Monday, 30 June 2008

Super Sides

Having a great main meal means you have to have a great side dish. You can ruin an entire meal by serving the wrong accompaniments.

A good steak only needs proper seasoning and cooking, but what you serve with the steak will result in that meal being remembered or quickly forgotten. This is what makes a "good restaurant" great and an "okay restaurant" - just okay!

These brinjal steaks are a great side dish and make a perfect main for any vegetarians who might be sharing the table!

Brinjal Steaks

3 Medium Brinjal (Aubergine) sliced long ways, about 1cm thick
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
2 Teaspoons Salt
2 Teaspoons Black Pepper or Jenny Morris Volcanic Spice
20 ml Black Sesame Seeds
2 beaten Eggs for Dipping
Oil for Frying

Drench the brinjal slices in the flour (Ziploc is the answer for no messing).
Dip the slices in the egg.
Mix all the other dry ingredients together (Ziploc again).
Drench the egged slices in the breadcrumb mixture.
Heat the oil to medium hot and fry until golden brown.
Serve hot.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Orange Cake

"There's a special kind of freedom sisters enjoy.
Freedom to share innermost thoughts, to ask a favour,
to show their true feelings. The freedom to simply be themselves."
Author Unknown

I have a sister who means the world to me, while we no longer share a continent and I have not seen her in 8 years, I still feel the bond we shared when we would lie in bed together and she would tell me ghost stories.

My sister is 7 years older than me and she still thinks of me as her baby sister. She has never been ashamed to take me anywhere with her, which is a credit to her and not my maturity. When I was only 13 (and she was already 21), she would take me out with her friends, and dared anyone to complain about the kid. She loved me and gave me tips on boys, make-up and everything else that mothers just aren't qualified to do.

Still today, she'll send me little gifts and messages that make me smile and know how special I really am. Even something as simple as a magazine, which is were I got the recipe for this lovely orange cake. I only wish we could have sat together and had a "cuppa" with a slice of cake and talked like we used to in the old days.

This recipe is dedicated to the world's best sister Janice - or Janna as only I call her - from me your Lamb Chops!

She lives in Australia and sent me the Australian Women's Weekly. This recipe is from there.

Orange Cake

1 medium (240g) whole orange
200g butter, melted
3 eggs, beaten lightly
10ml Orange blossom Water (my optional extra)
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1½ cups (225g) self-raising flour
10ml Baking Powder (my optional extra)

1 medium (140g) lemon
1 small (180g) orange
1 cup (160g) icing sugar mixture
1 teaspoon boiling water, approximately

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Grease a deep 20cm cake pan, line base with baking paper.

Wash and dry orange; cut into quarters and remove seeds.
Process in a food processor until pulpy.

Transfer orange to a mixing bowl, stir in butter, eggs, sugar, orange blossom water and beat until light and sugar is dissolved - this is easily done with a machine.
Add the sifted flour and baking powder and blend with a metal spoon until smooth.
Pour mixture into prepared pan.
Bake for about 40 - 50 minutes or until cooked when tested.
Stand for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.


Using a zester or grater, remove zest from lemon and orange
Squeeze juice from fruit - you will need 2 teaspoons orange juice and 2 teaspoons lemon juice.
Sift icing sugar into a bowl
Stir in juices make smooth paste.
Stir in rind.
Cover cake in the icing and serve.

This cake is even better the next day, once the flavours have had more time to develop.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Very Slow Cooking

My mother is a hoarder! She keeps everything, right down to the till slip of her first monthly shopping trip after she get married. When I was young I thought she was crazy to keep something so silly, but now I find myself keeping little things which hold fond memories.

When you read the slip you realise just what inflation really is. Her total bill was less than I spend on weekly essentials like milk and bread and she bought everything she would need for more than a month.

One thing that amazes my father is the price of oxtail. He would go each week to the butcher to buy their meat and the oxtail was "throw-in" - pasella (free)!

I often look at the oxtail in the supermarket and gasp at the price. It takes a substantial financial commitment to purchase what effectively is a fly swatter. But at least once a year, I take the plunge and decide to treat my husband to one of his favourite meals.

