Category Archives: Sauces, stocks and dressings

Barbeque sauce

Barbeque sauce

I just love this barbeque sauce. It’s quick, easy and packed with flavour. The key ingredient in this sauce is the smoked paprika – giving it a beefy, hickory smoked flavour. It makes a perfect sauce for pulled pork buns, as a marinade for steaks or chicken or just a dipping sauce for oven grilled sweet potato fries.

This recipe easily doubles, or triples up and I suggest that you do at least double the recipe – you’ll be glad you did.

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

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.

Make sure that you’ve sterilised a glass jar to preserve the leftover sauce. It keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks, but guaranteed that you’ll use it up way before then.

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

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.

Mint sauce

Mint sauce

There are a few flavours I will always associate with my childhood, and my Mom’s home made mint sauce served with a roast leg of lamb is one of them. Nothing beats that tangy, sweet and minty flavour! For me, the only way to serve roast lamb is with a mint sauce, and the stuff you buy at the shops cannot compare to this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup grape vinegar
  • 1/2 bottle (50 ml) dried mint
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam

Method:

  1. Add the sugar and vinegar to a small pot
  2. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar over a medium heat
  3. Add the mint and boil gently for about 5 minutes
  4. Scoop in the apricot jam, stir to combine and boil gently again for about 5 minutes
  5. Adjust to taste by adding more vinegar if too sweet
  6. Bottle, cool and refrigerate

The consistency should be pretty runny, however if you prefer a more jam-my consistency you can boil the sauce for longer at Step 4. You could also add chopped fresh mint with the dried mint to the sugar and vinegar mixture in Step 3.

Roasted butternut, orange and feta salad

We got to try out that salad and salad dressing I had been dreaming about tonight, it was gorgeous. And a good thing too because the chicken espetada turned out to be off, something we only realised once we had braai’ed it and were doing a quick taste check to see that it was done. The salad on its own was quite satisfying and very healthy.

roasted butternut salad

Ingredients:

(Use quantities as required for the number of servings to be made)
Butternut
Cherry tomatoes
Yellow pepper
Feta
1 Orange
Fresh mint leaves
Lettuce
Walnuts (optional)

Dressing:
1 Orange
Olive oil
Dried mixed herbs
Sugar
Salt
Fresh thyme

Method:

Preheat the grill on your oven.
Cook the butternut in the microwave for 6min (assuming 800W microwave).
Layout the butternut on a baking tray in a single layer.
Drizzle the butternut with olive oil and season with ground salt and pepper.
Pop the butternut under the grill for about 15min until golden, turning once to evenly grill.
Remove the butternut from the oven once done and allow to cool.
In a large salad dish or small single-serving dish(es) layer the rest of the salad ingredients. The orange should be peeled and the segments separated. Either add the segments as they are or cut into chunks width-ways.
Toast the walnuts (any nuts may be substituted, even pumpkin seeds may be used) in a pan on a high stove setting. Watch them carefully as nuts burn easily due to their high oil content. (Ask me, I’m the woman who created an oven fire when trying to toast cashews, having carefully chopped them by hand not a moment before). Allow the nuts to cool.
Add the butternut once cooled.
Add the nuts once cooled.

orange juice salad dressing

To make the salad dressing combine the juice of an orange with a dash of olive oil (how much is really up to personal preference, but the oil shouldn’t be more than 1/3 of the orange juice), a pinch or two of the mixed herbs, a pinch of salt and about 2 teaspons sugar, to taste. Add the leaves from some fresh thyme straight off the stalk (thyme has such tiny leaves it would be a waste of time to try to chop them up). Give the dressing a good shake to dissolve the salt and sugar and to combine the oil and juice. Taste it and add whatever you feel is missing – I have been known to even add water to a dressing when I thought it was too thick and strong.

Just before serving drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Voila! A healthy meal which satisfies all of the senses…

Orange dreams

orange

Whilst trying to sleep off a bout of ill health this afternoon I dreamt up an interesting salad dressing, with the main ingredient being orange juice instead of lemon or vinegar. There are 2 options here:

  1. Orange juice, olive oil, fresh herbs from the garden, sugar (if necessary), salt and pepper to taste
  2. Orange juice, balsamic vinegar (or perhaps soy sauce), olive oil, fresh herbs, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

When it comes to salad dressings I tend to grab the first ingredients that pop into my head at the moment I am making them and gradually develop them to taste, so I can’t say that this will even work! I think I’m going to try one of the above on a roasted butternut salad to accompany the chicken espetada we’re planning on braaing. I will be returning with comments and photos…