November 1, 2013 in snacks savoury



Sev, a savoury snack made using chickpea flour, has become almost as popular as samoosas and is very easy to make. I am sharing a family recipe which is fool proof.   Diwali preparations in my home always include sev and nuts – the only problem is trying to prevent the family (including myself) from finishing this snack before Diwali. It’s very moreish.

I am including a picture of the gadget used to make sev.  My machine looks pretty banged up – my mum gave me this machine about 30 years ago – and it’s pretty well used and still going strong.  The gadget is quite versatile in the sense that there about 6 different moulds that can be used to make a variety of savoury snacks.





500gr chickpea flour

1 tsp salt

1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 Tablespoons butter ghee

+- ¼ cup water

Sunflower oil for frying



Sift chickpea flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a container.

Add the butter ghee and rub into the flour to form breadcrumbs.

Add sufficient water to form a thick batter.


Pour sufficient oil into a frying pan to deep fry the batter.

Place some of the batter into a sev machine (I have used a mould with big holes for  this sev – you can also use the mould with smaller holes to make a thinner sev).


Pipe directly into the hot oil and fry until crisp and remove when just starting to brown.

Drain well.


You can add fried peanuts to the sev and season according to taste with salt and chilli powder.



October 31, 2013 in Desserts


A happy and blessed Diwali to the Hindu community – Diwali is celebrated by Hindus throughout the world and is often referred to as the Festival of lights because of the common practice of lighting small oil lamps (called diyas). Diwali which also signifies the renewal of life is celebrated over a period of a week in India – but here we celebrate for two days starting 3rd November.

The recipe I am posting is ideal for the busy working mum – unlike most sweetmeats which are time consuming to make there is no cooking involved (except for toasting the desiccated coconut and sesame seeds).

These Simply delights are aptly named – simple to make and delightful to eat – melt in the mouth with a slight crunch from the toasted coconut and sesame seeds. This recipe works perfectly and is flop proof.






500g powdered milk (I used Klim)

2 cups butter ghee

1 ½ cups icing sugar

¼ cup desiccated coconut

¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ cups almond nibs –coloured (available at Indian spice stores)

1 tsp cardamom powder



Cream the ghee and icing sugar together.

Add the powdered milk to the mixture and beat well.

Allow the mixture to rest while roasting the desiccated coconut until just lightly brown.

Remove the desiccated coconut from the heat and place into a separate dish.

Lighly toast the sesame seeds until just before it starts to pop.

Remove from heat and add to the desiccated coconut.

Add the almond nibs and cardamom powder.

Mix well.

Add the powdered milk mixture into the almond/coconut/sesame seed mixture. Beat well.

Roll into small balls.





Crustless Courgette, Mint and Feta Tart

September 16, 2013 in savoury tarts and pies, Vegetables

Do not be put off that this comes across as an ordinary boring sounding dish – the combination of ingredients in this recipe with the use of herbs and lemon take this to another level. It’s a delightful tasty dish and the recipe is from our local cookbook author, Jane-Anne Hobbs. I enjoy her dishes – it’s always packed with the most interesting flavours which obviously is my kind of food.

Taking pictures was an afterthought on a busy day.



Crustless Courgette, Mint and Feta Tart

12 courgettes, topped and tailed

a little lemon juice

3 T (45 ml) butter

1 T (15 ml) olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely grated

4 large free-range eggs

½ cup (125 ml) natural yoghurt

½ cup (125 ml) cream

a handful of finely chopped fresh mint (about 3 T / 45ml)

2 T (30 ml) finely chopped fresh dill

1½ cups (375 ml) crumbled feta cheese

the finely grated zest of half a lemon

½ cup (125 ml) flour

1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder

salt and milled black pepper


To top:

12 cherry tomatoes, halved


Grate the courgettes on the coarse side of a cheese grater and sprinkle with a little lemon juice.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic and the grated courgette. Fry over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until the courgette has wilted slightly and any excess liquid has evaporated.

Tip into a large bowl and allow to cool slightly.


Whisk together the eggs, yoghurt and cream.

