Greek-style spinach & feta phyllo triangles

19 Oct

Crispy, salty, spinach & feta triangles with phyllo pastry. #PhabPhyllo

 

One of my all-time favourite Greek dishes is spanakopita – a deep-dish spinach and feta “pie” made with layers of buttery phyllo pastry. I’ve seen so many versions of this original dish, many of them in different shapes, as individual rolls or even as small canapés. Spinach and feta make such a fabulous combo, and wins crowd-pleasing votes every time.

My version of this Greek classic contains toasted pine nuts and parmesan cheese. I fold them into triangles that look like small samoosas – perfect hand-size snacks that won’t require cutlery. The buttered sheets of phyllo bake to a light, golden perfection, crunching and flaking gently when you eat it.

Salt flakes add a crunchy salty finish to these flaky delights. #PhabPhyllo

 

If you haven’t worked with phyllo pastry before – it’s so easy and so very versatile. The thin sheets thaw super quickly, they’re forgiving (you can easily mend tears by sticking another piece on top with butter/oil) and the end result is always light and flaky.

This is a great way to make “shrinking” spinach go further. This filling will yield about 24 small triangles, perfect to feed a crowd as a starter or canapé.

Note: The parmesan and pine nuts add incredible flavour, but they can be an expensive buy if you don’t have it in your pantry already. For a more economical alternative, leave these two ingredients out completely.

Cheat’s tip: If you’re feeling completely lazy, buy a ready-to-eat packet of creamed spinach and stir in some cubed feta. Use it as your filling, then advance to step 6 below!

This is how you assemble a small phyllo triangle, folding with the filling on the diagonal, then flipping it over, folding and flipping. Easy as pie! #PhabPhyllo

 

Ingredients: (makes about 24 small triangles)

  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 400 g raw spinach (I prefer using baby spinach because there’s no dirt or sand in the leaves; spinach is usually sold in packets of 200g or 400g)
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) dried oregano
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 3 rounds (about 200 g) feta cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) pine nuts, toasted
  • zest of 1/2 lemon, finely grated
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 XL egg
  • 1 x 500g packet of Mediterranean Delicacies Phyllo Pastry, thawed (you’ll use 8 sheets to make 24 triangles)
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • salt flakes, for sprinkling

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a wide, large pot and fry the onions over medium heat until soft and golden. Transfer the onions from the pan into a mixing bowl.
  2. Using the same pot over medium heat, add the spinach all at once and cover with a lid. Allow to steam for 3 minutes, then stir with a wooden spoon and continue to steam, covered, for a few more minutes until just wilted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes until cool enough to handle.
  3. While the spinach is cooling, add the nutmeg, oregano, grated parmesan, feta cubes, toasted pine nuts and grated lemon zest to the mixing bowl with the fried onions.
  4. Transfer the cooled spinach to a sieve and gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Transfer to a large chopping board and chop into small pieces, then add it to the mixing bowl.
  5. Mix all the ingredients together and season generously with salt & pepper. Taste the mixture and adjust if necessary. When you are happy with the seasoning, add the egg and mix well.
  6. Preheat the oven to 220 C. On a clean surface, place one sheet of pastry in front of you, landscape orientated (keep the rest of the sheets covered with a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out). Brush lightly with butter all over, then place another sheet on top and repeat the brushed butter. Now cut the sheet vertically into 6 equal strips using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Place a heaped tablespoon of filling at the bottom of each strip, and then fold the edge over diagonally to form a triangle, and flip it over again to close the seam, and again diagonally, and flip it over until you reach the end of the pastry strip. Place each finished triangle on a lined baking tray. Continue with the rest of the filling and sheets. Brush the top of each triangle with butter and sprinkle with a few salt flakes.
  7. Bake the triangles for about 30 minutes or until golden brown in the preheated oven at 220 C. Serve warm.

This recipe was written in collaboration with Mediterranean Delicacies Phyllo Pastry. #PhabPhyllo

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No-knead pot bread with garlic butter

9 Oct

This is a party-size pot bread, so be sure to invite a crowd! Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

I love bread. I love the process of making dough. I have tremendous respect for the simplicity (and alchemy) of baking with flour, water, yeast and salt. From sour dough to brioche, each golden loaf that is made with care will continue to nurture and delight me for years to come.

