Tag Archives: cheese

Lemony labneh

4 Aug

When life gives you lemons, make this lemony labneh!

Labneh is a luxuriously soft, creamy, yoghurt cheese that originated in the Middle East. If you haven’t tasted it yet, it is absolutely delicious (similar to a soft, tangy, plain cream cheese or a mild soft goats cheese) and very easy to make at home. You can either serve it as a spread in a bowl, or shape small balls that are dropped in extra virgin olive oil – alongside freshly toasted bread it is a simple yet royal feast.

This recipe is the first in a series of four (#WhenLifeGivesYouLemons) that I created for LemonGold, a stunning seedless lemon varietal that is extra juicy and wonderful to cook with. The recipes form a lemon-themed menu that is Mediterranean-inspired, simple to make and absolutely packed with flavour. Do follow the cooking videos along on Instagram and Youtube – I’ve had so much fun in the kitchen creating these recipes and I hope you will have too!

Serve your labneh with warm toasted bread (as a spread or in balls), topped with grated lemon zest, za’atar spice, extra virgin olive oil and a few thyme leaves.

Notes: Adding the lemon juice to the yoghurt after straining, results in a softer spreadable cheese with maximum lemon flavour. If you’re looking for a firmer result, add the lemon juice to the yoghurt before straining, and strain the yoghurt for up to 2 days before serving.

Ingredients: (makes about 2 cups, depending on the consistency of the yoghurt that you choose)

  • 1 liter (4 cups) natural/plain full cream yoghurt
  • 2,5-5 ml (1/2-1 teaspoon) salt
  • juice of half a LemonGold
  • extra virgin olive oil, for serving
  • za’atar spice, for serving (optional)
  • rind of half a LemonGold, finely grated
  • fresh thyme leaves, for serving
  • freshly toasted bread (pita/baguette/ciabatta/sourdough), for serving

In a mixing bowl, add the yoghurt and salt and stir well. Line a sieve with a thin cotton cloth (at least 40 x 40 cm big) or cheese cloth and place it over another bowl, then pour the yoghurt mixture into the lined sieve and close it with a rubber band or a piece of string. Refrigerate overnight, or for up to 24-48 hours (depending on how thick you want your labneh – a thicker result will mean a smaller yield). Scrape the labneh into a serving plate, swirl it into a circle using the back of a spoon, then top with a sprinkle of za’atar, a grating of lemon rind, a few thyme leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Store covered in the refrigerater for about a week.

Share this:

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 – deli@joostenberg.co.za

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

https://joostenberg.co.za/the-deli/

Share this:

Smoked snoek and artichoke pie

24 Apr

An old-fashioned smoky fish pie is one of the most comforting dishes to eat in my opinion, and a firm favourite from my childhood days.

 

I’ve been craving a smoked fish pie for weeks (because of a packet of smoked snoek in my freezer) and I finally got to baking one. This must be one of the most comforting things to eat – creamy and packed with smoky flavour, plus an easy press-in crust with zero sogginess that’s made with cheese, resulting in a crispy, flaky coating all around the pie that tastes like grilled cheddar crackers.

I’ve combined a few recipes into one, consulting my sister’s notes from her handwritten recipe collection plus her favourite recipe from Kook & Geniet, as well as Heilie Pienaar’s chapter for savoury pies and tarts from The Ultimate Snowflake Collection cookbook. I wanted something that had an easy, tasty crust (not store bought puff pastry) that required little skill, plus something that wouldn’t require me to separate eggs and fold in whisked egg whites at the end. I don’t mind making a white sauce for a base, as it was specifically the mouth-feel that I was after, but I didn’t want to use a separate pan for frying any other ingredients like onions.

The cheesy crust bakes to a golden crispy perfection all around the filling.

 

The result was the following: I used Heilie’s recipe for a press-in crust (no rolling out of dough) that involves flour, digestive bran, butter and cheese (you already know this is going to go well) and a white sauce based filling that involves stirring in a few whole eggs at the end. Into the filling went deboned flaked smoked snoek, chopped canned artichokes (you can also use canned white asparagus or mushrooms), chopped gherkins, more cheese, Dijon mustard and some parsley (use dried herbs if you don’t have fresh).  It gets baked for about 40 minutes at 180 C, filling your kitchen with the most delicious smell. It’s a deep pie, so you can use a large spoon to dish up generous helpings. Creamy, smoky, cheesy filling with a crisp bite of tangy gherkins here and there, coupled with a heavenly toasted flaky cheese crust. Serve with a crisp salad, if you want to.

