Archive for March, 2012
Lemon and dill is a lovely combination. It goes great with fish but works just as well for chicken.
I took chicken pieces and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I then cut some lemons into quarters and placed them in a baking dish with the chicken and baked in a hot oven (about 200°C) until the chicken was cooked. The whole lemon softens and bakes and releases its juices into the chicken.
The dill sauce is made by making a white sauce and adding chopped dill. Simply pour it over the cooked chicken before serving.
With this dish I made individual potato bakes - the quick, easy way. I sliced potatoes and arranged them into individual dishes.I seasoned and added a dot of butter to each. The dishes get covered with clingfilm and popped into the microwave until cooked. They can then be turned out onto each plate, or you can just leave them in the dishes.
Wraps are great for supper. You can really let your imagination run wild and basically put anything in them.
I have also found that they are a great way to sneakily add more veggies into the family's diet. If you asked my kids to eat spinach it would be a resounding "Yeuch, no!". However when it is stealthily wrapped into one of their favourite supper meals they don't object.
For this recipe I have used pork,but you can use chicken, beef or go vegetarian and just use the chickpeas.
- 500gm pork stir fry
- 1 chopped onion
- 1/2 tin tomatoes
- 2 tsp tomato puree
- 1 tin chick peas
- 2 cups chopped raw spinach
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 4 wraps or Lebanese flat breads
- Grated cheese
- Fry the onions and add the pork to brown.
- Add tomatoes, tomato puree, spices and stock cube and simmer until the meat is tender.
- Add the chick peas and warm through.
- Stir through the spinach until just wilted.
- Divide meat mixture into four and roll into wraps.
- Place wraps on a baking tray and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Grill until the cheese has melted and then serve.
Certain things are basics in my cupboard. They are almost like a security blanket to me. If I know I don't have something or my supplies are down to the last one, I feel panic setting in. I don't think I would be able to even start supper if I knew I didn't have these basic ingredients.
My first, and most important ingredient is onions. My friend Esme insists that she can't even think of cooking if she can't start with chopping and frying onions - I feel much the same!
Next on the must-haves is garlic. I put garlic in a lot of my food, simply because I love the taste and I think it's good for you. Don't be scared to try it - most people don't even notice a garlic breath - especially not if you're sharing your food with them!
Tinned tomatoes and tomato puree are essential to a lot of dishes. The tomato puree adds a depth and richness to a dish that a tin of tomatoes doesn't do on it's own. I will quite often add both to a dish.
Chicken and beef stock cubes are the quick, convenient backbone to cooking. They add a better flavour than salt, making a dish more interesting. If you prefer a less meaty flavour try vegetable stock cubes, they work just as well.
My cupboard would be considered completely empty if there weren't at least three packs of different pastas in it. I always have spaghetti and then at least two other shapes. My children love pasta. In fact, my husband went away on business and we had a different pasta on each of the four nights he was away. To me,it's a great way to make a quick meal with many variations.
Tinned beans are great. Obviously baked beans are a must, as beans on toast can be classed as a definite emergency meal. I like to keep a variety of tinned beans such as red kidney, borlotti, butter beans and chick peas.They add substance and colour to lots of meals, they are a great source of fibre and heart-healthy too.
Of course, there's lots of other things, such as soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, whole grain mustard, olives, olive oil and balsamic vinegar that can make a difference to the dishes you are cooking. A well stocked cupboard with a variety of ingredients means that you will be able to put a differnt twist on a meal by just changing a few things
This was a resounding success!
I think the secret to making supper every night is to use basic old favorites in a new way.
To make the savoury mince filling for the parcels I fried a chopped onion in a little oil and then added the mince to brown.I added a stock cube and a diced potato and let it simmer until the meat was well flavoured and the potatoes were cooked. Leave the mixture to cool a bit on the stove.
