Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lay's Deli Kettle Cooked Chips

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a problem with crisps – not the 
‘can’t-stand-them’ kind of problem, but the ‘can’t-get-enough-of-them’ 
kind of problem. So imagine my delight when Lay’s sent me samples 
of their new Deli Kettle Cooked range to taste – yay! One thing I 
always look for in a crisp is flavour, and this range certainly packs 
a punch. There are four to choose from: Cream Cheese & Jalapeno, 
Sundried Tomato & Olive, Cheese Gratin & Caramalised Onion and 
Creamy Peppered Fillet – the solid favourite in our house.

The husband and I were lucky enough to attend the launch of the new 
offering from Lay’s at an event aptly titled “Bring Back the Mmm”. 
And Mmmm it certainly was! They were really smart in pairing the crisps 
flavours with the canapés they served: Mini Yorkshire puddings with 
beef fillet with the Creamy Peppered Fillet chips, jalapeno poppers 
with the Cream Cheese & Jalapeno chips, savory shortbread and 
sundried tomato with the Sundried Tomato & Olive chips and brie 
and fig spring rolls with the Cheese Gratin & Caramalised Onion crisps.

We were treated to oysters and bubbly, massages, Anele as MC and 
Nothende on stage. Great venue (Urban Tree), fab vibes and delicious food!

We’ll certainly be serving Lay’s Deli Kettle Cooked at our New Year’s 
party tonight ;)

 
Lay's Deli Kettle Cooked Chips stands everywhere! 

Me and the hubby enjoying some bubbles.

Massage room.

Anele on stage.

Some of the delicious food


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tomato Gazpacho Recipe


Tomorrow evening our entire family will be getting together for a big casual dinner 
to celebrate Christmas. This chilled tomato soup will make the perfect starter for 
our summer celebration – not only is it light and refreshing, it’s also a beautiful 
festive red J

Tomato Gazpacho
Serves 4 - 6

Ingredients

800 g ripe tomatoes
1 Red Pepper
1 Slice brown bread, toasted
1 tsp Garlic
1 Tbls Olive Oil
1 Tbls Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Tbls Tabasco
1 tsp Sugar
Salt + Black Pepper to taste

How to make it

Make an X incision on the top and the bottom of the tomatoes. Pour boiling water 
over them and allow them to soak for 2 minutes. Remove from hot water and 
plunge into an ice bath. The skins should come off easily. Once peeled, you can 
remove the seeds if you wish, but it's not necessary. Roughly cut the tomatoes 
into quarters.
Remove the seeds and membrane from the red pepper, cut into chunky pieces.
Break the slice of toast into smaller pieces.
Place all the ingredients except the salt and pepper into a blender.
Don't liquidise the soup too much; it's supposed to be chunky.
Once you've reached a consistency that you like, season to taste with 
salt and pepper.
Chill and serve cold with crispy bread.

Tips

  • You can make the soup a day ahead, the flavors develop really well over a couple of hours.
  • Add another slice of bread if the soup is too runny.
  • You can add a fresh chilli for some extra kick.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

La Parada: Tapas in Cape Town


The husband and I were wondering around Cape Town last weekend and 
popped in for a light lunch at La Parada, a Tapas restaurant in the city bowl.

What a fabulous little discovery! The communal tables and rustic decor
adds to the chilled vibes as patrons sip on ice cold craft beers
and share small plates of well prepared tapas
(the chefs are from Spain!).

We ordered the Gazpacho, Prawn Croquettes, Oxtail Cannelloni,
Calamari with Salsa Verde, Chorizo with Chickpeas and Summer Fish.
Everything was delicious! And the small serving options 
were generous enough to share.

If you find yourself in the Mother City this holiday
do yourself a favour and enjoy a boozy tapas lunch at La Parada.

More info:
107 Bree Street, Cape Town
021 424 2235

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cube Tasting Kitchen – Celebrating Wirie's 60th

September is celebration month in our house. Birthdays for me, my husband, my best friend, 
my gran and my mom.

