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.

Deep fried tuna nuggets

Deep fried tuna nuggets

Fish batter

Fish batter

I had a great time down the Natal South coast over Easter where we went deep sea fishing. We hauled out a few yellow fin Tuna but with 3, 12 year old boys with us, seared tuna was off the menu so I tried out a simple batter and it turned out great. (Of course we had a fair amount a sashimi as well) You can use this simple batter for any fried fish. It could not be easier. (5 people)

What you need

500g fresh tuna
1/2 cup self raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
about 2 cups ice cold water (beer or soda water will add to the flavor and crispness)

The process

Mix you batter by adding the self raising flour and salt to a bowl and then adding 3/4 of the water. Whisk until the batter is smooth. It should resemble pancake batter. Then add more water until you get the right consistency.

Heat a pot of oil to medium hot, (5 on a mximum 6 plate)

Cut your tuna into nuggets about 3cm square or into smaller slices as if you were cutting for sashimi. Drop 4 or 5 nuggets into the oil and move them around a bit until golden and crisp. If you want irregular shaped nuggets that very crisp, grab a few slices of tuna(sashimi slices) in you finger tips, dip them in the batter and then into the oil.

With very cold batter the oil foams up instantly so be careful!

Drain the nuggets on paper or in a sieve, squeeze over a little lemon and dip into soy, mayo or whatever you prefer. A side salad is a good idea, but on our boys weekend… not a chance.

The result was fantastic, light crisp batter that we could all not get enough of.

Here is another great fish batter with a touch of paprika and the Tuna with mango salsa is a real winner, I am doing it tonight.

Meatballs with Ratatouille

Meatballs with Ratatouille

Meatballs with ratatouille

Meatballs with ratatouille

This is budget cooking at it’s best that tastes fantastic. The meatballs recipe and the ratatouille recipe can be used together or separately and you can use whatever starch you have available. It’s a great recipe to serve with creamy mashed potato, rice, potato bake or even just some nice warm ciabatta. (4 people)

What you need

Meatballs

1/2kg beef mince
1 small onion finely chopped or grated
1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ cup breadcrumbs

For a little something special if you have a lemon in the fridge, finely grate about ½ teaspoon of lemon rind as well.

Ratatouille

1 large onion sliced thickly and halved
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 green pepper sliced
1/2 cup chopped eggplant
1 cup roughly chopped baby marrows
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup vegetable or chicken stock

The process

Mix all of the Meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Take dessert spoons of the mixture and roll them into small balls that you could easily pop whole into your mouth.

In a pan on a medium heat, add a little oil and fry the meatballs until they are nicely browned all over. Give the pan a shake to move them around every now and then. Set aside on kitchen paper to drain.

Heat a little more oil in the pan, add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are soft.

Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and cook them all until the green pepper is quite soft. Now add the tinned tomatoes with all the liquid, the stock and tomato paste, simmer for 10 minutes or so until the sauce thickens up a bit.

Place the meatballs on top of the mixture and simmer for another few minutes to heat the meatballs.

That’s that, serve straight from the pot. Try the meatballs with onion gravy or the spaghetti meatballs while you are making meatballs.

Chicken sausage with creamy mashed potato

Chicken sausage with creamy mashed potato

Chicken sausage

Chicken sausage

I came across these chicken sausages that were herbed and looked fantastic uncooked and decided to do a straight forward sausage and mash with caramelized onions. It tasted really good and will be a regular week day meal for me. This is a simple recipe to adjust for 1 to many people. (4 people)

What you need

1kg chicken sausage sliced in half lengthwise

4 large onions sliced thinly
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar

Mashed potato

8 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
½ cup hot milk
Salt to taste

The process

In a pan on a medium to low heat, melt the butter, add the onions and allow to cook until soft. Stir them from time to time. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are sticky and brown with very liquid left.

Boil the potatoes in water until soft, drain, add back to the pot and mash with a potato masher. Add the hot milk and mash until smooth. Taste and season with salt, this can also be done in a microwave just as effectively. Place a lid on the mash to keep warm while you cook the sausage.

Now all that I left is to cook the chicken sausage, which take just 2 or 3 mintes. Heat a little oil in a pan and cook the halved sausage until nicely browned and cooked.

Pile a generous amount of the onions on the sausage and mash.

Serve with soft fried tomato seasoned with salt and pepper.

Caramelized onions can be kept for a few days in the fridge, so don’t be shy. This Mediterranean Chicken sausage recipe is another of my favorites.

