Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"sushi" in a bowl

Monday afternoon, while innocently sitting at work, handing out sushi advice to a friend I received an SMS from the fishmonger across the road. Now before you think there is something fishy going on, I only get them when the tuna comes in. How could I resist, fresh yellowfin tuna (orange on the SASSI list) and after spending so much time explaining to my friend the steps to perfect sushi I had to get it.

Only problem was that it was monday and I am sorry to break the news to you but FISH count as MEAT. When I got home with my tuna I suddenly got paranoid about whether it would stay fresh enough in the fridge to be eaten raw the next day so I decided that marinating was the way to go. I cut 2 steaks from the piece I had and marinaded them in the fridge until the next evening.

Still the sushi idea didn't want to leave so I got to making the rice. however, by the time TheHusband was done with work it was 10pm (I had to go fetch him) and the last thing I wanted to do was roll sushi. So I stopped off at woolies and grabbed some prawns, then fetched TheHusband and hurried home. I coated my tuna in sesame seeds and seared it, stir-fried the prawns with some garlic and spring onions and served it all on a bed of chilled sushi rice with a soya and wasabi mayo sauce.

Sesame crusted seared tuna

What you need (served 2 + leftovers for lunch):
500g fresh tuna
1 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tsp honey soy marinade
½ cup water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp wasabi (more if yours isn't strong like mine)
½ cup white sesame
½ cup black sesame

What to do:
Mix all the wet ingredients together making sure the hoisin is dissolved well. Place the tuna steaks in and leave for as long as possible (mine were in there for longer than 24hours). Heat a frying pan nice and hot. Mix your sesame seeds together and coat your steaks on both sides. Pop in the hot pan for about a minute each side (remember SEARED, not COOKED) then remove and allow to rest for a minute or 2 (I stir-fried the prawns in that time). Slice the steaks into chopstick managable sizes :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meat free Monday - Parmesan Pancakes with Blue cheese mushroom filling

I have another meat free monday post waiting in the wings and while it was super tasty I just couldn't help it and had to post this one first. 

For some unkown reason I decided to browse my old food24 blog, I think I wanted to check when my blogaversary is supposed to happen but I got caught up in reading my old posts. There I found a recipe I really enjoyed and completely forgot about and the cheese-slut in my rejoiced at the find.

What to fill it with though? The first time I served it with a beef stew but I wanted this for meat free monday so narrowed it down to 2 choices. Mushrooms or Cheese

What was I thinking?!?! Some twitter friends put me right and reminded me that I can must combine the two. Things happened, people were late so I had to rush my shopping. 1 box mixed button and wild mushrooms and then for the cheese...what cheese? Originally I wanted to get some ricotta but the cheesegods did not will it so there was none in the shop. First I picked up a block of haloumi, went to get another can of Dr Pepper and decided Haloumi would not work. I went back and had a brainwave while staring at the contents of the cheese fridge. BLUE!! I grabbed a triangle of the strong and creamy cheese and I was ready for a Meat Free Feast

Wholewheat parmesan pancakes with a mushroom and blue cheese filling

What you need (feeds 2): 
For the mushrooms:
1 box mixed mushrooms, chopped but not finely (or any mushrooms)
1 triangle blue cheese (I used Blue Rock from Fairview)
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

For the pancakes
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups milk
4 jumbo eggs
1 cup parmesan, grated (or to taste)
Olive oil

What to do:
Suatee the onions and garlic in some olive oil till they start to brown. Throw in the mushrooms and stir fry until that lovely smell of cooked mushrooms wafts from your pan (I used a wok) and the mushrooms are about ½ the size. Crumble in the blue cheese and lower the heat so it melts slowly, then pour in the milk and simmer till it all thickens up.

In the meantime mix all your pancake ingredients until smooth, the batter must be slightly watery so if needed add more milk. Heat up a pan nice and hot and coat with olive oil (I pour in a little oil then use a kitchen towel to spread it evenly). Pour enough of the mixture in to make a nice size pancake and swirl around the pan to spread it evenly. When holes appear on the top and don't close up, loosen the ends and flip over. Repeat as needed.

To assemble: 
Pop a pancake on a plate. Put some of the mushroom mix on the one side, then roll that side over, fold up the 2 ends and roll again till the end.