I recently attended a sour dough masterclass at Loaves on Long, and learned so much about mother starters, fermentation and patience. I still need to start my own “mother” with Ciska’s recipe, feed it, and learn to understand its ways. I’ve done it twice before, and the results were incredibly satisfying. I see a post about my new efforts in the near future…

Today I would love to share a recipe for no-knead bread – a method that relies on long fermentation rather than kneading (so remember to start long in advance). This recipe featured in Donna Hay Magazine‘s 75th issue of June/July 2014. I treat her magazines as recipe books and exhibit them proudly on my recipe shelf at home, using them for references and inspiration often. I adjusted my recipe to contain 1 kg flour instead of Donna’s 675 g. Although Donna’s quantities deliver the perfect amount of rolls for a party of 6 (with one roll to spare), not everyone has digital scales and it is a lot simpler to work with whole packets of 1 kg white bread flour.

Here’s my adapted version of Donna’s beautiful recipe. I’ve added my personal touch with the addition of home-made garlic butter, adding a few generous lashings on top right after baking to seep into the warm creases for the ultimate in comfort food indulgence. Use a large iron pot if you don’t have a Le Creuset casserole dish like the one in the picture.

Note: This recipe makes a very sticky dough that is almost runny and quite difficult to handle. That’s why it is great news that you’re going to handle it minimally. The secret to the amazing texture is the long fermentation time, thus eliminating the need for manual kneading or for an expensive stand mixer. Stir the dough until mixed, then leave to proof for 4-6 hours until bubbly and airy (I use a 10 liter plastic bowl with lid, for enough rising space). Donna prefers to shape the dough into balls on a floured surface, but I found it easier to shape with oiled hands straight from the dough bowl into an oiled pot. Shaping the balls makes for an easy pull-apart roll after baking, instead of cutting into slices.

Note: If you’re not going to be catering for a crowd, just halve the recipe.

Ingredients: (makes a very large pot bread, serves 10)

  • 1 kg white bread flour
  • 10 g (15 ml) instant yeast
  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pot
  • 15 ml salt
  • 875 ml (3 1/2 cups) water

Method:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to form a wet, sticky dough.
  2. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and allow to stand at room temperature for 4-6 hours (longer if it’s a cold day) until it has tripled in size and has formed large bubbles.
  3. Grease a large, wide pot (about 30cm, preferable enamel-coated iron or plain iron) generously with olive oil on the inside. Using oiled hands, shape the dough into 10-12 balls and place them alongside each other into the pot. Cover with plastic and leave to proof for a second time, around 30 minutes, until doubled in size.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 220 C while waiting for the second proof.
  5. Remove the plastic, cover with an oven-proof lid and bake for 20 minutes (the bread will steam).
  6. Remove lid and bake for another 20 minutes until golden brown with a hollow sound when tapped.
  7. Top with lashings of garlic butter when still very hot, melting the butter into the bread. Serve warm.

Tip: Use a silicon spatula to loosen the bread from the sides and bottom of the pot, if necessary.

For the garlic butter: (make ahead and refrigerate until ready to use)

  • 250 g butter, very soft but not melted
  • 15 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • a large handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together with a spatula in a mixing bowl (or use a food processor for a smoother result). Turn out onto a piece of grease-proof paper, then roll into a log and refrigerate.

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5 recipes for a sneeze-free spring!

5 Oct

I absolutely love the arrival of spring in September and October. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with allergies during this transitional season between winter and summer, so Hippo.co.za asked me for my top 5 recipes that might just help you combat a light cold or a bout of hay fever. Also check out their article titled What Happens When You Catch the Common Cold?.

Did you know that some foods contain natural antihistamines? Yup – vitamin C, flavonoids and omega 3 can help you combat the sniffles and sneezes during this time of year in the southern hemisphere when the air is filled with pollen and dust.

Here are my top 5 recipes for a sneeze-free spring. Remember to drink lots of water too!

Orange, beetroot & brown rice salad (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

1. Orange & beetroot salad with spinach & wild rice: Oranges are rich in vitamin C (and flavonoids); so are beetroot and spinach. What more can we ask for?

Avo, blueberry and fennel salad (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

2. Avo & blueberry salad with feta & fennel: Blueberries are absolutely packed with incredible nutrients; no wonder they are classified as a superfood! Along with the good oils of avocado, this salad will boost you like few other.

