Tagliatelle with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil

September 15, 2014 in Pasta, vegetables

pasta with roasted tomato sauce, mozzarella and basilI developed, styled and photographed a series of recipes for ZZ2′s speciality tomatoes some time ago for their #ZZ2LittleRascals campaign. These recipes were utilized in recipe leaflets and shared on ZZ2 social media platforms. The quality of these tomatoes are so good, always perfectly ripe, fiery red, sweet and juicy. They’ve been my go-to tomatoes for years, especially the “romanita” varietal. You can find them at Checkers, Spar and some Pick ‘n Pay Family stores.

Recently, I had some ZZ2 tomatoes left over post shoot and thought, a roasted tomato pasta sauce would be rather delish. I roasted +- 1kg assorted baby tomatoes (bacio, rigoletto and romanita) with garlic, red onion, dried oregano and olive oil. Then it’s just a matter of blending in the food processor with fresh basil while adding a dash of red wine vinegar for some oomph and delish grassy olive oil until the right consistency is reached. Simply season to taste and it’s ready to use or even bottle in sterilised glass jars. Makes +- 1 L, so I filled 2 gorgeous 500 ml Consol jars. No sugar added, just pure natural goodness. This sauce can even be made into a flavour packed tomato soup by simply adding hot stock and a good glug of cream. Happy days. Need more inspiration as to what to make with this sauce? Try my simple pasta recipe out. For best results, use fresh pasta (you’ll find at most good supermarkets, I used Woolworths) and toss with heated sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil. Done.
tomato pasta sauce

Tagliatelle with Roasted Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella and Basil

Serves: 6

1 kg assorted baby tomatoes
2 T ( 30 ml) olive oil
1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
6 cloves garlic
2 t (10 ml) dried oregano
Freshly ground salt and pepper
handful of fresh basil leaves
2 T (30 ml) red wine vinegar
+- 3 T (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil

500 g fresh tagliatelle or pasta of your choice
+- 500 g bocconcini or burrata broken into bite size pieces
Fresh Basil leaves
Parmesan infused olive for drizzling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200 Deg C.
Place the tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves and herbs onto a large greased baking tray. Season and toss in olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes until blistered and softened.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
Place the roasted tomatoes etc including the cooking juices into a food processor. Add the basil and red wine vinegar and blitz until smooth, now add olive oil and blend until well combined. Season to taste.
Boil the fresh pasta for just a few minutes, drain and reserve some pasta water. Place pasta back into the empty pot and add as much sauce as you like together with a splash of pasta water to just mesh everything together nicely. If you have any sauce left over, bottle it, or use it for eggplant parmigiana, chicken parmigiana, lasagna or even a soup in the days to come.
Gently toss mozzarella and fresh basil leaves into the pasta.
Season once more.
Serve immediately drizzled with parmesan infused oil.
pasta with roasted tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil
pasta with roasted tomato sauce, mozzarella and basilFor more recipes or more info on my recipe development and food styling services, visit my website

{This post was not sponsored in anyway}

Baked Haddock and Eggs

August 28, 2014 in Eggs, Fish, LCHF

Baked Haddock and Eggs

In need of an easy one pot wonder that is done within 25 minutes? I have just the thing.  Smoked haddock, wilted baby spinach, mini asparagus spears (or whatever you can get –  tenderstem broccoli or fine green beans are perfect too), spring onion all popped into an oven proof pot (I used AMC’s 16 cm gourmet low) topped with cream and lemon zest. Then you simply break 4 eggs carefully in between the ingredients and finish off with a generous grating of parmesan cheese. And in the oven it goes for +- 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling and the egg yolks are just set. This dish can be enjoyed for breakfast or brunch with lots of buttered seed bread or for the banters out there, isn’t this the perfect LCHF meal paired with a crisp salad?

Baked Haddock & Eggs

Serves: 2-4

2 T (30 ml) butter
80 g baby spinach
1/2 c (125 ml) finely grated parmesan cheese
250 g haddock/smoked hake portions (bones and skin removed)
100 g mini asparagus spears (or fine green beans or tenderstem broccoli) – blanched for 2 minutes
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c (125 ml) double thick cream
zest of 1 lemon
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
4 large eggs
Extra lemon zest and chopped chives for garnish

Preheat the oven to 200 Deg C.
In an oven proof pot(16 cm), heat the butter and add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove pot from heat.  Sprinkle the spinach with half of the cheese.
Cut the raw haddock into bite size pieces and place on top of the spinach in a single layer.
Arrange the blanched asparagus between the fish and sprinkle with spring onions.
Whisk the cream, zest and seasoning together and pour over the fish and veg.
Gently crack the eggs one by one into the crevices between the ingredients. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan making sure you cover the eggs.
Season once more.
Bake uncovered for +- 20 minutes or until golden and the eggs are just set.
Sprinkle with some extra lemon zest and chopped chives.
Serve immediately!
Serves 2 hungry peeps or 4 light eaters.
Baked Haddock and EggsThis recipe was developed for AMC Cookware . Visit my website to see more recipes!

