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I never used to get Pinterest. I didn’t see the point. Until I created my first board to store all my pics of my dream kitchen. Well, did I get sucked in . . . I absolutely love it now. I go on every morning to see what new pics are on there, add on to all my different boards and before you know it, it’s 9am and I haven’t done any work yet! I call it research OK? I’m getting inspired. Leave me be.

Anyway, if you want to follow my boards, click on this link. I tried to create a Pinterest widget but it doesn’t work and I lost my temper. Officially over it.

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Food, Recipes

Ham, cheese and chive bread

My friend Sam sent me this recipe knowing that it was right up my alley! Obviously I added a thick layer of butter on to the warm slice of bread as soon as it was out the oven. Seriously delicious.

Ham, cheese and chive bread
by Lorraine Pascale

Makes 1 loaf

425g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
150g grated mature cheddar, plus an extra 10g for sprinkling on top
6 slices honey roast ham, finely chopped
1/2 bunch chives, finely chopped
1tsp paprika (optional)
1 tsp mustard powder (optional)
Twist of black pepper
200ml water

Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl, except the water and 10g of grated cheese. Mix together well. Add enough water to form a soft, sticky dough – this usually takes around 200ml but could take up to 225ml. Stir it briefly, then get your hands in there and get them dirty! Squidge and squeeze the dough together – adding more water if necessary – until it all comes together. This could take a few minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a nice, large ball. Now flatten it ever
so slightly (this will help it to cook quicker), then slash the loaf three times vertically with
a sharp knife. Sprinkle over the grated cheese.

Take a water spritzer and spray some water (about 8-10 sprays) into the oven to make things nice and steamy. Place the dough on a baking tray and bake for 35-40 minutes,
or until the bread is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and attempt to leave to cool slightly. I don’t bother with this. Bread is best eaten straight out the oven thanks.

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Food, Recipes

Parmesan crusted chicken burgers

I made these last night for our dinner – except we didn’t have them as burgers and just had salad on the side. They’re really quick and easy to make but the only bad part is that you’re frying them. They still tasted good though.

Parmesan crusted chicken burgers
by Tina Bester

Makes 4

200g breadcrumbs
50g parsley, finely chopped
50g parmesan, grated
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
4 fresh bread rolls
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Fresh rocket leaves, to serve
Fresh chives, to serve
Flour for dusting
Salt and pepper

Hot mustard mayonnaise
125ml mayonnaise
1 tbsp hot English mustard

Combine the breadcrumbs, parsley and parmesan in a bowl. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and dip them in the flour, then in the beaten egg and finally coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Fry them in olive oil until just done (about 3-4 minutes on each side).

To assemble the burgers, warm the rolls in the oven for a few minutes, spread liberally with the mustard mayo mixture, top with rocket and chives and add a crisp chicken breast to each one.

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Food, Recipes

Rusks

So it’s about time I share a new recipe with you. I saw this online food magazine called Crush featured on AskAshe’s blog and I spotted lots of different recipes for rusks. Since being back in SA, I’ve been enjoying an Ouma rusk with my tea every morning. Yes, probably not the best habit to get into when you’re trying to lose some weight but hey . . .

So when I saw all the recipes for rusks, I thought it was high time to get back into the kitchen and cook.

I didn’t get a pic of the finished product because they cooked over night and Sheldon took them to work in the morning – they were my father’s day gift to him.

Buttermilk Rusks
2 medium loaf tins

Ingredients
1kg self-raising flour
1 tbsp (15ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2ml) salt
2 cups bran
500g butter
2 cups (500ml) sugar
1 large egg
2 cups (500ml) buttermilk

Sift together the self-raising flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the bran and mix well. Keep to one side.

Melt the butter (heart attack stuff), add the sugar and stir. Add to the dry ingredients. Whisk the egg with the buttermilk and also add to the dry ingredients. Give it a good mix but be careful not to over-work the dough. Split the mixture between the loaf tins and bake for 1 hour, or until light brown on top. Remove from baking tin and cool on a drying rack.

Using a serrated knife, cut the loaves into 3cm-thick slices and then cut into 3 slices lengthways. Place on an oven tray and dry overnight at 100˚C or at 70˚C in a fan-assisted oven.

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Recipes

Play dough

My nephew really loves his play dough so I decided to make him a few batches for his
birthday. It was surprisingly satisfying making the stuff. It’s super easy and takes no time
at all. A nice little project to do with your kids too. Lots of stirring and mixing. They’ll love it.
Now, if only I could remember the recipe! It was on a blog which my sister sent me.
Neither of us can remember what it was called. Oh well, you’ll just have to Google a
recipe. Sure they’re much of a muchness.

