Tag Archives: recipes

butter lettuce cups + healthy homemade minty-salty croutons

butter lettuce cups + healthy homemade minty-salty croutons

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Watch me make this by clicking here.

{build me up buttercup}
“build me up buttercup” is that fabulous pop song from way back in the sixties. Hearing this catchy track the other day gave me the inspiration for this dish – a lettuce cup salad that is light and fresh and just in time for summer. So there I was toes tapping, barefoot in the kitchen, singing out loud to my little wispy cups of butter lettuce.

{simplicity}
The simplicity of the dish is amazing yet the taste seems to linger like the last rays of sunshine in your mouth. The ingredients apple, mint, blue cheese, minted mayo and croutons combine into something so appealing to the senses and it will delight the most discerning guests.

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{homemade healthy minty-salty croutons}
I opted to make a more healthier version of the crouton (if this is remotely possible… :-)) … healthier as I chose to use olive oil and then rather than deep fry the bread in oil, I dry fried these crispy nibbles.

{crouton technique}
I have to say, the technique in making the croutons is both simple and fantastic. You add some olive oil and flavouring into a plastic bag, add the blocks of bread and shake the bag till all the croutons are coated. You then dry fry them in a non stick pan.

{serve}
Serve these little cups on individual spoons at a cocktail function or on a big dish for your summer lunch. What is great is the fact that people can fold these “lettuce cups over” to become something of a lettuce wrap. Happy summer everyone!

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butter lettuce cups + healthy homemade minty-salty croutons
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • Salad
  • 1 packet butter lettuce
  • 1 green apple, sliced (you can slice it any which way you like)
  • 50g blue cheese, crumbled
  • 50g roasted cashew nuts
  • 1 cup homemade croutons
  • Homemade croutons
  • 2 slices of bread, cut into small blocks – keep the crusts on (+/- 2 cups)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • large pinch of salt
  • 1 plastic bag
  • Salad dressing
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp water
Instructions
  1. Croutons - Add the oil, mint and salt to the bag. Then add you croutons. Shake the bag till all the croutons are coated in both mint and olive oil.
  2. Heat up a non-stick frying pan to medium heat. Add the croutons to the pan and dry fry until golden brown. Remember to shake the pan when frying the croutons so that the croutons fry on all sides.
  3. Salad dressing - Mix all ingredients together.
  4. To assemble - Take a lettuce cup, add your ingredients inside the cup and sprinkle with salad dressing. Serve immediately.
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beef + veg and married life in the suburbs

beef + veg and married life in the suburbs

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{missing in action}
I have been missing in action for the past few months with work, the FreshlyBlogged competition and a host of other engagements. As a result Rick was somewhat neglected – we were like ships passing in the night. When we did see each other it was a bark about this or a mumble about that…you know how it goes when life just gets too busy. 🙂

{let me surprise hubby}
So when at long last I got the opportunity to get my life into my normal routine… I decided to make him his favourite meal – Beef and Veg. I thought I would surprise him with a beautifully set table, candles, a good bottle of red wine and a scrumptious meal.

I took a beef roast and placed it in the bottom of a roasting pan, added all the veggies and herbs that were lying at the bottom of my fridge and then poured some red wine and balsamic vinegar over the lot …. Well the dish was tender, flavourful and simply delicious.

{happpy night … nope}
Now you are probably thinking that we had this cosy, catch-up evening with candles and all. Nope, he phoned me early evening to say that he would not be home early – he had some work matters to attend to. So there I was sitting all on my own getting hammered on the wine.

Oh well this stuff happens, when he did get home I had a few sharp words to say…and so did he. We barked a bit more and I eventually gave Rick his dinner on a tray in front of the telly. You see married life in the suburbs is full of frustrations, trials and tribulations.

