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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Grilled Chicken Breast with Butternut mash and cocktail tomato sauce

Food for thought

I have just done something that I don’t believe in and that is go on diet (yip a chef on a diet) I was kind of suckered into it, I am only 11 days into it and wishing that I never started, the thing is that I was horribly over weight, by about 20kg’s, so I guess in the bigger light of things it is for the better. Problem with all diets is that as soon as you stop you put all those pounds straight back on, so I am trying something a little different this time round, both for my kids, wife and my health. I will try to adapt into a new eating life style, very difficult being a chef and doing this as you smell all these wonderful aroma’s and scents and you just want to taste if it is as good as it smells. Basically in a nut shell I want to try to cut out fat, sugar and some carbs out of my day to day eating and only have them once a week on my “cheat” day, so this is a lovely little quick healthy lunch that I came up with today (not for myself, for my GM who is also on a eating plan) and I think that this does make a wonderful meal for lunch, it does contain some carbs in the form of butternut, but there is a whole heap of vitamin A in it as well as others and it is only 45 calories per 100g for those of you counting the calories.

Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes

2 Chicken Breast fillet about 200g each (no skin, no bones)
2 cups cocktail tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
3 cups peeled and cubed butternut
Small handful chopped oregano
Small handful chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 220˚c
Season your chicken breast with salt and pepper, squash the garlic cloves, leave the peels on. Place the garlic onto a small roasting tray and place and chicken breast onto each one then place the cocktail tomatoes in the roasting tray as well, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Whilst the chicken is roasting, place the cubed butternut into boiling salted water and boil for 15 minutes.
When the chicken is ready take it out of the oven and place on a cutting boards to rest for 5 minutes.
Take the garlic that should be nicely roasted and mash it together with the butternut, season with salt and pepper and mix in the oregano, put this neatly onto the plate.
Take the cocktail tomatoes with all the roasting juices from the roasting tray and lightly pop the tomatoes, season and mix in the basil.
Slice the chicken and arrange on top of the butternut and top it off with the cocktail tomatoes.

And there we have it, a nice simple easy Very Healthy Lunch or Dinner dish.

My tip would be to those of you who would like the mash to be a little “creamier” boil a ¼ cup of cashew nuts for about 10 minutes and blitz them in a food processor with the water that they boiled in, until they are smooth and creamy, then add this to the butternut for a really creamy butternut mash.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Naan Breads and Tzaziki

Recipe of the week……….Naan Bread with Homemade Tzaziki

This is the perfect accompaniment to curries or even as a light meal on a hot summers day with some good ham, hummus and a bottle of nice crisp chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, serve it as a starter at a braai or just to impress your friends. The secret to getting them so perfect is to have your oven as hot as possible and then you only cook them for about 5 minutes, test one and if it is not cooked through then cook it for another 4 minutes.

Difficulty: Medium
Makes: 4 big ones or 8 smaller ones
Prep Time 4 ½ hours
Cooking Time 5 minutes

Ingredients for the Naan Bread:
200g cake flour
10g Fresh yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
½  teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons of oil
3  tablespoons of plain yoghurt
1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp crushed garlic
½ lemon

Cream together half the sugar and yeast, then add in the water and a tablespoon of flour mix all together and leave until it forms a layer of foam on the top.
Add other half of sugar, salt, chopped coriander, crushed garlic, lemon zest and baking soda to the flour and mix well.
Add the oil to the yogurt and mix, then add this to the flour and mix until it becomes a crumbly dough.
Add the water/yeast mixture and make into soft dough, it should be a sloppy dough.
Knead until the dough is smooth. Cover the dough and keep in a warm place for 3-4 hours. The dough should almost be double in volume.
 Heat the oven to 240˚c or the highest it will go, if you have a pizza stone place that in the oven, if not place a thick baking tray in the oven to heat up, leave for at least 20 minutes to heat up. 
Knead the dough again for about two to three minutes and divide the dough into 4 equal parts.
Take each piece of dough, one at a time, and roll into an oval shape about 1cm thick. Dust lightly with dry flour to help with the rolling.
Before putting the Naan in oven, lightly wet your hands and take the rolled Naan, and flip them between your palms and place onto your baking/pizza stone into the oven.
You can place about 2 Naan on the baking/pizza stone at a time. The Naan will take about 5 minutes to cook, depending upon your oven. After the Naan is baked(Naan should be golden brown color on top).
Take naan out of the oven and brush lightly with melted butter or ghee.
wait 2 to 3 minutes before baking the next batch of naan. It gives oven the chance to get heated again to max.

