Tag Archives: pork

Mothers Day Lunch with Poetry Stores

12 May

A delectable home cooked feast from Barbara Joubert’s book KOSTALGIE, available from Poetry Stores. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

There’s nothing that says “I love you” like a thoughtful, scrumptious and beautiful home-cooked meal. The recipes in Barbara Joubert’s (Afrikaans) book Kostalgie are the perfect choices for a Mothers Day lunch at home, with flavours and influences from her travels all around the world.

I have never made caramelized figs before, and they truly are just magnificent to look at. Almost too beautiful to eat! With the creamy custard tart, they are the stuff dreams are made of.

I love slow roasted pork – it seems to always get raving reviews in my house. I opted for serving the pork with buttery beans instead of potatoes, because of my choice of pasta and tomatoes as a side dish (a stunning meal on its own too).

Have a happy Mothers Day everyone!

Barbara’s book, the homeware and beautiful black floral scarf are all available online and in store from Poetry Stores.

Tagliatelle with burst tomatoes, blue cheese and rocket. Photography by Tasha Seccombe

Homemade tagliatelle with burst tomatoes and blue cheese (serves 6)

(Recipe from Barbara Joubert’s Kostalgie)

For the tagliatelle:
300 g (535 ml) cake flour
3 eggs
20 ml olive oil
10 ml water

For the burst tomatoes:
125 ml olive oil
3 garlic cloves
550 g small red and yellow rosa tomatoes
salt and freshly ground pepper
a handful fresh basil leaves
100 g blue cheese
40 g rocket

For the tagliatelle:
Place the flour in the bowl of an electric mixer with dough hook. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs. Switch the machine on at low speed. Add the olive oil and water. Increase the speed until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too stiff, you can add a little water. Knead for 10 minutes with the machine, then take the dough out and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature. If you have a pasta machine, sprinkle a little flour on your working surface and on the rollers of the machine. Cut the dough into smaller pieces. Set your machine on number 7 and feed the dough through. Set it one setting lower, feeding the dough through until you get to number 1 (the thinnest setting). Hang the pasta sheets over the back of chairs for about 20 minutes to dry out a little. Attach the tagliatelle attachment to the machine, then feed the sheets through the cutter. Place the bundles of cut tagliatelle onto a baking tray sprinkled with flour. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a little olive oil, then add the pasta and cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain and top with the roasted saucy tomatoes.

For the burst tomatoes:
Heat olive oil in a large deep pan. Add the garlic whole and fry for about 2 minutes to flavour the oil. Add the tomatoes and fry until they burst. Season with salt & pepper. Tear basil leaves in pieces and mix with the sauce. Cut slices of blue cheese and arrange on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with rocket and serve.

My notes: A good quality store bought tagliatelle will also work well, if you don’t have a pasta machine.

Overnight leg of pork, so soft that you can pull it with a fork. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Overnight leg of pork (serves 6)

(Recipe from Barbara Joubert’s Kostalgie)

100 ml olive oil
2 kg leg of pork (I used boneless)
juice of a lemon
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
250 ml white wine
8 baby leeks
1 x 439 g can chestnuts

Preheat oven to 200 C. Place half the olive oil in a roasting tray. Place the pork in the bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Rub the garlic all over. Season with salt & pepper, then add the rest of the olive oil. Place in oven with skin side down. Remove after 30 minutes, then turn the leg over with skin side up. Cover with foil. Lower heat to 140 C, then roast for 6 hours.
Remove the netting around the meat, then add the bay leaves, wine, leeks and chestnuts. Roast uncovered for an hour at 180 C. Remember the skin won’t be crispy. The meat will be soft enough to pull apart with forks.

My notes: The original recipe calls for leeks, which were unfortunately out of stock everywhere at the time of the shoot, so I substituted these with slices of red onion. I also couldn’t find chestnuts, but I’m sure these will be stocked at a good exotic speciality store.

