Wednesday, November 20, 2013
My first pomegranate memory was my mum telling me how her mother would by her brother and her pomegranates as a treat after a visit to the grocery store when they where little, but would make them eat the seeds using a pin; a lesson in patience and a very clever way to keep the children entertained for hours. She was a clever las.
As far as I am concerned, Pomegranates haven't been a prominent feature in South African cuisine until recent years. They are now more readily available and no longer cost the same as the rest of your fruit-shop combined - I, in fact, found the pomegranate I used for this recipe in Checkers of all places.
They really are quite an original ingredient and one that I plan to use more often; sweet, tart and crunchy they are the perfect addition to both savory and sweet dishes; cutting through rich lamb or as a quirky addition to creme brûlée. Whichever way you choose to use them, they'll bring that little something extra to your dish.
Monday, November 18, 2013
I really wish I could say that this magical little flavour-combination-inspiration was my own, but alas, it is not. I was lucky enough to stumble upon this salad idea whilst interviewing the lovely ladies from LoveFood, and this is my take on their wonderful amazingness.
The zest and juice really compliment the sweet potato and enhance it's earthy flavour and the toasted almonds give a beautiful crunch. The addition of the coriander was my stamp on the salad as I find it cuts through the sweetness and makes it a little more robust - fragrant, crunchy, zesty, delicious. Enough with the adjectives, just try it already.
P.S. If you haven't been to LoveFood...you need to rectify that.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
I’ve called this the ultimate steak sandwich but it’s more of a steak ‘bruschetta’: an Italian open sandwich, but regardless of the name you choose, it’s delicious.
I’ve teamed up with Mediterranean Delicacies to come up with some new and exciting recipes using their products – something that I am going to relish in doing as I do consider their products of the highest quality, their hummus changes my life a little every time I taste it.
But enough of that, without further ado:
The Ultimate steak sandwich with Mediterranean Delicacies basil mayonnaise
Ingredients: (makes 4)
2 200g rump steaks
salt and pepper
1 tub Mediterranean Delicacies Basil Mayonnaise (190g)
I loaf ciabatta
1 clove garlic (cut in half)
extra virgin olive oil
Pea shoots/rocket to finish
Making the perfect steak can be very easy when you know how and just as difficult if you don’t. To get a thick cut steak perfectly cooked to medium rare:
Place a non-stick pan on highest heat on your stove.
Season the steaks with salt and pepper.
Once the pan is smoking hot, place the rump into the pan and fry, with no oil (the juices from the steak will stop it from sticking and adding oil will simply make the pan smoke), for 2 ½ minutes on each side, turning only once. If you want the steak ‘medium’ then 3 ½ minutes on each side. Set aside on a board to rest for 5 minutes before slicing (this will ensure that the steak stays moist, if you slice it too soon after cooking most of the juices will run from the steak).
Toast 4 slices of ciabatta under the grill, then rub the cloves of garlic gently over the bread to impart a subtle garlic flavour.
Share the majority of the Medi Deli Basil Mayo between the four slices, retaining a little to drizzle over at the end.
Slice the meat into strips and lay over the mayonnaise.
Season with salt and pepper and spoon over a little more of the basil mayo. Dress with pea shoots or a little rocket and drizzle with olive oil.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Anchovies, Marmite, Adam Sandler...all things you either really love or really hate, I personally loath Marmite and weird-voice man, but adore Anchovies. I forgot about them for a little while, but as I was fighting my way through the aisles of my local supermarket, stuck between a granny with dementia and a mother screaming at her screaming child, I noticed a lovely jar of anchovies staring straight at me...and just like that the craving hit. Caesar salad for lunch it had to be...I wasn't in the mood to make croutons so I opted for a wrap version instead. It's scrumptious and made the awful screaming-mum-and-child-granny-with-zimmer-frame-shopping-experience worthwhile.
