Thursday, May 30, 2013

Father's Day Gifts from LekkerBek

The way to a man’s heart...
Beer & biltong!
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this Father’s Day...

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cooking with Reza Mahammad

Reza Mahammad is the bubbly London-born-Indian-chef that can be seen all over South African television at the moment (currently showing is a cooking show that he shot in SA called Reza's African Kitchen). My dear friend Louise and I attended a Le Creuset cooking demonstration at the PnP Good Food Studio presented by Reza – and what fun!

Upon arrival we were treated to bubbly and tasters of two of the recipes from his new cookbook, spinach koftas in tomato sauce (which I later helped him roll into balls on stage J) and sweet potato and goat’s cheese samosas (recipe below). In person Reza is just as quirky and talkative as he appears on television. Not only is he passionate about cooking (especially about spices) he is also very knowledgeable when it comes to ingredients, cooking methods and also the little back stories behind dishes and spices.

Using recipes from his book (Reza’s Indian Spice), Reza buzzed around the kitchen whipping up spinach koftas, jeweled rice, a beansprout salad with grilled asparagus & coconut and a chicken curry in cashew sauce – all cooked and served in fabulous Le Creuset cookware. We only got a tiny taster of each of the dishes (he could have done with more ingredients and more time) but the flavours were amazing! Initially I bought his book because it just looks so beautiful, but now I can’t wait to get cooking.

Next step: plan a trip to India… J

We had these as an appetiser before the demonstration and they were delicious! 
Just had to share the recipe J

Sweet potato and goat's cheese samosas (with Indo-Italian pesto)
(from is book Reza’s Indian Spice)
Makes about 24

You will need
1 tsp cumin seeds, plus 1–2 tbsp more, to sprinkle
400g sweet potato, diced small
200g soft goat’s cheese, chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
1 whole red chilli, deseeded if you like, finely chopped
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, crushed
125g unsalted butter
270g filo pastry
rock salt, to sprinkle

How to make it
Unlike most samosas, these aren’t fried. This both makes them healthier and somehow intensifies the flavour of the filling. Cinnamon is fabulous with sweet potato. I serve these with a peppery watercress dip – a kind of Indo-Italian pesto – with coriander and lemon (once, by accident, I used orange instead and it was great, so try it). If you grow nasturtiums, use the leaves instead of watercress; it tastes unbelievable. These are smart enough to serve with drinks.
Place the 1 tsp cumin seeds in a dry frying pan and toast until golden and fragrant. Remove to a mortar and crush with a pestle. Put the sweet potato in a pan, cover with water and add salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for six to eight minutes until tender. Drain and cool. Place in a bowl and mix with the cheese, spring onions, coriander, chilli, chilli flakes, crushed cumin, cinnamon and garlic. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Melt the butter. Lay a sheet of filo on a work surface and brush with butter. Place a second sheet on top to fit over the first. Brush this with butter too. Cut into strips about 5cm wide. Spoon 1 heaped tsp of filling into one corner. Fold the right corner of the strip over to the left side to create a triangle. Continue to fold the triangle along the
strip to the end, cutting off surplus pastry. Repeat to use up all the pastry and filling. Brush liberally with butter and sprinkle with cumin seeds and rock salt. Bake for 12–15 minutes, until golden.
Serve it with

Indo-Italian pesto

You will need
20g each watercress, rocket and coriander stalks
2 garlic cloves
2 whole green chillies
70g parmesan, grated
50g pine nuts
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon and juice of 1 ½
200ml olive oil

How to make it
Put all the ingredients except the oil into the bowl of a food processor. Start the processor. And pour the oil in slowly, until everything is smooth. Add salt to taste and serve as a dipping sauce with the samosas.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spicy Chicken, Portabellini and Noodle Soup

A quick and easy supper when everybody is late and hungry.