Ingredients for the Tzaziki:
500ml Greek Yoghurt
100ml Tangy Mayonnaise
1 Cucumber finely grated
1 tsp green pepper corns crushed
½ cup chopped mint
1 tsp ground cumin
½ onion grated
Salt and pepper to taste

After grating the cucumber and the onions, place in a collender for about 20 minutes to drain the excess liquid off. Then combine with all the other ingredients and mix well. It is best to leave it for about 2-3 hours to let the flavour infuse before eating but you can eat it straight away as well.

Bon Appetit

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bacon, Spinach and Feta Cannelloni with Basil Pesto Sauce

Recipe of the week………..Bacon, Spinach and Feta Cannelloni with Basil Pesto Sauce

Hello to all,
This is such a strange recipe because it involves so many little details to it, yet it doesn’t feel like a difficult dish to make, and it tastes absolutely amazing, the best part of it all is the fact that people will know you made it yourself and will be able to taste the difference in the homemade pasta, homemade basil sauce, homemade stuffing, mine goes a little further and is topped with homemade cheese and in the picture here complete with homemade ciabatta all made in my kitchen at St Francis Links by myself.

I don’t expect you to go all the way with making everything yourself as it is time consuming, but I will make this recipe as user friendly as possible, but please try the “harder” version by doing everything yourself

Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 2 Hours
Cooking Time: 1 ½ Hours
Serves: 4

Pasta Ingredients: (now this is where you can just buy the store bought cannelloni shells)
300g Stone Ground White Bread Flour
3 Extra Large Eggs
1 ½ tsp additive free salt
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Combine all the ingredients together, this is quite a stiff pasta dough and if you would like you could add 2 TBSP of cold water to make it knead easier. Now knead the pasta dough on a lightly floured work surface for about 5 minutes until it is smooth, wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge to rest for 1 hour.

Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe: (now here you could buy a store bought béchamel/cheese/or white sauce and add basil pesto)
1lt milk
1 clove
1 sprig of thyme
1 cardamom pod
1 small onion
60g butter
60g stone ground cake flour or white bread flour
100g basil pesto
Place the milk, clove, onion, thyme and cardamom in a saucepan on a low heat and leave it to infuse the flavours for about an hour, then in a separate saucepan melt the butter and add the flour and stir this for about 2 minutes, you will see the flour starting to go a little whiter than before, this is when you need to take it off the heat and strain in about 250ml of the hot milk and whisk it in until all smooth, then whisk in another 250ml, then return back to the heat and whisk in the remaining 500ml only when you are sure that there are no lumps left after the first 2 additions of hot milk.
Now add in the basil pesto and check the seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Bacon, Spinach & feta stuffing Ingredients:
250g Bacon
150g Plain Feta Cubed
2 Bunches spinach, thoroughly rinse and chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
100ml white wine
2 tomatoes cubed
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
2 sprigs oregano chopped
Oil for frying
2 onions diced
Fry off the bacon and onions for about 2 minutes then add in the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes, deglaze with the white wine and add in the rest of the ingredients except the feta cheese, let this simmer for about 5 minutes until most of the liquid has reduce away, then take this out of the pan and put it in a baking dish and leave it to cool to room temperature, then mix in the feta.

