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Easy corn chowder with bacon & leeks

1 Dec

This creamy corn chowder delivers on all fronts – it is very simple to make, incredibly flavourful, packed with all kinds of wonderful crunchy (and soft) textures, and it’s a comforting and satisfying dinner any day of the week. The cool thing is, it can also double up to be a popular crowd-pleasing starter or festive canapé, served in small bowls.

There are two vegetables that I always keep handy in my freezer: shelled peas and cut sweet corn. My daughter has loved both since she was very young, and this way I could conveniently cook small side portions in the microwave whenever I needed to make her a quick lunch after school or to go with our mid-week chicken schnitzels along with a creamy cheese sauce. McCain’s frozen vegetables are frozen at their freshest after a quick blanche, which means that you can conveniently steam or cook just the amount you need for a short time, with all the nutrients in tact and zero wastage.

I’ve teamed up with McCain South Africa to bring you one of my all-time favourite, super easy recipes using their cut sweet corn: a creamy corn chowder with bacon, potatoes, leeks and lots of chopped chives and parsley. It cooks in 30 minutes max from scratch in one pot, it is popular with adults and kids alike and it is packed with flavour, texture and nutrients. It also reheats well so it can be made in advance and topped with fresh herbs upon serving.

Sign up to McCain’s #MadeWithMcCain newsletter and you can stand the chance to WIN a Philips Advance Airfryer (offer valid until 15 December 2021).

Little bowls of comforting creamy corn chowder to please your friends and family this festive season.


Ingredients: (serves 4 – 6 guests as a midweek lunch/dinner, or a larger crowd when served in cups as a warm canapé or snack)

  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 300 g leeks, finely sliced (white parts only)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250 g smoked streaky bacon, chopped (plus extra for serving, optional)
  • 500 g or 4 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
  • 750 g McCain Cut Corn, frozen
  • 500 ml (2 cups) warm chicken stock
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) corn flour
  • 250 ml (1 cup) fresh cream
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated (or strong flavoured cheese of your choice)
  • a handful chives and/or Italian parsley, finely chopped, to serve

Tip: Prepare/chop all the ingredients as set out above and have them on hand before you place the pot on the heat.

In a medium pot over medium heat, add the oil and onion and fry until soft and translucent but not brown. Add the leeks & garlic, fry until lightly golden, then remove from the pot and aside. Add the bacon to the same pot, frying until golden brown, then add the fried onion mixture back into the pot along with the cubed potatoes and frozen corn (no need to thaw). Add the stock and 180 ml (3/4 cup) of the milk – mix the remaining 60 ml (1/4 cup) of milk with the corn flour and add it to the pot as well. Add the cream and stir well to loosen any sticky bits on the bottom. Season with salt & pepper, bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, then remove from the heat, add the cheese and stir through to melt. Serve hot in bowls, topped with chopped chives/parsley, extra fried bacon bits and more grated cheese, if you want to.

(This post was created in proud collaboration with McCain South Africa.)

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Loaded bobotie vetkoek

25 Nov

Vetkoek with curried mince is a popular South African bazaar & street food item – you’ll even find it in some supermarkets as a daily lunch option. Bobotie on the other hand, is a heritage classic – a curried beef mince dish with delicate curry spices and plump raisins, sweetened with chutney and sometimes even apricot jam, baked with a layer of egg custard and served with yellow rice and an array of sambals. I’ve mashed up the two to bring you these bright yellow turmeric vetkoek topped with bobotie mince, sliced tomato and red onion, a soft fried egg, chutney and toasted coconut. It pairs beautifully with Nederburg’s Double Barrel Reserve and celebrates the launch of Nederburg’s brand new five-part food series, I’ll Bring The Wine, on Youtube (hosted by Karen Dudley). Watch episode one here. #illbringthewine

Also, check out my video on how to make this vetkoek:

For the turmeric vetkoek: (serves 4)

I’ve used 500g of Eureka’s 1kg vetkoek premix, but use whatever premix you can find and follow the instructions on the packet, adding 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground turmeric per 500 g dry premix, before adding the water etc. Follow the instructions, let the dough proof, and deep-fry portions in hot oil until golden and fully cooked. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

For the bobotie mince: (serves 4)

  • 30 ml olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 ml ground cinnamon
  • 5 ml ground ginger
  • 5 ml ground coriander
  • 5 ml ground turmeric
  • 2,5 ml ground cumin
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 30 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 60 ml fruit chutney
  • 15 ml tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4-1/3 cup water

Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium size pot and fry the onions until they are soft but not dark. Add the cinnamon, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cumin and stir for a minute. Add the beef mince and fry, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon, until the meat has colour all over – don’t go too dark. Season with salt & pepper, then add the Worcestershire sauce, chutney, tomato paste, raisins and 1/4 cup water. Stir well, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, stirring now and then. Add more water if the mixture looks too dry. Taste and adjust salt & pepper, if necessary, then remove from the heat.

