Traditional recipes

Rooibos tea custard with caramelised Golden Delicious apple recipe

Rooibos tea custard with caramelised Golden Delicious apple recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Dessert
  • Fruit desserts
  • Apple desserts

South African Golden Delicious apples have a deep yellow skin and are very sweet to taste. They are available from February to October in major UK supermarkets.

Cambridgeshire, England, UK

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 675ml pouring cream
  • 2 rooibos tea bags
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 105g caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 knob butter
  • 3 South African Golden Delicious apples
  • 15g caster sugar
  • lemon sorbet

MethodPrep:45min ›Cook:40min ›Ready in:1hr25min

  1. For the baked rooibos tea cream, combine the cream, tea bags and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir occasionally until hot, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat, cover and stand to infuse for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160 C / Gas 2.5. Whisk the 105g caster sugar and yolks in a bowl until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the tea bags and reheat the cream over a medium heat until hot, then gradually pour onto the yolk mixture, gently stirring to combine.
  5. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug, pressing to remove as many seeds as possible from the vanilla bean and discarding the bean afterwards.
  6. Stand for 5 minutes, and then skim the foam from the surface. Divide evenly among six 250ml ovenproof glasses.
  7. Place the glasses on a folded tea towel placed in a deep roasting pan, ensuring they are sitting level. Fill the pan with enough hot water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the glasses and cover with foil.
  8. Pierce a few holes in the foil with a skewer to release the steam, then bake until set, but with a slight wobble, 30 to 35 minutes.
  9. Whilst the custards are baking, melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan and add the apple. Sprinkle over the 15g sugar and cook over a low heat, turning occasionally, until the apples are tender and golden brown.
  10. Remove the custards from the oven, remove the foil and stand in the water until cool, about 30 minutes. Remove from the water, dry the glasses and refrigerate until chilled and firm, 2 hours.
  11. Divide the apples among the custards, top with lemon sorbet (if required) and serve immediately.

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Which supermarkets deliver in Conford?

Supermarket delivery service Conford: It is becoming more popular. Your shopping bag full with popular groceries like ActiSnack Fruit Nut Seed, Russell Hobbs 4 Slice Textures Toaster Black and also Bentley Organic Calming Bodywash plus offers from brands like Meet the Alternative may be heavy: someties about 18,3 kilogram. Lifting with bags may be past! Explore the online supermarket Conford right now. Even if you live in an apartment, everything neatly supplied. Online, you select a time slot that suits you. Monday morning at 12:00, a thursday afternoon 13:00 or saturday evening around 17:30, at home or even at work. Check the latest details about Supermarket Delivery Ballymoney

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There are quite a number of bakeries in Conford that also deliver to your home. You will find there Cottage loaf, the online butcher delivers Sirloin Steak. Your grocer delivers at home some Swede, and fruit delivery. Think about Mango or Banana at the supermarket delivery service Conford. We recommend this because: no more tainted food. At a liquor store you order easily a bottle Muskoka Kirby’s Kolsch and obviously a popular wine such as Natureo De-alcoholised Rose Wine 0.5%. By the supermarket you order a bottle Pepsi Lime for the enthusiast. Everyone is suitable to use internet shopping. You can make use of this service the whole day. Early at 11:00 o’clock early in the morning 14:40 o’clock ‘in the afternoon or in the evening at 20:00 o’clock thanks to food delivery Conford. The bakery service, and buying food via internet provides you a lot of convenience. Also try the delivery service of Amazon Pantry, Iceland, Waitrose, Morrisons, Ocado, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Tesco, Aldi. And what about the service of Ocado, Poundworld and Pet Planet. A friends night? Directly order a portion Fruit bun or salt Hula Hoops Golden Hoops, Sour Cream & Chive 6x25g with a discount online. You want a clean house? Check the best Harpic Hygienic Anti-Limescale Toilet Blocks 2x40g offer online.


As many of you know, I spent a full 10 days eating and drinking three times a day in Israel with VIBE Israel and four other vegan bloggers. It was the most amazing, eye-opening trip and I recommend everybody visits Israel ASAP! Because it was first and foremost a food tour, highlighting all the various aspects of Israeli cuisine (it is a melting pot of so many cultures!), we visited A LOT of vegan restaurants. And after the week-long trip was done, my hubsby met me in Tel Aviv and we continued on the hummus-and-falafel filled journey just the two of us.

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416 is a restaurant that has it all - tasty vegan food (including the most incredible mock meats!), great, ambiance and very tasty cocktails. It is a mixture of American and Israeli cuisines and the result is mind-blowing!

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1. To make the toffee apples: space the sugar into a heavy based saucepan and gently dissolve over a low heat. Once sugar has dissolved completely, increase the heat and allow sugar to caramelise until dark golden brown in colour. Working quickly, dip the mini apples into the caramel and allow to set on a tray lined with some baking paper.

2. To make the meringue: Place egg whites into a clean glass bowl and using an electric beater, whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, little by little, and continue to whisk until the meringue is smooth, stiff and glossy. Set aside.

3. To make the caramelised bananas: Heat a little butter in a frying pan and quickly sauté sliced bananas together with the sugar until golden brown. Be careful not to overcook them.

4. To assemble: Heat the malva pudding as per punnet instructions and cut into squares. Place 1 square onto a plate and top with some caramelised bananas followed by some toasted pistachio nuts. Repeat these layers then finally top with some meringue. Using a blow torch, lightly torch the meringue until just golden. Finally drizzle a little caramel sauce and garnish with a mini toffee apple and some extra pistachio nuts. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Inspiration

Beat eggs and sugar together until light and creamy.
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Heat milk and butter in a small, heavy-based saucepan. DO not boil stir until butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir mixture into batter.
Spoon mixture into a greased 23 cm ovenproof tart dish. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 °C for about 40 minutes, or until done. Remove cake from oven. Prick with a fork.
Topping: Melt butter and Marmite together in the microwave and pour over warm cake. Sprinkle with grated cheese and serve warm.

May 2021

Souskluitjies with guava compote

One of the most traditional of West Coast desserts, souskluitjies or dumplings can be made quickly and cheaply and taste delicious when topped with any sweet, sticky compote made with seasonal fruit

For the souskluitjies:
250 ml cake flour
10 ml baking powder
2 ml fine salt
15 ml cold butter
1 egg
125 ml milk
750 ml water
For the guava compote:
6 fresh guavas, peeled and halved
100 g sugar
125 ml water

To make the dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Beat the egg into the milk and combine with the flour mixture to make a batter.
In a large pot, heat the water with a pinch of salt. Once boiling, drop spoonfuls of batter into the water. Cover the pot with its lid and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Spoon the cooked dumplings into a warmed dish until ready to serve.
To make the compote, combine the guava halves, sugar and water in a saucepan. Cook the mixture on high heat until the sugar has dissolved and the fruit has broken down into a thick sauce. Leave the compote to cool slightly.
Serve the souskluitjies in warmed bowls, topped with a drizzle of cream, a spoonful of guava compote and a sprinkling of brown sugar

April 2021

Creamy Biltong, Mushroom & Truffle Tagliatelle

1 grated garlic,
350g assorted mushrooms (chanterelle, oyster, button, chestnut etc)
3 tbsp butter
one tsp chopped fresh thyme
50g Beef biltong
1 tsp truffle oil
50g fresh Parmesan
100ml white wine
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Boil water for pasta in a pot
Place pasta in boiling water with salted water
In a pan, heat up butter and sauté mushrooms for 1-2 mins
Add in garlic for 30 seconds, then white wine and a pinch of salt
Drain pasta once ready and reserve some pasta water
Place pasta into pan with mushroom and stir for 1 min
Add a few tbsp of pasta water to the pan to make sauce thick and creamy
Scatter biltong into pan and stir. Then sprinkle thyme and Parmesan on top
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and truffle oil on top. Add more biltong to your liking

March 2021

Beer-braised lamb shanks with mieliepap

Wine Pairing: Diemersfontein Pinotage

1/4 cup (60ml) sunflower oil
4 French-trimmed lamb shanks
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 1/3 cups (330ml) South African Beer
1 cup (250ml) Massel beef stock
2 cups maize meal (see notes)
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
100g unsalted butter, chopped
250g Swiss brown mushrooms, halved
Flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve

Preheat oven to 140°C. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a roasting pan over medium-high heat. Season lamb, then cook, turning, for 8-10 minutes until browned. Remove from pan.
Add carrot, onion and celery, then cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary and bay, then cook for a further 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, then add the beer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add stock and bring to a simmer. Return lamb shanks to the pan, then cover with baking paper and foil. Cook in the oven for 2 hours or until tender.
Meanwhile, to make the mieliepap, bring 1L (4 cups) water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add maize meal in a slow steady stream, then reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until smooth. Cover and cook for 30 minutes – add a little water if too dry. Stir in milk and 75g butter, then season and remove from heat.
Place the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 25g butter in a frypan over medium-high heat. Add mushroom and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden. Remove from heat.
Transfer lamb to a plate and cover with foil, then strain the liquid into a clean saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes until reduced by half. Remove from heat and stir in mushroom.
Serve the lamb and mieliepap with the mushroom sauce and garnish with parsley.

February 2021

Brunchies (aka Breakfast Bars)

225 g cashews and almonds, chopped
150 g desiccated coconut
3 medium bananas, mashed
10 dates, pitted and finely chopped
½ t bicarbonate of soda
45 g rolled oats
1 T fresh turmeric, grated
For the yoghurt-and-honey drizzle, mix:
½ cup plain yoghurt
2 T honey

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 20 x 20 cm baking tray.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, transfer to the baking tray and press down gently.
Bake for 25 minutes, then allow to cool. Drizzle with the yoghurt mixture and cut into bars before serving.

January 2021

Braaied tomato-and-bulgur wheat salad

Wine Pairing: Hamilton Russel Chardonnay

December 2020

The chef-style Kota

Kota or a skhambane is a South African street food sandwich popular in all Provinces of South Africa. "Kota” is an approximation of the word “quarter,” for the quarter of the loaf of bread that is the base of the sandwich.

2 x 700 g loaves white bread, quartered
1 x 410g can tomato-and-onion braai relish
2 T Peppadews sliced
1 x 200 g punnet Rosa tomatoes
2 sweet red peppers
3 T jalapeño atchar
3 T mango atchar
3 medium everyday potatoes, unpeeled
oil, for deep-frying
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 smoked Russian sausages (or sausage of your choice)
2 x 150 g packet sliced mature Cheddar cheese
2 T butter

Remove the inside of the bread and toast the bread (the soft inner part and the crust) in the oven at 180°C for 5–10 minutes.
Simmer the braai relish, Peppadews and tomatoes in a pan over a medium heat for 10–15 minutes, or until thickened. Add the peppers towards the end of the cooking time with 3-4 minutes to go in the cooking process.
Mix the atchars and set aside.
Slice the potatoes into fingers (the thicker, the better) and heat the oil to 180°C. Deep-fry the potatoes until golden, then drain on kitchen paper and toss in salt and pepper.
Roast the sausages in the oven until the skin is crispy. Slice each one lengthways after roasting.
To assemble the kota, start with one sheet cheese on the bottom of each loaf. Follow with a layer of hot chips, top with the sausage, sauce, more cheese and finally the atchar. Add a small handful of microgreens. Use the bread that you cut out to make a “lid” on the kota just before serving.

November 2020

Creamy Amarula Dom Pedro

Dom Pedro’s always bring back fond memories of family dinners at Spur! Regardless of nostalgia, this is an absolute winner and will definitely impress friends and family at dinner parties!

3 cups vanilla ice cream
¼ cup Amarula
½ cups heavy whipping cream
Peppermint Crisp for topping

Simply scoop your ice cream into a blender, before adding your Amarula and cream.
Blend well and divide into wine glasses.
Grate your chocolate over the top and serve with a short straw.

October 2020

Bean and smoked pork soup “bunny chow”

Wine Pairing: Groot Constantia Rood

2 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 sprigs thyme
400 g pork rashers, halved
4 bay leaves
1 T tomato paste
2 T Worcester sauce
4 cups beef stock
1 x 400 g borlotti beans can, drained
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 loaf fresh sourdough bread, hollowed
¼ cup Parmesan grated

Gently fry the onion and leeks in the olive oil until translucent and golden brown. Increase the heat and add the garlic, celery, carrots, thyme and pork rashers. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the pork rashers have coloured.
Add the bay leaves and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the Worcester sauce and beef stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the pork pulls apart. Add the borlotti beans for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Toast the bread in a preheated oven for 5 minutes until slightly golden. Fill with the bean-and-pork soup and sprinkle over the Parmesan.

September 2020

What on earth is a papizza? It's celebrity chef Siba Mtongana's South African take on an Italian classic: she's replaced the pizza base with pap and added an array of gourmet toppings

Wine Pairing: Vrede en Lust Rose

750 ml water
Salt a pinch
350 g maize meal
1-2 T butter
200 g basil pesto, feta and sundried tomato dip
2 T sweet chilli sauce
225 g chorizo, sliced
½ red onion, sliced
150 g Tenderstem broccoli, blanched
Parmesan, shaved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 220°C.
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the water and salt to a rapid boil. Add half the maize meal, reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 8 minutes.
Stir the mixture and add the remaining maize meal, a little at a time, stirring and beating it against the sides of the saucepan with the back of the wooden spoon. This should take about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat further, cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the butter and mix. Cool slightly.
Flatten the cooled pap into a pizza pan, creating a thin base. Mix the sundried tomato and feta part of the dip with the sweet chilli sauce and spread over the pap base.
Scatter over the chorizo, onion, broccoli, a spoonful of the basil pesto and the Parmesan.
Season to taste and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Serve warm.

August 2020

Telefoon pudding

This is quite a common Afrikaans dessert, and it comes from the days when people had party lines that were connected through the ‘sentrale’ phone system in the platteland, when the recipe would be passed on ‘over the phone’ from cook to cook. A true communal recipe!”

2 T butter
200 g sugar
1 free-range egg
180 g flour
1/2 cup milk
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground mixed spice
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t bicarbonate of soda
1 T apricot jam

July 2020

Atchar Malay chicken with tagliatelle

Wine Pairing: Flagstone Chardonnay

500 g dried tagliatelle
100 g butter
½ x 200 g jar atchar
280 g punnets sliced butter-basted, oven-roasted sliced chicken breast
torn coriander, for serving

Cook the dried tagliatelle in salted boiling water until al dente, then drain. Melt the butter until foamy and just brown, add the atchar to the butter and toss through the butter-basted, oven-roasted sliced chicken breast. Fold through the pasta. Serve at room temperature with torn coriander and season to taste.

June 2020

This is the original pantry pudding! Add sago or elbow macaroni to bulk it up, if you like.

May 2020

Dombolo (African Dumplings)

Wine Pairing: Eiekendal Charisma

African dumplings using half mealie meal and half cake flour for texture, but you can use only flour if your prefer.

April 2020

Vetkoek and Mince

Wine Pairing: Warwick Cabernet Sauvignon

If there is anything quintessentially South African it must be vetkoek and curried mince! We challenge you to find a single South African that doesn’t like vetkoek, it is such a versatile vehicle for all kinds of toppings. Curried mince, chicken mayonnaise, golden syrup, strawberry jam…you can just about add anything to vetkoek and it will be delicious.

Add the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into a bowl
Slowly add the water whilst mixing until you have a shaggy dough
transfer to a floured surface and bring the dough together
No need to knead unless you want to use the dough immediately.
If using the dough on the same day knead briefly for 5 minutes and then cover and let proof for 40 minutes
If leaving overnight, transfer the dough to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Let proof in the fridge overnight
When ready to make the vetkoek pre-heat your oil in a large heavy based pot to 180 degrees c (350 defrees f) divide dough into equal size pieces. I aim for a ball just under a tennis ball size flatten the ball so that when cooking it doesn’t take too long to cook the interior
Place each flattened ball into the oil and cook until golden, flip as needed until each side is golden brown.
Place on a cooling rack and allow any excess oil to drain.

In a medium pot heat oil on high heat
Add the mince and fry until browned (this may take a while)
Add the chopped onions and fry until soft
Add the garlic, ginger, paprika, black pepper, ground coriander, ground cumin and curry powder and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly
Add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes
Add the chutney or jam and water and lower the heat to low
Add salt to taste Cover and simmer for 30 minutes
Add the potatoes, and mixed veg and mix through.
Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes
Curry should be thick with very little water left, if not uncover and simmer until you reach the desired consistency
Cut the vetkoek in half and fill with the slightly cooled curried mince mixture or any savoury mixture of your choice (chicken mayo, ham and cheese) For dessert spread golden syrup or jam onto the vetkoek and enjoy!

March 2020

South African Lamb Curry

Wine Pairing: Boekenhoutskloof The Chocolate Block

South Africa is a blend of cultures and the flavours in this fragrant and aromatic traditional South African curry just gets better with time. Make it a day or two ahead and try to use more flavourful bone-in cuts of meat like a lamb shoulder or shanks.

2 Onions, Finely Sliced
3 Cardamom Pods
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tbles Ginger and Garlic Paste 1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tsp Chilli Powder
1 Tsp Cumin Powder
1 Tsp Coriander Powder
1 Tsp Garam Masala
1 kg Lamb Pieces
Salt to Taste
1 410gr Tin Chopped Tomatoes 1 Sprig Curry Leaves
4 Potatoes Cubed
Coriander to Garnish

1. Heat the oil in a heavy pot. Add onions, and all the whole spices cook until lightly golden.
2. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
3. Add all the ground spices and stir through for a few more minutes until fragrant.
4. Add the lamb, making sure to mix it properly with the onion mix. Braise for about 20 minutes, adding a bit of
water at a time.
5. Add the crushed tomatoes and curry leaves.
6. Cook on a very low heat until the lamb is almost tender (about 60 minutes).
7. Add more water as needed and add the potatoes and cook for approx another 30 minutes or until the lamb is
completely tender.
8. Check the seasoning, add salt if necessary.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with fluffy white rice.

February 2020

Bertus Basson's tomato bredie samoosas

Wine Pairing: Krone Borealis Vintage Cuvée Brut 2017

January 2020

Lentil frikkadels

Wine Pairing: Ernie Els Rose

December 2019

Boerbok rib with tomato bredie

Wine Pairing: Groot Constantia Pinotage

November 2019

The Springbokkie (Peppermint Crisp Trifle)

In honour of Siya, and his fellow bokke, 2019 Rugby World Cup Champions, a new kind of Peppermint Crisp pudding – an extra green-and-gold version, with a base of bright green jelly.

2 packets green/cream soda jelly
1½ cups Ayrshire whipping cream
2 x 360 g cans Nestlé Caramel Treat
2 x 200 g packets Bakers Tennis biscuits
2 x 150 g slabs Nestlé Peppermint Crisp, roughly broken into chunk

Prepare the jelly according to package instructions. Pour into a large triffle bowl and chill to set for a few hours. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Use an electric stand-mixer for about 3 minutes on a medium speed and then speed it up for the last minute. In a separate bowl, beat the Caramel Treat using a fork to loosen and ensure a smooth texture.
Gently fold the caramel into the whipped cream, then add most of the chocolate pieces (set aside a cupful for decoration).
Make a single layer of whole Tennis biscuits on top of the jelly and around the sides of the bowl. Top with layers of the caramel mixture, then add another layer of Tennis biscuits and repeat until the bowl is full.
Sprinkle the remaining Peppermint Crisp over the top. Cover with tin foil and chill for at least 7 hours before serving.

October 2019

Beef & Pumpkin Potjie with dumplings

This one pot wonder really is an all-in-one meal. The slow cooked beef shin is melt-in-the-mouth.