Now, remember, I never once professed to being a cook, chef or baker so this is definitely not cheating, it is how the average person does things.... Defrost a roll of shop-bought puff pastry. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Divide the pastry into 8 squares. Place a spoon of savoury mince into each square and carefully pinch the edges together to form a neat parcel. Place on a baking tray and bake until pastry is golden brown.
I had a spoon of mince left.I added water to it and gravy powder to form a gravy. I then added a little cream, let it thicken on the stove top and poured over the parcels. Serve with a fresh green salad and you have a perfect Sunday night supper.
Ooh, very posh name!
Actually, it's a disguise. My eldest son doesn't eat fish or seafood - he can now use the excuse that he's saving the ocean, but he really doesn't like it! Hence the name - no one can figure out what it is, and won't know until later that it is seafood.
Although I give my son too little credit.There is no way I would get away with serving him seafood,no matter what it was called, he can smell it a mile away!
Fortunately he was not there on Friday night, so it was a perfect opportunity to treat the rest of us to an easy, tasty seafood pasta.
I used the small pasta shells called conchigliette. I flied a packet of mixed frozen seafood - a marinara mix, in a little butter. I stirred in some tomato puree to add a delicate colour to the sauce and added some crushed, fresh garlic and dried italian herbs. I then added a splash of white wine ( and poured myself a glass) and some cream. The sauce was left to reduce a little and once the pasta was cooked and drained I stirred the sauce through. In order to add a bit of crunchy texture I broke up a bread roll into bite size chunks, drizzled them in olive oil and grilled till crispy to be sprinkled over each serving.
This is a very easy recipe that can be varied using all sorts of seafood such as shrimps, crabsticks or even tinned tuna. It tastes lovely and because of the creamy base can seem quite luxurious although it is very economical to make.
Hope you enjoy your Pasta del Mer - a delicious taste from the sea.
Melk tert is a traditional South African dessert. It can either be baked or a type of custard can be made on the stove. I prefer the custard on stove version and this recipe is based on that.
Dessert is a bit of an occasion in our house as it is not something I do very often and I do not have a successful track record. Luckily, because it doesn't happen often my family they tend to eat whatever experiment I dream up.
However, this is a resounding success, very easy to make and a whole new look on an old favourite.
- 1 Packet Tennis biscuits
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 eggs
- Ground cinnamon
- Bring milk and vanilla essence to the boil in a saucepan on the stove.
- Mix sugar, flour and eggs together.
- Add to the milk stirring continuously until thickened.
- Crumble 2 biscuits in the bottom of 4 wine glasses.
- Divide half the mixture over the biscuits.
- Crumble another 2 biscuits over the mixture.
- Scrape the remaining mixture over the biscuits.
- Sprinkle cinnamon over thetop, refrogerate and serve
The staples on our braai-table are salad, meat and some type of carbohydrate - be it potatoes, bread or anything else I can think of. I love garlic bread but I find it quite time consuming to make the butter, cut and fill the loaf, wrap bake etc. This would take time away from my "wine and relax" ritual.
This is a savoury version of a bread and butter pudding that is quick and easy to prepare and is a guaranteed success.
Cut up a long french bread into fairly thick slices. Butter each piece. Place in layers in an oven dish. Sprinkle some fresh, crushed garlic, salt and pepper over. Mix 1 ½ cups of milk with two eggs and pour over the bread. Grate some cheese over the top and bake in a hot oven (about 200°C) for about 15 minutes or until firm. Remove from the oven and enjoy it piping hot!
In our house we love to braai. It is always an occasion. The boys play cricket while the fire is burning and I sit with a glass of wine and watch the sun go down. We try to braai every Thursday night. This gives a weekend feel to the last night of a long week.
Because we braai so often I try to make a variety of salads to accompany the meat. This is a brand new experiment that I tried out on my In-laws yesterday and they were quite impressed. It definitely puts a new twist on coleslaw.
