You are browsing the archive for 2011 August.

A Tagine of Baby Chickens with Saffron, Green Olives and Preserved Lemons served with Couscous

August 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Tino-the-claw-Tripepi has his ways. He is an impressive 14years old now and if he were to be kissed by a fairy tale princess he would *POEF *, turn into that grumpy old man, the late Walther Matthau. He is basically full of ‘kitty-kak’. I think that he has feline Alzheimer’s, for one moment he is cuddling up and literally drooling over some attention and the next he gives you a scowling meauuwthful, flicks his tail like Zorro’s whip and turns his back on you.


My daily routine dictates that I am up at between 4.30 – 5am, a quick change into my walking klobber, and then I start planning my blog posts. Out comes my notebook in which I record the B-plan for the week, the names of the recipes that I intend posting together with the corresponding numbers of the photos I am going to post.   Due to the events of last year I am completely anal about backing up and recording my photos etc. so this book is NEVER removed from my desk. If my family need some paper and even look sideways at it – I start foaming at the mouth like a woman possessed.


Now – what Tino wants Tino gets OR ELSE! I was rushing to get out of the door at 5.20am last Wednesday and as the front door slammed behind me I realised that I hadn’t let multiple personality stricken Sir Grumpy out, and I just didn’t have the time to go back inside deactivate and activate the blinking alarm hunna hunna ………. Sooo off I sped like a bat out of hell to go and fetch my girlfriend Kami for our morning walk. BIG MISTAKE, for this is what I got back to ……..







Ti do una sberla che ti faccio nuovo Tino!



Needless to say – I ditched the recipe, the cat and a blog post on that day!!!   I have performed nothing less than ‘plastic surgery’ on my sacred note book ……. de-clawed my cat (in my head) and am back on track to post this tomorrow.



This is an Italo/ Moroccan style tagine that was one of those impromptu success stories. The lemon/garlic and oregano balanced off the saffron beautifully. There is one thing to remember when cooking with saffron, and that is that less is more. I love the flavour but adding too much saffron just ruins a dish as it overpowers all of the other flavours.



Tagine of Baby Chickens with Saffron, Green Olives and Preserved Lemons












2 Baby spatch cocked baby chickens * see below how to do this yourself

1 onion roughly chopped

2 lemons – the juice of 2 lemons and the zest of 1 lemon

1 heaped tsp of periperi or cayenne pepper

9 queen green olives – these are the extra large plump green olives

4 bay leaves

1tbs of finely chopped garlic

1Tbs cracked black pepper

2tbs honey

1 pinch of Saffron soaked in hot water

1Tbs Oregano

2Tbs Olive Oil

2tsp salt

1 jar of Verlaque Preserved Lemons (optional)


Place all of the above into a Ziploc bag and leave to marinade for a few hours.

 This is ideal to prepare before you go to work, by the time that you get home the

 flavours will have infused right into the flesh of the chicken which is just what you want.





How to Spatch Cock a Baby Chicken


Firstly trim off all excess skin


A good pair of kitchen shears would be great for this job.

 I just used a large pair of scissors. I don’t go in for too many gadgets.


Place the chicken breast side down.


Cut down either side of the backbone right to the Pope’s Nose and remove the back bone.

I added these to the bag of marinade and chicken – why throw all that flavour away.




Using a sharp knife make an incision either side of the breast bone in a V-shape



Press the bone down and remove

Flip the chicken over and press down with the heel of your hand and flatten the chicken.



Soak your tagine in warm water for 20minutes.



In a frying pan brown the chicken on both sides and place breast side down

into your tagine which will ensure that the flesh cooks submerged in the marinade and

retains all it’s juiciness.



Now add the marinade to the pan and fry the onions and heat the marinade up nicely and pour it over the chicken.



Add one jar of Verlaque (available at Woolies) Preserved lemons with the liquid.



Place in a pre-heated oven 160d for 50 minutes.



From my pictures you will notice that I served the baby chickens with hubby’s

favourite (click on this link for the recipe) Portuguese Style potatoes .

This was a special request by Trickyricky.



I buy my baby chickens from The Shed ( – they are free range,

organic and hormone free. Because they live a natural life style they are quite plump

and average around 750g (R48.00 per kilo) so I can only manage half a bird.

This meant that I had half a chicken left over and a whole tagine/ bowl of wonderful lemony/ chicken

drenched sauce.






Left-overs go straight down Max’s gob when he arrives here in the morning.

The juices were soaked up by some couscous and the whole lot disappeared into Max in a flash.

He did leave me some couscous!!




As always

Buon Appetito








Sapori …. Welcome to My Virtual Italian Restaurant & Cook Book

August 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Welcome to ‘Sapori” my Virtual Italian Restaurant / Cook Book …. This is a unique ‘Weightless’ eating experience darlings, order whatever you wish and as many portions as your heart desires because you won’t gain any weight!

