Category Archives: Dinner

Postcards from the Veg: Pizza

Vegetarian pizza is a pretty obvious choice for us newbie veggies. We still get all the flavour without having to sacrifice much or work with foreign ingredients.

Veg pizza

So NOT rabbit food.

But this pizza is special. I learnt the recipe when I joined WeightWatchers and I haven’t made a different pizza since. Although, I have become far more liberal with my toppings and serving sizes. Shh…

Instead of buying pizza bases or painstakingly making them yourself, you can make this pizza on a tortilla wrap. Fancy, neh?

It produces the most wonderful, light base and the flavours just tend to ‘pop’ that much more as a result.

Enough with the sales talk. Here’s the recipe, make it yourself and then report back.

Nomnomnom...

Vegetarian WeightWatchers Pizza
Serves 2
2 tortilla wraps, preferably wholewheat
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tsp crushed garlic
1 tomato, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 cup  of sliced mushrooms
1/2 avo, sliced
1 cup of grated cheeze, preferably mozzarella but I use whatever’s in the fridge
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 220ºC.

Smear the tomato paste and garlic on the tortillas. Add the rest of the toppings, cheese and avo last.

Place your pizzas on a Spray ‘n Cooked oven tray.

Once the oven is smokin’ hot, put the pizzas in the oven for about 10 minutes or until it looks like you want it to look. Some like theirs crispier than others.

And don’t be shy to make yourself more than one serving. It’s too delicious not to.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Dinner

Orange and Coriander Roast Chicken

I’m sitting on a farm in the Natal Midlands with seriously free-range chickens clucking around me. I’m surprised at how easily I can imagine what great dinners they’ll make. You may gasp,  but I’d rather eat these gorgeous, healthy birds than those manky white things called battery chickens.

But let’s get back to the bird that’s already been in my oven.

Zest breasts

Orange Coriander Roast Chicken

Everybody eats roast chicken. It’s the floozy of meats; the go-to gourmet; the all-pleasing poultry.

We’re in the middle of a blazing hot summer and roast chicken with rys en artappels won’t go down that easily. Plus – isn’t it SOOO boring? The poor chicken is already so everyday, it deserves a bit of zhuzhing up.
So we’ll spice it up, clean it off with some citrus and cool it down with coriander.

Orange and Coriander Roast Chicken
Serves 4 or more

1 medium free range chicken
2-3 oranges
Generous sprinklings of chicken braai spice
Bunch of coriander
Maldon salt

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Place the hefty bird in a roasting pan. Squeeze orange juice all over your whole chicken, making sure to get it in all the nooks and crannies. Slice the squeezed half and insert it into the cavity. (I know that sounds awful, but just try not to think about it.

Sprinkle the chicken with the braai spice so that it almost forms a coating. Stick a handful of coriander in the cavity as well as some around the dish.

Pop it in the oven for an hour or so – prob an hour and 20 minutes depending on the size – and watch it turn the most glorious colour. Turn the chicken over half-way through the cooking time, and then back again for the last 10 minutes.
If your colouring is less than glorious, sprinkle some salt for shine and brush with a little bit of olive oil. I usually forego the oil as the chicken skin is fat aplenty.

Garnish with slices of orange, some zest and the rest of the coriander.

Serve with a green salad or a cold couscous and veg salad. Leftovers can be shredded for chicken mayo, a lovely chicken and corn broth should the weather suddenly turn, or simply take yourself a doggy bag to work. The flavours will intensify overnight. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Dinner

Apricot and Mustard Chicken

My new favourite favourite.

Fiery Fruit

FIERY FRUIT: Apricot Mustard Chicken

I get into a rut very easily in the kitchen. When I find something that works, I clutch to it for dear life, or until Danny begs me to vary it up.

My latest flavour fixation is Apricot and Mustard. It stems from a recipe found in an old edition of Fresh Living. It’s also very adaptable because you can use any mustard and any apricot product really. From Dijon with apricot jam to English mustard with freshly sliced appelkosies, it’s delicious any way you want it.
I used my colleague Shaheema as my guinea pig and gave her some to try. Her comments: “I feel like judge on Top Chef“. I’ll take that as a compliment!

I’ve come to regularly serve it with a warm couscous salad as it just seems like the appropriately Moroccan thing to do… 🙂

And one last tip: The chicken breasts with the bone in work better than the fillets.

Apricot and Mustard Chicken
Serves 2
2 free-range chicken breasts with bone in
1 cup of chicken stock
8 fresh apricots, sliced and stoned – for a sweeter palate use tinned apricots which are just as yummy
2 tbs Colman’s English mustard
1 tbs yellow mustard seeds
1 tbs olive oil
Coriander

Heat oven to 180 degrees. Remove chicken skin. It’s will looked old and wrinkled once the chicken is done in the oven and that’s just eeuw. Fry chicken in a pan or pot that can go in the oven, such as my wonderful Le Creuset casserole pot. Yes, I’m bragging. Fry until brown.

Mix apricots, stock, mustard and mustard seeds together. Pour over chicken. Cover the chicken dish with foil or a lid and pop it in the oven for an hour.

