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




creamy paprika & tomato chicken thighs

For this dish i used skinless, boneless chicken thighs, which was perfect as it soaked up all the beautiful flavours while cooking .
Paprika adds such amazing flavour to food! Here it gave an amazing earthy flavour to the food that complimented the tartness of the tomato beautifully.
I served this with a side of fragrant Jasmin rice and buttered green beans.
If you are on a tight schedule then this recipe is perfect for you!

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
3T olive oil
1T butter
deboned, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped or sliced
2t paprika
5 thyme sprigs, leaves only
dried mixed herbs
dried oregano
2 medium carrots, grated
200ml chicken stock
100ml cream
1 can chopped tomato
fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/2t salt
black pepper

Heat olive oil & butter on a medium heat. Sauté the onion until glossy, about 4 minutes. Carefully drop the chicken thighs into the skillet and brown on all sides. Add the paprika, thyme, oregano, mixed herbs & grated carrots, stir through and cook for about three minutes. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and reduce by about half.
Add the chopped tomato, stir through and cook for about two minutes.
Pour the cream into the skillet and leave to simmer on a low heat for about five minutes until thickened.

Season with salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x



pulled pork & zucchini tart – another great meal using leftover meat

I am always thinking about the next dish, using food that was left over from the previous day / evenings’ meal. I cooked a beautiful large pork belly on Sunday, which obviously cannot be devoured by only two people. Please don’t think I didn’t try.
With my very simple three ingredient shortcrust pastry that I made ahead of time on Sunday evening, this dish was on the table in almost no time at all. I often make two batches of shortcrust pastry as it freezes really well. Thus saving time when you quickly want to whip up a tart or quiche.
This is also a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!
I don’t think there are any rules when it comes to savoury tarts. It really depends on what you like and what you have on hand. Quiche is the perfect dish for using all the vegetables that are really just lying around in your fridge and then adding an egg custard to a very simple tart shell.
Thank me later.

ingredients | 1 standard size tart | easy
for the tart shell
225g plain flour
100g butter, chopped
pinch salt
1/4c cold water

Place the flour, salt & butter into a food processor and blend until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. (You can also do this by hand by rubbing the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs.)
With the processor running, slowly add the water until the dough comes together so that it can form a ball without crumbling.
(You do not have to use all of the water and can add more if necessary.)
Dust your work surface with flour and gently knead the dough by pushing it back and pulling it forward again. Repeat this for about three minutes.
Form the dough into a disc, wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Should you wish to freeze the dough, place the wrapped disc into a freezer bag or freezer container, date it and freeze for up to one month. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.
Dust a flat work surface and roll the pastry out to fit your tart tin. Grease a tart tin with non stick spray.
Press the dough into the tart tin and into the sides. Trim the edges with a sharp knife. Dock the pastry with a fork a few times and place a large piece of baking paper on the pastry shell. Fill the shell with uncooked rice, beans or baking weights.
Place the shell into the oven and blind bake for 12 minutes.
Remove the pastry and gently remove the baking paper and weights. Place the pastry back into the oven for a further ten minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. (Keep the tart shell in the tart tin for baking the quiche later.)

For the filling
1/2 white onion, chopped
2tbs olive oil
2tbs butter
1tsp chopped garlic
300g cooked, pulled pork or any other meat like chicken, bacon or sausages
300g zucchini, half sliced and the remaining half chopped
100g onion marmalade
1.5tsp dijon mustard
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
100g grated parmesan (optional)
1/2tsp salt
grind of black pepper
3 large eggs
1c cream, full fat
1/2c milk, full fat

heat the oil & butter in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook until glossy. Add the chopped zucchini & garlic and cook for one minute.
Add the cooked pork or your choice of protein and cook for about two minutes or longer if your meat is uncooked. (Cook until the meat is fully cooked.)
Add the thyme, salt & pepper, stir through and cook for one more minute.
Put the tart tin on an oven tray and sprinkle the base of the tart shell with the parmesan. Turn the heat of the oven up to 175 degrees C.
Break the eggs into a large jug, add the cream, dijon mustard & onion marmalade and whisk until combined well.
Spoon the meat & zucchini mixture into the tart shell. Pour the egg custard into the tart shell and very gently stir move around with a fork.
Place the sliced zucchini on top and gently, taking care not to spill the egg custard, place the tart into the oven and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes until the egg custard is set and the top has browned lightly.
Remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool for about fifteen minutes before slicing into wedges.

Serve the tart with salad or tossed, buttered greens.








meatballs in curry cream

Mince is just one of those ingredients that i always have in my freezer as there are so many wonderful dishes i can cook using it.
Good, easy and quick food is really what I am after most days. Not because i don’t have enough time or because I am lazy but merely because I also want to spend quality time with my family.
I served this dish with basmati rice although mash will also make a wonderful accompaniment to soak up all the wonderful, flavourful juices.
And if you prefer a mixture of beef and pork mince, you are welcome to make that change. I, however, only had beef mince on hand.
You might think the meatballs are fairly plain, considering what i added to the meat, but it works really well as the sauce is wonderfully fragrant.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
500g mince meat
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1tsp minced garlic
1/2c fine breadcrumbs
1 egg
1tsp salt
black pepper

place all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. using your hands, roll balls almost the size of a golf ball. set aside on a baking tray covered with baking paper.

curry cream sauce
2tbs Olive oil
good knob of butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2cm ginger, grated
2tsp mild curry powder
2tsp turmeric
1tbs brown sugar
2tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp onion seeds
1/2tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 can chopped tomato
1 can coconut milk
bunch fresh cilantro
spring onion, sliced at an angle
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

method
Heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides. Set aside.
Blitz the canned tomato until smooth. Set aside. In the same skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Saute the onion until glossy. Add the ginger, curry powder, turmeric, sugar, & onion seeds and cook for about a minute. Add the chopped tomato and fish sauce, stir it through and cook for one minute. Season with salt & pepper. Add the chilli flakes now, if using.
Slowly pour the coconut milk into the skillet and bring the mixture to a light boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and add the meatballs. Cover with a lid and cook on low for about ten minutes, turning the meatballs once.
Remove the lid and cook for a further ten to fifteen minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced, turning the meatballs halfway through cooking.
Roughly chop the cilantro and add it to the dish. Garnish with sliced spring onion.
Serve with basmati rice of mashed potato and a side dish of roasted pumpkin or sweet potato.