Archive for the ‘Supper’ Category
Although I haven't tried this Spinach and Bacon Surprise myself it comes from such a reputable source I felt I would be able to post the recipe without a test run!
My friend Irma lives in Norway and is also the working mother of teenagers.She therefore understands the need for quick but healthy, nutritious meals that can fill up even the most ravenous 16-year old. Irma and I became friends when we worked together and we quickly discovered a shared passion for food and all things food-related. We spent many happy hours trawling foodie shops and out-of -the-way farmers sourcing interesting goodies. So, Irma, here is your recipe for Spinach and Bacon Surprise:
Peel about six medium potatoes, cube them and bring to the boil. Cook the potatoes until they are just soft, but not falling apart. Drain and set aside for later.
Chop some onions and fry in a little oil. Add 500gm of bacon bits to the onions (you can add any rindless bacon chopped into small pieces) and fry until the bacon is crispy. Add about 300gm of mince (either pork or beef) and brown with the onions and bacon. Now, here comes the sneaky part of adding veggies without your teenagers noticing. Slice some mushrooms and add to the mix, stirring them through the meat. Add 750gm of shredded spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted and still a lovely, fresh green colour.
Add the pre-cooked potatoes to the mix and season with salt and pepper and a little turmeric to give the potatoes a rich golden colour. Once everything is beautifully blended, call the family and serve. Be prepared for seconds and, according to Irma, a repeat performance very soon!
To me, this Greek Chicken Phyllo Pie has all the taste of real Greek cooking - wine, herbs, lemons and the phyllo pastry.
Pies always go down well in my kitchen, as it means I can make everything in one dish. Sometimes this works better, especially with fussy eaters. I find that if they can't always identify what they are eating they will just take the plunge and try it! Phyllo pastry makes a wonderful, alternative topping for a pie and looks very effective.
I have used deboned chicken breasts and thighs for the pie. I find combining light and dark in white meat for a chicken pie adds depth and flavour to the pie. I poached the chicken in whitewine and added some oreganum, chopped onions and lemon zest as wel las a chicken stock cube. Once the onions are soft, I put the whole lot in a food processor and blitz until the chicken is roughly shredded. Of course, you can do this by using two forks to shred the meat, but as you know, I like to do things the quickest possible way, so my food processor is one of my best kitchen friends!
Place the blitzed mixture back into the pan and sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour over it.This will help to give the fill a thicker consistency. Turn up the heat and swirl through some cream. Pour the mixture into a pie dish and reach for the phyllo pastry.
Traditionally one would brush the phyllo with butter or olive oil and layer sheets onto the pie to form a crust. I take a short cut by brushing sheets of phyllo with olive oil and then crumpling it up like paper and covering the top of the pie. Bake the pie in a hot oven - 200°C for about 10 minutes or until the phyllo is crispy and golden. Remove from the oven and admire your handiwork!
Serve with a crisp,green salad - or to be really authentic a Greek salad with olives, feta cheese and lashings of olive oil and balsamic vinegar; and a glass of dry white wine.
Nothing says Christmas quite like my Sweet Gingered Gammon. The combination of ginger and gammon is a magical smell that wafts through the house and reminds you what Christmas is all about - the love of family, lots of goodwill and excellent food.
Gammon is a cut of pork leg that has been smoked and can still have the bone or be boneless. Gammon is first boiled and then roasted in a hot oven, smothered with a glaze. The general rule is to boil according to weight, so it is important to check the packaging to determine the weight of your gammon. Gammon is boiled for 1 hour/kg.
Sweet gingered gammon is first boiled in ginger ale to really steep the meat in a lovely, gingery taste. Put enough ginger ale in a pot to cover the meat. Add some chopped fresh ginger, bay leaves and pepper corns. Bring the ale to the boil and simmer depending on the weight of the meat ie one hour for a 1kg piece.
Prepare a glaze by mixing some chopped, crystalised ginger, at least a half cup of dark brown sugar and a teaspoon of hot English mustard. This will be quite a dry glaze which can be patted onto the meat. The heat of the oven will melt the sugar and create a lovely sticky glaze.
Meanwhile remove the meat from the ginger ale. (Hint: Keep the ginger ale stock and use it to boil potatoes before roasting them.)
