Friday, 31 July 2009

Proudly South African

South Africa as a wonderfully proud food history. It's a melting pot of cultures, young and old, which have helped to develop a cuisine that has lots of flavour and is not afraid to use spices. It also involves using cuts of meat, which might normally be thrown away.

Here in the Cape, the Dutch relied heavily on the Malay salves to do all the work, (lucky for us, or we could be living in little blue houses on a canal, eating bread and cheese), evident in the architecture, furniture building and the food.

Because of these wonderfully colourful people (the slaves that is) we have some of the most beautiful buildings, hand craved and crafted furniture and food that you would sell your house and furniture for!

One such dish is the sosatie. Food on a stick is not the clever part, it's the combination of flavours which make, what should be a tough piece of old mutton, into a succulent cube of heaven, kebab steeped in a spicy curry marinade. The secret to a good sosatie is also in the cooking of the marinade and a good bit of fat is essential.

I took the not so humble sosatie to a new level last night, using lamb cutlets. The result was very good and the meat was soft, succulent and loaded with flavour.

Lamb chop Sosaties

5 Lamb chop Cutlets
2 Tablespoons Spice Mecca Sosatie Spice
2 Tablespoons Crushed Garlic and Ginger Paste
½ cup Red Wine Vinegar
½ cup Plain Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

Marinade the chops in the above for 24 hours (or overnight) - the more you marinade it, the softer the meat becomes.

Grill the chops on a hot griddle pan or over the coals until just done.
Best served with creamy mustard mash.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Quick Comfort

After eating out twice this week, going to sleep with indigestion from eating too much wonderful food, we had to take it slow last night. My poor digestive system has been in over drive.

I made a very simple pasta dish, the sauce takes as long to cook as the pasta. This is a Nigella style dish - quick and easy, but with lots of flavour.

Shrimp Pasta with Tomato Pesto

500g Shrimp (these were the very small shrimp)
1 Thinly sliced Onion
30ml NoMU Tomato & Chilli Stir
30ml Tomato Paste
10ml Crushed Dried Chilli
10ml Dried Italian Mixed herbs
Black Pepper
Juice of ½ a lemon
15ml Sugar
10 - 15ml Fish Sauce

Fry the onions until soft.
Add the rest of the ingredients (except the shrimp) and stir in enough water to make a sauce.
Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer slowly while you cook you pasta.
Check the seasoning on of the sauce and adjust if necessary.
Just before the pasta is ready, add the shrimp to the sauce and let it cook for about 30 seconds.
Cook your pasta - which ever shape you enjoy the most.
Serve the pasta and sauce together and enjoy!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

No cooking - just eating and shooting!

I have been spoilt rotten for the last 2 days, I have not had to (or wanted to) cook anything! We've been living the high life, eating out 2 nights in a row. I will admit I am very keen to have a good home cooked meal tonight.

I haven't been a total sloth, I did go hiking on Monday after work and managed to shoot some buck!

I also have these wonderful pictures for all you golf lovers (like me), of the new course being constructed next to the Football stadium in Mouille Point.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Resturant Review - Jacky’s Chinese Restaurant.

I have never done a restaurant review on blogs before, but they say you should try everything at least once - except suicide, so here goes.

Jacky's Chinese Restaurant, Delmar Centre Panorama was where we found ourselves last night, a farewell dinner for my parents who leave today for Australia.

Jacky's is a little different from your normal Chinese restaurant. Firstly you don't see any Chinese people eating there, secondly the owners are friendly and speak perfect English and don't try to give you the normal Chinese restaurant "bum's rush" and thirdly the food is very Westernized - no Abalone, shark's fin or tofu anywhere.

There are no menus, the closest thing to a menu is this board on the wall.

It is a buffet (eat all you can) meal. They have 2 kinds of sushi (nothing raw) and 20 different main meals.

Even a vegetarian will not leave hungry, although they may miss out not having tofu! They have soup, prawn toast and spring rolls for starters, made fresh and re-stocked the whole night. The spring rolls are crispy and great with their sweet and sour sauce.

I can highly recommend the beef fillet in black bean sauce and the Thai green curry. The soup, chicken and sweetcorn, was the low point of the night - it was far too glutinous for me.

You can order dessert afterwards (or before if that's what you want), which is not part of the buffet. Keith and I shared a mint tartufo - very good, but hardly Chinese.

