In case you were wondering if I had gone fishing... not quite. I have been working my butt off and have barely had time to snap a photo let alone write about my experiences of late. This weekend I cooked for a party of 101 people single handed. Before you get too impressed, it was a very simple menu so not really rocket science. I served loads of fabulous Fairview cheeses on Knead bread, garnished with various accompaniments. I made some of my roasted hummus which I served on bread with marinated sundried tomatoes.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
A few weeks ago my Mom told me about reading a taste magazine where they had roasted whole slices of cauliflower in the oven and served them like steaks (so to speak). This idea intrigued me as I like cauliflower but can never think of anything special or exciting to with it. This sounded like it would look interesting and taste different.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
A few days ago, while my nephew was with me, I received in the mail the first edition of a new magazine called ‘Baked and Delicious’ and with the magazine came a gift of six brightly coloured silicone cup cake moulds. Now if this was not a sign from God that cup cakes needed to be baked, then I don’t know what is… We followed the recipe for vanilla cup cakes from the magazine but decided to top the cup cakes with caramel fudge sauce instead of vanilla butter icing.
Today I made another batch because the last batch got guzzled down so quickly by Luke and Adam, I didn’t even get one. For today’s batch I decided to experiment with a salted caramel topping as Annika had brought salted caramel chocolate truffles for us to eat over the weekend and this fabulous experience has stayed with me. I just happened to have half a packet of hazelnuts in the cupboard and I think they add a nice taste, texture and appearance to the cup cakes.
The silicone cup cake shapes are such a win. I have seen them in stores before and had not seen the point in them, but these ones are such bright fun colours and are totally non stick. So often cup cake papers end up looking all oily and tired after baking but these silicone guys look fresh, funky and fabulous!
Vanilla cup cakes with salted caramel and hazelnut topping
Makes about 8 medium cup cakes
125g of butter
½ a cup of castor sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp whole milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp of baking powder
1 cup of cake flour
Preheat the oven to 180C˚ and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
With a cake mixer, blend together the butter and castor sugar until light and creamy. Add to this the eggs, vanilla and milk and blend to combine. Add the baking powder and cake flour and blend until smooth.
If you are using cup cake papers, place the papers into the holes of a muffin tin. If using silicone cup cake moulds place them onto a baking tray or into a muffin tin.
Spoon the mixture into the cup cake moulds until ¾ full. Flatten the mixture and push it up the sides of the moulds as much as you can with the back of the spoon.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden and springy.
Allow to cool before icing.
For the salted caramel topping you simply combine about ¼ of a tsp of salt with a 360g tin of caramel. You don’t want the caramel to be salty but just to have this slight salty tanginess. Using the back of a knife, spread a thick layer of caramel onto each of the cup cakes. Roughly chop up hazelnuts and decorate the cup cakes with these.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Yesterday my seven year old nephew, who is visiting from France, came over for lunch. I don’t really know him that well, so wasn’t sure how fussy he is. After some thought I decided there was no way I could go wrong with a burger and I LOVE home-made burgers, so off I went to get all the ingredients. As he arrived I had just finished all the preparations and was ready to get stuck in. Guess what… he doesn’t like burgers.
So while my Dad and I enjoyed my fantastic burgers (if I do say so myself), he ate a peanut butter sandwich. No regrets though, as now I still have one patty left over and am looking forward to having it for lunch today… so good!
This recipe is just that bit different with loads of chopped bacon, tomato, nuts and basil in the patty which makes it juicy and flavoursome. I topped my burger with a mature cheddar and sundried tomato paste from Nog. The whole combination was to die for.
I have done this in the past for dinner parties too; with various bowls of accompaniments and let people put together their own burgers. Has always been a hit.