Custard tart with caramelized figs. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Custard tart with caramelized figs (serves 8-10)

(Recipe from Barbara Joubert’s Kostalgie)

For the dough:
200 g (360 ml) cake flour
50 g (60 ml) caster sugar
100 g (110 ml) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
45-60 ml cold water

Place the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor. Mix until the butter is well incorporated. Add the yolk and mix. With the motor running, add the water spoon by spoon, until it just comes together. Remove from mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200 C. Roll out dough on a floured surface. Line a greased 18 cm tart tin with the dough, then prick with a fork all over. Line with baking paper on top and fill with dried beans. Bake blink for 10 minutes at 200 C. Remove paper and beans and bake for another 5 minutes until the base is cooked.

For the filling:
10 egg yolks
20 g (40 ml) cornflour
125 g (150 g) caster sugar
2 ml vanilla powder
200 ml milk
500 ml cream

Whisk the yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer in a mixing bowl. Heat the milk and cream together in a pot, but don’t let it boil. Add the cream mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Pour back into the pot, then continue stirring over medium heat until the custard thickens. (You don’t want to make scrambled eggs!) Pour the custard into another bowl and place a piece of wax paper on top to prevent a skin from forming. Let it cool to room temperature. Pour filling in baked tart base and bake for 20 minutes at 180 C. Let it cool overnight, preferable in the fridge.

For the caramelized figs:
500 g (625 ml) sugar
100 ml water
about 25 small figs

Put the sugar and water in a large pot with a lid and place over medium heat until the sugar has melted. Now remove the lid and let it boil until it reaches a light caramel colour. The caramel will continue to darken, so remove from the heat immediately. Carefully dip the figs into the hot caramel and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper to cool. Place on top of the cooled tart when ready to serve.

My notes: The recipe doesn’t mention what size eggs to use, but I found that XL is adequate. I found that I needed to increase the baking time for the base and for the assembled tart to achieve a golden brown result. I couldn’t find small figs, so 9 large ones were enough as a substitute. Don’t caramelize the figs long before you’ll be serving the tart, as the caramel will eventually start to melt as the figs release steam and water, and you’ll be left with syrupy half-coated figs. (Remember, the caramel will harden on standing in the pot, so when you’re done dipping the figs, carefully add some boiling water to the caramel and leave to soften before cleaning.)

This post was created in collaboration with Poetry Stores.

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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


  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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Festive Feasting with Pork 360: 8-Hour Pork Shoulder

7 Dec

The ultimate 80-hour spiced pork shoulder, falling from the bone, ready to feed a festive crowd (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

The ultimate 8-hour spiced pork shoulder, falling from the bone, ready to feed a festive crowd (photography by Tasha Seccombe).

Once or twice a year, when we gather friends and family for a really big festive occasion, I choose a special, huge cut of meat to bring to the table as a whole slow-roasted centre piece. Pork shoulder wins my vote every single time, because it’s inexpensive, it’s succulent and it cooks to a tenderness that cannot be replaced by boneless smoked gammon or a whole leg.

I had the privilege of recently developing 6 new recipes in collaboration with Pork 360 (this one’s number 3). 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!

I bought the meat (and other ingredients) from my friendly butcher at Food Lover’s Market. You can find the most beautiful, fresh, whole pork shoulders, necks, bellies and legs – great choices when entertaining a large crowd. They also have great spare ribs, chops and festive gammons.

For this recipe, you can start the process in the morning if you plan on serving it for dinner, or just before you go to bed when you plan on serving it for lunch. All you need is an oven and a large roasting tray with foil. Rub all over with your spices, add some aromatics like onions, garlic and sage, and top up the tray with some sparkling apple juice or apple cider. After 8 hours at 120 C you will find magic in your tray: “doeksak”, as we say in Afrikaans. Saucy. Moist. Falling from the bone.

The leftovers will reward you with the ultimate pulled pork buns (sloppy as hell) the next day. The cooked meat freezes exceptionally well in the pan juices, so don’t be afraid of choosing a bigger cut than you actually need.