Add the mixture to the courgettes, along with all the remaining filling ingredients.

Stir well to combine.

Tip the mixture into a well-greased oven proof dish.

Press the cherry-tomato halves into the filling, cut side up.

Bake at 180 ºC for 30-40 minutes, or until slightly puffed and golden, and just set in the middle.



















September 12, 2013 in savoury tarts and pies, snacks savoury, Starters


No time today to write a long blog – keeping it really short. I have always had a weakness for pastry – sweet or savoury and being able to buy readymade puff pastry definitely takes away the tediousness of having to make one’s own. This also means that one can indulge more often – not always good for the waistline.

Tuna wheels have been a firm family favourite for many years and it is a quick and easy savoury snack to prepare needing only a few items which also makes this very economical.

These can be served as a savoury snack or as a starter.




  • 1 x puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 (170g) can Tuna in oil
  • 200gr cream style sweet corn
  • 2 sprigs coriander
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 cup finely grated cheddar
  • Salt to season

Preheat oven to 200C.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.



To make the stuffing: drain tuna and place in a bowl. Break up tuna chunks with a fork Add curry powder, finely grated cheddar, and finely chopped whole coriander sprigs. Mix well to combine and season with salt to taste.


Open the roll of puff pastry onto a working surface keeping the blue plastic sheet on the bottom of the pastry.

Place the tuna filling onto the pastry and spread evenly, leaving about 1cm gap on either side of the pastry.

Start rolling the pastry into a log using the blue plastic to form a firm even log.

Place the rolled pastry log onto the prepared baking sheet and place in freezer for about 15- 20 minutes – this will firm up the pastry and makes it easier to slice.


Remove from the freezer and discard the blue plastic sheet.

Use a serrated knife to cut the pastry log into 2cm wide slices.

Place onto the baking paper lined tray.

Place in preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes until cooked.






September 2, 2013 in Salad, Vegetables

During my childhood broccoli and asparagus was rarely seen at meal times in most Indian homes – some might say I was lucky – I started eating fresh asparagus over the last few years and I love it – broccoli is another story. Broccoli is a recommended vegetable in most diets and healthy eating plans so I had to find a way I could enjoy this vegetable.


This salad is currently my favourite way of eating broccoli. The poppy seed dressing that I use is a recipe by local chef, Sharon Glass. I found that buying individual fresh vegetables can be expensive (I only do this when I have a large gathering). I prefer to buy the pack of fresh vegetable mix of asparagus, mange tout, baby corn and green beans from Woolies as it’s more economical. I usually prop myself in front of the telly when preparing the broccoli into very small florets.


It can be eaten as a meal (perfect for meatless Monday) or served as a side dish.







1 x small head of broccoli, broken into very small florets

1 x fresh vegetable mix (asparagus, mange tout, baby corn and green beans)

1 x pack of salad greens (baby spinach and watercress and rocket)

Handful of pecan nuts, broken into small pieces

1 Tbs sunflower seeds

1 Tbs pomegranate

1 Tbs pumpkin seeds



125ml (½ cup) mayonnaise

10ml (2 tsp) mustard powder

175ml (_ cup) sunflower oil

60ml (¼ cup) white vinegar

2.5ml (½ tsp) minced garlic

60ml (¼ cup) sugar

10ml (2 tsp) poppy seeds

coarse salt and pepper


Whisk all the dressing ingredients together until the mixture thickens. Leave aside for the flavours to develop while you prepare the vegetables for the salad.


Steam the vegetables in the microwave for slightly less than the recommended time as the vegetables must be al dente. Allow to cool.

Arrange salad greens on to a platter.

Dry the vegetables before placing on top of the salad greens.

Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle the pecan nuts, sunflower, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate.




























August 30, 2013 in Fish, Starters

Johannesburg is celebrating its first festival organised by the Tourism Board which started last weekend and continues until 7th September. I went to Arts on Main on Sunday – and was wowed by the food stalls and came across some of the contestants from the current Masterchef SA – recognised Amanda by her distinctive hair style and managed to get a picture with them.