Remove the skin from the meat, leaving a thin layer of fat. Pat the glaze onto the fat layer and place in a roasting pan to be roasted in an oven preheated to 200°C. Roast the meat for about 20 minutes or until the glaze is crispy and brown. Remove the meat and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Once the gammon is cool enough to handle, slice with a really sharp knife into thin slices. This Sweet Gingered Gammon can be served as a roast with all the hot trimmings, such as roast potatoes and veggies. It is also perfect as a cold meat dish which can be served with salads. Of course if the piece of meat is big enough, you can have the best of both worlds, by have a hot meal the first night and a tasty cold meal the next. Always serve Sweet Gingered Gammon with lashings of hot English mustard ofr any other mustard of your choice.
A few years ago we went to friends for lunch and her husband cooked Swiss Steak for us. I had never heard of it before and whether it is a true version of Swiss Steak or Jason's own interpretation, it was delicious. I have tweaked it a bit (as it's impossible for me to cook without making my own changes along the way) but it still remains true to his original dish and is a firm favorite in our family.
Swiss Steak is a dish made with tenderised steak, potatoes, mushrooms and cream. Best of all, it is another one-pot-wonder which is my favorite type of cooking. The best thing about a dish like this is that you can serve it on its own or if you really need to carbo load, you can serve it on a bed of rice. Sometimes, depending on how hungry everyone is, I will add a tin of cannelini or butter beans.
To prepare the Swiss Steak cube some tenderised steak and toss it in flour seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. Tossing the meat in flour allows the meat to brown nicely, but also serves as a thickening agent to make a rich sauce. Peel, cube and parboil some potatoes. Chop some onions and fry in a little olive oil. Add the meat and brown in the oil. Be carefull to stircontinuously as the floured meat tends to stick to the pan and although a little browned crispiness is nice, you don't want a burnt taste!
Add the potatoes and cover with about a cup of beef stock. Allow the mixture to simmer until the potatoes are soft and add some sliced mushrooms. Keep simmering until the mushrooms are soft. Stir through some cream and add some frozen peas for colour. For seasoning add a teaspoon of sweet basil and stir through.
I made some crostinis by toasting some sliced bread rolls in the sandwich toaster and served the meal with a fresh green salad.
Tamarind is an important ingredient in this Tamarind, Date and Pork Curry. It is a North African and Indian ingredient made from the seed pod of the tamarind tree. Tamarind is sold as a paste in most good grocery stores and has a sweetish, sour taste. The sweetness of the dates balances the tartness of the tamarind and both flavours blend fantastically with pork. I use a very mild curry paste so as not to overwhelm the other tastes.
Tamarind is normally sold in a square block and looks similar to a block of dates. To prepare the tamarind paste, you put about two tablespoons of the paste in a cup of boiling water and leave to stand for a couple of minutes until you are ready to use it.
Fry a chopped onion and some chopped green pepper in a little oil until soft. Add some pork mince (you could also use cubed pork) and fry until browned. Strain the tamarind through a sieve to remove the seeds and add the juice to the pork. Add a handful (or more- depending on how sweet you like your food) of seedless dates to the mixture and simmer. Make up a cup of vegetable stock and add it to the pan with half a cup of lentils. Stir in a teaspoon of mild curry paste or powder and a teaspoon of tumeric. The tumeric will give the dish a rich yellow colour. Allow the dish to simmer until the lentils are cooked. You may need to add a bit more water in order for the lentils to cook until soft as they absorb water and swell as they cook.
Serve with fragrant jasmine rice and a fresh green salad.
To enhance the tamarind and date flavours you can make a quick chutney as a side dish. Finely chop some onion and dates. Remove the seeds from some tamarind and add enough water to make a sauce that can be spooned over the food. Mix the tamarind, dates and onions together and spoon over the dish before serving or serve on the side so that each person can add as much as they like. Enjoy!
Five spice is a traditional Chinese spice which is said to balance the yin and yang of food. Five Spice Beef and Bean Sprouts is a perfect example of this.
Five spice is a combination of five common spices and can either contain Szechuan pepper or not. I normally use the mixture without the pepper as my youngest son it very sensitive to spicy, hot foods. The spice normally consists of a mixture of ground cinnamon, star anise, cloves, fennel seeds and ginger root. It is fragrant and has a very distinctive taste which really does add balance to the dish.
For my Five Spice Beef and Bean Sprout dish I fried up some soft, little chunks of beef with some ginger, garlic and five spice in sunflower oil. I added some green beans that I had topped and tailed and seasoned with some lovely, dark soy sauce. As soon as the beans were blanched and still nice and crunchy, the beef part of the dish was done.