Booking is recommended, when we phoned at 6.30pm we managed to secure the very last table. The restaurant was packed full by 7.30pm and they were turning people away after that. It is very noisy, so don't think romantic meal for 2, think "all you can eat North of the boerewors curtain"! There is ample secure parking at the centre.

The drinks are very reasonable, soft drinks are R10 and local beers are R12. Wine is also sold by the bottle or the glass at R16 a glass.

If you looking for a big meal, not authentic Chinese, then Jacky's is your place. You might enjoy what Brian Berkman had to say here. I think he sums it up best - I quote : "At this price, I think Jacky’s is the best deal in town"

I would like to end off with this photo of my parents and a goodbye wish to them as they take a 3 month holiday to Australia to visit my sister. I pray God keeps you safe and gives you the best holiday, which you so richly deserve. I love you both so much and I am counting the days to your return!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Silver and Red

Yesterday I was catching up on food blogs and reading how the girls (and boys) in the Northern hemisphere are enjoying their summer. It's amazing how only a few short months ago I was complaining about how hot it was and crying for a respite. Now I'm sitting under my blankets and my fingers are blue with cold. How difficult I am to please!

All the dreaming about summer, got me thinking back to a summer camp I attended as a teenager. It was in the middle of summer, in one of the hottest areas in South Africa - Beaufort East, on the banks of the Orange River. Every day the temperature would rise well into the late 40's (°C). It was wonderful, we would go swimming in the river and then laze around all afternoon.

The one session I remember was the "Colour me Beautiful" course. We took all our clothes and the instructors showed us which combinations of colours best suited our complexion. I was told to wear red and silver, which in the 80's was not what I wanted to hear- we were into bright pink and dark purple (wore together). Lucky for me, I out grew my purple dungeree's and BIG shoulder padded pink shirt, with matching pink shoes and belt!

So, what exactly did I learn? Silver and red are a great combination when you talking grilled Silvers and Red pepper sauce, which is exactly what I made for supper last night.

For the fish I took Silvers fillets and brushed them with olive oil, dusted with Jenny Morris Zesty Fish spice and rubbed in some peri-peri sauce. I then grilled them for 15 minutes under a hot grill until just done.

The sauce is very easy. Take one red pepper and roast until the skin is starting to blacken. Place the peppers in a plastic bag for 5 mintues and then rub the skin off. In a blender, place the peppers, the juice of half a lemon, 1 garlic clove, ½ teaspoon of Jenny Morris Chilli and Lime Spice and a little olive oil - blend until smooth and creamy. Serve the fish with char-grilled pak choi (with black sesame seeds) and roasted potatoes - That is a real "Colour me beautiful" plate of food.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Chicken Korma

I am a curry making novice. I dream about making authentic recipes from scratch - pounding and tempering spices, but due to my extreme laziness, I settle for buying products which have already done the hard work.

I love sitting on the couch reading my book or watching Army Wives, more than measuring out spices. Thanks to companies like Spice Mecca, I can make great curries and still have time to read and watch TV!

The new range of spices from Spice Mecca - Tastes of India, have really caught my fancy and after the success of the Lamb Vindaloo, I was super keen to try the Chicken Korma.

They print the recipe on the back of the box, so it takes all the pain out of searching for recipes. I did change the recipe slightly, I left out the coconut milk and added 3 tablespoons of ground almonds rather(my family don't like coconut milk). I also added 1 tablespoon of Kashmiri chili powder, for colour and bite.

I served this with rice and homemade rotis - (which helped ease the guilt about how lazy I have become this winter!).

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Nothing says I love you like...

Puddings and winter go together like chocolate and PMS!

The colder and wetter it gets, the more I need hot, sticky, sweet puddings. I try to add something healthy like fruit, but it's the creamy sweetness I crave.

This pudding is so good, you can use any fruit, even soaked dry fruit or you can just make it plain and have it as a cake with custard or ice cream.

Call What you want Pudding

250ml Soft Butter
2 Eggs
250ml Castor Sugar
425ml Cake Flour
7ml Baking Powder

Cream the butter and the sugar.
Add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
Sift in the dry ingredients and blend well.
Place batter in a dish (I used a pie dish about 27cm diameter)
Add the topping of your choice.
I used a tin of pears, lightly pressed into the batter.
Bake for about 45 minutes at 180°C.