Caesar salad wraps
Ingredients: (makes 2)
For the dressing:
4 tbsp mayo
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 anchovy fillets
good grinding of pepper
2 cooked chicken breasts (I like to season mine with some salt and cayenne pepper, not traditional, but it adds a good kick)
baby cos lettuce leaves
Place the dressing ingredients into a bowl and combine using a hand held mixer to blend the anchovy fillets into the dressing.
Warm the wraps in a frying pan.
Slice the chicken fillets into strips, and wash and dry the lettuce if needed.
Using a spoon, smear a little dressing over each wrap and top with lettuce and strips of chicken.
Finish with shavings of parmesan and a good drizzle of dressing.
Personally, I have mine with one or two more anchovy fillets and a little more black pepper but it's up to you...
Friday, September 27, 2013
Strawberries are in season, the sun is shining, it's out with the winter-warmer puds and in with fruity freshness. I love pavlovas and I love meringue but I wanted to try something new and fun. 'Cookie cakes' are a massive, new trend in the patisserie world and I came up with a really quick and easy way to make a cookie cake using Sasko Quick Treats Cookie mix, I'm calling it a 'Strawberry shortcake cookie cake'.
What's great about it is that, unlike a pavlova, you can make it a few hours before eating and even the day before if you like - just store it in an airtight container in the fridge and, if making the day before, brush the strawberries with some melted jam so they don't dry out.
Strawberry shortcake cookie cake
1 500g Packet Sasko Quick Treats Cookie Mix
140g butter (at room temp)
1 extra large egg (at room temp)
1 vanilla pod
2 tbsp icing sugar
200g cream cheese (at room temp)
Preheat oven to 180*C.
Line and grease 2 baking trays.
Pour the Sasko Cookie mix into a mixing bowl and rub the butter/margarine into the mix by hand.
Whisk the egg before adding to the cookie mix and combine with a wooden spoon – making use of your hands to ensure that all ingredients are combined to form a dough.
Divide the dough into 2 equally-sized balls.
Using your hands, shape the balls into large biscuit disks that are 15cm wide, with a thickness of 1cm. Carefully transfer them to the separate baking trays, making sure there is space on all sides of the cookie for it to expand as it bakes, and bake for 14-16 minutes until golden brown around the edges.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form.
Scrape the seeds from a vanilla pod and add to the cream with the sugar and cream cheese. Beat until well combined and stiff peaks form.
Wash, pat dry and slice strawberries.
Place the first biscuit disk on a cake platter/plate. Spread with half the cream topping and top with half of the cut strawberries.
Gently place the second biscuit disk on top of the strawberries and finish with the remaining cream topping and strawberries.
Dust with icing sugar if desired.
Tip 1: If the biscuit disks stick to your work surface as you are shaping them, use a sharp knife to slice under them and lift them off.
Tip 2: Be careful not to overwork your dough, overworked dough will result in tough cookies, this is why we suggest rubbing the butter into the cookie mix with your hands rather than using a food processor.
Tip 3: It generally takes 10-15 minutes to preheat your oven, never put any baked good into an oven that has not reached the correct temperature, as it will affect the end result.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
And the healthiness continues with another tasty salad, again, sans the lettuce:
2 of my dearest friends rate salads on the ratio between lettuce and the other ingredients - the ratio needing to be heavier on the 'other ingredients' side. For the most part I have to agree, lettuce can be very overrated and is most often used as a filler instead of actually adding anything of substance to the dish - having said that a classic Ceasar salad that uses tasty cos perfectly paired with creamy dressing and croutons is another story altogether. My point is: we should see lettuce as we do any other ingredient in a salad, and, if you don't think it will mix well with the others, well then leave it out.
So with that, why not have a go at my:
Chickpea, courgette and mint salad
olive oil and salt and pepper
hand full fresh mint
1 tbsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp olive oil
Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan until just beginning to brown, then remove and set aside.
Using a peeler, slice the courgettes into ribbons, then fry in batches with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until browned and softened. Set aside to cool.
Once the courgettes have cooled, place them in a bowl with the chickpeas and mint.
