Tag Archives: Bacon

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

Porcini Mushroom Edemame Risotto

8 Feb

A perfect love affair! I’ve never met anyone that does not appreciate a good risotto. Its just always so moreish, no matter what you add to it. Its comforting, warm, creamy and it only takes 30 minutes to make! Yes, I know a lot of people tend to avoid making risotto, because they feel it takes too long and you have to “wait” for it. I don’t necessarily agree. The therapeutic part is when you stir, and that’s all you have to do. Give it the love it deserves and it will love you back three times more! Risotto is as flexible as pasta. You can add whatever you want. My favourite though, will always be a mushroom risotto. Especially with dried porcini’s it lends a slightly wild and rich, earthy taste to the dish. Whenever I have no idea what to cook and our fridge is empty from meat for a roast on a Sunday, I turn to risotto. Its always there for me in my food cupboard and it may just be the big lion’s best friend. If I have EVER seen someone eat copious amounts of risotto, that’s my man with his mouth filled to the rims! porcini

Porcini Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients

1 x pack of dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup of fresh, chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups of dry white wine

1 x teaspoon crushed garlic

2 x cups Arborio rice

1 pack of bacon, cut into small bite size pieces

1 x onion, finely chopped

60g butter

2 x tablespoons olive oil

juice of one lemon

salt & pepper to taste

1 x cup fresh soya / edamame beans

1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan

1/2 cup of chicken stock.

500ml hot water

risotto Place the porcini mushrooms in a measuring jug. Pour the boiling water over the mushrooms and allow to stand. Meanwhile, add the butter and the olive oil to a wide,big pan. Gently fry the onions for until glassy. bacon Add the bacon and cook for about 5 – 8 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and mix through, making sure all the rice is glazed with the butter and olive oil. onion Pour in the white wine and mix through. When the liquid has almost been absorbed by the rice, add a little bit of the porcini mushroom liquid. lemon Stir through again. The secret to risotto is that you must keep stirring, and as soon as the liquid has been absorbed, you add some more again and keep stirring. Lemon juice Alternate your liquid with the chicken stock and the mushroom liquid. edamame beans For step by step, I borrowed a link from WikiHow to show those that might feel they’re not sure how much liquid to add at once etc. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Risotto-Rice lemon juice When you have used half of the liquid, add the mushrooms and the soaked porcini mushrooms. edamame beans Mix through and keep stirring until all the liquid has been used. edamame beans Add the edamame beans and the lemon juice and mix through. risotto Taste the risotto and season with salt and pepper. risotto Mix through the parmesan cheese.Plate up and grate over a little more parmesan cheese, and tuck in! risotto

Tuna Melt Casserole

1 Feb

You know what they say: A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it. Where in this case, I know everyone has their little special touch for their casserole. Mine? Two things, wine & cheese! Best combination, whether you use them together in food or just as is, from where I come from in SA, it is definitely a winning pair!

This was last weekend’s indulgent Sunday coach potato food. As you know, its pretty cold in London at the moment, so no one is going out. Best thing to do is have a proper lie in, coffee in hand and then when you get up start cooking a heart warming casserole! My big guy tends to have the best ideas when I ask him on a Sunday morning what he’ll like for lunch. Even if it is a very straight forward dish, I strive to make it extra yummy and extra indulgent! Lets just say there’s no shortage of cheese in this dis. It can be gluten free by using gluten free pasta, and corn flour for the béchamel sauce ( if not using cream).

For those that choose to make the béchamel sauce, you can click on this link for a step by step guide. Just before I turn off the heat, for the béchamel sauce, I add a handful of grated cheese and mix it through until melted.

onion

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-B%C3%A9chamel-Sauce

Tuna Melt Casserole

Ingredients

Rigatoni pasta ( cooked to packet instructions)

1 x onion roughly chopped

1 x handful of chopped mushrooms

1 x teaspoon of butter

1 x teaspoon of olive oil

1 x cup bacon lardons / pieces

2 x tins of chunky tuna

1 teaspoon of chopped garlic

Salt & pepper to taste

1 x cup of cream ( if not making béchamel sauce)

2x cups of mature cheddar, grated

pinch of nutmeg

2 x tomatoes, finely sliced

1 x cup of chicken soup sachet

1 x teaspoon of Italian herbs

1 x white wine

chopped mushrooms

Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Fry your onion in the pan for about 5-8 minutes and add the bacon lardons with the mushroom. Add the garlic and mix through.

chopped garlic

Add tuna and fry together for 5 minutes. In the meantime, add your pasta to boiling water and cook according to cooking instructions.

chopped mushrooms

Now add the soup sachet and mix through. Increase the heat and add the white wine. Mix through and lower the heat again. Keep mixing, as the wine will thicken due to the soup powder.

