Tag Archives: feta

Baked tomatoes with feta, garlic and thyme

10 Nov

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

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

It’s already November and I’m revisiting a lot of my favourite side dish recipes to go with all the upcoming al fresco celebrations.

A few years ago, Barbara Joubert published this phenomenal recipe via Sarie Kos. It is a baking tray filled with tomatoes, whole feta slabs, onions and basil. I first had it at a friend’s house and it was one of the most popular dishes at her braai. I’ve since made it many times at my house, substituting the basil for thyme and adding lots of garlic. It smells like heaven, it looks brilliant and it tastes fantastic – one of those minimal effort, big result recipes. Serve as a side dish, or serve along with freshly baked bread as a starter.

I also add a little sugar to my tomatoes to create an extra caramelized result. If you’ve never baked feta before, get ready for a really great taste and texture sensation.

Ripe tomatoes are essential for the intense flavour of this dish (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ripe tomatoes are essential for the intense flavour of this dish (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large tomatoes, halved horizontally
  • about 300g cherry/rosa tomatoes on the vine
  • 400 g feta cheese
  • 1 whole head of garlic, halved horizontally
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • salt & pepper
  • 10-15 ml sugar
  • about 60-80 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • squeeze of a lemon

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Arrange the large tomatoes cut-side-up on the tray, then add the cherry tomatoes, feta, garlic and thyme. Season well with salt & pepper, sprinkle the tomatoes with sugar, then drizzle all over with olive oil and a little lemon juice.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes until the feta and garlic is golden.
  4. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature. Drizzle with more olive oil if served with bread.

Avo & blueberry salad with spinach, fennel & feta

6 Jan

Avo blueberry salad

Superfood salad of avocado, blueberries, baby spinach and fennel (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Summer is reigning supreme in the Cape Winelands, with blazing hot weather that smells like wine tasting and picnics. I’m always looking for fresh salad ideas, especially when entertaining friends and family at home. This low carb salad contains a couple of superfoods and is so very satisfying to eat.

Blueberries make an excellent salad ingredient because of their dramatic colour and tartly sweet nature. They pop in your mouth and release their magic juices that work so well with the creaminess of ripe avo and the crunch of sliced fennel and fresh baby spinach. Add the salty zing of crumbled feta and you don’t need much else to make a perfect summer meal.

I made a purple salad dressing in my pestle & mortar using blueberries, olive oil & lemon juice, crushing the skins to release their colour.

Serve this as a side salad or as a fabulous light lunch on its own.

Ingredients: (serves 4 as a light meal)

  • 200 g baby spinach leaves, washed and drained
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, skins & pips removed
  • 1 cup of blueberries (set a few aside for the dressing)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, washed and finely sliced
  • 1-2 rounds of feta, crumbled
  • some black sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
  • for the dressing:
    • 5-6 blueberries
    • 45 ml olive oil
    • 15 ml lemon juice
    • salt & pepper

Method:

  1. Arrange the spinach leaves on a wide, large platter (not a deep bowl), then arrange the avo, blueberries, fennel & feta on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  2. To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a pestle & mortar and pound to a pulp, creating a pink emulsion. Season well with salt & pepper, then drizzle all over the salad.
  3. Serve at once.

Credits:

Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography & prop styling: Tasha Seccombe

This post has also been featured on The Pretty Blog.

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

Watermelon salad

7 Jan

A summery salad of watermelon, feta, walnuts, watercress and spring onions.

Today is the 7th of January 2013, and most of us have decided on a set of New Year’s resolutions. I can bet you that somewhere on that list is the resolution to lose weight in 2013 – don’t worry, you are not alone!

As most of you might know, I am not really a low-fat recipe writer. Not at all, actually. Most of my recipes contain butter, sugar, cream or oil (or all of the above). These are the things that make food taste great! But sometimes there is a place for lighter dishes, and I love them just as much as I love my full-fat food.