I used about three cups of shredded coleslaw. I took a wok and lined the bottom with tin foil. I then broke open two tea bags and poured the tea leaves onto the tinfoil. By placing the wok over a high heat it causes the tealeaves to heat up and start smoking. I then placed the cabbage in a colander into the wok and covered it completely for a minute or two. The idea is to let the smoke move through the cabbage, but not to cook the cabbage. When the cabbage is sufficiently smoky you can remove it and add mayonnaise to taste. I added some mixed seeds for extra nuttiness. The smokiness is very subtle and leaves a lovely after- taste.
It seems like a lot of effort to go through for coleslaw but it was really quick and the end result was well worth it.
The whole point of this is to get supper ready easily and quickly but to give the impression that a lot of thought has been put in to fortifying your nearest and dearest.
I am not good with meatballs. I don't get the seasoning right and they end up being bland and boring. The thing is - my family loves meatballs. The secret... cheat!
I buy ready-made hamburger patties from my butcher. I divide each patty into four and roll into balls. Viola - meatballs!! They can be grilled of fried or even added into a fresh tomato sauce.They really are the perfect solution to meatballs.
For my meatball sub you need the meatballs (make your own or take my short-cut). You also need a french loaf. I went to the supermarket and popped one under my arm and carried on shopping for other essentials. When I got to the till I paid for everything and then the lady said: " Ma'am, would you like to pay for the bread under your arm?". So,pay for the bread, then bring it home.
You need a quick tomato sauce, made from frying an onion and then adding a tin of chopped tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Cut the french loaf down the middle, add cooked meatballs, tomato sauce and cover with grated cheese. Grill until the cheese is melted and cut into manageable pieces. I served it with some chopped lettuce, tomato and avocado mixed with mayo.
I watched a program a while ago where a hardened, rugged cowboy was making a stew over an open fire in between herding cattle or whatever it is these guys do. He finished his coffee and took the rest of the pot off of the fire and chucked it into his cowboy stew for further cooking!
I love to experiment so I decided to adapt the whole coffee thing and see what happens. The coffee gives the meat a really nice colour and adds a deep, smoky flavour to the dish. It also makes your kitchen smell divine.
I have used tenderised steak in this recipe as I didn't have much time (on my way to a school governing body meeting) and wasn't able to let the meat cook for hours. As you know, most evenings my time limit is an hour at the most!
I was really pleased with the result and I think that in the winter I am going to add coffee to a nice, slow cooking stew and see what happens.
- 500gm tenderised steak, cubed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 cup strong filter coffee ( have one yourself - I did!)
- 1 beef stock cube
- A dash of cream
- Fry onion and green pepper in a little oil
- Toss meat in flour and add to onions etc.
- Brown the meat
- Add the coffee and the stock cube and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Turn off and allow to rest on the stove for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the cream and serve with the sweet potato mash
To make the sweet potato mash I peeled and cubed 2 large sweet potatoes. I boiled them in water with a teaspoon of salt and a star anise. The star anise gives the potatoes a lovely, delicate flavour and compliments the sweetness. The potatoes are then drained and mashed with a knob of butter and a little milk.
Add some braised, fresh spinach to your plate and you're well on your way to 5-a-day!
A few years ago I announced that my New Years Resolution would be to recycle. Luckily for me, I didn't specify in which year! However, last year my conscience got the better of me and I decided to give this Green thing a go.
Easier said than done.
We have a weekly municipal waste removal service and a weekly waste paper collection service. Anything else you want to recycle takes a certain amount of effort. Inspired by my parents - if they can do it so can I - I decided to become a little bit organised.
Unfortunately, I found that the only depots in our area are for glass and paper, anything else is a good 10km's away. I want to save the planet as much as the next person but I am a bit of a princess when it comes to inconvenience - I hate it!
As a result, my recycling efforts amount to paper and glass. I religiously rinse out jars (except for the pretty ones that I can use for storage) and place them -minus lids - in my own recycling bin outside. The empty wine bottles go the same way.
