Roast tomato soup

Roast tomato soup

roast-tomato-soupWhen you roast tomatoes, they become soft and sweet and are just delicious in this soup. It’s a bit like a winter version of a Gazpacho and leaves you with a really fresh and satisfied feeling. It’s a great starter in the winter, rustic and chunky. (4 to 6 people)

What you need

12 – 14 ripe tomatoes halved
1 whole head garlic
2 medium onions
1 liter water
2 vegetable stock cubes
Palm of chopped fresh basil
Palm of chopped fresh mint
Salt and black pepper

The process

On a baking tray, place the tomatoes, garlic head and onions, drizzle over a little olive oil and roast at 160 Celsius for about 45 minutes until the garlic and onions are light brown.

Peel the onions and chop them roughly. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins. Chop up the tomatoes, half roughly and half as finely as you can.

In a large pot, add the vegetable stock, garlic, tomatoes and onions and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. If you have a hand blender and want it a little less chunky, just give it a few short bursts in the pot.

Add the basil and mint and season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve with warm garlic bread.

Fantastic and well worth the effort.

Portuguese custard tarts

Portuguese custard tarts

custard-tart

Portuguese custard tart

These little beauties are in most bakeries and if you are a Vida fan you will probably have had them before and nowadays, with prepared pastry being freely available in the frozen food section of the supermarket you can whip up a batch in about 45 minutes.(makes 8 to 10)

What you need

400g frozen puff pastry thawed

Filling
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons maizena (corn flour)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

The process

If you don’t have the individual patty tins, a muffin tin works just as well. None of those silicone muffin trays, it must be a metal one. Spray well with spray and cook or butter thoroughly.

Dust a surface with flour and roll out the pastry until it is very thin, about 3mm thick
all over.

Cut into 10 or 12cm circles depending on the size of your tins and place into the tins so
that the pastry comes up the sides of the tin and set aside.

Filling

In a pot over a low heat add the water and sugar and stir until the sugar has completely
dissolved, simmer for a further minute or 2 while you continue.

Mix the maizena with a little of the milk to form a paste. In bowl add all of the milk and
the maizena paste and add to the sugar, whisk and add the egg yolks and vanilla, whisk
again thoroughly and simmer stirring constantly until the custard thickens.

Remove from heat, and place a piece of clingfilm over the top to prevent a skin from
forming and leave to cool.

Heat the oven to 200 Celsius.

Fill the pastry shells to 3/4 full and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until the top of
the custard is golden brown and firm to the touch.

Yummy….

Try the portuguese Trinchado recipe

Chicken and vegetable soup

Chicken and vegetable soup

chicken-vegetable-soupWith the warning of heavy rains and 2 cold fronts approaching Cape Town this weekend I decided to make a pot of this fantastic chicken and vegetable soup that takes 20 minutes tops to make and a large French loaf and a good book prepared for a weekend indoors. (4 large servings)

What you need

1 large potato diced
2 large carrots sliced
2 leeks sliced finely
2 celery sticks chopped (leaves included)
1 onion halved and sliced finely
2 large skinless boneless chicken breast sliced finely
handfull of flatleaf parsley chopped
2 chicken stock cubes crumbled
About 1 liter water
Olive oil
Pepper

The process

first off, be sure that you wash the vegetables thoroughly, especially the leeks, they have a tendency to have sand hiding in between the layers. Chop and slice away.

Heat a pot on a meadium heat with some olive oil and add the vegetables. Stir them around to sweat them a little and begin to soften.

Add the water and crumble in the 2 stock cubes, bring it to the boil and then add the chicken slices.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so with the lid on and lastly toss in the parsley, season with pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Thats it, you are done.

Serve with warm crusty French loaf.

Tip: When adding the water, ensure that the vegetables are covered completely and don’t worry about the little bit of oil on the surface, it’s perfectly good if you used olive oil
and adds extra flavor.

Double up if need be and leave it on the stove to reheat whenever you feel the need.

Tuscan chicken casserole

Tuscan chicken casserole

tuscan-chicken

Tuscan chicken casserole

Here is something really homely and heartwarming. It takes a while in the oven but just a few minutes to prepare, perfect for weekend wintery dinners, just let it cook and fill the house with delicious smells. It’s so simple you wont believe how great it tastes.(4 to 5 people)

What you need

8 skinless chicken thighs
2 medium onions sliced
4 slices bacon chopped
4 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 chicken stock cube
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon sage (if using fresh sage, 3 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon rosemary (if using fresh rosemary, 3 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons maizena
salt and pepper

The process

Heat the oven to 180 Celsius and get out a casserole dish with a lid.

Place the chicken pieces in the bottom of the casserole dish, sprinkle over the bacon and onions.

Mix the lemon juice, vinegar, hot water, stock cube and the herbs and pour over the chicken.

Place in the oven for about 45 minutes and then mix the maizena(corn flour) with a little water, about 3 tablespoons and mix into the liquid in the casserole dish and season with salt and black pepper.

return to the oven for another 15 minutes or so.

Thats it, done.

Serve with rice or bioled baby potatoes or this warm potato salad

Recession proof lamb casserole

Recession proof lamb casserole

lamb-neck-casserole

Lamb casserole

This s a very simple and delicious lamb neck casserole that is surprisingly tasty. You can use neck or braai chops. Both are fairly fatty cuts of meat so trim them slghtly or if you are like me, just use them as is… I’m a sucker for the flavour from fatty meats.( for 4 to 5 people)

What you need

6 lamb neck or braai chops
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
1 beef stock cube
4 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons maizena

The process

In a pot on a medium to high heat, add a little oil and brown the chops.

