You are browsing the archive for 2011 April.

A Guessing Game …. Name the Recipe !

April 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

We are South Africans and when life hands you lemons what
do you do?? You make Margarita’s!   Load
shedding is a concept we are totally ‘au fait’ with and as a resilient nation
when the lights go out we come to the party and celebrate.  Out comes those hurricane lamps, candles are
lit and the population increases significantly exactly nine months later.  When the Tripepi’s are plunged into darkness
they fire up the gas braai and haul out the 30 Seconds.  So, in the spirit of all this – until my blog
is released from the clutches of darkness (Letterdash are working day and night to fix it thankfully!) I shall play a game with all of you ………

I shall list the ingredients for a recipe and you must
guess the name of said recipe.  I shall
see if I can scrounge a gift voucher out of Kalahari.net and the winner shall
be the person who gets the most correct answers.  I am sure that there is a great new cook book
that you want …… so good luck and here goes ….

 

Ingredients

2
garlic cloves

2
Tbs pine kernels, toasted

250g
fresh basil leaves

2
Tbs Pecorino or Parmesan grated

+-
300ml extra-virgin olive oil

Tiny
pinch of salt

 

This
is an easy one!

 

Buona
Fortuna!

 

ps: Congratulations to Prince William and Kate (soon to be … Princess what-ever).

Cucumber & Salmon Sandwiches – with a twist, for lunch today!

Gotta dash – need to dig out the good china!

 

Mythbusters Moment …..

April 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Ok – in the true spirit of “mythbusters” I am trying something out. My hypothesis IS – one should not post a crayfish with linguine recipe ….. or something. I have donned my Food24 apron – i am fully cling wrapped (one should never experiment without the requesite protective clothing) and am wearing my swimming goggles to protect my eyes should this blinking laptop explode.

Well that should be enough bla bla bla’ing to hopefully cast out the demons and blog goblins that hover somewhere out there in the blogisphere ……..

Now – to upload a pics ….. fingers, legs and eyes crossed ….. here we go!!!!

Ok – that didn’t work …….. hmmmm …..

I Give UP ………..

April 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

MY APOLOGIES …. AS YOU CAN SEE MY PIC UPLOADER JUST WON’T WORK ……….. any suggestions …. anyone!!

Taglietelle all’Aragosta

April 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

  

  

The weekend before we left for Mauritius – which was awesome and I have much to tell – We spent down on the South Coast of KZN to celebrate Maxi’s birthday.  The Wild Coast – is the most beautiful scenic drive on a Friday afternoon.  The moment one passes through buzzing little Amanzimtoti you are set free from city life and released into the verdant palm crusted jewel of KZN.  Everywhere you look it’s green and lush.  Pockets of Nguni cows saunter around on African time munching away at the abundant long grasses.  Picanini’s line the road offering up baskets of plump butter Avo’s and young men proffer nets of either golf balls or fresh crayfish for sale.  Anyone who has the balls to buy crayfish off the road – may just find themselves with their heads down the very same long drops that the poor creatures grew up in!  Not a good idea at all!

 

As each little town passes by your stress melts away rendering you calm and relaxed for the weekend ahead.  I just adore the South Coast and its very rural character.  Africa is so amazingly beautiful and she never ceases to amaze her ardent admirers. 

 

Max, who came through his ‘rhino-plastie’ (could resist the rhino bit) with flying colours, arrived on Saturday morning with his adoring young nurse/ girlfriend in attendance.  Casey reminded me of a delicate little butterfly as she fluttered around him taking care of his every whim.  Zia’s, Zio’s (aunts & uncles in Italian) and cuzzies and second cuzzies gathered to celebrate at his birthday dinner at the Wild Coast Sun on Saturday night where a great evening was had by all. 

Cuzzie Giorgio organised some fresh crayfish for us to take home on Sunday hence todays post – Linguine All’Aragosta.  Hubby insisted that only he could do justice to these pretty pink darlings so I was relegated to Sous Chef (apologies SueChef).   There is nothing either Trickyricky or I like more than fresh “ANYTHING’ to turn into a buonissimo pasta sauce. 

