Sunday, 29 December 2013

Tikka Masala Lamb Tagine

I was lucky enough to get a Tagine ( from Santa this year, and admittedly, I had to Google to find out how to cook in it.  Here is a great tummy warmer this winter, where Tikka Masala Curry meets Moroccan Tagine. It is about low and slow, here we go ...

Tikka Masala Lamb Tagine

1,5kg lamb, cubed
420g Tikka Masala store-bought cooking sauce
3 large carrots, peeled, small dice
2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 shallots, small dice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Zest of 1 clementine
1 tin whole tomatoes in liquid
1 tbsp cornstarch or flour

Preheat over to 160'c
In a big bowl, pour 1/2 Masala sauce over the meat and mix well
Cover and leave at room temp to marinade for 2 hours (overnight is best)
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in Tagine or Dutch Oven ( )
Add lamb and brown well in small batches
Add some more oil if necessary
Add carrots, onions, ginger, garlic, shallots and cinnamon and cook for 4 min
Return lamb to pot and add clementine zest, whole tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to the boil
In a small bowl mix cornstarch, tomato liquid and balance of Masala sauce until smooth
Add to lamb and stir in well
Cover with lid and cook for 2 - 3 hrs or until lamb is tender

Serve with some fluffy white rice or couscous and scatter some salted almonds on top
Glass of Cabernet Sauvignon poured, time to enjoy!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Mediterranean Vegetables

This is one of those easy side dishes that you can serve with absolutely anything.  Great for a dinner for 2 like we have just done or casual entertaining.  It is easy, quick and a show stopper.  Here we go, Mediterranean vegetable serving 2 people ...

3 tbsp olive oil
Red pepper, large rough dice
Yellow pepper, large rough dice
Green pepper, large rough dice
2 red onions, quartered
2 shallots, quartered
6 giant button mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
30g herb butter, store- bought
100g goat cheese feta, large dice

Preheat oven to 180'c
Place all veg in a deep roasting plan, single layer
Add olive oil and seasoning and toss well with your hands
Bake for 30 min
Remove from oven and immediately add butter to melt in hot veg
Add cheese and toss
Serve immediately

This is awesome next to a roast chicken

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Panetonne Bread Pudding

Christmas eve dinner with friends tonight: Salmon & Beetroot Blinis, 3-bird roast with walnut & wild mushroom stuffing and this awesome dessert, Panettone bread pudding with double vanilla ice-cram. Comfort food at its best this Festive Season.  Here we go ... 

500g Italian Panettone 
Butter for greasing dish
3 large eggs
8 egg yolks
3 cups milk
2 cups cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sherry
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat over to 180'C
Cut Panettone into thick slices and then 1 inch cubes
Arrange single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 8 min until just brown
Grease a 22cm x 30cm x 5cm baking dish and place cubes herein
In a bowl whisk whole eggs, egg yolks, milk, cream, vanilla, sherry and sugar
Pour mix over cubes and allow to draw for 10 min
Place baking dish in a larger dish
Add very hot tap water in the large dish until it's halfway up the sides of the baking dish
Cover large dish with aluminium foil, tented so it does not touch the cubes
Punch a few whole in the foil to allow for steaming
Bake 45 min
Uncover and bake a further  40 min until custard is set and top is golden brown
Allow to cool for 15 min before serving

For those celebrating Christmas ... wishing you and your loved ones a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

French Onion Soup with Beef and Barley

This take on a true classic is full of fibre rich barley, loaded with protein and perfect for winter or a lazy Sunday evening dinner with some baguette. There are a few ingredients, but it is worth the 'little' effort and it freezes well up to 2-months. You can omit the sherry and replace with white wine if you like. Here you go ...

