Archive for May, 2012
This curried cauliflower puree is a wonderful solution to leftover cauliflower.I must however warn that if you are not a lover of cruciferous vegetables - approach with caution. This puree has a wonderful, creamy texture but it definitely has a strong cauliflower taste.
Cruciferous vegetables are extremely good for you. The are an excellent source of fibre,vitamins and have been known to lower the risk of cancer if eaten regularly. But, try to convince your family to eat a bowl of cauliflower, broccoli or horror of horrors - brussel sprouts.
I can however say that this puree coupled with the curry flavours enticed my vegetable-hating son was prepared to give it a try and afterwards said: "Awesome Mom"!
So, the other day I was in the supermarket and they were selling absolutely beautiful, huge cauliflowers.It was the night of the roast beef dinner so I thought I would at least be able to serve some of this massive cauliflower in a cheese sauce. I stll had a good half of the cooked veggie left over though.
After leaving my poor, beautiful cauliflower in the fridge for a day, inspiration struck. I would puree the rest and do something with it! I took the ready cooked caulflower and warmed it in the microwave. I then blitzed to a puree in the food processor, adding a knob of butter, a splash of cream and some medium spiced curry powder. The cauliflower was then a lovely orange colour. I reheated it and served as a side dish with supper. Very tasty.
So the other day I did the whole roast beef thing and there were a few slices left. I already had things to put on the kids sandwiches for school lunches so decided to use up the leftovers to make a pasta with creamy roast beef sauce.
Pasta is probably one of the staple foods in our house. I normally keep at least three packets of different shapes and on evenings when I really am at a loss for what to make for supper I grab a packet and go from there. For me pasta sauces can either have a tomato or a cream base.In our house we love a pasta with a cream base.
For this dish I cooked some ricciolini which are like larger, ridged half-pipes of macaroni. It is a good shape for a cream as it keeps the sauce in the little scoops. I sliced the cold roast beef thinly into strips and stirred it into the drained pasta, adding some frozen peas, garlic and shredded spinach. I threw a cup of cream over the top and heated everything up over the stove. The shredded spinach had just started to wilts and the peas were still crunchy, leaving the roast beef pieces delicately pink.
Serve with a fresh green salad, making your leftovers into a delicious pasta meal.
A roast beef supper is not something I would normally cook during the working week - in fact if you asked my family they would probably say it's not something I would make - period!! To be honest, when we were dishing up my youngest son said "Gee, Mom, this looks like one of Nanna's suppers". As far as roasts go, that is a serious compliment.
My mom is the Queen of Roasts and I would have to say that my dad is the King of carving a roast.My mom can make any roast meat perfectly and my dad carves it with an artistry that I've yet to see in any other suburban house. Needless to say, as you may have gathered with that sort of a reputation to follow, I mostly don't even try.
However, when you have a really nice piece of roast beef that is a perfect size for a family of four, you need to step up to the plate, so to speak. The secret to a perfect roast beef is to cook it in a pre-heated, hot oven (200°C) for 20minutes per 500gm of meat, plus an extra 20 minutes. In other words, if you have a 1kg piece of meat you need to roast it for 1 hour. You then remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving. This will give you a roast that is lightly browned, becoming pinker as you slice deeper into the roast.
If you don't like your cow to walk around the kitchen (rare) then you adjust the calculation to 30 minutes per 500grams plus thirty minutes or for a well-done piece of meat you can roast for 40 minutes per 500 grams plus forty minutes.
I served my roast beef with roast potatoes, cauliflower in a cheese sauce and green beans garnished with spring onions. Traditionally, roast beef should be served with Yorkshire Pudding, but firstly, I didn't have any eggs in the house, and secondly, my mom has the recipe and it's a closely guarded secret. Hint to Mom: If you are reading this please send me the recipe!
I suppose this chicken and sweetcorn soup isn't a genuine cheat as I did do some preparation as well! Although I must confess that the recipe includes two packets of "Cream of Chicken" soup.
It is starting to get cold and we are in need of some good, rib-sticking soups. Unfortunately I don't always have the time to let a soup simmer for hours until it is done. That's what makes this soup so great. It has delicate flavours which make it seem as though a lot of thought and good cheffing has gone into it, but is also thick and hearty enough to fill cold, empty stomachs, quickly.