For assembly:

  • 1-2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • a handful fresh coriander
  • 4 eggs, fried in oil/butter (I prefer sunny side up with runny yolks)
  • chutney, to taste
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes, lightly toasted in a dry pan
  • 1 banana, sliced (optional)

Slice the vetkoek open horizontally, then top with the hot bobotie mince, sliced tomato and onion, fresh coriander, fried egg, more chutney, coconut flakes and a few slices of banana. Serve at once.

(This recipe was proudly created in association with Nederburg Wines. )

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Miso glazed chicken espetada with fennel & cauliflower

17 Sep

This 4-ingredient miso glaze comes together in only five minutes and is absolutely scrumptious on chicken, fish, vegetables – you name it. But today, I chose a combination of boneless chicken drumsticks and thighs to create generous espetadas on long metal skewers – elegant enough for your next dinner party, yet easy enough for any day of the week. I baked them in the oven, but you can certainly also grill them over an open fire for a more smoky result and basted generously.

The creamy base is a mixture of fennel and cauliflower cooked in cream, blitzed to an ultra smooth puree. It is the most wonderful bed on which to serve these punchy glazed espetadas, with a sprinkle of fresh fennel fronds or fresh dill.

This recipe was created exclusively to pair with Pilgrim Wines’ unique Chenin Blanc – made from beautiful 35 year old vines planted in decomposed sandstone and clay in the Voor-Paardeberg. As the winemaker, award-winning Henry Kotzé, says: “The wine has a volume on the mouthfeel that transcends the norm, almost ethereal in a sense as it feels weighty and full but in tasting it, it ends off with a beautiful mineral salinity, so light to the touch with a vibrancy, it leaves you wanting some more.” I wholeheartedly agree. It’s an elegant, complex wine that will excite wine afficionado’s, yet accessible enough for any occasion. It pairs really well with the recipe below.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

Note: If you are going to serve these espetadas with the puree, start with the puree. It’s easy to reheat in a flash just before the espetadas are cooked through.

For the miso glazed espetadas: (serves 6)

  • 45 ml (3 tablespoons) miso paste – I used yellow, but you can also use white
  • 60 ml (4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup) good quality soy sauce
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) muscovado or demerara sugar
  • about 2 kg boneless chicken (I prefer thighs/drumsticks)

Preheat the oven to 220 C. In a small saucepan over low heat, add the miso, soy sauce, wine and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for 2-3 minutes and remove from the heat. In the meantime, skewer the chicken (if you are using boneless thighs/drumsticks, just fold each piece as you skewer it, but if you’re using breast meat, cut it into smaller chunks before skewering. Line a rimmer baking tray with non-stick baking paper, then arrange the skewers on top. Baste generously with the glaze, then bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn the espetadas over and baste again, then return to the oven for another 10 minutes. The meat should be just cooked, not dry, so test a centre piece to see if it is tender and ready. Serve hot with your choice of sides/salad, or on a bed of the puree below.

For the fennel & cauliflower puree:

  • about 500 g cauliflower, cut into smaller florets (you can use the stems too)
  • 1 medium head of fennel, finely sliced, with some fronds
  • 250 ml cream
  • salt & pepper, to taste

To serve:

  • a few dill sprigs (optional)
  • a pinch of black sesame (optional)

Place the cauliflower, fennel and cream in a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn down the heat to low, cover with a lid (keep it open with a small slit to prevent the cream from boiling over) and cook until tender – about 12 minutes. Transfer the hot cooked vegetables and cream to a blender and blend until very smooth, seasoning with salt & pepper (remember, the miso glaze is very salty, so don’t be too heavy on the salt here). Serve with the miso glazed espetadas and a few extra fennel fronds or fresh dill and a sprinkle of black sesame.

