Tag Archives: tomatoes

chicken #parmigiana without the parmesan

chicken #parmigiana without the parmesan

chicken parmigiana

This is one of those crowd-pleasing dishes and it’s also very easy to make. Chicken Parmigiana is normally made with breaded chicken and with parmesan cheese. As I had neither breadcrumbs nor parmesan in my house when I wanted to make this, so I simply left them out. It turned out just as delicious.

My version of chicken ‘parmigiana’ … without parmesan
(Serves 4 )
30 ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can ( 400g ) chopped tomatoes
handful fresh basil, torn
1.25 ml salt
1.25 ml freshly ground black pepper
4 chicken breasts, skinned and flattened
salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 slices mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan and just heat until the garlic begins to dance in the oil. Do not fry the garlic. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper and simmer for 7 minutes. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper and fry in olive oil until brown. Place the chicken in a baking dish, spoon the tomato sauce over the top and finish with a slice of mozzarella on top of each piece of chicken. Bake for about 35 minutes and serve with pasta or a green salad.

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roasted tomato + feta salad

roasted tomato + feta salad

roasted tomato and feta salad

Tomatoes + feta + basil has always presented a really classic combination. By slow roasting the tomatoes one is able to extract that deep, concentrated sweet flavour. My suggestion would be to serve this salad with a slice of toasted sourdough bread or just as a spritely side dish at your summer braai.

Watch me make this by clicking here.

roasted tomato and feta salad

 

roasted tomato + feta salad
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 500g baby tomatoes, halved
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 200g feta cheese
  • handful of basil leaves
  • salt and black pepper for seasoning
Instructions
  1. Mix the tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper and sugar together and roast in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for one hour. Take out of oven, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, mix well and let it cool down. Taste for seasoning.
  2. Let it cool down to room temperature.
  3. Crumble the feta and add to the tomatoes and the juices. Serve with torn basil leaves.

roasted tomato and feta salad

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tomato + chorizo pasta = perfect weekend dish

tomato + chorizo pasta = perfect weekend dish

{extravagant treat}
This pasta is an extravagant treat yet plain + simple. It is one of those really easy recipes but it is so delicious that your family or guests might think you had been slaving away for hours … It is warm and hearty and perfect for friends popping over for dinner and is best served with a sultry smile and a good glass of red wine.

{bliss}
What I used in this recipe is my tried and tested, home styled tomato sauce recipe – it’s just olive oil, basil, garlic and tomatoes. After the tomatoes have popped open they ooze this richly irresistible, fresh cooked puree which forms this thick, lava like sauce of yumminess. I then add thin slivers of chorizo – let the tomato and chorizo pasta sauce simmer for a few minutes. And there you have it … done + dusted. Just do not forget the glass and a bottle of good red wine. Bliss!

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chorizo pasta

 

chorizo pasta a perfect weekend dish
 
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Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 900g Rosa tomatoes
  • 200ml Olive oil – good quality (I know this sounds a lot but the tomatoes burst open to combine with the olive oil, garlic and basil to create a really amazing sauce )
  • 2 Handfuls of fresh basil
  • 8 Garlic cloves – peeled but kept in whole segments
  • 225g Chorizo sausage thinly sliced
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 150 – 200g Fresh parmesan cheese – shaved with potato peeler
  • 500g Spaghetti cooked as instructed on pack
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil to a large pan / pot and add the garlic and about one handful of shredded or torn basil leaves. Heat the oil very slowly on low-medium. Remember, we are wanting to the olive oil to infuse with the garlic and basil. Infuse for about 5 minutes – please do not burn the garlic.
  2. Add all the tomatoes; turn up the heat to medium high and cook for +- 20 minutes without the saucepan lid.
  3. You will see the tomatoes will start to burst open and infuse with the olive oil.
  4. Add the chorizo and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Season generously with salt and freshly grounded black pepper. Please be sure to taste when you season!
  6. Just before serving, add the rest of the basil. To finish your dish take a potato peeler and shave some slices of good Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over your dish.

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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
 
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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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ragù with potato + carrot crush = pick n pay freshlyblogged challenge #2

ragù with potato + carrot crush = pick n pay freshlyblogged challenge #2

Pick n Pay freshlyblogged challenge #2

This delicios recipe was inspired by a very interesting ingredient list (see list below) I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged competition. See list of ingredients and rules below.