Along with the financial commitment, you have to have lots of time to prepare your oxtail. This is not a dish you throw together when you get home late from work. I cook mine in my slow cooker, on low for about 18 hours. The end result is meat that is falling off the bone with a thick rich sauce.


1 kg Oxtail drenched in flour (use a zip lock bag)
2 Large Onions Sliced
4 Chopped Carrots
2 Chopped and Peeled Tomatoes
1 cup White Beans
1 Cup Pearl Wheat (Crushed wheat / Stampkoring)
1 Chilli ( I used a Habanero, fresh from my garden, see the picture below)
15ml Crushed Black Pepper
1 Large handful of Fresh Thyme (or dried if you don't have fresh)

Brown the oxtail pieces in a frying pan.
Place everything except the salt and the pearl wheat in the slow cooker.
Cook on low for about 12 hours (while you sleep is best).
Add the salt and the pearl wheat and cook for another 6 hours.
Serve with rice and topped with a few fresh lemon thyme leaves (optional).
You can make this on the stove top (or oven), but make sure you cook it for at least 5 hours.

To give you an idea of the range of heat in an habanero: a sweet pepper scores 0 on the scale, jalapeño chillies score anything between 2,500 to 10,000 and habaneros score 80,000 to 300,000-plus! So watch out when you bite into one - your unborn grandchildren will still be feeling the burn.

Friday, 20 June 2008


Then I was tagged for a MEME by two wonderful ladies from More than burnt toast and Passionate Baker and my answers are long overdue. So here goes.

The Pursuit of Happyness


Hearing God's Voice


Trivial Pursuit




zest of a lemon, chocolate and coffee


My son laughing during a movie.


When my son is late coming home and I don't know where he is.


What's the weather like and can I run.


New York Bagels, it's a deli but they are fast!


None of that here, but I if I had a daughter she would be called Amy


Travel, travel, travel!


Not since the petrol price increases!


No, but can only use my own pillow.


Very cool when I am inside, hate it when I'm driving.


Mazda 323 1980 model!


Cranberry Juice


Clean the garage!


They the best part!


I love my grey, can't wait to have 100% coverage.


Durban and Cape Town


Rugby and the Tour de France (yippee only 2 weeks to go!)


She is a Mom like me, who loves to make food that is simple but pleasing on the eye and the tummy!




Definitely, only with the ability to listen to my parents from a younger age!


Definitely a morning person, don't even speak to me after 8pm!


Sunny side up, runny and yellow - two please!


In the bath, talking with hubby.


Pecan nut


Mint chocolate chip



I would like to get to know the following bloggers a bit better.

1. Nic Snacks
2. Canary Girl
3. Maryann
4. Food and Fun
5. Kit

Enjoy your weekend!

No Muffin -Top Muffin

I've blogged before on muffin-tops, a subject close to my heart and waist. It actually spreads from my hip to under my bust! But still I love to eat muffins regardless of the top-effect!

I usually send out for my daily fix at about 10am, but with the rising cost of living and my real desire to shrink the waist, I decided to stock up and make a healthy alternative to my daily addiction.

These are very high in fibre, using olive oil instead of butter and they are sugar free!

Sugar-Free Berry Nice Muffins

2 Eggs
150ml Milk
100ml Yoghurt ( Plain or Fruit)
75ml Olive Oil (I used Lemon Infused Olive Oil)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
225g Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Bi-carbonate of Soda
Pinch of Salt
100 g Digestive Bran
100g Xylitol (or brown sugar if you don't want sugar free)
250g Fresh or frozen berries (I used youngberries)

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases.
Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk to break them up then add the milk, yoghurt, oil and vanilla and whisk again. Add the berries and stir.
In another bowl sift the flour, baking powder, bi-carb and salt.
Add the digestive bran and mix to combine.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined.
Divide the mixture between the muffin cases.
Handy Tip -
If you are not using sugar you need to spray the top of the muffins with non-stick spray (Spray and Cook or Cook and Bake)). This will ensure they brown slightly on top, otherwise they will be very pale.
Bake for 20 -25 mins until done.

You can freeze these muffins.

