Tag Archives: vegetables

Pickling and fermenting your own vegetables with Poetry Stores

1 Aug

A Wintry antipasti spread. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

I’ve heard so much about the health benefits of fermented vegetables. It activates the right elements for a healthy gut and will add longevity and “feel-good” to your life. Vladia Cobrdova wrote a book as Wellness Ambassador for the Australian whole food brand About Life, where her focus is all about raw food recipes, whole food, activated, pickled and fermented food, and general goodness.

She has also inspired me not to forget about entertaining antipasto-style during Winter, where you can add many flavourful pickles and fermented veg to your board, as well as raw pestos and other delicious items. Pickling vegetables is also a great way of minimizing waste and saving up stock for a “rainy day” – a delicious, lasting treat from your own cupboard.

Serve the pickles with an array of delightful charcuterie, cheeses and wholesome rye crackers. Check out my •notes for substitutes on some of the exotic ingredients.

Find Vladia’s book A Whole New Way to Eat at Poetry Stores, along with Poetry’s new range of beautiful marble and wood serving boards – perfect for serving antipasti.

Beautiful bright pink pickled cabbage. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

Pickled veg (makes about 2 1/2 cups)
Rating: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, raw

(Recipe by Vladia Cobrdova from her book A Whole New Way To Eat.)

100 g purple cabbage, shredded
100 g white cabbage, shredded
1 kale leaf, thinly sliced, stalk discarded (about 1 cup)
30 g goji berries
2 tablespoons raw honey
2 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl with 375 ml water and combine well. Transfer to a large jar or airtight container and press the cabbage down firmly to compact. If necessary, add a little extra water to cover the cabbage, ensuring it is submerged in liquid. Seal and refrigerate for 2 days before serving.

Chinese cabbage makes the best ingredient for pickled kimchi. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

Pickled Kimchi (makes 3 1/2 cups)

(Recipe by Vladia Cobrdova from her book A Whole New Way To Eat.)

3 cups sliced Chinese cabbage (wong bok)
1 small kale leaf, thinly sliced, stalks removed (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup Peruvian ground cherries (Inca berries)
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch dried chilli flakes

Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl with 375 ml water and combine well. Transfer to a large jar and press the contents down tightly. If necessary, add a little extra water to cover the vegetables, ensuring they are submerged completely. Seal and refrigerate for 2 days before serving.

*My notes: I couldn’t find inca berries in any of the supermarkets or health shops in Stellenbosch, so I left it out completely. You can substitute the raw sugar for palm sugar or white sugar.

Cream mint pesto with spinach, cashews and parmesan.

 

Creamy Mint Pesto: (makes 1 cup)

(Recipe by Vladia Cobrdova from her book A Whole New Way To Eat.)

135 g baby spinach leaves
30 g mint leaves
10 g Italian parsley leaves
80 g raw cashews
80 g pine nuts
50 g grated parmesan cheese
60 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of 1 1/2 limes
60 ml kefir

Put all the ingredients in a blender with 2 tablespoons of water and process until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a small airtight container, level the top, then pour a shallow layer of extra virgin olive oil over the prevent it from oxidising. The pesto will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Serve as a dip, dressing or pasta sauce; use it on fish or with meat.

*My notes: Pine nuts can be quite expensive – substitute with more cashews if you want. Kefir is a fermented milk drink – substitute with Greek yoghurt if you cannot find it.

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Lentil salad with roasted vegetables, lemon & goats cheese

20 Mar

An earthy salad of lentils, roasted seasonal veggies, chunks of creamy goats cheese, lemon rind and parsley (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

When I heard the word “lentils” when I was in my twenties, I immediately associated it with people who go over-the-top on health foods. Lentils sounded boring, brown and tasteless. My mother never cooked it for us as kids, so I had no frame of reference in terms of moorish lentil dishes at all. I saw lentils only as a poor substitute for meat – like a lentil patty on a burger bun. How horrible.

Then I discovered dhal – an Indian lentil side dish with as much flavour as the best meat curry that you’ll ever have (if it’s proper dhal). Glorious dhal, with a side of naan bread and lots of extra coriander leaves. It’s a close contender for my “last meal” choice – after my first choice of fresh ciabatta with extra virgin olive oil and a nugget of extra mature gouda.

