Tag Archives: lekker

life is a dog biscuit too…

life is a dog biscuit too…

“No more are the usual dog biscuits fit for their cute palates … no mom, we want our biltong + cheese biscuits – and we want them now!”

SONY DSC
{frankie and robbie}
For those of you that don’t know me that well, I have two canine children – Robbie {Williams}; the boisterously adventurous extrovert and Frankie {Sinatra}; the more timid, introverted one.  These two heaven-sent cocker-spaniels arrived on my doorstep five years ago and have since shared my adventures in and around my kitchen. They have sniffed curiously here there and everywhere.  With their tails wagging furiously whenever something might come out of the oven or off the coals…they have been there… I like to think of them as my #1 fans…

{doggie surprise}
Just the other day I decided to bake them a little surprise – some cheese and biltong dog biscuits.   My two mischievous butternuts knew something was up when the baked aroma of the biltong and cheese wafted through the house.  Their tails were wagging backwards and forwards like overactive wind screen wipers … and the verdict … they LOVED it.

Ever since baking these delights I have had to ration them for those special occasions of exemplary behaviour.  No more are the usual dog biscuits fit for their cute palates…. No mom, we want our biltong + cheese biscuits – and we want them now!

I reckon in the culinary dog rating world, Robbie and Frankie have rated these 12 out of 10 as dog digestives go. Share these with man’s best friend….they will be you NBF’s for life.  🙂

photo

SONY DSC

 

 

biltong + cheese dog biscuits
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 15 biscuits
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oats
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 chicken stock (stock pot)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup biltong, grated
  • ¾ cup maize meal
  • 2 ¾ cups cake flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 °C.
  2. Dilute the stock into the boiling water and add the oats and olive oil. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Now thoroughly stir in all the other ingredients except the flour.
  4. Mix in the flour 1 cup at a time until it forms a stiff dough. Add the rest of the flour until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Roll out the dough to about 1 cm thickness.
  5. Cut the cookies with your cookie cutter and place on a prepared baking tray.
  6. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Cool and store in an airtight container.

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banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds

banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds

banana 1 800

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

Watch me make this by clicking here.
banana bread

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

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

banana 3 800

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

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

source: thebananapolice.com

banana bread

 

 

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

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

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

three cheese mushroom sandwich

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

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

three cheese mushroom sandwich

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

three cheese mushroom sandwich

 

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

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shades of night – the alluring aubergine

shades of night – the alluring aubergine

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

aubergine and tomato pasta

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

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

pasta 2 800

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

aubergine and tomato pasta

 

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

 

 

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warm beef + vegetable salad = an exotic-asian-love-story with its beauty in a lotus root

warm beef + vegetable salad = an exotic-asian-love-story with its beauty in a lotus root

warm beef + vegetable salad=an exotic-asian-love-story with its beauty in a lotus root

I love to taste things and to eat things that I have never tasted or eaten before so when I was asked to take part in the Crush Findus Wok Challenge with an exotic veggie stir fry packet that contains ingredients like lotus root + green garlic + water chestnuts, I jumped at the opportunity.  It was like opening a veggie lucky packet of mysterious ingredients!  The best discovery was the delicious and crunchy +  mildly sweet lotus root … well I fell in love with this curious vegetable.  It was this perfect, beautifully white root with big wholes that jumped onto my plate.  It immediately brought a smile to my face.  It is little wonder that the lotus flower is adored and admired by so many.

Within the Buddhist religion… of which I am an ardent follower… the lotus flower is well known to me and so revered by other believers.  Buddha is often represented on a pink lotus and within the rich symbolism of the Buddhist philosophy the lotus represents purity of the body, speech and mind and symbolises faithfulness.warm beef + vegetable salad=an exotic-asian-love-story with its beauty in a lotus root

So you, little lotus root are more than just a thing of beauty.  I have read that you are high in dietary fibre, are   considered a good food source for energy and as you are high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein, you make a remarkably healthy food choice.  I found out too that you can strengthen my spleen, promote the activities of my stomach and assist with tissue re-generation – thank you lovely one – and like me you also love soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger. No wonder I fell in love with you. You are my new food muse.  I decided to make a warm beef and vegetable salad with my exotic vegetable pack. You must just try this – it’s fresh, crunchy, easy and delicious.

warm beef + vegetable salad=an exotic-asian-love-story with its beauty in a lotus root

warm beef + vegetable salad=an exotic-asian-love-story with its beauty in a lotus root

If you like my recipe, please go to Crush and vote for my exotic-asian-love-story with its beauty in a lotus root.

