Tag Archives: chicken

My Top 5 Budget-Beating Dinner Recipes

20 Feb

While most of us are still recovering from a spendalicious festive season, this not-so-new year is already heading for March at the speed of light. And with Valentines Day and all its treats past us, you might be one of many South Africans scanning the internet for recipes that won’t break the bank.

I’ve rounded up my top 5 budget-beating dinner recipes to make life a little easier for all of us. Because sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get ahead of the game. More money in your pocket to spend on the necessities, less stress worrying about what to cook for the people at home.

Portuguese sardines and roasted tomatoes on toasted ciabatta (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

  1. Sardines and roasted tomatoes on toast – a humble can of sardines can be so comforting. Pair it with some roasted tomatoes and a slice or two of your favourite ciabatta and you have a gourmet open sarmie packed with flavour.

    Crispy crumbed chicken strips with lemon juice & honey mustard mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

  2. Crumbed wholegrain paprika chicken strips – breadcrumbs, egg and chicken breasts can go a long way with this super tasty recipe. It’s a crowd favourite for adults and kids alike, and one of my go-to economic mid-week meals.

    The ultimate deep fried onion rings with a spicy tomato ketchup (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

  3. Ultimate deep-fried onion rings – this is the best way to turn a humble onion into a rock star. And you’d be surprised at how many mouths an onion can feed – even meat-hungry mouths! Serve with shop-bought tomato sauce or mayo if you’re not keen on making the home-made ketchup in the recipe.

    Garlic pitas with double-cream tzatziki (photograph by Tasha Seccombe)

  4. Garlic pitas with double cream tzatziki – the Greeks know best when it comes to garlic, trust me. These delicious garlic pitas are absolutely scrumptious, especially dipped into a creamy (not watery), minted home-made tzatziki. Meatless Mondays, here we come!

    Fresh linguine with basil & cashew pesto, mixed tomatoes and fior di latte.

  5. Spaghetti or linguini with basil pesto – these days you can find a packet of pasta for less than R10.00 at most supermarkets. Add a dollop of (shop-bought or home-made) pesto and a drizzle of olive oil and you’re smiling! If you want to be fancy and if you have extra budget, add slivers of fior di latte and sliced baby tomatoes or some shredded chicken.

This post was written in association with Hippo household insurance. Check out their choices for budget-beating dinners.

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A Portuguese Summer Feast with Poetry Stores

29 Nov

Portuguese feast

Piri-piri chicken, roasted sweet potato salad and fig ice cream from the book “My Portuguese Feast” by Mimi Jardim (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

portuguese-feastOne of the most beautiful recipe books on the shelves this festive season is Mimi Jardim’s My Portuguese Feast – Recipes From The Heart, available from Poetry stores. Mimi is a living legend when it comes to Portuguese cooking in SA: she has run her own cooking school for over 50 years and is also a representative of the Nando’s restaurant chain. Her book is a tribute to her years of cooking, teaching, loving, exploring and sharing. “It highlights the flavours and tastes of Portuguese food and showcases the way the Portuguese cook – with their hearts and their souls, and not always in exact proportions!”

Here is a splendid Portuguese summer feast out of Mimi’s book, complete with the most beautiful, brand new Portuguese homeware available from Poetry stores. You will agree that the tableware and linen in the photographs are some of the most beautiful ranges that Poetry has ever stocked and a must for your festive table this season. Happy cooking!

Roasted sweet potato salad

Roasted sweet potato salad with goats cheese and pomegranate seeds (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Roasted sweet potato salad (serves 4)

  • 150 g whole blanched almonds
  • 125 ml olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • 1 kg sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 125 ml orange juice
  • salt & pepper
  • about 100 g baby spinach
  • about 100 g rocket
  • 250 g goats cheese
  • 250 ml pomegranate seeds
  • orange zest, to garnish

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Place the almonds in a roasting pan and drizzle with some of the olive oil and coarse salt. Roast for 5 minutes, turning then2-3 times. Remove from the oven and drain the almonds on paper towel. Reduce oven temp to 180 C. Place the sweet potato in a baking dish, add the red onions, garlic, cinnamon and orange juice and drizzle with a little more of the olive oil. Season to taste and salt and pepper and mix well. Bake for about 40 minutes, stirring twice. Line a salad bowl with baby spinach and rocket. Top with roasted sweet potatoes and pour over any juices from the baking dish. Crumble over the cheese, sprinkle with the roasted almonds and garnish with pomegranate jewels. Drizzle with the last of the olive oil, sprinkle with orange zest and serve.