This is what the press-in crust looks like before adding the filling.

 

Note: I used a round baking dish of 25 cm diameter and a depth of 5 cm. That means you can use any deep baking dish (round/square/rectangular) with a similar depth and a total volume of around 2,4 liters.

Ingredients: (makes one large pie; serves 8)

For the press-in crust: (crust recipe from Heilie Pienaar’s “Spinach & Cheese Pie” featured in The Ultimate Snowflake Collection)

  • 200 ml (110 g) cake flour
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup or 20 g) digestive bran
  • 125 g cold butter, cubed
  • a pinch of salt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) grated mature cheese like cheddar/gruyere etc. (I’ve used Dalewood’s Huguenot)

For the filling:

  • 60 ml (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 60 ml (4 tablespoons) cake flour
  • 500 ml milk
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) Dijon mustard
  • 1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 4 XL eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2-3 cups (about 325 g) boneless flaked smoked snoek (start with about 500 g snoek with bone-in; I ordered a large frozen packet from Wild Peacock Products)
  • 1 cup mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups canned artichoke hearts/quarters, chopped into smaller pieces (or substitute with canned chopped asparagus or mushrooms, or any cooked chopped vegetables of your choice, like peas/spinach/corn/broccoli/cauliflower/courgettes etc.)
  • about 1/3 cup gherkins, chopped
  • a handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

Method:

For the crust: place the flour, bran, butter & salt in a food processor and pulse until it resembles bread crumbs. Add the cheese and process until its starts to clump together. Turn it out into a large greased baking dish of about 2-2,5 liters (I used a round 25 cm dish with a depth of 5 cm).  Using clean dry hands, press the crust evenly into the bottom and sides of the baking dish. Distribute thicker patches to cover the base and sides all over. Set aside.

For the filling: before you start, make very sure that your smoked fish is completely free of any small bones – this will take a little time, but it’s essential. Now make a white sauce: in a medium size pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir for a minute. Add the milk all at once and stir vigorously with a whisk until it starts to thicken, getting rid of any lumps. When the sauce has thickened to the consistency of a medium-runny custard, remove it from the heat. Add the mustard and nutmeg and season with salt & pepper. Stir well. Add the eggs and stir very well until it’s smooth and incorporated. Add the snoek, cheese, artichokes (or veg), gherkins and parsley. Stir well, then transfer the filling into the prepared baking dish. Smooth the top. Bake at 180 C for about 40-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown (the top of the filling won’t brown too much). Remove from the oven and serve hot with a crisp green salad.

Share this:

One-pot pasta with chicken, broccoli and cheese

22 Apr

If minimizing dirty dishes is something that appeals to you, this comforting one pot pasta with chicken, broccoli and cheese is heaven sent.

I’ve been seeing so many recipes for one-pot pasta dishes, where the pasta gets cooked in the pot’s liquid along with other ingredients. I’ve always wondered if it’s really possible to get a good result – or is it just a spoof? Wouldn’t the dish be too stodgy at the end? Well, I finally tried it myself – hugely successful!

If I would have cooked a chicken broccoli cheese pasta dish before, I would have dirtied possibly three to four different pots/pans plus a colander, but in this case it’s all happening in one large pot. Easy, quick and really simple. No bechamel to be made, no cream used, and the results are wonderfully creamy and absolutely delicious.

This is comfort food at its best.

I made a video of the recipe for my friends at Le Creuset – you’ll find it here on their IGTV feed.

Cooking video screenshot while filming for Le Creuset’s IGTV.

I served this one-pot pasta dish with a few crispy croutons on top for crunch.

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

(Note: This recipe can easily be halved to serve about 4 people. Just use a medium size pot, perhaps 24 or 26cm diameter.)

  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 1 kg boneless skinless chicken, cut into bite size chunks (I used thighs)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) smoked paprika
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 2 cups (500 ml) chicken stock
  • 4 cups (1 liter) milk
  • 500 g uncooked pasta (preferably bite size shapes – I used rigatoni)
  • 400 g broccoli, cut into bite size chunks
  • 2 cups grated mature cheese (I used Dalewood’s Huguenot, but cheddar will also work)
  • about 1 cup small croutons*, for serving (optional)

Method:

In a large pot (I used a 30cm Le Creuset round casserole) over high heat, heat the oil and add the chicken. Fry for a few minutes until brown, stirring. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Turn the heat down and remove the chicken from the pot with a slotted spoon (you’ll add it back later). Now add the onion and fry over medium heat until soft. Add the garlic and fry for another minute, then add the stock and milk and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta, stir, put a lid on (keep a small gap open to prevent the liquid from boiling over the edges) and cook for about 8-10 minutes until almost al dente, stirring every now and then (it should still be a little firm). Add the browned chicken back to the pot, plus the broccoli, and stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, then turn off the heat. Add the cheese and stir briefly until just melted. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve at once, optionally topped with small crispy croutons.

