See me making this recipe live in Afrikaans on Expresso
I am so excited, its Christmas time again! It is a time of happiness and joy, family and friends and it is a chance to experiment with all the wonderful Christmas foodie thingies… Too often people say that Christmas is just too busy with all the preparations, the decorations, the cooking and the sweating but it is not. Folks, Christmas does not have to be complicated. Just keep things simple, vibrant and flavourful and you can’t go wrong…
My mom always says that we eat far too much over the festive season particularly on Christmas Day … with the roast turkey, the smoked gammon or ham, leg of lamb and every other meat variety under the sun. She actually banned the glazed gammon from the Christmas table this year …but Christmas for me without gammon is like Christmas without turkey or Father Christmas arriving without presents! So I have decided to disguise my “gammon” (I used Black Forest Ham) in a lovely fresh summer salad.
In this recipe, perhaps the most important part of this salad is the dressing. You can have the most beautiful ingredients but if the dressing is dull the salad is dull. Many people just do not pay enough attention to their salad dressing and it is kind of like the angel on top of the Christmas tree.
The salad dressing I have mixed-up today includes orange blossom honey and rose syrup. Both of these flavours compliment the strawberries and the rose syrup lingers in your mouth for a while, causing the brain to be almost spirited off to another country in an instant – perhaps Arabia, India or Morocco …
Adding the little pink peppercorns just lifts the whole dish into another dimension and just one little bite sets the Christmas bells ringing. Happy Christmas cooking!
strawberry carpaccio = christmas on a plate
- For salad
- 200g Strawberries – finely sliced
- 100g Black Forrest ham
- Curly lettuce
- 10 Cherries - fresh (optional)
- For goats’ cheese crostinis
- 100g Goats cheese – plain
- 30g Cranberries - dried
- 1 Basil leave – big – chiffonade the basil leaf
- Melba toasts or crostinis – 3 per person
- Pink peppercorns
- For Balsamic Glaze
- 125ml Balsamic Vinegar
- 2T Honey – Orange Blossom
- ½t Rose syrup
- 2T Water
- 5 Pink peppercorns – crushed
- Pinch of salt
- For balsamic glaze - Put all ingredients in little pot and boil for 8-10 min over medium heat. Remove from stove and allow to cool down.
- For goats’ cheese crostinis - Mix the goats cheese + dried cranberries + basil together. Smear the goat and cranberry spread over each of the little toasts. Carefully place 2-3 pink peppercorns onto each crostini.
- To serve - Arrange the sliced strawberries on the bottom of the plate. Drizzle with a bit of balsamic glaze. Place a few salad leaves over the top. Add the goats’ cheese crostinis + ham + cherries + and extra peppercorns. Drizzle with more balsamic glaze and serve
I like some things in life hot and easy – like my husband 🙂 and then these easy to make hot chilli poppers! The ever popular chilli + cheese has to be up there as one of the best combinations that goes well with a cold beer or two …
But chilli poppers on the whole are quite messy and tricky things to make as they tend to ooze out of their casings – so I decided to put all the ingredients in a spring roll wrapper and roll it up snuggly into a chilli cheroot of sorts. To make it even easier I used already cut chillies – you know the ones with that sour, tangy taste – and some white cheddar cheese. This is easy, no fuss and you can put this on a plate in no time … hot + easy + yummy …
Watch me make this by clicking here.
chilli popper cigars = hot + easy … the way I like things
- Spring roll wrappers – you can buy these at any Chinese supermarket
- White cheddar cheese – cut into 1.5cm x 1.5cm x 7 cm oblong lengths or chunks
- Pickled jalapeno peppers – the sliced up ones – drained and dried on a paper towel
- Cake flour mixed with a bit of water into a paste
- Oil for frying
- Take one wrapper and add a chunk of cheese to the wrapper, add a few chillies and roll-up (see diagram below). Use the flour paste on the seams of the wrapper when you fold it up. It will keep the popper together and it will also prevent the cheese from escaping or oozing out.
- Fry in oil at 185°C for 4-5 minutes till golden brown.
- Let it cool down, poor yourself a cold beer, a cider or champers if you wish and tuck in.
My husband, Rick, buys our weekly veggies on a Friday – yes, he does ladies … and there is always a surprise or two in the veggie basket for me … some exotic or peculiar addition to tickle my culinary brain. It’s kinda like a mystery box that I get to explore over the weekends. Last week, he walked in with a punnet of passion fruit. Passion fruit or granadilla as they are more commonly referred to in these parts is one of the most flavoursome of fruits and it takes something really simply to migrate it to an extraordinary level.
Curiosity got the better of me and did a little research on the World Wide Web… to my shock and horror it took me straight to a few porn sites! Clearly, these purveyors of porn were taking liberal interpretations of this innocently delicious fruit. I immediately closed my computer and ran to my fridge to cool down! As it would then happen, I had some Ricotta cheese in the fridge so I decided to mix the two – it set my taste buds racing. I loved it.
I dished it up in in the empty granadilla cups. Be tempted with these forbidden fruits, it is after all food porn – with no age restrictions.
passion fruit cups = food porn with no age restrictions
- 250g Ricotta cheese
- 20g Icing sugar
- 125ml Fresh Granadilla pulp from about 3 to 4 large-sized granadillas
- Scoop out the granadilla pulp, mix all the ingredients together…and put back into the granadilla shells. Put in fridge – serve cold…with a sultry smile.
At the recent Bloggers Indaba we received amazing goodie bags and one of the items in the giveaway was a Beetroot-Rhubarb-Fig-Balsamic-Chutney from Pick and Pay. I love rhubarb and figs and knew that I was going to love this chutney. Once back home, I tasted some of the chutney and it was just yummy. By chance there was also a punnet of beautifully ripe guavas staring at me from my fruit bowl on my kitchen table. I got thinking….one slice of ripe guava, a good chunk of camembert and topped with the chutney and coriander leaf or two. Wow…a kind of explosion of different, tropical tastes… again an unusual combination but oh so good…fresh and fun…you will be a fan too…try it!
I don’t have specific measurements or recipe – just buy the mentioned ingredients, poor yourself a glass of wine + slice + play + enjoy!