Asta’s Anchovie pasta … at Bosbokfontein Private Nature Reserve… part 2 of 3

Anchovies… please don’t let the BOTTLE of anchovies in this recipe scare you, it did scare me, but Asta from Iceland convinced me to keep an open mind….. it is a really delicious and perfect quick lunch after a long morning at the beach…

The beautiful Bosbokfontein beach..

The beautiful Bosbokfontein beach..

67. the beach

For a PDF recipe card click on this link -> 38.Asta’s Anchovie pasta……. RECIPE CARD

You will need:
+/- 4-6 zucchini’s
2 cloves of chopped garlic
one punnet red and yellow baby tomatoes
125g bottle of drained anchovies
+/- 3/4 cup olive oil
500g linguine pasta
big squeeze of lemon
fresh parsley
Grated parmesan

Roughly chop the zucchini’s and red and yellow tomatoes.

73. the beach

Very slowly warm the olive oil and drained anchovies in a saucepan over a very low heat, keep the temperature very low, all you want to do is dissolve the anchovies in the warm oil.

74. the beach

75. the beach

Flash fry the chopped garlic, zucchini and tomatoes, just a minute or two to retain the crunch of the zucchini and tomatoes.

Cook the pasta aldente… drain and immediately return the “wet and warm” pasta to the warm pot. Immediately add the warm anchovie oil and flash fried vegetables… stir through.

76. the beach

Serve the warm veggie and anchovie pasta on a pretty flat platter.


Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a hand full of chopped parsley, grated black pepper and grated parmesan.


And off to the beach we go again…

64. the beach

Slow roasted deboned Pork Neck and Honey Butter apples…. at Rietfontein Private Nature Reserve… part 3 of 3

The quantities of the slow roasted pork below is just an indication as our afternoon “sundowner” vehicle was about to leave, and we literally had 5 minutes to get the pork in the oven.

100. riet

PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD -> 36. Deboned pork neck in Appletiser with honey butter apples …. RECIPE CARD

For the Slow Roasted Pork you would need: (for about 10 adults)
2 x large deboned pork necks (order from your butcher)
1 litre of Appletiser (sparking apple juice)
1 x savanna 330 ml (apple cider)
bay leaves
Fresh Thyme
salt and pepper

Rub the pork necks with salt and pepper and place them next to each other in a deep roasting tin. Add a combination of Appletiser and Cider to the roasting tin to fill it +/- 3cm’s deep. Add a couple of bay leaves and sprigs of Thyme.

97. riet

Cover the roasting tin with foil and cook at 160 – 170 degrees for +/- 2 hours or until tender. Turn the necks twice during cooking and top with more Appletiser if needed. Remove the foil once tender and roast a further 40 minutes until brown and the final juices reduced.

With the pork slowly roasting in the oven it was time to explore Rietfontein…

89. riet

83. riet

Rock paintings at Rietfontein...

Rock paintings at Rietfontein…

The delicious aromas of the slow roasting pork welcomed us home from our afternoon drive..


For the Honey Butter Apples you will need:
Apples peeled, cored and quartered
Butter for frying

Fry the apples in batches, covering the bottom of a large non stick frying pan. Add +/- 2 tablespoons of butter per layer / batch of apples, fry at a medium to high heat, the apples needs to brown and cook, be careful not to over cook the apples, test them with a sharp knife, and cook until “just”cooked… when the apples are nearly cooked add a squirt of honey, the honey will disappear into the apples.. be careful not to add too much honey, +/- 2 teaspoons per batch.

We had a BUCKET full of apples, and as Shannon said, she promise me they will all be eaten as she’s never had any leftovers of apples..

109. riet

73. riet

Ready to serve our slow roasted Pork Neck, Honey Butter apples, flash fried greens and cheesy risotto… mmmm just an ordinary Sunday evening meal…

110. riet

112. riet

Sunday evening at Rietfontein…

114. riet

Rietfontein… Karoo farm magic..

Creamy mascarpone, pesto and aubergine bake at Rietfontein Private Nature Reserve… Part 1 of 3

With a “ready to blog file” overflowing I need to jump right into it and preserve these recipes before they get lost…

Rietfontein.. as the directions read… drive down the main road of Matjiesfontein, at the end of the Main Road is a white gate, open, and continue to drive for 7 kilometres… a little piece of paradise in the middle of the Karoo…

Rietfontein Private Nature Reserve main house...

Rietfontein Private Nature Reserve main house…

As you enter the Rietfontein farm yard you realise… this is a one of a kind special place, looked after to the finest detail…

6. riet

4. riet

For a printable PDF recipe card click on this link: 34. Creamy pesto pasta aubergine bake……… RECIPE CARD

Start off by pouring everyone in the kitchen a nice glass of chilled wine..