This is my submission to the Healthy Cooking - A Cookbook Givevaway Event.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The Value of Oranges

Oranges originated in Southeast Asia. It is translated in many languages as the Chinese apple.

All citrus trees are of the single genus Citrus, there is only one "superspecies" which includes grapefruit, limes, lemons and oranges. Fruits of all members of the genus Citrus are considered berries because they have many seeds , are fleshy and soft, and derive from a single ovary. So the next time you are asked what your favourite berry is you can say an orange, and that will confuse everyone!

Some of the health benefits of the humble orange include :

1. Antioxidant Protection and Immune Support.
2.Protection against Cardiovascular Disease.
3. Possible Cholesterol-Lowering Benefits.
4. A Very Good Source of fibre.
5. Prevent Kidney Stones.
6. Help Prevent Ulcers and Reduce Risk for Stomach Cancer.
7. Protect Respiratory Health.
8. Protection Against Rheumatoid Arthritis.

But if this is just too much health for you, can can try these saucy little things. They are comforting and refreshing all at the same time.

Orange Puddings

100g soft butter
130g castor sugar
2 eggs
zest of 2 oranges
10ml orange blossom water (optional, but very good)
125g self raising flour
30ml milk
pinch of Salt

30ml Cornflour
100g castor sugar
juice of 2 oranges
boiling water

Preheat oven to 180C
Beat the butter and castor sugar until light.
Add the eggs one at a time.
Stir in the zest.
Fold in the flour, salt, milk and orange water if using.
Pour into a greased 1.5l ovenproof dish.

Mix the cornflour, castor sugar and orange juice in a measuring jug.
Add enough boiling water to reach the 350ml mark, stirring continuously.
Pour the sauce over the batter and bake for 45 minutes.

The sauce that is poured on the top sinks to the bottom, so don't wait too long before serving or the sauce will set into a jelly.Should this happen, place back in the oven until heated through.
You can serve this will a little custard, cream or ice cream and dusted with some icing sugar.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Great Balls of Fire

I hate mince - there I said it and I am not making any excuses for it! I will make certain exceptions but I still hate mince.

I buy my meat at a real butchery, where you "meet your meat" before they cut it. I normally settle on a tollie (bullock) that has been hung for 3-4 weeks. Now when you buy your meat like this, you get a good few packets of mince and I always stack it at the back of the freezer until all the "good" stuff is finished!

So we've eaten the steaks, the goulash and the bones have made the best soups and now all that is left is mince! Piles of it staring at me every time I open the freezer door.

But, like I said I have some exceptions to my dislike hate of mince. I love spaghetti and meatballs, and please use the American Italian accent when you say it!

I have no Italian in my blood, but I do love the food. I don't stick to rules, and use the pasta shapes I like, rather than the one I should. But that's what cooking is all about, letting your meals get a life of their own.

This meal takes some time to prepare, but it is really comforting and says "I love you" in the best way I know how!


500g Beef Mince
15ml Crushed garlic
1 Egg
125ml Breadcrumbs
125ml grated Parmigiana Reggiano or Grana Padano
30ml Jenny Morris Volcanic Spice (or Black Pepper and chilli)
30ml Numo dry Tomato and Herb pesto
30ml Rubbed Thyme

Preheat the oven to 180°C
Mix all the ingredients together by hand and make balls the size of walnuts.
Fry in hot oil until browned and then bake for 30 mins.

Basic Neapolitan Sauce

2 Onions finely sliced
1/2 a red pepper
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 chilli
Lots of Black Pepper

Fry the onions 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 your sauce is ready, add the meatballs and cook slowly for another 20 mins.

Prepare your pasta and then serve with lots of sauce and meatballs.

Good luck in trying to save some for lunch!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Where do you go to?

Last week I told everyone I was going to the Cedarberg, well I got it wrong. We spent a relaxing weekend at De Hoop nature reserve.

This place is heaven. You can't use your cell phone - "Emergency calls only". No 3G or HSDPA - absolutely nothing. You just have birds, animals and nature's calls to entertain you.

We went on 3 hikes, and I took so many photos I felt like a kid in a candy shop! I wish I could share them all with you.

