Saturday, 31 August 2013

Bruschetta with Sweet Peppers, Italian Ham and Parmesan

I am having a wonderful day playing in the kitchen testing (and tweaking) a few recipes I found in Paris last week to share with you. Feeling a little hungry though, so time to make one of Shaun and my favourite snacks.  It is so easy and also great as an appetiser when entertaining.  Here we go ...

Good olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded & sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded & sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh basil, cut into slithers
Salt & pepper to taste
1 baguette
2 garlic cloves for rubbing
8 slices Italian ham
Parmesan, shaved
Dill for garnish

Heat 2 tbsp oil on a medium heat in a saute pan.
Add peppers, onion and cook until soft - about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with sugar and cook for a further 2 min.
Stir in basil and season with salt & pepper.
Slice baguette 1 inch thick on the diagonal and brush lightly with a little olive oil.
Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 5 min at 180'C until lightly browned.
Whilst still hot rub one side with the garlic cloves.
Top each slice with ham, WARM pepper mix and a generous amount of shaved Parmesan.
Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle some dill and serve immediately.

This is oh-so-delicious.  Try it and let me know how if you like it!


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Rolled Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Hubby and I are off to Paris tomorrow for the weekend, and I can't wait.  So I am whipping up a FAST FRIDAY FABULOUS meal on a Thursday, because tomorrow I will be dining with kings.  Easiest meal for me would be stuffed chicken breasts - using whatever is in the fridge.  You really can use anything.  This is what I am doing:

2 chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
Cajun pepper to taste
2 tbsp soft goats cheese
4 slices salami
2 tsp tomato pesto
Few fresh basil leave
100 ml cream

Place chicken breasts on some cling film.
Generally season with salt, pepper and Cajun pepper.
Cover with another piece of cling film and hit them with a rolling pin to make them thin.
Add 1 tbsp cheese on each breast and spread evenly.
Add 2 salami pieces on each breast.
Add 1 tsp pesto to each breast and spread over the salami.
Add  some basil leaves on top.
Starting at one end, carefully roll chicken breasts and secure with tooth pics or a skewer.
Don't worry if some of the filling oozes out - this makes a great sauce!
Heat a skillet pan (metal handle) with a little olive oil.
Brown each side of the breasts for 4 min until nice and brown.
Bake at 180'C for 10 min.
Remove from oven, pour cream around the breast, mix to de-glaze pan to make a sauce.
Allow to stand for 5 min and serve.

Time to go and pack ... what should I wear???? 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Lemon Tart Cheat

#eatloveplaywithfood : Lemon Tart Cheat
This is the best dessert cheat ever - thanks #Nigella Lawson - and it only takes 5 minutes to make.  You can use any fruit really, I had tinned mangoes in the pantry, so voila they are.  

1 pkt digestive biscuits
150g butter
400g Philadelphia Light Cheese
150g lemon curd (store bought)
Vanilla sweetener sachet (optional)
2 ripe mango, sliced

  • Place biscuits and butter in a processor and blend to fine crumbs
  • Pour into a pie dish and using a spoon press crumbs over bottom and up the sides
  • Place in the fridge to cool
  • In a bowl mix cheese and lemon curd until well combined
  • Pour mix into chilled base
  • Sprinkle vanilla sweetener over the top
  • Place mango over topping
  • Return to fridge until serving

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Home-made Lemonade ... with a kick

Stunning Saturday ... I am in my shorts and cozzy (AKA costume to the rest of the world) and playing in the garden.  Okay I believe it now, a lemon tree cannot grow in a pot!  I have been nursing my baby for 4-months now, and I have fruit but it is falling off before maturing.  Yes, I have done the cardinal sin of transplanting my baby in summer and in fruit. Let's hold thumbs she survives the move to the garden.  
Talking lemons .... I thought I would whip up some home-made lemonade ... with a twist/kick of course.  Here we go ... 

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tots Amaretto liqueur
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Cold water and ice to dilute to taste

Dissolve sugar in water in a small saucepan on a medium heat, stirring all the time.
Add lemon juice and Amaretto and remove from the heat.
Add bruised whole leaves of mint
Before serving add cold water and ice to taste ....

Very refreshing ..... quick awesome actually!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Crunchy Baked Chicken Fingers

It has been a hectic week at work and I am so glad to be able to embrace the weekend. Time to take a big breath.  Have just whipped up a great fabulous Friday fast dinner, ideal to end a busy week.

2 chicken breasts

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup curry paste
2 tbsp milk
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup breakfast cornflakes
1/2 cup Panko or breadcrumbs
1/2 cup salted almonds

Preheat oven to 230'C.
Cover breast with cling wrap and hit with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick.
Cut into thick fingers.
Mix together mayonnaise, curry paste, milk, spring onion, salt, pepper and paprika.
Blend cornflakes, Panko and nuts in a food processor to make crumbs.
Dip each finger into paste and then roll in coating until covered.
Line a baking sheet and bake for 15 min each side until crispy and brown.

Serve with a mustard and dill guacamole: blog label - recipes; dips

Chunky Avocardo Dip

2 ripe avos
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
8 dashes hot sauce
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 med garlic glove, minced
2 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

Cut avos in half.
Remove pip and take flesh out of the skin.
Immediately add lemon juice, hot sauce, mustard, onion, garlic, dill, salt and pepper.
Using a sharp pairing knife, slice through avo making chunks.
Add tomatoes and mix well.
Adjust seasoning.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Easy Apple Tart and Champagne Cocktail

So I just bumped into some friends in town who are popping around shortly for a leisurely Sunday drink and catch-up.  No need for panic, I always have some pastry in the freezer, fruit in the kitchen and chilled bubbles in the fridge. Going to whip up a very easy apple delight to be enjoyed with a fruit champagne cocktail ... here we go:

4 tbsp raisins
20ml rum
10ml vanilla essence
2 apples, skin on thinly sliced
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp flour
50g melted butter
1 sheet ready-made puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
Double vanilla ice-cream

  • Preheat oven to 200'C.
  • Place raisins, rum and vanilla essence in a bowl and microwave for 30 sec.  Allow to cool.
  • Place apples, sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and flour in a bowl and mix to combine.
  • Add melted butter and raisins with their juice and mix well.
  • Cut pastry into a big circle using a dinner plate as a guide.
  • Layer apple mixture leaving 1 1/2 inch border.
  • Gently fold the border over to enclose apple edges and brush pastry and fruit with egg.
  • Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper, bake for 20 min.
  • Serve with double vanilla ice-cream.

Elderflower Champagne Cocktail:
Place 4 mint leaves in a champagne flute.  Bruise leaves with a back of a spoon to release flavours.  Add 2 tbsp Elderflower concentrate syrup (or similar) and top up with you favourite bubbles.

Just a perfect Sunday something to share with some good friends.  Make it count ...

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Amaretto Sour

Just back from dropping my folks off at Midi Station, they are on their way back to South Africa after a stunning 3-week stay.  Sun is still high, temp is 25'c, humidity at 50% so bearable, and a light wind blowing.  Perfect time for a cool cocktail and a little R&R to get the emotions all back where they belong.  Hubby is whipping me up a refreshing, cool Mediterranean favourite ....

Picture courtesy Quinten Veerman

Pour 40ml Amaretto liqueur into a cocktail shaker, half filled with ice.  Add 15ml fresh lime juice, some sugar to taste and shake .... shake very well.  Strain and pour into an old fashioned glass and of course the best part ...sit back and enjoy!

Had an awesome weekend. Hope you made yours count!