Mom’s Legendary Roast Potatoes

Mom’s Legendary Roast Potatoes

I am a potato kind of gal, always have been, always will be.  Sadly, I am not one of those ‘ladies’ who will take just one or two roast potatoes when dishing up, I’m more of a 4 or 5 roast potatoes kinda gal *blush*  Oh, and if its my Mom’s potatoes … oh boy, then I actually lose count!  My Mom’s roast potatoes are legendary and for family affairs, roast potato duty always falls to her! I of course, do offer my services for ‘quality control’ and taste a few before meal time … its the least I can do and no, i don’t include those in my count ;p

So here is my Mom’s fail proof recipe for the crispiest and fluffiest roast potatoes ever!  Warning: These roasties could eliminate banting forever ! 

Yield: Approx 20

Ingredients:

approximately 375ml regular cooking oil 

2kgs potatoes, washed,peeled and quartered

plenty of rock salt 

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees

Place baking dish in oven with the oil to heat up

Place potatoes in cold salted water and bring to the boil.  Allow to boil until potatoes are just soft but not so soft that a fork would slide right off.  Drain with a colander and toss the potatoes to ruffle up it’s edges.  Use a fork to prick each potato in a few spots – this will allow the hot oil to penetrate the potatoes. Sprinkle with a few good pinches of salt. 

By now the oil in the oven should be hot, carefully place the potatoes in the oil and using a spoon, baste each potato.  Roast in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, then remove from the oven, turn the potatoes, place back in the oven and cook for a further plus minus 30 minutes – until crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  Place on a cooling rack and sprinkle generously with salt.  Serve immediately. 

Cooks Note: You may have to boil your potatoes in batches – don’t overcrowd the pot.  Placing your potatoes on a cooling rack will allow air to circulate around the potatoes thereby avoiding the potatoes from steaming and losing their crispiness. 

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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!

 

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Photography by Darren Bester

 

My Sister-in-law Carmen’s Pumpkin Pie is synonymous with the words braai, lunch, dinner & celebration in our family.  No meal is complete without Carmie’s famous Pumpkin Pie!   While everyone loves it, there are 3 of us who usually wrestle for seconds or for that much sort after ‘take away’.   In the number 1 spot is Carmie’s Mom, my Mother-in-law, aka ‘the Matriarch’ – I know better than to try and take on the leader of the pack 🙂  Next, fighting for the leftovers is Carmie’s Husband Heinrich … again, I know the pecking order and know that if it was left to rank, I’d be walking away empty handed,  but often, kind hearted Heinrich will give in and let me eat my way to happiness (Thank you Heinrich).  

It made sense then, that I ask Carmie for this magical recipe so that I could make and share this delicious pie with friends (and always ensure I had a little leftovers stashed away).  Upon making it for friends it became evident that this is not just a family favourite, but a favourite to all who taste it.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so many requests to share a recipe … so here we go … Here’s my sister-in-law’s yummy Pumpkin Pie recipe, which she got out of a cookbook entitled ‘Cellarmasters in the kitchen’ and this particular recipe was contributed by Jan Boland Coetzee (On behalf of the nation – Thank you Jan!).  

Yield: 6 (I usually double these measurements to ensure there’s enough for everyone and plenty of leftovers when catering for a bigger crowd)

Ingredients:

50grms Butter

250ml White Sugar

250ml Milk

250ml Cake Flour

10ml Baking Powder

875ml Cooked & mashed Pumpkin (we use x 2 500grm bags.. a little extra pumpkin can’t be a bad thing)

2 Eggs

5ml Salt

250ml Fresh Cream

Ground Cinnamon for sprinkling

Method: 

Preheat the oven to 180ºc & grease an oven proof dish 

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the milk, sift in the flour and baking powder and stir until well combined.  Add the pumpkin, eggs, salt and cream and mix well.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned on top (The pie will crack on top when ready).  Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve. 

Cooks Note: Carmie does substitute white sugar for brown sugar and uses butternut instead of pumpkin from time to time.  The cooking time can vary greatly … When doubling up, I usually cook the pie for over an hour.  The pie should still have a slight wobble in the middle, when done.  Its good to let the pie stand for a bit before serving, so try and bake ahead of time & then just pop in the oven to heat through again just before serving.   This pie freezes well.

