Tag Archives: easy recipe

beef burger – keep it simple

beef burger – keep it simple

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{This recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #10 competition}

Burgers in my opinion are connected to experiences. The best burger I ever ate, was at the age 18, my first year at varsity, half-intoxicated after an evening of drinking and dancing. It was 4 am in the morning, my buddies and I were at a roadhouse on the PE beachfront. It was a messy tomato chillie burger. Was it the best culinary burger? No, but it was the burger I will remember forever!

I decided to ask five of my favourite chefs what was their best burger and potato side dish. Nic van Wyk (Diemersdal Eatery), Pete Goffe-Wood (Masterchef judge), Jackie Cameron (Hartford House), Henry Vigar (La Mouette), Andrew Robertson (Tsogo Sun) shared their opinions. Unsurprisingly, it’s all about honouring and respecting the ingredients… simplicity gives the burger its originality.

They wanted a good bun, a real beef patty, cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, homemade mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, onion (cooked or raw), gherkins, homemade chips with aioli or mayonnaise and Nic added what I love – the Jalapeño relish.

So listening to the professionals I made a burger with a simple flavoursome beef patty, mature cheddar cheese, chunky homemade chips, homemade mayonnaise and added my favourite topping tomato + gherkin + Jalapeño relish. It was delicious, simple and honest.

By all means, taper your burger to your taste…but keep it simple, honest and true and it will be a happy memory for whoever may venture a bite.

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beef burger - keep it simple
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Beef Patty
  • 1 large onion (200g) onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g beef chuck, deboned with sinews removed and milled OR 500g mince
  • 1 egg
  • ½ hamburger bun, soaked in water and then water squeezed out
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp milled black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • For patty grilling
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • ¼ cup Spur Original and Spicy grill basting sauce
  • Tomato, gherkin and Jalapeño relish
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tomatoes (350 g), chopped
  • 3 large gherkins (110g), chopped
  • 70g pickled Jalapeño chillies, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Spur Original and Spicy grill basting sauce
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp milled black pepper\
  • Homemade Fries
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into your favourite chip size – do not cut them too small.
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Maldon salt
  • Two-minute stick blender mayonnaise
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup oil, sunflower oil – not olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Large pinch of garlic powder
  • "Raw" onion
  • ½ onion, sliced into rings
  • ½ cup of boiling water
  • Other ingredients
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted
  • 4 thick slices of mature cheddar cheese
  • iceberg lettuce, cut very finely
Instructions
  1. Beef Patty - Fry the onions in olive oil for 30 minutes on slow to medium heat. This allows the onions to become soft and caramelised until they take on a deep caramel colour. We want to infuse the sweet flavours of the caramelised onions into the burger.
  2. Add the onions to all the other burger ingredients.
  3. Mix well and form patties of 150g each.
  4. Add oil to griddle pan and fry till done as per your taste, basting with the Spur sauce every time you turn the patties.
  5. Tomato, gherkin and Jalapeño relish - Add all ingredients into a pot and cook for 20 minutes over medium heat. Stirring occasionally. The relish should have a thick consistency.
  6. Homemade Fries - Parboil your cut chips in salted water for 4½ minutes.
  7. Drain and leave to dry. Allow at least 1 hour for the cut chips to dry properly.
  8. Heat your oil to 180 ˚C and fry until golden and crisp.
  9. Drain on kitchen towel and sprinkle with Maldon salt.
  10. Two-minute stick blender mayonnaise - Break the egg into a tall container (the best is to use the stick blender’s own container) or jug, then add the oil. Let it settle for a few minutes.
  11. Place your stick blender right on top of the egg at the bottom of the jug and start blending until the mayonnaise starts emulsifying. S-l-o-w-l-y pull the stick blender up to complete the emulsification process.
  12. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  13. "Raw" onion - Pour the boiling water over the onion and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Drain the water and set aside.
  14. By following this method, you will still retain the crunchiness, crispness and flavour that you need but will tone-down the original pungency of the onions.
  15. To assemble - Generously smear the mayonnaise on your toasted bun, adding the shredded lettuce.
  16. Add your cheese then the beef patty. Top your burger with the tomato relish and the crunchy onions. Serve with some homemade, hand-cut crispy fries.
  17. Five ideas to pimp up your homemade mayonnaise -
  18. Add chopped fresh parsley and coriander for that fresh flavour with salads;
  19. Add a bit of wasabi paste to your mayo you can really impress your guests when you serve sushi;
  20. Add some black pepper and it will be with baked potatoes;
  21. Chopped capers and lemon will work wonders to a simple fish dish;
  22. Add a bit of masala mix and try it with some home fries.