Thekla’s burger recipe
Makes 6 generous sized burgers
500g beef mince
125g of streaky back bacon, finely cut up
1 large ripe tomato, very finely cut up
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ a small onion, minced
50g of cashew nuts, finely chopped
A handful of fresh basil, finely chopped up (or a few spoons of basil pesto)
1 ½ tsp of salt
½ tsp of smoked paprika powder
Freshly ground black pepper
Get a large heavy bottomed frying pan heating up, on medium heat, on the stove. Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Shape them into patties the same size as the bun you plan to serve them in. Try to get them relatively flat as this will help cook them all the way through before they burn on the outside.
Add a little oil to the pan and start frying the patties. Once they have browned on the first side flip them over carefully with a spatula. It should take about 7 – 10 minutes per side, depending on the size of the patties and how well done you like your meat.
Serve on your favourite bun with all your favourite accompaniments.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Chole Aur Khumb
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
A few weeks ago I wrote about my fabulous experience with an on online deli called Diletto. Well, they loved what I wrote so much that they have sent me a hamper of goodies to give away to one of my loyal readers! On top of that they will have it delivered free of charge anywhere in South Africa! I would love my international readers to take part too, and perhaps if you have a friend, relative or charity in SA, you can get it sent to them as a wonderful unexpected gift (who doesn't love those!).
Don’t let my rotten photography detract from the gorgeous goodies in the hamper. Cat not included... just couldn’t resist that shot, isn’t she gorgeous?
The products in the hamper are as follows
Skimmelberg Organic Rooibos Tea (still have to try this)
Buchulife herbal water (lime, cranberry and natural)
Garlic infused Grape Seed oil (even better for you than olive oil)
Olive Boutique Kalamata Olives in Blueberry dressing (still have to try these)
Dried Pomegranate Arils (great as a snack and in salads)
Vanilla man, vanilla syrup (this is so sexy I am having trouble not nicking it for myself)
You need to have liked and followed both Diletto and Domestic Goddesses facebook and twitter pages, if you haven’t already - the links are below. You also need to share this blog on facebook and twitter (as many time as you want, it will only increase your chances of winning) and send me a mail telling me how much a case of Jack Black beer costs on the Diletto website along with your facebook and twitter details so I can trace your shares and retweets.
Good luck and looking forward to hearing from you all!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
My teenaged nieces are coming to spend the night with me tonight as we want to finish watching season 2 of Vampire Diaries together. They got me addicted to the series so now we have agreed only ever to watch it together. So I have been prepping for our girls night – the sweets and chocolates have been bought, as well as the frozen berries and bananas for tomorrow mornings breakfast smoothies. But I was a bit stumped as to what to do for dinner.
I thought a snacky style TV dinner would be best and as avos are at large right now I thought nachos with dips would be the perfect thing. So I have made refried beans, guacamole and tomato and pimento salsa. My house mate is going to make a shredded chicken thing later to add to the mix. Top this all with sour cream and grated cheese and I think we have a winner!
The picture above was my lunch as I couldn’t resist trying some out, but it was the ‘light’ version, really fresh and tasty without the guilt. We will hit the decadent version once the girls are here.
The below if for a nacho’s feast of about 6 – 8 people
1 Tbsp of oil
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
3 cups of pre cooked beans or canned beans (I used red speckled beans)
½ a cup of water (more if the mixture is too dry)
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of paprika
½ tsp of black pepper
½ tsp of chilli powder (optional)
½ a cup of cheddar cheese (more if you like it very cheesy)
Gently fry the onion and garlic in the oil on medium heat until translucent and softening. Add the beans and all the other ingredients except the cheese and gently fry this. Using a masher, mash the beans into a rough paste. Add the cheese and remove from the heat. Stir and set aside until ready for use.
2 ripe avos, scooped out of their skins
Juice of half a large lemon (or one fresh lime if can find them)
Finely grated lemon zest of a ¼ of the same lemon (or lime)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed (optional)
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of chilli flakes (or finely chopped fresh chilli)
¼ of a small red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
A handful of chopped fresh coriander (I couldn’t find any, so I left this out)
Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mash with the back of fork until a rough paste has formed.