(A proud collaboration with Pilgrim Wines.)

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Citrus, soy & sesame chicken with rice

16 Aug

After recently making my annual batch of citrus jam (sometimes it’s orange marmalade, sometimes naartjie, sometimes a combination, but this year it was a special batch of freshly picked naartjie & lemon jam from a friend’s farm – less marmalade-ey, more jammy, almost no bitterness, very “sunny” flavoured), I’m thinking of all the wonderful ways to use my generous batch of beautiful orange-coloured preserves. Apart from eating jam on toast every day (which is totally not a bad idea), there are so many more ways to use marmalade. A glaze for meat is a one way to put your citrus jams to use, and this recipe uses jam ánd fresh fruit juice to make the most of citrus season.

I’m always searching for easy mid-week recipes that pack a punch and take little time to prepare, and this recipe ticks all the boxes. I love locally produced free-range deboned chicken thighs – although they’ve a tendancy to be quite expensive, I really believe that if you’re a clever shopper, you’ll be able to find them on special every now and then. There are also deboned chicken drumsticks on shelves these days – such a great cut that will work equally well. The texture of brown chicken meat is simply the best.

I’m a sauce lover, so this recipe needed to be saucy enough to spoon over rice. I used my naartjie/lemon marmalade plus some fresh lemon juice, soy sauce, fresh ginger and garlic, resulting in a very punchy, sweet and sour and salty end result. If you prefer something a little milder, substitute the lemon juice with naartjie or orange juice instead. I’ve thickened the sauce slightly with some corn flour (old-school style, I promise it’s fantastic) but if you prefer a runny sauce just leave out that step. Serve warm over rice with grilled or steamed greams (broccoli is my go-to) and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Comforting, punchy, real food – easy to make, great to eat any day of the week.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • about 500 g boneless free-range chicken thighs/drumsticks, sliced into chunks
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) soy sauce
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) citrus marmalade (orange/naartjie/clementine)
  • 60-80 ml (1/4-1/3 cup) fresh lemon juice (or orange/naartjie/clementine)
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) dark sesame oil
  • about 15-30 ml fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 10 ml corn flour (Maizena), mixed with about 30 ml water
  • cooked rice, to serve
  • steamed/grilled broccoli/greens, to serve
  • sesame seeds, to serve (optional)


Before you start the chicken, cook your rice and greens and set aside, keeping it warm, ready to plate (the chicken cooks very quickly).

In a medium, deep pan (I used a 25 cm iron skillet), heat the oil and when the pan is hot, add the chicken. Fry for a few minutes, stirring often until you have some golden colour on some of the strips – they don’t have to be fully cooked or brown yet. While the chicken is frying, add the following to a medium jug: soy sauce, marmalade, lemon juice, sesame oil, ginger, garlic – mix well. Add the mixed marinade to the pan and stir through, then bring to a simmer. After about 3 minutes, add the cornflour mixture and stir through. Cook for 5-7 more minutes or until just cooked, then remove from the heat. Plate the chicken and sauce over warm rice in bowls with broccoli/greens, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Note: The chicken & sauce reheats superbly and make great leftovers.

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Braised Beef Shortrib with red wine, mushrooms & gremolata

19 Jul

Hearty, comforting winter fare, accompanied by Cape of Good Hope Parel Vallei Farmstead Merlot. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

I had the pleasure of creating this recipe in 2020 for Anthonij Rupert’s Cape of Good Hope Wines winter recipe series. With the winter in full swing, this kind of stew is all I want for dinner!

This classic combination of beef, red wine and mushrooms reminds of a French-style bourguignon, but without the fuss. Hearty and robust winter fare at its best. I do hope you’ll try it, paired specifically with their Merlot once it is available after the wine restrictions.

  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 1,5 kg beef shortrib
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, woody stalks removed
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped/grated
  • 15 ml cake flour
  • 30 ml tomato paste
  • 375 ml dry red wine (Merlot will work beautifully)
  • 250 ml beef stock
  • 2-3 large carrots, sliced
  • 4 large potatoes, quartered
  • 400 g portabellini or brown mushrooms
  • a handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • zest of a small lemon, finely grated
  • salt & pepper


In a large cast iron potjie over a fire (or in a large heavy based pot on stove top), heat the oil (high heat) and brown the beef chunks on both sides, seasoning with salt & pepper. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Now add the onions and rosemary, stirring until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Add the flour and tomato paste and fry for a minute, stirring. Add the red wine and stock and stir to loosen any sticky bits on the bottom. Place the browned meat back into the pot and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to low, place a lid on and braise for an hour. Add the carrots and potatoes, replace the lid and cook for another hour. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the meat is very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for a while before serving. Serve hot with cooked rice or pap or polenta, sprinkled with gremolata. To make the gremolata: mix the chopped parsley and grated lemon rind together and season with salt & pepper. 

