Chinese chicken and corn soup

Chinese chicken and corn soup

chicken-corn-soup

Chicken corn soup

If you have never had chicken and corn soup at a Chinese restaurant or takeout you are really missing something. What I really like about it is hat I can add toppings to it like crisp bacon pieces and chopped spring onions to make it a complete meal. It is great as a starter before one of the quick and easy Chinese recipes. The part I found took a little practice was getting the consistency of the egg right but it’s not the end of the world. (this is for 6 people)

What you need

6 cups chicken stock
400g tin creamed sweet corn
2 cups cooked chicken in small cubes or shredded
2 tablespoon maizena
4 tablespoons Cold water
2 Egg whites beaten till loose, not frothy

The process

In a large pot, add the stock and sweet corn, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer.

Add the chicken cubes, stir and then mix together the maizena and water, pour into the soup and allow to simmer for about 4 or 5minutes with the lid off.

Beat the eggs well and then with a spoon swirl the mixture and pour in the egg slowly. This will create the long strings of egg you want.

That’s it, glossy Chinese Chicken and corn soup.

Potato bake

Potato bake

potato-bakePotato bake is a must have at any braai and this potato bake recipe is great just as it is or you can add, like I often do, tasty little extra’s like bacon bits and mushrooms or even a little chopped green pepper to liven it up. It’s a really creamy recipe that is definitly not for dieters but with summer almost upon us and the December holiday braai beconing, you will want to keep this one. It really takes little effort and adds so much, make it your own by adding your favorite flavors. (6 people)

What you need

4 large potatoes, thinly sliced
1 large onion finely sliced (optional but recommended)
250ml cream
Granular chicken stock from Ina Paarman or Woolworths or Ina Paarmans potato spice
Butter
Cheddar cheese

The process

Take an oven dish of about 30cm by 20cm and 10cm high, butter it lightly by taking a piece of the butter wrapping or cling film, and spreading the butter over the base and sides of the dish.

Place layers of potato, a light sprinkle of stock and a few onion rings. repeat until you are almost to the top of the dish. (If you are adding bacon bits and mushrooms, cook the bacon first and add a few of each between the layers)

I also put a thin layer of grated cheese in between on every second layer of potato sometimes.

Now pour over the cream, place the lid on or cover with with alluminium foil and bake in a 180 Celsius oven for 40 minutes.

Take off the lid, add a nice layer of grated cheddar cheese and place back in the oven for a further 15 minutes or so until the topping is melted and bubbling.

That’s it braai heaven… Try this butterfly lamb for a nice change around the braai.

Seared beef salad

Seared beef salad

seared beef salad

seared beef salad

After the rare beef with dipping sauce recipe, which I like for it’s pub food flavor, try this as a healthy option or if you are having people over and some want a healthy option. This recipe is for 1 or 2 but just double or triple it for the number of people. You need to slice the beef really thin so make sure you have a very sharp knife, carpaccio thin is the best way to have this. (for 1 or 2)

What you need

250g rare beef fillet sliced paper thin
handfull of green beans
1 small onion chopped into small cubes
Mixed salad leaves
handful of cherry tomatoes halved
Palm of chopped fresh parsley
Palm of chopped fresh basil
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper

The process

Make the beef fillet the same as the beef with dipping sauce and slice off 250g as thin as you possibly can.

In a pan with a little olive oil over a medium heat, add the onions and cook until translucent, remove to cool.

Steam the beans for about 3 minutes to soften slighlty, you still want them to be firm, remove and let them cool.

In a bowl, add the salad leaves, tomatoes, beans and herbs, then pour over about 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and toss to coat the leaves, give it a grind of salt and lack pepper and toss again.

Place the beef around the edge of a plate and pile up the salad in the center.

You may want to add some finely sliced chili, cucumber etc to the salad… whatever your favorites are. You could also use a bought dressing like Italian or greek, something that is not creamy, just dress the leaves and not the meat.

