Crustless ricotta cheesecake

26 Mar

Baked ricotta cheesecake topped with freshly whipped cream (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Baked ricotta cheesecake topped with freshly whipped cream (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Many years ago, long before I started writing my food blog, I saved a few pages from a Pick ‘n Pay Fresh Ideas booklet before it became Fresh Living Magazine (not sure the exact date, it wasn’t included in my cut-out). Strangely, I never got around to making their recipe for an Italian baked ricotta cheesecake – although the picture had astounded me each time I saw it.

I recently paged through my saved cut-outs again and decided to finally give it a go. I love a good cheesecake any day and I’m always keen to try out new variations. This one is great because it doesn’t have any crust at all (a little less effort and more than a little less kilojoules) and it is made from ricotta cheese, not cream cheese or cottage cheese. The cake is slightly firmer than most other cream-cheese-based cheesecakes, with a delicate almost-crumbly texture. The smoothness of the texture completely depends on the smoothness of the ricotta that you are using, so look for a creamy and smooth ricotta product. The flavour is surprisingly light and not too sweet – a welcome alternative to heavier cream-based versions.

This Italian-style cheesecake is really easy to make, low in carbs and delicious topped with a layer of unsweetened softly whipped cream. It is best kept refrigerated. Dust with a little icing sugar if necessary.

Crustless ricotta cheesecake (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Crustless ricotta cheesecake (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ingredients: (makes 1 x 20cm cake)

  • 1 kg ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 6 XL eggs
  • 1.2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind
  • juice (about 1/4 cup) and finely grated peel of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • a pinch of salt
  • for serving: 250 ml cream, whipped

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 150 C. Set oven rack in the middle of the oven. Grease and flour a 20 cm springform cake tin.
  2. Place all ingredients (except cream) in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared tin.
  3. Bake for 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes) until filling is pale gold and centre is firm. Remove from oven and cool in tin.
  4. Remove from tin when completely cool, then top with whipped cream. Slice and serve.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Recipe: Pick ‘n Pay Fresh Ideas booklet

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Photography: Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe

Styling: Tasha Seccombe

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

Lamb & feta burger with mint pesto & yoghurt

25 Mar

Lamb & feta burger with  mint pesto (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Lamb & feta burger with mint pesto (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Being able to make a really good burger at home is one of the most satisfying things any meat-lover can do. Many of us grew up having take-away burgers as a special treat on weekends when we were children. My siblings and I loved almost any take-away burger, because the ones we tried to make at home just never tasted as good.

Well, the tables have turned. I now believe that anyone can make a burger at home that can beat the best gourmet burger in most restaurants. If you use care and source the best ingredients you can find, you can make a pretty amazing burger – so amazing that you might not want to get take-aways ever again.

Although I’m a huge fan of the classic beef burger with cheddar cheese and pickles, this juicy lamb burger is a total knock-out for a special occasion.

Here are my top 3 tips for creating an awesome burger:

  1. Buy fresh, soft burger buns, and always toast the sliced sides with butter before assembling your burger.
  2. Use coarsely ground great quality fresh meat for your pattie. That means 100% leg of lamb or 100% pure beef rump.
  3. Don’t overcook your meat – it should still be juicy in the middle.

Ingredients: (makes 4 large burgers)

  • 600 g boneless leg of lamb, minced (ask your butcher to do that for you)
  • 2 rounds (about 80g) of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 punnet fresh mint
  • 1 punnet fresh parsley
  • 50 g cashew nuts
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 round soft hamburger rolls, buttered and toasted in a pan
  • double cream yoghurt (the thickest you can find)
  • a handful of watercress
  • finely sliced cucumber

Method:

  1. Mix the lamb mince, crumbled feta, salt & pepper in a mixing bowl – using clean hands works best. Divide the mixture into 4 balls, then flatten them carefully, shaping the edges to form a round disk. Always make the pattie a bit wider and thinner than the end product that you have in mind, because they shrink back to a thicker, smaller pattie in the pan. Set aside.
  2. For the pesto: in a food processor, add the mint, parsley, cashews and olive oil. Season with salt & pepper, then process to a course paste. Scoop into a smaller serving bowl and set aside.
  3. In a non-stick pan, heat some olive oil over moderately high heat, then fry the patties about 3-4 minutes a side, taking care when you flip them over because the feta tends to stick (use a spatula). You are looking for a crisp outer layer and a juicy center. I prefer my center to still be pink. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate to rest.
  4. To assemble the burgers: Place the bottom half of a toasted bun on a plate, then add the watercress, burger pattie, some yoghurt, some pesto, some cucumber and then the top half of the bun. Enjoy!

