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There so much to say and even more to eat. Hence a blog for each was born.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Wholesome Fast Food (Nutty Salad)

Fast food has seriously become fat food. With my last pregnancy I gained 25kg on a diet of mainly McDonald's and KFC diet (I usually hate them, but couldn't get enough). Nearly 2 years on and I'm still carrying most of that weight (and the drive-thru habit). So I decided this year instead of searching for that miracle cure, that makes you loose 20kg in 20 days, that I would adjust my lifestyle to be healthier (never thought I'd hear those words coming out of my chocolaty mouth). 

Step 1 was to not buy any unhealthy snacks (Sounds easier than it actually has been to ignore all sweat treats that smooth talk you at the check out). The intention is not to totally go off chocolates (seriously now), but to make it less accessible to me. Three months on and I think I've finally managed not to talk back to the smooth talking peppermint aero slab (yay for me). 

Step 2 is to cook healthier. I've been raised with a salad being a standard dish of lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion (no dressing). So you cannot blame me when my gag reflex starts acting up at the mention of the word "salad". In looking at easy to prepare meals to replace the drive thru options I have since rediscovered the "salad" and realised that it doesn't have to activate the gag reflex (OK enough about my gag reflex). So I took my favourite healthy snacks (yes those do exist) and incorporated them into a salad. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised.

Creamy Nutty Salad (serves 2 - 4) 


10g french chives, rough chopped
20 g rocket, rinsed and dried
80g baby red and green lettuce, rinsed and dried
50g cranberries
50g walnuts
1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional, but it does give it a wonderful aroma and subtle taste) 
1 peeled avocado, segmented and de-seeded
Pinch of pepper 
Pinch of salt


1. Toss the chives, rocket, half of the cranberries, half of the walnuts, lemon zest and the pepper & salt  in a clean bowl
2. Arrange the lettuce in your serving dish and place the above mixture over that
3. Arrange your avocado on top on & then sprinkle over remainder nuts & cranberries

                                     Seriously fast food


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Some like it hot (Lamb Chops)

This cold weather really makes me crave spicy food. Spicy food reminds me of a recent trip to India. It was an interesting culinary experience, but I still missed home food. Especially meat and specifically lamb chops. Every restaurant outing left me scouring the menu for any dish which might contain it, but left empty handed. Needless to say I made a turn at our local butcher the moment we came home and made my favourite lamb chop dish. It was divine! 

Those who know me will tell you that the way to my heart is through my stomach (a very large one at that). So I am always searching and adapting my favourite recipes to taste even better and better and better. Today's recipe is my take on masala chops. I would describe it as simple, spicy and sumptuous. 

Masala Lamb Chops (serves 4 - 5)

1kg loin lamb chops - trimmed of excess fat
1 tbsp butter
1 large clove of garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon of crushed ginger
1 fresh chili, chopped
1,5 tsp fine salt
3/4 tsp coriander powder 
1 tsp cumin powder
1,5 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp warm water

1. Add salt, ginger, garlic, fresh chili, fine salt, coriander, cumin and chili powder to meat.

2. Mix properly to ensure even distribution

3. Melt butter in a pan over medium to high heat (do not let the butter burn or brown)

4. Quickly brown the chops on both sides (takes approximately 30 seconds per side)

5. Turn the heat down to a low to medium heat and add the water

6. cover and allow the chops to simmer till done and turn once half through (takes approximately 30 minutes). 

NB: It usually doesn't require any additional liquid, but add a tablespoon of warm water at a time if necessary.

Serve with round potato fries

Eat up!

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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Joining the Fig trend (surprisingly!)

I recently visited a friend (Dr Joe) who added an interesting mystery ingredient to his cake (bay leaves) and was pleasantly surprised by the result.  I love experimenting with food, but tend to be a more traditional baker. So I decided to dabble in the unknown and create something different in the oven inspired by Dr Joe.

Food for me needs to be appetising from the name, to the plate and finally to the tastebuds. So when we prepared a dish called Compote (a fruit concoction of stewed fruit in syrup) in class recently I wasn't too keen. To top it all off it included figs which I'm not a fan of. I love cooking by taste (also my excuse to eat from the bowl or pot), so I had to try the dish. I decided to start with the with the elusive fig glaring at me and was instantly hooked. A light bulb went off and I decided that figs need to be in my spicy cake. 

I seized the opportunity this weekend to try out this new recipe bubbling in my head when I invited this friend over. He enjoyed it so much he had two slices! 

Here is my take on one of the year's biggest food trends (http://www.foodabletv.com/blog/2014/1/17/foodie-flavor-figs)

Upside Down Spicy Fig cake (serves 8 to 12)


1 tin of figs in syrup (415g with syrup)
approx. 12 fresh sage leaves
400ml (220g)  sifted self raising flour
5ml sifted baking powder
120g margarine (room temperature)
150ml (120g) Castor sugar 
3 eggs
100ml full cream milk
5ml vanilla essence

1/4 lemon
1/4 vanilla pod (split open)
1 stick of cinnamon (not the entire coil, about a 5cm X 1cm piece)
1 clove
1 tbsp unsweetened rose water

1 tub of sour cream
125mls icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla essence


1. Grease an empty round 23 cm springform pan 
2. Line the bottom only with grease proof paper and grease again
3. Strain the tinned figs and reserve the syrup for later use
4. Half the figs lengthwise and arrange the figs in the tin as shown above
5. Wash sage leaves and pat dry with paper towel and arrange as shown above
6. Add sifted self raising flour, sifted baking powder, cut up margarine (room temperature), castor sugar, eggs, full cream milk and vanilla essence to one large bowl in this order.
7. Beat with an electric beater for approximately 2 - 3 minutes on high until smooth
8. Carefully spoon mixture oven the figs and sage leaves. Take care not to disturb the arrangement.
9. Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for approximately 30 minutes and remove from oven when done

10. While the cake is baking prepare the syrup.
Add fig syrup from step 3, lemon, vanilla pod, cinnamon, clove and rose water to sauce pan and bring to the boil
Boil for a further 10 - 15 minutes or until the syrup coats a spoon
Remove from heat completely and strain to remove spices and lemon.

11. Flip cake onto serving dish
12. Gently remove all the sage leaves 
13. Carefully spoon the syrup only over the cake and leave to cool.

14. Prepare the sour cream while the cake is cooling:
Mix sour cream, icing sugar and vanilla essence and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before use.


Serve with a generous dollop of the sour cream .


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