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New kid on the block ..!

April 15, 2012 in Eggs, Vegetarian & vegetable dishes

Hi, food bloggers and blog readers, you can say I am the new ‘kid’ on the block. My name is Michéle Coleman and from now, I shall be the custodian of this blog. I am already part-custodian of the website I love cooking and partner with my mother Anne Myers in our business as television and Internet content producers and marketers. Here, on the FOOD24 platform is where I will share the kind of food that we feature on our website: recipes for a busy working mom like me and gazilions others like me. And Anne will write her own personal blog from now on, leaving her free to write whenever she likes about whatever she wants … :-)

Although I appreciate fine food and can hold my own in making high-end foodie-wino small talk, in real-life my daily meals are … well, suburban. They cannot be described as gorgeous, glamorous or fabulous because they have to be quick, easy, economical and above all kiddie-friendly. They have to fit in with my family’s hectic schedule and cater for a set of parents, their three highly extra-mural-driven and intellectually and socially-active children aged 6 to 15, their trillion little friends with their play dates and sleep-overs and an eccentric white cat. When I cook, my main objective is to nourish my family well and wisely and my rewards come by way of seeing my husband leaving the table to get some crusty bread from the bread bin to wipe the last bit of sauce from his plate, my teenage son asking for his third portion and my smallest one telling her little play dates and sleep-overs that I am the best cook in the whole wide world. That is what matters right now.    

So every time (which is at least twice daily) when I have my family around our heirloom dining table, I thank my lucky stars that I was practically raised in (or very near!) a kitchen, that my brother and I were seen and above all heard around the same dining table, that Food for Life was my third language and that one of the few things I know for sure is that around a family table, footprints are made on a child’s soul that can never be erased. So I make an effort to leave good footprints for my children as they were passed on to me. And I thank my long list of ‘Mom’s kitchen confidentialities’ that she passed on to me. One of her most regular lines was: “Darling, over time, they dropped the ‘r’ from  ‘cook’ ..!”

So when time is needed for other and more valuable activities in my life, I shamelessly rely on and use canned beans, tomatoes and pie apples and frozen veggies, packets of soups and sauces and stock cubes or granules. However, as a mother I am sensitive to dietary requirements, toxins and food additives (I did mention my third language above :-) ?) so balance remains a crucial mealtime objective. Besides we are physically a complicated lot what with allergies, gluten and milk intolerances, you name it, somebody in my family has got it so the biggest effort about meals is the thinking about what to cook that will tick all the boxes … but fortunately, if you add the fortune and grace of having a Superchar, a courier, a Woollies Food and sushi bar with loads of family specials around the corner, I manage not too badly.

As to blogging this novice feels quite intimidated especially about the food photography. Despite a master class or two, I have not yet completely mastered food photography. So for now, I will do what my mother did: use the images on our website which we either have done by professional photographers, or that we license for a fee from image libraries. For now, this is not a blog to showcase my skills as a photographer, but to share mommy-and-family-friendly recipes with you.  They are original and belong to our website but of course I have permission to re-publish them :-).

Here is an old favourite.  It’s a baked omelet that you can fill it with anything you love. Below is the meatless Monday version although we often go meatless ‘midweek’.  This recipe is very cheesy, so feel free to reduce the amount of cheese.

 Savoury Omelette Roll

  •  45 ml olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • ½ a small red pepper, finely diced
  • ½ a small aubergine, finely diced
  • 125 g brown mushrooms, finely diced
  • 45 ml tomato paste
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic
  • salt, milled black pepper and sprinkling sugar
  • 8 jumbo eggs
  • 250 ml milk
  • 30 ml finely chopped parsley
  • 30 ml corn flour mixed with 30 ml cake flour
  • 125 g diced mozzarella cheese
  • 90 ml coarsely torn basil leaves
  • 250 ml cheddar cheese
  • 45 ml chopped parsley

 Heat the oil and lightly brown the onion. Then add the pepper, aubergine and mushrooms. Sauté until translucent then stir in the tomato paste and garlic. Add a little water if needed and simmer for about ten minutes or until the veggies are cooked and tender and all excess moisture has evaporated. Season to taste, remove from heat and set aside until required. 

