Tag Archives: Cooking

zesty and tangy summer chicken

4 Aug

From THE worst blogger in the world! I never seem to have enough time to do posts every day, not even once a week! Especially since summers in London are so short, I tend to say away from all technology, and I’m hoping this will pose as an excuse for my #noblognessdisease

asparagus

It has definitely caught up with me, since I’ve started to become a bit “low”, which is what happens when I’ve not been creative for some time.

I do hope this post will lift my spirits, and encourage your appetite!

 

mushroom

Zesty & tangy summer chicken

2 x teaspoons olive oil

season with Schwartz season all / chicken spice to taste

1 x pack of chicken thigh fillets

2 x tablespoons of capers

2 x handfuls of sliced button mushrooms

juice of a lemon

2  x handfuls of fresh oregano

2 x bunches of fresh, green asparagus

1 x red onion, finely chopped

2 x teaspoons of butter

30ml dry white wine

sprinkle of grana padano / freshly grated parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

mushroom onion

Heat the olive oil in the pan. While its heating up, season your chicken thighs with the season all / chicken spice.

mushroom asparagus

Cook the thighs about 7-10 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. You want it to become crispy on each side.

Meanwhile, while your chicken is cooking, take another pan and melt the butter in it. Add your mushrooms and gently fry them. While you’re frying them, check your chicken thighs. As soon as it has cooked crispy on both sides, add your browned mushrooms to the chicken.

asparagus and oregano

Mix through and add half of the lemon juice. Allow to simmer for a minute or two and then add the capers and white wine.

Take the remaining butter and add to the pan the mushrooms were cooked in.

asparagus and onion

Cook the asparagus with the freshly picked leaves of the oregano in the butter, season with salt and pepper and allow to grill in the pan for a few minutes. Now add the finely chopped red onion and mix.

oregano

mushroom and asparagus

After frying slightly,  add the remaining lemon juice and white wine. Allow it to simmer away slightly, but make sure the asparagus doesn’t overcook, or it will be soggy. You want it to stay firm. Sprinkle over a little bit of freshly grated parmesan, and you’ll sing!

assembled chicken

All you do now is dish it up!

assembled chicken

If you feel like it, you can always lean over to the posh side and add a cheeky poached egg on top, either one is really tasty!

assembled chicken

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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

 

Sweet Potato love

21 Jul

Sweet potato love

“Sweet potato is a tuberous crop and its plant is a creeper with heart shaped or lobed leaves.” Isn’t that a sign? Heart shaped leaves? Of course it is! This lovely little fellow might as well shoot little hearts out at you! It has so many great benefits that I cant include it here in my writing, otherwise you will be reading forever! A while back I went to the Gourmet Burger with the hubby – two for one, we can’t help ourselves ;-p To the point really, I decided to enjoy a slightly different burger and had a chorizo and sweet potato burger. Now my friends, of course by now you know, when it comes to eating, I don’t want the old boring, traditional thing. To me when something sounds nice, it should taste nice and my oh my, sweet potato and chorizo are a match made in heaven!!

How can you resist all that soft, sweet love! Just another example that “beauty is in the eye of beholder” or in this case, the taster ;-p Not that a sweet potato is particularly beautiful, suppose if you are into that rustic kind of thing, it might well be. ;-p Anyhow, I remember when I was little my mother would take a few sweet potatoes, wrap them in foil and place them in the oven. I never particularly wanted to eat them. I thought something that ugly and misshapen couldn’t possibly taste nice! However, when I saw my father eating it out of its skin after it was cooked to perfection, I wanted it! Since I can remember, the food he ate and enjoyed created this content expression on his face. Now how did that help anything? I’ll tell you, it made me eat my veggies! However, I never quite enjoyed it the way my dad did. When he ate veggies, it almost looked as if he was savouring a delicious, creamy chocolate! Maybe that was his special trick? Who knows, it worked!

Ever since, as the years went by, I started to love the sweet potato more and more! This is where I can start talking in my “bubba shrimp” voice from Forrest Gump – you can have sweet potato mash, sweet potato fries, sweet potato wedges, sweet potato pie, sweet potato fritters…. and I can go on and on. It is possible that something so ugly can turn into something so irresistible! Totally gobsmacked! After weeks of rain and dark, dreary miserable weather, I need my sweet potato! I am going to follow the route of my inspiration for this dish – The Gourmet Burger. However, I will make a warm chorizo and sweet potato salad, and let me tell you my friends; you will be coming back for more!! What is there to feel guilty about?