{what did i learn}
What did I learn this time around? Well nothing – but I still enjoyed cooking the dish, I still loved laying the table, I still loved photographing the dish the next morning before work … maybe next time…

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beef + veg roast
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1.2kg beef roll
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 potatoes, quartered
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • handful of parsley
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup of red wine
  • ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a baking tray. Toss the vegetables with your hands so that the beef and veggies are well seasoned with the salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the red wine.
  3. Bake for 1hr20 min or more in the oven till done – check every now and then. Take the roast out of the oven and cover with foil and then let it rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Cut the beef into slices and put some of the veggies and sauceover the meat.
  5. Serve with lashings of sourdough bread.

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indian-flavoured salmon on lentil dhal + friendships + fine dining

indian-flavoured salmon on lentil dhal + friendships + fine dining

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Food, I have come to know, is a universal language. Take my friend, Leonard, and me. We were born six days apart in the same year, in the same country, but we come from vastly different backgrounds: Me from the ‘Afrikaanse Vrystaat vlaktes’; he from Durban and of Indian descent. Somewhere in between, our paths crossed. Since then, we have cried and laughed and drank for hours in the kitchen, chopping away on chillies, garlic and ginger, and making masalas. In sharing our passion for food, we have cemented a friendship full of so many wonderful ingredients.

{This recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #9 competition}

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Leonard has shown me all the tricks when it comes to Indian cooking. So for my fine dining dish, I wanted to pay tribute to my Gandhi, my life teacher and my friend. I want to take out the finest white linen and the finest silver and serve this Indian-flavoured salmon atop a lentil dhal. On the side, a crunchy raw beetroot and cumin salad sitting on a layer of fennel cucumber ribbons. The deconstructed milk tart, spiced with star anise, is a bit of my heritage. Both dishes brought together by the bond of friendship and spices.

So I would like to raise a glass to food journeys and friendships… And to Len: My guide and mentor on my very own passage to India.

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indian-flavoured salmon on lentil dhal + friendships + fine dining
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Indian flavoured salmon
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp ginger, grated
  • ½ tsp masala, medium
  • 200g Sea Harvest Lightly Smoked Salmon trout, defrosted and cut into 3cm x3cm blocks
  • Lentil dhal
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp masala, medium
  • ⅓ cup cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1tsp red wine vinegar
  • 150g cooked lentils
  • 1tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt
  • Beetroot + cumin salad
  • 1 cup raw beetroot, grated
  • Large pinch of cumin seeds
  • Small handful of falvourburst micro herbs
  • Salad dressing
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp black pepper, milled
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • Cucumber ribbons
  • 50g cucumber, cut lengthwise into ribbons using a potato peeler
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh fennel leaves, chopped
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Indian flavoured salmon - Mix the oil and spices together. Rub into the fish.
  2. Heat a pan until it is smoking hot.
  3. Add the fish – skin-side down to the pan. Fry for 2 minutes. Add a drop of water to the pan and put a lid on for another minute.
  4. Take out of the pan and take the skin off the fish.
  5. Put the skin back into the pan and crisp up.
  6. Lentil dhal - Fry the oil and spices for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the cream cheese, water and vinegar. Cook through lightly.
  7. Take two tablespoons of the sauce out – we are going to use this when we assemble the dish.
  8. Then add the lentils to the pan and heat through.
  9. Taste for seasoning and add the coriander.
  10. Beetroot + cumin salad - Salad dressing – mix all the ingredients well together.
  11. Pour over the beetroot, cumin and flavourburst micro herbs and mix well.
  12. Cucumber ribbons - Add the olive oil to a pan and on medium heat warm the ribbons and fennel for about 3 minutes. Season with salt, remove from the heat.
  13. Cut the cucumber ribbons into 4 cm pieces and set aside.
  14. To assemble - Add the lentils in a small block mould. Stack with the fish, top it with a bit of sauce, some salmon skin and fresh herbs.
  15. On the side, place the cucumber ribbons on the plate and add the beetroot salad.

