warm barley & quinoa salad

For me, salads scream summer and since we are currently enjoying our beautiful winter season, it is fair to say that salad is almost last on my “have to make” food list. However, this warm salad of barley and quinoa was the perfect lunch comfort on a chilly day. At the fireplace with a glass of red wine, of course.
If you are not all that fond of smoked meats then grilled chicken breast, chorizo and grilled steak re also wonderful alternatives. I can definitely also recommend soft poached eggs.
The dressing is simple and delicious so take a few extra minutes and make it yourself. Home-made is so much better (and healthier) than store bought.
A simple way to mix the ingredients is using a glass jar to which you add all the dressing ingredients, seal it, shake it up and leave it to stand for a few minutes. Less mess and fewer things to wash up.

ingredients | serves 6 | a little effort
200g cooked pearl barley
150g cooked quinoa
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
300g smoked chicken, sliced
250g mushrooms, quartered
4 garlic cloves, sliced
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only & extra for garnish
120g mange tout or green beans
1C cherry tomatoes, halved
1C walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
2T olive oil (more if needed)
3T butter
handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
fresh rocket or watercress (optional)
avocado, optional
salt to taste
pepper

for the dressing
3T apple cider vinegar
3t Dijon mustard
3T maple syrup or honey
1/2C olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of salt
grind of black pepper

how to
Cook the pearl barley and quinoa to the packet instructions and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the two tablespoons olive oil and butter together and saute the red onion for about two minutes. Add the sliced garlic and mushrooms and cook, while stirring, until the mushrooms are just cooked, about five minutes. Add the mange tout, tomatoes and thyme leaves, season with salt & pepper and cook for two more minutes.
Set aside.
In the same pan, warm the pearl barley & quinoa together with a tablespoon of butter. Season.
Spoon the barley & quinoa into a large salad bowl and top with the warm mushrooms & onion mixture. Add the sliced smoked chicken, walnuts & rocket.
Garnish with the parsley and extra fresh thyme.
Serve with sliced avocado, if using.

for the dressing
Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid or whisk together in a deep bowl until emulsified. Seal the jar and shake for a few minutes. Add more olive oil & seasoning if desired.


easy creamy chicken & tomato

Another great dish if you have leftover chicken from a roast or if you have chicken breast in abundance lurking in your freezer!
I cooked a de-boned, rolled chicken two nights ago and was left with about 600g of beautifully tender chicken meat, which was recycled into this very tasty dish that i served with brown basmati rice.
It really only took a few simple ingredients and about half hour to whip up an amazing dinner that was not only perfect for my taste buds but also that of my toddler.
Easy. Quick. Delicious. The perfect comfort food that fits a busy schedule.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
600g cooked or uncooked chicken
2T olive oil
2T butter
1 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 punnet / 160g mushrooms, sliced
2T paprika
3T sun dried tomato pesto
1T tomato paste
1 can crushed tomato
1/2C chicken stock
3/4C cream
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1T brown sugar
1/2C rosa tomatoes, whole
50g plain goat’s cheese (optional)
1/2t salt
1/2t black pepper
handful fresh parsley, chopped

brown or white basmati rice to serve – cooked according to package instructions.

how to
If you are using uncooked chicken, heat a little olive oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Set aside.
In the same skillet, heat a little more olive oil, add the butter and heat until melted. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent. Add the paprika & tomato paste and cook for about one minute until fragrant. Add the sliced mushrooms and garlic and cook for about five minutes on medium heat.
Pour the crushed tomato into the skillet, stir and cook for one minute. Add the sun dried tomato pesto, salt, sugar, pepper & thyme, stir to combine and then add the chicken stock.
(If you are using uncooked chicken, add it now.)
Place the lid on the skillet and simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes.
Lift the lid, add the cream, goat’s cheese (if using) the cooked chicken & cocktail tomatoes and leave to simmer until the tomatoes have popped and the sauce has thickened.
Sprinkle the chopped parsley into the skillet and stir to combine.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x


braised beef short rib with mushrooms

I am very passionate about stews and casseroles so generally look for any excuse to cook another rich, hearty one pot. (Not that i ever need an excuse to cook anything!)
Good quality meat is the perfect start to any good stew or casserole followed, of course, by fresh vegetables and drinkable red wine. I always buy good quality boxed red wine and keep it in my pantry. It lasts much longer than bottled red wine, making it cost effective.
These dishes need a lot of love and patience, which is all worth it once you lift the lid and sniff the wonderful aroma of slow cooked meat, garlic, herbs and red wine.
Short rib is a fairly inexpensive cut of meat and is beautiful served on its own in portions or pulled in a beefy BBQ sauce or use the pulled meat for a short rib pie in a puff crust.
If this kind of food does not do something for your soul, i really am not sure what will.

