Quick Mustard Chicken

Quick Mustard Chicken

Wholegrain Mustard chicken

This chicken recipe is very quick and very tasty, you will be out of the kitchen in 20 minutes tops. The recipe also does very well doubled which makes it ideal for large crowds. These ingredients serve 4 to 5 people depending on what you decide to serve it with. I like to serve it with boiled baby potatoes that have been rustically crushed and tossed in better, parsley and black pepper as well as green beans.

You can also use the sauce as a creamy pepper sauce for steaks and it also goes very well with pork so have a ball with this one, it’s a keeper!

What you need

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
Olive oil (about a tablespoon)
Paprika
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
1/2 cup white wine
200ml Creme Fraiche
Salt and pepper

The process

Heat your oil in a pan on a medium heat and toss in your chicken pieces. Cook them, tossing them about for about 5 or 6 minutes until they are almost cooked and lightly browned.

Now add the wine, paprika and mustard, give it a stir and leave it to simmer for about another 5-6 minutes.

Lastly stir in the creme fraiche, taste, season stir and serve!

Give it a little sprinkle with some paprika once on the plate.

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.

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.

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.

Ice Cream Christmas Pudding

Ice Cream Christmas Pudding

ice cream dessert

Ice Cream Christmas dessert

Ice Cream is basically frozen custard and this ice cream christmas cake recipe is a perfect Christmas dessert for hot December Holidays. Give it a try, it is unlike anything you have had before.

What you need

50g raisins
25g sultanas
50g dried cranberries or cherries
2 tots brandy
2 tots cointreau or rum
4 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
500ml Custard (Woolies custard is excellent for this), chilled
50g macadamia nuts

Amaretti biscuits/biscotti to serve

The process

Decide whether you want to make a dome or a loaf ice cream cake and choose a bowl accordingly. A glass bowl that takes about 2 liters is perfect.

Add the raisins, sultanas and cherries to the bowl, toss in the brandy and the rum, give it a mix and set aside for a few hours. Anything over 2 hours is great.

Now add the macadamia nuts, cinnamon and icing sugar and give it a good stir. If you notice a fair amount of liquid in the bottom of the dowl, drain it off.

Now add the custard and stir again. Tap the bowl on the counter to even out the top and place in the freezer for 2 hours. Remove from the freezer, whick with a fork and then back into the freezer until you are ready to serve.

Slice or scoop and serve with a biscotti or amaretti biscuit on the side.

Don’t forget the rest of the Christmas recipes

Basic Vanilla Biscuits

Basic Vanilla Biscuits

basic vanilla biscuit recipe

Vanilla biscuits

Fresh biscuits are such great things to have around the house and this basic biscuit recipe is the perfect recipe to get you going. The bottom of the recipe gives you a few ideas of how to make different flavours and style biscuits from the same recipe. They are so simple to make and from start to finish take about 25 minutes, then 15 or so minutes of baking and you are done. makes about 30 biscuits

What you need

125g butter at room temperature cubed
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 and 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup custard powder

The process

First put your shelf in the middle of the oven, heat to 210 Celsius and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

In a large bowl add the butter and the caster sugar. Beat with an electric beater for about 3 minutes until the mixture is pale and smooth and the sugar almost completely dissolved.

Now add the milk and vanilla essence and beat for another minute or so to combine well.

Now add the flour and custard powder and with a spatula or knife use a cutting motion while you rotate the bowl to combine all of the ingredients into a soft dough. Don’t be tempted to beat, your biscuits will come out tough you want all of the dry ingredients to be incorporated but not over mixed!

Now take teaspoon size portions and roll into balls in your palm, place them on the baking trays with about 5cm between each one. flatten lightly your finger and then press lightly with a fork. Now each biscuit is about 5cm in diameter and ready for the oven.

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, checking to see that they are lightly golden. If they are very pale leave them for another 3 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to partially cool on the tray (10 minutes), then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Thats that 30 beautiful morsels.

Variations: Nut biscuits, Mix 1/2 cup finely chopped pecan nuts or walnuts into the mixture before you add the flour and then place a nut on each biscuit before going into the oven.

Orange biscuits: Leave out the vanilla and add 2 teaspoons of orange rind to the mixture. You can make a simple lemon icing by combining 2 cups icing sugar with 20g soft butter and tablespoon orange juice and mixing it together. If you want lemon biscuits, do the same with lemon.

Cherry tops: cut a glace cherry into quarters and pop a piece on top of each one beofre going into the oven. Check the Cookie recipes section for more great cookie recipes.

Quick Chicken liver Pate

Quick Chicken liver Pate

Easy chicken liver pate recipe

chicken liver pate on french bread

I am a big fan of chicken liver pate and of all the recipes I have tried, this has got to be the easiest of the lot. It’s not quite a baked chicken liver pate which is really fancy but well worth it, but it tastes fabulous and is always on call to feed the masses.

What you need

2 heaped tablespoons butter (about 100g)
Pinch of dried Thyme
Pinch of dried marjoram
1 medium onion grated or finely chopped
500g chicken livers cleaned and cut in half

1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves crushed garlic
pinch of nutmeg
25ml brandy
50ml sherry

The process

Put a pan on medium to low heat and add butter, herbs and onion. Cook until the onions are soft and transparent. It should take about 15 minutes.

Now add the chicken livers and cook until they cooked through.

Now toss the whole lot, straight from the pan into a blender along with the salt, garlic, nutmeg, brandy and sherry and blend until smooth.

Place in a bowl and pop into the fridge to chill. Serve with a selection of sliced pickles, crusty french loaf sliced thin, melba toast, fresh whole wheat bread and pita bread that has been crisped up in the oven and cut into triangles.

Thats that, fantastic chicken liver pate that will last 2 or 3 days in the fridge.

Smoked Snoek or Trout pate

Smoked Snoek or Trout pate

Smoked snoek pate

Snoek pate is really a favourite of mine that I make whenever I am in the Cape. This is a really easy smoked fish pate recipe that works well with smoked trout or snoek. Don’t confuse smoked snoek with the dried and smoked version, you want a freshly smoked snoek that still has some moisture in it, it is not a stiff pate but an easy spreading pate.

What you need

250g smoke fish
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons full fat double cream

Ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

The process

Remove the skin and flake the fish making sure there are no bones.

Add the fish and the butter to a blender and give it a quick blitz until combined and fairly smooth.

Now add the olive oil and lemon juice and blitz again for a few seconds to combine, it should be light and creamy at this stage.

Add the cream and give it another qfew seconds of blitzing to combine. Taste and season with cayenne pepper and black pepper. You may also want to add a little more lemon juice.

Place in a bowl, chill and serve with fresh finely chopped chives or parsley and crisp toast, brown bread or pita bread. Yuuuummmmy.

Alternatives: To make something really fancy, make the pate with smoked trout and then line little domes with smoked salmon (rub the inside of the dome with a little oil first), fill with the pate and pop into the fridge to set for a few hours, then turn them out. Simple and decadent.