split pea soup (with pork)

Cold, wet days are perfect to indulge in beautiful, thick, tasty soups. In my view soup just isn’t soup without fresh crusty bread, with lots of salted butter or crispy cheese toasties. This, however, is my opinion and one I will not change any time soon.
We are (sadly) nearing the end of our winter season with spring around the corner. But with the icy chill in the air and the snow capped mountains I am by no means ready to start cooking or dressing spring.
Pea soup brings back many childhood memories for me. Not only was it a favorite in my mothers’ kitchen but also the kitchen of my paternal grandmother. The lingering smell of this soup sits firm in my memory bank.
This recipe, however, is my simple version of a pea (and ham) soup…I used pork rashers instead of ham and I enjoy the addition of cubed carrots. I also prefer to blend my soup to achieve a beautifully smooth, silky, velvety texture before adding the carrots.

ingredients | serves 6 – 8 | easy
1T olive oil & a little extra to fry the rashers
1T butter
500g split peas, rinsed
4 pork rashers (about 400g)
1 large white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 celery ribs, sliced
2 large carrots, cubed
2t fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
4C chicken broth
3-4C water
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
fresh parsley, for garnish
creme fraiche, garnish

cooking method
In a large pot with tight fitting lid, heat about a tablespoon of oil and brown the pork rashers on both sides. Set aside.
In the same pot, without wiping it clean, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and butter and saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
Add the celery and peas to the pot, stir to coat and cook for another minute or so.
Pour the chicken broth into the pot followed by the water.
Add the thyme & bay leaves and season with salt & pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil and add the pork rashers.
Turn the heat down to a very gentle simmer, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the pork rashers making sure you removed any bone that may still have been in the rashers. Set aside to cool.
Using a stick blender, blend the soup mixture until silky smooth. Add the cubed carrot, cover with the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes . occasionally stirring, until the carrots are soft.
Remove the soup from the heat and stir the chopped meat through the mixture.

Serve the soup warm garnished with fresh chopped parsley and a good dollop of creme fraiche.




Brussels side

Brussels sprouts may not be to everyone’s taste but i really love them. This side dish is the perfect table wow factor and will leave your guests (and kids) loving brussels.
I used beautiful fatty streaky bacon here to add to the flavor of the dish. This can however be substituted for pancetta, chicken/duck/turkey bacon or reduced fat pork bacon.
For a simple and quick lunch, toss it through lemon, garlic & chilly spaghetti. Delicious!

ingredients | serves 2-4 | easy
300g Brussels sprouts, halved
125g streaky bacon, sliced
40g walnuts, roughly chopped
2 leeks, sliced diagonally
4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
2T olive oil
1T butter
1/2t salt
good grind of black pepper
zest of half a lemon

how to do it
Heat a dry pan over medium heat and toast the walnuts. Keep your eye on the pan to avoid it from burning.
Set aside.
Bring a pot of water to the boil. Submerge the halved Brussels sprouts in the water and blanch for three minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the water bath by running cold water into a large bowl and add one cup of ice to it. Remove the sprouts from the boiling water using a slotted spoon and submerge it into the iced water. Leave to cool and then drain.
Heat the olive oil and fry the bacon until almost crispy.
Add the leeks and Brussels sprouts, toss and then add the tablespoon of butter and the fresh thyme.
Cook on a moderate heat until the bacon have crisped beautifully and the sprouts has a nice color to its skin.
Sprinkle the toasted walnuts into the skillet and toss.
Season with the salt, pepper & lemon zest and toss to coat.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x



zucchini & goat’s cheese galette

This puff tart makes a great side to almost any main, is perfect on its own as a snack or served as a light meal, with a zesty salad. The creamy goat’s cheese and zucchini are the perfect match and set atop a flaky, buttery pastry is my idea of a perfect taste sensation.
Shop bought pastry is perfect and saves a lot of time. If you prefer making your own, I salute you!
Puff pastry is one ingredient I always have readily available as it really simplifies things. The thawing and cooking time is quick and it works really well with both savoury and sweet dishes.
I absolutely love sinking my teeth into thick pastry, topped with great flavours…

ingredients | serves 4 – 6 | easy
1 roll puff pastry, thawed
3-4 zucchini’s, peeled
100g soft goat’s cheese, broken into pieces
1 round crotin cheese, sliced
4T creme fraiche, at room temperature
3T cream cheese, at room temperature
zest of 1lemon
1t crushed garlic
3 thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
1 egg, whisked
black pepper
a few pinches of salt
fresh rocket, garnish