Portuguese Feast chicken

Raymond’s Piri-piri chicken (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Raymond’s Travelling Piri-Piri Chicken (serves 4-6)

  • 1 medium-sized (1-1,2kg) chicken
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 100 G soft butter
  • whole piri-piri chillies, crushed (use 3-5 for medium and 5-10 for hot)
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5 ml paprika
  • 12,5 ml olive oil
  • sprigs rosemay and thyme tied together to form a brush

For the sauce:

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 20 ml butter (plus 12,5 ml olive oil, optional)
  • piri-piri chillies (or peri-peri sauce) to taste
  • juice of hal a lemon
  • 5 ml chopped parsley

Method:

Rinse and dry the chicken and spatchcock it (cut open through the back and flatten it). Cut slashes into the flesh of the thick parts of the chicken. Make a paste of the remaining ingredients (other than the rosemary and thyme and the sauce ingredients) and rub it over the inside and outside of the chicken. Allow to marinate for 2 hours. Grill of braai the chicken, turning regularly and using the rosemary and thyme brush to baste it with the marinade/paste every time it is turned. Serve with the sauce.

To make the sauce, fry the garlic cloves in the butter. Add the piri-piri chillies or sauce, lemon juice and parsley. Remove the garlic and serve.

Portuguese Feast ice cream

Port, peri-peri & fig ice cream loaf cake with fresh figs and almond slivers (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Peri-Peri, Port & Fig Ice Cream (serves 6-8)

  • 10 moist dried figs
  • 40 g almonds, toasted
  • 60 ml honey, plus extra to garnish
  • 50 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 20 ml port
  • 15 ml Nando’s Hot Peri-Peri Sauce
  • 1 x 2 liter tub soft vanilla ice cream
  • 100 ml chocolate morsels or grated chocolate
  • toasted flaked almonds, to serve
  • ground cinnamon, to serve

Method:

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and line with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer while you prepare the mixture. Pulse figs and almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Dissolve the honey in the lemon juice, then add the port, peri-peri sauce, figs and almonds. Fold into the ice cream, working quickly so that it doesn’t melt. Fold into the chocolate, pour the mixture into the prepared pan and freeze for 24 hours. Unmould the dessert onto a serving platter. Drizzle it with honey and sprinkle with almonds and cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Get Mimi Jardim’s My Portuguese Feast – Recipes From The Heart, available online from Poetry stores at R385.

All homeware, linen, cutlery, glassware and wooden boards available from Poetry Stores.

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PEPPADEW® Pasta Sauce Recipe: Chicken tikka masala marinade

7 Oct

Peppadew® chicken tikka masala marinade for super tender chicken sosaties (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

Peppadew® chicken tikka masala marinade for super tender chicken sosaties (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

I recently had the pleasure of creating a few new recipes for Peppadew®, using their convenient pasta sauce range. This first recipe is an easy tikka masala marinade for chicken, so fantastic for entertaining a crowd over the festive season – you just mix up all the ingredients and your marinade is ready to use.

Marinating boneless chicken in yoghurt and lemon juice is the secret to extra juicy, tender and delicious sosaties. This recipe contains all the right spices for a fragrant mild tikka sauce. Add extra chilli if you love things more spicy!

Prep time: marinating – minimum 3 hours, cooking – 10 minutes.