 

 I am a firm believer that crayfish, being the King Crustacean of the sea, really doesn’t need to be mucked around with too much.  This simple recipe is reliant upon the freshness of all of the ingredients and could be applied to prawns or langoustines as well.  Neptune himself would give this one the thumbs up I am sure.

 

Linguine all’Aragosta

Linguine with Crayfish

 

 

As is the case with any fresh crustaceans – it would be criminal and a complete waste to throw the shells away without first squeezing every drop of sweet flavour out of them.  To do this all one need do is make a stock from them.  This is quick and easy and no fuss at all.  Even if the recipe you are making does not call for stock – you can make it and freeze it in an ice tray to be used in another recipe later.

 

To make the stock:

Soak the crayfish in cold water and rinse thoroughly.

Separate the heads from the tails by twisting the head off and set the tails aside to be cleaned and cut for the pasta sauce.

 

 

Ingredients

Olive Oil – just enough to cover the bottom of your pot

1 large onion chopped

1 carrot chopped

1 stick of celery chopped

2 – 3Tbs of tomato paste

1 large cup of dry white wine

Water

2 bay leaves

A few black peppercorns

 

Place the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot and gently fry the onion, carrot and celery until they are nice and soft.  Don’t brown them.  Add the tomato paste and fry for just a few minutes then turn the plate up to high and add the crayfish heads, pepper and bay leaves to the pot.   I either use a potato masher to smash the heads a bit or cut the heads in half.  This ensures that they release all of the flavour inside.

Add the wine – a large cup should do and reduce right down till all of the alcohol has gone then add water.  Don’t cover the crayfish with water – add enough to come up nearly to the top otherwise you will have to spend time reducing it and you really don’t want to.

Bring to the boil for about 5 minutes and then reduce to a simmer and let the pot simmer away for about half an hour – enough time for the liquid to reduce and the flavours to condense.

If you have two sieves – place one inside the other and pour the stock through the sieves into a glass bowl.  Do this at least twice – then you are sure not to have any sand or grit in the stock!

Set aside for the pasta dish.

 

Sugo All’Aragosta

Olive oil

100g or so of butter – a nice big knob of it

1 large onion finely chopped

2Tbs finely chopped garlic

1 chicken stock cube

2 chillies roughly chopped pips and all

500ml of tomato passata or 1 tin of peeled tomatoes blitzed

2 glasses of dry white wine

Leave the tails in their shells – clean out the vein and cut each tail into 3 to 4 chunks – depending on the size of the tails.

1 large handful of finely chopped parsley

 

 

 

This sauce is going to be ready in a flash so put a large pot of salted water with a tight fitting lid on to boil.  As soon as the water reaches a rolling boil add one packet of linguine. 

YOU MUST STIR THIS PASTA FREQUENTLY OR IT WILL STICK TOGETHER!!!

 

In a large frying pan

Cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil and fry your onion until lightly brown – now add in the chicken stock cube, about 100g of butter, chilli, pepper and finely chopped garlic. 

 

Add the crayfish tail chunks and fry for 1 minute

Add the dry white wine and make sure to cook all of the alcohol out.

Add the tomatoes

 

Add the Crayfish stock –

 

And the passata or blitzed tomatoes

 

Put on a tight fitting lid and bring to the boil with the lid on for about 3 minutes –

 to cook the tomatoes

Remove the lid and reduce until the sauce has thickened slightly

The Linguine will be ready now – and this is one of those pasta dishes that really should be served Al Dente – or slightly hard because the pasta is going to continue to cook in your beautiful

Crayfish sauce and suck up some of it up and be extra delicious.

Use you pasta fork to lift the pasta out of the water and into your pan of sauce

Give it a good stir

Add the finely chopped parsley

 

Serve just like that – in the pot with a few loaves of Ciabatta or crusty Panini or a nice homemade loaf!

