Thursday, 27 November 2008

Simple and Light

After enduring what we felt was an incredibly harsh winter, which never seemed to end, summer is here and showing no remorse about being a little late. Yesterday the temperature in Paarl, which is about 40km outside Cape Town, was 44°C (111°F).

Needless to say, warm comfort food is out of the question. Just turning on the stove takes super-human courage.

I made this quick supper, an effortless meal that required minimum time in the kitchen.

Monkfish wrapped in Sage and Bacon

Monkfish fillets
Streaky Bacon
Fresh Sage leaves

Season the fish with salt and pepper.
Wrap the fillets first with a few sage leaves and then in bacon.
Grill in a hot oven (220°C) for about 15 -25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

½ head of White Cabbage very finely shredded
1 Large Carrot finely grated
1 Tbsp Jenny Morris Caraway Seeds
1 Tbsp Jenny Morris French tarragon
1 Tbsp Castor Sugar
½ Tbsp Salt (you might need more, depending on your tastes)
½ Tbsp Jenny Morris Lemon Pepper
¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Olive Oil (optional)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and allow to stand for at least an hour before serving.
Check the seasoning, adding more sugar, vinegar or salt if needed.
Drizzle over some olive oil just before serving (I left this out).
It actually tastes even better the next day.
This salad goes perfectly with fish.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Banana Bliss

I spend far too much time reading food blogs. I save and print recipes by the gross (that is gross like in 12 dozen). I have files, folders and bookmarked recipes everywhere. I would have to bake and 24/7 for the rest of my life to actually try most of them, but I live in hope!

As a confirmed Muffin Addict, this recipe caught my eye, and was duly bookmarked and printed. It went in the pink file of - "things which I must try".

Yesterday morning when I walked into the kitchen, I was met with an aroma which made me realize that today would have to be the day I make something with over ripe bananas. I didn't have to think twice about what it was going to be.

I found this recipe on Happy Home Baking.
I only made a few changes, using oil instead of melted butter, a little more sugar (only because I wasn't paying attention to the scale) and more chocolate chips.

Banana and Choc-Chip Muffins
Makes about 14 - 16 South African sized muffins

275g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 bananas, about 450g
115g brown sugar
1 Jumbo egg, lightly beaten
50ml low fat fresh milk
75ml oil
80g chocolate chips

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180degC (350 degF). Line muffin pans with paper muffin cases.
  2. Sieve together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. Peel the bananas and mash with a fork in a bowl. Add in brown sugar, egg, milk and oil.
  4. Mix until well combined.
  5. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients. With a wooden spoon or a spatula, gently fold all the ingredients to form a wet batter. Stir gently, using only a few strokes and mix until the flour are incorporate into the batter. DO NOT Over mix. The batter should appear lumpy.
  6. Spoon batter into paper muffin cases. Bake for 20mins until muffins turn golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Let cool on a wire rack.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Sage Advice

I am feeling very low today. I had a terrible night, all caused by me being totally heartless and down right mean. It is so easy after the fact to think of all the things you should not have said and done. So I thought I would spend some time getting some sage advice and here is what I read.
  1. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
  2. ... For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (This didn't make me feel very good)
  3. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
So with these three verses, I have realised that I have lots to work on and especially number 2 & 3!

So with all this sage advice...

I have a huge about of sage growing in my garden and I think the next time I start feeling like my mouth is going to explode, I will take the time and make this dish. It requires full attention and is very good for settling the nerves!

Roasted Butternut and Sage Risotto.

500g Butternut roasted with fresh sage until just done (do not let it get mushy)
1 Onion Thinly sliced
2 Cups Risotto
2 Minced Garlic cloves
2 - 3 Cups cups Hot Chicken Stock (or vegetable) with 1 Pinch Saffron added
10 leaves fresh sage
Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional for serving)

Fry the onion in the warm pot until soft, but not brown.
Add the risotto and fry until coated in the oil.
Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
Start adding the stock a spoon at a time and keep stirring.
Do not leave the stove, you have to keep stirring and adding the stock as it dries out.
After about 20 minutes the risotto will be nearly done.
Add the butternut, together with the sage you roasted it with.
Add some extra fresh chopped sage.
Allow this to warm through.
You then have to decide if you want it soft and runny or firmer,
depending on how much more liquid you add.
You can add butter if you wish - this is a personal preference.
Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Chicken Stripers

Yesterday I showed how to make your own peri-peri sauce. As I mentioned, it is very easy to make and not only as a sauce but a marinade too.

