Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Christmas Lunch

Pictures from Christmas Lunch...

Starters - Prawn Cocktail (Retro treats)!

Main - Roast lamb, Roast Beef, Gammon, Corned Beef Tongue, served with roast potatoes, pumpkin (fresh from Dad's garden), minted peas, Greek salad, asparagus, 4 bean salad...really great meal!
Finished off with Mom's trifle! Talk about Homemade Heaven.

Monday, 14 December 2009

If you Can's Stand the Heat....

If you can't stand the heat, add less chili!

I have great admiration for the people who write newspaper headlines and billboards. I never buy a newspaper, and have absolutely no interest in reading or watching the news. I have enough news about my life and the people I know to keep me busy. If there is something of interest, I usually pick up a snippet from Keith. Otherwise I am a total ignoramus!

Billboards on the other hand, I always read. I drive down Main Road slowly, due to the traffic, and catch all the juicy bits. I can then decide for myself exactly what the story is about!

Some priceless ones after the Tiger Woods debacle: " More babes in the Woods" and " Tiger : Birdie count up to 11!" - You really didn't need more than that to know exactly how his life was unfolding.

When I came up with my heading / billboard for this post, I was very proud of myself. It has a 2 fold meaning, which makes it twice as clever! Firstly we had a blisteringly hot weekend in Cape Town and secondly I was in the kitchen all weekend cooking with chillies.

I firstly made Mild Red Pepper Jelly. Great recipe from Brownie, as always. Mild tasting and suitable even for children.

I then upped the ante, and moved on to Chili Jam. Not that hot (by my standards), but leaves you with a warm glow and pleasant sweetness.

Lastly I made Peri Peri sauce. A wonderful mixture for those who can stand the heat, but still appreciate god taste and not just good burn. Made with roasted red pepper and long hot red chili blized together with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt.

Here is the Chilli Jam (adapted from Nigella's recipe)

200g Long Red Chillies (de-seeded and de-vaned)
150g Sweet Red Peppers (de-seeded)
2 inch Knob of Ginger (peeled and cut into 3)
3 Garlic cloves (Peeled and slightly bruised)
250ml Apple cider Vinegar
350ml Red Wine Vinegar
1kg Jam Sugar (available at any good supermarket)

1.Sterilize your jars and keep hot.
2.Put the chillies into a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the chunks of red pepper and pulse again until you have a vibrantly red-flecked processor bowl.
3.Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a wide, medium-sized pan over a low heat without stirring.
4.Scrape the chilli-pepper mixture out of the bowl and add to the pan. Bring the pan to the boil, then leave it at a rollicking boil for about 10 minutes, until setting point is reached (105°C).
5.Take the pan off the heat and allow it cool.
6.After about 40 minutes, or once the red flecks are more or less evenly dispersed in the jelly (as the liquid firms up, the hints of chilli and pepper start being suspended in it rather than floating on it), ladle into your jars.
Seal tightly.
If you don't wait for it to cool before bottling, the chillies will float in the jelly, which will not effect the taste, but the presentation.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Super Simple Supper

Some days are so busy that it seems that you'll never have time to get everything done. Yesterday was one of those days for me.

I have a big legal battle going on with one of my tenants, I had invited a friend for tea (together with her 3 adorable children) and we had workmen installing our new solar system.

The house was chaos. People walking in and out the house (with dirty shoes), banging on the roof, watching the children so they didn't get hurt with all the power tools scattered throughout the house and back yard, serving tea and cake and making cool drinks to keep the "work force" hydrated (it was an extremely hot day yesterday).

And at the end of this, I still spent half an hour on the phone to my internet service provider trying to fix Markwin's broadband connection (which is still not working)!

So as you can see, things got very hectic, but I still managed to rustle up a wonderful meal. I love these one dish wonders. You basically throw everything into a roasting dish, turn on the oven and 60 -70 minutes later you have a meal which is filled with flavour and still gives the satisfaction of homemade heaven!

Chicken in a Flash Dish

8 pieces of skinned Chicken (you can leave the skin on)
1 Lemon cut into 8 pieces
2 Large Onions cut into quarters
8 Black Olives
15 Roma Cherry Tomatoes (not the very small ones)
15ml Olive Oil
5 Sprigs of Rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional extra:
60ml Garlic and chili relish (from a bottle)

Place all the ingredients, except the relish in a roasting dish and bake for about 60 minutes on 180°C.
Increase the heat of the oven to 200°C and stir in the relish (you can use any relish or chutney which you have in the cupboard - even tomato sauce at a push).
Bake until browned and cooked through.
Serve with rice, pasta or couscous.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Be My Guest

">I am so excited to share my latest find with you – a beautiful find, and something to be treasured for years to come.