butter

If you’re using cream instead of béchamel, add it now and mix through. Add the pinch of nutmeg and mix through. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Flavour with salt and black pepper to taste.

grated cheese

If you’re using béchamel, mix the tuna, mushroom & bacon mixture into the sauce and mix through. Add this to your cooked pasta and mix through. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.

bechamel

Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta, distributing it evenly.

cooking wine

Place all the tomato slices evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle with the Italian herbs, season with salt and black pepper.

pasta

Cook in the oven under the grill until the cheese is super crispy!

pasta

To add a little extra indulgence, I’ve sliced over a little avocado for extra creaminess!

pasta

Pantry pasta & kitchen madness

28 Aug

It really, truly is when I am in the kitchen. I might love cooking, but it’s as if there is a 3 year old child in the kitchen and it is even worse when baking. After my little knife in the arm incident, with my friend the dishwasher, the hubby behaves like a prowling, protective lion – he is too scared to leave me alone. Now, if he hears something falling, it takes him 2 seconds and he is in the kitchen! As I was baking yesterday to fill up my cookie jars, he must have been tired, as I kept on dropping tins and wooden spoons and basically everything a 3 year old drops, breaks and destroys when in a kitchen. So you can imagine how many times he ran up and down! What can I say, I am a VERY clumsy lady!

Also, a trait that I got from my mother, I have a distinct way of moving my nose around and up and down at “shop bought” cookies. Of course, my mother always made them herself as it was also too expensive to buy them in the shop, so naturally I would be a “cookie snob” 🙂 I completely went off the rail yesterday! I baked finely chopped, dark chocolate oat cookies and biscotti. The biscotti recipe is my mother’s, so I knew it would be perfect.  My neighbour also enters my post today. She is italian. Many times we talk over the fence and share tips about growing vegetables and flowers.

Come to think of it, while I was outside, waiting for the biscotti to finish baking, she handed me a handful of cherry tomatoes, obviously grown by her. This is what brings me to “pantry pasta”. We also went out last night, so I had to cook something that I had available, while still covered in flour all over!  Having a handful of fresh and sweet cherry tomatoes gave me the idea of plain, natural flavours.

Back to the biscotti,  the following compliment, I give credit to my mother – My neighbour Ave, told me this morning, that they call it “cantucci” and it is her husband’s favourite. She said it was absolutely delicious and her being Italian can’t find fault with it, and will have to ask me for MY recipe! Proud daughter with a very big smile!:-) So there you go mum, you know you are the perfect woman 🙂 So let’s start with the pasta, then we’ll move onto the biscotti and I think I will leave the dark chocolate oat cookies for another day 🙂 Don’t worry, I WILL add it 🙂

Pantry Pasta

Linguine pasta

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 pack of bacon, cut into bite size pieces

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan

50ml of dry white wine

6-7 slices of jalapeno, pips removed and finely sliced

2 handfuls of slices mushrooms

Put some water on to boil for your pasta. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the olive oil, garlic and jalapeños. Mix through. Add the mushrooms. Allow them to brown. Add your pasta to the boiling, salted water and cook till al dente. Now add the bacon and the tomatoes. Toss lightly while the bacon is cooking.

When the bacon is done, add the lemon juice and white wine. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Flavour with salt and pepper. Add half of your parmesan to the mixture and toss. Now, drain your pasta, allow at least 1 tablespoon of pasta water left in the pan with the pasta. Spoon the pasta in the pan with the bacon & mushroom mixture. Toss lightly.

Cover with a lid and leave to stand for 5 – 10 minutes. The pasta will absorb the flavours and the juices. When done, dish up and sprinkle each bowl of pasta with the remaining parmesan, plain, simple and lovely!

Mom’s biscotti or Biscotti Della Nocciola

500ml plain flour

250ml caster sugar

100g roasted hazelnuts

5ml vanilla essence

pinch of salt

5ml baking powder

2 eggs

zest of two lemons, finely grated

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Sieve your flour,sugar,baking powder & salt in together in a large mixing bowl and put aside.

Beat your eggs, zest & vanilla essence together in a separate bowl.  Add this to your flour mixture, along with the nuts and mix with a wooden spoon to a soft,but  manageable dough.  Divide the dough in two. Roll in cylinder forms. Place fairly far apart on a butter greased baking tray as they rise a fair amount. Sprinkle with flour and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Take out of the oven and allow to cool slightly. Now, cut in thin to medium slices. Place them back on the baking tray and allow to “dry” on a cooling rack in the oven at 100 degrees Celsius for 3o minutes. Take out of the oven and enjoy  🙂

Insalata caprese –and become the bee’s knees!

