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!

DarrenBester_MarthaWho_0025

 

 

 

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

 

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. 

DarrenBesterPhotography-MarthaWho_0014

Moussaka

Moussaka

Inspired by my recent travels to Greece and coupled with the fact that aubergines are in season and in abundance at the moment, I couldn’t resist cooking up a Moussaka! It was delicious and so easy to make …

Ingredients:

Yield: 4 – 5

1 Finely Chopped Onion

Olive Oil

4 Cloves Crushed Garlic

1 kg Lamb or Beef Mince

250 ml Good Quality Red Wine

800grms Can Chopped Tomatoes

125ml Good Quality Beef Stock

2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

4 Sprigs of Fresh Oregano (or substitute with 2 – 3 tsp dried oregano)

3 or 4 Aubergines / Brinjals

75grms Butter

75grms Flour

500ml Milk (or more if sauce is too thick)

250ml Grated Parmesan

125ml Bread Crumbs

Salt & Pepper   

Method: 

Slice your aubergines into thin rounds and place in a colander or on a cooling rack and sprinkle generously with salt.  Leave for 30 minutes to extract all the bitter juices (the colander / cooling rack will help the juices to drain away from the aubergines).  

In a large saucepan, sweat the onion in 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil, once soft but not coloured, add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the mince and fry until nicely browned. Add the wine and stir for a minute before adding the chopped tomatoes, beef stock, oregano and cinnamon. Simmer for approximately 40 minutes and adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper.

Whilst this is simmering, 

Preheat the oven to 180ºc

Prepare the white sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add your milk little by little, whisking the entire time to avoid lumps. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens, if the sauce becomes too thick, add more milk until you achieve the correct consistency (think of the consistency used in a lasagne). Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesan cheese and season with salt & pepper.  Taste and adjust the seasoning until you are happy with the flavour.

Turn your attention back to the aubergines, dab with carlton towel to drain away any remaining liquid and excess salt.  Coat the aubergine rounds in olive oil and fry in batches , in a non stick pan over high heat for a minute or two before turning and cooking the other side – you want to achieve a nice charred appearance. (If you have a griddle pan, use it).

Layer your oven proof dish with the mince sauce, white sauce and a layer of aubergines, repeat if necessary and end with a final layer of white sauce. Mix together the remaining parmesan cheese with the breadcrumbs, sprinkle on top and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until bubbling and golden !

Serve with a salad of baby spinach leaves, tomatoes, cucumber and feta and a good bottle of red wine 🙂

 

Lasagne

Lasagne

Who doesn’t enjoy a good Lasagne? This one is quick and easy but packs a delicious punch of flavour that will have you returning for more and more and more …

Ingredients:

Yield: 6

For the Mince

1kg lean beef mince

400grms chopped canned tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puree

600ml beef stock

2 large onions (finely chopped)

2 celery stems (finely chopped)

4 cloves garlic (crushed to a paste)

60ml vegetable oil

1tsp ground cinnamon

2tsp mustard seeds

3 tbsp dried oregano

2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley

250ml white wine

Freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of salt

Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese for topping

Lasagne sheets (1 – 2 boxes depending on the size of your oven dish)

For the Béchamel Sauce 

60grm butter

60 grm plain flour

1 litre milk

55grms parmesan cheese

½ tsp ground nutmeg (optional)

Pinch or 2 of salt and pepper

Method: 

In a deep pot bring half the oil to temperature, add the mince and cook over a medium heat.   While that’s going on, heat another pan, add the remaining oil and gently *sweat the onion and celery for 2 or 3 minutes, before adding the cinnamon and garlic and cooking for an additional 2 minutes before adding all, to the mince pot.

Now add the tomato puree, parsley, oregano, mustard seeds, canned tomatoes, stock and the wine and stir to combine. Bring to the boil and then drop the temperature and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking to the pot.

Pour boiling water into the kitchen sink and lay pasta sheets – this will par cook the sheets, lessening the required cooking time.

Preheat the oven to 180ºc

To make the Béchamel sauce … Melt the butter in a heavy-based pot over a low heat, then add the flour. Stir with a whisk, and cook gently for 2- 3 minutes to make a white *roux. Slowly pour the cold milk on to the roux, whisking as you do so, and bring to the boil over a medium heat, whisking continuously.

Once the sauce comes to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent lumps forming. Season to taste with salt, pepper (preferably white) and add the nutmeg.   Continue stirring until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency. If it thickens too much, add a little milk, stir through and remove from the heat.   Stir in the parmesan cheese and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Remove your pasta sheets carefully from the water and lay on a clean dish towel, cover with another dish towel to pat dry.

If your mince still contains a lot of liquid, increase the temperature and bring to the boil for a few minutes, to cook away some of the excess liquid. Remember however, that it is a mince sauce so you don’t want to cook away all the delicious sauce you have just spent 40 minutes creating.

To assemble – spoon some of the mince mixture into your ovenproof dish, cover with lasagne sheets, spread over some of the béchamel sauce and repeat the process ending with a layer of béchamel sauce. Top with a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheese and bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling goodness

Cook Notes:

*Sweat – to sweat vegetables means to cook on a gentle heat to soften but not brown

*Roux – A roux is a common way of starting many sauces. It is a mixture containing equal parts of flour to fat (butter) used to thicken liquids. The longer a roux cooks, the less its thickening ability.

Lasagna collage 3