If you are planning a dinner party or looking for something a little Italiano for dinner with your loved one – simply select your dish below and you will be taken to the relevant recipe. Mix and match, invite your ‘besties’ over, crank up the Andrea Bocelli and celebrate life ….. Don’t forget the vino though!

I know that you can look up recipes on the search function on my blog or any blog for that matter, but I have a bad habit of naming my posts completely, absurdly, totally misleadingly e.g. Broken Noses and Chicken and Prawn Spicy Paella! This is NOT GOING TO MAKE FOR EASY REFERENCING!


After reading Jane-Anne Hobbs’ article on recipe writing (Do yourself a huge favour and click on the link and go and have a read … sage advice.) I have realised that I need to pay a lot of attention to ‘some’ details on my blog ie. Titles and measurements! I have trouble finding my OWN recipes on my blog ha ha …


Simply click on the title of the dish you want to make to reveal the recipe and method.




Linguine Alfredo




Ribbons of pasta smothered in a creamy garlic and mushroom sauce


Penne Arrabiata



Short pasta sweating it out in a bath of  mind blowing chilli tomato  & basil sauce


Spaghetti alla Siciliana



A Southern Italian Speciality, a moulded pasta cake  made from spaghetti

with a bolognaise saiuce & peas … worthy of special celebration –

crack out the sparklers!


Pasta al Forno



Layers of pasta, cheese and tomato & Brinjal sauce oozing all over your plate.-

Ideal to serve at a Poker Game.


Spaghetti Meata Balls



The perfect dish for lovers to share ….. Lady & The Tramp food.



Osso Bucco with Risotto alla Milanese



Veal shin slow roasted in a rich tomato sauce on a bed of Saffron

and parmesan Risotto ……



Scallopine Di Vitello al Marsala



Veal escalope stuffed with mushrooms, ham & Mozzarella cheese in

a Marsala Wine sauce.


Spicy Chicken & Prawn Paella



A flavour sensation of Spicy chicken & Prawns cooked in saffron

blushed paella – this is a one dish meal – ideal for a group of hungry campers.


Chilli Ginger Prawns with Riso Saporito



Finger licking juicy prawns prepared with chilli and ginger

Served with a traditional Italian savoury rice.





Figs, Honey & Walnut Chocolate Phylo Parcels



Decadent hot little baked parcels of figs & walnuts oozing with honey…

Bibs required

Amaretto Semi-Freddo



Italian ice cream oozing with Amaretto liqueur and crunch

Amaretti biscuits …


Tiramisu – Coffee & Liqueur drenched fingers with a creamy topping



Crank up the opera – Nessun dorma ….. No one sleeps after this

Italian Classic hit of espresso & cream drenched sensation.



Congratulations to Adam on winning Masterchef Australia and congratulations to Callum for coming second – he is an outstanding you chap who is going to achieve great heights me thinks!!!


Next Friday I will post my Asian Cook Book … I need to think of a fabulous

title …. any ideas?


Have a wonderful weekend all.


As always

Buon Appetito




Theatre Legend Al Debbo’s Stuffed Vine Leaves ….. a Vegetarian D’Lite!

August 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

A few weeks ago we lost another one of South Africa’s much loved theatre legends. I remember Al Debbo’s golf ball googly eyes rolling around in their sockets from my childhood; and he always made me laugh. Back in the days when television was in its’ infancy – the days when families and neighbours piled into the lounge at 6 o’clock – eyes riveted on that blasted test pattern in a fixed zombie-like stare waiting for the entertainment to begin.



I have foot lights and dance shoes in my blood and am no stranger to the stage myself. I was raised on a staple diet of Frank Sinatra & Judy Garland.  I vividly recall the glamour of those screen sirens all decked out in their fishtail dresses, sparkles and spangles dripping from every pore virtually; and those hairdos!


I longed to have blond waves and spent many an afternoon with my friend Judy, belting out “Over the Rainbow” to her record on my little blue and white turntable in the privacy of my bedroom. I would have KILLED for a pair of Dorothy’s old shoes! It’s true that little girls are highly influenced by what they see on television screens and, in my case, the covers of mums 33 records… and diamonds and sequins really are this girl’s best friend.



You will recall the little treasure of a cook book, The Stage Door (click on this link to go and read up about the joys of this amazing treasure of a book) , which I unearthed at the Essenwood Craft & Food Market a while ago. This book is a treasurey of recipes from 127 well known names in the South African entertainment world.   From Athol Fugard to Bill Faure the book is absolutely amazing.  Pages 154 & 155 feature Al Debbo’s then favourite dish at the time that the book went to print which was 1979 … retro food here we come.


Robert Lang had this to say about the legend …..


Al Debbo is one funny-man who has never wanted to play ‘Hamlet’.


Not for him the soliloquies of the gloomy Dane, for the name Debbo has guaranteed comedy on stage, screen and radio throughout South Africa for many years.


