Thursday, June 7, 2012

Share N Wear - Giving Back

When I began blogging I had no idea what I was in for. The whole concept was in it's infancy in South Africa and food blogging was especially new. It didn't take too long to discover that with blogging came readers and some of those readers were other bloggers. Those other bloggers soon became a community and that community has grown.

Like every community it has it's politics. It's good guys and it's bad guys. There are groups within the community, some more "exclusive" then others, there are friends and foes. There are leaders, there are followers. Innovators, organisers and supporters. The blogging community grows more diverse by the day and I often discover new bloggers that have been doing this for years but outside of my little radar.

I have grown up in the Jewish community where we "help our own" however we can. The blogging community is the same. However, while charity may start at home there are those outside of the community that need help too and (I believe) a community can help far more than an individual (unless the individual is a billionaire and donates half his fortune, that is something else)

So where am I going with this? Well this morning, while looking for something to wear, I shoved aside a pile of clothes I don't wear, we all have them...they go from one side of the cupboard to another, top shelf, bottom shelf, round and round. The pile grows and when it gets to a certain point (normally at the same time every year) I put it all in a bag, get together with some friends, swap some clothes and take the rest to a charity shop. I had an idea, what if I expand it from the 2 or 3 friends I normally do this with to the "general public'. I could make it an event!

An event would be great but where would I host it and then a sparkly idea bubble popped up. Clothes + Food + Wine = 

I immediately sent them a DM asking if they would be keen and they were. A quick phone call later and we planned on meeting for lunch and a more in depth talk and plan. Lunch was productive with people around their beautiful communal table chipping in, including the gorgeous Saskia from Heart FM who was really keen on the idea.

So this is how it's going to work. You, the "general public" will sort through your cupboards, draws and closets. Find the things you never wear. Clothes, shoes, jewllery. The stuff you kids have grown out of. Admit that that dress will never fit again and that those pants haven't really made it onto the list in more than 2 years. Pop them in a box or a black bag (or a shiny pink one) and bring them to I  MY LAUNDRY at 59 Buitengracht street. We will sort them and grade them and assign you "Laundry Points".
On the 23rd of June all your goods will be on display at the shop, along with coffee, dim sum and some other treats which you can then use your "Laundry Points" to purchase. We will also sell "Laundry Points" on the day so everyone can get involved. The relevant items that are left at the end as well as any money made on the day will go to The Princess Project 
Click here to find out more 

For those on twitter the hashtag will be #ShareNwear. So spread the word and lets makes someones special day even more special, someones night a little warmer and have fun while we do it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

3 ways with pizza dough

You know those cravings that won't leave you. The ones that creep up at in appropriate times. Cravings that whisper in your ear "that just doesn't taste right" when you eat something that isn't what you crave. Fill your mind to the point where not even your favourite series, your child's laughter or your husband's loving words can penetrate the thoughts of making or eating that which you crave? 


I see you nodding and so you will understand when I tell you about my pizza dough craving. It wasn't about what was on top, that didn't matter. It was the flavour and texture of what makes a pizza a pizza that took residence in my head and would not leave. 


So I paused Lost Girl, got up and made the dough. I had no idea WHAT I was going to put on it but the dough was made. Next I went foraging in the fridge, freezer and cupboards for something to use. No, going to the shop was not an option....because...stop it! No! aaaaanyway. In the freezer I found a beautiful piece of beef fillet which I had trimmed off a larger piece I made a few weeks back, some roasted red pepper and tomato soup and a couple of sausages. In the fridge a tiny bit of cheese and in the cupboards onion and spices.


