Sherry Amour Cocktails

30 July 2014 in Drinks

It seems that, like the French and the word Champagne, the Spanish also have a thing about us using the word Sherry *rolls eyes*  I refuse to use the term fortified wine, it sounds darn right embattled, so I shall go with Sherry Amour, you are more than welcome for the ear-worm :)

To be honest Sherry Amour makes me think of genteel ladies in twinsets and pearls sipping delicately, pinkies aloft. It seems my perceptions are somewhat outdated, Sherry Amour is back!

Recently I was fortunate enough to win a cocktail box from Monis Wines during World Sherry Week on Michael Olivier’s website. Initially I had my doubts, but it’s true, you CAN make really nice cocktails with Sherry Amour…..seriously!

My cocktail box had all manner of goodies in it


Beautiful hues



Now we both love bubbles and we have a little tradition called ‘Sunday Sparkles’ where we crack a bottle of bubbly, it rounds off the weekend so nicely. So we started with A Full Cream Kir Real.

25ml Monis Full Cream

A Bottle of your choice of bubbles

Pour the Sherry Amour into a the glass and top with some nice South African bubbles.


Wow, what a fabulous drink this was!


Next up we tried the Medium Cream Cobbler

50ml Monis Medium Cream

2 tsp castor sugar

1 wheel of lemon

1 wheel of orange

You have to muddle (bash up) the fruit and then add the remaining ingredients and shake vigorously.  (I removed the pith from the fruit and I added some ice)


So refreshing…..lovely as a summers day – how’s the earworm doing?

Finally, as it’s winter we decided to try The Pirate’s Breakfast

60ml Medium Cream

80ml hot coffee

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tbsp whipped cream

Warm the glass and then pour in the sherry, add the hot coffee and stir in the sugar, top with the cream.

Aarrr ….Cheers my hearties!



Thank you to Monis and Michael Olivier for my prize, it has certainly opened my eyes to the immense possibilities of Sherry Amour, I might even put a slurp of Pale Dry into my onion soup tonight! Consider me converted.



Homemade Sage & Onion Pork Sausages

2 July 2014 in Cheap and cheerful, Economical, Pork, Uncategorized



I have lusted over kitchenAid mixers in shops for years.

kitchen bling.jpg

Now I have one *smug smile* and I have to say that it is worth every cent of it’s hefty price tag, mine is even sweeter as I won it, thanks to Blue Ribbon Bread.

Unlike my old mixer I do not have to lean my entire body weight on the top to get it to mix properly. The KitchenAid does everything beautifully and when I make pizza or pasta dough there is not a scrap left in that shiny shiny bowl!

We were both very keen to try out the mincer and the sausage maker attachments and our butcher obliged by having a special on Pork at R29.99 and selling us the casing and some extra pork fat.  We tried to make sausages a while ago with a piping bag, which was painful in the extreme and the sausages were just too meaty for our taste.So with this in mind we made sure we had enough fat content and played with the ingredients until we were happy.

Sage & Onion Pork Sausages

750g minced pork

175g pork fat

50g dried breadcrumbs

1/2 medium onion finely diced

1.5 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper

fresh sage leaves finely chopped, I used about 20 smallish leaves

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

Mincing the meat

Cut the meat into cubes and pop into a plastic bag and put it into your freezer, you don’t want to freeze the meat, but you want it nice and firm, it minces so much easier.


coll 1


The next step is to soak the casing, you will need about 3 metres. Fill a bowl with cold water and drop your casing into it. Then holding one end open gently run tap water through the length of the casing. I will save you from the lewd comments that flew around during this process! :)


Place your minced meat and fat into a large bowl, add the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper chopped sage leaves, onion and nutmeg and mix thoroughly.


Now is the time to check how it tastes, make a tiny patty and fry it to check seasoning, etc. Don’t skip this step, this is how you get your sausage just how you like it.