Al was born in Bloemfontein and first attracted attention when he won a prize in a talent contest organised by African Consolidated Theatres. Later, he won another contest sponsored by A.C.T. and the South African Wool Board.

He toured extensively throughout the Republic and South-West Africa with great success; in England he played all the famous music-halls in variety, appeared on television and also toured Germany.


A popular radio and recording artist, Al has appeared in more than twenty films, and was among the first South Africans to have their records sell by the million. Remember “Hasie”, “The Rickshaw Boy”, “Ek Ry met die Trein” and “Bokkie”?


In later years “Baas Jack”, “Sonbrilletjies” and “Magiel” made the hit parade.

Al ventured successfully into the field of cabaret recently and with friend Nico Carstens, is still playing in variety and recording hits.


 Al Debbo’s Stuffed Vine Leaves




For 6 people








2cups rice

1 sprig parsley

½ cup of oil

1 large onion chopped

450g chopped tomatoes

1 cup chick peas

Mint Leaves

1 cup lemon juice


2 cups vine leaves


Wash and drain rice, peel chick peas (which have been soaked overnight) and add to rice with

one teaspoon of salt. Add onion, tomatoes, chopped parsley and mint.



Mix together with oil and half the lemon juices. Dip vine leaves in hot water to make them

pliable and roll each leaf round a heaped teaspoonful of the rice mixture.







Place the rolls side by side in a pan and put a plate on top of them to hold them down.




Pour over them 4 ½ cups of boiling water and let them simmer for half an hour.

 Remove the plate and continue to simmer until the rice is tender.


Remove from the stove; pour over the remainder of the lemon juice and let stand

 covered for half an hour.


Serve cold with Oude Libertas Dry Steen.



I must admit that I tweaked the recipe to add a little more spice to the end flavour – I added 1tbs of finely chopped garlic to the onion and fried them until soft, I added1tsp of coriander powder, 1tsp of cumin powder and ½ tsp of clove powder, 1 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp of hot paprika to the chickpea and rice mixture.




I must admit that Mr Debbo must have either really enjoyed this dish or really

enjoyed cooking – or indeed both.  This is quite a labour of love,

but the end result was absolutely smashing.  One thing’s for sure and that’s that Al really enjoyed

good food and was prepared to make it himself.


 I have often looked at Greek Dolmadis and made a mental note to give them a go one day,

and these are essentially a vegetarian Dolmada.



Smoked snoek has been on the shelves of my local super – perhaps I shall showcase

Francesco the clown’s Smoorvis recipe next…..


As always


Buon Appetito











Weekend Breakfast Special: Tattie Scones with Poached Duck Eggs & Parmesan Butter ….

August 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

My step Nana was Scottish and could bang out all sort of Scottish treats from her kitchen in a Nano-second. She always had a cigarette with a drooping tassel of white ash dangling dangerously out of the corner of her mouth which I just could not take my eyes off. Like a ‘wee’ ferret she would dart around her farm kitchen “knockin somethin up fa ya lassie – a wee treat!” I don’t wish to make her sound anything but special – her eyes were gentle and kind and I think she had a wicked sense of humour. All of the grown-ups laughed whenever she spoke …. I was only around five years of age – so I couldn’t understand her humour I guess or her Scottish rhymes and expressions which spent hours teaching me to recite.


Being a pig farmer she cured her own hams, made her own jams and grew her own fruit and veggies. Being the youngest, my sisters and cousins who were a lot older than me, were not too keen to always drag “Janice!” along, so I spent lots of time around the kitchen and dairy with my Nana and Aunty Jean. My official job was to churn the milk and make butter – I remember feeling uber clever after patting the butter into blocks and feeling very chuffed with the patterns that the butter pats left behind on the golden blocks of rich butter.


On one of those ‘left behind’ occasions Nana took me by my hand, grabbed the sugar bowl and led me outside the kitchen to a patch of purple-pink plants outside the kitchen window that I remember thinking looked a bit hairy and quite scary. Rhubarb! She broke off a stalk, dunked it into the sugar and told me to take a bite! I have been smitten ever since and the moment I get some rhubarb in my hands – a crumble it is a la Nana! I rather enjoy raw rhubarb in salads too.


To say which of her recipes my favourite is would be quite difficult, it’s a toss-up between Yorkshire Puddings and Tattie Scones. Carol gave me some fresh Duck Eggs and I had some left-over mashed potato, so I made Tattie Scones for breakfast …. the perfect compliment to rich duck eggs.



Nana’s Tattie Scones with Poached Duck Eggs

& Parmesan Butter





2 cups of left over mash

3Tbs Plain flour

Salt & Pepper


Your mash needs to be at room temperature so leave it out the night before you make this for breakfast.




In a bowl mix the mash with the flour, salt and pepper.


Need the potato and flour together on a board and shape into a round, like a shortbread

Petticoat round.





Cut the Scone into four and prick with a fork.