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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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his and hers breakfast . french toast with figs + pomegranate + white chocolate ganache

his and hers breakfast . french toast with figs + pomegranate + white chocolate ganache

“Heaven … I am in heaven’’ … white chocolates, cream, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Combine some of these ingredients with classic French toast made from homemade bread and you may have to see a cardiologist after this yin and yang breakfast :-)! I used so much cream, chocolate, port, butter – all the no-no‘s of healthy eating but oh boy, did this taste like heaven!

{This delicious recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #6 competition.}

french toast with figs,  pomegranate and white chocolate ganache

For this “his and hers” breakfast, I made something savoury and sweet. I used the French toast as a mutual vehicle for the two different dishes. I added figs, pomegranates, port and some basil mint that freshens and elevates both dishes (proudly out of my garden). The figs and pomegranates work brilliantly with the chicken livers (part of my have to use list) – they offset the bitterness you often find in livers and give it a crunchy texture. “Tannie Ina se bottel tomato and basil pasta sous” helped in creating a lovely rich creamy tomato sauce for the livers. And who will say no to white chocolate, figs and pomegranates?

Sometimes your kitchen is begging you to be adventurous, try crazy combinations, eat rich food and have fun – live, cook, share, laugh … life is short!

french toast with figs,  pomegranate and white chocolate ganache

french toast with figs,  pomegranate and white chocolate ganache

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french toast with figs,  pomegranate and white chocolate ganache

chicken liver

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Tips for poaching a perfect egg

Use fresh eggs at room temperature.
Add vinegar to simmering (not boiling) water.
Slowly submerse the whole egg with shell in the simmering water for 10 seconds before you break it. This ensures the whites on the outside of the egg hold together better during poaching.
Give the water a stir – it forms a whirlpool with the centrifugal force keeping the form of the egg together
Break the egg in a ramekin before you slide (not throw!) the egg into the whirlpool.
Simmer for 2 minutes.

homemade bread
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 320 ml tepid water
  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 500 g flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix the water, yeast and sugar together, mix and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the olive oil to the mixture and stir.
  3. Add the flour and salt and knead for 5 – 10 minutes into a smooth dough.
  4. Let it rise in a warm spot for an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 190 ºC.
  6. Punch down and form dough into a loaf and set in buttered bread pan.
  7. Cover and let it rise for 30 mins.
  8. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes till golden brown.
  9. To test if it’s ready, tap the base of the loaf – it should sound hollow.

 
french toast
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • 300 ml cream
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ Tbsp butter for frying
Instructions
  1. Beat the eggs, cream and salt together.
  2. Pour over the slices of bread and let is soak for about 15 min.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan, add the butter and fry the bread until golden brown on both sides.