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Chinese-style Beef & Exotic Mushroom Stir-Fry

August 26, 2014 in Asian flavours, Meat, vegetables

beef and mushroom stir fryI’m all about simple suppers and this Chinese-style stir fry is so incredibly easy. It only takes 15 minutes *happy dance*! The combination of beef, exotic mushrooms and a sweet salty dark sauce is an absolute winner. With the addition of crunchy greens like tenderstem broccoli, mangetout and baby pak choy – you have one awesome meal.  The perfect midweek pick- me- up!

exotic mushrooms and pak choy

Chinese style Beef & Exotic Mushroom Stir-Fry

Serves: 4

250 g beef steak, thinly sliced
1 T (15 ml) cooking oil
200 g exotic mushrooms (enoki, shitake and king oyster), sliced
6 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
+- 100 g Tenderstem™ broccoli (blanched for 2 minutes)
+- 100 g mange tout or sugar snap peas (blanched for 2 minutes)
4 baby pak choy (Chinese cabbage), broken into leaves
2 T ( 30 ml) sesame seeds
1 T (15 ml) grated ginger
1 fat clove garlic, crushed
½ t (2.5 ml) chilli paste
3 T (45 ml) sweet soy sauce
3 T (45 ml) black bean sauce
3 T (45 ml) soy sauce
¼ c (60 ml) oyster sauce
1 t ( 5 ml) sesame oil
½ t (2.5 ml) corn flour

Heat cooking oil in a large wok. Add the sliced steak and fry until browned and almost cooked through. Remove and set aside.
Add the mushrooms and fry over high heat until browned and fragrant. Add the spring onions and fry for a minute.
Add the blanched broccoli and mange tout/sugar snap peas and fry for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the sauce ingredients together until well combined.
Add the pak choy leaves and fry until wilted. Add the meat and it’s juices back into the wok and slowly add the sauce, tossing all the while over the high heat until sauce has heated though and thickened slightly. Make sure all the ingredients are well coated in the sauce.
Lastly toss in the sesame seeds.
Serve immediately and enjoy as a low carb meal or serve with sticky jasmine rice.

Beef and mushroom stirfry
Visit my website to see more!


Roast Chicken stuffed with Feta, Lemon, Garlic & Rosemary

August 12, 2014 in Chicken, Roasts

roast chicken and veggiesThis is my favourite way to roast chicken. Butterflied and stuffed with a mixture of feta, lemon, garlic and rosemary underneath the skin. This makes the chicken flesh so juicy and flavoursome and you are left with the most crispy skin! Perfection. After about 20 minutes of roasting the chicken, I toss a bag of chunky roasting veg into the roasting tray and let it all cook together. The best-chicken-ever (and veggies), done!

Feta, lemon, rosemary, garlic
stuffed butterflied chicken
Roast chicken stuffed with Feta, Garlic, Lemon and Rosemary

Serves: 4-6

1 plump free range chicken, rinsed and patted dry
100 g feta cheese, crumbled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 T (30 ml) Olive oil or Parmesan infused Olive oil
Freshly ground salt and black pepper

Extra olive oil to drizzle
1 kg bag mixed chunky roasting vegetables

Preheat the oven to 200 deg. C.
Butterfly the chicken by cutting alongside the backbone, pull open – breast side up – and flatten with a few fist bashings. Loosen the skin of the chicken (breast, wings and even the legs and thighs) being very careful not the tear.
Mix the stuffing ingredients, season to taste and stuff generously and evenly underneath the skin.
Place onto a roasting rack. Drizzle with some extra olive oil and gently massage onto the skin and season once more with salt and pepper.
Roast for 20 minutes. Season and toss the veggies in some olive oil and arrange around the chicken. Roast for a further +- 50 minutes. Or until the chicken is golden and cooked through and the veggies are tender.
Serve with a simple salad.

Try a combination of fresh herbs like basil, parsley and chives.
Fresh tarragon or thyme will work beautifully too.

To see more of my fuss free recipes, hop over to my website 

Beef Cannelloni in a Pot & a Giveaway!

