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Spring Zucchini Fritters

11 Mar

zucchini fritters

Can you see the daffodils popping out all over.. this is a sure sign of spring! One of my favourite,most beautiful seasons! Everything is new again and then I just want to start cooking light, fresh, good-for- you meals!

It sounds a little bit different, and for those that aren’t big fans of tuna, I’ll tell you, its a whole load of protein – you wont even taste the tuna, and the best of all,its gluten free! Sometimes you just have to take a different route with vegetables and it can be very refreshing!

Zucchini, feta & tuna fritters

zucchini

Ingredients

2 x fresh chives, finely chopped

2 x medium sized zucchinis, grated

150g of greek feta, crumbled

1 x tin tuna

2 x eggs

4 x strips of bacon

salt & pepper to taste

1 x tablespoon olive oil

handful of marinated artichokes

2 x teaspoons of red pepper pesto

2 x poached eggs

zucchini

When you have grated your zucchini, flavour it with salt and black pepper and mix through. The salt will draw the water from zucchini.

zucchini

Make sure you squeeze all the water out from the zucchini, or it won’t bind properly with the remaining ingredients. While you wait for this, in the meantime, you can fry your bacon in a pan.

zucchini

When you have squeezed the water out, place the zucchini in the bowl. Add all the ingredients to the zucchini, besides the bacon, pesto & olive oil and poached eggs.

chives

Mix together thoroughly, to allow the egg to bind properly with the other ingredients. Heat your olive oil in a pan and scoop the mixture in the pan with a tablespoon.

IMG_20150210_192934~2

Cook the fritters on medium heat. These should go for about 4 minutes on each side before you turn them over.

eggs

Make sure to fully scoop them, covering the whole spatula, or they will break when you flip them over. In the meantime, cooke your poached eggs.

zucchini

To plate up, place 2 strips of bacon on each plate. Place the fritters on top of the bacon and top each fritter stack with a poached egg.

eggs

Drizzle with a little pesto, grind some black pepper and add artichokes to the side (optional)

zucchini fritters

Hope you enjoy these fresh little fritters as much as I did!

zucchini fritters

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Rich & hearty beef stew

28 Jan

chopped onion onion

On a very crisp and cold day, the only route to take is by following the aroma of a indulgent, warm & juicy stew!! Now come on, two things that I know everyone loves – stew and pie! You’ve had your treat for lamb pie, so I’m thinking today we’re moving on to a slightly healthier dish. Believe it or not, but this is a very lean dish due to the cut of the meat.

mushroom

The only catch is it cooks in the oven for about an hour, which will cause a little bit of repetition when it comes to the age old question of “when is the food ready?” This carnivore of mine is quite impatient when it comes to stews.

onion

As soon as he hears that word or even gets a slight whiff of those cooking juices, its game over!!! He wants it right away!!! Alas, there is a very good reason why the saying “good things take time” is used so often, so be prepared to get badgered by the family and friends in your home.

mushrooms and butterAs soon as they get the whiff of this stew, you’re going to wish you never told them you were making it!

Rich & indulgent beef stew

Ingredients

1 onion, roughly chopped

4-5 big mushrooms, roughly chopped

2 x packs of lean beef chunks

1 x tin of chopped tomatoes

1 x  pack of 500g green beans cut to mid-size pieces

2 x tablespoons of tomato paste

2x teaspoons of ground coriander

1 x teaspoon of crushed garlic

1 x tablespoon of butter

1 x tablespoon of olive oil

2 x Oxo beef stock cubes ( if you’re in SA, only use one stock cube)

1/2 glass of dry white wine

1 x teaspoon of sugar

salt & pepper to taste

2 x tablespoons of all purpose flour

1 x sprig of fresh rosemary

chopped mushrooms

Add the olive oil to a casserole / Le Creuset dish ( or any type of heavy bottomed dish that can go from stovetop to oven) Start frying your onions and mushrooms. After about 5 minutes, add the coriander and cook for another few minutes until golden brown.

ground cumin

Scoop it out and place in a separate bowl. Take your beef and dab it with paper towel. Sprinkle the flour over the beef and mix it through.