Exclusively created for Anthonij Rupert Wyne.

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Chicken, feta & lime traybake tortillas

19 Apr

If a midweek meal is easy to make, doesn’t take long to cook and really packs a punch in flavour, its going to be a winner. This is one of them: free range chicken breasts baked with thinly sliced limes, slabs of feta, chunks of courgettes, some fresh thyme and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil – totally a meal on its own, but then sliced and transformed into Greek-style wraps with the addition of tzatziki and hummus. It is juicy, salty, tangy, creamy and crunchy, all at the same time. Another great thing is that it is family friendly (most kids love chicken and cucumber and hummus and tortillas) and it is also great for next day lunch boxes, either as an assembled wrap or as individual snacks and dippers.

All of the ingredients (plus the beautiful white enamel baking tray and plates, the wooden spoon, the paring knife and the printed protea paper napkins ) were shopped from Joostenberg’s deli – they even stock ready-made hummus, which is really convenient for your next snack platter or quick lunch. I used Dalewood’s new feta – not all feta turn out great when baked, but this one bakes spectacularly well. It turns golden on the edges and slightly oozy without losing its shape too much, and the flavour becomes more procounced. The thin lime slivers caramelize in the oven and can be enjoyed skin-and-all with the chicken – they’re packed with flavour. Do let me know if you try this at home!

Joostenberg is known for their pork butchery, but they also stock a range of beautiful, fresh, free range chicken.
Limes are now seasonal and in stock at Joostenberg.
Dalewood’s feta is simply superb. You can find many of Dalewood Fromage’s cheeses at Joostenberg.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 6 medium size free range boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • about 200-300 g feta, sliced into thick disks
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you can), plus 2 more for juicing
  • a few courgettes, sliced into chunks
  • a few sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C. In a deep roasting tray lined with non-stick baking paper, arrange the chicken, feta and courgettes. Top the chicken with slices of lime, then scatter with thyme and season generously with salt & pepper. Drizzle all over with olive oil and the juice of two limes. Bake for about 25 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and the feta turns golden on the edges, then remove and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve with a side salad, or turn into tortillas with the addition of fresh tortilla wraps (toasted), hummus and tzatziki.

To make your own tzatziki:

  • 500 ml double cream yoghurt
  • 1/2 English cucumber, seeds removed and roughly grated
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely grated (optional)
  • a small bunch mint leaves, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Add the yoghurt to a medium mixing bowl. Squeeze the grated cucumber in a clean cloth to get rid of the excess juice, then add the shreds to the yoghurt along with garlic and mint. Season with salt & pepper, add the olive oil and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Find Joostenberg on the R304 (GPS: 33 82’ 66 21 S / 18 79” 55 15 W) in the Muldersvlei area outside Stellenbosch. This post was created in proud association with Joostenberg.

Tel: 021 884 4303

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Smoked pork minestrone

9 Apr

While completing the last batch of photographs for my new cookbook with Tasha Seccombe during February this year (due for launch in September), I collaborated with Le Creuset SA in providing me access to the most beautiful array of cast iron casseroles and ceramic servingware for styling purposes. One of the items that I particulary fell in love with, was this beautiful 31 cm (6,3 liter) oval casserole in Agave – a mesmerizing blend of dark teal and inky navy that seems to change in different lighting. It is probably the most beautiful Le Creuset casserole I’ve ever seen, to be honest. Mysterious, intense, regal.

For my cookbook, I used it to showcase a ridiculously tasty pulled pork dish (more to be revealed later), but in the meantime, I’ve reserved a few dishes to try in this new oval addition to my Le Creuset kitchen family. I baked an enormous oval mosbolletjie pull-apart potbread for Easter, which was so good I didn’t even take photos, we just gobbled it down with lashings of farm butter and a crowd of friends. This is the kind of casserole that you pull closer for special occasions and larger feasts, not only because of the size but also because of its royal look and feel.