We are still enjoying the height of summer, and watermelons are abundant. These beautiful huge green bellies with their crisp, sweet, juicy centres epitomise summer in South Africa. They are also very versatile, and can even be eaten in savoury salads. This is my version of the very popular “watermelon & feta salad” with watercress, spring onions and walnuts.

I dress this salad very lightly with a sprinkle of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. You can also add some freshly ground black pepper, but salt isn’t really needed because of the salt content in the feta. Use low-fat feta if you prefer.

Ingredients: (adjust quantities according to the size of your party and your preference – no rules apply!)

  • watercress leaves
  • fresh watermelon, green & white parts removed, sliced and roughly cubed (remove seeds if you want to make the effort)
  • feta, roughly crumbled
  • spring onions, finely sliced
  • walnuts, very roughly chopped
  • black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar

Method:

On a large serving platter, arrange watercress leaves, then watermelon, then feta, then  spring onions and walnuts. Top with some freshly ground black pepper, then dress very lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.

Credits:

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

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

 

Ultimate Braai Day Salad

24 Sep

Ultimate braai day salad with cos lettuce, avo, peas, danish feta, croutons, bacon and green goddess dressing (photograph by Tasha Seccombe)

This year on the 24th of September, I want to place more emphasis on side dishes than the braai meat. Of course I love a great piece of steak, chop and wors, but sometimes the side dishes can be bland and rushed. At the end of the party, you’re often left with a massive bowl of unimaginitive boiled potatoes covered in mayonnaise and a “mixed salad” which no-one paid any attention to.

So what are my suggestions for the ultimate braai day side dishes? I think a freshly baked bread is always a winner. I prefer Franck Dangereux’s oil bread when I’m hosting a party – magnificent to keep the guests happy while the meat is still on the fire. Secondly, I would serve a warm potato salad made with baby potatoes, asparagus and gruyere cheese, dressed with a tangy mustard vinaigrette, or a creamy potato bake made with fresh cream, black pepper and lots of parmesan cheese. And then of course we need a bowl of fresh and crips cos lettuce leaves: my ultimate braai day salad with avocado, crispy bacon, peas, croutons, danish feta and a thick green goddess dressing. This salad is great because it keeps meat eaters happy but also scores points from the green veg lovers.

I always serve my large salads on a big tray rather than a deep bowl – this way none of the goodies can sink to the bottom and everyone can see exactly what they’re dishing up. And it looks generous!

PS: Don’t forget the traditional tomato/cheese/onion/chutney “braaibroodjies”! Everyone loves them!

Ingredients for salad:

  • a bag of fresh, crisp, small cos lettuce leaves
  • 2 ripe avocados, scooped out into rough chunks with a teaspoon
  • 2/3 cup of fresh green peas*
  • 200 g danish feta, crumbled into large chunks
  • 1 cup of croutons **
  • 200 g lean bacon, chopped and fried until crisp

* I buy frozen peas and leave them to thaw, but use them uncooked.

** I make my own croutons by frying cubed sourdough bread in Canola oil for about a minute, then drain on kitchen paper.

Method:

Arrange all the ingredients in the listed order on a large serving platter. End off with the bacon, then drizzle with green goddess dressing just before serving.

Ingredients for green goddess dressing:

  • 2 heaped tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 heaped tablespoons Greek yoghurt (or plain)
  • 1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 handful chopped chives

Method:

Mix all the ingredients together in a cup with a fork – this makes a thick, luxurious dressing. Add a teaspoon of warm water if dressing is too thick. Serve extra dressing on the side.

 

Credits:

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

Food: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe & Nicola Pretorius

 

Mediterranean-style focaccia

20 Jul

Mediterranean-style focaccia topped with red pesto, olives, feta and pine nuts.

Focaccia bread is very similar in style to a regular Italian pizza, but is usually a bit thicker and stuffed or topped with herbs and/or other ingredients. In this recipe, I have taken my favourite pizza dough and rolled it out thickly, then topped it with a red Moroccan style pesto, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, sliced Calamata olives, feta and pine nuts. I serve it hot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, plus some Deluxe Hummus for dipping.