Ingredients: (serves 10-12)

  • 4,5-5 kg whole pork shoulder (bone-in)
  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 ml salt flakes
  • 10 ml freshly ground black pepper
  • 15 ml smoked paprika
  • 30 ml fennel seeds
  • 10 ml dried chilli flakes
  • 3 onions, peeled & quartered
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled
  • about 12 sage leaves
  • 500 ml Appletizer or apple cider
  • 30 ml butter
  • 30 ml flour
  • finely grated lemon rind, for serving (optional)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 120 C.
  2. Carefully remove the skin from the shoulder using a sharp, small knife. Set the skin aside to make crackling later. Rub all over with olive oil, then place in a large roasting tray.
  3. Mix the salt, pepper, paprika, fennel, chilli together, then rub it all over the pork. Arrange the onions, garlic and sage all around the pork, then pour the apple juice/cider into the tray. Cover with foil, the place in the oven. Roast for 8 hours.
  4. To make gravy: Heat the butter in a small saucepan. When melted, add the flour and stir to create a roux. Carefully pour most (not all, but around 500-750 ml) of the pan juices into the sauce pan, stirring well to create a thickened smooth gravy. Season well with salt & pepper.
  5. Serve hot with sides of roasted potatoes or pan-fried spinach or caramelized sweet potato and a crisp green salad.




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Summer Feasting with Pork 360: BBQ pulled pork wraps with slaw, avo & sour cream

28 Nov

Easy BBQ pulled pork tortillas with sour cream, red cabbage slaw, avo and fresh coriander. So delicious! (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Easy BBQ pulled pork tortillas with sour cream, red cabbage slaw, avo and fresh coriander. So delicious! (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

I had the privilege of recently developing 6 new recipes with my favourite type of meat: pork. As you might have seen, there’s a new stamp on some pork products in your favourite butcheries: 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!

Over the next couple of weeks you can expect to see six tasty, easy, mouthwatering recipes for summer feasting, festive feasting and fresh feasting. It was a huge pleasure to cook with such great quality pork. I bought the meat (and other ingredients) from my friendly butcher at Food Lover’s Market. You can find the most beautiful, fresh, whole pork shoulders, necks, bellies and legs – great choices when entertaining a large crowd. They also have great spare ribs, chops and festive gammons.

My first recipe stems from one of my favourite street food classics: BBQ pulled pork. I’ve chosen a whole pork neck, bone-in – it is a lean and tender cut of meat that cooks to perfection for flaking purposes. Serve the saucy meat on toasted flour tortillas with avocado, red slaw, sour cream and lots of coriander. The best meal for a hot summer’s evening!

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 2,5 kg pork neck, bone-in
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 250 ml BBQ sauce / spare rib sauce
  • 250 ml water
  • 6 large flour tortillas, toasted in a hot, dry pan
  • 2 ripe avocados, roughly chopped
  • 250 ml sour cream
  • 3 cups red cabbage slaw (shredded slaw mixed with mayo & a squirt of lemon juice)
  • a bunch of fresh coriander
  • fresh lemon wedges, to serve


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Place the pork in a medium size roasting tray. Drizzle with oil, season generously with salt & pepper, then pour the BBQ sauce all over. Pour the water in the bottom of the tray, then cover with foil and roast for 3 hours.
  3. Remove the pork from the oven and use 2 forks to roughly shred the meat into strands. Remove any bones, then stir the meat to cover all over with the pan sauce.
  4. Serve hot on toasted flour tortillas with extra avo, sour cream, red cabbage slaw, fresh coriander and a squirt of lemon juice.

Tip: Add some freshly chopped chillies or jalapenos if you like it spicy!


