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Ma se Stronie

June 11, 2012 in Soups, starters and light meals

Good morning :)

Ahhhh!  I thoroughly enjoy winter.  I actually think I belong in the Northern hemisphere (don’t get me wrong – I do love my country, it’s just a bit too hot for comfort sometimes).  So what I enjoy most about winter is Soup (and warm blankies)!  And what’s even better, my entire family loves Soup.  I made this one last night to warm the heart and soul (and fingertips and bonemarrow), and the recipe is, as the title suggests, from Mom, and it’s called Ma se stronie because there is some creative licence in the ingredients.  It’s also a great Meatless Monday recipe (obviously you’ll omit the ham), and you can really go mad with your own flavor additions :)

Ma-se-Stronie 
 
 
  • olive oil
  • 500 g smoked pork rashers, cut into small dice (optional)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 stalks celery with some leaves, thinly sliced
  • 4 young, slim carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium red pepper, grated
  • 250 g white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 x 425 g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 425 g can white cannelini beans in brine
  • boiling water
  • 2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes
  • 50 g tomato paste
  • 1 x 425 g can of corn kernels or baby peas, drained
  • 250 ml pre-cooked and drained elbow macaroni (don’t be tempted to add more, they do swell up and can overpower your soup)
  • 1 x 55 g packet soup powder of your choice: vegetable, mushroom or cream of tomato
  • seasoning: salt, milled black pepper, sugar, chopped garlic, dried chilli flakes
  • 65 ml chopped parsley
  • to serve: olive oil, parmesan cheese, whole parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the smoked pork (if using), the onion, celery and carrots. Start to sauté them. When the pork and veggies have taken on some nice colour, add the red pepper and sauté until some of its moisture has evaporated. Now do the same with the mushrooms.

When you are happy that the pork and veggies are caramelized and have built-up a good flavour base, add the chopped tomatoes and beans with their brine. Cover the food completely with boiling water and add the stock cubes and tomato paste. Stir and bring to the boil. Skim off any foam and then reduce heat. Cover and cook on very low for about 45 minutes or until the pork is tender. You may need to replenish the water a little.

When the pork is tender to your liking, add the corn kernels or peas and the elbow macaroni. Check the consistency of the soup and add more water if you like. Now mix the packet of soup with a little cold water and stir into the boiling soup and allow to cook a few minutes until thickened. Taste and then season to your liking with salt, milled black pepper, sugar, chopped garlic and dried chilli flakes and stir in the chopped parsley.

Serves 6

Hint: there is no hard and fast rule about this soup. You can make it as chunky or soupy as you wish and add as much or none garlic and chilli.

Check out more winter warmers on I Love Cooking

Don’t move my cheese!

April 24, 2012 in Eggs, Soups, starters and light meals

I don’t know about you and yours, but my family are the Uber ‘don’t move my cheese’ type.  As a mom, I have my standard set of family, kiddie friendly recipes, and I kind of make the same types of meals on a regular basis – I know… B O R I N G!!  But what can I do?  They look at me funny when I place a foreign looking meal in front of them, and then I have to endure all the comments during meal times like ‘I don’t eat this’ or ‘I am full, ma, really!’ or my ultimate favorite, ‘I am allergic to this’. 

But before you start feeling sorry for me or start a Ya Ya sista chant, there is a bright side!  Once they’ve managed to find some room in their already full tummy, or suddenly overcome their allergy, the verdict is more often than not, that it may stay on the meal-time repertoire.  So slowly but surely they are training their palate and will hopefully one day be brave enough to relish everything on the menu.

Here is one case in point:  this beautiful creamy baked crostini is so delicious, my mouth is watering even as I type out the recipe name!  I served this to my family on a mild and sunny Saturday afternoon, thinking it would be an easy sell with all the cream and bacon!  And surely, the minute I put a lovely rocket and tomato salad down next to the crostini, the crostini flew off their plates!  (And then they complained that they don’t eat rocket, and that they are sure they are highly allergic to it!) OY! 