The Grand Finale
Now to make the cannelloni, you need to start by rolling out the pasta for the cannelloni, you-u can do this with a pasta machine or you can take you pasta dough ball and cut it into 4 equal parts then roll it in a long strip about 10cm wide and as long as it will go. Then do this with the second piece as well, but it will be pretty thick still so to get it thinner, take a paint brush and brush the one side of one piece with olive oil, place the second piece on top of that and carry on rolling out, you will be able to get it a lot thinner without the fear of it tearing. Now you can separate them again and you will have 2 nice thin stips, you need to cut this into squares not about 10cmx10cm, then place 3 TBSP of the Bacon mixture onto this and make sure it covers the length of the pasta then roll it up like a mat, this is so much easier than buying those shells and trying to stuff them with the filling

Now take the oven proof dish that you are going to be making the cannelloni in and pout a little of the basil sauce on the bottom, then arrange the cannelloni on top on that, then another layer, I like them to be 2 layers high, them cover them with the rest of the basil sauce and some grated parmesan cheese, bake in a pre-heated oven at 180˚c for 40minutes until there is a nice golden crust.

Bon Appetit Enjoy.

P.S you the stuffing’s you can play with as much as you like and the same goes with the sauce, gone are the days of the imagination only thinking spinach & ricotta cannelloni, try seafood with a saffron sauce, cape Malay mince with a Moroccan style apricot sauce etc

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Where is your favourite place to eat breakfast and what is it that you would eat at this place

I would like to run a small survey with all of you who do read the blog no matter where in the world you are reading it from. So I have a small list of Questions that I would like all of you to answer by sending a comment.

  1. Where is your favourite Breakfast Restaurant & why do you enjoy going there?
  2. What is your favourite Breakfast at the above mentioned Restaurant?
  3. What would your ideal Breakfast Restaurant be? Location? Pricing? Setting?
  4. What would your ideal Breakfast meal be? Description and pricing?
Many thanks for your time to read and answer this quick little survey.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Be the Chef for a day.......

Be the Chef day is going to involve 5 teams of two getting there hands dirty in the kitchen at St Francis Links for the night, we will be closed for outside business but we will be planning and preparing our own meal which we will sit down after the class and eat all together and have a discussion on food and how to make food easier and tastier for you at home as the home cook.

This month it is going to be based on Italian and how to make homemade pasta without a pasta machine, how to make ravioli's where the fillings will only be limited to your imagination, how to make carpaccio, we will also do a simple yet really tasty Italian dessert to finish it off with.

Price is R295 per person however if you book as a "couple" or "two" people we will make it only R500. there will be bar service,  you will be hands on in the kitchen with myself and we will have one cleaner to assist with washing up. So it will be up to you to chop, cut, slice, knead and cook your meal.

You be be provided with an apron, chef's hat, the use of all the kitchen equipment, as well as all the recipe for everything that you will be preparing and cooking so that you can try them out at home.

This evening to based to be a fun interactive evening, i will be wanting to do them on the last Thursday of every month.

Call the Links to enquire further, 042 200 4500, ask to speak to Olga or Eugenie

Valentines Dinner at St Francis Links.......The Menu

“My Valentine,
Shall We Dine?”
Enjoy a superb 2 or 3-course
dinner at St Francis Links
on Thursday, 14 February 2013!

R175 per person for a 2-course meal or R225 for a 3-course meal including sparkling wine on arrival and a delicious dinner

The French Kiss
fresh local mussels steamed with onion, garlic, methode cap classique and saffron, finished with cream and served with homemade ciabatta
The South African Fling
rooibos smoked chicken breast on a bed of
endives, rocket and mizuna, topped with a pineapple,
apricot and lavender salsa
The Italian Affair…
beef carpaccio on red mustard leaves with capers, crumbed
camembert, vanilla and red pepper sorbet served with melba toasts