 

Spiced Milk tart cups + cinnamon twirls
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Cinnamon twirls
  • 12 strips puff pastry, cut into 1cm x 8cm lengths
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Milk tart cups
  • 1 cup of full-cream milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 star anise
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 ½ tbsp maizena powder mixed with 1 tbsp of the allotted milk
  • ½ tbsp butter (do not use margarine)
  • Cinnamon sugar mixture (left over from the twirls)
Instructions
  1. Cinnamon twirls - Brush the pastry strips with the egg wash.
  2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle this over the pastry. Don’t use all the sugar as we are going to use it to top the custard as well.
  3. Twist each pastry strip into a straw-like twirl.
  4. Place on baking tray and bake for approximately 11-12 minutes – until cooked and golden brown.
  5. Milk tart cups - Mix the milk, sugar, star anise and salt in pot and bring to boil.
  6. In the meanwhile beat the egg yolks and then slowly add the Maizena. Mix well.
  7. Pour this mixture very slowly in the milk mix – I use a hand egg-beater to mix it in – to avoid lumps
  8. Cook for 5 minutes till cooked.
  9. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form then slowly fold this into the custard.
  10. Always taste again for seasoning.
  11. Pour into cups, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve with the cinnamon twirl on the side

 

 

 

 

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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
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Apple, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 Pear, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 Banana, peeled and cut into 2 lengths
  • 3 Guavas, cut into half
  • 3 Tbsp (15ml) Soft brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (15ml) Butter
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 1 Large cinnamon stick
  • Foil
  • Ice cream or cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C
  2. Add all the ingredients in an oven pan and cover with foil.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil and serve hot with a serving of ice cream or whipped cream.

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the universe + marcus wareing

the universe + marcus wareing

Doing what I do best is lying in my sun-kissed bed on a Saturday…with a gorgeous chef…

This past Saturday I was in bed with Marcus Wareing … paging through some of his recipe books. He is an adventurous and genius chef. I decided to cook for Marcus and do my best to impress him with something cheffy and spectacular, you know, something out of this world …almost cosmic.

{This recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #7 competition}

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So I set about recreating a culinary universe. The deep red tomato passata casts a nebula cloud, the rice and Gruyere ball is the moon whilst the bacon soil reflects the milky way of stars. The braised leeks are shooting stars falling from a distant galaxy and the butternut terrine is representing my layered personality all tightly packed into a cube of energy, shaped by the forces swirling around it. The tomato passata, bacon and thyme tie everything together into an alluring stream of cosmic energy and intrigue. Marcus, I made your butternut terrine but made it my own with burnt butter, cooked bacon fat and thyme.

I am always amazed what you can do with the simplest of ingredients. With just rice, butternut, leeks, tomatoes, thyme and bread – I created the universe. Who would have thought it Marcus?

Tips for making bread crumbs without a food processor
Put slices of bread (fresh or stale) on a rack and put it in the sun for an hour or two.
Then great it with a grater or just rub it between your hands – it will crumble easily.
Keep in an airtight container.
Breadcrumbs freeze very well.

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bacon soil
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 250g bacon, finely sliced into small cubes
  • 1 Tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. Fry the bacon on high heat until crispy.
  2. Put on a paper towel to drain and set aside.
  3. Keep the cooked bacon fat. We are using it in the butternut terrine.

 
butternut terrine
 
Prep time
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 350 g butternut top, thinly sliced with mandoline slicer
  • 2 Tbsp cooked bacon fat
  • 80g butter
  • 3 big twigs of thyme
  • Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven 180 °C.
  2. Place the butter, thyme and bacon fat in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. Allow the butter to turn a slightly brown colour and the thyme to infuse. Pass through a sieve.
  3. Layer the butternut in a silicone baking dish approximately 6cm x 15 cm, brushing each layer with melted butter and a sprinkle of salt.
  4. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, pressing down 4 times throughout the baking process, then remove and chill in the fridge. When completely cool, cut into small cubes.