These chicken strips are great for a quick meal and are very in-expensive. They make a great filling for a pita bread too!

Peri-Peri Chicken strips

3 Chicken breasts (skinned and slices into 3 or 4 strips, depending on the size)
½ Cup Peri Peri Sauce
1 Cup Bread Crumbs

Marinade the strips in the marinade for 3-4 hours.
Pre heat the oven to 200°C.
Remove the strips from the marinade.
Place the strips in a bag with the bread crumbs, toss to coat.
Place in the oven and cook until golden brown.
Serve hot or cold.
You could fry these, but I think they taste better baked and are better for the waist line!

A little boy got lost at the YMCA
and found himself in the women's locker room.
When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks,
with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover.
The little boy watched in amazement and then asked,
'What's the matter, haven't you ever seen a little boy before?'

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Peri Peri Easy

The presenters on the radio were discussing, when do you start feeling the holiday fever? Things like Boney M, Christmas lights and peaches were mentioned. This got me thinking, what makes me start getting the feeling? The answer was relatively simple - my Dad's birthday.

Before Dad's birthday, the Christmas decorations and carols (which appear in October), really don't mean anything to me. I have however, already started thinking about presents (my wish list is at 2 pages and counting).

This year I plan to give more home made cheer than usual. So much is lost over Christmas, the meaning and the love, that giving things which have taken lots of time, rather than lots of money, seems to make more sense.

In preparation for these gifts, I have started experimenting with things which I can include as treasures for those whom I love (and like).

This fresh peri-peri sauce is better than any shop bought one I have tried (and I have tried plenty) and it lasts in the fridge for at least 2 weeks. It is great to take along as a hostess gift, especially if they braai (BBQ) often, and who doesn't in this great weather?

Peri Peri Easy Sauce

20 Red Thai Chillies (Roasted for 15 mins)
3 Garlic Cloves (poached for 5 mins)
Salt ( I used smoked salt which added a lovely smoky flavour)
Juice of 1 Lemon
Olive Oil

In the food processor place the chillies, garlic, salt and lemon juice and process.
While the machine is running, slowly start adding the olive oil, until you have the desired consistency.
Great served with chicken, fish, roasted vegetables, beef or just about anything.
It also makes a good marinade.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Marie's Garden

My neighbour, Aunty Marie, has the most beautiful garden. When I get home, no matter how bad my day has been, it always makes me smile - I hope it does the same for you.


Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Behind the Scenes

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes in a food blogger's kitchen? It is possible that everything you see in the photo is exactly the truth?

I guess not!
"They say eatin' burnt food will give ya a good singin' voice."
Al Becker

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


I have an addiction which is taking control of my life. Unlike most people I didn't start young, I actually managed to get through school and varsity without ever picking one up (this is no lie). My enslavement started when I met my husband. He was already a junkie when I met him.

Keith gave me my first taste, he gave me one after a date and then became my sole supplier, for a number of years! I started slowly, maybe one a month, but over the years things have escalated and one no longer lasts more than 3 or 4 days. I can't even sleep without it. I now source my own product, having cut Keith out as the middle man.

What is this addiction? Reading. It takes me to far away places and introduces me to friends in places I only dream about visiting.

I spent last weekend with Frances Mayes at her home in Tuscany where she taught me how to enjoy the early season artichokes, simply done with lemon and olive oil. I decided last night that I would celebrate the early summer we were having (before the cold and rain arrived this morning), by making pan roasted baby artichokes and mushrooms.

5 Baby Artichokes
1 Punnet Mushrooms
1 Garlic Clove minced
Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
Jenny Morris Lemon Pepper

Before you start to prepare the artichokes, have a bowl of lemon water ready for them, otherwise they turn black very quickly.
Proceed to cut off the hard outer leaves and the top 1.5cm.
Peel the stalk, to reveal the soft under flesh.
Cut in half and if there is any furry choke remove it, but this should not happen if they are young.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and toss in the artichokes, mushrooms and the garlic.
Gently fry until the artichokes are done, then squeeze in the lemon juice and seasoning.
Serve while hot.

