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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Freshly Blogged Competition



To all my avid blog readers I am proud to announce that I will be competing in the Freshly Blogged competition that will start from the 8th July 2013, I am very excited to be doing it as the competition format is going to be quite interesting, we will be given weekly challenges that you the public need to vote on your favourites each week on the Freshly Blogged website, then contents will get chopped until there is a final winner, which of course I hope is me.

So please stay tuned and go to the Freshly Blogged website to register as a voter.

P.S. I am really going to bring my A-game to the table of this one!!!!!!!!!


Many thanks
Hungry Chef Brad

Monday, June 24, 2013

Christmas in July Main Course..........Mild Venison and Prune Curry



Mild Venison & Prune Curry with Cranberry Chutney

This is part 2 of the Christmas in July menu, and to me there is nothing better in winter than good venison, it is fairly priced, easy to cook into comfort food and in many countries it is a Christmas meat as it is usually hunting season in winter. This is a nice warm dish that goes extremely well with good old samp.

Serves: 6
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 ½ Hours

Ingredients for the Curry
1,5 kg Venison goulash
3 TBSP butter
6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 thumb size piece of ginger finely chopped
2 onions roughly chopped
1 TBSP Mild curry powder
2 TBSP mixed garum masala
1 TBSP ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 TBSP ground all spice berries
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 tins whole peeled tomatoes
250g pitted prunes
2 cups good dry red wine
1lt good quality beef stock
1lt water
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Place the prunes and red wine in a bowl and microwave for about 1 minute, this will help the prunes to suck in the wine, then leave to stand for at least 3 hours before using.
Brown off the venison in the butter to start developing a good flavor base, take the venison out of the pot and add in the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes until they start to brown, then add in the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes, add back the meat along with all the spices, whole peeled tomatoes, beef stock and water. Leave to simmer on a medium heat for about 2 hours, then add in the prunes and red wine and let simmer for the remaining 30 minutes, check the season and adjust to your taste.

It is always best to cook this the day before eating as the flavours develop and mature.

Ingredients for the Cranberry Chutney
1 Tin Cranberries
2 TBSP white wine vinegar
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 cup sugar
1 clove garlic
Juice from 1 orange
2 sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and simmer for about 20 minutes until it thickens.

Take off the heat and leave to cool before using. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

State of our Sea's

This is just a quick little fact about fish for those of you who didn't know this.


  • In 2012 the world produced 63 million tons of Beef and farmed 66 million tons of fish, that's right, farmed fish production has oven taken beef production world wide.
  • The current rate at which we are using our resources by 2030 we would need 1 1/2 earths to sustain what we are using!!!!
  • 90% of the worlds fish populations are over fished and reaching a critical point.
  • It takes 3kg of wild caught fish to feed and produce 1kg of farmed fish.
just some interesting facts to think about when you buy and eat fish, the scary part of it all is that if you go into any super market you will always see the same fish on the shelves and these are mainly the ones that are being over fished.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Christmas in July..........Starter: Cauliflower and Gorgonzola Soup



Cauliflower and Gorgonzola Soup

This is the first of a 3 recipe series that i will do one a week so by mid July you will have a wonderful "easy" Christmas in July menu to do at home.

I know it has been a while since I done the recipe of the week, and sometimes it just gets so difficult to do it as “life” happens, and in the hospitality business that can be a number of things. I recently took a much needed 7 day break in Cape Town with my father in-law and of course my 3 amazing girls. Now for those with a little zest for life will realize that you just cannot do everything there is to do in Cape Town in 7 days, but we did however accomplish many of the things like going to the Old Biscuit Mill Market on Saturday morning, we spent a day in the Wine Lands, went up the mountain to look back down the mountain again, went all the way to Cape Point, look at all the birds and animals at the World Of Birds, ate fish n chips at the Hout Bay Harbor, look at all the stunning fish at the Aquarium and spent a morning browsing around the V&A waterfront.

