Sunday, 26 January 2014

Baked Goats Cheese with Bacon & Honey

Inspired by a wonderful chef's table I attended last week at one of my hotels @BrusselsMarriott, here is an easy home version of a divine goats cheese starter ideal for entertaining or a simple Sunday supper.  Here we go ... (Suitable for 2 foodie lovers)

Baked Goat's Cheese with Bacon & Honey
100g bacon bits
150g goats cheese
100g bread crumbs
Big hand full of rocket
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp black pepper
Squirt of honey

Pre heat oven to 200'c
Pan fry bacon in a little oil until crispy
Remove and drain on absorbent paper
Cut goats cheese into 1 inch rings
Add bread crumbs to a bowl and carefully add cheese one at a time and cover all sides with crumbs
Place on a greased baking sheet
Bake for 10min until golden brown
Carefully turn over and drizzle each piece with honey
Bake for a further 5 min
Mix rocket, olive oil, vinegar and pepper in a bowl and toss lightly with your fingers
Plate greens on a serving plate
Add warm bacon bits on top of greens and place warm cheese on top
Drizzle with a little more honey and garnish with a few more pieces of bacon

Serve immediately with biscuits or some fresh bread.
Make it count .. have a great week!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Crispy Baked Bacon Pork Fillet

Pork oh-so-delicious.  You can also use Panchetta if you prefer to the bacon. This is a quick and easy 20 minute recipe ideal for weekend or mid-week.  Here we go ... (serves 2 foodie lovers)

2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp dried tarragon
1 tbsp smokey paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
350g - 400g pork fillet
12 - 14 slices bacon
1 apple sliced
2 tsp oil
2 tbsp fresh rocket
Crack black pepper

Preheat oven to 200'C
Smear mustard all over the pork
Mix tarragon, paprika, salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly on all sides of the meat
Wrap bacon around the fillet to enclose and secure with toothpicks
Placed sliced apple down the centre of a greased baking sheet and place pork on top
Drizzle with olive oil
Bake for 20 - 25min until done
Serve on a bed of peppery rocket tossed in a little olive oil dressed with the baked apples

Works really well Serve with some roast garlic mash

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Flemish Carbonnarde with Lamb

So traditionally Flemish Carbonnade is made with Beef, I use Lamb as you are pretty much guaranteed it will be super tender.  Lamb also has that little bit of fat in it that keeps it juicy and flavoursome. This is a real winter winner served with fries (Belgian Frits).  This is another LOW and SLOW cook in a Dutch Oven  but worth it.  Here we go @making weekends count ... (serves 2 hungry food lovers)

1.2kg leg of lamb on the bone
Olive oil for rubbing
1tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
3 tbsp oil
1 cup onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
2 bay leafs
1 tbsp dried thyme, finely chopped
1 tbsp Speculoos / All Spice
1 bottle dark brown beer
300ml beef stock
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp Mazina/flour

Rub lamb with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper
Add to a hot Dutch oven pot and brown all sides well
Remove lamb from pot and add onions, garlic, sugar, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, Speculoos, beer, stock and vinegar
De-glaze pan for2 min
Add lamb on top
Lid on and cook for 4 hrs at 150'c
When done gently remove lamb from the pot and cut off the bone in inch cubes
Strain liquid and add back to the pot
Mix water and mazina to make a runny paste and add to liquid
Gently heat though and stir until it thickens - you can add a few tablespoons of thick cream to the sauce if you want a little decadence
Add meat cubes and GENTLY heat though - you do not want to break the meat up

Serve with fries and a great beer draft for a perfect Belgian meal.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

This is a great little simple something served with crusty bread and a green salad ... ideal for a lunch or even a simple light dinner.  Here we go ... (serves 4 foodie lovers)

Roasted Red Pepper Soup
8 red bell peppers
5 black peppercorns
3 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups onions, diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock (home-made pref.)
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco)
1 tsp smokey paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chives, chopped

Preheat oven gill/broiler
Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise and discard seeds and membrane
Place skin side up on a greased foiled baking tray, flatten with your hand and grill for 15 min until blackened
Place in a zip-lock bag, seal and stand for 15 min
Peel and chop peppers
Place peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf in some cheesecloth and tie ends well
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat
Add onions and garlic and cook for 12 min until onions are translucent
Add peppers, cheese cloth, stock, vinegar, hot sauce and paprika, increase heat and bring to the boil
Cover and reduce for 20min
Remove and discard cheese cloth, stir in salt & pepper
Add mix to a blender and whizz (careful it is hot)
Add to a serving bowl and garnish


Sunday, 5 January 2014

Home-made Fresh Basil Pesto

A jar of home-made #basil pesto in the fridge goes a long way. This is my friend Carol's awesome recipe and my top 5-favourite ways to use it:
  • Mixed with butter and dolloped on top of a steak.
  • Tossed in some steaming hot Linguine with Parmesan shavings. 
  • Mixed with cream cheese to make a sandwich spread instead replacing butter. 
  • Spread on a garlic crostini with parma ham and sundried tomato.
  • Placed in the centre of a brie cheese before coating and lightly frying.  

Fresh Green Basil Pesto

100g fresh Basil leaves, washed
1/2 cup olive oil
30g tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
60g Parmesan / percorino cheese, grated
Some freshly squeezed lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Whizz the basil leaves, oil, pine nuts and garlic in a blender until smooth.
Gradually add cheese and a teaspoon or two of the lemon juice, salt and pepper

Taste and adjust the lemon, salt & pepper seasoning

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Walnut & Wild Mushroom Turduken (3-bird roast)

A Turducken is not so well known in Europe but a great favourite back home in South Africa. You can de-bone all the birds yourself, but it is very tricky, so I would suggest asking your local butcher to do this for you.  What is a Turduken? Check it out It is so easy to assemble and is delish!  Here we go ...

3.5kg turkey, de-boned and butterflied
1.5kg chicken, de-boned and butterflied
1 duck breast, skin removed
2 shallots, chopped
2 tbsp thyme
1 carrot, roughly chopped
50g butter, softened
1 glass white wine

For the stuffing:
25g dried porcini mushrooms
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme, chopped
100g walnuts, chopped
200g good pork sausages, skin removed
2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
Zest 1 lemon
2 tbsp breadcrumbs

For the stuffing:
Soak mushrooms in 300ml boiling water, cover and stand for 30 min.  Drain and reserve liquid (for gravy).  Finely chop mushrooms.  Heat a little butter in a pan and fry shallots for 1 min.  Add mushrooms and cook for another 2 min.  Add all other stuffing ingredients and set aside.

To assembly the roast:
Heat over to 190'c
Open turkey, skin side down
Place 1/3 stuffing on top and spread evenly
Place duck breast on top in the middle
Spread a 1/3 of stuffing over breast
Place chicken, skin side down on top of everything
Add the last 1/3 of stuffing and spread evenly
Tuck the top and bottom and pull the long sides together
Tuck one long edge over the other and tightly secure roll with some butcher string (2 pairs of hands here makes it easier)
Scatter shallots, thyme and carrot at the bottom of a large roasting pan (disposable works well)
Place roast on top of veg and brush with melted butter
Pour wine in the pan and season generously with salt & pepper
Cook for  2hrs (needs to reach 68' - 70'c with a thermometer)
Remove from oven, cover with foil a rest for 30 min

I use the mushroom reserved liquid with store-bought packet gravy - no one know the difference!