Place into a non-stick frying pan with NO butter or oil.

You dry fry this scone until its nicely coloured then flip it over and

Then brown the other side.



The Parmesan and Butter Topping



3Tbs butter melted

3Tbs of finely grated Parmesan Cheese


Chopped parsley for garnishing and a bit of freshness to cut into the

richness of the egg.



Poached Duck Eggs



I got a message from a blogger to ask me how to poach eggs – so here we go!


Break your egg into a cup.



Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil.

Add 1Tbs of vinegar


Thanks to Moni-Q for modelling for me!!


Using a spoon stir the water in a circular motion to make a well in the centre.

Slowly pour the egg into the centre of the swirling water and leave to poach.

If you are not sure if your egg is cooked – gently lift it up with the slotted spoon

and push on the yolk to see if its set on the outside – I like my egg yolks runny so I usually

cook them for about 3 – 4 minutes.



When all of the egg white has gone opaque gently lift the egg out of the water using a slotted spoon.

Lift it onto a tea towel to drain off any excess water.



To assemble :



Butter the top of one quarter of the Tattie scone



Gently place a poached egg on top of the scone and dollop a good Tbs of the butter

on top of the egg with a Tbs of the finely grated parmesan cheese,

the cheese shouldl melt on the warm egg if not you could flash grill it in your oven –

 until the butter and parmesan cheese melts.




Serve with a nice cappuccino or cup of tea

Or my personal fave – a glass of champagne!



This is nice hearty breakfast that is also great for hangovers!


How about adding some chopped chilli and spring onion to the potato for a

bit of a kick!


As always

Buon appetito


Have a great weekend – Monday I am sharing my Red Pepper, Olive, Sundried Tomato

 & Cashew Nut Pesto Recipe.







A Gaggle of Coffee & Walnut Cupcakes for Aunty Goo!

August 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

“One lump or two?” my Aunty Goo would ask me with a broad Chanel Red framed smile, liquorice black immaculately coiffed hair, a wink of the eye and a giggle that bubbled up from somewhere deep down inside her.   Aunty Goo laughed a lot – and she found adding two sugar lumps instead of just one to your tea or coffee, a complete blast. I can remember just standing there, rooted to the spot, one sock down as usual, gawking at my Aunt Goo that lived in Mayfair, London. Having a defining moment at the tender age of six would surely look something like this wouldn’t it? I do remember committing every detail of that moment to my memory so that one day, when I was a grown up I would be just like my Aunty Goo…


A visit to Aunty Goo’s in London was always an exciting affair for my sisters and I. My mum would spring one on us out of nowhere, no doubt, to avoid the barrage of nagging from us children that she would have suffered if we had known about a trip to London. Aunty Goo always wore immaculate make-up and I could tell if she had been in the room for, despite her absence, the waft of Chanel No.5 lingered for ages.   Sue, Judy and I would line up squealing with anticipation as she slowly lifted the lid of the gold box of Godiva chocolates that was always to be found on the silver trolley that stood all shiny and proud in the corner of the lounge. Tres chic!


This was London in the swinging Sixties! Their bar was plush – swathed in ruby red vinyl that looked so heavenly to my eyes, it shone and it was studded with covered buttons like a headboard – of course it was this was the 60’s; rows of coloured glasses of all sizes and shapes twinkled along with the uber elegant coloured light bulbs in coloured glass lampshades from some designer décor boutique. I can clearly remember wishing that I could rip the fabric off the wall and enrobe myself like a princess in fairy tale. Drinks with exotic names such as Dry Martini’s and Whisky Sours were offered to the grown-ups. I was a sponge – I lapped it all up and loved every moment.


No visit to her home was complete without my Aunty Goo emerging with another giggle from her kitchen with a four layered coffee and walnut gateau. Coffee and walnut Gateau! This was the crescendo of the day – the final movement in the performance that was nothing less than a Ravel’s Bolero of a visit to the inimitable chunk of woman that we called Aunty Goo (her name was actually Georgina) As life would have it, she passed away a few years ago, her daughter popped in to her home and found her in her chintz engorged bedroom, dead, yet still sitting up in her bed, in her white French lace bed jacket on, glass of gin & tonic clutched in one hand and her cell phone in the other hand …….. What an icon!


I haven’t yet developed the ‘Goo-nies’ (blush!) to try a four tiered gateau but I most certainly will and I will invite my sisters over for coffee and an Aunty Goo remembrance day! In the meantime, I make these every now and again and can’t stop the Gooey grin that spreads across my face as I eat one!


God bless Aunty Goo, Thank You for taking the time to make a little girl feel sooo very special, and yes, I wear Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick and No.5 perfume.



I can’t insert the pic I have of Aunty Goo – I think it’s because the pic is not digital!!!

If anyone can tell me how to do this …. please let me know!!!