I marinated some deboned, skinned chicken breasts in soy sauce and ginger for the afternoon. When I got home that night I mixed the two packets of chicken soup according to the instructions. As the soup started to warm I added the whole, marinated chicken breasts to the soup so that they basically poached in the soup. When the breasts were cooked through I removed them from the soup and shredded them. I then put the chicken back into the soup with a tin of creamed sweetcorn, some chopped spring onions and a packet of instant noodles. Once the noodles were cooked the soup was ready to be served garnished with some more chopped spring onions, a splash of soy sauce and some toasted french bread.
Other than the marinading (which is essential to adding great flavour to the chicken) the whole meal took me about a half an hour from start to finish. A perfect meal for a quick supper on a chilly evening!
Tortillas (pronounced tor-tee-yahs) are basically a staple Mexican food, a bit like us having a sandwich. You can do a lot with a tortilla once you have cooked it as they can be rolled, folded, stacked or even deep fried.These days you can find wraps, tortillas, flat bread etc in almost any supermarket, but this is such an easy recipe and very quick to make, its well worth giving it a try. Because the dough is so pliable, it is easy to roll out and doesn't break, stick or generally make a mess.
After you have made your tortillas, you can decide how you want to eat them. Last night, we had them folded over with grilled chicken breast, hummus, cottage cheese, lettuce and some of my sister-in-laws chopped, fresh red peppers.
Being so versatile you could make a type of quesadilla, which is like a tortilla toasted sandwich. You could take two tortillas, place cheese in between and dry-fry them in a pan, or place under the grill until the cheese is melted. This is delicious served with some chopped avocado, tomato and onion.
But back to the basic making of the tortilla.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbs butter
- 1/2 cup hot water
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the hot water and mix to form a firm dough (you made need a bit more or less water). Knead the dough on a floured surface until it's smooth and elastic. Place the dough in an oiled bowl for 10 minutes to rest. Divide the dough into golf ball sized pieces. I managed to get 10 balls from my mixture. place the balls between two layers of clingfilm and put a heavy board on top to flatten them. I am very lucky here as my sister gave me a bread-board-on-steroids for my birthday which works perfectly. Take each squashed ball and roll it out, fairly thin, to about the size of a side plate. Dry fry each tortilla in a non-stick frying pan until lightly browned on each side.
To keep them soft, place the cooked tortillas on a plate under a clean cloth until ready to serve.
Yes, you've guessed it. Carrot, apple and lettuce is all I had in the house in the way of vegetables. Hence the saying " Necessity is the mother of invention"! Because I try to make a salad with every meal (and almost always have salad vegetables available) it came as a shock when I opened the fridge about 10 minutes before supper and found a head of iceberg lettuce and not much else!
I shredded the lettuce, grated an carrot and cored and sliced some lovely pink apples. I mixed it all together and then mixed a table spoon of peanut butter, tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar together. I poured this over the salad and was pleasantly surprised!
Peanut butter brings out the nutty sweetness of carrots and really compliments sweet, juicy apples. This combination is balanced by the iceberg lettuce which adds a cool, crispness to the dish. Amazingly enough, something that started out of desperation has become a salad that I will certainly make again, especially in the cool autumn days when you don't always feel like a salad but know that you need some raw veggies as they are good for you!
What else should you have for breakfast but a Breakfast Pizza. It's got all the breakfast things combined with one of our all time family favourites - pizza!
We have a tradition that for your birthday you can have whatever you want for breakfast. My eldest requested pizza for his birthday breakfast. Around here, our pizza parlours don't deliver at 6am so it was up to mom to make a plan. Fortunately I have the most fantastic recipe for a pizza base, that is easy to make and also makes a crispy, authentic tasting base. The base can obviously have any toppings you like on, but for the purpose of this exercise - I made breakfast.
(Makes 2 dinner plate sized bases)
Mix 1 cup of self-raising flour with 1 cup of plain yoghurt and a pinch of salt. Mix the dough carefully until it binds together. You may need to add a bit more flour if it is a bit moist. Divide the dough in half and roll each ball out to a dinner plate size base on a well-floured surface. Place on a oven tray to go into a very hot (220°C) oven.