*To make small croutons: cut 2 slices of good quality bread like sour dough loaf into very small cubes. Add it to a pan with a splash of olive oil, salt & pepper, and optionally a few fresh thyme leaves. Fry until golden, then set aside to cool.

Share this:

The easiest, cheesiest cheese sauce for cheesy fries

8 Feb

This is the stuff dreams are made of: a super silky cheese sauce made with Dalewood’s award winning Boland™ cheese (and only 2 other ingredients).

 

I’ve been having this craving for golden potato chips covered in cheese sauce ever since we returned from our annual holiday early in January this year. I restrained these thoughts because of good intentions as part of a new “exercise and under-indulgence regime” (it was a brand new year, after all). And then I received an incredible cheese hamper courtesy of Dalewood Fromage about two weeks ago. And then Eat Out published this video about Bertus Basson’s burger joint, De Vrije Burger‘s cheesy fries. Well folks, I think the universe was trying to tell me something…

Needless to say, I immediately did some research on making the easiest, cheesiest, fuss-free, silky smooth cheese sauce. I came across a fantastic feature on Alton Brown’s site SeriousEats.com (one of my favourite resources for researching recipes) by J. Kenji López-Alt where he uses evaporated milk instead of a milk/butter/flour roux as a base, ensuring an incredibly smooth end result with a slightly sweet milky tinge to it. Using a really good quality cheese is at the centre of this recipe, because it only contains 3 ingredients, the last being a tablespoon of neutral tasting corn flour. So I chose Dalewood’s Boland™ – a semi-hard cheese with a hard rind made in the style of a Port Salut. It has a relatively mild and nutty flavour; savoury and slightly sweet. With its smooth, velvety texture, it was going to make my cheesy dreams come true.

Last night I finally put the recipe to the test. At first I thought I was going to add a little Dijon mustard and perhaps a little squirt of hot sauce and a pinch of salt. But the flavour of the Dalewood Boland™ was just perfect – strong and complex enough to ensure a deep, nutty, cheese flavoured sauce without the addition of anything else. The texture was velvety, indulgent and inviting. It was even better than I could have imagined.

I’m a little hesitant to admit that my husband and I finished the whole pot of sauce (and about 650 g of fries, loaded with chopped salami and chives) by ourselves. OK, I finished the last bit by myself with a spoon, straight from the pot. It was THAT good.

So give it a go. Also incredibly good on burgers, schnitzels, broccoli, macaroni, nachos, steak etc. Watch how to make it:

Ingredients for cheese sauce:

(based on a recipe featured on SeriousEats.com)

  • 250 ml (1 cup) evaporated milk (canned)
  • 250 g Dalewood Boland™, rind removed and coarsely grated
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) corn flour / Maizena

Pour the evaporated milk into a small saucepan and place over medium heat on the stove. In the meantime, toss the grated cheese and corn flour together. When the milk starts to boil, add the cheese & corn flour, lower the heat, and stir until the cheese has melted fully and the sauce is silky smooth. Remove from heat.

To serve: Pour over freshly made golden fries (potato chips), seasoned generously with salt flakes. Optionally top with shredded salami (or crispy bacon) and chopped chives, or sliced jalapenos and guacamole.

To reheat: Place the saucepan back on the heat and stir until runny and smooth. Alternatively, heat in a microwaveable container, stirring every 15-30 seconds until runny and smooth. Store in the fridge, covered.

Substitutions for the cheese: Substitute the cheese for any other cheese that is punchy in flavour, like a mature cheddar/gouda or a slightly milder Gruyere etc. The colour of the sauce will also be affected by your choice of cheese, so if you like a yellow sauce, choose a darker, yellower cheese.