So I went about creating these 3 tasty snacks for us, never having to leave the house or dress in anything but slippers and PJs (see why the shop was not an option). I turned the sausages into cows in blankets (beef sausage see), the meat I fried up with some onions, caramelising it a little then made balls of meaty goodness. The roasted red pepper and tomato soup was cooked down and thickened and made a beautifully rich base for the pizzas I made with cheese and some onion and the rest of the dough was mixed in some caramelised onions to make little dinner rolls (that never made it to dinner)


Pizza Dough

1/2 cup warm water
1 sachet activated dry yeast
2 + 1 cup 00 flour (or half white bread flour half cake flour)
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt


Put the yeast in the warm water with a pinch of flour and allow it to bloom. Mix it in with the 2 cups of flour and knead adding the 3rd cup as you knead the dough. Kneed in the olive oil and salt. Place ina oiled bowl and cover and allow to rise. 
Once the dough has risen, knead it to knock out or the air bubbles and divide it into the number of portions you need. (If you are freezing the dough this is when you do it)



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mysterious Murders at the Five Flies

The nights are getting longer, the tempratures is dropping. Mist creeps into the city in the dark hours. Something sinister is happening at the end of Keerom street...


STOP! No need to call in the police. The detectives are already there but they need your help. From Egypt to England, New Orleans to Peru and even as far South as Antarctica murders are happening and YOU are the key to solving the mystery.

Hurry now and book a seat for a great night at the Five Flies. Murder. Intrigue. Food and wine. Loads of belly aching laughter, accusatory screaming (all with a smile) and a night you won't quickly forget. 

1 June - Horrific Hieroglyphics (Only 2 tables left! Don't miss out)
29 June - The Bloody Grail 
27 July - Voodoo in the Big Easy 
31 August - Raiders of the Golden Incan Tomb 
28 September - Arctic Madness 

For more information and to book, please contact Natalie at Five Flies on 021 424 4442 or info@fiveflies.co.za 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Baa Baa bolognese

I love when plans come together. When you have a tiny seed of an idea and with the right kind of nurturing it starts to grow into the seedling of something amazing. Some ideas, like some seeds, when planted at the wrong time or in the wrong place never sprout but others, oh they even surprise. That was why I was cooking supper for Jon from i shot images.

I had an idea, I thought he might be the person to help me grow it and what I got in return for sharing this project with him was more than I could have ever imagine. The excitement I was holding back, in case I was totally off the mark, he let show immediately. I started to hope, to dream and to plan. After a great brainstorming lunch out I thought a working dinner in would be the logical next step.

After telling Jon that I was cooking his reply was "Whoot! Such a privilege.. " and I started to panic. The pressure was on and my culinary creativity went into overdrive until my loving husband reminded me that keeping it simple was always a winning idea. So the meal of bolognese, and a new technique I had spotted on Rhodes across Italy that I had wanted to try, came to mind. As if by fate, Frankie Fenner tweeted about the lamb mince they had in stock and a meal was born.

The technique? Well before adding the tomatoes to the Ragu di Bolognese you add milk. Yes, milk. I knew this would make a difference, there was no reason to not believe that but I had to see for myself. So I fried off some lardons, cooked the mince with the usual carrot, onion and celery mix (also known as soffritto) and tasted the mince. Then I added the milk and cooked it till it was all soaked up by the mince and tasted again. The difference was not as subtle as I expected. The meat was softer, almost creamy and I from now on, that step will be added to my usual process (that is, if I don't forget)

Considering everyone went back for seconds and Baby Bug gobbled his portion with no complaints I figured this is a winning recipe. You can use any mince you have available but the lamb mince was a very nice change from the usual.

Baa Baa Bolognese

1 tablespoon lardons (or olive oil)
1 large carrot
1 cellery stick
1 onion
750g lamb mince
1 cup milk
1 tinned peeled and chopped tomatoes
1/2 tin water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dry oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Fry the lardons until the lard melts and add the carrot, cellery and onion.
Fry till soft then add the mince and brown.
Once the meat is cooked, add the milk and cook on a medium heat until all the milk is soaked up.
Add the tin of tomatoes, water, sugar and oregano and allow to simmer on a low heat for at least 1 hour.
Season about 20 minutes before serving.

