Tag Archives: Nicola Pretorius

Easy caramel lamingtons

2 May

My quick and easy caramel lamington fingers (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

My quick and easy caramel lamington fingers (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

My Mother used to make us lamingtons very often when we were kids. It was an easy and economical sweet treat, loved by young and old alike. We called them “krimpvarkies” (porcupines), because of their spiny appearance.

I only recently learned that lamingtons are from Australian origin, and that they traditionally contain some kind of filling. In South Africa, we just dip squares of sponge cake in chocolate syrup, then cover them in dessicated coconut.

For a caramel twist on this classic favourite, I changed the traditional shape to a rectangular finger instead of a square, and made a quick 2-ingredient caramel sauce instead of the usual chocolate variety. They are so much easier to eat this way, and they look quite beautiful if I may say to myself! The sauce is made from canned caramel treat (also called dulce de leche abroad) and half a cup of warm milk – blitzed to a smooth sauce. This simply cannot be easier. If you have young kids, ask them to help you with the dipping part of the process.

To cut even more corners, you can use a store-bought sponge cake instead of baking it yourself. Everybody loves shortcuts when it comes to cooking!

Ingredients for the sponge cake:

  •  4 XL eggs
  • 300 ml (250 g) caster sugar
  • 500 ml (280 g) cake flour
  • 15 ml baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 250 ml milk
  • 100 g butter
  • 5 ml vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C. Line a large rectangular baking/roasting tin with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together, then fold into egg mixture.
  4. Heat milk and butter until butter is melted, but don’t let it boil. Add vanilla, then fold into flour and egg mixture.
  5. Pour batter into lined tin, then bake for 25 minutes until cooked and golden brown.
  6. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack.

For the caramel sauce & assembly:

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 1 can (385g) Nestlé caramel treat (or dulce de leche)
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut (for dipping at the end)

Method:

  1. Bring the milk to a boil, then remove from heat immediately. Pour into a blender cup, add caramel, then use a stick blender to blend to a smooth sauce (the caramel burns easily on the stove top, that’s why I prefer not to add it to the warm pot)
  2. Cut the cooled cake into fingers, about 3 x 10cm. Dip them one by one into the slightly warm caramel sauce, and then immediately into the coconut. Leave to dry for at least 15 minutes on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container.

Note: The longer you dip the cake fingers into the sauce, the more sauce it will absorb. Also, if the sauce is cold when you dip the cake, it will absorb less sauce. Adjust to your liking, and place the sauce in the microwave for a few seconds to reheat if necessary.

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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Donna Hay’s baked lemon pudding

26 Apr

Donna Hay's baked lemon pudding (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Donna Hay’s baked lemon pudding (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Donna Hay‘s recipes and photographs. She is such an inspiration to me, with her iconic light blue styling, simple cooking methods and modern approach to food in general.

Donna uses whole lemons (yes, skins, pith and all) to create this simple pudding that almost resembles a baked lemon curd. It reminds me very much of the middle layer of a South African lemon meringue pie – tart and tangy, yet thick and indulgent. She suggests that you serve it hot or cold with vanilla ice cream – I agree, the ice cream is a must.

I found that this pudding works best when baked in smaller ramekins, preferably not too deep (I’ve tried baking it as one big pudding and I don’t recommend it). Adjust the baking times according to what you have in your kitchen: deeper and larger ramekins will bake a bit longer.

Ingredients: (recipe from Fast, Fresh, Simple by Donna Hay)

  • 1 medium/large thin skinned lemon
  • 330 g (1 1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 30 g butter, melted
  • 3 egg yolks (I used XL)
  • 180 ml (3.4 cup) single pouring cream
  • 30 ml cornstarch / corn flour (Maizena)
  • vanilla ice cream, to serve

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 169 C (325 F).
  2. Cut the lemon into 8 pieces and remove any seeds. Place in a food processor with the sugar and process until very smooth.
  3. Add the butter, egg yolks, cream and cornstarch and process until smooth.
  4. Pour into 4 greased 1-cup capacity (250 ml) ovenproof ramekins/pie dishes. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until just set.
  5. Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream.

