Saturday, 30 August 2008


I love watching Masterchef on BBC Food. It is wonderful to sit in the comfort of my lounge and judge others. Sounds terrible, but it must be feeding some kind of primal instinct, otherwise why would shows like The Apprentice, Idols or even Survivor be so popular. Do you think that on some subconscious level we like to watch others squirm?

A few weeks ago I watched the celebrities make rosti and listening to John and Greg's comments, I thought "I can do that", and I did, my family loved it but I am sure the Masterchef guys would still have found something to complain about !!!

This is a great dish to try if you're looking for something new to do with potatoes. It's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside - totally Yummy!


5 Large Potatoes, grated finely
1 Large Onion, grated finely
10 ml Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper

Mix all the ingredients together.
Season well, remember that unseasoned potato is really "awful"!
I used a non stick pan with a little olive oil.
Place the potato mix into the pan and press down to form a "cake".
Let it fry on medium heat, until golden brown and then flip over (I used the plate method) and cook the other side.
Drain on some kitchen paper before serving.

Serve while hot.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Happy Birthday Homemade Heaven

Today is the 1 year birthday of Homemade Heaven.

Things have certainly improved since last year. Blogging has really changed my kitchen and my life and meals in our home have never been the same since.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me for the last year, especially my husband Keith and my son Markwin for putting up with the photo sessions, the experimental meals and never complaining about the hours I have spent blogging - not to mention the bandwidth that seems to get eaten up (pun intended) long before the end of the month!

A special thank you to Nina and Jeanne who have been there since almost the beginning and all the advice they have given me. To the new friends I have made at Food 24, Jenny, Tickle, WFL, Spicy, Nafisa, Brownie, Madmom, D1, Mexican, Cazzie, Trinity,Saaleha, Lady Raven, Dinx, Colonialist, Food Editor and sorry to those I have left out- the list is far too long to mention but you know who you are.

I has meant so much to share my life, my faith and my kitchen with all of you.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Mrs Beeton

In our home a culinary triumph is known as "doing a Mrs Beeton"! If you don't know who Mrs Beeton is, she is probably the closest thing to a food blogger as you could be in late 19th century.

Isabella Beeton was the young wife of a publisher and was aware of the difficulties faced by young wives who needed to look after (manage) their own homes for the first time. I am proud to say that Mrs Beeton's Book of Cookery ( a modernised version) was the first cookbook I bought for my new home.

The pages are littered with tears and gravy, but without which I would never have become a Foodie. I would still be making boxed fish and baked beans for supper.

The original Mrs Beeton's was published in 1861 and I now own what is called a facsimile edition. "It offers a wealth of original Victorian recipes for the cost-conscious wife - recipes to help people live, in Mrs Beeton's words "economically, tastefully and well"".
It even offers advice for household maintenance (how much to pay the help and what the footmen's duties are et. el.) and the best way to treat your children (from discipline to health questions).

One of the first recipes I ever tried was Hanover Rouladen. It is a variation on a beef olive.
I have made this many times since and while I now am confident to play around with the flavours, the basics however remain the same.

Hanover Rouladen

6 Beef Schnitzels (you can cut your own from a slice of rump, but I buy mine already cut)
45ml Oil
1 Onion
1 Green pepper (this is my addition of late)
45ml Flour
600ml Beef Stock (Cube is fine)
1 peeled and chopped Tomato (out of season I also add 15ml tomato paste)
15ml Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper
2 sprigs Lemon Thyme or any Thyme if you don't grow you own

1 Large gherkin thinly sliced
Finely Chopped onion
Finely Chopped Capers
Smoked Sliced ham or streaky bacon (I often leave this out if I don't have any on hand)
String or Toothpick to secure

Make your beef olive parcels by laying the schnitzels out flat and placing 1 piece of gherkin, a little onion, capers and ham (optional).
Roll up and secure either with string or a toothpick.

Warm your pan and a little oil and fry the rouladen until browned on the outside.
Remove from the pan.
Fry the onion and green pepper until the start to get some colour.
Add the flour and fry for a minute.
Slowly add the stock and get the flour worked in, work out the lumps.
Add the rest of the ingredients and rouladen and turn the heat down and cook on low for about 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with rice and vegetables.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The Best Ever Biscuits

I heard on the radio the other day that 50% of all people at school reunions lie about their lives - who would have guessed that?! They arrive in cars they do not own, have houses in areas they never visit and generally live lives that would make Bradgelina jealous!