Well, the crostini did get their approval… and I am certain that this will become a firm family favorite of yours too, so here goes:

Creamy Breakfast Crostini

  •  8 slices white or brown bread
  • some soft garlic and parsley butter 
  • 250 ml grated mature cheddar
  • 150 ml grated or diced mozzarella cheese
  • 125 ml grated Parmesan cheese
  • 65 ml finely chopped parsley
  • 6 jumbo eggs
  • 200 ml fat-reduced cream
  • 200 ml milk
  • salt and milled black pepper
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon, cut into batons
  • 250 ml cherry tomatoes, sliced or quartered

Spread the bread generously on both sides with the garlic butter and cut each slice in half, diagonally, so that you have triangles of bread. Place the triangles with crusts pointing upwards into four small individual oven baking dishes (lasagne dishes are perfect).

Mix together the cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan and parsley. Divide into four portions and place nuggets of each portion in between the slices of bread.

Whisk together the eggs, cream and milk and season to taste. Pour in equal quantities over the bread and cheese arrangements.  At this stage, you can cover the dishes with cling film and chill for a few hours until required.

To complete, arrange the bacon and tomatoes over the top and bake in the oven preheated to 180ºC for 15 – 20 minutes or until the creamy egg custard is set and the exposed bread crusts golden and crisp.  Remove from oven and serve.

 Serves 4

Chef’s hint: You can prepare this in a large dish and bake it a little longer. Also, you can go crazy with types of cheese and toppings and herbs.

Delish!

For more delicious recipes, visit

I love cooking

 

Simply hummus

February 20, 2012 in Sauces & side dishes, Soups, starters and light meals

I love simple things in life and food is number one simplicity for me. Unadorned, fresh, seasonal and impulsive food … spur-of-the-moment food is my best. Having had a culinary fest of note this weekend starting on Friday already, I yearn for earthy food today. All that comes to mind, like an obsession which it is, is hummus. It counts as one of my top ten simple recipes. I’ve always felt that if you fool around with a hummus recipe, like a women that you fool around with, it loses its earthy, humble and honest appeal.

Everybody on earth may have a  hummus recipe but I want to add my simple one to the mix. And tell you the uses. Too many times hummus is served as a dip or bread spread – have you tried is as a sauce-condiment with meat (from a burger to a tagine) or vegetables or as a salad dressing? No? Now please liberate yourself and prepare the recipe below and go mad with the ideas. I cannot tell you my best use of it: probably the salad … or maybe the side order to a lamb tagine …  I dunno.

Simple ingredients …

 

A good, soft, hummus is not only good as a spread for bread and crackers or as a dip with chips or veggie sticks. No! For me, it’s best used as a sauce-cum-condiment with burgers or tagine-style stews or thinned down with a splash of water, as the best-dressing-ever for a mixed veggie salad. I often buy a bag of fresh julienne vegetables and toss a cupful of hummus into it. Sprinkled with chili flakes and chopped coriander leaves, you have the perfect meatless meal if you add a tray of steaming hot, fresh pita breads. Green beans, lightly cooked and adorned with softening hummus is a dream of simplicity to prepare and serve alongside a lamb roast … and so I can go on … Oy, mealtimes I miss the family …! Some foods are simply not singleton foods! Enjoy!

Simply Hummus

 

  • 500 ml cooked or canned chickpeas, drained but keep about 125 ml of the liquid
  • 65 ml Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 – 3 large garlic cloves, coarsely sliced
  • 150 – 200 ml tahini (a paste made of roasted or raw sesame seeds)
  •  65 – 90 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 65 ml light olive oil (too fruity may make it tastes bitter)
  • 2.5 – 5 ml salt
  • To serve: toasted pine nuts (optional), chopped parsley, extra olive oil and a sprinkling of paprika or cayenne pepper

Place all the chickpeas and parsley in a blender and add roughly two-thirds of the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Blend until smooth. Now taste and add and blend in more of the above ingredients until you love the taste. Now add enough of the chickpeas’ cooking or caning liquid until you love the consistency. Spoon into serving dishes and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts (if using, otherwise use a few whole chick peas), chopped parsley, extra olive oil and paprika or cayenne pepper to taste.

I think it makes about 700 ml but I’m not sure …! By the time I have made it, I have tasted such vast quantities of it, that there is no accurate measure left! SImple word of caution: if your olive oil is too fruity your hummus will be too … even veering towards having a bitter taste. So use light olive oil or a blend of olive oil and extra virgin sunflower oil (Checkers) for a subtle, almost sweet taste.