I served mine with Rigatoni and toasted ciabatta.



Disclaimer: Sorry for all the mixed metaphors, entertaining the bugling and blogging is new to me.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sharwood - Easy as 1, 2, 3

Food 24 used to have forums, maybe they still do but I haven't been to them in years. Most often than not,. they were filled with Vegan v.s. anti-vegan debate (read: flame wars) but soon it as obvious that there had to be a different platform for people to share recipes. So the food blogs were born and I took to blogging like a duck to water. 
Some light entertainment from a talented dancer before the cooking started

My first post was by no means brilliant, and many to follow were not much better but it was really only a place for me to keep my kitchen wizadry in a place I could find it again. Online I could access it anywhere, it wasn't going to get lost under a pile of laundry, or get stuck to the back of another book only to be found years from now. 

Then something strange happened, people started commenting. That meant people were reading it and I had to start making more of an effort. I didn't mind since it meant making people happy with food and I love doing that. From then I worked hard to produce what I felt at the time were quality posts (looking back I cringe though) and at a point I was posting almost every day.

One of our beautiful host having fun with the fish

As the blogs got more popular, more people posted and I developed a pet peeve. There I was, slaving away in the kitchen coming up with unique, delicious and easy to make recipes and people are posting about a pasta sauce they made with ready-made ingredients. I would see beautiful titles for "perfect, home made mushroom lasagne" and they had used packet mushroom sauce (just add water for that over salted fake taste) and a jar of pre-made pasta sauce. 

This developed into a dislike for all things pre-made and soon I was knocking out things I would normally just buy, like Sweet Chilli sauce. I had a sense of righteousness that rivalled the snottiest heiress and I became a total snob. Until I had a baby.
Stir frying the prawns

So now, here I sit. Not only do I use some pre-prepared ingredients in my cooking but I am even going to blog about one. Please be fair in your judgement of me, when I do commit the sin of lazy cook I try and do so with high quality ingredients. Ones that contain as few preservatives as possible, but still make it easy for me to feed my family before 10 o'clock at night. So when I was invited to cook with Sharwood (see my previous post about freebies and cooking events) I was keen to see what they had to offer.

Just add sauce.
Their product range is extensive. From the Southern most tip of India, to the cities of China, you can choose which part of Asia you would like your taste buds to explore. We were split into groups and each one did one Indian meal and one Chinese meal which we combined in a delicious buffet for all to enjoy and enjoy we did. I expected what you always get from bottled goods, over salted with that weird mouth-feel preservatives give you. What I got was spicy and flavourful with more than enough room to season to your taste. 

They really are as easy as 1-2-3. Cook protein and veg, add sauce, serve. Each dish is quick to prepare as all the lovely flavours have been developed in the sauce already but you can also leave your proteins or veg to cook for longer if you have the time and the want. Thank you Sharwood for a fun a delicious morning and to those of you with a love of good food and little time to make it I urge you to give them a try.

So many dishes to try

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Canderel Yellow - The experience


There is much bandied about in the blogesphere about freebies. Some love them, others hate them, some get to many and others sulk for lack of any. For me a freebie are welcomed like any gift, as long as the giver understands that I will be honest in my review (if they expect one). Canderel didn't expect one when they invited me to cook up a storm at The Cook's Playground. All they wanted was feedback.
Sneaking a bit of tuna sashimi before putting it in the pan

For me the best event invitation is one where I get to cook. Sure, sitting at a beautiful restaurant, enjoying magnificent food is great but it makes my night to be able to participate in the making of that food and to learn, teach and experience every step.