This year Wirie turned 60 (hip hip hooray!) and we were treated to the most fabulous dinner 
at Cube Tasting Kitchen. I blogged about this special little restaurant two years ago (here), 
and am thrilled to report that they have kept up the quality and inspired food.

Admittedly my parents are difficult to please when it comes to dining out...
They both owned their own restaurants and they eat exceptionally well at home, so it’s 
not often one sees them impressed by restaurant food, but Cube certainly delighted them!

Spoil yourself, take a few hours and enjoy a 10 (or more!) course meal that you will never forget.



The menu (Wirie's nick-name is 'Mie')

The birthday girl.

The family & Dario explaining the menu (and a 31 year old wine)

The food. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

South African Cucumber Sarmie

Serve these tasty South African inspired sandwiches at your next tea party or picnic 
– they are simple to make and super tasty.



South African Cucumber Sarmie
Serves 10 -12

You will need
1 loaf Albany Rooibos & Rye Brown Bread
1 large cucumber
1 tub sweet chilli cream cheese
Red chillies or red pepper for garnish, cubed

How to make it
Thinly slice the cucumber.
Smear one side of each bread slice with sweet chilli cream cheese.
Layer sliced cucumber on the cream cheese.
Top with another slice of cream cheese bread.
Slice the crusts off the bread (optional).
Slice the sandwiches into triangles.
Garnish with fresh red chillies or red pepper.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas dishes from around the world


Christmas dinner is not just about stuffed turkey and roast potatoes. All around the world traditions have been shaped by weather, culture and local produce - take a look at these interesting dishes, I may try one for our feast this year ;) 

Read more about them and other traditional Christmas recipes on Saveur here

Coquito (Puerto Rican Eggnog)

Galletas con Chochitos (Mexican Butter Cookies with Sprinkles)

Speculaas (Molded Ginger Cookies) from the Netherlands and Belgium 

Krumkakes (Norwegian Wafer Cookies)

Lebkuchen (German Fruit and Spice Cookies)

Krusciki (Polish Bow-Tie Fritters)

Herring and Beet Salad from Sweden

Pernil Asado (Roast Pork Shoulder) from Puerto Rico

Soupe Crasse (Cheese and Bread Soup) from Northern Italy

Tourtière (Québécois Meat Pie) from Canada

Julskinka (Christmas Ham) from New York City

Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna-Caper Sauce) from North West Italy 

Töltött káposzta (Hungarian stuffed cabbage)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yuppiechef Simple Summer Cookathon 2013

Every year Yuppiechef encourages South Africans to take part in their 
annual cookathon - in celebration of eating together. 
We think this is a great excuse for a mid-week dinner party :)

Tonight I'll be cooking these 'Simple Summer' dishes for a few of our friends:

Melon and avocado salad with spicy seed brittle


Classic wild mushroom risotto


Chocolate pudding with strawberry ripple ice cream


Read more about the challenge here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dim Sum Yum - Best bites in Joburg

Dim Sum, Yum Cha, Dumplings. Whatever you choose to call these little bites 
of deliciousness, one thing is for sure - they are sure to delight.

The husband and I started our Dim Sum obsession on our first date at The Orient in 
Melrose Arch over 4 years ago. We've tried to make our own (not very successfully), 
we've dined in some of the most upmarket Dim Sum restaurants and feasted 
on very authentic Yum Cha in very questionable venues. 

One of the stops during our Honeymoon was in China - 
the Dim Sum were unbelievable! 
Read more about our experiences here



I especially fell in love with xiaolong bao,
some of the best we tasted were at Din Tai Fung.

In Joburg, the best xiaolong bao is served up by Gwefey in Sandton.
(go there for lunch over weekends for their buy 2 get 1 free special)

Some of the most authentic and un-fussy Yum Cha 
can be had at Shun Deck in Cyrildene. 
(go on a Sunday over brunch/lunch)

(delicious Edamame Beans)

The Orient, at Melrose Arch

The best Hong Kong Pears are made by
So Yum in Hyde Park.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Strawberry Snow Recipe


Summer is upon us and we are craving fresh and cool desserts, and with strawberries 
being in season, this makes the perfect light dinner-party finale.