I went to my 10 year reunion a few years back (quite a few) and will admit that I did watch what I ate for a few weeks prior to the event. Perhaps it was the nightmare of facing some of my worst critics ever or maybe it was just that little bit of teenage insecurity creeping back. Who knows? and who the hell cares?

Now that I am older and wiser, I don't have those fears and I am confident that I can now make a biscuit that would bring even the biggest bully to her knees! And just because you have been so nice to me, I'll share the secret with you too....

Oat and Nut Crisps
Close in taste to a "crunchie"- just much better!!

1 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup desiccated Coconut (Medium if you can find it)
3/4 Cup Caramel Sugar or soft Brown sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Bi-card
2 Tablespoons Boiling Water
3/4 Cup hot Melted Butter (Use the Microwave)
2 Tablespoons Honey (or Golden Syrup, but honey is better)
1/2 Cup Roughly chopped Peanuts (Roasted but not salted)

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Mix the bi-carb with the hot water and add to the butter, together with the honey.
Mix the wet ingredients together so it well combined.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine properly.
Heat your oven to 160°C .
Put spoonfuls onto a well greased tray, well spaced and flatten slightly.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Remove and allow to cool and crisp.

It also makes a great gift, if you have any which you are willing to part with!

Fish Cake Feast

After the inspiration I had last week with the pies and lamb, I have been very hard pressed to come up with something new and tasty.

My family like fishcakes and I love to make them, but I don't think I have made them the same way twice -ever. I always use what I have on hand and am pleasantly surprised that they always come out trumps! Sometimes I will use tinned fish, other days minced hake or even smoked snoek.

We have been a one car family for a few days now (Hubby's car is in for a major service) and so I have not been able to get to the shops to buy much. But life still goes on, and supper must be made.

On my last visit to the fishmonger, I picked up a large fillet of Butterfish and have had it freezing for a while - just as well, it made the best fishcakes ever!

Butterfish cakes

1kg Butterfish
Steam the butterfish with ginger and lemon until just cooked.

In the food processor together with the cooked fish add :

8 Spring Onions roughly chopped
15ml Cornflour
1 Egg
10ml Chilli Powder
20ml Fish Sauce
10ml Sweet Chilli Sauce
Juice of 1 Lime
Lemon Pepper
5ml Sesame Oil

Process until smoothish (you don't want pate, but the onions must be chopped well).

Cool the mixture in the fridge for an hour.
Make patties with the mixture, depending on the size you want.
Roll the patties in bread crumbs.
Fry in medium hot oil until golden brown.
Place in a warm oven while you cook the remainder of the patties.

Serve with chips and salad.

These are also great cold and perfect for lunch boxes and picnics.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Garden Glory

Last year was my first successful attempt at growing produce, this was a direct result that I watered my plants on a regular basis. Before this I was fondly referred to as the "Angel of Death" in the plant world.

This really motivated me to try again and I am so excited to show you how well my garden is growing. I would have loved to have a completely organic garden, but I have been fighting a loosing battle with snails - so I have resorted to snail-ban.

Here is the swiss-chard.

Cauliflowers are looking good - yummy!

Lots of lettuce, which will be ready for great summer salads.

Lavender, just because it looks and smells so beautiful.

Friday, 22 August 2008


I was rather young when I first heard about K.I.S.S., and not the group of Americans who dressed in tight black leather and wear more make up then Zsa Zsa Gabor. I'm talking about K.I.S.S. - as in "Keep It Simple Stupid". This is a very good rule when cooking, especially if you're not Michel Roux .

Naked Chefs and Nude Foodies are all the rage and rightly so. Buying good ingredients and letting their flavours come through, without fuss, makes perfect sense to me.

My K.I.S.S Lamb is great for those of you who are inspired to try some Nude and Naked cooking!


2 Whole Lamb Ribs - the thin belly ribs
½ cup Fresh Rosemary Leaves removed from the stalks
Hand full of Sea Salt
Olive Oil

In your mortar and pestle place the salt and the rosemary and a little oil for lubrication and pound to a rough paste.
Spread this all over the lamb, top and bottom.
Place into your oven at 180°C for about an 1½ hours, until the meat is cooked.
I like to cook it for a long time so the fat renders out and you are left with soft meat with a crisp skin.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Pretty Pies Please

When I planned this meal, it was going to be really simple Pepper Steak Pot Pies, but as I am sure any cook will tell you - "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry".

It all started very efficiently with me making a simple filling, pre-heating the oven and then turning around to where the defrosting puff pastry should have been and ....... remembering that I never actually took it out of the freezer! Oh no, what now? I have to have supper ready in 45 minutes? Where are the cooking gods when you need them?