Now, I know my dad loves a sweet potato….so what would ultimately make his day besides, a sneaky, special delivery from Torino chocolates in town? He is a big fan of Spanish, Italian and French cured sausages and meat. If he could sit down to this, I am sure that when he closed his eyes he would start imagining himself in a Italian marketplace somewhere with Italians screaming at each other, children eating warm, freshly baked pastries and a few Italians singing while lazily strumming a guitar. Dad, this one is for you. Maybe,one day, soon, we will do this and all of us can turn our faces to the warm sun and enjoy a crisp glass of White Italian wine

Warm chorizo & sweet potato salad 

1 big, long chorizo sausage/ 4 small chorizo sausages cut in slices

3 sweet potatoes, cut in wedges, preboiled for 10 minutes

125g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 onion, finely sliced

2 courgettes, sliced in medium wedges

1 handful of french beans

olive oil for frying

ground cumin to sprinkle

Salt & pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of sugar

Balsamic glaze

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place your sweet potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with cumin and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 20 minutes. While these are cooking, drizzle a bit of olive oil in a heated frying pan and add your courgettes and green beans. Cook until tender, but still firm and add your chorizo slices.

They will release lovely juices. Cook until the juices are released. Flavour with salt to taste. Now, in a seperate small frying pan, add olive oil and fry your onions over a low heat. They must start caramelizing slightly, soft, but lightly browned.

Now add your cherry tomatoes. Fry until the tomatoes start realeasing a little bit of their juice and season with salt. Now add your teaspoon of sugar and mix well. Remove your sweet potato from the oven.

Squish them slightly with a fork. Place them in your plate. Plate the tomato and onion mixture on top of the sweet potato. Finally, top off with your vegetable chorizo mix.

Drizzle with a little bit of balsamic glaze and enjoy!

Wrapping up the monday blues

11 Apr

I am guilty again! One proud word will explain everything =BRAAI! So this is why I have not had any recent posts. No cooking, just the smell of braaivleis!! This adds to the blues I had today -having a lovely sunny weekend, and building furniture for our new little home, then having to wake up very early and go to work. I was very happy to start working today, but as I was sitting there, in the legal deparment, and believe me, (there is nothing legal about the boredom there), I thought to myself – Why do we do this? Why do we sit in little cubicles and do work that we don’t like in any possible way and that drives us to insanity? So that we can enjoy the more important things I suppose.

So this is why I have my blog, and this is where I was sitting and thinking about tonight’s supper. Since I am on a VERY boring, strict diet, I had to think of something different again that would make me happy to prepare and see the hubby enjoying it… not easy!! So there was mince, wraps (a multi-seed healthy version) and salad. This is what I came up with:

Mexican wraps without the bite 🙂

2 wraps

250g beef mince

2 tablespoons tomato puree

3 tablespoons Mrs Balls Chutney Original

2 teaspoons of dried coriander

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

1/2 can of tinned tomatoes

1 tin of kidney beans

2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

salt and pepper to taste

2 handfuls of grated cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons of salad cream /mayonaise

Add your olive oil, garlic, coriander and onions to a saucepan. Now fry the onions for 5 minutes. Add your tomato puree and some salt. Fry until the onions are glassy. Now add your mince and chutney. Fry until the mince is slightly brown and add your kidney beans. Mix through. Now add your tinned tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Now warm your wraps in foil in the oven for 5 – 7 minutes. Remove from the oven. Take your mayonaise and spread it over your wraps.

Now add your mince and bean filling onto the wraps. Sprinkle with your cheese, season with salt and black pepper. Now roll them into wraps.

Wrap them again in the foil and put in the oven for 7- 10 minutes until the cheese has melted. Serve with a crisp, light salad and enjoy!!