 

I tried to post this the day that I left for my holiday – but my picture uploader flatly refused to work!!!  I get very nervous when this happens.  The last time this happened I lost (and still don’t have back) the first year of my blogs pictures!  This is such a fabulous recipe that I simply can’t leave it out though …. So I am posting it again and hopefully my pic uploader works …..

 

Ciao for Now

And

Buon Appetito!!!

Xx

jan

Broken Noses & Chicken and Prawn Spicy Paella ……..

April 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

Isn’t it just sods law that the moment that you have a holiday planned , suitcases packed, air tickets booked, hunna hunna hunna, a major spoke, the size of the frikken Empire State Building gets harpooned into your front tyre. You know the tyre that steers you gently through life – the one that takes care of the bumps in the road. All our plans came to a ‘chalk board’ screeching halt for a moment or two yesterday.

 

Last Saturday Max arrived home with a bloodied red and purple shnoz the size of a newborn baby elephants trunk. That once proud straight Roman Italian Gladiator of a nose, was now facing between twenty and twenty-five to seven. All I could do was stare at it! I just couldn’t take my eyes off it! I have seen this new nose before – it’s the nose of a fifty-five year old has-been of boxer who looks like Mikey Rourke. It’s kind of collapsed on one side – like I had wacked it with my rolling pin.

 

I don’t go and watch Max play rugby any more. On this occasion his team were playing the curtain raiser to the Sharks vs. the Stormers game at Absa Stadium. That last sentence, in my world, roughly translates into, “Max has a new girlfriend and is playing at Absa Stadium which means he is going to come out of the gates like a hyperactive bad tempered rhinoceros and will feel the need to run THROUGH, OVER AND AROUND the opposition like a lion on crack!” I wasn’t wrong!

 

I was one of those nervous wrecks of a mother who was never actually facing the field, watching the game. I was either in a corner, on my knees, praying and invocating the good energies of whichever deity would listen or I was in the bar! Simple – I could be located in a flash to go and scrape my ‘lunatic’ of a son off the field. I have seen the inside of too many hospital emergency rooms. I have been told by esteemed dokotella’s that my sons neck is broken and I have waited outside operating rooms while Max has been surgically altered to ‘TranforMax’ – as the surgeon inserted a few kg’s of Titanium in his right arm where once he had bones. The list just goes on and on.

 

Instead of going to the Wild Coast Sun to celebrate Max’s birthday this weekend he shall be spending about an hour or so with a surgeon this morning as he operates on his nose to straighten it and attempt to restore it to its former situation and Roman glory!!

 

So what does this mean???  It means that ‘newnoseMax’ will spend the week in Mauritius on a lounger – NO jumping out of aeroplanes, NO parasailing, NO diving with sharks – on a lounger!!!   I may just really enjoy this holiday!!!!!

 

 

Chicken & Prawn Paella

 

Serves 8 peoples

 

 

 

 

 

Every culture has its signature rice dish. The Italians have risotto, the Indians have biryani , the English have rice pudding and the Spanish have that glorious sun kissed golden pan of Paella!

From my experience the object of any of these rice dishes is to optimise and pack in as much flavour as possible. It’s a one pot dish – and that tickles my fancy no end.

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

 

 

2 large onions chopped

6 cloves of garlic chopped

2 small red peppers

2 small yellow peppers

400g mushrooms quartered

10 bone in and skinless chicken thighs

1 spicy courizo sausage sliced

1tbs of smoked paprika

2 red chillis (optional)

1kg of prawns – shell left on but de-veined

Mussels – cleaned and de-bearded

2 sachets of saffron

2 cups of dry white wine

Fresh thyme, basil & rosemary

6 cups of chicken stock

black pepper

fresh thyme

3 cups of Arborio Rice

Fresh Parsley chopped finely a good handful

Lemon wedges for serving

Green & black Olives

 

You can vary your veggies and meat considerably. I have used fish and tomatoes and peas in my paellas.

 There are no hard and fast rules – it’s an excellent way to use up bits and bobs in your dew bin.

 

 

Firstly – in a large bowl combine the skinless chicken thighs with the smoked paprika by massaging it in with your hands. Set aside for later.