August 1, 2014 in Pasta

Beef cannelloni in apot
We are a family of 2 – just hubby and I with our fur babies. So cooking for the two of us,  I go for the easiest meal possible that uses the least amount of pots and dishes. One pot wonders are on our dinner menu every week.

One in particular, is my “Beef cannelloni in a pot”. I spotted something similar quite a few years back, I think it may have been from one of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks. I remember doing a huge pot of this at a cookery demo for PNP around that time. Last week, I really wanted to make this “honeycomb” cannelloni again but at a much smaller scale and I found that my AMC Cookware 16 cm Gourmet High was perfect for 2-3 people.  I love this recipe because it is a one pot wonder in every sense of the word. When you think of making cannelloni or lasagne, you think of copious amounts of pots don’t you? Not this one. The meat sauce is cooked in the pot, you shove a box of cannelloni upright into the sauce, make a quick “white sauce” by mixing sour cream, cream and lots of parmesan together and pour that over the pasta. Sprinkle with cheese, and in the oven it goes!

When dishing up, you aren’t going to get perfect cannelloni tubes, it’s “rustic”. ¾ of the cannelloni is filled with mince sauce and the top part is filled with “white sauce” with a crispy bit on top.  It’s an impressive oven to table meal. Just scoop up down the length to get all that goodness and serve with extra parmesan, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a crisp salad on the side.

AMC Cookware has one 16 cm Gourmet High pot worth R2000 to giveaway! Simply share on twitter what “one pot wonder” you would cook in this pot. Remember to include @bitsofcarey, @amcforlife and #1potwonder in your tweet.  AMC marketing team and I will choose the most creative answer. Winner will be announced Friday 8th August! Good Luck! {Terms & conditions apply and only valid for peeps residing in SA, sorry!}

Beef cannelloni
Beef cannelloni in a Pot
Serves: at a push, you can feed 4 people or 2 hungry pasta loving people – J and I polished this off in one sitting. Oink
1 x 250 g box cannelloni pasta
Mince sauce:
500 g lean beef mince
1 T (15 ml) olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 t (5 ml) dried rosemary
1 t (5 ml) dried oregano
1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes
½ c (125 ml) beef stock
100 g tomato paste
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste
Handful of chopped basil
“White sauce”:
250 ml cream
250 ml sour cream
3 T (45 ml) parmesan infused oil
1 c (250 ml) finely grated parmesan cheese
3 T (45 ml) chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
½ c (125 ml) grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil for drizzling
handful of basil leaves, chopped

For the method, click here

Cannelloni in a pot

Creamy Tomato Soup with Gorgonzola and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

July 20, 2014 in bread, Crush mag recipes, Snacks, Soups, vegetables


Cream of tomato soupI included this creamy tomato soup as one of my monthly “Midweek Meals” recipes for Crush online magazine’s Art Issue (41). This truly is my favourite soup of all time, so much so that I’ve been making it for years! In an attempt to shoot a stylish take on “soup and bread”, I served this soup with garlicky bruschetta topped with gooey gorgonzola and slow roasted assorted baby tomatoes. I think I achieved the “yum, I need to eat you now factor”, yes?

If you’re not a fan of gorgonzola, replace with mozzarella, creamy goat’s cheese or Fairview’s Cambozola. What I love about this soup is that it’s easy with no faffing involved. It’s thick, rich and creamy with just the right amount of sweet and tartness. Try this combo and let me know what you think.

Keep warm!!

Cream of Tomato Soup with Roasted Tomato and Gorgonzola Bruschetta

Serves: 6

4 large leeks, sliced
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 T (30 ml) butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cans whole tomatoes
2 T (30 ml) tomato paste
1 large potato or sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 ½ (375 ml) chicken stock
1 T (15 ml) sugar
¼ t (1.25 ml) of freshly ground nutmeg
2 bay leaves
handful of basil leaves, chopped
+- 125 – 250 ml cream or milk
Salt and pepper to taste

250 g assorted baby tomatoes
1 T (15 ml) olive oil
1 T (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 t (5 ml) brown sugar
1 t (15 ml) parmesan infused olive oil or extra virgin olive oil
3 T (45 ml) chopped basil leaves
8 slices of ciabatta
Olive oil
1 peeled clove garlic
125 g creamy gorgonzola, sliced
basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In a medium pot, sauté the leek and celery in butter until softened. Add the garlic, tomatoes, paste, potatoes and chicken stock. Cover and bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simper for + – 40 minutes – or until potatoes are tender (will take longer due to the acidity in the tomatoes).
Place the baby tomatoes on a baking tray drizzled with olive oil and balsamic. Season and sprinkle with sugar. Roast for +- 25 minutes. Place into a bowl and add chopped basil leaves and oil. Season to taste.
Remove soup from the heat. Add the basil leaves and puree with a stick blender until smooth, add the cream while blending until you’ve reached your preferred consistency and creaminess.
Place back onto the heat to warm through.