9 Aug

Today, I see myself as the bee’s knees ;-p Freshly cooked dinner every night, working woman, wife extraordinaire… you bet ya! The reason for the self praise?? It’s women’s day in SA, and I might not be in South Africa, but I am still a South African! So happy Women’s day to me! :-p Come to think of it, from the riots that have been going on over here, if almost feels just like home! Ahhhh, nothing like violence, rage and angry, bored, uneducated people breaking everything down to give you a nice, warm and cuddly feeling inside!

Moving on…. this wont really be a caprese salad as such, but more like a bit of inspiration. I will be making a caprese style, baked wrap. The whole pastry thing won’t work as after last night, the man overindulged in his Monday pig out pie and feels he is up to something lighter today. So I will be using wholegrain wraps as a base for a style of a healthy pizza. I promise you, this will be a quick one and you will be enjoying a lovely meal in no time 🙂

After having little tomato trees with bunches and bunches of tomatoes on them, staying green, I thought this will be the last time that I grow tomatoes in England. However, I think they heard me, because all of a sudden they decided to pull on the red jackets! Now, I have so many tomatoes, I don’t know what to do! Originally, I wanted to make a lovely caramelized tomato, onion and feta tart. The beauty of the French…. well, back to earth – the hubby won’t enjoy that.

He’s had enough of pies….. and tarts for that matter, I mean they’re all over London – especially on the northern line ;-p So there goes my little brain spark for today… moving on. I will be using ALL my tomatoes, some leftover bacon in the fridge, fresh basil from my garden, some lovely and plump olives and of course, mozzarella. All of this will result in almost NO washing up, lots of vitamin C from the tomatoes, fluffy white clouds of mozzarella and rich indulgence of the bacon.. .. naturally, all of these lovely little friends = Pure and utter happiness!!  So by now, I am hungry and I really want to tuck in, so here we go with the recipe.

About 6-8 tomatoes, finely sliced in their little round form

250g of mozzarella

2 handfuls of fresh basil

2 handfuls olives black olives

Half a pack of bacon, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

4 large or medium wraps

1 Teaspoon of sunflower oil

Olive oil for drizzling

Preheat $your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Drizzle your oil in a heated frying pan. Start frying your bacon until done. Now, take your wrap and place one layer of
sliced tomatoes all over. Season with some salt and pepper.

Now add the rest of your ingredients.

Top off with some black pepper and place in the oven for about 15 – 20
minutes or until the wrap is nice, golden and crispy.

In the name of “Money Supermarket” – Simples!  Enjoy!

Colour me beautiful…because I’m worth it… (on a budget)

6 Jul

Colour! I am one of those that wake up in the morning and think of what colour I am going to wear… note, colour, not clothes! I believe that colour plays a great role in our lives. Who wants to wear black everyday!? For goodness sake, you’re not mourning your life away!! Besides the point, but whenever I have been on a budget, I will go and buy cheap, BUT colourful clothes and they have made me feel like a beautiful, spring flower! ;-p  After being at home for quite a while, I have relied on my colourful thoughts and creativity to come up with different and lovely colourful recipes.

I dare to say that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy colourful, delicious and beautiful food in your own home and this is a budget meal to prove it. We all deserved to be pampered.. and we’re all worth it.. aren’t we 🙂 This is where the hubby comes in…. Before we got married, he ate tuna almost every day. This also had to do with the fact that he was saving and unlike me will not spend most of his money on food… this reminds me again, all is not well up in my head. Anyway, there are a lot of things you can do with tuna, however, he is not really one for chopping and fussing and thinking about food the whole day like I do. When that beautiful tummy of his is full, he is happy, no jokes! Easy to please isn’t he! However, the hungrier he gets, the grumpier he gets, so no fantasizing about new recipes in his head!

After this loooooonng explanation, it comes down to the fact that half of our food cupboard is stacked with Tuna. And not just ANY tuna, note the “Tesco Value” label on the tuna tin ;-p…. wait for it… BUDGET!  This (most of the time) hungry man of mine, thought it quite clever to point it out to me that he can’t remember the last time he had tuna, which would imply the last time was probably before we were married! tsssk tssssk! This was definitely a suggestion ( in his own language) that we should start eating all this tuna. After all, some idiotic female singer once called it “chicken from the sea”, not that it is, but basically stating that there is a lot of protein in this. Healthy!

When I was small, my mom – and I’m sure most parents,  told me to eat my veggies and fruit because I’ll get bright, sparkly eyes, beautiful skin and hair like an angel…. (Not THAT magical, I thought it was like a magic potion and will turn you into a beautiful princess with long hair!) and stupidly enough, I still believe one little bite of fresh veg or fruit will make me beautiful!     ;-p What you put in you get out, right…. right?!!??

