Tag Archives: mayonnaise

Mini “lobster” rolls

26 Sep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredients: (makes around 36 mini rolls)

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

Method:

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

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

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

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Fresh salmon-trout burger with dill mayo

5 Sep

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ingredients for the patties: (serves 4)

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

For the dill mayo:

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

Mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.

Assembling the burgers:

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

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

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

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Fresh Feasting with Pork 360: Pork & Pineapple Burgers with Herb Mayo

9 Jan

Pork & pineapple burger with coriander mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

If you love great burgers, you’re in for a treat. Making patties out of great quality pork mince results in a much softer patty than ground beef, delivering a really awesome texture that’s almost marrow-like. They’re seasoned with smoked paprika and ginger, paired with a slice of grilled fresh pineapple and topped with a dollop of creamy coriander mayo. Add some crispy iceberg lettuce and a buttery, golden, toasted sesame bun. This might be one of the best tasting burgers I’ve ever made.

This recipe is the last in a series of six that I’ve developed in association with Pork 360. It’s a quality assurance and traceability certification – a guarantee to both the consumer and retailing sector that the producer has a consistent production process that complies with minimum standards and ensures high-quality pork. The Pork 360 projects takes place under the guidance of the South African Pork Producers Association (SAPPO). Watch their video for more info.

In a nutshell: it’s pork you can trust!

You will find all of the listed ingredients at your local Food Lover’s Market. Look out for the Pork 360 mark/logo on the pork products.

Pork burger with grilled pineapple, crispy lettuce and creamy herb mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ingredients: (makes 4)

  • 600-700 g pork mince
  • salt & pepper
  • 5 ml smoked paprika
  • 15 ml fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 small onion, coarsely grated
  • for the herb mayo:
    • 1 cup creamy mayonnaise
    • a handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
    • a squirt lemon juice
  • 4 sesame burger buns, halved and buttered
  • 4 large iceberg lettuce leaves, washed & drained
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 4 slices fresh pineapple

Method:

  1. For the patties: In a mixing bowl, add the pork and season generously with salt & freshly ground black pepper. Add the smoked paprika, ginger and onion and mix well using clean hands (or a fork, if you prefer). Divide the mixture into four and shape into flat disks. I like placing them on pieces of grease-proof baking paper for an easy transfer to the pan later. Always remember that meat will shrink and pulls to its center in the pan, so make each pattie a little wider and flatter than you think you should. Set aside.
  2. For the herb mayo: mix the mayonnaise, coriander and lemon juice together with a fork (for a smooth result, process in a food processor). Set aside.
  3. Toast the buttered insides of the buns in a hot pan until golden and crunchy. Transfer to plates, then top the bottom halves with lettuce.
  4. Add olive oil to the hot pan and fry the patties on both sides until golden brown and cooked. Remove from the pan to rest while you fry the pineapple.
  5. In the same pan, quickly fry the pineapple slices in a very hot pan until charred on either side.
  6. Place the rested patties on top of the lettuce, then top with a slice of fried pineapple and a dollop of herb mayo. Place the sesame bun halves on top. Serve immediately with or without fries.

Note: the patties firm up quite a bit when cooked, so don’t worry about adding an egg to the mixture – it’s not needed.

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Arancini with aioli

20 Jun

Golden deep tried stuffed nuggets of risotto served with garlic mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Golden deep-fried stuffed nuggets of risotto served with garlic mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

The Italians have a wonderful way of using up leftover risotto. They shape the cold rice mixture into balls, stuff the centres with cheese, cover the balls with breadcrumbs and deep-fry the lot to make arancini.

These little golden nuggets are just delightful. I prefer to use smoked mozzarella for the centres and serve the arancini with thick homemade garlic mayonnaise. It’s a great snack for welcoming guests at your festive dinner party this season, because you can prep them beforehand and drop them in the hot oil just before serving.

If you’d love to serve them on a flat board or slate tile, pipe some mayo on the board and place the arancini on the mayo to prevent them from rolling off.

One warning though: these are super addictive! Prepare to eat more than you think you will.