Serves: 6

You’ll need:

  • 1 jar Peppadew® Green Pepper & Garlic Pasta Sauce
  • 500 ml double cream unflavoured yoghurt
  • 60 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • a knob of fresh ginger, peeled & finely grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled & finely grated
  • 5 ml ground coriander
  • 2,5 ml ground cumin
  • 5 ml ground turmeric
  • 30 ml garam masala
  • 10 ml salt
  • 5 ml freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
  • 6 large or 12 medium sosatie sticks/skewers
  • a handful of fresh coriander, for garnish

Method:
In a large glass/ceramic/plastic bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together (except the chicken, sosatie sticks and fresh coriander).
Add the chicken cubes to the sauce and mix well to cover all over. Cover the bowl with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Bring the meat to room temperature by leaving it on the kitchen counter for an hour. Place the marinated cubes on your sosatie sticks, taking care not to overcrowd the sticks.
Braai the sosaties on a hot fire/grill, turning frequently to prevent burning. Braai until just done (do not overcook), then scatter with fresh coriander and serve hot.

Tips:
This marinade will also work very well for bone-in chicken pieces. Make small slits in the chicken pieces through the skin, so that the marinade can penetrate the meat. Braai the marinated chicken pieces over a medium hot fire for at least 40 minutes, turning frequently until cooked through and golden brown on both sides.

The versatile Peppadew® pasta sauce range.

The versatile Peppadew® pasta sauce range.

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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
  • 120 ml olive oil
  • 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.

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Crumbed whole-grain paprika chicken strips

9 Apr

Crispy crumbed chicken strips with lemon juice & honey mustard mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Crispy crumbed chicken strips with lemon juice & honey mustard mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

My 3-year old daughter is not a big meat lover. I’ve always had to find inventive ways of getting her to eat more proteins, so when I discovered that she liked my paprika chicken strips I was over the moon.

I started making these strips because I simply love the taste of a crispy crumbed piece of chicken, and they make amazing snacks for my husband’s favourite pastime (watching rugby). I found that really fresh chicken breasts (never frozen, preferably free range) give the best results, and that a whole-grain loaf of bread gives fantastic extra crunch in terms of the crispy outer coating – yes, it’s really better than regular white.

Although I’m sure you could also bake these in the oven, I prefer to deep-fry my chicken strips in canola oil. We don’t eat deep fried food often in my house, but the effect in this case is so light and perfect that I would really recommend it. And remember, canola oil is very high in Omega 3 and 6, so we’re cooking with the good stuff!

These strips are a great way of stretching a regular packet of 4 chicken breasts – you’ll be surprised how many mouths it will feed as a snack, especially if you add a dip like my honey mustard yoghurt mayo (or guacamole, or any dip of your choice). Very addictive for old and young alike. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • about 8 slices of whole grain bread, processed to crumbs in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
  • 10-15 ml smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 XL eggs, lightly whisked
  • 4 medium size chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • about 750 ml canola oil for frying

Method:

  1. Place the breadcrumbs in a wide shallow bowl (I use a few pasta bowls to create a nice prepping station).
  2. In a second wide bowl, mix the flour, paprika, salt & pepper.
  3. In a third wide bowl, place the whisked eggs. You should now have a prepping station of 3 bowls.
  4. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips of about 0.5 cm thick, against the grain of the meat. Take one strip at a time, then firstly dip it into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and directly into the crumbs. Lightly pat the crumbs onto the eggy chicken strip to ensure the crumbs stay in place, then lay the crumbed strip on a tray/platter. Continue until all of the strips are coated and ready for frying.
  5. In a medium size pot, heat the oil over medium high heat (we’re looking for about 180 C, if you have a thermometer). Carefully add about 6-8 strips into the hot oil at a time, frying them for about 2-3 minutes a side until they are golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat in batches with the remaining prepared strips, changing the kitchen paper when necessary.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dip of your choice.

For my honey mustard yoghurt mayo: Take about 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt, 2 heaped teaspoons of whole grain mustard, and a good squirt of honey. Mix together and serve as a dip with the chicken strips.

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

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Toasted sourdough sandwich with herbed chicken mayo

14 Mar

My favourite sandwich: a toasted herbed chicken mayo on sourdough bread (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

If there is one sandwich that I cannot resist, it’s a good chicken mayonnaise. Sometimes I buy a cheap one at my local supermarket when I don’t have time for lunch – some days they even have chicken mayo vetkoek (almost like a massive doughnut filled with chicken mayo). But some days I sit down for a proper chicken mayo at Schoon de Compagne. Nothing beats a proper sourdough toasted sarmie. And when it’s filled with freshly roasted chunks of chicken swirled in homemade mayonnaise, it’s the king of sandwiches.