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Sweet & sour pork

22 Oct

Deep fried pork in a batter, with sweet & sour sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Deep fried pork in a batter, with sweet & sour sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

In 2003 I started working in Belville with my friend Albert du Plessis, from his home. We started a partnership music booking agency for local rock ‘n roll artists. It was a very exciting time in my life and I enjoyed being part of this small and vibrant growing industry. During that time I also discovered a few take-away spots in the Northern Suburbs, one of which is Ho-Ho Take-Aways in Kenridge. It was run by a soft-spoken tiny Chinese woman, and she was a legend in the way that she stuffed your foamalite take-away container full of freshly cooked food. My favourite was always her sweet & sour pork – warm, crispy, golden nuggets with a small container of sweet and sour dipping sauce. I would stand in her shop, mesmerized, looking at the way she filled the containers with her scoop. More, more, always more. It was a value-for-money bonanza, and the best sweet & sour pork that I’ve ever tasted. She’s still there as far as I know, but sadly I don’t frequent that neck of the woods that often anymore.

This is the closest I could come to Ho-Ho’s legendary sweet & sour pork. Be sure to eat it straight from the fryer, as it becomes a bit softer on standing. If you’re feeling lazy, buy some sweet & sour sauce from your local speciality store instead of making your own.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) white vinegar
  • 10-15 ml soy sauce
  • 45 ml tomato sauce (I prefer All Gold)
  • 20 ml corn flour, mixed with 125 ml cold water

Mix the sugar, vinegar, soy and tomato sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the cornflour/water mixture, then turn down to a simmer and stir until thickened – it will happen quite quickly. Remove from the heat and set aside. Serve warm or cold as a dipping sauce.

Ingredients for the pork: (serves 2)

  • 2 XL eggs
  • 60 ml cake flour
  • 60 ml corn flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • canola oil for deep-frying
  • 250 g lean pork meat (like fillet or steak), trimmed and cubed (about 2 x 2 cm)
  1. Mix the eggs, cake flour, corn flour and salt together to a sticky batter.
  2. Heat the oil over medium high heat until it reaches around 180 C.
  3. Dip the cubes of pork into the batter and carefully drop into the hot oil, frying until golden on all sides. Drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately with sweet & sour sauce.
Deep fried pork in a batter, with sweet & sour sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Deep fried pork in a batter, with sweet & sour sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe)


Recipe, food preparation & text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Assistant: Scott Armstrong

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Easy English pork pies with onion gravy

15 May

Individual pork pies with onion gravy (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Individual pork pies with onion gravy (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

I’ve always had a special interest in comfort food, and the Brits do it so well with their traditional pub fare. The idea of proper bangers with buttery mash and savoury gravy makes me want to grab a warm blanket and head for the couch.

Although I’ve never been to the UK, I’ve seen so many beautiful pork pies on TV and in recipe books. In Britain, they make their traditional pork pies in a round baking mould, rather than a flat pie dish. I’ve used my metal dariole moulds (also used for chocolate fondants etc.) to bake these pies, as they are the perfect size and shape to produce a nice round pork pie. You can use a large muffin tin if you don’t have these. The English also mostly use homemade shortcrust pastry, but in this case I took a shortcut and used store-bought puff pastry.

Making onion gravy takes a little patience, but it really isn’t difficult the result is totally worth it! If you prefer a smooth gravy, just give it a blitz with your stick blender.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 600g fresh pork sausage (coarsely textured)
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 x rolls puff pastry or shortcrust pastry (400g each)
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten for egg wash


  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion & thyme and fry until it is soft but not too brown – about 15-20 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.
  2. In the meantime, remove the sausage meat from the casings (cut it open lengthways with kitchen sears), and place in a mixing bowl. Add the fried onions, allspice & nutmeg, then mix well (you can use your clean hands).
  3. Butter/grease 6 dariole moulds, then use the pastry to line each mould, pressing down gently. Fill each pastry case with pie filling, then place a round of pastry on top of each pie and pinch it together. Trim away any excess pastry, then brush with the egg wash on the tops.
  4. Place the prepared pies on a baking sheet, then bake at 220C for 25 minutes. Carefully turn the pies out of the moulds (I use a clean tea towel to assist), then turn them upside down place on a baking tray. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes to brown the bottoms.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve with mashed potatoes & gravy.