Main Course
Love Duo
250g ox fillet roasted to perfection, sliced, with a port glaze and served with crispy roasted potatoes, onion tobacco and sautéed mushrooms
Saucy Affair
tagliatelle pasta with prawns, mussels, gurnard, leek and smoked bacon in a creamy garlic and cider sauce and topped with a tempura oyster
Pillow Talk
duck breast served on a bed of braised red cabbage, crispy potato rosti
and topped with a gooseberry reduction

…for the love of chocolate
hot Lindt 70% Ecuador Chocolate Fondant
served with salted caramel and vanilla ice-cream
Soft ending
imported French brie, creamy dolce latte gorgonzola,
served with biscotti, preserves and port

Bookings essential

Please call Eugenie or Olga on 042 – 200 4500

  • Arrival from 19h00 onwards
  • Please advise specific dietary requirements if any, at the time of booking
  • Availability is limited
  • Beverages are excluded

Are you entering the Valentine’s Golf Tournament on
Wednesday, 13 Feb?  Contact our Golf Shop for further info!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Pork Fillet stuffed with Poached Pear and Gorgonzola

Recipe of the Week………Pork Fillet stuffed with Poached Pear and Gorgonzola

I love pork, and I really do think that it is one of the most under-rated meats out there at the moment. I have learnt over the pat 3 years that most people love pork, I learnt this from my Easy Monday Dinners at the Links whenever I have pork on the menu, I am fully booked and usually sell out on it as well.

Now this dish brings out a little of my love of gorgonzola and pork, it is quite a rich meal, but it is balance beautifully with the Savoury lentils, which is also something that is not eaten much anymore except in soups and vegetarians.

I challenge you readers to try this one out and let me know if you did and what you think about it.

Serves: 4
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 Hour

…..for the Savoury lentils
400g Brown Lentils
1 Carrot finely diced
1 onion finely diced
2 sticks of celery finely diced
300g Cherry tomatoes quartered
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
4 sprigs of oregano chopped
3 springs of parsley chopped
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Fry off the carrot, onion & celery in a little olive oil until the onions are translucent and fragrant, add in the garlic, cherry tomatoes and lentils, add water as to cover the lentils, add in the herbs and balsamic vinegar and season slightly, let this simmer for about 45 minutes then check that the lentils are soft, then continue to simmer until all the liquid has reduced to just a couple of tablespoons, check seasoning again and adjust.

……for the pork fillet
4 porks fillets about 220g each
3 pears
2 cups of white wine
2 cups of water
1 cup of sugar
3 cloves
1 star anise
Salt and pepper to taste
4 TBSP olive oil
125g Wedge of blue cheese – best to use Fairview Blue Tower as it is a gorgonzola styled blue cheese and is very creamy, or if you can get your hands on Dolce Latte Gorgonzola that would be even better as that is a double fat gorgonzola.

Place the white wine, water, sugar, cloves and anise into a small pot, peel the pears and place them in the pot on a low heat so that it never boils but just forms bubbles at the bottom of the pot, leave this to simmer like that for 40 minutes, take out the pears and cut them into small cubes. Then crumble the blue cheese into the cubed pears.

Rub the pork fillets with the olive oil, salt and pepper and sear them off in a hot pan to put some colour on them, about 4 minutes on each side.

Rest the pork fillet for about 3 minutes, slice it into about 1cm thick slices, place on a roasting tray and top it with the pear mixture, place it under the grill in the oven for about 2 minutes until you get a wonderful crust on it.

Arrange the lentils on a plate and neatly place the pork fillet on top of this, I have drizzled this with a port and gooseberry reduction, which I will have to cover in another recipe as it is a 5 day long process of stock making then making a full glace and then to make the sauce.

Bon appetite

For those of you that are interested in cooking I have started a night called ..Be the Chef it is on the 28th February 2013 you will come into the kitchen put on a chef’s hat and apron and we will do a 3 hour cooking class, including how to design a 3 course menu, we will also prepare a meal and sit down afterwards and eat as a group. It is limited to 5 teams of 2 people, if you come on your own I will pair you up with somebody suitable.
Enquire at the Links on 042 200 4500 with Eugenie or Olga