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Pasta with roasted tomatoes, bacon & oregano breadcrumbs

November 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

Pasta with roasted tomatoes, bacon & oregano breadcrumbs

Everyone needs a simple but stunning pasta recipe to pull out when inspiration has packed its bags and have bid you adieu. One of my favourites is the Roasted cherry tomato, ricotta & basil pesto pasta which I’ve cooked more times than I can remember. After a while though, these pastas become more of a staple than they should and you start getting tired of the tried and tested combination. As I needed a new pasta recipe (because I’ll be honest, I feel like my mojo is very slowly trickling out of me as we get closer to the end of the year), I decided to create this pasta.

Roasted Tomatoes   Roasted Tomatoes

Chris (the husband), will pretty much do anything for bacon. If I could give him pasta with bacon every night he will be happy. So I knew I wanted to include bacon in this New Pasta but I also didn’t want to add cream and the like because I wanted to keep it fresh and light. I decided to stick to the roasted tomatoes because, well, why wouldn’t you? Roasted tomatoes are one of life’s simplest pleasures. One of my biggest issues with an everyday pasta is that it lacks texture and I am a serious texture girl. I love crunch so I wanted to add lovely toasted breadcrumbs (more like little chunks) flavoured with olive oil and oregano.

Pasta with roasted tomatoes, bacon & oregano breadcrumbsFor the recipe, visit Simply Delicious

 

 

The end result was a seriously delicious pasta filled with tons of flavour and definitely one that will be used whenever I am left with no inspiration.

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Chicken pilaf with pistachios & lemon

November 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Chicken pilaf with pistachios & lemon

For the first time in my life, I find myself exhausted at the end of the year. I don’t know if it’s a sign of getting older (please say no!) or if it’s just because I’ve worked harder this year than I’ve ever worked before but I am physically tired and am struggling to get out of bed every morning. I used to be the type of person who jumped out of bed the moment my alarm went off. I didn’t even know how to ‘snooze’ the alarm. It is now a much-loved button I press every morning for another 15 minutes of shut-eye. Needless to say, I can’t wait for our almost-month-long holiday in December, the only problem is that I have to try to finish the mountain of work ahead of me in a few short weeks. But I shan’t complain, I am very fortunate to be working and I do really love my job.

Chicken pilaf with pistachios & lemon

When dinner time comes around, I really don’t have energy for long, tedious processes (nothing new here, really) and I’d like dinner to kind of take care of itself. Roast chicken is a great example of this as it takes me all of 5 minutes to prep the bird, add some onion, garlic & wine to the roasting tin and allow it to roast to perfection while I relax with a glass of wine bath the kids and check e-mails. I also love that roast chicken makes the best leftovers. If I’m feeding a crowd I always roast a few chickens just to make sure I get lovely shredded chicken for sandwiches the next day but if it’s just the 4 of us eating, I roast a large free-range chicken. There’s always left-overs and I love how quickly it’s transported into a delicious meal.

Chicken pilaf with pistachios & lemon

This pilaf is fantastic when made with left-over roast chicken (or shop-bought rotisserie chicken) but you can of course also use chicken breasts cubed and fry them off with the onion before adding the rice. I use Basmati rice for my pilaf as it’s low GI, beautifully aromatic and makes for a great, fluffy pilaf. I added pistachios and lemon to the finished pilaf to add even more fragrance and texture and served it with lots of fresh parsley.

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Chicken Liver Mousse

November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Chicken Liver Mousse

I know so many people who turn their noses up at chicken livers and I get it. It’s not pleasant thinking about organ meat and thinking about cooking and eating it. But I’m also the type of person who believes in nose to tail eating. I don’t like wasting meat (any of it) and I get really frustrated with people who overcook their meat, complaining that it’s dry and then leaving it on their plates. I am not and I will never be a Vegetarian but I do believe in treating meat with respect and educating yourself as much as possible to ensure you cook it well and therefore will be able to enjoy it fully.


Chicken Liver Mousse

I have converted many a ‘non-liver-eater’ with chicken liver Pâté because, even though I adore chicken livers as is, there is nothing like just-cooked livers blended with butter, brandy, cream and seasoning. The silky, rich and flavourful Pâté spread on thin, crisp toast has to be one of life’s simplest pleasures.

Chicken Liver Mousse

My mom made a mean Chicken Liver Pâté and I even included a very similar recipe in my new book but I stumbled across Julia Child’s Chicken Liver Mousse (Mousse de foies de volaille) and wanted to give it a go. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly as I didn’t have shallots in the house and flavoured it only with nutmeg, salt & white pepper. I wanted to see how duck fat would flavour the mousse so I used this instead of butter to fry the livers and the onions in. It adds a wonderful savoury richness to the mousse. I also didn’t top it with the Gelée but instead opted for simple clarified butter. It turns out this recipe isn’t all that different from my own (except that I like to add apples to mine to add a slight sweetness). It is utterly delicious. Rich, decadent and relatively simple to make. A good food processor is a must and you can pass the blended mixture through a sieve to get rid of any grittiness ( always do this to get rid of any chunks of onion/pepper still left in the mixture). I would add 2 apples, peeled and chopped to the onions while sauteing as I really enjoy the flavour it adds but this mousse is just fantastic as is. A real eating pleasure!

