – not burn. Mix through and taste for seasoning.
  3. Serve immediately.

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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
 
Prep time
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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
 
Prep time
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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
 
Prep time
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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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how to beef up a beef sandwich with my mom’s sweet and sour mustard

how to beef up a beef sandwich with my mom’s sweet and sour mustard

This is my ultimate beef sandwich. Fabulous bread, some roasted beef leftovers, gherkins, onions, tomatoes, avos and then my mom’s sweet and sour mustard. This specific mustard is something I had to make weekly when I grew up. It’s the South African sweet & sour mustard (soet mostert) but without the condensed milk. It goes perfectly with beef + pork + turkey and just about anything else.

So the real secret that I am letting you in on is mom’s recipe … so you better give it a try and then keep the recipe to yourself. Bon appétit!

Watch me make this by clicking here.

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Tips:
If you substitute the mustard with 1 teaspoon of mustard powder you can also use it as a “mayonnaise” for your potato salad.
Use the “mayonnaise” with cooked onions and you have “slaphakskeentjies”.
It keeps very well in the fridge for over a week.

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how to beef up a beef sandwich with my mom’s sweet and sour mustard
 
Prep time
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Sweet and sour mustard
Author:
Ingredients
  • Sandwich
  • Bread of your choice
  • Roasted beef, sliced
  • Gherkins, sliced
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Red onions, sliced
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Chilies, chopped
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Mustard Sauce
  • 3 Eggs
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ cup Vinegar (I use spirit vinegar)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 heaped Tbsp Masterfoods Hot Mustard (Shop around for this, it is worth it if you like a hot mustard :-))
Instructions
  1. Beat the eggs and add the sugar little by little until mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Add salt and then add the vinegar slowly while beating well.
  3. Place your sauce over a double boiler and whisk until the mixture starts to heat up and thicken.
  4. Just before your sauce starts to boil, remove from the heat and add the mustard. Mix through.
  5. Allow your mustard sauce to cool before serving.
  6. Put your sandwich together and smother with some of this delicious mustard.

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amarula spoons – simple seduction spoon by tempting spoon

amarula spoons – simple seduction spoon by tempting spoon

Amarula, dark chocolate, almonds, pears … These ingredients are the shortest route to seducing my husband in the foodie sense, taste bud for taste bud. I wanted to make something that he could pop into his mouth and then eat the whole dessert. Something I could serve him on a cold winters’ night in front of the fire. I set about making some devious plans 🙂

{his delicious recipe was inspired by an ingredient list (see list + rules at bottom of this post) I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #5 competition..}

Watch me make this by clicking here.

amarula spoon

I created an edible spoon from almond brittle, then painted the inside of the spoon with the dark chocolate, topped it with the creamiest Amarula ice cream and squared it off with blocks of pear compote.

Ladies and gentlemen, all I can say is that this is just devilishly delicious. There is this subtle decadence that just gives way to this lingering seduction of flavours, spoon by tempting spoon.

Postscript: The next day I got a bunch of sunflowers (my best!), a wink and a smile and five second-hand recipe books (my husband knows how much I love them). One of the books he brought back for me was a real gem: “The Ark” with a foreword written by *drum roll* the one and only James Beard! #happiness

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Tips for making Amarula spoons
1. If you don’t have a spoon mould just make your brittle on a big baking tray, flatten it, once cooled break it into big pieces.
2. You can always use less butter if you like – the less you use the clearer and harder the toffee will be.
3. If you don’t have almonds you can use any other nuts.
4. Use a melon scoop to make the small balls of ice cream.
5. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pop the custard overnight in the fridge and use – it is thick enough to sit on the spoon.