Share this:

Caprese salad, triple cheese beef lasagne & tiramisu jars with Galbani Cheese

3 May

Caprese salad, triple cheese beef lasagne and individual tiramisu jars – my ultimate Italian-style feast! Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

When it comes to laid-back, festive, scrumptious food that’s packed with flavour, the Italians just know how. I’ve taken a few tips from their most popular traditional cheese-themed recipes to come up with my favourite three-course Italian-inspired feast: an over-the-top caprese salad, triple cheese beef lasagne (made with mozzarella, cheddar and mascarpone) and individual tiramisu cups with chocolate flakes and fresh raspberries. You can assemble the lasagne and tiramisu ahead so that you have more time to spend with your guests – the most important thing when hosting friends and family!

All my recipes serve 8, because they deserve a crowd. If you’re keen on a smaller gathering, just halve the ingredients to serve 4.

And don’t miss my video below – it shows how to make this killer lasagne.

Buon appetito!

My ultimate caprese salad with soft mozzarella, an array of tomatoes, fresh basil, pesto, toasted pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, salt flakes and ground black pepper. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Ultimate caprese salad (serves 8)

  • 3 very big ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • about 400 g smaller tomatoes on the vine
  • a handful baby tomatoes, halved
  • 3 x 125 g Galbani soft white mozzarella, sliced into rounds
  • a handful fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan
  • 3-4 tablespoons basil pesto
  • extra virgin olive oil, for serving
  • balsamic vinegar, for serving (optional)
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Arrange the tomatoes on a large platter, interleaved with slices of mozzarella. Scatter with basil leaves and pine nuts, then drizzle with pesto (add a little olive oil to the pesto if it is very thick). Serve with olive oil and balsamic on the side, seasoned with salt & pepper. Serve immediately.

Note: The tomatoes will wilt on standing, so this salad is best served straight after assembling.

Triple cheese beef lasagne (made with mascarpone, cheddar and mozzarella). Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Triple cheese beef lasagne (serves 8)

For the beef Bolognese sauce:

  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, skinned & finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled & finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 kg lean beef mince
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, stalks removed & finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried origanum)
  • 375 ml (half a bottle) dry red wine
  • 1 beef stock cube dissolved in 250 ml boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans whole Italian tomatoes, blended to a pulp
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

For the white sauce (béchamel):

  • 80 g (80 ml / 1/3 cup) President Butter
  • 80 ml (1/3/ cup) plain/cake flour
  • 1 liter full cream milk
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • a generous tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 250 g Galbani Mascarpone
  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

For assembling:

  • 1 batch Bolognese sauce
  • 1 batch white sauce
  • 500 g fresh/dried pasta sheets
  • 200 g President Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 300 g Galbani Creamy Mozzarella (semi-hard), grated

For the Bolognese sauce: Heat the olive oil in a wide, large pot with a heavy base. Fry the onion, carrot and celery over medium-high heat until soft and lightly brown. Add the garlic and stir. Add the mince and stir, breaking up any lumps and scraping the bottom to loosen any sticky bits. Add the rosemary and thyme. Continue to fry on high heat to brown the meat slightly, then add the red wine, stock, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and stir well. Bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 2 hours, stirring every now and then.

For the white sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat, then add the flour and cook for a minute, stirring. Add the milk and stir with a whisk until the mixture becomes smooth and thickens slightly. Add the nutmeg, mustard and mascarpone and season well with salt & pepper. Set aside.

To assemble: Preheat oven to 180 C. In a large rectangular roasting tray or oven dish, start with a thin layer of white sauce, then a layer of pasta sheets (they will swell so don’t fit them too snugly), a layer of meat sauce, more white sauce, a layer of cheddar, etc. Continue and repeat, ending with a layer of white sauce and the grated mozzarella on top. Bake for 45 minutes until golden on top, then let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note: I sometimes chop my onion, carrot and celery together in a food processor to save time. The cooked lasagne will continue to stabilize on standing, becoming firmer and easier to serve. The assembled lasagne (cooked or uncooked) freezes well – thaw completely before returning to the oven.

Individual jars of tiramisu, made with mascarpone, brandy and some chocolate flakes. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Individual tiramisu cups: (serves 8)

  • 5 XL eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 x 250 g Galbani Mascarpone
  • 1 Italian-style sponge finger biscuits (Boudoir/ladyfinger)
  • 375 ml strong coffee, warm
  • 75 ml brandy
  • cocoa powder, for dusting
  • 2-3 chocolate flake bars, for serving
  • fresh raspberries, for serving