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As a family, when I was growing up we used to eat “mince and pasta” every Saturday. You see we used to have dishes for Monday, Tuesday etc. and this was our Saturday dish. So l decided last Saturday that I wanted to make a ragù with the beef shin and I replaced the pasta with carrot and potato crush. I also added fresh parsley to the ragù and the crush for that fresh Italian originality. This crush with pepper and butter was also something I grew up with during my childhood. I remember it was one of my dads’ favourite dishes – he loved to scoop it onto his plate while it was still piping hot. He always added that extra bit of butter and a pinch more black pepper. He was so in my thoughts when I made this dish. You would have loved it dad… today I missed you so much. Love always…

ragu

Ingredient List and rules for challenge #2
1 Knorr beef stock pot
1 Block of beef suet
1 Punnet PnP Soup Mix (containing one potato, one carrot, one celery stalk)
500g Beef Shin
PnP star anise
PnP white wine vinegar

Rules
You may omit one ingredient (except the 1 Knorr Beef Stock Pot) from the above list.
You may add two fresh ingredients (fruit, vegetables or herbs)
You may add one grocery item.
You can use any and all ingredients from the approved Freshly Blogged Pantry List. Olive oil, Vegetable oil, Salt, Pepper, Flours (cake, wholewheat, bread and self raising), Baking powder, Bicarbonate of soda, Yeast, Butter, Milk, Eggs, Sugar (granulated, castor, icing, brown and treacle),Stock (powder or liquid – beef, chicken, fish, vegetable)

ragu

 

 

ragù with potato + carrot crush = pick n pay freshlyblogged challenge #2
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Ragù
  • 2Tbsp (30ml) Atora shredded suet
  • 1Tbsp (15ml) Olive Oil
  • 350g Boneless beef shin, cut into small blocks
  • ½ Cup (50g) Carrots, cut into very small blocks
  • ½ Cup (50g) Celery, sliced finely
  • 1Tbsp (15ml) White wine vinegar
  • 1 Cup (250ml) Water
  • 1 Beef stock pot
  • ½ Cup (125ml) Milk
  • 600g Ripe red tomatoes grated
  • Salt
  • Milled black pepper
  • 3Tbsp (45ml) Parsley coarsely chopped
  • Potato and carrot crush
  • 1 Cup (150g) Potato, cut into blocks
  • 1 Cup (150g) Carrot, cut into blocks - cut potatoes and carrots in the same size blocks so they can cook evenly
  • 1 ½ Tbsp (22.5 ml) Butter
  • 1Tbsp (15ml) Parsley coarsely chopped
  • ⅛ tsp (0.6 ml) Salt
  • Big pinch of milled black pepper
  • To serve
  • Olive oil
  • ½ Tomato, deseeded and chopped into small blocks
  • Parmesan cheese to serve
Instructions
  1. Ragù - Heat the suet and olive oil in a pot. Add the beef and sauté over medium heat until brown. Take the meat out of the pot and set aside.
  2. Add the carrots and celery into the same pot and cook gently for two minutes.
  3. Transfer the beef back in the pot and add the water, vinegar and stock pot. Cook stirring occasionally, until all the water has evaporated.
  4. Add the milk and cook until the milk has evaporated, stirring occasionally.
  5. Next add the grated tomatoes and stir well. When the pot starts to bubble turn down the heat to the very lowest so the ragù can cook at a simmer.
  6. Cook uncovered for a minimum of 1 ½ hours stirring occasionally. If it starts to reduce too much add little water and continue to cook. When cooked taste and correct the seasoning.
  7. Add the parsley to the sauce, stir and serve over the potato mash.
  8. Potato and carrot crush - Boil carrots and potatoes together till cooked.
  9. Crush with a fork – this is not mash so we don’t want it fine like mash.
  10. Add the rest of the ingredients – mix well and serve hot with ragù.
  11. To serve - drizzle with good olive oil add some parmesan shavings and finally add the chopped tomato blocks and a few extra sprigs of parsley.

