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Dinner Diva recipes

1 December 2012 in Dinner Divas, Economical

Quite a few people have asked me to put up the recipes that featured in the latest episode of Dinner Divas, my congratulations to my opponent Anel of Lifeisazoobiscuit, click on the link to check out her winning curried goat.

Here are my step-by-step instructions for making a rolled pavlova, I have no idea why the judges felt it wasn’t sweet enough as there are 8 TBSP’s sugar in there?! You can use any fruit you fancy, as you can see in the pic, this one uses tinned passion fruit.

(Click on the photographs to be taken to the recipes)

Now on the other hand, the judges thought my balsamic chicken was too sweet? but as it has been one of my most popular recipes and I’ve had so much favourable feedback, I will take that with a pinch of salt.

Talking of salt, one judge thought I was too heavy handed with the salt and another complained that I didn’t season my food enough? *bangs head on desk* :)


The cheese damper got the thumbs up from Food24 editor Caro.


Chilled Vichyssoise Soup

2 fat leeks cleaned and chopped

1/2 medium onion chopped

1/2 cup (125ml) celery chopped

1 TBSP (15ml) butter

600ml fish stock

3 medium potatoes peeled and sliced

3 TBSP (45ml) fresh cream

Seasoning to taste

Melt the butter in a pan and add the leeds, onion and celery, fry gently until soft, you don’t want them to brown.

Add the stock and the potatoes and cook until they are cooked through.

Cool and using a blender, blend until smooth.

Add the cream and seasoning.

If the soup is too thick, add some milk to thin it a little.

Chill in the fridge.


Salmon & Cucumber Jellies

Approx. 1/2 and English cucumber finely chopped

2 spring onions finely chopped

65g salmon chopped (I buy the off-cuts as they are much cheaper)

5ml gelatine

1/4 cup hot chicken stock

1 tsp lemon juice

black pepper to taste

In a small bowl place the gelatine, add the hot chicken stock, mix thoroughly and add to the cucumber/salmon mix, stir well.

Add the lemon juice and the black pepper to taste.

Place in 4 greased moulds and put in the fridge to set.

(I use plastic moulds available from any packaging shop, they are cheap, can be used many times and it’s much easier to unmould. All you do is slide a sharp knife between the set jelly and the side of the mould to cause an air bubble and they will release easily. As they are transparent you can also see what you are doing.)

Place the jelly in the centre of a soup plate and then gently surround it with the chilled soup.

Serves 4




Food 24’s Easy Step-by-Step Meringues

4 July 2012 in Baking, Cheap and cheerful

Last Friday our daughter pranged her car, she’s fine but the vehicle isn’t and so Princess Gilly is swanning around in my wheels and I’m stuck at home. Because I work from our house nobody seems to think it might be a problem for me *rolls eyes* Myself and my credit card are suffering from cabin fever,

Which might explain why I made meringues, which I didn’t even know how to spell and I have a bad track record for. On Food24’s home page today there was a step-by-step recipe for them and as I had two egg whites in the fridge I thought I’d give it a try.

I followed the instructions to the letter and all was going well until it came to piping them onto the baking sheet, as you can see my piping skills are sadly lacking! You can of course, just dollop spoonfuls onto the tray instead.

I halved the recipe and I made 8 reasonably sized cream cakes plus a couple of odd looking tasters :) Do use the link to see the recipe, they give some nice options such as adding rose water and a few drops of red colouring to give them a turkish feel, which I did.

Just goes to show, put some really rubbish looking cakes on a pretty cake stand and suddenly they don’t look half bad!

High tea anyone?


Double Your Money Soup

31 May 2012 in Budget Beater, Easy to prepare, Soups

Yes, I know I’m doing another soup, but in my defence it is winter!

When we were little my brother and I used to love Heinz Mulligatawny Soup, David could never pronounce the name and he referred it as Double Your Money Soup, there used to be a game show on tv of the same name :)

Mulligatawny is the Anglicized version of the Tamil (a southern Indian Dravidian language) words for “pepper water” or “pepper broth.” It became popular with the British stationed in India. There are many different versions,  it is usually made with chicken or mutton, I just happened to have some leftover roast beef and so my version evolved.