 
gruyere balls
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Spekko rice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 20g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Bread crumbs – add some seasoning in the crumbs
  • Oil for deep frying
Instructions
  1. Cook the rice as per packet instruction but stir regularly when cooking. You want mushy/ sticky consistency (you don’t want fluffy rice). If need be add more water. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Roll the parmesan cheese into 12 small grape size balls.
  3. Take the rice and form a ball. Add a Parmesan ball in the middle.
  4. Roll in egg and then in bread crumbs.
  5. Deep fry until golden brown.

 
tomato passata
 
Prep time
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 can PnP chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 big sprig of thyme
  • ¾ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients in small pot and simmer 15 - 20 minutes until thick consistency.
  2. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Pass through a sieve and set aside.

 
braised leeks
 
Prep time
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large leek, peeled and cut in two and then halved length ways
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 tsp wine vinegar
  • 50 ml chicken stock (I used NoMU)
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the leeks and thyme and braise for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vinegar and stock cook for another 10 minutes.

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amarula spoons – simple seduction spoon by tempting spoon

amarula spoons – simple seduction spoon by tempting spoon

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

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

Watch me make this by clicking here.

amarula spoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

You may omit one ingredient – except the Amarula – from the list above.
You may add one ingredient of  your choice from the food aisles of PnP
Your dish must  must feature a custard-based recipe.
You can use any and all ingredients from the approved Freshly Blogged Pantry List. Olive oil, Vegetable oil, Salt, Pepper, Flours (cake, whole-wheat, bread and self raising), Baking powder, Bicarbonate of soda, Yeast, Butter, Milk, Eggs, Sugar (granulated, castor, icing, brown and treacle),Stock (powder or liquid – beef, chicken, fish, vegetable)

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chicken + tangy coleslaw open sandwich

chicken + tangy coleslaw open sandwich

This deliciousness of a sandwich was introduced to me by my work colleague, the lovely American – Madeleine. I just love the combination of the fresh ingredients and the fantastic salad dressing that just lifts each bite. I realised once again how delicious homemade salad dressings are … and together with the coleslaw + chicken makes for a tangy-crunchy, rich-tasty, but above all healthy easy meal. For an even healthier option you can just grill your chicken.

What is also super is that you can use the coleslaw as a salad on its own – I added some fennel + flavourburst micro leaves + bean sprouts to give it extra flavour and crunch. This salad fits in perfectly with one of those impromptu braais that we so enjoy.

Watch me make this by clicking here.

chicken and coleslaw

chicken and coleslaw chicken and coleslaw chicken and coleslaw

chicken + tangy coleslaw open sandwich
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 Slices of bread
  • 300g Crumbed chicken pieces / steaklets
  • Coleslaw
  • 50g White cabbage, finely sliced
  • 50g Red cabbage, finely sliced
  • 2 Spring onions or salad onions, chopped
  • 2 Baby fennel bulbs, finely sliced
  • 40g Mung bean sprouts or any sprouts
  • 1 Red chilli, chopped
  • 10 g Parsley, chopped
  • 10g Flavourburst micro leaf salad (optional)
  • Salad dressing
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 3 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
  • 10g Parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • Large pinch of milled black pepper
  • ¼ Cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 °C and bake the crumbed chicken pieces for 20 minutes – or as per the instructions indicated on the packet.
  2. Mix all the coleslaw ingredients together.
  3. Mix the salad dressing ingredients together and drizzle over coleslaw. Mix well and make sure you coat all of the coleslaw. Season to taste.
  4. Place the just fried or oven baked chicken pieces onto your bread and top it with the coleslaw.
  5. Note: I don’t butter my bread but you can if you want to.