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Tasha Seccombe

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

Deep-fried aubergine fingers with herbed yoghurt

24 Mar

Fried aubergine fingers, dusted with paprika & served with a fresh herbed yoghurt sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Fried aubergine fingers, dusted with paprika & served with a fresh herbed yoghurt sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

One of the best ways to spend a lazy afternoon/evening in Stellenbosch, is to sit on the stoep at Helena’s restaurant at Coopmanhuijs in Church Street. Here you can watch people walk by in the most beautiful part of town, and feel the buzz of Stellenbosch’s nightlife coming alive at dusk.

When we dine at Helena’s, we always start our meal with their mezze platter. It’s a selection of delicious Mediterranean-style snacks and spreads, perfect for two people to share. One of the best snacks on this platter is their deep-fried aubergine. It is served at room temperature, and just melts in your mouth.

This is my humble attempt at recreating the delicious aubergines fingers from Helena’s that I love so much. I dusted them in paprika flour, then deep-fried them in canola oil. To lift the flavours, I made a bright and fresh herbed yoghurt for dipping – absolutely delicious.

Ingredients: (serves 4 as a snack)

  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper
  • 1 large aubergine, cut into 1 cm thick fingers/chips
  • about 750 ml canola oil for deep-frying
  • 1 cup double cream yoghurt (or Greek yoghurt)
  • 1 cup mixed herbs (coriander, mint & parsley), finely chopped

Method:

  1. In a shallow wide bowl, mix the flour, paprika, salt & pepper. Dust each aubergine finger thoroughly and tap off excess flour mix, then set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium size pot to roughly 180 C (test one of the fingers – it should take about 2-3 minutes to cook and form a light golden crust). Drop batches of aubergine fingers in the hot oil, then cook for 2-3  minutes until soft and lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve warm or at room temperature with herbed yoghurt.
  3. For the herbed yoghurt: mix the yoghurt with the chopped herbs and season lightly with salt & pepper.

Credits:

Recipe, text & food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

Chocolate churros

16 Feb

Mexican-style churros with a spiced chocolate sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Mexican-style churros with a spiced chocolate sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

If you love Spanish or Mexican food, then you probably already know churros. These deep-fried crunchy treats dipped in spiced chocolate sauce are the naughtiest but best way to end a Spanish feast.

I’ve experimented quite a bit with the consistency of the churro dough. With less water, you’ll get a result that holds shape better and can be piped in longer beautiful star-shaped fingers (with a star nozzle). They are crunchy with a small chewy center. With a little more water, the result is less beautiful to look at (slightly shapeless balls), but the texture resembles French canelés – very moist and chewy.

For the photoshoot, we made the churros with a little more water to show you the result. All of us preferred the “ugly” churros to the beautiful ones, but the choice is yours. Same fantastic taste, slightly different texture.

Ingredients for churro dough:

  • 2 cups (250 g) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 200-350 ml boiling water
  • 50 g melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla essence / extract
  • cinnamon sugar for dusting (mix 1/2 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • about 750 ml canola oil for frying

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 250 ml fresh cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Method:

  1. For the sauce: Heat the cream over the stovetop in a small saucepan. Cut the chocolate into smaller chunks, then add it with the spices to the cream as soon as it comes to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately and stir for a while until the chocolate has melted completely and you have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
  2. For the churros: Combine dry ingredients for churro dough in a medium sized bowl. Mix all wet ingredients and add it to the dry, mixing well until all is combined. Add more water if necessary to create the desired consistency – the mixture should be able to just hold shape.
  3. Put the dough in a piping bag fitted with star nozzle, then let it rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy based pot to about 180 C, then pipe the churro dough into the oil (about 10 cm long). Fry until golden on both sides, turning them with two forks. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then serve with warm chocolate sauce.

Credits:

Recipe, text & food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

Black buffet casserole: Courtesy of Le Creuset South Africa.