ingredients | serves 6 | a little effort
2kg beef short rib (portioned by your butcher)
5T plain flour
200g bacon, diced
1 punnet (250g) button mushrooms, halved
3 stalks rosemary, leaves only
1 garlic head, halved
2 medium carrots, grated
3 leeks, diced
1 large white onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, diced
2T tomato paste
1t salt
1t black pepper
3T olive oil plus extra for browning meat
2T butter
600ml drinkable red wine
2C beef stock
1T brown sugar

how to do it
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Dredge the meat in the flour and shake off any excess. Heat about four tablespoons of olive oil in a large oven proof skillet and brown the meat in batches until it has a beautifully coloured crust. Set aside.
Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until browned and crispy. Set aside.
In the same skillet, melt the three tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. Sauté the chopped onion until glossy. Add the garlic and press it down, releasing the garlic flavour into skillet.
Add the grated carrot, diced leeks & celery and stir. Add the tomato paste and allow this to cook for about one minute.
Add the brown sugar, salt & pepper and stir to combine.
Pour the red wine into the skillet and allow to cook for about five minutes. Now pour the stock into the pot, add the bacon and the short rib and bring the mixture to the boil.
Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid or tin foil and carefully place in into the preheated oven to cook for 2.5 – 3 hours until the short rib is soft and almost falling off the bone. Meanwhile, heat butter and olive oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms until just cooked. Set aside.

If you prefer a smooth sauce like i do, remove the meat from the skillet and strain the sauce through a sieve. Press the garlic out into the sauce. Pour the sauce back into the skillet and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce until thickened. Add the meat and mushrooms to the skillet and gently simmer for about five minutes to heat through.
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with smooth, garlicky mashed potatoes.

If you prefer to keep the sauce in its natural form, simply remove the garlic head, press the garlic out into the sauce and do not strain. Follow steps as above.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x





south african ‘frikkadel’ in a creamy tomato broth

This dish brings back very fond childhood memories. The smell of the ‘frikkadel’ lingering through the house as it was baked in the oven sits firm in my memory bank. They always tasted the same, never different, which now tells me that it was obviously a recipe that was passed down many generations to my mother who never felt the desire to change or alter it. And rightly so, as the ‘frikkadel’ recipe i so well remember was delightfully delicious and completely moreish.
Frikkadel is a traditional AFrikaner dish, consisting of minced meat, onion, bread, eggs, vinegar & spices and then baked or sometimes deep-fried.
There are so many amazing sides to this dish although it was served with rice in our family home thus making rice the traditional side for me.
This recipe is not that of my mother as I think some things are meant to be kept secret.
I used the base of the original recipe with a few tweaks here and there and then turned it up a notch to boost it to the 21st century.
Frikkadels can be made ahead of time and freeze really well so i suggest doubling the recipe to give you extra for the freezer. Perfect for lazy days or days when you really just don’t have much time to spend behind the stove.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
500g minced beef (or pork of a mixture of the two)
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1T crushed garlic
2 medium tomatoes, centre removed and cut into small blocks
1 egg
2T chopped parsley
1.5T worcester sauce
1/2C breadcrumbs
2T chutney (i used Mrs Balls)
1/2t salt
1/2t black pepper
3T olive oil, for frying

For the tomato broth
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomato
1T brown sugar
1t salt
1/2t black pepper
1/2t dried oregano
1/2t dried basil
1/2t dried parsley
1/2t chilli flakes (optional)
1T butter
1T olive oil
1/2C cream
Bunch fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs except the breadcrumbs & egg together. Break the egg into the mixture, add the breadcrumbs and using your hands, mix until well combined.
Form balls a little smaller than a golf ball, using the palms of your hands.
Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and brown the frikkadels on all sides. Transfer the frikkadels to an ovenproof dish and bake for about ten minutes. Lift the frikkadels out of the skillet, pour the juices out of the skillet and set aside. (Do not clean the skillet)

Heat the olive oil & butter for the tomato broth in the same skillet of the frikkadels. (This will add more flavour to your broth)
Saute the onion until glossy. Add the oregano, basil, dried parsley & chilli flakes and cook for about one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, brown sugar, garlic, salt & pepper and cook on a low heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the juices from the baked frikkadles into the broth and stir well.
Add the cream to the tomato broth and stir through.

Place the frikkadels into the tomato sauce, cover with a lid and cook for about five minutes until heated through.

Dish the frikkadels into bowl and pour the sauce around it. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with basmati rice or mashed potato.