Photography by Darren Bester
I’ve always loved Chocolate Mousse … light and airy, you can just about feel the air bubbles pop in your mouth and then there’s the tasty moorish decadence of dark chocolate – Heaven! It is rich though, which makes over indulging very easy to do, which is why this time round, I opted to serve them in cute little espresso cups. You can of course, serve yours anyway you want … just don’t pair large portions with a very heavy meal.
Quick and easy to prepare, it can be made a few days ahead of time thereby eliminating any stress when entertaining. Perfect end to an Easter Lunch, I’m sure even the Easter Bunny would agree.
Yield: 4 standard ramekin portions
170g dark good quality chocolate (70% cocoa solids) – Lindt is a good option
80ml full fat milk
1 egg yolk
4 egg whites
20g caster sugar
Roughly chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Stir until chocolate has completely melted and remove from the heat.
Bring the milk to the boil and pour onto the melted chocolate, stirring with a whisk to combine. Add the egg yolk and mix well to combine. Set aside to cool.
Whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, adding the sugar bit by bit. Using a spatula, fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Whisk briskly, before folding in the rest of the whites (fold from the middle of the bowl up and outwards, using your other hand to steady and turn the bowl as you go). Ensure the egg whites are well incorporated but be careful to not over work the mixture.
Pour the mousse into individual ramekins or 1 large bowl. If you want to serve in espresso cups or another dainty cup, use a piping bag to fill the cups neatly. Chill for at least an hour.
Decorate with whipped cream and chocolate curls, if desired.
The eggs should be very fresh. Use them cold but not icy and not at room temperature.
I love Pasta ! When I moved to London in my early twenties, I had my first taste of basil pesto and fell in love! I would drench it over big bowls of pasta with bacon and mushrooms and I simply could. not. stop. eating. it. Needless to say that when I flew home a year later on holiday, friends and family practically bypassed me at the airport due to not recognising me … or rather, the size of me 😮
I’ve learnt to practice portion control since then and don’t make pasta part of our families weekly menu. I am however, a firm believer in the ‘everything in moderation’ mantra and therefore do not see anything wrong with enjoying a bowl of pasta every now and then! What is life without pasta? This particular pasta is very fresh and certainly a lot healthier than the bottled pesto jars of my youth. The flavours marry together beautifully, so simple but really packs a tasty flavour which makes this pasta dish, restaurant quality! I’ve made it for friends and they have asked for the recipe. Nough said 🙂
Yield: 4 – 5
500g dried penne pasta
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed to a paste
2 – 3 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
450ml of white wine (Sauvignon Blanc / Chenin)
450g peeled & de-frosted ready to eat prawns
4 tbs sun-dried tomato puree
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
4 big handfuls of rocket, chopped
Salt & Black Pepper
Follow the cooking instructions for the pasta and while that is on the go, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a big frying pan and add the garlic and chilli – cook on a gentle heat ensuring not to burn the garlic. After a minute or 2, add the white wine and the tomato puree and simmer for a few minutes until the alcohol has been cooked away together with the acidity of the tomatoes. Drain your pasta and reserve a little of the cooking liquid. Once the sauce is to your taste, add the prawns and mix through. Remove from the heat. Return the pasta to its pot and add the sauce, stir to combine. Add the lemon juice, the lemon zest and half the rocket and 20 or 30 mL of the reserved cooking water. Taste. Adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper. Heat through on the stove top. Plate and garnish with the remaining rocket.
Cooks Notes: I buy the Woolworths ‘Frozen fully cooked Prawns’ and the Woolworths ‘Sundried Tomato Quarters’. With the tomatoes, I drain the vinaigrette it comes in and blitz the sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor / blender to a lumpy puree type consistency.