Suggestion: Add some chillies or mix up some herbs for more complex flavours 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Red Velvet Cupcake Course for Noah

To find out more about Noah go here
If you want to sign up, email me on goldenangel [at] gmail [dot] com

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hummus Im Bassar and Happy Birthday to TheHusband

3 posts in 1 week, incredible! Ok so one of them was to announce this month's sushi club but still, more than usual.

Now my husband is the kind of man who eats because it's food. He appreciates fine food but he isn't likely to mmmmmm and aaaaaaa and smile from ear to ear with a glint in his eye when tasting some something delightful (guess who does?).‡ So knowing his favourite food is a big thing. when he asks for something by name it's even bigger.

Luckily on Sunday he mentioned wanting honey poached pairs, he said it like he didn't think I could do it...hahaha. That coupled with knowing he loved a popular middle eastern dish made his birthday menu easy:
I have no idea if there grammar here is right, please don't kill me
Hummus im Basar 

followed by honey poached pears

Hummus Im Basar:
By now you are probably dying to know what that means (or not, but I will tell you anyway), it translates to "Hummus with Meat" but what it means when you order it at a restaurant in Israel is A plate full of hummus, topped with fragrant minced, or finely chopped, lamb garnished with paprika, olive oil, whole chickpeas and roasted pine nuts. Add to that some warm pita breads, pickles and salad and you have a hearty, healthy and very very filling meal.

The trick to a good Hummus im Basar is the spices. Loads of cummin and paprika, a bit of a cayene pepper kick (in hebrew we call it "hot paprika") salt and pepper. Obviously you need to find the right balance, too much cummin and it will be sour, too little and well it won't really taste right.

This is why I love my mom's Kenwood chef
I minced my own lamb but if you can find it already minced you can go for it. Much like chicken I preffer mincing my own and I can control how fine it's minced. This dish works better with courser mince.
You can learn more about the process of putting food together in a pleasing way by attending California culinary schools.


I admit, there are a lot of really good premade hummus and tahina options, we love to get those done by Salad Valley and Picante but for this dish, make your own. The only shortcut I will allow you to take (because I did) is using tinned chickpeas but trust me if you have (we discovered on sunday night that we had ½ a cup left) dried chickpeas, soak them and boil them yourself, you CAN taste the difference.

To make hummus:
Blend chickpeas with some tahini paste, water to loosen, salt and pepper to taste and garlic to your heart's desire. 

To make tahina:
You don't even need a food processor for this one, so no excuses. Mix together tahini paste with some water, a little bit at a time till the colour changes and it becomes runny, add some lemon juice and garlic to taste and then some salt to finish it off

Don't skimp, every flavour in this dish is important, use a GOOD olive oil, something peppery, both when cooking your meat (high heat, fast cooking, don't boil the lamb) and when serving the dish. The olive oil that comes out of the Arab villages in Israel is something special, cloudy and peppery but fresh at the same time. One day I will learn the secret and then bring it home to make all your lives that much richer.

Tip: to warm your pita breads without drying them up, first heat up your oven till it's nice an hot then turn it off. Pop the pita breads in till warmed through.

Now the pears were something new so I googled. Most of the recipes had white wine and I knew that method already, however my husband doesn't drink, he doesn't like the taste of alcohol so I searched a little deeper and found this recipe 

Really easy recipe, fresh and tasty, although very very sweet. May just drop the amount of sugar we add next time (or taste the pears first and add accordingly)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

La Mouette - A Review

I have not done a review in a while but I really feel this one needs to be shared. It's taken me some time to write it because I was hoping to go to La Mouette again for their garden party and do a sort of "Double review". One for an intimate dinner for 2 and 1 group dining experience.

Unfortunately I will have to wait for next time for the group experience but in the meantime I will share what it was like for TheHusband and I on a long overdue date night.

Let me start off by saying that this was not just "going out for dinner" the whole experience from beginning to end was just that, an experience. From making my booking over twitter to getting a personal goodbye from the manager Nanette and all of the great banter, knowledge and professionalism of Frans in between.

We went in for the spring tasting menu, TheHusband just for the food part and me, I just had to pair it and boy was I glad that I did.