amarula spoons – simple seduction spoon by tempting spoon
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 12 spoons
Ingredients
  • Amarula Ice Cream
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup Amarula
  • pinch of salt
  • Almond brittle spoons
  • 4 tbsp water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 70g butter
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup PnP blanched almonds, toasted
  • 50g dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • Silicone spoon mould (I bought the silicone spoon mould from Banks)
  • Pear compote
  • 150 g unpeeled Forelle pear, sliced into small blocks (retain some of the red of the skin for serving)
  • 70 g sugar
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Ice Cream - Beat egg yolks and sugar together until fluffy.
  2. Heat the Amarula, cream and salt. Do not let it boil.
  3. Add the Amarula mixture slowly to the egg mixture - stirring briskly throughout the entire process.
  4. Place over a double boiler, stirring continuously until you have a mixture that is of a custard consistency. Set-aside and allow to cool down.
  5. Process through your ice cream machine until set.
  6. Almond brittle spoons - Add the sugar and water in a pan and cook until the sugar has dissolved.
  7. Add the butter and salt and cook until it reaches the hard-crack stage, or 300ºC on a candy thermometer. The mixture needs to have a deep golden colour.
  8. Stir in the almonds and pour the mixture into the spoon silicone mould. With a metal spatula smooth the top of the mould and scrape off all the excess mixture from the mould. Set aside to cool.
  9. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
  10. Remove the spoons from the mould and paint the inside of the spoon with the melted chocolate.
  11. Place the spoons immediately into an airtight container until needed.
  12. Pear Compote - Put all your ingredients in a small pot and let it simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes. The pears must be translucent but not mushy; they should still retain some firm shape but with a thick, syrupy reduced consistency. Put aside to cool down.
  13. To assemble - Add a small, marble sized dollop of ice-cream to each spoon.
  14. Add a few blocks of the pear compote and finish off with a few shavings of fresh raw pear skin.
  15. Tips for making Amarula spoons
  16. If you don’t have a spoon mould just make your brittle on a big baking tray, flatten it, once cooled beak it into big pieces.
  17. You can always use less butter if you like – the less you use the clearer and harder the toffee will be.
  18. If you don’t have almonds you can use any other nuts.
  19. Use a melon scoop to make the small balls of ice cream.

Ingredients + Rules for challenge #5
Amarula
Dark chocolate
Pears
Cream Crackers
Blanched almonds

You may omit one ingredient – except the Amarula – from the list above.
You may add one ingredient of  your choice from the food aisles of PnP
Your dish must  must feature a custard-based recipe.
You can use any and all ingredients from the approved Freshly Blogged Pantry List. Olive oil, Vegetable oil, Salt, Pepper, Flours (cake, whole-wheat, 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)

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duo homemade samoosas

duo homemade samoosas

This delicious recipe was inspired by a very interesting ingredient list (see list + rules at bottom of this post) I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #4 competition.

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I always wanted to make my own samoosas from scratch. The pastry + the stuffing + the folding…everything! This is what I did this week … the pilchards + beans made perfect samoosa fillings. Looking back at this amusing and time consuming exercise, the toil paid off with its own self-satisfying rewards. I learnt so much. I must confess it took me more than some time to perfect the dough-making method. After all was said and done, I looked like some kitchen drifting poltergeist all covered in flour, dough and shrapnel’s of samoosa pastry.

But … OMG I am proud of these little triangular pastry parcels – they may not be perfect in shape, nor do they have a perfectly smooth outer layer. Deep fried they look like they may have picked up a case of the measles, but let me tell you they are light, crispy and so yummy. The pilchards were hot + morish and the beans and feta were delightfully scrumptious.

home made samosa

On top of it all I decided to try the dark lighting method to shoot the samoosas (this was my first attempt) – this took another few hours but I am really proud of the outcome of my photographs. All in all it proved to be such an interesting exercise culminating in fabulous samoosas and a very contented blogger.

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Tips for making samoosas
Take your time and be patient :-).
Use a paella pan to heat the dough for the pur separation process.
If you don’t feel like making the dough you can use spring roll wrappers.
You can replace ghee with oil.
For a healthier option – bake the samoosas.
For exceptional Indian recipes – Indian Delights by Zuleikha Mayat (ISBN 062005688-6)