Place the egg yolks and caster sugar in a large bowl. Use and electric whisk to mix until it is very thick and creamy. Add the mascarpone and whisk until smooth.
Clean and dry this whisk, then whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff. Add half the egg whites to the mascarpone mixture and fold in with a large spoon, continuing with the second half and folding until you have a smooth, creamy, mousse-like mixture. Set aside.
Working quickly, cut the finger biscuits into thirds, and divide the pieces into 8 groups of 9 pieces each (for 8 cups of 250 ml capacity each). Place the coffee and brandy in a shallow flat bowl, then dip 4 cookie pieces at a time into the coffee mixture, and place them into the bottom of each dessert glass/jar. Top with a dollop of the mascarpone mix, then a sifting of cocoa powder. Top with a second round of 5 dipped biscuit pieces, then place the remaining half of the mascarpone mix into a piping bag and pipe dollops of the mixture at the top of each glass to cover the biscuits. Dust some cocoa powder over the top, then cover with plastic or lids (not touching the mixture) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
To serve, add some chocolate flakes and berries on top and serve straight from the fridge.

Note: The biscuits need time to soften in the fridge. If you serve them too soon, the cookies will still be tough. The tiramisu cups keep very well in the fridge for up to 3 days and the flavour improves with time.

(This post was created in collaboration with Galbani Cheese.)

Save

Save

Save

Share this:

A festive cheese stack with Poetry Stores

27 Dec

An easy, yet impressive cheese stack with fresh berries and honey for dessert and as a centre piece (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Everybody loves a selection of festive cheeses when it comes to entertaining. It can be a generous starter, a light snack or even a classy dessert. In this case, it can also double up as a stunning centrepiece  for your festive table. So easy, yet really impressive.

Invest in a few rounds of beautiful whole cheeses and you’ve got dessert and gifts sorted in one go (wrap chunks of leftovers for your guests on their way home).

Happy entertaining, everyone! Watch the video that I made in collaboration with Poetry Stores:

Wooden boards, black crockery and ornamental candle holders available from Poetry Stores.

Video produced by Skript.tv

Still photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Filmed at Bartinney Wine & Champagne Bar in Stellenbosch.

Share this:

Raspberry Swirl Frozen Cheesecake

4 Nov

Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

You might have noticed some brand changes going on with Simonsberg cheese: they’re becoming Président. You’d be happy to know that it’s still the same fantastic products with the same taste inside the packaging.

I recently had the privilege of dreaming up a new recipe with one of the cheeses in the President range. I chose their iconic plain cream cheese (preservative free), because I just love the texture and taste – wonderful in desserts, especially. Dishing up beautiful, creamy, swirly frozen desserts for the upcoming festive season is always a crowd pleaser. Without the trouble of making real ice cream or working with expensive churners, this velvety frozen cheesecake with raspberry jam swirls is easy to whip up, delicious to eat and delivers big on the wow factor.

Top with fresh raspberries and chopped nuts for a show-stopping dessert.

Top with fresh raspberries and chopped nuts for a show-stopping dessert (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Make it in a regular loaf tin brushed with vegetable oil and lined with plastic wrap. A layer of wafer biscuits complete the “ice cream cake” feel and keeps the cake from melting too quickly when you turn it out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (strained)
  • 2 x 230 g tubs Président cream cheese, plain
  • 250 ml Parmalat fresh cream
  • 1/2 cup good quality raspberry jam
  • about 8 wafer biscuits
  • fresh raspberries and chopped nuts, to serve

Method:

  1. Prepare a medium size loaf tin: brush the insides with vegetable oil and line with plastic wrap.
  2. Pour the condensed milk and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Mix with electric beaters until thick and smooth.
  3. Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the cream until just stiff (don’t overmix). Fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Stir the jam well to make it a little runny. Swirl a few teaspoons full of jam on the bottom of the prepared tin, then top with one third of the cheesecake mixture. Repeat with more jam, more mixture, more jam and the last of the mixture.
  6. Arrange the wafer biscuits on top in a neat layer. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.
  7. To turn out, remove the top plastic wrap layer, then open up the plastic on the sides. Turn over on a serving plate/board, then tug gently on the plastic to release the cake from the tin. Remove the tin and the plastic and serve in slices with fresh berries and chopped nuts of your choice.

Note: I prefer serving this frozen cheesecake after leaving it on the counter for about 15 minutes to soften slightly.

Président cheese products

Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Share this:

Arancini with aioli

20 Jun

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredients: (serves 6 as a snack/canapé)

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

For the aioli:

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

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

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

Credits:

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

Photography & styling: Tasha Seccombe

This recipe has been featured on The Pretty Blog.

 

Share this:

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

Share this: