Shakshuka with Potato Pesto Focaccia from Woodstock Bakery

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Shakshouka is a Middle Eastern dish served in a cast iron pan or tajine, accompanied by bread to mop up the sauce. I first had it in Turkey and they make it with a garlic sausage. You could easily adapt this recipe to your liking by adding chorizo or making it vegetarian and adding mushrooms instead. The options are endless. This doesn’t have to be served as a breakfast, it could easily be a quick budget friendly dinner too. This is a great way to feed a family or a group of friends coming over for Sunday brunch.

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Ingredients

2 cloves of garlic
1 red chill, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sugar
1 tin chopped tomato
1 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 cup water
thyme
1 bay leave
4 eggs
smoked pork cocktail sausages

 

Recipe

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large non-stick pan and add the garlic and chilli, fry for about 1 minute. Add the chopped onion and finely sliced red pepper as well as the cumin and smoked paprika. Cook for a few minutes until onions and peppers are soft. Now add the tinned tomato, tomato paste and sugar and give it a good stir. Add the bay leave, thyme and water and turn the heat down to a low simmer with the lid on. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
While the sauce is on a simmer, cook the smoked pork sausages in another pan or you can grill them in the oven.

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Give the sauce a stir and turn the heat up to medium, break 4 eggs in the sauce and put the lid back on. Cook until the desired softness for the eggs. Lastly, scatter the cocktail sausages over the cooked eggs. This dish must be served with a lovely crusty bread to mop up all the sauce.
Enjoy!!

 

Slowcooker Pork Belly Ramen

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Broth Ingredients

1 onion halved
1 carrot roughly chopped
big thumb size ginger sliced
2 big garlic cloves
8 tbsp sake
8 tbsp soy sauce
1L beef stock
4 tbsp fish sauce
300g shitake mushrooms stems removed
pork belly about 1,3kg
water, about 2L

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Reduced dipping broth for sliced pork

soy sauce 6 tbsp
ginger thumb size sliced
garlic 1 clove sliced
water 6 tbsp
5 spice powder 1 tsp or 1 tbsp hoisin sauce

Topping Ingredients

ramen noodles 1 packet per person
soft boiled egg 1 per person
bok choy
spring onions
sprouts
thai basil or coriander
red chilli
black sesame seeds and sesame oil

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Recipe

I would recommend you make this recipe over the weekend. It is not difficult at all, but  it is time consuming. Make your broth friday night and do the final touches on saturday, that way it doesnt feel like such a monumental task.

Day 1

Add onion, carrot, ginger, garlic, shitake, soy sauce, fishsauce, sake and beef stock to the slow cooker and set it to cook for 6 hours. While this is heating up, take the skin off the pork belly, keep the skin aside and place the whole pork belly in the slow cooker. Fill the pot with boiling water right to the top. I crisp the skin in a nonstick pan with salt and a bit of 5 spice powder until crispy and you can crumble it over your ramen at the end. Unfortunately we ate the crackling before the ramen was done because it was just too irresistible.

After 6 hours take the pork belly out of the slow cooker with tongs and set aside too cool. Take out the shiitake mushrooms and set aside. Discard the ginger, garlic, onion and carrot by straining the broth. Put the pork, shiitake mushrooms and broth in separate containers in the fridge until the next day.

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Day 2

Slowly start to warm the broth.
In another pan add the ingredients for the dipping broth and bring it to a low simmer. Now slice your pork belly in 1cm slices and put it in this dipping broth, this way you warm it and give it an extra kick of flavor.
In another pan, boil the eggs, cut in half and set aside.
Also slice the mushrooms that was boiled in the broth the night before and set aside.
Wash and slice the bok choy, spring onion, chili and sprouts and set aside.
Now get your bowls ready, because ramen must be served piping hot. Pour a bit of boiling water in each bowl to keep it warm.
Boil the noodles and while the noodles boil make sure the pork in the dipping broth and the ramen broth is hot hot hot!!!