 

warm beef + vegetable salad = an exotic-asian-love-story with its beauty in a lotus root
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Fillet
  • 300g Fillet steak
  • 1T Oil for frying
  • Salt for seasoning
  • Pepper for seasoning
  • Wasabi Mayonnaise
  • 3T Japanese sushi mayonnaise
  • ¼ - ½ t Wasabi paste
  • Dressing
  • 1½ t Ginger - grated
  • 1t Garlic - grated
  • 125ml Soya sauce
  • 1½ T Fresh lemon juice
  • ½ Chopped chilli (optional)
  • 2T Water
  • Vegetables
  • 500g Packet Findus Wok Chinese (1 Pack)
  • 1T Oil for frying
Instructions
  1. Firstly make your dressing – just mix all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Then make the wasabi mayonnaise by stirring the mayonnaise and wasabi past together.
  3. Season the steak and fry to your taste. I like medium rare for this salad. Let it rest. I like to fry the meat in a separate pan – I do not want the flavours of the meat to be infused into the veggies when cooking – it detracts from the stark freshness and crispiness of the veggies.
  4. While the beef is resting – add oil to your wok and stir fry the veggies as per the instruction on the pack. Don’t add any seasoning or flavouring at this stage. The flavouring is in the dressing that we are going to pour over the veggies – almost like a salad dressing of sorts.
  5. To serve: Slice the beef into thin slices and place these on a plate, dress each piece with a bit of the dressing. Now add the veggies on top. Sprinkle generously with the dressing. Now add a few dollops of the wasabi mayonnaise here and there over the dish.. If you want you can also sprinkle with a few sesame seeds.

 

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10 tips to poach the perfect egg

10 tips to poach the perfect egg

My favourite Saturday morning breakfast is a soft poached egg on whole wheat toast with a bit of wild rocket out of my garden and a pinch of Maldon salt. When you cut into that egg and the yellow slowly ooze onto the bread … it is like early morning sunshine on my plate! What I want to share with you today is not a specific recipe on how to poach the perfect egg but a few interesting facts and tips that might help you along the way. I am sure you will know most of them but one or two of these pointers are quite interesting.the perfect mother's day breakfast - 10 tips to poach the perfect egg
1. The fresher the egg, the easier the poach – fresh eggs hold together better when slipped into the simmering water.
2. To test to see whether an egg is fresh – put the egg into a bowl of water. A very fresh egg will immediately sink to the bottom and lie flat on its side – an old egg will float.
3. The eggs must preferably be room temperature.
4. Remember to add a bit of vinegar to the simmering water – it helps hold the egg together.
5. The water must be simmering not boiling.
6. Now, my best tip is to slowly submerse the whole egg with shell and all in the hot simmering water for 10 seconds before you break it. This ensures the whites on the outside of the egg hold together better during poaching.
7. Before breaking the egg into your simmering pot of water, use a spoon and give the water a stir so that it forms a little bit of a whirlpool…the centrifugal motion will pull the egg together when you slide it into the water.
8. When you break the egg break it into a saucer or cup first – be careful not to break the yolk and then simply slide the egg off the saucer or cup into the centre of the whirling water.
9. How long to poach the egg? Here’s a quirky snippet I read…when you put your bread in to toast put your egg in to poach…when your toast pops out of the toaster…your poached egg should be ready to be removed from the pot. Otherwise poach it for 3-5 minutes until cooked.
10. When done scoop out with slotted spoon or spatula onto a paper towel to dry excess water from the now poached egg.

It’s quick but fabulous when poached to perfection… decadent and yummy all at the same time!

Don’t forget too that a poached egg on top of a rocket + bacon salad makes for a wonderful salad option just ever so slightly out of the ordinary.

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peas + lettuce + parsley + onions = petits pois a la francaise

peas + lettuce + parsley + onions = petits pois a la francaise

peas + lettuce + parsley + onions=petits pois a la francaise

Lettuce + peas + onions – in French … Petits Pois a la Francaise. Sometime a go I decided to up my French cooking techniques and my friend Pierre (kitchenbabble.com) from Bangkok suggested we start cooking our way through Le Cordon Bleu at Home recipe book. As it then turned out, Saturdays became a specific cooking lesson, with Pierre in Bangkok and myself here in Cape Town, we set out on what was such an intriguing and rewarding international, virtual cooking experience. From other ends of the atlas, we emailed and facebooked our comparative findings.