beef chunks

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

beef chunks

Melt the butter in the casserole dish and brown the beef.

beef chunks

Re-add the onion and mushroom mix to the beef.

tomato paste

Mix through. Add the tomato paste & garlic and mix through.

tomato paste

Increase the heat, add the white wine, mix through and add the chopped tomatoes.

beef stock cubes

Crumble the beef cubes over and mix through.

beef stock cubes

Place the rosemary sprig on top.

green beans

Put the lid on and place it in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, add the green beans and mix through.

green beans

Place back in the oven without the lid and cook for the remaining 20 minutes.

beef stew

As soon as you remove it from the oven, add the sugar and mix through.

beef stew

Have a taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

beef stew

Serve with steaming basmati or wild rice.

beef stew

Cheeky lamb pie

25 Jan

pie

Most of us have this notion that we cook a leg of lamb for Christmas or Easter. NOT my man with his rumbling tummy!! He tends to come home with a huge piece of meat, and then stares at me with a cheeky smile. In this case, you’ve guessed what it is! He also has a way of putting in his order at the right time too!!

Our friends Franco & Sonia moved back to London from Spain, so I cooked a Sunday roast with this leg of lamb. ( recipe on the blog) Is it strange that they don’t eat as much as we do? We might eat a little too much! I won’t comment further, because we then had a fair amount of meat left. The ultimate – when you can make a pie from venison, lamb or a good cut of beef roast. My oh my!!!!

This doesn’t occur, ever! A very cheeky dish and most people will say its a waste of good meat to use lamb in a pie, but I can tell you, no wastage there!! Try it for yourself and we’ll see.

mushrooms

Ingredients

1 dish of lamb leftovers ( mine was about 2 big handfuls of lamb)

1 x teaspoon of olive oil

2 x handfuls of mushrooms, chopped

1 x onion, roughly chopped

3/4 cup of red wine

1 1/2 teaspoons corn flour

1 x pack of all butter pastry

1 x egg

3 pinches of all purpose flour

salt & pepper to taste

mushrooms

Add olive oil to the pan. Fry the chopped onions until glassy. Add the mushrooms and fry until light brown. Now add  your lamb and start mixing through. After 5 – 7 minutes, add the corn flour.

onion & mushrooms

Mix through, ensuring it coats the mushrooms and  meat. Now add the red wine. Along with the heat and the corn flour,  it will now start to thicken the red wine into a tasty gravy.

Cook this on a low heat, until thickened. Put aside and allow to cool.

diced lamb

Take a little bit of butter or non-stick cooking spray and spray a 30cm square Pyrex dish or any dish of a similar size.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Sprinkle the flour on a kitchen top surface and swish it around a little bit to give you an area where you’ll be rolling out your puff pastry. Now get your rolling pin and start rolling!!!

puff pastry

I usually place one piece of pastry in the bottom of the dish, then I dish in the pie filling. Beat the egg and get yourself a little basting brush. Brush the edges on the bottom half of the pastry. Place the other half on top and gently squeeze the edges together. If you have any pastry left, cut little forms with cookie cutters and place it on top.

rolling pin

Brush your whole pie with the egg.

beaten egg

Last step : take a sharp knife and make a tiny hole in the middle of the pie or use an adorable pie bird!

lamb pie

Bake in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes or until golden brown. The final step is to remove it from the oven and look at the hungry buggers’ faces, waiting for the very first piece of that pie and then decide who you’ll give it to first!

lamb pie

Our final Christmas celebration post.. who’s chicken

4 Feb

After all the meaty posts, I would think you would be happy to see something fresh like a salad! No such luck folks! There is a joke that is well known under Afrikaans South Africans that love their meat – ” I love meat, if I wanted  vegetables, I would have had chicken”, which basically explains that since the chicken eats a few lettuce leaves etc, you still get your veggie part of “five a day”!

Well, besides vegetarians –  who doesn’t like chicken! I don’t think you can really go wrong with it, unless you overcook it so badly it looks like cardboard prop food! So, DONT do that! ;-p I hope everyone enjoyed the Christmas special!