Tumi Moche, Alistar, Me, Khumo Twala and Amanda Beck at Arts on Main on 25 August 13.


Sharing a picture of these contestants today has inspired me to post a creation of my own – something that can be loosely called a rice sandwich.


I cooked shrimps in a spiced tomato base and layered it with rice and dhunia (coriander) chutney. This can be served as a meal on its own or as a starter. It’s inexpensive and takes less than 15 minutes to make.


Having friends and family with special dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan and pescetarian-eat fish but no meat) has forced me to be more creative in my cooking and I have to admit it – I enjoy it.




1 cup cooked rice

250 g cooked frozen shrimps (defrosted)

2 Tbsp cooking oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 green chillies

1 sprig curry leaves (optional)

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ tsp chilli powder

1 cup (250ml) canned tomato

2 Tbsp frozen peas

1 tsp salt

¼ cup dhunia chutney (available in most Indian spice shops) mixed with 1Tbsp desiccated coconut

Fresh coriander for garnish







Fry the onion, green chillies and curry leaves in the oil until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic – cook for about 1 second. Add the chilli powder – stir and cook for about 1 second.

Add the tomato and frozen peas. Cook until the sauce thickens – about 5 minutes.

Add the shrimps and salt. Mix well.

Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Garnish with fresh coriander.


Assemble the rice sandwich:


Place a layer of rice in a greased mould. ( large or individual moulds)

Spread a layer of the dhunia chutney.

Place a layer of rice over the green layer.

Spread a layer of shrimp and tomato mixture over the rice

Finish with a layer of rice.


Unmould on to platter and serve with sambals and papads.







August 28, 2013 in snacks savoury, Starters, Vegetables

Not having experienced eating street food in India as yet I was fascinated when our children took me and Rajen to Southall which is a predominately Indian suburb in London. Most of the people were dressed in traditional Indian clothes – I felt as if I had stepped into a Bollywood movie – and walked around bug eyed with delight. There was a vendor selling freshly fried sweetmeat called jalebi (which is a batter piped into hot oil, once cooked – it is then soaked in a thick syrup mixture) – it’s a crisp crunchy heavenly sweetness.


Some of the restaurants had names that made me smile

. We eat in a restaurant, Gifto’s Lahore Karahi, and some of the dishes we had  were chicken tikka, lamb with butternut,paratha and falooda crush.


I could have eaten only just the starter – it was a vegetable samoosa (giant size) smothered in the most delicious channa chaat.



I bought some chaat masala from one of the stores there and finally got around to making a aloo channa chaat.

It’s different, healthy, delicious, quick to prepare and inexpensive. It can be eaten as a snack, or as a starter spooned over a samoosa.


Aloo Channa Chaat


1 can chickpeas (drained)

1 medium sized potato, boiled, cut into cubes

1 green chilli, finely diced

I small tomato, finely diced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 Tbs finely chopped fresh coriander

2 Tbs Lemon juice

¼ tsp chaat marsala (sold in most Indian spice shops)

Salt to taste


Mix all the ingredients together. Serve with yoghurt flavoured with finely chopped mint.





















August 19, 2013 in Desserts

Winter is almost on its way out but there is still time to enjoy delicious soul satisfying puddings and this recipe for an apple crumble is also a healthy one – one can eat this often without worrying about all that winter weight gain. After watching Gordon Ramsay over the years in Hell’s Kitchen etc he has never been a favourite of mine – all this has changed since I watched his Ultimate Cookery Course show on the food channel – I just love his lack of vanity and his sharing of knowledge. Both my children, luscious Lynn and lovely Linda gave me his cookbook as part of my birthday present – hand delivered by Lovely Linda when she did a quick visit home from London, to spend my birthday with me.



His book is perfect for an home cook like myself – with simple, inexpensive recipes with a twist to alleviate the dish to out of the ordinary. The apple crumble in his words – by combining fruit puree and chunks, and sweet chewy dried cranberries, I am creating layers of texture and interest beneath a beautiful granola topping. Don’t worry about peeling the fruit. Whether its apples, pears or peaches the flavour is all in the skin.




