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White Chocolate & Cranberry Biscuits

February 25, 2012

I could not resist baking the Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies from the my favourite Ottolenghi cookbook. This book has become my fail-safe turn to for any meal, be it a casual dinner party or afternoon tea. Every recipe of his is hidden with new surprises and unexpected twists, the following cookies being no exception. These were quick and easy, with most of the batch having already been scoffed down within a few hours, need I say more ♥

White chocolate and cranberry biscuits
taken from Ottolenghi the cookbook
Makes 25-30 biscuits

90g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
110g soft brown sugar
25g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
80g whole rolled oats
60g white chocolate chips
75g dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and set aside.
2. Put the butter, vanilla and sugars in a large mixing bowl  and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is lighter in colour and texture.
3. Gradually add the egg, making sure each addition is fully incorporated before adding more.
4. Add the flour mixture and the oats, then the chocolate and the cranberries. Do not continue mixing once the dry ingredients are blended in.
5. Chill the mixture slightly to help you shape the biscuits. Scoop out a bit of the mix with a spoon and use your hands to roll it into a ball, somewhere between the size of an olive and a walnut. Press the balls lightly on to baking trays lined with baking parchment. Make sure you space them about 6-7cm apart (they will spread more than you expect!)
6. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until they are a good brown colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays before serving.

Avoid over-mixing the batter

Make sure you roll them into tiny little balls & keep them wide enough apart

Some South African flavour, Bobotie

February 14, 2012

My boyfriend and I have been yearning for a little bit of home. The below freezing weather and consistent English food has left us hungry for imaginative flavours and hearty food. And so it was that I attempted to try and cook (my not so favourite) South African cape malay dish from my Ina Parman cookbook that was posted to Bath for me. So here goes, I recommend you give this one a bash, was delicious! Here is my version of Ina Paarman’s recipe for Bobotie

BOBOTIE

Spices Needed – put them all together in one little bowl before you start anything else……
10-15ml Mild Curry Powder (use hot if you prefer)
5ml Freshly Roasted and ground Coriander Seeds – this makes a big difference to the taste
5ml Ground Ginger
5ml Ground Jheera (Cumin)
5ml Turmeric
5ml Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Mixed Herbs
1/2 tsp Thyme
Knife Point of Chilli Powder
2tsp Sugar
Zest from 1/2 Lemon – finely grated

Seasonings – I also get all this done before I start with the meat
5ml Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
20ml Red or White Wine Vinegar
3 slices White Bread – soaked in water, lightly squeezed out then mashed with a fork
3 Bay Leaves – You can also use lemon leaves

Custard Topping – whisk together well
300ml Bulgarian Yoghurt
3 Eggs
Pinch Salt
Sprinkling of White Pepper

15 ml Olive Oil
5ml Butter
700g Mince – use a mixture of extra lean beef and lamb
3 Onions – finely chopped
3 Garlic Cloves – finely grated
375ml Grated Carrot and/or Apple

Preheat oven to 190deg Celcius
Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan and stir-fry the mince until it is loose and crumbly.
Add the onions and continue stir-frying until glazed and translucent.
Add the garlic, grated carrot & apple and all the spices
Cook for about 10minutes to develop the flavors
Season with the salt, pepper & wine vinegar then add the mashed softened bread and mix in
Cook, stirring for a few more minutes
Spray an oven proof dish with Spray n Cook then spread the mixture into the dish. Tuck the bay leaves into the mince at regular intervals
Whisk together all the ingredients for the custard topping then pour gently over the mince.
Sprinkle over a dash of cayenne pepper
Bake on the middle shelf for about 30 minutes until the topping is puffy but firm and golden

Serve with rice (yellow rice is really good!!!) chutney and a salad
Serving sliced bananas with this dish adds to the wonderful flavours.

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Same-Same But Different

February 12, 2012

I had the pleasure of an indulgent and lazy Sunday breakfast at the quirky Same-Same But Different eatery in town. The cafe is nestled away in the quaint Bartlett Street and boasts some beautiful artwork amongst a chic and homely decor. The food was superb as was the service. Thanks for a great morning!

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Old fashioned ‘Soldiers & Eggs’

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Bacon & Egg Bap on homemade buns

Baked Fennel with Parmesan & Ciabatta Breadcrumbs

February 7, 2012

I could not resist buying up the fresh fennel bulbs that I chanced upon yesterday. I have been scouting around for fresh fennel for ages now and was delighted when I found some at the grocer, I love the fresh and unique flavour that fennel offers, it manages to compliment any simple dish by adding an original tanginess that I find hard not to find utterly delicious!

See below for my take on baked fennel bulbs that I served up for dinner with some simple grilled chicken.