Stomped Image for blog

 

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon…

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon…

Ever seen the movie Julie & Julia? A foodie must see… Where the main character, Julie aspires to cook all 524 recipes out of the great Julia Child’s recipe book, within 365 days. She blogs about her journey and all the recipes as she goes along, earning herself a lot of followers and media attention, resulting in a reporter wanting to run a story on her. Julie is so excited and decides to make Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon for the interview.   This dish requires up to 4 hours of stewing and when Julie oversleeps and burns the first batch, my heart broke for her at the prospect of having to start from scratch.

Experiencing a cold winter in the Southern Hemisphere at the moment, this king of all stews, seemed like just the meal to conjure up a few weeks ago, and that’s exactly what I did… having started rather late in the afternoon, I opted to serve it the following evening instead. Always a good idea with a stew, because that old wives tale about stews and curries always tasting better the next day is 100% true! Leaving the food over night, allows all the flavours to mingle, fall in love and hold hands, resulting in love at first bite!   Don’t eat this alone, it’s a master piece worth sharing with a few good friends and a (few) good bottles of wine !

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

Yield: 6

Ingredients: 

150g streaky bacon

3 tbsp olive oil

1.4kg lean stewing steak cut into 2 inch cubes

1 chopped carrot

1 chopped onion

1 tsp salt

28g flour

¼ tsp pepper

700ml good quality red wine

1tbsp tomato paste

570ml brown beef stock

2 cloves mashed garlic

1/2 tsp fresh thyme

A crumbled bay leaf

18 to 24 small onions, brown-braised – see recipe

450grm baby button mushrooms, sautéed – see recipe

Method:

Remove rind and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1½ inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1.4 liters of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 230 degrees

Sauté the bacon in the oil over a moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Reheat casserole dish until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef. Dry the beef, it will not brown if damp. Sauté a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil & bacon fat unit nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon. In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat if any remains. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole & toss with salt & pepper.   Sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly.

Place casserole uncovered in the middle of the preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust).   Remove casserole, & turn oven down to 170c.

Stir in the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs & blanched bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover the casserole & place in lower part of pre-heated oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions as follows:

Ingredients: 

18 – 24 peeled baby onions

55grms butter

1 tbsp oil

145ml brown stock / red wine or water

Salt & pepper to taste

1 medium herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, and a few sprigs of thyme tied in string)

Method: 

When the butter and oil are bubbling in the frying pan, add the onions and sauté over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so that they will brown as evenly as possible. be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly.

Pour in the liquid, season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 – 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet. Leave onions aside until called for later in the recipe.

Now sauté your mushrooms as follows:

Ingredients: 

30ml butter

1 tbsp oil

450grm button mushrooms, washed, well dried

Method: 

Place the frying pan over a high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see that the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating that it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 – 5 minutes. During this the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from the heat. Leave aside until called for later in the recipe.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve placed over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole & return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions & mushrooms over the meat. Skim fat off the sauce & simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 570ml of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. if too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock. Season to taste.

Pour the sauce over the meat & vegetables. Cover the casserole & simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Basting the meat & vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole with a side of your choice, I like to serve with silky smooth mash potato… hmmmm YUM!

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Steak Pie

Steak Pie

 

My Mom-in-law is a fantastic cook, we are always excited when we are invited round for lunch or dinner at Mom & Dad’s house. It’s always a big family affair, with all the siblings and their spouses and their children chatting away and laughing… I’m always impressed by how cool and calm my Mom-in-law is and how she manages to feed so many people a delicious meal, without even breaking a sweat… I still have a lot to learn!

Fresh off the plane from Greece we were welcomed home with a family dinner of roast pork with all the trimmings … Hubby and I were in heaven, the food in Greece was lovely but never the same as food from your home country and never nearly as delicious as home cooking made with love by a Mom! So Mom’s Pork Roast is a firm favourite, so is her Roly-Poly pudding (worth every inch it adds to your waist line) and her yummy steak pie rounds up my top 3 from her extensive repertoire.