While they are browning, mix together all of the rest of the ingredients except the maizena and pour into the pot with the browned chops.

bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer with a lid on for 1 1/2 hours.

Now mix the maizena with a little water and mix into the liquid and alow to simmer for a few minutes more until the sauce thickens.

Done….

Serve with yellow rice, your favorite veggies steamed and tossed in butter.

Quick Tandoori beef casserole

Quick Tandoori beef casserole

tandoori-beef-casseroleThis is another one of those super quick casseroles that you will make over and over again in the winter. make it as spicy or mild as you like. (4 people)

What you need

500 – 600g beef cubed
1 large onion halved and sliced
1 teaspoon corainder powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspon cumin
3 tablespoons chutney
1 tablespon soy sauce
1/2 cup plain yoghurt

The process

Heat the oven to 180 Celsius

Mix together all of the ingredients except the yoghurt, you can do it straight in the casserole dish.

Cover the casserole. If you don’t have a lid for your dish, just cover with foil and seal as best you can around the edges.

Bake in the oven for 90 minutes.

Remove from the oven and mix in the yoghurt, return to the oven, cover up again and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Serve with rice and try the Cucumber Raita, it goes perfectly with this one.

Rock cakes

Rock cakes

rock-cake

Rock Cakes

Every now and then while at the bread counter, I spot these rock cakes which are great for any anytime snack with your tea. They are really simple, excellent for lunch boxes and really just great to have around the kitchen. They are uncomplicated to make and are easily spiced up with a little all spice and nutmeg. This is the basic recipe, try a batch and then if you feel adventurous, add a different flavouring.

What you need

1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
90g butter
2 heaped tablespoons sugar
1 egg, well beaten
2 tablespoons milk
3 heaped tablespoons currants or sultanas

The process

Grease a baking tray with oil and line with grease proof paper, alternatively greasewell with butter and you don’t need to line it. heat the oven to 200 Celsius

In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder and then add the butter. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until there is no dry flour in the bowl.

Add the egg, milk, sugar and raisins and mix to combine well.

Place heaed tablespoons of mixture onto the baking tray, leaving room for spreading and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the top[s are lightly browned.

remove and cool on a wire rack.

Very straight forward and delicious.

Lamb stew

Lamb stew

lamb_stew

Lamb Stew

It really doesn’t get much easier than this one and I like it just as it is without any vegetables in the meat, it becomes so easy to make it into a curry or add any other herbs or spices that grab me on the day (which sometimes includes adding veggies if I am feeleing a bit lazy). It should come out really thick, a little sticky in fact and I don’t know what the sugar really does, but man oh man, it makes a huge difference.

What you need

125g diced streaky bacon (1/2 packet)
1.5kg lamb cubed (ideally, leg of lamb)
1 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons sugar
250ml beef stock
50ml tomato paste
Robertsons salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oil

The process

Heat the oven to 180 Celsius and have your casserole dish standing by.

Take the flour and place in a bowl, season with a little salt and pepper.

In a pan on a medium heat with a little oil cook the diced bacon and onion, place in your casserole dish once cooked.

Now add a little more oil to the pan, place small amounts of the lamb cubes into the flour, cost them and place into the pan to brown. As they are ready, place them into the casserole with the bacon.

Add the beef stock, sugar and tomato paste to the pan and stir to combine and remove any bits from the base of the pan.

Pour over the meat in the casserole dish and place in the oven for 1 hour.

Done and delicious, serve with boiled baby potatoes/ mash or rice and peas.

Roast chicken pieces with Mexican rice

Roast chicken pieces with Mexican rice

chicken_riceThis is a seriously tasty meal that has become a favorite of mine. The most important thing is to prepare the rice in chicken stock and not water, it adds an essential element to the dish. I have not include the chili in this one, but you can add 2 teaspoons of chili powder to add the heat.(for 6 people)

What you need

1.5kg chicken pieces
2 chicken stock cubes

2 cups rice
5 cups chicken stock

1 red pepper finely diced
1 yellow pepper finely diced
1 small onion finely diced
1 medium tomato diced (remove the seeds)
I teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder

The process

Heat the oven to 200 Clesius, rub the chicken pieces with the stock cubes ensuring the skin is well covered, place on a rack in the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes until cooked through.

While you cook the rice in the chicken stock, chop up all of the vegetables.

In a pan on a medium to hot heat, add the garlic, onions, diced peppers, cumin and coriander. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent, then add the diced tomato and cook for about a further 3 minutes tossing every now and then.

Drain the rice of any excess stock in a sieve and add to the pan with the vegetables. Toss to combine well.

Serve a nice pile of the rice toped of with a few chicken pieces.

Delicious.

If you like spicy food, you want to try this spicy chorizo, it’s just the most fantastic starter.

Chickpea lamb

Chickpea lamb

chicpea-lambChickpeas are so good for you and in the winter we need every last natural vitamin and mineral we can get to keep colds and flu away and here is a great recipe. It’s go a nice bite to it and smacks of North Africa. It needs some marinate time so prepare the night before or in the morning. It doesn’t take long to cook. (enough for 4)

What you need

6-700g lamb fillet thinly sliced
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
60ml oil
Grated rind of 2 large lemons
Juice of 2 large lemons
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 red pepper thinly sliced
1 can chickpeas (420g)

The process

In a large bowl make a marinade by adding the garlic, cumin, coriander, chili, lemon rind and 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the sliced lamb and mix to coat well. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Drain the liquid from the chickpeas, rinse under cold water and set aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in a pan on a hot heat and stir fry small amounts of lamb and onions to brown well, remove and set aside.

Now stir fry the red peppers for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the lamb and onions along with the chickpeas and lemon juice, toss around until evenly distributed.

That’s it.

Serve with couscous and stir fried spinach.