Making the sausages

I was a bit squeamish about the casings and declared anything to do with them a ‘Blue’ job, taking out the rubbish is a blue job, as is gardening. Drinking wine with a book in your hand is a pink job! ;)  Firstly, you have to tie your casing onto the spout of the sausage maker and then gently feed the rest of the casing onto the feeder, remember to tie a knot in the end. Then, finally it’s showtime!  I fed the mince mix into the mincer and Himself was on sausage control.  Making sausages is definitely a pink and a blue job!


Don’t pack the meat in too tightly, leave room to be able to twist them into sausages.

We were very proud of our efforts and extremely pleased with the taste, also it was great to know exactly what went into our bangers.

Here’s some of my pork sausage recipes that everyone enjoys, click on the link to be taken to the recipes.

Pork Sausage Meatballs in Sweet & Sour Sauce


 Pork PiesPorkies6


 Saucy Pork Bangers


 My Mum’s recipe for the best sausage rolls!

Sausage rolls





How I deboned a leg of pork, stuffed and rolled it, easier than you think!

16 June 2014 in Economical, Pork


I’ve been having great fun playing with all the toys that I won through Blue Ribbon Bread. Good knives make cooking so much easier and I have been wanting to try out my new Wusthof boning knife. My local butchery must have mental telepathy with me, as pork was on special at R29.99 a kg and you know me, I can’t help myself!

IMG_1900Now I really hadn’t a clue what I was doing, all I remembered from instructions that I’d read previously was, follow the bone.

I began by making a light incision nearest the bone end, from the widest part downwards and peeling the skin away from both sides using the knife.



Working gently I removed the bone, it helps to choose a joint that has the bone to one side. Just feel with your fingers and take your time cutting alongside the bone. It’s quite easy to feel where the bones are, just take the angle that ensures you stay with the bone, turn the joint around if need be, to get an easier path.


Make a small incision down the centre of the meat to enable you to open it out more. I also removed a couple of pieces that were a little  too high and would make rolling difficult. These pieces I placed at each end of the roll to keep the stuffing in.


Spread the stuffing as above and using the skin, wrap the meat into a roll. I was working by myself and found putting a skewer in to keep the meat together helped whilst stringing it up.


IMG_1905Tie string at intervals to hold the joint together, I should have tied it length-wise as well, but you live and learn hey? :)


Don’t forget to rub the joint with salt to help crisp the skin.


70g dried peaches chopped (Safari snack pack)

50g toasted chopped nuts (I used almonds)

3 TBS of whisky or tipple of choice or fruit juice

1 small apple peeled and grated

1/2 small onion peeled & finely chopped

75g fresh breadcrumbs

Fresh thyme

1 egg beaten


Place the chopped peaches into a small saucepan with the whisky and gently bring to a slow boil to allow them to absorb the liquid.

Add to the remaining ingredients and mix well.


The stuffing complimented the pork and the nuts added a nice texture. This +- 1.6 joint would serve 6 nicely. I cooked it in my fan assisted oven for 30 minutes on 200c and then for another 1.5 hours at 180c. Use a skewer to test if your roast is cooked, if the juices run free of blood then it’s done.

I know I didn’t do a perfect job, but the meat was so much easier to carve and it’s not as difficult as you think. The same joint prepared and stuffed by a butcher would have been more than double the price. So give it a try!






Blue Ribbon Bread is made for me!

20 March 2014 in Uncategorized

I was very fortunate to win Blue Ribbon’s kitchen makeover competition on Facebook recently with my Mushroom Strata recipe.

My Mushroom Strata stylishly presented by Executive Chef Riaan Gould who judged the five finalists.

My Mushroom Strata stylishly presented by Executive Chef Riaan Gould who judged the five finalists.

The prize was a R25 000 kitchen makeover, I had to choice of putting the money towards a new kitchen or opting for a voucher to buy appliances. It was a no-brainer for me, so I got to spend all that dosh with Yuppiechef, it was really hard trying to choose…..NOT! :)

Then Blue Ribbon broke the news that they would be delivering all my goodies and making a video to be shown on social media *GULP*

It’s not everyday you have one of these in your driveway…


 Then the unloading began and my kitchen started to fill up…

kitchenI can’t tell you how exciting it was, the three ladies that helped make the day so much fun….