I’ve never really been a savoury mince kind a gal. I remember going to a friends house after school and being horrified when her mother presented us with mince on toast! A firm favourite for many, i know, but not for this lady … or at least thats what I thought until, boredom of the same old chicken wrap, led me to experiment with this spicy mince recipe, which was inspired by Chef Pete Evans. The family and I enjoy it so much that its become a firm favourite. Even little Hudson is enjoying the mince, I add some spinach, some brown rice and a miellie and he is a very happy little toddler with a big belly. The state of the floor, the feeding chair and him is another story! If you going to try this with your little ones – feed them outside 😉 Hudson’s portion has less chilli … as does Andrew’s 🙂
This dish is perfect for feeding crowds, place all the prepared elements on the kitchen counter for a self service kind of vibe 🙂
You could substitute the wraps for oven roasted sweet potato slices, for a gluten free take on this dish. Enjoy x
Spicy Mince & Salsa Wraps
Yield: 15 (Great for lunch boxes the next day or for toddler meals which you can freeze)
For the Spicy Mince:
1kg lean beef mince
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed and turned into a paste
2 red chilli’s, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander seeds
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomato
salt & pepper
Dash olive oil
For the Salsa: (The salsa never stretches far enough, so be generous here)
1 red onion, finely diced
Few generous handfuls of fresh coriander, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
For the Guacamole:
3 ripe avocados, mashed
1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed and turned into a paste
3 or 4 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
For the spicy mince: Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a pot and bring to heat, add the onions, reduce the heat and fry gently for 5 or so minutes until soft. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute or two before adding the mince. Increase the heat and cook until the meat has browned, stirring continuously to break up the pieces. Add the spices and the tomato paste and cook for a further minute before adding the tinned tomatoes. Once it comes to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
For the Salsa: Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Place a container with ice water, which will hold all the tomatoes, next to the stove. Using a small sharp knife make a small ‘X’ insertion on the bottom of each tomato. Gently place the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds before removing with a slotted spoon and transferring to the ice bath you have waiting. (Do not boil the tomatoes for more than 30 seconds else they will soften and begin to cook). Once the tomatoes have cooled, you can easily peel the skin off, starting from the ‘X’. To deseed, cut through the centre of the tomato then cut into quarters. Using the small knife, cut through the flesh at the top and pull out the seeds, or use a teaspoon to scoop out. Cut the tomatoes into diced size pieces, add the finely chopped onion (be cautious of the onion overpowering the salsa so start with half the allocation – you can always add more) and the coriander. Add the lime juice, salt & pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as required.
For the Guacamole: Mix all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.
Prepare your wraps according to the packaging and plate up ! Additional extras could include some grated mature cheddar and cream cheese.
Photography by Darren Bester
(This sauce pairs beautifully with cold fish, such as Trout or Salmon. See my recipe for Cured Salmon here)
2 x quantities of homemade Mayonnaise ( Mayonnaise recipe here )
200g Baby Spinach, stalks removed
20g Parsley, stalks removed
A good pinch of freeze dried Tarragon (or 10g fresh Tarragon leaves)
10g Shallots, peeled and thinly chopped
Place the spinach, herbs, shallots and 350ml water into a blender and blend on a low speed for 2 minute before increasing the speed and blending for an additional 4 minutes. Place a piece of muslin cloth over a pot and secure it with an elastic band. Pour the mixture on top of the muslin cloth and let it drain through to the pot slowly. After about 10 minutes, pull up the sides of the cloth and squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the residue remaining on top of the cloth. Rinse the cloth and keep aside. Put the pot on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the liquid starts to simmer, remove from the heat. Over a bowl, again tie the muslin cloth in place and slowly empty the contents of the pot onto the cloth. Leave for 20 minutes to drain. The green puree that remains on top of the cloth at the end of this time, is chlorophyll. Use a spatula to scoop up the chlorophyll & place in a little dish. Using a teaspoon, incorporate a little of the chlorophyll into your mayonnaise until the desired flavour and shade of green is achieved. Season with salt & pepper.
Cooks Note: The Chloro Mayo will keep well for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Photography by Darren Bester
Food is not complete without a good sauce! Be it a sandwich, a bowl of french fries, a roast dinner or even a dessert. Married with the right sauce, that dish reaches new heights! Of all the sauces, good old mayonnaise is right up there as one of the household favourites. Making your own mayonnaise is really easy and takes just 5 minutes. You can taste the difference & will find that the store bought versions simply won’t cut the mustard anymore …
Yield: Approximately 250ml
2 Egg Yolks
1 heaped tsp Dijon Mustard
Squeeze of Lemon Juice
125ml Canola Oil
125ml Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt
In a blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, salt & lemon juice and give a quick blend on a low speed to combine (bout 10 or so seconds). Slowly start trickling the oil into the mixture until you can see that it starts to thicken, once it starts thickening you can increase the flow of oil into the blender until all the oil has been combined. Taste and season accordingly. If too thick, add another dash of lemon juice.
Cooks Notes: Refrigerate if not serving immediately. Will keep for 3 days in the fridge. Add a crushed clove of garlic with the egg yolks, mustard, salt & lemon juice for a Garlic Aioli sauce – a nice variation with great flavour. ( Garlic Aioli )