This dish of lettuce + peas + onions was a lesson in which they paired it with a roast chicken. My culinary dictionary expletives included…it is absolutely delicious!!! As it happened, we did not finish the chicken – as this dish just took centre stage on the table…. My friends tucked into this dish, with bread in hand it was like a peasant dish – or from the look of my friends, their last meal as they soaked up the juices, finishing every little last little pea! You can serve this as a side dish or as a main meal – just bring the bread, good wine..and good friends.

peas + lettuce + parsley + onions=petits pois a la francaisepeas + lettuce + parsley + onions=petits pois a la francaisepeas + lettuce + parsley + onions=petits pois a la francaisepeas + lettuce + parsley + onions=petits pois a la francaise

peas + lettuce + parsley + onions = petits pois a la francaise
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Small head of lettuce chiffonade * see at bottom of recipe for the chiffonade technique
  • 5 Tablespoons of real butter (margarine is not going to work this time!)
  • 3 Cups of peas ( I used frozen peas, I simply poured hot water over and let it stand for 5 minutes and thereafter drain)
  • 18 Pearl onions pealed
  • 1 Small bunch of parsley ( tie into bouquet with kitchen twine)
  • ⅓ Cup water
  • 11/2 T Sugar
  • 1t Salt
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the lettuce + peas + onions. Stir gently until the lettuce wilts.
  3. Add the parsley + water + sugar + salt.
  4. Stand back, simmer for +/- 30 minutes, taste for seasoning, then be amazed!
  5. Remove parsley and serve.
  6. * Stack the lettuce leaves one on top of each other and roll them up tight into a cylinder – or something like a rolled lettuce tube. Then cut the cylinder crosswise into thin slices.

 

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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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cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts

cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts

cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts

Derick Henstra is the Chairman of the company that I am very fortunate to work for. He is an amazing individual, architect, artist, food lover and wine connoisseur. A while ago he told me about a cauliflower soup with brie, smoked paprika and crostini (“little toasts” in Italian) that he ate in Durban. I immediately decided that I would have to make and taste this – I made it a bit different…choosing to roast the cauliflower … well, I cannot tell you how amazing it tasted. The smoked paprika certainly compliments the roasted cauliflower and the melting brie inside gives it just that extra edge. There is not one flavour that overpowers the other and all seems to come together in perfect harmony … it is a simple + beautiful bowl of joy! This one is for you dh … carpe diem.

Note: Smoked paprika is a wonderful ingredient but please use it sparingly + with respect. You can easily overpower the dish with its strong flavour. I bought the smoked paprika at Newport Deli in Cape Town.

cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts

 

roasted cauliflower soup with brie + smoked paprika + little toasts
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 Cauliflower heads – cut into bite-sized florets
  • 1 Big onion – cut into quarters
  • 2T Olive oil
  • 2 Cup water
  • 1 Chicken or Vegetable stock cube
  • 2 Cups full-cream milk (if you want it richer you can replace one cup of milk with cream or you can use fat free milk as a more healthier option)
  • 20g Butter (or more 🙂 )
  • 1 Large pinch of salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 125g Brie cheese – cut into 6 pieces
  • Smoked Paprika to sprinkle over the soup.
  • Preparing the "little toasts"
  • Cut a French loaf into thin slices and toast in toaster.
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Put cauliflower and onion in bowl – pour the olive oil over it and swirl the contents around in the bowl until all the vegetable pieces are lightly covered in oil. Place on baking tray and bake in the oven for +- 25 - 30 minutes until roasted and browned.
  3. Take a pot, add the water and the stock cube.
  4. Add the cauliflower and onion and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  5. Add the milk and liquidize. It will have a nice thick consistency. If you find the consistency too thick just add a bit of extra milk.
  6. Add the butter and season with salt and pepper. Please taste and use more salt if needed.
  7. Pour piping hot soup into bowls. Put a wedge of brie in each, then add the "little toasts" on top and sprinkle lightly with smoked paprika!
  8. Tuck-in and enjoy!