For the onion gravy:

  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) butter
  • 30ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 4 onions, peeled and finely sliced (not chopped)
  • 10ml (2 teaspoons) brown sugar
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) balsamic vinegar
  • 250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 15ml (1 tablespoon) Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • 10ml (2 teaspoons) cornflour/Maizena mixed with 15ml (1 tablespoon) cold water – optional


  1. In a medium size saucepan over medium-low heat, add the butter & olive oil. Now add the onions and stir well. Cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. You’re looking for very soft and slightly golden onions.
  2. Turn the heat up to high, then add the brown sugar & balsamic vinegar. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it reduces and starts to caramelize.
  3. Now add the stock & Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer (turn the heat down to medium). Simmer for 5 minutes without a lid, then season to taste with salt & pepper. If you like to thicken your gravy, you can now add the cornflour/water mixture and stir to thicken. If you like a smooth gravy, use a stick blender to create a smooth sauce. Transfer to a small gravy jug and serve hot.


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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Pork terrine with port and pistachios

15 Jul

French-style pork terrine with port and pistachios (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

As I get older, I find myself eating more and more of the things that I despised as a child: things like gherkins, beetroot, pickled onions, capers and mustard. For some reason, our palates change over time. We find the beauty in tart olives, relish the texture of great liver pateé, and long for more “grown-up” foods.

That’s exactly why I’ve been longing for a proper French-style pork terrine (terrine de campagne) over the last few months. It’s not something that you’d generally find in supermarkets or restaurants, it’s a speciality thing. But to me it is one of the most festive ways to entertain a crowd of meat lovers.

Pork terrine is not difficult to make, but it takes a little effort and some time. Make it a day ahead of your festive occasion, as the flavours really develop over time and the loaf needs time to completely set in the fridge. I used port instead of red wine or brandy to add some depth of flavour and sweetness (you can also use sherry), and added pistachios for some crunch. The pistachios look amazing when you slice the terrine – the green specs scattered like little treasures.

Be sure to serve this terrine with lots of different pickles and/or sweet jellies. I love serving it with gherkins, pickled onions, whole grain mustard and port-soaked cranberries. Add a loaf of your favourite bread and a glass of fortified wine, and this becomes a feast of epic proportions!

Ingredients: (recipe adapted from Sarie Kos and Epicurious)

(serves 10)

  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 6 sage leaves, finely chopped (optional)
  • 250 g smoked streaky bacon
  • 800 g rindless pork meat with some fat (pork loin/pork shoulder/pork rashers)
  • 250 g chicken livers
  • 250 ml (1 cup) port (I used Monis Cape Vintage)
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground all spice
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) salt flakes
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground black pepper
  • 100 g pistachio nuts, shelled


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 C.
  2. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, then add the onions, garlic, thyme and sage and fry until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. Line a 30 x 11 x 7 cm loaf pan with cling wrap (yes, you can bake cling wrap in the oven – it will be sheltered by a water bath), leaving some of the wrap hanging over the sides (it needs to be folded over the top later).
  4. Arrange the streaky bacon inside the loaf tin, packing the tightly together over the width of the pan, not overlapping. There should be a few pieces left, save them for arranging over the top at the end.
  5. Place the cooled fried onions, pork, chicken livers, port, nutmeg, all spice, salt and pepper in a food processor, then process until you get a coarse paste resembling minced meat. Transfer the paste to a mixing bowl, then stir in the pistachios.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin, and smooth the top with a spatula. Top with the last few pieces of bacon, then fold the hanging pieces of cling wrap over the top to seal the terrine. Use extra cling wrap if necessary. Now cover the top with foil.
  7. Place the loaf tin in a larger roasting tray, then fill the roasting tray with hot water (hot tap water is OK). The water level should come up the sides about 2-3 cm from the top.
  8. Bake at 180 C for 1 and a half to 2 hours – if you have a meat thermometer, the inside of the loaf should register 68-70 C (155 – 160 F). If you don’t have a meat thermometer, just bake it for 2 hours to be sure the inside is cooked.
  9. Remove the terrine from the oven, then carefully remove the loaf tin from the roasting tray. Place the tin on a cooling rack for another 30 minutes without removing the foil or wrap.
  10. To weight terrine: cut a piece of cardboard the same size as the top of the tin, then place it on top of the tin with a few heavy objects on top (I used 3 cans of food). When the terrine is cool, place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (with the weights on top).
  11. When ready to serve, dip the bottom of the terrine tin in a basin with warm water for 5 seconds, then turn it out onto a board or serving tray. Carefully remove the clingwrap.
  12. Serve with your choice of pickles and jellies or port-soaked cranberries.