After the hour, you’ll notice the sauce will still be thin. Add some maizena if you like it thicker and gloopier. No judging – that’s how I like it. Return to the oven for a few minutes.  Then serve with warm couscous salad and fresh coriander.

Not a square meal...

Not a square meal...

Warm Vegetable Couscous Salad
Serves 2
1 cup of couscous, cooked according to box instructions
1 onion, sliced
1 red, yellow or green pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen peas or corn
1/2 tbs olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

Cook the couscous as best you can. I often screw it up – too mushy, or too dry. I’m working on it…

Fry the rest of the ingredients together for a few minutes until soft. Mix it with the couscous. Douse with lemon juice. Serve shaped with a bowl.

1 Comment

Filed under Dinner

Pumping Iron: Beetroot and Ostrich Salad

Pretty in purple and pink...

Pretty in purple and pink...

Salad and I are new friends. I used to be ugly and call it “Rabbit Food”. But I’ve changed my ways and now I can dress her up seven ways from Sunday.

Another of my slightly older friends is ostrich meat. I haven’t cooked with beef mince in over three years because all I buy is ostrich. It’s lean cuisine without the plasticky stuff.

A leftover ostrich fillet in the deep freeze and leftover Woolies beetroot salad could have easily ended up in the bin in my pre-salad days, but now I had the opportunity to mix and match for greatness! The gauntlet in front of me and a hungry man behind me, I had some work to do.

Beetroot and Ostrich Salad

serves 2 big or 4 little people

2oog ostrich fillet (also referred to as steak hereafter)
250g Woolies beetroot salad (the chunks, not the grated stuff)
2 handfuls of leafy greens
2 handfuls of green beans
1 tbs olive oil
1 lemon
Maldon salt and fresh black pepper
Balsamic vinegar and extra olive oil (optional)

Steam your green beans in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Heat your pan until it’s smoking hot. Rub the olive oil over the ostrich fillet. It would be easier if you had 2 x 100g pieces.

Once the pan is smoking, put in the ostrich. Fry on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Remember ostrich has very little fat so it dries out very quickly. Rather take it off when it’s too rare and put it back than serve “Beetroot and Rubber Salad”.

Once your steak is cooked to your liking, let it rest on a plate for a few minutes.

Place the salad leaves and green beans on the plate. Add beetroot. Slice steak into thin strips and douse in fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. Be liberal. You deserve it – you are having SALAD after all. That’s got to count for something.

Divide the steak strips between the plates. Grate some lemon zest over the pretty plate. Serve with olive oil and balsamic on the side.

This is of course a fantastic meal option for the anemic among us, or the occasional fangbanger, as ostrich and beetroot both have a high iron content which is essential for the production of haemoglobin in our red blood cells.

Woah… too much Web MDing for me today.

Enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under Dinner

RSC Main: Lentil Cottage Pie

My Ready Steady Cook Challenge begins!

As my list is vegetarian, the main meal was going to be my tamaletjie. What’s the best way to tackle a problem? Start with what you know. Cottage Pie is my go-to dish.

It’s a winter staple in our house. A rich, gravy flavour matched with buttery potato goodness is the perfect way to forget about stuffy offices, frozen fingers pawing away at keyboards and those ever intellectually challenged colleagues.

Le Ingredients

Le Ingredients

Ingredients:

2 cups dry lentils
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped finely
1 can tinned tomatoes
handful of chopped fresh basil
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1 egg
2 tsp paprika
1 tbs butter
1/2 cup of milk
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Cook lentils in double the volume of water until soft and almost mushy. Cook it slowly otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pot. This one I’ve tried ‘n tested.

In another pot, cook your finely cubed potatoes in water until really soft ‘n mushy.

In a heavy based pan, fry onion in oil until soft. Add garlic. Add lentils and 1 tsp paprika.  Turn down the heat of the pan. Add tomatoes and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Once the lentil mixture has stiffened a bit and lost some of its liquid, pour it into a casserole dish.

Crack the raw egg into the lentil mixture and mix. Add basil and mix again.

Once your potatoes are cooked, mash them with butter, milk, salt and pepper.

Spoon the mash on top of the lentil mixture and flatten. Decorate with paprika, herbs or simply make pretty patterns with your fork.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Lentil Cottage Pie

Lentil Cottage Pie

It passed the taste test once fed to Guinea Pig Danny.

Lovely Little Lentils

Lentil Love

5 Comments

Filed under Dinner

Your Soup

I order a box of organic veggies every two weeks. Each box is a surprise; packed with gorgeous, seasonal vegetables. So I don’t shop according to a recipe, I find a recipe that fits my veggie box.

veg

Organic veggies

It actually takes all the hard work out of shopping. Gems or butternut? Broccoli or cauliflower? “If I buy both, will I use it all?” Food shouldn’t be this complicated. Especially when you’re just cooking for yourself and a boy who probably can’t taste the difference between broccoli and cauliflower.

Soup

Supa Soup

When making soup, I let the box guide me. I have a basic recipe which is basically onions, meat, tomatoes and dried soup mix (lentils, split peas and barley), and the rest of the ingredients are added by fate. Hand Of God Soup, Seasonal Selection Soup, Veggie Veto Soup… and I’m complicating things again. Call it whatever you like.