Footie steak & ale pie

6 Apr

Today, I felt really, really happy!! Even more happy than normal – sun, birds singing, lots of little pictures of my ever-improving little new garden 🙂 It is safe to say that today I truly was a desperate housewife! Woke up, made coffee, put the washing in, cleaned the house, hung the washing. Yup, then I walked down the street, bought flowers from the Bon Fleur flower shop and came home starting to plan my attack on the weeds! So, after a few scrapes and cuts, it was done and my plants were planted! What a cute, pretty sight! So some of the pictures that were in my mind formed itself in my little garden 🙂

Now it was time to make some happy, comfort food for the man – this is after I heard that there was a big football game on tonight. So I made him something that would make him feel very calm, and fill up his tummy and his mind with happy thoughts! This is now a test to see if it will keep him from getting too worked up while watching the footie!! So lets hold thumbs!!

As I am sitting here on the couch next to him, while writing this, he has stayed calm… , wait, or not! Just heard a scream!!! So, that’s a no then. Hmm. No sugar for this man tonight!! Maybe I should try and hide the coffee machine? Caffeinne cant be good when watching soccer? He would lose his mind! Ok, enough of the small talk, here we go with the recipe!!

1 pack of shortcrust pastry or puff pastry

1 egg

1/2 onion roughly chopped

7 mushrooms cut into slices

2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

1 tablespoon of butter

1 bottle of ale or beer ( I used Stella Artois)

350g beef goulash or stewing steak

2  1/2 tablespoons of gravy granules

1 teaspoon of sugar

handful of fresh thyme

Start rolling out your pastry, drizzle a bit of flour to prevent it from sticking to your rolling pin. Now either place them in individual small baking cups, or you can make one big pie in a big dish. Remember to grease your cups / pie dish. When placing them, allow enough space to hang over – this you will fold closed after putting in your filling.

Now get a bowl and put your cut pieces of steak in it and pour over your ale / beer. Leave to marinate while you are busy with the other ingredients. Add butter to a heated pan and the garlic. Now add the onion and fry until glassy.

Then you will add your mushrooms. Fry till almost done. Now get back to your steak that has been marinating in the beer. Take them out of the bowl and squeeze out the beer fluid. Make sure you squeeze this fluid over the bowl that the meat was marinating in, because you will use this. Now add it to the pan with the mushrooms and onion. Fry until almost browned and then add your gravy granules.

Mix through so that it dissolves slightly. Now add your beer / ale and mix gently. This will start to thicken, so you need it to simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Now add your sugar and thyme and mix through thoroughly so that the sugar dissolves in the sauce.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Scoop your filling into your pastry cups / dish. Now, fold over the overhanging pieces to that they look like a little blanket 🙂

Take your egg and brush each one – this will allow them to go smiley and golden 🙂 Bake them in your oven for about 20 minutes or until golden. This really is lovely, you can still taste a bit of the beer/ ale and it really is hearty added with the gravy. I served it up with a cucumber, chive, tomato and romaine lettuce salad. Serve up with whatever you feel like 🙂

French muffin breakfast treat!

13 Feb

There is a liitle problem with today’s post – the reason? I cooked a marvelous, beautiful meal last night ( if I reaaaaalllly have to blow my own trumpet),but due to the guests arriving early, us having to keep our little home neat for property viewers ALL the time, I really didn’t have time to stop and take photos.

However, I will tell you about what I made – roasted rosemary potatoes, braised lamb shank, mixed roasted vegetables and a rocket salad with pomegranite, cucumber,cherry tomatoes, parma ham and balsamic glaze. Yum! Finished off with key lime pie! It was simply beautiful.

So this is where my post comes in for today – all the food and wine, I really was exhausted. I woke up with a rumbling tummy, screaming for egg. Yes, that does sound very funny. So, instead of french toast, I wanted muffins, something different, with a more “crunchy” taste.  I wanted to indulge in something without too much indulging ;-p  I was very happy with the outcome 🙂

French Muffin Breakfast treat

4 english muffins, halved

4 eggs

salt & black pepper

6 rashers of bacon

syrup/honey/ figs in syrup to serve

butter

Heat a non-stick frying pan and add some butter to the pan. Whisk your eggs together and season with salt & pepper. Now dip your muffins one by one in the egg. Squeeze it a little bit so it soaks up the egg. Place in the frying pan and let brown on both sides. As you put your last few muffins in the pan, place your bacon around them.