Building the Pizza:
Smooth some thick tomato puree over the base. Cover generously with mozarella cheese. Place chopped bacon pieces over the top. Very gently, break an egg in the centre of the pizza. Place in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes until the egg is cooked, the cheese has melted and the base is crispy. i sometimes move the pizzas from the top to the bottom of the oven halfway through to make sure the base cooks evenly. Remove and serve!
Because the base is so versatile you can put any toppings on and turn any night into a pizza night.
This apple tart is a fail-safe recipe, my friend Jackie assures me.
Although Jackie is not mad about cooking and baking, when she does something she likes it to be a success. She also doesn't like to take chances so when her sister asked her to make a dessert for their family's Mother's Day Lunch this was her first choice. She says she 's made this pudding for almost every occasion that she's had to take a dessert to and she always brings back an empty dish and a lot of compliments!
I can remember making a similar dish for a Girl Guide achievement badge and with my poor baking track record I know that I was able to make the pudding and get the badge. So, for anyone needing to make a warm, comforting pudding for the family this is the way to go. The pudding can be served hot or cold, with cream, custard or ice-cream - really versatile.
- 1 large tin of pie apples
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tbs butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 125ml milk
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- tin evaporated milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1tsp vanilla essence
Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat the egg and milk together and add to the butter mixture. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the egg mixture. Pour the dough into a greased oven dish and carefully place the drained pie apples on top. Bake for 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 180°C. Heat up sauce ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour it over the hot pudding. Serve with cream, ice-cream or custard.
Jackie says she made two puddings (it was a really large family gathering) and she replaced the pie apples with drained tins of mixed fruit cocktail for the second pudding. You could also sprinkle a bit of cinnamon over the apple tart just before serving.
Thanks Jackie for a great recipe!
A braai is always an occasion in our house and side dishes are what makes it all the more interesting.
Every meal I make is accompanied by a green salad - summer or winter. I believe this is a way of eating raw, crunchy, healthy vegetables. However as we are coming into Autumn and the days are getting cooler you feel the need for something a little more comforting, a little less healthy, a little heavier.
The other day we had my mom and dad around for a braai. It was a perfect autumn day with lovely warm sunshine and a slight, coolish breeze. I made my normal green salad and then made a trio of side dishes - bean salad, roasted beetroot and roasted pumpkin.
The bean salad is really easy. I opened a tin of mixed beans, chopped onion and red pepper into small blocks and added it to the beans. I then mixed a 1/4 cup of oil, 1/4 cup of vinegar and 2tsp of sugar together. I poured it over the beans and left themto marinade for about 3 hours before serving.
For the roasted beetroot I took a bunch of fresh beetroot and cut off the stalks. I then cut each beetroot globe into wedges. I don't peel them (actually I hate peeling vegetables, so if they don't have to be peeled, Idon't!) I then drizzled olive oil over the wedges and seasoned with salt and pepper. Thewedges get baked in an oven (180°C) with some whole garlic cloves for about 40 minutes. remove them from the oven and splash some balsamic vinegar over. I crumbled some blue cheese on the top, but you could also use feta cheese.
Roasted pumkin is a lovely autumn dish. Just take some chunks of pumkin, place them in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with oil and roast in the oven until golden and crispy. I stirred through a couple of tablespoons of hummus and sprinkled them with mixed seeds afterwards.
My friend Esme always makes an awesome microwave chocolate cake, known as Zurkia's Chocolate Cake. The problem is I lost the recipe! I googled a few recipes and managed to find something similar. This is not really a cake, in that you can't take it out of the container you baked it in until you are serving it. I supposes that makes it more of a pudding, which is what I used it for the other day.
Somehow, I don't have an affinity with baking. I think it is a bit too precise for me - I'm from the school of "Chuck it all in, we'll see what happens!" With cooking it works very well, but baking is another story. So my advice is: Follow the recipe and hope for the best. I can't guarantee success, but if I can make it and it's edible, most people should be able too.
