Monday 24 October 2011

Simply Roasted Veg

I know I know, I’m sure a lot of you guys know how to roast your own veg, but this is just such a simple beautiful technique to getting rid of some of that veg that you have laying around wondering when it’s going to get cooked. There’s nothing more simple and rustic to add to a meal than a selection of roasted veg with minimal effort. I’ll use my example and give you suggestions on how to make your own roasted platter.

For My Ingredients:
3-4 bulbs of fresh beetroot
6 carrots
4 potatoes

Suggestions for roasting with it:
Onions (cut very thick)
Aubergine slices

To Start:
For the beetroot wash it up trim off the tops and cut into quarters; lay on one side of the roasting try so it doesn’t bleed in to your other lovely colored veg.
Peel and lay the carrots next, if they need to be trimmed to be the same size, this is ideal.
Peel the potatoes cut them into the same size as the beetroot.

To Finish:
Heat an oven to 200C or ~400F.
Drizzle 2-3 table spoons over the entire pan.
Salt and pepper generously.
Toss each section with your fingers.
Place in the hot oven for 40-50 minutes. Check with a fork to see if the potatoes and carrots have softened, and voila! I love doing oven veg or any type of oven entrée because it lessens clean-up and frees me up for anything else I might need to do to get dinner on the table. Enjoy!

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Mini American Apple Pies

Who said making an apple pie was hard? This is the simplest way to make small bite size apple pies for party favours, or even dessert. Just try not to eat them all at once!! Makes about 12.


1 package of ready roll light short crust pastry (room temp for 30 minutes)
4-6 apples
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
Pinch cloves
½ c sugar substitute (regular sugar is fine too)
Half of a squeezed lemon
Muffin Tin

To Start:
Peel, core and dice all the apples. (Place them into a bowl filled with half water and the lemon juice)
When the apples are peeled, drain them, leaving a little bit of water.
Place on the stove and add all of the spices, including the lemon.
Simmer until soft.

To continue:
On a flat cold surface spread the dough out, and begin to roll with a pastry roller about as thin as you can get it.
Spray your muffin tin and make sure all the nooks are covered.
Take a large glass and cut out the shape of the bottom part of the pie, and continue until that sheet is done. (should be 10-12 tin spots)
As your apples begin to soften and become fragrant, spoon one or two spoonful’s in the pastry.
Repeat until all are full (don’t over fill)
Roll out the second sheet of pastry and cut out the same amount of top pastry for them.
Lay on top and pinch the bottom and top together

To Cook:

Optional: Glaze the tops with a lightly whipped egg.
Place in the oven at 180C or 350F for about 20-30 minutes or golden brown.


Friday 14 October 2011

Moroccan Lamb Stew with Tabbouleh

This was the main dish that we made together. It’s a delicious blend of herbs, spices and fruit and nuts. The combination with the lamb made for such a succulent meal. I read a few recipes before deciding to make up a mixture of my own ideas to put together and it came out absolutely wonderful. This dish can serve up to 4.

400-500g of diced lean lamb (~1lb)
1 large onion
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
100g dried apricots
½ c orange juice (fresh or from Tropicana)
1 c lamb stock (200-250ml)
Big handful cherry tomatoes
Small handful sultanas or raisins
1 tbsp. honey
½ chopped mint
1 can 400g chick peas
50g ground almonds
50g sliced almonds
2 tbsp. oil

To Start:
Peel and dice the onion, and garlic.
Dice the lamb if not diced yet.
Pull out all the seasonings, orange juice and lamb stock.
Open the chick peas.

To Cook:

Heat the oil in a large deep casserole dish.
When hot add the lamb, onions, garlic and fry until lamb begins to brown.
When brown add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon stick and continue to fry a further 5 minutes.
Next add the lamb stock, orange juice, cherry tomatoes, raisins, honey, and chick peas.
Bring up to a boil and turn down to simmer for 1 hour.

To Finish:
After cooking on low for one hour, add the apricots, half the chopped mint and ground almonds to thicken the sauce (you can add more if you’d like).
For garnish top with sliced almonds and remaining mint.

For the Tabbouleh:

This is a very simple dish that needs barely any ingredients, but can make a delicious side dish for any occasion.


½ c bulgar wheat or whole wheat couscous
¾ c. boiling water
½ stock cube (I used vegetable)
1 c chopped parsley
1 whole tomato
Juice of one lemon
¼- ½ c good extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To Start:
Chop the parsley and tomato.
Squeeze lemon.
Place the bulgar wheat/cous cous in a bowl and sprinkle the stock cube on top.

To Assemble:

Heat the boiling water, when boiled pour over bulgar/couscous, next immediately place cling film on it covering securely.
Wait 15 minutes and fluff with a fork.
Add to it the parsley, lemon juice, tomato and olive oil, season as you see fit.
Mix through to incorporate and enjoy!

Thursday 13 October 2011

Honey Roasted Moroccan Style Carrots

This was another one of our side dishes that I mostly worked on while James did the potatoes. It’s just a nice spin on a classic roast carrot, with some extra spices to give it a kick. This serves two people. This would go well with any roast dish, beef, pork or chicken.