For the port-soaked cranberries:

Place 100 g dried cranberries and 125 ml port in a small saucepan, then heat until boiling. Turn down the heat, then simmer over low heat for about 5-10 minutes or until most of the port is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Please note: The terrine will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 weeks in an air tight container.


This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog.

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

Photographer: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius and Tasha Seccombe.


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Braised pork belly with orange and ginger

17 May

Tender and aromatic pork belly strips (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

When I’m out for dinner and there’s pork belly on the menu, I’ll probably end up ordering it. Although it’s traditionally a very fatty cut of meat, it can be one of the most rewarding cuts to eat: tender like a cloud, filled with flavours from heaven.

My husband gave me one of Reuben Riffel’s cookbooks (Reuben Cooks) as a present for my birthday a few years ago.  His recipe for “braised pork belly with ginger-caramel sauce” is just dreamy, and I have used it as inspiration to cook many a pork belly in my kitchen over the past few years. Reuben uses a combination of stock, orange, soy, ginger, start anise, cinnamon, peanut oil and brown sugar to braise his pork belly, which he tops off with a caramel sauce infused with chillies, lime, fish sauce and ginger. My recipe is a lot simpler, but still delivers big time on intensely aromatic Asian flavours.

It is imperative to cook the pork belly long enough to ensure a really tender result (Reuben cooks his for 4 hours at 160C), but one of my recent new “tricks” is to cut the pork belly into thick slices before cooking it, thus ensuring a much shorter cooking time (about 2 and a half hours at 160C). I also choose a smoked boneless pork belly with as little fat as possible, ending up with a tender, meaty roast. Perfect as canapés, starters or a main course.


  • 1 kg smoked boneless pork belly
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • rind (peeled) of 1 orange
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 T (30 ml) grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


  1. Pre-heat oven to 160C.
  2. Using a sharp knife, score the fat side of the pork belly diagonally into diamonds of about 1 x 1 cm (just a few mm’s deep).
  3. Now cut the pork belly into strips of about 2 cm thick, keeping the slices together.
  4. Place the sliced pork belly (fat side up) into a rectangular roasting dish that fits the pork belly snugly, but make sure that the slices aren’t packed too tightly against each other.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, orange juice, rind, start anise, ginger, cardamom, clove, cinnamon and sugar. Pour over the belly – it should just come up to the sides but not cover the fat side completely.
  6. Roast for 2 and a half hours, then remove from the oven. The fat side should be dark and golden, but not too crispy – if you like yours very crisp then turn up the heat and grill the top for a few minutes (this is optional, I rarely do it).
  7. Serve with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies like broccoli or spinach. The braising sauce can also be served, but it is optional.


This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog.

Recipe testing, text and food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from thefoodfox.com

Photographer: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Tasha Seccombe and Nicola Pretorius

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Cold Christmas platter

23 Dec

Cold gammon & beef platter with sweet mustard sauce & cranberry preserve (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

Christmas is around the corner and the festive spirit is almost tangible! This year, we’re planning an afternoon affair, lazily celebrating into the cooler summer evening.