Once the colour returned to my face and the feeling to my legs, I sprang into action and not only did I save the day (Superman), I ended up with a really great meal!

The Steak and Mushroom Filling

500g Goulash
Flour for dusting the meat
1 Large Onion
Olive Oil
15ml Tomato Paste
10ml Chilli Powder (optional for those who are not spicy)
Salt and Pepper
½ a punnet of Mushrooms (cut into bite size pieces)

Fry the onion until soften, and remove from the pot.
Dust the meat in with the flour, removing any excess (as usual I do this in a bag).
Heat the pan, add some oil and fry the meat until browned.
Add the onions back into the pot.
Add a little water, tomato paste and chilli.
Cook on a low heat until the meat is tender.
Keep adding water, and build up a nice gravy.
In the last ½ hour add the mushrooms.
Allow to cool.

The Pastry

250g Flour
175g Cold Butter cut into rough blocks
85ml Ice cold Water
12ml Lemon Juice
2.5ml Salt

Place the flour. salt and butter in the food processor.
Pulse until you have what looks like bread crumbs (don't over mix)
Add the water and lemon until mixture just starts to come together.
Remove and then if you have time, allow it to cool in the fridge for about ½ an hour.
If you don't then proceed straight ahead, with rolling out the dough.
I make my pastry quite thin, about 3mm.
Cut disks, depending on the size pie you wish to make, mine were smaller than usual (about 15cm in diameter).
I only used the meat and mushrooms and left the gravy to serve on the side. If you have too much gravy inside, the pastry will become soggy - not good!
Place a spoon of the filling in the middle of the disk, egg wash the edges, bring together and crimp to seal.
Egg wash the top of the pies.
Bake at 190°C for about 25 -30 minutes.

Serve with chips and the gravy.

These pies would also work very well at a picnic, especially if you make the smaller size as I did.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

A Little on the Side

I love this time of year when summer is trying to push winter away. The days are getting longer and warmer - Cape Town at it's best!

To celebrate this wonderful time of year, I made ice-cream and a little something on the side, Brandy Snap baskets.

They are very easy to make, the only problem is the mixture is so divine that I ended up with a lot less biscuits than the recipe stated. But I am sure you have more self control than me, so you won't have the same problem!

Brandy Snaps
14-18 Biscuits

50g Flour
5ml Ground Ginger
50g Butter
50g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
30ml Golden Syrup
Finely Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
5ml Lemon Juice

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
Grease your baking trays.
Sift the flour and ginger.
In a sauce pan, melt the butter.
Add the sugar and syrup and stir while warming gently, do not allow it to become hot.
Remove from the heat and add the flour mix, zest and juice and stir well.
Make sure there are no lumps.
Put spoonfuls of the mix on your tray, allowing lots of room for them to spread.
Bake for 8 -10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, wait a few seconds and then using a palette knife gentle remove from the tray.
To make the baskets, mould the soft biscuit in greased patty tins or over an orange (or a rounded bowl).
Allow to cool before removing from the bowl.

I served mine with my homemade heaven Mint Choc-Chip Ice Cream.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Chocolate Heaven

There are few things in life as comforting as a nice cup of coffee and a biscuit and when that biscuit is home made it is even better.
My mother always baked biscuits, I however, am not that motivated. I get bored when I have to keep re-filling the tray and baking for what seems hours on end.

I found a recipe for ginger shortbread biscuits in a book I've had for ages. As my family are not crazy about ginger I adapted it and changed it into chocolate shortbread biscuits. They are dead easy - all done in the food processor and it only makes about 25 biscuits, so I could fit them all in the oven at the same time!

Chocolate Shortbread Biscuits

150g Cake Flour
25g Rice Flour
125g Soft Butter
40g Caramel Sugar
15ml Orange Zest finely grated
80g Dark Chocolate roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place all the ingredients in the processor and blitz until it comes together in a dough.
Roll the dough into balls the size of a large cherry tomato.
Using damp hands or a wet fork press down slightly.
Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove carefully and leave to cool on a rack.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Finding Balance

My husband hates eating vegetables. He knows he should eat them, and he really does try - bless his heart - but you can see that it really isn't fun for him. I on the other hand, love vegetables, so I guess we are a little like Jack Sprat who could eat no fat and his wife could eat no lean!

Like any good wife (what a terrible cliché), I try really hard to make vegetables different and appetising. Unfortunately he is a little old for me to try to encourage him with smiley carrot faces and cabbage hair! But I do on occasion try to incorporate flavours he does like, especially chilli. Those flavours are the inspiration for my Chinese Aubergine.