Strawberry Snow
Serves 6

You will need
500g strawberries
2 egg whites
½ cup castor sugar
125ml cream
2.5ml vanilla extract
Mint and fresh strawberries for garnish

How to make it

Wash and hull strawberries and purée in a blender.
Combine the strawberry purée, egg whites and castor sugar and beat with an electric 
mixer until stiff and glossy.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks and add vanilla.
Using a rubber spatula gently fold the cream through the strawberry mixture until combined.
Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
To serve, spoon mixture into pretty glasses and garnish with fresh mint and strawberries.
Serve immediately.

TIP: You can chill the strawberry snow in your serving glasses from the beginning,
so that all you need to do before serving is garnish.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Peel a head of garlic in 10 seconds!

Love garlic? We cook with it all the time! But face it, peeling it can be a hassle... 
With this trick, you not only get to peel an entire head of garlic in a few seconds, 
it's brilliant as a stress reliever too :) 

We ♥ Krispy Kreme

The copy for this Krispy Kreme ad is so funny - 
and so true!


 The husband and I fell in love with Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Las Vegas
during our honeymoon, read the blog entry here.


Friday, October 11, 2013

International Egg Day – Open fire Frittata Recipe


This is the perfect eggy recipe for a group of friends, over an open fire, preferably in the bush :)

Open fire Frittata
Serves 6-8

You will need
A fire going on the side and coals separate from the fire to cook over.
A nice big flat fire resistant pan and serious gloves.

Small onions, about 1 per person
1 packet bacon, diced
1 punnet portabellini mushrooms, broken in quarters
1 packet mini cheese grillers
1 packet mini beef or pork sausages
1 chilli, optional
12 eggs
Cream or water
1 packet baby tomatoes
1 wedge mozzarella - diced
Fresh herbs like rocket and basil
Salt and pepper
Cooking oil and butter

How to make it
Place pan on a griddle over hot coals spreading the coals evenly to warm the pan.
Add dash of oil and knob of butter.
Fry the bacon, sausages, onions and chilli.
Add mushrooms and fry some more.
Beat eggs with cream or water, salt and pepper.
When the sausages and bacon are almost done – scrape them to the side of the pan.
Add the egg mixture to the middle of the pan –– it must just cook not burn. TIP: Constantly tend to your coals, making sure the heat is even and not too hot.
Add diced mozzarella and baby tomatoes, and cook until the cheese is melted and eggs set – do not stir.
Top with a handful of rocket and/or basil, season well with salt & freshly cracked black pepper and serve in the pan.

You can toast English muffins on the side over the fire or bake pot bread.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bosses Day - Wednesday 16 October

Show your appreciation this Bosses Day 
with a fabulous gift from LekkerBek – big or small.


Click here for our range.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Freshly Blogged: The Winner!

40 Bloggers, 11 challenges, 3 finalists cooking off live at The Taste of Joburg and 1 winner...
Congratulations to Samantha Taylor (pomegranate days) for cooking it to the top!

Samantha Taylor, Anél Potgieter (lifeisazoobiscuit) and Lara Johnson (How to Cook and Elephant) had 30 minutes to produce a winning dish from a box of mystery ingredients in front of a live audience last week. It was Sam who walked away with the grand prize after whipping up a 'seared steak bruschetta with caramelised onions, cherry tomatoes, pea sprouts and red wine reduction, followed by a pear and chocolate spring roll, dusted with cinnamon sugar.'

Well done to all the bloggers that took part in the Freshly Blogged competition, it truly was a challenge :)

See all the recipes I submitted here.