 

 

 

Secondly – make 6 cups of chicken stock and add the two sachets of saffron to the water to steep. You need about 1tsp of saffron – which is 2 sachets. Set aside for later.

 

 

In a large frying pan –

 

 

 

Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the frying pan and brown the onion and garlic together

 on a medium to hot heat.

 

 

Then add the red and yellow peppers and fry for two minutes

Then add the mushrooms and lightly brown.

 

 

Remove to a bowl – I use the frying pan lid to put all of the browned ingredients in – less washing up!

 

 

Add a touch more olive oil to the pan and brown the chicken on the hottest setting well on both sides.

 

 

All of this browning is building a wonderful layer of caramelisation – which is pure and utter flavour in your pan and is going to be lifted off the bottom when you add the wine later.

Remove the browned chicken to the bowl you marinated it in.

 

 

Now add the sliced chorizo sausage and red chillis to the pan and lightly brown.

The chorizo will start to release its paprika and turn the oil in the pan a reddish colour. Remove to the lid.

 

 

Now add the rice to the pan and for about 1 minute – stir it and bring it up to temperature – and add enough wine (about 2 cups) to cover the rice and scrape the bottom of the pan to lift the browning off the bottom of the pan and flavour the wine.

 

 

Cook all of the liquid out – you MUST ensure that you cook out all of the alcohol otherwise your paella will have a bitter alcohol flavour to it. You are going to add the chicken stock now so don’t worry about the pan being dry.

Add plenty of black pepper and fresh thyme.

 

 

On top of the rice layer the chicken pieces

Then the Courizo Sausage

 

 

 

Then the veggies on top of that

 

 

Cover with the stock – DO NOT STIR !!!

NEVER STIR A PAELLA!!!

 

 

 

Put a tight fitting lid onto the pot and bring to a boil and then turn right down to a slow simmer for 25minutes.

 

Add the prawns and mussels and put the lid back on and steam them for 10 minutes.

Turn the heat off, put the lid back on and don’t open it until you are ready to serve the

paella.  This dish should ideally stand for at least half an hour at this point

to allow the flavours to infuse and the meat to relax.

 

Just before serving add a good handful of parsley – lemon wedges and some olives.

 

 

Many Spanish families make paella on a fire outside the Pueblo – by cooking over a fire the Paella developes a crispy crust on the bottom of the pan – and the family is known to fight over who gets it!!!

 

 

I served my Paella to friends who came for dinner last week so I didn’t have the heart to stop

the evening while I tried to take photographs !!!

 

We put the pot on the table – poured many many glasses of fabulous Nitida Limited Release Vionier and really didn’t have pretty plates of food – mostly we ate right out of the pot “casalinga” style. 

 

Hubby uses the table cloth as a napkin – so now our friends have taken to doing it too!!

 

I just love it!!

 

I love food!

 

I will be off on holiday in Mauritiusfor the next 10 days –

nursing King Nose, worshipping the sun and drinking many many glasses of fabulousness

with my awesome Sis-in-law Rosa (aka my partner in all crimes of an alcoholic nature!) and

I shall try my best to bring back a great Creole recipe for you.

 

As always

Buon appetito

 

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Easy As ‘Beef Bourguignon’ Pie …….

April 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

It is now 11.13am, I have been up since 5am and trying to get to my blog post finished and uploaded since then. Some days everything seems to be just out of ones reach. Today is one such day. The great news is that it’s a blissfully cool day in Durban with very little humidity and a breeze straight from the wings of angels.

 

We are off to the Wild Coast Sun for the weekend to celebrate Max’s birthday and leave again on Tuesday for a week in Mauritius!!! Yeeeeeehaaaaaaa …. I have invested in a huge bottle of superglue – which I shall use to attach myself to a lounger for a week!! We are holidaying at a Villa called Bengali at Bois d’Oiseaux on the North West Coast of Mauritius. I am planning a Creole cooking lesson with a local lady … fingers crossed! If this all comes together I will be sharing pics, recipes etc. when I get back.