Whisk together the eggs, milk and parsley. Mix the flour and cornflour with a little of the liquid into a smooth paste and stir into the egg mixture. Season to taste and pour into a roasting pan lined with baking paper that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ºC for 20 minutes or until the egg is set. Remove from oven and set aside to cool a little, in the pan. 

To complete, stir the mozzarella cheese and basil into the vegetable mixture and dollop spoonsful of the mixture all over the omelet. Spread it out evenly and using the baking paper, roll the omelet around the filling. If the filling mixture is too much for the roll (depending on the size pan you chose), reserve the leftovers for an omelet, a stew or soup later in the week. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese and parsley on top. Place the omelet roll in the oven for ten minutes or so or until warmed through and the cheese is melting.  Remove from oven, slide onto a serving platter, sliced and serve with a side salad.

 Serves 6 – 8

 PS: You can have an adult’s only version for a brunch the morning after…  Just add loads of chili and serve with very buttery grilled ciabatta toasts and spicy Bloody Mary’s.   

For more meatless recipes, visit

I love cooking


Fasting after the feast … not!

April 9, 2012 in Eggs, Vegetarian & vegetable dishes

This is the Easter that I will remember by it’s food, or rather the ups and downs I had with it! Friday evening I had friends and served Janice Tripepi’s unforgettable pork belly and ran the risk of my guests never going back to their own homes! They did eventually, clutching little dishes with a few leftover bits in ….

Saturday I had Browniegirl’s Simnel cake happily baking in the oven when my dinner date arrived enexpectedly early – lots early! Luckily the cake bakes at 140 ºC because once we opened the wine and started chatting, it was tickets for my cake! I left it in the oven an hour longer than necessary!! Because of the low temperature, it was not burnt, just went sort of hard, biscuit-y!  When I wrote to Col (Browniegirl) on Facebook about my embarrassment as a baker, she jokingly suggested Simnel Biscotti … but I had no time for it so I packed the cake and off I went to spend Sunday and the best part of today with the kids.

On the rainy Sunday morning the lot of us were crowding the kitchen cooking butter chicken and a lamb kashmiri-kind-of-curry with all the sambals and the trimmings. After that went down, it was time to face the fun and jokes about my tough cake. But there were very few jokes because it actually, remarkably pleased them all. Obviously I did a little surgery … I arranged thin slices on a platter, drowned it in sherry and served it luke-warm with great vanilla ice cream melting into the cake. So the potential low turned into quite a nice ‘high’ as the kids loved the story of my flop as they loved the cake flooded with ice cream! 

A food low was news from a reader to say my burger patty recipe flopped and I checked and as true as Bob, I did the very thing I so caution against! I made a grave and serious error in cutting and pasting the recipe from our website and fixing the spacing to comply with Word Press and in the process, called for a moutain of mayo instead of a spoonful. So I emailed the reader an apology at once and offered to refund her the cost of the ingredients – just waiting for her respond with her banking details. Pity, shame on me. But it just goes to show that nobody is immune to making mistakes and that in the end (even if the intention is good and honest) recipes that we publish have to work because people really cook them. 

I shall be doubly vigilante in future. Perhaps this complaint is a serendipitous occurrence to strongly underwrite my concerns about recipes we publish online.  I for one, will not blame this reader if she never reads my blog or trusts my recipes again and just hope it did not put her entirely off recipes from other food blogs!

Once that crisis was handled, needless to say, I worked my way through a mountain of hot cross buns my daughter toasted in the oven embellished with delicious mild and melting cheddar cheese she gets from a food market near where she lives. Not ritzy, not expensive, but homely and local and you have no idea how good it was accompanied by strong ceylon tea and tender innocent grandchildren with red cheeks and bright, happy eyes!   

So now back home and getting ready for the week, I feel a fast coming on but not before I share a meatless Monday one with you. Yes, I know it’s not a working-day Monday and you’re probably braaing, but this just feels right. Somehow. Although a little retro, I love soufflés and my savoury vegetable soufflés are always dense and full-bodied, not at all like those wonderfully voluptuous mile-high sweet beauts. 

This is a rich little number, so serve it as the main course with rocket and tomato salad and some grilled ciabatta slices rubbed with garlic. 