Mediterranean chicken sausage

Mediterranean chicken sausage

Mediterranean chicken

Mediterranean chicken

Chicken sausages are really great when you only have a few minutes to prepare a tasty wholesome meal. This recipe is great for those on a no carb diet or simply add some nice creamy mashed potato and you have a tasty, filling meal meal for the whole family. This chicken sausage recipe is a Mediterranean style and fresh basil leaves make a huge difference so don’t leave them out. I like to use the thin wors style chicken sausage so if you are using thicker sausage just poach for a little while longer. (for 4 people but easy to adjust for single servings)

What you need

750g chicken sausage
1 large onion halved and sliced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
3 small eggplants or about 250g thinly sliced, skin left on
8 baby marrows thinly sliced diagonally
Handful of cherry tomatoes halved
Handful of chopped fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

The process

Add about 3cm of water to a pan, pop in the sausage, bring to the boil and poach for about 3 minutes to cook through. If you are using the thicker sausage poach for about 5 minutes. Once cooked slice them into 1/2 cm diagonal strips.

While the sausage is poaching, add a little olive oil to a wok or pan on a medium to high heat and stir fry the onions and garlic until you get little browned bits on the edges. Add the sausage and toss it around until the sausage browns slightly on the edges, remove and set aside.

Add a little more oil, the eggplant slices, baby marrows and halved tomatoes and stir fry until the vegetables begin to soften. Don’t wait until they are pap or very soft, the recipe is a fresh wholesome recipe with the veg more heated than cooked with the veg still firm.

Now add the sausage mixture back to the pan, add the chopped basil, season with salt and pepper, toss around and that is that, you are done.

You should also serve it with a fine grating of parmesan cheese. Try the Chicken and potato hotpot for something really special.

Garlic prawns

Garlic prawns

Steamed garlic prawns

Steamed garlic prawns

This is the easiest garlic prawn recipe you will come across and is extremely tasty. I love to serve it with a simple vegetable stir fry that has a large handful of bean sprouts tossed into it instead of carrots. They are steamed and by far the best steamers are the bamboo steamers that you get at any oriental supermarket. (for 2 on their own or 4 with another Chinese dish, try the pineapple duck)

What you need

400 – 500g large prawns cleaned and without heads
2 heaped teaspoons crushed garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine or sherry
1 teaspoon olive oil
good grinding of black pepper

The process

Get some water boiling furiously on the stove or your steamer really sending it.

On a plate that will fit inside your steamer you want to layer your prawns covering the entire plate.

Whisk together all of the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl to really combine the flavours and then pour the sauce over the prawns evenly, leaving nice little mounds of galic on the top.

Place the plate into your steamer carefully being careful not to burn yourself. You may want to remove the steamer first or take off the layer for the plate if you are using an electric steamer.

Steam them for 3/4 minutes or so until they are pink and firm.

The tricky part is removing the plate without burning yourself so be careful.

Thats it, fantastic fresh garlic prawns. You can also chop up a handful of coriander leaves to top it off if you are serving it with rice or yellow rice.

If you do burn yourself the best thing to do is to mix bicarb of soda with water from the tap into a thick paste and cover the burn. It’s amazing, it takes away the sting immediately.

Sweet and sour pork

Sweet and sour pork

Sweet and sour pork

Sweet and sour pork

Sweet and sour pork with this homemade sweet and sour sauce is just fantastic. I often have sweet and sour pork at Chinese restaurans but prefer strips of meat as opposed to cubes which seem to be most popular in Chinese retstaurants. The meat is thinner,  more tender and is cooked in hot oil which makes the batter crisp. (2 servings on it’s own or 4 servings with another dish like the lemon and ginger chicken)

What you need

500g lean pork cut into strips 1/2cm wide
1 egg white lightly beaten
Pinch black pepper
4 tablespoons maizena/cornflour
2 tablespoons oil

Sweet and sour sauce

3 tablespoons All Gold tomato sauce
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tomatoes chopped
150g tinned pineapple pieces
4 tablespoons pineapple juice from the tin
2 teaspoons sugar
200ml water
2 green peppers chopped
1 small onion chopped
4 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons maizena mixed with 5 tablespoons water

The process

heat the oil on medium to high in a pan or wok, if you are using a pan add a little extra oil.

Place the maizena in a separate bowl. Beat the egg white and the pepper together and dip each piece of pork nto the egg white, give it a shake and then into the maizena, give it another shake to remove any excess maizena.

Cook the pork for about a minute or so on each side until they are nicely browned. Remove the pieces that are done and then add all of them back to the wok and give them a toss around in the wok to heat up and cook through properly, (about 2 minutes) and remove from the pan and place into a serving bowl.