If you are really feeling adventurous, serve with some hot out of the oven Yorkshire puddings with this foolproof Yorkshire pudding recipe

Oxtail potjie

Oxtail potjie

Oxtail potjie

Oxtail potjie

Cooking oxtail needs time and patience and a potjie is the perfect method to get that fall off the bone oxtail that I just love. This is a really fantastic recipe that turned out really tender. It takes all the willpower you can muster not to keep opening the potjie to see how its doing and breathe in the awesome aromas so prepare yourself with good friends and a few beers, put it on and just tend to the fire every now and then. Here is an oven made Oxtail Recipe as well.(6 people comfortably)

What you need

500 – 600g Oxtail pieces
2 smoky Kassler chops cubed (you can use bacon, about 1/2 a packet but bacon just does not seem to be as smoky as it used to be)
½ cup seasoned flour
1 liter beef stock
400g tin tomato paste
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
2 dry bay leaves
4 large leeks roughly chopped
2 large onions roughly chopped
2 large carrots roughly chopped
3 large potatoes roughly chopped
250g punnet button mushrooms
1 cup red wine
½ cup sherry
50g butter
Olive oil
Peppercorns
Fresh Mixed herbs, about 10 stalks tied together that you can remove easily or a bouquet garni.

The process

Prepare your fire to a hot coal stage and have plenty of spare charcoal or wood standing by because you are going to need to keep the fire going for about 4 hours.

Chop up all your veg and place in bowls ready to add.

Place your potjie on the edge of the fire to heat up, add the butter and a good splash of olive oil, add the Kassler cubes or bacon and cook for about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the oxtail pieces with the seasoned flour to coat and then brown with the kassler cubes, turning them with tongs to get a nice colour all over.

Remove the oxtail pieces and the kassler and set aside.

Add the carrots, the onions and the leeks and cook for about 5 minutes.

Now add back the meat and all of the rest of the ingredients, stir, place on the lid, make sure the fire is moderate to hot just not boiling, crack open a beer and sit back for at least 2 hours before you take a look.

Make sure the fire is kept fairly constant, you want the sauce to bubble slowly, not boil.

After 3 hours check again and if the sauce is too thin, add a tablespoon of maizena(cornstarch) to 2 tablespoons of water, mix and then add to the liquid, stir and cook for the last half hour.

Leave it on the fire for about 3 1/2 hours in total before serving.

It’s a South African institution the Potjie so get your friends around and give it a try.

The same recipe can be used for lamb neck, lamb knuckles or beef shin. Here is a traditional oven made Oxtail recipe.

Warm cherry sauce

Warm cherry sauce

black cherry sauce

Black Cherry Sauce

Cherry sauce came to mind when recentlybeing asked for some suggestions for a birthday party. This is fantastic and really simple dessert idea that is a winner every time and is so simple to prepare for just a few people or a huge crowd. It can also be used as an accompaniment with duck or pork by simply leaving out the cinnamon and letting the sauce reduce further. (for 4 desserts)

What you need

1 400g tin cherries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon/ 1 cinnamon stick
Good ice cream

The process

Add the cherries with all of their juices straight from the tin into a pot on a high heat.

Bring the sauce to almost boiling, reduce the heat, add cinnamon and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes or so to warm through thoroughly.

If you like a thick sauce for your dessert or are serving with duck or pork, just let it simmer for a few more minutes to reduce slightly and thicken.

Spoon over the ice cream and you are done.

Remember to go out and buy really good ice cream, it makes such a massive difference. Another tip is to take the ice cream out of thye frezzer and put it in the fridge about an hour before you serve, this lets it soften up ever so slightly.

If you like this you will love the Eton Mess recipe

Served with the roast pork belly it is amazing. It is also really good if you add tinned pineapple pieces to it for a dessert sauce.

