Bread and butter pudding

Bread and butter pudding

Bread and Butter Pudding

Bead and butter pudding is one of those desserts that seem to really bring a family together and get them chatting at the end of a meal. Its warm, homely, moreish and smells great. I know it’s been so hot in SA lately but serve this with a dollop of great vanilla ice cream or shipped cream and you have a winner.

What you need

Crustless bread cut into triangles (I sometimes leave the crusts on of they are thin)
Apricot jam
Coconut grated (optional)
1/4 cup Raisins andcurrants (optional)
2 eggs
750ml milk
125ml sugar

The process

Butter and jam bread generously.

Arrange bread triangles overlapping slightly in an ovenproof dish, if using coconut, sprinkle over the bread.

Beat eggs, add sugar and milk then pour it over the bread and leave to soak for 30 mins. Sprinkle over the currants and raisins.

Bake at 160 celsius for 1 hour or until the top is browning lightly and the custard mixture is heaving underneath the bread.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream

Simple, done and dusted.

Eggs Benedict with Asparagus and Bacon

Eggs Benedict with Asparagus and Bacon

Eggs Benedict with Bacon and Asparagus

This is a really great meal as a breakfast or a lunch, I also like to add bacon to this one but it is just as good without. It’s really important to use a toasted English muffin, the slight sweetness of the muffin adds a whole new dimension to the flavour and the crunchy outside with the soft airy inside makes all the difference. Also use the small asparagus spears, they are soft and tender. (makes 4 eggs benedicts – 2 people)

What you need

1 small punnet baby asparagus (about 20 spears or so)
2 tablespoons butter
4 large fresh eggs
2 English muffins halved and toasted

Hollandaise sauce

3 egg yolks (large)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
180g butter that has been melted
Salt and pepper

The process
Start by heating the water in your egg poacher while you prepare the asparagus.

In a pan on a medium heat, add the butter and when foaming add the asparagus. Cook them for about 4 0r 5 minutes until soft on the outside or until slightly browned bits begin to appear on the skin. Set the aside keeping them warm. If you are using bacon as well, use 2 slices of bacon per 1/2 muffin, cook and set aside.

I use a poacher to poach my eggs which need to be medium with a soft center and usually takes about 3 minutes.

While the eggs are poaching make the Hollandaise sauce and toast the muffins.

Place the 3 egg yolks and the lemon juice in a blender or the container of a hand blitzer and give them a blits for about 30 seconds, then add the melted butter in a slow stream while blitzing and the sauce becomes thick, glossy and smooth.

That’s it, place the bacon and asparagus onto the toasted muffin, then top with an egg and drizzle over the Hollandaise sauce and give a little grin of black pepper and salt.

Absolutely delicious!

Valentines day recipes

Valentines day recipes

Valentines day

A romantic dinner doesn’t mean you have to spend hours preparing the food and here are a few really great ideas for Valentines day from 2011 and a few 2012 additions.

2012 Valentines day recipe ideas

Valentines day Breakfast Flapjacks or the French Toast (I know the recipe says fathers day, but it’s a winner recipe)

Tuna with Mango Salsa takes just minutes and is really fantastic for those wanting a lighter meal.

Chicken Cacciatore is always a good one for special occasions.

Greek lamb Shanks – These do need time but is a very simple dish to put together. Serve it with some vegetables, Cauliflower with Leeks and bacon or the Mediterranean Vegetable salad

Easy Tiramisu

Malva Pudding

2011 Valentines day recipe ideas

Easy smoked salmon and shrimp pasta

Lemon and Ginger Chicken

Lamb Rogan Josh (This takes a while but is worth every minute if you are a curry person)

You just gotta love Valentines day. For me Valentines day is all about the dessert, something you can share that just rounds of the evening so here are a few ideas.

There are few who can resist a great dessert, so blow your lover away with a meal to remember.

Give them a try, you will love them.

Pears in Maple syrup is very simple and tastes phenomenal.

Lemon flan

Meringues or the Eton Mess

Warm cherries with cinnamon and ice cream

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Happy Valentines day to you all.