While it is baking make this wonderfully rich sauce

1 tin Evaporated Milk (or 250ml Cream)
250ml Sugar
5ml Vanilla Extract

Boil the ingredients together until sugar is melted.
Pour over the hot pudding.
If you are using tinned fruit, reduce the sugar by half, add the syrup from the tin and boil that together with the evaporated milk.
Serve hot.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Cape Town is the best

I can never get enough of these pictures of just how beautiful the city I live in is....

or how privileged I am to be able to share it with my family.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Too good for Health Food

Over the years I have tasted my fair share of "health food". I've done meal replacement shakes that were supposed to taste like chocolate, but tasted like pond scum. I done wheat grass and vowed never again.

Looking back, there are lots of "health foods" that really have nothing to do with health and more to do with punishment. You only loose weight on them because you feel so sick after eating or drinking them and you can't think of food while your head is hanging over the toilet bowl.

I just received my Shape magazine, and while browsing through I came across a recipe for Buttermilk Oats and Orange pancakes. They looked good enough to eat the page!

I set about remodeling the recipe with huge success. This is a health food which really does make you feel good.

Buttermilk Oats and Orange pancakes
Serves 8

500ml Buttermilk
375ml Oats
60ml Self Raising flour
60ml Ground Almonds
5ml Salt
45ml Honey
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
60ml Coconut oil (melted)
Zest of 1 Orange
1 teaspoon Bi-carbonate of soda
Coconut oil for frying and non-stick spray

Pour the buttermilk over the oats and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl :
Sift the flour and mix in the almonds.
Stir the honey, eggs, oil and zest and then add the oat mixture.
Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
Spray a Teflon pan and then heat a thin layer of coconut oil in the pan.
Add enough of the pancake mix to cover the pan.
the mixture is rather thick so you might need a spoon to spread it around.
Fry until the top makes small bubbles and is almost set.
Turn over and fry until golden brown.
Keep warm and repeat with remaining mixture.
Serve with orange syrup.

Orange Syrup
250ml Fresh Orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon
30ml sugar / or honey

Boil together until reduced by half.

I also made some orange "chips"
Thinly slice an orange.
Sprinkle with a little sugar and bake at 200°C until caramelized.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Spice Routes

My husband loves curry. He doesn't love my curry, he says there are too many bits in it. He likes his curry to be hot and spicy - without leaves and bark!

His favourite restaurant is Bukhara , and when he wins the lotto, he is going to employ the chef to come round 4 times a week to make him supper. Until that time, he just has to make do with me - that's what "for better or worse" means!

This is my version of un-authentic Lamb Neck Curry - made with lots of love for my special man!

800g Lamb Neck
2 Large Onions Thinly Sliced
1 Large Carrot Peeled and grated
15 Garlic and Ginger Paste
2 Fresh Tomatoes Peeled and Chopped into small dice
30ml Hot Curry Powder (I use Spice Mecca)
15ml Kashmiri Chilli Powder (Gives a wonderful red colour)
15ml Dried Crushed Chilli
10ml Sugar
15ml Dried thyme (or a whole bunch of fresh thyme)
2.5ml Cinnamon powder (or one stick)
3 -4 Bay Leaves

Brown the onions in a little oil.
Add the meat and brown.
Add the spices and toast for a about a minute.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Stir everything together.
Add a little water and reduce heat.
Cook at a very low heat, adding water slowly as needed.
If you wish, in the last 30 minutes you can add some potatoes and increase the water level slightly.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Shades of Green

Green is the new black - not the green you wear, but living green. People are building green houses, driving green cars and wearing green clothes. All this is great, except it many cases being green is so expensive it puts you straight in the red!

I try to be green - I no longer run the tap while brushing my teeth, I have a re-usable shopping bag and I never throw away glass bottles or tins.

There is a problem with all these bottles and tins, I now have a cupboard full of them! The glass bottles are not such a big issue, I use them when I made jam or preserves. The tins are a bit more tricky - you only need so many pencil holders, before people start looking at you strangely!

A few months ago I bought bread at a farm stall in Swellendam, the bread was wonderful, but the cutest thing was that it had been baked in old tins! I knew straight away, I have to try this myself.
I call it my TIN TIN Bread

230g Cake Flour
1 Packet Instant Yeast
30ml Soft Dark Brown Sugar
45ml Sunflower Oil
380 - 400ml Milk
100ml Sunflower Seeds
3 Vitamin C tablets (Ascorbic acid)
230mg Wholewheat Flour
130g Nutty Wheat Flour
10ml Salt

I used my bread machine to make the dough.
You can use this method if you do not have a machine.
Wash and dry your old tins - make sure you choose ones without a top lip.
Spray them well with non-stick baking spray.
Once the dough has proved, divide into balls big enough to half fill your tins.
Leave covered in a warm place until they have risen (about ¾ up the side of the tin).
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C.
Brush the top of the bread with egg yolk and bake for about 35 -40mins.