Coffee & Walnut Cupcakes



The Cupcakes





2 cups plain flour

¾ cup sugar

2tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ cup milk

½ cup oil

2 eggs

1tsp vanilla extract or the beans from 1 vanilla pod or

2tsp of coffee concentrate

¾ cup chopped walnuts



To make the coffee concentrate


Pour 1 cup of espresso coffee into a saucepan and bring to a boil –

 reduce the cup right down to 5tsp of coffee of which you add 2tsp to the cake batter

 and the rest to the icing.



Tip: If you are going to use this concentrate in a milkshake or cream etc.

add some sugar to the finished concentrate and not to the coffee that you reduce.

The sugar will caramelise and become extremely thick and unmanageable if you do this.





Sift all of your dry ingredients into your mixer bowl



Add the chopped walnuts and stir in

Add the eggs – and all of the wet ingredients and mix well.



Fill cupcake cups half full with the cupcake mixture – I find that this job is so much easier

 if you pour the batter into a piping bag or a normal freezer bag and

 use this method to half fill the baking cups.




Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180d for 15minutes.


Coffee Butter Icing


125g butter

200 icing sugar

2 – 3 tsp coffee concentrate or coffee essence



Cream the butter until it turns pale and white



Add the icing sugar, coffee concentrate and whisk them together.




Ice you cupcakes generously with the coffee icing

and decorate each cupcake with half a walnut.




Not quite a Coffee Gateau but …….





Click on the Pictures to be taken to the recipe for


A Royal Cupcake


A Vanilla Cupcake with a Peanut Butter centre

crowned with

Peanut Butter icing, shards of Almond Praline,

Caramel fudge Squares and

Dusted with edible glitter – for a bit of bling!!!










some ’99’ Chocolate Salami Cake Cupcakes

with Vanilla Icing and Flake







Here is another cupcake idea for you: 


My God Daughter Daniela’s Birthday


Vanilla  Cupcakes with Lime & Vanilla Icing


(I haven’t posted this recipe on my blog)






As always



Buon Appetito





PS: Today 19th August is the Birthday of the late Coco Chanel – femme extraordinaire!!!


Bon anniversaire Coco.



Shisa Nyama …… An Intimate Meal in a Public Place.

August 15, 2011 in Uncategorized


Shisa Nyama







Ngiyabonga kakhulu guys for allowing me in for a brief moment

Shisa Nyama is an imtimate meal …

A time for men to talk ..

It’s really special ..



So we went home after buying the most fantastic meat at the Underberg

Meat Suppliers.  We needed to stock up on rugby watching accessories

cabanossi – biltong – ribs – and the best boerewors that I have ever eaten!






The butchers home made pancetta!  Awesome!

These guys are masters in charcuterie!


Roaring Fires!




Weekend Food


Chinese Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry





Cheese Muffins with Jam  –  Braai Meat with Hot Potato, Pancetta and Prune Salad on

a bed of rocket.


Monday Mood






Winter Wonderland.


As always

Buon appetito



Wok’s For Dinner ……. Greedy Pork, Stir Fried Chilli Greens and Lotsa Noodles

August 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Eish! Yesterday was one of those mornings after the night before days! A handful of painkillers, half a bottle of Schweden Bitters (my cure for EVERYTHING) and twenty cups of Chai and I kind of got my act together. I am back in Underberg with my sista from another mother – Carol. Tradition dictates that my arrival at the farm is celebrated with one or two shots of Poncho’s. We finished the bottle! Say no more!


We are going into town today and I shall take my camera. Out in these rural areas times are really tough and the local butcher has done his best to provide meat in a communal and affordable way. To this end he has set up braai’s around which you will often find laughing huddles of hungry people cooking a piece of chuck with nothing but salt. Shisa Nyama, which is isiZulu for ‘burn the meat’ originates from the townships and is freely available in most towns. Let’s see what I find.


I loved the Masterchef Seven Deadly Sins challenge! That kind of ‘stuff’ appeals to the dramatic streak that runs right down my centre! I loved Alvin’s huge bowls of caramel chilli pork and rice with all the bits and bobs to make each and every mouthful orgasmic which Gary would honestly have polished off had the cameras not been a ‘rollin.

So I made my version for Carol and Kamie who came for dinner on Monday night! I too make a lot …. big bowls with plenty of stir fried greens and noodles…. I plan to have left overs for lunch the next day ….. that never happens!









Greedy Pork with Stir Fried Bok Choy & Brocolli with Noodles









Peanut or Sunflower Oil

2 pieces of Pork Belly

2 onions – quartered

1 bulb of ginger – sliced

1 bulb of garlic

5 star anise

1 round of palm sugar or 4tbs of brown sugar

1 cup of Xiao Xhing rice wine or sherry

6Tbs of Dark Soy

2Tbs of light soy sauce


1 bunch of chopped spring onions – green bits as well.


Place the pork in a large bowl and cover with boiling water.



Leave in the water for about 10 minutes and then wash it under running cold water.