Ashleigh Kondonis, Anne Daniels & photographer Minette Van Der Walt

Ashleigh Kondonis, Anne Daniels & photographer Minette Van Der Walt

As you might expect, I have been busy playing with all my new toys and I promise there will be posts forthcoming.

If you would like to see the video that Blue Ribbon made in my home and see me unpacking my goodies then click here Himself even makes a cameo appearance!

Follow their Facebook page and keep an eye out for their competitions.

Thank you again Blue Ribbon.

Cherry Brandy Brownies

6 February 2014 in Baking, Desserts, Easy to prepare

Hi there……long time no see!

Hopefully my mojo is back to stay cos Himself was bemoaning the fact that the quality of his food has declined since I took my blogging break. Cheek of the man! ;)

These are grown-up brownies, I made them for Christmas Eve and they have quickly become a family favourite. You need to buy yourself some glace cherries or if you’re feeling flush then some maraschino ones. Then you need to soak the cherries in brandy (or spirit of your choice) for at least a week beforehand.


Brandy soaked cherries (see above) as many as you like hic!

180g butter

160g dark chocolate

1 TBS of the liquid from the soaked cherries

175g castor sugar

3 extra large eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

110g cake flour

1/4 tsp salt

I used this particular chocolate because our local supermarket was selling it at R4 a bar, bargain!  just use as good a quality chocolate as you can.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and grease a suitable dish/pan (I used my new Le Creuset baking pan which is 23 x 23 cm and bakes like a dream)

Using a thick bottomed pan, melt the butter and the chocolate over a gentle heat, put aside to cool.

In a large bowl beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and the cherry liquid until combined.

Add the cooled choc mix to the egg mixture a little at a time, then add the flour and the salt.

Arrange the cherries in your dish, I use 2/3 of them, pour over the brownie mix and put the rest of the cherries on the top.

Bake for 25 minutes


These brownies are really good, they have a nice fudgy texture and the booze soaked fruit is just the cherry on top! :)


Steamed Ginger Pudding

6 August 2013 in Easy to prepare, Economical

My mojo was last seen cavorting with the fairies at the bottom of my garden and so I decided that instead of staring blankly at the ingredients parking-off in my kitchen, I would try out  recipes from some of the lovely cookbooks that I have been fortunate enough to win.

First up, I choose Jane-Anne Hobb’s book Scrumptious, not because I know her, nor because of the tempting array of things to cook, no, it was because I happened to have all the ingredients for her Steamed Ginger Pudding in the house! :) Another bonus was that I got to use some of the preserved ginger that I made, interestingly I am still getting traffic and comments on that post. Click on the photo to be taken to the recipe, much cheaper than buying it.

As there are only the two of us, I decided to halve the quantities of Jane-Anne’s recipe but otherwise I didn’t deviate from the original as shown here.

Steamed Ginger Pudding

100ml golden syrup

4 Tbsp (60ml) finely chopped preserved ginger

1 Tbsp (15ml) syrup from the ginger jar

juice of 1 large lemon

200g butter, softened

11/3 cups (330ml)  white sugar

4 extra large eggs

11/3 cups (330ml) cake flour

5 tsp (25ml) ground ginger

11/2 tsp (7.5ml) baking powder

a pinch of salt

a little milk (see recipe)

2 Tbsp (30ml) very finely grated lemon zest

Put a large heavy-bottomed pan on the heat, with enough water to come halfway up your buttered pudding bowl, which should  have a capacity of about 1.5 litres. Cut a circle of foil big enough to cover the bowl and overlap  the edges by at least 5cm. Make a generous pleat in the circle of foil to allow for expansion, and – for ease of lifting the pudding from its water bath – make a ‘handle’ using a double length of string attached on either side to the string securing the foil (see pic further down).

