Friday, 28 August 2009

Prickly pears and pomegranates

Last night I finally got around to my entry to win a copy of a magnificent South African cookbook. This is not a regular cookbook, with a collection of old fashioned "boerekos" (farmers food). This is modern, without the pretentious ponciness of some food authors of late, where the food photographer and the stylist should get more credit than the author!

If you're looking for something to add to your Christmas wish list - this book would make any foodie stay up late into the night reading!

I tried the Roasted lamb chops with cloves and rosemary and the .Butternut with bacon, almonds and onion marmalade .

I must say, the rules of the competition say you have to stick to the recipe exactly, I burst into tears when I first read the butternut recipe and saw "5 large butternuts peeled and cubed" - WTH (and I try not to swear)!
There are 2 people living in my house, one of which equates eating vegetables with scrubbing bathroom floors (at the aiport) - how am I going to eat that much butternut?

So I just had to reduce the quantities, but if you have the Bradey Bunch around for lunch - then you can happily make the full amount! And they will all be coming back for seconds.

This dish has everything which makes a dish great - soft, salty, sweet, nutty, crunchy, sour and it all ties in perfectly. I made the full amount of onion marmalade and am going to be enjoying it with some strong cheese and biscuits for lunch. The honey dressing would be a great addition to any salad - and worked equally well over my baked potato.

Now for the chops - I am not the best person to rate lamb chops, as they are not my favourite part of a lamb. I am more a lamb rib girl. The flavours worked well, the only thing I would have added is some lemon juice as I enjoy lamb with zing, but saying this, the rosemary, honey and cloves worked well - but I would change this recipe to suit our family's taste if I made it again (less cloves, more lemon juice).

I hope you'll go to the link and try one of these Proudly South African recipes - They call us the Rainbow Nation - there is always hope (and a pot of gold) at the end of the rainbow!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Under Construction

The Homemade Heaven kitchen is under construction and is being upgraded by my wonderful husband (with help from Markwin). We ate bread (and takeouts) this whole weekend and all the dishes are being washed in the bathroom!

Once everything is finished and clean, I'll be back to cooking (and cleaning)!

If a building looks better under construction
than it does when finished,
then it's a failure.

Doug Coupland

Friday, 21 August 2009

To the one I love

Happy birthday to my best friend -
you are my love and the light of my soul.
You have shown me how to be me and
when I am with you I want to be better.

You are the man I dreamed of loving,
even before I knew what love was.

How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and
height my soul can reach.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

New Twist Bolognaise

The first meal Keith invited me to have at his home was Spaghetti Bolognaise. He described it as the one meal his house keeper really cooked well. Spaghetti bolognaise has never rocked my boat or lifted my skirt (lol - he wished), but I was rather excited after all the hype involved in his boasting.

I arrived early and was proudly presented with a huge plate of food. It was terrible! Because we had just started dating and I was very young (21 years old) and naive, I ate as much as I could, making all the right noises. It was just like you see on TV when presenters are forced to eat something they obviously hate and still have to smile and compliment the chef, " OOH this is wonderful, but unfortunately it's time to cut to a commercial break (so I can spit this out my mouth)". It was food hell for me.

Since then, I have matured and with the love handles, gravity infected breasts and laugh lines has come the confidence to say "Please don't make me eat that, I'll rather have a glass of water - thank you"!

I still make Spaghetti bolognaise for Keith, using my own recipe but usually make something for myself without the dreaded mince. Last night however, I was not up to making 2 separate meals, so I had some bolognaise and it was great. I changed the recipe yesterday and will say this is a winner for me.