Chinese Aubergine

1 large Aubergine (Brinjal) cut into 1" dice
20ml Chinese Chilli Bean Sauce
15ml Sweet Soya
100g Tatsoi
1 bunch Spring Onions finely sliced
Garlic and Ginger chopped

In your wok heat a little oil and fry off the garlic and the ginger.
Add the brinjal and fry until it starts to brown.
Add the chilli bean sauce, the soya and a splash of water and cook until just done.
Stir in the tatsoi and allow to wilt.
Just before serving add the spring onions and stir through.
Works well with steamed with rice.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Who You Know

I am sure you have all heard the expression, it is not what you know but who you know. When it comes to procuring fresh tuna this saying really does ring true.

It will not help you knowing the best recipe in the world for tuna, if you can't buy it fresh. You'd be better off using tinned tuna and have a tuna-mayo sandwich instead, which is a favourite of mine.

So getting back to who you know, I know a fisherman! Unfortunately, for me that is, he has a very successful day job, so he doesn't go fishing as often as I like to eat fish! But when he does, I very conveniently am always in the area (which is nowhere near where I should be)!

That is the story how I managed to score 1½ kgs of tuna, which was no more than 6 hours old. And now for the story of turning this into a feast fit for a King and Queen!

Take the tuna and place it into a ziploc bag.
Place the following into the bag with the fish
½ cup Thai Sweet Chilli sauce
Juice of 2 Lemons
15ml Jenny Morris Zesty Fish Spice
¼ cup Soya Sauce

Leave to marinade for about 2 hours, depending on the thickness of your steaks.

Heat your pan with lots of good olive oil and fry the tuna.
I usually stop the cooking when it is ½ done, turn off the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
I like my Tuna medium.

The side dish for this is just as simple and works really well with the tuna.

Egg Fried Noodles

Egg Noodles cooked as per instructions
15ml Peanut Oil
Finely Chopped Carrot
Finely Chopped Celery
Garlic and Ginger chopped
1 Egg beaten
Sweet Soya sauce
15ml Black Sesame Seeds
Sesame Oil

Heat the wok and add the oil until it starts to pop.
Add the garlic and the ginger and flash fry, don't let it get too brown.
Add the carrot and celery and fry for a few seconds.
Add the egg and stir to break up while cooking.
Add noodles, the sesame seeds, the soya sauce and the sesame oil and fry until the noodles are coated and heated through.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Weekend Wildness

I love making "eat with your hands" food on the weekends, especially those which don't require piles of dishes. Who wants to spend Friday and Saturday washing dishes?

This simple Chicken Pita is so easy and tasty, you'll never buy one again, without thinking, " I can do better than this at home!".

Chicken Pita

4 Chicken breasts, skin and bone removed and sliced into "ring-finger" size pieces
2 Teaspoons Chilli Powder (I like it hot so I also add a chopped fresh chilli)
2 Teaspoons Runny Honey (I also like it a little sweet)
1 Lemon
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
Salt and Jenny Morris Lemon Pepper
8 Pitas breads warmed through until they look like a pillow

Place all the ingredients into a ziploc bag, squeeze the lemon and place into the bag also.
Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or over-night.
Heat your pan and fry the chicken with the marinade until cooked through.

Fill you pitas with the chicken and finely chopped salad.
I used avocado, lettuce, pepperdews and spring onion.

Take a bite and feel it flavours melt in your mouth!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Bread of Life

I am not a naturally jealous person. I don't go green when I see someone driving the latest model car or wearing designer clothing. Those things are nice, but they really are not something which I long for. I won't say I don't dream about having a body like Angelina Jolie (even when she is pregnant with twins) or hair like Jennifer Aniston, but on the whole I am pretty happy with what I have.

There is an exception to my non-jealous character. I am very jealous of people who can make bread, like Spicy_Kicks. She makes the most wonderful bread goodies, and even though she promises that it is dead easy, I still don't believe her! I have made my own dough before, but I am never happy with the texture or the taste.

I decided that I want to be a better person, and not allow the green-eyed monster to rule my kitchen any more, so I ventured where I have never gone before - and you know what? It is actually easier than I thought and there was really no need to be so jealous - I can do this too!

I made 1Kg bread dough using this recipe.

Once the dough was ready I started playing and I don't use that word loosely, because it was playing and I was having fun!

I made up some Nomu Tomato and Chilli Pesto, but if you can't get hold of this -make your own with sun-dried tomatoes, chillies and herbs.