Remove the muffins when done, but keep on cooking the bacon until slightly crisp. Now, use the lefover egg you used for dipping, and make scrambled egg in the same pan. Do not cook too long, eggs only need a few minutes. Now drizzle your muffins with syrup/honey/ or cut pieces of fig and place on your muffin and top it off with the crispy bacon. This certainly is a wonderful sunday morning treat!! Especially if your eggs are called “happy egg”.  Enjoy!!

Killer Paella for the seafood addict ;-p

29 Jan

Firstly, before I even start telling you about this recipe.. put on some cuban or spanish music… it’s friday! Well, it was when I made my paella!! I came home, put on some cuban music (Putumayo) and poured myself a glass of white wine. The music however, is what put me in my element! Back home, my dad would put this on, playing from his huge speakers and automatically it would put you in a mood where you want to shake that booty your mama gave you! ;-p

That’s exactly what my mama and I do!! We each have a glass of wine, start chopping away on ingredients for whatever it is we are making and talk about everything and anything, while at the same time chasing the men out of the kitchen! They are always hungry! What made cooking fun in our house? My dad was quite a traveller and he took my mom along , so they enjoyed wonderful, honest food from different countries. yum!

This is what I am getting at – although we are an afrikaans family, we are definitely not a traditional afrikaans family.Let me give you an example: When I was little,  I started a lifelong,  loving relationship with olives! Yes, my dad hid those from me too! Do you know a 6 year old that would kill for olives? I was one!

So down to the point.. we love vegetables, salad, fruit and beautiful flavours!! Lucky me- my mom has always been a brilliant cook and she passed on her passion for cooking to me.  I think that is what makes her more beautiful, not that she needs it, because she is the most beautiful woman EVER! She is feminine,  a brilliant cook,  a wonderful, loving mother and partner and would do anything for her friends! i miss her sooooo much!  Ok, I know,  back to the point – when you have fresh ingredients, combine them with love and passion (exactly what my mother does) and your final product will be irresistable!

So here we go .. I had lovely ingredients lined on my counter.. a beautiful jamie oliver frying pan,( one of my babies and wonderful gift from the hubby) great music, a  lovely glass of wine… and an urge to spoil my husband with a beautiful dish for supper… So, paella was on the menu 🙂 Here we go!

Use your biggest frying pan you have – or your biggest saucepan – I used my Jamie Oliver pan, but halfway through transferred it to one of my Le Creuset ware pieces.

Olive oil or chilli oil if you love a bit of bite or if you’re feeling a bit cheeky!

100g Chorizo slices/ salami

5 teaspoons of crushed garlic

1 teaspoon paprika

1 wine glass of dry white wine

Salt & Pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 red pepper roughly chopped

1 yellow pepper roughly chopped

1 orange pepper / green pepper roughly chopped

150g green beans

1 can of tinned tomatoes

1 onion chopped

200g grilled peppers(tinned fine) or grill your own ones in the oven

300g Paella rice

700ml chicken stock

250g chicken thigh fillets cut into medium size pieces

250g clams/oysters (tinned is fine)

150g squid or calamari rings

220 g shrimp

300g prawns

250g  mussels scrubbed and washed

Drizzle your pan with the oil. Heat the pan and start snipping in the chorizo/salami with scissors into your pan. Let it sizzle for about 5 minutes. Now add your garlic, chopped red, yellow and orange/green pepper, together with your chopped onion to the chorizo. Add half of the chopped parsley. Now sprinkle with the paprika. Season with salt and pepper and fry the ingredients together for another 5 minutes. Now add the chicken.

Brown the chicken for about 5 minutes and add the grilled peppers. Add your paella and stir through gently so the rice is combined with all the flavours in the pan. Pour in the white wine. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and mix through. Pour in the chicken stock. Stir gently for about 15 minutes. Make sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom.

After 15 minutes, add the mussels,prawns, clams/oysters, prawns and squid/calamari along with the green beans. Stir around for about 10 minutes. Now add your lemon juice and mix around gently. If your paella looks slightly dry, you can add a little extra stock to make it more silky. Taste and season if needed. Now add the rest of the chopped parsley, black pepper and enjoy!!