The 8km hike along the coast line was spectacular. There are caves and rock formations you could write a novel on. Each time you think you've seen the best, you come across another 5 even better ones!

Here are some pictures which I hope inspire you to get out there and have a real holiday.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

No Meat? No way!!

I have now had a vegetarian living with me for 3 weeks and I can honestly say that it has changed the way I look at vegetables and food in general.

In the past if I made a vegetarian meal, I would always make a roasted vegetable combination served with a starch. But now I find myself taking family favourites and reinventing them without meat. The best part is, you don't even miss the meat. The die hard carnivores have been asking for seconds and the vegetarian has been blown away by the variety.

I now have a stock of lentils and beans that would make a Buddhist monastery proud, and I am using them daily.

This bobotie is the latest in my vegetarian meals. It is very filling, extremely healthy and will satisfy meat eaters and vegetarians alike.

Sweet Potato, Lentil and Pearl Wheat Bobotie

600g Sweet potato (I used the orange variety)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
45ml olive oil
15ml sugar
100ml water
10ml Jenny Morris Malay pepper or plain black pepper

Cook the sweet potato, curry, olive oil. cinnamon, sugar, water and pepper on a low heat until soft and then mash.

1 cup black lentils
1 cup pearl wheat (crushed wheat)
5 cups water
grated zest and juice of 1

Preheat oven to 180C
Place the lentils, pearl wheat and water in a large pot and boil until soft and water just about all absorbed.
Add the mashed sweet potato, zest, juice and salt to taste .

Grease a large baking dish and pour the lentil mix in.

1 cup milk
3 eggs
bay leaves for decoration

Pour the topping on the lentils and top with bay leaves.
Bake at 180C for 40 minutes.

Serve with a salad and yellow rice.

A vegetarian, a meat-eater, and a cannibal walk into a bar,
the veg' orders a salad, the other orders a burger,
than the bartender asks the cannibal "Anything for you?",
so he replies, "No thanks, I'll wait till they're done."

When in Rome

Okay, I'm not in Rome, but I wish I was. I am in deepest darkest Africa. Actually it's not that deep and certainly not as dark as people think. I guess there are still people who wonder if we have lions roaming the streets. I had a person from Holland ask me if we have designer clothing here. I had to smile, knowing just how cosmopolitan this city really is. I could have been smart and said, "No, but you can buy a cheap loincloth from the village elder's wife!".

We do however have a rich food culture, and I love to make modern twists to local favorites.

Last night we had samp mealies. I have no idea what it is called overseas. It is whole dried white corn, which is cooked for about 2 hours until soft.

The topping I made was my vegetarian meal with a wonderful twist at the end which made the whole meal something special.

Lentil Stew

250ml Black Lentils
500ml Water
1 Carrot chopped in small dice
1 Onion finely sliced
1 Chilli finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic crushed

Boil this together until the lentils are soft, but not mushy.

Then add
30ml dry Nomu Tomato and Herb pesto
Salt and Lemon Pepper

Cook until the liquid has reduced.

Just before serving add
30ml Chopped Parsley
45ml Lemon infused Olive Oil

Serve hot with your samp mealies or rice .

On June the 16th we are celebrating Youth Day or Soweto Day, so I'll be away for the weekend, hiking in the Cedarberg mountains or reading in front of the fireplace!

Southern Belle

I have always loved the movie "Gone with the Wind". I used to go to sleep dreaming I was a Southern Belle, wearing a flowing white dress with a pink sash for my coming out party. This was back in the day when "coming out" didn't mean that you were telling the world you were gay!

When I did d search for "Southern Belle", I came across the word "grits". I always thought this was something that people ate. Turns out it is an acronym for "Girls raised in the South"!

A Southern Belle epitomized southern hospitality, cultivation of beauty and a flirtatious yet chaste demeanour. Doesn't that sound romantic?

So in the fulfilment of my life long dream to be beautiful, flirtatious yet chaste, I made Southern Fried Chicken! This is not a KFC knock off, it doesn't taste like KFC. The chicken is wonderfully tender with a crispy coating. It is fried in lots of oil and then baked to finish it off. Can you make it low fat and gluten free ? I guess you can do anything you want, but then it won't be Southern Fried Chicken.

