warm tomato & feta salad

Although we are currently in our winter season, which normally calls for all things slow cooked and piping hot, i still have a big love for a good salad as a healthy dinner option or as a side to a good piece of protein.
This salad, served warm, is a very delicious alternative to normal salads and pairs well with red meat, chicken or fish.
A great addition to this dish is toasted butter & garlic ciabatta or sour dough slices, making it a delicious, light meal on its own.

Easy, simple, fresh, delicious.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
2T olive oil
300g-400g vine tomatoes or rosa tomatoes
4 rounds feta cheese, halved
150g green beans
handful fresh basil leaves
1t dried basil
3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
3T balsamic vinegar
2 red onions, roughly chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled & halved
1/2t salt
good grind of black pepper

how to
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
Place the tomatoes and red onion into a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat.
Nestle the feta rounds in and amongst the tomatoes & onions. Add the thyme leaves, dried basil, garlic, balsamic, salt & pepper and gently coat everything using your hands.
Place the tray into the preheated oven and roast for about 15-18 minutes.
Meanwhile, blanch the green beans.
Prepare an icy bath with water and ice. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Immerse the beans into the water and cook for about three minutes. Remove the beans from the simmering water and into the ice bath to cool.
Remove and drain on kitchen towel paper.
Add the beans to the tray and continue to roast the salad for a further five minutes or until the tomatoes have popped.

Garnish the salad with the fresh basil leaves and serve warm.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x





beef brisket

This cut is most definitely one of the least tender cuts of beef but when braised or slowly roasted (low & slow) it is rendered soft and has the most incredible flavour!
I was lucky enough to get a very large piece of brisket from my local butcher. A whole 4.6kg of brisket! So I portioned it, wrapped it and placed it in my freezer for a next occasion. One piece, however, was on my dining table last night. And it was sublime! The warm earthy flavours of the spices it was marinated in worked well with the skillet potato & sweet potato and, of course, was the perfect meal for a chilly winters evening.
The low and slow method is very important here so give it the full four hours as per my recipe. You will not regret it.
I also requested my butcher to remove the bone, which was ideal when slicing the meat.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
1.3kg beef brisket, bone removed
Olive oil
2t paprika
2t ground coriander
2t mustard powder
1t garlic powder
1/4t salt
1/2t black pepper
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
2T brown sugar
2T tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, whole
3 bay leaves
1.5C red wine
chicken stock (about 2 cups depending on the size of your roasting tray)
corn flour if necessary

how to
In a bowl, mix together the paprika, coriander, mustard powder & garlic powder. Drizzle about three tablespoons olive oil over the brisket and gently rub it into the meat on all sides.
Tip the spice marinade onto the brisket and rub it in using your hands, covering the meat on all sides. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.
Remove the meat from the fridge and leave to come up to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Heat oil in a large oven proof skillet or tray big enough to hold the brisket. Brown the brisket on all sides, about five minutes per side. Remove the brisket and set aside.
Add a knob of butter to the same skillet without wiping it clean. Sauté the onion for about two minutes. Add the carrot and cook for one minute, stirring.
Add the tomato paste & brown sugar to the skillet and cook the mixture for about three minutes, caramelising the onion & carrot. Add the garlic, stir through and then deglaze the pan with the red wine. Leave to simmer for about three minutes. Add the bay leaves, salt & black pepper. Now pour the chicken stock around the brisket, just more than halfway up.
Tightly wrap the skillet with tin foil or cover with a tight fitting lid.
Place into the oven and roast for 4 hours.
Once cooked, leave to rest for about ten minutes, loosely covered with tinfoil. Meanwhile, using an immersion blender, blitz the stock and vegetable mixture and then strain through a sieve into a sauce pot.
Bring the mixture to the boil and then to a medium simmer. Taste and season. Thicken with corn flour if needed. (Two teaspoons corn four with two teaspoons water.).
Using a serrated knife, slice the brisket flat, against the grain.

Serve with skillet vegetables and couscous or roasted root vegetables.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x




easy roast chicken & rice one pot meal

Very similar to my chicken & orzo dish, this meal is a great, easy go-to that can be enjoyed any night of the week. In my home, it was the perfect end to all of the Easter celebrations.
I love one pot meals for its simplicity and no mess, no fuss kind of attitude really. And honestly, after cooking up another wonderful meal, i don’t want to spend hours doing a clean up.
I roasted a whole chicken and portioned it while the rice was cooking in al of its delectable juices. You can, however, use chicken pieces if you prefer, which will reduce the cooking time.
Basmati is my preferred grain and adds beautiful aromatic flavour here. And since it cooks so quickly i can have my meal on the table sooner rather than later.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
1 whole chicken
3T olive oil
2T butter + 3T extra
3 celery ribs, sliced diagonally
3 carrots, peeled & sliced diagonally
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
zest of 1 lemon & lemon quartered
1.5C dry white wine
1.5C chicken stock
bunch fresh thyme, leaves only
1tsp fine salt
1tsp black pepper
bunch parsley, chopped
bunch chives, chopped
1C basmati rice

how to do it
Preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celsius. 145 degrees with a fan.
Heat the oil & 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet with tight fitting lid.
Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the carrots & celery and cook for five minutes. Place the chicken in the skillet, breast side down, and brown for five minutes. Remove the chicken and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Cook the wine until reduced by half. Add the garlic, lemon zest & thyme and stir through. Put the quartered lemon into the cavity of the chicken and place the chicken back into the skillet, breast side up (browned side facing upwards). Pour the stock into the skillet and bring it to the boil.
Turn the heat down and place the skillet into the oven, without the lid. Cook the chicken for two hours.
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
Pour the rice into the vegetable mixture, add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 12 minutes until the rice is just cooked.
The rice will soak up most of the juices.
While the rice cooks, portion the chicken.
Place the chicken pieces on top of the cooked rice, cover with a lid and gently cook for four more minutes, so as to heat the chicken and finish cooking the rice.
Garnish with the chopped parsley & chives and serve immediately.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x