Ingredients: (serves 6 as a snack/canapé)

  • about 2 cups prepared left-over risotto, cooled (any flavour will do, but I love using saffron risotto or wild mushrooms risotto)
  • 100 g smoked mozzarella, cubed 1 x 1 cm
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 750 ml canola oil
  1. Take a small tablespoon of cold risotto and fill it with a cube of mozzarella. Shape the risotto to cover the cheese and roll it into a neat ball (cold risotto is easier to shape). Continue until all the risotto is used.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix the flour with some salt & pepper. Place the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl, and the eggs in another.
  3. Dip each risotto ball into the seasoned flour, then into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, covering it all over. Place on a clean plate and repeat.
  4. Heat the oil to about 180 C, then fry batches of arancini until golden all over – about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve with aioli.

For the aioli:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 30 ml lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • about 180-250 ml canola oil

In a blender or food processor, add the yolks, garlic, mustard and lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper then blend well. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream until fully incorporated and thick and creamy. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Tip: Use a small plastic bag to pipe blobs of aioli onto a serving board, then “stick” the arancini onto each piped blob to keep from rolling around.

Credits:

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

Photography & styling: Tasha Seccombe

This recipe has been featured on The Pretty Blog.

 

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Best ever rare roast beef sandwich with mustard & aioli

18 May

Beef sandwichI’ve shared my favourite bread recipe of 2015 a few months ago, and this is a post to show you one of the best ways to enjoy it.

We had this sandwich on the menu at the demo KITCHEN last year and everybody loved it. We called it “The Bull” – a meaty, feisty sandwich with a strong mustard kick.

If you’re too lazy to bake, just use a good quality store-bought ciabatta or panini instead. And if you’re even more lazy, skip the roasting of the beef and just use a few slices of good quality pastrami (because sometimes we need shortcuts in life).

For the rare roast beef: (serves 6)

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • about 1 kg lean beef roast (silverside works well)
  • salt & black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180 C. In an iron skillet on the stove top, heat the oil over high heat. Sear the roast on all sides to get good colour, about 10 minutes in total. Season well with salt & pepper while searing. Place in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Use a very sharp knife to cut the meat into thin slivers, then set aside (cut it as thin as you can).

For the aioli:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 45 ml lemon juice
  • 15 ml Dijon mustard
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • about 250 ml canola oil

Place the yolks, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt & pepper in a food processor and mix well. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream through the feeding tube, creating a thick emulsion. When all the oil is incorporated, check and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Set aside.

For the sandwiches:

  • 6 paninis or small ciabattas (see the recipe for Scott’s bread)
  • aioli, for spreading
  • fresh lettuce leaves
  • sliced tomato (optional)
  • slices of rare roast beef
  • whole grain mustard, for topping (or a mixture of whole grain and Dijon)
  • salt & pepper

To assemble, start by slicing your paninis open horizontally, then spread generously with aioli. Top with lettuce leaves, tomato (optionally), slices of beef and then a generous drizzle of whole grain mustard. Season with salt & pepper, then place the top half of the panini in place. Enjoy!

Note: If you’re feeling luxurious, replace the silverside roast with a whole beef fillet. Roast it in the same way as above, or according to your taste and the size of the fillet.

Credits:

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

Photography, food styling & prop styling: Tasha Seccombe

This post has also been featured on The Pretty Blog.

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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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Steak and chips with garlic mayonnaise

23 Sep

My favourite classic steak and chips with garlic mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

With National Braai Day coming up tomorrow, I thought it would be appropriate to post a recipe for what I’m intending to braai:  a perfect steak. Yes, I also love to braai peri-peri chicken, boerewors, lamb chops, snoek and braai broodjies, but to me steak remains the King of the grill.

After recently working with Jan Braai on his second book “Red Hot“, I quickly got some tips on how to braai the ultimate steak. Jan is a seasoned pro at making fires and braaing anything from meat to mielies to roosterkoek. Read more about Jan’s steak braaing tips on his blog.

There are a few rules that we now always apply when braaing steak at home:

1) Use a low grid over a very hot fire, with some flames licking the meat (or a very hot griddle pan).

2) Turn the meat only once.

3) Braai the steak for only 7 minutes in total (3 1/2 minutes a side), nothing more, nothing less.

If you buy good quality matured meat, you’re already halfway there to creating a mouthwatering plate of food. I prefer to brush my steaks with olive oil before seasoning it on both sides and placing them on the grid – no basting sauce necessary.