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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Hot cross bun pudding

16 Apr

A moist and decadent hot cross bun pudding, perfect for Easter! (photograhy by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

A moist and decadent hot cross bun pudding, perfect for Easter! (photograhy by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

I love the idea and smell of a tray of fragrant hot cross buns – not only for Easter, but anytime of the year. The thing is, they need to be really fresh in order to be enjoyed as they are, maybe with a few lashings of farm butter. Otherwise they can be quite disappointing.

Well, here’s a way of turning your store-bought hot cross buns “the day after” into something a bit more crave-worthy: a bread and butter pudding. In this case, no butter is added, so we’ll just call it a hot cross bun pudding.

I’ve used a combination of cream, milk and eggs to make the custard base, then added some finely grated orange rind, mixed spice and some chopped dark chocolate to the party. The trick is to let the buns soak for 30 minutes to an hour to get really soft, that way you won’t be stuck with dry pieces here and there.

This pudding is fabulous for your Easter celebrations this long weekend, and I promise your family will go back for seconds. No extra custard is needed, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream won’t hurt.

Ingredients:

  • 500ml (2 cups) cream
  • 250ml (1 cup) milk
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • about 15ml finely grated orange rind
  • 5ml ground mixed spice  (a mixture of ground cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves)
  • 6-8 hot cross buns (I chose ones with added pecans & cranberries)
  • 80-100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, add cream, milk, sugar, eggs, orange rind and mixed spice. Whisk to combine thoroughly, and to make sure the sugar has melted.
  2. Cut each hot cross bun in half horizontally, then arrange the bottom halves inside a medium size deep baking dish. They should fit snugly, so cut them to size if needed.
  3. Pour the custard mixture over the bun bottoms, so that they are just covered with the mixture, then sprinkle with half of the chopped chocolate. Now arrange the top halves of the buns on top of the bottom layer, pressing down gently, and pour the rest of the custard mixture over the buns until you almost reach the rim of the baking dish (you might still have some custard mixture left, wait for the buns to soak up some of it, then pour over some more). Sprinkle with the rest of the chocolate.
  4. Let the pudding soak for 30-60 minutes, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 160 C for 55-60 minutes. The top should be golden brown, and the middle should still have a slight wobble to it. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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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Crumbed whole-grain paprika chicken strips

9 Apr

Crispy crumbed chicken strips with lemon juice & honey mustard mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Crispy crumbed chicken strips with lemon juice & honey mustard mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

My 3-year old daughter is not a big meat lover. I’ve always had to find inventive ways of getting her to eat more proteins, so when I discovered that she liked my paprika chicken strips I was over the moon.

I started making these strips because I simply love the taste of a crispy crumbed piece of chicken, and they make amazing snacks for my husband’s favourite pastime (watching rugby). I found that really fresh chicken breasts (never frozen, preferably free range) give the best results, and that a whole-grain loaf of bread gives fantastic extra crunch in terms of the crispy outer coating – yes, it’s really better than regular white.

Although I’m sure you could also bake these in the oven, I prefer to deep-fry my chicken strips in canola oil. We don’t eat deep fried food often in my house, but the effect in this case is so light and perfect that I would really recommend it. And remember, canola oil is very high in Omega 3 and 6, so we’re cooking with the good stuff!

These strips are a great way of stretching a regular packet of 4 chicken breasts – you’ll be surprised how many mouths it will feed as a snack, especially if you add a dip like my honey mustard yoghurt mayo (or guacamole, or any dip of your choice). Very addictive for old and young alike. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • about 8 slices of whole grain bread, processed to crumbs in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
  • 10-15 ml smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 XL eggs, lightly whisked
  • 4 medium size chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • about 750 ml canola oil for frying

Method:

  1. Place the breadcrumbs in a wide shallow bowl (I use a few pasta bowls to create a nice prepping station).
  2. In a second wide bowl, mix the flour, paprika, salt & pepper.
  3. In a third wide bowl, place the whisked eggs. You should now have a prepping station of 3 bowls.
  4. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips of about 0.5 cm thick, against the grain of the meat. Take one strip at a time, then firstly dip it into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, and directly into the crumbs. Lightly pat the crumbs onto the eggy chicken strip to ensure the crumbs stay in place, then lay the crumbed strip on a tray/platter. Continue until all of the strips are coated and ready for frying.
  5. In a medium size pot, heat the oil over medium high heat (we’re looking for about 180 C, if you have a thermometer). Carefully add about 6-8 strips into the hot oil at a time, frying them for about 2-3 minutes a side until they are golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat in batches with the remaining prepared strips, changing the kitchen paper when necessary.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dip of your choice.