To make the dressing, simply whisk the dressing ingredients together until emulsified.
Pour over chickpeas and courgettes and stir well to combine.
Lastly, crumble in feta and stir through once more.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
A little bit of a cheeky something that I am sure the traditionalists would frown upon, but it was delicious so I don't care. I adore beetroot and it works marvelously as the basis for this tarte, add to that some gorgeously creamy mascarpone and peppery microherbs and I say you have the perfect lunch!
Beetroot tarte tatin
1kg beetroot (peeled, washed and halved)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
a few sprigs of thyme
1 roll puff pastry
200g mascarpone/cream cheese
microherbs and rocket to serve
(You will need to use a 23cm cake tin that can be placed on a hot stove or an oven-proof frying pan)
Either boil or steam the beetroot until just tender, then drain and set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat your oven to 200*C.
Roll the pastry out and cut it into a circle just a little larger than the cake tin/frying pan you are using.
Place the cake tin/frying pan on high heat, pour in the sugar and swirl the pan every now and then as the sugar begins to dissolve, turn the heat down slightly and continue swirling until the sugar caramelises and turns a golden brown. Take the caramel slightly further to a 'caramel' colour (haha) and then (it is best to put on an oven glove for this part) carefully pour in the balsamic and add the butter, it might splash a little so do be careful, and continue to swirl until it has all come together.
Remove from the heat and carefully place the beetroot halves into the pan, flat-side-up, in a circular pattern.
Top with thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper and then carefully lay the pastry over the beets, tucking in the edges like a blanket.
Poke the top of the pastry and bake for 30 minutes.
Allow the tart to cool in the pan/tin for 5 minutes, then, being very careful once again, and wearing oven gloves again, slide a knife around the edges to loosen the tart, place a large plate over the pan/tin and, holding the two very tightly together, flip them over so that the tart falls into the plate.
Allow to cool before topping with spoonfuls of mascarpone and scatterings of microherbs.
If you like, drizzle with a little olive oil before serving.
Monday, August 19, 2013
These cookies are a happy-maker at the best and the worst of times; with just a hint of cayenne and cinnamon cutting the chocolaty gooeyness they are the perfect, between, during, after, just before anytime treat.
Spiced chocolate chip cookies
Ingredients: (makes 20)
125g butter (at room temp)
1/2 tsp Robertsons cinnamon
1/2 tsp Robertsons cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
80g chopped white chocolate
80g chopped dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Grease and line 2 large baking trays.
Beat the butter and sugar with an electric beater until light and thick, add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
Sift the dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients as well as the chocolate and fold together until you have a thick cookie dough.
Spoon dollops of the cookie dough into your palms, roll into balls about the size of large marbles and place on the baking sheets at least 5 centimetres apart as they will spread as they bake. Bake in the oven for 8-9 minutes - they should still be slightly gooey in the middle when you take them out of the oven. Allow to cool slightly before taking off the baking paper transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
This recipe is dedicated to Gianni - CEO/owner Mastrantonio - what a man. I interviewed him for an article the other day and was mesmerized by his ability to talk about food: his muse. He uses words like olive oil to coat and dress his imagery, I could have listened to him all day.
He is a complex man with a simple food ideology: good food comes from good ingredients, simple is always best. I left with a warm heart having met someone who not only loves his job, but lives his job...I also left with a massive can of artichokes - thank you Gianni.
Simple Artichoke, lemon and thyme pasta
Ingredients: (Serves 2)
1 really stale bread roll (roughly cut into cubes)
zest of 1 lemon
6 sprigs thyme
3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Tagliatelli (enough for 2)
½ cup cream
juice of 1 lemon
6 tinned artichokes (quartered)
Fry cubed bread, zest, garlic and thyme in olive oil with a dash of salt and pepper until bread is crisp. Set aside.
Boil pasta until al dente, drain, but keep in the hot pot.
Pour in cream and squeeze over lemon and toss to coat.
