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.
I was invited to the “Your first taste of our Christmas” party by Woolworths (aka the Mothership) and took my Mom along. From arrival, I knew it was going to be a good party … the black runway carpet led us into the building, where we were whisked up by a waiting elevator to the Inner City Ideas Cartel building’s roof top bar (What a great venue for a function!) in Waterkant Street, Cape Town. As the elevator door opened, we were greeted with a glass of bubbles – Yes please ! A second later, we were handed this delicious snack platter for 2 …
Two very happy customers
Jenny D from Top Billing was there and let’s just say my Mom was a little star struck (She’s a big fan) …
Woolies had a beautiful display of their festive food on show … some old favourites and some new items too.
(if you haven’t already, you have to try the Chocolate Brownie Mince Pies – OMW!)
They had Chef’s cooking up a storm in a make shift kitchen downstairs, churning out the most delicious canapés, using the Woolies products on display and the results were delectably delicious !
The Canapé Menus – each prepared by a different Chef
Some of the delicious canapés we sampled – The Gammon Bitterballen Balls were a favourite, as was the pulled duck salad
Creative and inexpensive cutlery holder idea !
The gift bag we were spoilt with when leaving …
Thank you Woolies, we had a ball !
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
approximately 375ml regular cooking oil
2kgs potatoes, washed,peeled and quartered
plenty of rock salt
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.
Photography by Darren Bester
1 stale baguette
Approximately 250g Beef Fillet, cooked rare
2 heaped tsp Horseradish Cream from a jar
200ml Creme Fraiche
Handful Rocket Micro herbs
30 Thin slices of red onion
200ml Oil (Canola or Olive Oil)
Salt & Black Pepper
Olive Oil for drizzling
In a small bowl, combine the horseradish & creme fraiche and set aside. Cut the baguette into thin rounds. Heat a griddle pan until hot, pour the 200ml oil into a bowl and dip the bread in until both sides are covered in oil, pop onto the griddle pan and turn once crispy and marked by the grill pan, repeat on the other side. Remove from the heat and place on a cooling rack until cool. Thinly slice the beef. To assemble, dollop the horseradish cream onto each bread round, top with a piece of beef, micro herbs and slice of red onion. Grind over some salt & black pepper, drizzle with olive oil & enjoy!