Creamy paprika chicken pancakes

Pancakes are so easy to make and the batter can be made a day ahead, saving you time. Every day life is a rat-race and especially with children so having the ability to whip up a quick, tasty meal that also the kids will love, is an important factor for many parents out there!! All elements can be made ahead to be baked the next day. And the marinara sauce freezes really well! Too lazy to make marinara sauce? The store bought kind works just as well!!
You can prepare the whole dish and leave it in the fridge until the next day. Then simply top it with the sauce & cheese and bake.

Ingredients (Makes 5 large pancakes)
Pancake batter
1 C Flour
1 C Milk
2 Eggs
1/4 Tsp salt
1 Tsp Baking powder
Sift the dry ingredients together. Add the milk and eggs and mix well with a hand held blender.
Heat a little oil in a shallow pan and spray pan with non-stick spray. Pour approximately 1/4 C of the batter into the pan and swirl to coat pan. Cook for about 3 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 30 seconds. Turn out onto a plate and repeat.
For the filling
2 Tbs Olive oil
2 Tbs Butter
2 Chicken breasts, cut into blocks
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
1 Shallot onion, chopped
125g Button mushrooms, sliced
2 Tsp Paprika
1/2 Tsp Red pepper flakes (optional)
Black pepper
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
50ml Cream
5 Tbs Creme fraiche
2 C grated cheddar cheese (1 Cup is for the topping)
Coat chicken with the paprika. Heat oil & butter in a pan, saute onion garlic for 2 minutes and add chicken. Cook for 2 minutes and add mushrooms, pepper flakes, salt & pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cream and parsley, stir through and simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside.
Marinara Sauce
1 Small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
Tsp Dried oregano
1 Can chopped tomato
5 Whole tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbs Brown sugar
1/2 Tsp salt
Black pepper
1/4 Tsp chili flakes
Fresh basil leaves, torn
Saute onion & garlic in a little olive oil until translucent. Add the canned tomato and fresh tomato, brown sugar, oregano, salt, pepper and chilli flakes, and simmer for approximately half hour. Add the basil leaves and stir through. Using your hand held blender, blend until just smooth.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Butter an ovenproof dish.
Coat half the pancake with 1 Tbs creme fraiche. Spoon filling on top followed by grated cheese. Roll neatly and place into an ovenproof dish. Repeat with the remaining pancakes and filling. Pour half of the marinara sauce over the pancakes. (Freeze the rest for next time!)
Top with the grated cheddar cheese and bake for 15 minutes.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

Banana & chocolate pancakes

What a lovely early morning treat! The kids will go crazy for this! And you can use Nutella if you prefer it to the dark chocolate spread that I enjoy. Not the kind of breakfast for everyday indulgence but most certainly perfect for a Sunday morning at the coast. Warm banana or not? Now that seems to be quite the debate. Generally speaking I do not enjoy warm banana unless wrapped in foil with butter and cooked on the ‘braai.’ Alternatively, in this scrumptious breakfast treat!! And the best…? The Lindt dark chocolate ganache that accompanies the banana inside the decadent little pancake. You can go a little bit further and add a good dollop of creme fraiche on top with some berries or spread the pancake with jam and add some mature cheddar…I leave the decision to you. These pancakes are quick to make and the mixture can be made the night before to save time in the morning. Use this recipe for savoury or sweet!

Ingredients (Makes about 8 large pancakes)
1 1/2 C All purpose flour
1/2 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp salt
1 Tbs white sugar
1 1/2 C Milk
1 Egg
3 Tbs Butter, melted
1 Tsp Vanilla essence
Olive oil

How to do it
Sift all the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre and add the wet ingredients. Mix well with a handheld blender, taking care not to overmix the batter.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Using a piece of kitchen paper, rub oil all over pan and sides. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan. Brown on both sides.

For the banana & chocolate
3 Bananas, sliced
2 Tbs Butter
3 Tbs Honey
100g Dark chocolate
50ml Cream

Heat butter in a pan and add the banana. Drizzle with the honey and cook for about 4 minutes. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan. Once melted, add chocolate and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Breakfast crown

This very tasty breakfast is very welcome at my table! I have endless ideas for pastry fillings and they look so good!!! Guests absolutely love it and this morning’s version was no different. They look complicated but really do not take too much work or time. But then – I don’t mind spending time on good food. I made a garlic butter that I drizzled over the crown after the baking time…it was a treat of deliciousness!!! Rich, flaky & buttery pastry with melted cheese, some herbs and ham. Now that is my idea of a perfect start to the day!! With a shot or two of Nespresso…of course.

Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 Roll puff pastry
10 Slices chicken ham
10 Slices cheddar / gouda cheese
3 Tbs Creme fraiche
1 Tsp Dijon mustard
Few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 Egg
1 Garlic clove, chopped
30g Butter
Black pepper

How to do it
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Flour a work surface and place pastry on top. Gently roll pastry out to widen by about 2 cm top and bottom. Mix the creme fraiche & dijon mustard together. Using a spatula, spread the mixture over the pastry, leaving 1cm open on the sides. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves, salt & black pepper. Lay the ham on top, followed by the cheese slices. Gently roll the pastry over as tightly as possible and keep rolling until you have a long log. Join the two ends and press together tightly.
Place the pastry on the prepared baking tray. Using a sharp knife, slice 3cm slits around the edges, not going all the way through. Gently pull and twist each piece to its side to expose the stuffed parts.
Brush the top of the pastry with the egg and sprinkle with a little more black pepper. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes. In the meantime, place garlic & butter in a small sauce pan, melt and simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove the crown from the oven, drizzle with garlic butter and leave on the tray to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

Pasta & meatballs

I love this recipe! The meatball mixture is so tasty and easy to prepare. The recipe yields quite a number of meatballs, depending on the size and freezes really well. I usually end up freezing portioned bags, which is easy to take out the night before. It is a quick, hearty meal and never fails to tickle your taste buds. The kids will love it just as much as you!! The marinara sauce can also be made ahead and frozen.
Serve with a pasta of your choice. I love using tagliatelle or linguine, and I top it with a good helping of fresh herbs and parmesan.

Ingredients (Serves as many as 8 – 10, depending on the portion size)
1 kg Mince meat
1 Small red onion, finely chopped
3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tsp Smooth Dijon mustard
3 Tbs Chutney 
2 Tbs Worcester sauce
1/2 Tsp Cumin
2 Eggs
1/2 C Fine breadcrumbs
1/2 C Finely grated Parmesan (optional)
Handful parsley, finely chopped
Rosemary leaves, finely chopped
Pasta (linguine or tagliatelle) cooked according to packet instructions
How to do it
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix all the above ingredients together.  Using the palm of your hands, roll small balls and place on a baking tray, covered with parchment paper, sprayed with non-stick spray. Meatballs can be cooked in oven or in a pan. I prefer the oven as it is easier and less messy.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes, turning meatballs half way to ensure even browning.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
If you are freezing some or all of the meatballs, cool down completely and freeze in freezer bags. Thaw the meatballs in the fridge overnight.  
Marinara sauce:
1 Small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
Tsp Dried oregano
Can chopped tomato
5 Whole tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbs Brown sugar
1/2 Tsp salt
Black pepper
1/4 Tsp chili flakes
Fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 C Cream, optional
How to do it 
Saute onion & garlic until translucent.  Add canned tomato & chopped tomato, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper and chili, stir through and simmer on low, with a lid on, for about 20 minutes.  Remove lid and simmer on low heat until slightly thickened.  For a richer taste, add the cream now and stir through. Add fresh basil and mix through.