This time of the year for me is all about fresh, fast and simple food. But also food that still make your taste buds go … Pow-Wow! This absolutely scrumptious salad was mentioned to me by Kokkedoor 2 Winner, Johnny Hamman and I decided to make my own blue cheese dressing. Well needless to say my husband orders it at least once a week from my kitchen. It is summery and just simply splendid! Give it a bash…it is wow!
for a healthier option | replace the sour cream with yogurt like i did here
Lettuce wedges with blue cheese dressing
1 large iceberg lettuce , cut into six wedges
125 ml sour cream
3 T mayonnaise
2 t dijon mustard
1 T white wine vinegar
50 g good blue or gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Combine all the dressing ingredients then scoop generously over the lettuce slices and garnish with micro herbs.
This dish is inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who loves the combination of warm bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. I turned it into a salad by adding mozzarella, basil and vinegar. This is utterly delicious and with a good piece of bread makes a perfect meal for this in-between season time of year.
Preparation and cooking time: 20 min
250 g bacon
1 T olive oil
400 g baby tomatoes, half some and keep some whole
3 gem lettuce heads, cut in half length-ways
1 T olive oil
2 T good red wine or sherry vinegar
150 g bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls), torn into pieces
Handful of fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Set aside and keep warm. Put the tomato and lettuce in a bowl, add the other tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss together. Add the lettuce and tomatoes into the bacon pan and fry for about 5 minutes until the lettuce halves are wilted and browned and the tomatoes are warmed through. Add the bacon and the two tablespoons of the vinegar for the last minute or two. Turn everything onto a flat salad dish – add the mozzarella and basil. Sprinkle with a bit more of the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
See me making this recipe live in Afrikaans on Expresso
I am so excited, its Christmas time again! It is a time of happiness and joy, family and friends and it is a chance to experiment with all the wonderful Christmas foodie thingies… Too often people say that Christmas is just too busy with all the preparations, the decorations, the cooking and the sweating but it is not. Folks, Christmas does not have to be complicated. Just keep things simple, vibrant and flavourful and you can’t go wrong…
My mom always says that we eat far too much over the festive season particularly on Christmas Day … with the roast turkey, the smoked gammon or ham, leg of lamb and every other meat variety under the sun. She actually banned the glazed gammon from the Christmas table this year …but Christmas for me without gammon is like Christmas without turkey or Father Christmas arriving without presents! So I have decided to disguise my “gammon” (I used Black Forest Ham) in a lovely fresh summer salad.
In this recipe, perhaps the most important part of this salad is the dressing. You can have the most beautiful ingredients but if the dressing is dull the salad is dull. Many people just do not pay enough attention to their salad dressing and it is kind of like the angel on top of the Christmas tree.
The salad dressing I have mixed-up today includes orange blossom honey and rose syrup. Both of these flavours compliment the strawberries and the rose syrup lingers in your mouth for a while, causing the brain to be almost spirited off to another country in an instant – perhaps Arabia, India or Morocco …
Adding the little pink peppercorns just lifts the whole dish into another dimension and just one little bite sets the Christmas bells ringing. Happy Christmas cooking!
For balsamic glaze - Put all ingredients in little pot and boil for 8-10 min over medium heat. Remove from stove and allow to cool down.
For goats’ cheese crostinis - Mix the goats cheese + dried cranberries + basil together. Smear the goat and cranberry spread over each of the little toasts. Carefully place 2-3 pink peppercorns onto each crostini.
To serve - Arrange the sliced strawberries on the bottom of the plate. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic glaze. Place a few salad leaves over the top. Add the goats’ cheese crostinis + ham + cherries + and extra peppercorns. Drizzle with more balsamic glaze and serve
After a brief but blitzy gastronomic tour through Johannesburg this past weekend I returned home in need of something healthy – something green. So I made this delicious + scrumptious + sumptuous salad. It’s fresh and easy – just add all the ingredients in a bowl, sprinkle with some salt and drizzle with lemon infused olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I like to serve the baby marrows still warm from the oven and then all the other ingredients at room temperature. It’s crunchy, creamy, tangy and really splashy in flavours. Enjoy.
