Babaghanoush

Babaghanoush

baba-ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush

Babaghanoush is a Turkish meze type dish that has a distinct sesame flavour brought on by the Tahini(sesame paste) and is a fantastic starter or just something to nibble on with drinks. Tahini is available in the deli section of most supermarkets. (4 to 6 people)

What you need

1kg eggplant (brinjal) (2 large)
200g plain yoghurt
2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Pinch of salt
Paprika to garnish
Chopped parsley and spring onions to garnish

The process

Heat your oven to 200 Celcius, wash and dry the eggplants, then prick them all over with a fork and place them in the oven on a baking tray for about an hour or until soft. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool before removing the skin. Chop into pieces.

Place the eggplant and all of the rest of the ingredients in the first section into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Season accordingly and give it a last blitz.

Remove and place in a serving dish, sprinkle with a p[inch of paprika, parsley and spring onions.

It is also a good idea to drizzle a little olive oil over the top.

Serve with pita breads or any good heavy loaf of bread heated and broken up.

Try this chorizo starter as another meze option or if you are having guests try the Lamb shanks as a main meal.

Mild lamb curry

Mild lamb curry

curry-recipe

Aloo Gosht Mild Lamb curry

This is a really fabulous north Indian dish called Aloo Gosht that has all of the subtle spice flavours with only a hint of heat. The gravy is thick and tasty and the potatoes are soft and delicious. It is essential to use the seeds so if you haven’t been to Atlas trading in Cape Town or the Oriental Plaza for your spices yet, now is the time. (for 6 people)

What you need

1.5kg leg of lamb including the bone
400g potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 large onion finely chopped
2 bay leaves
pinch of turmeric powder
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 400g tin chopped peeled tomatoes
3 green chilis chopped
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
4 cm piece of ginger finely grated
1 cup water
2 tablespoons tomato paste

The process

Cut the meat from the bone and then into 3 or 4cm chunks. Keep the bone one side, we want to use the flavour from the marrow in the sauce which also helps to thicken the sauce.

In a pan over a low heat add the coriander seeds and the cumin seeds.Cook, tossing them around for a few minutes until the aroma reaches you. Romove from the pan and gring in a pestle and mortar(also available at spice shops)

Now place a cast iron casserole or large heavy base pot on the heat, add the oil, the onions and bay leaves and fry until the onions have browned.

Add the ground cumin and coriander seeds, turmeric and half the garam masala. Stir it and then add the tomatoes, chili, ginger and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes. You will notice the oil separating to the sides of the dish.

Add the tomato paste and water, stir. Add the lamb as well as the bone, mix to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Taste and season with salt.

Add the potatoes, the rest of the garam masala, give it a good stir, recover and simmer for a further 1 hour. Check on it every 15 minutes and give the pot a shake, if the meat is beginning to stick to the sides and there is not much liquid, add another 1/2 cup of boiling water.

Remove the bone and enjoy this thick and tasty lamb curry. Serve it with Yellow rice.

If you need a good North Indian chicken curry recipe try the Kerala country chicken.

Macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and cheese

macaroni-and-cheeseMacaroni and cheese is a staple in my kitchen and this is a really fantastic recipe that can be made with or without the bacon. It is really easy to vary a macaroni and cheese recipe by adding you favorite tasty extras like bacon, Vienna’s or even left over chicken. Macaroni and cheese makes for a really hearty meal.

What you need

500g macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon mustard powder
3 cups milk
1/2 cup onion finely copped
pinch paprika
250g bacon (sliced Vienna’s are great as well)
1 egg lightly beaten
350g cheddar grated
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

The process

Preheat oven to 200 Celsius, put a large pot of water on to boil, add salt and when the water is boiling, add a teaspoon of salt and your pasta. Follow the cooking times on your pasta package cooking until the pasta is al dente.

Cook the bacon and onion together is a separate pan until onion is translucent, remove from the heat.

In a pot on a medium heat melt the butter and when foaming add the flour, mix well with a spoon or whisk, add the mustard powder and mix constantly for 3 minutes or so to cook the flour. Add the milk and whisk furiously until the mixture is smooth, add the paprika and cooked bacon and onion mix, reduce heat and simmer slowly while you add the egg, 200g of the cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the mixture from the heat, drain the pasta and add to the cheese mix, fold it all together distributing the pasta evenly.

Pour the entire contents into a casserole dish and sprinkle over the rest of the cheese.

Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the topping is brown and crisp.

Serve immediately.

You can get a little creative and add peppadews to the topping as well as a few more bits of bacon. Have a look through some of the other pasta recipes. or this 3 cheese bolognese pasta recipe

Lamb cottage pie

Lamb cottage pie

sheperds-pieCottage pie is comfort food personified and this recipe uses chunks of lamb as opposed to mince which makes it more like a great chunky lamb stew with a baked mash crust. It’s really tasty and a complete meal. (6 people easily)

What you need

2kg lamb leg meat cut into smallish chucnks
4 sticks celery roughly chopped
4 carrots roughly chopped
1 onion chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
40g flour
3 cups beef stock
100g tomato paste (2 sachets)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
4 large potatoes chopped into cubes
1/3 cup milk
Parmesan cheese for topping
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Heat a little oil in a hot pan and seal the lamb chunks in small batches to brown the outside of each piece. Remove and set aside. You want the pan hot and the meat to brown quickly but not cook through. Don’t be tempted to add too much at a time, it will cool down the pan and the meat will stew.

Wipe the pan clean and heat a little more oil on medium, add the garlic, carrots, celery chunks and onions and cook until the onions are traslucent and beginning to soften nicely.

Now add the flour and cook for about a minute, stirring constantly.

Add back the lamb with all of the juices, the stock and tomato paste. stir it, increase the heat and bring it to the boil. Toss in the bay leaves and worcestershire sauce and simmer for about a minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Pour the entire contents into a baking dish, cover and bake for 1 hour.

Make your mash while the meat is in the oven and when ready, remove from the oven and a spoon over the mash, covering the top with about 5cm layer of mash. Then add the parmesan over the top and bake for 20 to 30 minutes uncovered until the mash has a golden brown crust.

Need another great winter recipe, try this Lamb casserole

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate

hot-chocolateWhat would winter nights be without hot chocolate? Not great…. This recipe uses real chocolate and perfect for winter weekend nights watching DVD’s. If you have a coffee machine, whip up some milk foam to top it off or just toss a few marshmallows for some real decadence.

Hot chocolate

2 cups cold milk
1/2 cup grated milk chocolate
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sugar to taste

The process

Warm the milk on the stove on a medium heat until steam comes off the top.

Add the grated chocolate and cinnamon and stir until the chocolate has melted. Simmer until the top begins to foam slightly.

Pour into mugs and top with marshmallows or milk foam. Sprinkle a little extra chocolate over the top or a pinch of cocoa powder.

Have this great hot chocolate with the blueberry cheesecake.

Cream of mushroom soup

Cream of mushroom soup

cream-of-mushroom-soup

Cream of mushroom soup

Cream of mushroom soup from a tin just does not do it for me and this recipe is easy, quick and tastes so good it’s worth printing and keeping in your collection. It’s a thick creamy mushroom soup that will warm up your winters around the table. (4 people)

What you need

1 large onion grated
3 heaped tablespoons butter about 50g
500g mushrooms (2/3 chopped and 1/3 sliced)
80ml flour
1 liter hot water
2 vegetable stock cubes
Juice of 1/2 a small lemon
salt black pepper
125ml cream

The process

In a pot on a medium heat melt the butter and gently cook the onions until they are soft.

Add about 2/3 of the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes until softened.

Sprinkle the flour over the onion and mushrooms and stir unril mixed together uniformly.

Dissolve the stock cubes in the water and add to the mixture along with the rest of the mushroom and the lemon juice and simmer, stirring constantly until the mushroom slices are soft.

Now add the cream, stir to combine, taste and season to your liking then remove from the heat. Stir for another 30 seconds and serve.

Have it as a starter with the buttefly lamb or the chicken schnitzels.

Smoky chicken and pea casserole

Smoky chicken and pea casserole

chicken-pea-casseroleThis is a real treat for those who love that pea and bacon combination. The chicken pieces turn out tender with a hint of the bacon flavour and combined with peas, well what can I say, it’s a combination made in heaven. (4 people)

What you need

200g bacon chopped very small
2 tablespoons butter
handfull of cocktail onions – about 12 or so
1.5kg skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
500g peas
salt and pepper
palm of chopped fresh parsley

The process

In a pan on a medium heat add the bacon pieces and onions, cook until the bacon is well done and the onions are browned a little. Remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add the chicken pieces and brown on both sides, remove and place in the bottom of a casserole dish.