Chicken Liver Mousse

For this recipe, visit Simply Delicious

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Pan-fried fish with lemon-cream sauce & capers

November 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

Pan-fried fish with lemon-cream sauce

I really love simple dinners where the ingredients are fresh as can be and it takes you a maximum of 20 minutes to knock everything together. Last night I made a simple pan-fried fish (hake) for dinner and instead of the usual garlic butter or simple lemon to serve it with, I decided to make a light lemon-cream sauce flavoured with pepper and garlic.

Pan-fried fish with lemon-cream sauce

 

Pan-fried fish with lemon-cream sauce

The sauce complimented the fish beautifully and added just enough flavour without overpowering the delicate hake. I added a few capers to add a sharp, delicious zing and served the fish with steamed asparagus and fresh bread. This meal ticks all the boxes for a weeknight meal for me. Quick, delicious and satisfying!

Pan-fried fish with lemon-cream sauce

For this recipe, visit Simply Delicious

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Win a signed copy of Simple & Delicious: Recipes from the Heart.

November 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

Simple & Delicious: Recipes from the heart

My book has been for sale for just over two months and I have to say, I’m still kind of floating on cloud 9. It’s been the most incredible journey and every time I see my book on a shelf, I feel giddy and excited. I find it hard to walk past a book shop without going in and when I see my books next to the likes of Nigella, Jamie, Nigel Slater and Ina Garten, I have to fight back the squeals.

Simple & Delicious: Recipes from the heart

The response from my readers has been completely overwhelming. Your kind words, e-mails and messages on Facebook and Twitter have been heartwarming to say the least. I am so incredibly glad that you love my book and that you get the message I so desperately wanted to portray through it. And I so love that you feel like I’m in the kitchen with you when you cook from my book.

Simple & Delicious: Recipes from the heart

Perhaps the most exciting thing about being an author is the reviews and articles in magazines. I have to say that I have been incredibly blessed with the amount of publicity my book has gotten (and I can thank my incredible publicist Jean for this). From being Good Housekeeping’s “Cookbook of the month” for October, to reviews in TASTE and Sunday Times, full articles in Vrouekeur, Grazia, Record & Get It. I have been truly blessed.

Simple & Delicious: Recipes from the heart

I wanted to share the love with my readers and have decided to do a bit of a giveaway. I will be giving away 5 signed copies of my book(s). Locally (South Africa), I will be giving away 2x Afrikaans copies (Heerlik & Maklik) and 2x English copies (Simple & Delicious) and as I always neglect my International readers, I will be giving away one signed English copy Internationally as well.

To find out how to win a copy, pop on over to Simply Delicious

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Sticky Honey & Soy pork chops

November 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Sticky Honey & Soy Pork Chops

Simpler than these incredible pork chops you won’t easily find! Whilst editing the photos for this post I started salivating thinking about the sticky, sweet meat flavoured with soy, ginger and a hint of chilli.

Sticky Honey & Soy Pork Chops

So often I feel pressured (by myself) to create absolute masterpieces for dinner and I often forget that sometimes the simpler and more  straight-forward a recipe, the more rewarding the eating will be. And nowhere is this truer than with these delicious pork chops. Honey, soy, ginger & chilli is by no means a new combination but one that works so well with pork. And when paired with a simple salad of mixed leaves, sugar snap peas and a zingy dressing, makes for a perfect simple supper.

Sticky Honey & Soy Pork Chops

For this recipe, visit Simply Delicious

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Apple & Polenta Cake

October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

Apple & Polenta Cake

When I was in Cape Town for the launch and some publicity for my new cookbook, I visited a friend that I have been dying to see for a really long time. This friendship was started on Twitter (which is happening more and more often) and as I drove to her house, I couldn’t wait to see her home, meet the dog I had heard so much about and eat an apple cake she tweeted a picture of earlier. This friend is the incredible Errieda du Toit. Food writer extraordinaire and PR Queen and has so aptly called herself “Huiskok” (Home cook in Afrikaans).

Apple & Polenta Cake

When I entered her house I felt right at home with a big, brown and beautiful labrador meeting me with a hug and a kiss and her darling husband, Ian immediately offering a cup of tea (he calls himself “SlaafKok” (Slave Cook) as Errieda makes him work in the kitchen). Errieda and I spent a good 3 hours chatting, drinking tea and eating the most delicious Apple & Olive Oil cake and I fell even more in love with her. She is warm, motherly and completely fabulous. And so, I dedicate this cake to her, her dog and her husband.

Apple & Polenta Cake

I made this cake with polenta as I really love the texture it adds but to give it a lightness, decided to add a little flour as well. I used 3 apples but feel free to add more if you want a more intense apple flavour. Serve this cake with strong coffee and a dollop of vanilla Crème fraîche for the perfect afternoon treat.