On a recent visit to my favourite pork butchery & deli, I laid my eyes on some smoked kassler steaks, a beautiful bunch of seasonal kale and freshly picked butternut. I wanted to make a seasonal meaty smoky Italian-style vegetable soup – the kind of feel-good food that makes me excited about simple ingredients, about local produce and about cooking from scratch. Glugs of extra virgin olive oil to serve, generous gratings of aged parmigiano, fresh ciabatta for dipping. Life cannot get more delicious in these moments.

Here’s my easy recipe for a simple, seasonal, hearty, smoky and meaty minestrone using small haricot beans and rosmarino pasta. The yield is large, so if you don’t have a bunch of friends over you’ll be able to freeze numerous batches for when you’re too lazy too cook – trust me, you’ll thank me later. If you also own a very large cast iron casserole, this is the recipe to make it shine.

Ingredients: (makes about 4,5 liters; serves a crowd)

Note: All veg are peeled before dicing/chopping. You’re looking for a small dice of maximum 1 x 1 cm for best results, but to speed things up you can certainly also pulse in a food processor.

  • 45 ml extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for serving)
  • about 450 g boneless smoked pork, diced (I used kassler steaks, but you can also use neck steaks or even thick cut bacon)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • a small bunch kale, stalks chopped separately, leaves shredded separately
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 small/medium butternut, diced
  • 2 x cans whole tomatoes, pureed in a blender
  • 2 stock cubes, dissolved in 1 liter boiling water (chicken or vegetable flavour)
  • 2 x cans cannelini beans, drained
  • 250 g dried rosmarino or orzo pasta
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • up to 1 liter boiling water extra, according to desired thickness
  • grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Using a big cast iron casserole (I used a 31 cm oval Le Creuset casserole with a capacity of 6,3 liters) over medium high heat, heat the oil and add the cubed pork. Fry until lightly brown, then add the onions, kale stalks and carrots. Fry for another 2 minutes, then add the garlic and smoked paprika, stirring for a minute. Add the butternut, pureed tomatoes, dissolved stock cubes in water and beans, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then add the pasta and shredded kale leaves, seasoning generously with salt & pepper and stirring well. Return to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often as the pasta tends to stick to the bottom easily, then remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 more minutes. Taste and add more salt & pepper if necessary. Add more boiling water if you soup is very chunky (I added a full extra liter of water, as the pasta continues to absorb water on standing). Serve hot in bowls with a generous grating of parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, with or without bread for dipping. Note: The soup freezes and reheats very well – freeze in smaller portions for easy midweek access.

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Bacon-wrapped pork neck roast with pecan apple herb stuffing, apple onion gravy and Jerusalem artichoke potato mash

26 Mar

I’m very proud to be teaming up with Klein Joostenberg Deli once again, bringing you my most festive pork roast for Easter. Joostenberg has always been my go-to butchery when I need superb pork cuts, and their boneless pork necks are just exquisite. Apart from being very economical, it is a cut that is much lower in fat than pork belly or shoulder and it is naturallly shaped in a log which makes it ideal for stuffings. In this case, I stuffed the neck with a mixture of herbs, onion, apple, pork mince, pecan nuts and bread crumbs, then wrapped it in streaky bacon to keep the meat moist and add extra flavour. It was placed on a bed of onion and apple quarters with beautiful yellow carrots, more herbs and some Joostenberg chenin blanc. I pureed the onion and apples with the pan sauce at the end of roasting to create a delicious pale gravy, adding a dollop of Dijon mustard. To serve, I made a Jerusalem artichoke and potato mash and served it all with Joostenberg’s Fairhead white blend – a flavour celebration that blew everyone at my table away. Absolutely scrumptious!

I hope you’ll try this stuffed roast, it serves a crowd, it’s easy to make and it is honestly one of the most delicious pork recipes that I’ve ever created. Find all the ingredients (and the wine) in the recipe at Klein Joostenberg’s deli and butchery. Happy Easter!

For the stuffing:

  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 rosemary sprig, stalk discarded, leaves chopped
  • 5 thyme sprigs, stalks discarded, leaves only
  • 300 g pork mince
  • 2 slices white bread, torn into chunks
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) pecan nuts
  • 1 apple, sliced into chunks (core discarded)
  • a small punnet (20 g) Italian parsley
  • 1 XL egg
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) salt
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) freshly ground black pepper

In a wide pan, heat the oil and fry the onion until translucent but not brown. Add the garlic, rosermary and thyme and continue to fry until the onion is soft and light brown. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, then add the mince, bread, pecan nuts, apple, parsley, egg, salt & pepper. Process to a coarse paste, then set aside.