On this night we got to do it all. Drink bubbly, eat good food and too many lots of chocolate coated almonds. Old friends got to chat, new friends were made and near future invitations were extended (more on that in the next post)

Myself, polkadotcupcake and ninatimm preping the tomtoes for the Tart Tartin

Canderel teamed up with Jenny Morris to create 2 mouth watering, savoury dishes using the Canderel Yellow product, a sweetener designed specifically for cooking. We baked gorgeous tomato Tart Tartins and succulent tuna steaks with tangy sweet and sour salsa. We finished off with a bright fruit soup, that Jenny made for us with seasonal fruit, young coconut and coconut water, flavoured with almond extract and Canderel Yellow.

As soon as a nice warm, not so wet, day comes along I plan to attempt meringues with Canderel Yellow. If I succeed I know of a lot of very happy sugar free people.


Mini Tomato Tart Tartin

This makes a stunning starter or could be served as a main course with salad. For ease it can be made ahead if required. The tomatoes turn wonderfully sweet and caramelised once cooked.
1 Serving
15 minutes preparation time 
30 minutes cooking time
Save 40 calories
7g fat (per serving of which saturates 3g)
144 calories (per serving)
19g carbohydrates (per serving – of which sugars 9g)

INGREDIENTS
3 tomatoes, cut in half
2 tsp granular Canderel Yellow
A few fresh thyme leaves (optional)
25g/2oz ready bought light puff pastry
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
YOU WILL NEED A 10CM ROUND FRYING PAN

METHOD
1 Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6
2 Add the tomatoes to a roasting tin and sprinkle over 1tsp of Canderel Yellow and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes until they just start to soften and wilt a little. You want them to retain their shape.
3 Whilst the tomatoes are cooking, roll the pastry out on a lightly floured board to a 10cm round. Put to one side.
4 Now spoon the tomatoes out and sit them cut side down in a small pan along with the thyme if using, then add the remaining Canderel Yellow. Cook for a few minutes until some juices run then remove from the heat.
5 Sit the pastry over the tomatoes, tucking it in and around them. Put in the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden.
6 Remove and leave for a few minutes then invert onto a plate, be careful as the pan handle will be very hot. Garnish with basil leaves.
Tip: If you haven’t got a mini pan, you can transfer the tomatoes to a mini tart tin or oven proof dish before covering with pastry


Sicilian style swordfish

This meaty fish is griddled and served with a sweet and sour mix of herbs and sultanas. Protein rich swordfish is filling so a lightly dressed salad or spinach is all that is needed.
2 Servings
15 minutes preparation time  
20 minutes cooking time
Save 10 calories
18g fat (per serving of which saturates 3g)
285 calories (per serving)
9g carbohydrates (per serving – of which sugars 9g)

INGREDIENTS
2 swordfish steaks
2 tsp olive oil
For the sweet and sour sauce;
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 Lemon and zest of ½ of the lemon
Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, grated
Few stalks of fresh oregano, leaves finely chopped or use dried   
25g/2oz sultanas
1 tsp granular Canderel Yellow

METHOD
1 Lightly brush the swordfish steaks with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2 In a bowl add all the sauce ingredients, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, taste and adjust as needed. Put to one side. 
3 Heat a griddle pan until hot then add the swordfish steaks one at a time and cook for about 3-4 minutes each side, depending on their thickness, you want the inside to remain still pinkish. If you overcook they will become dry.
4 Serve the swordfish on a plate and spoon over the sweet and sour sauce and serve with baby spinach leaves or a salad.
Tip: If you can’t find swordfish use fresh tuna steaks instead (which is what we did)

Note: Images and recipes were supplied by Canderel. I was not paid to do this post, only shown a really good time and a product that is easy to work with.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Trinchado

The start of something beautiful
When you have a relationship with some one for many years, living in the same house, sharing meals, you learn their preferences, their quirks. You discover what makes them turn up their nose and what makes their ears perk. After 7 years with Jack I can happily say that I KNOW the man and I KNOW what he loves.

