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picasso’s chicken

picasso’s chicken

“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them”- Pablo Picasso

When I saw Anke’s article in Fresh Living magazine using Picasso as one of her inspirations, I knew that I would have to look no further. The first thing that came to my mind was the Spanish painter’s beautiful chicken drawings. These were not paintings, just beautiful drawings. It was like he wanted to be normal – to be like us, to draw and not paint. But these were still no normal chickens – these were Picasso’s chickens.

{This recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #8 competition}

Picasso's chicken

I could never match up to his artistic genius, but to a certain measure our philosophical palette shares similar thoughts about life.

“I am an artist too, you see, when it comes to cooking, I cook ingredients the way I think of them, not the way I see them.”

My food creation is something of a deconstructed paella – just without the rice of course. Each of the ingredients – including the sherry can be found in your traditional Spanish paella.

I really wanted a smoky paprika taste to my chicken so I char grilled the peppers and added them with the chorizo under the skin and then used the peppers with garlic and lemon on top of the skin. The garlic mash was a layer of colour and flavour I added to this food canvas and works brilliantly with chicken.

So this is my culinary interpretation of a Picasso’s chicken. Remember … we are all artists in our own right and we must remember to draw inspiration from the canvas of life. Carpe diem!



Tips for char grilling peppers

Oven: Preheat the grill. Half your peppers and coat with olive oil. Place the peppers skin side-up under the grill. Grill until the skin is blackened. Place the charred peppers into a plastic bag and allow to sweat. Remove the skin filament from the peppers ( I love to keep the skin on).

To grill: over a gas hob: Using a tong (or long braai tong) hold the peppers over the open flame until blackened. Place directly on the hob and rotate over the open flame occasionally. Put in bag to sweat. Remove skin.
Preserve: Add the peppers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt to a jar. Leave in closed jar in fridge. Delicious on sandwiches – try it on toast too!

picasso's chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • Chicken and marinade
  • 1.3 kg chicken spatchcocked and cut in half
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup Sedgwick’s Old Brown Sherry
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1tsp salt (use smoked salt if you have)
  • 1tsp milled black pepper
  • Chorizo Stuffing
  • ½ onion, chopped into small blocks
  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • 100g chorizo, sliced into small blocks
  • 1tsp fresh origanum, chiffonade
  • ½ red char grilled pepper, chopped with skin (see below tips how to char grill a pepper)
  • Wet smoky pepper rub
  • 2½ red char grilled peppers, chopped with skin on
  • 2 tsp fresh origanum, chiffonade
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tsp lemon rind, grated
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp salt (use smoked salt if you have)
  • ½ tsp milled black pepper
  1. Marinade - Mix all the marinade ingredients together and rub into chicken and marinade for about 1 hour. Set aside. Turn a few times.
  2. Chorizo stuffing - Fry the onion in the butter until translucent.
  3. Add to all the other ingredients. Don’t fry the chorizo, we want it to cook underneath the skin so the fat can seep in and flavour the chicken. Set aside.
  4. Wet smoky pepper rub - Blitz all the ingredients together to a pulp. Set aside.
  5. Basting, stuffing and roasting the chicken
  6. Chicken - Preheat the oven to 200 ºC.
  7. Take the marinated chicken and loosen the skin carefully with your fingers – as far as you can down the thigh and wing as well. Stuff the chorizo mixture under the skin. Take toothpicks and fasten the sides. We don’t want the stuffing to fall out or to lose the flavour of the chorizo fat.
  8. Then generously pour the wet rub over the chicken. Make sure the whole chicken is covered.
  9. Roast for 40 minutes until cooked through. The juices must run clear.
  10. Remove the cooked chicken from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before carving into portions.

garlic mash
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 650 g boiled potatoes, skinned and passed through a potato press
  • ¾ cup milk, warmed-up
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  1. Cook the potatoes and mash. Add the milk and salt.
  2. Fry the garlic in the butter – wait for the butter just to start to discolour then add it piping hot to the mash. The garlic must just slightly brown and crisp up – not burn. Mix through and taste for seasoning.
  3. Serve immediately.

roasted chicken curry = frindian chicken

roasted chicken curry = frindian chicken


It’s winter and its time to cook something that will help keep the chill of winter at bay. For this, there is nothing better than a wonderful curry.