Spicy Chicken, Portabellini and Noodle Soup
Serves 4

You will need
1 ready roasted chicken, chop the white meat into bite size pieces. (Save the rest of the chicken can be used for chicken mayo sandwiches)
1 Liter chicken stock
1 Tbls ginger, chopped
1 Tbls tamarind paste
2 red chillies, chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
1 stick lemongrass, chopped finely
125g portabellini mushrooms, diced into bite-sized pieces. (Or any other mushrooms.)
5 spring onions, chopped
Handful of mange tout
125g noodles
Fresh coriander

How to make it
Place the chicken stock, ginger, garlic, tamarind, spring onions and chilli in a pot.
Bring to the boil with the lid on, add the mushrooms, peas and then the noodles.
Simmer for a few minutes until the noodles are cooked.
Add cooked chopped chicken – heat through.
Add more water if needed.
Salt and pepper to taste, serve garnished with fresh coriander.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Winter Sculpture Fair at Nirox

May is one of the most beautiful months in Gauteng – bright sunny days, leaves bursting with autumn colours and crisp mornings. As Jozi residents find themselves becoming aware of the impending 3 months of winter, more and more outdoor events seem to be springing up during this time, and one of them was the Winter Sculpture Fair at Nirox.

A 45 minute drive from Joburg, Nirox has to be one of my favourite venues. Tucked away in the hills of the Cradle of Humankind, this stunning sprawling venue is dotted with ponds, rolling lawns and creative energy. Nirox is a private foundation that offers residency to artists as well as exhibition spaces for their work.

This year MasterCard teamed up with Artlogic and selected Franschhoek restaurants and wine farms to host a weekend of art and culinary experiences. The concept is just wonderful – you buy a fantastic glass of wine and a small plate of beautifully presented gourmet delicacies, find a spot on the grass or at one of the tables and soak up the autumn rays while indulging in Franschhoek’s finest.

Luckily the husband and I arrived quite early so we could sample some of the food on offer. We snacked on mini Kobe Beef burgers from Breaside, Pickled tongue with caramelised onions and Curried fish cakes in a clam, sweet corn and vanilla velouté (surprising favourite) from Fyndraai Restaurant and some fantastic wines and bubbly from Moreson. Unfortunately I think the organizers underestimated the amount of people that were willing to drive some distance for a day out of the city… by 13:30 all the food was sold out and so was most of the wine. I have to say that I would have been super disappointed if I had paid R100.00 entrance fee only to find ‘Sold Out’ signs everywhere.

Something else that I think the organizers should consider is to create an ‘Adults only’ space… I’m sorry, but I have no desire to look at other people’s children picking their noses and sticking their dirty little fingers in a R60.00 plate of well composed duck boboti or screaming their heads off while I’m trying to enjoy a tiny bite of salmon or knocking my precious South African MCC out of my hand because they’re playing touchers. Honestly.

If they decide to host the event again next year we would probably go again… But this time we’ll go really early, secure a spot far away from the crèche and take our own picnic blankets – then I could spend an entire day there.

Read more about Nirox here and about the Winter Sculpture Fair here

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Beef Madras with Chickpeas and Edamame Beans

There aren’t many things that warm you up like a spicy Indian curry! This one-pot beef curry is perfect for evenings holed up under a blanket at home.

Beef Madras with Chickpeas and Edamame Beans
Serves 4

You will need
1kg stewing beef or chuck steak, cut into bite sized pieces
2 Tbls flour
Salt & pepper
2 Tbls vegetable oil
1 Tbls mustard seeds
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4cm piece ginger, grated
3 tsp garam masala
1tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbls ground coriander
1 Tbls ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
3 tsp chilli powder
1 Tbls beef stock powder
Boiling water
1 can chickpeas
½ cup edamame beans, shelled or peas (optional)
125ml cream or plain yogurt
Basmati rice & chopped chillies for serving

How to make it
Toss the beef pieces in the flour seasoned with salt and pepper.
Heat 1Tbls oil in a heavy based pot (or your pressure cooker) and brown the meat on all sides. Remove from the pot and set aside.
Add more oil to the pot and fry the onions for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute.
Add all the dry spices and fry with the onion mix until fragrant. (Add more oil if needed.)
Return the meat to the pot, sprinkle with the stock powder and cover with boiling water.
Cover with a lid and simmer gently until the meat is tender (this can take up to 1 ½ hours)
*If you have a pressure cooker, bring it to the boil and let it cook under pressure for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand covered for another 15 minutes.
Before serving, add the cream (or yogurt), chickpeas and edamame beans, and cook for another 20 minutes.
Serve garnished with fresh chillies and steamed Basmati rice.

-          Naan bread is also a great side to this dish.
-          To add even more dimension to this meal, serve it with a side of chopped tomato & onion, and a yogurt & cucumber mix.