Mixed mince meatloaf

Mixed mince meatloaf

pork and beef meatloaf recipe

Mixed mince meat loaf

The mixture of pork and beef with a hint of sage in this meatloaf recipe is something quite marvelous. I am a big fan of meatloaf, it’s cheap, makes a great easy dinner and is fantastic on sandwiches. It’s really important to use extra lean mince especially with the pork and to keep it nice and moist either put a bowl of water in the oven when cooking it or put the loaf tin in a roasting pan with some water in it.

What you need

1 small onion grated
1 medium carrot grated
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage (or 1 heaped teaspoon dry sage)
300g lean pork mince
200g lean beef mince
1/2 cup breadcrumds
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 teaspoon English mustard (optional)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

The process

Prepare a baking tray or small loaf tin(17cmx11cmx8cm) by smearing it with a little oil and heat your oven to 180 Celsius.

In a pan on a medium heat add the onion and carrot and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes until it begins to soften, add the garlic and cook, stirring every 30 seconds or so for another 3 or 4 minutes.

Now add the sage and give it a good mix through and then remove from the pan and place into a large mixing bowl.

Add the pork mince, beef mince, breadcrumbs, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and the mustard if you decide to use it. Now get you hands in there and mix it well to evenly distribute all of the vegetables. Give it a light seasoning with a bit of salt and black pepper and then a final mix.

If you are using a baking tray, place it into the center of the tray and form into a loaf shape or place into your loaf tin and pack it down quite well.

Place in the oven with an oven proof bowl containing about 500ml water.

Bake at 180 Celsius for 45 minutes until the loaf is firm. If you are serving it hot, allow it to cool slightly for about 5-10 minutes before turning out and slicing.

Serve with peas and mash or any of your favourite vegetables.

Here is a more traditional meatloaf recipe with tomato sauce topping.

Toad in the Hole

Toad in the Hole

traditional english toad in the hole recipe

Toad in the hole

Don’t let the few ingredients fool you on this Toad in the hole recipe, it is fantastic. The batter will rise and rise and you will be tempted to open the oven, but resist and you will be rewarded with a puffed up Yorkshire pud that is hard to beat. If the areas below the sausages are a little wet don’t fret, this is exactly what you are meant to have. (for 3-4 people)

What you need

6-8 pork/beef sausages
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
225g plain flour (it is important to measure it)
4 large eggs
250ml full cream milk

The process

Heat your oven to 200 Celsius while you prepare, it is very important to place the dish in a hot oven.

You can use a metal roasting pan or an oven proof dish for this recipe that should be something close to 30cm x 20cm and have sides at least 7cm high.

Add the oil to your dish or pan and arrange the sausages in the base, place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes to cook the sausages while you prepare the Yorkshire pudding recipe. I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to get good quality sausages, some sausages have way too much fat in them and shrink down to these little tiddlers.

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, 3/4 of the milk and eggs, whisk it to a smooth consistency and then add the last of the milk in 2 portions mixing well between each addition. You will have a nice smooth, quite runny consistency. Season with a little salt and white pepper, give it a final whisk and transfer to a jug.

Take the sausage out of the oven and with tongs or a fork, move them around a bit so that none of the sausages are stuck to the bottom and try to leave equal spaces between the sausages. Now slowly pour the mixture in between the sausages so that they are almost covered.

Return to the oven for about 40 minutes and watch the Yorkshire pudding rise. It will rise above the edge of the dish. Check after 35 minutes or so to ensure that it does not burn. The Yorkshire pud should be a deep brown. puffed up and the sausages should be partly visible.

Serve straight away with a nice gravy. There is no reason why you could not use chicken sausages if you are averse to meat!

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower with bacon and leeks

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower with bacon and leeks

baked cauliflower with bacon and leeks

Baked Cauliflower

Cauliflower on it’s own is not one of my favourite vegetables but this recipe makes Cauliflower an entire meal or a side vegetable dish that tastes fantastic and will feature on my plates with steaks, chicken and roasts regularly from now on. It’s very easy to make not for weight watchers but well worth it. This makes enough for 6-8 people as a vegetable side dish perfect for Sunday Roasts or a whole meal for 4 as a weekday quick meal. It will keep in the fridge for a few days so go for it, make a full portion.