Wine Pairing: Ernie Els Cabernet Sauvignon

1.5 kg beef shin (bone-in)
salt and pepper to taste
a splash of oil for frying
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 ml) garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tbsp (30 ml) fresh sage, chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
1 bottle South African Beer
3 Tbsp (45 ml) beef stock
1 tsp (5 ml) cornflour
¼ C (60 ml) water
1 kg pumpkin, diced
12 baby onions, peeled

500 g cake flour
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
1 ½ tsp (7.5 ml) salt
100 g butter
100 g feta, crumbled
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh sage, chopped
250 ml cold water

September 2019

Isijingi (Pumpkin Pudding)

Recipe Courtesy Nompumelelo Mqwebu

400 g pumpkin or butternut, peeled and cubed
120 g maize meal
1 T butter
½ t ground cinnamon
1 cup cream
150 g sugar or honey (if the pumpkin is sweet, leave out the sugar)
Mixed berries, to garnish
Mint, to garnish

Boil the pumpkin in enough water to cover it until soft enough to mash. Strain, reserving the water.
Purée the pumpkin in a blender, gradually adding the reserved cooking water.
Bring the purée to a boil in a saucepan over a medium heat, then whisk in the maize meal. Add the butter and cinnamon, and slowly stir in the cream. Add the sugar and cook for 15 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.
Divide between ramekins and garnish with fresh mixed berries. You could also add a sprig of mint for colour.
Cook's note: "Isijingi is a dish my grandmother used to cook for us, especially on cold days. Traditionally it’s not a dessert, but this is my take on it as a chef.” – Nompumelelo Mqwebu

August 2019

Tomato bredie with chicken

Recipe Courtesy Bo-Kaap Kitchen (Quivertree), Shireen Narkedien

Wine Pairing: Cederberg Merlot Shiraz 2017

Braise the chicken pieces, onions and salt in a little water over a high heat until browned. Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomato is the consistency of a paste.

Add the sugar, chillies and garlic, and cook over a medium heat until most of the liquid is reduced. Taste and add more sugar, if necessary, to give it more tang.
Stir the tomato paste into 1 cup water, then add to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes then serve with the rice and sambals, and garnish with coriander.

July 2019

Pinotage and goji berry chutney

A light-bodied Pinotage makes an ideal match for a languorous afternoon of gossip garnished with crusty bread, cheese and chutney. Whether you are wishing to bring out the inherent sweetness in a tart mature cheddar, the creamy consistency of a blue cheese or the gentle nuttiness of an Emmenthal, a well-chosen Pinotage is the way to go.

700g apples, peeled, cored and cubed
200g red grapes, pitted
1 onion, finely chopped
150g currants
a fistful of goji berries
350g brown sugar
150ml Pinotage
200ml balsamic vinegar
juice and zest of one lemon
juice and zest of one orange
pinch of salt
10ml mustard seeds
10ml all spice

Combine all the ingredients in a large heavy-based saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer uncovered until the mixture is thick and pulp for approximately 45 minutes. 2. Remove from the heat, leave the mixture to cool and transfer into a sterilised, clean, dry jar. 3. The chutney will be at its best if the flavours are left to blend for a few weeks.

June 2019

Biltong & Butternut Salad with Rooibos Vinaigrette

Biltong is frequently used in salads in South Africa and this particular recipe also features other staple ingredients of South African cuisine, including butternut, avocado and the world famous Rooibos tea

Wine Pairing: Cederberg Chenin Blanc

80-100g Beef Biltong
200g Butternut squash
100g cherry tomatoes
30-40g Feta cheese
Handful of toasted pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in dry pan over low-medium heat (take care not to burn)
30g rocket
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds
Dried chili to taste (optional)

Rooibos Vinaigrette (makes roughly one cup)
1/3 cup wine or sherry vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rooibos tea
1 tablespoon honey (or brown sugar)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
quarter garlic clove (optional)
pinch of dried chili (optional)
Mix ingredients together well and let sit for about 15 minutes before use to let the flavours blend

Cut the butternut squash into 2-3cm chunks, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for around 30 minutes at 200c until just starting to turn dark at the edges. Once cooked add to a serving bowl.
Combine the main salad ingredients, biltong and toasted pumpkin seeds giving them a good mix before crumbling over the Feta. Finally drizzle over the Rooibos Vinaigrette and toss again before serving.

May 2019

Braai mealies with 3 different toppings (BBQ Corn)

Braai mealies with 3 different toppings are a sure way to wow your guests with some interesting and punchy flavours.

Wine Pairing: Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blanc

To prepare your mealies for the braai, steam or boil them whole in salted water, 10 – 15 minutes. Drain them on paper towel and char lightly over the braai.

Cashew Dukkah and coriander
100g cashews
30ml (2 tbsp) flaked almonds
60ml (¼ cup) sesame seeds
60ml (¼ cup) coriander seeds
45ml (3 tbsp) cumin seeds
30ml (2 tbsp) aniseed
5ml (1 tsp) salt
5ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon
80g butter, melted
60ml (¼ cup) fresh coriander leaves

Sun-dried tomato and chilli butter with Parmesan
100g soft butter
15ml (1 tbsp) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 or 2 small bird’s eye chillies (red), chopped
60g Parmesan, finely grated

Crème fraîche and chorizo
150g chorizo sausage
3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
180ml (¾ cup) crème fraîche or fresh cultured cream
small handful fresh basil leaves, torn

For the cashew dukkah and coriander topping, add the cashews, almonds and sesame seeds to a dry pan over medium heat and toast until golden, 1 minute. Stir in the coriander, cumin, aniseed and salt, and toast for another minute. Stir in the cinnamon. Place the mixture in a food processer or spice grinder and blend until fine. Brush each cooked mealie with the warm, melted butter, sprinkle over some dukkah and top with fresh coriander.
For the sun-dried tomato and chilli butter with Parmesan topping, place the butter, sun-dried tomatoes and chillies in a food processor and blend until fine. Add a dollop of the mixture onto warm, cooked mealies and scatter Parmesan on top.
For the crème fraîche and chorizo topping, heat a dry pan over medium heat. Slice the chorizo into bite-sized chunks, add to the pan and fry, 3 – 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Allow to cool slightly before placing in a food processor and blending until fine – it should resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Add a dollop of crème fraîche to the warm, cooked mealies, scatter some chorizo crumbs on top and add a few basil leaves.

April 2019

Crumbed biltong and ricotta fritters

These fritters are great to send around while standing at the fire, soft and tender on the inside due to the sliced biltong and creamy ricotta. They are crumbed in some Panko crumbs

Wine Pairing: Quando Sauvignon Blanc

Dipping sauce:
375ml (1 ½ cup) Greek yoghurt
45ml (3tbsp) wholegrain mustard
zest of ½ lemon
230g (1 cup) ricotta
pinch of cayenne pepper
100g (1 cup) sliced biltong, roughly chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
15ml (1Tbsp) chives, finely chopped
2.5ml (½ tsp) fine salt
1 egg
45ml (3tsbp) cake flour
375ml (1 ½ cups) panko crumbs
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

For the dipping sauce, stir everything together and keep it in the fridge until ready to use.
For the fritters, combine the ricotta, cayenne pepper, biltong, spring onion, chives and salt together. Lightly whisk the egg with a fork and stir it into the mixture. Stir in the flour.
Form it into 12 balls and roll it in the panko crumbs.
Heat the oil until it reaches 180°C. Fry the fritters off in batches and drain them on some paper towel. Serve it with the dipping sauce on the side.

March 2019

Indian Chicken and Prawn Curry

Characteristic of the Kwazulu Natal region's curries, this intensely spicy one from Durban's The Oyster Box hotel gets its heat not from chiles, but pastes made of fresh garlic, ginger, and onions, plus lots of curry powder.

Wine Pairing: Ernie Els Big Easy Chenin Blanc

5 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1⁄2 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium tomatoes
6 oz. (1 1⁄2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground turmeric
1⁄2 cup mild curry powder
1 1⁄4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed
1 1⁄4 lb. large prawns shelled and deveined
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground fennel seed
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground cardamom
1⁄4 cup honey
1⁄2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
2⁄3 cup unsweetened coconut cream
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnishing

2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh curry leaves

In a small food processor or mortar and pestle, add the garlic and ginger and pulse or pound until a paste forms. Transfer to a small bowl, then repeat the process with the onion. Transfer the onion paste to a separate small bowl. Add the tomatoes to the food processor (no need to clean out the bowl) and process well. Strain through a sieve and reserve the juices (discard the pulp). You should have about 3⁄4 cup juices.

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of the ginger and garlic paste and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes (reserve any remaining paste for another use). Stir in the turmeric, curry powder, chicken, and 3⁄4 teaspoon salt and let cook 5 minutes. Stir in the prawns and tomato juice and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in the cumin, ground fennel, and cardamom and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and coconut cream and bring to a simmer let cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in the honey, cilantro, curry leaves, and remaining 3⁄4 teaspoon salt. Cover and let cook until the prawns are pink and firm, about 3 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro leaves, and serve with a side of rice if desired.

February 2019

Smoked free range Pork Belly and ribs

Recipe courtesy La Motte Winelands Recipe Book

Wine Pairing: The full-bodied character of the La Motte Syrah harmonises perfectly with rich, flavourful dishes and grills, such as barbecued meat in a sticky, sweet sauce, stewed fruit and sweet aromatic spices.