When the noodles are ready, empty the bowls of the boiling water, drain the noodles and spoon noodles into the bowls. Assemble the bok choy, sprouts, spring onion, shiitake mushrooms, boiled egg, chili, thai basil and sliced pork belly on top of the noddles.
Lastly spoon over the boiling broth. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with a few drops of sesame oil.
Devour immediately!!!

 

 

Brandy Bread and Butter Pudding

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This recipe is from Gourmet Traveler and when I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for Fathers Day Lunch. I have made this bread and butter pudding before and I let it rest overnight and then bake it in the oven the next day. I found the pudding to be much fluffier and it makes a big difference. This pudding is bound to make Fathers Day special.

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Ingredients

2 tbsp brandy
1/2 cup raisins
5 eggs
300ml cream
300ml milk
1/4 cup castor sugar
rind of 1 orange
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
8-10 slices of day old bread, cut in 1cm slices
60g butter
1 tbsp damera sugar

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Recipe

Combine the raisins with the warmed brandy in a bowl and set aside.
Slice the bread and spread both sides of the bread with butter. Also butter the overproof dish, it should have a 1 litre capacity. Arrange the slices of bread in the oven proof dish and sprinkle the raisins over and under bread slices. Set aside.
Combine milk, cream and eggs in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Then add castor sugar, orange rind, ground cinnamon and vanilla powder to the mixture and whisk again
Pour this mixture over the bread, sprinkle demura sugar over and let it rest for an hour, so the bread can soak up all the liquid.
Warm the oven to 180C. and bake for 30-40 minutes until the liquid has set.
Server with ice-cream.

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.

Get Your Sh!t Together Breakfast Bowl

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This is the kind of Monday Morning Breakfast you make just before you take on the world. The kinda Monday Morning Breakfast where you organize your life, vow to join the gym, make lists and set goals.


Ingredients 

250g Packet 7 Grain Medley from Woolworths in South Africa
200g tender stem broccoli
4 boiled eggs
250g haloumi sliced in 1cm slices
1 medium size sweet potato cut in 1cm cubes
1 handful roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp tahini
juice of half a lemon
chilli and chives to serve
salt and pepper

Put your oven on grill and cut the sweet potatoes in 1cm cubes, drizzle with olive oil and salt and grill for about 10 minutes until slightly charred and soft. You can also roast your pumpkin seeds at the same time.

 

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Boil 4 eggs to your desired runniness and peal, cut in half and keep aside.

Steam  broccoli tender stems.

Put a nonstick pan on medium heat, add a bit of olive oil and 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric. Fry the haloumi slices until golden on both sides. Remove the haloumi from the pan but leave the turmeric oil in the pan. Now add freshly grated ginger to the pan and fry till fragrant, remove pan from heat and add 2 tbsp tahini to the pan and squeeze about 1 tbsp lemon juice to it, also add salt and pepper. This is the dressing that will be drizzled over at the end.

 

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Remove the 7 Grain Medley from the packet and warm in the microwave for about a minute and a half. Mix the grains and sweet potato and spoon it into the bowls. Arrange the haloumi, broccoli and boiled egg on top. Sprinkle with chilli, chives and pumpkin seeds. Lastly drizzle the turmeric tahini dressing over it.

 

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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.

 

 

Buchu infused Stewed Fruit with Overnight Oats

I would lean towards herbal remedies before taking ove-the-counter medicine any day and think that one should try to use these remedies in a precautionary manner in your every day life. In South Africa we are so fortunate to have at least two herbal teas that grows right here. The most popular being Rooibos and I grew up drinking this even before the hype of its health benefits. Coffee shops throughout South Africa now sell Rooibos cuppuccino and Rooibos lattes that is drizzled with honey. It is made like an espresso but with a concentrated Rooibos. If you ever visit South Africa try a Rooibos cuppuccino or latte. Its truly soothing.
I am actually here to talk about the lesser-known Buchu tea that I used in this Stewed Fruit recipe. The Koisan used to chew these leaves and today we drink it as a tea. This highly aromatic tea is used to treat ailments ranging from arthritis, flatulence to infections. In the food industry Buchu is often used to impart blackcurrant flavour to foods.

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I usually enjoy this breakfast on an indulgent lazy Sunday morning, while I potter around my indoor garden and listen to Tom Waits, but by all means listen to your favorite music and potter around in which ever way you choose.
So if you are looking for a superfood breakfast with added medicinal qualities this is the breakfast you are looking for.

Ingredients

1 teabag of Buchu tea or 1 heaped Tbsp of Buchu leaves
1,5 cups of  boiling water
250g of dried fruit, stones removed e.g. peaches, prunes, raisins or sultanas
1 stick of cinnamon or cassia bark
1 cardamon pod
honey as desired
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1,5 cups of plain yogurt plus extra for serving
pumpkin seeds for serving

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Recipe

Steep the Buchu in boiling water for about 15 minutes and then pour it over the dried fruit. Let it stand over night so the fruit can plump up.
In a separate container mix the oats and yogurt and you can add 1 table spoon of honey and half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the oats. Put the oats in the fridge overnight.
The next morning add the cinnamon stick or cassia bark and cardamon pod to the Buchu infused fruit and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Also add 1 Tbsp honey or as much as you like. Let it cook until the liquid is syrupy.
Let the stewed fruit cool down to room temperature.
To serve, spoon soaked oats, add a bit of plain yogurt and top with stewed fruit and its syrup. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
Enjoy and be healthy!!!

Herenbone Soup with Pork Koftas

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The first time I had Herenbone was at Marianas in Stanford. Mariana and her husband Peter are such charming characters, making you feel right at home from beginning to end. At this country kitchen Peter told us how special these beans were. These Lima beans only grow on the west coast of South Africa and directly translates as “Lord’s Bean”. There was only one website that had any information about these beans, give it a read here if you are interested.

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So I bought a packet of these dried beans on a road trip to the west coast some time ago and have been baffled on how to use them. People from the west coast are without pretences, they are real, they are proud fishermen and farmers and are use to the hardships that living off the land brings. And this is why I wanted to keep the flavours simple. So when I saw my new foodie crush Akis making his Greek White Bean Soup I knew the Herenbone would be just the thing to use.

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I made this soup in a slow cooker, I just love making any stew or soup in it as I don’t have to check on it constantly. I added potatoes to the soup as I like how  it thickens the soup. I also made additional mini pork koftas with the soup. Lamb mince would also work amazingly but pork is cheaper than lamb in South Africa, so I opted for pork for this midweek meal. Its really nice to serve it in this way because often I don’t feel like meat but Jurie does.

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Ingredients

Soup

olive oil
rosemary sprig chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 1/2 cup of dried herenbone or any white beans
2 big carrots chopped in chunks
2-3 celery sticks chopped in chunks
1 onion chopped
2 potatoes cubed
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 whole red apple
1 chicken stock cube
1 1/2 litre water to cover

Pork Koftas

500g pork or lamb mince
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 finely chopped garlic clove
salt and pepper

Recipe

To make the soup add oil, garlic, onion, rosemary, carrots and celery and saute for a few minutes. Then add  the potatoes, beans, tomato paste, bay leaves, chicken stock cube and water. Season with salt and pepper. Lastly put a whole red apple in and set the slow cooker to slow cook high, which will take 4 hours. Just remember to discard the apple before serving, it is only used to sweeten the soup.

While your soup is cooking you have lots of time to make the koftas. Just mix all the pork kofta ingredients together and let it rest in the fridge for an hour. After it has rested and just before the soup is ready you can form the mince around kebab sticks.Brush with olive oil and grill on a medium to high heat in a griddle pan.

Serve your soup and koftas with crispy farm style bread, olives and feta.

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