Category Archives: Beef, lamb, pork, game

Slow braised short rib butternut puree recipe

Slow braised short ribs with butternut mash

Sundays are for…? Slow braised short ribs with butternut mash. A hearty winter warmer with fall off the bone meat and a buttery smokey honeyed butternut mash.

I always ask the guys at Country meat butchery and deli in Fourways, to cut me about 3kgs of short ribs from a full slab. I then portion them out into individual ribs, ready for braising.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

For the short ribs

  • 1.5 kg short ribs (approximately 8-12 ribs)
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

For the butternut mash

  • 1 butternut, skinned and sliced into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Coat the beef short ribs with sprinkling of salt, pepper and smoked paprika and place in a hot frying pan with the coconut oil. Brown on all sides.
  2. Cut up the onion, carrot, leek, thyme and garlic.
  3. Transfer the seared short ribs, bone side up, to an oven roasting dish or dutch oven.
  4. Add the vegetables to the frying pan and fry for about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, pepper and soy sauce and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. After a minute or two, add the red wine and let it bubble for another minute.
  5. Pour the veggie, soy and wine mixture over the short ribs in the oven dish. Add more water just cover the ribs.
  6. Put the lid on and braise/roast the short ribs for an hour. After an hour, turn the heat down to 160 degrees C for another 2 hours.
  7. About 30 minutes before the ribs are ready, boil the butternut in salted water until soft.
  8. Drain the liquid, add the paprika, honey and butter and mash it all up. You can use a stick blender if you wish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. What you’re looking for is a buttery puree/mash with a subtle hint of smokey paprika and some sweetness from the honey.
  9. Remove the short rib from the oven and place in a roasting tray. Bump up the oven to full and grill the ribs for about 2-3 minutes – just to render and crisp up the fat.
  10. Depending on the amount of liquid left in the original oven dish, you may want to reduce some of the braising liquid.
  11. Take out the ribs, spoon over some of the braising liquid an let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
  12. Make a quick salad of chopped cucumber, tomato and avocado with a rice vinegar and olive oil dressing. This will cut through the richness of the short rib.
  13. Serve the short ribs on a bed of the mash and a spoonful of the braised vegetables and liquid.

    After this hearty meal, you will probably want to go take a nap. You deserve it.

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Roast pork belly with fennel

I have a confession to make. I love pork belly. There are few things in life that awakens the taste buds like a crunchy crackling serving of juicy pork belly. Let’s get into it…
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Ingredients
1.3kg pork belly roast
4 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zest only
1½ tbsp maldon or himalyan salt
1 tbsp olive oil
4 medium carrots
2 large fennel bulbs
4 cloves garlic
200ml white wine
squeeze lemon juice

Method
For extra crispy crackling I like to make sure the pork belly is washed and patted dry. Score the skin with a sharp kitchen knife in either a diamond pattern or thin horizontal lines. Put it in a glass tray, with another one on top, weighted down with two cans or any other heavy weight. This ensures a relatively even thickness of the pork belly. Keep it in the fridge over night.

Preheat the oven to 220C

Chop the rosemary leaves, pepper, lemon zest and salt. Rub the pork all over with the oil before rubbing the herb and salt mixture into the skin, pushing it in between the scored lines. Place the pork onto a rack in a roasting tin, skin-side up, and cook for 40 minutes or until the skin starts to puff and crisp at the edges.

In the meantime, remove the stalks of the fennel (keep the fronds). Slice the bulb into thin wedges. Flatten the garlic and remove the peel, leaving the cloves whole. Cut the carrots into quarters.

Remove the pork belly from the oven and turn the oven down to 160C. Lift the rack and add the fennel, garlic, carrots and wine to base of the roasting tin and coat with any of the pork fat drippings. Set the rack with pork back on top. Return the tray to the oven and roast for a a further hour at 160C.

Remove the fennel and carrots from the oven, squeeze over some of the lemon juice, set aside and keep warm.

Turn the oven back up to 200C. Cook the pork for another 20 minutes, or until the skin is crisped up to your liking.

Remove te pork belly, rest for 5-10 minutes and slice. Serve with fennel and carrots, sprinkling over the chopped reserved fennel fronds for garnish (optional).

You’ll love it so much, you’ll probably lick the plates clean while wishing you had bought a larger pork roast. So next time, get a 3kg roast and double the recipe. Trust me on this.

pulled pork sliders Paleo

Pulled pork sliders with sweet potato buns

pulled pork sliders Paleo

I have a soft spot for anything with pulled pork in the title. I’ve eaten some of the best pulled pork at the Pitt Cue Co in Soho London. While I managed to get their cookbook to try and recreate their sublime dish at home, it is quite a lengthy process as it involves a number of sauces and a smoking process that take the better part of the week to make. The taste is completely out of this world and definitely worth your while as the sauces make up the base for many of their other dishes.

But when a pulled pork craving hits and you’re fresh out of mother sauce, you’re going to have to improvise. Below is the result of that improvisation. Bite-sized pulled pork sliders that are Paleo / Banting (LCHF) friendly, by substituting the buns with sweet potatoes. The trick though is to try and get the biggest even shaped sweet potatoes that you can find as to best mimick a mini-burger. Mine ranged between small and medium, but actually worked out perfectly well as delicious bite-sized morsels.

The list of ingredients and the three processes may seem daunting, but it’s pretty easy to make and taste delicious.

Ingredients for the pulled pork

  • 1 smoked boston butt pork roast (1kg – go bigger if you can)
  • 2 large onions – quartered
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water

Ingredients for the barbeque sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion – diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons tomato sauce

Ingredients for the sweet potato buns

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of maldon salt

To make the pulled pork

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160 C
  2. Stir together the spices and rub all over the roast.
  3. Lay the onion slices down on the bottom of the roasting pan together with the water and bay leaf.
  4. Put the roast on top of the onions, cover with lid or foil and cook for 2 hours.
  5. When done, take the roast out and shred the meat with two forks.
  6. Keep the pan juices and onions aside as we’ll combine those with the barbeque sauce

To make the barbeque sauce

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan, add onion and garlic with some seasoning and the sugar, and fry for 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add paprika and stir to combine.
  3. Cook for 10-15 minutes until onion is caramelising, then add vinegar and let it cook out for a few minutes.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce, mix well and continue to cook for about 8 minutes until sauce has reduced.
  5. Combine the barbeque sauce with your reserved pan juices and onions from the pork roast.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning.

pulled pork sliders Paleo

At this point you can now combine the barbeque sauce with the pulled pork.

pulled pork sliders Paleo

Method for the sweet potato buns

  • Slice the sweet potato into 1/2 cm rounds. Lay them out on a roasting tray lined with baking paper.
  • Brush each slice with coconut oil and sprinkle with the spices, flip and repeat
  • Bake at 220 C for about 15 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 15 minutes until brown on the outside and cooked through.

To assemble
Top a slice of sweet potato with some lettuce, thinly sliced tomato, a generous helping of the pulled pork and finish with another slice of sweet potato. You can of course add any other toppings of your choice, but these turned out finger-licking good.

pulled pork sliders Paleo

Slow roast leg of lamb rosemary garlic smoked paprica rub

Slow roast leg of lamb with garlic, rosemary, paprika rub

Slow roast leg of lamb rosemary garlic smoked paprica rub

There’s not much to say about a slow roasted leg of lamb. It is as classic as it gets. Comfort food at its best.

I’m getting pretty partial to smoked paprika at the moment, so most of my meat-based dishes and smoky vegetables are sprinkled quite liberally with this heavenly spice. Paprika is a spice made from ground, dried fruits of bell pepper or chili pepper varieties or mixtures thereof.

I have some Spanish smoked paprika, which is rather mild but has a distinctive oak flavour. Add to that some garlic, olive oil and rosemary and you have a winning rub.

Ingredients

  • 1 leg of lamb, approximately 1.5-2 kg
  • 4 giant garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • olive oil
  • 3-4 large sweet potatoes, cut in rings
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 tbsp butter

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  2. Rinse the lamb and pat dry.
  3. Mix all the ingredients: garlic, rosemary, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper together in a pestle and mortar. Add enough of the olive oil to make a nice thick paste. Rub over the lamb on both sides.
  4. Place the lamb into a deep sided roasting tray and add 250ml of water to the tray.
  5. Cover the lamb with foil and roast for 3-4 hours, basting from time to time until the meat is falling off of the bone.
  6. When cooked, remove the lamb from the oven and transfer to a board or plate. Cover with foil and leave to rest for 15- 20 minutes.
  7. Preserve the pan juices for your gravy.
  8. Cut up the sweet potatoes and cook in boiling, salted water. When cooked but still firm, drain in a colander.
  9. Add butter, garlic and thyme to a pan and heat till foamy. Add the sweet potatoes and fry till just brown and crispy on the outside.