Tomato and pimento salsa
2 medium tomatoes cut into small cubes
2 pimento, seeded and cut into small cubes
½ a small red onion, finely chopped
A squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Some finely chopped chilli
A handful of fresh coriander chopped (I couldn’t find any so I used basil and mint)
Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and toss lightly.
If you want to add chicken or ground beef, use about 300gs of either. Cut chicken breast up into very small pieces. Then fry the chicken or beef mince in a pan with a little oil and some of your favourite seasonings and salt until just cooked through, about 10 minutes or so. Set aside until ready for use.
Get a couple of packets of your favourite nacho’s (I would suggest a more traditional round chip with not too much additional flavouring). Pre heat your oven on grill. Then lay the chips out on an oven proof platter, top with the dips starting with the beans and ending with salsa, dollop on some sour cream and finally scatter with grated cheese. Grill in the oven until the cheese has just melted.
Tuck in immediately.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Wow, what a weekend. The weather was fantastic and we were surrounded by fabulous people, food, music, wine and venues. Oh my word, the venue we were at on Sunday, Casa Labia in St. James, is something completely extraordinary. We had a table for 20 booked in the ballroom and all dressed appropriately. The food was lovely and the company exceptional. If you are looking for a very special venue for a gathering, you would do well to consider this place.
But too much of a good thing can also leave one pretty drained and Monday seems very dull after the frivolities of the weekend, which is why I felt perfectly justified having a slightly extravagant lunch today. It certainly has brighten up my day as only creamy pasta dishes can.
It was also made a little more exciting as I go to use one of my new kitchen tools, an antique veggie slicer which is still razor sharp and slices wafer thin!
Creamy shiitake and courgette pasta
Serves 4 conservative portions (i.e. two people in my house)
250g of your favourite pasta, cooked and drained
15g pack of dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in ½ a cup of hot water for ½ an hour
1 Tbsp of oil
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced thinly to form half onion rings
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
½ a punnet of courgettes, julienned or cut into ribbons
125ml of cream
Salt and pepper to taste
While your pasta is cooking, gently fry the onions and garlic on medium heat until they become translucent but don’t brown. Add the mushrooms (and the water they soaked in), courgettes, cream salt and pepper and allow them to simmer lightly until the courgettes are just cooked. They should still be bright green in colour.
Serve over pasta and with parmesan if you like.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Phew… what a day! I spent the entire day with my housekeeper spring cleaning our kitchen so I could find space for all the treasures I got from my Mom yesterday. It was serious manual labour but now my kitchen looks so tidy and organised I can just stand there and stare at it with admiration. In between all this I baked a loaf of bread from various left over things in my grocery cupboard – rye flour, cake flour, crushed wheat, seed mix and coconut. Phiwe and I had that for lunch straight out the oven with lashings of cold salted butter.
I think I might still write a post about some of the treasures in my now pristine kitchen… some seriously special stuff there, with some great stories attached.
In the afternoon Phiwe and I were pretty exhausted, not having sat down once the whole day. I decided to spoil us with a little pick me up. I brewed some strong Origin coffee, scooped up some vanilla ice cream drizzled it with So!Go caramel fudge sauce and then poured some of the coffee around the ice cream. We gratefully scooped up the heavenly concoction, and smiled – ready for the final wave of our spring clean.
This would be a great hassle free dessert after a weekend meal. That sauce is such a great thing to have in the cupboard for a last minute, easy dessert. It would be great in pancakes, in a cake, on cup cakes and on ice cream. Try it, it will make you happy.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
I arrived to a house under siege – boxes, painters, handy men and chaos but my mother and step dad in with their usual charm showed me around and told me all the plans they had and what was going to be done. They also had a little gift for me from their recent travels of a packet of Beaver Creek, estate reserve 2010 coffee and a piece of sheep’s milk pecorino from Ovis Angelica. Since I had brought with me a jar of Chaloner’s olive and chilli preserve and guava jam, I offered to pop out and get some more cheese and bread for lunch.