Easy food & wine pairings with Nederburg’s 56HUNDRED

9 Feb

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With the beginning of each new year, many of us are trying to find inspiration and clever ideas to make the most of our toned-down budgets after a decadent holiday season. The creative team behind Nederburg’s 56HUNDRED range asked me to come up with three food pairing suggestions for three of their wines – tasty, simple dishes that won’t break the bank and that will put a smile on your face (and maybe even a pat on the back from your dinner guests).

To start with, I tried the Nederburg 56HUNDRED Chenin Blanc – a lightly coloured yellow-green wine with guava, peach and apricot aromas. My food pairing suggestion would be this simple recipe for spicy pan-fried chicken livers on creamy polenta. It’s quick to make, delivers huge on flavour, and will especially be popular as a weekend brunch with friends (after a late night out). You can also substitute the polenta with regular “braai pap” for a delightful dinner around the fire.

Spicy pan-fired chicken livers on creamy polenta (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Spicy pan-fired chicken livers on creamy polenta (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

The second wine is a Nederburg 56HUNDRED Sauvignon Blanc 2014 – a vibrantly green wine with grass and passionfruit aromas. With this wine I would suggest a seafood dish like my beer-battered hake with homemade mayonnaise. Fresh hake is easy to find in most supermarkets, and the fishmonger should even be able to fillet the fish on the spot to make your life easier. The rich beer batter gives the fish a crispy golden outer layer that is just irresistible dipped in thick homemade mayonnaise. Such a perfect mid-week dish, so ditch the take-aways and opt for this classy version.

Golden beer battered hake with home-made mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Golden beer battered hake with home-made mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

The third wine from Nederburg’s 56HUNDRED range is their Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 – a ruby red wine with rounded flavours of ripe berries, chocolate and oak. My pairing suggestion would be these Italian-style meatballs with fresh herbs and rosa tomato sauce, best served with freshly cooked spaghetti. It is robust and rustic, yet so simple to make. You can also use some of the Cabernet Sauvignon in the sauce, which makes it an even better choice as a pairing partner. Top with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and you’ll be in Mediterranean heaven.

Meatballs with herbs baked in a rosa tomato sauce

Meatballs with herbs baked in a rosa tomato sauce

Sometimes we need to be reminded of how satisfying the simpler things in life can be, like a beautiful home-cooked meal using great quality fresh ingredients, served with a glass of great wine. Bon appetit!

A day at Anthonij Rupert Wines, Franschhoek

8 Feb

The glass entrance door at Terra del Capo.

The glass entrance door at Terra del Capo.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to experience a day at Anthonij Rupert Wines in Franschhoek. We put aside a Saturday as we heard that it was worth spending more time than just the usual for a tasting, and took the drive over the magnificent Helshoogte Pass towards Franschhoek.

Anthonij Rupert Wines is home to two exquisite tasting rooms. The first is their Terra del Capo Tasting Room, situated at the entrance to the property, which was designed to showcase the company’s Italian-inspired Terra del Capo range. At the restored original Manor House on the farm, wine aficionados can also enjoy tailored wine tastings  of the Cape of Good Hope and Anthonij Rupert Wine ranges.

Both tasting rooms are unique in their own rights and offer visitors an exquisite day out to the Winelands. Earlier in 2014 the farm introduced two beautiful vintage trams offering visitors a complimentary transport system between the two tasting rooms as well as the adjacent Franschhoek Motor Museum on the picturesque L Órmarins Wine Estate.

Below is our day at Anthonij Rupert Wines in pictures. It is surely one of the best day-trips to make in the Winelands, and offers exceptional value in terms of scenery, wine tastings, tapas and adventure. The tapas restaurant at Terra del Capo is still one of the best kept secrets in Franschhoek (not too commercial, not overcrowded) and it is very affordable. I’ll return there often – one of my favourite new places to eat. You can sit inside with a view of the cellar, or outside underneath the beautiful olive trees on comfortable couches.

This experience is highly recommendable for food and wine lovers looking for a quality day out in the Winelands, but is also a picture perfect romantic Valentine’s excursion with your beloved – especially with the newly released L’Ormarins Brut Classique and Rosé. The motor museum at the adjacent L’Ormarins is breathtaking (even for those who aren’t necessarily gearheads) and the sheer beauty of the pristine grounds and gardens will leave you in awe.

Anthonij Rupert Wines & Terra del Capo is open: Tuesday – Sunday, 10h00-16h30.

