Snap, Sizzle & Cook

Sharing my love of food

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

Koeksisters

I bet the majority of people in SA have tried or eaten a koeksister. They are everywhere; Church bazaars, school fetes, craft markets, leading supermarkets sell them…….. The list goes on.
I personally can’t remember when and where I had my first taste which actually doesn’t matter because I love them anyway.
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These deep fried golden braids are not for devoted dieters, gym enthusiasts, gravel stompers or people who don’t have a sweet tooth and when I make them, I don’t skimp on size……..I go BIG!!

Syrup:
4 Cups of sugar
2 cups of water
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1 Tbsp. golden syrup
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Stick of cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger

Method:
Combine in a pot and bring to a gentle simmer till sugar is melted.  Remove from stove and allow cooling.  Once completely cooled place in the fridge.  The syrup must be ice cold before use so it is important to make this syrup in advance. 

Easy Dough:
2.5 cups of flour
1 Sachet Instant Yeast
10ml Salt
2 Tbsp. Sunflower Oil
175ml lukewarm water (add more if needed)

Method:
Mix everything together in a bowl until a firm, elastic dough forms. Wrap in cling-wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove from fridge and roll out to a thickness of about 6.5mm.  Cut into 3 equal rectangular strips (about 10 x 3cm).  Plait the strips and pinch either end closed to ensure they don’t unravel when frying.  Makes about 20.
Deep fry till golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and immediately dunk into cold syrup.  Leave for 5 minutes to soak.  Experience crispy gorgeousness on the outside and soft gooeyness on the inside.
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South African Goulash with dumplings

My inspiration for this dish comes from the label on the packet of beef that I picked up at the supermarket.  It was simply categorized as Beef Goulash.  I decided to purchase it and make my own Goulash.
This dish originates from Hungary and is a soup or stew made from beef, noodles and vegetables.  Click here for the source of information. You’ll notice from this article that I used the paprika they mentioned.  I decided to treat this recipe as I do my chicken dishes which without marinating for a couple of hours can be quite tough.  I similarly used ingredients that I would naturally use in an ordinary stew.  The outcome was absolutely delicious. 
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500 – 700g Beef cubes
2 Tbsp Cornflour
250ml buttermilk
7.5ml paprika
Seasoning
Place beef cubes in a bowl and coat well with cornflour, paprika and seasoning.  Pour the buttermilk over the meat, cover and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.

1 Red Onion (diced)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Ltr Water
100ml Concentrated Liquid Beef Stock
1.5 cups of fresh top & tailed green beans (quartered)
1.5 cups carrots, diced
15ml Paprika
2.5ml White Pepper
Salt
In a large pot, fry the onions and paprika in the olive oil. Transfer onions into a separate bowl when soft and transparent. In the same pot used for the onions, fry the beef for about 5 minutes. Mix the beef stock with the water and pour over meat. Add all other ingredients and allow to simmer on low for about an hour or until carrots are tender.
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For the dumplings
4 large potatoes, boiled
125ml flour
5ml baking powder
1 egg
2 ml white pepper
Salt
30ml fresh finely chopped parsley
Using a potato ricer, mash all the potatoes.  Mix all other ingredients well and add more flour if mixture needs to be firmer.  Scoop spoonful’s into goulash, place lid back on pot and allow to cook for a further 30 minutes on low or until dumplings are done (knife should come out clean).

Lime & Thyme Roast Chicken

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It’s a Saturday morning, I wake up quite late and I’m feeling the aftermath of a very busy week. I sluggishly climb out of bed wishing I could climb back and just stay there for the rest of the day while my family wait on me like a sick patient.
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After pulling myself toward myself, my thoughts are back to reality and I’m mentally planning a way forward for the day. I have an appointment with the builder at 9:30 and I must feed my family. That’s about as far as my planning for the day is going. As for lunch, I took a large whole chicken out the freezer yesterday and no doubt have to cook it today.
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Looking for some inspiration with regard to cooking my bird, I tweeted my fellow foodies and requested some ideas. My friend Andrew (click here to follow Andrew on Twitter), who is also the Executive Chef at the Drakensberg Sun sent me some fabulous tips and inspiration for a Roast Chicken that he makes (which I’ve called Lime & Thyme) which he has allowed me to share with you. He is a phenomenal chef and I feel truly privileged to be able to share this recipe with you. Thank You Andrew!
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Lime & Thyme Roast Chicken
1 Whole Chicken
5 cloves of garlic (crushed)
Juice of 2 limes
10ml cumin
125ml white wine (I used Lamond)
Half an onion
15ml fresh thyme leaves
Seasoning

Rub inside and outside of the chicken with 2 of the garlic cloves and season with salt and pepper. Place the remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend. Pour over the chicken and marinade for a few hours turning the chicken every so often. Place in a casserole dish in the oven and roast at 180 degrees until done and chicken is golden and skin is crispy.
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Roasted Red Onion
Cut 3 red onions in quarters and place in an oven roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast till onions are done. They’ll be soft, sweet and juicy. Serve on a bed of rocket with feta cheese.
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I also served this delish lunch with Garlic and Thyme Roast Potatoes
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Scotch Eggs

I made these Scotch Eggs as a light meal for supper last night for one reason, it was a challenge.  I’ve never made them before and to my surprise it was actually very easy.  Another nice thing about this dish is you can use your imagination and add whatever you think will work to the sausage mix or leave it just as it is.  You also don’t need to use pork.  You can use any sausage meat you wish.