The finalists: Lara, Sam & Anél

Sam with Justine Drake





Monday, September 16, 2013

Freshly Blogged: Challenge 11


I’ve been chopped from the Freshly Blogged competition, but I got to cook in all 11 challenges and made it to Top 9 (yay). What an amazing experience! It challenged me creatively and pushed my culinary abilities – I made custard, consommé and macaroons for the first time, so I learnt a lot!

All the best to the remaining 6 bloggers, we’ll see if my personal favourites make it to the final :)

For the final challenge we could use the following to create a Mexican inspired dish: Werda Spicy Mexican Bean Salad, sour cream, spring onion, avocado, cherry tomatoes, coriander and one added protein. This was my final entry:

Mexican food intrigues me. It ranges from simplistic flavoursome ingredients and preparation, to exotic components and time consuming cooking methods. I would LOVE to go on a culinary adventure to Mexico one day! I was inspired by the Mexican flag for this recipe, much like the ingredients, the colours are strong and punchy, but the design simplistic with surprise details.

Tricolour Mexican Dipper with Coriander Butter Tortillas
Serves 4
Prep time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 1 hour

You will need

For the tortillas:
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cups hot water

For the Re-Fried beans:
Vegetable oil
¼ cup spring onion (white part only), sliced
1 box Werda Spicy Mexican Bean Salad
Salt

For the tomato salsa:
16 cherry tomatoes
Salt
Black pepper

For the crispy bacon:
4 rashers streaky bacon

For the spring onion sour cream:
250g sour cream
¼ cup spring onion (green part only), sliced
Salt

For the guacamole:
1 ripe avocado
¼ cup fresh coriander, chopped
Salt
Black pepper

For the coriander butter:
1 cup fresh coriander, chopped
½ cup butter
Salt

How to make it
For the tortillas:
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Add the oil. Work it into the flour with your hands.
Add the water bit by bit and mix well. (It should form a sticky ball.)
Wrap the dough in cling film and rest for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 16 pieces.
On a floured surface, roll each dough ball into a flat round tortilla (about the size of a cd).
Heat a non stick pan to scorching hot, don’t add oil.
Dry grill each tortilla for 30 – 50 seconds on each side until dark spots appear.
Store tortillas in an airtight container.

For the Re-Fried beans:
Heat some olive oil in a heavy based pot.
Fry the spring onion until soft.
Add the Werda Spicy Mexican Bean Salad and cook for about 10 minutes until the sauce is reduced and it’s slightly caramilised.
Using a potato crusher, crush the beans in the pot to form a paste.
Season to taste with salt.

For the tomato salsa:
Cut a cross into each tomato.
Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes and drain.
Peel the tomatoes and remove the pips.
Cut into small cubes, season with salt and finely milled black pepper and set aside.

For the crispy bacon:
In a very hot pan or under a grill, cook the bacon until brown and crispy.
Drain on paper towels.
Once cool, cut into small pieces and set aside.

For the spring onion sour cream:
Mix the spring onions with the sour cream and season to taste with salt.
Cover and set aside.

For the guacamole:
Smash the avocado to a chuncky consistency and mix in the chopped coriander.
Season with salt and finely milled black pepper.
Cover and set aside.

For the coriander butter:
Just before serving, melt the butter and mix in the chopped coriander.
Season well with salt.

Serving:
*Everything should be served at room temperature, but the re-fried beans and tortillas can be re-heated if you’d like.
Scoop the salsa, then the sour cream, then the re-fried beans and then the guacamole into a glass in layers.
Top with crispy bacon and garnish with coriander.
Cut tortilla rounds into quarters.
Drizzle or paint each tortilla with the hot coriander butter and serve immediately.
TIP: Serve with a small spoon so that guests can scoop out all four layers and smear it onto their tortillas. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Freshly Blogged: Challenge 10

Click HERE to vote for this recipe.


I just love burgers, but the problem is that I can never decide on the toppings – I always want more than one! That’s why I’ve made three mini burgers with different toppings so you can get a little bite of each. Using the Spur sauce in the patties makes them incredibly moist and tasty… I think this may become my secret ingredient J Served with shoestring fries, this is a great gourmet burger lunch! I always make extra beef patties – I prefer a meaty burger with more beef than bread (there is nothing wrong with using two patties), and they are also great in lunchboxes.