Twice-baked Mushroom Soufflés

  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 250 g brown mushrooms, finely chopped or grated
  • 45 ml butter
  • 45 ml flour mixed with 30 ml cornflour
  • 400 ml heated milk
  • 125 g plain cream cheese
  • 4 jumbo canola eggs, separated 
  • 65 ml chopped basil
  • 100 g Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
  • generous pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 180 ml cream
  • extra basil leaves, chopped or torn
  • some micro herb leaves

Heat the oil and add the mushrooms. Sauté until their juices have evaporated and you’re left with a barely moist, nut-brown mixture. Add the butter and when melted, add the flour and cornflour mixture. Mix well then stir in the milk, whisking until it boils and thickens. Reduce heat and simmer for a minute, stirring all the time. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream cheese. Set aside to cool.

When cool, whisk the egg yolks into the mixture. Then stir in the basil, the Gruyere cheese and the nutmeg. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Whisk the egg whites stiffly and fold into the sauce mixture. Spoon the mixture into six large ramekins that have been lined with baking paper and sprayed with non-stick spray leaving about one cm space around the top rim for the soufflés to rise.

Place them into a baking tray and pour in about 2 cm deep with boiling water. Bake in the oven preheated to 190 ºC for 20 minutes or until firm, golden and puffed. Remove from oven and allow to cool. They will collapse: do not be alarmed. In fact, you can make them hours ahead of serving time.

When you are ready to serve, carefully remove the soufflés from their baking vessels and remove the baking paper. Let them stand on 6 small, oven-safe serving dishes and place the dishes on a baking sheet. Mix the cream with the extra basil and pour over the soufflés. Bake in the oven preheated to 190 ºC for 10 – 12 minutes or until they’re puffed again. Remove from oven, scatter with micro herbs and serve immediately.

Serves 6

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That said …

April 3, 2012 in Vegetarian & vegetable dishes

… let’s agree to disagree for now and move on to some lekker local fare for the feast.

Like all religious feasts, Easter and Pesach are significant feasts when many foods, recipes and meals are steeped in symbolism. The foods of this period are fish (especially John Dory for the dark spot on the side known in certain religions as the Thumb Print), lamb (The Sacrifice), breads (Energy and Life), eggs (Re-birth and Resurrection), honey and almonds (Sweet and Pure) to name a few.

Many years ago the film Fiddler on the roof made a lasting impression on me when in its opening line, the father asks what makes being Jewish different? His own answer to his own question? Tradition! That’s why religious feasts make me glad as they call for the use of specific, traditional and symbolic foods and recipes as the super glue to get us around a table with loved ones in a magical bond of oneness for a moment in time.

With barely a couple of days to go until these big feasts, I say good luck in baking and making for Easter to my Christian friends, and happy fasting for Passover and cooking for Pesach to my devout Jewish friends. As a singleton, I will join the ranks of those eating bought hot cross buns, dishing out bought Easter eggs and having a braai ….

To ring the changes for those of us who love pap or pap pie or pap-en-sous, I will prepare corn bakes for (one of) our braais. Like a true native of the Orange Free State, I love corn in any form and if your ask Vrystaters, they will tell you that corn and cheese are great teammates … and popular on any braai menu. Ja-nee, indigenous soul food …!

 As always, you can spruce and spice this dish up to your heart’s content with more – and even less – cheese and by adding to taste, chopped fresh green chilli to the mixture before baking, you’d add some skop to them.  And, as to serving these yummy jewels, they can be a starter or light meal with any kind of  topping like grilled bacon bits or caramelised onion. But if you were in the Vrystaat now, they’d tell you that these corn bakes are best served as a ‘fantastic little light meal’ on their own or with … cheese sauce on top!

I would add a rocket salad and dream of sunshine days playing hide and seek in cornfields … ag julle, local is SO lekker!

Corn & Cheese Bakes

  • 500 g cooked and drained corn kernels
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 30 ml cornflour
  • 15 ml mustard powder
  • 250 ml prepared thick cheese sauce
  • 125 ml fresh white bread crumbs (grate the bread)
  • 250 ml grated mature cheddar or tasty Gruyere cheese
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 45 coarsely chopped Italian parsley

Place a third of the corn in a processor and add the eggs, cornflour and mustard powder. Process the corn until it’s coarsely chopped then add the rest of the ingredients except the parsley. Process briefly until well combined then season to taste, add the parsley and pulse once or twice, just to mix through.