 

  • 2-3 fennel bulbs
  • 15g dry ciabatta breadcrumbs
  • 40g parmesan, finely grated
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt
  • 50ml dry white wine

Preheat oven to 150 deg. Slice off the base of the fennel bulbs & trim the stalks, keeping the feathery parts for the garnish. Cut the bulbs lengthways in half & cut out the core. Place the fennel halves cut side up in an ovenproof dish. In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, olive oil & salt to taste. Sprinkle the mixture over the fennel, then splash over the white wine. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the fennel is tender. Scatter over the feathery bits & serve immediately.

Spinach, Ricotta & Feta Filo Quiche

February 5, 2012

This recipe was inspired by a friend of mine who concocted this fabulous filo for a girls dinner. The filo always looks and tastes wonderful and adds an elaborate edge to any dish.

So seeing as I have a couple of girls coming over tonight (2 of whom are veggies) I thought that this would be the perfect, casual Sunday night dinner. See below for pictures and recipe.

Spinach, Ricotta & Feta Filo Quiche

Ingredients:

  • Melted butter
  • 1 9300g package frozen spinach, thawed and chopped
  • 200g fresh ricotta
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 green shallots, trimmed, thinly sliced
  • Salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 6 sheets filo pastry, thawed
  • 2 1/2 T olive oil
  • 20g (1/4 cup) finely shredded Parmesan

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°. Brush a shallow 23cm (base measurement) fluted flan tin with removable base with melted butter. With your hands squeeze the liquid from the spinach. Chop. Lightly fry the shallots in olive oil until golden brown. In a medium bowl, using electric beaters, beat the ricotta until almost smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until it is all well combined. Add the chopped spinach, spring onions, pepper and 1/2 the feta Mix well with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Lay 1 sheet of filo on a flat surface. Place 1- 1/2 tbs of oil in a small dish. Brush filo with a little oil, sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper. Place another sheet of filo on top and brush with oil again. Repeat this process with remaining filo adding cracked black pepper lightly between each layer. Brush top sheet lightly with oil. Place layered filo in greased tin and trim the excess.

Spoon spinach mixture into pastry-lined tin and smooth the surface. Sprinkle with the remaining feta and Parmesan. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until filling is golden.

Remove quiche from pan, cut into wedges and serve.

Lightly fry the shallots in olive oil

Add the eggs to the beaten ricotta, 1 at a time

Coat the raw pastry in melted butter and wrap around the dish

Welcome back

May 23, 2011

So I have taken rather  a lengthy period of leave from the blogging scene, having spent the first few months of this year working in New York and traveling in and around the states. This wonderful experience however did not afford me the time nor leisure to cook delicious meals worthy of my blog and american take outs did not quite make the cut! I did get to sample and taste some delicious food and eat out at unbelievable restaurants, New York is a city spoilt for culinary choices, the range of food genres, restaurants, markets and coffee shops is actually quite overwhelming, but definitely inspiring – lots and lots of ideas have been forming in my head that would be great to bring back to SA.

But I am back in the land of braai’s, good wine and rusks and am delighted to be home and cooking in my spacious kitchen for friends and family. So between perusing all my new cookbooks and browsing the grocery stores I have managed to come up with some fairly exciting recipes and meals which I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks. So on that note, let me go and get to work on my first foodie post, am feeling slightly out of practice with this blogging business, so please bear with me for now. I have included a few foodie shots from New York of some of my favorite food joints, just to whet your appetite ♥.

The market at Grand Central Terminal 

An amazing health shop in Chelsea that I used a lot for unusual ingredients and on-the-go snacks

My all time favorite grocery store – Wholefoods (the fish selection is incredible)


New York, New York

January 12, 2011

So for those of you who don’t yet know; I have relocated to NYC for a while and am set to be here for the next three months! This was all very last minute and hence the last few weeks of my life have been slightly chaotic; from getting my visa, booking flights and flying to NY all within one week – one could call it a little hectic! So after a beautiful New Year’s wedding and sad goodbye’s I was finally shipped off to the big apple and wow is it amazing to finally be here!

This city exudes an energy and a pace that proves unmatchable to anywhere else in the world I have ever seen…from the lights to the people to the shops; everything is so over the top, so bright and so beautiful. For example, there is an M&M store in Times Square that must be about 4 stories high and the entire store is dedicated to M&M’s, the scale of life here is totally unique!

Anyway it is fantastic to be here and have already done a fair amount of exploring and located some great local spots (thanks to my great local New Yorkian friends and the faithful guidebook!). But I will restrict these wonderful places to individual blog posts as otherwise I may be typing away all evening. Good night for now, and I promise to be a more frequent visitor on the blogging scene from now, so hopefully see you soon xx


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