Baked tomatoes with feta, garlic, thyme (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

3. Baked tomatoes with feta and garlic: Tomatoes are also rich in flavonoids and vitamin C, and garlic is known to be one of the best immune boosters around.

Fresh, crunchy, beautiful to look at and oh-so-delicious Vietnamese vegetable spring rolls (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

4. Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut sauce: These spring rolls are colourful, crunchy and filled with everything fresh and healthy that you can find. The peanut sauce is rich and savoury and contains fresh lime juice – all around so good for your immune system and well being.

So fresh, colourful and easy (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

5. Rainbow poke bowl: This colourful bowl is filled with everything that will boost your health: ginger, fresh fish, fresh vegetables, mango, seaweed and even avocado – sunshine in a bowl! It is easy to assemble and so very good for you.

While you are taking care of your health with these recipes, Hippo.co.za will help you compare Medical Aid quotes from a range of South African brands.

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Exploring terroir with DV Chocolate at Spice Route

5 Oct

Last week I was invited to join a curated chocolate and wine tasting with a special focus on terroir at Spice Route, hosted by DV Chocolate‘s Pieter de Villiers.

Surrounded by some serious wine experts, it was such an enlightening experience to be exploring the unique terroirs of DV Chocolate‘s single origin organic 70% dark chocolate bars paired with Spice Route’s 2014 and 1015 Grenache. Flavours of citrus emerged from Magadascar, earthy tones from Uganda, raspberry notes from Dominican Republic, rose buds and coconut from Peru, and incredible balance from Panama. After the tasting we were treated by a chocolate-inspired lunch prepared by chef Philip Pretorius of Barley & Biltong next door.

DV Chocolate is making waves as a proudly African bean-to-bar chocolatier. They keep expanding their range with exciting products, the latest being a dark chocolate truffle with a longer shelf life and a spicy chocolate bark made for sharing with bigger crowds around a festive table. Apart from their chocolate shop at Spice Route, their full range of chocolates are now also available from an exclusive booth in the Woolworths Waterstone store in Somerset West, and a limited range at most other Woolworths stores countrywide.

Here is my visit in pictures. Be sure to stop by DV Café at Spice Route for a cold chocolate shot or a freshly baked chocolate muffin, as well as their chocolate tasting room (Monday – Sunday, 09h00-17h00).

Greeted by freshly baked chocolate muffins at DV Café.

Interior at DV Café.

One of the iconic chocolate label designs that DV Chocolate is known for.

A perfect coffee at DV Café.

They also sell single origin coffee beans.

My choice to start the day: an ice cold chocolate shot. This was incredible!

Welcome to DV Chocolate’s factory at Spice Route.

DV Chocolate’s owner, Pieter de Villiers, tells us more about single origin beans and bars.

Chef Philip Pretorius cooked a chocolate-inpired lunch for us. (picture from spiceroute.co.za)

Pork belly and lentils in a spiced dark chocolate sauce. So rich in flavour – a stunning dish.

Dusted dark chocolate truffles with a longer shelf life – a brand new product from DV Chocolate.

The spiced chocolate bark, also a new product from DV Chocolate.

The popular DV Chocolate tasting centre at Spice Route.

Hand crafted chocolate from DV Chocolate’s chocolate shop.

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Mini “lobster” rolls

26 Sep

Last week I had the pleasure of making a series of canapés at the launch of Le Creuset‘s new store in Stellenbosch. The first of these canapés were mini “lobster” rolls and they seemed to be a huge hit. I have to admit, I probably ate about 5 rolls in one sitting after this shoot – they are absolutely delicious with the chunky, sweet, cool prawn mixture and the soft, buttery, warm, toasty rolls that are slightly crunchy on the sides.

While original lobster rolls are obviously made with real lobster from the New England region in the USA, these little ones were made with prawn tails, lightly blanched to keep their beautifully firm, almost-crunchy texture. Note: West Coast rock lobsters are currently on SASSI’s red list, and so are Mozambican langoustines, so make sure you choose an option that is sustainable and safe to buy.

There are a few keys to the perfect “lobster” roll:

1) A regular soft hotdog roll should be slightly trimmed on the sides, then fried (on the cut sides) over low heat in butter for perfectly golden and crunchy sides (this mimics the classic lobster roll bun).