And if you want more Meatless Monday Recipes, click here , surf the recipe index and have yourself a feast!

 

When happy is really happy

February 13, 2012 in Fish & shellfish, Soups, starters and light meals

If it’s Valentine’s day it means there are about three hundred and twenty shopping days left to Christmas – just enough time for us to get through Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day and Women’s Day and any other day that floats your personal little boat. It’s dizzying stuff, I tell you, all this shopping and specials and fish-paste and blah and hype …  (Oy, guess who’s extra-grumpy this morning) But suffice to say from a person who’s rejected the Xmas hype (read a post in December), the Valentine’s day hype also gets me going off on a tangent. Of course I know that this day is extremely personal to all of us in our own unique way, but truth is that Valentine’s day has caused as much dejection, heartache and tears and arguments and break-ups as extra marital affairs if not more!

One word: expectation. Not all of us have the emotional maturity to make fun or light of this day, ignore it or brush it off as a commercial hype. There are some people who crave and  expect some love validation this day and if they do not get it, well, reactions can range from vengeance against the oke that did not do the red roses thing to serious thoughts of suicide by a chubby spotty teen with braces.

Not that I balk at the day and its sentiment per se, no, it’s the hype.  No, it’s actually not the hype, correction: it’s great to get excited and share it with others. To be exact: it’s the excuse it gives people and companies to hype themselves sky high … And by now my authentic readers, you know how I feel about insincere, unauthentic, self-hypers – oy and it’s often my job to help make hype for brands … but luckily I have emotionally secure, mature, classy, clients who realize that hollow hype is harmful to their brands …

So, after all of that, here is my take on Valentine’s day; adults only, meaning adults older than 45 years who know a fun thing when they see it. So dears, let’s unite and for a change this year,  let’s forgo the gravitas of emotions and expectations and even not celebrating Valentine’s this year. Let’s have fun on the event this year! Eat oysters and bust the myth. Or confirm it. And then, please, please blog about your findings. That will be a real short in the arm for us and a break from all the sugar and syrup and pink and a few red roses costing more than a tank full of petrol.

The recipe below is safe-for-sex: piping hot sauce goes over the raw oyster so it lightly cooks the oysters … you never know – your partner may just spoil the entire idea by feeding it to the cat under the table … and we all know how those dinners usually end up … neither sexy nor sweetly!

Right, here goes!

 

Fresh Oysters with Creamy Lemon-Butter Sauce

 

  • 200 ml lemon-butter sauce
  • some crushed ice or course salt (see image)
  • 24 live oysters, shucked (let’s get sexy and call them topless)
  • 120 g smoked salmon
  • herb sprigs of your choice

First, prepare the lemon-butter sauce from this recipe and keep warm. Scatter some crushed ice or course salt onto two serving plates a arrange the oysters on top (the ice or salt will keep them steady). Next, while still piping hot, pour a generous spoonful of the sauce on top of each oyster. Garnish with a sliiver (no more than a sliver) of smoked salmon and a herb sprig or even slices lemon and enjoy …

Serves 2

PS: do let me know … this is my week’s consumer research (that’s why there are 12 oysters each) :-) LOL!

And take my advice, a full stomach is not sexy! It’s like another but external organ you have to schlepp around with you … So stick to the oysters as one single course (oy, the wordplay) and if you must, have my vanilla-poached pears stuffed with  chocolate crumbs for dessert. Double up on the vanilla, it’s also supposed to be sexy. And the recipe has al the right tones and connotations …

Vanilla-Poached Pears

 Click HERE for the recipe.

So, to sum up: aging has serious side benefits!  We can laugh at ourselves, we can make fun of sacred cows, we can go topless or not and we know that happiness is a habit so here is wishing you a happy happy Valentine’s Day, my darlings! :-)

And on a completely differenc note… I have just noticed the S2 button on the menu bar. It says subscribe form. So I am inserting it here to see what happens. Would be DIVINE and WONDERFUL of we can start re-building our mailing lists……. Jaaay! 

 

Raw

February 1, 2012 in Salads, Soups, starters and light meals

With all the proposals out of the say (well, one is outstanding but the deadline is next Thursday) life is getting back to normal, as normal can be … whatever that may mean!