Now add all of the sweet and sour sauce ingredients to a pot except the maizena mixture, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about 1 minute. Turn down the heat to low, add the maizena mixture and stir until nicely thickened and glossy. This should not take more than 2 or 3 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the pork and serve with egg fried rice. YUMMY I tell you.

Beef with asparagus and oyster sauce

Beef with asparagus and oyster sauce

Beef with asparagus and oyster sauce

Beef with asparagus and oyster sauce

Beef in oyster sauce is most often served on its own but adding asparagus or mange tout for that matter, makes it so much nicer. It’s really quick and best to use a nice piece of fillet. The asparagus still have a crunch to them which really appeals to me.. at least I feel I’m getting my vegetables and still enjoying the richness of the oyster sauce. (serves 2 with rice)

What you need

400g fillet thinly sliced
handfull of asparagus cut into 1/3’s (about 400g)
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
Pinch chili flakes(optional, I just like a little heat)
50ml beef stock
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon maizena/cornflour combined with 2 tablespoons water
Oil

The process

Pop the asparagus into a pot of rapidly boiling salted water and boil for about 1 minute to soften slightly, drain and set aside.

In a wok on a high heat, add a little oil, toss in the galic, stir and then immediately add the meat, stir fry fast, tossing it around for about 2 minutes.

Add the beef stock and the oyster sauce and combine well, stirring constantly. Now add the maizena mixture and stir for about another minute or 2 until the suace thickens.

Toss in the asparagus and mix the whole lot around or toss it in the wok to combine everything and cover the asparagus with sauce and serve separately with rice.

Thats that, a delicious meal in under 15minutes.

Pineapple duck

Pineapple duck

Pineapple Duck

Pineapple Duck

I was in a game meat shop last week and spotted these beautifuk duck breasts that were just begging to be cooked up and I had recently read the quickest pineapple duck recipe I have ever seen so decided to give it a go. Well, it was fantastic and took just a few minutes from start to finish. I am not a big duck eater and not used to having poultry pink inside but this was a real treat, soft and succulent meat with a sweet pineapple suace. (2 people)

What you need

200g skinless duck breasts
splash of sesame oil or about 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
250g tinned pineapple chunks in juice
4 thin slices of ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon maizena/cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water

The process

In a bowl, mix together the sesame oil and black pepper, place the duck breasts into the bowl and rub them with the oil and pepper. get your hands in there and give them a good massage.

Now heat a pan or wok with a little oil to medium hot and cook the duck breasts for about 2 or 3 minutes on each side until browned. If you press on the breast during cooking it should spring back at you, this tells you it is not overcooked and still pink inside. remove them and set aside to rest while you make the sauce.

Wipe the pan clean with some kitchen paper, reduce the heat to medium and add the pineapple chunks with their juice, the ginger and heat through for about 3 minutes. Now add the soy sauce, bring to the boil and add the maizena mixture stirring constantly. Boil for about 2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and glossy.

Slice the duck breasts into thin slices across the grain and smother with the sweet pineapple sauce.

Serve it with plain boiled rice and perhaps something like the Pak Choy as a vegetable.

Pea and mince curry

Pea and mince curry

Curried mince with peas

Curried mince with peas

Peas in curried mince is an dish often made in the Cape but when I came across this North Indian recipe I just had to give it a try and it was truly fantastic, quite different from the Cape Malay style though. Now that you can get frozen peas in supermarkets again it’s well worth giving a try. (for 4 people)

What you need

2 onions chopped
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 large green chili’s chopped
2 bay leaves
500g lamb mince (beef is also fine)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
pinch turmeric
Pinch chili powder
2 tablespoons coriander powder
2 tablespoons cumin powder
2 tablespoons plain yoghurt
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
Palm of chopped fresh coriander
Oil

Water

The process

The first thing you need to do is blitz the onions, garlic, ginger and chilis in a food processor or grind to a paste in a pestle and mortar.

Heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a heavy base frying pan over a medium heat and add your paste. Cook for about 3 minutes or so and then add the bay leaves. Cook, stirring until it begins to brown.

Add the mince and cook, stirring occasionally until the meat changes colour, about 15 minutes. Now add the tomato paste and reduce the heat to low.

Add the turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder, salt, pepper and cumin and give the mixture a good mix to combine all the flavors. Add the yoghurt and about 3/4 cup water and give it a mix. Cook until most of the water has evaporated. Now add the peas, stir, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Whe you are ready to serve, toss in the chopped coriander leaves, stir and serve.

It’s a really great tasting dish that is perfect for work the next day. Another fantastic curry is the Kerala country chicken, give it a try.