6 Tablespoons caster sugar

Pinch of ground cinnamon

1 vanilla pod, seeds only

6 apples, cored but not peeled, 3 of them grated, 3 cut into chunks

3 Tablespoons dried cranberries

Zest of 1 lemon, juice of ½


Preheat the oven to 200C.

Heat a small hob-proof baking dish, add the caster sugar and heat for about 5 minutes until it caramelises.

Add the cinnamon, vanilla seeds and grated apples and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Stir in the apple chunks and then mix in the cranberries, lemon zest and juice.

(I used a saucepan up to this stage and then transferred the apple mixture into an oven proof dish)


For the crumble topping

100g plain flour

2 Tblsp demerara sugar

50g butter, chilled and cubed

Pinch of ground cinnamon

4 Tblsp nutty granola or muesli


To make the topping place the flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the granola and mix until incorporated.


Scatter the crumble topping over the fruit and heat the dish on the hob. Once the apple mixture is bubbling, transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 12 –14 minutes until the topping is a deep golden colour.

Remove and serve warm.







March 28, 2013 in savoury tarts and pies, Starters, Vegetables


Wishing fellowbloggers a Happy Easter and wonderful food. The weather in the mornings in Gauteng are a chilly reminder that the warm sunny days that can be spent lazing and entertaining on patios will soon be coming to an end. We have to make the most of what we can currently enjoy hence I did some entertaining last weekend and served these delicious and interesting look tarts as a starter.

I have had this recipe book,Savoury Quiches and Flans, for a while but it was only when I watched Lorraine Pascale in an episode of Easy Baking on the cooking channel  demonstrate how to make these pastry shells that I felt confident to tackle this recipe. These tarts do not require special baking utensils and are easy to make and the filling has an unusual combination of ingredients and the end result is very tasty and was a hit with my guests.



200g feta, cubed

75g peas, lightly cooked

185g can olives, pitted and halved

Handful of fresh mint, chopped

50ml olive oil

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

375g pack puff pastry

Beaten egg, to glaze


Preheat oven to 190C.  Prepare the filling by mixing the feta, peas, olives and mint.

Stir in the olive oil and mustard. Set aside.

Unroll the pastry. Cut into 8 equal rectangular pieces.

Score a thin border on each with a sharp knife taking care not to cut through the bottom of the pastry.

Place the pastry on a baking sheet.

Brush the pastry edges with egg. Bake for 10 minutes until golden.

Remove from the oven and scrape out the inner pastry.

Bake the pastry shell for 1 minute.

Spoon the filling into the pastry.

Bake for 5 minutes.




February 28, 2013 in Desserts

Quick, easy and delicious recipes with minimum ingredients always grab my attention and this recipe for the nutty stuffed dates is just that and healthy as well. It’s ideal for those with a sweet tooth who feel restricted from indulging because of diets.

Dates, the fruit of the date palm are even rich in several vitamins and minerals. It is said that eating even one date daily is necessary for a balanced and healthy diet. Much as I love fruit and  aware of the benefits of eating a date I find it difficult to eat it as is – I usually love it in a cake, muffin, biscuit and my all time favorite is when it is used as a filling wrapped in crispy phyllo pastry and dripping with rose scented syrup – yum.  Recently back from a holiday where I had over indulged I have to eat healthy for a while and hence this recipe.

Dates filled with this nutty mixture are delicious and very moreish. I bought dates which are already deseeded which makes it ideal for this recipe and less time consuming as well.

Nutty Stuffed Dates


500gr Dates

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

6 Tbsp oat meal

3 Tbsp butter

½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped coarsely


Make a cut, length wise, in each date piece and remove the seeds.

Arrange in baking tray.

Place in preheated oven (180 C) for 3 minutes to soften.

To prepare the filling:

Melt butter in a pan. Add oat and fry for 3-5minutes till browned little.

Add oats to peanut butter in a bowl and mix.

Fill each pitted date with teaspoon of filling

Then dip it in chopped roasted peanuts.

Ready to be served and enjoyed.