So then I began experimenting with lentil soup, lentil bobotie en even lentil salad. As Autumn settled into Stellenbosch with its magnificently milder days and cooler nights, I longed for food that is more nourishing than a crisp, leafy salad. That is how my earthy lentil salad was born.

I absolutely love roasted vegetable (above steamed, boiled or fried). Together, the lentils and the veg and the goats cheese make for a super satisfying, wholesome and nourishing meal. Add glugs of extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste and serve with toasted pine nuts – the perfect meatless Monday dish or the perfect side dish to your larger feast. It’s going to be on my go-to list all Autumn and Winter long.

Note: Always remember that vegetables will shrink in the oven when roasted. Start with more than you think you’ll need.

For the lentils: (serves 4 as a main meal)

  • 250 g brown lentils (half a packet)
  • water, to cover
  • 45 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • juice and finely grated rind of a medium lemon
  • salt & pepper
  • a handful parsley, chopped

Method: Place lentils in a large pot and cover with cold water (about 5 cm above the lentils). Cook for about 30 minutes until tender, then drain and rinse well. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, then add the olive oil, lemon juice & rind and season generously with salt & pepper. Add the parsley and stir well.

For the roasted vegetables:

  • an assortment of your favourite vegetables, peeled and cut into bite size chunks (I’ve used beetroot, carrots, brussels sprout and leeks – enough to fill a standard roasting tray in a single layer)
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Method: Roast at 220 C for 30 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

To assemble:

  • 100g plain goats cheese (chevin)
  • a handful of pine nuts, toasted
  • more parsley to scatter over

Method: Add the roasted veg to the cooked lentils, add chunks of goats cheese, then scatter with more parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Grilled asparagus & green bean salad with parmesan & cashews

11 Jul

Grilled asparagus salad with cashew nuts, parmesan & green beans (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Grilled asparagus salad with cashew nuts, parmesan & green beans (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

A few weeks ago, my parents came down to Stellenbosch from Keurbooms for a quick visit. My dad was scheduled to see a specialist about a double knee replacement (ouch), and it gave all of us a nice excuse to spend some quality time with the family.

We got together at my youngest brother Dirkie’s farmhouse cottage, where he and his partner Frans made us the most amazing lunch: pork ribs on an open fire rotisserie, grilled asparagus & fennel salad, bacon & mushroom quiche, and ending off with homemade coffee & brandy ice-cream with malva pudding. We ate like kings!

Dirkie told me that his idea for the salad came from Guy Fieri’s TV show, and that he was winging it that day from memory. It was absolutely magnificent. I wanted to make it for my blog, but couldn’t find fresh fennel on the day of the shoot. I substituted it with green beans, and the result was just as good.

This is my version of this delicious, luscious, green salad. Use whichever greens you love and substitute with any type of nuts that you prefer. Dirkie used pine nuts for his salad, but I find that toasted cashews make for a fantastic alternative. To bulk it up as a main meal, add a few soft boiled egg wedges. What a feast!

Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 15-30 ml olive oil
  • one bunch of green asparagus, trimmed if necessary
  • one bunch of fine green beans, trimmed (or one bunch of baby fennel, sliced in quarters lengthways)
  • salt & pepper
  • a bunch of rocket and/or watercress leaves, washed & drained
  • 100g toasted cashew nuts
  • shaved parmesan cheese (about 25-35g)
  • for the dressing:
    • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
    • 1 knob of fresh ginger, finely grated (optional)
    • 10 ml wholegrain mustard
    • 30 ml lemon juice
    • 90 ml extra virgin olive oil
    • 30 ml finely grated parmesan cheese
    • salt & pepper

Method:

  1.  Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat, then fry the asparagus & beans in batches for just a minute or two until they get some colour, but remain crunchy. Season well with salt & pepper, then remove from the heat and transfer to a cool plate.
  2. On a large platter, arrange the rocket/watercress, then top with the grilled veg and toasted cashews.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to shave parmesan shavings on top.
  4. Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a glass jar (shake vigorously with the lid covered), then drizzle all over the salad. Serve immediately.

Credits:

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

Photography & prop styling : Tasha Seccombe

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

This post was originally produced for The Pretty Blog.