Apple & Polenta Cake

For this recipe, visit Simply Delicious

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Potato, Pecorino & Rosemary bread

October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

Potato, Pecorino & Rosemary bread

Therapy. Google defines Therapy as “The treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder”. Now, I know most of us need traditional therapy, myself included but what I’m talking about today, is the type of therapy found in the kitchen. Yes, many people claim (again, myself included) that cooking is therapeutic, soothing, calming, etc and sometimes I can see people rolling their eyes when they hear that. But these people have no clue. People who haven’t spent time in the kitchen because they want to, as opposed to need to, will never understand how cooking can alter your mood.

Potato, Pecorino & Rosemary bread

Chopping vegetables, stirring risotto.. there’s a certain calmness that comes over me when I do these menial tasks. But the kitchen task that is the most therapeutic to me, has to be the art of baking bread. Such a simple, humble food that delivers such amazing results, you can’t help but smile. There’s something incredibly rewarding about mixing flour, yeast, water and a few other ingredients together only to find it doubled in size an hour or two later. And then we’re not even talking about the kneading. Punching a ball of dough is not only fun but it’s also a great stress reliever. I can feel the tension in my shoulders and neck melt away while I’m kneading dough and after a few minutes, you’re left with a beautiful ball of smooth dough.

Potato, Pecorino & Rosemary bread

When the dough has risen (which still gets me excited, even though I’ve done it for years), you place it in the oven and after thirty-or-so minutes, you are met with a golden (sometimes crusty) loaf of bread. One, which when cut, releases steam and welcomes fresh, salty butter. Butter that will ooze it’s way into the holes made by the yeast. And when you take that first bite. Is there anything more glorious?

Potato, Pecorino & Rosemary bread

I know I’ve waxed lyrical about bread now but really, for me there are few things that give me the intense pleasure of baking my own and this insanely flavourful loaf is no different. I’ve wanted to bake potato bread for a really long time and finally decided to do my own version this week. I have read that adding mashed potato to the bread dough results in a soft, spongy textured bread but I wanted to add oomph with a few simple flavourings. I decided to use Pecorino as, well, I use it in everything and the rosemary because I have an abundance of it in my garden at the moment. I didn’t, however, want big rosemary needles in the bread so I decided to place a few sprigs of rosemary in the pot while the potatoes were cooking (very effective, especially as you use the cooking water as well) and then chopped another sprig into really, really tiny pieces. This, along with the Pecorino gave the bread a lovely, savoury depth which makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Potato, Pecorino & Rosemary bread

This bread will be great as an accompaniment to grilled meats and salads this Summer or for my Northern Hemisphere readers, along a steaming bowl of soup, but I suggest you savour it as is, hot from the oven slathered with thick, farm butter.

Potato, Pecorino & Rosemary bread

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Hummingbird Cupcakes

October 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

Hummingbird Cupcakes

The first time I saw Hummingbird cupcakes was on the Martha Stewart website. They were gorgeous and I loved the idea of a cupcake filled with banana, pineapple and coconut as I just adore these tropical flavours. That was almost 2 years ago. I finally decided to give them a whirl this week and I was not disappointed.

Hummingbird Cupcakes

I adapted the banana cake recipe from my new book and the end result was a beautifully moist, incredibly flavoured cupcake. I used tinned crushed pineapple (with all its liquid) which kept everything moist and the coconut added just the right amount of texture.

 

Hummingbird Cupcakes

I topped the cupcakes with a lemony cream cheese frosting and dried pineapple flowers which might require a little effort but the end result is so beautiful (and delicious) that I will make these again and again. You simply slice a peeled pineapple into thin rounds and allow to dry out in a low oven for approximately an hour before placing them into a muffin tray to allow the edges to curl up, for another 30 minutes in the oven. Keep an eye on them as they colour quickly. The pineapple flavour intensifies and the crisp, almost chip-like texture is out-of-this-world delicious.

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Make these this weekend and wow your guests with a platter of beautiful, summery deliciousness!

For this recipe, visit Simply Delicious

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World Egg Day : Egg Recipes

October 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

World Egg Day(Thanks to my amazing husband Chris for creating this stunning image for World Egg Day)

 As today is World Egg day, I decided to round up all my favourite Simply Delicious Egg recipes and share them with you. I adore cooking with eggs as they are incredibly nutritious and when cooked right, they are one of the most delicious things to eat. Silky, soft and almost cheese-sauce like, like Julie Powell said in “Julie & Julia”. I love them on their own, with asparagus and hollandaise, on a soft roll with bacon or on top of a stack of crunchy potato rosti’s. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. And so, here are my favourites from the blog. All simple. All delicious!

Poached eggs on Asparagus with Hollandaise

Poached eggs with asparagus & hollandaise sauce.

 

Creamy mushrooms with eggs

The ultimate creamy mushrooms with fried eggs.

Steak & egg with herbed chilli butter

Steak & Egg with herbed chilli butter. 

Eggs Benedict with smoked salmonEggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon.

Bacon & Egg rolls with chilli & almond pesto

Bacon & Egg rolls with chilli & almond pesto.

Potato Rösti, Bacon & Egg stacks with Tomato relish

Potato Rösti, Bacon & Egg stacks with Tomato relish.

Scotch Eggs

Scotch Eggs.