Hop over to my Bits of Carey website to see how to prepare these delicious gorgonzola and slow roasted tomato bruschettas.

Roasted Baby Potatoes: 3 Ways

July 16, 2014 in Roasts, vegetables

trio of roasted baby potatoes
My goodness, am I craving the humble potato!  I don’t know about you but all this LCHF/Banting hype just makes me want to rebel and eat a bowl of creamy mash and inhale a platter of crispy roasted potatoes. I haven’t been converted into a “banter”, I simply try to follow a Low GI diet and exercise. When I feel like carbs, I’ll eat carbs – in moderation of course! I eat what inspires me (and what I’m shooting for clients, LOL). I’m not thin, but I’m not overweight either – and I’m happy with that. Each to their own hey? Whatever works for you ;-)

So with that in mind, I need to pay homage to baby potatoes. You get so many awesome varieties now, I’m loving the pink fur from Woolies and similar “ fingerlings” from Checkers. Check them out next time you are shopping. I thought I’d share 3 ideas on how to roast baby potatoes. First up, we have them wrapped in streaky bacon and rosemary (yes, bacon love), then we have spicy hasselbacks and lastly but certainly not least are my favourite, crushed rosemary and rock salt tatties. These potatoes make awesome additions to any roast or braai.  Give ‘em a bash!

Checkers Fingerling potatoes
trio of roasted baby potatoesBacon and Rosemary Roast Potatoes:

Serves: 6

500 g baby potato of your choice
250 g streaky bacon
a few rosemary sprigs
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 200 Deg C.
Cut the bacon rasher in half and wrap a piece around each potato together with a sprig of rosemary.
Season and drizzle with olive oil.
Roast on a baking tray for +- 45 minutes or until potato is tender and bacon, crispy.
Variation: Replace rosemary with fresh sage or thyme.

{If you would like to know how to do the spicy hasselbacks and crushed rosemary and rocksalt tatties – visit my official Bits of Carey website.}

Trio of roasted baby potatoes
trio of roasted baby potatoes


Gnocchi ‘n cheese with bacon & mushrooms

June 30, 2014 in Pasta

gnocchi and cheeseIt’s no secret that I love a saucy, cheesy, bubbling pasta bake. One of life’s greatest comforts in my opinion. I decided to go next level with my usual mac ‘n cheese. I used ready made potato gnocchi from Woolworths instead of macaroni and I have to say, it was absolutely divine!  Soft melt-in-your-mouth pillows of gnocchi smothered in smoky bacon, cheese & mushroom sauce, heaven I tell you! I will most certainly make this one again. Enjoy with a  simple salad of wild rocket and rosa tomatoes.

Bacon & Mushroom “Gnocchi Cheese”
Serves: 4

500 g ready made gnocchi boiled in salted water for +- 2 minutes ( Do not overcook – once risen to the surface, remove, drizzle with olive oil and set aside).
375 ml milk
1/2 onion, thickly sliced
2 bay leaves
1/2 t (2.5 ml) black peppercorns
125 g streaky bacon, diced
2 T (30 ml) butter
250 g brown mushrooms, sliced
2 T (30 ml) flour
1 c (250 ml) grated mature cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c (125 ml) grated cheddar for topping

Preheat the oven to 220 deg C.
Place the milk, onion, bay leaves and peppercorns into a small sauce pot and heat until steaming (don’t boil). Remove from the heat and allow to infuse.
Heat a medium heavy based pot and fry the bacon until crispy, add the butter and heat until melted. Add the mushrooms and saute until softened and browned.
Strain the milk and discard the onions etc. Add the flour to the bacon and mushroom mixture and stir until well combined. Add the milk and stir vigorously until no lumps are present and the mixture is thickened (this will take a few seconds).
Remove from the heat and add 1 c of grated cheese. stir until well combined. Season to taste.
Place gnocchi in a medium oven-proof dish and cover with the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 c of grated cheese.
Pop into a hot oven for +- 15 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
Serve with a rocket and rosa tomato salad.

gnocchi and cheeseThanks for popping in!