 
french toast with figs + pomegranate + white chocolate ganache
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Figs
  • 6 figs
  • 2 Tbsp Demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp Robertsons cinnamon
  • ¼ cup port or sherry
  • 1tsp butter
  • White Chocolate Ganache
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • 80 g white chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • One large pinch of Robertsons cayenne pepper
  • To assemble
  • 2 Tbsp pomegranates
  • 1 tsp basil mint, chiffonade (you can replace this with mint)
Instructions
  1. Figs - Preheat oven to 170 ºC.
  2. Cut a cross on the top of each fig and push from the bottom so that the fig forms a flower. Pack in a small baking tray.
  3. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and add a tsp sugar on top of each fig.
  4. Add the port and butter to the tray and bake for 30 mins.
  5. Take out of oven and baste the figs with the thick sauce that formed.
  6. Ganache - Heat the cream and cayenne pepper in a pot until boiling.
  7. Take of the heat. Add the chocolate and stir till it forms a ganache.
  8. To assemble - Scoop chocolate ganache over the French toast and top with basted figs, pomegranates and basil mint.

 
french toast with chicken livers + figs + pomegranate
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Chicken livers
  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • 200g chicken livers
  • 1 Tbsp port or sherry + 2 Tbsp
  • 1 bottle Ina Paarman Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 1tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp Robertsons cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch of Robertsons cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp cream
  • 2 figs, chopped into small blocks
  • 2 Tbsp pomegranates
  • Salt
  • Milled black pepper
  • 2 eggs, poached
  • To assemble
  • 1 fig, sliced in 6 pieces length ways
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranates
  • ½ tsp basil mint, chiffonade (you can replace this with mint)
Instructions
  1. Chicken livers - Heat the butter in a non-stick pan on high.
  2. Add the livers and sauté quickly till brown on both sides. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp port and sauté until the port has evaporated.
  4. Take livers out and set aside. The livers must not be completely cooked.
  5. In the same pan add all the ingredients except the cream, figs and pomegranates . Simmer for 5 minutes to a thicker consistency.
  6. Add the cream and stir through.
  7. Add the livers, figs, pomegranate pips and heat through.
  8. Taste for seasoning.
  9. To assemble - Add livers on top of the French toast, top it with the poached egg, some sliced figs, pomegranates and basil mint.

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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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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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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
 
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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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waldorf salad with a sparkling twist = food elegance from a bygone era for mother’s day

waldorf salad with a sparkling twist = food elegance from a bygone era for mother’s day

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Watch me make this by clicking here

It is now a bygone age but the late 1800’s was an interesting period in history. Coca-Cola was first put into bottles and thankfully a useful little drug-maker introduced Aspirin to the modern world with all its headaches – and is still proving useful to me today for those odd occasions of excess :-).

… Then of course there was the Waldorf-Astoria salad. It is recorded that Oscar Tshirky or “Oscar of the Waldorf” was the maître d’hôtel of this famous New York City landmark from the opening of the hotel until he retired in 1943. Although he was not a chef, it seems he was largely attributed with suggesting or inspiring food ideas, and tradition says he invented the Waldorf Salad for the hotel opening.

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The Waldorf salad lives on in its elegance and simplicity. It is traditionally made with fresh apples, celery on a bed of lettuce and then dressed in mayonnaise – the walnuts, it is believed were only added later. Over the years it now has several guises with variations being served with grapes, turkey and dried fruit.

So when my mom gave me this beautiful box of fresh sweet prunes I decided to add these to my version of this salad classic. I chose to caramalize the walnuts and added some fennel seeds to my mayonnaise. The caramelized walnuts add a crunchy texture to the salad and I also added some Appletizer and vinegar to the mayonnaise to thin it and to add a bit of sparkle to the dressing – perfect for Mother’s day.

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waldorf salad 

waldorf salad with a sparkling twist = food elegance from a bygone era for mother's day
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Lettuce
  • Celery – pick the leaves and use them – chop the rest of the celery finely
  • Apple - julienned
  • Prunes - pitted and cut in halves or grapes
  • For Caramelized Walnuts
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • 100g Walnuts
  • Melt the sugar until it caramelizes - a light honey colour. Put the walnuts on the tray and pour the caramel over the walnuts. Let it cool down and then break into pieces.
  • Salad Dressing
  • 4T Mayonnaise
  • ½t Roasted fennel seeds
  • 2T Appletizer
  • 2t White wine vinegar
  • Pinch of red pepper
  • Mix all ingredients together
Instructions
  1. Mix all the salad ingredients together in a suitable stylish serving dish.
  2. Add the caramelized walnuts on top.
  3. Sprinkle with the dressing and season to taste.
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ham hock soup pot + wine + friends = perfect winter’s day