Cost for tastings: R10-R60

Prices for tapas vary from R20-R150

Contact: Elana Bernhardt – 021 874 9041 / tasting@rupertwines.com.

The Franschhoek Motor Museum is open:

Mon – Fri: 10h00 – 17h00  (last admittance 16h00)
Sat & Sun: 10h00 – 16h00 (last admittance 15h00)
Open most public holidays (phone for confirmation +27 (0)21 874 9000 / fmm@fmm.co.za)
No motor bikes

Admission prices are R60 adults, R50 pensioners, R50 motor club members, R30 children (3-12yrs).

The lush green gardens at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The lush green gardens at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The tram waiting for us under one of the huge trees at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The tram waiting for us under one of the huge trees at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The beautiful vintage tram - our ride for the trip to the Manor House and L'Ormarins.

The beautiful vintage tram – our ride for the trip to the Manor House and L’Ormarins.

The exotic entrance to Anthonij Rupert Wine's Terra Del Capo tasting room.

The exotic entrance to Anthonij Rupert Wine’s Terra Del Capo tasting room.

Lounging on the counches under the olive trees outside the Terra del Capo tasting room.

Lounging on the couches under the olive trees outside the Terra del Capo tasting room.

The cheetah statue outside the entrance to the Terra del Capo tasting room at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The cheetah statue outside the entrance to the Terra del Capo tasting room at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The tapas prep area at Terra del Capo's tapas restaurant.

The tapas prep area at Terra del Capo’s tapas restaurant.

Inside the tapas restaurant at Terra del Capo, adjacent to the wine cellar.

Inside the tapas restaurant at Terra del Capo, adjacent to the wine cellar.

The private boardroom / dining room / tasting room at Terra del Capo.

The private boardroom / dining room / tasting room at Terra del Capo.

Olive oil tasting of the Terra del Capo 2012 and L'Ormarins premium ranges.

Olive oil tasting of the Terra del Capo 2012 and L’Ormarins premium ranges.

Opening our tapas lunch with a glass of L'Ormarins MCC at Terra del Capo.

Opening our tapas lunch with a glass of L’Ormarins MCC at Terra del Capo.

Olive oil and wine tasting at Terra del Capo.

Olive oil and wine tasting at Terra del Capo.

Deep fried rillette balls at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Deep fried rillette balls at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

White anchovies, quails egg, manzanilla olives & tomato salad, caper dressing at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

White anchovies, quails egg, manzanilla olives & tomato salad, caper dressing at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Artichokes marinated with thyme, lemon & olive oil at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Artichokes marinated with thyme, lemon & olive oil at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Fried calamari with lemon & chive aioli at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Fried calamari with lemon & chive aioli at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Zucchini fries at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Zucchini fries at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Lamb chops at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Lamb chops at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

The talented chef at Terra del Capo's tapas bar. Some of the best tapas I've had in this region.

The talented chef at Terra del Capo’s tapas bar. Some of the best tapas I’ve had in this region.

A wide variety of wines, oils, preserves an decor is available at the shop at Terra del Capo.

A wide variety of wines, oils, preserves an decor is available at the shop at Terra del Capo.

L'Ormarins MCC.

L’Ormarins MCC.

The premium range extra virgin olive oil by L'Ormarins.

The premium range extra virgin olive oil by L’Ormarins.

Terra del Capo wine gift boxes.

Terra del Capo wine gift boxes.

 

The beautiful cheetah statue outside the entrance to Terra del Capo.

The beautiful cheetah statue outside the entrance to Terra del Capo.

The facade of the Terra del Capo tasting room and cellar at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The facade of the Terra del Capo tasting room and cellar at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The pristine grounds at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The pristine grounds at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the tram, en route to the Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the tram, en route to the Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the stoep at the Manor House tasting room, Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the stoep at the Manor House tasting room, Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The manor house stoep, where we tasted the Anthonij Rupert Wine range.

The manor house stoep, where we tasted the Anthonij Rupert Wine range.

Cape of Good Hope Ultima - one of their premium wines at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

Cape of Good Hope Ultima – one of their premium wines at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

Three of the wines in the Antjonij Rupert range.

Three of the wines in the Antjonij Rupert range.

One of the rooms inside the restored Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

One of the rooms inside the restored Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

Some of the cars that you can see at the Franschhoek Motor Museum at L’Ormarins, next to Anthonij Rupert Wines.