1 kg smoked Pork belly and 2 pork rib slabs
½ C (125 ml) golden sugar
2 C (500 m) House Braai Sauce
1 Tbsp (15 ml) oak smoked paprika
1 Tbsp (15 ml) garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp (15 ml) honey
1 tsp (5 ml) ground fenugreek
1 Tbsp (15 ml) rosemary, chopped

House Braai Sauce
2 Tbsp ( 30 ml) coconut oil
1 C (250 ml) red onion, diced
2 Tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin
1 tsp (5ml), wholegrain mustard
1 Tbsp (15 ml) oregano, chopped
1 handful chopped basil
½ tsp (2.5 ml) cayenne pepper
300 ml tomato paste
1 ½ C (375 ml) beef stock (homemade if possible)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) honey
1 shot espresso coffee

Pre-heat the oven to 160 °C.
In a small bowl mix together the sugar with all of the spices and herbs.
Prepare the ribs by removing the tough membrane.
Place a large piece of heavy foil onto a baking tray, rub both sides of the ribs and the belly with the sugar spice mix. Cover with another layer of foil making a pocket
Place in the oven for 3-4 hours until soft and almost falling apart and the meat is tender.
House Braai Sauce
Heat a heavy-based saucepan and add the coconut oil and onion. Fry until translucent and then add all the rest of the ingredients. Cook over a low heat until thick and glossy.
Once the meat is cooked and your barbeque sauce is ready you can glaze the belly and ribs on both sides and put back in the oven, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes. Repeat this process twice.

January 2019

Five Bean Salad

Wine Pairing: Waterford Pecan Stream Chenin Blanc

150 g edamame beans, cooked
250 g green beans, sliced and blanched
1 x 400 g can chickpeas, rinsed
1 x 400 g can butter beans, rinsed
1 x 400 g can cannellini beans, rinsed
150 g radishes, finely sliced
a handful parsley, chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced (or pickled red onions)

For the dressing:
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 T Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
1 T maple syrup
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all the salad ingredients.
Combine all the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Mix well, cover and marinate in the fridge for a few hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve chilled.

December 2018

Rooibos and Ricotta Mousse

Wine Pairing: Warwick the White Lady Chardonnay

Ever cooked with Rooibos? If not, now is the time to start. Not only does it provide a unique herby flavour, the health benefits are endless!

2 rooibos tea bags
125 ml boiling water
250 ml ricotta
125 ml coconut cream or regular cream
60 ml xylitol granules
seeds from ½ vanilla pod
zest of 1 orange
180 ml cream
orange zest, to garnish (optional) mint leaves, to garnish (optional)

Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and allow the mixture to cool down for 10 minutes.
Add the tea to a food processor together with the ricotta, cream, xylitol and vanilla seeds. Blend until smooth. Stir in the orange zest.
Whip the cream until stiff. Fold this into the ricotta mixture. You can either set the mousse in a serving dish and spoon it up once it has set or you can set each portion in a small glass.
Place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with orange zest and mint leaves, if you prefer.

November 2018

Biltong and cauliflower tart

Wine Pairing: Raka Biography Shiraz

400 g short crust pastry
15 ml oil
200 g cauliflower
250 g biltong
250 ml cream
4 eggs
salt and pepper
150 g blue cheese, crumbled
30 ml honey

Preheat the oven to 180 °C and grease a 20 cm round baking dish.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough and line the baking dish with it. Prick a few times with a fork and blind bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
Filling Reduce the heat of the oven to 160 °C. In a pan over medium heat, heat the oil and fry the cauliflower until golden. Arrange the biltong and cauliflower in the pastry case.
Mix the cream and eggs and pour over the biltong and cauliflower. Bake for 30 minutes or until set and slightly golden. Sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese over and finish with a drizzle of honey.

October 2018

Stewed Eggplant with South African Braai Spice Rub

Simple no fuss stewed eggplant dish seasoned with South African flavors

Wine Pairing: Springfield Estate Life From Stone Sauvignon Blanc

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small sweet onion chopped
1 eggplant peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon Braai Spice Rub

Place eggplant in a bowl and sprinkle with salt to draw out excess moisture for about 30 minutes.
Rinse in a colander with cold water and pat dry.
Heat olive oil in saucepan on medium low heat.
Add eggplant, oregano, thyme and spice rub
Cover and simmer over low heat stirring frequently for 45-60 minutes.

September 2018

Soetkoekies (Traditional South African Biscuits)

Recipe courtesy Melkos & Merlot Blog

6 cups cake flour
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp fine cloves
1 tsp powdered cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
2 cups white sugar
3 cups cold salted butter
4 jumbo free range eggs
1 egg, whisked with 2 tbs water or milk

Sieve together the dry ingredients. Rub in the butter until it disappears in the flour. (You could blitz it in your food processor if preferred) Whisk the four eggs and add to the flour. Knead until it comes together. It will initially look too dry but it all works out, so don’t be tempted to add liquid

If it’s a very hot day and it looks like the dough will be difficult to work with, wrap it in cling film and pop it in the fridge for half an hour to firm up. Dust your working surface with a bit of flour, roll the dough out to about 4mm and use a cookie press to shape the biscuits. Place them on a baking tray prepared with some non-stick baking spray and paint them lightly with the egg wash. Bake in a preheated 200 degree Celsius oven for 10-15 minutes until light gold. These biscuits will of course be soft when they come out of the oven but will become hard as they cool down. Keep in an airtight container. This recipe makes 140 biscuits.

August 2018

Chicken Liver Peri-Peri Gatsby

Local is lekker… a Cape Town original vamped up with South African-Potruguese spiciness. Recipe courtesy Crush Mag Online

Wine Pairing: Ernie Els Cabernet Sauvignon

400 g chicken livers, cleaned and soaked in milk for 1 hour

1⁄3 C (80 ml) Peri-Peri oil
200 g onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
8 chillies, sliced
2 bay leaves
6 thyme sprigs
1 clove
2⁄5 C (100 ml) white wine
1⁄3 C (80 ml) white wine vinegar
1.2 kg tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste
juice of 1 lemon
1 C (250 ml) chicken stock
2 tsp (10 ml) cayenne pepper
2 tsp (10 ml) paprika
3⁄5 C (150 ml) sour cream, optional
salt & pepper
2-4 tsp (10-20 ml) Worcestershire sauce
handful of parsley, chopped

2 baguettes or 4 foot-long rolls
butter for spreading
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 baby gem lettuces, cleaned and washed
400-600 g potato fries, cooked
2⁄5 C (100 ml) mayonnaise

Dusting the livers in seasoned flour is an optional step. Livers that have been dusted in seasoned flour and fried will thicken the sauce. The livers can be fried without being dusted, if preferred. Slice the livers in half (if dusting, do so at this point) and then fry in Peri-Peri oil and butter. Do not overcrowd the pan and fry in batches. The livers should caremelise but not cook all the way through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

To Make the Sauce: Heat the Peri Peri oil and sauté the onions, garlic, chilli, bay leaf, thyme and clove. Cook over a moderate heat for about three minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine and vinegar, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon juice, stock and remaining spices. Cook the tomatoes (this should take about 40-50 minutes) reducing the sauce until thickened. (If using cream, add at this stage and simmer for an extra 5 minutes before adding the livers.)
Blend with a stick blender until smooth (can be left slightly chunky if preferred). Adjust seasoning and add the Worcestershire sauce.
Add the livers to the sauce and warm gently – be careful not to overcook, the livers still need to be a little pink on the inside.
Add the chopped parsley just before serving.

To Assemble: Slice the baguette or rolls and butter each side. Season the tomato and lay on the roll and top with lettuce. Add the livers and a portion of fries, drizzle generously with mayonnaise and serve with extra fries on the side.

July 2018

Milk tart phyllo cups

Recipe courtesy of Cupcakes & Couscous

Wine Pairing: Graham Beck Sparkling Brut

6 sheets phyllo pastry
60 g butter, melted
12 hole muffin pan
2 large eggs
1/4 cup castor sugar
2 Tbs cornflour
450 ml milk
2 medium sized cinnamon sticks
1 Tbs butter 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs castor sugar

Thaw the phyllo pastry as per the instructions on the packaging. Unroll the sheets, cover with the plastic sheet provided and cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Preheat your oven to 160°C and grease the muffin pan. Lay a single sheet of phyllo pastry on your work surface. Brush lightly with melted butter. Place another sheet of pastry on top. Repeat the process until you have used all 6 sheets.
Cut the phyllo stack into 12 pieces (4 x 3 strips). Press each piece gently into the muffin pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and crispy. Set aside to cool while you make the custard.

To make the custard: Whisk the eggs and sugar together for a minute until pale. Whisk in the cornflour. Heat the milk and cinnamon sticks together in a small saucepan until the milk has just reached boiling point. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Carefully pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking. Then pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan that has the remaining milk. Return the saucepan to the heat and stir for about 5 minutes, until the custard is thick and slightly darker in colour. Remove the custard from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Leave to stand for 15 minutes, giving it a good whisk every 5 minutes. Spoon the custard into the phyllo cups and leave to cool and set.

For the topping:
Just before serving combine the castor sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle about half a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar over one of the milk tart cups and give it a gentle shake to get the sugar into an even layer. Use a small creme brûlée torch to torch the sugar until golden and caramelised. Repeat with the remaining cups. Serve immediately.

June 2018

Beer and ribs with roast butternut salad

Wine Pairing: Thelema Merlot

Recipe Courtesy Luke Dale- Roberts: Considered a foodie visionary by most, Luke Dale-Roberts is the mastermind behind SA's number one restaurant, The Test Kitchen, as well as The Pot Luck Club.

1 kg beef shortribs
For the stock:
1.5 litres dark beer
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 x 10 cm ginger piece, peeled
1 onion, quartered
1 stick cinnamon
2 star anise
3 T soya sauce
1 pinch sugar
For the beer glaze:
2 cups dark beer
1 T molasses
100 g treacle sugar
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 x 5 cm ginger piece, peeled
For the roast butternut salad:
1 butternut, peeled and cubed
30 g butter
4 sprigs thyme
100 g sunflower seeds
50 g rocket leaves
For the dressing, whisk:
1 1/2 T elderflower cordial
1 lemon, juiced
1 T Dijon mustard
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Place the ribs in a pressure cooker and cover with the stock. Cook at high pressure for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Once the ribs are soft, remove from the liquid and submerge in the beer glaze. Chill the ribs for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Remove the ribs from the glaze and slice into individual portions. Heat a non-stick pan and caramelise the ribs on all sides and finish in the oven until heated through.
To make the stock, place the beer, garlic, ginger, onion, cinnamon, star anise, soya sauce and sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature and strain.
To make the beer glaze, place all the ingredients into a large saucepan and simmer until slightly thickened, remove from the heat and set aside to cool. The mixture will continue thickening while standing.
To make the roast butternut salad, preheat the oven to 200°C. Roast the butternut with the butter and thyme until soft and golden brown. Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan until slightly golden, then toss with the rocket and butternut.
To serve, place the roasted ribs onto the salad and drizzle with the dressing.

