Tag Archives: thyme

Parmesan roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potato

Parmesan roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potato

Parmesan roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potato makes one of the easiest side dishes that pairs very well with most meat and chicken based meals. I know that brussels sprouts normally have a bad rap, many people don’t like them, but I hasten to bet that it is because they’ve either been steamed or boiled to death. Ever considered roasting them?

The kids love the little caramelised cabbage heads and it has become one of the staple dishes in our repertoire. The addition of sweet potato bulks up the dish a bit and adds a nice sweet note. It is pretty moreish, trust me.

Parmesan roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potato

Ingredients

  • 1 bag fresh cleaned Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 big sweet potatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Add all the ingredients except the parmesan together in a roasting try and shake around to coat well. Add more oil if required.
  2. Bake about 25 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender and brussels sprouts are browned. You may need to turn them 10 minutes into the cooking time.
  3. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and serve.

This couldn’t be easier. You’ll probably want to double the recipe next time. Try them with bacon bits, a sprinkling of paprika or a dash of balsamic vinegar. The options are endless.

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.

Roast cauliflower soup recipe

Roasted cauliflower soup

Roasted cauliflower soup is currently our favourite go-to meal when we don’t particularly feel like cooking. Since it’s also winter here, few meals can beat the warm comforting taste of roasted cauliflower, mixed in with a healthy dose of roasted garlic and coconut cream.

Roast cauliflower soup recipe

For those on the Banting (LCHF) meal plan, this is a winner.

This recipe calls for roasting cauliflower and garlic in the oven for about half an hour until the cauliflower is tender and just starting to brown. This gives the cauliflower a deeper and richer flavour.

roasted cauliflower soup

While the cauliflower is roasting, soften the veggies and herbs in a pot. Add the cauliflower to the veggies with the stock and cook till soft.
Roast cauliflower soup - aromatics

Blend/puree the soup mix together with a can of coconut cream.
Roast cauliflower soup blending with coconut cream

And there you have it. Roast cauliflower soup with garlic and coconut cream.

Serves: 4 adults

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, ground (we use Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (may use dried)
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil (or use olive oil)
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 can coconut cream (optional but highly recommended)

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C. Break the cauliflower into small florets, removing the core and excess stems. Toss the cauliflower and garlic cloves with 3 tablespoons of the coconut oil and season with salt and pepper and place in a roasting try.
  2. Roast for 30 minutes until the florets are soft and just starting to colour at the edges. Don’t burn or over-roast the florets as this will leave a bitter crunchy taste in the soup.
  3. Cook the chopped leek, carrot, celery and thyme in a large pot with a tablespoon of coconut oil for about 10 minutes until tender.
  4. Once the cauliflower is ready, add it to the vegetables. Add the 3 cups of vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until all the veggies are soft and the liquid has reduced.
  5. Pour the soup mixture into a food processor or use a stick blender to puree until smooth. For a totally decadent finish, blend in a can of coconut cream (the thick stuff, unless you want to use coconut milk which makes the final product a bit more liquid)
  6. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and season to taste




    A couple of notes. We’ve made this soup a couple of times and we all love it – even the kids ask for seconds. At first I used dried thyme, which left a few stalks in the final soup. This is probably unavoidable unless you want to go through the process of straining your soup for an even silkier finish, but I think this might be slightly overkill for a hearty soup. I prefer to use fresh thyme if available.

    A blender or stick blender seems to get better results than the food processor. If you want a smoother finish go for the blender, if you like it a little more chunky, the food processor will work perfectly.

    You can add as little or as much garlic to the roasting process as you want. We once put in a whole bulb and it was fantastic. Using about 6 whole cloves is the minimum we would use to get that nice rich flavour profile.

    Experiment to your taste and enjoy.

wpid-20140428_185836_1.jpg

Quick and delicious chicken soup

Chicken soup Paleo

Nico is travelling – Paris! – and the children and I are developing colds / coughs back at home. Added to that the fact that Winter is fast approaching, with a definite chill in the air, we needed something warm and healthy for dinner. Instead of heading to Woolies for a packet of pre-prepared soup I decided to up the anti and try my hand at a homemade broth. It was fun to make, Arnan was keen to help out quite a bit and it turned out to be delicious. The chicken was incredibly moist and tender when it came out of the pot. My two helpers just about gorged themselves on juicy pieces of chicken before I could even get it back into the broth! A winner all round.

