Creamy Cauliflower Puree

Creamy Cauliflower Puree

There’s all this fuss about cauliflower these days, its proving to be a great substitute for rice, pizza bases and mash potato.  Aaaah… Mash Potato, how I love thee … unfortunately though, you do nothing for my waistline!  So I thought, let me see how the cauliflower puree phenomenon will stand up against my beloved mash potato.   The result? A creamy, rich, indulgent and delicious ‘mash’ / puree.   Is it mash potato? Well, no but its a very good substitute for those trying to avoid carbs at dinner time.   So quick and easy to prepare and I caught a few fingers licking the plate … mine included  😉  

I served mine with Pork Chops which I fried with olive oil, garlic and sage leaves.   I fried a few of the sage leaves first in the hot olive oil for 3 or 4 seconds before draining on carlton towel and sprinkling generously with salt.   I then set these aside for garnishing.   The oil was then nicely flavoured with the sage, so I added the pork chops, which I had already marinaded in a little olive oil, with a clove of garlic which I crushed into a smooth paste, salt & black pepper.   As far as week night dinners go, it was a goodie! 

Pork Chop cropped for blog picture

Yield: 3 – 4 servings

Ingredients: 

1 head cauliflower – tough stalks removed 

1 cup chicken stock / Water 

3 Tbsp fresh cream

1 Tbsp butter

Salt & Pepper for seasoning 

Method: 

Roughly chop the cauliflower and put in a pot together with the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently until cauliflower is completely tender.  Strain in a colander, retaining a few spoons of the cooking liquid.  Put cauliflower in food processor and blend until smooth, adding about 20ml of the cooking liquid as you go.  Once processed to a smooth consistency, add the cream and butter and process again until combined. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy ! 

Cooks Note: I use the Woolworths organic ready made chicken stock for this recipe.  The stock freezes well, so I freeze whats left over after I’ve measured.  If you find the puree too thick, add a little extra cooking liquid or even better, extra cream 🙂

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Chicken Lettuce Wrap with a Coriander Yoghurt Dressing

Chicken Lettuce Wrap with a Coriander Yoghurt Dressing

Photography by Darren Bester

I love chicken wraps, not only are they super tasty but they healthy too!  Its always so well received by my family that I almost feel a little guilty because it took just minutes to throw together.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any healthier, we throwing out the wheat and wrapping it up in a lettuce leaf instead …

Yield: 1

Ingredients:

1x 80grm chicken frikkadel (recipe here)

1 large crisp lettuce leaf 

few slices chopped tomato 

few slices cucumber 

few slices carrot 

For the Coriander Yoghurt Dressing:

Yield: 250ml (will be suitable for a few wraps)

1 cup coriander, roughly chopped 

1 cup fat free greek yoghurt 

3 spring onions, chopped 

good squeeze of lemon juice 

Method: 

For the dressing – put all ingredients together and blend.  Adjust lemon juice seasoning to taste.  

To assemble wrap:  Cut frikkadel in half and place inside the middle of the lettuce leaf, drizzle over a little yoghurt dressing, sprinkle with tomatoes, cucumber and carrot, drizzle over a little more dressing and fold lettuce leaf over to close your wrap.  Cut in half and enjoy!

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Chicken Frikkadel’s with Apple & Parmesan – so healthy your toddler can eat them too !

Chicken Frikkadel’s with Apple & Parmesan – so healthy your toddler can eat them too !

Photography by Darren Bester

These frikkadel’s freeze well & can be defrosted in the microwave in 1 and a half minutes.  When making for my 1 year old, I make each frikkadel 30grms in weight.  If making for adults, I increase to 80grms each (Note: adult portions would require slightly longer cooking time in the microwave from frozen). 

Yield: 38 Frikkadel’s of 30grms each 

Ingredients:

coconut oil / olive oil for frying 

600grms boneless and skinless chicken thighs – blended in a food processor until smooth

3 onions

fresh breadcrumbs from 4 slices of bread 

3 cloves garlic

handful fresh thyme, finely chopped

handful fresh parsley, finely chopped 

2 granny smith apples, peeled & grated

60grms parmesan cheese, finely grated

3 eggs, beaten 

For adults – salt & pepper to taste 

Method: 

Pour the coconut oil / olive oil into the pan and warm, add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft – set aside.   In a mixing bowl, add the minced / pureed chicken, breadcrumbs, fresh herbs, eggs, apple, parmesan and add the onion mixture. Stir well to combine.  

Preheat the oven to 180ºc

At this point – if you are making half for your little ones and half for adults – separate the mixture and to the adult mixture, add salt and pepper.   Heat a little coconut oil / olive oil in a pan and gently fry a small amount of the adult mixture – taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Then shape the mixture into frikkadels – following my guidelines of 30grms for toddlers or 80grms for adults.  

Heat a little more coconut oil / olive oil in pan/s and fry gently in batches to brown on both sides.  Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the fried frikkadels onto the tray and pop into the oven for 10 minutes for the 30grm frikkadels and 20 minutes for the 80grm frikkadels.  Remove and place on a cooling rack until cool.  

At this point, you could refrigerate a few frikkadels for your next meal.  With the remaining frikkadels, you can portion and freeze for up to 3 months.  For my toddler, I freeze x 2 frikkadels per portion by wrapping in clingfilm and then putting all the wrapped portions in a freezer bag, sealed and labelled with the date.  As and when needed, I remove a portion and microwave on high for 1.5 minutes. 

