Lovers Shortbread

Lovers Shortbread

Lovers Shortbread recipe

Lovers Shortbread

This has got to be the simplest shortbread recipe I have ever had the pleasure of making. It takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and another 30 minutes until you can eat your heart out, they taste fantastic and freeze extremely well, what more could you ask for?  I am told these are a Lebanese shortbread, not sure where the Lovers shortbread comes from 🙂

Folks, you really must make a batch of these, we used walnuts but you can make them without anything on top, with almonds or even a little dollop of your favourite jam. I reckon these are going to become very popular. Makes 2 dozen large short bread bisciuts.

What you need

375g salted butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups cake flour
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
Walnuts, cherries or whatever you are going to top them off with.
Lots of icing sugar to sprinkle on top

The process

Heat your oven to 190 Celsius.

In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and then pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds or so. You want it to be soft enough to beat with an electric beater.

Add the icing sugar and beat it very well on high for about 5 minutes until it becomes very pale and creamy, almost white.

No toss in the flour and baking powder in 3 portions mixing after each addition.

Thats it, now all you need to do is form little balls of the mixture, roll them gently in your hand (yes round balls), place them on your baking sheet, press a little hole in the top with your finger and fill the hole with a nut, a lttle jam or even a piece of chocolate.

Pop them in the oven for about 7-10 minutes and then turn off the oven and leave them inside for another 15-20 minutes.

If you notice some of them browning on top you can open the oven to let out some of the heat and close it up again. We made batches that were very pale that melt in your mouth and also had some browned ones that were more like biscuits with a bit of a crunch that I must confess I enjoyed even more.

Remove them from the oven and allow to cool before covering with a generous amount of icing sugar.

Smoked Trout pate

Smoked Trout pate

trout pate

Smoke Trout Pate

Any trip to Dullstroom has got to include trout and along with the corn bread muffins there will always be some smoked trout pate and this recipe is also from the book “savour” which I changed slightly. It is rediculously simple and Oh so very tasty. We smoke our own trout but store bought smoked trout is just as good. I must say, cooking trout whole has never been my favourite and the bones always seem to get me so this I have found to be the best and tastiest way to use those trout the kids bring back from fishing trips. (If you fish or have kids that fish you will know exactly what I mean – too often they lie in the fridge and get thrown out a few months later) This recipe is after having smoke a 1.2kg (that is not the biggest trout I have caught 🙂 ) whole trout which leaves you with about 500 or 600g of flesh.

halve the recipe if you need to, the proportions work well and depend only on how much trout you have.

What you need

600g smoke trout flaked into small pieces
1 and 1/2 cups creme fraiche
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoon creamed horseradish sauce
2 spring onions finely chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Black pepper

The process

Pop all of the ingredients except black pepper into a bowl and fold it all together to evenly distribute.

Season with some ground black pepper

Thats it, Done, a beautiful chunky pate that is as good as any you will have in any restaurant.

If you like your pate smoother, use a fork to break up the smoked trout.

You can also add in some finely chopped pickled cucumbers or just chop them up and serve them on the side, they go perfectly with the pate.

Serve with your favourite crackers, toasted rye bread, french loaf slices or the corn bread muffins

Corn Bread Muffins

Corn Bread Muffins

corn bread muffins

Corn Bread Muffins

I was lucky enough to be given a fantastic recipe book called “savour” by some great friends, thank you Chris and Natheera. A bunch of us are off to Dullstroom for the weekend and what would a trip trout fishing be without something delicious to pop into your bag or pocket while out on the water so I tested a few recipes from the book and this corn bread recipe is awesome. I made them as muffins and not mini loaves but you can make the recipe as a large loaf, mini loaves or even in a pie dish. Makes about 20 muffins or 6 mini loaves

They are so easy, take about 30 minutes in total from start to eating and taste fantastic. I also added a little chili to some of the muffins for a mate who loves chili.

What you need

1 cup corn meal (maize meal/pap or even polenta if you like them very yellow)
1 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons melted butter(45ml)

1 x green chili seeded and finely sliced (optional)

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Take a little butter and grease your muffin tins well.