Roast lamb leg

Roast lamb leg

roast lamb

Roast Lamb

Roasting a leg of lamb on the bone is really a very simple and a real crowd pleaser. I did this recipe for 8 people and the total time preparing it was about 45 minutes, a real walk in the park. Be sure to go to a good butcher who will select a nice piece of meat for you. I got this one from the butcher in Benmore Gardens, they have been around for more than 20 years and are great guys with all sorts of advice. (8 people)

What you need

2.6 – 2.8kg leg of lamb on the bone
6 large cloves garlic halved
large handful of chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, origanum, parsley)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

The process

Heat your oven to 190 Celsius

In the morning take the leg of lamb out of the fridge and leave it in a cool place until you get home. You don’t want very cold meat to go into the oven.

Slice your garlic cloves lengthways in half and prepare your pile of fresh herbs.

Cut 12 thin slits all over the leg and stuff a piece of garlic into each one, then stuff the hole with fresh herbs.

take a little olive oil on your hands and rub the leg to give it a thin coating of oil, then give a good grind of salt on pepper over the surface.

Slosh a bit of oil into the roasting pan and place the leg with the fatty side facing up, jam it in the oven, pour a glass of wine and leave it for 1 hour. After 1 hour check on it, spoon over a little of the juices that have collected and roast for another 1 hour.

Thats it, done.

Cooking times for roast lamb are 50 minutes per kilo plus an extra 20 minutes. This will give you medium lamb, if you like it a little more rare reduce the time by 10 minutes per kilo and always let it rest to 15 minutes or so before carving.

Serve with roast potatoes, and gravy.

Grilled Haloumi Salad

Grilled Haloumi Salad

haloumi-saladEvery now and then I get the Ghalishing for grilled Haloumi cheese and this salad is a real winner. The cheese is salty and has a slight sweetness from the grilling that is just incredible. It’s light and at the same time filling enough for a dinner if served with a nice crisp rye roll fresh out of the oven, but it’s best for a lunch.(for 2 people)

What you need

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 baby eggplants sliced
6 or 8 large cherry tomatoes halved
250g Haloumi sliced about 1/2 cm thick
handful of rocket leaves
Basil leaves, about 1/3 of the amount of rocket
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

The process

In a pan on a medium heat, melt the butter and cook the Haloumi until browned on both sides. Then do the same with the eggplant slices and tomatoes. Only cook the tomatoes on the fleshy side and do them last, they will blacken slightly which is good but you don’t want that on the eggplant or Haloumi.

Then in a bowl, add the rocket leaves and basil, toss in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and give it a good toss with your hands.

Now add the cooked Haloumi, tomatoes and eggplant, toss lightly and pile up on a plate.

I have put this in the cooking for one section as well… I have been known to devour an entire 2 man serving, it really is delicious.

If you don’t have eggplant, use baby marrows, they are just as good.

Enjoy it, and for meat eaters, try these beef and Haloumi kebabs

Quick healthy dinner

Quick healthy dinner

easy-stirfryWhen you want a really quick, healthy and tasty meal, try this one. I had a late day in the office, stopped off at PicknPay on the way home and got myself a packet of bacon and a packet of pre-cut stir fry mix. It turned out really well and is in the new section of cooking for one which it seems I am going to be doing a fair amount of in the near future.

What you need

1/3 packet bacon chopped
3 handfuls of mixed stir fry
Squirt of sweet chili sauce (about 2 or 3 tablespoons)
Salt and black pepper
Potato or pasta

The process

In a wok or frying pan on a medium heat, cook the bacon pieces with a knob of butter or a little oil. I like to use butter for the flavor.

Toss in the 3 handfuls of vegetables, increase the heat and stir fry until done. Here I put the lid on the pot for the first 2 minutes to ensure that the vegetables soften a little.

Add a good grind of black pepper and a pinch of salt, then add the sweet chili sauce and give it a good mix to distribute the sauce.

Serve with a baked potato or pasta.