Mulligatawny Soup

1 medium onion chopped

1 apple peeled & chopped

1 large carrot peeled and grated

1/2 stick of celery chopped

2 TBSP cornflour

1 1/2 TBSP curry powder (use less for a milder version, mine packed a punch!)

750mls beef stock

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tsp sugar

1 TBSP fruit chutney

1 cup of chopped cooked beef

1/2 cup of cooked rice


Oil for frying

Using a little oil gently fry the onion, celery and the apple until soft, do not brown them.

Add the curry powder and stir, then the cornflour mixing well and cook for a minute (this helps to remove any floury taste)

Add the grated carrot and the stock followed by the tomatoes, sugar & chutney.

Over a medium heat bring to almost boiling then simmer gently for about 45 minutes. It should look like this….

When cool liquidise in a blender or use a stick blender.

Add the meat and the rice and season to your taste.

I’m a great believer in leaving stews and soups overnight in the fridge and eating them the next day, the flavours get a chance to develop fully. This is a really good cheap soup, you could pretty it up with a dollop of plain yoghurt or cream and scatter with toasted almonds.

Serves 6









We don’t do Valentine’s Day….

14 February 2012 in Uncategorized

Like Ishay from Food and the Fabulous I was also asked to write a Valentine’s Day piece for the City Press iMag. Strike one was when they wanted it from The Older Married Couple point of view, strike two was after I submited my pearls of wisdom the editor said they wouldn’t be using it because she had mistakenly assumed I was a man! Who knew I wrote so butch?!

This is what I submitted….

We’ve been married for 31 years and I would be lying if I said our marriage was full of romance, love and humour certainly, romantic gestures? nah!. Indeed, every year on our Christmas Eve wedding anniversary we toast each other and one of us will say “well that’s another year down the drain then?!” did I mention humour? We have never felt the need to celebrate Valentines Day, to us it’s how you treat each other throughout the year that counts.

If  I were to make a romantic dinner for us, it would be at home, bear in mind he would see the candles on the dining room table and ask who’s coming for dinner?  The menu would be a mix of our favourite foods from over the years, he adores my Peri Peri Chicken Livers with crusty bread, making that is truly a labour of love on my part, not only do I not like liver, I hate the texture and feel of it *shudder* I would just chomp daintily on the bread you understand.

Main course would be Chateaubriand with a Béarnaise Sauce, we both love beef fillet and I rarely make the sauce as it’s a heart-attack on a plate….and I do need to hang on to the old codger for a bit longer!

Dessert would be our hairy-old-family-favourite of Strawberry Rolled Pavlova, it’s a light pudding which would be perfect after the beef.

Click here for step-by-step instructions for a rolled pavlova.

Actually I lied, we do have the odd romantic gesture, someone got heart-shaped sarmies today…………large pause for everyone to go aaaaahhh! *rolls eyes*


In My Kitchen – February

9 February 2012 in In My Kitchen

In my kitchen…..

Is the sweetest fresh baby tomatoes from our garden,  I collect some each day and we’ve been enjoying them with our peppery homegrown rocket in some lovely salads.

Here are my much used, very battered, trusty Le Creuset pans, purchased over 30 years ago together with 2 oval casseroles.  I recall Himself going pale when he realized how much I’d spent, “they will last a lifetime” I countered, and they are still in daily use.

I found this advert in an old Fair Lady cookery supplement that I have from the eighties…..go grab some tissues fellow foodies, this is gonna make you sob!  Shall we all fill in the form and send it off? :)

Also in my kitchen is this very special tray that was a present from my son and daughter-in-law for Christmas, I love it! My little dudes are the most handsome lads on the planet and if I’d known how much fun grandchildren would be, I would have had them first :)

Lastly, and by no means least, I had a lovely surprise the other day when a parcel arrived out-of-the-blue. It contained  proper crab crackers (is that what they are called?) and the goodies to get all the bits out of the claws. I made crab curry a while back and mentioned that one of the best crab curries I’d eaten was at a renowned Indian restaurant, but they didn’t have the correct utensils and I ended up cracking them open with Himself’s Leatherman!

Hence this lovely present from Tandy, thank you so much, I will think of you the next time I happily have crab curry dripping down my chin!

