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by Blondie

Chilli Peach & Strawberry Dessert

November 21, 2011 in Desserts

I like to think that I’m like most other folk here, but I generally only make pudding for guests.

I’ll be completely gutted if I find out that the rest of you do this daily for your families and that I’ve unwittingly been a dreadful mother to my sons!!

This pudding is loosely based on one I had in my previous (married) life, so I unfortunately can’t give any credit for the originator, but I like to think I’ve made enough changes to make it my own. It’s a gloriously-easy summery dessert that never fails to impress, despite the odd array of ingredients.


You’ll need the following ingredients:

1 large tin of peach slices (don’t give up on this recipe because of this – trust me, it’s a winner)!!

1 punnet of strawberries, hulled & halved

1 tin of granadilla pulp (optional)

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves

2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1 red chilli, seeded & finely diced (not optional)

Pour the peach syrup into a heavy pan and, over high heat, boil until slightly reduced.

Remove from the heat and stir in the basil, mint, chilli and granadilla pulp (if using).

Combine the peach slices & strawberry halves in a glass bowl and pour the hot syrup over the fruit, gently stirring to coat.

Chill in the fridge for a few hours.

Serve with ice-cream … then sit back and wait for the compliments!!

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by Blondie

Spatchcock Lemon & Rosemary Chicken

November 20, 2011 in Chicken

Although I have no aspirations to be a goddess – domestic or any other kind – I’m a big fan of Nigella Lawson’s recipes and am a happy owner/user of three of her recipe books (and I covet those I don’t already own).

I also enjoy the humour which intersperses her writing. In her book ‘How to Eat‘, she introduces the chapter on Cooking for One with: ‘“Don’t knock masturbation”, Woody Allen once said, “it’s sex with someone I love.”‘!!

But before I digress any further along that topic, this recipe is one I’ve slightly adapted from her book ‘Forever Summer‘ and is one I’ve made countless times and always with great success. This recipe showed me that it’s easier-than-pie to spatchcock a chicken but there’s no reason why you can’t use a braai pack instead.


You’ll need 1 big chicken (mine had clearly been on steroids, weighing in at 2.6kg), but you could also use 2 smaller ones or a braai pack or whatever else takes your fancy (within limits, obviously)!

Lay the chicken breast side down on a large chopping board. If you’re blonde like me, you can work out which side’s which by standing the chicken on it’s legs (the drumsticks) – they stick downwards from the breast side.

Oy, don’t knock it … it works for me, ok?!?

Using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, cut down along each side of the spine (that’s the top-facing side) and remove the spine completely. Then turn the spineless bird over and flatten it out … you need to put some muscle behind this, but it’s quite therapeutic to punch the unfortunate chicken and watch it spatchcock obligingly under your fist.

Put the chicken into a large Ziploc freezer bag or marinating container that you can flip over without everything spilling everywhere.

Take the leaves of 4 long sprigs of rosemary and pop them into the bag then squeeze the juice of 2 lemons over the chicken, tossing the lemon halves into the bag as well.

Cut 2 large onions into eighths and bung them in with the chicken, pour in 200ml olive oil then seal the bag & squish everything together before refrigerating until needed (at least 4 hours, but I’ve kept it for 4 days this way before without any problem).

Bring it to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 210C and line a roasting tin with foil. Lay the chicken in the tin, skin-side up, together with everything in the bag. Roughly tear up another 2 sprigs of rosemary and tuck these between the drumstick & breast.

Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour, basting with the juices every now and then. You can leave it in the oven for ages longer, just reduce the temperature to about 150C and just make sure the juices don’t dry up completely (which is what I did today – I was having far too much fun nattering & drinking wine)!

When you’re ready to eat, take the chicken out of the tin and cut into 4 pieces, sprinkle with a little Maldon salt and serve with the syrupy juices (unless they dried out like mine did, which I don’t normally let happen), oven-roasted baby potato wedges and a salad.

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by Blondie

Jewel of India (and of Pietermaritzburg)

November 12, 2011 in Review

Last night I took my Dad out for a father-daughter evening to celebrate his 82nd birthday. He knew we were going out for dinner, but had no clue where.

In the car, I asked him to choose ONE thing he’d love to eat whilst my Mum’s away.

Without hesitation, he replied: “Curry!”

“Well then I guess you’re going to really enjoy dinner tonight!” I replied, watching his face light up with gleeful anticipation.

I’d heard good things about Jewel of India, which is located at the Invesco Centre and can be contacted on 033 – 342 0334 and was looking forward to giving it a try.

The decor is up-market Indian, with ornate and tasteful fitting and the background music is loud enough to appreciate, whilst being quite enough not to be intrusive. There is seating for 150 people and the restaurant is available for functions at a fixed price per head.

Much of the food is cooked in the Tandoor oven, which is visible (but glassed off).

The menu is extensive and the prices reasonable – and, good news, the restaurant is licenced and has a small but respectable wine list.

And they have REAL wine vases … I need to know where they get them from, as they’re amazing!!¬† At R20 per glass, you’re really getting value for money.

Dad and I decided to share a starter of Chicken Tikka (R36), which was probably the most succulent chicken I’ve ever tasted. The pieces were generously sized and wonderfully spiced and grilled in a Tandoor oven.

For his main course, Dad chose Lamb Vindaloo (R85) which had a 3-chilli heat rating, meaning ‘hot’!

It looked really tasty and, judging from his plate, Dad enjoyed it thoroughly!

I had Chicken Saagwala (R75) which is slivers of chicken cooked in green spices and spinach masala. I’d never heard of this type of curry before, but am now in hunt of the recipe, as it was sublime.

We weren’t able to find room for dessert, but there was a small selection including traditional and Indian choices.

I made sure I took a copy of their lunchtime take-away menu and will definitely be back again to sample more of the wares of this wonderful Jewel of a restaurant.

We were looked after by our hosts, Sagren and Shireen (the owner) who made us feel super-special.

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by Blondie

Supa Salmon with Chilli-garlic Mash & Roasted Veggies

October 23, 2011 in Fish, Mains, Veggies

I found a lovely piece of Norwegian Salmon in our Pick & Pay yesterday. It was only R60-something and was big enough for 3 single servings …. I live alone most of the time & I’m not a big eater so, for me, this was a good bargain.

Many, many moons ago, Sue posted a recipe for salmon with¬† a herb crust which sounded so yummy that I saved the recipe to my Documents for ‘one day when I find a decently-priced piece of salmon.’

I’m really glad I did that, as it took me yonks to find the ruddy recipe on her blog again so I could do the whole link-thingy here!!

I didn’t have a lemon, so used a squirt of lemon juice instead of the rind. Not having tasted the original recipe, I can’t say whether this made a difference or not … all I can say is that it was Supa-Yummy!!

I served the salmon with roasted veggies (tossed with Robertsons Veggie Sprinkle, crushed garlic & olive oil) and Chilli-garlic mash, which is based on what I can remember of a description of something similar from a good friend of mine who, being Indian, shares my passion for chilli & garlic.

To make the Chilli-Garlic mash, peel & boil the potatoes as usual.

In the meantime, finely chop an onion & fry this in butter with crushed fresh garlic and minced chilli to taste.

You’re looking for a ‘zing’ here, not an ‘eish’, as you don’t want to overpower the subtle-but-orgasmic flavour of the salmon (no comments about me having been single for too long, thank you)!!

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and mash, then mix in the chilli, onion & garlic mix, adding more butter and milk as needed.

Season to taste.