For my recipe you will need:
6 pork sausages (uncooked)
4 boiled eggs (shells removed)
15ml fresh thyme leaves
30ml wholegrain mustard
Seasoning
Canola oil for frying
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Place the following in three separate bowls:
150ml flour, 2 eggs (lightly beaten) and 150ml breadcrumbs

Method:
Remove the meat from the sausage casings and place in a bowl.  Mix in the thyme, mustard and seasoning with the pork meat.  Dust hands with some flour, take an egg and start moulding pork around the egg until well covered.  If hands get sticky from the pork then just dust with more flour.  A “beginners” way is to flatten the pork mixture onto a large piece of cling-wrap (dusted with flour).  Place an egg in the middle, lift an end of the cling-wrap and roll over the egg.  Remove cling-wrap and continue to mould with your hands till egg is evenly covered.  Remove any excess pork as mixture mustn’t be too thick around egg.  Repeat with the second egg and so on……practice makes perfect!
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For the breadcrumb coating:
Roll the egg which at this stage is neatly wrapped in pork into the flour, dust off excess flour then coat in egg and lasting roll in breadcrumbs.  Fry in oil until golden and crispy.  Enjoy!

Salad Niçoise

What does the word “Niçoise” mean?
It means of or pertaining to Nice, France. Dishes that are served à la Niçoise are characterized by ingredients common to the south of France — black olives and olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, green beans, potatoes, and anchovies (Source of Information)
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My favourite salad of all time is Salad Niçoise because it has ingredients that I absolutely love. Tuna and anchovies are right up there among my list of favourite salad “goodies”. When I contemplated what to make for dinner tonight I considered the heat and also the fact that I get terribly lethargic in the heat and don’t have the energy to do much. This salad, like so many other salads has a very low effort level, so without rambling on too much, here is my Salad Niçoise……easy peasy!
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Makes a salad for two
10 fresh green beans (top and tailed)
1 Packet frilly lettuce
Half an onion (thinly sliced)
Handful of baby tomatoes (washed and halved)
Packet of pitted black olives
Tin anchovy fillets
1 tin tuna in saltwater (drained)
3 hardboiled eggs cut in quarters
6 baby potatoes (boiled and halved)
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Place the lettuce, tomato and green beans (which you have halved or quartered) in a large bowl. Season and drizzle with a good olive oil and toss around till all the leaves are coated. Place a handful of the salad mixture on a plate and decoratively add the remaining ingredients. Serve with whole wheat bread and a creamy salad dressing of your choice.

I served my Salad Niçoise with Ina Paarman's Herb salad dressing and a low GI nutty wheat bread

I served my Salad Niçoise with Ina Paarman’s Herb salad dressing and a low GI nutty wheat bread

Crunchy Rhubarb Cake

Just before the holidays we [my family] were invited to spend the day with my husband’s cousin at their gorgeous, rustic home in the beautiful Durban countryside of Drummond.    It’s actually amazing to think that this picturesque, quiet, lush green, horsey town is only a 25 minute drive from our house which is in the heart of a busy industrial town where taxis govern the roads and the rowdiness of sirens, screeching cats and hadidas overpower the stillness of the night.  Deep down I am definitely a country girl because I didn’t want the day to end.  The cherry on the cake as “they” say apart from the gorgeous location, delicious food and great company, was the dessert that our hostess presented.    It was the most delicious rhubarb crumble served with vanilla ice-cream.  I am not embarrassed to admit that I had never tasted rhubarb in my life before and was very ignorant to the true flavours.  When I got back from holiday recently I went to the local supermarket and got my hands on a punnet of rhubarb stalks.  To my surprise the stalks had a completely different taste to what I was served on our day out.  I took a bite of the raw rhubarb and was amazed at the tart sourness which I actually enjoyed.      Rhubarb needs to be cooked with sugar to bring out the best flavours and to sweeten it for desserts.  I’ve decided to make my signature dessert sponge with a rhubarb and crunchy twist.  I’ve called it Crunchy Rhubarb Cake and this is what you’ll need.
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For the Crunchy (my original Crunchy recipe)
175g unsalted butter
30ml good quality honey
5ml bicarb of soda
2 cups of Jungle Oats
200ml pecan nuts (chopped up)
125ml sesame seeds
125ml sunflower seeds
250ml cake flour
150ml castor sugar