Stir through artichokes and, just before serving, stir through 2/3 of the crisp bread and zest.
Spoon onto plates and finish with remaining bread and zest.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I think this picture says my 1000 words; it's everything about this little number that I want you to know.
Pear and Frangipane tart with Amarula custard
I don't think people use pears enough in desserts, but they are a firm favourite of mine. The pear and frangipane tart is by no means an original idea - this is just my cheeky take on the original idea. It is important to get large, juicy ripe pairs and to have a delicate hand when making this recipe, all the flavours are delicate and the poaching, pastry making and putting together require some love and time. But then again I think all good food needs that.
Ingredients: (serves 6-8)
1 tbsp castor sugar
90 ml cold water
Pears (to poach):
4 large pears (pealed, cored and halved)
3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla pod (deseeded)
75g butter (at room temp)
100g castor sugar
2 eggs (at room temp)
100g PnP blanched almonds (blended until powder)
Chocolate leaves: (if you want to)
80g dark chocolate
non-poisonous leave to paint i.e. lemon leaves
3 tbsp cornflour
2 cups milk
1 cup amarula
For the pastry:
Pop the butter, flour and sugar into a food processor and blitz until the texture resembles bread crumbs. Add the water whilst blitzing again until the pastry comes together and forms and a rough ball. Dust a working surface with flour, turn out, bring together and roll into a ball. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for 20 min. Meanwhile:
Preheat the oven to 180*C
For the pears:
Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod
Bring the sugar, water and vanilla seeds up to the boil and pop the pears into a sauce pan, cover and simmer for 12 minutes until the pears are just tender. Remove from the poaching liquid and set aside to cool.
(At this point, if you want to go the extra mile, you can reduce the vanilla and sugar water until it becomes a thick syrup to glaze the pears.)
Roll the pastry to fit into a loose bottomed tart tin in the shape of your choice (I used a rectangular one). Grease the tin and press the pastry into the tin so that the edges overlap slightly. Prick the pastry and blind bake for 1o minutes, then remove covering and bake for a further 8 minutes until pastry is beginning to lightly brown on the edges. Set aside to cool.
For the frangipane filling:
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time until well combined. Add the blitzed almonds and flour and fold through. spread evenly through the bottom of the tart case and top with the cooled pears. Baste pears with a little sugar syrup. Baked for 25-30 minutes, until set and starting to brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
To make the chocolate leaves:
Simply melt the chocolate and paint a thick layer of chocolate on the back of each leaf. Allow to set on a plate, leaf-side down. Once set, carefully peal off the chocolate and set aside until needed
To make the custard:
Mix together the milk, flour and eggs in a heavy-based saucepan and whisk over medium heat until thickened (enough to coat the back of a spoon), add the Amarula and continue whisking until thickened.
Serve generous slices of the tart with spoonfuls of custard and decorate with chocolate leaves.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
When I think 'avocado' I think guacamole, salsa, tortillas, spicy goodness. I don't think cake. This time I thought cake, and it makes sense; you often describe avocados at 'buttery' in texture - in fact they make the perfect substitute, only they are much better for you. Not that I am knocking butter, I LOVE butter, but you know what I mean. The avocado gives this cake a little bit of the x-factor, the flavour is delicate and creamy and when complimented with the thwack of lime and cream cheese icing, it's a recipe that will wow any discerning-dorris or grumpy-gertrude.
Avocado cake with lime and cream cheese icing
1 cup sugar
1 cup ripe avocado (about 1 ½ avocados)
2 cups self raising flour
Juice and zest of 1 lime
3 ½ cups icing sugar (depending on size of lime you might need a little more/less)
1 tbsp cream cheese
100g pistachios to garnish
Preheat oven to 180*C and grease a loaf tin.
Beat eggs and sugar together with an electric beater until light, fluffy and doubled in volume. (This is very important and may take up to 6 minutes)
Mash/blend/beat avocado well so that it is smooth and silky.
Sift the flour and add together with the avocado. Fold through gently, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure none of the avocado goodness is left behind.