Pour the golden syrup into the pudding bowl and add the ginger pieces, the ginger syrup and squeeze over the lemon juice, but do not stir. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer put the butter and sugar together and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, beat between each addition. Sift over the flour, ginger, baking powder and salt. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mix adding just enough milk to achieve a soft dropping consistency. Stir in the lemon zest.

Carefully pour in the batter into the pudding bowl, don’t fill to the brim, there should be at least 2 cm clearance. Cover with the foil and tie with kitchen string.

Put the bowl into the pan of boiling water, cover with a lid. Cook, keeping the water at a gentle burbling boil for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until the surface is puffed and firm to the touch.

Top up the pan with water as necessary. run a knife around the edges of the pudding  to loosen it, then invert it onto a heated plate.

This pudding is best as it comes out the of the pot, but you can steam it in advance, set it aside to cool and then reheat it, unopened, in the same pot of water for about 15 minutes.


Predictably Himself scoffed most of this pudding and has asked that I make it again! I liked the slighly acidic bite the lemon gave it and the crunch of those little golden nuggets of ginger…..oh sh*t I sound like Nigella! :)

Serve with custard, cream or ice cream….


My Cook-Off at The Taste of Durban

31 July 2013 in Taste of Durban

As I mentioned in my last post, I was a winner in a Dstv competition to cook-off against 2 others at The Taste of Durban last Saturday night. Not only that, Himself and I were to stay at The Suncoast Towers for two nights, have free entrance to 3 sessions of the show, enjoy the hospitality at the Dstv tent and be given crowns (the currency at the show) to spend!

The show started on Friday night, the weather was balmy and there was such a good vibe. I participated in the Pick n Pay Canape/Wine pairing.

This was so much fun, the instructing Chef was like an energiser bunny, you really had to concentrate to keep up!

We were very grateful that we had special passes to the Dstv hospitality tent, which was great for taking a break and when Himself got bored, he could park off in front of the big tv and enjoy a free beer, which he maintains tastes so much better! :)

Of course whilst I was enjoying all the different stands and foods, the fact that I had to cook in front of an audience on Saturday night was much on my mind….I tell you doll!


Photo Steve Yelseth/Taste of Durban

That evening we all  met in the  Dstv tent and Justine Drake (editor of Pick n Pay’s Fresh Living magazine) told us what we would be cooking, we were allowed to taste the dish and then we had 45 minutes to google/phone-a-friend to figure out the process.  We would be cooking Prawn Cakes from Freedom Cafe.

Photo from Freedom Cafe Facebook page

I was pretty sure that there was no potato in the Prawn Cakes and when I saw the ingredients I knew I was correct.  We were to be judged on  taste and technique. I opted to lightly cook the fish and the prawns before forming into cakes and frying them until they were brown on both sides. The other two contestants decided to mix the raw ingredients into cakes, it turns out that Freedom Cafe do cook the fish and the prawns first.

The judges were Justine Drake and Lucy Makewicz from Freedom Cafe. Sadly they deemed my cakes to be overcooked and Tozi (next to me) won the trip to Taste of London 2014. I didn’t come away empty handed as I received a R1000.00 Pick n Pay voucher and a bottle of champers that didn’t touch sides let me tell you! :)

I’d like to thank Dstv, Pick n Pay/Fresh Living and Taste of Durban for a fabulous weekend!

Two easy winter recipes and some exciting news!

25 July 2013 in Easy to prepare, Taste of Durban

Everybody loses their mojo now and then, I think mine’s run off with the missing socks, hence the lack of posts from me lately. I have been cooking, but mostly my easy old favourites like my yummy oxtail and my Chinese style chicken soup. Click on the photograph to be taken to the recipe.

Early on Monday morning I had a call from Dstv to tell me that I was a finalist in a competition to win a trip for two to The Taste of London 2014.  (Food24 Editor Caro was there this year click here to see her photographs)

Tomorrow Himself and I will be off to The Taste of Durban, where on Saturday evening I will compete against two other finalists in a cook off. Apparently we will have to replicate a dish from one of the chefs and will be judged on taste and technical ability… nerves!