All of this is just want I needed to get my creative juices flowing again and start my winter thinking cap. So here I have done a very simple little Cauliflower and Gorgonzola soup with toasted walnuts and white truffle oil

Serves: 4
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
2 heads of Cauliflower, stems and all
1 small onion
1 lt good quality vegetable stock (rather make your own that the sodium rich store bought)
1 Wedge of Blue Tower Gorgonzola style blue cheese (much creamier than the Blue Rock)
8 walnut halves
White truffle oil to drizzle
Little extra blue tower for garnishing

Method
Break up the cauliflower and place in a small pot with the vegetable stock and onion and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes, then put it into a food processor with the blue tower and blitz until smooth, it must be hot when you blitz it as this will make it more velvety.
Dish it up into your serving bowl, place the walnut halves in the middle of the serving bowl, top that with a little cheese and drizzle with white truffle oil.

A tasty and classy soup to be served in the winter at a dinner party.

Next week I will do a real winter warmer main course.


Bon Appetite 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lamb Liver Stroganoff



Lamb Liver Stroganoff

I know that I posted a “skinny chicken stroganoff” recently, about 2 posts ago, but I done this this evening for our Easy Monday Meal at The Links, and it was such a big hit, I tried a little myself and it truly is a classic that I think even the most stubborn non liver eaters would turn around and say, Ooh liver isn’t that bad, really easy to make consists of 2 parts, a base sauce and then the finishing of the liver.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep: 20 min
Cooking Time: 35 min
Serves: 6

Ingredients for base sauce
1 Small onion fine sliced
80g streaky bacon cut into batons
500g Mushrooms quartered
25g tomato paste
250ml dry red wine
250ml beef stock
1 clove fresh garlic
Small handful chopped parsley
A few sprigs of thyme
1 tsp paprika
250ml cream
1 small gherkin finely cubed
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Fry off the bacon in a little oil, until it starts to go a little crispy, then add in the onions and cook until translucent, then add in the garlic, thyme and tomato paste, carry on cooking this for about 2 more minutes, then deglaze the pan with the red wine and add in the rest of the ingredients except the mushrooms and parsley, leave this to simmer gently for about 20 minutes, then add in the mushrooms and parsley and let simmer for a further 5 minutes.

At this point the base sauce is cooked and is ready to be used in either a beef stroganoff, chicken or as in this case a lamb liver.


Ingredients for Lamb Liver Stroganoff
Base sauce from above
1kg lambs liver cut into strips
2 small onions chopped
1 TBSP flour
5 TBSP sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Fry off the liver in two extremely hot pans, this is because as soon as you add in the liver the pan is going to lose all of its heat and the liver will stew opposed to frying, so better to use two pans to lessen this effect, as soon as the lamb is in the pan, add in the onions, toss once or twice until the lamb is coloured all around but not cooked through, divide the flour into the two pans toss until all the flour absorbs the oil, then add in the base sauce from the recipe above, leave this now to come to a strong simmer, then add the sour cream take off the heat and serve.

I have served it here with mashed potatoes and caramelized onions

Caramelized onions recipe
2 onions sliced
1 TBSP brown sugar
Oil for frying
1 tot of whisky

Fry off the onions until they start to colour, then add the sugar and cook for a further 4 -5 minutes then just before you take it off the heat add in the whisky and light it, let the flames burn out and you’re done.


Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting and homemade chocolate truffles




Recipe of the week……….Red Velvet Cake

For those of you who know me quite well, will know that there is one thing in the kitchen that I really really don’t like doing more than other things and that is baking cakes, well it always turns out that I get asked to please bake the birthday cakes and always end up saying, sure no problem, well a dirty little secret, its not a problem, I just don’t like to measure things out and that’s why I generally don’t like baking cakes, but from what I have been told this one was a real show stopper, so I thought I would share it for those of you who like to bake.