During that intense time of working, writing, budgeting, creating concepts, food was the last thing on my mind and survival came from a packet of soup, noodles, mash, whatever. For variety I’d zip open a can … but now, I have a little window in my schedule to shop and cook … and what do I want? No cooking!

So fresh oysters (divine oysters at the Gordon’s Bay harbour eatery), sushi, salads, fruits, Carpaccio, gazpacho … you name it, my taste buds and mind keep veering towards raw. And weirdly, classic. The real deal, original  classic recipe or style of serving. I am sure old Carl Jung would have had a lot to say about my subconscious, but there you are: right now I want fresh, raw and classic.

So, let’s take it on the gradient for the faint of heart. There is a recipe fo reaw lambs liver that the Turkish folk love, but let’s leave that and settle for a 19th Century classic.  It has yet to lose its appeal, especially in summer … and winter, for that matter! It’s perfect for those large family events because you can make it the day before and just plate it with the lettuce, on the day.

Waldorf Salad

 

  • 50 g walnuts, broken into pieces
  • 65 ml mayonnaise
  • 65 ml plain yoghurt
  • 45 ml fruity olive oil
  • 15 ml white wine vinegar
  • about 30 ml sugar
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 2 large stalks of celery with some leaves
  • 4 whole spring onions
  • 2 large crisp apples (Starking, Pink Lady and/or Granny Smith)
  • 2 washed baby cos or -gem lettuces, dried and torn into pieces

Toast the nuts and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonaise, yogurt, olive oil and vinegar. Add enough sugar to produce a lovely tart yet sweet dressing. Season with salt and pepper. If the dressing is too thick, thin down a little with apple juice, water or milk. You want the salad coated, not clogged …

Slice the celery with its leaves thinly and place on top of the dressing in the bowl. Slice the spring onions and add to the bowl. Halve, core, and cut the apples into thin slices and add to the bowl together with the walnuts. Toss
well and cover and chill if not serving immediately.

Just before serving, arrange the lettuce on a large platter, or divide them among individual salad plates. Place the salad on top of the lettuce and serve.

Serves 4

Chef’s hint: Even with classic recipes, there are no hard-and-fast rules. Follow your taste and what you have in stock. For a complete light meal, add shredded cooked chicked breasts. And then, for a change, add a spoonful of curry powder to the dressing, some seedless sultanas and voila! A near-perfect Coronation Salad!

If you want more raw, visit I love cooking for a terrific stroll through our culinary delights – delicious and easy recipes that look great – or click onthe recipe titles below.

Home-made Classic Carpaccio

Classic Parma Ham with Melon

Classic Gazpacho

 

So now talk to me about these squashed images … How do I fix it please? Any of my fundi friends …? Advice?

 

 

 

More delish fish starters

December 15, 2011 in Fish & shellfish, Soups, starters and light meals

Liewe Nins (My Easy Cooking) and Sam (Drizzle and Dip), thanks for the mentions this week. It means a lot more than you think … I really needed a little morale boost this week! Project mop ups, campaign post mortems, housekeeping a.k.a ‘piling’ becoming filing, deadlines being met, work boxes ticked, status updates, closure reports, email inbox losing weight, a very old, very delightfully weird mother arriving for the holidays and Windowlene re-friended. That was my week. Amidst it all, I did a beautiful post about fishy appetisers and starters and so wragtag, it got lost in translation! Sigh. So here it is again, with love. Click on the title and it will take you to the recipe. Enjoy!

Avo, Lime & Dill Crème with Smoked Salmon

Crab & Avo Cocktail

Smoked Salmon with Lemon Crème

.Enjoy the long weekend, the holidays are officially upon us! And if you’re in Cape Town, here is my contention albeit probably sooo off the mark: summer only really starts after the 16th of December. ‘Strue!

More appetising countdowns to Chrismas …!

December 5, 2011 in Salads, Soups, starters and light meals

Not nowhere near getting to know this new blog Universe as well as I should, I am fretting that we will run out of time to gather our thoughts and make menu plans for Christmas. So I am going to venture another post ….

On set on a shoot, we’re always amazed at how much effort it takes from our leading ladies to look natural: about 2 hours in make-up! And we’re usually humbled into submission and shamed into hiding by the grandness and efficiency of the stylists who faff and fart for days to get the look and feel just right and then the huffing and puffing to get the props and then to hyperventilate and snip at all of us if we as much as look in the food’s direction until she gives the sign … well, so is a mother and a granny and a hostess about Christmas. I think the only person that beats a mother slash granny throwing a family Chrismas is a bride. No kidding. A bride!