Slow roast leg of lamb rosemary garlic smoked paprica rub
To serve, carve the lamb into chunks and serve with the sweet potatoes. Pour over the pan juices.

Moroccan mince with couscous

Moroccan mince with couscous

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After visiting Morocco earlier this year and receiving a tagine as a Christmas gift, we felt like something Moroccan inspired for our post gammon and turkey hangover. This Moroccan mince with couscous dish is extremely simple to make and ready in about 30 minutes.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 t ground turmeric
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 cup couscous
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • knob of butter
  • 4 T fresh mint, chopped
  • 50g unsalted cashews, toasted

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan, add onions and cook gently for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Stir in the spices, coating the onions, then add the mince and fry till brown.
  3. Add the apricots and stock and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook gently for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add couscous into a bowl and cover with just boiled water. Once it has absorbed all the water, fork through a knob of butter, lemon zest and mint to give it a nice fluffy texture. Season to taste.
  5. To assemble, spoon couscous onto serving plate, pile the mince mixture on top and scatter with the cashews.

Note
We have some Ras-el-hanout spice from Morocco which gives the dish a bit more complex flavours where up to 30 or more different spices could be in the mix, so you could use that instead of the cumin, cinnamon and turmeric suggested in the recipe. Ras-el-hanout can now be found at most good Pick-n-Pay stores.

South Africans may also have noticed some slight similarities in flavour between this Moroccan dish from North Africa and the traditional South African bobotie recipe. The kids therefore asked that we add some slices of banana and sprinkle some coconut on their portions. Nothing wrong with adding a dollop of chutney too while you’re at it.

Traditionally, Moroccans serve their couscous with seven vegetables, so if you want to bulk up the dish with some oven grilled veggies such as courgettes, red peppers, aubergines, red onions, butternut, carrots, parsnips and leeks then just chop them up, drizzle some olive oil, coat with harissa (chili kick), salt and pepper and pop them into an oven at 180 C for 30 mins or until cooked and caramelised.

spaghetti pomodoro

Tre gli spaghetti pomodoro – Three tomato spaghetti

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Spghetti pomodoro is intended to be a quick light dish, and this one is full of tomato goodness. It is basically spaghetti tossed with three types of tomatoes – whole peeled, cherry and sundried with crispy bacon, sweet basil, garlic and topped with corriander.

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti pasta
  • Can of whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 sundried tomatoes
  • 4-6 slices of back bacon diced or slices
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Handful of basil leaves chopped finely or (1 tablespoon dried sweet basil)
  • Couple of sprigs corriander leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Method

  • Cook the pasta in boiling water per packet instructions
  • Heat up some oil in a pan and fry the bacon with some finely chopped garlic and half the basil
  • When almost crispy, add the cherry tomatoes and heat till they start to blister
  • Remove from pan and keep warm
  • Add the can of whole tomatoes to the hot pan and roughly break into pieces
  • When the sauce starts to bubble, add the rest of the basil, sundried tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes back to the pan
  • When heated through, take off the heat, add the bacon, season to taste and top off with the corriander.

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By now the pasta is also ready, drain and serve with the tomato sauce. Add some chilli flakes and grated parmesan (optional).

Roast leg of lamb – Heston Blumenthal style

I’m a huge fan of Heston Blumenthal‘s food, oft for the shear entertainment factor as for the ability to recreate his recipes at home. Imagine my delight then when I stumbled on Heston Blumenthal at Home at the local Exclusive Books store. The How to cook like Heston TV series also had us glued to the television on Thursday evenings.

Hands up if you’ve ever wanted to perfect the art of poaching an egg or making melt in your mouth steak. Then this cookbook is for you.

Fast forward to today, a cold wintery and misty day in Johannesburg. Real comfort food weather.
I already had a roast leg of lamb in my mind, but wanted to try something different. Perhaps not the recipe as such, but the cooking method. So I paged through Heston’s book and found his roast leg of lamb with anchovy, garlic and rosemary recipe.

At first most people may think anchovies with lamb? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. The anchovies don’t bring a fishiness to the lamb, but rather a nice salty depth to the overall dish.