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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
 
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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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sand + sunburn + salmon salad = happy family easter memories

sand + sunburn + salmon salad = happy family easter memories

salmon salad

I think for me Easter has always been different to the somewhat traditional religious Easter festivities, you know the Friday fasting, the curried fish, chocolate eggs and Easter Sunday feast….

You see, my father was the station master at Wepener in the Free State for many years and once a year the South African Railways would give its employees and their families a free rail ticket. So every year, my mom, dad, three brothers and me would take the train down to Durbs for our Easter school holidays. It was such an adventure for us because Durban was fun … there was sun + beaches + sand. It was singing on the stages trying our best to win prizes, fighting with my brothers, building sandcastles in the sand with dad, swimming in the ocean with mom and losing ourselves in the summers of our youth.

salmon salad

For the short few days we spent there we lived on ice cream and sandwiches during the day, but at night when we were all sunburnt and after a long soak in a soothing bath, my mom used to make us fresh fish and salad for supper. The fresh salmon salad I made today is a dedication to the happy memories of those Easters past and to my folks for affording us this once a year seaside adventure.

salmon salad

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Apart from the salmon and the avocado, I got all the ingredients for the salad out of my garden. Instead of placing the salmon on top of the salad as it is usually served I decided it would be more fun to put the salad on top of the salmon – and I must say I think it looks amazing! It would be unfair for me to dictate the quantities of salad ingredients you should use as this is best left to your own discretion and mood.

Salmon Salad

I also like my salmon somewhat rare, so I prepared it that way. But the thing that really adds to the overall pop-up-flavour is the rather delicious lime and soya Asian dressing. So here’s to family, Easter, lasting memories and fresh food. Blessed Easter everyone!

sand + sunburn + salmon salad = happy family easter memories
 
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Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 x 200g Fresh salmon steaks
  • For salad
  • Avocado – sliced into small blocks
  • Baby tomatoes – halved and then in three
  • Cucumber ribbons – I take my potato peeler and run it over the cucumber
  • Spring onions – finely sliced
  • Radishes – sliced into thin slices
  • Fresh coriander
  • Chillies
  • Salad dressing
  • 50 ml Soya sauce
  • Juice of one to two small limes
  • 1t Sesame oil (optional)
  • 2t Grated ginger
  • 1t Fish sauce
  • 1T Fresh coriander – chopped
  • ½t Chillie flakes
Instructions
  1. Fry your salmon for three minutes with the skin side down in a non-stick pan till skin crispy - say about 5 minutes - don’t turn it around and don’t season at this stage and let it stand to rest. The intention is to serve it luke warm not piping hot.
  2. Chop up all your salad ingredients and make your dressing by mixing everything together.
  3. Now just place this beautiful cut of fish on a plate. Place the salad on top and put the dressing on the side.
  4. I don’t add any salt at this stage and leave it to the guests to decide how much salt they need because the dressing is quite salty.

 

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pan tumaca = simple + delicious {viva españa}

pan tumaca = simple + delicious {viva españa}

tomato spanish dessert

A slice of toasted bread with tomato … a sophisticated Spanish breakfast? This might surprise you but this is a very popular breakfast for millions of Spaniards… just plain and simple … bread and tomato. Pan tumaca is a recipe invented in Catalonia but according to the www it was probably brought there by Andalusian emigrants. There is just something about the Spanish, the Italians and the Greeks … they have a unique gift of turning the mundane into the fabulous and the dull into something truly delicious.

You see my very good friend chef Louis now lives in Spain – I was heartbroken when he moved to Castellón de la Plana near Valencia a few years ago – it felt like a part of me has gone with him. This past December we had the chance to meet up and spend a few magical days together. Just catching up again with him and his adventures was the most wonderful gift – to laugh, talk and cook together just like in the old days. Spain is now Lu’s new home and he gave me such insights about the real Spanish traditions and their infective passion for food.