Anyone who says they have only one life to live
must not know how to read a book.

~Author Unknown

Monday, 10 November 2008

Weekend Bliss

I have so much to share about my weekend. I spent no time at all in the kitchen and lots of time having fun in the sun (and the dark) with two of the most special people in my life.

Friday night I decided to treat my boys to fish and chips from Catch of the Day. The owner Manny knows me by name, so when I call and say "Manny, 2 hake and a small chips, collection at 6.45pm please" my life is instantly easier. I learnt the lesson to call before you arrive, because Friday nights at Manny's is like Christmas Eve at Cavendish!

I decided to stick to my healthy eating plan, and not go the battered fish and chips and make these tasty bites, of fresh ciabata slices, topped with low fat cheese, tomato and fenugreek sprouts (home grown) - delicious.

Saturday night hubby and I went out dancing! Our friend, Leslie K. Smith was doing the release of his new album at Hanover Street, Grand West. We first had diner at Squire’s Grill and Chop House, where hubby pronounced the steak as, " The best I've had in a long time". I did make one mistake though, I wore my new shoes - yes I hear that groan! My baby toe no longer has skin on it.

Sunday morning after church, I took Markwin tobogganing and I had my first trip down. My legs were shaking when I eventually reached the bottom, it took all my strength to remain cool and save face in front of him!

After all this fun, I really didn't feel like cooking. So I decided to try this very simple "recipe" I had bookmarked ages ago. It is very simple and scored full marks with Markwin.

I bought a pack of roti paratha at the Spar last week.

You simply defrost them slightly (not all the the way otherwise they are too sticky).
Roll your sausage in the roti and make slashes on the top.
Brush with either milk or egg and top with sesame seeds.
Preheat your oven to 180°C and then bake them for 25 -30 minutes.
The result is a super easy sausage roll.

A thought for the day :
Change your thoughts and change your world.
Norman Peale

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Cookie Delights

I have been so blessed these last few weeks. There are so many things that have happened and everyone of them has blessed me beyond anything I could ever have imagined. I keep thinking of a bible verse I learnt in Sunday school, (about 1000 years ago) : "Jer 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

This is not just material prospering, I have had bonding time with people who I haven't made time for in ages and through them my spirit has been fed and lifted.

Last night I got together with my bible study group and we had a party. We sat around, chatting and laughing, until tears where running down my cheeks! These are the blessing I value most.

I was also treated to a shopping spree with my husband, who bought me an entire new summer wardrobe! I must say, now that I have lost those nasty extra pounds, clothes shopping has neve
r been this fun! My husband has the best taste in clothing, he can pick something off the rack and when I try it on, I look like I belong on the cover of vogue instead of the back of the bus!

I am so blessed to have someone who knows me, better than I know myself! That is what you call a real soul mate, and you only get one in a life time, if you are truly blessed !

So, back to the party. Everyone had to bring a plate of eats. I found this great new recipe for Cheesecake Cookies in a book my sister sent me from Australia. They are very rich and guaranteed to help with weight gain!

Cheesecake Cookies (I changed them slightly to suit the ingredients I had on hand)
Makes about 12 -14 cookies

Base and Topping

70g Soft Butter
1 Cup Flour
Brown Sugar

Mix together all 3 ingredients together with a fork, until it resembles bread crumbs.


250g Cream Cheese (at room temperature)
½ Cup Sugar
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons Passion Fruit Juice (No pips)

Alternative to the Passion Fruit
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice and 2 Tablespoons Milk
¼ teaspoon Vanilla Extract or seeds

Preheat your oven 180°C. Grease a 20cm x 20cm baking tray.
Take one cup of the crumbs and reserve for the topping.

Press the the remaining crumbs into the baking tray and bake for 10-15 mins. Once cooked remove from the oven and cool.

Filling Cream the cheese and and sugar until smooth.
Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth.

Once the base is cooled, pour the filling onto the cooled base and sprinkle remaining topping on top.
Bake for 20 -25 minutes.
Leave to cool and cut into squares.

Eat in moderation - if possible. Best shared with really good friends

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Encore Fritters

I have made these delightful fritters before with an different flavour and they were very morish. They are very good the next day straight out the fridge and especially nice when you standing with the fridge door open deciding what to make for supper!