We will be staying at The Suncoast Towers for the weekend and will be at the show Friday evening and virtually all of Saturday, I can’t wait.

So cross fingers, hold thumbs and send positive thoughts my way!

Taste of Durban

Return of the Bread Maker…..

16 July 2013 in Baking, Easy to prepare, Economical

Hands up those of you who haven’t used your bread machines in a long, long time?

Raise your arm if you threw in the towel after yet another loaf of dense bread,so heavy you could use it as a door-stop?

I can answer yes to all-of-the-above, which is appalling considering my friend Kerry lugged my machine all the way from England for me (they were much cheaper over there, back in the day). Mine has been languishing in a cupboard in my laundry…….until we went for lunch with our friends Micheal and Pieter. Micheal served a lovely crusty bread with his homemade roasted tomato soup. If it hadn’t been for the shape I would have been convinced it had been baked in the oven!

Needless to say, I left their place clutching the recipe and the very next day I dusted off my machine and made a loaf – sadly, it wasn’t anything like his :(

It transpired I was using the wrong flour (duh) and he forgot to mention that he didn’t use the milk powder! The next attempt was perfect and I’ve made it 3 times since. Fluffy and light with a smashing crust, it’s the best bread I have ever made in my bread maker!


Hint – I like to use Spray & Cook on the paddle in the container to make removal of the bread easier.

Put the following ingredients into the bread maker in this order:

2 tsp dried instant yeast

350g white bread flour – sifted

1 tsp sugar

1 TBSP soft tub margarine

1 tsp salt

2 TBSP sesame seeds

125ml plain yogurt

150ml warm water

I set my machine to dark crust and the basic programme of 3 hours.

When your machine indicates the bread is ready remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using oven gloves to hold the container remove and place on a rack to cool, if you leave the bread in the container you won’t get such a good crust.

 Nothing nicer than fresh bread and real butter!

Abingdon Wine Estate

4 July 2013 in Review, Sous Chef South Africa

I was very fortunate recently to win a competition through Wedgewood who produce mouth-wateringly good nougat in the Natal Midlands…yes Belinda,  wateringly  really is a word! :)

Gilly Walters started this flourishing family business from her home kitchen, you can read their interesting story here.

You can also click here  to browse her lovely recipes using nougat.

I love the sepia images on their packaging.

I received a fabulous hamper of their hand made products which we flattened in record time and the other part of the prize was a wine tasting and lunch for two at Abingdon Wine Estate.

It was a perfect sunny winters day as we headed off to the Midlands, the Midlands Meander offers the day tripper a marvelous assortment of things to do, products to see and places to eat.

 Arrival at Abingdon is along a tree-lined driveway which is beautiful whatever the season.

We were greeted by the owners Ian and Jane Smorthwaite in the cosy bar/wine tasting area.

I loved the quirky old cash register which they actually use.

Abingdon is the only wine estate in Kwa Zulu Natal, Ian admits that many people were skeptical of  his endeavor to establish his vines here,  don’t you love it when people succeed in the face of adversity?! He took us through their excellent range of wines, one of which is a very palatable  Chardonnay, yes, this ABC girl (anything but Chardonnay) actually liked it!

You can eat in the dining area adjacent to the bar or outside under the trees, we opted for the latter, ordering a mezze platter for two and a bottle of their delicious Blanc de Noir.

There was a nice assortment of desserts, all at R35. Himself ordered a boozy Van der Hum Creme Brulee and I had an assortment of Nougat (Wedgewood of course!) Italian Kisses and Chocolate Brownies.

I can think of nothing better than spending a relaxing lunch with delicious food and wine under the African skies! Thank you Wedgewood and Abingdon, we really enjoyed the prizes.

You can contact Abingdon on 033 2344335 or

*Cheese image on 1st collage was imported from the internet.