Unfortunately for me, I used up all our anchovies about two weeks ago when I made an anchovy butter for our pasta. I opted to replace the anchovies with some smoked streaky bacon. Also something that brings a smoky saltiness to the dish.

So on with the details.

Notes before you begin

  • The recipe serves 4 hungry people
  • You will need a meat thermometer
  • Cooking time: 4 hours + 30 mins for resting
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1.8 –2.2kg whole leg of lamb
  • sea salt
  • 3 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 12 anchovies, sliced in half lengthways – I substituted this with 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, halved and de-germed
  • fresh rosemary (4 sprigs)
  • 400ml milk (semi-skimmed / 2%)

For the sauce

  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 500g lamb or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 80 degrees Celsius. Yes, this is right, low and slow.
  2. Season the lamb with salt. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is smoking hot, sear the lamb until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and place in a roasting tray.
  3. Blanch the garlic in 100ml milk four times, using fresh 100ml milk each time.
  4. Cut the blanched garlic into slivers.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the surface of the lamb at regular intervals. Use a small spoon to enlarge the holes and stuff them with the anchovies (or bacon), garlic and the rosemary.
  6. Place the lamb in the oven for approximately 3-4 hours until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 55 degrees Celsius.
  7. When cooked, remove the lamb from the oven, wrap it in foil and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
  8. While the meat is resting, make the sauce. Place the roasting tray over a medium-high heat. Add the wine and use a spatula to scrape all the delicious bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the liquid to reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and mustard and reduce to a sauce consistency.
  9. Strain and pour into a warm jug to serve with the lamb.

Tips for carving the lamb
Grip the knob of bone that juts out of the meat with your left hand (reverse if left-handed). Keeping the joint flat on the board, rounded side upwards, cut into the meat from the top downwards, until the knife meets bone, in slices of whatever thickness you prefer, all the way along the top of the meat. Then, while still gripping the bone, run the knife horizontally across the meat, just above the bone, separating the slices. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

This method of cutting across the grain actually makes the meat seem more tender as you’re biting into the grain as opposed to across the grain which will be more chewier and tougher.

Heston explains it best by comparing it to chopping a log of wood. Trying to chop the log horizontally will be all near impossible. However, standing the log vertically and chopping into the top following the grain, the log will split more easily and naturally.

Courgette lasagne

Re-post of the recipe that appeared on Aquilaonline, my other blog.


Zucchini or otherwise courgette lasagne
View Zucchini or otherwise courgette lasagne on Instagram.

Ingredients

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can tomato and onion mix
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 3 medium courgette
  • 2 cups mozzarella or cheddar cheese, shredded

Bechamel sauce (makes about double than what is required)

  • 60g butter
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 75g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • good pinch ground nutmeg

Method
In a medium sauce pan, brown meat and season with salt. When cooked drain in colander to remove any fat. Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30-40 minutes, covered. Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.

Meanwhile, slice courgette into thin slices. I used a cheese slicer that had the perfect thickness. Lightly salt and set aside or 10 minutes. Courgette has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel.

On a griddle pan, grill the courgette on each side, until cooked, about 2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.

Preheat oven to 180° Celsius.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from heat. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth. Return to heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat. Stir in parmesan, salt and nutmeg.

In a medium casserole dish spread some sauce on the bottom and layer the courgette to cover. Then place some of the white sauce mixture, then top with the mozzarella/cheddar cheese and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up. Top with sauce and mozzarella/cheddar.

Bake 45 minutes. Let it stand about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Lamb chops with balsamic reduction

Lamb chops with balsamic reduction

Tonight we had absolutely no idea what to make for dinner. We’ve had our fair share of fish, chicken and vegetarian the last few days and I was craving some read meat.

The problem of course is that it was getting late (food shopping after 6pm) and I wasn’t feeling like building a braai or smoking out the house by grilling meat in the oven.

Then I remembered a quick and easy method for a balsamic reduction, which would go nicely with some pan fried rosemary lamb chops.

A quick meal in 15 minutes.

