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.

Milk tart

Milk tart

Milk tart

Milk tart

Milk tart is a South African institution like pap and wors or Denningvleis… This is a really great recipe that can easily be doubled if you are having people over. The crust takes a little time but is well worth it and you can make double while you are at it and store in clingfilm in the fridge for another day. (1 pie… anything from 1 to 8 people)

What you need

Crust

1 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
125g butter (from the fridge cut into small blocks)
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons iced water
Pinch salt

Filling

1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
dash of nutmeg
3 tablespoons maizena
1 cup cream
3 egg yolks beaten
Cinnamon and Sugar

The process

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the caster sugar and butter and work with your fingers until you have a breadcrumb like texture. Now add the egg yolk and cold water and mix with a fork until combined and the dough is coming away from the sides of the bowl.

Gather up the dough, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 1/2 an hour.

Take a 23cm round baking dish and press the dough as thin as you can into the base and up the sides of the dish.

Bake the crust on it’s own in a 180 Celsius over for 10 minutes, remove and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.

In a bowl add the cream and maizena and whisk to combine.

In a pot over a medium to high heat bring the milk to the boil, add the sugar, butter and salt and stir furiously, remove from the heat, add the vanilla essence and nutmeg, stir and pour over the cream mixture, mixing well.

Now pour the egg yolks into the mixture and whisk very well. It should start to thicken.

Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake at 180 Celsius for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with cinnamon and caster sugar mixture and serve hot or cold.

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.

Lamb Rogan Josh

Lamb Rogan Josh

Lamb rogan josh

Lamb rogan josh

I had lamb rogan josh at a really well known Indian restaurant in Cape Town a little while back and found a fantastic recipe to reproduce this incredible dish.It has a rich yoghurt sauce that you will need every last piece of roti to soak up. I did not have it with rice, I think most saucy curries are better with roti.  It’s not a quick and easy recipe but so very delicious that it’s worth every minute of effort. (serves 6/7 people)

It has a long list of spices so print it out and head off to Atlas trading if you are in CT or your local spice shop with the recipe to make sure you have all of the spices.

What you need

4 teaspoons crushed garlic
4 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cumin powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons coriander powder

1.2kg cubes of lamb leg or shoulder (about 4cm cubes)
100ml oil
1 large onion grated
6 cardomon pods
4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick about 7cm long
3/4 cup plain full cream yoghurt
Salt and pepper
Water

The process

In a large bowl, add the cubes of meat, galic, ginger, cumin. chili powder, paprika and coriander. Mix it all together well ensuring that each piece of meat has spices on it. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

In a large cast iron casserole dish or a large heavy base pot on the stove over a medium to hot heat, heat the oil, add the onions and stir until the onions begin to brown.

Now add the cardomon pods, cinnamon stick, cloves and bay leaves and cook for another minute or so, stirring. The aromas will begin to fill your kitchen.

Add the meat with every last little bit of the spices from the bowl and stir around for about 2 or 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, place the lid on allow to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes . Remove the lid and keep cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. There wont be much liquid so it will only take about 3 or 4 minutes.

Sounds crazy, but now you want to add 1/2 cup of water, cover again and let it cook for another 5 minutes or so, remove the lid and let the water evaporate again. This is all part of the tenderising and flavor enhancement process so don’t shortcut.

Give the meat another stir and now add 1 cup of water, place the lid on and simmer for 50 minutes on low without disturbing.

Remove from the heat, stir in the yoghurt, add about 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, stir well, cover and take to the table to be served.

Vegetable bake

Vegetable bake

vegetable bake

vegetable bake

If there was ever a way to get kids to eat their veggies then this has got to be it. It’s a potato bake version which includes a whole lot of other vegetables with a very tasty and creamy sauce topped off with cheese. It’s a vegetarian meal on its own and you could quite easily add chopped chicken  to it as well for a complete meal.(4 people)

What you need

2 large potatoes sliced
1 cup sliced carrot
1 packed cup washed and chopped spinach
1 cup slice onions
1 cup sliced baby marrows
1 400g tin mushroom soup
2 tablespoons butter
White pepper
Cheddar cheese grated

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Rub the butter onto the base and sides of a 23cm square or similar casserole dish.

Layer the vegetables, starting with a layer of potato and spooning over a thin layer of the soup before the next layer of potato and a little sprinkle of pepper.

If you are adding chicken to it just make an extra layer with the chicken.

Once the dish is full, pour over the rest of the soup and spread it evenly with a spoon. Top of with a layer of grated cheddar cheese and pop into the oven with a lid on for 1/2 an hour. Then remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes.