My misfortune is that my husband is a man that eats because it is something that is needed to survive. He does enjoy things that taste good and has preferences but he does not go googly eyed at a well presented dish or get a far away stare when something so good touches his tongue, random "mmm" sounds do not escape his lips when he tastes something amazing. He will even eat things he isn't crazy about in the right company.

simmer away
He does, however, have his favourites. Something he will order every time we go to a certain restaurant or something he loves for me to make for him if I have a chance. One such thing is Trinchado. A Portuguese beef stew, rich with flavour. My favourite thing about this recipe is how forgiving it is of adjustments, especially the kind of adjustments that make it a healthier option.

The long cooking time means you can use lean cuts of meat and using evaporated milk or regular milk (carefully), while not making the dish AS creamy as using actual cream, still make for a very tasty dish. I personally don't miss the olives in the dish when I need to take them out for TheSister and my favourite adjustment has to be the wine.

A little longer

Trinchado

What you need:
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
(or 2 tbs olive oil if you want to reduce the fat)
1kg beef, cubed (as this is a stew you can decide how lean you want the beef)
2 large red onions, chopped
2-3 red chillies, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
250ml beef stock (I used NoMu fonds, the richness is unbeatable)
1 bottle red wine, minus 1 glass for the cook (I used Pinotage)
1 bay leaf
100g black olives, stones removed (optional)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
125ml cream (or evaporated milk or regular milk)
1 tsp lemon rind
Salt and Pepper to taste

What to do:

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-based pan and brown the beef.
Remove from the pan and set aside.
Lower the heat and saute the onions, I like to put in some water so that the onions get soft without burning, when the water has evaporated add the chillies and cook for about a minute.
Add the stock and wine. Bring to boil and stir continually.
Add the bay leaf, olives (if using) and the fresh rosemary.
Add the crushed garlic
Return the meat to the pan and simmer slowly for 2 hours (or more).
If you are making this in advance, this is where you stop. The rest of the process happens just before serving. When you are ready to serve, gently heat up the trinchado to a medium heat.
Add the cream (or substitute) and stir through. If you are using milk instead pour slowly and carefully to avoid it splittin.
Add the fresh lemon peel and if you want extra rosemary.
Season to taste

You can serve trinchado as a starter with some bread, or a main course with rice.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

At the Palms Market (photo blog)

I had all the good intentions in the world, I had all the right ideas. I wrote all the details down and I was ready and willing to put it ALL here. Then life happened. You know that thing that gets in the way of what we want to do, all those things we NEED to do. 

As I mentioned in the previous Monthly Mingle post, my grandmother is not well. My mother had to fly to be with her and help her for a month and in that month I tried to be supermom and well, I managed to be mom and sometimes get my day job done too. 

Those of you who blog know, if you can't blog for a while you lose your steam and I lost mine. This last weekend however, it all came back. I will do a post on my weekend in JHB cooking up a storm but for now I leave you with the images from the Palms Market and urge you to support this beautiful and unique shopping experience 


















Thursday, March 1, 2012

Heart Healthy Roundup - Feb Monthly Mingle


What an interesting month February proved to be. My heart swelled at times and broke a little at other. My little boy has been hitting his milestones ahead of time which makes me so proud but at the same time my grandmother is ill and we may not get to see her in person again as she lives in Israel. Work has been work and nothing exciting or engaging has happened in a while and all this time the stress that the lack of tourism is putting on my husband is not doing wonders for his mood and in turn mine.

What has made me smile a lot this month is the contributions I have received for the Monthly Mingle. I thought for sure there would be scepticism about theme as everyone loves to overindulge in the month of love. However, a lot of you have not only embraced it but really went to town with it.

Thank you for filling my head with delicious ideas. Here is a round up of all who participated:
Assia Turner from Assia's Kaleidoscope 


Ann from anN-series


Robin from What about the food?


Mairi from Toast

Tandy from Lavender & Lime

Soma from eCurry



More from Robin at What about the food? 
Janet from the taste space

Ok, now I am hungry 





There was an error in this gadget