Lamb chops with balsamic reduction

Ingredients

  • 6 lamb chops
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Method

  1. Sprinkle rosemary, salt and pepper over lamb chops.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook lamb chops for about 3 1/2 minutes on each side (medium rare).
  3. Remove lamb and set aside to rest. Add onion to pan and sautee until slightly browned.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar and chicken stock.
  5. Allow mixture to cook until reduced by half, this takes about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter.
  6. Pour sauce over lamb and serve with some seasonal veggies and couscous.

rosemary lamb chops with balsamic reduction

This seemed to be a roaring success. Our 18-month old son even grabbed some of the balsamic reduction off my plate by the handfulls and helped himself to a chop too.

Of course I complety forgot to take a pic of the end result. I hope the one of the uncooked chops, is not too gnarly for some folk. I may have to do this again soon.

Spinach lasagna al forno

spinach lasagna al forno

Nothing quite beats the winter chill like a good lasagna or lasagne if you feel like saying it in Italian.

Growing up my mom always made “green” lasagna, leaves of spinach lasagna with a rich bolognese and béchamel (white) sauce. It was only years later that we found out lasagna also came in a non-green version. Hmm…I think my parents wanted to make sure we got some extra vegetables in. That said, when there wasn’t a lot of meat in the house, I remember my mom adding more grated carrot and other veggies into the dish to “bulk” up the dish.

Either way it was super yum.

Fast forward to today, a cold and blustery winters day in Johannesburg. The only thing that could satisfy a hungry family – a hot and hearty meal. Lasagna fit the bill perfectly. I also like to make lasagna, mac-and-cheese, bobotie etc. in bulk so I doubled up the recipe below. Except for the mince, for which I bulked up with extra veggies. This yielded about 3 freezer tins of lasagna, each tin enough to feed a family of four.

Ingredients for the bolognese sauce

  • 350g minced beef
  • approx 10 sheets of spinach lasagna
  • 80g tomato paste
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese / or parmigiano if you prefer
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 onion
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Ingredients for the béchamel sauce

  • 1lt milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 50grams flour
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • nutmeg (to taste)

Method for bolognese sauce
Melt the butter in a pan and add the finely chopped celery, carrot and onion. Fry for about 5 minutes. Add the mince and cook till browned. Add the cup of wine and cook till evaporated. Add the tomato paste and stock. Cook uncovered on a medium heat for 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Method for béchamel sauce
About 20 minutes into the cooking time of your bolognese sauce, start making your béchamel sauce. There are few steps, but you have to take this part easy to make sure you don’t burn the milk.

Heat up the milk in a pan – the hot milk combines better with the flour and minimises lumps forming.

In another pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and make sure all of it combines with the butter. Now add about 2-3 ladles of hot milk at a time to the flour mixture. Whisk rapidly. Keep on adding ladles of milk and whisking. The sauce should be nice and thick. Take off the heat before it boils and add salt and pepper to taste.

Building your lasagna
Spread a ladle of béchamel on the bottom of the foil tin or a buttered ovenproof dish. Add leaves of spinach lasagna to cover the tin, taking care not to overlap too much. Cover the sheets with a layer of bolognese, followed by béchamel and some grated cheese. Continue to build up your dish alternating the layers of lasagna, filling and cheese. You should end up with a top layer of cheese.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees C.

Your dish should be golden brown on top and the pasta cooked through. Serve with a side salad and a glass of wine in front of a fire.

Bobotie – the way mom used to make it

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for ages now – Bobotie, the way my mum used to make it.

Bobotie is a classic, traditional South African Cape Malay dish consisting of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. It is traditionally served with sambal and garnished with coconut, chutney and bananas.

Growing up, bobotie was one of my favourite dishes. Unlike most kids, I actually enjoyed the spicy notes of the curry powder and the cooked raisins. My dad and my sister would always pick out the raisins from this dish – which resulted in my mom often just removing it from the ingredients all together. She would however then substitute them with some chopped apricots. Speaking of substituting ingredients, when the purse got a bit tight in the month, mom would often half the amount of mince and add about a cup of lentils instead.

If you are vegetarian, you could easily cut out the mince all together and replace it with lentils.

To this day though, whenever I find bobotie on a menu I feel compelled to try it out, just to see how it compares with this recipe. I am obviously biased, but I think this one stands up to the best of them.

PS: This is also a great dish to make as a batch and freeze for those nights you just don’t feel like cooking or if you long for that taste of home.

Enough jabber, on with the recipe.

Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves: 8
Traditional Bobotie - the way mom used to make it
Ingredients:
60ml curry powder
30ml ginger
30ml brown sugar
15ml turmeric
2.5ml salt and pepper
170g sultanas (or raisins if you prefer)
30ml apricot jam
30ml vinegar
60ml Worcestershire sauce
60ml chutney
3 big onions (chopped)
2 cloves garlic crushed
375ml milk
2Tbs butter
olive oil for frying
2 eggs
2 slices of crust-less white bread
1kg mince
couple of bay leaves

Method:

  1. Soak bread in milk
  2. Heat oil and butter in large pan and fry onions and garlic
  3. When onions are soft add curry powder, ginger, sugar, turmeric, salt and pepper and mix well
  4. Add sultanas, apricot jam, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and chutney and mix well
  5. Drain and mash bread and reserve milk
  6. Add bread to pan together with mince and cook for approximately 15 minutes until the meat loses its pinkness – this will be a fairly dry mixture, but don’t add water, just make sure the mixture does not burn
  7. Remove from stove and spoon into a greased baking dish and level the top (or divide between smaller dishes for freezing)
  8. Beat eggs with reserved milk, you should have approx. 300ml, pour over meat mixture and put a few bay leaves on top
  9. Stand dish in a larger pan of water to prevent it from drying out
  10. Bake at 180C for 40mins or until set

Serve with some yellow rice and sambal, garnished with coconut, chutney and bananas.

Slow cooker oxtail stew

We received a Kenwood slow cooker as a wedding gift a year ago, and although I’m really keen on using it more often I find that there aren’t many recipes available. My first attempt at slow cooking, coq au vin, wasn’t exactly a success… the chicken turned out to be dry and the whole thing too watery. That was a recipe directly out of the kenwood slow cooker recipe book… This time was different. We bought fresh oxtail, which was really well-priced from our favourite butcher. We also picked up some lovely fresh veggies. I looked up a recipe or two on Google, read through a few of my mom-in-law’s potjiekos recipes before beginning… and best of all spent the entire day fussing over the pot, pouring as much love in as possible!
Preparation is key with this recipe… What’s nice is that you can prepare the veggies while the meat is cooking and wash up everything before you even need to add the “hard” vegetables (carrots and potatoes). We also suggest starting this early! I started cooking at 9 (the start of the 3 hour meat cooking period) and only finished by 5.

oxtail stew 2

Ingredients:

1 or 1.5kg Oxtail (we used 0.7kg, which was not really enough for 4 people)
Butter for sauteing
2 beef stock cubes
1 litre boiling water (maybe less? – I’m not sure how the food to liquid ratio works yet, but perhaps there will be less liquid at the end if less water is added in the beginning. However, I don’t know whether this affects the ability of the meat and veggies to cook or not…)

2 dried bay leaves (I added about 4)
1 tsp fresh thyme (I love fresh herbs from my herb garden so usually just chuck in a whole lot according to how I feel)
1 tsp fresh rosemary (ditto for rosemary, my favourite herb)
1 tsp ground black peppercorns

2 cloves of garlic (I added 4 small cloves, whole)
3 large potatoes
4 medium carrots
1 cup red wine
1 onion
1 red or green pepper

A pack of assorted baby marrows (e.g. patti-pans, courgettes, etc.)
1 punnet button mushrooms
Maizena mixed with a little red wine for thickening the stew

Method:

Add the bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, ground black pepper, and garlic to the slow cooker.
Fry the oxtail in some butter until well-browned on all sides.
Dissolve the stock cubes in the boiling water and add to the pan. Bring to a boil.
Add the oxtail & broth to the slow cooker.
Turn the slow cooker on to High.
Simmer for 3 hours.
Wash the potatoes and cut them into small chunks (about 1/8ths)
Wash the carrots and cut them into slices or dice them.
Add the potatoes, carrots, and wine to the slow cooker pot.
Continue simmering on high for about 2.5 hours (hopefully softish by now).
Chop up the onion and saute in some butter until clear and soft. Add to the pot.
Chop the baby marrows.
Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth.
Add the marrows and mushrooms (whole) to the pot. There is no need to stir them in, don’t worry if they are not covered with liquid.
Simmer for 1.5 hours on High.
Remove the lid and add the maizena mixture to the pot (enough to thicken the amount of liquid in the pot).
Season with salt according to taste.
Simmer on High with the lid off until the sauce is thickened – anything from 30 min to 1 hour. The meat should be falling off the bone by now.
Serve with rice or some chunky crusty bread.