For my honey mustard yoghurt mayo: Take about 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt, 2 heaped teaspoons of whole grain mustard, and a good squirt of honey. Mix together and serve as a dip with the chicken strips.

Credits:

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

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Classic chocolate cupcakes

25 Mar

A classic, moist, dark chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

A few years ago, before I even considered changing careers from music to food, I was already a huge fan of food TV. I watched Nigella, Jamie and Bill religiously on BBC Food (now BBC Lifestyle), and made notes now and then to remember some of their recipes.

One of the recipes that survived in my scribbled recipe notebook, was a basic cupcake recipe from Nigella Lawson. While she was demonstrating the easy steps, I was trying to write it down – only getting cryptic notes of ingredients and some of the method. Not knowing back then that I could have just checked the full recipe online, I tried to make sense of my scribbles later that day. The great thing is, the recipe is so very simple and absolutely fool proof that I have made dozens of batches of these over the years. For chocolate cupcakes, I just substitute two heaped tablespoons of flour for two heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder.

More recently, I looked up the original recipe. Nigella uses royal icing for her cupcakes, but I prefer a rich and fluffy buttercream frosting. Use whatever you prefer.

These chocolate cupcakes always deliver in terms of taste and texture. (Photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Ingredients: (makes 12)

Note: Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you start. It makes a big difference to the texture. Also, a digital scale will make your life a lot easier for this recipe.

  • 75 g cake flour
  • 50 g cocoa powder (for vanilla cupcakes, leave the cocoa powder out and just use 125 g of cake flour in total)
  • 125 g sugar
  • 125 g soft butter
  • 2 XL eggs
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • 2.5 ml baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • a small pinch of salt
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 30 ml milk

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Place all of the ingredients except the milk in a food processor, and pulse to mix thoroughly. Scrape down the sides.
  3. With the motor running, add the milk and process for a further 1 minute until the mixture becomes very smooth. Now use 2 dessert spoons to drop the batter into the cupcake tin holes, spreading the mixture to fill all 12 holes (it always looks like it’s not enough, but trust me – it is).
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes until cooked and golden on top (an inserted skewer should come out clean). Remove from the oven and transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • 125 g soft butter (very soft, but not melted)
  • 200 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 50 g cocoa powder, sifted (or less if you don’t like it to be too dark)
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 15-30 ml milk

Method:

  1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), then use an electric whisk to beat it until pale and creamy (takes about 2-3 minutes).
  2. Add the sifted icing sugar and cocoa powder a little at a time, mixing until it is thoroughly incorporated. Add the vanilla and a little milk and whisk to get a light and fluffy texture, but don’t add too much milk or the mixture won’t hold shape.
  3. Transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice, then pipe the icing on top of the cupcakes. Don’t refrigerate them, as the icing will become hard and unpleasant to eat. Enjoy immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

The mixture makes exactly 12 cupcakes. I love their cracked tops. (Photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Credits:

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

Recipe adaptation, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Toasted sourdough sandwich with herbed chicken mayo

14 Mar

My favourite sandwich: a toasted herbed chicken mayo on sourdough bread (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

If there is one sandwich that I cannot resist, it’s a good chicken mayonnaise. Sometimes I buy a cheap one at my local supermarket when I don’t have time for lunch – some days they even have chicken mayo vetkoek (almost like a massive doughnut filled with chicken mayo). But some days I sit down for a proper chicken mayo at Schoon de Compagne. Nothing beats a proper sourdough toasted sarmie. And when it’s filled with freshly roasted chunks of chicken swirled in homemade mayonnaise, it’s the king of sandwiches.

If you’re feeling lazy, use your favourite good quality store-bought mayonnaise and a ready roasted chicken. I won’t tell a soul.

