Tag Archives: herbs

Easter festival celebration

5 May

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It has been more than a year since I last posted on my blog, normal excuses are the ones that come to mind, busy lifestyle, rushed, not time to sit down and just enjoy the small things. Today, after a relaxed lunch with my beautiful friend Louise, I’ve been nudged to post a blog again. After all, she was the one that asked me what happened?! Life. Rushing to work, rushing from work to gym, rushing home from gym to cook a quick supper, have an hour and go to bed to do the same thing all over again. Well, today, I take some time to post one of our yearly celebrations we have in our home.

Living abroad, your friends become your family and each celebration is a special one. Each year, we all sit down together around a table groaning under too much food and wine, and all the diets and healthy lifestyles are out of the window for one day. I can’t treasure this time in Easter enough! So this post will be a long one, and I hope to post more often after this one.

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Beetroot, goats cheese & candied pecan salad

1 x pack of cooked beetroot

2 x packs of good quality goats cheese

150g pecans

1 x large pack of lambs lettuce

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

50 ml extra virgin olive oil + extra 10 ml olive oil

2 teaspoons of freshly chopped thyme

60 ml white wine vinegar

pinch of salt

half teaspoon of crushed garlic

pinch of freshly ground black pepper

50 g icing sugar

Take 10 ml of olive oil and pour it over the fresh thyme. Crush roughly and sprinkle it over cut pieces of goats cheese. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Place the pecans in a colander. Boil some water and pour it over the pecans. Place the pecans a bowl and sieve the icing sugar over the pecans. Mix through thoroughly with your hands, until the pecans are coated with the icing sugar. Place the pecans on a non stick baking tray and roast it in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes, taking time to turn them so they don’t burn.

When done, remove the pecans from the oven and allow to cool. Mix the mustard, olive oil, vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper and shake.

Place the lettuce in your salad bowl and arrange the beetroot, cut into pieces on the lettuce. Roughly break and sprinkle the goats cheese over the salad leaves. Toss the candied pecans over the salad. Now pour over the dressing and toss lightly. Ready to serve.

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Roasted sweet potato with lemon, red onion & sweet paprika

5 x sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

3 x lemons, cut into wedges

4 x red onions, roughly chopped into wedges

2 x teaspoons of smoked, sweet ( or normal) paprika

50 ml olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, roughly chopped

8 garlic cloves

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Mix all oil and spices together. Toss the lemon, sweet potato & red onion in the oil & spice mixture. Place on a non stick baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Serve hot or cold.Image

Traditional roasted crispy potatoes

1. 5 kg potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 teaspoon of salt

60 g salted butter

2 pinches of fresh thyme leaves

Place the potatoes and salt in a saucepan of water, cover and heat. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. When the water starts to boil with the potatoes, boil for 2 minutes only. Drain in colander. Remove the water from the saucepan and place the butter & thyme in the saucepan. Heat and allow the butter to melt.  Place the potatoes back into the saucepan and mix through until it is covered and has absorbed the butter. Place in a non- stick tray and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until crispy and golden.

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Rack of lamb with fresh minted yoghurt marinade

2 x racks of lamb

2 pinches of salt

2 x pinches of black pepper

1 x tablespoon of olive oil

2 x teaspoons of mixed herbs

1 teaspoon of crushed garlic

1/2 teaspoon of lemon

For the minted yoghurt

1 & half cup of double Greek yoghurt

1 handful of finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

pinch of salt

pinch of black pepper

Make sure your racks of lamb are at room temperature. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix all the ingredients together for the lamb. rub it all over the racks of lamb. Cook the oven for 15 minutes if you like it red. If you prefer it well done, cook it for 20 – 25 minutes. When you remove it from the oven, allow to rest. While it is resting, mix together all the ingredients for the minted yoghurt. When the lamb is rested, spoon over the minted yogurt and serve.

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Cider marinated & roasted pork shoulder in sweet, smoky & sticky barbecue sauce

1 x large pork shoulder joint

2 pinches of salt & black pepper

1x red chilli, finely chopped and seeds removed

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

50 ml red wine vinegar

1x teaspoon paprika

250 ml tomato sauce

250ml barbeque sauce

2 tablespoons of Worcester sauce

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and pour over the pork shoulder. Cover with foil. Cook for 3 hours, spooning the sauce ( marinade) over the pork every hour. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Reserve the sauce to pour over the pork when serving.

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I also prepared and cooked a red wine marinated leg of lamb (I  was not sure if there would be enough food) and you will find this recipe in my recipe index. Don’t forget to make a bowl of rice too!

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What a lovely and special day we had with all our friends and family. I’m lucky enough to have my sister in law living close by.