 Pour the mixture into 6 dariole moulds or ramekins that have been sprayed with non-stick spray and place in a deep baking tin. Pour sufficient boiling water in the tin to come half-way up the sides of the dariole moulds or ramekins. Place in the oven preheated to 180 ºC for 30 minutes or until cooked through and set.

 Remove from oven, allow to rest for a few minutes then slide a knife around the rims of the moulds. Unmould the bakes onto a serving platter or individual plates. Garnish as you like and serve while warm.

 Serves 6

PS: Stale hot cross buns make terrific bread and butter pudding. And use half evaporated milk and half fresh milk for really creamy texture.

PPS: The image was taken by my daugher, Michéle under the watchful eye of good friend and talented photographer and recipe developer-writer, Nina Timm of My Easy Cooking.

PPPS. Masterchef tonight. Can’t wait for the opinions and comments tomorrow morning! Is it my imagination or have all the initial moans and groans and negative ciritiques disappeared off the face of the ether? Please let me know if I am imagining it or if I should consider stronger patches … :-)

For more deliciuous and easy meatless recipes, go to

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Monday moan …

March 18, 2012 in Vegetarian & vegetable dishes

Sometime after nine this morning I met a neighbour in the garage. She was coming in with a full bag of groceries and I was on my way to get one filled.  We exchanged greetings and enquired after each other’s wellbeing. She  bemoaned the fact that she has to cook on such a beautiful day and I tried to make her feel better by saying I have to work on this day. We laughed, gave each other an honest hug  and each went our way.

Later, back home, as the breeze from the sea carried a tantalizing whiff of her garlicy-roast into my lounge I suddenly felt a little lonely and sorry for myself. So I thought I’d see what my friends are doing on Facebook … and for a moment in time, I made one of those instant, knee-jerk reaction decisions that we often regret or rejoice down the line: I immediately unfriended two ‘friends’ and posted the following message: “Unfortunately I have had to  unfriend two ‘friends’ today who has obviously ‘befriended’ me so that I can be on their database of potential customers. Nee maatjies, ek wil nie daai game speel nie. Dus, koebaai! No hard feelings en alle sukses met julle sales campaigns. If you one day find yourself wondering how I am and want so share some real honest-to-God friendship, call me.”

And how liberating that was! I have been glad I did it since then and will probably now continue to unfriend those who take advantage of this supposed-to-be-benign platform to seek money or self-promotion or sales or make self-propaganda or political or religeous propaganda. I do not think it smart, or fair or kind or true to make friends online with the intention of selling them stuff or making them believe in your beliefs or values and that, dear friends, is why I did it.

The one friend that was unfriended has a spa and I am now detoxed of her special waxing and other offers. The other was a restaurant owner who I do not know from a bar of soap but he requested a friendship and I was so  flattered that I accepted but all he does is marketing his restaurant on my Facebook.

And BTW, I do know that one can hide posts but some folk refuse to stay hidden – those with an enormous capacity for attention and success and they find their way back onto your Facebook. Paranoia? I dunno, I swear one of the abovementioned was hidden and came back. I swear …

Anyway, now that I’ve done it, I feel bold enough to do it again and next in line may be the religious fanatic who bombards me (and everybody else on Facebook) with at least 5 Biblical quotes a day, 2 You Tube references to hell and brimstone ministries videos and 2 more references to miracles or damnations that is happening in the world. And I also have my eye on a few ‘celebs’, I have on my Facebook. There is one that posts a minimum of five times a day …. About what? Next show, next CD, next appearance etc and that was another one that I felt flattered enough to accept….! Hell no, enough…! You’re the weakest link ….. K’bi!

With my marketing background, I DO know what online networking and exposure is all about but hells bells darlings, there is a limit! Overexposure is well, to over kill. Something’s gonna go and in this case it is the expedient buggers with their ignorance about marketing and their insatiable urges to sell me their beliefs, wares, stores, stocks, books, products, their causes, answer stupid bloody questions about me or just plain be  obsessively compulsively seeking attention or online company to engage in absolutely rubbish banter. That said, braggers can stay! That’s the nice thing about Facebook … at least there is one place on earth where even the most insignificant can feel relevant … sigh …

Well, take that as my impending Monday bitchy whinge. I would LOVE to hear your views on what annoys you about your Facebook ‘friends’. Surely I cannot be the only one with whines …? And all this made me feel very self-righteous and pious and doing ironically precisely what all braggers do: boasting about what I did! Eish.