Now add the corn meal to a large mixing bowl and sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Turn the dry mix a couple of times with a metal spoon to mix all of the dry ingredients.

Now add the melted butter, honey, egg and yoghurt and gently stir it until combined. You don’t want to mix it vigorously, it just needs to be combined.

Spoon the mixture into the tins about 80% full ( add a few slices of chili to some of the muffins for the chili lovers if you like) and pop in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes or until you are able to poke it with a tooth pick and it comes out clean. (If using a pie dish or large loaf your baking time will be 30 – 35 minutes) The tops should be beautifully browned and the smell, well the smell…

Let them cool in the pans if you can resist!

I like mine with a generous amount of butter and honey but are also great with herb butter, cheese and preserved figs. Let your taste buds guide you, you are going to love these.

Potato and Mushroom Bake

Potato and Mushroom Bake

potato and mushroom bake

Potato Bake with mushrooms

There are few dishes that give you that home comfort feeling like a great potato bake and this one, which I recently served with a Prime Rib Roast and Melanzanewas such a huge hit I am being forced to make it again… very soon 🙂 Just gotta love it when people enjoy your food! (makes enough for 6 people) Use an ove dish that is about 30cmx20cmx8cm high or similar

The three dishes for the meal required a bit of planning because they were all done in the oven so prepare the melanzane first and into the oven, prepare the potato bake next and then leave them in the oven until almost cooked. Then remove them and pop the prime rib in the oven high up in the oven leaving the second rack on the bottom. When you are about 1/2 an hour from serving, pop the potato bake and the melanzane back into the oven.

What you need

5 Medium potatoes sliced thinly
2 medium onions sliced thinly
1 punnet button mushrooms sliced
2 x 250ml fresh cream
1 packet dry cream of mushroom soup
Pepper
1 and 1/2 cups Good cheddar cheese for the topping

The process

Place a layer of potato, then onion, then mushrooms, then about 1/3 of the mushroom soup, repeat until the dish is 3/4 full (should be 3 layers.

Now pour the cream over the top and cover with a layer of cheese.

Pop into the oven on 180 to 200 Celsius for 40 minutes or so and the top is golden brown and bubbling. Check that the potato is cooked through by poking with a knife.

This is seriously delicious for a braai, as a vegetable with a roast or just because you want something that reminds you of home if you are in a far flung place away from home.

Roast Prime Rib on the bone

Roast Prime Rib on the bone

prime rib roast on the bone

Prime Rib on the Bone

I have recently moved into a new place and had a few friends over for dinner so decided a good roast was in order and what surprised me was the price of prime rib on the bone at under R60/kg. I used 1.8kg which was plenty for the 5 of us and it was so incredibly tasty it is something I will be doing over and again. (for 4-6 people)

Anyway, the dinner was a real hit, Prime rib roast, melanzane (they literally raved about it) and a potato bake with mushrooms that also got rave reviews to almost embarrassing proportions. So if you want a real winner, these are the recipes. (I laso served a few gem squash topped with cheese. (It’s not the healthiest meal bu man it was delicious!

A tip: When you select your prime rib ask the butcher to cut through the bone at the base so that you can easily cut the portions, I got mine from Pick n Pay on William Nicol near Parkmore and the butchery was very helpful.

What you need

1.8 to 2 kg Prime rib on the bone
Salt and pepper
Fresh Thyme stalks

Thyme butter

100g softened butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper

The process

Heat your oven to 200 Celsius

Stuff a few stalks of Thyme into each cut at the base of the roast cut by the butcher. Turn it over, place on a roasting dish that is covered with tin foil (makes cleaning simple) and then use a generous coating of ground salt and pepper to cover the meat.

Place in the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours. This will give you medium and medium rare on the end 2 portions and rare portions in the middle.

Always leave it to rest for about 10 minutes after removing from the oven

To make the thyme butter, soften it in the microwave for about 20 seconds, add the chopped thyme and add a grind of black pepper and salt. Mix it up and then place on a piece of cling wrap. Roll it up and twist the ends until it is tight. Fold the ends and then pop in the fridge to harden.

Cut a slice of herb butter and place on top of each persons meat.