I can spend the rest of my life telling tales about Chrismasses and their menus gone by. But I won’t. I will just tell you that I have resigned from the job as Christmas hostess and this year wil be the first year that I will leave my home on the day to go and eat elsewhere and being hosted by somebody else. But I am still the huffing and puffing control freak to get things ‘just so’ and I still have the sense of urgency to get everything done in time and I stil have the same desire to keep it looking natural and effortless but for once in my life, instead of being out in the malls, I am happy and calm behind my PC, sharing it with you.

Just before the switch-over to WP I started my blog’s countdown to Chrismas (see below). The starter-appetiser theme remains and will continue forone or two more posts, darlings … starters and appetisers being of the best things in life for me! And that is the reason why I love this season so much: all the starters, appetisers, snacks and nibbles and little treats. Parma ham is a huge favourit and on account of the cost, it’s not an everyday item in many households, but this time of the year I easily forego a basketful of cosmetics so that I can indulge in this wonder of the culinary world!  If you can buy it from a deli where they slice it right in front of your eyes, all the better.

So  the star of this post is Parma ham or Proscuito Crudo (Jan Tripepi will be able to explain the charming facts about this wonderment) but for now, here is what I have in store for you if you also love Parma ham and have figured out a way to afford the best you can lay your hands on for this season :-)

The recipes are on our website, I love cooking and if you click on the recipe titles or images below, you will scoot straight over to the recipe where you can download it or print it. Bon appetito Bellas!

Parma Ham, Pear & Blue Cheese Wraps

Big taste!

These are wraps with a difference, this  …  no bread in sight! And it’s one of the easiest appetizers to prepare. You just need to have the stock on hand … and be frugal –  not because the ingredients can be costly, but these are big tastes and big portions may spoil what lies ahead … that main course over which you’ve slaved for hours!

 

You can substitute the pear for melon …. or you can re-create an old classic …

Classic Parma Ham with Melon

Nothing beats the simplicity of some retro dishes: Parma ham with sweet musk melon is such a dish. It has not dated. It is never boring. But it’s not always possible as the musk melon season is not long, so eat it on as many hot  summer days as you can manage…!

And lastly, something more substantial… a starter or an appetiser or a light meal ….. but every bit as festive as can be!

Peach, Parma Ham & Chevin Salad

Festive!

Late summer is when we have an abundance of yellow cling peaches and they are superb for this recipe… or any other recipe for that matter.  However, this is a celebration kind-of recipe and when you’re feeling festive, peeling  peaches is the last thing on your mind … But if you do want to schlepp, check out the chef hint. Cheers!

 Previous posts “Countdown to Christmas” … Veggie Appetisers (below)

Gazpacho

Cheesy Grissini

Almost-Caprese Appetizer

And that’s it for now, dears. Will be back with more appetising festive fare. xxx

Countdown to Christmas Part II

November 24, 2011 in Soups, starters and light meals

Even before internet social networking, in the late 80s and 90s, we were already quite show-offish about what who we were, what we had, what we did and with whom.  It was just terribly expensive at the time. We called it entertaining and being the hostess with the mostest was a highly coveted title. And to my own horror and shame I have to confess that I was terribly hard aspiring to be one of those …. And I felt had every reason to be: I owned an advertising and marketing consultancy which just made my efforts all the more well … big. (Ugh, blush.)

 

Happy hour for nice clients was a term used to describe the longest and hardest-drinking and canapé-nibbling Friday afternoons (and way into the evenings) in history. Intimate lunch for good clients meant the refrigerated catering and booze trucks were parked near the kitchen for at least eight hours with their waiters, chefs and barmen on full alert all the time.

 

And then one day I decided to cook as it was for very rich, very powerful clients and I wanted to impress them but instead, it started the end of my glorious reign as a fêted hostess …

It started with the marketing director of a massive supermarket chain being late and we were into the main course already. He was immediately served his starter course and soon caught up with the rest of us jolly lot (Dimple Haig on the rocks helped him along nicely!)