For the Creamy Aubergine bake you will need:
1 x packet (500g) spiral or small size pasta7E0A5027
1 x tub (200g) pesto
1 x tub (250g) mascarpone
3 x large grated zucchini
6 x small aubergines
+/- 500g small red tomatoes
grated mozzarella, 3 hands full
finely grated parmesan.. 3 hands full

45. riet

We started by frying the sliced aubergine, batch by batch in a little bit of olive oil until browned on both sides.. put aside. Yes we did have a little fire in the kitchen, nothing to worry about.. and nope we did not put it out… we shouted.. where’s the camera??


After putting out the fire with a littttle splash of wine.. we could continue..

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just tender, drain and immediately add the tub of mascarpone to the very hot drained pasta, gently stir until the mascarpone is melted without breaking up the pasta spirals.

Add the tub of pesto and coarsely grated zucchini… the zucchini will melt away while baking and form part of the creamy texture of the baked dish.

47. riet

Season with salt and black pepper and spoon pasta mixture into an ovenproof dish pretty enough to grace your lunch table.

Scatter with a combination of mozzarella and grated parmesan and top with one layer of fried aubergine in one pretty overlapping layer.

48. riet

Top with halved baby tomatoes, cut side up and give it a light dusting of coarse salt and a sprinkle of finely grated parmesan.

Bake for +/- 45 minutes or until the cheese and tomatoes are lightly browned on the edges.

51. riet

And the difficult part… is to wait for lunch…

54. riet

53. riet
Lunch is served… at the oval table … with glasses filled with crisp cold wine and the early winter sun baking on our backs…

Life is good at Rietfontein…

And after lunch… maybe a little walk … or … lie down..

86. riet

To follow in part 2 of 4 … Easy Chocolate Fudge…

Spinach and ricotta bake at Somerset Gift Farm Getaway… Part 2 of 3

As part of our Somerset Gift Farm lunch we made this delicious spinach and ricotta filo bake… something light and different that will compliment any lunch menu.

Click here for: 31. Spinach and ricotta filo bake……. RECIPE CARD

For the Spinach and Ricotta bake you will need:

350g ricotta
350g spinach
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan
200g feta
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind
1 XL Egg or 2 large eggs
Salt and pepper
1 roll filo sheets
2 cloves crushed garlic
melted butter for brushing the sheets

Place the ricotta and cooked drained spinach in a bowl and combine, add the finely grated parmesan and crumbed feta, mix in the egg, lemon rind and salt and pepper.

No 28. somerset

Melt the butter and add the 2 crushed cloves of garlic and brush each sheet with the butter before layering the pans.

2nd collage

Line a medium size tin or 2 smaller tins with buttered filo sheets, 3 x horizontal and 3 vertical, I cut the sheets with a scissor to “just” fit the pan. Measure the sheets long enough to have a overhang on both sides that is wide enough to form the top of the bake once the pan is filled.


Fill the filo lined tins with the ricotta and spinach mixture and flip over the filo overhang to form a neat parcel. Bake at 180 degrees until nicely browned and cooked. +/- 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack covered with grease proof paper and cool.


This ricotta and spinach loaf can be served luke warm or at room temperature, I would not refrigerate it before serving….


We sliced the loaf in +/- 2 cm slices and served it with our free range chicken pesto sosaties, baby potatoes and a delicious nectarine salad (to follow in part 3).


And after lunch…time for some rest and relaxation…

No 39. somerset

No 42. somerset

Somerset Gift Farm Getaway… a magical place to re-charge our batteries…

No 39a. somerset

Pesto chicken kebabs at Somerset Gift Farm Getaway….. part 1 of 3

Welcome to 2015 and the first of loads of new posts after my year of gathering new recipes and visiting beautiful places.

Let’s kick this year off with a 4 part post of Somerset Gift Farm Getaway… 16 km’s outside Swellendam on the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains. We booked Fish Eagle Lodge, which comes with 3 large on-suite bedrooms, a lovely open plan living / dining area and a near wrap-around covered veranda with outside braai. The house looks onto the towering Langeberg Mountain range that looks so close, that it feels as if it flips over your head.


Late afternoon view from the "stoep"...

Late afternoon view from the “stoep”…

We usually arrive late afternoon just in time to see “the light”… for a couple of seconds before the sun sets, it flouds the little valley and then complete darkness sets in…

Fish Eagle Lodge at night....

Fish Eagle Lodge at night….

Over the next 3 posts I will post our lunch menu recipes… it was a big family morning prepping and having fun … with me and my mom cooking, the kids fishing buckets full of small fish in the pond in front of the house and Liezel creating the most amasing crochet blanket…. happiness  ….