Mediterranean Pork and Chorico dinner

Mediterranean Pork and Chorico dinner

mediterranean pork with chorico dinner

Delicious Spicy Pork with Chorico

This Mediterranean style stew was really fantastic and you could use any spicy sausage if you don’t have chorico, even a good pork sausage would do the trick, just add a little paprika into the mix. It has plenty of sauce and the crushed grilled potatoes are the perfect  side dish to pick up the sauce. Really, if you like pork and a bit of spice in your food, you are going to love this one, it’s perfect winter food. (makes 4 servings)

What you need

500g baby potatoes boiled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

500g Pork fillet cut into bite size chunks
150g chorico or your favourite spicy sausage sliced
1 medium onion sliced
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes (440g)
Pinch chili flakes (1/2 to 1 teaspoon depending on how spicy you like it)
Juice of 1 lemon
pinch sugar

The process

First off put you grill on and while that is heating crush each baby potato with you hand or a fork so that it splits and place on a baking tray. Season with salt and ground pepper and then drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over the potatoes and then place under the grill for about 10 minutes or so until nicely crisped up.

While that is happening place a pan on a medium to high heat, add a little oil and fry the pork pieces, tossing them about every so often until lightly browned all over and cooked through. Remove and set aside.

Fry the chorico in the same pan until you notice the fat being released. Now add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes tossing every now and then. You want them to start softening but not browning (add a tiny bit more oil if needed).

Now add the tomatoes, lemon juice, chili and sugar. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil, stir about for a bit and simmer for 10 minutes so that all of those flavours meld together beautifully and some of the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates. (Don’t forget to check your potatoes – remove them when ready0

Now add back the pork and simmer for another 2 minutes or so to heat it through.

Thats that, done and dusted… a delicious Mediterranean meal!

Chicken, Coriander and Cashew Nut Curry

Chicken, Coriander and Cashew Nut Curry

Chicken Coriander and Cashew nut curry

Chicken Coriander & Cashew nut curry

The marvellous thing about a curry is that you can adapt the recipe to suit you. Don’t be scared to add a few extra chillies if you like to be dripping with sweat while you eat. This recipe has a bit of a kick, but isn’t too hot at all! Recipe By Rozanne

This is a rich and seriously delicious curry that has plenty of gravy that is fantastic just on it’s own with a bit of rice. G

What you need

75g raw, unsalted cashew nuts
4 onions, chopped
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 small green chillies, deseeded and chopped 25g fresh coriander
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cardamon pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
4 garlic cloves, crushed
25g fresh ginger, grated
3 chicken breasts, cut into strips
Fresh lime/lemon to serve

The process

Soak the nuts is 200 ml of cold water for 20 minutes.

Begin cooking, by frying the chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of the oil until soft and slightly browned.

Once the nuts are soft, place them (with the water) in a blender. Add the onions, chillies and coriander and blend until a thick paste is formed.

Place the remaining oil in a saucepan and, on a low heat, fry the spices, garlic and ginger for a few minutes. Add the nut paste and chicken cubes and mix well. Cook for about 3 minutes.

Add 200ml of water to the saucepan and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.

Squeeze over lime juice and serve with fluffy basmati rice

Just a few hints

A curry just isn’t a curry without poppadoms. They’re so easy to prepare, so there is really no excuse! Just buy them from and food store and fry in a bit of oil. Be careful though, they burn quite easily.

Sambals are often served with some curries too. Add some to the side of this dish to make the meal more festive and exciting

Spinach & Feta Muffins

Spinach & Feta Muffins

spinach and feta muffin recipe

Spinach & Feta Muffins

These muffins are awesome! Not only can they be made in advance, but they are so versatile and light that they can be served for breakfast, lunch and supper. In fact, they are the best Sunday-night supper for all you lazy buggars (like me) who couldn’t be bothered to cook after a wonderful weekend! – Recipe by Rozanne

Folks, these little guys are a must try and for a little change try adding a handful of cubed(about 1cm) a steamed butternut or even a little red pepper but probably the best of all is to add some cooked chopped bacon. They are fantastic and can be frozen and ready for you in minutes. G

What you need

200ml milk
100g baby spinach leaves
500ml flour
5ml salt
15ml baking powder
100g feta cheese
60ml oil
1 egg
12 cherry tomatoes

The process

Grease a muffin pan and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Heat up the milk in a pot and add the baby spinach. Make sure the stove is on a low heat and cook until the spinach is wilted.