If you’re feeling lazy, use your favourite good quality store-bought mayonnaise and a ready roasted chicken. I won’t tell a soul.

Ingredients: (makes 2 large sandwiches)

  •  2 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • about 1/2 cup (125 ml) home-made mayonnaise (see below)
  • about 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped herbs (I used a mixture of parsley & chives)
  • 1 medium size sweet & tangy dill cucumber, finely chopped (optional)
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread (I use the middle of a round loaf to get the largest slices possible)
  • butter for spreading

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 C.
  2. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Use a pastry brush to coat them with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with salt & pepper (I sometimes use a Cajun spice when I’m in the mood for a kick). Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the skin is golden and the thickest part of the breast is just cooked (juices should run clear). Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the roasted chicken from the bone, then cut the meat into chunky slices. If the skin is nice and crispy, I like to leave the skin on – it adds a whole lot of flavour. Place the chicken slices/chunks in a mixing bowl, then add the mayonnaise and herbs and mix well. Season with a little extra salt & pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. Butter the slices of bread on both sides, then fill each sandwich with a generous amount of filling. Use a hot griddle pan (or normal pan) to toast the closed sandwiches on each side until they’re crisp and golden – press down gently on the sandwich using an egg lifter, while toasting. Serve at once.

For homemade mayonnaise: (makes about 1 cup)

  • 1 whole free range egg, as fresh as you can get
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 10 ml Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) canola oil

Method for mayonnaise: Using a stick blender and tall cup (or a food processor) add the eggs, lemon juice, mustard and salt & pepper. Give it a good whizz, then start adding the oil in a very thin stream while blending. Continue to blend until you get a thick, creamy consistency. Use immediately or store in a closed container in the fridge for a few days.

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

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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A casual summer holiday lunch with Poetry Stores: Part 1

6 Dec

A casual Summer lunch or brunch (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

If there is one word that sums up 2013 for me, it would be “inspiration”. This year has been a great year of being surrounded by truly inspirational peers, clients and friends, and it is the theme of this 3 part festive series that I have put together in association with Poetry Stores.

We’ve reached the end of 2013, and we are all starting to get ready for a well-deserved break! I’ve teamed up with Poetry Stores to bring you fantastic ideas and inspiration for festive meals, recipes, gifts, decor and homeware. With each part of this series I have chosen a recipe book from Poetry’s collection, featuring 4 or 5 of the most scrumptious recipes from each book, along with a selection of beautifully festive homeware that you can use to decorate your table or wrap as Christmas gifts to your nearest and dearest. Remember that recipe books also make amazing Christmas gifts, and they keep on giving us fresh ideas right through the year!

For the first feature, I have chosen the theme of “A Casual Summer Holiday Lunch” with recipes from Café Food at Home by Evan Faul from Quivertree Publications (available from Poetry Stores). Evan is a master at baking, so I simply had to try his recipe for ciabatta. He also features a beautiful recipe for a sandwich in his book, made from the same ciabatta, and filled with garlic & thyme roasted chicken, red pepper pesto & mayonnaise, fresh basil leaves and finely sliced red onion, and I couldn’t resist. For dessert, I chose Evan’s recipe for a white chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate biscuit crust, topped with fresh seasonal berries – a show stopping dessert!

Evan’s book is filled with easy, scrumptious recipes of the food that I really love to eat: it is unpretentious, beautifully photographed, and lipsmackingly delicious. Café food, bistro food, inspiration for laid back holiday food. Serve with you favourite beer or some ice cold white wine.

