This delicios recipe was inspired by a very interesting ingredient list (see list below) I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged competition. See list of ingredients and rules below.
As a family, when I was growing up we used to eat “mince and pasta” every Saturday. You see we used to have dishes for Monday, Tuesday etc. and this was our Saturday dish. So l decided last Saturday that I wanted to make a ragù with the beef shin and I replaced the pasta with carrot and potato crush. I also added fresh parsley to the ragù and the crush for that fresh Italian originality. This crush with pepper and butter was also something I grew up with during my childhood. I remember it was one of my dads’ favourite dishes – he loved to scoop it onto his plate while it was still piping hot. He always added that extra bit of butter and a pinch more black pepper. He was so in my thoughts when I made this dish. You would have loved it dad… today I missed you so much. Love always…
Ingredient List and rules for challenge #2
1 Knorr beef stock pot
1 Block of beef suet
1 Punnet PnP Soup Mix (containing one potato, one carrot, one celery stalk)
500g Beef Shin
PnP star anise
PnP white wine vinegar
You may omit one ingredient (except the 1 Knorr Beef Stock Pot) from the above list.
You may add two fresh ingredients (fruit, vegetables or herbs)
You may add one grocery item.
You can use any and all ingredients from the approved Freshly Blogged Pantry List. Olive oil, Vegetable oil, Salt, Pepper, Flours (cake, wholewheat, bread and self raising), Baking powder, Bicarbonate of soda, Yeast, Butter, Milk, Eggs, Sugar (granulated, castor, icing, brown and treacle),Stock (powder or liquid – beef, chicken, fish, vegetable)
ragù with potato + carrot crush = pick n pay freshlyblogged challenge #2
It is now a bygone age but the late 1800’s was an interesting period in history. Coca-Cola was first put into bottles and thankfully a useful little drug-maker introduced Aspirin to the modern world with all its headaches – and is still proving useful to me today for those odd occasions of excess :-).
… Then of course there was the Waldorf-Astoria salad. It is recorded that Oscar Tshirky or “Oscar of the Waldorf” was the maître d’hôtel of this famous New York City landmark from the opening of the hotel until he retired in 1943. Although he was not a chef, it seems he was largely attributed with suggesting or inspiring food ideas, and tradition says he invented the Waldorf Salad for the hotel opening.
The Waldorf salad lives on in its elegance and simplicity. It is traditionally made with fresh apples, celery on a bed of lettuce and then dressed in mayonnaise – the walnuts, it is believed were only added later. Over the years it now has several guises with variations being served with grapes, turkey and dried fruit.
So when my mom gave me this beautiful box of fresh sweet prunes I decided to add these to my version of this salad classic. I chose to caramalize the walnuts and added some fennel seeds to my mayonnaise. The caramelized walnuts add a crunchy texture to the salad and I also added some Appletizer and vinegar to the mayonnaise to thin it and to add a bit of sparkle to the dressing – perfect for Mother’s day.
waldorf salad with a sparkling twist = food elegance from a bygone era for mother's day
On one of those balmy, yet Cape wintery type days my husband and I were invited to lunch at some lovely friends of ours in their beautifully renovated old family home. It was one of those blissful afternoons spent cooking, sharing and laughing in the kitchen in between glasses of champagne. Whilst my friend and I nattered about this and that, the men drank beer, talked rugby and entertained the young kids as they excitedly ran in and out the house, chasing rugby balls, soccer balls and even the resident rooster. You know it was one of those special few hours where you completely forget about the troubles and stresses of the week, the chores or the unfinished laundry back at home. It was just one of those perfect afternoons.
Back in the kitchen, my friend made this amazing dish of ham hock, beans, chorizo and tomatoes – her husband was quick to say that despite his wife’s considerable resume of cooking qualifications and accomplishments that it was actually his dish – yes he claimed it! I was duly informed that there was no actual recipe and they just throw things together– it was thick and rich and perfect with a piece of bread at the bottom. This is my type of cooking. This is cooking at its best – it’s slow, it’s full of flavour and full of love.