I had been into Cyrrildene that morning with my sister-in-law and bought a huge handful of fresh mung bean sprouts. I gave these a quick stir-fry in some more sunflower oil, adding a little more five spice and some salt to taste. I didn't use soy sauce on the bean sprouts as I was worried that it might turn the sprouts an ugly brown colour.
I decided to serve the Five Spice Beef and Bean Sprouts with rice. Once the rice was cooked, I made an omelette with two eggs and another sprinkle of five spice. The omelette was then slice into cubes and stirred through the rice.
To serve, I put the rice in the bowl first, added the beef mixture and topped with the bean sprouts. The addition of five spice to all three parts of the meal ensured that the beautiful flavours of the spice came through in every mouthful. Delicious!
A trinchado is a portuguese style stew traditionally made with cubes of beef and full of delicious flavours. Unlike other stews, for a trinchado one would normally use meat such as rump or fillet that doesn't need a lot of "stewing" as this stew is actually a dish that can be prepared really quickly. Of course, this scores highly on my list of things to make when I'm in a hurry or pushed for time! The great thing about the Beef and Chourico Trinchado is that you can vary the other ingredients and it will still be a flavoursome, hearty meal.
Fry some chopped onions and green peppers in some olive oil until soft. Add at least 500gm of cubed beef rump or fillet and brown. Pour in a tin of chopped tomatoes, a generous tablespoon of garlic and a good glug of red wine. Pour yourself a glass of wine and sip whilst cooking! Add a teaspoon of paprika, a beef stock cube and a few bay leaves and simmer for around 20 minutes. Slice a chourico sausage and add to the meat.(Chourico adds an authentic Portuguese taste to the dish as it is a smoked, spicy, paprika flavoured sausage from Portugal. It canalso be served sliced and grilled with some olives and cheese as an appetiser or snack.)
Here is where you can now add other ingredients:
Because I have a household of active, ever-hungry males I need to "beef" up any meal. For this I opened a tin of sugar beans, drained and stirred it into the mix. Beans of any description are fantastic for adding an additional source of protein in a meal. They are also "heart friendly" as they are an excellent source of protein and can bulk up the dish in an authentic, peasant- style way. Another wonderful addition to the Beef and Chourico Trinchado is lovely, fat green or black olives. Unfortunately my eldest does not like olives so I don't often put them in, as there is nothing as annoying as watching your loved ones pick unwanted ingredients from your food!
Serve your Beef and Chourico Trinchada with either creamy garlic mashed potatoes, rice, portuguese rolls or polenta. Don't forget to make a crunchy green salad for on the side,dressed with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Osso Bucco is traditionally made with slices of veal shank and means "meat with a hole in" referring to the marrow bone. I, however cannot bring myself to buy veal as I feel sorry for the poor, sweet, little calves and therefore feel much better eating their older brothers and sisters! For this recipe I have used beef shin. The wonderful thing about this dish is that it can be prepared in advance and cooked slowly during the day, so that you can come home to a delicious Italian style meal that is, for me, totally heart-warming and welcoming. It also looks really eye catching and is something different to your ordinary beef stew.
Balance the slices of beef shin on edge so that they are standing up in an oven dish. I use a cast iron pot with a lid, as the meat needs to cook slowly and I find the cast iron works great in the oven. Cover the meat with a tin of chopped tomatoes and a glass of red wine (don't have a glass yourself as it is still quite early in the day!). Add some bay leaves and a sprinkle of coarse salt with some freshly ground pepper. Cover the dish and bake on a low heat (around 140°C) for at least 3 hours.
I serve my Osso Bucco with a creamy, garlic polenta. Polenta is a lovely yellow maize meal which adds a different dimension to normal mealie meal. It is slightly coarser and seems to have a more robust sort of taste. After cooking the polenta, stir through some cream and chopped garlic.
Before plating, fry up some bread crumbs, finely chopped parsley, a little grated lemon rind and garlic in a bit of butter until it is golden brown and crunchy. This mixture, known as gremolata, is sprinkled over the meat just before eating. It adds a delicious crunch and zest to the meat. Please don't even think of eating your Osso Bucco without it - it is the grand finale to the whole meal!
A pasta dish is my 'no-brainer" supper and this Bacon Leek Pasta is great as it is quick, easy and the winning combination of bacon and leeks ensures a tasty meal.
I think often we think leeks should only go into soups but bacon and leeks go really well together as the leeks have a slightly "oniony" flavour and are able to brown in the juices from the bacon. The secret with leeks is to prepare them properly, otherwise you could end up with half the earth in your food. Leeks grow under and above gound and so collect quite a bit of soil in their outer green leaves. You need to remove the first two or three outer leaves and slice the roots off the bulbous end. I then sliced the leeks into thin rings all the way to the green part, but not too far up or you endy up with hard, woody leaves. The rings can then be soaked in some water to remove any traces of soil.