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A panoramic view of the motor museum at L’Ormarins.

 

Pan con tomate

6 Jan

Pan con tomate: toasted bread with freshly grated tomato and garlic (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Pan con tomate: toasted bread with freshly grated tomato and garlic (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Here at the demo KITCHEN we’ve done quite a few Spanish-themed dinners over the last few weeks. The three course dinners consisted of some of my favourite traditional Spanish dishes: pan con tomate (toasted bread with fresh garlic & fresh tomato), paella with chicken & black mussels, and spiced chocolate churros.

I want to share two of these recipes with you, starting with pan con tomate (next time we’ll get to the churros). This is one of those dishes that is deeply satisfying because of its simplicity, but only if you choose the ingredients well. Buy great quality bread (or bake your own), choose only the ripest reddest firm tomatoes, use a robust extra virgin olive oil, and eat it as fresh as possible.

Although the original way to eat pan con tomate says that you need to rub a tomato half straight onto the toasted bread, I find that it can be a messy affair and not everybody likes to get their hands dirty. Use a course grater to grate the tomato from the cut side, so that you are left with the skins.

This is a fantastic start to a lazy summer lunch or dinner. Add beautiful shavings of ham, stuffed olives and cheese, and you have a perfect simple tapas spread.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 4 x panini sticks, sliced horizontally in half (small baguettes, or just use normal baguettes)
  • cold pressed extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, skins removed
  • 1 -2 large ripe tomatoes, halved and coarsely grated from the inside out (discard the skins)
  • salt flakes & cracked black pepper

Method:

  1. Toast the bread cut-side down in a hot griddle pan or over an open fire. Remove from heat and quickly drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Now use a clove of garlic to rub onto the bread, all over the surface.
  3. Top with freshly grated tomato, then season well with salt & pepper. Enjoy immediately.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Tasha Seccombe

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

Retro trout mousse

5 Jan

Light and creamy trout mousse with cucumber "scales" (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Light and creamy trout mousse with cucumber “scales” (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

A few years ago I came across a Church bazaar in Stellenbosch that specializes in selling used goods, almost like a “white elephant” table or a car boot sale. Many of the vendors had kitchenware at their stalls. I was amazed at this treasure cove filled with stuff that I could use for food styling and photography, but also for cooking.

It was a total blast from the past. I bought many different items, including a 60 year-old meat carving set with wooden handles (from an 82 year-old lady that got it as a wedding present back then), a crate filled with vintage Consol and Ball jars dating from the 1950’s (perfect condition), a 1970’s mandolin cutter (that would later chop off the tip of my finger) and a beautiful copper fish mould that looked like it had never been used.

I’ve used the copper mould a few times and absolutely fell in love with the retro-ness of it. I had a recipe for a salmon mousse that I adapted for using with fresh trout. After turning out the mousse on a plate, Tasha broke the news to me that she thought it was way too ugly and that we needed to make it look prettier (the mousse lost the scale patterns on the surface because I had to dip the mould in warm water from the outside to turn it out successfully). I then sliced some fresh cucumber with my mandolin cutter like they did back in the heydays of moulded fish dishes, and the result was quite astonishing to all of us. Totally retro, totally fabulous.

This is a great way of stretching one trout fillet into a crowd-pleasing starter. It is light and creamy and perfect for summer entertaining. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  •  one fresh trout fillet, about 350g
  • 1 cup water
  • 20 ml (4 teaspoons) powdered gelatine
  • 1/2 cup cooled chicken stock
  • juice of a small lemon
  • a large handful of chives/dill/parsley, chopped
  • 250 g plain cream cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup cream, whipped
  • thin cucumber slices and green leaves/microherbs, to serve

Method:

  1. Place the trout fillet and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Close the lid and simmer for about 8 minutes until the trout is just cooked. Remove the fish from the water and leave to cool slightly, the remove the skin and bones and flake the meat.
  2. In a cup, mix the gelatine and chicken stock, then leave to sponge for 10 minutes. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat while stirring to melt the gelatine without boiling. When melted, remove from the heat to cool slightly.
  3. In the bowl of your food processor, add the flaked fish, cooled gelatine mixture, lemon juice, herbs and cream cheese. Process to a smooth pulp, then season generously with salt & pepper.
  4. Now add this mixture to the whipped cream and fold in gently to mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to your fish mould (sprayed with a non-stick spray), then cover with plastic wrap and leave to set in the refrigerator for 3-6 hours.
  5. To unmould, dip the mould on the outside in hot water for about 3 seconds, then carefully turn out on a large plate. Decorate with cucumber slices and greenery, then serve with crackers.
Trout mousse on melba toast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Trout mousse on melba toast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Ilse van der Merwe & Tasha Seccombe