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duo homemade samoosas
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Samosa Dough + Pur (the samosa pastry ready for filling)
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1tsp cumin seeds, roasted
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp ghee, melted
  • ⅔ cups water
  • Extra flour for making the pur
  • Extra melted ghee for making the pur
  • Flour and water, mixed
  • Bean + feta filling
  • 1Tbsp lemon infused olive oil
  • ½ tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 50g onions, chopped
  • 50g green beans, blanched and diced
  • 50g brown rice, cooked
  • 100g PnP Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt
  • Milled lemon black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • Pilchard filling
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 2-3 tsp “Father in Law” masala or medium hot masala
  • 4 fresh curry leaves
  • 100g onion, chopped
  • 100g cabbage, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato juice (from the sardine can)
  • 2 (100g) pilchards (from the sardine can)
  • Salt
  • Milled black pepper
  • 2Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
Instructions
  1. Dough + pur method - Mix flour, salt and the roasted cumin seeds together.
  2. Add the ghee and mix well with the tip of your fingers.
  3. Add the water and knead into smooth dough.
  4. Set aside for 30 min to rest.
  5. Divide dough into 10 “ping pong” sized balls – +- 4cm.
  6. Roll each ball into 6-8 cm diameter round disc.
  7. Place 5 disks on top of each other after brushing both sides with ghee and sprinkle flour between them. Only the bottom of the bottom disk and the top of the top disk should be ungreased. Do the same with the other 5 discs.
  8. Roll out one pile into a large 30 cm round disc.
  9. Cut into a rectangular shape.
  10. Heat an ungreased plate, place the disc on the plate and let it heat up for a few seconds until the sheet changes in colour (not brown) – turn the sheet over – heat and then remove from the flame – this will separate the sheets.
  11. Do the same with the second pile.
  12. When cool trim the pur into two-inch strips, separate the sheets and use these for your samosas.
  13. Method for fish filling - Heat the oil on medium heat, add all the spices and cook for 2 minutes.
  14. Add the onions and cabbage and fry till translucent.
  15. Add the tomato juice and pilchards and mix well. Cook for a minute or two.
  16. Season with salt and pepper.
  17. Lastly add the fresh coriander.
  18. Bean and feta filling method - Heat the olive oil and add the mustard, cumin and chilli flakes. Fry for 2 minutes.
  19. Add the onions and fry till translucent.
  20. Add the green beans, brown rice and feta cheese – mix well.
  21. Season with salt and pepper.
  22. Lastly add the fresh coriander.
  23. Samoosa folding and frying - Mix a bit of flour and water together and smear on the sides of the pur. It acts as “glue” for the pastry.
  24. Place a teaspoon of the filling mixture at one end of the pur strip, leaving a 1cm border.
  25. Take the right corner and fold diagonally to the left, enclosing the filling and forming a triangle.
  26. Fold again along the upper crease of the triangle. Keep folding in this way until you reach the end of the strip.
  27. Fry in batches at 180 ºC until golden brown.

Samosas-6

image from xawaash.com

Samosas-5

image from xawaash.com

Ingredients + Rules for challenge #4

1 x 400g tin Lucky Star Pilchards
1 medium cabbage
1 small packet of brown rice
1 packet of green beans
250 g Pnp feta

You must use all the ingredients in the above list.
You may add two fresh ingredients.
You may add any spices of your choice.
Your dish must be cooked on the stovetop. You may not use the oven.
You can use any and all ingredients from the approved Freshly Blogged Pantry List. Olive oil, Vegetable oil, Salt, Pepper, Flours (cake, whole-wheat, 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)

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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
 
Prep time
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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
 
Prep time
Cook time
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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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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
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
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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mac + cheese + tomato sauce = no frills + no fuss + just eat

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

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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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longing for braaibroodjies + sunny skies + chevrolet

longing for braaibroodjies + sunny skies + chevrolet

Watch me make braaibroodjies by clicking here

Braaibroodjies

Will the real Braaibroodjies please stand up? Everyone in South Africa loves braaibroodjies. They are just one of those “must haves” at any braai. However, despite the boastings of the braaimaster ( usually male with lager in hand) … these normally end up being:

A: burnt
B: soggy
C: tomato + onion = not cooked
D: cheese = not melted
E: all of the above.

So how do we ensure that these traditional toasties are:
A: not burnt
B: crispy
C: cooked tomato + onion
D: with melted cheese
E: all of the above?

Well I have a few sneaky tricks up my sleeve – use them or lose them as they say but do so at your own peril … but I can assure you that if you follow these tips you will have the perfect braaibroodjies every single time … And put any gloating braaimaster in awe of you for life …

Braaibroodjies

Braaibroodjie Tips

1. Butter one side very lightly (not both sides).
2. Cut the onion into thin big round slices – keep the circles whole and pack on the one buttered side of one slice.
3. Then add the thinly sliced tomato circles – sprinkle with salt and pepper. You will note that I place the tomatoes in the centre of the sandwich filling – this prevents the broodtjie from becoming soggy.
4. Grate strong cheddar and generously sprinkle over the tomato and cover with the other slice of bread. Make sure you cover all of the tomato slices with cheese.
5. Put a griddle rack on a baking tray and put the sandwiches on top of that – then while the rest of the braai is on the go place the sandwiches in the oven at 100°C to bake for +- 1 hour – it will crisp the bread up and it will cook everything slowly.
6. Then after everyone has braaied and the coals are low – pop them onto a braai grid and allow to toast until they are browned on both sides! Depending on how hot your fire or coals are you will need to watch these carefully as they can toast quickly enough.