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Beetroot, Walnut & Bocchini Salad

Beetroot, Walnut & Bocchini Salad

Photography by Darren Bester

Yield: 10, as a side

Ingredients: 

5 Bunches Beetroot, boiled, peeled, cooled & cut into quarters 

200g Walnuts, broken into smaller pieces  

300g Bocconcini Mozzarella Balls 

2x 120g Rocket Leaves, roughly torn or punnet micro herbs  

Drizzle of Olive Oil 

Couple of squirts of Lemon Juice 

Few drizzles of Honey 

Salt & Black Pepper 

Method: 

Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt & pepper and pour over the cooled beetroots and marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes. 

Drain the Bocconcini balls and season with a dash of olive oil, salt & pepper, set aside. 

To assemble, combine the marinated beets, walnuts and rocket and toss delicately.  Spoon onto serving platter and carefully place the Bocconcini balls amongst the other ingredients. 

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This recipe was featured on The Pretty Blog – You can view the post here

Also visit here to see the full menu and beautiful setting we created for our Lunch Celebration!

 

Pea, Bacon & Mint Soup

Pea, Bacon & Mint Soup

Photography by Darren Bester 

You say Pea soup and I’m immediately transported back in time… I’m in my family kitchen, I’m a child, my Mom is standing over one of her trusty AMC pots (pots which are now in my kitchen some 30 years on – Talk about quality!), the radio is on and the aroma of pea soup is filling the air ! Yummy, my favourite of all her soup recipes. 

My Mom’s version, is actually Split Pea Soup, made with dry split peas & no-one will ever be able to make it quite like Mom, well not in my eyes anyway 🙂 So when the craving for Mom’s Pea soup hit the other day, I wasn’t about to attempt to recreate her winning recipe, because for me, half the comfort is knowing that my Mom made it for me, but with mom not around to see to this craving, I decided to experiment with a different kind of pea soup.  Feeling inspired by the recent sunny weather we had during our Cape Town winter, I felt like a lighter, fresher pea soup and so opted to use whole peas instead of split peas, I added some bacon because well, its bacon and any opportunity to add bacon to a recipe, I do 🙂 and then a sprinkle of mint to heighten the lightness and freshness of the soup.   

The result? Quick, easy and tasty!  Suitable for a deliciously healthy light lunch or dinner starter.  The beautiful green is so vibrant that it brings colour to any dining table, while conjuring up feelings of excitement and anticipation that Spring is finally, once again, knocking at our door …

Pea, Bacon and Mint Soup

Yield: 4 

500ml Fresh or Frozen Peas

250g Streaky Bacon, diced

1 Large Potato, chopped

1 Litre Chicken or Veggie Stock (I use the organic liquid stock from Woolies)

Handful of Mint, finely chopped

Method: 

Fry the bacon for 5 or so minutes until crisp (keep some aside for garnish), add the potato and stock and cook until the potato is soft, approximately 20 minutes. Add the peas and turn down the heat to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, season with salt & pepper and stir in the mint.  Use a food processor or hand blender to puree.  Pour into serving dishes and garnish with a drizzle of fresh cream and a sprinkle of crispy bacon.  

Cooks Note:  If you don’t have cream at hand, drizzle with a dash of olive oil instead.  The soup can thicken on refrigeration , if this happens just add a little stock or boiling water when reheating to achieve the preferred consistency. 

This recipe was featured on The Pretty Blog: Martha Who’s Pea, Bacon & Mint Soup

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Mushroom & Cauliflower Yin Yang Soup

Mushroom & Cauliflower Yin Yang Soup

Photography by Darren Bester

 

Anyone who ever had the Mushroom & Cauliflower soup at Sinn’s Restaurant in Wembley Square, Cape Town will know what I was trying to achieve here !   That soup was one of those meals … You know the ones, where you think about it for days, weeks or in this case, years afterwards.   So I had no choice, but to try and recreate it …  Is it as good as the original? In my eyes … sadly No, but its a close second and did bring me some comfort 🙂 

Yield: 6

For the Mushroom Soup:

1 Onion, chopped

4 Sprigs of Thyme, chopped finely

2 Garlic Cloves, crushed to a paste

400 grms Mixed mushroom selection, chopped 

50grms Dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes 

50 grms Butter

250ml Vegetable Stock

250ml Cream

Salt & Black Pepper for seasoning

Method: 

Sweat the onion in a little olive oil for 2 minutes before adding the garlic, thyme and butter.  Cook until the butter has melted and the garlic is no longer raw (approximately 2 – 3 minutes). Add the fresh mushrooms & dried mushrooms along with the water the mushrooms were soaking in and the vegetable stock.  Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Transfer to food processor and blend, while slowly adding the cream. Season with salt & pepper, taste and adjust seasoning until you are happy.

 

For the Cauliflower Soup 

Ingredients:

A few glugs of olive oil 

2 Onions, chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, crushed to a paste

125mls Dry White Wine 

1 Large head cauliflower, stalks removed & chopped

1 Litre Chicken Stock 

Salt & White Pepper for seasoning 

Method: 

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the onions and sweat gently until the onions are translucent and soft.  Add the garlic and wine and cook until most of the wine has evaporated.  Stir in the cauliflower and chicken stock and raise heat to bring to the boil.  Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 or so minutes until the cauliflower is soft.  Transfer to food processor and blend until very smooth, should take a few minutes.  You might have to do the soup in batches if your processor is not big enough.  Transfer back to the pot and stir in salt & pepper, taste and adjust seasoning until you are happy ! 

Plating Up :

Now for the Yin and the Yang … Its actually easier than it looks … get two cups / mugs of equal size and fill one with Mushroom Soup and the other with Cauliflower Soup, pour them into a  soup bowl, from either side simultaneously, then simply place your hands on either side of the bowl and give the bowl a quick swirl and Voila! 

Garnish ideas:  I kept a few of the more exotic looking mushrooms aside and sautéed in some butter.  I cut a few cauliflower florets very thinly and did the same thing.  Also chopped up some chives really finely with some parsley and mixed with olive oil and then drizzled this over the soup. 

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