This recipe was for 40 people, if you would like to scale it down, divide everything by 4 and that will yield a cake big enough to serve 12 easy. Good luck and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Difficulty: Medium to Hard
Prep time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins
Serves: 40 people

Ingredients for Red Velvet Cake
1kg Cake flour
4 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp salt
½ cup cocoa powder
2kg white sugar
1lt oil
8 eggs
5 cups buttermilk
6 vanilla pods scrapped
6 bottles red food coloring
4 tsp white spirit vinegar
2 cups hot strong black coffee (this is for you not the cake, just joking its for the cake)

Method
Preheat oven to 160˚c
In a very large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.
In a separate large bowl mix together the sugar and oil.
Then mix in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring, coffee and vinegar until well combined.
Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, just until combined.
Butter and flour 3 x 25cm cake tins or 4 x 20cm cake tins, place then in the freezer for 5 minutes just until the butter hardens
Dived the cake batter evenly into the cake tins you have chosen to use.
Place them in the oven and have 4 shots of tequila and hope it doesn’t flop, just kidding, bake for about 30 minutes, when you insert a toothpick is should come out fairly dry from the middle of the cake.
Let cool on a cooling rack until the pan are warm to the touch.
Slide a knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pans to loosen the cake from the pan.
Remove the cakes from the pan and let them cool.

Now comes the fun part for me partly because you don’t have to be exact with your measurements and you know get to see how well you can hide any mistakes you have made on the exterior of the cake

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting
2,5kg Cream cheese
500g unsalted butter
10 cups icing sugar
4 vanilla pods scrapped
Zest and juice from 2 lemons

Method
Whisk all the ingredients together until light and fluffy.

Then you can ice the cake to your hears desire, this one in the picture is 3 layers with frosting in between each layer, and for added WOW factor some homemade chocolate truffles on top, but these are not for the faint hearted to make as I have used a 70% couverture chocolate that is not tempered and still have to be tempered, but here is the recipe anyway for those of you that are keen to try it out.

Ingredients for chocolate truffles
1kg Lindt 70% chocolate
500ml double cream
Cocoa for rolling in

Method
You need to melt the chocolate over a double boiler whilst mixing continuously until the chocolate reaches 45˚c then you need to cool it down to 27˚c and then bring it back up to 31˚c, then work with it. The main problem is if you over shoot the mark, you are going to have to start all over again.

Once you have tempered it add in the cream and mix thoroughly and quickly as it will thicken very quickly, then place it in the fridge for about 4 hours, take out and heat up a melon baller in some hot water and scoop out little chocolate balls, roll in the palm of your hand to get out any defects and then roll it in the cocoa, arrange then all over the top of the cake, this cake here has 100 of them on it.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Recipe of the week – Skinny Chicken Stroganoff



Recipe of the week – Skinny Chicken Stroganoff
My recipe this week, ”Skinny” Chicken Stroganoff with Sweet potato mash is inspired by Liezl Clause, as she has quite a good eating plan (not a diet, more of a life style change).  The nice thing about this eating plan is that there are still some of the “nicer” indulgences that you are allowed, in moderation of course, so I have gone through all of these things and come up with this lovely “skinny chicken stroganoff” recipe.

Difficulty:  Easy
Prep Time:  10 Minutes
Cooking time:  20 Minutes
Serves:  2

Ingredients:
250g Skinless, boneless chicken breast
250g Mushrooms, cubed
1 small onion, roughly cubed
2 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs of thyme
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 TBSP tomato paste
1 gherkin, finely diced
1 leek, sliced
½ cup low fat cream cheese
½ cup fat free yoghurt
½ cup water
2 tsp paprika
1 tot whisky
Salt and pepper to taste
1 TBSP Olive oil
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and finely sliced (this allows them to cook in 15 minutes)
1 TBSP Cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Method
Cook the sweet potatoes until soft, add salt, pepper and cream and mash as to make mashed potatoes.
Heat a sautéed pan, start to fry off the chicken, when it starts to colour, add in the onions and garlic, continue to stir almost continually, as there is not much oil it will tend to stick quite quickly. Now add in the paprika, salt, pepper, leeks, tomato paste and herbs and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
Add in the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer for about 5 to 8 minutes, taste and adjust seasoning if needed.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Pizza, Pizza, ooh lovely Pizza