I was very fortunate to spend a weekend with renowned Chef, Reza Mahammad a month or so ago and he told me about the new trend that he had started – “Frindian cuisine” – yip Frindian … this is where you combine classic French cooking techniques with the wonderful variety and diversity of Indian spices.

This is a not an easy task but Reza, the genius, makes this work so brilliantly.

Back home I decided to try my own Frindian chicken – by roasting a chicken the French way { the technique I always use is from the book “Le Cordon Bleu at home”} and using my own Indian spice mix – this dish was such a hit around the table there were only a few bony morsels left. This is the kind of dish where you need to get stuck in with your hands and eat this with gusto – it’s delicious, tasty and extremely alluring. Not only does the dish dress up to impress, but the taste is hot and complex. The flavours seem to just stitch two continental food styles in seamless fashion and so worth the effort.

On how to truss a chicken click here.

Frindian Chicken



roasted chicken curry = frindian chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 Chicken – about 2 kg’s
  • 3T Butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1T Vegetable oil
  • My spice mix – mix all the ingredients below together.
  • 1T Grated fresh garlic
  • 1T Grated fresh ginger
  • 2t Chillie flakes – you can replace these with 1 or 2 chopped strong red chillies depending on your individual taste
  • 2T Masala mix [strong curry powder]
  • 1T Cumin seeds
  • 1T Coriander [fine]
  • ½t Cinnamon [fine]
  • Fresh coriander for serving
  1. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel.
  3. Loosen the skin on the topside of the chicken and take the Marsala mix and try to massage it under the skin – make sure you rub it all over the chicken. Do it carefully and take your time. You don’t want to break the skin at any point. Even try and get some Marsala into the little legs and wings. Rub the spice on the inside of the chicken as well.
  4. Now season the cavity with salt and pepper.
  5. Truss the chicken.
  6. Then rub the outside of the chicken with the butter and oil and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Place the chicken on the side in a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes.
  8. Then turn the chicken onto its other side and roast for another 20 minutes.
  9. Finally turn the chicken with the breast side-up, add a ½ cup of water to the pan and roast till the juices run clear – about another 20 – 30 minutes.
  10. Let it rest for 15 minutes covered with aluminium foil. The juices will be absorbed into the meat and it will be far easier to carve.
  11. While resting the chicken, bring the remaining juices in the roasting tray to the boil on top of the stove – scrape to release any cooked meat that is still at the bottom of the tray. Add a bit of water and reduce till ⅓. Spoon this over your meat at the table.
  12. Remove the twine, carve and enjoy your Frindian chicken with your bestest friends.

chicken meatballs with apple + cumin + mint salsa = for january budgets

chicken meatballs with apple + cumin + mint salsa = for january budgets

Indian chicken meatballs with Indian bread

The start of each year invariably sees most of us stretched to the limit after all the expenses over the festive season, the food, the gifts, the wine – it all adds up and still somehow it manages to be more than we originally budgeted for. I was fortunate enough to spend a few short days in Europe over the past month and swapping Rands for Euros is something that could make one quickly lose ones appetite. But it was wonderful and it was worth it. Just experiencing the different cultures, the history, the food and the flavours provides an inspiration that goes way beyond currency conversions! I have so much to write about from the simplest foods from the street restaurante and pastelarias of Lisbon to the simple sophistication of Parisian cuisine.

But more of this in future chapters…. One thing that remains universal is the budget-beating chicken. It remains a constant on any menu the world over and it is definitely the protein of choice in Europe at the moment. We all make the mistake of taking chicken for granted but we must always remember the many ways in which it is spiced-up, dressed-up or served up from countries in Europe + India + Mexico to the shores of Morocco. With a bit of creativity you can delve into the delights of chicken in a thousand different international ways without ever having to leave your kitchen … and to boot, you can beat the budget blues!

As a start I thought I would share my Indian chicken meatball recipe today. It’s really simple and the apple + cumin salsa makes this dish something extraordinary. I served it in a phulka but you can serve it in anything like a roti + pancake etc.