1 cup boiling water
20g shiitake mushrooms
Olive oil
2 medium onions, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp brown sugar
340g sirloin steak, cut into 2 inch strips
4 cups water
125g uncooked barley
1/4 cup sherry
3 tbsp soy sauce
300ml beef stock
1 tbsp sesame oil
Baguette cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, grated

Combine water and Shiitake mushrooms in a bowl, cover and stand for 30min
Drain, reserve liquid, slice mushrooms
Heat some oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat
Add onions, shallots, ginger and garlic and saute for 10 min on medium
Add Shiitake, button mushrooms, sugar and beef and saute on high for 7 min
Add reserved mushroom liquid, water, barley, sherry, soy sauce and stock and bring to the boil
Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 50 min until barley is is tender
Stir in sesame oil
Place cheese over bread slices and grill until cheese has melted
Place 1 slice of bread in each serving bowl and ladle soup over to serve

Need to go and grab a bowl ...

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Salmon en Croute (in pastry)

There is no need for a festive offering this season to be pricey.  This is a classic, easy and very affordable for a small group of 4 or even 6.  It is a crowd pleaser and looks very impressive.  Here we go ...

2 medium potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced and pre cooked
25g butter
120g spinach, washed, coarsely chopped
1 red onion, chopped
60ml cream
60ml natural yoghurt
2 tsp dill, finely chopped
2 x rolls puff pastry
800g fresh Salmon fillet, skinned
2tsp store bought pesto
1 egg, beaten

150ml lite cream
Juice 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp pesto
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Heat oven to 200'C
Heat large baking tray in oven
Melt butter in pan and add spinach, cook quickly until wilted and transfer to a cooling dish
Season to taste with salt & pepper and leave to cool, squeeze out excess moisture
Add onions to pan and gently fry for 6 - 7 min
Stir in cream, yoghurt and dill for 1 min
Add cooked potatoes and gently stir for 1 min
Roll out pastry thin to a long rectangle on baking paper
Line with potato mix leaving a 5cm border
Place salmon onto the centre of the pastry and potato mix
Smear pesto over fish and add spinach
Season  to taste with salt & pepper
Brush edge of pastry with egg
Roll out 2nd layer of pastry and carefully place over salmon, trim excess and seal edges
Brush pastry with egg
Place on pre heated baking tray
Bake 30 - 40 min until brown, allow to rest for 10 min

Heat cream, add lemon juice and pesto.  Season to taste.  Add basil just before serving


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Salami, Mushroom and Leek Carbonara

Here is a tummy pleaser and ideal for a-meal-for-one or a family of 6.  The perfect Sunday weekend winner when you just don't feel like spending too much time in the kitchen. This is made for 2 people so adjust accordingly. Here we go ...

Salami, Mushroom and Leek Carbonara
200g Linguini/ Spaghetti ( 100g pp)
1tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup leeks, chopped
150g strong flavoured salami, large dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 Shiitake mushroom, roughly chopped
2 egg yolks
250ml lite cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Cup of Parmesan, grated

Cook pasta according to instructions on the packet, however add a drizzle of olive oil, salt and a sprig of rosemary to the pot as well.
Heat oil and butter in a saucepan.
Sauté leeks, salami, garlic and mushrooms on medium heat for 5 min.
Mix egg yolks, cream, salt, pepper and cheese in a bowl.
Strain past when cooked then add quickly back to the pot.
Quickly add leek mix and egg custard to the pot and stir well through pasta for 2 min.
The heat of the pasta will actually cook the egg, that is why you need to work quickly.

Add some more fresh Parmesan on top and bon appetite!

Enjoy with a little Chianti on the side.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Sweet Sherry Chicken Liver Pate

I generally don't like pate ... either it is dry or saturated in butter. This recipe is neither. It is smooth, light and so easy to make.  It is also ideal for entertaining and goes a long way.  Another one of my mom's recipes. Here we go ...

3 tbsp butter
2 spring onions, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
450g fresh chicken livers
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp ginger powder
3 tbsp sweet sherry
1/4 cup cream
100g butter

Heat butter in a pan on medium heat
Add onions and garlic and cook for 2 min
Increase heat, add chicken livers and cook for 6 min
Add salt, pepper, thyme, ginger, sherry and cook for 2 min
Stir in cream and cook for 1 min
Allow to cool before adding to a blender and give it a good whizz until smooth
Melt remaining butter and pour over the top to form a seal over the pate
Refrigerate for at least 2 hrs before serving

Awesome with biscuits or garlic smeared baguette and is a great party pleaser this holiday season


Sunday, 8 December 2013

Traditional South African Oxtail Stew

Oxtail (rundstaart) is inexpensive, nourishing and rich fatty meat, perfect for winter.  It needs a long low cooking time but the end result is well worth it. This is my mom's recipe.  Here we go ...