With Christmas wish lists growing daily, I have the perfect gift to add. If you are a lover of food and enjoy entertaining, then this book is a must have.

Be my Guest, by Fay Lewis is the ultimate entertaining guide. Not only will you have the know how to make beautiful food, which will leave your guests in awe, you will also have simple and fun ideas on how to create the perfect setting for any occasion.

The recipes are very simple to follow, using ingredients which are readily available. There are great tips relative to forward planning, ways to stay ahead of the last minute scramble. It is always good to have parts of the menu ready ahead of time, so that you don't have to stress over things once your guests start to arrive. There is not much that is better than looking your best when the guests arrive, makeup in place, and then being able to confidently serve a meal which looks like you have spent all day slaving over. I love being able to say “Oh this, only took a few minutes to prepare - no hassle at all", and with this book you can say it with honesty!

In my book shelves, I have many, many recipe and cook books and Fay seems to have combined the best aspects of each of my books, and has produced an absolute masterpiece. The book is broken into chapters, starting with brunch and working through to formal winter dinners, picnics, pool parties, even a retro party, simple midweek family dinners plus many other party themes and ideas.

If you don't do much entertaining, this book is still ideal for help and ideas in preparing regular meals for the family. If you don't cook at all, you can use it as a coffee table book. The photography, which is done by Neil Corder, is exceptional. You will find yourself drooling over the pictures.

The recipes are all triple tested (which is important). I decided to test 3 of the recipes for myself – and I can assure you that they work, tasting just as good as they look in the book. Looking good and tasting good is very different in the life of a Foodie!

I share a quote from the cover, which clearly shows what this book is about :
" Whether you're a beginner when it comes to entertaining guests, or an
old hand, you'll find inspiration in Be My Guest.
Best of all, your guests will leave with nothing but admiration for your

professional and stylish hosting skills.
..... Be My Guest is your indispensable guide to entertaining"

A must have on your Christmas wish list, and, if you do not celebrate Ch
ristmas, get it anyway - you deserve to spoil yourself, and your guests

Old Fashioned Granadilla Lemonade
This can be made up to 2 day ahead

Juice of 10 Lemons, strained
Pulp from 3 Granadillas or 60ml canned pulp
1.5l Water
200g White Sugar
Ice Cubes, for serving
Slices of Lemon
Maraschino Cherries

Combine the lemon juice, grandadilla pulp, water and sugar in bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To Serve: Serve well chilled over ice and decorate with lemon slices and cherries.
My alternative serving : Place the lemonade in the freezer until frozen to a slush and serve in a
salt rimmed martini glass.

Mustard and Potato Salad
Serves 6

700g New Potatoes
2 sprigs of rosemary
80ml Dry White Wine
1 Red Onion, Chopped
5ml Salt Crystals
250ml Mayonnaise
15ml Dijon Mustard
15ml Wholegrain Mustard
2 Hard Boiled Eggs

30ml Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley

Boil the potatoes and the rosemary in a large heavy-based saucepan of salted boiling water until tender.
Drain, cut in half and transfer to a mixing bowl.
While still hot, pour over the wine.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix throughly.

To serve : Transfer to a platter and serve.

Poached Salmon
Make Ahead : The broth can be made 1 day ahead and refridgerated.
Serves 6

6 x 200g Salmon Fillets (Norweigian or Scottish)
3 Limes, halved for serving

1 Onion, sliced
3 Fresh Bay leaves
2ml Salt Crystals
5 whole Peppercorns
250ml white Wine
500ml Water

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Coat an oven proof dish with cooking spray.
Place the fillets in the prepared dish.
Pour over the broth and poach, uncovered for 20 mins or until cooked.
Remove from the oven and cool in the broth for 20 minutes.
Using a spatula, remove the fillets from the broth and set aside until ready to use.

To make the broth
Combine all the ingredients in a large, heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, strain and refridgerate until ready to use.

To serve : Transfer the salmon to a serving platter and serve toped with cucumber and dill salad, and the limes on the side.

Cucumber and Dill Salad

2 English cucumbers, peeled, halved and sliced
100ml White Wine vinegar
15ml Chopped fresh dill
30ml Castor Sugar

Place the cucumber in a serving dish.
Combine the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the cucumber.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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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