For the pork roast & gravy: (serves 6-8)

If your roast is not butterflied you have two options: 1) use a large sharp knife to cut a hole along the centre from one end to the next, then use a wide nozzled piping bag to fill the centre of the roast, or 2) butterfly the roast so that you can layer the stuffing evenly and roll it up. I chose option no.1.

  • 1,5 kg whole boneless pork neck
  • stuffing (see above)
  • salt & pepper
  • 3-4 onions, sliced into wedges
  • 2 apples, sliced (cores discarded)
  • a few sprigs rosemary
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • about 400 g smoked streaky bacon
  • about 8-12 whole carrots, medium size
  • 250 ml dry white wine (I used Joostenberg’s Chenin Blanc 2020)
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml ) Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 160 C (convection, not fan assisted). Lay the pork neck out on a clean working surface, removing the stretchy string casing (if covered). Create a stuffing hole lenthways in the centre with a long bladed knife (or butterfly the meat for rolling up). Stuff it with the prepared stuffing, using a piping bag with wide nozzle (or spread the mixture in a thin layer all over the butterflied surface, then roll it up). Season it all over with salt & pepper. Cover the top of the roast with streaky bacon, slightly opverlapping, then use cotton string to tie up the stuffed neck into a neat log. In a large roasting tray, add the sliced onions, apples, rosemary, thyme and drizzle all over with olive oil. Place the prepared stuffed neck on top of the vegetables, then add the carrots on the sides (drizzle them with a little more oil) and add the wine into the pan. Roast without covering for 3 hours, then remove from the oven and make the gravy. While the meat is roasting, make the mash.

For the apple onion gravy:

When the pork roast is complete, transfer the meat carefully to a cutting board to rest. Remove the carrots to a serving plate, then transfer the onions, apples and pan liquid to a blender, discarding any whole sprigs of herbs. Blend to a smooth puree, then add the Dijon mustard and add more salt & pepper if needed. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a gravy jug.

Knobbly Jerusalem artichokes might seem tedious to prep, but they are so worth it.

For the Jerusalem artichoke and potato mash:

  • 4 large potatoes (about 800 g), peeled and quartered
  • salted water, for cooking
  • about 300 g Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and peeled
  • about 250 ml milk, for cooking, plus extra
  • 80 g butter, cubed
  • salt & pepper

Place the potato cubes in a medium size pot with enough salted water to cover them, then bring to a simmer and cook until very tender, then drain and set aside. In the meantime, place the Jerusalem artichokes into small saucepan with enough milk to just cover them (cut larger chunks in half). Bring to a slow simmer and cook until very tender. Place the artichokes with cooking liquid into a blender and process to a smooth puree. In another bowl, use a potato masher to mash the potatoes, then add the cubed butter, a splash of milk and the artichoked puree. Use the masher to blend well, and season generously with salt & pepper. Set aside until the roast is ready to serve.

To serve:

Remove the pieces of string, then serve the roast warm, sliced into rounds, with the warm carrots, mash and gravy on the side. Note: The gravy and mash can easily be reheated in the microwave before serving.

Preparing a wrapped stuffed pork roast is very rewarding! The prep is part of the fun. Pour yourself a glass of wine after using some for the roasting tray.
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Coq au vin pie

18 Mar

Easter is around the corner and I just had the privilege of creating an Easter-inspired recipe for La Motte with their iconic 2018 Millennium – a Merlot Cabernet Franc red blend. 

I immediately thought of the (also iconic) French chicken stew, coq au vin – a delightful dish made with red wine, mushrooms and onions, perfect for the cooler Autumn weather in the Boland. But for an Easter celebration, I really wanted to go the extra mile and turn the stew into a scrumptious (boneless) pie with a royal homemade sour cream pie crust. 

