Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reel Seeds for Spring Day

We just LOVE these Reel Seeds
You just plant the strip, water regularly and voila, 
you’ve got a herb garden!

It’s the perfect Spring Day gift (or anytime gift for that matter J), 
just click here for more info on Reel Seeds 
and other great Spring Day gifts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cube Tasting Kitchen

It has been a long standing debate that Johannesburg just can’t seem to match up with the caliber restaurants that one might find in Cape Town. The closest us Gautengers could get to the fancy Capetonian tasting menus was at Roots Restaurant (I blogged about this Top 10 restaurant here), but it’s at the Forum Homini Hotel in The Cradle of Humankind – much too far to drive for a boozy dinner…

Enter Cube Tasting Kitchen. Finally, Joburgers can brag about a restaurant on our doorstep that matches any of the establishments in Cape Town (or anywhere in South Africa for that matter). Dario D'Angeli of Yum fame is behind this venture, and according to their Twitter brief they are a “Tasting kitchen - not restaurant. Small, intimate and focused. We are about a food experience, so leave your watch behind!!” and that is exactly what it is! The menu changes with the seasons a couple of times a year with a focus on fresh seasonal ingredients.

We enjoyed an 18 course meal (see full menu below), and it was absolutely delightful! Creative, detailed, innovative and not to mention delicious. Dario and fellow chef Jonty visited each table personally to explain the dishes, so it really made for an intimate evening. After hours of eating and tasting miniature portions of dishes ranging from a Wild Mushroom Soup that looked like a mini Guinness, to a Lobster & Chorizo Barley to the most decadent Rosemary infused Chocolate Shot, we left VERY satisfied and certainly inspired.

At R450.00 per person it’s not a cheap night out, but I see this as a restaurant for special occasions (I’m sure I can find something to celebrate every time the seasons change…) and a bonus is that you can BYO, and they don’t charge corkage. Dario was very helpful in suggesting wine pairings for the dishes, and it really enhances the experience so it’s worth visiting the kitchen as a group of 6 or more.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this restaurant on the Eat Out Top 10 list soon. For more info click here.

  18 Bite sized dishes, chef explanations, great wine 
- an evening to remember!

 The July/August menu

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hands-On Cooking Bachelorettes

We catered for a Vegetarian Bachelorettes a couple of weeks ago – and boy, did we have a blast! Debbie (sister of the bride - Claire) and Margaux (bridesmaid) went to loads of trouble organizing a fun filled evening, complete with bare-butt waiters, clay sculpting competitions and beautiful decorations.

After indulging in Rose Martinis, the bevy guests got their hands dirty by rolling their own Sushi and building mini Tartlets that we baked for them later on. This was really the perfect way to get the evening started – a great time was had by all!

For more information on the LekkerBek Hands-On Cooking Experiences click here

Mini Tartlets

Stunning Décor and Aprons for the guests 

Rose Martini welcome drinks, Chick pea Tagine & Sushi Ingredients

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Philips AirFyer

French Fries - cooked with no oil! 

As Lekkerbekke we are obviously very interested in – no, obsessed with – kitchen gadgets. From tiny little cheese picks to fancy Sous Vide machines, we want it all! To our utter delight the kind folks at Philips loaned us one of the most innovative kitchen gadgets we have had the pleasure of cooking with – the AirFryer. We blogged about the launch here, and now we had a couple of weeks to experiment with it.

KFC Style Chicken

The idea is genius: a tool that makes food taste like it has been deep fried, but in fact using very little or no oil at all. Who doesn’t love the crunch of deep fried anything? Now, we have to admit that we aren’t big fans of frozen French fries, but McCain sent a few bags of frozen chips along with the AirFryer, so we just had to try them… Wow! Out of everything we ‘Air Fried’ those chips were some of the best. Light, super crispy and with the bonus of using no oil! The skinny cut variety was our favourite.

Spicy Crumbed Mushrooms

For a few weeks we ate ‘Air Fried’ meals all the time, everything from mushrooms, to fish, to chicken, to vegetarian meat balls – if it could be crumbed, it was ‘fried’! Woolworths recently launched a range of Asian inspired snack meals, and the spring rolls and potato balls were delicious cooked in the AirFryer, so are samoosas.

Salmon Fish Cakes

The key to making tasty food in the AirFryer is by crumbing it with well seasoned flower and/or bread crumbs and an egg wash. This way a crispy pocket forms on the outside, while the inside is steamed. We did sprinkle some of the dishes with some vegetable oil for that extra crunch, but really, it’s not necessary.

Very little to no oil.
Super crunchy results.
Heats up quickly.
Cooks quickly.
Cleans easily.

Size – the basket is small. We only managed to make two portions of anything at a time. So if you’re planning on serving Fish and Chips, you’ll have to cook it in two batches. Perfect for a singleton, a couple or a mom cooking for the kids, but not for an entire family (unless you’re just serving French fries).

In summary we really enjoyed cooking with the Philips AirFryer, and wouldn’t mind giving it a permanent place in our kitchen. If the size of the basket was increased by half, we think this machine could become a fixture in many households.

Moroccan Style Lentil & Aubergine Veggie Balls
Makes about 12 balls


1 can Lentils, drained and rinsed
2 Cups Aubergine, diced (similar in size to the lentils)
Olive Oil
1 Medium Red Onion, finely diced
1 Tbls Garlic, chopped
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
¼ tsp Clove powder
¼ tsp Peri-peri powder
½ cup Fresh Coriander, chopped
½ cup Pine Nuts, chopped
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
Salt & Black Pepper

Yogurt and fresh coriander as a side sauce, Season with salt and pepper.

How to make it

Rinse lentils and place in a large mixing bowl.
Fry aubergine cubes in a splash of olive oil until tender, add to lentils.
Fry onion in the same pan with some olive oil until soft and translucent. Add cumin, coriander, cloves, peri-peri and garlic and fry for about two minutes until fragrant. Add mix to lentil and aubergine bowl.
Stir in chopped coriander and pine nuts. Season well with salt and pepper.
Add eggs and bread crumbs and mix well.
Scoop out ¼ cup sizes of the mixture and roll into balls.
Dust with bread crumbs and allow to set in the fridge for at least half an hour.
‘Fry’ in the Philips Air Fryer for 10 – 12 minutes on 200°C.
Alternatively bake in the oven for the same time or shallow fry in oil until crispy and browned.

Serve with salad leaves and/or wraps and a yogurt coriander sauce.

  • If your family really hates the idea of not eating meat, you can leave out half the Lentils and Aubergines and add an equal quantity lean beef mince.
  • Try different flavour combinations – like Thai, using ginger, garlic, lemon grass and lime.
  • Buy bread crumbs at the bakery section in the supermarket.
  • Make the Yogurt & Coriander sauce by finely chopping a big handful of fresh coriander leaves, mixing it with plain yogurt and seasoning with salt, pepper and garlic. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Baklava Apples

My gorgeous friend Hanri who lives in the UK posted this recipe on Facebook the other day and I just HAD to share it! How delicious and easy does this look? And it’s totally perfect for Meat-Free-Mondays J

Hanri is a yoga teacher and has a fab blog with loads of healthy recipes and all round wellness posts, check it out: http://yogahoney.blogspot.com/

Baklava Apples
Serves 4 for dessert or breakfast

You will need
4 Apples
50g Pistachios
50g Cashew Nuts
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp Cloves, ground
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, ground
2 Tbls Honey 
Greek Yoghurt to serve

How to make it
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Core the apples, making some extra room in the centre for stuffing the apples.
Next, chop the nuts (a food processor makes this super quick and easy),then mix in the ground spices and spoon the spicy nut mixture into the apples. Don't be afraid to pack the chopped nuts in tightly into the centre of every apple. If you have some nut mixture left, save it to have on your cereal for breakfast. 
Now place the stuffed apples into a baking tray, and drizzle the honey over top of the apples, concentrating on where the nut mixture is so that it seeps into the mixture.
Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
Serve with some creamy Greek yoghurt, and drizzle some of the warm honey that's overrun into the baking tray over the top.


This recipe was inspired by Peter from the 'Souvlaki for the Soul' blog:http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/baked-apples-baklava  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spoil someone special this Woman's Day

Chocolate, Nuts, Cherries & Marshmallows - all in one, yum! 
6 x Rocky Road Pieces
Chalk Bottle (12cm high)
Pink Ribbon

for orders or more info 

Monday, August 1, 2011

DW eleven-13 Restaurant mini Review

DW eleven-13 Restaurant is one of only two restaurants in Gauteng (and the only one in Joburg) to have made it onto the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants list – so needless to say, we have been dying to go! Last week we joined a group of friends there for dinner, and this is what I think…

Had DW eleven-13 not been on the Top 10 list I would have thought it a superb restaurant – but with the Top 10 label comes a lot of expectations – especially if you have dined at the fellow Gauteng winner, Roots. Don’t get me wrong, DW is still a great restaurant, but do I think it’s Top 10 standard… It’s debatable.

Ambiance: Pretty interior, great vibe – but view of the parking lot is unappealing.
Service: Very attentive, friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Food: Fantastic bistro fair with a few special touches in between (like liver amuse-bouche, artisan breads and truffles on the house). The starters are pricy, but the mains are average ‘expensive-Joburg-restaurant’ prices. Everyone seemed to enjoy their mains, but be warned the food is rich – so opt for a side salad of Rocket to cut some of the fat, especially on the Rib Eye! The chocolate tasting and cheese platter desserts were delicious.

Would we go back? Sure. I’d love to see what chef Marthinus Ferreira presents as a summer menu, and I would love to try the tasting menu. There are a few restaurants on par with this one in Joburg – like the Green Peppercorn in Morningside, so I’m just wondering if DW will make it to  the Top 10 again next year…

Visit the DW website here.