Spaghetti bolognaise for Spaghetti bolognaise haters

500g Steak Mince
2 Large Onions Thinly sliced
1 Large Carrot Grated
1 Chicken Stock Cube
2 Tins chopped peeled tomatoes

60ml Nomu Tomato chili Pesto Stir
60ml Pepperdew Jam (or chili jam if you can't get hold of it)
1 Large hand full of Fresh Oregano
10ml Crushed Black Pepper
15ml Crushed Garlic

Olive Oil

Fry the onions and carrot in the olive oil until soft.
Add the Mince - break up and brown.
Add all the other ingredients and cook on high for 5 minutes - keep stirring.
Simmer for about 2 hours, adding water when necessary.
Serve with cooked spaghetti.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Soft Hot Milk Sponge

I love baking, the only problem I always have to watch my intake of luxury items like cake and chocolate, otherwise I'll be as big as a house before the end of the month. My family like baked goods, but unlike most families I read about, they certainly do not "devour" every cake or cookie before it gets to the cake tin.

I do give lots away, but you can only give so many cakes and cookies to your neighbors and friends before they start wondering "so what's the catch?".

I have so many recipes I am dieing to try, but I have to pace myself to maybe two a month, which means the collection of recipes is far more than the production.

I have had this recipe for months, it was given to me by my Mom from one the ladies in her church. She told me that it was one of the best cakes she had eaten in years - so it has been close to the top of the pile for ages.

I eventually got around to baking it and I will say this one is a definite keeper.

Orange Hot Milk Sponge with Orange Crème Pâtissière

Sift together 2 Cups Flour and a pinch of Salt
Put 100g Butter, 1 Cup of Milk and the grated zest of 1 large orange
in a pot and bring to the boil.
Beat together 1½ cups of Sugar and 4 eggs until light and fluffy.
Add 1 teaspoon Orange extract.
Add the flour mixture to the egg/sugar and mix well.
Add 4 teaspoon of Baking powder and fold in well.
Lastly add the hot milk/butter mix and mix well.

Pour into 2 greased cake tins and bake at 180°C for about 15-20 minutes until done.

I used this recipe for my Crème Pâtissière, were I added the zest of another 2 oranges to the milk while it was heating.

Layer the cake with Crème Pâtissière in the middle and dust the top with icing sugar.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Saturday Baking

I spent a wonderful Saturday morning with my friend Carol and her two little angels, baking cup cakes for her Mom's birthday party. Adam (3) and James (2) were the best kitchen helpers you could ask for, except I must remember next time to keep the silver balls out of sight!

I have posted the recipe before, but in case you missed it :

Raven Cup Cakes

1 Cup Sugar
½ Cup Soft Butter
2 Eggs
1½ Cup Self-Raising Flour
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
½ Cup Buttermilk

Set oven to 180°C.
Line a 18 muffin tray with cupcake paper.
Cream to the sugar and butter, until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, mixing well after each addition.
Sift in the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
Add the butter milk and mix until smooth.
Spoon into the batter into the cupcake papers (¾ full - don't overfill them)
Bake for about 20 minutes.
Leave to cool slightly before removing from the pan.

Once completely cooled, decorate with lots of butter icing and for added sparkle some edible fairy dust!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Goosebumps and berries!

I was so excited when I saw that my Cape Gooseberry has started flowering and then ....

jumped for joy when I spotted it has a little baby berry too!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Happy birthdays at Magica Roma

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday. Thank you to all my blogging friends, family, other friends, children and husband - I felt like a princess, all the phone calls, presents and then ending with a fantastic diner at my favourite restaurant.

I thought I would review the restaurant we went to last night - Magica Roma. It is by far my favourite restaurant in the whole world. It is my first choice for any occasion. The only catch is you can't just walk in and think you'll get a table. You have to book, and if you want to go on a weekend, you better book very early in the week.

I have never been there that every table is not taken, and while the restaurant is full, you never get the feeling that it is too noisy or too full to enjoy. The service is excellent; I certainly would not want to work there - the owners walk around and check on every single table, every single meal. A secret to success - there is no compromise when it comes to quality.

It is not cheap, but you certainly don't mind paying because you know the food is first class. As someone said you could pay more, but you certainly couldn't get better food.

My personal favourite is the calamari tubes with chilli and garlic, served on a bed of roasted vegetables - heaven on a plate. Keith's dish of choice is the pizza, with Parma-ham, artichokes, olives and chili. They have a wonderful selection of dishes, but not too many as to confuse and intimidate.