Dry the pork well with a tea towel.


Pour just enough oil to cover the base of a large, heavy pot and lightly brown the pork on both sides.



Add all of the above poaching liquid ingredients and fry for 5 minutes.




Finally add enough water to cover the meat. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a slow simmer for 1 ½ hours.



Remove from the poaching liquid and cut into cubes about 2cm x 2cm. Bite sized pieces.



Reduce the poaching liquid right down to about 1 cup of sticky sweet dark sauce and pour it over the pork. Garnish with some chopped spring onion.



Stir Fried Greens




3cm piece of ginger finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic chopped

3 chopped chillis

1 packet of sliced mushrooms

Greens – 500g Bok Choy,

1 punnet of baby fennel

500g broccoli

80ml peanut oil



Heat the peanut or sunflower oil in your wok until smoking

Add the garlic, chilli and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute



Add the mushrooms and stir fry for 3 minutes

Add all of your greens and stir fry for 1 minute

Add 4Tbs of soy and 4Tbs of Xiao Xhing rice wine.

Cover with a lid and steam for about 2 minutes,



When the veggies are just tender put into a serving bowl and garnish with basil.



Stir Fried Noodles





Noodles – I used 1kg of fresh Chinese Noodles – you can use rice noodles soaked in water

for 20 minutes or your choice of noodle

2cm ginger finely sliced

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Peanut oil

Dark Soy Sauce – 5Tbs


Heat the oil in the wok – add the garlic and ginger and stir fry the noodles.

Add the soy sauce and stir fry for 1 minute.

Remove the noodles to a serving bowl.



Serve individual portions of a swirl of noodles – pork cubes and a little veg.



As always

Buon Appetito


Or as they say in China






Meat Free Monday: Penne Arrabiata.

August 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

Penne Arrabiata has got to one of the most loved pasta dishes! It’s Monday night – and the whole blinking week looms ahead like Polly shorts, the last hill in an uphill Comrades Marathon. This pasta sauce is ready in 30minutes and although it’s a Meat free sauce – the little devils in it provide oodles of flavour, will pep you up and give you the vooma to survive the week.


I know that I often sing the praises of pasta but it really is a dish that’s affordable and in most cases is cooked and eaten in a flash. Cook a little extra and you will have enough to make a frittata either for lunch boxes the next day – or add a nice salad and you have a light meal for either Tuesday or Wednesday’s dinner. Make a really big pot of it by doubling up on the ingredients and you will have enough to freeze for a pasta meal next week …. I can’t emphasise enough how important planning is in your kitchen.  Double or even trebling a recipe can save not only money and time but effort too. You cut down on electricity bills – and we all know how they seem to soar each month as Eskom seems intent on punishing us for their failing to plan ahead.


Arrabiata – means ‘cross’ or ‘angry’ in English and describes the heat of the chilli in the dish. This is a Roman favourite and the only difference you may find in the dish is that some chefs use parsley instead of basil. Personally, I just love the flavour of basil in the dish. If I don’t happen to have any fresh basil in my garden or fridge I have served this with a nice dollop of my home made pesto ….

I wish you the very best of weeks. Phone that person whom you have been meaning to call – tell someone special that you love them and give your pets and children lots of hugs and loves.


Penne Arrabiata









4 tins of tomatoes

1Tbs of finely chopped garlic

4 large chillies chopped

1 large onion finely chopped

1 cup of either vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup of wine – if you don’t like to cook with wine leave it out

Black pepper

½ cup fresh basil leaves and a sprig per bowl of pasta that you serve

1 knob of butter

Olive oil for frying


In a large pot – pour enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot

Add the garlic and fry until it’s just starting to get a little colour

Add the chopped onion and chilli and brown them



Add the wine and deglaze your pan and cook until all of the alcohol has cooked off

If you don’t cook with wine – deglaze the pot with some stock


Pour the tomatoes into a bowl and using your hands ‘squish’ them to break them up –

I prefer to use this method as opposed to using a liquidizer as I like

to have some small tomato chunks for a little texture in the pasta.


Add some pepper and give the pot a good stir.

Bring to the boil for 5 minutes then reduce down for about 30minutes.

Just before serving add the ripped up leaves of basil and a good knob of butter.



Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.

Add the pasta – penne is the best shape for this dish as they hold lots of the sauce.

Stir the pot frequently.

Drain the cooked pasta in a colander



Return the pasta to your pot and add a some butter and stir

it through the pasta then add a  few serving spoons of the sauce to the cooked pasta



Serve portions of the pasta topped with another serving spoon of the spicy sauce





Top with a fresh sprig of basil and a good grating of parmesan cheese.

A nice loaf of crusty bread – a glass of vino and you are good to go!





Quick and Easy and Uber Tasty!


Now you see it!





Now you don’t!


And how about something sweet to follow this …



Chocolate Salami Cupcakes …..

click on the picture to be taken to the recipe.