Cool the spinach and milk mixture slightly and blend it until smooth. This shouldn’t take long!

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Next, Crumble up the feta cheese and add it to the dry ingredients. Mix together until the feta is evenly distributed through the dry ingredients.

Add the egg and oil the the milky-spinach mixture fold it in gently. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until JUST combined. It’s very important that you don’t over-mix the batter to ensure light fluffy muffins.

Spoon the mixture into muffin pans and top each muffin with a fresh cherry tomato. Bake for approximately 20 mins and serve warm with lots of butter!

Just a little hint

These delicious muffins look really great if they are made in small terracotta pots (just make sure you grease them well).

Kingklip Mornay

Kingklip Mornay

kingklip recipe

Kingklip Mornay

I think this fish dish is made for mothers day, It’s very tasty, easy to make and basically flop proof. It offers a hearty, warming flavour that can only be had from being home made and let’s face it, Mom’s, however old we get still love anything that we have made ourselves, the only difference from when we were little is that your Mom will REALLY enjoy this one and not just say so! Gotta Love the Mom’s for all they have put up with! (this is for 4 servings)

What you need

4 x 150g kingklip fillets (you can use hake or any white fish)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon English mustard (Any mustard really)
300ml milk
About a cup of grated cheddar (mature cheddar is best)
Salt and Pepper

The process

Heat your oven to 200 Celsius and in a baking dish place your four fillets, evenly spaced on the bottom. Season with a little salt and pepper and set aside, ready for the sauce.

In a pan on a medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt, add the flour and stir to make a paste, now add the mustard and stir to combine. Keep stirring for about 2 or 3 minutes to cook the flour.

While stirring, add the milk in a thin stream and keep stirring until all of the milk has been added and the sauce is thickening up beautifully.

Remove from the heat and take about 2 thirds of the cheese, stir it into the sauce and then pour over the fish. Top it off with the remaining cheese, give it another grind of pepper and then pop it into the over for 15-20 minutes.

To test that your fish is done, take a knife and pull the flesh to one side, if a flake pulls off you are done.

I like to then put the grill on and give it a brown on top but is not necessary.

Serve it to Mom with baby boiled potatoes tossed in butter and parsley, some roast cherry tomatoes and broccoli or with a salad.

Bacon wrapped Chili poppers

Bacon wrapped Chili poppers

bacon wrapped chili poppers

Chill Poppers in Bacon

Man these little beauties are a real treat that you can make in the oven or on the braai. I must warn you that this recipe only makes 12 and from experience, you will need more than 2 or 3 per person as a taster. When you buy your chili poppers buy the longer ones unless you like them really spicy, I like them not too spicy so buy the ones that are at least 7 or 8cm long.

What you need

12 Jalapeno Chilis
250g Cream cheese
1/2 cup grated strong cheddar cheese
1 packet streaky bacon

The process

First off wash your jalapeno’s and then dry them. Take a sharp knife and cut off the stalk. Then roll them between your palms to loosen the seeds which will start falling out as you roll.

If you have a cocktail spoon this is the perfect implement to clean out any remaining seeds, otherwise just rinse them under running water as you roll out the last few seeds. You could also split them and clean them out that way but I like to keep the whole pod intact.

Set them aside and in a bowl mix together the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, add a touch of salt and a grind of pepper.

Now fill each Jalapeno with as much of the cream cheese mixture as possible. It’s messy work but make sure they are crammed full.

Now take a piece of bacon and start by wrapping the end closed and then winding around the rest of the Jalapeno.

Thats it, once they are done, pop them on the grill and cook until the bacon is cooked and the cheese oozing out. If you are doing them in the oven, pop them on a baking tray and grill, turning from time to time until bacon is cooked.

Serve them as is straight from the oven with a little french loaf to grab the oozing cream cheese.

Have fun with these, they are fantastic.