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hot mexican burger

hot mexican burger

Pick n Pay freshlyblogged challenge #3

This delicious recipe was inspired by a very interesting ingredient list (see list below) I received from Pick n Pay for their #freshlyblogged competition.

hot mexican burger

The other day I visited San Julian restaurant in the heart of Cape Town. There the chef showed us how to make real tortillas using fresh white corn. Hello!! …they make them fresh every single day in the restaurant (*bow down). My mouth literally hung open when they showed us – it is so simple, so fantastically authentic and made by real Mexicans! Checking out this week’s ingredients my first thought when seeing the maize meal was to use this along with corn kernels as the base of a Mexican style burger. I added paprika, lime zest and dried chillies to the ostrich meat – it turned out to taste like spicy chorizo sausage! I was quite surprised but very happy I must add. I used the wine and hot chutney to make a basting for the burgers and to round of the dish I made a simple, lime infused guacamole. I loved all the Mexican flavours – they are so simple, so uncomplicated but burst in your mouth like in a plethora of vibrant taste sensations.

Ingredients for challenge #3
Drostdy-Hof Pinotage
500g maize meal
500g ostrich sausage
1 punnet of waterblommetjies /green beans
PnP Chutney of your choice
250g PnP mixed dried fruit

Rules for challenge #3
You may omit one ingredient (except the Drostdy-Hof Pinotage) from the above list.
You may add three spices.
You may add three fresh ingredients.
Some part of the dish must be cooked over the coals(pictorial proof of said cooking method is required).

You can use any and all ingredients from the approved Freshly Blogged Pantry List. Olive oil, Vegetable oil, Salt, Pepper, Flours (cake, wholewheat, bread and self raising), Baking powder, Bicarbonate of soda, Yeast, Butter, Milk, Eggs, Sugar (granulated, castor, icing, brown and treacle),Stock (powder or liquid – beef, chicken, fish, vegetable)

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hot mexican burger
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Corn “bun”
  • 2⅔ cups (660ml) water
  • 2 mielies (corn on the cob), the corn needs to be sliced from the cob
  • ½ tsp (2.5ml) salt
  • ¾ cup (180ml) maize meal
  • 1 ½ tbsp (22.5ml) butter
  • Basting
  • ½ cup (125ml) Drostdy-Hof Pinotage
  • ½ cup (125ml) PnP Hot Chutney
  • Burger patty
  • 400 g Ostrich sausage, remove the sausage meat from its casing
  • 2 tsp (10ml) paprika
  • 1 tsp (5ml) chilli flakes
  • zest of 2 limes
  • Guacamole
  • 50g green beans
  • 2 ripe avocados, crushed
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1tsp (5ml) chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp (3ml) salt
Instructions
  1. Corn bun - Bring the water, corn and salt to the boil. Add the maize meal and mix well. Turn the heat down and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes. Add the butter and mix through. Taste for seasoning.
  2. Lightly oil a 20 cm x 20 cm dish with some olive oil. Scrape the porridge into the dish and flatten with spoon. Set aside to firm-up (about 45 min will do).
  3. Cut 4 circles out of the porridge to use as your bun. Set aside.
  4. When the corn patties are ready to use, heat them on the fire.
  5. Basting - Pour the wine and chutney into a small pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Guacamole - Cook the green beans for 10 min and slice thinly.
  7. Mix with avocado, lime, chilli and salt. Taste for seasoning.
  8. Ostrich burger patty - Mix the sausage meat, paprika, chilli and zest together. Making sure you mix this well. Shape to form 4 x 100g patties.
  9. Place the meat patties on the fire and braai for +-10 minutes (see tips for braaiing below). Baste with basting sauce every time you turn around.
  10. To assemble - Place the corn bun onto a plate or serving dish, add the patty and then add a dollop or two of guacamole. Sprinkle with chilli flakes and a few green beans.
  11. Tips for braaiing burgers over the coals - You need hot coals.
  12. The grid must be positioned about 10cm above the coals.
  13. Lightly oil your burger patties on both sides before you put them in the grid.
  14. Use a grid that you can turn around for the patties. It makes life much easier.
  15. Braai for a total of 4-5 mins on each side.

