Tag Archives: rosemary

garlic bread with rosemary and sea salt

Quick garlic bread with rosemary and sea salt

When the craving for garlic bread hits you this quick garlic bread with rosemary and sea salt recipe will fill that gap for sure.

I cannot profess to be any good at baking, in fact, I would rather steer clear of baking if I can help it. Outside of malva pudding, sticky toffee pudding, balsamic caramelised onion and blue cheese tart or breakfast pastry cups, my baking repertoire is fairly limited.

So when the craving for some home-made crusty buttery garlic bread rolls hits, you heed the call. I know it’s not LCHF/Banting friendly, but look at all the other ingredients that are good for you. Garlic is rich in several different nutrients, including vitamin C, calcium and iron while rosemary is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. The Himalayan pink salt includes over 84 minerals and trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and iron. Hmm, just look at all that calcium.

I used to be in the Voortrekkers (Afrikaans version of the Scouts) and were taught how to make potbrood (pot bread), griddlecakes (roosterkoek) and stokbrood (stick bread) – quite literally bread dough wrapped around a stick and baked on the fire. When it was ready, we would dollop some fresh butter and honey in the cavity created by the stick. The steam created inside the cavity would melt the butter and honey and every bite was heaven on earth.

Whenever we had a big family gathering we would do a traditional braai (barbeque) with loads of salads, veggies and of course garlic pot bread. The garlic bread would be baked in a cast iron pot with some medium-hot coals underneath and on top of the lid to bake as if in an oven.
potbrood cast iron bread

For the bread dough you have two options – make it yourself (full recipe below) or for a quick option, just pop over to your local grocery store or bakery and buy one of their bags of fresh bread dough. It works out to around R10 a kilo and makes enough bread to feed 8 hungry people.

Quick garlic bread with rosemary and sea salt

If you want to be a bit more rustic about it and you have the time, why not make your own. Our go to recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 1 kg white bread flour (you may use brown bread , wholewheat or rye
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1 Tbs instant yeast
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • approx 600ml lukewarm water
  • butter to grease
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • Himalayan pink sea salt (or Maldon) to season

Method

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and make a hollow in the centre.
  2. Mix the oil and 600ml of the water and gradually stir into the dry ingredients with your hands (or a wooden spoon – but trust me, rather use your hands).
  3. Mix until the dough is just soft enough to be kneaded. Add a little more water if the mixture is too dry.
  4. Knead the dough (by hand) on a floured surface until soft and elastic. It takes around 8-10 min and is a good workout. Shape into a ball.
  5. Grease a large bowl with butter (or oil), place the dough ball in the bowl, cover with clingfilm and a tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes – it will double in size.
  6. After the initial rising, flatten the dough with your hand and with a sharp knife, divide it into 9-12 pieces.
  7. Fold the sides of each piece into the bottom to create a ball – don’t roll them. Transfer them to the large greased heavy-bottomed pot, cover with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm spot for another 20 minutes.
  8. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C or get your fire ready.
  9. Chop the rosemary finely, crush the garlic and add the butter – place it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to melt the butter.
  10. Brush the dough all over with the butter, garlic and rosemary mixture. Be liberal.
  11. Crack a good amount of the Himalayan pink salt or sprinkle the Maldon sea salt over each bun – don’t be shy.
  12. Place your pot in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden on top and a knife comes out clear.
  13. If you intend on making this on a fire – place your pot in hot coals, cover with a greased lid and place more coals on the lid. Check after 30 mins until done.

Serve with a good dollop of butter, perhaps add some honey, chunky peach or apricot jam for a sweet treat. But it is perfect just with a dash of butter.
Quick garlic bread with rosemary and sea salt

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.

Stuffed roast chicken

Stuffed roast chicken for Sunday lunch

Sundays are for family. There’s nothing better than having the entire family around the lunch table. In South Africa this tradition normally involves a braai (barbeque), roast leg of lamb or as our family often does, a stuffed roast chicken with all the trimmings (think potatoes roasted in garlic and rosemary or candied thyme carrots).

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 5 rashers of bacon, diced
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 8 sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 tablespoons mixed herbs
  • smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C
  2. Fry the bacon in a little olive oil till brown. Add the onion, garlic, herbs, sun dried tomato and chickpeas till hot.
  3. Drizzle the chicken with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.
  4. Stuff the chicken with the chickpea mix.
  5. Pour the wine and water in a roasting pot, add the chicken and cover with the lid.
  6. Cook at 200 for 1 hour.
  7. Uncover and transfer the chicken to grill for a further 25-30 minutes, until the juices run clear.
  8. Make a gravy out of the pan juices.
  9. Rest the chicken for 15 minutes.
  10. Cut the chicken up and pour over some of the gravy.
  11. Serve with the stuffing, some garlic and rosemary roast potatoes, candied carrots or a tomato, leafy green salad.

Chickpeas with bacon & sun dried tomato.

Note

I used a rose wine instead of white wine which made the gravy a tad too vinegary. If the wine is not cooked off enough to your taste, add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar and cook the gravy a little longer. The longer it cooks, the more the wine will cook off. The sugar definitely balances out the wine/vinegar taste.

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.

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.

Awesome veggie pasta sauce

I had no idea what to cook for dinner tonight, not a clue… so I took out what I had (mostly fresh veggies) and started cooking. The end result was a most delicious veggie pasta sauce, yummy, fresh, crispy-crunchy, divine, you-don’t-even-miss-the-meat. You can make this with whatever fresh vegetables you have in your fridge, in the quantities of your choice, I’ll list what I added tonight.

Ingredients:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Olive oil for stir-frying
  • 1/2 Green pepper
  • 6 Courgettes
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic (or to taste)
  • 1 can Chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can Tomato & onion mix
  • Dried mixed herbs
  • 2 sprigs Fresh origanum, chopped
  • 1/2 sprig Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • Tomato paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp Tomato sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsp Mrs Balls original chutney
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Steam the broccoli and cauliflower until al dente, or even slightly underdone
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot on a medium heat
  3. Cut the green pepper into strips and begin to stir-fry
  4. Cut the courgette into medium-sized rounds
  5. Add the courgette to the pot when the green pepper starts to soften, stir-fry. You may add a splash of water if the veg starts to burn. This will steam the vegetables a bit.
  6. Grate the carrots on a large grate
  7. Add the carrots to the pot when the courgette looks about done.
  8. Add some garlic to taste and stir-fry the veg until it starts to soften / is al dente
  9. Add the broccoli and cauliflower to the pot
  10. Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato & onion mix along with a little water
  11. Add some dried mixed herbs and the fresh chopped herbs
  12. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce and chutney
  13. Season to taste with some salt and pepper
  14. Stir and leave to simmer for a few minutes before turning off the stove
  15. Serve with pasta of your choice – I used wholewheat organic Penne Rigate – some grated cheese, and if you like it spicy add some chilli paste and/or Tabasco sauce

Bon Appetite!

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.