 

A few days later I received a call from his office and before the secretary put me through to him, she mentioned that the boss really enjoyed the lunch but was sorry that he was late because his soup was ice cold. I bit my tongue for a change because the soup that day was the most authentic Andalusian Gazpacho I could muster up …!

 

When the funny settled down amongst us in the office, the moral of the story hit: if you want people to like you, keep it true, honest, real, sincere, simple and unpretentious. After all, why would a bunch of very rich, very powerful people evaluate my marketing skills from a gazpacho? How far is a marketing campaign roll-out from a roulade? Huh …? Exactly..!

 

Today I know for sure even though many clients may appreciate and adore good food, they are mostly impressed with work ethics, quality of work, service and delivery of results … not by any cooking and entertaining skills (unless it’s your job). So unbeknowns to me my culinary skills did not define me but rather labelled me and not always too kindly as many insightful people saw beyond the cooking vapors, they confessed later … Ouch.

 

So it was a very liberating journey to wean myself off the admiration and yes, adoration I yearned for and thought my culinary and hosting skills would earn me. And as a bonus I gained much, much more time to focus on my career. And the big surprise was that, the admiration and strokes one gets from a job well done, are as sweet as (if not sweeter than) the compliments earned by cooking a fancy meal.

 

But ola! The gazpacho stayed and the good news is it’s no longer a precious-precious authentic Andalusian delight but has evolved to a very lekker local dish and it has happened on a few occasions that my daughter and I make five litres (yes!) and within two days, we polish it off! It gets better with a day or so resting in the fridge and … OK, there are usually others around who dip into the stash as we do it on holiday when we are many …

 

This recipe ticks all the boxes: local produce, seasonal and cool in summer, nourishing, hearty, it’s unpretentious and above all, delicious. And it’s a recipe that you can make as spicy, sour, sweet or herby as you wish.

So! Long story short about Countdown to Chrismas … and New Year’s Day for that matter. This is a scene setter of note! Serve in small pretty glasses (double shot glasses are perfect) as an appetiser  … and serve with a batch of Cheesy Grissini. Then, if you serve this for New Year’s Day, set the tone by adding a shot glass of neat, frozen vodka on the side. It gets the lot verbose and jolly in no time … read it all in the recipe hint. Enjoy!

 

Gazpacho

 

Click here for Gazpacho recipe.

Cheesy Grissini

Click here for Cheesy Grissini recipe.

Countdown to melt down

November 15, 2011 in Soups, starters and light meals

 

The heading for this post was at 5 am this morning, Countdown to Christmas. After the frustration of trying to get a post loaded using the lethal combination of Explorer and Letterdash, I was totally ready to throw the PC and all it’s peripherals, out of the window into the sea beneath. Anyway, it finally loaded and here it is.

The festive season is nearly upon us and if you’re like me, you hate the work that goes with it … if you have to do it in a hurry. However, if you are organised and ready before the guests arrive, you magically all-of-a-sardines love it.

The trick is to choose your menu well – in addition to being prepared, of course. As locally we have hot weather, go for cold dishes. And above all, easy dishes!

 

In the next few weeks I will share with you some festive food ideas so let’s start with the starters … or rather, appetisers.

 

 

For any of the festive day meals it’s important to remember that an appetizer is just a little bit more than a snack. It is not supposed to be a course and satisfy the appetite. It is supposed to whet the appetite so keep it small, tasty, juicy. You have put a lot of effort into the mains and desserts, I presume so you do not want the starter or appetisers to spoil anything! Least of all, any appetites!

 

 

 

Almost- Caprese Appetiser

 

 

This tangy, delightfully clean and fresh-tasting appetizer combines all that we love in Italian food and flavours: colourful, aromatic, some tart, some fruity olives and deliciously herby. It’s a perfect pre-lunch starter for those long, hot festive days and events! And you can prepare literally everything the day before and dish up a few hours in advance!