Buon Appetito and I wish everyone

a very special Women’s Day Tomorrow


Tomorrow, we celebrate the courage and conviction of the 20 000 iconic women who,

on this day in 1956, marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

They stood together in silence for 30 minutes protesting against the Pass Laws.

These strong women stood together and sang ‘Wathint’Abafazi wathint’imbokodo!’ –

meaning “You strike a Woman You strike a Rock!” –

a phrase that is very dear to my heart.


I feel a tremendous sense of sisterhood with all women.

It’s not the easiest job in the world but if we stand together and

share each other’s daily trials and tribulations offering support devoid of judgement,

we will prevail.


Light a candle  for 30 minutes tomorrow


and use this time to connect with


your strength –

your tenacity –

 your creativity –

your beauty –

your courage!


Happy Women’s Day!




Weekend Special: Surf & Turf with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce.

August 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Summer is around the corner me beauties – and while little miss sunshine flirts shamelessly with us, flashing her sexy long legged rays knowing full well that she’s working us up into a vitamin D challenged frenzy, we are starting to stock up on summer accoutrements.   We braai’d last Sunday – we just couldn’t actually wait any longer for a good inhalation of braai fumes and some potato bake.


Trickyricky is going fishing tomorrow morning which is great, for it leaves my morning free to explore the new Chinese Centre at Springfield Park as I promised and let’s hope Tricky comes home with a few nice grunters to pop on the braai. I am praying that The Chinese Centre is going to provide me with an Asian food supply store that is clean, organised, has sales people who speak English and that said salesperson know their products. Asian Ingredients Nirvana which will position itself right next to my Jarvana in my fabulous little world.


My ‘Weekend Special’ today is a recent cook off between Trickyricky and I, Surf & Turf with Parmesan Mash. Tricky took care of the prawns and I took care of the meat and mash … I feel that this dish offers the promise of summer. You can either cook both the prawns and the meat on the braai or in the oven – depending on the weather.


And Ciao to Aaron the gibbering idiot, who – survived elimination

Way longer

than anyone thought he would – talk about fly under the radar …..

Check ya later Aaron!


Surf & Turf with Parmesan Mash





Parmesan Mash


Now – you can make any number of different mash’s to accompany a Surf & Turf – or you could make chips or a nice rice instead of mash. I love mash – so mash it was!


4 large potatoes – peeled & quartered

150g butter

1 cup of full cream milk

Salt & Pepper

Nutmeg – fresh would be great but bottled, powdered is fine about 1/2tsp is plenty.

½ tsp of cayenne pepper for a little heat or some paprika is fine if you don’t like the heat

2 chicken stock cubes


Peel and quarter your potatoes – put in a pot with 2 chicken stock cubes and a little extra salt. Cover with water bring to the boil and cook until tender all the way through.

Drain and put through a Ricer – or mash with a potato masher



Heat the milk and butter together with the nutmeg and cayenne pepper and add to the mash.

By heating the milk and butter you should be able to avoid any lumps in your mash.



Season with salt and pepper, whisk in the parmesan cheese, cover and set aside.



If you are not in the mood for parmesan mash you could

Click here for my Mustard & Lentil Mash recipe



And if you are just not in the mood for mash at all  – Click here for my

Savoury Rice/ Riso Saporito recipe



The Surf


At least 3 King prawns per steak portion

Plenty of chopped garlic


250g butter

Salt & pepper

1 lemon


Cut the prawns open and under running water and remove the vein that runs down the back.




Place on a tray sprinkle over the chopped garlic



and season with salt, pepper and paprika

and squeeze over the juice of one fresh lemon



Melt some butter and pour it over the prawns.

Cover and set aside for half an hour to marinade.

Pre-heat your oven to 200d.


Just before you start preparing the mushroom sauce – put the prawns into the oven for

approx. 20 minutes to cook. If you are Braaing on a gas braai just pop the tray onto the

 grill covered with foil for about 10 minutes – and if you are braaing

on a coal fire give them to hubby or the braaier to pop onto the fire –

they will be cooked in a flash – like 2 minutes on each side –

 so keep an eagle eye on them.


The Turf



The Mushroom Sauce




1 large punnet of chopped mushrooms

500ml cream

A good pour of brandy

Salt & Pepper

Fresh chopped garlic


Melt a good knob of butter in a frying pan

Add the garlic and fry until starting to colour up

Add the mushrooms and fry them on a high heat until they are caramelised all over

Season with salt and pepper



Once all of the liquid from the mushrooms has evapourated and they have browned

 pour in a good glug of brandy – about half a cup and set it alight with a match.

Remember that brandy has a high content of alcohol so the flames will

Be VERY high

STAND BACK and let all the alcohol cook off



As soon as the flames die down – add in the 500ml of cream

And cook for about 10minutes until the cream has thickened slightly

Test for seasoning.