(Disclaimer: My camera battery was dead so pics were taken on my iphone and TheHusband's blackberry, sorry. Well all except the first 1 on this post and the picture for the starters, those are courtesy of La Mouette)

To start off the evening, Mari had organised some lovely bubbles for us, TheHusband had a sip to toast the beginning of a great night (oh boy did we underestimate what a great night it was to be) and the rest of his glass was mine too (I tried the bubbles with everything *evil grin*) as he doesn't drink.

We were then offered a delicious home baked roll which I forgot to ask about but tasted like maybe it had sundried tomatoes in it, it was a really great start to the meal too (and went well with my bubbles).

My choice: Cheese and truffle croquettes paired with Jack Black Premium beer (there was also an option to pair it with Villiera brut N/V which I think I did anyway if our complimentary bubbles were that). There is something about crumbed food and beer that just works so well together and this was no exeption, the earthyness of the truffles with the beer worked really well. 

TheHusband's choice: Smoked mozzarella and sundried tomato arancinni (paired with the Villiera brut N/V if you took that option)

Soup course
My Choice: Coconut broth, vegetable dim sum and sesame seeds paired with Thelema Muscat de Frontignan 2009 (and bubbles, ok ok I will stop now) 

I have to pause for a second here to point out that while I loved every single course equally, this pairing was my favourite by a mile, a match made in heaven. If I had to edit the experience I would add spot lights and choir boys signing in post-production.

TheHusband's choice: Artichoke and potato veloute, truffle foam and bĂ©arnaise relish (the pairing option was Diemersdal Chardonnay 2010)

To tell you the truth this soup course was my most difficult choice, I love veloute's but I was in a dim sum mood and well I got to taste both anyway.

By now I was in a very happy space, my tummy was slowly filling with good food and good wine and I was really enjoying the space we were in. It was like a treasure hunt without moving, what flavours will I find. I was so happy that the meal was far from over and I had 3 more courses to explore.

My choice: Salt and pepper prawn, pea puree, shaved vegetables and crispy pancetta with Villiera chenin blanc 2009

The prawns were amazing, juicy, sweet and tasty. They worked excellently with the wine, which unfortunately was a little too dry for my taste but wine is very subjective and I could still appreciate the pairing.

The Husband's choice: Goats cheese pannacotta, grilled asparagus, balsamic, quince jam and bread crisps(The pairing option was Diemersfontein Pinotage 2009)
It tasted as I expected it to, which was great for the TheHusband and made me happy with my choice

My Choice: Beef Sirloin, pommes pont neuf, watercress puree and hollandaise with Waterford Pebble hill 2008

Looking at my glass you may have thought I didn't enjoy the merlot, you would be very wrong. I am llergic to the tannins in red wine and it is the only thing that gives me a hang over. So while I love it, it hates me and so I had to leave a lot in my glass. The beef was so very succulent, perfectly prepared and soft as butter (As I had proven, using my butter knife while waiting for the steak knife to arrive)

TheHusband's choice: Roasted line fish tomato cassoulet, baby spinach and calamari (normally paired with Jordan Chameleon 2009)

I am very picky when it comes to fish but this was very tasty and TheHusban kept giving me bits of calamari (I LOVE calamari)

My choice: ‘Cappuccino’ coffee ice cream, milk foam and chocolate macaroon paired with Glen Carlou ‘the welder’ 2009

Who can resist a 'mac'. I was totally in love with this dessert! Had a really nice discussion with the waiter about crispy macs v.s. chewy macs. The foam on the dessert was excellent and as TheHusband knows, its my favourite part of his cappuccino (I eat his foam before he gets to drink that sounds bad)

TheHusband's choice: Kimberley chedder with peppercorns quince jelly and lavoche (normally paired with Allesverloren Vintage Port 2007)

The quince jelly was yum and he cheese tasty, loved the cracker and the presentation. 
I really had an amazing experience and I can recommend them 100% to anyone who asks. 

View there menu
contact them:
Twitter: @teamlamouette

phone:  021 433 0856

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November Sushi Club Active Sushi

Image courtesy of Active Sushi

JamieWho and Food24 were ranting about Active Sushi and so I decided it's time to put them under the critical eye of the #sushiclub 

Place: Active Sushi, 63 Strand street, Cape Town
Date: 16 November 2010
Time: from 7:30
please RSVP by leaving a comment on this post by the 14th so I can book in advance