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Deep-fried aubergine fingers with herbed yoghurt

24 Mar

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredients: (serves 4 as a snack)

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

Method:

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

Credits:

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

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

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Roasted vegetable lasagne

24 Jun

A slice of layered vegetable lasagne (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

A slice of layered vegetable lasagne (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

The colder months in Stellenbosch are magical. Trees turn gold to orange to deeply auburn, then shed their colourful leaves in the streets before standing bare against the moody grey skies of the Cape.

Staying indoors brings a whole array of cozy comforts in the shape of baked pastas, slow cooked roasts, and hearty stews. One of my go-to winter favourites have always been a classic beef lasagne al forno, but this time I’ve decided to make use of the beautiful array of seasonal vegetables for a meat-free, cheesy, creamy delight: roasted vegetable lasagne.

You can adjust the choice of vegetables to whatever you prefer – I’ve chosen butternut, broccoli, courgettes and spinach for a layered effect of yellow and green. Other great choices are tomatoes, aubergines and leeks.

I choose to make the pasta sheets from scratch, but you can also use store-bought lasagne sheets that’s been pre-cooked for a few minutes. This is a great dish to make ahead of time, just pop it into the oven 45 minutes before dinner time. It also freezes very well.

Freshly baked vegetable lasagne straight from the oven (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Freshly baked vegetable lasagne straight from the oven (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Ingredients for roasted vegetables:

  • about 5 cups of diced vegetables of your choice
  • about 60 ml olive oil
  • 45 ml chopped fresh herbs (like thyme, rosemary, chives & basil) – or 5 ml dried herbs
  • salt & pepper for seasoning

Ingredients for white/bechamel sauce:

  • 125 g butter
  • 125 ml flour (1/2 cup)
  • 1 litre of milk (4 cups)
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt & pepper for seasoning

For assembly:

  • about 250 g uncooked lasagne pasta sheets (or roughly 400 g fresh pasta sheets)
  • 250 g grated mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
  • 300 g ricotta cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 80 g parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • salt & pepper for seasoning
  • some extra grated cheese for the top, a mixture of mozzarella & parmesan works best
  • a sprinkling of mixed herbs, for the top

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 C. In a large roasting tray, arrange diced vegetables, then drizzle with oil and season well with herbs, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes until tender and golden brown on the edges. Remove and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan on stove top, melt butter on medium heat, then add flour and mix to form a paste. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring, then slowly add milk while stirring. Keep stirring vigorously over medium heat to form a smooth sauce. Season with nutmeg, salt & pepper, then set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta sheets in a large pot of salted boiling water until just undercooked – about 6 minutes. Drain and get ready for assembling the lasagne immediately (otherwise they might start sticking together). Please note: if you are using fresh pasta sheets, you don’t have to pre-cook them, you can go straight to assembling.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, carefully mix together the mozzarella cheese, ricotta & parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large deep rectangular oven dish, start layering the lasagne: start with a thin layer of white sauce, then pasta sheets, then veg mixture, then cheese mixture. Keep layering – you should repeat this about 3 times. End with a thick layer of bechamel sauce, then sprinkle with some leftover cheese mixture and some chopped/dried herbs. Bake at 180 C for at least 45 minutes, or until golden brown, bubbly and gooey. If the top starts to get too dark before the lasagne is cooked, cover with foil and return to the oven.

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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Roasted sweet potatoes with brown sugar & orange

22 May

Roasted sweet potatoes with ann orange & brown sugar sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Roasted sweet potatoes with an orange & brown sugar sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

When I was a child, my Mother used to roast whole sweet potatoes in the oven for dinner, skin and all. She didn’t do much to them, so they didn’t look very inspiring to us. Still, they oozed this sweet natural syrup from the inside when they were cooked – a little sneak-peak into what to expect from the soft and juicy roasted flesh inside.

I thought I’d give my roasted sweet potatoes a little make-over, something to match their dreamy texture and delicately sweet taste. To make things easier, I pre-cook the sliced wedges in water for just a few minutes, then transfer to a roasting tray and cover with a deliciously decadent brown sugar and orange sauce. Then they go back into the oven to become sticky and golden. The result? A beautiful, simple dish that taste as good as it looks!

