Green Papaya Salad with Prawns and G&T

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Yes, I know its winter in Cape Town and we just had one of the biggest storms to hit the Mother City in years. You might be thinking; who in their right mind would want to eat crunchy, limey green papaya salad with Gin and Tonics, this while its 14 degrees outside and raining. This is not comfort winter food, not at all. But I can tell you it was darn delicious. Come summer time, I would eat this everyday. I just had to try this green papaya salad, as green papayas are not readily available in supermarkets here and it was only because of a tip from Sam Lindsels’ blog Drizzle and Dip that I was so lucky to get hold of a green papaya.

I must admit , I have never been a fan of Gin and Tonics but after tasting Wilderer Gin at Spice Route I am a changed woman. It seems like Cape Town has an array of amazing Gin distilleries and therefore we have our very own Gin and Tonic festival.  I see Hope on Hopkins is right here in my backyard and that will be the next distillery to visit.

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Ingredients

Dressing

1/4 cup of lime juice
1 tbsp of fishsauce
2 tsp of honey
1 red birds eye chilli
1 clove of garlic

Salad Ingredients

1/2 green Papaya
1 big carrot
2 spring onions
1/2 red pepper
hand full cherry tomato
100 grams peeled, cooked and deveined prawns
1/2 cup crushed salted peanuts
Basil micro greens or coriander

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Recipe

Make the dressing by adding all the dressing ingredients to a blender and give it a good whizz, keep it aside.

Peel and deseed 1/2 a papaya and shred finely with a Julienne Peeler, do the same with the carrot. Combine the 2 in a mixing bowl. Cut tomatoes in halves or quarters and thinly slice spring onions, add this to the mixing bowl. Thinly slice 1/2 a red pepper  and add this to the mixing bowl too. The salted peanut can be crushed in a mortar and pestle before being added to the mixing bowl too. Pour the dressing over and give it a good mix before transferring it to a serving dish. Lastly scatter with prawns and micro basil greens.

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Winter Beef Barley and Mushroom Soup

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My father makes a Bean and Beef Soup that I have eaten over a thousand times during my life. I have seen him make it, I have made it with him and I know every ingredient that goes into it, but I cannot replicate my fathers soup. I have come to the conclusion that a pot of soup is a uniquely individual dish. When a person serves you soup for dinner it should be appreciated, its made with love and their special touch.

Ingredients

500g stewing beef or cut of your choice
3 cloves of garlic
1 brown onion
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2-3 large potatoes skin on, chopped
500g portabellini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup dried barley
fresh rosemary or thyme
2 bay leaves
1 beef stock cube
salt and pepper
fresh parsley

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Recipe

I make this soup in my Breville slow cooker. It has a saute/sear option so I like to brown the beef  with a bit of salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil. But there is no need to do this if your slow cooker does not have this function. Then add the onions and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped carrots, celery, mushrooms and potatoes and give it a good stir. Then add the barley, bay leaves, rosemary or thyme or both. Dissolve the beef stock cube in a bit of water before adding it and top the pot with enough water, depending on your pot size, I would guess 1,5 litre.
Lid on and set cooking time for 4 hours on high.
Stir every hour or so and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

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Cooks note:

At the end I take out about 1/4 of the soup, make sure you get some of the meat too, but very importantly NO BONES. The reason because I blend it till a smooth consistency and add it back to the soup. This way you get the best of both worlds, a smooth-chunky soup.

Serve with crusty bread, chopped fresh parsley and drizzle with olive oil.