This is the recipe that got me to the finals of the Global Pizza Challenge earlier this month. I love pizza, as it is a wonderful social food, and it is so easy to make.  Most people make it out to be harder than it really is. This ones inspiration comes from our financial manager here at St Francis Links, I think I made it for him for his birthday a year or two ago, it was a special occasion and he really loved it. It is a marriage of some really good flavours from the creamy gorgonzola, sweet onion marmalade, and the wild scent of truffle oil.
I must admit the finals of the pizza challenge was a lot more intimidating than expected – you stand in front of a crowd of about 100 plus, there are video cameras on you the entire time, and you’re competing with some of the biggest chef names in South Africa - needless to say, I had to have a calming beverage before my slot. In the end though it was fantastic and I definitely will do it again. So here is my pizza recipe.

Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Makes: 2 Medium sized pizza
Prep time: 30 minutes (plus 3 days for the dough to ferment)
Cooking Time: 5 Minutes (in a pizza oven that is around 320˚c) or 15 minutes in a home oven at 220˚c
Ingredients
Pizza Dough
500g Stone ground MN100 flour (white bread or Italian 00 flour)
5g fresh yeast
15g pure salt (preservative and additive free)
300ml water

Pizza Sauce
1 tin whole peeled tomato
10g Fresh oregano
10g crushed garlic
10g Salt
5g Black Pepper
25ml tobasco sauce
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

Pizza Toppings
300g Fillet Steak
2 TBSP black bean paste
4 TBSP Soy Sauce
2 TBSP Honey
1 TBSP Black Pepper crushed
5g fresh garlic

200g Buffalo Mozzarella
200g Dolce Latte Gorgonzola

Rocket Garnish
30g Rocket
10ml White Truffle Oil
3ml Tarragon Vinegar

Onion Marmalade
250g Sliced Red Onions
200ml Dry Red Wine
200g White Sugar
1 Cardomom pod
2 cloves
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
Method
Start with the dough, mix the yeast with the water, mix the salt and the flour, now combine everything and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes, then place in a container at least 2,5 times the size of the dough, cover with a damp tea towel and place in the fridge for 3 days to ferment.
Take out 2 hours before use to come to room temperature.  Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces, be extremely careful to not knock out the air that is in the dough, then with your finger tips gently stretch the dough into shape, it should be quite thin in the middle with about a 1 inch border that is thicker.
This is called a Neapolitan pizza dough, I first ate it at a wonderful pizza restaurant call Buratta in the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town, and fell in love straight away, I think it is the best pizza base to use.
 …now for the pizza sauce, cook out the whole peeled tomatoes for about an hour at a very low heat, this is to remove the excess water from the tomatoes, once you have done that, place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Once you have shaped your pizza base, spread this over it.
….for the filler you will mix all the ingredients together and marinade the fillet for at least 2 hours, then slice the fillet about 5mm thick and arrange over the pizza, the crumble the gorgonzola and tear the mozzarella over the pizza, to make a good layer of cheese.
…take all of your onion marmalade ingredients place in a small pot and simmer until it has reduce down to a syrup and clings to the onions.
….to finish bake the pizza as above, when you take it out and it is still hot arrange the onion marmalade over the top, then mix together the rocket, truffle oil and tarragon vinegar and garnish the pizza with it. Cut and serve.
Bon Appetit!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala




Recipe of the week……….Chicken Tikka Masala

As far as my knowledge goes about Chicken Tikka Masala is that it is known as the national dish of Britain and came about into existence through a gentleman that used to frequent an Indian restaurant and always ate the same chicken Tikka dish but always complained to the chef that it needed a sauce of sorts to go with it as it is dry, so eventually the chef had had enough and went back to the kitchen, put some tomatoes and spices into a pot cooked it up quickly and pour it over the chicken Tikka and the rest is history……