My favourite shades of green:
+ Irish colour green – I am married to a wonderful man of Irish descent … where everything from the Emerald Isle seems to be green;
+ The green of an olive;
+ The green colour of growing grass;
+ Lime green;
+ … and then the US Dollar green. 🙂
green salad + broken-cheesy-olive-melba-toast = fresh + sumptuous
Vegetable Soup – A couple of weeks back I invited a few foodie friends over to watch the finale of Mastechef SA, as it was winter I thought it would be appropriate to put on a large pot of my vegetable soup for the occasion. It went down a treat; the problem came about when they all asked me to share the recipe. This proved to be quite difficult as I don’t have a recipe for this soup. The way it works in my house is that I make soup on Sundays. I open the fridge, take out all the veggies + herbs that I did not use over the previous week and make a steaming pot of soup with it. So…to be frank, the recipe below is a list of all the items leftover in my fridge from last week…
If you think the recipe seems a bit long, do not be put off, once you get the hang of it and taste of it you will be making this soup for generations to come. The thing about soup is, you have to make it your own … put in the effort and spend that little extra time…I can promise you it is worth every little spoonful. Enjoy making it and remember to serve it with love.
I do have 10 tips that I have picked up along the way that I would like to share with you when making this soup:
1. Don’t be in a hurry – take your time… and love the process – that is why I normally do it on Sundays – it takes time to grate and chop. Make big bowl of this soup… the soup freezes very well and will never go to waste!
2. Use the veggies + herbs – even lettuce, rocket – whatever you have in your fridge or veggie basket…..the stuff you did not use during the week and want to throw away.
3. Look in your freezer and use all those small packets of frozen veg that you still have not got around to using…
4. The five basic vegetable ingredients that you have to put in to your pot are the following: potatoes, carrots, onions, celery + tomatoes.
5. I always leave the skin on all my vegetables.
6. I grate my vegetables …that is if they are grate-able – it cooks faster and I feel the flavours infuse just that much better.
7. Veggies like broccoli and cauliflower – use the stems – cut them into thin slices – it adds to the beautiful chunkiness of the soup.
8. Parmesan skins – when you buy and use parmesan – don’t throw the skin or rind away – keep them in your freezer and use this in your soup – it adds a wonderful richness.
9. The secret ingredients of my soup : cloves, pesto (any flavour), whole pepper corns, parmesan cheese skins and grated, instant tomato cream soup, oats, good stock to cover the veggies, Worcestershire sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and always a bit of butter.
10. To serve always finish your soup with a drizzle of olive oil , chopped parsley and some parmesan shavings.
350 g Tomatoes either chopped or rosa tomatoes halved
200g Baby marrows - sliced
150g Cauliflower - cut into chunks
130g Broccoli - cut into chunks
2 Long pieces of celery - chopped
80g Cucumber - chopped
300g Frozen peas
50g Sundried tomatoes - chopped
10g Fresh coriander - chopped
25g Garlic - grated
20 Black peppercorns
20g Fresh parsley - chopped
1t Chillie flakes
410g Tinned chopped tomatoes (1 tin)
2 Stock cubes (Vegetable or chicken)
75-100g Parmesan skins
3L Water (or 3L of good stock – then omit the stock cubes and remember to add more salt)
100g Dry pasta (I use spaghetti and normally break the spaghetti up into small pieces)
2x 410g Sugar beans (drain the fluid) – you can even replace this with tins of baked beans
60 ml Olive oil
1 Packet cream of tomato soup mixed with 500 ml cold water
1T Worcestershire sauce
100g Pesto (any basil or rocket pesto)
100g Parmesan cheese grated
1t Black pepper
Put all A ingredients into a large pot and bring to boil. Simmer for 30 minutes on medium heat. Please remember to stir frequently. As this is a big pot of ingredients, it can easily burn if you don't keep a watchful eye on it.
Now add all the B ingredients and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
Then add all the C ingredients – stir well – and simmer for 10 minutes.
At the end please taste for seasoning – adding salt and pepper as per your individual taste or preference.
To serve: Drizzle some olive oil over the soup, add some chopped parsley and some parmesan shavings.
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 francaise