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

A festive table from “Share: The Cookbook” with Poetry stores

15 Dec

A festive table loaded with delicious dishes out of "Share: The Cookbook" (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

A festive table loaded with delicious dishes out of “Share: The Cookbook” (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

It was such a treat to discover this new book on the shelf at Poetry stores – Share: The Cookbook. ShareIt is a celebration of women who have survived war and conflicts, but also a celebration of the foods that nourish and bring us together. Recipes such as Nigerian Beef and Okra Soup, Rwandan Chicken Casserole as well as magical images  of real people are laid out in surrounding pages. Between the beautifully simple recipes, women tell their stories of survival, determination and how they came to take part in programs offered by Women for Women International. A host of celebrities such as Jamie Oliver to Annie Lennox have contributed recipes bringing a diverse array of flavours and personalities to this unique book. 100% of the publisher’s profits go to Women for Woman International. Share is much more than just a cookbook, it’s written for people that are interested in issues of women’s rights whilst celebrating our common humanity.

I’ve chosen a range of recipes as part of a festive spread in association with Poetry stores, using some of their beautiful homeware but also one of their fabulous new table cloths. The recipes are bright and tasty, yet simple and inexpensive. The flavour inspiration come deep from the hearts of Africa and India, intertwined by a common love of sharing food, recipes and love around our tables.

This book makes a great Christmas gift, and will remain a favourite in your kitchen but also on your coffee table.

Tomato & spinach dahl (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Tomato & spinach dahl (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Spinach & tomato dahl, by Peter Kindersley

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • 1 green chilli, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 250 g red lentils
  • 400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 900 ml vegetable stock or water
  • 400 g baby spinach
  • to serve: steamed basmati rice, naan bread, natural yoghurt, fresh coriander leaves and fresh lemon/lime wedges

Method:

Heat the oil in a large heavy lidded pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and chilli. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt. Cook and stir for 2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the lentils, tomatoes and stock/water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20-30 min when the lentils are thick. Stir often to prevent sticking on the bottom. Fold in the spinach and cook for about 2 minutes or until just wilted. Adjust seasoning and serve with steamed rice, naan bread, natural yoghurt, coriander leaves and fresh lemon/lime wedges.

Kachumbari salad (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Kachumbari salad (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Kachumbari salad, by Craig Kielburger

  • 450 g ripe, firm tomatoes, sliced or diced
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 25 g fresh coriander
  • 1 chilli, sliced
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Place the tomatoes in a salad bowl. Top with the sliced onion, coriander & chilli.
  2. Drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
Tandoori yoghurt chicken (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Tandoori yoghurt chicken (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Tandoori yoghurt chicken, by Bill McKibben

  • 1 whole chicken (about 1,5kg) cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • juice of a lemon
  • 500 ml Greek yoghurt
  • 1 onion, coursely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled & grated
  • 1-2 red chillies, deseeded & chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • a drop of red food colouring (optional)
  • to serve: coriander leaves & lemon/lime wedges

Method:

  1. Using a sharp small knife, cut deep slashes into the thickest part of the chicken, but do not cut as far as the bone. Place in a large mixing bowl, then sprinkle with salt & lemon juice. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the marinade: place yoghurt, onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, turmeric & garam masala in a food processor and process to a smooth sauce. Add the red colouring, if using.
  3. Pour over the chicken, and rub into the slits. Cover and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.
  4. Pre-heat the grill or fire, then cook the chicken for 20-25 minutes turning regularly. The chicken is cooked when there is no pink flesh and the juices run clear. Serve with fresh coriander and some lemon/lime wedges.
Orange, almond & olive oil cake (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Orange, almond & olive oil cake (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Orange scented olive oil almond cake, by Nell Newman

  • 100 g almonds (or ground almonds)
  • 100 g white rice flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 175 g white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 60 ml orange juice
  • 60 ml sherry
  • to decorate: orange segments/slices