What you need

1 large cauliflower
2 leeks thinly sliced
1 250g packet bacon
150ml milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
500ml cheese sauce (bought is also okay
3 or 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
handfull of grated cheddar cheese

The process

Break the cauliflower into florets and steam or boil for about 10 minutes until tender but still with a little crunch.

While that is going on, fry your bacon and then add the finely sliced leeks, cook for a minute or two until the leeks have softened, add the mustard and give it a quick mix, remove and set aside.

Place the cooked cauliflower into an oven dish, sprinkle over most of the bacon and leek mixture and then give it a turn to mix in the bacon and leeks. Sprinkle the remainder of leek and bacon mix over the top.

If you are making your cheese sauce start now.

Pour the cheese sauce over the top and then mix together the breadcrumbs and olive oil in a separate bowl, mix, add the grated cheese, mix, sprinkle over the top.

Bake in a 200 Celsius oven for 15 minutes. Thats it, a delicious vegetable dish.

If you like the sound of this recipe, try the baked potato recipe and be sure to read the comments for tips on getting crisp skins.

Mediterranean vegetable salad

Mediterranean vegetable salad

Mediterranean vegetable salad

This is fantastic vegetable dish that can be served hot as a vegetable on the side of a roast beef or cold as a salad or even as a snack at the braai with some ciabatta or other crusty bread. It has such a great flavour a vegetarian would be happy with a bowl of it on it’s own. Give this a try, it’s a perfect summer, eat oudoors vegetable dish, kids who are not mad for vegetables will even enjoy it. (enough for 6 people)

What you need

2 large eggplants cut into small cubes
2 medium onions thinly sliced
4 celery sticks chopped
1 x tin chopped peeled tomatoes (400g)
about 100g or a handfull of bottled green olives
2 tablespoons capers
Olive Oil
120ml white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar

The process

In a pan on a medium to high heat, add about 3 tablespoons olive oil add the eggplant cubes and cook until they are browned. remove from the pan leaving as much of the oil as possible and drain on kitchen paper.

To the same pan, add the onions and fry until they are browned and soft, this should take about 10-15 minutes. Now add the celery and cook for about another 4-5 minutes, add the tomatoes with their liquid, the vinegar, cater sugar, olives and capers, mix and allow to simmer for 5 minutes or so.

Finally add the eggplant to the mixture and simmer with the lid off for another 10 minutes, taste and season with pepper and salt.

Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

It is best to make this salad the day before and leave it in the fridge overnight before serving, the flavours all meld together beautifully.

Remove from the fridge an hour or so before serving if you are having it cold or pop in the micro for a few minutes if you are having it warm.

Chicken and baby potato salad

Chicken and baby potato salad

Chicken potato salad

It is so hot right now that a great salad that has all the makings of a roast is just what I need. Try this Chicken and baby potato salad with peas and greens, it is really fantastic and depending on how you feel, you can have the chicken and potatoes warm or cold. Try it tonight, your family will love it. (4 people as a main meal)

What you need

500g baby potatoes boiled and halved
4 chicken breasts roasted/grilled/poached your choice (I like to roast them in the oven with a little salt and pepper on the bone and leave the skin on)
250g frozen peas thawed in boiling water
Leafy Greens like rocket, pea shoots, flat leaf parsley, leafy lettuce, not iceberg.

75ml olive oil
2 teaspoons mustard
Juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic

The process

Cook your chicken however you choose and then shred it. If you have roasted it with the skin, remove the skin and chop it into thin slivers then shred the chicken. Add to a large bowl.

In a large pan with a generous amount of olive oil and a blob of butter on a medium heat, add you halved baby potatoes and cook them until they are browned nicely. Drain on a paper towl and add to the chicken.

Now add the peas and most of the greens that have been ripped into smaller pieces. Leave a few large pieces of salad greens to put on the bottom of the plate.

In a separate bowl add all of the dressing ingredients and whick thoroughly. Pour over the chicken mixture and toss to coat everything in the salad. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

place one or two of the larger leafy greens on the plate and then pile up a generous amount of the salad. Serve as is or with a piece of crusty warm Ciabatta bread.

It’s a really easy and tasty summer meal. Next time I will add a few baby beetroot that have been halved on the top or a few snap peas for some extra depth.

Don’t forget to try this amazing Bunch recipe, its become one of my favourites.