4 large carrots
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. olive oil
Handful raisins
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp. ras el hanout
If you don’t have ras el hanout you can use:
Coriander powder

To Start:
Peel and cut the carrots lengthwise.
Season with honey, oil, raisins, lemon juice and ras el hanout.

To Cook:
Heat an oven to 200C or ~400F.
Roast for about 45 minutes until tender.

Monday 10 October 2011

James's Ras El Hanout Latkes

So as some of you might know, my husband and I embarked on a culinary journey this past weekend. My husband said he wanted to spend time with me over the weekend cooking a meal. I thought it was a great idea and let him pick the cuisine and I organized the activities. We had a full Moroccan meal that started with simple hummus and pita bread. I’m going to post my recipes separately so they’ll be located easier. Starting with the sides this is a classic Moroccan type pancake. This recipe feeds about 4 people and we had the leftovers for breakfast next morning!

3-4 medium potatoes
1 small onion
¼ - ½ c flour (depending on how watery the potatoes are)
1 egg
1 tbsp. ras el hanout seasoning
Zest of one lemon
Oil for frying

To Start:
Peel and rinse potatoes and leave in a bowl of water until ready to assemble.
Peel the outer layer of skin off the onion and set aside.
In a large bowl full of water, grate the potatoes into the water to remove some starch.
When all the potatoes are peeled and rinsed, drain the water.
Grate the onion on top of the potatoes.
Add the flour, ras el hanout, egg and lemon zest.
Mix until incorporated.

To Cook:
Get a skillet hot with oil, about 2-3 tbsp.
When very hot ladle spoonful’s to make a potato type pancake.
Cook until crispy and golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side.

Stay tuned to the rest of the dishes!

Note: Ras El Hanout is a moroccan spice blend that you can find a recipe and make yourself or find any any ethnic grocery store.

Friday 7 October 2011

Bananas Foster Pancakes

Bananas Foster is definitely an American classic consisting of bananas fried in alcohol and set to fire with some simple seasonings and served with ice cream. I was getting itchy for a bit of a sweet bite late at night and I invented my own! I don’t like ice cream so you can easily substitute it with whipped cream or custard as I did. Oh, and it requires pancakes, I made mine from a British pancake mix. This recipe is for 3-4 people. Enjoy!!

3-4 bananas (use whatever you have)
2 tbsp. butter
¼ c dark brown sugar
1 oz light or dark rum
1 oz Cointreau or any orange liquor
1 tsp. cinnamon
3-4 pancakes from a mix
Whipped cream/ice cream/custard serving

To Start:
Slice your bananas in circles.
Get your liquor and sugar together

To Cook:
In a pan melt the butter and get hot.
When hot add the sugar and cinnamon.
When the sugar starts to caramelize and bubble hit the pan with the alcohol, stirring to incorporate.
(Be careful as the alcohol could spark a flame)
Cook the alcohol off about 1-2 minutes and then add the bananas!
Serve inside a pancake and top with whipped cream!

Thursday 6 October 2011

Mustard Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto

I literally just threw some things together that I had and it came out quite delicious. This is a great inspiration for something anyone can do in a short amount of time with limited ingredients. The only thing I had that isn’t something in everyone’s fridge is prosciutto, but you could substitute with any kind of ham or cooked bacon. I’ve written it for two so adjust as needed, enjoy!


2 chicken breasts (skinless)
1-2 tbsp. Maille mustard (Maille is a milder Dijon mustard)
3 tbsp. plain yogurt
2 tbsp. cranberry sauce
¼ c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
½ tsp. dried rosemary
2-4 slices of prosciutto
1-2 tbsp. olive oil

To start:
In a bowl combine mustard, yogurt, cranberry sauce (if you don’t have cranberry sauce you can omit it or replace it with any other type of jam), parmesan cheese, and rosemary.
Prepare the chicken by holding your hand firm on it, and taking a sharp knife and slicing a pocket into the side of it. Repeat for both breasts.
Fill the pockets with half of the mixture or a few spoonful’s.
Carefully wrap each breast with a slice or two of the prosciutto, depending on how big the slices are you might need two per breast.
Make sure the seam of the prosciutto is at the bottom and the pocket is covered.

To Cook:
In an ovenproof pan, heat the oil until hot.
When hot add the breasts prosciutto seam side down in the hot oil.
Fry on both sides for 5 minutes each.
Finish in a 170-180C oven (~350F) 5-10 minutes.
Depending on the size of the chicken breasts additional time might be needed for cooking.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Tomatoes, Basil and Roasted Red Peppers – Two Ways

This was made as an accident and worked two ways. It was originally supposed to be a sauce for my chicken and I added too many tomatoes and it ended up doubling as a soup starter. So, I will give ingredients and preparations for both. It's super easy, and super delicious! Sorry I don't have a photo, will post one next time I make it.

Soup Ingredients:
1 jar of roasted red peppers (drained)
1 can crushed/chopped tomatoes
1-2 cloves garlic
2 basil leaves
2 tbsp. yogurt
Parmesan cheese

To cook:
Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
Blitz with a hand blender until its soup consistency. (Be careful with the splash).
Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and Parmesan cheese

Sauce Ingredients:

1 small jar of roasted red peppers (drained)
¼- ½ can of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 basil leaves

To cook:

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
Blitz with a hand blender and serve hot over chicken, fish, pork or beef.