Indian chicken meatballs

chicken meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 500g Minced chicken breasts (skinned, with any fat pieces removed)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Medium onion (grated)
  • 4T Fresh coriander (chopped)
  • 1t Red marsala (wet) - click here for recipe
  • 2t Green marsala (wet) - click here for recipe
  • 2t Fresh ginger and garlic mix - click here for recipe
  • 1t Oil
  • ¼ t Turmeric
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 Squeeze of lemon juice
  • For the tempering of spice
  • 3T Cooking oil
  • 3 Cloves
  • 3 Cardamom pods
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  1. Put all the chicken mince ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix through.
  2. Taking a handful of the mixture at a time, roll in meatballs (about the size of a golf ball).
  3. Tip: Keep a bowl of water next to you – wet your hand in the water so that the meat does not stick to your hand.
  4. Heat the oil in the pan on medium heat, adding the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon sticks. Let it fry for about 3 minutes.
  5. Now add your chicken balls. Fry until cooked through and golden brown in colour.
  6. Tip: If you are in a hurry, add a dash of water to the pan and put the lid on.

apple + cumin + mint salsa
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 ½ Green apples (leave the peel or skin on)
  • 2t Fresh mint finely chopped
  • ½t Cumin seeds
  • 1t Green marsala (wet)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Juice of ½ to a whole lemon (all depends how juicy it is)
  1. Chop the apples with skin still on into small little blocks.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 500g Flour
  • 1T Cooking oil
  • 1t Cumin seeds
  • 1t Salt
  • 1T Sugar
  • 10g Dry yeast
  • 375ml Luke warm water
  • Oil for frying
  1. Put flour, oil, cumin, salt and sugar in mixer. Mix for a minute or two.
  2. Add the dry yeast and mix through.
  3. Add the luke warm water slowly till it forms a dough.
  4. Knead the dough in the mixer for about 5 minutes till soft and elastic – it must still be slightly sticky to the touch.
  5. Put aside in a warm place and let it rise for +- 2 hours.
  6. Punch the dough down.
  7. Roll the dough out flat to approximately 2mm in thickness. Remember to sprinkle a little flour onto your work surface when you are rolling the dough out so it does not stick.
  8. Turn a drinking glass (tumbler) upside down and punch out circles of the dough.
  9. Heat the oil in a wok.
  10. Tip: To check whether the heat of your oil is right – stick the back end of a wooden spoon into the oil – if it bubbles and sizzles immediately around the spoon the oil is at the right temperature.
  11. Stick your dough circles into the heated oil for a minute or two. You will see it forms a bubble. Then turn it around till done - light corn-like colour.
  12. Take your deep fried dough circle out of the wok of frying oil and drain on a paper towel.
  13. To assemble - Open your little Phulka bread pockets.
  14. Add a meatball then add some apple salsa.
  15. I also like an extra squeeze of lemon juice just to give a fresh, zesty taste. Sprinkle with some coriander and enjoy.



poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

poppy’s roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo

We’re fortunate enough to live in a real suburban neigbourhood – picket fences, children in the streets, we don’t ever lock our doors and then we had this most amazing relationship with our neighbours.  Poppy (fromGreece) and Giuseppe (from Malta) were our neighbours for the past 8 years and they have  really become like a  second set of parents.  Poppy and I have always shared an incredible  love for food while the men shared the same love for their gardens.   When  I woke up in the mornings I would hear Poppy working in her kitchen – cooking and baking away on one of her many Greek creations.  There is no-one  in my eyes that  can cook like Poppy – or better than Poppy for that matter.  She is someone who can  take the simplest of ingredients and transform them  into these most amazing dishes.

At times when I was sad or  lonely when hubby was away I used  to sit in her kitchen in my pajamas, having a cup of coffee and waiting for a fresh bread or croissant coming out of her oven – she nurtured my body and soul. In the evenings I will hear a holler from over the wall….Aaa-néééél – then I rushed to the wall and there Poppy would be with a sample (enough for  Rick and I and another two people) of what she cooked during the day.

One of the dishes that she sent over the wall on several occasions was roasted chicken with orzo. Poppy taught me how to make this dish – yes, I have I added my own twist to it – but it’s still my Poppy’s dish.

Poppy and Giuseppe have since moved and our life is not quite the same without them but they are not too far away and never out of my thoughts.