ham hock soup pot + wine + friends = perfect winter’s day

On one of those balmy, yet Cape wintery type days my husband and I were invited to lunch at some lovely friends of ours in their beautifully renovated old family home. It was one of those blissful afternoons spent cooking, sharing and laughing in the kitchen in between glasses of champagne. Whilst my friend and I nattered about this and that, the men drank beer, talked rugby and entertained the young kids as they excitedly ran in and out the house, chasing rugby balls, soccer balls and even the resident rooster. You know it was one of those special few hours where you completely forget about the troubles and stresses of the week, the chores or the unfinished laundry back at home. It was just one of those perfect afternoons.

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Back in the kitchen, my friend made this amazing dish of ham hock, beans, chorizo and tomatoes – her husband was quick to say that despite his wife’s considerable resume of cooking qualifications and accomplishments that it was actually his dish – yes he claimed it! I was duly informed that there was no actual recipe and they just throw things together– it was thick and rich and perfect with a piece of bread at the bottom. This is my type of cooking. This is cooking at its best – it’s slow, it’s full of flavour and full of love.

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Most of the time, I too cook without recipes but being a blogger I have since forced myself into the discipline of writing everything down. So here you go – this is my version of this splendid ham hock soup pot – it is so delish and so nurturing and perfect for a cold winter’s night. To make matters and preparation simple I decided to use three ingredients of everything – and it worked out perfectly. You need about 4 hours for this so it may be a good idea to make it the day before.

There is also no doubt that this soup needs to be prepared with love and working your way through a few glasses of good red wine, swapping stories and spending some carefree idle hours in the company of good friends.

ham hock soup pot + wine + friends = perfect winter's day
 
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Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 Smoked ham hock +- 1kg
  • 3 Large carrots – finely chopped
  • 3 Large onions - finely chopped
  • 3 Celery sticks - finely chopped
  • 3 Garlic cloves - finely chopped
  • 3T Olive oil
  • ⅓ Cabbage thinly sliced
  • 3 Tins of tomatoes
  • 3T Tomato paste
  • 3 Stock cubes
  • 3L Water
  • 3 Tins of beans (butter beans or black eyed beans etc)
  • 30g Chorizo sliced thinly (optional)
  • 3T Oats
Instructions
  1. Fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Then add all the other ingredients except the beans + chorizo + oats and simmer for 3 hours.
  3. After 3 hours add the beans, chorizo and oats and simmer for another hour.
  4. Take the hock out – shred the meat and discard the skin and fat. Throw the meat back in the soup and serve piping hot with a delicious gremolate and some chopped chillies. Oh, yes and some chunky freshly baked bread.

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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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chicken + chorizo paella

chicken + chorizo paella

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A few weeks ago I was invited to meet Jose and Lisa Gomez owners of Perfect Paella … and all I can say of that night is that the Spanish truly love their Paella, they really know how to throw the best parties and boy can they dance! Just so you know Perfect Paella is selling the most amazing paella pans (and very affordable too) and even give cooking classes if you want to really learn from the Masters.

But for me the paella is one of those dishes that I think has become victim to its own success and modern day popularity – hence the reason why it has so many different interpretations or variation. Now my question today is – to chorizo or not to chorizo? A purist friend of mine said to me he heard that you traditionally don’t use chorizo in paella! This caught me completely off-guard – for one, I have always cooked my own paellas with chorizo and I honestly thought that it is the way to do it! I had to immediately ask one of my best friends Louis who lives near Valentia: would I be defiling an ancient and respected recipe by including chorizo in the paella or not?

