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




nutella croissants

Puff pastry is one of those ingredients that i always have in my freezer. The store bought kind is perfect and fairly inexpensive. This buttery, flaky pastry is perfect for almost any sweet or savoury dish, from pies to galettes, pinwheels and tarts, there are so many options!
Breakfast is an important part of my day and I like to keep it interesting. These little croissants are so simple to make and can be made the night before and simply popped into the oven the next morning.
This may not be the healthiest of breakfast options but it sure is tasty and the kids will love it!! Everything in moderation, of course.

Ingredients | serves 4 | easy
2 rolls puff pastry, thawed
Nutella spread (almost 1 cup)
1 Egg, beaten
1T milk

Method
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a baking tray with cooking spray.
Lightly flour the work surface and spread out the pastry. Roll the pastry out to ensure it is flat, smooth & even.
Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the pastry into three large rectangles. Then cut each rectangle into two long triangles. Each pastry sheet should give you 6 triangles.
Place a spoonful of Nutella on the widest end of the triangle and then spread it along the pastry, leaving a small border untouched.
Beginning at the wide end of the triangle, gently roll the pastry into a croissant shape,
Carefully place the croissants onto the baking tray and lightly tuck in the edges, forming the shape of a “U”.

Repeat this with the second sheet of pastry.
Beat the egg and milk together and lightly brush the top of the croissants.
Place the tray into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is beautifully golden and crisp.
Serve warm.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x



tomato chicken & rosmarino one pot



chicken is a staple in my home. a lean meat, high in protein, easy to cook and very versatile. my firm favourite is a whole chicken stuffed with lemon and herbs and drenched in white wine, then shoved into the oven for a lengthy roasting period. yum.
and then pasta…my other secret love affair.
so combining the two makes perfect sense. to me food is not only to cure hunger. it brings people together. it soothes an aching heart. it stirs up good conversation. it makes a very dull day colourful.
it really is the best medicine money can buy. and it doesn’t always have to be fancy.
rosmarino is a small rice like pasta that i often use when making a cold salads with zesty dressings. and if you are not totally sold on the pasta idea in this dish, then use rice instead and have a Spanish evening.
this is comfort food at its best. a little effort in shredding the chicken after the cooking process but well worth it! i like to shred the chicken before serving as it is a little easier (and tidier) than doing it at the table but there really are no rules.
a great tasting, home cooked meal, perfect for the family or an evening of easy going entertainment.

serves 6
1 whole chicken, giblets removed
2tbs olive oil
3tbs butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 fat garlic cloves, chopped or grated
2tbs tomato paste
1 can chopped tomato
3 medium carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced
3 celery ribs, sliced
2tbs brown sugar
2tsp paprika
1/2tsp onion seeds
1/2tsp cumin seeds
1/2tsp coriander seeds
1/2tsp dried mixed herbs
2tbs worcestershire sauce
3 stalks rosemary, leaves only, chopped
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp black pepper
1/2c dry white wine
600ml chicken stock
600ml cold water
handful fresh chives, chopped
handful fresh parsley, chopped
200g rosmarino pasta

how to do it
preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. or 160 with a fan.
heat a little oil in a deep, oven proof dish with tight fitting lid or dutch oven.
place the chicken in the hot oil, breast side down, and brown the meat for about 4 minutes. remove and set aside.
add the remaining oil and butter. sauté the onion until translucent. add the tomato paste, brown sugar, spices & rosemary and cook for about 2 minutes, until wonderfully fragrant. deglaze with the white wine and cook until reduced by half.
add the carrots and celery and stir to coat. pour the chopped tomato into the pot with the chopped garlic. stir and cook for 2 minutes. place the chicken back into the pot, skin side up. pour the chicken stock and cold water mixture into the pot, around the chicken but leaving the top of the chicken breast untouched.
bring the pot to the boil, uncovered.
once boiling, place the lid on top and put it into the oven for one hour, 20 minutes.
carefully remove the pot from the oven and gently stir in the rosmarino pasta around the sides of the chicken. put the pot back into the oven, with the lid on, for a further 30 minutes.
remove from the oven and rest, covered for 20 minutes.
now you can remove the chicken and shred the meat to your preference, discarding the bones and carcass. stir the parsley and worcestershire sauce through the pasta. place the shredded chicken on top and garnish with the chopped chives and a few pinches of paprika.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x





Beef & barley soup


Hearty. Rich. Tasty. Healthy.
All of the wonderful foodie things combined in one bowl. I love it!!
I used my Instant Pot for this dish, which, of course, simplifies things and naturally speeds up the process, leaving you with the same great end result. However, stove top is just as good. It just takes a little more time, patience and stirring.
This recipe’s method is based on the pressure cooker. For stove top the method remains the same. It is really just the cooking time that will increase to an hour or until the pearl barley is thoroughly cooked.

I served the soup with home made flatbread filled with cheese & garlic, toasted in a sandwich toaster. It was the perfect side and left me smiling.

Ingredients (serves 8)
3 Tbs Olive oil
450g Beef shin
1/2 C Red wine
6 C Beef broth
1 C Pearl barley
1 Onion, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tsp dried rosemary
2 Carrots, cut into blocks
2 Celery stalks, sliced
2 Tbs Tomato paste
1 Can chopped tomato
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs Brown sugar
1/4 Tsp Cayenne pepper
2 Bay leaf
Pinch chilli flakes (optional)
Salt
Black pepper

How to do it
Turn the pot on saute mode, add olive oil to the pot and brown the meat on both sides. Remove the meat and set aside.
Heat olive oil in the pot again. Add the onion and saute for a minute. Add the garlic, carrot, celery, rosemary & tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pearl barley and stir through until well coated. Pour the stock, wine & canned tomato into the pot together with the brown sugar, bay leaf, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, chilli flakes, salt & pepper. Nestle the meat in the middle. Place the lid on top, seal the vent and turn on pressure cooking mode for 30 minutes.
Manually release the pressure. Remove the meat and flake it by using two forks. Return the meat to the pot. Check the seasoning and add more salt if desired.

Served topped with a dollop of sour cream, parmesan shavings and sliced avocado and a lovely crusty bread on the side.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x