In case you are wondering why I put vitamin C tablets in my bread - it keeps the bread fresher for longer!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Comfort from the Cold

The wonderful thing about winter in Cape Town is that no matter how great the sunny days are, you know that the rain is coming! On Sunday the heavens opened, which was great for me sitting warm in my lounge, watching the Tour de France - but for some it was devastating.

It has been bitterly cold and wet and we needed comfort food - nothing says comfort like cottage pie. I don't really have a recipe for cottage pie, it's really just mince and mash. I did however pick up a tip in a magazine to add 2 egg yolks to the mash, this makes it wonderfully rich and creamy and helps with the browning when you bake it.

I also baked some coconut chocolate chip muffins.

My roses are blooming beautifully.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Hiking in the Northern Suburbs

If you are looking for a hike with the most beautiful visas of the whole of Cape Town - from Stellenbosch to Green Point, take a trip up Tygerberg Hill.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

A Must See

Please click here to watch the video.....

Tomato Joy

I recently did a blog interview where I was asked what food I did not eat as a child. The answer was very easy, as it is still not a favourite if mine - raw tomatoes. I love them cooked, souped, tinned and especially sun-dried but never raw. I have matured slightly and now I do eat them so long as they are not the main event in a dish.

A real treat for me are marinated sun-dried tomatoes, especially the ones from Ina Paarmen, but they are very pricey and once I have opened a pack there is no stopping me. I decided to try marinade my own, to try save a little. Buying them dried they are really cheap and the marinading is so easy, I don't think Auntie Ina will have much more business from me!

Marinaded Sun Dried Tomatoes

Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 Part Red Wine Vinegar
1 Part Boiling Water
Sugar (to taste)
Fresh Thyme Leaves
Dried Garlic Powder (to taste)
½ Part Olive Oil

Place all the ingredients in a sterilized jar.
Shake to dissolve the sugar.
Allow to stand at room temperature for 12-24 hours (if you can wait that long).
The longer you let it stand the softer the tomatoes become.
I love these on pizza, stir-fried with mushrooms and especially just on their own straight out the jar!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Rushing Chicken

To say the words "roast chicken" and "microwave oven" in the same sentence is not something any serious foodie will readily accept. It conjures up pictures of pale yellow rubber. I was the same until I got my LG Solardom.

This little miracle worker is amazing. It has a "Speed Auto Cook" function which roasts meat with heat and uses just the right amount of microwave power to cook the inside. You end up with a crispy roasted chicken with succulent flesh in about 30 mins - start to finish.

It also does baked potatoes, with a crispy skin and soft fluffy inside in less than 15 minutes.

This function is great for energy saving - which makes more sense after the electricity tariff increase we had yesterday of 31%!

This chicken, I marinaded whole (in a bag) for about 2 hours with Robersons Portuguese Spice, lemon juice and honey. I then roasted it in the Solardom for 30 minutes, left it to rest for another 15 minutes covered in foil, while I baked the potatoes. Within an hour we had our meal - perfectly cooked! That's easy in any one's language.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Break downs

Last weekend we had Norm (from the Fish River Canyon) stay with us before he left for Canada. It was so good to catch up on all his news since the hike and so long until next year.

We planned an easy hike from Rhodes Memorial to Kirstenbosch Gardens, ending in a picnic in the gardens. For this hike you need to take 2 cars (unless you really motivated to hike back). We had taken my boss's car for the weekend, for a test drive after it had been repaired. Just before we arrived at Kirstenbosch, steam started to pour out of the bonnet. Luckily we were close to a garage and managed to get someone to tow the car in.We now had to re-think our hiking plans. Being Cape Town, there is never a shortage of great places to hike and so we settled on good old faithful - Lion's Head.

It was a wonderful walk and we ended by having our picnic on Signal Hill.

We stopped at Bonjour Patisserie (in De Lorentz St, Tamboerskloof) on our way to Lion's Head and bought the best croissants I have ever tasted and a few other heavenly tarts! If you are ever in Tamboerskloof this is a must stop.

I could not help taking this picture of the new stadium. While there might be a lot of controversy surrounding the stadium, it is still very impressive.

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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