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Within 5 minutes of my email, Louis responded as follows: “Nella… NO chorizo if you want traditional paella…my mother-in-law would turn in her grave. The paella with chorizo is more for tourists in Spain and in the South of Spain (Andalucia) . If you throw anything in then it’s just a rice ensemble and not a paella.”

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So there you have it folks – in Spain they don’t use chorizo in a real Paella … But now … I am not a purist or a traditionalist so I love chorizo and love adding it to paella. So my paella is probably a rice concoction of sort in Spanish terms but for me it’s a damn good paella. I also steered well away from the tradition by substituting the wine with some South African “Nagmaalwyn”. My paella is also on the blonder side (not yellow) – another note to self – I need to stock up on some fresh saffron. It was one of the most soulful paellas I have yet to taste – try it and let me know …

 

Paella

chicken + chorizo paella
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 800g Chicken pieces – I take each piece and cleave it into two pieces
  • 2 Chorizo sausages – sliced (+-250g)
  • 2T Olive oil
  • Marinade
  • 2 Garlic cloves - grated
  • 1t Black pepper
  • 1t Salt
  • 50ml Olive Oil
  • 50 ml Nagmaalwyn (Sherry)
  • Other Ingredients
  • 2T Olive oil
  • 3 Garlic cloves – sliced thinly
  • 1 Red pepper – cut into blocks
  • 1 Handful of fresh origanum (or replace with ½t dried origanum)
  • 5 Sprigs of fresh thyme (I use the whole sprigs)
  • 1t Smoked paprika (I did not have smoked paprika so I used normal paprika and added 6 drops of liquid smoke to my stock)
  • 1 Big pinch of saffron - soaked in a little bit of water
  • 50ml Nagmaalwyn
  • 500g Paella rice
  • 1.75L Chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Marinade - Mix all the marinade ingredients together and marinade the chicken for about ½ hour.
  2. Fry the chicken with the chorizo on medium to high heat until nice and brown.
  3. Take out of the pan and add all the rest of the ingredients except the Nagmaalwyn, rice and stock.
  4. Fry for about 5 minutes and then add the Nagmaalwyn to deglaze the pan. Scrape all the beautiful fried pieces from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Then pack the pieces of chicken in the pan – so they are spread evenly and add the sliced chorizo.
  6. Now add ½ of the stock to the pan and then the rice. Make sure all the rice is submerged in the stock.
  7. At this stage you don’t fiddle with the paella – don’t touch it with a spoon, ladle or anything. Cook over medium heat. When the paella looks dry add the rest of the stock and cook till done – about 40 minutes.
  8. Pour yourself a glass of good wine, rope in a few hungry friends and enjoy the flavours and the moment.

 

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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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its biscuit’s first birthday – lets eat lemon meringue ice cream pie

its biscuit’s first birthday – lets eat lemon meringue ice cream pie

LM Full Final 800

365 days ago today, I made a life changing decision … I decided to live my dream instead of waiting for it to happen. I started writing this little blog … lifeisazoobiscuit. Since that day my life has been on the most amazing culinary expedition filled with adventures and the sheer enjoyment of sharing our universal language … the language of food.

I am not sure how I could possibly share with you all the wonderful experiences I have been blessed with up to this day so I thought that it might be fitting to share with you what I would like to call … lemon meringue ice cream pie – biscuit’s birthday cake. Quite simply, it’s a slice of heaven on a plate with only three ingredients. It’s whimsical, fresh and fascinating and best of all it is so simple to make.

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This is a secret that I learnt from my new best friends in the Free State where I grew up. Retha Cronje from the Bloemfontein Fynproewersgilde introduced me to this delicious dessert when I went to visit these exceptionally talented and inspiring women. Believe me, they and Bloemfontein rock!
So here we go …

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Take a spring form loose base round cake pan – smear a layer of good vanilla ice cream to form a layer at the bottom of the pan, then take a whole lemon meringue (yes, you just buy one) … and turn the whole lemon meringue tart upside down onto the ice cream layer. Then add another layer of ice cream up to the rim of your baking pan. Cover and pop it into the freezer for a few hours until the ice cream has hardened somewhat. When you are ready for your dessert, simply remove the baking mold form, then take granadilla pulp and pour it over. This is such a winner and show stopper even a one-year old can make it.