I love you and miss you, Poppy. I made this specially for you on Dinner Divas.

roasted chicken + herby tomato orzo
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • Chicken
  • 6 Chicken thighs
  • 1t Dry oreganum
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Tomato Mix
  • ½ Tin (205g) Rhodes Oreganum and Basil Tomato Mix
  • 1 Tin (410g) Rhodes Whole Peeled Tomatoes – chopped
  • 1t Rhodes Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cloves of garlic finely grated
  • 60ml Olive oil
  • 200g Cherry tomatoes
  • 125ml Dry white wine
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1t Ground black pepper
  • 1t Sugar

  • Pasta Rice
  • 300g Cooked pasta rice
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 250g Grated Halloumni cheese (if you don’t have Halloumni cheese you can replace this with hard grated feta cheese)
  • 1t Dry mint
  • 2T Fresh parsley – finely chopped
  • 2 T Fresh basil – finely chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 °C.
  2. Rub some olive oil onto the chicken pieces.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, sprinkle with the oreganum and then set aside.
  4. Add all the ingredients of the tomato mix into an oven roasting pan and stir well.
  5. Then place the chicken pieces on top of the tomato mix.
  6. Put in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  7. In the meanwhile cook your pasta rice.
  8. Drain the pasta rice with a sieve (not a colander as the rice drops through) and wash under hot water.
  9. Add the olive oil and mix.
  10. Then add the rest of the pasta rice ingredients and mix well.
  11. After 35 minutes take the chicken dish out of the oven.
  12. Remove the chicken pieces and set these aside for the moment.
  13. Also remove the whole baby tomatoes as we are going to use these for the salad later.
  14. Add the pasta rice to the tomato mixture – mix well then add the chicken and thereafter put the whole dish back in the oven for 10 minutes and bake.
  15. Take out of the oven and taste whether further seasoning if necessary.
  16. Serve hot in individual bowls with the pasta rice serving as a bed on which to rest the roasted chicken breasts.


herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta = healthy springtime surprise

herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta = healthy springtime surprise

herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta

My mom, Babs, is in her eighties, extremely healthy and has been a size 10 her whole life. She is one of those “odd” people who does not like butter, cream, fatty foods, deep fried foods, chips and crisps or anything unhealthy and then she also does’nt like too much spices either – not like her not-so-small-foodie-wine-drinking-spice-loving-daughter! Lean proteins, huge salads, vegetables, different kinds of fruit and whole grains are part of her daily regimen – washed down with a cuppa tea or two or ten – and then … always a healthy strong whiskey every single night. I have to admit though that she has been prone to a bit of strong cheese and a dash of olive oil here and there just to keep the body parts in good working order.

So when Babs comes to visit I have to cook something healthy and therefore for our Sunday lunch recently I prepared a chicken breast covered in fresh herbs, some stem broccoli and I served it on parmesan + lemon flavoured pasta. It was delicious, fresh with a light and dreamy springtime flavour… but most importantly … mom approved. Enjoy!

herby chicken + stem broccoli + parmesan and lemon pasta = healthy springtime surprise
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • For the chicken
  • 4 Skinless deboned chicken breasts
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 1 Clove garlic – peeled and sliced in 4 slices length ways
  • 2 T Fresh coriander – chopped
  • 2T Fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1T Fresh basil – chopped
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • For the spaghetti
  • Cook enough spaghetti for 4 people
  • 2T Olive oil
  • 75g Grated parmesan cheese
  • 2T Fresh parsley – chopped
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • For the stem broccoli
  • 4 or more stem broccoli
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Chicken: Make small incisions into the chicken breasts and insert a sliver of garlic into each breast.
  2. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix all chopped herbs together – parsley, coriander and basil.
  4. Then press the breasts in the fresh herbs – so that the herbs coat both sides of the chicken breasts.
  5. Using a non-stick pan fry the breasts till done – while frying squeeze a bit of lemon over the chicken.
  6. When done put aside.
  7. Pasta: Add the parmesan, olive oil and lemon in a bowl – mix well and add to the cooked pasta.
  8. Then mix the parsley through.
  9. Taste the pasta for seasoning – add some more salt and add the black pepper.
  10. Stem broccoli: Cook as per packet instructions – normally only 3-4 minutes.
  11. Immediately put in a bath of ice water.
  12. After a while, warm the broccoli up again in the same pot you have cooked them – add a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  13. To assemble: Place the cooked pasta the bottom of the bowl. Add the stem broccoli and then the chicken breast. To serve, add another drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon and parmesan shavings.