I always buy chicken quarters as I find that the drumstick part keeps the thigh part moist.. maybe its just an illusion, but this chicken is one of my favourite dishes!

Garlic Mediterranean chicken

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 x packs of chicken quarters (5-10 pieces)

500ml dry white wine

3 X whole  garlic , taken apart (skin on)

1 whole garlic, cut in half, skin on

2 x handfuls of fresh thyme

juice of 1 1/2 lemon

salt &  black pepper to taste

Browned chicken quarters ready for the oven

Browned chicken quarters ready for the oven

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celcius. Heat the olive oil in a pan and allow to become nice and hot. While this is heating up, season your chicken with salt and pepper. Place your chicken top side down in the olive oil. All the pieces need to be browned untill quite crispy, so turn when needed.

Transfer the chicken to an oven roasting dish, making sure all the juices of the chicken are transferred as well. Take the whole garlic, cut in half and place the cut side, facing down, in the roasting dish among the chicken. Pour the lemon juice over the chicken.

Season the chicken slightly with salt and black pepper again.Pour the white wine in the roasting tin, around the chicken. Add the loose garlic cloves to the white wine around the chicken, even placing some of them ON the chicken. Sprinkle big pieces of thyme on and around the chicken.

Christmas lunch meat celebration

Christmas lunch meat celebration

Place in the oven and cook for 45 – 50 minutes, until juices run clear, transfer to a serving dish, pour the juices in a little jug for gravy juice and there you go, wiola!

Beloved friends and good food

Beloved friends and good food

 

 

 

Follow with a beefy celebration roast

1 Feb

If you read my previous post, you will know that I am focusing on recipes that I created when I made our Christmas Feast. My tarzan is still dreaming about this. I always thought that I will never meet anyone else that enjoys a roast as much as him, but that was until I met our friend Daniel and his wife Emily. These two are from Venezuela, and I am telling you, they probably love their meat just as much as South Africans, if not more!

This was one of the reasons why we had such a meat feast on Christmas day, yes, my feeder symptoms are getting worse!

I remember the first time I had to cook a beef roast – I was terrified! From when I can remember, I have never seen my mother, or anyone else for that matter cook a beef joint. I think it is just not a popular choice in SA. However, I quickly found out that over here it is on top of the list! The secret to cooking a big beef joint is to make sure it is still pink inside.

The first time – I made the mistake to cook it as you would a pork shoulder – for a few hours.  With a beef roast, it only needs a maximum of an hour ( in my opinion), depending on the size. You guessed it, today I will share my beef roast recipe! If, as in my previous post, you DO have the time, take 200ml of the wine from the recipe, pour over the joint, cover with cling film and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.

Coriander beef roast

Coriander beef roast

 

Coriander, rosemary and red wine Beef Roast

1 x Beef roast joint (2-3kg)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 1/2 tablespoons of whole coriander seeds, roughly ground in a mortar & pestle

400ml red wine (preferably Shiraz)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

3 sprigs of  fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons of chopped garlic

pinch of salt

pinch of black pepper

1 large onion

Something that I have learnt over the last year ( which most of YOU probably knew already) is that it is always good to remove your meat from the fridge at least 30 – 45 minutes before you start preparing it to go into the oven. Its almost like the texture and flavour changes because of this. So, remember to take it out of the fridge. If you have marinated it overnight, remove it from the red wine, pat dry with kitchen towel and place on a work surface.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius. Get your roasting tin. Cut your onion in half. Place both, cut side down, along each other in the tin ( the distance of the size of your beef joint) as this will be the “foundation blocks” for the joint. The joint’s ends will be placed on the onion halves, allowing it to be lifted from the tin slightly.

Red wine coriander beef roast

Red wine coriander beef roast

Take all your spices (excluding the rosemary), salt & pepper and mix with the olive oil and garlic in a bowl. Now comes the messy part – scoop the mixture into your hands and massage it all over the joint. Place the joint on the onions. Now, pur the 200ml red wine ( or 400ml if you didn’t marinate overnight)  around the joint and toss the fresh rosemary in the wine, around the joint.

Cover with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Then, remove the foil, baste the beef with the red wine juices and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Meat Feast

Meat Feast