Perfect Brunch

Perfect Brunch

brunch recipe

Brunch recipe

When you have had a busy weekend with friends and family and have all sorts of leftovers, or if you just want something a little different for breakfast or brunch, try this fantastic recipe. It is full of flavour, is inexpensive and can easily be adapted to what you have in the fridge. The only thing I will recommend that yoyu make sure you add is some fresh basil. If you don;t have fresh basil, go out to PnP or a nursery and get yourself a basil plant, they grow like weeds and you will always have fresh basil for those simple pasta dishes which are brilliant after the punishing your credit card took over December or for end of month tasty meals. This serves 4 quite easily and will keep in the fridge for a few days.

What you need

1 x tin butter beans (400g)
Palm of fresh basil ripped (about 10 leaves)
1 x vegetable stock cube (chicken is also fine)
400g cooked potatoes (use leftover potatoes if you have or just boil up a few)
200g cherry tomatoes
1/3 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
150g green beans chopped
6 – 8 pork/beef sausages cooked and sliced
Salt and pepper
oil for frying
Eggs (however many you like per person)

The process

Drain the liquid off the butter beans and place in a bowl. Give them a light crush with a fork, you are after a broken bean not a mash.

Add most of the basil leaves by ripping them up fairly small and dropping them into the bowl. Now take the stock cube and crumble it into the bowl.

If you are using the chili flakes, add them now and then add the potatoes, green beans cherry tomatoes. (Your patoates should also be quite rustic looking, cut into bite size bits or baby potatoes that have been crushed)

Now add the sliced sausages and give them all a good mix to combine all of the flavours. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat some oil in a large non stick frying pan and cook on a medium heat for 8-10 minutes giving it a mix occasionally until you get a nice little crust forming.

Give each person a generous portion and top with one or two eggs and a few bits of ripped basil.

A really nice variation is to use left over pumpkin or butternut to the mixture.

This is a fantastic breakfast or a hearty home style meal that you can serve with a little salad on the side.

Chicken and Prawn Rice

Chicken and Prawn Rice

Chicken and prawn stir fry

Chicken and Prawn Stirfry

One of my favourite Chinese meals is chicken and prawn fried rice that I order about 8 of 10 times I have Chines takeout so I set out to find an easy to prepare alternative that tastes just as good as the local Chinese takeout. It’s really important to have a very hot wok or pan when you start and to work quickly, making sure that the ingredients get a quick scalding that adds a bit of colour. This is for 2 hungry people and it wont keep for long if you use the prawns so take whatever you have left to work for you.

What you need

250g basmati rice
50ml sweet chili sauce (about 4 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 large chicken breasts or 4 thighs, deboned and cut into bite size pieces
Handfull of green beans sliced through the center and cut into 5cm pieces
1 red pepper sliced finely
150g of uncooked skinless prawns
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 eggs lightly beaten
5 or 6 spring onions sliced diagonally
sesame seeds
Oil for frying

The process

Cook up the rice by following the instructions on the pack. You don’t have to use basmati rice, any rice really and in fact if you are a little more health concious than I am, use brown rice. Once cooked, drain in a sieve, place back over the pot and cover with a dish cloth to keep it warm.

In a bowl add the soy sauce, sweet chili sauce and the sesame oil, give it a whisk with a fork and set aside.

Now heat your wok or large pan to very hot, add the oil and it should give off a little smoke. Now toss in the chicken pieces and move them around quickly for about 3 minutes. They should colour easily and be nice and golden in places. Remove them and set aside.

Add a little more oil, then the beans and red peppers, quickly move them around until they begin to colour. This should also only take about 2 or 3 minutes. Now add the prawns, garlic and ginger and quickly move them around until the prawns colour and the meat is turning white, also about 2-3 minutes.

Now add the cooked rice and mix well, fliipping it with your spatula to combine all of the ingredients and heat them. Make a space on one side, add the egg and allow it to cook for a few seconds, then use a fork to break it up and mix into the rice.

Now add the chicken, the sauce and the spring onions, stir and move around until it’s all steaming andf ready for the plate.

It sounds like a lot of work but really it’s quite simple. Be sure you have a large pan if you do not have a wok or do it in 2 halves, the process is quick enough.