 

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chocolate mousse + crispy onion sprinkle = surprising + delicious dessert

chocolate mousse + crispy onion sprinkle = surprising + delicious dessert

chocolate mousse + crispy onion sprinkle=surprising + delicious dessert

I know many of you think I must be off my rocker … but this is a MUST TRY. Lately, I have been reading a lot about modern food combinations with unusual flavours. Let me mention a few …

1. dark chocolate + parmesan cheese
2. chocolate mousse + crispy onion sprinkle
3. oysters + coconut + lychee + rose
4. lobster + passion fruit
5. belgian endives + chocolate + vanilla ice cream.

The one that really aroused my curiosity was the chocolate mousse and crispy onion sprinkle. I just had to try it so I dashed off to my Woollies store down the road and bought a tub of chocolate mousse and a bag of crispy onion sprinkle, you know the type that they sell as a soup topping. So that evening I took a scoop of chocolate mousse and a healthy serving of onion sprinkle and I served this unusual matching to some very startled guests …! Well, well, well, if you want to impress your friends with an amazing out of the box dessert that you don’t even have to make yourself …try this. The tastes just gel together and produce a surprising and unusual delicious combination. Put this on your list the next time you are out of ideas for dessert!

nom nom nom …

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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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20 minutes + salmon + asian broth = healthy hot winter warmer

20 minutes + salmon + asian broth = healthy hot winter warmer

20 minutes + salmon + asian broth=healthy hot winter warmer
I am by nature a foodie and as foodies go, we all have our foodie idols … One of my foodie idols is Chef Peter Tempelhoff – not only is he a great chef but also not too shabby on the eye – oh, who am I kidding everyone … he is hot! And if you come to my office you will see an A3 poster of him hanging next to my desk … but to my utter dismay two of my wonderful colleagues Johann and Pieter gave Chef Tempelhoff a mustache and a tattoo 🙂 … Anyway, two weeks ago I attended the Table of Peace and Unity lunch on the slopes of our wonderful Table Mountain and Peter Tempelhoff was one of the chefs responsible for the starter [miso sesame cured salmon and ginger prawn spring roll with soja jalapeno dressing]. I don’t know if it was the dish or perhaps him walking past that inspired me to do something hot with salmon. So later in the week I visited my Chinese supermarket for some ingredients and over the weekend made this really delicious, salmon in a hot and sour Asian broth. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! It’s so easy … so tasty and so fresh … and cheers to the hot chef who inspired me to make this dish!

20 minutes + salmon + asian broth = healthy hot winter warmer
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 150g x 4 Skinless salmon steaks
  • Salt and black pepper
  • For broth
  • 1L Chicken stock (I use stock cubes for this – that’s what they do in Asia :-))
  • 2-3 Green chillies (...if you like things a little hotter, spice it up with one more ... but not too many as it will overpower your dish )
  • +-20cm piece of lemongrass – crushed with the back of your knife and cut into pieces (if you cannot find it but you do stay in Cape Town – contact me, I have a huge bush in my garden!)
  • 1 Garlic clove – finely sliced
  • 1 Thumb size piece of fresh ginger – finely sliced
  • ¼ Cup of soya sauce
  • 4ml Sesame oil - just under a teaspoon (be very careful that you don’t overdo the sesame oil)
  • Juice of 2 limes (small) or 1 lemon
  • 2 Spring onions – chopped diagonally into thin slices
  • Handful of fresh coriander – roughly shredded by hand
  • Bean sprouts to garnish and to add some crunch
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan or pot add all the ingredients for the broth – except the spring onions, coriander and bean sprouts. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 5-10 minutes allowing all the flavours to infuse.
  2. In a non stick pan fry the salmon until brown on both sides - +-2-3 minutes on each side should do. The salmon must still be rare inside – but you must be able to flake it with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. To serve: Pour some of the broth through a sieve into a 4 bowls, add some spring onion and coriander. Put the salmon in the middle of the bowls and add some bean sprouts to garnish. I love fresh ginger so I always add the ginger I used for the broth in my bowl.
  4. Tuck in and enjoy!

 

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ostrich fillet + red wine + king oyster mushrooms + beetroot blocks

ostrich fillet + red wine + king oyster mushrooms + beetroot blocks

ostrich fillet + red wine + king oyster mushrooms + beetroot blocks
Today, I need to tell you about my little weekend adventure … the Ultimate Braai Challenge… This past Saturday my friend Joani and I took part in the Western Cape auditions for the Ultimate Braai Challenge. This turned out to be one of the best foodie experiences of my life – the 100 crazy teams, the ‘gees”, the organizers, the judges were just amazing and Justin Bonello is such a fabulous guy and so down to earth! Kudu’s go to all the organizers, the sponsors and everyone that took part both young and old. I was really gob-smacked by all the different people that took part – their liveliness, their spirit and what passion we South Africans have! I realised once again – we LOVE a braai! I cannot wait for this show to start – I really think it is going to take SA by storm!!