Most of the time, I too cook without recipes but being a blogger I have since forced myself into the discipline of writing everything down. So here you go – this is my version of this splendid ham hock soup pot – it is so delish and so nurturing and perfect for a cold winter’s night. To make matters and preparation simple I decided to use three ingredients of everything – and it worked out perfectly. You need about 4 hours for this so it may be a good idea to make it the day before.
There is also no doubt that this soup needs to be prepared with love and working your way through a few glasses of good red wine, swapping stories and spending some carefree idle hours in the company of good friends.
ham hock soup pot + wine + friends = perfect winter's day
3 Tins of beans (butter beans or black eyed beans etc)
30g Chorizo sliced thinly (optional)
Fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Then add all the other ingredients except the beans + chorizo + oats and simmer for 3 hours.
After 3 hours add the beans, chorizo and oats and simmer for another hour.
Take the hock out – shred the meat and discard the skin and fat. Throw the meat back in the soup and serve piping hot with a delicious gremolate and some chopped chillies. Oh, yes and some chunky freshly baked bread.
A hangover is the wrath of grapes. ~Author Unknown
They say that a Bloody Mary cocktail can cure hangovers – I think we all need to know this before the silly season gets underway…. But does it work? Is it fact or mere fiction? I decided to try this one out myself – so just last week with a very hectic social schedule filling my outlook calendar I decided it was a good time to plan a good hangover and test this myth or truth. So I attended a social function where the wine was literally on tap… (I booked a driver to ensure that I made it home safely), went home and decided to finish off my little experiment by rounding the evening off with a few more whiskeys – just a couple of night caps you know. I felt fabulous that evening – did a few dances for the hubby and went to bed. The next morning not so fabulous … what on earth was I thinking? I am no scientist…on cue though Rick woke me up with a Bloody Mary in bed! Thankfully it was Saturday morning, but whichever way you look at it … facing a cocktail concoction that that time of the morning can scare even a full-time professional drinker! For some crazy reason, I had to finish what I started, so with eyes wide shut, I tilted the head and knocked-back the Bloody Mary thingy. I lay about curiously waiting for this healing elixir to do its curative work. An hour later, no change, I still felt 10 000 hammers in my head. This Bloody Mary was clearly nursing somewhere else – or had taken the day off. It was – and is in my opinion a myth. I do know that scientific experiments are verified by a series of tests, so to be fair I decided to take this test to the next level.
If the Bloody Mary did not do its work in a cocktail glass perhaps the sum of its ingredients would be a better tonic if they were deconstructed. I took a cherry tomato injected it with a few drops of green tobasco, then I took a short shot glass of vodka and placed it adjacent to a bowl of salt.
The regimen is then to dip the tabasco infused tomato into the vodka and then douse it in the salt and pop it in your mouth. I added a bean for some protein and then a celery stick for the more traditional version. It is just so fab.
Did this cure my hangover? I reckon that you will have to go through quite a few kilos of tomatoes before this deconstructed Bloody Mary will make some sort of dent on a decent hangover.
So my deconstructed Bloody Mary may not be the cure for hangovers but try it – it will definitely be the showstopper at your next summer soiree or cocktail party!
Vegetable Soup – A couple of weeks back I invited a few foodie friends over to watch the finale of Mastechef SA, as it was winter I thought it would be appropriate to put on a large pot of my vegetable soup for the occasion. It went down a treat; the problem came about when they all asked me to share the recipe. This proved to be quite difficult as I don’t have a recipe for this soup. The way it works in my house is that I make soup on Sundays. I open the fridge, take out all the veggies + herbs that I did not use over the previous week and make a steaming pot of soup with it. So…to be frank, the recipe below is a list of all the items leftover in my fridge from last week…
If you think the recipe seems a bit long, do not be put off, once you get the hang of it and taste of it you will be making this soup for generations to come. The thing about soup is, you have to make it your own … put in the effort and spend that little extra time…I can promise you it is worth every little spoonful. Enjoy making it and remember to serve it with love.