My parents then advised me to stop in at Mellisa’s just up the road for some more cheese and then to go to a new bakery they had heard a lot about, called De Oude Bank Bakkerij (fabulous review by Whale Cottage). So I mozied off up Dorp Street on the most heavenly of winters days. I bought two of my old favourite cheese from Dalewood and Klein River as well as some little florentines for dessert.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Recently I got a lovely big bottle of Great Northern grade A amber Maple Syrup and have been dying to use it, aside from slurping up a few teaspoons on the side. Naturally my first thoughts ran to pancakes or crumpets but I had also been dreaming about basting a pork roast or doing some sticky ribs with it. Anyway, the crumpets won this morning.
My granny often used to make us crumpets. I remember the butter and honey running off the hot crumpets all over our hands as we ate them. When I started to make them myself I experimented with making little bite sized crumpets so that you could top them and pop them into your mouth before the topping slid off. The American way of making big crumpets, stacking them and eating them with a knife and fork somehow never appealed to me. Not sure why…
Since my granny is no longer with us, I improvised a recipe which was really easy but not as good as my grannies. I think I am going to have to call my mother and see if she remembers the recipe. It could also be that my granny had this antique crumpet pan made out of heavy black iron and looked like it was transported here by ox wagon… perhaps that was what made the difference…
Makes about 40 bite sized crumpets
2 ½ cups of flour
4 Tbsp of castor sugar (I used 6 Tbsp of maple syrup)
2 large eggs
2 tsp (10ml) of melted butter
1 cup (250ml) of milk
2 ½ tsp of baking powder (make sure it has not expired)
½ tsp of vanilla essence (optional)
½ tsp of salt
Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat the eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla essence in a separate bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Stir well to form a smooth batter. Leave the mixture for 30 minutes.
Fry the crumpets on medium heat in a greased pan. I found a table spoon of the mixture dropped into the hot pan was enough to make one bite sized crumpet. With a spatula carefully flip each crumpet once it starts to bubble evenly all over. Adjust the temperature of the stove if they are browning too quickly.
Serve them with maple syrup or butter and honey. Some people like nutella or jam.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
One of the most popular recipes I have cooked has to be my almond yoghurt chicken curry. I think the recipe has been used by friends, family, colleagues, domestics, the families they work for and my blog readers all over the world. It is easy, quick and ridiculously tasty. But after having cooked and trained this for many years now I was looking for a something new yet similarly quick, easy and tasty but with a completely different flavour. I think I may just have found that recipe.
It is a version of Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani, I have however simplified this as much as possible. I just made it for lunch and the whole recipe took me 15 minutes and I was developing it as I went using what I had read online as the basis.
Now I just feel guilty as Adam can’t share it with me. May have to whip up a second batch with paneer for him.
Express Butter Chicken
1 Tbsp of oil
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp of ginger, minced
2 Tbsp of butter
1 Tsp of ground cumin
1 Tsp of ground coriander
1 Tsp of garum masala
1 Tsp of ground paprika
½ Tsp of chilli powder (or to taste)
½ Tsp of black pepper, finely ground (or to taste)
4 skinless free range chicken breasts, cut into small cubes (replace with paneer if desired)
115g of tomato paste
125ml of cream
125ml of yoghurt
1 Tsp of salt (or to taste)
On medium high heat, fry the onion in the oil until translucent but not browning. Add the spices and the butter and fry for a few minutes. Add the chicken cubes and fry for a few minutes until the chicken is almost cooked through. Add the tomato paste and cream and fry on medium heat for a further few minutes. Once the chicken has just cooked through add the salt and yoghurt and combine well.
Serve with fresh coriander, steamed rice, roti and or sambals. Can keep in the fridge for two days or will freeze beautifully.
Monday, July 4, 2011
½ an onion, chopped
¼ tsp of mild curry powder
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp of white flour