2) The roll should be cut and filled down the middle (not horizontally).

3) The meat should be cut into bold chunks, not shredded.

4) The filling should be just coated in mayonnaise, not swimming in it. A creamy mayonnaise like Hellmann’s is preferred.

5) Stick with a classic filling mixture: prawn/lobster meat, mayo, touch of lemon juice, chopped celery, chopped chives, touch of salt & pepper. Extras like sriracha sauce or lettuce are prohibited, according to the puritans.

I’ve added a few paper thin radish shavings, purely for garnish as I think it picks up the pink in the prawn meat beautifully and it doesn’t affect the flavour of the filling. It’s totally optional.

Ingredients: (makes around 36 mini rolls)

  • 800 g good quality frozen prawn tail meat, cleaned and peeled
  • water for boiling
  • 1/3 of a small jar (about 130 g of a 395 g jar) Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • 10-15 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • about 36 cocktail hotdog rolls (about 10 cm long)
  • a small bunch chives, finely chopped
  • a few baby radishes, thinly shaved (optional)

Method:

Thaw the prawn meat by running it under cold water to loosen any thicker ice chunks, then leave it to stand at room temperature until ready (about 1-2 hours). Bring a large pot of water (filled with enough water to cover the prawn tails) to the boil, then drop the prawn tails in it and cover with a lid. When it comes to a boil again, cook for approximately 3-5 minutes or until just cooked, then drain immediately. Rinse briefly under cold water to stop it from cooking further, then drain thoroughly and roughly chop into chunks. Place the chopped meat in a large mixing bowl, then add the mayo, lemon juice and season with salt & pepper. Mix well, then taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (this can be done a day in advance).

To prep the rolls, trim both sides (not ends) of the buns to a flat surface, then cut along the middle (but not right through). Fry the cut sides over low heat in butter until golden, then fill down the middle with the prawn filling. Sprinkle with chopped chives and garnish with a slice of radish. Serve at once.

Note: The rolls will feel very soft when they come from the pan – they will crisp up on standing, it only takes about a minute or two.

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Biltong & herb garlic bread

26 Sep

Golden, toasted, buttery garlic bread with biltong & herbs.

 

You might not know this, but Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts recently also added biltong to their repertoire. They asked me to play around with their biltong range and I came up with a few easy recipes that will leave your guests asking for more.

The first one is this moorish buttery garlic bread with fine biltong and fresh herbs. Now look, I’m a huge fan of a garlic bread as part of a braai. This recipe seems very simple, but the results are out of this world! The biltong adds a savoury note that works so beautifully with the garlic butter – it’s just pure gold.

Be sure to buy the best loaf of ciabatta or sour dough bread that you can find. A day old loaf works even better. Enjoy!

Drenched with buttery biltong and garlic with a touch of fresh herbs, this loaf is the stuff dreams are made of.

View a short video of how to make this recipe:

Ingredients: (serves 6 as a side dish)

  • 250 g butter, softened
  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • a handful Italian (flat leaf) parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Montagu powdered beef biltong
  • 1 large good quality ciabatta loaf (or sour dough loaf)

Method:

Place the butter in a medium size mixing bowl. Use a fork to mix it to a soft, spreadable consistency. Add the olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Add the biltong, garlic and parsley, then mix well.
Using a large, sharp serrated knife, slice the bread into slices, but not all the way through (they should still be attached at the bottom). Spread the sliced sides generously with the biltong butter mixture, and the last bit over the top of the loaf.
Bake the bread on a lined baking tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 200 C, or cover in foil and braai over medium-hot coals, turning it often, until the butter is melted and the bread is golden brown on the outside.
Serve hot on a wooden board, as a side dish with your braai meat and salad.

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New menu at The Werf, Boschendal

23 Sep

The shaded terrace at The Werf Restaurant, Boschendal, overlooking their gardens.

 

Boschendal Farm is one of my favourite destinations in the Cape Winelands. Their popular farm-to-table restaurant, The Werf, has a brand new menu and I was recently invited to check it out.

Here is our experience in pictures. The thing about Boschendal is this: there is a golden thread that runs through everything they do – a premium, relaxed, unpretentious, welcoming approach. They do many things right and it really shows. From the gate keeper’s friendly wave to the efficient waiters, the excellent wines and the beautiful gift shop, Boschendal hits it on the head. But The Werf Restaurant headed by chef Christian Campbell stands out head and shoulders next to the impressive, vast vegetable garden – it’s a real farm-to-table eatery, not just pretend. You can taste it.