May 2018

Lamb Shanks with Chakalaka

Wine Pairing: Waterford Cabernet Sauvignon Magnum

6 small lamb shanks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 T oil
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine

For the chakalaka:
2 T sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T mild masala curry powder
1 green pepper, chopped
2 carrots, grated
2 T tomato paste
3 tomatoes, grated
1 x 410 g can baked beans
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Rinse the lamb shanks under cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Season with salt and pepper. Place the oil in a pan over a medium-high heat, then brown the shanks in batches. Transfer to a roasting pan.
Cover the pan in foil and roast for 1 hour.
To make the chakalaka, heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add the curry powder. Stir until fragrant, then add the green pepper, carrots, tomato paste and tomatoes. Add the beans and season.
Pour the chakalaka over the lamb shanks and mix gently. Pour over the beef stock and wine. Cover and continue cooking for 40 minutes, or until the shanks are tender.

April 2018

Rooibos Ice Tea

Recipe Courtesy Crush Online Magazine

This proudly South African iced tea will keep you cool on a warm summers day

1 litre filtered water
4 rooibos tea bags
4 tsp (20 ml) agave nectar
½ lemon, sliced
½ lime, sliced
1 C (250 ml) pure pomegranate juice
15 fresh mint leaves

Boil the filtered water and allow to cool for three minutes. Add the tea bags, agave nectar, lemon and lime slices and set aside to cool completely. Remove the tea bags, pour into a big glass jug filled with ice, top with pomegranate juice and mint leaves. Serve chilled.

March 2018

Potato Salad

Recipe Courtesy Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, South Africa’s France-based Michelin-starred chef.

Wine Pairing: Raats Original Chenin Blanc

10 rooibos tea bags
2 kg potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 t hickory liquid smoke
200 g bacon, cut into small lardons
2 T condensed milk
250 g double-cream plain yoghurt
200 g gherkins, finely chopped
a handful chives, chopped, plus extra to garnish
5 free-range eggs, hard-boiled
Truffle oil, for drizzling

Infuse the tea in water to make a strong rooibos stock. Add the potatoes and cook until al dente. Drain, drizzle with the liquid smoke and set aside. Skip this step if you don't have liquid smoke lying around.
Cook the bacon in a hot pan until crispy. Whisk the condensed milk and yoghurt together, then add the gherkins, chives, potatoes and bacon and mix until just combined. Season to taste.
Grate the eggs and mix into the potatoes. Garnish with chives and a drizzle of truffle oil.

February 2018

Pumpkin Fritters

Wine Pairing: Waterford Pecan Steam Sauvignon Blanc

500 g pumpkin or butternut, peeled and cut into chunks
150 g cake flour
½ t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
2 star anise
2 t baking powder
2 large free-range eggs
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Icing sugar, for dusting
Cinnamon sugar, for dusting

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, then add the pumpkin or butternut chunks and cook until very tender. Drain and allow to cool. Add, along with the flour, salt, ground cinnamon, star anise, baking powder and eggs, to a blender and blend.Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a high heat. When hot, carefully drop in spoonfuls of the fritter mixture, taking care not to overload the pan.Fry until cooked through and golden, then drain on kitchen paper. Dust with icing sugar and cinnamon sugar and serve immediately.

January 2018

Boerie Pasta

Recipe courtesy Melkos & Merlot Blog

Wine Pairing: Waterford Pecan Stream Pebble Hill

500g boerewors
1 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp chilli flakes (optional, or use less if you are sensitive)
1 tin tomatoes, chopped
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp fresh origanum (or ½ tsp dried)
3 tbs water
6 tbs olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Italian parsley, chopped – for serving
parmesan or pecorino cheese – for serving

Fry the onion in 3 tbs olive oil until soft. Add the garlic, paprika and chilli and fry for a further two minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt, water, origanum and bay leaves. Cover and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. If it gets too dry, add another tablespoon or two of water, but take care not to add too much, this is a thick sauce. While the sauce bubbles away, squeeze the boerewors filling from the casing. Shape into equal-sized small meat balls and fry in 3 tbs olive oil until nicely browned. Once cooked, add the meat balls to the sauce, taste for salt, remove the bay leaves and add a grinding of black pepper. Stir through and it’s ready. Serve with your favourite pasta Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan or pecorino.

December 2017

Traditional Frikkadels (meatballs)

Wine Pairing: Kanonkop Kadette Cape Blend

¼ cup milk
extra large pinch of white pepper
¾ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp nutmeg
large pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp salt plus one extra large pinch (weird, I know, but it does need that extra pinch!)
2 slices white bread, crusts cut off
800g beef mince (not super lean, you need a bit of fat)
½ cup of onion, grated not chopped
½ cup water

Use a fork, work fast and mess with the meat as little as possible. Combine the salt and spices with the milk. Add the bread and allow it to soak up all the milk. Then use a fork to break the bread up finely. Add this mixture to the mince along with the melted butter and onion and use the fork to bring it all together.

Smear the bottom of an ovenproof baking dish with butter (gran’s rectangular Pyrex dish is great for this). Use your hands to lightly shape large frikkadels. Place them in the baking dish and top each frikkadel with a small dot of butter. Add ½ cup of water to the baking dish and roast in a 190 degree Celsius oven for 35-40 minutes, basting the frikkadels once or twice with the pan juices. If it’s cooking dry, add a touch more water. Turn your grill on for the last five minutes to help them brown. Remove the frikkadels and cover with tinfoil to keep warm. Add a cup of water to the cooking liquid and turn it into a lush gravy by thickening it with a teaspoon of cornflour and a teaspoon of Bisto dissolved in a tablespoon of cold water. Serve with your favorite side dishes

November 2017

Corn and beer bread

Wine Pairing: Ernie Els Big Easy Chenin Blanc

500 g self-raising flour
1 x 400 g sweetcorn in water can, drained
1 t sea salt
1 x 375 ml beer bottle

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients, adding the beer at the end, to form a smooth batter. Set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes, or until doubled in size. Transfer the mixture to a greased cast-iron pot and place on top of hot coals, placing extra hot coals on the lid. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden. Tip out of the pot and serve warm.

October 2017

Chakalaka Prego Steak Sarmie

Wine Pairing: Ernie Els Big Easy Cabernet Sauvignon

6 T olive oil
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 chilli, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 t sugar
½ x 410 g chakalaka can
400 g rump steak
1 T butter
1 baguette, halved lengthways
Rocket (arugula) , for serving

Heat 5 T olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the tomatoes and chilli and cook for 10–15 minutes.
Add the garlic, sugar and chakalaka and cook for a further 10 minutes.
In a separate pan, melt the butter and 1 T oil over a medium to high heat and cook the steak to your liking.
Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes, then slice. Spread the sauce onto the baguette, top with the meat, rocket and more sauce.

September 2017

Vetkoek with biltong, cream cheese & preserves

Wine Pairing: Protea Shiraz

360 g cake flour
1 x 10 g yeast sachet
1 t salt
1 T sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm water
sunflower oil, for deep-frying

1 cup cream cheese
100 g biltong finely sliced
145 g green fig preserve in syrup

To make the vetkoek, combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the water, a little at a time, while mixing with a wooden spoon or by hand to form a wet dough. Knead in the bowl for 5 minutes, or until the dough springs backs immediately when pressed with your index finger. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Knock down the risen dough and portion into 8 equal-sized vetkoek. Gently drop as many vetkoek as possible into the oil and cover the saucepan. This allows the vetkoek to partially steam while being fried. Cook for 2–3 minutes, or until golden, then turn and cook the other side. Once cooked through and golden, remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Cook the remaining vetkoek in the same way.
Allow to cool, then halve through the width and generously spread on one side with cream cheese. Dust the vetkoek with the biltong and serve with the fig preserve and syrup.

August 2017

Drunken Bird- Beer Can Chicken

Recipe Courtesy Justin Bonello

Wine Pairing: Ken Forrester Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc

2 whole chickens
2 cans of South African Beer
4 gloves of garlic
whole black pepper corns
malden sea salt
olive oil
a small sprig of flat leafed parsley

First off – get the heat up and light a fire in your Weber or Gas BBQ. This is a super simple recipe that combines two of our favourite pastimes – braaing and cracking a can.
Chuck the garlic, pepper and salt into your pestle and mortar and mung the flavours together. Now add a good splash of olive oil and parsley – just bruise the leaves. Use this marinade to give the birds a good old massage all over, inside and out.
When the coals are ready, crack open the beers, take a swig of each and perch the well-oiled birds upright on the open cans, wriggle them down so that they’re comfortable and the cavity is filled – we don’t want them falling over. Then settle them on the grid and close the Weber. Allow the chickens to cook for between 40 – 80 minutes. The secret here is that the beer boils and steams the flesh from the inside giving it that malty flavour and keeping it juicy while the Weber acts like a braai/oven and crisps the skin. Once the chicken is done to your liking, open some wine and enjoy!