There are no fixed rules on what to add, just so long as you don't over power the courgettes.

Chilli and Chinese Five Spice Courgette Fritters.

2 Cups Grated Courgettes
± ¾ Cup Self Raising Flour
¾ teaspoon Baking Power
1 Teaspoon Dried chilli (I used the smoked chilli which was really good)
¼ Teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
¼ Teaspoon Jenny Morris Lemon Pepper
¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Grated Zest of a Lemon
± ½ cup Milk

Grate the courgettes and then place them in a kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Add all the ingredients, except the milk.
Slowly mix in the milk until you have a medium batter (I hope the picture below shows the consistency).

Heat a non-stick pan sprayed with a little non stick spray, (no need for extra oil)
Drop spoonfuls of the batter in the hot pan.
When you see bubbles on the top, flip over and cook until golden brown and cooked through.
Serve hot or cold, also great with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Sprouting Joy

Last week the headline news was that Statistics South Africa announced the all-items consumer price index (CPI) increased by an annual rate of 13,1%, compared with 13,7% in August. Economists all agreed that the numbers should be good news for the South African market.

I don't know how many of you were as sceptical as me when you heard this. I don't disagree that the news is good, but what I would like to know is which shop do they go to? When I do my shopping, I see no evidence of any decrease in pric
es - and in fact the increases seem a lot higher than 13.1% in many of the things which I buy.

Every time I go shopping, everything as increased and not just a few cents here and there. It seems impossible to buy weekly staples without handing out huge wads of cash, and that does not include anything I regard as a luxury - like 2-ply toilet paper!

But hope is here! I certainly won't be sharing this with Statistics South
Africa, because when they find out I have found a way save 92%, they will come out with new data showing inflation is actually -5%!

What is my new inflation beating secret? Sprouting!

I bought a packet of mixed sprouting seeds (5 different kinds) for R10.40 at The Wellness Centre in Kloof Road. I rushed home and started.

No fancy equipment is needed - you do not need the R800 sprouting machine. All you need is a large glass bottle (I don't throw out tins or bottles, but always save them for re-use or recycling), secondly you need a piece of fabric (I cut off a square from an old stai
ned table runner) and lastly an elastic band (you can get these free at your bank, if you ask nicely).

So we still have only spent R10.40!

How is works:

Day 1 - Soak the seeds over night in your bottle.
Day 2 (morning) - Rinse the seeds, pour off the water and place the fabric on the top and secure with the elastic band. Place this in a cool dark cupboard.
Day 2 (evening) -
Rinse the seeds, pour off the water and place the fabric on the top and secure with the elastic band. Place this in a cool dark cupboard.

This is how they look at the end of Day 2
Day 3 (morning) - Rinse the seeds, pour off the water and place the fabric on the top and secure with the elastic band. Place this in a cool dark cupboard.
Day 3 (evening) -
Rinse the seeds, pour off the water and place the fabric on the top and secure with the elastic band. Place this in a cool dark cupboard.

This is how they look at the end of Day 3

Day 4 (morning) - Rinse the seeds, pour off the water and place the fabric on the top and secure with the elastic band. Place this in a cool dark cupboard.
Day 4 (evening) - Take out the sprouts, rinse and then drain them on a kitchen towel and store in the fridge for use.
Day 4 - Wotalotigot!

This is how easy it it to grow your own sprouts. Just make sure that the seeds you buy are sprouting quality - usually those in the health food section will be your best bet.

My fresh sprouts in our supper salad!

If you have children this is a great activity to do together.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Muffin Mania

I have great news!

The local internet cafe has asked me to supply muffins for sale to their clients. They are extremely busy (especially at this time of year) and often have clients requesting something light to eat. Yesterday I baked two batches - one regular chocolate chip and another with 2 tone chips - made from white and dark chocolate mixed.

When I shared my muffin recipe, I had requests on what exactly is meant by "just mixed", when you make muffins, so I thought I would show you what my mixture looks like before I place them in the cups ready for baking.

I have a great post for tomorrow - I have been sprouting, so please visit where I will explain how simple it is to grow your own sprouts - all you need are seeds, a bottle, a cupboard and 3 days.

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

Search This Blog

South African Food and Wine Blogger Directory

The South African Food and Wine Blogger Directory