Check out The Werf’s new menu here.

The pathway that leads to the historic buildings that house the butchery, gift shop and wine tasting at Boschendal.

The Werf’s iconic Spanish-inspired blue tile floor and flower-filled wine barrels.

An appetizer to start with, compliments of the kitchen.

Bread basket with beef fat and butter.

For starters: Chokka squid spaghetti, fennel & oyster emulsion.

For starters: Grilled tuna, charred beetroots & homemade yoghurt. This picture does not do this dish justice – it was one of the best of the day. The homemade yoghurt and the beetroot dressing was fantastic.

My daughter’s grilled fish with crispy potatoes and garden salad (kid’s portion).

Tucking into her beautifully prepared fresh fish.

Main course: Hake, sorrel sauce & seaweed. One of my favourite dishes of the day. It was topped with crunchy miniature popcorn and edible flowers.

Main course: Sirloin with chimichurri, marrow & grilled vegetables.

Side dishes of potato crispies fried in beef shallow, and mange tout with lemon & house ricotta.

We had a wine pairing with each course and it was world class.

Dessert: Turmeric brûlée, frangipane & kumquats – also one of my favourite dishes of the day! That bright yellow custard is the stuff dreams are made of…

My favourite wine pairing of the day (with dessert).

The plating station next to the kitchen at The Werf, Boschendal.

The interior of The Werf, Boschendal. Most people were seated on the terrace – the restaurant was packed to the brim.

The lush garden view from The Werf’s terrace.

The manor house at Boschendal.

The Werf Restaurant opening hours:

Lunch: Wednesday to Sunday 12:00 to 14:30 (Seated by 14:00)

Dinner: Wednesday to Saturday 18:00 to 21:00 (Seated by 20:30

Opening times from 01 October 2017:

Lunch: Wednesday to Sunday: 12h00 to 15h00. (Seated by 14h30)

Dinner: Wednesday to Saturday: 18h00 to 21h00. (seated by 20h30)

Please note that a 10% service charge will be added to tables of 8 or more.

Booking is essential:

Tel: +27 (0) 21 870 4207/09

Email: werf@boschendal.co.za

Thank you Boschendal Farm and Manley Communications for this experience.

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Fresh salmon-trout burger with dill mayo

5 Sep

Pan-fried salmon-trout burgers made from fresh, cubed fish fillets, topped with a creamy mayo mix and fresh coriander. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

I had the pleasure of developing a burger recipe for the Hellmann’s #rockyourburger campaign last year via The Pretty Blog. I realized today that I haven’t posted it here, and with such a delicious recipe it simply has to be featured.

Seeing that all the classic burgers have been done over again, I decided to give a new twist to a less common yet luxurious favourite: a hand-chopped salmon trout burger made from fresh, raw fish (not cooked, like most other fish patties), pan-fried to pink perfection and served with a sharp and creamy Hellman’s dill mayonnaise.

My salmon trout burger is, surprisingly, eggless and contains very little bread crumbs – just enough to get the right texture. For a binding agent, I’ve pulsed a small piece of fresh salmon-trout with some Dijon mustard and mixed it into the fish cubes along with fresh ginger, chopped coriander and grated lemon rind. The result is a textural fish patty with phenomenal flavour that holds shape, but also with the added ability to slightly undercook the centre, which is just what you want with beautiful fresh salmon-trout.

The dill mayo is perfect with the burger, but also great with some crisp, oven roasted potato chips. Layer your burger with shredded red lettuce and more fresh coriander to taste. Fish burgers don’t get better than this.

Note: Salmon trout is a common term given to describe freshwater or seawater trout that resembles salmon. Trout and salmon are from the same family, and therefor can be easily substituted for one another. Choose sustainably farmed local rainbow trout for this recipe above imported salmon.