I started with savoury rolls, plain and with a sausage.
I took a piece of dough, about the size of my hand flattened it, spread the pesto on and rolled it up. I then brushed it with egg and topped it with some Jenny Morris Lemon Pepper.

With the left over dough, I made a flat bread topped with pepperdews, rosemary, sea salt , black pepper and olive oil.

I then baked it everything in a hot oven at 200°C for about 20-25 mins, until done and hollow sounding.
Serve and eat!

Never again will I be scared to try bread making, and my son was so happy with the result, he wants them for lunch everyday!

Monday, 11 August 2008

More Rude Food

I am a great fan of Jenny Morris and that's no secret. For those who are unlucky enough not to know who I am talking about, I quote from her book More Rude Food:
"Jenny Morris, also know as The Giggling Gourmet, is one of South Africa's most-loved food personalities. She is an author, magazine and newspaper contributor, radio and TV presenter, celebrity chef, teacher and culinary tour guide who has had an ongoing love affair with food since she can remember".

I met her blogging and now most importantly am honoured to call her my friend!

When you read (yes, I read cookbooks like novels) More Rude Food, you will see this passion Jenny has, and she is not called The Giggling Gourmet for nothing!

Each chapter starts with a wonderfully seductive quote, which you would more likely find in a Mills and Boon, than a cookbook. Words like "voluptuous" and"sensual" are definitely not quotes out of Mrs Beeton's, but it sure does keep you turning the pages! Who can't help wanting to read more when you read a title like "hot and sticky thighs" or "prawnographic"!

But enough already, if I haven't made you want to run out and buy one (or both) of her books, then I am sure once you have tried this recipe you will!

Jenny's Beef and Noodle Soup

500g Chuck Brisket
1Kg Shin, with the bones
6cm piece of Ginger, chopped
5 Cloves of Garlic
3 Onions, unpeeled
1 Stick Cinnamon
3 Whole Star Anise
½ cup Soup Celery Leaves Chopped
8 Peppercorns
3 Litres of Water
Salt to taste

Place all these ingredients in a large pot and gently bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat and simmer gently with the lid on for 1½ hours.
Once the meat is tender, remove the lid and simmer for another 1½ hours.
remove the meat from the broth and slice it up.
Strain the broth, pout it into a clean pot and "fling" in a few ice blocks to gather up any floating fat.
Reheat by simmering for 20 minutes with the lid off.

While the broth is cooking, prepare the following

200g Rice noodles (cook as per packet instructions)
6 Spring Onions, thinly sliced
6 Fresh Chillies, thinly sliced
300g Fresh Bean Sprouts
Some mixed herbs - like Sweet Basil, mint, coriander and chopped fresh celery leaves.

To serve
Place some noodles at the bottom of each soup bowl, then the spring onions, chillies, bean sprouts and the sliced beef.
Cover with the broth.
Season with fish sauce and a squeeze of lime and add the herbs of your choice.

And the left over broth with some spring onions and bean sprouts makes a lunch that would make WFL jealous!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Winter Warmer

We have had the most beautiful mid-winter "Indian Summer" for the last week. These are the days when you find a nice sunny spot and thaw out your bones. The evenings however are colder and perfect for this lovely lamb stew.

I used lamb knuckles. They had lots of meat and very little of the fat which usually you find with lamb. Cooked slowly to release all the flavour and become beautifully tender. Served with baked butternut (with a little nutmeg) and leeks braised with olive oil and Jenny Morris French Tarragon.

Braised Lamb Knuckle

1kg Lamb Knuckles, washed dried and dusted with flour
1 Leek washed and finely slices
2 Carrots peeled and chopped into small dice
1 Onion sliced
1 Cup of Chopped Celery Leaves
3 Tomatoes peeled and Chopped
2 Mutton Stock Cube (or fresh stock if you have)
20ml Jenny Morris Herbs De Provence
10ml Jenny Morris Lemon Pepper

Fry the onion until caramelised.
Add the meat and brown well.
Add the vegetables and fry for a few minutes.
Add the stock cube and a little water.
Turn the heat on very low or alternatively place in an oven at 150°C.
Keep checking and adding a little water if starts looking too dry.
By adding the water slowly you will build up a good gravy, which is thick and tasty.
Cook until the meat is soft.

Serve on a bed of steamed white rice.

As you will note I am a huge fan of Jenny Morris' spices. They are superior to anything else available locally. As well as the fact that I think she is the greatest girl I know!
If you can't get hold of them (ask your shop why not), you can use an Italian or French herb mix instead of the Herbs De Provence.

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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