Tag Archives: casserole

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.



Tuna Melt Casserole


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.


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.


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.


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


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



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.


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.


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


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

Chutzpah chicken!!

23 Aug

Or… now that I think of chicken.. wobbly chicken neck!!! This is my new name for my fellow passengers on the train in the morning. A floppy chicken neck as their sleeping heads move with the train’s rhythm, which I might add has become very entertaining in the morning. That is the lifestyle here at the moment. It seems like everyone’s lifestyle has increased with (dare I say it) the speed of Usain Bolt’s world record! No time, only rushing.. everywhere.. the whole time…so maybe the “headless chicken” is a better comparison for the last few months. Tonight I want to make a dish with some chutzpah!


Something that will make me slow down, smell the food, taste it, relax and enjoy! Usually, it is really busy, but I still find time to photograph my food, think about recipes and actually do my blog posts. I have decided to do this today, no matter how tired I am or what time it is. This is my little energy patch.. it keeps me smiling and happy and inspired J So just because I focused myself to do a post tonight, I am inspired with a new idea! Or not.. maybe just in the mood for comforting home cooking… to be honest.. my mom’s cooking. This brings me to say that she is coming to visit… So I am sure mom will spoil her “babies” once she is here J Hoorah!! Cant wait!!!


Some leftover red wine.. some chicken thighs.. some mushrooms.. olives.. why don’t I just toss them all together and make a little party dish.. since it is almost Friday.. AND since this will be a long weekend J


Celebration Chutzpah Chicken


1 pack of chicken thighs

2 handfuls of mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 red onion, roughly chopped

1 heaped teaspoon of chopped garlic

Handful of fresh thyme

Handful of olives

1 cup of red wine

1/2 cup of white wine

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 tablespoons of corn flour

Salt & pepper to taste


Add olive oil to a heated casserole dish like Le Creuset or anything similar. Brown your chicken. Remove and place aside.

Now add your onion, mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Cook until the onions are browned. Now, add your chicken and mix through. Add salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the cornflour and mix through.

Now, add the red wine, cover and simmer on medium heat for about 45 minutes. 10 minutes before you dish up, add the olives. Quick and happy all in one casserole dish!!  Serve with rice… and maybe a few glasses of full bodied red wine ;-p


Nadia’s Hunt(ers chicken)

24 Nov

HUNT – referring to “hunting” – Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law. The species which are hunted are referred to as game, and are usually mammals and migratory or non-migratory gamebirds.

What a wonderful description. I feel like hunting the last few days.. oh, but not just any hunt. I am on a hunt to kill my “migratory poaching handyman”. It might not be legal and therefore, I might have to re-think my title of hunt to poach. That is what I feel like doing 🙂 For the past week we have not had hot water. No hot water also means no indoor heating, which, if you do a little bit of math equals to a number of heated phonecalls and thinking about how I will put this idiot’s head under our tap and make him get brainfreeze… oh… for about… FOREVER, which might then add up to a slight smile on my face ( which now actually requires botox after all this fighthing about getting hot water).

As my man is all tough and muscle, throwing a Rocky attitude after visiting the gym regularly, this whiff of cold water didn’t seem to bother him all that much, until he realised how much it bothered me ;-p A man is a very tough creature, but at one point, they too need heat, and let me tell you darling, bodyheat isn’t enough and really not very romantic as this stage when anger levels are way over the limit.

My number one enemy is being cold, which makes me angry, which makes me agressive and therefore makes me very, very dangerous 🙂 Then why not make dinner that is called “Chicken Hunters Stew”. I just wish I could legally hunt today, because I actually only need one shot  🙂 This makes me think of “one sheet gives you plenty” ad on tv, because one shot will definitely give me plenty to smile about 🙂

Attempting the impossible,  I hope that this dish will warm us up and hopefully it will not fuel my temper 🙂 So listen up boys and gals… this dish is an easy one pot wonder, and delicious for the minimal effort that is put in it 🙂 I hope all of you out there enjoy your hot water, or even your target practice 😉

Hunters Chicken

1 pack of chicken drumstick legs

1 whole garlic, slightly crushed

500ml dry red wine

salt & pepper to taste

2 sprigs of rosemary

4- 5 bay leaves

3 tablespoons of plain flour

1 red onion, rougly chopped

2 handfulls of mushrooms

2 handfuls of black/green olives or one of each, pitted

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

Rice to serve

Season your chicken with salt and pepper. Place in a casserole dish. Toss in your garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and red wine. Put the lid on and allow to marinate for 30 min.