I do have 10 tips that I have picked up along the way that I would like to share with you when making this soup:
1. Don’t be in a hurry – take your time… and love the process – that is why I normally do it on Sundays – it takes time to grate and chop. Make big bowl of this soup… the soup freezes very well and will never go to waste!
2. Use the veggies + herbs – even lettuce, rocket – whatever you have in your fridge or veggie basket…..the stuff you did not use during the week and want to throw away.
3. Look in your freezer and use all those small packets of frozen veg that you still have not got around to using…
4. The five basic vegetable ingredients that you have to put in to your pot are the following: potatoes, carrots, onions, celery + tomatoes.
5. I always leave the skin on all my vegetables.
6. I grate my vegetables …that is if they are grate-able – it cooks faster and I feel the flavours infuse just that much better.
7. Veggies like broccoli and cauliflower – use the stems – cut them into thin slices – it adds to the beautiful chunkiness of the soup.
8. Parmesan skins – when you buy and use parmesan – don’t throw the skin or rind away – keep them in your freezer and use this in your soup – it adds a wonderful richness.
9. The secret ingredients of my soup : cloves, pesto (any flavour), whole pepper corns, parmesan cheese skins and grated, instant tomato cream soup, oats, good stock to cover the veggies, Worcestershire sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and always a bit of butter.
10. To serve always finish your soup with a drizzle of olive oil , chopped parsley and some parmesan shavings.
350 g Tomatoes either chopped or rosa tomatoes halved
200g Baby marrows - sliced
150g Cauliflower - cut into chunks
130g Broccoli - cut into chunks
2 Long pieces of celery - chopped
80g Cucumber - chopped
300g Frozen peas
50g Sundried tomatoes - chopped
10g Fresh coriander - chopped
25g Garlic - grated
20 Black peppercorns
20g Fresh parsley - chopped
1t Chillie flakes
410g Tinned chopped tomatoes (1 tin)
2 Stock cubes (Vegetable or chicken)
75-100g Parmesan skins
3L Water (or 3L of good stock – then omit the stock cubes and remember to add more salt)
100g Dry pasta (I use spaghetti and normally break the spaghetti up into small pieces)
2x 410g Sugar beans (drain the fluid) – you can even replace this with tins of baked beans
60 ml Olive oil
1 Packet cream of tomato soup mixed with 500 ml cold water
1T Worcestershire sauce
100g Pesto (any basil or rocket pesto)
100g Parmesan cheese grated
1t Black pepper
Put all A ingredients into a large pot and bring to boil. Simmer for 30 minutes on medium heat. Please remember to stir frequently. As this is a big pot of ingredients, it can easily burn if you don't keep a watchful eye on it.
Now add all the B ingredients and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
Then add all the C ingredients – stir well – and simmer for 10 minutes.
At the end please taste for seasoning – adding salt and pepper as per your individual taste or preference.
To serve: Drizzle some olive oil over the soup, add some chopped parsley and some parmesan shavings.
Porks sausages + bacon + beer + vegetables – my version of the Irish coddle is one of Rick’s favourite dishes. I am married to a man of Irish descent and what I have learned from our family visits to Ireland – and my husband is that the Irish love beer (Guinness only when in the Emerald Isle) + whiskey + eating potatoes + pork sausages + salmon + they only start a party at 9pm and even if you are around the ripe age of 75 there is still nothing wrong with partying till 4am and passing out on the couch at you friends house if you had too much to drink!! I just love the Irish, it is their spirit, their joviality and perhaps the fact that they are never shy to drink more than me.
For this recipe I have added a few herbs, mustard seeds and some beer and then also added some lemon. I think it’s a bit of modern Coddle and it’s hearty and just perfect in the dead of winter. It is so easy to prepare …everything is in one bowl, meat, veggies etc. So between my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law I think we have come up with a rather decent local version of the Irish coddle! Sleinte!