Difficulty: Medium
Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time 2 hours

Chicken Tikka Masala

Ingredients:

For marinade:
500ml thick Greek yoghurt
1/2 Cup Chopped Coriander
¼ Cup Chopped Ginger
¼ Cup Crushed Garlic
½ Cup Garam Masala
¼ Cup Crushed Chilli’s or 2 fresh red chilli’s finely chopped with seeds
¼ Cup Lemon Juice
2 kg Chicken Breast Fillet cut into chunks, or chicken thighs (chicken on the bone with skin on to me makes much tastier curry)

For the sauce:
1 Onion finely chopped
2 TBSP crushed Garlic
2 TBSP Ground Cardomom
2 Tins Whole peeled tomatoes
¼ Cup Garam Masala
2 tsp cayenne pepper (if you like it hot add more)
¼ cup brown sugar
500ml cream
Salt to taste
½ cup flaked almonds

Preparation:
blitz the chopped coriander and all other marinade ingredients (except the yoghurt) to a smooth paste in a food processor.
Pour the above mix into a large bowl and add yoghurt. Mix well. Add the chicken and mix well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Allow to marinate overnight.
Preheat your oven to 220˚c. Place the chicken onto a roasting tray and roast until cooked through.

To make the sauce: Heat the oil in a deep pan on a medium heat and add the onion. Cook till soft.
then add the cardamom and the garlic. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add the garam masala, brown sugar, tinned tomatoes, almonds and mix well. Cook for around 1 to 2 hours on a low heat.
Add the grilled Chicken Tikkas (chunks/ pieces) and stir. Cook for 10 minutes.
Add the cream and mix well. Turn off the flame.
Garnish the dish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot naan breads, sambals and chutney.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Beef Carpaccio with Roasted Red Pepper Sorbet, Fresh Figs, Pecan Nuts and Parmesan shavings

Beef Carpaccio with Roasted Red Pepper Sorbet
I don't often go over the top with plating but this dish was a little inspiration that i got from 4 different things, firstly fresh figs which I just got hold of, Beef Carpaccio which I have been making myself and had some in the freezer, a beautiful red pepper sorbet that I had left over from Valentines supper and then finally some good European guests that have been supporting us since we opened, and it was their final night before heading back home, so I decided I will spoil them the a little tantalizing starter.

It is home cured beef carpaccio with fresh figs, white truffle oil, tarragon vinegar, basil oil, endives, mint, basil toasted pecan nuts, chevin goats cheese, Parmesan shavings and balsamic reduction. Here is the recipe for the red pepper sorbet.

Ingredients
500g Red Peppers cut into quarters and seeded
1 small onion roughly chopped
80ml Water
80ml White sugar
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 tots vodka
1 TBSP honey
dash of lemon juice
and a seeded red chilli (optional)
1 cup of ice

Method
I start off by rubbing the peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting them in a pre-heated oven at 220˚c for about 15 minutes until nice and dark, then close them in a bag and leave to sweat for 5 minutes then remove the chard skins.

Heat the white sugar and water and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool down to room temperature, or place it in a ice-bath to bring the temperature down quicker, now place all the remaining ingredients into a food processor and blitz at a high speed whilst slowly adding in the sugar syrup.

Now take the puree'd mixture and place it in the freezer until it sets, then remove it from the freezer blitz in the food processor again until smooth and return back to the freezer and leave overnight to set.

and that's it red pepper sorbet, I find this sorbet goes very nicely with seared tuna steak as well.

The First "Be The Chef Night" at St Francis Links

The Girls in action making big flames in the kitchen!!!!!!
 On the 5 March 2013 I played host to 9 ladies who spent in the evening in my kitchen at St Francis Links, they had come for an evening of wine, food and laughs and I think that got all of which they had come for!!!