Here is the recipe basic guideline:

________ Soup

Makes 1 big pot

+- 500g of your favourite soup meat (mine is beef shin), chopped into small pieces
+- 1l of vegetable/chicken/beef/oxtail stock
1l boiling water
1 tbs olive oil
2 onions, chopped roughly
1 bulb of garlic, chopped
1 cup of dried soup mix
1 small tin of tomato paste
1 tin (410g) of canned chopped tomatoes
2 sticks of celery, chopped roughly
3 or more veggies of your choice – eg. chopped carrots, spinach, grated sweet potato, chopped green pepper, broccoli, butternut cubes, sliced marrows. Go for seasonal; it’s better for your body and your conscience.
Seasonings of your choice – eg. salt, pepper, paprika, dried herbs, cumin, etc.

Fry onions and celery in oil in a heavy based pot. Once translucent, add garlic. A minute later, add meat and fry until browned. Add tomato paste, tomatoes and stock. Add soup mix. Cook on low for about an hour. Then add veggies according to their density. The heavier they are, the longer they need to cook. Add the boiling water. After another say 45 min (use your head and nose here), add seasonings and try it out on the boy. Leave the soup to stand for a little while before serving.

It will taste even better tomorrow so save some for then.

1 Comment

Filed under Dinner

Bangers ‘n Mash

No prize for guessing which team we supported in Saturday night’s World Cup match in Rustenburg.

Posh Porkies

Posh Porkies

I first had bangers ‘n mash at a dingy seafood restaurant called Dockside Debbie’s at the PE Harbour. It later became a brothel I hear. But at that time, Debbie was more known for her grills than her girls. The mash was rough and rustic with lots of black pepper and the bangers were just fried porkies. Just like I liked it then. At the time I also had no idea of the dish’s British origins, besides for the odd name ‘Bangers’. It’s pork sausages between us, and I still maintain that Bangers is a stupid name. But then again, they call blood sausage black pudding. Bless them and their euphemisms…

Not having any British roots, Danny and I had to improvise. He took care of the meat while I handled the mash. If it looks and sounds British, chuck it in!

Bangers ‘n Mash for the English Soccer Team

The meat:

1 tbs canola oil
8 pork bangers
1 onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 tbs chutney
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce (token British ingredient)
salt and pepper to taste

Brown the bangers in heated oil in a pan. Add the onions until translucent and browned. Add Worcestershire sauce. Add tomatoes. Add chutney and a little water and let it simmer for about 10 minutes on a low heat, making sure the bangers don’t burn.

The mash:

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups of water
salt
1 tbs of butter
1 tbs Colman’s English mustard (token British ingredient)
1/2 cup of milk

Cook potatoes in salted water until soft. Remove from the stove, add mustard, butter and a bit of salt. Mash until soft. Add milk gradually until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Serve with bangers. Before digging in, say a prayer for your team.

1 Comment

Filed under Dinner

Macaroni Triple Cheese

Macaroni Cheese is one of those trusty, go-to dishes we all love, but it’s treated like the middle child no one every worries about.  It’s not given the proper love and care it deserves, since the carbs and cheese do all the work of satisfying. It’s really hard to screw up mac ‘n cheese, unless it’s those plastic microwave goodies. Don’t go there. I’ve discovered though that the nicer you are to your dish, the nicer it will be to your tongue. Note: this ‘niceness’ is inversely proportionate to its treatment of your hips and waistline.

Mmmmmacaroni Cheese

Three times the cheese, three times the fun

Macaroni Triple Cheese

(serves 4)

For the mixture:

250g wholwheat macaroni
250g bacon
1 cup of frozen corn
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, sliced

For the cheese sauce:
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
2 cups of milk
3 tbs grated cheddar
2 tbs crumbled feta
1 tbs cream cheese
1 tbs sour cream
2 tsp Colman’s English mustard

For the top:
2 tomatoes, sliced thickly
handful of Simba chips, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Start wth love in your heart. Cook this for someone special.

Preaheat your oven to 180ºC.

Cook your macaroni until it’s al dente.

Fry your onions in some butter until translucent. Add bacon and fry till cooked. Add corn and garlic cook for just a few minutes more. Remove from the stove and mix the macaroni into it.

For the sauce, melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan. Once melted, add flour and stir to form a roux. Take the pot off of the stove and add some milk – about 1/3 of a cup. It’s best if  the milk is warm, but I always forget to warm it up first. Return the pot to the stove and stir to combine. Stir continuously. Add more milk as the mixture gets thick. Keep adding until all the milk has been used, and don’t be afraid to use a bit more if you feel it’s too thick. I like my mac ‘n cheese sauce to be thin so that it can spread.

Add the cheeses and mustard and stir continuously. Once it’s your preferred consistency, pour the sauce into the macaroni and bacon mix and combine well. Add the sour cream and mix it in.

Place slices of tomato on top, season, then add the chips.

Place it in the oven for 20 minutes, or until it’s crispy on top. Remove and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Chips, cheese, carbs… may the kilos have mercy on my hips.

4 Comments

Filed under Dinner