If you have time, you can marinate it overnight in the fridge. After marinating, pour out the red wine into a measuring jug. Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Chop up the garlic. Add the olive oil to your casserole dish. Pat your chicken dry and dust it with the flour and fry it in the olive oil.Remove  and put aside. Add your onions and mushrooms. Fry for about 8 minutes.

Return your chicken to the casserole, add the olives, chopped tomatoes, garlic and reserved red wine marinade.

Place in the oven for 1 – 1/2 hours.

Remove from the oven and enjoy with jasmine rice.



Cheery Chicken

5 Jul

What can possibly be cheery about chicken…. or for normal (not me) people, even food…. Well, I recieved quite a few emails from a very dear friend of mine today. I have known her for about 9 years, which still amazes me. She is probably my first foodie fan!! Whenever I had a dinner party back in South Africa, I knew she would be the first guest to confirm, well and her hubby that is, but since I see them as one person, I don’t think I have to mention him ;-p

If possible, it would be them that might have invented the “hhhhmmmmmmm” sound effects when one enjoys a great meal! It is quite possible that there might have been times where the food wasn’t that great, but I like to believe it was my cheery personality that made them forget about that ;-p Something that I admire about my friend Nikki, is that she is always cheery, enjoys to chat with me over a glass of wine about the ” terrible, hard and emotional” life of a artist – the “no one understands us” trait ! Dramaqueen no 2! ;-p  Add to this, that she always appreciates the small things in life and realises the beauty in it, makes me miss her terribly! So, after speaking to her today, I know she has had a hard day and would love a nice, warm, home cooked meal!

This is where I will start moving over to my infomercial voice – If you sign up to my blog now, you will recieve lovely and hearty FREE recipes, which no other individual will supply….. BUT there is more!! By reading this blog, you will recieve a recipe today to put everything together in only 5 minutes, put it in the oven, sit back, relax and wait for it to develop into a lovely, hearty and cheery meal! But.. there is MORE! By reading this recipe, it will also supply you with a slight smile of completely how ridiculous it is that you are finding it entertaining, for FREE!

Enough with all the bull, this recipe is dedicated to my friend Nikki, if I could, this dish would have waited for her at home already to enjoy when she walks through the door. So, this is a quick, all in one casserole, whole chicken recipe. Simple, tasty and cheers you up in no time!

1 whole chicken

juice of one lemon

3 tablespoons of malt vinegar ( if you dont have this, take redwine vinegar and mix it with a teaspoon of sugar)

1 1/2 cup of Orzo ( small grainy type of pasta)

Butter for basting

1 whole Garlic clove,broken into their normal individual cloves, skin still on

Olive oil

1 red onion, cut in quarters with skin still on

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1 teaspoon of cumin powder

salt & pepper

Tinned broad beans or fresh beans

1 glass of dry white wine

Get a nice deep casserole dish that you can use on the stove, as well as in the oven. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Drizzle your casserole dish with olive oil and fry your onions, garlic and cumin seeds for about 5 minutes. Now, place your chicken on top of the onions and garlic etc. Rub the top of the chicken with butter, almost massaging it. Now sprinkle your cumin over the chicken. Squeeze over your lemon juice and add the white wine. Flavour with salt and pepper and put in the oven to cook for about 40 minutes.

Remove the lid now and cook for another 10 minutes.

Now, take it out of the oven, and add your vinegar, beans and orzo and mix through. Should you need more liquid, add more white wine. Mix through.  Cover with the lid and cook for another 9 minutes. Remove from oven, cut your chicken and serve up with your beans and orzo!