Notes:

  • I used our electric pressure cooker for this recipe, if you want to use a stove top pressure cooker you can get directions from the original recipe here.
  • The original recipe called for egg noodles. Since we are following a Banting (LCHF) diet I simply omitted them.
  • This recipe is adapted from Democrat & Chronicle.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp unflavoured coconut oil or any other vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I used 2 of those giant cloves Pick n Pay sell)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 8 cups water
  • 4 carrots, grated on thick grate
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly cut
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 whole chicken, 1.4 kg – 2.3 kg, giblets discarded
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Method:

  1. Set the pressure cooker to the “Sauté” setting and heat the oil until shimmering
  2. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes
  3. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds
  4. Stir in the water, carrots, celery and soy sauce
  5. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and place, breast side up, in the pot
  6. Put the lid on and lock into place, making sure the valve is set to “Pressure”
  7. Set the pressure cooker to the “High Pressure” setting for 20 minutes. If your chicken is larger than 1.8 kg then you will need to add about 10 minutes to the cooking time
  8. When the timer signals the end of the cooking time switch the pressure cooker off, ensuring it doesn’t switch to the “Warm” setting or your chicken may overcook, and use the quick release valve to relase the pressure. Carefully remove the lid, allowing steam to escape away from you.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones – two forks work well for separating the meat, it came out so tender the meat literally just fell off the bones.
  10. Stir in the shredded chicken and parsley
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like you could add a little soy sauce and some fresh chopped chillies

The children requested chicken soup for breakfast this morning. If that’s not a testimony to how good it is then I don’t know what is!

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.

Quick and easy duck liver pâté recipe

Quick and easy duck liver pâté

Quick and easy duck liver pâté recipe
Duck liver pâté ingredients

For some odd reason I’ve been craving a chicken on duck liver pâté for the last few weeks. Perhaps this might be an underlying iron, vitamin A or B deficiency, or simply just a longing for a rich and hearty feel-good treat.

Either way, on my recent trip to the shops to stock up on some essentials for the weekend, I happened on some free range duck livers from Woolworths. They’re less than R20 for 250g so this turns out to be an inexpensive dish.

Of course, if you don’t like duck liver, you can always use chicken livers.

Ingredients

  • 250g free range duck livers
  • 50g butter
  • 10ml olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 red onion
  • 25ml brandy or port
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 50g butter to seal

Method

  1. Trim the livers of any fat and sinew, this means all the white or green bits. It’s not as scary as it seems – trust me.
  2. Add olive oil and butter in a frying pan on a medium high heat.
  3. Once the butter has melted, add the onion and cook for a few minutes till soft.
  4. Add the livers and cook gently for about five minutes total, turning so they brown on all sides. It’s quite important to get a good sear on the livers as the caramelisation definitely adds to the final flavour profile of your pâté.
  5. Add the garlic to the pan after 4 minutes and fry.
  6. Add the brandy and thyme. Watch out though, the brandy makes everything bubble and splatter. Bubble for a minute to allow the alcohol to burn off.
  7. Transfer to a liquidiser and puree until your desired consistency. Once smooth, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a ramekin.
  8. If you want a smoother, more silky texture you could always pass the mixture through a sieve, but I like it a bit more rustic.
  9. Melt the extra 50g of butter and pour on top of the pâté to seal.
  10. Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge to cool down.

When you’re ready to serve the pâté, take it out of the fridge a bit before you’re ready to serve it with some toast. You can certainly play around by adding a couple of capers, cracked sea salt and pepper and dressing it up with a few sprigs of micro-greens.

Best served at room temperature.

Duck liver pâté serving suggestion
Duck liver pâté serving suggestion

Note
Once the butter seal has broken the pâté must be eaten within a couple of days, but can remain in the fridge for a week or more with the seal intact.

This is such a versatile recipe that you could also add any other favour profile you like. Play around with classic sage instead of thyme, add some porchini mushrooms, cream, mustard, raisins, cranberries…etc.

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.