Monday, 28 January 2008

Fishy Fridays

Growing up we always had fish on Fridays. While this is normal in a Catholic home, being very Baptist it does seem rather unorthodox.

Now that I have my own home, I don't do the Friday fish thing, but this last Friday we went back to our roots and had fish. It was great, and as the weather is still extremely hot, I always vote to cook outside, as to not be stuck in the hot kitchen. Another great thing about cooking on the fire, is that Keith does the cooking, so I can just sit back and sip cold drinks.

The fish did require some preparation, but the ladies at the fish shop are very nice, and they did all the smelly work! All I had to do was take the fillets out and marinade them for a few hours before handing it to Keith to cook - delegation at it's best.

I used Yellowtail (Seriola Lalandi).

The marinade is very simple, just like the cooking.
If you are going to grill on the open fire (BRAAI), you must leave the skin on the fish.

Classic Yellowtail

Put your fish fillets in a zip-lock bag.
Make enough marinade to cover the fish.
2 parts lemon, and 1 part olive oil.
Red and Green Chilli Chopped (I use 2 colours for the visual effect)
Sea Salt
You can also put in some garlic cloves if you like.
Leave to marinade for 2 hours in the fridge.

Cook on over the fire until just done, don't over cook, otherwise it will be very dry.
Serve with a green salad and lemon wedges.
I got this interesting information as to the reason Christians (used to) eat fish on Fridays, thanks to Ken Collins -

In the first century, Jews fasted on Mondays and Thursdays. The original Christians were all Jewish and were used to the fasting as a spiritual discipline. They moved the fast days to Wednesdays and Fridays, because Judas engineered Jesus' arrest on a Wednesday and Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Most often that fast took the form of avoiding meat in the diet. In those days, meat was a luxury food.
The Wednesday and Friday fasts were a universal Christian custom in ancient times. The Roman Catholic Church downplayed the Wednesday fast, but kept the Friday fast until quite recently. Anglicans and Protestants also observed these fasts. In the 18th century, a man could not be ordained a Methodist minister if he did not fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, with the reasoning that a person who could not rule his own belly could certainly not rule the church!

Friday, 25 January 2008

Eezy Peezy Resolutions

I always make New Year resolutions, actually the truth be told I make resolutions all the time -Sunday nights, last days of the month, my birthday, the list just goes on and on.
This year I decided to :
1. Loose weight (which is not going that badly),
2. Start studying (also going well) and
3. Make lots of healthy food which my family will enjoy.

We are having the most wonderful weather in Cape Town at present, with the days heating up to 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) everyday. On days like this, I definitely do not want to be in the kitchen making complicated food, but I still want my family to think I am putting in some effort.

This is how I came to the Shawarma. It is more of an adaptation of the original, but is reasonably healthy (I use wholewheat pita's) and the leftovers go down very well for my packed lunch.


500g Steak (No need to buy an expensive cut like rump)
250ml beef stock (stock cube is fine)
20ml Cornflour dissolved in 100ml of water
10ml mustard (English or Dijon)
10 ml worcheshire sauce
5 ml sugar
salt (this is personal, you might find the worcheshire is enough)

Cut the steak in bite size pieces.
Fry the steak in a hot pan until browned.
Lower the heat to medium and stir in the ingredients.
Cook until you have a nice thick brown gravy, which coats the meat.

I like the extra gravy, but you could make it drier if that is more to you liking.
The Salad - you can use whatever you like in a salad
Fresh Chili
Tomato (seeds removed, otherwise I find it too soggy)
Cut everything really finely, as you won't fit big pieces into the pita.

Warm the pita's in the oven for 5 mins.
I always serve humus and garlic salad dressing with my shawarma.
To serve, put everything on the table and let the feast begin!
Don't try so hard,
the best things come
when you least expect them to.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Working Girl's Lunch

Since I am back at work after the Christmas holidays, I have experienced 2 phenomena :

1. My waist line has grown
2. My bank balance has shrunk

As these two go hand in hand, I am trying to make adjustments on both sides.