how to do it
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Place the sheet of pastry on a lightly floured surface and evenly roll it out, extending the pastry by about 1cm on each side. Gently lift the pastry onto a greased, ovenproof tray.
Using a sharp knife, cut along the pastry, about 1cm from the edge, not cutting all the way through. So as to create a border.
Lightly the border of the pastry with the beaten egg.
Mix the cream cheese, creme fraiche, lemon zest & crushed garlic and spread it across the centre of the pastry.
Top the cream cheese mixture with the peeled zucchini strips followed by the spring onion and goat’s cheese. Top with the crotin rounds & thyme and season with salt & black pepper.
Bake in the preheated oven until puffed and browned, about 25 minutes.
Carefully remove the tray from the oven and garnish the galette with fresh rocket.
Slice the galette with a pizza cutter and serve immediately.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x





bangers & mash – an easy, tasty & budget friendly dinner

this is not fancy food, i know, but it is a delicious, comforting, home cooked meal and one that everyone in your family will enjoy. plus, it is easy, it is quick and it is really budget friendly.
i prefer pork bangers for this dish but of course you can use any type of sausage here.
this dish is so easy to make in almost no time at all that it easily can become weekly dinner go to.
mushrooms are a great addition here and think of spicy or fruity chutneys and pickles to serve alongside.
best served with mashed potato.

ingredients | serves 3-4 | easy
8tbs olive oil
4 tbs butter
8 pork bangers (or beef / chicken if you prefer)
1 white onion, peeled & sliced
1 red onion, peeled & sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced
1tbs brown sugar
6 sprigs thyme, leaves only
1/2tsp dried oregano
2tsp tomato puree
2tsp onion gravy powder
300ml red wine
400ml beef stock
salt to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

how to do it
heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. brown the sausages on all sides. about 30 seconds per side. set aside.
in the same skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and two (2) tablespoons butter. fry the onion on medium heat until translucent. add the tomato paste & brown sugar and cook for about two minutes, while stirring.
add the thyme & oregano and cook for one minute. deglaze the skillet with the red wine and simmer on a low heat until reduced by almost half. add the garlic.
now add the stock, 2 teaspoons onion gravy powder and the remaining two tablespoons butter. stir and bring to the boil.
turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. add the sausages back to the skillet and simmer until the sausages are cooked and the sauce has thickened. (about 12 minutes)
serve on buttery mashed potato and garnish with chopped parsley.

potato mash
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into blocks
salt to taste
3tbs butter
1tsp garlic powder
1/3c cream
1/4tsp white pepper

fill a pot with cold water. add the potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. bring the water and the potatoes to the boil and cook on a medium heat until soft. about 15 minutes.
strain the potatoes and place them back into the pot, on the heat, to dry for about 1 minute, while tossing.
remove the pot from the heat. add the butter, cream, garlic powder and white pepper and mash with a handheld masher and then whisk vigorously for about 1 minute to remove all small lumps.
taste and season.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x


lamb vinaigrette

i love cooking lamb and i obviously love eating it. whenever we decide to cook lamb on the ‘braai’ (bbq) like we did this weekend, i lose the base of the sauce i love making so much. purely because it is lost next to the fire, whilst slowly cooking for about 3 hours.
the effort of starting a sauce from scratch is not always on my agenda on a sunny, relaxing day whilst sipping on champagne. and, on these beautiful summer days spent at the coast i simply cannot imagine a more perfect sauce to accompany a beautiful piece of deboned leg of lamb.
finding the beauty in the simpler things in life is so rewarding and the same goes for food. keeping it simple yet flavourful have always been my preferred method of cooking… good food kept simple!
gremolata is a great side to any lamb dish and so easy to make. three ingredients that burst with flavour and compliments lamb like the perfect match made in heaven.
this vinaigrette is quite similar to gremolata but with a few extra ingredients including olive oil.

juice of 2 medium lemons
zest of 1 lemon
2tbs white wine vinegar
1/2c olive oil
1tbs rosemary, finely chopped
2tbs red onion, finely chopped
2tbs parsley, finely chopped
1tbs fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
1tsp lime juice
1/2tsp fine salt
grind of black pepper

how to do it
mix all the ingredients except the salt & pepper together in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. shake until emulsified.
or whisk the ingredients together in a deep bowl until emulsified. set aside for about ten minutes.
season with salt & pepper. mix well. taste and add more salt if needed.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x