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My Version of Pronto Mama’s Slow Roasted Tomatoes in a Spicy Vinaigrette

1 April 2013 in Easy to prepare, Economical, Jams & Preserves, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”

There is a range of sauces by Pronto Mama that are simply delicious, sadly they don’t appear to be available here in Natal. So when every baby tomato plant opted to ripen all-of-a-sardine I decided to attempt  to replicate their Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes in a Spicy Vinaigrette with Rosemary.

The label clearly states what is used in the preparation but them dastardly devious folk refrain from telling you exactly what herbs and spices were used! :)

This is not a recipe as such, it’s just wot I done innit……

I sliced my cherry tomatoes in half, roughly chopped some red pepper, chucked in an unpeeled clove of garlic, drizzled everything with olive oil, sprinkled with sugar, salt and pepper and few tiny sprigs of rosemary.

Then I slowly roasted them for 2 hours @ 95c

(discard the blackened rosemary after cooking)

Next step was the vinaigrette, which as long as you stick to the base of 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar you can add anything you like.

I used:

150 oil

50 vinegar

1/4 tsp mustard powder

2 tsp my homemade chilli jam or you could use fresh chilli (to your taste)

1 tsp honey

1 clove garlic cooked and crushed

1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped

Whisk everything together, season to taste and set aside.

Chop half a small onion and some olives.

Pack the cooked tomatoes, onion and olives into clean jars and top with the vinaigrette, cover with lids and leave to steep for a couple of weeks.

Did I achieve the same delightful taste of Pronto Mama? of course not, but I was very pleased with what evolved. It’s especially good  on pizza or bruschetta, great as part of a  mezze platter or with pasta, the uses are endless. Once you have used all the filling, the oil that remains makes a wonderful salad dressing.

I was not remunerated for writing this post in any way and I do hope the good people at Pronto Mama will forgive me for even thinking I could re-create their product……but you can’t blame a girl for trying! :)

 I topped this Easy Cheese Slice with a dollop and it was really lekker (South African for really good)


Make your own HP Sauce

28 March 2012 in Easy to prepare, Jams & Preserves

Himself is very partial to HP Sauce, so much so, that left to his own devices it would be dolloped liberally on everything! He has learnt over the years that it doesn’t pay to upset the cook by dousing her lovingly flavoured food with HP!

I’m not completely cruel….he is allowed it on fry-ups, cottage pie, beans-on-toast and his all time favourite, a bacon buttie (sandwich).

5 cups of plums pitted and diced

5 cups apples peeled and diced

1/2 cup water

1 onion peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 TBSP tamarind paste

1 TBSP tomato paste

1 TBSP all spice

1 TBSP nutmeg

1 TBSP Peri Peri powder or cayenne pepper

1 TSP salt

2 TBSP Worcester sauce

1 TBSP Tabasco

1 TBSP dark treacle

375ml apple cider vinegar

375ml brown sugar

In a large saucepan put the plums, apples, water, onion and the ginger.

Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another hour or until you get a nice thick consistency.

Allow to cool and then blend in a blender or you could use a stick blender.

Using a funnel pour into sterile glass jars/bottles (to sterilize, rinse in hot water and pop straight into the microwave for 1 minute on high)

Leave in a dark place for at least 6 weeks, the flavour develops the longer you leave it and the colour darkens accordingly.




Preserved Ginger – easier to make than you think!

15 March 2012 in Easy to prepare, Jams & Preserves

I was wondering around in my local veggie shop, as ya do, when I spied some fresh ginger and I had a yen to make some preserved ginger. I made some a few years ago and it was so useful for adding to cakes and puds or drizzling the syrup over ice-cream. It’s very easy to make and I don’t understand why it is so blinking expensive in the shops.

800g fresh ginger

750mls sugar

375mls water

Firstly you have to peel your ginger, I used a combo of peeler, sharp knife and the edge of a teaspoon for tricky bits.

Cut the ginger into cubes that are roughly the same size.

Cover with water and soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Drain the ginger and place in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and drain, repeat this two more times then on the third time, simmer the ginger until a sharp knife goes through it easily, mine took just over an hour.

In a thick bottomed saucepan bring the sugar and the water to a boil, then turn down the heat a little so you have a rolling boil. Keep an eye on it and stir every now and then until the syrup thickens, 20 – 30 minutes.

Add the ginger and simmer for 10 minutes, cool completely before spooning into a sterilized jar (just rinse the jar in very hot water, shake off any excess water and pop in the microwave on high for 1 minute)

Fills one 200g coffee jar.

I slightly overestimated the amount of syrup so I ended up with a little jar of extra syrup, which I plan to make ice cream with…..or maybe a syrup drenched ginger cake…or… this space!



Easy Homemade Jam, Make It In Your Bread Maker!

25 January 2012 in Easy to prepare, Jams & Preserves

I’m not big on making jam, all that bubbling, stirring and testing the setting point on saucers….pass! Then my friend Karlene (she of the fabulous Crayfish Bisque) told me she makes jam in her bread maker. Well as soon as I got home from holiday I checked my bread maker and it didn’t have a ‘jam’ setting so I was a bit bummed about that.

The next weekend saw me in Westville having a sleep-over with my dudes and I noticed that my daughter-in-law’s bread maker had a jam setting, and she very kindly lent it to me. I wonder if she’ll notice if I try to palm my inferior model on her when I take it back?

What a breeze! All ya do is chop up your fruit, toss it into the bread maker with the other ingredients, press a button and the machine does all the work, how easy is that?

You need to get hold of some pectin, I got mine from the local health shop.

I first made the grape jam and then, as I had some yellow plums and a mango I combined them, the result was really good.

You will need:

3 cups of diced fruit of your choice

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1 TBSP water

2 tsp Pectin

Put all the ingredients into the bread maker, follow the manufacturers instructions and 120 minutes later you have homemade jam!

Do let the jam cool before you remove the pan from the machine and it’s best to take the paddle out with tongs.

Pour your jam into sterilized jars – just wash jars in the dishwasher or wash thoroughly by hand and rinse well, then put the still wet jars up-side-down in the microwave on high for one minute.

Mango & Yellow Plum on the left, Grape Jam on the right

I have to say that the mango and yellow plum jam achieved a better setting consistency than the grape, but they both taste wonderful, infinitely superior to the mass produced muck we buy in the supermarkets.

Simple food, homemade jam with cheese

There are some wonderful seasonal fruits available at this time of year, so dust off your bread maker and give it go!