roast baby cabbage with fennel

Cabbage, a vegetable that many seldom cook with, is delicious boiled, sauteed, blanched or roasted. This is a cool and versatile, low calorie come-back vegetable that can be enjoyed in various ways.
It is closely related to broccoli, cauliflower & Brussels sprouts, so it comes as no surprise that this leafy green is always welcome in my fridge.

This is a quick and simple recipe for a side dish that you will most definitely return to.

I used two baby cabbages for this recipe. Double the recipe ingredients if you want to cook more or if you are using large heads.

ingredients | easy
2 baby cabbage, halved or one head green cabbage, cut into 4 wedges
1t fennel seeds, crushed
1t garlic powder
2T olive oil
4T butter
1t fine salt
good grind of black pepper
1/2t red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lemon, wedges

method
Preheat the oven to 210 degrees.
Crush the fennel seeds using a pestle & mortar.
Melt the butter and mix it with the olive oil. Brush the butter & oil mixture on all sides of the cabbages. Season with the fennel seeds, garlic powder, salt, pepper and red chili flakes, if using. Place the cabbage on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned. Turn and roast for a further 15 minutes until tender.

Place a piece of butter onto each half to melt into the vegetable and serve with a lemon wedge or two.

Serve warm.


breakfast – coconut pancakes with banana & walnuts

Mornings are a very beautiful and special part of my day. It normally starts very early with a run in the gym and then I fall into the kitchen and start cooking breakfast. My favorite meal of the day.
I firmly believe that if your morning starts well it paves the mood for the rest of the day. And this includes a good meal. I make pancakes at least once a week not only because I love them but my toddler ABSOLUTELY loves it!
This recipe is a delicious alternative to my usual pancake recipe and yields beautiful light and fluffy little pancakes.
I added some sliced banana, toasted walnuts and maple syrup.
Another great addition is natural yogurt or creme fraiche, just to add to the moreish’ness of this delectable delight. And if you have time to spare, these will also love a drizzle of homemade salted caramel sauce.
To save you time in the morning, the batter can be made the night before, wrapped with clingfilm and stored in the fridge.

ingredients | makes about 12-15 | easy
1.5C plain flour
2T castor sugar
2t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t fine salt
1/4C desiccated coconut
1 can (400ml) coconut milk
2 eggs
1t vanilla paste or 1.5t vanilla essence
bananas, to serve
maple syrup, to serve
toasted chopped walnuts, to serve
creme fraiche / natural yogurt to serve
icing sugar, for dusting

how to
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Using a handheld blender or whisk, beat until smooth.
Heat coconut oil or olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and drop about 1/4 cup batter into the pan for each pancake. Cook until you notice little bubbles on the surface, about 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 30 seconds to one minute until lightly browned.
Serve warm with your choice of topping.

Yours in food x


red wine & vegetable braised lamb neck

It has been years since I last cooked lamb neck and I feel I have missed out on beautiful & succulent, tasty and very tender meat. It was a delicious dinner and I had lots of leftover lamb meat, which was recycled into two beautiful lamb & vegetable pies.

My preferred method of cooking here is low and slow, braised in lots of red wine with vegetables and good stock. Others may argue that it is best treated like a steak and cooked on the fire, quickly on a high heat and served pink.
I will definitely give this a go as soon as the weather allows it.

Delicious with roast potatoes, garlic mash, rice or couscous and a side of buttered vegetables.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | a little effort
1/2C flour & a little more if needed
4/6 lamb necks (depending on size)
olive oil for browning meat + extra for vegetables
1 large white onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
5 garlic cloves, sliced
2T tomato paste
1 can crushed tomato
600ml red wine
4 C good quality chicken stock
4 rosemary stalks, sprigs only
2t fresh thyme leaves
3 bay leaves
1/2t juniper berries, crushed
1/2t cumin seeds, crushed
1/2t coriander seeds, crushed
2T brown sugar
1/2t salt
black pepper
2T butter

method
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/340 F/150 with fan.
Dredge the lamb necks in the flour. Heat olive oil in a large oven proof pot or Dutch oven and brown the meat on all sides until beautifully caramelized.
Set aside.
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pot without wiping it clean. Add the butter and melt. Saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic, carrot & celery and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the tomato paste and brown sugar and cook for about three minutes, while stirring.
Crush the cumin, juniper berries & coriander seeds in a pestle & mortar and add it to the vegetables. Cook until fragrant, about two minutes.
Pour the red wine into the pot to deglaze while scraping any bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour the chicken stock into the pot, add the crushed tomato and stir.
Add the rosemary, bay leaves and thyme, salt & pepper and bring the mixture to a light boil.
Submerge the lamb neck into the mixture, cook on a light boil for about two minutes. Turn the heat off, cover with a tight fitting lid or tin foil and carefully place the pot into the oven.
Braise for 3 – 3 1/2 hours, until the meat is almost fall off the bone tender.

Carefully remove the lamb neck from the pot and set aside.
Using a handheld blender, blend the vegetable mixture until smooth and strain it into a sauce pot. If the mixture is a bit thick, add a little more chicken stock or water.
Alternatively, simmer until reduced. Season with salt, pepper and a little sugar if needed.

Place the lamb neck onto a serving dish and drizzle with a little of the rich, red sauce.
Garnish with fresh mint & parsley and serve with extra sauce on the side and your choice of starch and vegetables.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x


roast chicken tagliatelle – simple & delicious

This a one of my go-to meals when I am entertaining a few friends for a casual lunch or when I simply feel like being a lazy cook.
There is just not enough hours in a day and although I really love spending time in my kitchen i also really love spending time with my toddler. That said, I may not always have time to prepare an extravagant meal although I still want to eat well.
Delicious on its own or served with a salad, this is one dish you will return to again and again.
Although the oven does the work for you, the roasting of the chicken is what takes the most time here so if you are really pressed for time, why not pop in at your local grocer and buy a ready cooked chicken, which will save you plenty of time and unnecessary stress.

I used tagliatelle in this recipe. Other great pasta options are pappardelle & rigatoni.
Potato gnocchi is a delicious alternative to the pasta.

ingredients | serves 6-8 | easy
to roast the chicken
1 whole chicken
olive oil
salt
pepper

2T olive oil
2T butter
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
3t crushed garlic
400g tagliatelle pasta
200g shitake mushroom, sliced
100g button mushrooms, sliced
1/3C cream, optional
1/2t salt
black pepper
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
two handfuls fresh parsley, torn
fresh parmesan, optional

method
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Rub the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt & pepper.
Place the chicken into the oven and roast for 1 hour thirty minutes. Once cooked, set aside and reserve the cooking juices.

While the chicken is roasting, get on with the pasta.
Add the pasta to salted boiling water and cook according to package instructions.
Heat the olive oil & butter in a large skillet and saute the onion until glossy. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about eight minutes or until cooked, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme leaves and cream and stir through. Season with salt & pepper.

Drain the pasta and tip it into the mushroom mixture. Toss to coat. Using your hands, tear the chicken into the pasta.
Pour the cooking juices over the pasta & chicken mixture and toss everything together.
Garnish with the parsley and parmesan cheese, if using.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x




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.