But let me get back to what food we presented to the judges – our main course was braaied Ostrich fillet in a red wine and mushroom jus with beetroot blocks – all done on the braai. One of the judges told us that this specific dish was the best dish he had tasted on the day. So I thought I would share this recipe with you. For sure you can do this on the stove as well but for those of you who are adventurous why not also try this on the braai…? Serve this with buttery, mustardy, crushed new potatoes. If you are not so much an ostrich steak fan you can always swap this with a cut of beef or even kudu fillet. Do not forget to enjoy this with a good glass of red wine …

Happy Braaiing … remember where there’s smoke … there is a braai!

ostrich fillet + red wine + king oyster mushrooms + beetroot blocks
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For steak
  • 4 x 200g Ostrich Fillet
  • 1Tablespoon cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the Jus
  • 15 g butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ large onion, cut in quarters and parted
  • 3 king oyster mushrooms, cut in 3x lengthwise
  • 4 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Big pinch of black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups of red wine
  • 1 Cup chicken stock (it is ok to use stock cubes diluted in water as per instruction)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • 20 g butter
  • For beetroot blocks
  • 250g cooked beetroot cut into 1cm x 1cm cubes
Instructions
  1. Add the oil and butter to a pot then add the onion – caramalise the onions over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Onions need to have that beautiful honey colour.
  3. Add the mushrooms, thyme, rosemary and the salt and pepper. Fry for a further 10 minutes. I love to hear the snap-crackle-pop of the thyme!
  4. Add the red wine and garlic and de-glaze the pan.
  5. Then add the chicken stock and the tomato paste. Simmer till half the amount is left. This is important - it needs to be a thickish sauce consistency.
  6. Add the rest of the butter and let it melt. Taste and season.
  7. Sieve through a fine sieve and add the beetroot blocks. Set aside.
  8. Keep the big onion pieces and oyster mushrooms aside – discard the thyme and rosemary.
  9. Heat the oil in the pan and fry the ostrich according to your taste – medium rare for me. Season meat to your taste.
  10. Add the onions and mushrooms (that you used in the jus) and fry these with the steak.
  11. Take the steak out of the frying pan to rest (let it rest for least 8 minutes) and add the red wine jus to the steak juices in the pan.
  12. To serve: Put the steak on a plate – add some onion pieces and giant oyster mushroom on top. Then pour some jus at the bottom of the plate. Dress with a few blocks of beetroot around the steak.

 

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malay infused seafood soup

malay infused seafood soup

malay infused seafood soupThis is my all-time favourite winter soup recipe. It lies very close to my heart for two reasons – I was introduced to this recipe by my wonderful chef friend, Louis Verwey (the recipe was very different then and I developed it as I went along into what it is today) and secondly this recipe took me through to the Top 50 of Masterchef SA and earned three overwhelming and resounding yes’s from judges Andrew, Bennie and Pete. My Masterchef journey was an incredible experience, it was an amazing roller coaster ride of emotions, nerves and sheer excitement but the best part was meeting all the fantastic people who all share a common passion – cooking! This adventure re-ignited in me the fire and a burning desire to learn and share in the fun, frivolity and sheer pleasure that comes with cooking and everything culinary. I am very proud to have made it into the Top 35 only to be booted out on the potato challenge. Needless to say I have not cooked or peeled a potato again – but that is a story for another day…enough about me…back to this exquisite soup …