To see other blogger’s In My Kitchen posts, go and visit Celia who started the whole thing.

Last post for 2011 – Delicious Pork Belly

21 December 2011 in Easy to prepare, Uncategorized

This is my last post for the year, I have much to do before my children and my dudes (grandsons) descend on Saturday. The tree has to be rescued from storage in the garage ceiling, the lights have to be untangled and I have to listen to the Christmas Grinch (Himself) muttering expletives whilst he tries to get said lights to work!

My daughter-in-law said that she doesn’t care what I serve this weekend as long as my sausage rolls and mince pies appear on  Christmas morning, it’s something we have always eaten when opening the pressies accompanied by the mandatory Bucks Fizz!  I have made the sausage rolls and they languish in the freezer, the homemade mincemeat  is busy sucking up booze in the outside fridge as I type,  so I’m on track. *Note to self, only give the dudes sausage rolls*

I’ve been feeling a bit ‘cooked-out’ so basic was on the menu this past weekend,  a 1kg belly of pork rubbed with…….real foodies look away now…. Aromat*  and some Chinese spices, tossed into a 200 degree oven for an hour and then turn the oven down to 180 oven and cook for another hour. I served it simply with baked potatoes and a coleslaw, it was melt in the mouth pork with crisp cracking,  it was so good!


Roast Pork Belly


*Aromat is a South African seasoning full of healthy ingredients such as monosodium glutamate and artery clogging flavorants! :)

After Christmas we are off to the Eastern Cape for a break with good friends, so lots to look forward to. I wish you and yours every happiness over the festive season, all the best for 2012 and safe travels wherever you may roam.





Chinese Plum Sauce

12 December 2011 in Chinese

As it’s our wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve, we tend to eat our Christmas fare then, although last year we were home alone and ate out for only the second time in *mumble* years.  This year the family is with us and our menu will be Prawn Spring Rolls, Whole Beef Fillet with Exotic Mushroom sauce and I have no idea what my daughter-in-law Mel will be bringing for pud.

I want to serve the Spring Rolls with a choice of dipping sauces and as plums are in season I decided that one of the sauces would be a plum sauce.

700g fresh ripe plums

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 cup of sugar

1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce

1 clove garlic crushed/grated

1 knob ginger grated

1/2 teaspoon Chinese spice

Wash the plums and then cut in half, twist and remove the stone.

Plums are in season

Chop the plums.

Place all the ingredients into a thick bottomed saucepan, bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer for about 20 minutes.

The sauce should look like this….

Allow to cool and then pour into a blender and blend away until it’s nice and smooth. This will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks, you can freeze what you don’t use.

For my other yummy dipping sauce and my detailed step-by-step recipe to make your own delicious crunchy spring rolls click here it is dead easy!




In My Kitchen – December

6 December 2011 in In My Kitchen

In my kitchen……

I am very fortunate that I have had a free supply of a wonderful olive oil for the past few years. My sister-in-law Sally has a brother (Sean) who farms olives near Swellendam in the Western Cape and produces award winning olive oil. Sally came to visit for a long weekend with my niece Catherine and she bought me a 2 litre box of the latest pressing and a bottle of their balsamic to try.

Saint Sebastian Bay by The Greenleaf Olive Company

Whilst she was here Sally wanted to visit a local business in Howick called Romesco, they use Sean’s olive oil and she wanted to meet them. She very kindly bought me some of the Romesco products, I’ve already tasted the olives (divine) and as I type, our steaks for tonight are marinading in the Sicilian Dipping Sauce which is made of olive oil, balsamic, red wine vinegar, soy sauce and a smidge of harissa.

Romesco Products

Whenever she visits, Sally goes back to Johannesburg with beef fillet from my trusty butcher as it’s so much cheaper here in the hollow. I spotted this biltong dust (biltong is the South African version of Jerky) while she was buying her meat and I have some ideas forming of what I want to make with it, watch this space.

Finally just to prove that I was definitely not born with a silver spoon in my mouth… is a picture of my obviously silver plated and much tarnished baby spoon which gets used as a sugar spoon.

To see what other blogger’s have in their kitchens go to Celia’s blog Fig Jam and Lime cordial