Fry some bacon cubes with the leeks in a frying pan until the bacon is crispy and the leeks are soft. Boil you favourite past shape until cooked and drain. Stir through the bacon and leeks with a generous glug of cream and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. I normally find that the saltiness of the bacon is enough salt, but sometimes the cream can soften the taste. Serve the pasta with a generous covering of grated parmesan cheese and a fresh green salad. A quick, easy and delicious meal.
If you were concerned that bacon wouldn't provide enough meatiness to the dish you could add some strips of smoke chicken breasts to the dish. Alternatively, if you were looking for a vegetarian option, maybe for a "meatless monday" you could fry the leeks in a little olive oil and add some frozen peas to the pan. This will add a lovely colour and the sweetness of the peas will complement the taste of the leeks.
Bunnychow is a uniquely South African meal. It is a combination of curry and a half-loaf or quarter-loaf of bread. The bread is hollowed out to form a type of edible bowl, and the inner bread that is removed is used as an edible spoon. An eating experience of note.
Experts agree, there are two things you don't want with bunnychow - a funny bunny or a runny bunny! A funny bunny is made using the middle section of the bread, meaning that the bottom doesn't have a crust allowing the whole bunny to fall through the bottom. A runny bunny means that the curry is too runny - too saucy, and causes the bread to disintegrate into a soggy mess.
There is, however, no need to become disheartened, the important thing is a really tasty curry to use as a filling. I used a beef and bean curry, but you could fill your bunny with chicken, mutton, mince or vegetable curry and it will be delicious.
Beef and Bean Curry
Soak about 2cups of speckled (sugar) beans overnight. If you have forgotten to do this, like I did, use the quick soak method: Add 6cups of water to the dried beans and bring to the boil. Boil for about 1/2 an hour and then switch off and leave the beans to stand for a few hours.
Fry some chopped onions, ginger and garlic in a pan. Add your spices (I once again used some of the wet spice that I used in the Beef Butternut Curry) and cubed beef. Brown it all, then add a tin of chopped tomatoes and two tins of water. Add the beans and let the whole lot simmer until the beef is tender and the beans are soft. (I used the pressure cooker again, as it really saves a lot of time. Once everything is almost cooked, adjust the seasoning with a stock or some salt and add some diced potato. I peeled and chopped three potatoes for this. Put the lid on again and simmer until the potatoes are cooked.You may need to add a little water to simmer properly, but remember, not too much, otherwise you will end up with a runny bunny. You should have a rich,thick curry full of beef, beans and potatoes.
Building Bunny Chow
I always buy the mini loaves or pensioner loaves, which are basically half-size loaves. That way, if you cut them in half, each person has a 1/4 bunny chow but with a crust at the bottom- so no funny bunny! Cut each loaf in half and, with a sharp knife, cut a square in each cut half to a depth just above the bottom crust. Gently ease the soft inner bread out and keep it on the side of the plate. Fill the hollowed out bread with the curry and serve with a vegetable raita. Use the sof inner bread as a spoon and refill your bread "dish" as often as you like.
Normally I wouldn't go to the effort of crumbing or stuffing anything but I was feeling energetic and so made crumbed stuffed pork steak. Actually, once you put your mind to it, it's not that much work.
I made the bread crumbs by blitzing a couple of day-old rolls in the food processor. I then prepared a bowl with flour seasoned with salt and pepper, another with a beaten egg and put the bread crumbs in the last bowl.
The pork steaks were fairly thin so I could easily a spoonful of stuffing made from bacon bits, sundried tomato and feta cheese in the middle and carefully roll them up. Each roll was then dipped in flour, drenched in beaten egg and rolled into the breadcrumbs.One needs to work quite carefully, otherwise you'll find your crumbed stuffed pork steak unravelling all over place!
The rolls were then placed on a greased baking sheet and I baked them in the oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes until they were golden brown and oozing feta cheese and bacon juices.
I decided to serve this with a jacket potato. We had been to the veggie shop and they were selling lovely redskin potatoes, which is not something we find very often in our shops. To me these potatoes just beg to be baked as they have such a lovely rosy skin, you would feel quite mean peeling them. A blob of butter, some salt and pepper and away you go.