This is the perfect starter to a Mediterranean feast, or just as a snack on it’s own. Warning: this focaccia is very addictive! Enjoy!

Ingredients for dough: (serves 4-6 as a starter)

  • 2 cups (500 ml) flour
  • 2 t (10 ml) instant yeast
  • 1 t (5 ml) sugar
  • 1/2 t (2,5 ml) salt
  • 3/4 cup (185 ml) lukewarm water
  • 1 T (15 ml) olive oil

Ingredients for toppings: (these are just guidelines, adjust the quantities as you like!)

  • 2 T Medi Deli Casablanca Pesto
  • 2 T Medi Deli Grated Parmesan Style Cheese
  • 10 olives, halfed and stoned
  • some feta chunks
  • 1 T Medi Deli Pine Nuts
  • to serve: extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, Medi Deli  Humus Deluxe

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt together. Add water and olive oil and mix untill a sticky dough forms. Knead untill the dough becomes soft and pliable. Cover and let it rise in a warm area for about 15-30 minutes until doubled in size.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees Celsius for at least 20 minutes.
  3. On a well floured surface, roll out into an oval shape. Transfer to a large baking tray lined with baking paper.
  4. Spread with pesto, then use the blunt back end of a knife to poke holes in the surface (or use your fingers).
  5. Sprinkle with parmesan, top with olives, feta and pine nuts.
  6. Bake at 220 C for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked.
  7. Serve with an extra drizzle of olive oil, some salt flakes and freshly ground pepper, and a bit of humus on the side as a dip.

Spinach and feta flapjacks with horseradish cream

30 Jun

Spinach and feta flapjacks with horseradish cream and chives

Although most people eat their flapjacks at the breakfast table with maple syrup, there is no reason not to go the savoury route for a change! I recently twisted up my traditional Sasko Quick Treats Flapjack Mix with spinach and feta, and topped them with a mixture of horseradish and creamed cottage cheese. They are just delicious as a light meal, brunch, a snack or party canapés.

They are best served at room temperature, so you can make them a few hours ahead and top with the horseradish cream just before your guests arrive. Perfectly easy Meatless Monday snacks!

Ingredients:

  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 1 leek, finely chopped (white part only)
  • 250 g spinach leaves (no stems)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 100 g feta, crumbled

For flapjacks:

  • Sasko Quick Treats Flapjacks Mix 500 g
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 550 ml milk
  • 2 x XL eggs
  • vegetable oil for frying

For horseradish cream:

  • 250 g creamed cottage cheese (or cream cheese)
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of horseradish paste (or more if you prefer)
  • fresh chives for garnish, chopped

Method:

  1. In a large pan, heat oil over moderate heat. Add chopped leak and fry until tender. Add spinach leaves and fry for a minute, then cover and let it steam for 5-10 minutes until soft and wilted.
  2. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as a pinch of nutmeg. Let it cool to room temperature, then chop finely.
  3. For flapjacks, beat vegetable oil, milk and eggs together, then add Sasko Flapjack Mix and beat until lump free. Stir in chopped spinach and crumbled feta.
  4. Spoon mixture with a tablespoon into a moderately hot, well-greased frying pan, flipping them over when you start to see bubbles appear on the surface. Fry on other side until golden brow. Keep aside until cool.
  5. Mix creamed cottage cheese and horseradish to a smooth spreading consistency. Spread on flapjacks and top with chopped chives.

Pizza my way

15 Mar

Pizza my way with spicy tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, salami, feta cheese and basil

I started making pizzas at home about 3 years ago. I got the recipe for the pizza base out of “Huisgenoot Top 500 Wenresepte”, and I haven’t looked back since. I now prefer my own homemade pizza to restaurant pizza, unless it is made by a proper Italian establishment who can provide me with the real thing!

I like my pizza to have a very thin crust, with really tasty tomato base spread generously, then mozzarella cheese and the toppings of your choice. […]


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