Making pie from scratch is not a quick meal, but it is certainly one of the most rewarding. My advice would be to start the day before, making the pastry (it needs quite a bit of folding and rolling) and making the stew. Let the stew cool, debone it, and refrigerate. Then assemble the pie about an hour and a half before you want to serve it – take your time with cutting out extra shapes using a cookie cutter or just a small sharp knife. I cut all my leaves by hand, making the grooves with the edge of the knife. This pie is quite saucy, so I prefer not to line the base of my pie dish, but to rather go over the top with pie shapes on top so that they stay super crisp. Bake any delicate or elaborate shapes on a separate lined baking sheet, brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with salt flakes – the baking time will be shorter than the assembled pie, so just keep an eye on it (about 25-30 minutes, depending on the size and thickness).

I served this festive pie with a luxurious seasonal salad of honey glazed butternut with figs, pomegranates, spinach, blue cheese and pecan nuts. The salad and the pie both pair exceptionally well with La Motte’s 2018 Millennium, and the wine is available at 15% off between 15 March and 15 April 2021, available online or from the farm.

For the sour cream pastry:

Note: if you want to save time, use a good quality store-bought puff pastry instead for the crust.

  • 3 cups (420 g) cake flour
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 250 g butter, cold, cubed
  • 250 ml thick sour cream
  • 1 egg, whisked, for brushing

In a large wide bowl, mix the flour and salt, then add the butter cubes, rubbing it into flat small discs with your fingers. When the cubes are all transformed into discs, add the sour cream and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together in a rough ball (don’t add any liquid, it will eventually become a soft ball of dough). Cover with plastic and rest the dough for at least 30 minutes (if it is a cool day, it can be rested on the counter top in a cool spot, but if it is hot, rather rest it in the fridge). Roll out into a rectangle on a floured surface, then fold into three layers (when facing horizontally, fold the right side to the middle, and the left side over both layers to the middle, making 3 layers). Immediately roll out again into a rectangle, and fold into three layers. Repeat a third time. Rest the dough for another 30 minutes. Now repeat the 3-part rolling and folding process. Rest again for 30 minutes. The dough is now ready to roll out into a 5 mm thick sheet (on a lightly floured surface) before cutting out and baking.

For the coq au vin:

  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 1 large free range chicken (about 1,5 kg), cut into quarters
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 medium onions, sliced into 1/8 wedges
  • 200 g streaky bacon, chopped
  • a generous handful thyme sprigs, leaves only (discard stalks)
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) cake flour
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) tomato paste
  • 1/2 bottle (375 ml) dry red wine (I used La Motte’s 2018 Millennium)
  • 250 g portabellini mushrooms, halved

In a wide large pot/casserole with lid that can also go into the oven, over medium heat, add the chicken and fry on both sides until golden. Season with salt & pepper, then remove from the pot. Add the onions, bacon and thyme, and fry until the onions start to soften slightly and the bottom of the pot starts to turn sticky. Add the flour and tomato paste, and stir for a minute, then add the red wine and stir to loosen all the sticky bits on the bottom. Bring to a simmer, then replace the chicken quarters and add the mushrooms, pushing them down into the sauce. Cover with a lid and braise in the oven for about 1h15 minutes or until very tender and falling from the bone. Remove from the oven, turn the chicken pieces over, replace lid and leave to cool to a temperature where it is easy to debone. When cool, using tongs and clean hands, debone the chicken and shred the meat into chunks. Check the seasoning of the sauce and add more salt  & pepper if necessary. Transfer the filling to a large deep pie dish and press down to create a flat surface. Now top it with the pastry. 

Preheat the oven to 180 C. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the rested pastry to a large slab of about 5 mm thick. To cover your round pie dish with pastry, measure a circle slightly bigger than the dish, then cut it out with a pizze cutter or sharp small knife (the dough will always shrink back a little while baking). Carefully place over the pie dish, then use a fork to make indents on the edges (if you want to). Brush with egg wash, then cut more small decorative shapes to adorn the edges and centre, using a cookie cutter or a sharp small knife. Brush all the extra shapes with egg wash. Cut a few slits into the top for steam to escape, then bake for about 50 minutes on the centre rack until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve hot. 

For the honey glazed butternut, fig, pomegranate & blue cheese salad:

Note: the glazed butternut can be made ahead before you bake the pie. Serve at room temperature.