Serve these as a sweet side dish with your favourite roast meats this Winter.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg medium size sweet potatoes, washed, cut lengthways into quarters
  • rind of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice (juice from about 2 oranges)
  • 1 cup (250ml) demerara sugar
  • 60g butter
  • salt & pepper
  • 10ml corn flour / Maizena, dissolved in 30ml cold water

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 C.
  2. On the stove-top, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, then drain and transfer them to a large deep roasting tray.
  3. In a saucepan, add orange rind, orange juice, demerara sugar and butter. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring often. Season well with salt & pepper, then add dissolved corn flour and stir for a few seconds until it thickens. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour the sauce over the sweet potatoes in the roasting tray, making sure that they are covered all over. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until the sauce starts to turn golden brown at the edges and the sweet potatoes are completely tender. Serve hot.

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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Grilled courgette and aubergine salad with bocconcini, lemon and mint

30 Sep

Grilled courgette & aubergine salad with lemon, garlic, mint and bocconcini

One of my go-to tapas when I entertain friends, is a simple dish of grilled aubergines, marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and fresh mint. I have served it so many times, mostly as a topping on brushetta, and everytime without fail people ask me how I make it. It is just a hit!

I have decided to take this popular dish to new heights by turning it into a larger salad with the addition of grilled courgettes and bocconcini (or fior di latte). This way, you can serve it as a side dish accompanying a main meal, or even just with some sour dough bread as a light lunch. This salad contains quite a bit of fresh garlic, and I love the way it makes me long for the Italian countryside! But if you don’t really like garlic, you can leave it out completely.

You’ll be amazed by how far you can stretch 1 or 2 aubergines with this recipe. You are also welcome to add some fresh rocket leaves or other salad leaves of your choice.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 1 large aubergine (or 2 medium)
  • 6 courgettes
  • 125 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • about 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely crushed
  • a handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried mint (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  1. Use a mandolin cutter to finely cut the aubergine into very thin slices. The key to this dish is the thinness of the slices – it should be paper thin. Use a knife or a vegetable peeler to finely cut the aubergines into strips (they can be slightly thicker than the aubergines because their texture is easier to work with). Set them aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice & rind, garlic and mint.
  3. Heat a griddle pan over high heat until it is very hot – takes about 5-8 minutes. Now grill the slices of aubergine/courgettes one batch at a time (without adding any oil), not overlapping the slices, turning them once, until they have brown griddle marks on each side (it takes 1-2 minutes a side). Remove with tongs, then place them on a plate next to each other, but not overlapping. Add another batch of slices to the pan and grill.
  4. While you are waiting for your next batch to grill, use a tablespoon to spoon some of the marinade over the grilled aubergines/courgettes on the plate, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Top with more grilled aubergines, then spoon over more marinade and season. Repeat until all the slices have been grilled and all the marinade have been spooned over. At this stage, you can cover it and refrigerate until later.
  5. Assemble the salad: use a fork to arrange slices of the vegetableson a large platter – because they are so thin, it looks great to fold them and stack them loosely. Top with slices of bocconcini / fior di latte (fresh mozzarella), and serve with good quality fresh bread like sour dough or ciabatta. A few extra wedges of lemon and a few mint leaves complete the picture. Enjoy!

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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Ultimate deep fried onion rings with spicy ketchup

11 Feb

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

The humble onion can probably be classified as the neglected child of the cooking world. It does all the hard work in millions of recipes as the base ingredient for fabulous stews, roasts, sauces and soups, but very rarely features as the main belle of the ball.

The other day, I realised just how much I loved onions. So this is my tribute to you, my lovely onion friends. I drench them in a Cajun-flavoured soda batter, then deep fry them to a crispy golden perfect crunch. You can eat these beauties as is, or dip them in a superb homemade “ketchup”, or tomato sauce as we know it in SA. Mayo will also do a great job.

It’s amazing how far you can stretch an onion with this recipe. One large onion is enough for 2 people as a meal – I promise you won’t be able to eat much else after this. It is filling and utterly delicious. Make the ketchup in advance, then cool it and keep it in a sealed container in the fridge – it should last for at least 2 weeks.