With the serious heat of the Winelands upon us, there’s no need for heavy, piping hot dishes. Instead, we’ll be feasting on lighter tomato-based seafood soups, cold meat platters and a large array of salads and marinated grilled vegetables. For dessert we’ll be having fresh fruit salad, but just for indulgence’s sake I’ll also be making a family favourite: malva pudding (with extra brandy, pecan nuts and dates) with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.  And maybe a cheese platter for those who want to continue into the night!

My absolute favourite festive meat is a boneless smoked gammon, cooked in a fragrant stock made with onions, celery sticks, cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns (or cooked in apple cider), then left to cool overnight wrapped in a blanket – pot and all. The next morning, the meat is so tender that it almost falls apart! I serve it with a sweet mustard sauce and some cranberry preserve. It is best eaten at room temperature, so it will be perfect for our feast.

I know there are a lot of red meat fans in our family, so I also serve some beef on this platter. The beef is not as tender as the pork (unless you use fillet), but still tastes great with the mustard sauce.

Thanks to everyone who have been following my blog over the past 2 years! I have made so many new friends, and look forward to many more years of cooking, dreaming up recipes, and enjoying the amazing produce that is available here in SA. I have been so privileged to be working with the absolute dream team at The Pretty Blog (Tasha and Nicola) in 2012. Here’s to many more fabulous food posts in 2013!

I wish you all a very blessed festive season with your family and loved ones. Check in every Wednesday on The Pretty Blog for your weekly food fix.

Ingredients: Gammon

  • 1 x smoked, boneless gammon (tied up with string)
  • water
  • 1 onion, diced into quarters
  • 3 celery sticks, cut into chunks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 peppercorns


  1. Put gammon in a large pot, then pour in water to cover slightly. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to the boil.
  2. Turn down heat and simmer (covered) for 30 minutes per 500g plus an extra 30 minutes. For a 2 kg gammon, it would work out to 2h30min.
  3. Remove pot from heat, then leave to cool slightly to 30 minutes, covered. Now wrap in newspaper, then in blankets, and leave to cool for 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove blankets and newspaper, open up pot and discard liquid. Remove extra fat from meat, and set aside (leave in the fridge until 30 minutes before serving, to return to room temperature).
  5. When ready to serve, carefully slice, arrange on serving platters and serve with sauces.

Ingredients: Beef

  •  1 large cut of beef (I used aitchbone, as it is an economic cut, but please use fillet if you can afford it!)
  • 15-30 ml canola oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 400 ml beef stock


If you are using an economical cut of meat, follow the instructions below. However, if you are using a great quality beef fillet, just grill it in a hot pan or over a hot fire, then let it rest and slice before serving.

  1. With a sharp knife, remove all tendons and tie the meat neatly together with a piece of string, if necessary.
  2. In a hot pan, add oil and sear beef on all sides and season with salt & pepper.
  3. Add stock, then turn heat down and simmer on very low heat for 90 minute to 2 hours, according to the size of the meat. The meat should still be pink on the inside.
  4. Remove from heat, discard liquid, and cool. Slice into very thin slivers just before serving. Serve with sauces.

Sweet mustard sauce:

  •  125 ml white grape vinegar
  • 125 ml lemon juice
  • 150 ml white sugar
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 2 heaped teaspoons dijon mustard
  • a pinch of salt
  1. In a medium size pot over low heat, heat vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly for 10 minutes.
  2. Add eggs, mustard and salt, then return to medium heat and stir until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Store in a closed container in the fridge. This sauce will last at least 2 weeks in the fridge.

Cranberry preserve:

  • 1 cup (about 115 g) dried cranberries
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 30 ml sugar
  • 1 x cinnamon stick
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 strip orange peel
  1. Put all ingredients in a small pot, then simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Wine should reduce to a thick syrup, but not reduce completely.
  2. Remove from heat,  discard cinnamon stick and orange peel, cool and store in a closed container in the fridge. Will last at least 2 weeks in the fridge.


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

Food & recipes: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

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

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