mutton stew

And so, with the seasons slowly starting to change as we make our way into autumn, stews and casseroles are becoming fashionable again. The slow cookers are taken out from their hibernation closets, dusted off and rinsed out and grandma’s little book of cooking notes are lying next to the stove, filled with moreish casserole ideas and tips.
The simplicity of stews and casseroles fits in with anyones schedule as the stove or oven does the work for you. And leftovers can be deboned and used for a mutton pie or baked potato and pulled mutton with a mint/yogurt dressing.
I couldn’t be happier. I love cooking warm, spicy, hearty dishes that i can slurp up next to a fireplace with a bottle of good red wine. Winter is my ideal. And the food that we can cook during this season always blows my mind. And my palette.
Stewing lamb or mutton is an inexpensive cut and loves being cooked low and slow and served with mashed potato, rice or couscous. It is a meal cooked from the heart that boasts beautiful rustic flavours. A must have autumn / winter recipe and one i return to again and again.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
1kg stewing lamb / mutton
1/3c flour
5tbs olive oil (not extra virgin) & 2tbs extra
good knob of butter
1 white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, sliced
3 carrots, rinsed and roughly chopped
4 leeks, rinsed and roughly chopped
4 celery ribs, roughly chopped
2tbs tomato paste
1 can chopped tomato
2c beef broth
1.5c red wine
2tbs brown sugar
1tsp onion seeds
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp dried oregano
1tsp salt
good grind of black pepper
handful fresh parsley, chopped

make it
preheat the oven to 165 degrees C. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Dust the meat pieces with the flour and brown on all sides. Set aside.
In the same skillet, add a drizzle of oil and the butter. Heat. Sauté the onion until glossy. Add the tomato paste, brown sugar, onion seeds, coriander seeds & dried oregano and stir to coat. Cook for one minute.
Add the carrots, celery & leeks and cook for three minutes, stirring to coat. Deglaze the skillet with the red wine and cook on a low simmer for about seven minutes until the alcohol has evaporated and the mixture reduced a little.
Pour the chopped tomatoes and garlic into the skillet, stir and cook for two minutes. Add the beef stock to the skillet, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Season with the salt & pepper.
Carefully lower the meat into the skillet and bring the mixture to the boil. Turn down the heat, cover with a tight fitting lid or tinfoil, place into the oven and cook for 2 – 2.5 hours until the meat almost falls off the bone. (Check the meat after two hours.)
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and stir the chopped parsley through the mixture.

Serve with your choice of mash, rice, couscous or new potatoes.

Form my kitchen to yours, with love x


pork belly – soft and deliciously crispy

i will be lying if i said that this is an old recipe of mine and a dish that i regularly cook as this was my first taste of pork belly in a little over a decade…or two.
admitting that i have missed out on very delicious food for a very long time. i have so many new dishes to look forward to!!
a relatively cheap cut of meat, pork belly is best cooked low and slow. i love the meat juicy and tender with the perfect crackling dressing the meat like a protective hat.
use a good, drinkable wine for this dish.
serve the pork belly with creamy mash, buttery vegetables, roasted sweet potato or asian slaw.
leftovers are great in pasta or with baked potato or wrapped in asian rice paper with coriander and a spicy sauce.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
2kg pork belly
4tbs olive oil (not extra virgin)
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, quartered
1 garlic bulb, cut in half, skin on
4 celery ribs, roughly chopped
2 leeks, roughly chopped
few sprigs fresh thyme
500ml good white wine
2c chicken stock
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp fennel seeds
2tsp coarse salt
black pepper
chives or spring onion (optional)

how to do it
preheat the oven to 250 degrees C. place all of the vegetables into a large roasting tray with the thyme. set aside.
in a pestle & mortar, grind the salt, pepper, fennel & coriander seeds together until fragrant but not fine. using a sharp knife, score the skin of the belly in diamond shapes, taking care not to cut into the meat.
drizzle the olive oil over the belly and lightly rub it into the skin. now rub the salt & spices mixture into the skin and incisions. place the pork belly on top of the vegetables. place the roasting tray into the hot oven and roast for 20 minutes.
carefully remove the tray from the oven and turn the heat down to 170 degrees C. pour the white wine and chicken stock into the tray taking care not to wet the skin. the liquid should come up to the skin so that the meat is submerged but the skin untouched. if you need a little more liquid, add a little more water.
any leftover juices can be kept aside to use when making the gravy.
carefully place the tray back into the oven taking care not to wet the skin of the belly and roast for 2 hours.
after two hours, turn the heat back up to 230 degrees C and roast the belly until the skin is bubbling, browned and hard to the touch. about 20 – 30 minutes.
carefully lift the belly out of the roasting tray onto a cutting board and leave to rest while you get on with the gravy.
pour the vegetables and juices into a blender and blend until smooth. (or use a handheld blender.)
strain into a saucepan and bring to a boil. turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. check seasoning.
if desired, add more water for a thinner sauce or add a teaspoon of cornstarch and water to thicken although i doubt either will be necessary.
turn the pork belly onto its skin and cut as desired. (this makes it easier to cut through the crackling skin)
garnish with chopped chives or spring onion.

serve with the jus and your choice of starch, veggies or salad.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x