 

 

Layer 1: Tomato & Red Pepper Brunoise

 

1 small red pepper

 

1 ripe tomato

 

1 small red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

 

45 ml lemon-infused olive oil

 

salt

 

 

 

Layer 2: Onion & Garlic Mascarpone

 

200 ml mascarpone cheese

 

4 spring onions, only the white parts chopped

 

1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped

 

15 ml olive oil

 

5 ml lemon juice

 

 

Layer 3: Basil Pesto & Wild Rocket

 

200 ml home-made basil pesto

 

250 ml wild rocket

 

 

To make the brunoise, skewer the red pepper, hold it over a gas flame until the skin blackens then pop into a plastic bag to sweat it off. Rinse the skin off under cold water, cut open the pepper, and remove the ribs and pips. Pat very dry then cut into tiny dice. Place in a mixing bowl. Plunge the tomato into boiling water, rinse under cold water, slip the skin off, remove the ribs and seeds and cut into tiny dice. Add to the red pepper. Congratulations, you have made a load of brunoise! Now stir in the chilli and lemon-infused olive oil and season to taste. Spoon about 15 ml of the mixture into 12 shot glasses and reserve the rest for your next salad, soup or sauce.

 

 

 

For the mascarpone layer, mix together al the ingredients and spoon in equal portions over the tomato and pepper brunoise layer in the glasses.

 

 

Top the whole lot with a layer of the basil pesto and garnish with the wild rocket. Serve with grissini (bread sticks) or toasted pita strips.

 

 

 

Serves 12 as an appetiser

 

 

 

If you want more appetiser and starter ideas, click here and then click on the Recipes & Videos tab. You will find a few great recipes under Soups, Starters, and Snacks.

And after all of that gefiddle, I am now going to pull a cork …



 

Shakin’ omelette a’ la Julia Childs

November 14, 2011 in Soups, starters and light meals

It was wild, wet and wonderful! But after shooting Challenge SOS, being indoors feels and looks like a consumer prison to me. Living in a little carefully-styled world being driven (and therefore bound) by ego desires, it’s easy to forget what life is actually about. This whole experience was a much-needed shot in the arm for me as, thanks to being up and outside by 5:00 am and even earlier some days, I am once again reminded and deeply touched by how simple and uncomplicated life could (should) be.

But locked into a life in suburbia,  I have been forced back into my cushy carefully-styled little consumer world where …. all I can think of is food! Even though chef Riaan at Tri Active Lodge where we stayed on location cooked terrific meals, I eventualy started missing my kinda food and since I am back, have been overdosing on omelettes. Of all things.

Now everybody knows how to cook an omelette but do you know how Julia Childs cooked her omelettes?  She shook the bejeesus out of her frying pan and through sheer agitation, the poor eggs obediently morphed into something very much resembling an omelette.

If you want to be fascinted by this old legendary sweetheart check it out on You Tube or simply by clicking here (I have hyperlinked it for you). I met the legend in the mid 90s on a Taste Australia tour and she was the butchest old girl around – almost if she could knit a Harley Davidson with her left hand! If you saw how she tackled a pork rib with a giant knife in one of the original viceo clips on You Tube (just Google Julia Child videos) you’d feel like a pious Delia Smith in your kitchen!  But anyway, thanks to Julia, I shake up an omelette in much less than a minute and if I want a filling of sorts, I simply sprinkle the surface (before the shaking) with strong, tasty cheese. Finish and klaar without nonsence, like Ms Childs.

Here is my favourite version.

Simple Omelette

You will need:

2 large organic eggs

15 ml cold water (milk can make your omelette tough)

15 ml melted salted butter

10 – 15 ml fine herbes (parsley, chives, tarragon and cervil)

30 – 45 ml finely grated mature white cheddar

Ligtly beat all the ingredients except the cheese together. Heat a non stick pan (Scan Pan is the very best thing you can do for an omelette) over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and allow the bottom of the egg mixture to cook and set for 15 seconds. Sprinkle the cheese over the surface.

Now, gripping the pan handle firmly, start to shake the pan (watch Julia’s video, dear) to and fro on the plate. The omelette will rock and roll and as it does, it will cook and set and in doing so, the cooked particles will cling to each other for dear life. As soon as it comes together on one (sort-of) roll, flip it out of the pan over a plate and enjoy at once.

Serves 1

Chef’s note: It’s best to make only one omelette per pan at a time.

Since this is meatless Monday, here are two more egg recipes you may consider preparing for dinner tonight or any other meatless night of the week. Just click on the recipe name or picture.

Twice-baked Cheese, Corn & Chive Soufflés

Spinach & Walnut Roulade

     

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