I finished off my meal with a tiramisu - only because it was my birthday and why the hell not! I was planning on going for run this morning, but they way it was raining, that will have to wait, until then I'll just wear my elasticised waist jeans!

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Hutton Food challenge

This week Hutton set a food challenge. The rules were strict and I admit it took me a while to think up something without breaking any rules.

The challenge was :
You can take part even if you are not a foodie.
Simply devise a recipe using the following 4 ingredients (aubergine, sweet potato, carrot and chili) as the main part.
You may not use oil,milk or sugar
You may add ingredients (1 or more)
Water is a freebie!
Nothing can be more than a 1/4 of the total recipe.

I made carrot and sweet potato crisps with an aubergine and chili dip.

Sweet potato and Carrot crisps

Thinly slice the sweet potato and carrot, with a vegetable peeler or a mandolin.
Drizzle with a little butter (I would normally use olive oil), season with salt and place in a single layer on a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven (160°C) until browned.
You have to keep an eye on the oven, and turn the crisps ½ through.
It takes about 15 -20 minutes depending on the thickness of the vegetables.
Remove from the oven and place on kitchen paper to cool.

Aubergine Dip

Roast the aubergine whole until very soft.
Scoop out the flesh and place in a processor.
Add a little garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice, some chilli, 1 teaspoon tahini, salt and pepper.
Process until smooth - check seasoning and adjust if needed.
Serve with the crisps.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Sole Mates

We have had the strangest weather this last month. One day we are freezing cold, snow on the mountains, rain lashing down and then we have days like Sunday and you think it's November.

Everyone has some kind of cold or flu - either recovering or catching. Keith is the only person I know who never gets flu sick, just goes to show smoking does not kill you! (Only joking!)

Last week I managed to pick up sole on special, this is a very rare treat for us, as they can be pricey and I can be very cheap when it comes to buying fish!

I prepared them very simply, lightly dusted with flour seasoned with salt and black pepper and fried in olive oil. Before I fried the sole, I fried one thinly sliced lemon until it started to caramelize and then added the fish and the juice of one lemon. Just before it was finished cooking I added some caper berries.

The fried lemon works as a great accompaniment to the fish, not only does it taste great, it looks good too.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Walking Around

We were blessed with a fantastic weekend. The weather warmed up, we won the rugby and so everything in the land was great!

Sunday morning, after church we decided to take a long walk - all around our beautiful city.

We started in Green Point, and ambled through the Bo-Kaap, surrounded by the inviting smells of curry and roti, all we hoped for was that some family would invite us in for lunch!

This suburb has a wonderfully rich history. Bo-Kaap is a small residential area above the Central Business District. It has a population of over 6000 the majority of whom, more than 90%, are Muslim.

The residents of Bo-Kaap are mostly descended from slaves who were imported to the Cape by the Dutch during the the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They reigned from Africa, Indonesia, Java Malaysia, and elsewhere in Asia. They were known as "Cape Malays", which is an incorrect term as most of Bo-Kaap's residents are not entirely of Malaysian descent.

Houses are mainly semi-detached but free standing homes can also be found. The people who settled in Bo-Kaap were craftsman, free traders and freed slaves.

After the Bo-Kaap, we took the long hill up Kloof-Neck Road.

The cable-car was stuck yesterday, and I hope there were no people in inside - they would have had a long wait if they were!

Once we got to the top of Kloof Neck Road, we had the glorious views of Camps Bay. Beauty like this takes my breath away every time I see it.
The two refurbished 12 pounder cannons (hauled out of the Glen, a forested valley below). These were used by the French and Dutch forces to deter English soldiers from attempted invasions.
We descended Camps Bay Drive and walked all along the beach. There were a few people on the beach enjoying the Indian summer.

We walked all the way along the coast, through Clifton, Sea Point and Mouille Point to the Waterfront and then cut back on Portswood Road to Main Road where our car patiently waited for us.

The walk was about 20kms long and took us 3.5 hours. Our feet hurt from pounding the pavement and sleep came very easy last night.

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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