malay infused seafood soup
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • For the stock
  • 1 celery stick, chopped (with the leaves)
  • 1 onion, cut in half (I keep the skin on - I only peel the onion if I want to make a clear stock)
  • 1 carrot, chopped (…again keep the skin on – didn’t we learn that all the nutritional value lies in the skin?)
  • 5 black pepper corns
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 clove of garlic cut in half
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 350g white fish – I use small whole hakes which I cut into chunks
  • 800ml water
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • Seafood
  • 24 mussels in ½ shell
  • 400 g kingklip (or any other firm white fish), cut into cubes of +- 2.5cm x 2.5cm
  • 12 de-veined prawns with shells – I love to keep heads on – if you do take the heads off, don’t discard these….add them to your stock
  • Other ingredients
  • 30g butter
  • 45 ml flour
  • 10 ml masala (I mix my own from the following ground ingredients: 15 ml turmeric, 15ml cumin, 10 ml coriander, 10 ml fennel, 15 ml hot “curry powder” this you can get from your local spice shop or supermarket)
  • 30 ml tomato paste
  • 1 ½ chicken stock cube, crumbled
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • Juice of ½ small lemon
  • For the gremolata
  • 30 ml chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • Zest of one lemon
  • One big squeeze of lemon juice
  • 30 ml olive oil
Instructions
  1. Prepare your stock by adding the first 9 ingredients in a pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Take the mussels and place them in a sieve and then put it in the stock to cook for 2 minutes. I do this to infuse the juices in the stock (and to defrost if still frozen). Take out and leave aside.
  3. Repeat the same process with the prawns – leave to simmer for about 3-4 minutes in the stock. Take out and set aside
  4. Take the stock and strain through a very fine sieve. Set aside. (You can discard the stock ingredients but it does make for a very nutritious and fishy treat for my two canine children!)
  5. Add the finely grated garlic to this stock.
  6. Now, melt the butter in a pot. Add the flour to make a roux. Stir for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and masala. Stir well.
  7. Add the warm stock - ladle by ladle - whisking briskly to make sure it does not form lumps. Once you have added the stock, bring it up to simmer - you will see that it has now thickened.
  8. Add the stock cube and the chopped tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes. Stir well.
  9. Now add the raw fish and let it simmer for +-3 minutes, then add the prawns and mussels.
  10. Add the lemon juice and stir lightly – be careful not to break the fish! Season for taste by adding salt and pepper, lemon juice.
  11. Simmer for a 5-10 minutes.
  12. Lastly, mix the last 4 ingredients together to make the gremolata and set aside
  13. To serve – in the bottom of a soup bowl put a dollop of the gremolata. Take the prawns out of the soup and place 2 prawns on each plate, add 3 or more pieces of fish. Strain the fish soup through a sieve and pour in the bowl around the fish and prawns. Add 3-4 mussels on top.
  14. Garnish with a few drops of gremolata on top. Serve immediately.

 

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maple syrup + mielie fritters + new york

maple syrup + mielie fritters + new york

Whilst wrapped-up under the duvet on a public holiday with a glass of red wine and watching a dvd, I was wondering what I felt like to eat. Jade de Waal’s twitter came through with a recipe for mielie fritters (Jade is an extraordinary wonderful woman that is currently in the Top 13 in Masterchef SA). That little tweet took me back to my moms’ “mielie brood” (mealie bread) that we used to gobble down with lots of golden syrup. My mind then next teleported me to the place where I had fallen in love with Maple syrup … New York…! Oh my word, how I love maple syrup! That amazingly, beautiful, golden sticky, earthy, sweet syrup stole my heart (as did New York…). At that moment I knew I wanted Jade’s Mielie Fritters with my maple syrup!! I really love mixing sweet and savoury and immediately started cooking. To say the least – it was YUMMY and the chopped spring onion complimented the Maple syrup in such a profoundly earthy way!
mielie frittersmielie fritters

Just a little snippet about Maple Syrup…

In cold climates, these trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter; the starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in the spring. Maple trees can be tapped by boring holes into their trunks and collecting the exuded sap. The sap is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup.

So here is Jade’s recipe – she serves it with a green avocado salsa and/or sweet chilli sauce – delish!

The recipe makes about 6 medium fitters

maple syrup + mielie fritters + new york
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Fritters
  • 1 cup (250ml) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (125ml) corn kernels in brine, drained
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Salsa
  • Small handful coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 avo, peeled and diced
  • ½ chilli, finely chopped, optional
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon, optional
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sweet chilli sauce, to dunk, optional
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients for the fritter in a bowl. At first the batter will look dry, but keep mixing until the ingredients come together.
  2. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium frying pan. Turn down to medium so the oil is not too hot, otherwise the outside of the fritter will burn whilst the inside is still raw. Spoon a tablespoon scoop of the batter in the oil, frying about 2-3 at a time for 2 minutes on each side or until brown.
  3. Meanwhile chop and mix the ingredients for the salsa in a bowl.
  4. Test the first fritter by cutting in half to make sure they're cooking through. When all fritters are done, spoon the salsa over to serve perhaps with the sweet chilli sauce on the side to dunk the fritters in or … as I did smother the fritters with golden maple syrup. Bon appétit!

 

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