The theme was Italian and the girls had to prepare and cook there own supper with my guidence and teachings along the way their menu was the following:


Starter
Roasted Butternut, Goats Cheese and blistered Cherry Tomato Ravioli
with pepperonata and parmesan shavings

Main
Fricassee of Rabbit with mushrooms, white truffle oil, onions, garlic, white wine and cream on a bed of gnocchi

Dessert
Tiramisu

They learnt to make saffron pasta dough, how to make ravioli's, pepperonata, fricassee of Rabbit, Gnocchi and tiramisu. 

Although the night was not only about cooking, is was about getting together and having fun (which this group of girls know how to do)

after all the prepping and slogging and slaving, whilst they drank wine (just joking) we all sat down and enjoyed the meal that we had prepared together.

It really turned out to be a great evening and something that I will be doing at least once a month.


The finished Gnocchi

Dan showing the girls how to work a pasta machine (she is Italian)

Taking turns in rolling the pasta dough


Learning to make rabbit stock

Making sure there is enough wine in the system

The stations all set up and ready for the arrival

The welcoming station as the girls arrived.

Fresh Fig Frangipane Tart




Recipe of the week………Fresh Fig Frangipane Tart

I love this time of year when the figs are coming to the end of their season and you can get them dirt cheap, I picked up a punnet of 1kg fresh figs for R22, so I will make jam out of a couple for cheese boards, I have made this beautiful Fig Frangipane Tart as the dessert of the day, and I shall preserve some as fig preserve is amazing, I think I will also do a nice fig salad as a special running over this weekend.

Difficulty: Medium to Hard
Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cooking Time: 40 Minutes

Ingredients
Short Crust Pastry
500g Cake Flour
400g butter cubed and frozen for about 1hour
1tsp white sugar
1 tsp fine salt
½ cup ice cold water

Method
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and then add the butter and until mixture resembles bread crumbs, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 TBSP at a time, mixing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough.

Remove dough from the food processor and place in a mound on a clean surface.  Work the dough just enough to form the disks, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make the rolling out a bit easier.

Take you short crust roll it out and line your 24cm tart tin, poke a couple of hole in the bottom of the pastry with a fork and then blind bake it at 180˚c for 15 minutes.



Ingredients
Frangipane Filling
125g Butter
125g Caster Sugar
2 Whole Eggs
1 Egg yolk
1 TBSP Almond Liqueur (optional)
Zest of 1 lemon
120g Ground up Almonds (just buy flakes and blitz them in the food processor until fine)
40g Cake Flour
10 Rip Fresh Figs

Method
Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time only adding another one in when the previous one has incorporated totally. Add the almond liqueur and lemon zest if using. Now fold in the ground almonds and cake flour until incorporated, be gentle so that you don’t knock out all the air.

Spread this mixture on the ready baked short crust base until it reaches ¾ the way up the sides, cut the figs in half and arrange them in the paste with the cut side facing up.

Bake in the oven at 160˚c for about 30 minutes. Take out and let cool slightly cut and serve with some mascarpone mixed with some fresh mint or even some crème Fraisch or just whipped cream.

Bon Apeptite


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

Ingredients
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

Method
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

Method:
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

Method:
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
Method:
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
Method:
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
Method:
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

Starters
The French Kiss
fresh local mussels steamed with onion, garlic, methode cap classique and saffron, finished with cream and served with homemade ciabatta
or
The South African Fling
rooibos smoked chicken breast on a bed of
endives, rocket and mizuna, topped with a pineapple,
apricot and lavender salsa
or
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
or
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
or
Pillow Talk
duck breast served on a bed of braised red cabbage, crispy potato rosti
and topped with a gooseberry reduction

Dessert
…for the love of chocolate
hot Lindt 70% Ecuador Chocolate Fondant
served with salted caramel and vanilla ice-cream
or
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

Ingredients
…..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

Method
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.

Ingredients
……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.

Method
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

P.S.
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