Ingredients: (makes 2 large sandwiches)

  •  2 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • about 1/2 cup (125 ml) home-made mayonnaise (see below)
  • about 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped herbs (I used a mixture of parsley & chives)
  • 1 medium size sweet & tangy dill cucumber, finely chopped (optional)
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread (I use the middle of a round loaf to get the largest slices possible)
  • butter for spreading

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 C.
  2. Place the chicken breasts skin side up on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Use a pastry brush to coat them with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with salt & pepper (I sometimes use a Cajun spice when I’m in the mood for a kick). Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the skin is golden and the thickest part of the breast is just cooked (juices should run clear). Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the roasted chicken from the bone, then cut the meat into chunky slices. If the skin is nice and crispy, I like to leave the skin on – it adds a whole lot of flavour. Place the chicken slices/chunks in a mixing bowl, then add the mayonnaise and herbs and mix well. Season with a little extra salt & pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  4. Butter the slices of bread on both sides, then fill each sandwich with a generous amount of filling. Use a hot griddle pan (or normal pan) to toast the closed sandwiches on each side until they’re crisp and golden – press down gently on the sandwich using an egg lifter, while toasting. Serve at once.

For homemade mayonnaise: (makes about 1 cup)

  • 1 whole free range egg, as fresh as you can get
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 10 ml Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) canola oil

Method for mayonnaise: Using a stick blender and tall cup (or a food processor) add the eggs, lemon juice, mustard and salt & pepper. Give it a good whizz, then start adding the oil in a very thin stream while blending. Continue to blend until you get a thick, creamy consistency. Use immediately or store in a closed container in the fridge for a few days.

Credits:

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

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Nigella’s rum & raisin banana bread

3 Mar

Toasted slices of banana bread, topped with thick cream and berry coulis (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

For one of our monthly food shoots last year at Tasha‘s house in Elgin, she greeted us with the seducing smell of something exotic yet strangely familiar. It was a loaf of freshly baked banana bread with added rum and sultanas. It was so moist and delicious that I had to ask for the recipe.

Tasha found it in Nigella‘s “How to be a Domestic Goddess”, but changed it slightly to include desiccated coconut instead of walnuts, and salted butter instead of unsalted. This is honestly one of the best recipes for banana bread that I have tasted, and I can strongly recommend it. Nigella says on her website that you can add some cocoa powder and chocolate chips, which would make it darker and even more heavenly. But the choice is yours.

I love serving this bread thickly sliced topped with double cream (or clotted cream or mascarpone) and some kind of berry coulis or good quality runny berry jam. It is an excellent choice for breakfast in bed for your lover on Valentines Day or on a romantic weekend, might I add. Decadent, indulgent, utterly delicious.

I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary on the 14th of February this year. I’m a very, very lucky girl to be married to Schalk. He is kind, honest, an amazing father, and the best friend I could ever wish for. Did I mention he is tall, dark and dangerously handsome? Here’s to many more breakfasts in bed for the two of us!

Freshly baked rum and raisin banana bread (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Ingredients:

  • 100 g sultanas or raisins (both work very well, but I prefer sultanas)
  • 75 ml dark rum
  • 175 g cake flour
  • 10 ml baking powder
  • 2.5 ml bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 2.5 ml salt
  • 30 g (125 ml) desiccated coconut
  • 125 g salted butter (melted)
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 small ripe bananas (or 3 large, about 300 g mashed banana)
  • 5 ml vanilla extract

Method:

  1. An hour before you start baking, place the sultanas/raisins and rum in a small saucepan and heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately, cover with a lid, and leave to soak for an hour.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 170 C.
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients together and add the coconut.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the melted butter and sugar. Now beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the bananas, sultanas with rum, and vanilla. Don’t worry if it looks like the mixture has “split”.
  5. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, and stir well after each bit.
  6. Pour into a loaf tine of about 23 x 13 x 7 cm (9 x 5 x 3 inches) and bake in the middle of your oven for 50-60 minutes. The outside should be a nutty brown colour.
  7. Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin.

Tip: You can also make beautifully soft muffins from the same recipe, just bake them for about 20-25 minutes.

 

Credits:

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

Food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Peach galette

28 Feb

Seasonal peach galette with vanilla ice cream (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Today is the last official day of summer in SA, so I’m going to sneak in one last sunny recipe. When summer fruit is abundant, there’s just no better way to use them than in a rustic French fruit galette (or crostata, like the Italians call it). The pastry is buttery and flaky, the fruit is tender and intense, and the result is just so much more than the sum of its original parts.

To make this galette even tastier, I make a batch of almond paste (marzipan) and coarsely grate this over the prepared pastry base before arranging the fruit. This adds a delicious soft and gooey aspect to the tart, as well as that almond flavour that I love so much. If you don’t like almonds, you can leave this out completely.