July 2017

Malva Pudding with Amarula Sauce

Wine Pairing: Allesverloren Fine Old Vintage

375ml (1½ cups) fresh cream
160g sugar
110g butter
15ml (1 tbsp) apricot jam
pinch of salt
30ml (2 tbsp) butter
80g sugar
45ml (3 tbsp) apricot jam
5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda
125ml (½ cup) milk
120g (1 cup) cake flour
pinch of salt1 large egg, lightly beaten
20ml (4 tsp) vinegar
Amarula sauce
150ml Amarula Cream liqueur
300ml fresh cream

June 2017

Cape Malay Mussels with butternut, roast fennel and boiled leek

Recipe courtesy Reuben Riffel

Wine Pairing: Fat Bastard Sauvignon Blanc. Delightfully dry, with a gorgeous fruit-focused character, this Sauvignon Blanc is a great match for creamy seafood dishes.

3 cups white wine
1 1/2 t sea salt
16 fresh mussels, in their shells
1 T curry powder
1 cup butternut, grated
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 celery leaves
3/4 cup cream
Fresh fennel fronds, to garnish
For the roast fennel
1 bulb fennel, halved lengthways
2 t extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the boiled leek
2 cups water
1 t sea salt
1 large leek, cleaned and quartered

Bring the wine and salt to the boil. Simmer the mussels in the wine until just cooked.Take the mussels out of the stock and remove from their shells while continuing to reduce the wine and mussel stock. Place 1½ cups stock into a clean pan. Add the curry powder, butternut, onion, garlic and celery leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook until the butternut is soft.
Add the cream and simmer until reduced a little. Add the roast fennel, leek and mussels. Heat through. Spoon onto plates, garnish with fennel fronds and serve immediately.
To prepare the roast fennel, preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the fennel in a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil and season. Cover with foil and roast until soft (about 18 minutes). Remove from the oven and slice into thin strips.
To prepare the boiled leek, bring the water and salt to the boil. Cook the leek in the water until soft. Remove and slice into thin strips.

May 2017

Vegetable Curry Bunny Chow

Wine Pairing: Fleur Du Cap Unfiltered Semillon. This fruity, well -balanced, full bodied wine will stand up to the flavours of the curry

Durban is home to one of the sunniest shores in South Africa, the largest Indian population outside of India and the best curries, friendly locals and, of course, the famous legendary street food, Bunny Chow.

1 cup red lentils
3 cups diced butternut peeled and seeds removed
45 ml oil
1 onion finely chopped
30 ml fresh ginger finely grated
3 cloves garlic finely grated
30 ml garam masala
5 ml cumin seeds
5 ml ground turmeric
10 ml ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground peri-peri (optional)
2 cans chopped tomatoes
400 g zucchini sliced
Salt and pepper
Handful of fresh coriander leaves for topping
2 fresh loaves of white bread cut into 3–4 pieces each, each piece hollowed out on one side

Place lentils in a medium-size pot and add water to cover it by about 2 cm.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower temperature and simmer slowly for about 15–20 min. until soft.
Check that the bottom doesn’t cook dry and add more water if necessary. When soft, set aside.
In the meantime, cook the butternut in a little water until just tender (about 8 min.). Drain water and set aside.
In a large pot, add onion and fry until soft, stirring often.
Add ginger and garlic and stir for 30 sec.
Add garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander and peri-peri and stir for 1 min. until pot becomes dry.
Add canned tomatoes and stir well to loosen any sticky bits on the bottom.
Add cooked lentils and butternut, as well as sliced zuchinni.
Stir, then cover with a lid and cook for about 10 min. over low heat.
Season with salt and pepper, then fill your hollowed-out bread and top with coriander.

April 2017

Luxury Braaibroodjies

Recipe courtesy Jan Braai

Wine Pairing: It goes without saying that you serve these beauties with a glass of ice cold Methode Cap Classique. The South African – vastly superior – version of what the French call Champagne!

It's not a braai until the braai broodjies are served. The braaibroodjie (bbq toasted sandwich) is arguably the highlight of any braaing experience. Many South Africans braai meat simply as an excuse to also have braaibroodjies. Life is too short not to give them a try!

slices of fresh sourdough bread
Crosse & Blackwell mayonnaise
whole grain mustard
gypsy ham
18 months matured cheddar
Ina Paarman's Sun-Dried Tomato Quarters
spring onions
olive oil

Go for an oval shape sourdough bread as opposed to a round one. This way all the slices will be the same size. Slice the bread fairly thin, the same thickness as normal toaster bread.
Lay out half of the bread slices on a cutting board and liberally spread with the mayonnaise and whole grain mustard.
Add the gypsy ham, slices of cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped spring onions.
Add the top layers of bread and drip or spread olive oil on them.
Place in a hinged grid (toeklaprooster) and braai over medium-low heat coals. After the first turn, also spread olive oil on the other outside, the side which was at the bottom when you assembled the units. Continue to braai over the gentle coals, turning very often, until the cheese is melted and the braaibroodjies are golden brown on the outside.

March 2017

Heritage T-Bone Steak with Pinotage Sauce

Wine Pairing: Any Pinotage in our range

It was Archbishop Desmond Tutu who famously said, “I like T-bone steaks because they are in the shape of Africa”. For this reason, the shape of it, you could argue that the T-bone steak is more South African than other cuts of steak. From this follows the clear logic that it’s the one to serve with a Pinotage sauce. Pinotage is our very own South African grape variety. In 1925 it was famously bred as a cross between Pinor Noir and Cinsaut by Professor Abraham Perold at Stellenbosch University. This meal then is a great part of our South African wine and braai heritage. The recipe was specifically designed not to use the whole bottle of Pinotage. This way you are left with some wine to drink during the braai after making the sauce!

4 T-bone steaks
1 tot butter
1 onion (chopped as finely as you can)
1 clove garlic (chopped very finely)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tot flour
2 cups any red wine (but Pinotage is best)
½ cup beef stock
1 tot sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Light a massive fire using your favourite braai wood. Open a bottle of Pinotage wine, pour yourself a glass and do some quality control.
Place a medium-sized flameproof pan over the fire. You want a pretty high heat but it must not be searing hot.
Melt the butter and then fry the finely chopped onion, garlic and thyme leaves for about 5 min until the onion is soft and starts to turn brown. Fry the onions first and add the garlic about 1 min before the next step as garlic actually fries much quicker than onion.
Add the flour and stir well, then immediately add the Pinotage, stock, sugar and vinegar. Mix well, bring to the boil and then boil over high heat to reduce the liquid by half. Stir often. Depending on the size of your pot and the heat of your fire, this should take 15 min. While the liquid is reducing, it should thicken and become a rich sauce. Season. When you’re happy with the texture of the sauce, remove from the fire.
While you’re waiting for the sauce to reduce in step 5, braai the steaks over very high heat for about 8 minutes. You can salt them before or during the braai. You only need to turn them once on the grid, in other words braai them once per side.
When the steaks are done medium rare, remove from the fire and serve with the Pinotage sauce poured over them.


MasterChef South Africa Koeksisters

Wine Pairing: Allesverloren Port or even a chilled Sparkling Wine

For the syrup:
800 ml water
1,5 kg sugar
12,5 ml cream of tartar
40 ml lemon juice
For a yummy flavour, add a piece of dried ginger and a stick of cinnamon to the syrup when the lemon juice is added. The colder the syrup the better! Make it the day before and place in the fridge to ensure it is ice cold.

For the dough:
4 x 250ml (500g) cake flour
25ml baking powder
20ml margarine
1/2 large beaten egg
245ml water

Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl and then rub in the margarine with your fingertips.
Add the beaten ½ egg to the water and whisk to incorporate.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour in the water mixture and then start to mix until a smooth dough has formed. Knead thoroughly.
Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes or up to 5 hours. Heat the oil to 160 °C.
Using an oiled rolling pin, roll out the dough on an oiled surface to a thickness of 5 mm. Cut the dough into rectangles of 6 x 15 cm. Cut each rectangle lengthways into 3 strips, leaving one side uncut. Plait the 3 strips and press the cut ends together firmly.
Deep Fry in batches of 6 in hot sunflower oil for 6–7 minutes, or until dark golden brown. Drain them for a few seconds on paper towels. Keep the rest of the koeksisters covered to prevent them from drying out.
Dip the koeksisters into the ice-cold syrup while they are still hot. Remove from the syrup with a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack.


Babotie (Pronounced ba-boor-tea, a national dish of South Africa is a delicious mixture of curried meat and fruit with a creamy golden topping, not dissimilar to moussaka)

Wine Pairing: Beyerskloof Pinotage - It’s not easy to find a wine that can stand up to the full-bodied flavours of a rich curry-based dish, but South Africa’s uniquely-flavoured Pinotage can do just that. The deep red wine tinged with spicy notes of tobacco and fruity undertones of cherry and raspberry is an ideal match.

2 onions, chopped
2 T olive oil
2 T medium curry powder
1 t turmeric
2 t fresh ginger finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 t sugar
1 t sea salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 kg beef mince
1 white bread thick slice
250 ml milk
3 eggs large
3 T chutney
50 g flaked almonds
3 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Fry the onion in the olive oil until soft. In a bowl combine the curry power, turmeric, ginger, garlic, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and mix. Add to the onion and fry for two minutes.
Add the mince and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes. In another bowl, soak the bread in the milk, remove the bread and reserve the leftover milk.
Mash the bread with a fork and add one lightly beaten egg and the chutney. Mix well and add to the mince mixture. Stir in the almonds, then transfer the mince to a buttered ovenproof dish. Smooth the top and bake for 1 hour.


Braaied Linefish with sticky apricot, vanilla and ginger glaze

Wine Pairing: Protea Dry Rosé

For the sticky apricot, vanilla and ginger glaze, mix:

6 T apricot jam
1 x 4 cm ginger piece, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1 vanilla pod, seeded

Drizzle the outside of the fish with olive oil, then season to taste.
Braai without turning over medium coals for 5 minutes on each side.
Brush the glaze onto the fish and continue cooking, turning often so the glaze doesn’t burn.
To make this dish in the oven, grill the fish and start glazing towards the end of the cooking process. Use any firm white sustainable fish. Spray the braai grid with cooking spray to prevent the fish from sticking.