And so I introduce the packed lunch.

Couscous Salad (enough for 3 lunches)

1 cup Couscous
1 cup Boiling water
1 cup cooked green beans
10 salted Almonds (chopped in small pieces)
3 sun dried tomatoes (reconstituted)
1 small piece of steak thinly sliced (you can use any left over meat)
Salt and Black pepper

Make up the couscous according to the instructions on the packet.
Toss all the other ingredients into the couscous.

This really is a healthy lunch, which is easy to throw together while making your evening meal.

Never frown, even when you are sad,
because you never know who is
falling in love with your smile.

Thursday, 17 January 2008


What do you call a vegetarian who goes back to eating meat? Someone who lost their veg-inity!

Living with 2 carnivores makes food choices rather boring, you have meat and then think of some vegetable you can slip onto the side of the plate that they might or might not eat.

Having my 6 foot 4 inch vegetarian brother in-law with us, has made food preparation exciting. I make 4 different vegetable dishes each more "exotic" than the other.

Last night I made a vegetable platter of note. It is very simple to prepare, and even the carnivores took seconds!

Basic Vegetable Platter
3 Aubergines sliced in 1cm slices long ways

20 small rosa tomatoes (mine were not the very small baby ones)

10 small red cocktail onions (with the skin on)

5 Raj chillies

8 whole garlic cloves, with the skin on

Fresh Thyme stalks

Sea salt and Black Pepper

Olive oil
Layer all the vegetables in a large roasting pan and drizzle with lots of olive oil.
Grind lots of Black pepper on, and sprinkle with sea salt.
Tear the thyme over the top and toss so everything is coated.
Bake for about 60 minutes in a hot oven (about 200 - 220 degrees) until everything is soft, but not mushy.
Serve with couscous.
I am having the leftovers (not as much as I thought) for lunch today.

Boy Melon: Honey, dew you want to run away and get married?
Girl Melon: Sorry, I cantaloupe.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

People Pleaser

Welcome back to Homemade Heaven! My first real food blog for the year. I am back from holiday and very inspired to start making good food that is both easy and tasty.

I have my brother-in-law and his wife staying with us for a week. Colin is a strict vegetarian, he eats no flesh (including fish). While he keeps insisting that I must not go to any trouble making anything special for him, I relish the challenge of cooking exciting meals without meat, while still keeping my carnivore husband happy.

Last night a made prawn pasta for us and a mushroom neapolitan for Colin.

The recipe is very simple, but does require at least an hour of slow cooking. The great thing as the basic sauce can be changed to incorporate anything you have on hand.

Basic Neapolitan Sauce

2 Onions finely sliced
1/2 a red pepper
1/2 cup of grated carrot
1 chopped garlic clove
3 tins peeled tomatoes (410g)
3 TBSP fresh oregano
4 sprigs of thyme
10ml of sugar
15 Capers in salt (if you use the capers in brine, you will need to wash them and add extra salt)
1 green chili
Lots of Black Pepper

Fry the onions, carrot and pepper in olive oil until soft, but not brown.
Add the tomatoes, herbs and garlic.
Leave to simmer slowly, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if it looks like it is drying out.
I cook it until everything has broken down. You may need to help the tomatoes by mashing them a little.
Once the sauce is ready, you can add your chosen flavor.

I separated my sauce and to the first half added thickly sliced brown mushroom and torn basil leaves, simmer for a few minutes until the mushrooms are just soft.
The other half I added shelled prawns and cooked on medium heat until the prawns were done.
I have done this with calamari rings, cubes of firm white fish or you can even serve the sauce as is over a pasta of your choice.

Markwin started high school today and I can not resist showing how grown up my baby looks in his new school uniform.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Holiday Photos

I know that there is a rule about showing people your holiday photos, but since I won't see you roll your eyes and leave the room, here goes.....

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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