Now add the butter and the flour, cook for a minute or 2, don’t allow the flour to burn. Add the chicken stock to the flour and butter mixture and stir vigerously until well blended.

Cover the chicken pieces with the bacon and onions, then pour over the stock and flour mixture. Cover and place in a pre heated 200 celsius oven for 30 minutes.

Now add the peas and the parsley, stir and place uncovered in the oven for a further 10- minutes.

Thats it, you have a fantastic meal.

Serve as is or with mashed potatoes.

For garlic lovers, you can happily add 2 teaspoons of garlic to the bacon pieces.

Try the bread and butter pudding to really top this off.

Gourmet burger

Gourmet burger

gourmet burger

Gourmet Burger

Burgers are social things that we all at some stage compare, I know from experience of making these how everyone relates, “better than a steers burger” and then the, I once had a burger…. stories. These are seriously yummy and you run the risk of never having a take out burger again. All it really is, is a start and then you get creative. This makes 4-6 burgers depending on the size of your rolls.

What you need

750g lean beef mince
1 cup homemade breadcrumbs (take a few slices of stale bread or bread dried in the oven on a low heat and place in a blender)
1 medium onion grated or finely chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

The process

In a pan on a low heat cook the onions till soft.

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl(use your hands it works better) and form into patties that are about 20% larger than you burger roll.

Fry in a little oil over a medium heat until browned nicely.

if you are having cheese with your burger, place it on top of the patty when you turn it over on the pan and the cheese will melt while its cooking. You know the rest, mayonnaise, tomato chutney, mustard lettuce, onions etc.

More often than not, I top my burgers with a fried egg… reminiscent of the days when we used to stop at Bimbo’s in Rosebank for an egg burger after the jol in Hillbrow… Good times I tell you.

If you enjoy this, you are gonna love the spaghetti meatballs recipe, it’s real home style Italian cooking or this Oxtail stew.

Chicken and fennel casserole

Chicken and fennel casserole

chicken-tomato-casseroleWhile on a mission to find something really different in a casserole I came across this fabulous recipe which uses canellini beans and fennel. Fennel is rarely used in SA for some reason and the combinations here really work well. The best part is that it is really a 1 pot wonder, with everything you need for a balanced meal. It takes just a few minutes to prepare and really well worth it. (4 people)

What you need

8-10 skinless chicken thighs
1 – 2 tablespoon flour
2 onions roughly chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 fenel bulb sliced finely
1 bay leaf
Zest and juice of 1 orange
400g tin chopped peeled tomatoes
400g tin canellini beans drained
Salt and pepper
Oil

The process

Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and toss around with your hands to coat, use a little more flour but not more than 2 tablespoons if need be.

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius and have a casserole dish ready.

Heat a little oil in a large pot and brown the chicken pieces, remove and place in the casserole dish.

Wipe the pot with kitchen paper and add a touch more oil, cook the onions, fennel and garlic until beginning to brown on the edges.

Add the tomatoes, beans, rind and juice of the orange, bay leaf and finally season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir it around, pour over the chicken pieces, cover and place nto the oven for 45 minutes.

Thats it, serve with crusty bread and enjoy.

The chicken and tomato casserole is really quick and easy, if you like this type of chicken recipe.

Famous Chinese chicken

Famous Chinese chicken

chinese-chickenWhen I first read this recipe it sounded really strange but was really delicious and unlike anything else I have tasted in any Chinese restaurant before. I am a big fan of Chinese food with Mr Chan on Seapoint Main Rd being my alltime favorite restaurant. It has a really rich flavor and best served with plain steamed rice, very simple and fast recipe.(4 people)

What you need

1.5kg chicken thighs in bite size pieces
3 egg yolks lightly beaten
1/2 cup All gold tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
Pepper
Oil for deep frying

The process

Lightly beat the egg yolks, and set a wok on medium high with oil for deep frying

Mix together the tomato sauce, wine and soy sauce in a seperate bowl and set aside.

Place all of the chicken pieces into the egg yolk and mix around to coat thoroughly.

Take individual pieces of chicken from the egg and place into the oil.(you want each piece to be separate) Do this in small batches, until all all of the chicken is golden brown, remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper.

Remove all of the oil of the wok and wipe down. Place the sauce into the wik and bring to the boil, allowing it to boil for about a minute and reduce slightly.

Toss all of the chicken pieces into the sauce, mix well to coat and heat through.

Serve immediately.

As a second dish try this tasty pak choy recipe