The first breakfast of our holiday was this traditional Spanish breakfast – a slice of toasted bread + grated tomato + the best olive oil + maldon salt. No butter – just that. I was a little taken aback as Louis and I, given our collective South African heritage are kinda used to the big breakfasts… you know greasy fry-ups and perhaps even a mixed grill of sorts from the braai the night before… but after my first bite of this tapas-style-pan-tumaca, my anticipation for a sumptuous breakfast dissipated into complete contentment … I was converted! There was bliss to be found in its simplicity and the rudimentary sophistication of this dish.

tomato spanish dessert

However, with everything in life, Lu reminded me that there were a few good rules to follow …

• You can toast the bread if you like, but it is not compulsory
• The tomatoes must be red-ripe + fresh + plump
• Grate the tomatoes [that is what we did] – but the traditional way is to take the tomato and rub it over the one side of the slice of bread
• Use the best olive oil you can find or afford and drizzle over the tomato
• Use Maldon salt to finish the dish
• Some people like to rub garlic before adding the tomato to the bread
• And …Always cook with passion and love – no matter how basic the dish

… And there you have it. Olé!

grated tomato

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a simple cabbage greek salad + alain passard = veggie perfection

a simple cabbage greek salad + alain passard = veggie perfection

“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.”

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Lesson #1 Alain Passard – Elevate vegetables to the main course. Respect them. Love them.

Cabbage Greek Salad … Just recently, I was fortunate enough to meet and eat at a Parisian restaurant owned and run by one of the best chefs on the planet – and one of my great food heroes. The place was L’Arpege + 3-Star Michelin Restaurant and the chef was none other than Alain Passard!

Having lunch at one of the top restaurants in the world turned out to be a very emotional day for me as we made our way through 13 courses of what can only be described as an expedition to some sort of culinary Nirvana. This was not a sampling menu, it was 13 courses of considerable portion of food.

In order to give fair justice to the skill and care that was taken in serving each course, I intend discussing (or is it dissecting?) various elements of this extraordinary experience over the next few weeks. The sum of which continues to jolt my brain and senses in the most wonderful of ways. More of that later but back to Alain…My hubby and I sat down just on midday and only left the restaurant four and half hours later. It turned out to be not just a meal but more a journey enticing discoveries. It was an explosion of the senses on all fronts from tantalizing the palate, to engaging the brain, to touching my heart. It was all of these things.

Then out of nowhere and so very casually, Alain Passard himself appeared in front of us… and so charmingly and non-chalantly introduced himself. He stood humbly before us wanting to know where we were from and then thanked us for making the effort to eat at his restaurant. Could you believe he thanked me!! I was speechless. He said that if I wanted to know anything, I must just ask him. He was most amused by my little black notebook. It is that little notebook that I take everywhere with me jotting down my thoughts and different food experiences. Alain then just said the following “eat slowly and enjoy every bite, try to stay till dessert because I have a surprise for you” and before you could offer a shy stammer of awe and appreciation he whisked himself back into his kitchen. *more about the surprise and what he meant in a later blog*.

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In between the courses that followed he came out to serve us … how amazing was that!! I was in dreamland and I think for the first time in my life, I was beyond speechless. What I took away from this restaurant and this genius of a chef was that you need to live and practice the credo of this talented food maestro….remember to elevate vegetables to the main course – it is not a side dish – respect them and cook them with love.

Ok, I got a little carried away by my recollections of this exceptional outing, back to dish at hand…..
Today I have taken the often disregarded, humble purple cabbage and added it to make a greek salad the way my dear and wonderful Mediterranean friend Thea Maroela taught me. Thea is +- 79 years old now and lives in Cyprus. Thea always made this particular Greek salad with white cabbage and I used to often eat this salad at Thea’s house with fresh bread and a tumbler of white wine – which Thea always kept in a bottle under the sink for me as she herself did not drink. This dish is a “must make”. It’s fresh, inspiring and delicious.

Note to self: Add to bucketlist – Visit Thea in Cyprus again. Book table and eat again at any restaurant owned by Alain Passard.

Recipe
This recipe has no measurements in terms of ingredients…it is only dependent on the quantity of ingredients you have in your fridge.

a simple cabbage greek salad + alain passard = veggie perfection
 
Prep time
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Author:
Ingredients
  • Note
  • This recipe has no measurements in terms of ingredients…it is only dependent on the quantity of ingredients you have in your fridge.
  • Ingredients
  • Red cabbage – finely sliced
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Olives
  • Onion
  • Feta cheese
  • Dressing
  • Good Olive oil
  • White vinegar
  • Salt + black pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Pour generously with olive oil and then some vinegar, add the salt and pepper and mix well in a bowl before you dish it up.
  3. Serve with fresh bread.