  • 1 medium butternut, peeled and sliced into 1 cm thick slices (remove seeds)
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
  • 15-30 ml (1-2 tablespoons) honey
  • salt & pepper
  • dressing:
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
    • 10 ml Dijon mustard
    • 5 ml honey
  • about 150 g swiss chard spinach, chopped (stems finely sliced) – or use rocket leaves
  • 6-8 ripe black figs, sliced 
  • 100 g blue cheese, crumbled
  • seeds of 1/2 ripe pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) pecan nuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 220 C. Arrange the butternut on a large baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Drizzle all over with olive oil and honey, then toss with a spatula to cover on all sides. Season with salt & pepper, then roast for 20-25 minutes or until brown on the edges and tender.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

Make the dressing: add the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and honey to a small jar, season with salt & pepper and shake vigorously. Add the spinach to a mixing bowl, then add half the dressing and toss to coat all over. Transfer the dressed spinach to a salad serving platter, then add the glazed butternut, figs, blue cheese, pomegranate seeds and pecan nuts. Serve at once (the dressed spinach will continue to wilt on standing). 

This post was proudly created in collaboration with La Motte Wines.

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Autumn al fresco platter

12 Mar

An Autumn al fresco platter with Klein Joostenberg Deli.

This week, I teamed up with Klein Joostenberg Deli on the R304, Muldersvlei, outside Stellenbosch. I’ve always been a huge fan of their shop, because they are a passionate 5th generation family business, offering the most wonderful variety of seasonal produce, specialty deli products, fresh and smoked pork, cured meat, free range chicken, freshly baked breads and pastries, preserves, wine, gifts and so much more. It’s an absolute playground for a food enthusiast and stylist like me, because I usually find the most beautiful produce there that aren’t stocked in more commercial supermarkets, like specialty cheeses, small batch fresh farmer’s produce, and very large cuts of pork (like their beautiful deboned pork shoulders, usually around 4 kg each).

Some fresh seasonal produce now available at Klein Joostenberg.

To celebrate the start of Autumn in my local region, I’ve decided to put together an al fresco platter to showcase the bounty of the season. I found the most terrific fresh black figs, pears, pomegranates and red plums, and decided to team it up with Joostenberg’s famous chicken liver paté (it is the very best), some other preserves like peach chutney and aubergine relish, a freshly baked walnut and raisin loaf, melba toast, silky butter from Oakdale, two fabulous cheeses from Dalewood Fromage (Huguenot and Wineland Blue Camembert) and some fresh pistachios from Sonqu River (seasonal now). A Joostenberg platter wouldn’t be complete without their pork, so I made an Asian-inspired glaze to go with their pork rashers – such a hit! I served it with Joostenberg’s Klippe Kou 2018 Syrah, an organic estate wine made from grapes growing on a single property.

What better way to taste the season than an informal, generous platter.

I hope you’ll also make the most of Autumn’s bounty by checking in at Klein Joostenberg and selecting your personal favourites. An informal platter is such an easy way to entertain, and it always brings the “wow factor”!

My Asian-inspired glazed pork rashers.
Want to make these glazed rashers? Find the easy recipe below.

For the Asian-inpsired pork rashers: (Note: Joostenberg stocks a fantastic variety of exotic pantry ingredients from all over the world, so you’ll find all of the ingredients below there. They also sell readily spiced rashers if you’re keen on a more local BBQ flavour.)

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey
  • 4 teaspoons (20 ml) rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) Chinese 5-spice
  • a few drops sesame oil
  • a generous pinch of salt
  • 4 large fresh pork rashers

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a regular baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Mix the hoisin, soy, honey, vinegar, spice, sesame oil and salt together in a jug. Place the rashers on the baking paper lined tin, then brush them all over with the marinade. Roast for 15 minutes at 180 C, then turn over and baste again. Roast for 15 minutes more, then repeat twice more (total roasting time to be 1 hour). Some of the marinade will blacken on the pan during roasting, that’s alright. Remove the pan from the oven and cut into smaller chunks, then serve immediately.

Take a look at some of the items on my shopping list for this platter: fresh figs, Joostenberg’s walnut & raisin loaf, two cheeses from Dalewood Fromage, Joostenberg’s chutney and chicken liver pate, pistachios from Sonqu River, Joostenberg Butchery pork rashers, Oakdals butter, red plums, pomegranates pears and Chinese 5-spice.

Contact Klein Joostenberg:

A – Klein Joostenberg. R304 Muldersvlei, Stellenbosch, 7607

T – 021 88 44 303

E –

GPS – – 33 82’ 66 21 S / 18 79” 55 15 W

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