Pour into the loaf tin, even out the surface and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. (Insert a skewer/knife into the centre and if it comes out clean, then the cake is done.)
Allow to cool completely before taking out of the loaf tin and icing.
For the icing:
Mix together the icing sugar, zest, juice and cream cheese until you have a firm but smooth icing.
Use a knife to smear onto the top of the cake and sprinkle over pistachios.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Sometimes when you come up with a recipe as a foodie and it works and is oh-so delicious, the joy it brings is insurmountable. Avocado and bacon are two ingredients that make just about anything better, put the two together and you're virtually guaranteed a generous slice of joy.
These breakfast morsels are unbelievably good and will satisfy even the most enormous of hungers or hangovers. The avo doesn't brown or soften in the cooking process and the egg is kept perfectly soft with a slightly runny yolk for ultimate breakfast satisfaction! They are even great cold!
Eggs in bacon-wrapped avocado nests
Ingredients: (serves 2)
6 slices of streaky bacon
1 avocado (ripe but firm)
2 small eggs
salt and pepper
cherry tomatoes (if desired)
toasts to serve
Preheat the oven to 200*C.
Lay the bacon out on a baking tray in 2 rows of 3, overlapping each slice to make 2 rectangles.
Halve the avocado, remove the pip and carefully peel each half.
Hollow out a little of the middle if the pip hole seems too small to fit a small egg, also slice a small segment off the bottom of the avocado halves so that they sit without wobbling.
Place each in the middle of a rectangle of bacon.
Crack an egg into the pip whole of each.
Season with salt and pepper.
Wrap the avocado halves in the overhanging bacon.
Scatter cherry tomatoes into the tray, drizzle over a little olive oil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Serve on toasts.
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Beef. Ale. Pie. Three very good words and when you put them together you can’t help but create magic. These are just that. Enough said.
Beef and ale pot pies
Ingredients: (makes 6 small or 1 large)
3 tbsp olive oil
500g beef shin meat (net weight after bones removed and sinew and fat trimmed)
Salt and pepper
1 sweet potato
3 stalks celery
750ml ale/milk stout
1 handful fresh rosemary
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 beef stock pot/cube/liquid sachet
50g tomato paste
2 tbsp flour
120ml cold water
1 egg, whisked with a little water for egg wash
Cut the meat and the veg into 2cm cubes.
Heat 3 tbsp olive oil on high heat, in a large, non-stick pan.
Add the beef shin, season generously with salt and pepper and fry until browned on all sides, about 5-7min.
Remove from the pan and place into a large saucepan, leaving the juices in the frying pan to fry the veg.
Now put the chopped carrots, potato, celery and onion into the pan, season with salt and pepper and fry for 5-7min until just starting to caramelize.
Add to the beef shin.
Pour a little of the ale/stout into the frying pan and ‘deglaze’: basically, you stir with a spoon to loosen any leftover caramelized beef for added flavour and pour into the saucepan with the meat and vegetables.
Add all the remaining ingredients except flour, stir, cover and put on low heat to simmer gently for 1 hour.
Mix the flour together with a little water and a little of the ale gravy and stir through the pie mixture. Cover and simmer for a further hour. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To make the pastry; pop the butter, flour and salt into a food processor and blitz until it resembles bread crumbs. Add the cold water and blitz until the pastry comes together to form a ball. Cover with clingfilm and pop into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180*C.
Dust a surface with flour and roll the pastry out to a thickness of about ½ centimetre.
Spoon the pie filling into 6 large ramekins/pie dishes or 1 large pie dish.
Cut circles out of the pastry to fit the pie dishes, spread the edges with a little water to help the pastry stick to the dish/dishes and press over the sides to form a tight seal. Poke a few wholes in the centre of the pies/pie.
Decorate with remaining pastry, brush with egg wash and bake for 45 minutes until golden and gorgeous.