So to make it all normal again, here is a meatless Monday recipe for the purists and precious Orange County wives amongst us. This recipe kinda sums up how my ideal world would look:  humble and honest and made entirely from unpretentious ingredients, a recipe written for an active working mommy that wants to feed her family well and wisely but only has time for frozen veggies and instant sauce powder. That’s me. But if you have the time and inclination  or are socially or physical allergic to packaged goods, then go ahead and chop your own kilogram of fresh (not so …!) veggies and make your own béchamel sauce using the imported organic butter and milk you got while meandering leisurely yesterday at the ritzy farmer’s food market in the town square … and then take a picture and go post it on my Facebook with a note that you are taking orders … if for no other reason than to impress me … (Not ..!) :-)

Cheesy Veggie Cottage Pie

  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 x 425 g can chopped tomato
  • 1 kg frozen mixed vegetables
  • sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 packets instant creamy-garlic sauce powder
  • 400 ml water
  • 250 ml cheddar cheese, grated
  • 6 x 250 ml prepared and seasoned mashed potatoes
  • 45 ml butter, melted
  • 30 ml parsley, finely chopped

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Sauté until translucent. Add the tomatoes and frozen vegetables. Season and bring to a boil. Cook rapidly without a lid, stirring often, until the liquids have reduced significantly.

Whisk the sauce powder into the water and add to the vegetables. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in the cheese and pour mixture into a greased baking dish.

Spoon the mashed potatoes on top and spread evenly over the vegetables. Mix together the melted butter and parsley and drizzle over the top. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven, preheated to 190ºC, before serving.

Serves 6 – 8

For more easy meatless Monday recipes, go to

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for the most delicious, easy and tried-and-tested recipes, click on the Recipes & Videos tab and fall in love all over again … :-)



Decadent Spinach Pie – for old time’s sake

July 4, 2011 in Soups, starters and light meals, Vegetarian & vegetable dishes

It’s blowin’ and freezin’ out and all I want to eat today is my delicious, rich and deeply tasty Oxtail with Gnocchi. Or my hearty, spicy, happy-red Pork Goulash. It is winter and these dishes are warming, unctuous and will please my belly and my heart. But what am I going to have? A damn green spinach pie and why? Because somebody though the alliteration Meatless Monday is cute and started promoting the concept that we do not eat meat on Mondays.


As you know carnivore moi have been bitchin’ and moanin’ and whingin’ forever about this concept. So today, with the wind howlin’ and knockin’ at every window and external door in my apartment, I declare no more meatless Mondays for moi! That’s right. The rebel in me is taking over by leaps and bounds and here is why: true to oneself.


This is not to say that I do not care for our planet. The instant I saw passionate Al Gore’s documentary film An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, I started my green POA (Plan of Action) which entailed getting my family (and theirs) with the program: let’s reduce our family carbon footprint in as many ways as we can now and forever every day without being extremists or pains-in-the-asses. And so we started to drive less and when we can, shared rides with each other and our crew and staff members, we got water filter machines for our offices and homes (in fact I bought the lot for each child and their office!) so no more plastic bottles, we eat locally and in season as much as we humanly can, we do not buy imported goods any longer, we replaced all our old globes for the new energy-saving ones even though we dislike the harsh hue intensely, we recycle and when we buy, we first look at second hand goods (saving a fortune, by the way), we got rid of energy-guzzling stoves and heaters and use gas appliances and since then every single day, we remain vigilant in reducing our carbon footprint in every way possible and share our habits with those we are in daily contact with like our staff and crew. And I reckon we have created a great balance between needing to do certain things to survive in our current world and saving it at the same time. And so, having taken stock of my own situation and conscience and social responsibility I came to the happy conclusion that I do not have to go meatless on any Monday ever again unless I happen to feel like a vegetarian meal that day. And that is finish and klaar.