To have a quick baked potato, put the oven on 200 Celsius before you start, pop the potato in the microwave for about 3 minutes or so on high(ensure that you prick it with a fork all over first). Then, when you are about to start cooking, p[lace it in the oven, it will be done and the skin slightly hardened when you remove it.

Enjoy it folks.

If you lke the idea of a cooking for one section, let me know.

Rare beef with dipping sauce

Rare beef with dipping sauce

beef-dipping-sauce

Rare Beef Fillet

Every now and then when I am feeling nostalgic about a trip I did to the UK and Paris a few years ago, I make this simple rare beef with a gravy dipping sauce that reminds me of the fantastic time I had. It’s real pub food that takes only a few minutes to make and is very easy to double for a whole lot of people. There are a few variations like serving it with an Asian dipping sauce as a starter but the good old, rare roast beef, crunchy French loaves and dipping gravy is a real must do. It’s just as good on the braai as well. (4-6 people)

What you need

1.5 to 2kg beef fillet
Salt and black pepper

Gravy

340ml can of beer
1 cup beef stock
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
salt and black pepper

The process

On a chopping board, grind salt and pepper to cover the surface. Take the fillet and roll it over the board to cover with the salt and pepper, real simple hey! (You van happily add herbs, chili flakes etc)

heat a frying pan to hot, add a thin layer of oil and sear the fillet to a nice beep brown all over. Remove the pan from the heat, leaving the fillet in it. (Turn it from time to time while you make the gravy)

In a pot, add the stock and beer, bring to the boil, add the mushrooms, then reduce heat and simmer until the amount of liquid has reduced by about 1/3, about 10-15 minutes. This will make about 1 1/2 cups of gravy dipping sauce which is enough for 4 people, If you are having more, make 2 batches.

Add the butter and whisk until melted, the gravy will begin to shine. Now taste and add salt and pepper if you need to.

That’s it, you family and friends will love you.

Slice the fillet into thin slices, serve with warm crispy French loaves and the gravy in a bowl.

For an Asian twist, serve the thinly sliced beef cold with finely sliced spring onions and this dipping sauce.

3 small chili’s finely chopped
1/2 cup of spring onions finely sliced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup of soy sauce

Mix it all together and serve with the beef that is layered on a plate and covered with spring onions.

am a huge fan of Yorkshire puddings straight from the oven that go so perfectly with rare roast beef that you might want to make this Yorkshire Pudding recipe.

North African beef with couscous

North African beef with couscous

beef-couscous

North African Beef

This is a fantastic couscous recipe that is very quick and smacks of North Africa. It uses a lot of herbs including mint that really brings out the flavours and is a light, fresh meat dish that is perfect for lunch. You do need to marinate the meat for a few hours first, so get it done after breakfast ready for lunch. (for 4 people)

What you need

600g – 700g rump or fillet thinly sliced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (about 5cm piece)
50ml orange juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 medium onion chopped
3 large tomatoes chopped
Palm of fresh chopped mint
Palm of fresh parsley mint
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup couscous
1/2 cup boiling water
1 heaped tablespoon butter

The process

Make a marinade in a large bowl by combining the garlic, orange juice, vinegar, coriander, ginger, mixed spice and vinegar. Add the sliced beef, cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, 3-4 hours is also fine.

Combine the couscous and the boiling water in a bowl and set aside to allow all the water to absorb.

Ina wok or heavy pan, add a little oil and fry the onions until translucent. remove and set aside.

Now heat the wok to very hot, add a little more oil and stir fry the beef in small batches to sear the outside. Toss it about every 30 seconds or so. remove each batch and add to the onions.

Now wipe the pan clean with paper towel, add a tiny bit more oil and quick fry the chopped tomatoes. Once they are hot, add back the beef and onions, toss in the lemon juice, mint and parsley, toss it about to combine everything and finally add the couscous and give it a final toss around to distribute everything evenly.

You can eat this hot or cold. Try the seared steak salad recipe for a really great salad recipe.