The recipe for the pastry comes from one of my food icons, Ina Garten. She had a specialty food store called The Barefoot Contessa for many years (now also the name of her famous American TV show), and baked hundreds of crostatas in her years. I love the texture of this pastry and didn’t want to change a thing about it. Ina’s recipe makes enough for two delicious galettes, so you can freeze the second half for another time if you like.

Pastry: (makes 2 standard sized galettes)

(Recipe for pastry by Ina Garten)

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 250 g cold butter, diced
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) ice water

Almond paste: (enough for 2 galettes)

  • 100 g (250 ml) ground almonds
  • 250 ml icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon almond essence
  • 1 egg white (large egg)

Filling: (enough for 2 galettes)

  • 1 egg, lightly whisked (for brushing)
  • 6 large cling peaches, peeled and sliced (pits removed) – or use any other seasonal fruit except strawberries and bananas
  • 15-30 ml cinnamon sugar

Method:

For the pastry: Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor. Pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the iced water all at once while the motor is running. As soon as the dough starts to come together, remove it from the bowl onto a floured surface. Press into a disk shape, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the almond paste: Place all the ingredients together in a food processor. Process until it comes together into a ball (add more icing sugar if your mixture is too sticky). Remove and refrigerate (for at least an hour) in an airtight plastic bowl.

To assemble: Pre-heat oven to 220 C. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of about 5 mm. Transfer carefully onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush the top of the pastry with egg, leaving a 3cm border around the edges. Coarsely grate the almond paste all over the brushed egg pastry surface, then cover with peach slices. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before serving with vanilla ice cream (serve hot or at room temperature).

 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

Prop Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Bobotie with yellow pappardelle and poached egg

17 Feb

Yellow pappardelle with bobotie, poached egg and spekboom leaves (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

This month we are celebrating Cape Town as the World Design Capital for 2014. One of the four themes of design month is “Beautiful Things. Beautiful Spaces.” It’s a celebration of all the beautiful things from our beautiful continent: inspiring and original architecture, interiors, landscaping, food, furniture, fashion, jewellery, craft, art, publications, illustration, film, photography and creativity. And the colour scheme: yellow.

In that light, I’ve decided to take an old classic – bobotie, and put a new jacket on it. Bobotie with yellow rice is synonymous with Cape Town and the Bo-Kaap. Most of us grew up with this fragrant, fruity beef mince dish, and it is still a favourite in so many households. Instead of yellow rice, I’ve made bright yellow pappardelle pasta, and topped it with a softly poached egg instead of the traditional layer of baked egg custard. Not only does it look beautiful, but it will certainly put a smile on anyone’s face that realises that this is their much loved bobotie with a new dress on.

My favourite recipe for a traditional bobotie comes from Huisgenoot’s Top 500 Wenresepte, called “Lekkerbekbobotie”. It contains a seemingly long list of ingredients, but every single one of them is necessary in creating a slightly sticky, fragrant, fruity meat dish that is just scrumptious. I’ve made this bobotie many many times over the past 7 years, and it is fool proof.

For this recipe twist, I don’t transfer the bobotie from the pot to a baking dish, and I don’t cover it with a layer of baked custard. I simply dish it up on the pappardelle, top it with a soft gooey poached egg and serve it with sambals as usual. The colour of the turmeric-stained papperdelle is just gorgeous, and your guests will love this new approach to a South African classic.

For the bobotie: (“Lekkerbekbobotie” from Huisgenoot Top 500 Wenresepte, compiled by Carmen Niehaus)

Serves 8 with papperdelle

  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 15 ml finely grated fresh ginger
  • 15 ml curry powder (mild or spicy, whatever you prefer)
  • 5 ml each turmeric powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, ground cinnamon
  • 1 kg lean beef mince
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 30 ml fine apricot jam
  • 60 ml fruit chutney
  • 30 ml soft brown sugar
  • 30 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 30 ml tomato paste
  • 2 slices white bread, processed to crumbs and soaked in water
  • 250 ml seedless raisins
  • 250 ml grated apple
  • 1 bay leaf

Method for bobotie:

  1. In a large heavy based pot, heat the oil and sauté the onions until they are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another minute.
  3. Add the dry spices and fry for another minute.
  4. Now add the beef mince in small batches, breaking up any lumps and frying until it changes colour from pink to pale brown, taking care not to let it brown too much. Season well with salt & pepper.
  5. Now add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Turn down heat to very low, then cover and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring ever now and then to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the papperdelle:

  • 500g cake flour
  • 15 ml turmeric powder
  • 5 XL eggs
  • 15 ml vegetable oil to prevent sticking, drizzled over pasta after cooking

Method for pappardelle:

  1. Place the flour, turmeric and eggs in a food processor. Process until the mixture resembles large couscous grains, then turn it out on a wooden surface and press into a ball.
  2. Using a pasta machine, roll the dough out in batches, making long thin sheets (I roll it out to my thinnest setting). Use extra flour if necessary. Place each sheet on a lightly floured surface, then cut into wide strips. If you are not going to cook them immediately, hang the strips on a rack to prevent sticking.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta all at once, then cook for about 3-4 minutes until al dente (do not overcook). Drain and lightly drizzle with flavourless oil (like canola) to prevent sticking. NB: Don’t leave it unattended, it is best served at once.

For serving:

  • 1 softly poached egg per person
  • freshly sliced banana
  • desiccated coconut
  • fruit chutney

To serve: Place two strips of pappardelle on a plate, then top with a spoonful of bobotie, then another strip or 2 of papperdelle and another spoonful of bobotie. Top with a softly poached egg and serve with freshly sliced banana, desiccated coconut, and fruit chutney.

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

Prop Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Panzanella with smoked chicken, capers & basil

6 Feb

Panzanella: a traditional Tuscan bread salad (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

These days, most of us have access to great bread. Here in my hometown of Stellenbosch I can buy a large loaf of freshly baked sour dough bread any day of the week at Schoon de Compagne, and I use it in so many ways.

On the first day, I just eat it on its own, drenched with great quality olive oil or topped with a thick slab of cold Ayrshire butter. On day 2, I eat it toasted as bruschetta with various toppings: slow roasted tomatoes with garlic, marinated peppers, baked aubergines with feta, the list is endless. On day 3, I use it to make croutons or process it to make breadcrumbs for toppings and stuffings. The uses are infinite and the bread just keeps on giving. (For more ideas, check out Saveur’s 40 favourite recipes with stale bread.)

The Italians have great ways of using stale bread. They make fantastic soups, salads, meat dishes and even puddings with it – economical and oh so tasty. One of my favourite Italian inspired ways of using a stale loaf is to make panzanella, a traditional summery Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes. There are many versions of panzanella, but mine contains tomatoes, yellow peppers, capers, basil, red onion and smoked chicken.

And here’s a handy tip: if you want to give your panzanella an authentic Italian look, don’t cut the bread, rather break it into chunks. This way the salad has so much more character. It’s a meal on its own, but don’t be afraid to serve it as one of many dishes on a lazy, extended, weekend lunch with lots of great wine in a shady spot under the trees.

Ingredients: (serves 4 as a main meal, or 6 as a side dish)

For the “croutons”:

  •  about 3 cups of stale torn bread chunks (preferably sour dough or ciabatta)
  • 60 ml olive oil

For the dressing:

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced/crushed
  • salt and black pepper for seasoning

For the salad:

  • 3 cups toasted croutons (see above)
  • 2 small smoked chicken breasts, sliced or torn into smaller chunks
  • 250 g mixed small tomatoes, sliced in half or in smaller slices
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeds and pith removed, sliced
  • 50 g capers (drained)
  • 1/4 cup of finely sliced red onion (optional)
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves

Method:

  1. For the croutons: In a large pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and then toast the bread chunks until they are golden brown on all sides. Toss often until ready, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. For the dressing: mix all ingredients together in a cup, using a fork to whisk. Set aside.
  3. For the salad: in a large mixing bowl, add the croutons, chicken breast chunks, sliced tomatoes, sliced pepper, capers, red onion and basil. Pour half the dressing over the salad, then mix well. Add more dressing according to taste – I like it when the bread absorbs a lot of the dressing, resulting in a softer tangy chew. Transfer the mixed salad to a beautiful salad bowl, and serve immediately.

Note: If your loaf of stale bread has a very hard crust on the outside, cut it off before tearing the bread into chunks.

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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