 Spiritualists say that we learn valuable life lessons from the worst situations in our lives and although I am far too old and grumpy to just follow and agree and forever learn valuable lessons, I have to concede that we have to (at least) look for what a bad experience changed in us and then decide to either discard or embrace the change. A long and troubled relationship changed one thing in me and it’s The One Change that I will keep and embrace: trying to hold onto something (or someone) while knowing it’s not ok for you is not ok. So, dears, it’s not ok for me to pretend every Monday that I support meatless Monday. Posting a meatless recipe every Monday in the hope it will gain me extra views or a spot on the home page is not ok. Spending hours to look for or to develop a recipe for meatless Mondays is not ok when it is using up my valuable production time. And above all, being irritated and grumpy every Monday because some other cause (albeit a very noble and good cause) is asking me to do that which I may not want to do on that day, like avoiding meat is not ok. My desire is to be able to eat what I want (or have on hand) on Mondays and any other day of the week and not feel guilty or not part of the ‘tribe’ if I follow my own heart. Bottom line: I want to live according to my own social responsibility knowing and being honest that I am not a danger to the earth – that I am living true to myself and not acting out some other person’s wishes or promoting their ideology when it’s it ok for me to do so.


That said then, here is my last and final Meatless Monday treat: just for ole time’s sake. In future I will only post what I feel like eating that day. Meanwhile this recipe in spite of offering no meat, is a treat of note! Been in the family for years and years and in all of my books with different names: from Hot Spinach Cheesecake to Baby Spinach Quiche. Here is the one that got the most favourable reviews and I suspect it’s because of the crust – we all know that recipe, the OTT butter-and-cheese crust. Enjoy!


Decadent Spinach Flan



Click here for the recipe. 




PS: Will continue with the Love my Flop concept soon and thanks Sous Chef and Janice Tripepi for responding so enthusiastically. .. Hang in there fabulous floppers, just a little busy as you know …. J The series is not called Challenge SOS (Sink or Swim) for nothing! But must say I love, love, love and admire people who have no egos and can laugh and take delight in their own idiosyncrasies and food flops! Laugh on, darlings! Phonetically it could also mean “Love on!”


And its really a great flan – delicious so try it! Even without the meat but if you are like me and love your meat, add some fried bacon bits a whole 250 g to the mixture before baking.

Until tamarra!



No need to look: it will be red! Gloriously warming beetroot borscht.

June 21, 2011 in Salads, Sauces & side dishes, Soups, starters and light meals, Vegetarian & vegetable dishes

We’re in the middle of winter and if you are wondering how to brighten up your meals on these colourless days, simply take a look at what’s in season. That’s the produce that’s got the stuff in that will give your body warmth and energy … and symbolically warm the cockles of your heart because you’d (presumably) also be using locally produced goods making you feel great about your choices. And also, take a look at what other cultures do. Especially those cultures who have to face extreme cold climates as a rule. Their habit is to cook dishes that are soft and mushy and rich and nourishing and almost like nursery food …


Take the folk in the remote parts of Poland or Russia. Because many little villages and settlements are terrifyingly remote and the idea of a Checkers store is as foreign as a bikini wax to them, these cooks are masters at making gloriously warming and satisfying meals with the simplest of locally-grown and raised seasonal produce. Like beetroot soup, or Borscht, as they call it.


Like all traditional recipes or dishes rather, there is no hard-and-fast recipe and rules for borscht. It all depends … It’s basically a peasant food and that is where the ‘depends’ come in. On good days, the cook may add some pork. On other days, it may be just the poaching water in which the beetroot was cooked with some potatoes and onion in. On really high days and holidays, she may add the whole lot, like the recipe to follow.


Some people do not like beetroot, though. The why baffles my brains?! Perhaps it’s the colour of the you-know-what afterwards? My advice is not look, Miranda. It will be red! But do not let this ‘red alert’ deprive you of this exquisite vegetable. What on earth could be as charming as its dazzling colour to deliver a smile to your heart and at the same be a super-nourishing food with a distinct, earthy, humble taste and aroma not to mention the subtle metallic sweetness? Only beetroot, I say.


Delicate yet vibrant beetroot sprouts





So anyway, if you love it and your loved ones are scared of it, my advice is to garnish the hell out of it. It’s almost as if the dazzling colour is too much of a good thing and may put some people off …!? My most intriguing garnishing for borscht is fresh horseradish root, grated. But be careful, not for the fainthearted … it is strong! Think wasabi … and then, if you can get some fresh pink peppercorns, add a few. Ditto on the sting aspect … but read my chef’s hint on the recipe for a great idea to pickle your own, milder version. And finally, the showstopper is delicate yet vibrant-looking beetroot sprouts. If you can get them (stores have them sometimes) you will have a winner on your hands in the looks department.


You may still want to consider taking the light bulb out of the bathroom light fitting …. That’s me, off to see the world and it’s people today …. Until tamara!






Click here for the recipe:§ion=detail&recipe=163


PS: Will reply to all my lvoely comments later today… rushing now!



Manic Monday’s juicy, hearty, meaty and happy Veggie Stack

June 13, 2011 in Sauces & side dishes, Soups, starters and light meals, Vegetarian & vegetable dishes

Right now dinner is as far from my mind as the toilet-roll cover I may crochet in my retirement one day … but dinner thoughts will haunt me in about twelve hours’ time, that I know. So still feeling queasy after yesterday’s two huge portions of pork belly, I am for once grateful for the concept of Meatless Mondays … So I’m thinking aubergine. Tomatoes. Polenta. Cheese. Great, dinner sorted.


We are officially starting our production of SABC3s new teenager series, Challenge SOS (Sink or Swim) today. From now, once in a while, I will entertain you of tales of me in nature chasing teens and an equally young and fit crew doing mild to wild (more wild for sure) things with whatever resources we can find out there. We are shooting in Cape Town and surrounds and I am pretty sure we will find something for them to do … (Lol)! So we’re off location-scouting today and I feel like a visitor to our beautiful province!  What we are going to feed the crew and the teams of teens participating in the show is still a challenge (pun unintended) but I am sure we will come up with do-able and quite edible solutions.


But that is in the future and Mondays are usually manic in most households so a Veggie Stack may just tick all the boxes for you. If you love the meatiness of aubergine, then this is a perfect meal for meatless Mondays. It is warm, hearty, earthy, juicy and happy food! In this recipe, we have omitted the aubergine from the tomato mix but doubled its quantity so that you get more aubergine than the vegetable mix. Wishing you a great day! Enjoy!


Veggie Stack




Click here for the recipe:




One more time – Monday Nachos Granday!

June 6, 2011 in Vegetarian & vegetable dishes

Mostly, grande means big, not necessarily fancy. That is, if you’re speaking Spanish. (Hope I got it right, Maria José?). So, in trying to contain the Monday blues, I invent meals that (I think) are quirky or unique, and definitely big. This is because a devoted carnivore like me feels deprived by having no meat on the menu but somehow big (meaning lots) does tend to soften the blow considerably. And so does spicy.


So, without much ado on this day, another meatless Monday, I shall contain the bitchin’ and moanin’ and set out to make one of my most-loved meatless meals: Nachos Grande. Yes, you got it Miranda. It means big nachos. Even the grand children love it and have enjoyed it since they were little. They even ask for it by name. And we are just a small corner of the world who loves and regularly eat nachos …


So what’s the thing with nachos? It is after all just dry corn crisps, cooked dried chilli beans and depending on the cook’s budget, she may also add cheddar cheese, spicy mince, sour cream, avocado, fresh tomato, lettuce and whatever she has on hand. I think we love the dish so much because it at once zones into several of our sensory requirements: it is spicy, crispy, soft and chewy, aromatic, warming, cooling, tasty and deeply satisfying while it’s also an all-in-one meal and best of all, it is eaten by hand. Bliss!


Here is my meatless version and it’s not because of my budget – I really want to be part of the saving-the-world-cooksisters …


Best Veggie Nachos Grande



Click here to get the recipe:§ion=detail&recipe=149



Monday Nachos Granday

June 6, 2011 in Vegetarian & vegetable dishes


Mostly, grande means big, not necessarily fancy. That is, if you’re speaking Spanish. (Hope I got it right, Maria José?). So, in trying to contain the Monday blues, I invent meals that (I think) are quirky or unique, and definitely big. This is because a devoted carnivore like me feels deprived by having no meat on the menu but somehow big (meaning lots) does tend to soften the blow considerably. And so does spicy.


So, without much ado on this day, another meatless Monday, I shall contain the bitchin’ and moanin’ and set out to make one of my most-loved meatless meals: Nachos Grande. Yes, you got it Miranda. It means big nachos. Even the grand children love it and have enjoyed it since they were little. They even ask for it by name. And we are just a small corner of the world who loves and regularly eat nachos …


So what’s the thing with nachos? It is after all just dry corn crisps, cooked dried chilli beans and depending on the cook’s budget, she may also add cheddar cheese, spicy mince, sour cream, avocado, fresh tomato, lettuce and whatever she has on hand. I think we love the dish so much because it at once zones into several of our sensory requirements: it is spicy, crispy, soft and chewy, aromatic, warming, cooling, tasty and deeply satisfying while it’s also an all-in-one meal and best of all, it is eaten by hand. Bliss!


Here is my meatless version and it’s not because of my budget – I really want to be part of the saving-the-world-cooksisters …


Best Veggie Nachos Grande



Click here to get the recipe:§ion=detail&recipe=149


Mood food for blue Meatless Monday

May 30, 2011 in Sauces & side dishes, Soups, starters and light meals, Vegetarian & vegetable dishes

At first I thought what a silly idea to pick Monday as save-the-world-day by encouraging people to go meatless. I mean, Mondays are traditionally blue, meaning we’re already not feeling in the mood for what lies ahead after Sundays. But when the second thought arrived months later (it’s an age thing, Miranda – it’s going to happen to you too …), I realized it’s quite clever to pick on Mondays because it holds the potential to alleviate that moody Blue Monday syndrome by steering us into the veggie direction … in case you wake up over the moon and never experience a blue Monday mood, let me explain: it’s that sinking feeling most of us get after a weekend of chillaxing or thrill-outing without a care in the world when the alarm rings in the dark next to your bed and spitefully and urgently reminds us of you-know-what? It’s a feeling that can become a full blown bad mood by the time we leave the loo on a Monday morning.. !


Well people, if you suffer from blue Mondays, cheer up. Apparently spinach can help to put the smiles back on our dials. It’s because spinach (and other dark green leafy vegetables) offers us the nutrient folate and if we have sufficient levels of that little mamma’s helper, then we are A for away in the mood department. Lentils and citrus fruits are also bearers of the nutrient and it’s especially beneficial for pregnant mums as it reduces the risks of neural tube defects.


How much of the stuff we should eat, I don’t know but for me and my meatless Monday it’s good enough to know we should eat spinach to improve the blues. I suppose the amount really depends on the shade of blue you’re feeling which can range from baby blue to midnight blue. When the mood gets midnight blue I suggest also chomping your way through a heap of fresh basil leaves. It’s a great anti-depressant and will bring on the smile in no time.


But seriously, certain foods affect our brain function while others are grouped together in its own food group. We call them Comfort Foods – not necessarily good for us, but when we are down in the dumps we usually don’t care about the list of nutrient distinctions in our food, as long as it makes us feel better.

Now in my book on a day like today a happy, crisp and colourful spinach salad will push me deeper into the shades of blue. We have had a power failure and it just came on a minute ago and dependent as we are on power, I had to sit and feel sorry for myself without any comfort food because comfort food is usually also warm. And brown, like. Like meat balls in tomato sauce. Like chocolate brownies. Like Lam Bobotie. Like Malva Pudding. Like Beef Lasagne. Like we carnivores love it … every second meal contains meat…


Anyway, back to my spinach promotion: here is my suggestion for today. It’s a Spinach & Mushroom Roulade. It requires hardly any skill but a little effort – but it’s just the creamy, dreamy morsel to lift the mood. Start with a creamy tomato soup with crispy parmesan croutons if you have a healthy appetite. This is delicious winter mood food, just the sort of thing on this blue Monday. If you – after all my hard selling it to you – still not feel up to a little cooking, then go a detox today. A liquid diet is perfect so reach for the Old Brown Sherry. It is cold, miserable, very windy and just sort-of-wet outside. Bad combinations.


Blue Monday mood? Me? Nah! Pass me the OBS, please.


Spinach Roulade with Walnut-Mushroom Filling


Click here for the recipe, seriously its good!


Sarie, no blog tomorrow. Will be in JHB for a few hours … so until Wednesday dears! XXX