Once a month or so, when the bin gets full I take a trip to my nearest glass recycling depot and take great delight in smashing all the "empties" into the container.
It's a great stress-reliever and after all the fun you can drive away with a smug, superior smile on your face, knowing that you've gone the extra "green" mile that most others haven't.
The other day it was hectic. I needed to be in five places at once and it was my husband's birthday. Because it was a school night and we'd had a busy week I didn't have much time to prepare anything special for supper.
I remembered that I had a small piece of smoked pork neck in the freezer. After picking up my youngest from school I dug the meat out of the freezer and put it in the pressure cooker with some star aniseed, cloves, come peppercorns and a lump of fresh ginger. Yes, you are not supposed to cook meat from frozen, but as it was already smoked I decided to live on the edge. I cooked it for about 1/2 an hour and then put it in a baking pan with the spices, covered it with foil and cooked it really slowly on 100°C while I went back to the office.
When I came home the house smelled delicious. The meat was falling apart and I literally pulled it to pieces with a fork. I had bought a dinner plate sized Portuguese bread on the way home. I cut the bread in half, placed the forked meat on the bottom half, squeezed barbeque sauce over it, added some slices of processed cheese (they go all gooey without having to melt them) added some sliced onions, shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.
I closed the sandwich, cut it into four and served it up - divine. Really tasty, lots of healthy salad stuff and enough carbs to fill up my men!
One of my favorite "foodie" programs is Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives". I love to watch the things they make, the amount of effort that goes into a simple sandwich and the enormous amounts of food. Yum.
I have found that there are some American classics that are totally unknown to us and this recipe is my own version of an American favorite. The gravy is a type of mince in a white sauce and the biscuits are what we would know as scones.
It's quite different to anything I was brought up on but it is really tasty, easy to make and filling.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 500gm pork mince
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1tsp ground coriander
- 1tsp crushed garlic
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups milk
Fry onions in some oil. Add pork mince, brown and add the other spices. Remove the cooked meat from the pan. Using the juices and if necessary adding a knob of butter, make a roux with the flour. Add the milk and stir until you have a faily thick white sauce. Add the meat back into the sauce and heat through. Pour over the biscuits and serve.
- 200gm flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 100gm butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup milk
Rub the butter into the flour,salt and baking powder until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add milk until it becomes a stiff dough. Cut the dough into rounds approx. 3 cm thick. Bake at 200ºC for about 10 minutes.
I am not really known as a baker but I have been making these rusks at least twice a month for the last 10 years and have NEVER had a flop.
With two growing boys, a husband and two very spoiled dogs ( who are programmed to expect rusks with OUR coffee), when the rusk tin is empty panic sets in!
I got this recipe from my mother-in-law and it is one of the most wonderful gifts she could have given me. It sustains our family summer and winter and provides a crunchy nibble when anyone's feeling hungry. We eat them with or without dunking and they really are a staple food in my cupboard.
I tend to add or change a few ingredients depending on what is in my cupboard but it always turns out great.
- 350gm melted margarine
- 2 cups sugar
- 1kg Self raising flour ( I sometimes use "bran rich")
- 3 eggs
- 500ml buttermilk
- 1 cup all bran flakes/cornflakes/weetbix (optional- depending on what's in the cupboard)
- 1/4 cup mixed seeds (sunflower, linseed, sesame -also optional but great)
- 1/2 cup raisins (optional - unless you are my friend Estelle - then definitely NOT)
- Preheat oven to 180°C
- Grease a 24cmx30cm tin
- Mix all ingredients together and scrape into tin
- Bake for approx 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean
- Remove and cool
This is the part where I normally have to post a guard! Slice the loaf into fingers and try not to let everyone eat the warm fingers with butter! Place the fingers onto flat baking trays and dry overnight in a warm oven (about 70°C).
Remove from oven and store in your rusk tin. Be prepared to bake again in about two weeks!