2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 kg oxtail
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, quartered
2 bay leaf
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1tsp sugar
1 cup water
1 cup red wine

Pre heat oven to 160'c
Place flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag, free of holes
Add meat and tie a knot in the bag
Shake bag in all directions to cover meat with flour mix
Remove meat and discard bag
Heat oil in a pot and brown meat in batches for 5 min turning all the time
Transfer to a deep casserole dish
Add a little oil and fry onions and carrots until lightly browned in same pot
Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, sugar, water and wine and heat through for 5 min
Pour over meat
Cover casserole tightly and cook for 3 hrs or until tender

Enjoy a good glass of red with it ...

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Prosciutto, Apricot, Pesto rolled Pork

Christmas decorations are up, festive songs in the background and I am trying out a few new festive feasts, with a few of my usual tweaks.  My first victim, a block of pork.  Here we go ....

1kg pork roast, bone out
6tsp Dijon mustard
1tsp black pepper
100g Prosciutto
1/4 cup dried apricots, fine dice
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup parsley, rough chop
3 tbsp red pesto
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup brandy
4 springs fresh thyme

Heat over to 160'c
Butterfly pork open lengthwise
Cover with cling film and bash with a rolling pin until even in thickness
On one side smear 3tsp mustard and pepper
Place some baking paper on a clean surface
Layer Prosciutto on top of baking paper in a line with sides overlapping
Place pork on top, mustard side down
Smear balance of mustard on side facing up
Add apricots, Parmesan, salt, pepper, parsley and dollops of pesto
Starting one end carefully roll pork up, keeping it tight all the way
Secure with some string, so nothing unravels
Brown all sides in a little oil on top of the stove for 5 minutes in a Dutch oven
Add juice, brand and thyme, lid on and pop in the oven
Cook for 2 hours or until 145'c is reached on a meat thermometer

Slice think and serve with some apple sauce on the side, pasta and veg.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Gluwein ... home-made and awesome!

Yes, I know it is easy and so freely available to buy Gluwein in a bottle to cope with the cold winter days, but a great home-made version is really DELISH  and oh so easy.  Give it a try ... I have made a few bottles with seasonal greeting cards for my neighbours this year. Here we go ...

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 whole cloves
4 cinnamon  sticks, broken into pieces
2 bottles red wine
Juice of 2 oranges
1 tsp Speculoos /all spice
1/2 tsp instant coffee
2 orange peels, sliced
2 lemon peels, sliced

Mix sugar, water, cloves, cinnamon, wine, juice of orange, Speculoos and coffee in a heavy pot
Bring up the heat, but do not boil
Add orange and lemon peel and simmer for 15 min
Serve in warm mugs

Enjoy .... Bbbrrrr and happy holidays!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Home-made Chicken Pie to die for!

What better way to end a wonderful weekend of travelling around Europe than with this easy whip me up and a definite crowd pleaser. Use store-bought chicken, it is perfect and makes this really easy!

1 pkt puff pastry
1 cooked chicken
1 leek, chopped
200g bacon bits
8 mushrooms, spliced
2 large cloves garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp French tarragon
1/2 tsp paprika
1tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock (home-made if possible)
1/2 cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg for brushing

Preheat oven to 200'c
Strip carcass of chicken into large pieces.
Saute leek, bacon, mushrooms and garlic in butter until soft
Add spices
Add flour and stir well
Add stock and cream and allow to thicken stirring all the time
Add chicken and coat well in sauce
Transfer to 4 individual pie dishes
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
Brush dish rims with beaten egg
Cover each dish with pastry and make a vent in the middle
Brush pie surface with remaining egg
Bake for 25min or until golden brown

Enjoy with a great salad of greens on the side