You could quite easily use broccoli or cauliflower as well, just make 2 different layer types, 1 of potato and the other of the rest of the veg and repeat twice.

This is so easy and tasty it’s worth making every day! Try this Traditional Moussaka recipe for something really special.

Quick chicken pasta salad

Quick chicken pasta salad

Chicken pasta salad

Chicken pasta salad

This chicken pasta salad recipe is really great, the dressing has a really fresh and creamy flavour that makes it seriously morish. It’s a really simple recipe that you can make big batches of and add bits and pieces to it for a new adventure. I have added apples chopped into small pieces which was fantastic, a sprinkling of capers was good too, so be a little adventurous with it, walnuts for example, whatever grabs you. (4 people)

What you need

150g dry penne
1 cup chopped cooked chicken
4 spring onions sliced
2/3 celery sticks chopped

Dressing

1/3 cup cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, crushed with the back of a knife.
Juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch of sugar

Pinch paprika

The process

Cook the pasta, rinse under cold water and set aside to cool.

Poach or steam the chicken, chop or slice into bite size pieces and set aside to cool.

Add all of the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and whisk to a creamy consistency. You can replace the peppercorns with capers but the peppercorns are a really great flavour.

Combine the chicken and pasta in a bowl(if you are adding anything else, add it now), pour over the dressing and toss to coat the chicken and pasta with the dressing. Add a pinch of paprika to each serving.

I’ve added this to cooking for one becuase it lasts well and you can have a whole lot of different flavored meals from this one dish.

Prawn ball snacks

Prawn ball snacks

prawn snacks

prawn snacks

These little Thai beauties are so indulgent and so delicious that this prawn ball recipe meant for 4 or 5 people can easily be consumed by 1 or 2 during a great DVD in the cold weather. You really need a food processor for the recipe but if you don’t have one and are willing to chop up prawns into tiny little pieces you will be just fine…. It will be worth it I tell you. It’s easy and quick and just the best tasting snack you can imagine.

What you need

350g thawed and raw prawn meat (if you are using frozen prawns their weight frozen will be at least 10% more)
3 or 4 red chilis chopped
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon fresh ginger finely grated
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon fish sauce or light soy sauce
handful of chopped coriander leaves
1/3 cup maizena (corn flour)
Oil for frying

The process

Add the prawns, chilis, coriander, egg whites, ginger, garlic and fish sauce to your food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds or so. Pulse it to start with and then give it about 10 seconds on high speed.

Scrape out all of the mixture into a mixing bowl, add the flour and with a folding motion combine into the mixture until evenly distributed.

If you are having people over, the mixture can happily stay in the fridge for an hour until you are ready to fry.

heat about 1cm of oil in a pan on a medium heat.

Take heaped teaspoons of the mixture and form little balls with your hands… always wash your hands first. Place them in the oil and fry until golden all over.

remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.

Serve with a sweet chili dipping sauce.

This is one of those recipes that you may regret inviting people over to eat! 🙂

Smoked salmon pasta sauce

Smoked salmon pasta sauce

smoked salmon pasta sauce

smoked salmon pasta sauce

Every now and then I really NEED a good creamy pasta and this creamy smoked salmon pasta recipe hits all of the right spots. It’s decadent and is really simple to prepare. You can fancy this one up for guests very easily by putting a teaspoon of caviar or capers on top with a nice piece of fresh dill. The sauce doubles perfectly, so although this is for 2, just double for 4.

What you need

200g tagliatelle or spaghetti, about 1/2 a packet
5 slices smoked salmon, chopped, about 150g
100ml Fresh cream
1 small onion finely chopped
4 stalks chives finely sliced
2 teaspoons capers chopped
Juice of 1 lemons
Finely grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Black pepper

The process

In a large pot of salted water boiling furiously, cook the pasta until al dente and drain well.

While the pasta is cooking, take a pan on a medium heat with a little olive oil and cook the p[nions until soft and translucent. You want them soft but not browned.

Pour in the cream and stir, allow it to simmer and reduce by about 1/3. Stir it from time to time and ensure it does not boil, reduce the heat if necessary.

Remove from the heat, add the smoked salmon, chives and lemon juice, stir and then add your pasta to the sauce and mix to coat. Taste the sauce now and if it needs salt add some, you shouldn’t need any but depending on your salmon you may. If you are going to add capers add them now and do not add any salt.

Transfer to you plate, give it a good grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan.

That’s it, a fantastic meal in 20 minutes.

If you are a fan of creamy pasta sauces, try this chicken liver pasta, it’s fabulous.