Sticky Chicken Winglets with Blue Cheese Dip

Recipe courtesy Ina Paarman

Wine Pairing: Beer! (You could pair with a Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc or the Graham Beck Sparkling Brut, but ultimately goes best with a cold South African Beer)

16-24 chicken wings
2 t (10 ml) Ina Paarman’s Chicken Spice
1 cup (250 ml) Ina Paarman’s Sticky Marinade

Blue Cheese Dip
1 x 300 ml Ina Paarman’s Blue Cheese Dressing
1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh cream
100 g crumbled blue cheese

Cut the wings in half through the ‘elbow’ joint. Toss the wings first with Chicken Spice and then the Sticky Marinade. Leave covered in the fridge overnight or for at least 3 hours. Bake open in a 190C oven for 45 minutes or braai or grill slowly while basting and turning regularly. Excellent with Blue Cheese Dip, flash-fried cherry tomatoes, garlic bread and a green salad. Mix the Blue Cheese Dressing with the fresh cream and crumbled blue cheese.


Peppermint Crisp Tart

Recipe courtesy Abigail Donnelly, Woolworths Taste Magazine

Wine Pairing: De Wetshof Limestone Hill Unwooded Chardonnay

200 g Tennis biscuits
125 g butter, melted
1 cup cream, whipped to soft peaks
360 g can Nestle Caramel Treat
150 g Peppermint Crisp chocolate, roughly chopped
Candy floss, to decorate

Crush the Tennis biscuits and place in a blender with the melted butter. Blend together until the biscuits are fine and coated in the melted butter.
Press the biscuit crumbs into a 17 cm springform cake tin and chill for 30 minutes.
Stir 2 T whipped cream into the Caramel Treat, then spread over the biscuit crust. Spread the remaining cream over the tart.
Remove from the tin and scatter over the chocolate before serving.


Sosaties (Lamb Skewers) with Smoky Red Salsa

Recipe courtesy Reuben Riffel, Chef de Cuisine and Restaurateur, Reuben’s Restaurant, locations in Franschhoek, Cape Town, Robertson, Paternoster

Wine Pairing: La Motte Syrah (Lamb and Syrah is a match made in heaven—look for ripe, juicy selections that offer savory notes of bramble, fynbos and black pepper, framed by ample tannins and a satiny structure)

2 onions, chopped, plus 1 onion, quartered (optional)
3½ tablespoons canola oil or butter
3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
Grated ginger, equal in volume to garlic
3½ tablespoons curry powder
2½ teaspoons turmeric
2 cups malt vinegar
16 ounces smooth apricot jam
2½ teaspoons salt
4½ pounds leg of lamb, deboned, cleaned and cut into 1-inch cubes
4-8 fresh bay leaves, torn into pieces
1 pound dried apricots (optional)
2-4 peppers of your choosing, cut into pieces (optional)

To make marinade: Sauté onions in oil or butter for 4 minutes, or until soft and golden, but not brown. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder and turmeric. Sauté another 2 minutes. Stir in malt vinegar, apricot jam and salt, and heat until boiling. Remove from heat. Let marinade cool to room temperature.
Place meat in bowl. Add marinade and bay leaves. Toss to coat meat. Cover and marinate, refrigerated, for at least 12 hours, preferably 2–3 days. Stir meat every 8–12 hours.
To cook: Skewer meat, adding dried apricots and pieces of onion and peppers between lamb cubes, if desired. Braai for about 10 minutes, turning a few times in closed, hinged cooking basket. Serve with Smoky Red Salsa. Makes 10 skewers.

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Feijoa Ice Cream [Vegan, No-Churn]

On the back-left burner of my mind is a cookbook idea loosely based around taking every significant recipe I’ve ever made and interpolating it into a new vegan version of its former self. This idea is simmering away quietly and probably going to evaporate completely at some point – cookbooks need a good reason to exist! – but the structure is appealing – I like to think of all that I can eat rather than all that I can’t. Making vegan versions of old favourites is nothing new – we seek the familiar and the familiar comforts! Just type “vegan copycat” into Pinterest for a barrage of recipes. Rewriting your own recipes to fit your current self is a little different though – and since I wrote this blog for ten years before going vegan in 2018 (not to mention publishing a very meaty and buttery cookbook in that time) there’s a lot left behind which I’d love to bring with me. That’s life, isn’t it, taking what worked, reworking that which no longer does, emerging more whole than if you’d discarded those parts of you completely.

It’s also not that deep. What I’m saying is, I’ve been thinking a lot about an ice cream recipe I made back in 2012 and I wanted it, bad.

A staunch champion of the rain and cold, even I feel a trifle lowered as summer’s stone fruit faded from view and the mornings were suddenly pitch black thanks to the entirely unnecessary daylight saving clock change (I will die on this hill!) To soften this blow comes the emerald in autumn’s crown: the feijoa. If you’ve never eaten this charming fruit before, imagine the soft gritty reticence of a canned pear coupled with the giddy just-been-kissed zing of passionfruit that’s more or less the flavour and as you can imagine it makes the most wonderful ice cream. Back in 2012 I combined, quite off-the-cuff, sweetened condensed milk and Greek yoghurt with the feijoa flesh – as per usual it was a no-churn affair and it tasted spectacular.

For the last couple of feijoa seasons, I’ve been wondering whether I could just replace the condensed milk and yoghurt with their coconut counterparts, but neither ingredient is particularly cheap and I was nervous about the potential expensive failure. It also seemed too simple – surely some hard work needs to be involved to make it legit, like, do I have to whip aquafaba or blend up a mountain of soaked cashews here?

But finally, I tried it – and –

This ice cream is heavenly, with the light sour richness of the yoghurt and the PVA glue-sticky condensed milk meeting right in the middle to form a velvety ice cream base to uplift the gloriously perfumed and tangy feijoas. It’s utterly delicious, somehow tasting like rainclouds and sunshine simultaneously, a truly autumnal dessert.

As with all my ice cream recipes, this is no-churn. Another hill I will die on (along with disparaging daylight savings at any opportunity) is that we’re all in the clutches of Big Ice Cream Machine and we don’t need to be! Without the slightest bit of interference this feijoa ice cream is creamy (tautology perhaps but I can’t think of a more appropriate word), rich and utterly lush.

It’s also not terribly attractive – despite the promise of the Wizard of Oz-tinted feijoa exterior, none of that jade shade comes along for the ride and the flesh is more akin to oatmeal, or a stack of manila envelopes. It’s probably not going to light up your Instagram feed (as Nigella Lawson notes in her chapter “A Loving Defence of Brown Food” in Cook, Eat, Repeat: “the medium that has probably done most for the rampant championing of the colourful over the drab”) – but it tastes wonderful and that’s what counts. That being said, a halved feijoa on the side brings not only a welcome pop of green for the eyes to feast upon – you also get to eat more feijoa. An easy win.


Caveat 1: Because this goes so far back through the archives, the majority of which I spent neck-deep in butter, well, there’s going to be some butter. I’ve marked accordingly whether a recipe is vegan, also gluten free if applicable – I see you!
Caveat 2: Because this goes so far back through the archives the continuity/life details on display in any given post might be kind of jarring and this is what happens when you write about many details of your life for eleven years! But if we can handle our TV characters like, changing haircuts and so on throughout the course of a series, so can we handle such things here.
Caveat 3: (And just know that I couldn’t help but hear “O CAVEAT THREE-EE-EE” in a superloud, third-time-round, “O come let us adore him” vibe in my head) I moved my blog over to WordPress halfway through this year and all the formatting completely fritzed out, so just know, every single individual blog post that I’ve linked to here that does have, y’know, line breaks, has had its individual html edited by me, and I haven’t quite managed to catch them all yet. This caveat is more of a weird flex, but.

Category 1: Things in Jars

Too easy! Jars make everything look pulled together and clever, whether it’s the unsinkable salted caramel sauce or some pickled-into-submission vegetable. To ease any anxieties – which you admittedly might not have even considered having, but that’s why I’m here – on the part of both giver and receiver, I advise including a gift tag with some recommendations of how to use the stuff within the jar ( and “consume in one go in bed” is entirely viable here.)

Subsection A: Saucy Stuff

    (Definitely just make this for yourself to have with Christmas dinner anyway, I reckon, it’s so easy) (vg, gf) (gf) (vg, gf) (gf, vg-potential) (vg, gf) (gf) (vg, gf) (vg, gf) (gf) (gf) (vg, gf) (gf) (this link also has an early prototype attempt at a vegan caramel sauce but 100% favour the Black Salted Caramel Sauce above instead, it’s by far the superior, but also good on me for trying nevertheless!)

Subsection B: Stuff stuff

    (vg, gf) (vg, gf) (vg) (pictured above) (vg) (vg, gf) (vg, gf) (vg, gf) (vg, gf) (vg, gf) (vg, gf) (vg, gf) (vg, gf) (gf) (vg, gf) (pictured above)

Category 2: Baked Goods

As easy or as hard as you like, whether it’s some cookies in a takeout container with a ribbon around it (and honestly: those takeout containers – you know the ones – are always useful to have around so it’s not a cop-out) or whether you go full out, make someone an enormous Christmas Cake and find a tastefully yet jaw-droppingly stunning plate to serve it on and make that part of the gift too. To maximise on tis-the-season seasonality I recommend embarking on all baking projects late at night with some kind of liqueur by your side, it just feels right.

    (ughhhhh it’s so good, I might have to try to do an updated version of it this year because it’s just so good and I don’t want to be without it) (pictured above) (also makes for a good xmas day pudding) (gf) (vg) (vg) (vg) (gf) (vg) (gf) (gf) (gf) (vg) (gf) (they SOUND vegan I grant you but…no) (gf)

Category 3: No-bake Novelty!

This is (a) lots of taxing recreations of candy you can get for like forty cents at the corner dairy, (b) lots of stuffing existing products into other existing products and (c) nevertheless the most fun category.