Poetry’s range of beautiful wooden boards, Wonkiware platters and inhouse tableware will make any feast look picture perfect.  Here’s what we’ve used in the pictures:

Large round bread board:  R499

Baguette board:  Small baguette board R199

Large Wonkiware regtangular trough: R599

Wonkiware bowl: R140

Wonkiware cake plate: R350

Tumbler glass: R40

Ciabatta loaf (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ciabatta: Ingredients

For the “rustic poolish” (starter dough):

  • 400 ml cold water
  • 270 g bread flour
  • 130 g unsifted wholewheat flour
  • 3 g instant yeast (about 5 ml)

For the ciabatta loaf:

  • 375 g bread flour
  • 2 g instant yeast
  • 375 g rustic poolish (see above)
  • 10 g salt
  • 240 ml iced water

Method:

  1. For the rustig poolish, place all the ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, then mix well for a couple of minutes with your flat beater. Transfer the mixture to a plastic container, and cover with a damp cloth. Place in the fridge overnight for use the next day.
  2. The next day, place the rest of the ingredients except the salt and water in the mixer. Mix for 3 minutes on slow speed while adding the iced water.  Mix for 4 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Keep on mixing while you add the salt. Mix for a further 6 minutes on medium speed. Transfer to a clean, lightly oiled container, cover with a damp cloth, then leave in a warm area in the kitchen to ferment for 2 hours. Fold the dough after 4o minutes, and again after 80 minutes.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a flour-dusted work surface. Dust the surface of the dough with flour, using a sieve to avoid any lumps. Gently stretch the dough into a rectangle using your hands.
  5. Carefully divide the dough into 2 portions. Roll the pieces very gently in the dusting flour so that they are evenly coated. Place the dough portions on a well floured cloth and prove for 60 minutes.
  6. Place a terracotta baking stone (if you have one) in the oven, and preheat the oven to 250 C for at least an hour before baking.
  7. Transfer the breads onto a teflon sheet. Mist the oven with water using a spray bottle, before loading the loaves on the hot stone in the oven (I don’t have a baking stone, but I preheated a normal baking tray). Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temp to 220 C for a further 10 minutes. The bread should be golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Chicken lemon & thyme roast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Chicken, lemon & thyme roast:

  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 10 free-range chicken thighs and breasts on the bone (I used a mixed pack of chicken pieces)
  • 75 ml good quality olive oil
  • small bunch fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 onions, peeled

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C.
  2. Cut the head of garlic in half horizontally. Use it to rub the skin of the chicken pieces. Break up the head of garlic but do not peel the cloves.
  3. Place the chicken pieces and garlic in a bowl. Add the olive oil, thyme and seasoning. Cut the lemons in half, and cut the onions in 1/8 segments. Add the lemons and onions to the bowl, then use your hands to gently toss all the ingredients together. Tip it out onto a flat roasting tray lined with foil, then spread them out in a single layer, chicken pieces skin side up.
  4. Roast for 25 minutes until the chicken is crisp, brown and juicy. (I turned down the oven to 180 C and roasted for another 20 minutes).
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven, then use tongs to squeeze the caramelized lemon over the meat before serving.

Roasted red pepper pesto (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Roast tomato & red pepper pesto:

  • 2 large red peppers, cored seeded and cut into quarters
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 15 ml olive oil for roasting
  • 1 clove  garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 60 g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 35 g pine nuts
  • 25 g cashew nuts
  • 5 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 20 g basil leaves (optional)
  • 100 ml good quality olive oil for blending
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C.
  2. Arrange the peppers and tomatoes skin sides down on a roasting tray. Drizzle with oil and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. Place the garlic, cheese, pine nuts, cashew nuts, and vinegar in a food processor and blend together gently. Add the roasted peppers, tomatoes and basil (if using) and blend at low speeds.
  4. With the processor running, slowly add 100 ml oil in a steady stream (depending on the thickness you require, adjust the amount of olive oil). Season to taste and finish off with a squeeze of lemon juice.
  5. Place in an airtight container or in a sterilized glass jar in the fridge – it should keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

Roast chicken sandwich (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Roast chicken sandwich:

  • 400 g lemon chicken & thyme roast (see above)
  • 100 g roast tomato & red pepper pesto (see above)
  • 100 g mayonnaise
  • 10 g smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 loaf ciabatta (see above)
  • 100 ml good quality olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced
  • a few basil leaves
  • a few gherkins

Method:

  1. Flake the chicken from the bone, then add the pesto, mayo, paprika and seasoning. Mix well.
  2. Slice the ciabatta in half lengthways. Drizzle the cut sides with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Toast under a hot grill under golden brown.
  3. Remove bread from the oven, then rub with garlic and then with the cut side of the tomato half.
  4. Spread the bread with the chicken mayo mixture. Layer red onion and basil leaves on top and cover with the other half of the toasted bread. Slice into portions and serve with gherkins on the side.