Her steak pie recipe comes from a Royco Recipe Book which I have had the pleasure of borrowing (when I asked for her famous pie recipe) and the wear and tear of the book plus the dated illustrations inside, attests to the notion that a good recipe will stand the test of time. Years have come and gone and my Mom-in-law is still making this delicious pie, now so am I, and hopefully after giving it a bash, you will add it to your collection of trusty recipes too!

It is amazing that with just these few ingredients, the end result is so meaty and delicious, I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t tasted it for myself first. Be sure to read ‘Cooks Tips’ at the end of this recipe for my pointers before you get cooking!

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Steak Pie 

Yield: 6

Ingredients:

1kg Stewing Beef cut into 5cm cubes

25 ml Flour

750 ml Water (I substitute with 500ml Woolies organic beef stock & 250ml water)

2 Packets Royco Rich Oxtail Soup Mix (you can use other brands too, I have in the past)

300 grms Baby Button Mushrooms (optional)

Salt & Pepper

Oil for frying

2 Rolls Puff Pastry Defrosted

1 egg beaten

Method: 

In a heavy based saucepan heat the oil until hot and then sear the meat on all sides and in batches. Once all the meat has been seared, return to the pot, sprinkle with the flour and mix to combine. Add the oxtail soup mix and the water / stock and bring to the boil, stirring again to combine.   Once it starts to boil, drop to a low heat and simmer with the lid on for between 1.5 – 2 hours or until your meat is tender and a fork easily penetrates it. Add your mushrooms 20 or so minutes before you estimate the meat to be done. Throughout this simmering process, stir every few minutes to avoid the meat sticking to the bottom of the pot – do not leave unattended for long periods of time. It should be a gentle simmer and not a boil, if it is simmering rapidly when you take the lid off, lower your heat further.  Adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper near the end of the cooking time, as the sauce will continue to enhance the flavour whilst it is simmering away.

Grease a 26cm pie dish or similar

Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface until it is slightly larger than the pie dish. Then hold it over the centre of the pie dish and unroll it into the dish. Lightly press it into the corners with your fingertips and all the way up the sides of the dish. Trim off the excess with a sharp knife.   Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – this will prevent shrinkage during baking (You can skip this step if you are pressed for time but try and plan ahead).

Preheat the oven to 180ºc and get the middle oven rack ready

Remove from the fridge and prick the pastry all over with a fork (this is called “Docking”). Cover the pie crust with baking paper or greaseproof wax paper, leaving enough over hang so that you can easily remove the paper once done without burning yourself.

You need to apply weight on top of the paper to prevent the pastry from puffing up, you can use uncooked rice, dried beans or dry lentils for this purpose if you do not have actual cooking weights – pour on top of the paper and place in the oven for 20 minutes.   After 20 minutes, remove the weights and paper and if your pastry is still looking very blonde, return to the oven for another 10 minutes without the weights and paper.

Finally, pour in your steak filling, cover with more rolled out puff pastry, use a fork to push down the sides and cut a small slit into the middle of your pie, to release steam, as its cooking. Decorate by making pastry leaves or use a cookie cutter on pastry cut offs to decorate your pie (Optional). Brush with the beaten egg and bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown and your pastry is cooked through.

Cook Notes:

  • The meat is the star of this dish, with so few ingredients, there is no-where to hide so buy your meat from a reputable supplier
  • Try to take your meat out of the fridge 30 minutes to an hour prior to cooking – this will render a more tender end result
  • Pat your meat dry with carlton towel before commencing with any cooking – this will help the meat to brown and will eliminate excess moisture in the pot
  • You should hear a sizzling sound when the meat is placed in the pot otherwise it is not hot enough and you will not achieve the browning result required
  • When searing your meat, do not overcrowd the pot as this will result in steaming the meat instead of searing it and you will not create the flavour base required. The searing of the meat, is one of the most important steps to this recipe so don’t rush this process
  • Should your sauce start reducing too drastically during the simmering process don’t be afraid to add more water / stock. At the same token, by the time your meat is tender, if you still have too much liquid in the pot – bring it back to the boil with the lid off for a few minutes to reduce and thicken your sauce to the desired consistency – just remember you need sauce for your pie so don’t over reduce!
  • You can always make your steak and sauce the day before and prepare the pastry the following day.  As with any stew, the flavours really do intensify over time – it is not just an old wife’s tale!