Now it’s a case of cooking the meat

I cooked my steaks in the kitchen in a griddle pan -

Heat the pan to smoking hot

Rub a little oil onto the meat and season both sides well – lots of black pepper is really

nice with this sauce so go for it.

Cook your steaks as you like them and then assemble the dish.



On each plate place a bed of mash

Top with a steak

Smother with the mushroom sauce

And top with a couple of prawns.





Buon Appetito

Have the best weekend






The King Kudu Fillet Burger …..

August 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

This is very much a tried and tested Tripepi favourite. Whenever I can get my hands on some Kudu fillet I make burgers. Burgers are more of a summer dish in our house though – my mind expects not only to smell a wood fire burning but the summery aroma cocoa butter suntan lotion, Savanna Dry and my skin must be blushing pink from a day in the pool.  The burgers get the requisite flip flop on the braai to add that essential charcoal smokiness and MUST be accompanied by Max’s favourite, Oom Jan’s Monkeygland Sauce. The two together are like a ‘Brad & Angelina’ combo – sizzling hot and sexy!


Italians really do love to hunt so we are often gifted nice cuts of Venison. I always age the meat in my fridge despite the controversy surrounding this. Safe to say though, that Kudu is noble meat – yielded from animals who have never suffered the stress of a long journey to the slaughter house. They roam free developing lots of healthy muscle, forage for food that is organic and we are extremely fortunate to have access to such wonderful meat in South Africa, our dinner tables are much the richer for it!  So here we have my contribution to the Food24 burger competition ….


B*gger King Steer Burgers ….. Step aside for …..


The King Kudu Burger





King Kudu Burgers





400g kudu fillet – age it for about a week in your refrigerator

200g pork mince

1 slice of stale bread – made into bread crumbs

1 large handful of basil leaves roughly chopped

2 onions chopped

4 cloves of garlic chopped

1tsp coriander powder

1tsp allspice powder

1 tsp smoked paprika


Black Pepper

1 fresh jumbo free range organic egg

Olive oil



Try this Variations – chop in 1 cup of fresh coriander, add 1tsp of cayenne pepper

 and 2 fresh chillies … reds chillies will add a fabulous dash of colour.





First things first – chop your onions and garlic and fry until lightly browned in some olive oil

– set it aside to cool down.


Cut slices of kudu (or your choice of Venison, lamb or beef)

fillet and chop into a small dice –

 don’t be tempted to be lazy and bang this meat into a food processor –

you run the risk of the over processing it and ending up with a slimy paste instead of

nice little chunks of meat.


 If you have a mincer – I pretty much think that would work well ….

 I just don’t have one so am limited to ‘girl powa”!

It takes a wee bit of time – I usually enjoy a glass of vino whilst chopping –

this method is well worth the effort.



You also want to have some texture in your patty –

 this is Africa – and fortunately we haven’t forgotten how to chew our food as it comes off the fire.


Put the diced meat into a bowl big enough to take all of the ingredients.

Add the pork mince, bread crumbs, roughly chopped basil,

whole fresh free range egg, plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper,

coriander powder, allspice powder and the cooled browned onion and garlic.



Like meat balls – a burger needs LOTS of seasoning –

so rather add more than less seasoning as the meat is eaten inside a bread roll –

and you need bags of flavour to give you a really punchy, tasty mouthful of grub!


Get your hands into the bowl and give it a good mix to evenly disctribute the

herbs, onion and seasoning.



Wash your hands and pour a little olive oil into your palms and pretend that you

are putting on hand cream.


Once your hands are well coated with the oil – grab a handful of the meat mixture

and roll it into a ball. Like you did when you were making mud pies as a kid –


Make a ball – pat is smooth and then flatten into a patty.



Place the patties onto a tray and refrigerate them for about an hour.

This is important because it ensures that your patties stay in one piece when they are on the grill.



Now – good burgers are all about smoky ‘chargrilled-ness’ –

either light a fire or stoke up your gas braai and cook the patties.

Rare – Medium or Well done (Grrrr ….. criminal) is your choice.


A burger MUST have crunch so cut your hamburger rolls in half and lightly

toast the insides on your grill and then butter each side.


On the bottom bun place a nice fresh leaf of lettuce.

Top with a few slices of juicy tomato

Then add your awesome chargrilled King Kudu patty

Then add a slice of your favourite cheese.

Finally – knight the whole enchilada with some sauce if you like.



This is a bowl of the Oom Jan’s Ooooober – awesome Monkeygland Sauce!



My boys like Monkeygland sauce and there is ONLY one recipe to use for this and that’s

Oom Jan’s recipe that I got off his website – click on this link

to go and get Oom Jan’s amazing Monkeygland Sauce recipe!


It’s the bomb!!


Oh I CAN’T WAIT for summer!!!!!


Then put the lid on and bite in to a piece of pure South African Heaven!



Enjoy the bounty of our very own paradise

South Africa!




As always

Buon Appetito