 

 

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summer soiree + hangovers + the deconstructed bloody mary

summer soiree + hangovers + the deconstructed bloody mary

A hangover is the wrath of grapes. ~Author Unknown

deconstructed bloody mary, tapas

They say that a Bloody Mary cocktail can cure hangovers – I think we all need to know this before the silly season gets underway…. But does it work? Is it fact or mere fiction?  I decided to try this one out myself – so just last week with a very hectic social schedule filling my outlook calendar I decided it was a good time to plan a good hangover and test this myth or truth.  So I attended a social function where the wine was literally on tap…  (I booked  a driver to ensure that I made it home safely), went home and decided to finish off my little experiment by rounding the evening off with a few more whiskeys – just a couple of night caps you know.  I felt fabulous that evening – did a few dances for the hubby and went to bed.  The next morning not so fabulous … what on earth was I thinking?  I am no scientist…on cue though Rick woke me up with a Bloody Mary in bed! Thankfully it was Saturday morning, but whichever way you look at it … facing a cocktail concoction that that time of the morning can scare even a full-time professional drinker!   For some crazy reason, I had to finish what I started, so with eyes wide shut, I tilted the head and knocked-back the Bloody Mary thingy.   I lay about curiously waiting for this healing elixir to do its curative work.  An hour later, no change, I still felt 10 000 hammers in my head.  This Bloody Mary was clearly nursing somewhere else – or had taken the day off.  It was – and is in my opinion a myth.    I do know that  scientific experiments are verified by a series of tests, so to be fair I decided to take this test to the next level.

If the Bloody Mary did not do its work in a cocktail glass perhaps the sum of its ingredients would be a better tonic if they were deconstructed. I took a cherry tomato injected it with a few drops of green tobasco, then I took a short shot glass of vodka and placed it adjacent to a bowl of salt.

deconstructed Bloody Mary , tapas

The regimen is then to dip the tabasco infused tomato into the vodka and then douse it in the salt and pop it in your mouth.  I added a bean for some protein and then a celery stick for the more traditional version.  It is just so fab.

Did this cure my hangover? I reckon that you will have to go through quite a few kilos of   tomatoes before this deconstructed Bloody Mary will make some sort of dent on a decent hangover.

So my deconstructed Bloody Mary may not be the cure for hangovers but try it – it will definitely be the showstopper at your next summer soiree or cocktail party!

Roll on summer!

the deconstructed bloody mary
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Vodka
  • Maldon salt
  • Green tobasco
  • Butter beans or celery sticks cut into 2.5cm pieces (optional)
  • Injection needle
  • Tooth pics
Instructions
  1. Inject a few drops of green tobasco into each tomato.
  2. String a tomato and a butter bean onto a toothpick. Repeat (depending on how many you want to ingest).
  3. Pour some vodka into a bowl and salt into a separate bowl.
  4. Now dip the tabasco infused tomato into the vodka and then douse it in the salt and pop it in your mouth.

 

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poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

We’re fortunate enough to live in a real suburban neigbourhood – picket fences, children in the streets, we don’t ever lock our doors and then we had this most amazing relationship with our neighbours.  Poppy (fromGreece) and Giuseppe (from Malta) were our neighbours for the past 8 years and they have  really become like a  second set of parents.  Poppy and I have always shared an incredible  love for food while the men shared the same love for their gardens.   When  I woke up in the mornings I would hear Poppy working in her kitchen – cooking and baking away on one of her many Greek creations.  There is no-one  in my eyes that  can cook like Poppy – or better than Poppy for that matter.  She is someone who can  take the simplest of ingredients and transform them  into these most amazing dishes.

At times when I was sad or  lonely when hubby was away I used  to sit in her kitchen in my pajamas, having a cup of coffee and waiting for a fresh bread or croissant coming out of her oven – she nurtured my body and soul. In the evenings I will hear a holler from over the wall….Aaa-néééél – then I rushed to the wall and there Poppy would be with a sample (enough for  Rick and I and another two people) of what she cooked during the day.

One of the dishes that she sent over the wall on several occasions was roasted chicken with orzo. Poppy taught me how to make this dish – yes, I have I added my own twist to it – but it’s still my Poppy’s dish.