    (like homemade Milk Bottle lollies!) (gf) (gf) (vg, gf-potential) (a little harsh but the price is right) (vg, gf) (as above) (vg, gf) (vg, gf) (pictured above) (gf) (gf) (gf) (gf) (vg, gf) (gf) (vg, gf)

Almond Butter Toffee

a recipe by myself

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 heaped tablespoons crunchy almond butter
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • sea salt

Line a baking tray or tin with a large piece of baking paper.

Place the sugar, water, and cream of tartar in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil over a medium heat, without stirring at all. Let it continue to bubble away for five to ten minutes, until it just starts to turn golden – even though it’s boring for a while, don’t walk away or lose focus or it WILL burn, it just will – and as a pale gold cast creeps across the bubbling sugar, at this point immediately remove it from the heat. I hate to be harsh but if the sugar has turned a dark golden brown this means it’s caramelised too far and will taste harshly bitter and burnt better to start over with more sugar and water than to try to forge ahead, I promise (I speak from much experience.) Stir in the almond butter, and, working quickly and carefully, tip the lot onto the sheet of baking paper, coaxing it around with a spatula if need be to make it an even shape/thickness. Sprinkle over a good pinch of sea salt. Allow to set and get completely cool, then break it into pieces.

Melt the chocolate however you prefer – short bursts in the microwave does it for me – and dip each piece of toffee in the chocolate before returning to the baking paper lined tray to set again. Sprinkle over more sea salt if you wish. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

This stuff tastes not entirely unlike those magical Daim bars (or Dime bars as they’re known in the UK) with a buttery, snappish crunch that is somehow sweet enough to taunt the teeth with impending fissures and yet mellow and balanced enough for you to eat an alarming quantity without giving it a second thought. As is or chocolate-dipped: novelty perfection. (And especially delicious if kept in the freezer, for some reason.)

I guess humans make traditions to give us something to cling on to in a harsh world, something that marks the passage of time other than the time itself, and making this list has become something of a tradition for me so it’s nice to visit it again, even as my eyeballs throb from all that painstaking hyperlinking. Even if you don’t make a single thing on the list – and you’re under absolutey no obligation to – the fact that you’re reading this far means you’re part of my tradition too. Sentimental, yes! But as I said: I watched Die Hard for the first time, so, you understand.

title from: Sade, The Sweetest Taboo. The sultriness! Ma’am!

music lately:

The Pure and the Damned, Oneohtrix Point Never ft Iggy Pop: “Someday I swear we’re gonna go to a place where we can do everything we want to, and we can pet the crocodiles.”

Turkey Lurkey Time, from the 1969 Tony Awards performance from the musical Promises, Promises. Another tradition! Every year on December 1st and not a moment sooner I rewatch this and every year I am breathtaken anew! Michael Bennett’s audacious choreography that cares not for your chiropractic bill! Donna McKechnie (in the red dress), triple threat, rubber-legged, spinal chord cracking like a whip! The lyrics which are SO STUPID! The final minute which every time makes tears spring to my eyes at the sheer magnitude of it!

Whack World, the album by rapper Tierra Whack. Every one of her songs is precisely one minute long (which is just perfect for me) with its own precise personality. I particularly love Black Nails and F**k Off.

Next time: less REALLY will be more, I promise.


Nutty Apricot and Sesame Energy Balls

I love these little energetic things. The perfect way of cramming loads of nutrition and energy into the smallest possible area. These little balls are packed with protein power and full-on flavour and are highly portable! They went down a treat yesterday, I had to share them with you.

Nuts and dried fruits are nutritional power houses and contain vast amounts of good stuff sugars and fats. The last two should of course be enjoyed in moderation and these little balls are perfectly portion controlled. Unless you make them the size of a cricket ball ( I prefer more of a squash ball size and smaller) then you’ll be getting the optimum levels of everything you need from a revitalising, healthy between meal booster.

I have kept these very simple and natural. No added flavours, just the nuts, seeds and fruit. I like to use seeds primarily because they taste amazing, but they are also less expensive and work just as well as nuts. I used a good mixture of nuts, but you can mix and match with whatever you have handy. Nuts like walnuts, cashews and almonds blend smooth, it is more tough to get a Brazil nut to play ball! This is great when mixed with other nuts, adds a crunchy texture. The same can be said for sunflower seeds, once soaked they blend up nicely, unlike pumpkin seeds which take a little more blitzing action. If you have a high powered blender, non of this really applies, as they will take care of anything you put into them. They’d quite happily blend a bean tin I’m sure (this is an untested theory).

I mention nut soaking quite a lot in Peace & Parsnips, I think its important to know about and can really accentuate the flavour, texture and nutritional properties of nuts and seeds. It takes a little forward planning but is very much worth it. Nutrients are tucked away in our food and in some occasions, are missed by our bodies. They are not available to the body, so we miss out on all the goodness. This is known as the ‘bio-availability’ of nutrients and soaking nuts in water before using them opens up the nutrients to be absorbed by the body. They have known this for thousands of years in India and soaked almonds are promoted within the Ayurvedic diet for a number of health boosting reasons.

Soaking nuts in water, preferably overnight, inhibits the potentially harmful effects of enzymes inhibitors, tannins and toxins in nuts. Nature doesn’t want seeds and nuts to germinate until the right conditions are present, by soaking nuts and seeds we are creating these conditions. They literally come to life! Enzymes are essential to good health, just as important as minerals and vitamins. Soaking releases more beneficial enzymes that our bodies love. Most nuts also taste better after they have been soaked, they plump up nicely and become crisp. We normally soak to order, but you can soak in bulk. This just means that your nuts need to be dried out a little. You can do this in a dehydrator or in a low oven. The nuts can then be stored in a air tight container and used on cereals and salads.


1 – Increase the amount of vitamins, especially B vitamins

2 – Produce greater levels of beneficial enzymes

3 – To make digestion easier

4 – Allows easier absorption of protein

5 – To limit enzyme inhibitors, tannins and potentially harmful toxins

We soak nuts in warm water and some people add a little salt. Cover the nuts and leave them overnight, between 7 – 24 hours is best. That’s it!


Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and is one of our favourite ingredients. A wonderful source of vegan creaminess that creeps into dressings, sauces, stews/ curry’s or mixed with jam/ molasses/ maple syrup and lathered on toast and crackers. Tahini normally comes in light and dark varieties, dark has a much more toasted, full flavour. Its not only the delicious aspects of tahini that are attractive, nutritionally its a proper superstar, its is actually one of the best sources of calcium found in nature and also keeps your skin vibrant and muscles toned. It contains 20% protein which is higher than most nuts and is high in very good fats of the unsaturated variety. See our Foodie Fact below for more nutritional bits and pieces.

Feel free to sweeten them as you see fit (taste the mix before rolling up) but I think they are mighty fine with just the apricots. Good dried apricots will not be bright orange. Try and get some un-sulphured apricots, they are out there and well worth the effort and slightly higher expense. Hunza apricots especially (from Afghanistan) are really interesting. If you are living in an area where loads of apricots grow, you could dry your own and even use the kernels instead of nuts or seeds. Apricot kernels are delicious and becoming quite popular in the UK.

We love to play around with combinations of nuts, seeds and flavourings. The possibilities are huge and its much more satisfying and cheaper to make these at home. The main thing is having a dried fruit to bind everything together, normally soaked so that they break down nicely into a sticky paste. Then add nuts and seeds to the equation, any type that takes your fancy and flavour with things like citrus zest, cocoa/ cacao, rose water, orange blossom water, vanilla extract, pomegranate molasses, spices……etc. Energy balls are a medium for a healthy snack charged with all the nutrition we need when leading an active and healthy life.

The Bits – For 12-15 energy balls

300g mixed nuts and seeds (soaked in water for at least 7 hours beforehand. I used cashew, walnuts, brazils and sunflower seeds)

150g dried apricots (soaked in water for at least 1 hour before hand)

4 tbs toasted sesame seeds

2-4 tbs sweetener (maple syrup, brown rice syrup etc)

Drain your nuts and place in your blender/ food processor. Blend them for a minute of so, scraping down the sides of the blender a few times. Add the drained apricots and continue to blend until a chunky paste is formed. You can keep the apricot soaking water, its lovely and sweet. The mix should be sticky, you will be able to form small balls with it between our fingers. Stir in the tahini and sweetener (if using).

Pour the sesame seeds onto a plate and spread out. With damp hands (stops the balls sticking to your fingers) take a roughly squash ball sized amount of mix (3-4 tbsp) and roll in your palms into a ball. Pop it onto the plate and roll in the sesame seeds. Apply a little pressure when doing this to make them stick. Place the finished ball onto a serving plate. Repeat until all the mix is used up.

These energy balls will firm up in the fridge and keep well in a plastic container out of the fridge. Of course, they will not be lasting that long….

These type of energy balls are designed to be portable and travel perfectly. They are especially good sustenance when exercising, down the gym or hiking. They are a boost anytime and sometimes I like to nibble one before a busy day in the kitchen. Intensely nutritious and easy to roll.

Chocolate and Coconut Energy Balls – a simple variation with walnuts, sunflower seeds, cacao, coconut and vanilla extract

Foodie Fact

Tahini is a great friend of the BHK. Very high in many vitamin B’s and vitamin E. It also contains lot of minerals like iron and potassium and contains chemicals that help our liver detox. Tahini is alkaline which makes it easy to digest and helps with weight loss. As mentioned above it is very high in protein and even higher in calcium. Try a scoop of tahini in the morning instead of dairy products and you are covering yourself for calcium and a healthy raft of other things.

Have you met Cosmos yet? He’s our new garden cat. You may remember our dear Buster who has moved on…….where to we are not sure> Cosmos is a character and it’s good to have him hanging out, lying down and occasionally purring. Cats are great teachers in so many ways.

Watch the video: Caramel Apple Pear Earl Grey Tea Drink Recipe. Non-Alcoholic Fruit Punch (January 2022).