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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
 
Prep time
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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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roasted chicken curry = frindian chicken

roasted chicken curry = frindian chicken

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It’s winter and its time to cook something that will help keep the chill of winter at bay. For this, there is nothing better than a wonderful curry.

I was very fortunate to spend a weekend with renowned Chef, Reza Mahammad a month or so ago and he told me about the new trend that he had started – “Frindian cuisine” – yip Frindian … this is where you combine classic French cooking techniques with the wonderful variety and diversity of Indian spices.

This is a not an easy task but Reza, the genius, makes this work so brilliantly.

Back home I decided to try my own Frindian chicken – by roasting a chicken the French way { the technique I always use is from the book “Le Cordon Bleu at home”} and using my own Indian spice mix – this dish was such a hit around the table there were only a few bony morsels left. This is the kind of dish where you need to get stuck in with your hands and eat this with gusto – it’s delicious, tasty and extremely alluring. Not only does the dish dress up to impress, but the taste is hot and complex. The flavours seem to just stitch two continental food styles in seamless fashion and so worth the effort.

On how to truss a chicken click here.

Frindian Chicken

 

 

roasted chicken curry = frindian chicken
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 Chicken – about 2 kg’s
  • 3T Butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1T Vegetable oil
  • My spice mix – mix all the ingredients below together.
  • 1T Grated fresh garlic
  • 1T Grated fresh ginger
  • 2t Chillie flakes – you can replace these with 1 or 2 chopped strong red chillies depending on your individual taste
  • 2T Masala mix [strong curry powder]
  • 1T Cumin seeds
  • 1T Coriander [fine]
  • ½t Cinnamon [fine]
  • Fresh coriander for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Loosen the skin on the topside of the chicken and take the Marsala mix and try to massage it under the skin – make sure you rub it all over the chicken. Do it carefully and take your time. You don’t want to break the skin at any point. Even try and get some Marsala into the little legs and wings. Rub the spice on the inside of the chicken as well.
  4. Now season the cavity with salt and pepper.
  5. Truss the chicken.
  6. Then rub the outside of the chicken with the butter and oil and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Place the chicken on the side in a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes.
  8. Then turn the chicken onto its other side and roast for another 20 minutes.
  9. Finally turn the chicken with the breast side-up, add a ½ cup of water to the pan and roast till the juices run clear – about another 20 – 30 minutes.
  10. Let it rest for 15 minutes covered with aluminium foil. The juices will be absorbed into the meat and it will be far easier to carve.
  11. While resting the chicken, bring the remaining juices in the roasting tray to the boil on top of the stove – scrape to release any cooked meat that is still at the bottom of the tray. Add a bit of water and reduce till ⅓. Spoon this over your meat at the table.
  12. Remove the twine, carve and enjoy your Frindian chicken with your bestest friends.

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banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds

banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds

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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?

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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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italian ramen – chicken soup for the soul

italian ramen – chicken soup for the soul

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“The Italian Ramen is a delicious cross-cultural take on chicken soup. The angel hair pasta represents Italy; the soft-boiled egg and chile oil evoke Japan” – Food & Wine

Italian Ramen – I have this lovely American colleague that started working with me this year and she reports to me what she cooked the night before (and I of course report to her :-)) and sometimes she brings along a small tester portion for me to taste. The American’s name is Madeleine. I needed to clarify that because I have another American in my life that I love dearly – she is another talented foodie and I will talk about her at a later stage.