This week we had the following ingredients: Spur Grill Basting Sauce, beef chuck, burger buns, sweet & sour gherkins, onions, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, potatoes, one dairy product & 3 items from the aisles.  

Burger Bites
Serves 2
Prep time: ½ hour
Cooking Time: ½ hour

You will need
For the patties:
1 heaped Tbls finely chopped white onion
250g Chuck steak, minced (if you don’t have a mincer, ask your butcher to do it for you)
1 egg
½ Tbls coriander, ground
2 Tbls Spur basting sauce
1 tsp salt
Ground black pepper
1 Tbls corn flour
Vegetable oil

For the caramelised onion & gherkin crouton burger:
1 small white onion, sliced
Vegetable oil
1 Tbls brown sugar
Salt
2 mini sweet and sour gherkins

For the buns:
4 soft burger buns
1 Tbls butter
1 Tbls oil

For the beetroot & goats cheese salad burger:
1 thick slice pickled beetroot
1 slab soft goats cheese
Iceberg lettuce

For the tomato, onion & chilli salsa bunny chow burger:
1 ripe tomato
1 Tbls finely chopped white onion
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 Tbls olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vinegar

For the shoestring chips:
2 large potatoes, peeled
Vegetable oil for deep frying (about 3 cups)
Salt

How to make it
For the patties:
Pour boiling water over the chopped onion – enough to cover the onion. Let it stand for 2 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water.
Mix all the ingredients together (including the chopped onion).
Wet your hands and scoop out heaped teaspoon fulls of mince, rolling each into a little ball and flattening it slightly to form a mini patty.
Brush each patty on both sides with vegetable oil.
When all the mince has been shaped into patties, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge until needed.
Once ready to use, heat a griddle pan until it starts to smoke (very hot).
Grill each patty for about 2 minutes on each side until griddle marks appear (don’t overcook).

For the caramalised onion & gherkin crouton burger:
Fry the onion and sugar in the oil over a low heat for at least 10 minutes.
Once the onion becomes soft and transparent, turn up the heat and fry for a few minutes until golden brown.
Season with salt.

For the buns:
Using a sharp round cookie cutter, cut out a round from the center of each burger bun (use a round that’s the same size as the patties you’ve made).
On two of the bread rounds, cut off the brown crust of the bread and flatten the bread to compress the bread slightly.
With the remaining two, gently cut a circle in the center of the round, pressing it down to form a bread cup (like a mini bunny chow).
Heat some oil and butter in a frying pan, and gently fry the crouton and bunny chow bread until golden brown and slightly toasted on the outside.
Set aside.

For the beetroot & goats cheese salad burger:
Using a very small round cutter, press out two round disks from the beetroot.
Roll (about a teaspoon per serving, or more if you like) the soft goats cheese into two little balls.
Using the same cookie cutter you used for the bread rounds, cut out two rounds from the lettuce.

For the tomato, onion & chilli salsa bunny chow burger:
Combine all the ingredients and allow to soak for at least 10 minutes at room temperature.

For the shoestring chips:
Cut the peeled potato into very thin strips.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan.
Test one chip, and if it sizzles and floats to the top the oil is ready.
Fry the chips in batches, and drain on paper towels.
You can keep them warm in the oven.

Serving

For the caramalised onion & gherkin crouton burger:
Place a cooked patty on top of the bread crouton and top that with a small scoop of caramelised onion and a gherkin.

For the beetroot & goats cheese salad burger:
Stack two lettuce rounds on top of each other.
Top that with a cooked patty, then the goats cheese ball and then the beetroot round.

For the tomato, onion & chilli salsa bunny chow burger:
Scoop some of the salsa into the bread cup, top that with a cooked patty and garnish with some more salsa.

Serve immediately with a generous helping of shoestring fries.