This meal really was a hit. I don't know if it's because my family is not used to me going to such elaborate lengths with a piece of pork steak, but I am going to say that I believe it was the taste that did it. The bacon and feta gave just enough saltiness, which was well-balanced by the sweet, rich taste of the sundried tomatoes. All made with love and care, which makes all the difference.
Chicken Ginger Broth is a great way to help you feel healthy, revitalised and full of zing , when winter is getting you down. It is also really quick and easy to make. Ginger is one of nature's best medicines as it is full of antioxidants, helps fight colds and flu, is great for the digestive tract and is said to assist in helping to prevent colon cancer. Fresh ginger has a really great taste when added like this to a broth as it retains it's freshness and really does have a "zinginess".
I store my ginger in a paper bag in the fridge, but I love to add it to curries and other dishes, so it doesn't last that long.If I want thin strips like for this recipe I use a potato peeler otherwise I use a small grater.
The Chicken Ginger Broth Recipe: First, bring about 2l of clear chicken stock to the boil. Add some thinly sliced, raw chicken breasts so that they can poach in the broth. Thinly slice a peeled knob of ginger (about the size of your thumb) and add it to the broth with some juliennned carrots (that's carrots cut into matchsticks for those that don't know!) and a little fresh, crushed garlic. If you wanted a bit of a bite you could add some chopped chillies, but my family prefer it without - I add chillies for myself afterwards. Simmer for a while and add a generous handful of instant noodles. Once the noodles are cooked garnish the soup with some chopped coriander and serve with a splash of soy sauce.
You can feel your body warming up and taking in all that gingery taste. It makes you feel stronger, healthier and ready to fight off the nastiest of colds! Keep warm and survive the winter...
A curry is a perfect way to warm you up on a cold winter evening, which is why this beef and butternut curry is one of my favorites, and of course, the vegetable raita cools the mouth down beautifully!
Unfortunately, if you were looking for a blend of lovely spices in this recipe you will be a little disappointed as for this dish I made use of a wet mix. We have a lovely, little Indian spice shop down the road that make their own wet mixes. They are quite potent but give a delicious taste. I also bought some yellow oil dahl (lentils) to add to the curry.
So, to the cooking. I used my pressure cooker, as it was a week night and I was a bit short on time, but you could also simmer it on the stove top for a couple of hours if you wanted. I diced onions and green peppers and fried them with a little fresh garlic and grated ginger. I then added a 1/2kg of cubed beef, a tablespoon of wet mix and about a cup of beef stock. I screwed the lid onto the pressure cooker and let it hum and whistle until the meat was soft and tender. Meanwhile I cooked a cup of oil dahl in about 2 cups of water and cooked in a separate saucepan.
Once the meat was tender I added some cubed butternut and cooked again until the butternut was soft, but still retained its shape. I then stirred in the dahl and heated the curry through, adjusting the seasoning with a little salt. Of course, the beauty of a wet mix is you can add a little more if you feel the curry is not spicy enough and it doesn't increase in heat with cooking to give you a nasty surprise when you eat it.
The beef and butternut curry garnished with some chopped coriander and I served it with mini flour tortillas and a vegetable raita.
- Shredded lettuce
- Chopped Tomatoes
- Finely Chopped Onions
- Chopped cucumbers
- 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
- 1 tsp cumin powder
Mix all vegetables together, add the yoghurt and cumin and a little salt if needed. Serve immediately as the yoghurt can become runny if left for too long.
Chicken with cranberries has a festive ring to it, don't you think. It makes you think a bit about turkey with cranberry sauce, christmas presents and family meals. I thought, if you can have turkey with cranberries, then why not chicken!
Of course, we don't readily get fresh cranberries, but we do have cranberry juice and lovely, dried cranberries. Cranberries and cranberry juice are good for all sorts of things as they are full of antioxidants and help to fight of all sorts of nasty winter illnesses. Cranberry juice is also excellent for anyone wanting to build up their immunity and of course, you can add it as one of your 5-a-day fruit and veggies as well as looking at eating something with a red colour, which is always good for health.
For this recipe I used chicken pieces on the bone, but because it is cooked in juice you would be able to use deboned chicken breast and have a lovely, moist piece of meat.
I placed the chicken pieces in an oven proof dish and seasoned them with salt and pepper.I then poured a cup of cranberry juice over and sprinkled a handful of dried cranberries on top.I baked the chicken at 180°C for about 40 minutes until the chicken was cooked. I put the grill on just to crisp the top and served with veggies and mashed potatoes. The chicken absorbed the flavour of the cranberry juice and became sweet and moist and the dried cranberries swelled up into fat, juicy berries.
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!