Tag Archives: Sugar

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!

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Peachy pork

13 Jul

Yup, you know it! Everything is peachy! Even my pork ;-p Well, maybe not the weather. If I had to get a mental picture while eating  a peach, I would imagine lying on green, floaty grass with the sun shining on my face, and.. well, this is London and even if it is summer, there is no sun. Lucky for me, I had a lovely day and enjoyed working again and helping out a few people. It just shows you what the right atmosphere can do to improve your mood! 🙂 Happy thoughts!

It might also be that I had a construction worker screaming after me this morning, in a VERY heavy irish accent that I “Looked more beautiful than anything he had seen that morning”! Usually I would greet this with a stare that could kill, but this morning I actually started laughing! Sometimes London puts on its tutu dress and dances like a lovely ballerina!

Yesterday I bought some peaches, a whole punnet, for only £1! Add to that, a pack of pork steaks for £1.43 and it already creates happy rays of sunshine in my life!! So, sitting at work today in my happy mood, I fantasized about lovely, juicy ripe peaches, a delicacy to me 🙂 Needless to say, after biting into one when I got home, there was nothing delicate or sweet about these evil buggers! Looks can be deceiving! Then I thought, if I added a little love and sweet words of encouragement, they will turn into a lovely, colourful and sweet surprise of  luscious infusions 🙂

To top this, was a picture in my mind of the one and only licking his plate clean….. as happy as a pig in mud! Which, I am very proud to say, he did! Who needs a puppy when you have your own true love cleaning his plate like that ;-p By now, after all this mumble jumble, I still have not mentioned what I cooked! So here we go: Peachy pork steak with carrot & cabbage fritters… and like our family like to call it.. “flied lice” ! ;-p  Fried rice for those of you that get a terrible mental picture right now ;-p

Peachy pork

3 – 4 pork steaks

2 peaches, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of sunflower oil

1 clove of garlic, grated

1/2 teaspoon of ginger, grated

4 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of finely chopped, fresh rosemary

1 spring onion, finely chopped

Fritters

1 carrot, grated – medium size “grater”

1 cup of cabbage, grated – medium size “grater”

1 tablespoon of flour

2 eggs

1 teaspoon sweetner/caster sugar

Pork

Place your butter, ginger, garlic, oil, rosemary and spring onions in a pan. Fry for 5 minutes. Place your pork steaks in the pan and allow them to brown on the one side. Add your peaches. Shake them around in the pan. After the steaks have gone golden, turn them.

Add your vinegar and honey and mix around so that the steaks and peaches get coated in this sweet sauce.

Taste and season with a little bit of salt.  All the while, while your steaks are getting their lovely colour, mix all the ingredients together for the fritters. Heat oil in a pan, enough to be more than a slight layer, but not as much as when you would fry chips. Make sure the oil is hot enough. Take a tablespoon and use this to place small oval shapes in the oil until they become brown and crispy and turn them over. Place on some paper towel to absorb the extra oil.

Serve up with your pork steaks, egg fried rice and the lovely sticky sauce! Heaven!

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!

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 🙂