Baked white chocolate cheesecake (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Baked white chocolate cheesecake:

  • 200 g chocolate biscuits
  • 90 g butter, melted
  • 400 g best quality white chocolate
  • 750 g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 230 g sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250 ml single cream, chilled and whipped
  • mixed seasoning berries, to serve

Method:

  1. Crush biscuits in a food processor, then mix in the melted butter. Press mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of a well-greased 23 x 8 cm springform cake tin.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 150 C.
  3. Break chocolate into chunks and place in a glass or metal bowl. Melt gently over a pot of simmering water.
  4. Beat cream cheese lightly with a hand blender. Add vanilla extract, sugar and melted chocolate and mix well.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then fold in the whipped cream. Pour onto the prepared biscuit crust, then bake for 1 hour.
  6. Switch off the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the oven before removing from the tin.
  7. Serve with seasonal berries.

Credits:

All recipes by Evan Faul, from his book Café Food at Home.

Food preparation & text: Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Ilse van der Merwe & Tasha Seccombe

Homeware: Poetry Stores

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Classic French Coq au Vin

2 Sep

Classic French coq au vin (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Over the past few days, we’ve been bombarbed by torrential rains in the Cape. It’s been the most rain we’ve had all winter, coupled with stormy winds – terrible weather for anyone who had to be outside or on the road.

We had our monthly food shoot last week with the dream team from The Pretty Blog. Although we always have the best time  creating beautiful pictures, dark and stormy weather is not necessarily our friend when it comes to food photography lighting! After scanning my house for the best spot to do the shoot (we usually shoot on the stoep, but it was way too windy and cold), we decided to set up at my bedroom window. A bit cramped to say the least, but we pulled it off!

I wanted to feature one last hearty winter stew before the Spring weather starts to settle in (we cannot wait!), so I decided on one of my favourite classic French dishes: coq au vin. This is a simple stew of chicken, small onions, bacon, and mushrooms, simmered in red wine. The red wine turns the chicken purple – a bit alarming at first, but it then settles into a dark and hearty broth, totally delicious for a cold winters day.

Traditionally, the French serve this stew with bread or with pasta, but we like to eat it with white rice or even mashed potato. Choose whatever you like!

Ingredients: (serves 4-6, but this recipe can easily be doubled to feed a large crowd)

  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 8 chicken pieces (about 1 kg)
  • 16-20 pickling onions, skinned and whole
  • 125 g streaky bacon, cut into small cubes
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 250 g button mushrooms (or portabellini)
  • 15 ml tomato paste
  • 30 ml flour
  • 1/2 bottle red wine (I use a good Bordeaux blend like Sutherland’s Cabernet Sauvignon Petit Verdot)
  • salt and black pepper

Method:

  1. In a large heavy based pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then fry the chicken pieces in batches until the skins are golden. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, bacon & thyme, then fry until the bacon becomes crispy and the onions get a nice colour on the outside. Add the mushrooms and fry for another minute.
  3. Add the tomato paste & flour, then stir well. Now add the red wine. Give it a good stir, then add the chicken pieces and meat juices back into the pot. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes. Check on the chicken every now and then to make sure that the pieces are submerged in the sauce and gets coloured purple on all sides.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, then stir gently without breaking up the meat. Serve warm with rice, potatoes, pasta or bread, and some steamed green vegetables like beans or broccoli.

Credits:

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

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

(Photography by Tasha Seccombe)

 

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Butter chicken curry

12 Aug

Rich butter chicken curry with roti’s and fresh coriander (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Of all the butter chicken recipes I have come across over the years, this one remains my absolute favourite. I have made it many, many times at home, and everytime I am amazed at how easy it is to create such a fragrant and satisfying feast.