So one morning Madeleine brought this delicious chicken based soup to the office – an Italian Ramen. It just blew me away – the chicken broth was so intense and just perfectly infused with the herbs. The chicken was cooked to perfection and the crunchy carrots added a wonderful sweetness and texture to the dish. Madeleine sent me a link to this specific recipe on Food & Wine’s website and I decided to make it – this is not a dish you want to fiddle with – It is perfect as is. It takes about 3.5 hours to make but its well worth doing it.
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This soup is served with a beautiful soft boiled egg – the traditional Ramen way … the egg compliments the dish but does not steal the limelight from the perfect chicken broth and succulent fleshiness of the white chicken meat.

So here is a quick guide to boiling the perfect soft boil egg:
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil add the eggs and cook for 5 minutes. While the eggs are boiling fill another large bowl with cold water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the bowl of cold water for 2 minutes. Crack the shells and peel the eggs.

Italian Ramen - chicken soup for the soul

 

italian ramen - chicken soup for the soul
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • For the broth
  • 1.3kg Chicken, cut into quarters
  • 2 White skinned onions, quartered
  • 4 Large carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 4 Celery sticks, cut into large chunks
  • 4 Thyme sprigs
  • 2 Rosemary sprigs
  • 2 Basil sprigs
  • Salt
  • Other ingredients
  • 2 Carrots cut into fine matchsticks
  • 6 Large soft boiled eggs
  • 500g Angel hair pasta
  • Chilli oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Few basil leaves to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 260°C. Arrange the chicken in a roasting pan and roast until the skin is lightly browned – for +- 20 – 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chicken and any juices to a soup pot. Add the onions, carrot chunks, celery and herb sprigs. Add 3.8L of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.
  3. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the broth and let cool slightly.
  4. Remove the meat from the bones and pull into shreds; discard the skin.
  5. Return the bones to the pot and simmer until the broth is reduced to 8 cups, about 1½ hours.
  6. Strain the broth, discard the solids and skim off the fat. Season the broth with salt and keep warm.
  7. Return the water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain and divide the pasta between 6 large soup bowls.
  8. Top with the shredded chicken, carrot matchsticks and soft-boiled eggs.
  9. Ladle the hot broth on top, add some chillie oil and garnish with basil leaves and serve hot.

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

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

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This one is quick + easy and been a firm family favourite through the years. I remember sitting around the kitchen table, the radio playing in the background (there was no TV in those days)… My dad saying grace and thereafter mom bringing in this big baking tray full of steaming mac + cheese.

We did not have the fancy or posh mac and cheese – there was no bacon, no mushrooms, no cream etc … our mac and cheese came straight out of the Kook and Geniet and straight out of the oven. The basic ingredients are milk, eggs, macaroni and cheese. It’s the baked version that you can cut in blocks. We used to just get these blocks on our plates and in the middle of the table was a bottle of tomato sauce – and that was it for us … heaven.

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So today I took the same recipe my mom used and tweaked the ingredients to suit my adult taste buds. When it came to the tomato sauce I had to make a few changes – I fried some plump delicious rosa tomatoes in olive oil, added tomato sauce and fresh basil. Its still my  mom’s mac + cheese + tomato sauce – with a little twist. Life seemed much more simpler then. At least I can say that this recipe has remained simple and easy … give it a go.

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mac and cheese

 

mac + cheese + tomato sauce = no frills + no fuss + just eat
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1L Milk
  • 5 Eggs
  • 3t Mustard powder
  • 1t Salt
  • ½t Black pepper
  • 3 Cups of grated cheese
  • 4 Cups of cooked macaroni
  • Tomato sauce
  • 250g Rosa tomatoes - cut in half
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 80 ml Water
  • 1t Sugar
  • 250ml Tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves – shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Mix the milk, eggs, mustard powder, salt and pepper all together. Then add the cheese and cooked macaroni.
  3. Butter a baking dish well and add the mixture and bake for 1 hour.
  4. For tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil and fry tomatoes till the pan is quite dry. Add the water and cook again till quite dry.Then add the sugar + tomato sauce – heat through. Finally add the fresh basil + season to taste + serve with your mac + cheese.

 

 

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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.

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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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Total time
 
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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