Serve with a simple salad.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
A winter salad. What does that even mean?...Well in my little mind it means a salad that you can actually eat and enjoy on a cold day, because you see, the majority of it is warm. Light flavours, great textures, very simple and you can adapt it to your liking. If endamame beans are difficult to find (I get mine from the local Chinese supermarket), you can use mange tout, sugar snaps or cooked broad beans instead.
If you want to use this as a side dish it goes perfectly with just about everything - no I am being serious, so serve it with anything and everything and let me know...
Warm potato, leek and endamame salad
Ingredients: (serves 4)
3 tbsp olive oil
250g par boiled new potatoes (halved)
50g baby leeks (sliced)
1 cup endamame beans
For the dressing, mix together:
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
80g mixed leaves, I would recommend a combination of baby spinach, watercress and rocket
Place a non stick pan on high heat and pour in olive oil.
Once hot, place potatoes into oil, cut-side down and fry until beginning to crisp, about 4 minutes, turning once.
Add leeks and a pinch of salt and fry for a further 6-8 minutes turning constantly, until leeks are soft and caramelised on all sides.
Add endamame and dressing and fry for a further 3 minutes, covered.
Spread the salad leaves onto a serving dish and spoon over warm potatoes, leeks and endamame beans as well as any dressing in the bottom of the pan.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
This is a fun little post about awesome wines to buy for around R50, yes it's possible :) All available at Pick 'n Pay. I won't bore you with my personal nose impressions of these 7 little treats mostly because it would all be rubbish, but know that they are good, as well as cheap - what's not to love??
First up "Buitenverwachting Buiten Blanc" A mouthful to say but also delicious by the mouthful. Crisp, grassy the usual trollop related to these two words - but also a great go-to white wine. You'll get this for R50
Leeuwenkuil Chenin Blanc. Light and fruity, perfect for daytime, sunshine drinking. R30 it's a bargain!
The Wolftrap. Never mind blowing but if you are looking for a light red it wont disappoint and at R35 it's hard to.
Roodeburg red blend. The most expensive on this list but smooth and tasty and at R60 it's in the same league as Kanonkop Kadette, which is just up there at around R70.
Porcupine Ridge Syrah. Same wine farm as The Wolftrap, and once again a crowd pleaser - if you like heavier red wines then this one's for you. R50
Alto Rouge. When in doubt. It's a great wine, a blend of 5 grapes including cab franc and cab sav, it's fruity but isn't disappointingly light - whatever that means (Writing about wines always makes me laugh because you really can go tangents of absolutely nothing) R54.
Krone Chardonnay Pinot Noir. Boschendal were the first to copy Haute Cabriere and now Krone have done it too, and brilliantly, you can't tell the difference but it's half the price R54. Done.
Monday, June 24, 2013
I was greeted with a lovely treat yesterday; home grown granadillas, fresh from someone's vegetable garden. I decided to bake. I decided to invent an easy cake, I made the easy cake using cup measurements - my favourite, and it was delicious. Light and full of granadilla, citrus burst. That's all I have to say about that really. Try it, let me know how it turns out x
Granadilla and yoghurt sponge cake
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup granadilla pulp (approx 3-4 granadillas)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup low fat yoghurt
2 cups self raising flour
For the icing:
4 cups icing sugar
1 cup granadilla pulp
Preheat oven to 160*C.
Grease a cake tin, I used a bundt cake tin but you can use a loaf or round tin, otherwise line 2 cup cake trays with paper casings.
Beat the sugar and eggs until light, fluffy and doubled in volume.
Add the remaining ingredients and fold through.
Pour into the cake tin or fill the cup cake casings 3/4 of the way and bake for 15 min for cup cakes and 50-60 min for a large cake - to test doneness, insert a skewer into the centre and if it comes out clean then it's done.
Let the cake cook completely before sliding a knife around the edges and easing it out.
Let either cake or cup cakes cool completely before icing.
To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl, add the pulp and mix until you have a smooth and thick granadilla icing. Spoon over cake/cupcakes and devour.