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In the end we are blessed with a wonderful group of friends.

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There was an absence in my heart from our dear friends Danni & Emily, but we will see them when visiting Canada later this year, cant wait!

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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

 

A move(d)able feast

30 Jan

Again, I am behind on my entries. I have been saving my favourite one as a little “cheery up” tool for myself in this dull grey London. Usually, when we dont travel to South Africa to spend Christmas with our family and loved ones, I invite all our friends in London that are here over Christmas, including our only family, my sister in law, and I revel in the fact that I will have a big, decorated table groaning under all the food that I have prepared with love the whole morning.

Usually I start planning the menu and designing it about 2 months before christmas. This ensures that I can still send out invitations in plenty of time before everyone gets hustling and bustling around. Naturally, it was crazy with everyone around and making sure everything is ready.. so taking photographs of all the dishes was not very high up on my list. However, over the next week or so I will be posting recipes from some of the other dishes from our Christmas feast!! For now, I think I will start with the lamb.. Celebration Lamb

Christmas Feast

Celebration lamb

1X 250 ml buttermilk
1 X leg of lamb ( 2-3 kg)
2 hands of pitted, green olives
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of herbes’ d Province

2 teaspoons of ground cumin
juice of one lemon
500ml of dry white wine
1 sprig of rosemary
160 Degrees Celcius

If you have time  to leave the meat to marinate overnight – then you will be using the buttermilk. Take your leg of lamb and place it in a fitted dish that can fit in your fridge. Now, pour the buttermilk over the lamb, checking that it is covered all over. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge over night. The next day, when you are ready to start on the lamb, make sure you remove it from the fridge about 30 minutes before you start on it. Rinse the lamb, making sure you remove all the buttermilk and pat dry with paper towel. Place the lamb in a roasting dish.

Take a very sharp knife with a small, fine end, and start piercing small holes deep eoungh to push the pieces of garlic in, about 10 – 12 holes. Now, divide your garlic slices between the holes you pierced. Make sure that the garlic slices are quite deep in the pierced holes, so they won’t fall out.Pour the lemon juice over the lamb. Take the olive oil, rub it between your hands and massage into the lamb. Now, grind over salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the herbs and cumin over the lamb and massage into the lamb. Take your sprig of rosemary and place it in the middle of the lamb in one of the holes that were pierced.

Leg of lamb

Leg of lamb

Toss your olives around the lamb and pour over the white wine. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 1 hour. After one hour, scoop the juices from the roasting dish and baste the lamb with the juices. Cover with the foil again, cooking for another 40 minutes. Remove the foil, baste again and place in the oven for a final 30 minutes, and your done!

christmas lunch decoration

christmas lunch decoration

Riche de poulet provençal

1 Sep

As you might have guessed, I feel like FRENCH. Yes, country, butter, butter, butter and butter! Only joking, I only used a little butter. However, in the words of Julia Child, everything is beautiful with butter, and french!

So I felt like a lady in lavender today, mostly because for once, the sun was shining! Not much, but hey, we cant ask for much when living in the UK. As I had a off day, I woke up, got dressed and went in search of viola’s, basically small pansies. I have discovered they are the only flowers that I like that can survive the vicious, cold winter here.Finally, I found some, came back and pulled out all the weeds and dead flowers in my garden. In went my violas. When I finished, I remembered that it was the time of year to trim back my lavender.

Lavender is something that reminds me so much of my mother…. can you hear it…. heartache, homesick!!! One picture is always stuck in my mind, one day, cant remember when, while I was still living at home, my mother was in her lavender and white rose garden, picking lavender. It was a hot day and she was wearing a white skirt, with a white blouse, and lavender coloured wide brimmed purple hat, with her skirt swaying in the breeze. I think that was the most beautiful picture in my mind I got from my mother, because that is basically her habitat, besides the kitchen of course. She LOVES lavender! The colours, the smell, their hardiness, they can survive anything, just like my mother.

So today, while I was trimming back my lavender, I obviously put them in a vase, and this inspired me to create a country style french meal. Which in fact, is usually quite a simple meal with very delicate and subtle flavours. Naturally, I had a few tomatoes from my own garden that turned blood red, so I had to use them too! I felt like a french lady with my own chateau in provence! So why not use provencial herbs? This is a classic mixture of herbs that the french use in their dishes, and there is a reason for it, it makes anything delicious! Add butter with that, and hey, you can’t go wrong!