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Food, Recipes

Chicken korma recipe

So a few people have requested the chicken korma recipe – sorry I didn’t type it out
for you in the first place. Since having a baby, I don’t have as much free time as I used
to. This recipe is too damn good not to share though. So here goes:

Chicken Korma
by Jamie Oliver

Serves 4-6

800g skinless and boneless chicken thighs or breasts, preferably free-range or organic
2 medium onions
Optional: 1 green chilli
A thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
A small bunch of fresh coriander
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
Groundnut or vegetable oil
A knob of butter
145g korma curry paste
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
A small handful of flaked almonds, plus extra for serving
2 heaped tablespoons desiccated coconut
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
500g natural yoghurt
1 lemon

To prepare your curry
Cut the chicken into approximately 3cm pieces • Peel, halve and finely slice your onions • Halve, deseed and finely slice the chilli if you’re using it (Britt, don’t add this chilli because the paste has a bit of a bite to it) • Peel and finely chop the ginger • Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks • Drain the chickpeas

To make your curry
Put a large casserole-type pan on a high heat and ad a couple of lugs of oil • Put the chicken thighs into the pan, if using, stir around and brown lightly on all sides for 5 minutes (if using breasts, don’t put them in yet) • Push the chicken to one side of the pan • Stir in the onions, chilli, ginger and coriander stalks with the butter • Keep stirring it enough so it doesn’t catch and burn but turns evenly golden • Cook for around 10 minutes • Add the korma curry paste, coconut milk, half your flaked almonds, the drained chickpeas, desiccated coconut and sliced chicken breasts (if using) • Half fill the empty tin with water, pour it into the pan, and stir again • Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on • Check the curry regularly to make sure it’s not drying out and add extra water if necessary • When the chicken is tender and cooked, taste and season with salt and pepper.

I let my curry cook further with the lid off so it thickened up nicely. Just keep checking on it to make sure it has the consistency that you like.

To serve your curry
Serve with fluffy rice • Add a few spoonfuls of natural yoghurt dolloped on top and sprinkle over the rest of the flaked almonds • Finish by scattering over the coriander leaves and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over

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Food, Recipes

New salads

So I always prepare the same old salads every time we have a braai – it’s what we call ‘ye old faithfuls’. Sheldon’s sisters came over for last week and I thought it was high time I tried something new in the kitchen. I had lost my mojo for a while – wasn’t interested even stepping foot in the kitchen – only if it was to make a cup of tea.

I hope you enjoy these salads as much as we did – they were delush.

Courgette, chickpea, red onion, chilli, watercress and feta salad
Peter Gordon

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large red onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
600g chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 handful flat leaf parsley
250g feta, cut into small chunks
4 medium courgettes, topped and tailed
Salt
2 handfuls watercress

Basil & créme fraîche dressing
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp créme fraîche

Heat all but 1 tbsp of the oil in a wide pan and cook the onions to wilt them, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, chilli and thyme, and continue to cook until the onions are caramelised. Add the lemon juice and zest, and the chickpeas, and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom. Take off the heat and tip into a bowl. When it has cooled, mix in the parsley and feta and leave to one side.

To make the basil and créme fraîche dressing: place the basil and sugar in a mortar and grind to a paste with a pestle, them mix in the créme fraîche and 1 tbsp of cold water and lightly season. Alternatively, finely shred the basil and mix with the sugar, créme fraîche, water and seasoning.

Peel the courgettes into ribbons with a potato peeler. Peel one side until you get to the centre, then peel the opposite side. Lastly peel the sides off. You want every piece to have some of the skin on it. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the courgettes, gently stir, count to 20 and then drain and rinse under cold water and drain again.

To serve, arrange the courgette slices around the outside rim of your plates and place the watercress on the inside. Divide the chickpea salad on top of the watercress. Serve the basil dressing to the side and let your guests help themselves.

 

This is a quick and easy salad to make – thanks to Ottolenghi.

Butterbeans with sweet chilli sauce and fresh herbs
Ottolenghi

400g tinned butterbeans
6 garlic cloves, crushed
70ml sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 red peppers, halved, deseeded and cut into 2cm squares
4 spring onions, white and green bits, chopped
35g coriander, chopped
35g mint leaves, chopped
Coarse sea salt and black pepper

I’ve changed the recipe slightly because they use dried butterbeans but it’s quicker and easier to use the beans out a can. Just as tasty too!