Southern Fried Chicken

8 pieces of Chicken
500ml Buttermilk
2 teaspoons Paprika

Mix this together and marinade for 4 - 8 hours.

1 Cup Flour
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 teaspoon Rubbed Thyme
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Celery Salt
1 teaspoon finely ground Black Pepper

Mix above ingredients in a bag.

Once you are ready to cook.
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Take the chicken from the buttermilk, and allow the excess to drip off.
Place one piece at a time in the flour mixture and coat.

Heat a large frying pan with oil at least 2cm deep.
Place the coated chicken in the pan and fry until golden on both sides.

Place in a baking tray and bake for a further 20 mins until cooked, turning half way.
Serve with lots of creamy mash and gravy!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Rumble in the Jungle

Thirty-four years ago an epic boxing match took place in the Mai 20 Stadium in Kinshasa, Zaire. The heavyweight champion George Foreman took on the former world champion and challenger Muhammad Ali. Ali won becoming only the second former champion to reclaim the heavyweight crown.

Much has changed since then. Ali stopped boxing, and his daughter took over. George Foreman is selling cookware and Zaire is now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has a "colourful" history. It is the third largest country on our dark continent. The Belgiums laid claim to it, as it obviously did not belong to anyone prior to their arrival. It supplied the uranium which was used to build the atomic weapons that were dropped in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

While the name might seem very inspired, democracy has not always been it's strong point. Joseph-Désiré Mobutu took power, with the help of the Americans, in a military coup in 1965. He would periodically hold elections in which he was the only candidate, which was easy after he introduced the one party system!

After the end of the cold war, the Americans no longer feared the red under the bed, so the Congo was left to sort out it's political situation. After many years and wars things have reached a delicate "truce". But many years of political unrest has resulted in many of it's citizens leaving to seek their fortunes all around the world.

Right, now to the point. I am sure you all lost interest about 4 paragraphs back, but I wanted to give you the history to a people, whom I'm sure many of you meet on a daily basis. They are the polite, smiling faces, who greet you with a beautiful French accent. If you have never seen one, find a shelter for displaced people and you will find beautifully dressed, clean and God fearing people.

Last nights supper was dedicated to them. I prepared 2 dishes which are extremely popular in the DRC.

Dongo Dongo (Okra)

Oil for frying
Two onions finely chopped
One hot chilli finely chopped
Twenty okra, ends removed, cleaned, and chopped (remember that the more it is cut, the slimier it becomes)
Two minced cloves of Garlic
1 chicken stock cube
One can Tomato paste
½ teaspoon Sugar

Fry the onions and the chilli.
Add the rest of ingredients and a little water.
Cook until the okra is soft.
Serve as a side dish.

The second dish was a spinach dish made with peanut butter. It is a wonderful combination of nuttiness and salt. The peanut flavour becomes milder, so don't worry about it tasting like a peanut butter sandwich.

Spinach and Peanut Sauce

1 Large bunch of Swiss Chard. Remove the stalks and chop finely.
1 cup of Water
½ cup of Peanut Butter
Lots of Salt

Cook the spinach in the water until soft.
Add the peanut butter and salt and reduce the liquid until you have a thick sauce
Serve hot.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Blue and Butternut

I am a failure! Yes I know that sounds terrible, but it's true. Now don't worry, this is not a "postcard from the edge", just a confession!

But on the bright side I don't fail at everything, just in keeping my promise to get up 2 hours early and go for a run in the freezing wind! I decided yesterday that my health is now "perfect", and that I had no more excuses to stay snuggled under the blankets, instead of hitting the road for a good workout. I failed at the first hurdle. I can't even say it was raining, I actually can only blame my inherent love for my bed.

But, like I said, I don't fail at everything. I am actually a winner in the kitchen (hence the need to get some exercise before my waist line explodes).

My latest triumph is the perfect quiche. With a crust that is crisp, melt in your mouth and oh so wonderfully buttery!