Riche de poulet provencal

5 chicken thighs, skin on

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

3 teaspoons provencal herbs

8 tablespoons of butter

handful of halved tomatoes

1 onion, roughly chopped

4 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

1/2 cup of dry white wine

juice of 2 lemons

2 teaspoons of olive oil

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter with your garlic in a frying pan.Add one teaspoon of olive oil ( this prevents the butter from burning) Place your chicken in the pan, skin side down. The chicken will now fry to make the skin crispy.

While this is cooking, boil some water, put some salt in it and boil your potatoes for about 10 minutes. When your chicken skin is brown and slightly crispy, transfer to a baking tray. Now add your onion to the pan.

Fry until slightly brown. While they are in the pan, drain your potatoes. Add them to the onions in the pan. Toss about. Basically what you want to do is get the potatoes coated in the juices, with the onion. As soon as you think they are coated with the juices, transfer them to the baking tray as well. Now, add the remaining butter to the pan and the remaining teaspoon of olive oil.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celcius. Back to your frying pan,  when the butter has melted, add your tomatoes, and toss about. Flavour with salt. Sprinkle your herbs over the tomatoes. Toss them about, try not to mix it with a spatula, but just toss it in the pan. Now add your white wine. Allow to simmer for 2 minutes and now add your lemon juice. Simmer for another 2 minutes. Take the pan, and concentrate the juices over the chicken pieces. After all the juices have been poured over the chicken, arrange the tomatoes around the chicken. Now place your tray in the oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

Now if you’re anything like my big lion in the house, you will either want vegetables or salad. I only made a salad, but if you’d like you can make some frech beans with butter with that 🙂 Also, normal people will enjoy the potatoes with the chicken, however, the lion king wanted rice. So there you go, whatever you fancy, enjoy with veg/salad and rice.

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!

Dishwasher disasters and bank holidays

2 May

Ok, I am not making this seem as if it was the dishwasher’s fault for fewer posts, or the fact that we have been braaiing like someone that has never seen flames before, but there have been a few problems. Firstly, we were braaiing at least 3 times a week 🙂 Secondly, after making hot cross buns and screaming at our new oven, I turned around, fell over the OPEN dishwasher, right into a very sharp, brand new braai fork.

Adding that I redecorated the carpet in a beautiful crimson splash ( which I might add is now in fashion again ;-p) and that this ended up in quite a painful experience = no heavy lifting and less cooking. So, the hubby has been replacing the role of the lion cub, moving into the role of the female lion – the hunter, which would mean he was doing most of the cooking = Braaiing & toasted bagels and muffins!

This was quite an experience, he is a master at all three of them 🙂 However, I happen to have two very tasty, simple dishes that I did make, and after tossing the pain killers a bit I am now in a state to write something that makes sense ;-p

So, the two dishes are, fried spicy pork steak with steamed broccoli & garlic butter, accompanied by roasted sweet potato wedges. Then we also have simple, tasty stirfry, with the brilliant Udon Noodles, honey and very tender steak and veggies 🙂 So here we go with the first one :

1 Pork steak ( it was already in it’s own marinade..yes, lazy!!)

2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks and boiled for 5 – 10 minutes

Veggie spice or a mixture of cumin and coriander seeds, coriander, garlic flakes

Olive oil

1 head of broccoli

2 tablespoons of garlic butter

So, this is easy, simple and tasty. Boil some water and start steaming your broccoli. Arrange your sweet potato on a baking tray with baking paper, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over your spices. Place in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes at 180 degrees celcius. Add some butter to your pan and start frying your pork steak. Your broccoli should now be ready. Mix in your garlic butter and flavour with salt and pepper. Remove your sweet potatoes from the oven, serve up on a plate and enjoy!

So, now for the second one:

Beef Veggie stirfry with Udon Noodles

2 minute steaks, cut into bitesize pieces

1 leek chopped

1 courgette, grated

handful of mangetout

5 sundried tomatoes

1 pack of Udon noodles

1 teaspoon of garlic

1 teaspoon of grated ginger

3 tablespoons of soya sauce

5 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of vinegar

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 green pepper, chopped

1 red pepper chopped

handful of broccoli, steamed

Firstly, add olive oil to a frying pan. Add your leeks and cook until soft, but still firm. Season with salt. Start steaming your broccoli. Now add your peppers, mangetout and sundried tomatoes. Fry for about 5 – 7 minutes.

Now, mix together your garlic, ginger, soya sauce, honey, vinegar and brown sugar. Mix it through properly. Now add your beef to the stirfry. When the meat is almost done, add the sauce. Mix through. Now also add your Udon noodles and broccoli and mix through. The Udon noodles should be done in about 5 – 7 minutes. Cover with a lid and remove from the heat. This should flavour the noodles through. Sprinkle with some fresh coriander and enjoy 🙂