To visit my website, please click here


Roasted Butternut “Pizzas” with Bacon, Gorgonzola & Sage

June 24, 2014 in LCHF, Meat, Snacks, vegetables

Roasted butternut pizzeas with bacon, gorgonzola and sageI spent a few days wondering how I could prepare an easy, “nutritious”, low carb pizza of sorts. I’ve done the Caulipizza which was super yummy but it does involve a bit of work. So I thought, why not simply cut rounds from the seedless section of a large butternut and use them as “pizza” bases?  The rounds are roasted until tender and then topped with any ingredients that pair nicely with butternut (I used gorgonzola, crispy fried bacon, fresh sage and parmesan cheese) and roast for a few minutes in the oven again until golden and bubbling.  Try other cheeses like feta,  chevin or camembert  (Fairview’s “Cambozola” is delish!). How’s this for a fuss free satisfying supper?

Roasted Butternut ‘Pizzas” with Bacon, Gorgonzola and Sage

Makes: 8 – 10 “pizzas” – depending on size of butternut

1 large butternut with a long seedless section, sliced into 10 cm rounds – leave skin on for extra fibre and texture ;-)
Willow Creek Parmesan Infused Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
+ – 250 g streaky bacon, diced and fried until crispy
+- 100 g gorgonzola cheese, broken into pieces
+- 8 sage leaves
1/2 c (125 ml) grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
Drizzle butternut rounds with parmesan oil and season. Roast for 40 -45 minutes or until tender. Turn heat up to 220 deg C.
Top each round generously with remaining ingredients and place into the oven for +- 10 minutes or until golden, crisp and bubbling. Drizzle with a bit more parmesan infused oil.
Serve immediately!

{Serving suggestions}:
Serve with a crisp rocket and tomato salad
Delicious with pork chops,  roast chicken or a juicy steak

To see more of my recipes, visit my website, like me on Facebook or follow me on twitter ;-)

roasted butternut "pizzas" with bacon, gorgonzola and sage


Fragrant Lamb Curry

June 13, 2014 in Curries and casseroles, Meat

Lamb curry Make dad this mouth-watering, fall-off-the-bone Lamb Curry for Father’s Day on Sunday.  This curry is so flavoursome – a myriad of spices, garlic, ginger, chilli, tomatoes and what ties it all together is coconut milk and fresh coriander.  Lamb knuckles rock my world when it comes to stews and curries – they add so much flavour to a dish, stewing lamb or mutton will also work a treat. Serve with sambals, roti and chutneys (I’m loving “Quality Pickles” chutney range).  This recipe makes quite a bit of sauce, so definitely do some basmati rice cooked in coconut milk to mop up all that saucy goodness! Lamb curry
Fragrant Lamb Curry
Serves: 6
1 kg lamb knuckles
1 T (15 ml) vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves
2 T (30 ml) grated ginger
1 t (5 ml) chilli paste
3 T (45 ml) medium curry powder(blend)
1 t (5 ml) ground coriander
1 t (5 ml) ground cumin
4 cloves
6 squashed cardamom pods
¼ t (1.25 ml) nutmeg
1 T (15 ml) turmeric
1 cinnamon quill
5 dried curry leaves
1 x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
1 ½ c (375 ml) hot lamb or mutton stock
1 c (250 ml) coconut milk
30 g fresh coriander, chopped
Salt to taste

For the method, please hop over to my website.

In other news…

I am proud to announce that I am officially an AMC Cookware Brand Ambassador!  When they asked me to have a look at their new gourmet range and also try out their Speedcooker® and electric frying pan and portable induction“Flux cooker”, how could I refuse? This brand has been around for years,  it’s the brand that our moms and aunties swear by and now I see why.  I spent a few months playing around with their products and I have to say, this is honestly my go to cookware  now. I enjoy them because they are not too heavy(easy on the back, haha!), they have solid thick bases and they don’t have any hot spots when cooking. I’m sold on their Visiotherm® lid knobs which allow you to monitor the temperature and minimise moisture loss. Did you know that you can cook without any oil, fat or water? I found this very interesting when I attended one of their cookery demonstrations. Also I find that these pots heat up quickly over a lower heat setting and retains the heat which in turn reduces electricity usage up to 40%! The gourmet range has stainless steel handles which I love, and the lid knobs come in different colours which you can change when your kitchen colour scheme changes.  The cookware is now induction cooker friendly too! The prices are on the higher end but what you get is excellent customer service and a lifetime guarantee on this reliable cookware. It’s the type of cookware that you’ll purchase once and never again. And did you know that you can buy this cookware online now?  Have a browse  This Lamb Curry recipe is my first of many monthly recipes sponsored by AMC Cookware, I will also have a few giveaways over the next few months, so watch this space! Lots of exciting things to come.

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