Butternut and Blue Cheese Quiche

The Crust (Food 24)

220 g cake flour

pinch salt
180 g cold butter (must be out the fridge)
1 egg yolk
cold water

Preheat the oven to 200 ºC (400 ºF).
Sift the cake flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Grate the butter and add to the cake flour mixture. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and just enough water to
form a stiff dough. Shape into a ball, cover and chill for at least half an hour. Roll out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 5 mm thick. Reverse the dough on to the rolling pin, and unroll it over a 24 cm pie dish, ensuring that it covers the entire surface of the dish. Press the dough tightly into the bottom of the dish. Do not trim the overlapping dough. Roll the rolling pin across the pie dish to roughly trim the edge. Trim the remaining dough and tidy the edge. Prick the pastry with a fork. Line the pastry with a sheet of wax paper and cover the paper with dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the waxpaper and beans and bake 7 minutes more. Remove from the oven and pour in the filling of your choice.


1 medium Butternut peeled and cut into slices.
100g Blue Cheese
4 Eggs
250ml Cream
¾ cup of grated white cheddar
Good grinding of Jenny Morris Lemon Pepper

Roast the butternut with olive oil and a little sugar.
Place the cooked butternut into the cooked pastry shell.
Break the cheese into 1 inch blocks and place evenly around the butternut.
Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl and pour over the butternut.
Bake at 180°C for 25 -30 mins until just set.
Try to take it out when it is still a little soft in the centre, as it will continue to cook. This will prevent it from being too dry when it is served.

You can serve this hot, warm or cold.

Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Wrapped Up

In winter we all have to wrap up well. I have made two wrapped up meals this week, both vegetarian. The best compliment I received was when my son said he would rather have the vegetarian meal than the mince I had prepared for the meat eaters!

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

8 Whole cabbage leaves**
250ml uncooked Rice (I used Thai Jasmine Basmati Rice)
1 handful of sultanas
1 Onion
2 Garlic cloves crushed
15ml Dried Oregano
1 tin Lentils in brine rinsed (or cook your own)
Salt and Black pepper
Lots of Jenny Morris Italiano Spice
1 tin Tomatoes (or All Gold Mediterranean Ratatouille) ***

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Blanch the cabbage leaves until they tender but still crispy. Leave to drain.
Cook the rice together with the sultanas.
Fry the onions until soft and then add the lentils, a little water, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Fry for a few minutes until the flavours develop, add a little water if it looks too dry.
Once the rice is cooked, add the lentil mixture and stir. Leave to cool for 5 mins.

Lay each leaf flat and place a spoonful or two (depending on the size of your leaf) of the rice mix at the root side.
Carefully roll up the leaf and tuck in the sides.
In a baking dish put ? of the tinned tomatoes at the bottom.
Give a good grinding of Italiano Spice.

Place the cabbage rolls in the dish, fold side down.
Top with the balance of the tin and give another grind of Italiano Spice and finally the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 30 mins.

** I battled to get the leaves off perfectly. I took a few of the broken ones and added to “whole” ones and used them as patches when I was rolling.
*** I do know how and do make my own ratatouille, but did not have all the ingredients on hand

The second wrapper I made, was something I have seen Ainsley Harriot make. Super easy and great as a side dish at a braai.

Brinjal and Feta Wraps

2 Large Brinjals cut long ways in 1cm slices.
3 Tablespoon Tomato Pesto (I used the Numo rage)
2 Disks Feta sliced about ½cm thick (You can also use mozzarella)

Fry the brinjal until just soft, then allow to cool.
Take a slice of brinjal, spread a little pesto and place your feta slice on the small side.
Roll up and secure with a toothpick.
You can either place these on the braai or bake in the oven at 180°C for 5 - 10 mins.
Remove the toothpick before serving!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Thrown Together

Getting new ideas for things to cook and bake can be a pain. Sometimes I find myself just thinking too hard. Last night I was about 20 minutes away from serving dinner but I had an unsettled feeling, I needed something else - what could I add? Bake beans ? Boring. A salad? Too cold. Fritters? YES YES YES!

These fritters were pure inspiration - made without any planning and just thrown together with ingredients I already had. No planning or reading, just inspiration by necessity.