Place the crushed garlic in a bowl large enough to hold the beans and peppers. Add the sweet chilli sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce and lemon juice and mix well with a small whisk. Add the red peppers (I fried mine off for a bit with the beans out a can), season the mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.

Add the chopped up spring onions, herbs and plenty of seasoning. Mix gently with your hands. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Eat warm or cold – just remember to readjust the seasoning before serving.

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Food, Recipes

Grandpa Mac’s banana bread

My ‘oldest’ friend came to visit last week. Christine and I have been friends since Class 2 – we went to Malvern Primary together and then she was my only friend who came to the same high school as me – Durban Girls’. So now that I work it out, we’ve been friends for 29 years! That makes me feel so old.

Anyway, she was over from London for her sister’s wedding and came to visit so she could see me and meet Freya for the first time. I thought it was best to get back in the kitchen and so I baked her my Grandpa’s banana bread loaf that he always used to bake for us. We used to arrive at their flat on Berea Road and there was almost always a fresh loaf wrapped up in wax paper and a piece of string to hold it together. It was such a treat. He could be such a grumpy old man but he showed us the love with his baking that’s for sure!

This is a fail safe recipe people. I’ve passed it on to so many of my friends now. So thought it was about time I share it with all of you. Now do my Grandpa proud and get baking!

Yes, that’s butter people. I like thick butter – and I even sprinkle a bit of salt on top!

Grandpa’s banana bread
Makes 1 loaf

2 cups plain flour, sifted
2 eggs, beaten
115g butter
1 cup sugar
4 bananas, mashed
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 cup water
1 handful walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven on 180˚C. Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add in the mashed banana and mix. Beat in the eggs. Then alternate the flour and water with the bicarb dissolved into it. Add the baking powder and mix. Add the chopped up nuts now if you like.

Pour into greased loaf tin and bake for 60-75 minutes. I usually check mine when it’s been in for an hour. If you pierce the loaf in the centre with a knife and it comes out wet, then whack it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

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Food, People, Recipes

Meals on wheels

When I was back home from hospital, we were rewarded with home cooked meals which were organised by Lisa and cooked by Karla, Amber, Trilby and Sam. I can’t tell you what a treat that was. The LAST thing I wanted to do was cook when I got home. I couldn’t stand for long without being in pain and all I wanted to do was lie down and rest.

The meals were all incredible! Not going to single out any of them because they were all
so good. Sheldon even warned me that if I didn’t up my game, he’d have to leave me for
one of them. How dare he!

All my girls in London surprised us with delicious home cooked ‘ready meals’ from a friend of Juli’s who runs her own catering company. Our freezer was packed full with meals such as beef lasagna, chicken and butternut lasagna, beef stew, butter chicken, beef stroganoff (my personal favourite).

So thanks again to Juli, Nat, Jos, Wendy, Britt, Kirst, Natasha, Sam, Emma and Mandy.
I love you my girls.

If you’d like some delicious ready meals or for any catering needs, you can contact
Tracey Bowles on 082 442 8365 or email traceybowles@telkomsa.net

The following meals were all from Amber. Loved all the thoughtful notes and finishing touches. She’s so good!

This meal was so delicious. Amber sent me the recipe so I could share with all of you.
Enjoy!

Pea, pesto and bacon pasta
In a blender throw in all of the below:
A third of a triangle of parmesan
A small bag of pine nuts (big handful)
A bunch of basil
2 garlic cloves
2 anchovies
1 small bag flash boiled fresh petit pois peas – can use frozen too.
Throw them in an ice bath after they are done to keep them green.
Big pinch of salt and lots of black pepper
Blend away and when mixed turn the blender on slow & drizzle in enough
olive oil to thin the paste.
In the meantime, grill your bacon until crispy and have ready to throw over.
Cook your pasta until al dente and save a mug of the water to help blend
the pesto. Throw pesto in and mix. Just before serving, throw over bacon
and a few more gratings of cheese.

More from Amber:

Jo stopped by with a gift of sweet treats from a French patisserie in Howick. We had
lemon curd, chocolate and apple mini tarts. All so good! I should have taken a pic of
the products but was too busy obsessing over the packaging.

Josie and Lee came over for lunch the other day and she brought us a treat too.
Fresh, homemade pasteis de nata. This is the same genius who made us the killer
prego rolls. The girl is good! She should open up her own Porra café/restaurant.

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