Method
Melt butter and honey and add bicarb.  Stir well while mixture foams.   Once well foamed remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients.  Combine well.  Set aside.
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Rhubarb (300g)
Because of the fibrous stalks, you will need to remove the outer layer.  Cut the tips of the stalk off and insert your knife just under the hard outer layer and pull the tough stringy bits off.   Rinse under cold water and cut into 5cm chunks.  Place in a pot with a blob of melted butter and 125ml of castor sugar.  Allow to simmer till sugar has dissolved.  Add more sugar if you think the rhubarb is still too sour.  Set aside till needed.
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Dessert Cake
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup castor sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
5ml baking powder
Pinch of salt

Method
Cream butter and sugar together.  Add one egg at a time, mixing well between each addition.  Add flour, baking powder and salt. Combine till a smooth creamy consistency.   Set aside.
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Now that all three steps have been completed, it is time to bring them together.
In a round greased casserole dish, add the cake mixture and top it with the rhubarb mixture.  Spread evenly.  Layer the top of the cake with a thick layer of crunchy mix and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes.  If you have left over crunchy mix, use it for breakfast combined with double cream Greek Yoghurt and honey……..it’s delicious!
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Smoked Mussel Quiche

I cook most Sunday’s for my family and the meal that ends up on the dining room table depends entirely on my mood when I wake up on Sunday morning. Normally I’m quite knackered after the week including Saturday’s activities so I prefer to just relax on the couch and do “catching-up” TV watching snacking on all sorts of MSG laden foods that are downright bad for you. When I’m in one of those “laid back” moods and don’t feel like slogging in the kitchen for too long, I lean more towards easily prepared, wholesome yet filling meals. One of those meals is the classic quiche which I just love. It’s versatile and can be filled with just about anything. I decided that I’ll try a quiche filled with smoked mussels only because I had 2 tins in the cupboard. Well, blow me down, cottonseed oil and all, the quiche was absolutely scrumptious. This is exactly what I love about cooking and baking………. mixing different ingredients, being adventurous, creative and just going for it and if it’s a flop then so what! Here’s my simple recipe for Smoked Mussel Quiche.
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For the Puff Pastry:
1.5 cups flour
170g butter
1 tsp salt
2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
1 egg yolk
4 Tbsp cold water

Method:
Cut butter into flour and salt till it is well combined. In a separate bowl, mix remaining wet ingredients and add to flour and butter mixture. Once dough has formed store in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before use. Roll pastry out onto a floured surface and line a greased 30cm loose-bottomed quiche/flan tin with the pastry. Place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry, fill with baking beans and blind bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and prepare filling.
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Smoke mussel filling:
2 tins of smoked mussels in cottonseed oil (drained)
1 onion
Half a cup of finely chopped parsley
Butter for frying
Seasoning
3 eggs
250ml milk
125 ml cream

Method:
In a saucepan, melt the butter and sauté onions till transparent. Add the chopped parsley and both tins of smoked mussels. Sauté for about 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Line the pastry with the mussel mixture and ensure even distribution. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk and cream well and pour gently over the pastry shell. Bake at 180 degrees for 35 minutes. Enjoy with a salad or just on its own.
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Avocado Soup with Sesame-Feta Croutons

With temperatures close to 30 degrees and humidity levels rising to 80%, summer in Durban couldn’t be hotter and more humid. Unless you actually live in Durban, you’ll never understand or articulate “humid”.  I remember one incident when I stepped out of the car at Kingsmead Stadium and literally could not breathe it was so hot.

This blog post is inspired by the heat not only because we tend to lose our appetites when it’s hot, but also because it’s a wonderful light cold dish that tastes fresh and crisp just like its ingredients and its bound to cool you down. Ideal for those blistering days, it can be served either as a starter or as a main meal. As for my love affair with food and my challenging nature, I wrote in to Your Family Magazine in August 2012 and motivated why I would be a good candidate for their Recipe Test Team. I received an email a few days later asking if I would like to test an Avocado Soup for their December 2012 issue. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity and got cracking. With their permission I can share this wonderful recipe with you. The full recipe name is Avocado Soup with sesame-feta ‘croutons’
Serves 8, Prep time 20 minutes, Cook 10 minutes
You will need:
1 Tbsp (15ml) olive or avocado oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
5 cups (1.25 litres) veg or chicken stock + extra
2 handfuls baby spinach
3 ripe avocados
Handful coriander leaves
Salt and ground pepper
Squeeze of lemon juice, to taste
¼ cup (60ml) lightly toasted sesame seeds
⅓ cup (80ml) Feta, cut into 1cm cubes
Handful watercress, to serve

Method
Heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic and chilli for 5 minutes until soft. Add stock and bring to the boil for 3 minutes. Cool slightly.
Transfer the liquid to a blender and blend with the spinach, avocado and coriander until smooth. Add extra stock, to thin out to your liking. Season and add the lemon juice. Chill in the fridge until cool.
Spoon the soup into 8 serving glasses or bowls. Mix the sesame seeds through the Feta and serve on top of the Soup. Garnish with watercress.
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Photograph by Gail Crouch

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