Some people like to add all sorts of other condiments like chutney etc to their broodjies … for me some things need to be kept simple like it was in the old days of braaivleis, sunny skies and Chevrolets.

Braaibroodjies

Braaibroodjies

Ingredients
Sliced bread
Butter
Onion
Tomato
Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper

Method
As above

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pear crumble – a true treat

pear crumble – a true treat

If you want to watch me make this – click here.

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The other day a delivery of the most beautiful Abate Fetel pears from Tru-Cape arrived at my desk and it inspired me to make this delicious and easy pear crumble. That day I handed these delicious pears to some of my colleagues … well they all shouted for more and said they were just so utterly natural, fresh and delicious. Pears are such heavenly treats and so fabulous to bake with – so I baked some and also did a little research on the humble Abate Fetel pear* …

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Pronunciation
Abate Fete: ah-BAH-tay fuh-TEL

History
These pears were fist cultivated by Italian monks a few hundred years ago.

Shape + Look
Unlike normal pear-shaped pears, this variety of pear is slim and long and often many people have described it as almost banana-shaped. This fruit has an attractive yellowish brown russet over its green exterior.

When to eat
This variety of pear is eaten when it is just barely soft; you don’t have to wait for the fleeting, elusive moment between green woodiness and pulpy mush.

Taste
A rich sweet taste with a very unusual note: could it be aromatic honey?

Source: thekitchn.com + specialtyfruitclubs.com

* Abate Fete pears are now available in Checkers Stores nationwide.

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pear crumble - a true treat
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the filling
  • 400g Pears (cored and sliced thinly) - +- 3 Pears
  • 50g Brown sugar
  • 20g Butter cut in blocks
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 Star anise
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the crumble
  • 40g Oats
  • 40g Flour
  • 25g Castor sugar
  • 40g Butter – cut into small blocks
  • ¼ t Cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • To serve
  • Vanilla ice cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Filling – Place all the ingredients into a pan, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes and then transfer cooked ingredients into a small ovenproof dish.
  3. Crumble - Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cut the butter into small cubes and add this to the dry ingredient mixture. Mix with your fingertips until it resembles an even crumbed texture.
  4. Cover the pears with the crumble mixture. Bake for approximately 40 minutes until the crumble turns golden and serve hot with some creamy vanilla ice cream.

 

 

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eat out honours + accolades + the universe + everything else

eat out honours + accolades + the universe + everything else

“There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments.” – Chris Rock

anel eat out award

2013 Eat Out DSTV Food Network Best Local Food Blog Award

So what do you write for your next blog after you have received such a prestigious award as the 2013 Eat Out DSTV Food Network Best Local Food Blog Award? …I can honestly admit that I am somewhat intimidated and overwhelmed by it all. Who would have thought that something that I love so much and that I wanted to share with the whole world … will give me so much joy?… my love for food and my wonderful little blog, lifeisazoobiscuit …

I just want to thank everyone who voted for me – I am still completely bowled over by the whole idea and attention and am still struggling to get the smile off my face … at least I am over my hangover after the awards ceremony 🙂 … but that was well worth it!

I have to confess, for once I do not know what to say or share, but the thing I have always known …The universe is a complex yet simple space. Between all the molecules and science stuff there is energy – both good and bad – or as the cosmos theorists would put it – positive and negative. I know nothing about this stuff but I do know that if there is passion and a love exerted into every action, there is an equal, opposite reaction.

What does this all mean to me and to all that have joined me in this zoo biscuit adventure? If you work your passion then you can achieve anything. It’s all about just doing what you love! If you do what you love you will achieve success! It is so simple. So simple! If you love cooking, cook with your whole heart, if you paint – walls or masterpieces….it does not matter just paint with your whole heart, if you love, love with your whole heart – never, ever let go of chasing the dream that you want to achieve.

I am humbled by the kind words of encouragement and thank you all as each word – each message I have received has refueled my passion and belief in the very recipe that makes our world wonderful.

I want to leave you with something … although I am not one to quote American comedians – unless they are funny of course, but I do think Chris Rock sums things up pretty well … “There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments.”

With that I can only say … dankie, thank you, ngiyabonga, ndiyaphila, cheers, salute and pass the bubbles, sweetie darlings.

Talking about bubbles I found this great and interesting article on 10 Unique Champagne Food Pairings by winefolly.com – check it out!

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