Ingredients for spicy ketchup:

  •  30 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 large ripe red tomatoes (I used roma), skinned and sliced
  • 15 ml white grape vinegar
  • 15 ml soft brown sugar
  • 5 ml salt
  • 2.5 ml black pepper

Method:

  1. In a medium size pot, heat the oil on the stove, then add onions and fry over medium heat until they are soft.
  2. Add garlic and chilli, then fry for another minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, then cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, then use a stick blender to puree the mixture to a pulp. Transfer to a glass jar. Allow to cool for an hour, then screw on a lid refrigerate until ready to use. I prefer to bring it back to room temperature before serving it.

Ingredients for onion rings: (serves 4)

  • 2 large onions, skinned
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) self raising flour
  • 3 t (15 ml) Cajun seasoning
  • 1 cup (250 ml) self-raising flour
  • 200 ml soda water
  • about 750 ml vegetable oil for frying

Method:

  1. Slice onions thickly into rounds of about 7-10 mm thick. Separate the rounds into rings and take out the very small inner rings (use it for your next stew!) – the larger rings work best.
  2. In a wide bowl, mix 1/2 cup self raising flour with the Cajun seasoning. In another bowl, mix 1 cup self raising flour with the soda water – it will be quite a thick batter.
  3. Pour the oil into a medium-sized pot, then heat it to deep-frying temperature (around 160-170 degrees Celsius).
  4. Take one onion ring at a time, cover it with the Cajun/flour mixture, shake off excess flour, then dip it into the batter (it should be covered on all sides) and place carefully into the hot oil immediately. Repeat with about 4 more rings, working quickly – don’t overcrowd the pot. Turn them over after about 2-3 minutes when they look golden on the bottom, then fry for another minute or 2 until they all golden all around. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
  5. Serve immediately with ketchup or mayo.

Note: The colour of the ketchup will very much depend on the colour intensity (and ripeness) of the tomatoes that you are using. Don’t be alarmed if the ketchup is not bright red like the commercial variety, we are working with real fruit and veg and they can vary quite a lot. Orange ketchup is also really cool!

Credits:

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

Food & recipe: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius and Tasha Seccombe.

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Beetroot soup with Greek yoghurt & chives

4 Feb

Organic beetroot soup with Greek yoghurt & chives (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

My friends at Genesis Farm surprised me the other day with another basket full of beautiful organic vegetables: an assortment of chillies, some quirky-looking carrots, perfectly round squash, a few large beetroots, and the most beautiful red noodle beans that looked like purple little snakes!  It’s always such a treasure to cook with organic produce that’s just been picked from the farm.

The first thing I made was a summery beetroot soup – something that’s meant to be eaten cold, but can also be enjoyed warm. The organic beetroots were just so sweet and full of flavour, and really didn’t need a lot of work to be turned into something special. And the colour is quite spectacular!

This is my version of a cold, summery beetroot soup – perfect for a light rustic lunch, yet striking enough to serve as a starter at a fancy dinner table. Add a dash of good quality vodka to turn it into a classic Russian “borscht”.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large organic beetroots, trimmed and washed (not skinned)
  • 400 ml chicken stock
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 30 ml chopped chives
  • 50 ml double cream Greek yoghurt (or crème fraiche)
  • 50-100 ml cream (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a large pot, add beetroot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 60 minutes until tender (smaller beetroot will cook quicker). Remove from the heat, then drain water and let it cool until easy to handle.
  2. Remove skins (they should come off quite easily if just nudged with your fingers). Don’t worry if your hands stain, just wash them well with soapy water afterwards. The red colour on your hands should disappear after a few washes during the day.
  3. Cut the beetroot into smaller chunks, then add them to a food processor with the stock, lemon juice, chives, yoghurt, cream, salt and pepper. Process to a very smooth consistency, then test seasoning and add more salt/pepper if necessary. Remember, cold soup will need more seasoning than hot soup.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve cold or at room temperature with a swirl of extra yoghurt or cream and some chopped chives.

Tip: If your soup is too thick, add a bit more chicken stock. If you are using small beetroots, start by adding less stock. The soup should be thick and really smooth, but not thick like baby food.

Credits:

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

Food & recipe: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe.

 

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