 

In celebration of this wonderfully cool wintery weather I am posting a hearty meaty dish. Hubby requested a pie (of sorts) for dinner on Monday and this is what I came up with. This is an incredibly economical dish. The meat, 1kg of chuck steak cubed, cost me all of R49, 00 and would easily feed 6 people.   This is the answer to a tight budget and ideal to serve for a dinner party as you can prepare the Beef Bourguinon the day before.

 

Beef Bourguignon Pies

 

 

 

This is a very loose description of this dish as this is my quick and easy version of a traditional French Beef Bourguignon. I don’t do the bourguignon in three stages as is the traditional way.

 

Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

1 packet of smoked streaky bacon cut into 1 cm batons – if you are on an unlimited budget use pancetta instead.

 

6 cloves of garlic finely chopped

 

5 shallots peeled and quartered – if you can find small pickling onions – I would use them whole.

 

1kg cubed chuck beef – dusted with seasoned flour (season with salt & Pepper)

 

3 carrots finely chopped

 

3 sticks of celery finely chopped

 

300g baby button mushrooms

 

3 bay leaves

 

4 sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme

 

2/3 bottle of red wine – I used a bottle of Nederburg Baronne – use enough wine to nearly cover the meat.

 

3Tbs of tomato paste

 

2 chicken stock cubes

 

1tbs black pepper

 

2 packets of ready-made puff pastry

 

1 egg lightly beaten to brush over pastry

 

Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy based pot and brown the bacon – remove and set aside in a bowl large enough to take the all of the meat.

 

Brown the flour dredged beef cubes in two or three batches. Don’t overcrowd your pot or the meat will release it’s juices and stew! As each batch is browned remove it to the bowl with the browned bacon.

 

 

Add a little more olive oil and brown the garlic, rosemary and shallots or onions and leave them in the pot – add the carrots and celery and lightly fry them for 1 minutes –

 

 

 

 

Now add back the meat, bacon and all of the other ingredients – the whole lot!

 

 

Bring this up to the boil as you need to cook off the alcohol in the red wine.   Boil for about 15 minutes then reduce down to a gentle simmer and cover the pot with the lid for 2 – 3 hours.

 

If you don’t want to leave this on your stove – you can put it into the oven at 120D , also covered

for a few hours, until tender.

 

The flour that you dredged the meat in will have thickened the sauce.

 

 

 

 

This beef really improves overnight – the flavours just explode the next day which makes this an ideal dish to make a day in advance of a dinner party or luncheon.   This would be a good one for Easter Sunday Lunch.

 

By the time it gets onto your guests plates it’s at its best. Always check for seasoning – and adjust if needs be before serving.

 

 

 

 

Here is how you make the Pie Dishes

 

This is a kind of Vol Au Vent case – easy as pie. Hehehe …

 

 

 

Cut your squares of pastry according to the size of your dinner plates.

 

 

Cut 4 x 2cm wide strips and place on each edge.

 

Using a knife – puncture holes in the pastry.

 

 

Brush each pastry with the lightly beaten egg –

 

MAKE SURE that you don’t get any of the egg wash over the edges as this will prevent the pastry from rising.

Place on a baking sheet covered with grease proof baking paper and pop into a hot oven –

220d for 15 minutes or so – then bring the temperature down to brown them some more – for another 10 minutes or so. Each oven is different – so use these times as a guideline only.

Keep one eye on the oven and watch them – you don’t want the pastry to be too brown or burnt!

 

 

When the pastry cases come out of the oven allow to cool down until you can handle them – then, using a sharp knife cut around the edge of the centre piece – remove it carefully in one piece to use as a garnish – and hollow out the centre.

 

 

Walla – you have a crispy puff pastry bowl to serve your meat in.

 

 

I made baby carrots and peas in garlic, butter and rosemary and placed some in the pastry case first then topped it with the beef and dressed it all up a wee bit with the pastry lid and a fresh sprig of rosemary.

 

 

Max ate his the next day !!!!

 

 

As always

Buon appetito

 

 

Xxx

jan

 

Ps: Just check Tino-the-claw-Tripepi’s little thieving escapade!