Butter chicken curry is a mild, rich dish. It is made with lots of butter, ground cashew nuts, and cream – definitely not for the calorie conscious! But the result is an absolutely dreamy mixture of fragrant exotic spices (especially cardamom), rich gravy and succulent boneless chicken. It is fantastic served on basmati rice, but also great served with naan bread or wrapped up in a roti.

Tasha, our photographer, told me that they had recently used butter chicken curry as a filling for soft white rolls on a road trip. Now that sounds brilliant! Don’t forget the fresh coriander, it adds a welcome fresh touch to the richness of the sauce.

Ingredients: (recipe adapted from Huisgenoot magazine, 16 April 2009)

  • 1 kg boneless chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • 45 ml grated fresh ginger
  • 5 ml salt
  • 5 ml ground turmeric (or 2,5 ml yellow food colouring)
  • 125 g butter plus 15 ml vegetable oil
  • 30 ml butter
  • 10 ml ground fennel (barishap)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 5 ml minced red chilli (I use John West, but you can also just cut up a fresh small red chilli, very finely chopped)
  • 100 ml raw cashew nuts, finely processed (reserve a few whole nuts for decoration, if you want to)
  • 1 can (410 ml) tomato puree (NOT tomato paste)
  • 5 cardamom pods, skins removed and seeds crushed in a pestle & mortar
  • 250 ml fresh cream (or Ideal Milk or plain yoghurt)
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh coriander leaves, to serve
  • cooked basmati rice or naan bread, to serve

Method:

  1. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and place it in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the ginger, salt and turmeric, then mix well to coat the chicken.
  3. Add the 125 ml butter and oil to a large pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chicken and fry until it has changed colour but not cooked through all the way – about 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside until later.
  4. In the same pan, add another 30 ml of butter. Add the fennel and onion, then fry over low to medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent (very important to not do this over high heat).
  5. Now add the garlic and chilli paste, and fry for 1 minute. Add the cashew nuts and tomato puree and stir well. Turn the heat up slightly and bring the mixture to the boil.
  6. Now add the chicken pieces and cardamom seeds, and lower the heat to a simmer. Add the cream, then stir through and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Season to taste with salt (if necessary) and black pepper. Remove from the heat, top with coriander leaves and serve with rice or bread.

Credits:

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

Food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

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Exotic coconut curry

1 Nov

Chicken coconut curry with exotic asian vegetables

I was invited by the kind people at Crush Online Magazine to participate in a cooking challenge! This challenge involved the new Findus frozen foods range, and specifically their Wok Range. It is imported from Sweden and currently available at most Pick ‘n Pay retail stores.

I chose to cook with the Findus Wok Gold pack, which contains a mixture of very exotic Asian ingredients, like cabbage flower, water chestnut, bamboo shoots and green garlic. It also contains more well-known vegetables like carrots, sugar snap peas, onions and baby corn.

I have to say that the quality of these frozen veggies is really amazing. Even after cooking, it retains the crunch of great quality fresh vegetables.

I decided to cook the vegetables in a quick, fragrant coconut curry sauce with sliced chicken breasts, but I have also tried this recipe with prawns and it worked really well. You can also cook it with cubed fish fillets.

This is a mild curry, but add as much chilli as you like. It is a really quick, easy, fragrant meal that takes only 15 minutes to make from scratch!

Ingredients:

  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 20 ml red curry paste
  • 15 ml crushed ginger
  • 400 ml coconut cream
  • 400 g chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
  • 450 g Findus Wok Range, Gold
  • salt to taste
  • fresh coriander leaves and sliced small tomatoes for garnish
  • cooked Thai rice, to serve with

Method:

  1. In a wok or large pan, heat oil over medium to high heat. Add curry paste and ginger, then fry for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add coconut cream, then bring to a boil. Add chicken and frozen vegetables, then bring to a simmer and simmer for 6-8 minutes with the lid closed.
  3. Remove from heat, season with salt and serve with Thai Rice, garnished with coriander leaves and sliced tomato.

Tip: You can also make your own red curry paste by grinding fresh garlic, ginger, red chillies and coriander leaves in a pestle and mortar to a paste. But using ready-made curry paste saves a lot of time for people with a busy schedule!

Please go to Crush Online’s Facebook Page and vote for my recipe!

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