Poppy and Giuseppe have since moved and our life is not quite the same without them but they are not too far away and never out of my thoughts.

I love you and miss you, Poppy. I made this specially for you on Dinner Divas.

roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Chicken
  • 6 Chicken thighs
  • 1t Dry oreganum
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Tomato Mix
  • ½ Tin (205g) Rhodes Oreganum and Basil Tomato Mix
  • 1 Tin (410g) Rhodes Whole Peeled Tomatoes – chopped
  • 1t Rhodes Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cloves of garlic finely grated
  • 60ml Olive oil
  • 200g Cherry tomatoes
  • 125ml Dry white wine
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1t Ground black pepper
  • 1t Sugar
  • Pasta Rice
  • 300g Cooked pasta rice
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 250g Grated Halloumni cheese (if you don’t have Halloumni cheese you can replace this with hard grated feta cheese)
  • 1t Dry mint
  • 2T Fresh parsley – finely chopped
  • 2 T Fresh basil – finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 °C.
  2. Rub some olive oil onto the chicken pieces.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, sprinkle with the oreganum and then set aside.
  4. Add all the ingredients of the tomato mix into an oven roasting pan and stir well.
  5. Then place the chicken pieces on top of the tomato mix.
  6. Put in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  7. In the meanwhile cook your pasta rice.
  8. Drain the pasta rice with a sieve (not a colander as the rice drops through) and wash under hot water.
  9. Add the olive oil and mix.
  10. Then add the rest of the pasta rice ingredients and mix well.
  11. After 35 minutes take the chicken dish out of the oven.
  12. Remove the chicken pieces and set these aside for the moment.
  13. Also remove the whole baby tomatoes as we are going to use these for the salad later.
  14. Add the pasta rice to the tomato mixture – mix well then add the chicken and thereafter put the whole dish back in the oven for 10 minutes and bake.
  15. Take out of the oven and taste whether further seasoning if necessary.
  16. Serve hot in individual bowls with the pasta rice serving as a bed on which to rest the roasted chicken breasts.

 

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vegetable soup = slow warm hearty comfort

vegetable soup = slow warm hearty comfort

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort

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.

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort

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.

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort  - broccoli stems

 

vegetable soup = slow warm hearty comfort
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This recipe makes a pot of soup large enough to feed an army - you can just half or quarter the quantities as your mood takes you…
Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • A
  • 300g Grated large potatoes +- 2 large
  • 300g Grated large carrots +- 2 large
  • 220g Grated medium onions +- 2 medium
  • 250g Grated butternut squash +- 2 generously thick slices
  • 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
  • 70g Lettuce
  • 80g Cucumber - chopped
  • 300g Frozen peas
  • 50g Sundried tomatoes - chopped
  • 10g Fresh coriander - chopped
  • 25g Garlic - grated
  • 6 Cloves
  • 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)
  • B
  • 100g Dry pasta (I use spaghetti and normally break the spaghetti up into small pieces)
  • 100g Oats
  • 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
  • C
  • 1T Worcestershire sauce
  • 100g Pesto (any basil or rocket pesto)
  • 100g Parmesan cheese grated
  • 50g Butter
  • 1t Salt
  • 1t Black pepper
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Now add all the B ingredients and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  3. Then add all the C ingredients – stir well – and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. At the end please taste for seasoning – adding salt and pepper as per your individual taste or preference.
  5. To serve: Drizzle some olive oil over the soup, add some chopped parsley and some parmesan shavings.

 

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whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes = mediterranean feast

whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes = mediterranean feast

whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes=mediterranean  feast

Fish – I just love fresh fish. But… I am a “no fuss fish” person – I am not one for these complicated fish recipes…the simpler, the better. Just baked or grilled or with the some subtle flavourings of lemon and herbs or just cooked whole over the coals – that’s my preference.