Chopped trout, Dijon mustard, black sesame seeds and grated ginger all form part of the burger patties. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

This is what the patties look like before they get fried. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

Ingredients for the patties: (serves 4)

  • 600 g fresh salmon trout fillets, skinless and boneless
  • 15 ml Dijon mustard
  • 15 ml fresh ginger, finely grated
  • rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 15 ml black or white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
  • a handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 30 ml olive oil, for frying
  1. Place about 1/5 of the fish in a food processor with the mustard and pulse to a smooth pulp.
  2. Use a sharp knife, cut the remaining fish into small cubes of maximum 1 x 1cm in size.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add the diced fish, fish pulp, ginger, lemon rind, sesame, bread crumbs and coriander with a generous amount of salt & pepper. Mix well (clean hands work well).
  4. Divide the patty mixture into four, then shape with your hands into discs.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan, then fry the patties on both sides until golden brown on the outside. Do not overcook.

For the dill mayo:

  • 1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • juice of half a lemon (use the lemon that you’ve already used for the rind)
  • a handful of fresh dill, finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.

Assembling the burgers:

  • 4 large sesame burger buns, cut horizontally, buttered and toasted
  • a small bag of red lettuce, shredded
  • 4 salmon trout patties, cooked (see above)
  • 1 batch dill mayonnaise (see above)
  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • cooked potato chips, for serving (optional)

Place some shredded lettuce on the bottom half of each bun, then top with the patties and a generous dollop of dill mayo. End with more coriander and the top half of the bun. Serve immediately.

Assembling the burgers with pan-fried patties, coriander mayo, toasted sesame buns, fresh coriander and shredded red salad leaves. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

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Green gin & tonic

1 Sep

Green gin & tonic – a celebration of Spring! Photography & styling by Tasha Seccombe. Recipe & preparation by Ilse van der Merwe.

 

Spring is here and I feel it needs to be celebrated with a proper drink!

To me, gin tastes like holidays and mischief. It brings a smile to my lips, like the anticipation of flirting with an old flame (single ladies, you go get them). Instead of a glass of red wine, a gin & tonic is the perfect winding-down drink on warmer evenings.

There are few things that I love more than the addition of a thin cucumber slice to my gin & tonic. But for this recipe, I’ve gone slightly over the top with some greener than green cucumber juice (strained from grated fresh cucumber) and a few basil and mint leaves. It’s almost like drinking an alcoholic non-dairy tzatziki, but way better.

See it as an unforgettable aperitif to a longer night of festivities, and follow it with your choice of chilled bubbly or ice cold sauvignon blanc.

Cucumber juice, mint and basil – ready for your gin, ice and tonic. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

Ingredients: (makes 2, adjust as needed)

  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • a few basil leaves
  • a few mint leaves
  • ice blocks
  • 2-4 shots good quality gin
  • 2 x 200 ml good quality sparkling tonic water

Method:

  1. Place a clean kitchen towel (open) over a wide bowl. Roughly grate the cucumber over the towel, then roll up the towel and wring out the juice into the bowl. Discard the dried out gratings and keep the juice.
  2. In 2 cocktail glasses, divide the juice. Add some basil and mint to each, then top with ice. Pour the gin (1-2 shots in each glass), then top up with tonic. Serve immediately.
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Bouillabaisse

23 Aug

Steamy bowls of bouillabaisse made with black mussels, yellow tail and prawns. Serve with rouille and croutons.

 

Our friends at Le Creuset South Africa  just launched a brand new colour: Ocean. It’s a beautiful graded teal, perfect for flavoursome fish dishes from the deep.

To celebrate this stunning new colour, I’ve collaborated with the team from Le Creuset in creating a new seafood recipe for them (cooking in a 26cm Ocean-coloured casserole) along with a short cooking video. Bouillabaisse certainly is the king of French-style seafood stews, and it was such a pleasure to cook with all the various fresh ingredients in creating this classic, brothy, saffron-induced dish.

Although bouillabaisse has its roots in humble beginnings as a poor fisherman’s dinner using whatever didn’t sell at the market that day, this French classic takes a little time and effort to prepare: the flavours can only be as good as the love and patience that you put into making a great stock, and your choices of fresh seafood that is cooked to tender perfection. So plan ahead, visit your closest seafood specialist shop, make a proper stock and rouille, and you will be richly rewarded. What an excellent way of entertaining guests at your next dinner party!

Shop the Le Creuset Ocean range online.

Watch how to make Le Creuset’s bouillabaisse:

An inviting casserole of bouillabaisse, in Le Creuset’s new colour: Ocean.

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