So after painting again, I almost wanted to paint with my food too!! I worked on this recipe in my head the whole day already…. cheap, crunchy, fresh, colourful and most of all, like the hubby would say… “beaaaauuuuuuutiful”!  Most of these ingredients all of you have in your fridge… besides radish. Probably the only reason why this was included in my choppy and cheeky tuna salad is because it has a beautiful pinkish-red colour!! I think this is one of the few vegetables that don’t really have a lot of taste, but combine it with the other ingredients and the apple and your hubby might think you put a spell in this special little bugger of a salad! Everything fresh and healthy, so no guilt here.. only more beauty! Watch out for the curly hair and rosy cheeks! After all, you’re worth it!  ;-p

1 pack of back bacon

1 spring onion

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved and halved again

1 carrot grated with a vegetable peeler

1 baby gem lettuce or any salad leaves of your choice

5 small radishes, finely sliced

1 apple, finely sliced

1 tin of tuna chunks in brine

handful of crumbled feta

Dressing:

handful of mint, chopped

5 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of vinegar

3 tablespoons of mayonaise

1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Put your bacon on a tray and grill in the oven until crispy. Put aside to cool. Wash your lettuce and shred it in a beautiful bowl. Add your cherry tomatoes, carrots, radishes and apple. If you’d like, drizzle your apple with a little bit of lemon juice, it will prevent it from going brown.

Now break the tuna slightly apart to toss in your salad.

For the dressing, add all the ingredients together in a shaker and shake it all about!! If your bacon is cooled down by now, break it up in little pieces and scatter in the salad.

Toss the salad around with your hands. Lastly, drizzle over your salad dressing and enjoy with some lovely freshly baked ciabatta! 🙂

1st Date Pasta

3 Jun

yes, this sounds very funny, I know, but then again, I cant think of a time that I didn’t have a ridicilous title for my posts.I read about a girl today that has dyslexia and everyday she opens the dictionary and chooses a word. So I thought about my word for the past WEEK -Frustration: Frustration is a common emotional response to opposition. Related to anger and disappointment, it arises from the perceived resistance to the fulfillment of individual will. The greater the obstruction, and the greater the will, the more the frustration is likely to be.

Yes, this is me ( typing it all with one hand, which might even increase the frustration),feeling uesless. So you can imagine what it must be like for that man of mine. My mother always said to me, even if you start feeling sorry for yourself, think about everything that is wonderful. I have a lot of these happy-filled bubbles 🙂

So, as I was sitting outside on my deckchair (desperate housewife-style), I looked around at my beautiful flowers, listened to the birds singing, and just the normal sounds that I have become familiar with ( Siren of a ambulance every 5 minutes ;-p)I fell instantly blessed -smelling a scent of a flower that I remember from my first date with my hubby…… the mischievous face of the fierce lion cub entering my mind, which still makes me smile. 🙂

It was a hot day, filled with the scent of flowers and our date was in Stellenbosch, in the courtyard of a beautiful restaurant. I remember when I walked in as he was waiting for me, looking up, thinking what a beautiful man, and what a terrible mistake. There and then I knew I was in love already and he was flying back to another country and my heart will be broken forever,dramaqueen!! The other part of the story was that I already looked at the menu earlier that day and decided I was having the Salmon pasta with cream, feta and roasted tomatoes. Coincidently, the hubby put the same order in for himself, so this is how the scent of a flower brought me to the memory of our first date, more so, a very similar dish that I made and never blogged about. So clearly, you know by now that this recipe is dedicated to my lovely, ever so handsome, mischievous hubby, because I still love him more that words can dare to describe,every day.

1st Date Pasta

2 salmon steaks

2 handfulls of cherry tomatoes

juice of 1 lemon

4 pieces of bacon cut into medium sized pieces

1/2 leek chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 block of feta cheese

handfull of fresh thyme

1 teaspoon garlic

250ml cream / soya cream

salt/pepper

2 cups of rigatoni/penne pasta

handful of freshly grated parmesan

Place your salmon and cherry tomatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and grind over some black pepper and salt. Put in preheated oven of 200 degrees celcius. Cook the salmon for 15 minutes and roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes. While this is cooking, heat a pan on the stove and add your garlic to the pan and pour in some olive oil. Fry your leek until soft, but stil firm and add your bacon.Fry until the bacon is almost cooked and add your lemon juice,thyme and peas.

Start boiling water for your pasta and remember to put salt in the water. When your salmon is done, rougly break it into pieces and add to your bacon mixture. Now add your cream and feta roughly broken into pieces and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Lastly, add your cherry tomatoes and mix it through gently. When your pasta is done, toss it with your salmon sauce and sprinkle with parmesan, plenty of love and enjoy!