My most memorable meal consisted of fish. I recall so vividly the time I spent in Istanbul, Turkey…I had the most dreadful case of bronchitis and was feeling significantly sorry for myself. I was ambling along the Bosphorus River when I smelt this amazing aroma…. A local fishing boat was tied up alongside the pier and the fishermen were selling freshly grilled fish on ciabatta bread, with just a squeeze of lemon juice. A bite … and at that moment I felt so much better and I knew someone loved me.

whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes=mediterranean  feast

I buy my fish from Julie Carter from Ocean Jewels in Cape Town (http://www.oceanjewels.co.za/ 083 582 0829) – if you don’t know Julie – go to her website and subscribe to her mailer. She is such a wonderful woman with the most beautiful smile and is always there to deliver ONLY the freshest of fresh fish to you! You simply cannot get better than that.

This past Saturday, down at the market, Julie recommended that I sample two little Pangas (Pterogymnus Laniarius its Latin name and it’s also on the sustainable green list). I decided to combine the fish with real Mediterranean flavours of olives, origanum, tomatoes and lemon. This dish reminds me of Turkey – and all the wondrous colours, sights, sounds and smell of the Mediterranean. It makes me feel loved and happy.
Enjoy its delicious!

whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes=mediterranean  feast

whole baked fish + origanum + lemon + olives + tomatoes = mediterranean feast
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 Small whole fish - I used Panga +-500g each
  • 2 Cloves garlic sliced
  • Olive oil for drizzling over the fish and at the bottom of the baking tin
  • ¼ t Dried origanum
  • 1 Lemon, sliced
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 Bunch of spring onions
  • Olive oil
  • 250g Cherry tomatoes
  • 100g Calamata olives
  • White pepper for seasoning (I love white pepper with fish)
  • Salt for seasoning
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C.
  2. Pat fish dry with kitchen towel.
  3. Make small incisions into fish, placing the sliced garlic in the slits + fill the tummy of the fishes with olives, spring onions and sliced lemon.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and season with origanum, salt and pepper.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes with foil on or closed.
  7. Turn the oven onto grill, remove the foil + squeeze the lemon juice over and grill for 5-10 minutes.
  8. Serve with a fresh salad and bread.
  9. Enjoy its delicious.

 

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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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tomato trivia … 10 fun facts to feast on …

tomato trivia … 10 fun facts to feast on …

image source: gardentherapy.ca

The Plump Thing With a Navel
The name comes from the Aztec “xitomatl”, which means “plump thing with a navel.”

The Love Apple
In the French language, tomato is called “pomme d’amour”, or “love apple,” because the heart-shaped fruit was originally thought of as an aphrodisiac.

The Wolf Peach
The scientific term for the common tomato is lycopersicon lycopersicum, which mean “wolf peach.”

The Poison
Tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous, and it was only in the 16th century when the popularity of tomatoes rose. In 1820, the state of New York even passed a law banning their consumption! The truth was finally revealed on September 26, 1830, when Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson consumed an entire bag of tomatoes before a shocked crowd on the steps of the courthouse in Salem, New York. And … he never died!

The “Latest Craze”
In 1842 farm journals were declaring the tomato as the “latest craze.”

The Space Tomatoes
In 1984 12.5 million tomato seeds (Rutgers California Supreme), were sent into space where they circled the earth for 6 years aboard a satellite, until the crew of the Columbia retrieved them. Back on earth they were distributed to more than 3 million school children, 64,000 teachers and others around the world. When planted, no significant differences were found between them and their terrestrial counterparts. Although there were no worrisome mutations, there were however, casualties. Dear Nasa, wrote one participant, My name is Matt. I am in grade 2. I really enjoy growing my plants. Here are my results. My earth seed did not grow. My space seed grew but it fell off my desk. It died.

The Colour
Tomatoes can be yellow, pink, purple, black and even white, as well as red.

The Health
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant, and have been found to be good for the heart and effective against prostate, lung and stomach cancer.

The Cooking vs Fresh
An ounce of cooked tomato contains double the amount of vitamin C, as well as almost 20 percent higher beta-carotene, as compared to the equivalent sample of fresh tomato. The jelly-like substance around the seeds contains the highest concentration of vitamin C.

The Universal Tomato Language
Afrikaans: tamatie
Danish: tomat
Dutch: tomaat
English: tomato
French: tomate
German: tomate
Indonesian: tomat
Icelandic: tómatar
Portugese: tomate
Romanian: de tomate
Spanish: tomate
Swedish: tomat

Sources: didyouknow.org; telegraph.co.uk; strange-facts.info; ehow.com; google translate

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