Make sure your fries are timed to be ready when your meat has rested for a few minutes, then serve it with garlic mayonnaise (aoli). True simplicity, satisfaction guaranteed. You won’t need anything else.

Happy Braai Day everyone!

Ingredients for steaks:

  • 200-300g thick cut mature steak (per person), at room temperature (I prefer rib-eye/rump/sirloin)
  • olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  1. Make a large fire, then wait for the coals to be ready for grilling. A few licking flames will just add to the flavour.
  2. Use a brush to oil the steaks on both sides, then season them well with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the steaks on the grill, then braai for 3 1/2 minutes on each side, turning them only once. This will give a medium rare result.
  4. Set the steaks aside on a wooden plank or plate to rest for 5 minutes, then serve hot with fries and mayonnaise.

Ingredients for potato chips (french fries):

Remember to always be very careful around hot oil – it can be very dangerous.

  • 1 med-large potato per person, cut into chips
  • about 750ml – 1 litre canola oil for frying
  1. Heat the oil in a medium size pot to about 180 C, then fry batches of the chips until they just start to turn a pale golden colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Let it cool slightly.
  2. Just when your steaks go onto the fire, fry them for a second time until they are golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain again. Serve hot with sprinkled salt flakes & garlic mayo.

Ingredients for garlic mayonnaise:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 10 ml Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • about 150-200 ml canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely crushed
  1. In a tall cup or plastic container, add the egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Use a stick blender to give it a whizz.
  2. With the stick blender’s motor running, add the oil in a very thin stream, making sure that you create an emulsion that will thicken as you add more oil.
  3. When all the oil has been added, add the crushed garlic clove and whizz again to blend well. Taste the mayonnaise and add more salt or pepper if necessary. Serve with the warm steak & chips.

 

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.

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Beer battered hake with homemade mayonnaise

25 Apr

Crispiest beer battered hake with homemade mayonnaise (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

Sometimes life takes you on a bumpy ride. Not serious stuff, but enough to make you need a hug at the end of the day. Like breaking down on the highway in mid morning traffic. Or getting a massive bill for unforseen medical costs. Or finding out your fridge has stopped working, and the warranty has expired a week ago.

In times like these, I like to escape to my “happy place”: a sunny, windless day somewhere on the Garden Route coastline, enjoying a simple, fresh seafood lunch with my darling husband, sipping lots of crisp cold chenin blanc, drinking in the smell of the waves, the sound of seagulls in the background.  A place where time has no importance.

That simple seafood meal has to be proper beer battered hake, deep-fried to perfection,  served with salt flakes, fresh lemon wedges and proper mayonnaise. I prefer my beer batter to be really thick and REALLY crisp – I mean, it should crack open when you cut it, steaming with fresh white hake within. Oh, and some crisp fries wouldn’t hurt.

So if you need to go to your happy place one of these days, you can do it at home. With this very easy recipe, fool-proof, every time. Have a nice day everyone!

Ingredients for the batter:

  • 1 cup self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 a bottle of beer (about 165 ml)
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

For the fish:

  • 4-6 medium-sized fresh fish fillets (I used hake), scaled, cleaned and deboned by your fish monger (cut thicker portions in half to make sure it cooks evenly)
  • 500-750 ml cooking oil, for frying

Method:

  1. Heat oil (about 3-4 cm deep) in a heavy based pot on medium heat until it reaches around 160 degrees Celsius on your thermometer (for electrical stove top heating, use heat setting 4 out of 6)
  2. To make the batter, mix the self-raising flour with the beer and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Take one piece of hake fillet at a time, dust lightly with self-raising flour, then dip thoroughly in batter and immediately into the heated oil. Work carefully with the oil as it will splatter. After about 2 minutes, turn the fish with a slotted spoon and fry on the other side untill golden and crispy (takes about a minute). Remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper.
  4. Serve with mayonnaise.

Ingredients for mayonnaise:

  • 1 whole free range egg, as fresh as you can get
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) sunflower oil

Method:

  1. In a cup, using a handheld stick blender, blend the egg, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper.
  2. Now add the oil in a very thin stream, while blending continuously. When all the oil is blended into the mixture, you will have a thick, pale mayonnaise. It will keep well in the refrigerator for about a week, covered.

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.

Pictures: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

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