 

 

    

 

 

Watch-It Old Boy Mum sees EVERYTHING!!!

 

Ciao for now!!!

Spanakopita ….. Greek Spinach & Feta Pie ….

April 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

After making my Fig, Honey & Walnut Tarts I still had a lot of Filo pastry left – and, from experience, I know that it does not really perform well after freezing so I had to finish it off. This recipe is my version of Spanakopita – my only real addition to this recipe is the mushrooms and I am sure that the Greek Goddess of the hearth and home, Hestia will forgive my liberty. I served this on Monday night – for our meat free Monday dinner with a simple salad. This is one of those dishes that improves overnight and we polished the rest off for lunch on Tuesday – it’s really improved and good the next day.

 

I am posting this today as I feel that this would make a perfect lunch time dish for tomorrows World Cup Cricket Final in Mumbai tomorrow – for fixture times and a whole lot of information click on this link sport24 .

 

I have a Greek sister-in-law Nitsa, who would cook this for special occasions with a similar dish called Tiropita – also  a Filo pastry pie but with cheese as the star ingredient. I added the mushrooms to this one because Max loves them and is training and playing rugby again, but, my loslyf of a man child has a new girlfriend (I can’t keep up) so he didn’t make it home for dinner. He is living on love again!!!! Go Max!

 

Monique asked me what I was making – and when I said Spanakopita – her eyes went like saucers

 

“Spiders????” she cried!

 

 

 

How beautiful is my Royal Albert Art Deco plate circa.1935 …

 

 

Spanakopita

 

 

 Make a pie large enough to feed 8

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

 

2 large packets of baby spinach washed well

Garlic – chop up 12 cloves – be brave!

2 large onions finely sliced

250g Ricotta cheese

2 rounds of plain feta cheese

1/2 cup of pecorino cheese

100g melted butter

8 sheets of filo pastry

Pepper

Salt

1tsp grated nutmeg

4Tbsp of chopped fresh Mint

3 eggs

 

500g mushrooms chop them as you like them either finely or sliced

In a medium sized pot – heat up some olive oil and fry half of the garlic until lightly coloured.

 

Add the mushrooms, some salt and pepper and cook until all of the water has evaporated and they are nicely browned.   Remove them from the pan to a large bowl – one that is large enough to fit all of your ingredients in. I used a large glass mixing bowl.

 

 

In the same pan – fry the thinly sliced onions in a little olive oil on a gentle heat until soft and translucent – add to the mushrooms in the large bowl.

 

 

  

 

In the same pot add the spinach handful by handful with half a cup of water – once it’s all in the pot put the led on tightly and steam them until soft. Pour out into a colander and, using a saucer or side plate, squeeze out all of the excess water and add it to the glass bowl with the mushrooms & onions.

 

 

Now add the ricotta and feta cheese with plenty of black pepper, 1tsp grated nutmeg, 4Tbsp of chopped fresh Mint half a cup of pecorino cheese and 3 lightly beaten eggs and give it a really good mix.

 

 

 

 Taste the mixture and add more salt if you like – i only added about half a tsp of salt 

because the pecorino and feta are quite salty.

 

 

Now to assemble the pie:

 

Butter the bottom of your oven proof dish

 

  

 

 

 

Brush a sheet of filo pastry with the melted butter and lay into the dish with the side overlapping

Add three more layers – brushing each layer with the melted butter.

Now pour in your spinach and mushroom filling.

Flatten it down with a spoon and bring up the overlapping sides of filo pastry.

Brush a sheet of filo pastry with the melted butter and lay on top and repeat this three times.

 

 

 

Brush the top with melted butter and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200d for approximately 30 minutes – just keep your eyes on it!

 

 

 

Serve with a nice fresh side salad and glass of dry white wine!

 

 

 

Have a wonderful weekend – I cannot wait to see the World Cup Cricket Final tomorrow

it’s gonna be a humdinger!!  This would be great for lunch whilst watching the final.

 

 

I hope!

 

Buon Appetito

 

xx

 

jan