Asian Corn Fritters

1 drained tin Corn
1 Cup Self raising Flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon Bi-Carb
15ml Black Sesame seeds
12 Finely chopped Spring Onions
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
2 Eggs
150ml Plain Yoghurt
Enough Milk to slacken the batter
Oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients except the milk.
Add just enough milk to have the batter soft enough to slowly drop off a spoon.
Heat you pan with a little oil.
Drop spoonfuls into the pan and cook until golden brown and flip over and cook the other side.

These are good served with sweet chilli sauce or even on their own cold and in a lunch box.

This is my submission to the Monthly Mingle started by Meeta.
Hosted this month by Mansi.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Taking it Slow

I love cooking, I also love sleeping, reading and being slothful. I have no problem doing nothing, if there is nothing to do.

Sometimes I get in the mood to make something special, that doesn't necessarily take 5 minutes to throw together. Last night I got out my Silver Spoon and paged through the 2000 recipes, looking for a good vegetarian dish. My eyes fell to this...Parmigiana di melanzane.

For those who can't speak Italian, it is s a layered, baked dish of aubergines (brinjal) in a rich tomato sauce with parmesan and mozzarella.

I have made alterations to original, so I don't need to give the full credit.

Parmigiana di melanzane.

2 onions sliced
3 tins of peeled tomatoes
15ml Balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic
3 bay leaf
Jenny Morris Italiano Spice
Black Pepper and Salt
10ml Sugar
3 large brinjals, sliced into 1cm slices
100g Parmesan
250g mozzarella
2 eggs beaten

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Fry the onions until caramelized.
Add the balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, bay leaf, garlic, Italiano spice (about 15ml), black pepper, sugar and salt.
Cook the tomatoes uncovered until thick and reduced.
Meanwhile, fry the brinjals.
Once the tomatoes are cooked and thick, spoon a layer of the sauce at the bottom of an oven proof dish. (I used my very large pyrex).
Cover with a layer of brinjal slices and sprinkle with half the parmesan and mozzarella.
Pour over half the egg.
Repeat with another layer of brinjal and tomato sauce.
End with cheese and some egg.
Grind some more Italiano spice over the top.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 25 - 30 minutes.

If your dish is deeper rather than wider, you can make as many layers as to use the ingredients.

This is a great autumn dish, can very easily be served as a main dish for vegetarians and as a side for carnivores! We had it with grilled fish and salad.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Who needs Take Outs?

I have a new mission in life! Proving that to make "fast food" is just as easy as buying it. It tastes better and you don't have to worry about all the hidden ingredients and fat!

On Saturday I rustled up crispy chicken strips in about 15 minutes, start to finish! If I had gone to the local chicken joint, I would have stood in the queue for about that long. I saved on petrol, food costs and time and they were better than anything I could have bought.

Crispy Chicken Strips

5 Skinned Chicken Breasts, sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 depending on the size.
2 Ziploc bags
1 Cup flour
1 Cup breadcrumbs (I get them at my Pick'nPay in tubs)
2 Tablespoons Sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon dried rubbed Thyme (I used Jenny Morris')
2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
½ teaspoon Crushed Black Pepper
2 Eggs beaten
Oil for Frying

Heat the oven to 180°C.
Put the flour in one of the ziploc bags. This makes cleaning so easy, because you just throw the leftovers away in the bag when you finished.
Put all the other DRY ingredients in the other ziploc bag.
Dip all the chicken in the egg.
Take out and let the excess drip off.
Taking 2 pieces at a time, place dipped chicken in the flour bag and shake - remove and repeat with all the chicken.
Then place the strips, again 2 at a time in the breadcrumb mix and shake to coat.
Heat oil in a pan (about 1cm deep) and fry in small batches until golden brown.
The chicken cooks very quickly.
Place the fried chicken on a paper towel and bake for about 5 mins - just to make sure it is cooked.

Serve with a tortilla wrap or just fresh crispy rolls!
I had some mayo and sweet chilli sauce on the side for dunking.

The best and most beautiful things in the world
cannot be seen or even touched -
they must be felt with the heart.

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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