This dish is best served with a glass of chilled champagne and a toast to life, friendships, zoo biscuits and the possibilities that exist when one dares to dream.  Love, hugs, zoo biscuits, thanks and kisses to you all. Thanks for living this dream with me.

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lemon meringue ice cream pie

its biscuit's first birthday - lets eat lemon meringue ice cream pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 2L Vanilla ice cream
  • 1 Lemon meringue pie
  • 1 Tin of granadilla pulp (small tin)
Instructions
  1. Take a spring form loose base round cake pan – smear a layer of good vanilla ice cream to form a layer at the bottom of the pan.
  2. Take the whole lemon meringue and turn it upside down onto the ice cream layer.
  3. Then add another layer of ice cream up to the rim of your baking pan.
  4. Cover and pop it into the freezer for a few hours until the ice cream has hardened.
  5. When you are ready for your dessert, simply remove the baking mold form, then take granadilla pulp and pour it over.

 

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bo-kaap peking duck + peanut butter hoisin sauce

bo-kaap peking duck + peanut butter hoisin sauce

duck

I just love Peking Duck. But what do you do when you live approximately 12 270 miles from China’s old capital Peking – now known as Beijing? Well, you make a plan. I had to, the last time my hubby saw the duck hanging in my kitchen he thought I had turned into some or other crazy woman!

Look … fine-tuning Peking Duck has taken many hundreds of years to perfect. It has its origins in Imperial China and I can in no way replicate such an art, let alone go through the pure hard work of kneading and pressing the dough to make their little traditional pancakes (I have done it before … and my palms got a good beating).

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But sometimes, if you want East to meet West in the scope of a working week, you have to make that plan. So here is the urban-working woman’s take or twist on the traditional Peking Duck …

Take two duck breasts and fry them skin down in a non-stick frying pan. Fry until the skin is crisp and golden brown. Do not over fry – I like my duck pinkish. And then … instead of sweating and toiling over the traditional pancakes (this being said with the greatest respect to the Chinese .. their culture and mastery of the culinary arts), go out a buy already made mini roti’s which you can use as the “pancake” (you can buy these at any good supermarket). Heat them up in a non stick frying pan – then add your sliced duck + julienned cucumber + spring onions slices and sprinkle with an easy hoisin-based peanut butter sauce with a bo-kaap twist, add a bit of chopped coriander … And Voilà, there you go – the juiciest + loveliest + untraditional Peking Duck … Bo-Kaap style! “Wèikǒu hǎo”.

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bo-kaap peking duck + peanut butter hoisin sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 Duck Breasts (+-220g each)
  • Cucumber – julienned
  • Spring onions – sliced in thin lengths
  • Chillies (optional)
  • Mini roti’s - warmed up in a non stick frying pan
  • Fresh coriander - chopped
  • Hoisin peanut sauce
  • ½ Cup of Hoisin sauce
  • ½T Vinegar (normal white grape vinegar)
  • ¼t Mild curry powder
  • 2T Water
  • 2t Peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Arrange the breasts skin side down in a large, heavy skillet set over medium-low heat. After a few minutes, the skin will begin to melt. Cook about 6 to 8 minutes, until the skin becomes crisp and brown and a great deal of the fat has rendered out. Turn them over, increase the heat to medium high and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottom is brown and the breasts feel springy to the touch.
  2. While the duck breasts are frying, cut your vegetables and heat up your roti's.
  3. Mix all the sauce ingredients together.
  4. Then all you do is slice the duck breasts obliquely into thin even slices and add to your warm roti. Place some veggies on top and sprinkle with the sauce. Yummy!
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