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Grease/line a 20cm springform round cake tin.
  2. Toast the almonds in a dry pan over medium heat until lightly brown, then grind in a food processor. (alternatively use ground almonds)
  3. In a mixing bowl, sieve the rice flour and almonds with the baking powder & salt.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy. Now add the olive oil in a thin stream while whisking, following with the vanilla, almond extract, zest, orange juice and sherry. Fold into the dry sieved ingredients.
  5. Using clean electric beaters, whisk the egg whites in another clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Now fold this into the yolk/flour mixture. Pour into the prepared tin, then bake for 30-40 minutes until light brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven, then allow to cool for 15 minutes before turning out on a clean folded tea towel. Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Garnish with flaked almonds and/or orange segments/slices, and serve with whipped cream or creme fraiche.

All recipes from “Share: The Cookbook”, available from Poetry stores at R395.

All homeware, Wonkiware & wooden boards (except vintage brass cake plate, ladle and silver knife) available from Poetry stores.

Table cloth available from Poetry stores at R499 – available in blue or green.

Photography & styling: Tasha Seccombe

Text, propping, food preparation & styling: Ilse van der Merwe

Assistant & food preparation: Elsebé Cronjé

This post was written and executed in association with Poetry stores.

WIN 5 double tickets to the Franschhoek MCC & Champagne Festival, presented by Mastercard

24 Nov

A panoramic view of the champagne festival in Franschhoek (image supplied by Tribeca PR)

A panoramic view of the champagne festival in Franschhoek (image supplied by Tribeca PR)

This weekend I’ll be attending the Franschhoek “Magic of Bubbles” MCC & Champagne Festival, presented by Mastercard, for the third time. The festival is taking place on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 November 2014, from 12h00-17h00 in the grand marquee situated on the lawns surrounding Franschhoek’s iconic Huguenot Monument.

I’ll be giving away 5 sets of double tickets valued at R2000 in total to attend the festival on Sunday the 30th of November 2014 – theme: Parasols & Panama Hats. Stand a chance to win double tickets by sharing this post via Twitter or Facebook, tagging me (@the_foodfox / https://www.facebook.com/thefoodfox) and tagging #FHKbubbly & @MastercardMEA.

The Magic of Bubbles festival is one of the highlights on the yearly calendar of wine events (image supplied by Tribeca PR)

The Magic of Bubbles festival is one of the highlights on the yearly calendar of wine events (image supplied by Tribeca PR)

Tickets are valued at R200 per person, including access to the festival, a complementary tasting glass and tasting coupons (extra coupons can be purchased at the festival). Tickets can also be bought online at www.webtickets.co.za, with a 10% discount if they are purchased using a MasterCard card.

I’ve been privileged enough to attend this festival for the past 2 years as a guest, and it was my absolute highlight on the wine calendar in the Western Cape. The atmosphere, setting, quality of offering and general festive vibe is unrivaled, and a total must for any wine/MCC lover in South Africa. Make the effort to dress the part – it adds to the fabulous spirit of drinking and enjoying MCC.
Me and Schalk in front of the Mastercard Goumet Theatre at last year's MCC fest.

Me and Schalk in front of the Mastercard Goumet Theatre at last year’s MCC fest.

Well-known local MCC producers at the Festival include Pierre Jourdan, Morena, Môreson, La Motte, Boschendal, Leopard’s Leap, Noble Hill, Plaisir de Merle, Anthonij Rupert Wines, JC le Roux, Krone, Pongracz, Steenberg and Villiera. Some of France’s best Champagnes will be represented by brands such as Piper Heidsieck, Champagne Guy Charbaut and Veuve Clicquot. Bread & Wine, The SalmonBar, Haute Cabrière, Le Franschhoek, L’Ermitage, Restaurant at Grande Provence and Mont Rochelle are a few of the restaurants showcasing their menus during the festival. The theme for this year’s festival is black and white, with an emphasis on Parasols and Panamas hats. Like every year, a prize will be awarded to the best-dressed couple on each day.

Thank you to Mastercard and Tribeca PR for the generous give-away. Winners will be notified by Friday morning the 28th of November 2014.
Your tasting glass, courtesy of Mastercard (image supplied by Tribeca PR)

Your tasting glass, courtesy of Mastercard (image supplied by Tribeca PR)

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