As an added bit of useless information, I once heard of a woman who did a doctoral thesis on chocolate cake!
So, back to the recipe.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 tbs cocoa
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup cold water or coffee
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1tsp vanilla essence
Mix all the ingredients together to form a smooth batter. Pour into a 24cm square microwave proof dish. Bake on high in the microwave for about 8 minutes, checking every 2 minutes.Once the cake is firm and you can stick a skewer into it and it comes out clean, the cake is done. Melt a slab of chocolate and smooth over the top of the cake. Esme uses whole nut chocolate which adds a nuttiness to the cake. I used dark chocolate and decorated with gold sprinkles to add richness a sparkle to it!
Slice the cake into squares and serve it with ice-cream, whipped cream of even a hot chocolate sauce. This keeps well as my boys ate the leftovers as a pre-breakfast snackthe next day!
Riccardo is a 12-year old cricket player. He did the cooking and his mom Antonella had this to say:
"OK, as I have been now been cooking for 21 years I reckoned it was time that I taught my 3 children how to cook, also because my eldest can barely fry and egg. So every night each child has to prepare a meal, with my help if needed, they must decide what to cook and just cook it. So last night my 12 year old decided that he has had quite enough meat and did a fish dish. “Kingklip on a bed of steamed broccoli, fresh garden salad and miniature mushroom quiches”, they were not that miniature but they were delicious.
He prepared the Kingklip by salting it, a little pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice. He steamed the broccoli in a steamer. The fresh garden salad was made up with crispy lettuce, rocket, watercress, baby tomatoes, Red Peppers and red onion. He then prepared the baby mushroom quiches by adding, One and 1/2 cup mushrooms, 1 cup onion, 1 cup cheddar cheese, 1 red pepper cut up in tiny block, 4 eggs, one cup milk (Fresh cream is better, we just did not have it in the house). 2Tsp flour and 1tsp baking powder, salt and pepper to taste. He also added some paprika. He mixed all the ingredients together and baked them in a muffin pan until golden brown, +- 25min. He kept opening the oven and poking them until he was satisfied they were cooked.
He put a knob of butter in a frying pan, when it was nicely melted he placed the Kingklip in the pan a cooked it to perfection, crispy in the outside and cooked perfectly on the inside.
While the Fish was cooking he plated up the broccoli, salad on the one side and his infamous quiches on the other. When the fish was done he placed the fillet of Kingklip on top of the broccoli added a splash of olive oil and served.
As his sister does not do the fish thing, he made her a very spicy Pork Chop.Well, needless to say, I am one proud mom.
Cannot wait to see what my 16year old will cook tonight!"
This is a great way to get kids interested in cooking and food. It's also an easy way to gently guide them towards healthy eating. Way to go, Nella! Welcome to the wonderful world of cooking, Ricardo.Keep those recipes coming.
Canneloni are the pasta tubes that you buy in boxes and which are then stuffed and baked.Stuffing the tubes are a bit of a messy job but the end result is worth it.
These pasta tubes are very versatile as you fill them with anything - mince, ricotta cheese, a vegetable stuffing - basically anything turns out great. The other night I had made creamed spinach and had some left over. I fried up some onions, added some pork mince, seasoned and cooked. I then stirred through the creamed spinach and used this mixture to fill the canneloni tubes.
Because the tubes are dried pasta and absorb quite a bit of liquid they need to be baked in a fairly juicy sauce. I arranged the tubes in a flat oven dish and poured a tin or chopped tomatoes over the top, adding about a quarter of a tin of water as well. I then made a white sauce to go over the top.
To make a quick white sauce:
Melt about a tablespoon of butter in the microwave. Stir in about two tablespoons of flour. Slowly add milk and stir until there are no lumps and place in the microwave to cook. The sauce starts to thicken after about a minute and needs to be stirred again. After about three minutes you should have a lovely thick white sauce which you can now season with salt and pepper. You can also add some grated cheese or mixed herbs to the sauce.
Once you have built the canneloni you pop it in the oven at 180°C and bake for about 20 minutes until it's golden and bubbling. If you have packed the dish carefully, you should be able to lift the separate tubes out to serve. Enjoy it with a fresh green salad.