For the Pesto Chicken Kebabs you will need:
RECIPE CARD > click on this link30. Pesto chicken thigh fillet sosaties……. RECIPE CARD
2 deboned thigh fillets (Elgin Free Range of course) per kebab (chicken breast fillets can also be used but the thigh fillets are more tender)
3 small rosa tomatoes per kebab
Basil pesto, enough to “wet” the chicken pieces
Kebab sticks
Salt and Pepper


Cut each thigh fillet in 2 and marinade the cut chicken pieces for at least 2 hours in the Basil Pesto in a fridge.IMG_6431

Ouma Babsie giving a helping hand in the kitchen...

Ouma Babsie giving a helping hand in the kitchen…

Soak the skewers in water while the chicken marinades and skewer the kebabs alternating between the chicken pieces and rosa tomatoes. Jip this is a bit of a messy job so … deligate..

Braai the kebabs until “just” cooked and serve….

No 24. somerset


No 17. somerset

Do remember to “braai” the kebab’s until JUST cooked, you want them deliciously tender..


Serve with a slice of Spinach and Ricotta loaf (recipe following – part 2 of 4 ) and a Nectarine green salad with a yummy pear and rosemary dressing (part 3 of 4)….


And then we go fishing…

No 18. somerset

No 20. somerset

No 22. somerset

To follow… Part 2 of 4… Spinach and Ricotta loaf…


Bean and Butternut winter warmer, in the magical Tankwa Karoo

Another lazy weekend at the Tankwa Tented camp…..

The drive is far, but we see it as a “road trip” and stop along the way. From Cape Town I suggest you take Friday half day and plan to be at the Tankwa Farmstall at around 4, just in time for late afternoon coffee or early sundowners, don’t miss this Farmstall, it is all part of the Tankwa Magic. You also want to get to the Tented Camp before dark and drive in “combo” with someone else, just in case you need some assistance with those dreaded flat tyres.

The last part of the trip from Ceres is really beautiful, long long long flat straight roads with absolutely nothing ….

Pit stop no one..

Pit stop no two..

The Tankwa Tented Camp is a self catering campsite, with tents with bedding on request.

I’ve decided to make this lovely bean and butternut bake as side dish to our chicken braai, it is easy packing, none of the ingredients needs refrigeration, except for the parsley, a real “out of a tin” dish which works for me on weekends away. You need an oven for it, but there’s one at the Tankwa Camp kitchen.

click on the link for a printable recipe cardBean and butternut winter warmer ………. RECIPE CARD
For the Bean and butternut bake you will need:
No 13c. tankwa
2 tins drained butter beans
2 tins peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 onions
olive oil
1 butternut cubed
5 garlic cloves, chopped
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
baby carrots – optional
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt, pepper and a squirt of lemon juice
(recipe adjusted from the Halfaampies Celebrates , Gigantes Plaki recipe – what a lovely book)
Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees. Saute the onions with the garlic and a bit of olive oil, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 3/4 cup parsley and bay leaves and simmer for +/- 10 minutes.

Add salt and pepper.

NO 13d. tankwa.jpg

Drain the butter beans and add to a +/- 6cm deep oven proof dish. Add the optional baby carrots and top with the cooked tomato mixture, cover with foil and bake for one hour.

No 13e. tankwa.jpg

Roast the cubed butternut, drizzled with olive oil on the bottom try of the oven (in a flat oven tray) while the beans and tomatoes simmer on the top try.

After on hour, remove the cover from the bean and tomato mixture, (don’t mix) and add the roasted soft butternut on top of the bean and tomato mixture. Bake uncovered for another 30 minutes at 180 degrees. Serve hot and top with the rest of the chopped parsley just before serving.

No 13f. tankwa

Campsite braai...

Campsite braai…

This warm soothing bean and butternut bake goes well with any kind of braai as a side dish, I prefer chicken….

At the Tankwa Tented Camp you are supposed to unwind and relax, BUT if you want to you can always….

HAVE FUN and go for a run…

RELAX in the hammock…

As long as you don't swing 2 together and break it like Abby did...

As long as you don’t swing 2 together and break it like Abby did…

Go for a 3 – 4 km cycle with the kids to the Africa Burn site…

ALWAYS but always take your camera with…

Me and my bike... strangely I did not crash as I was taking pics while cycling....

Me and my bike… strangely I did not crash as I was taking pics while cycling….

AFrica Burn fixtures

No 52. tankwa

And Sunday morning, make sure you get up before the sun and go for a walk…

No 62. tankwa

And if you are planning to get married, stroll over to the “wedding” site..

No 63. tankwa

A pic from our last trip..... a wedding...

A pic from our last trip….. a wedding…

And when the sun comes out the smell of coffeeeeeee will draw you back to the camp…

No 64. tankwa.jpg

And then it is time to go home, as I said a weekend can work, and if you make a “roadtrip” of the driving it is not too short, in Friday, back Sunday…

Make sure you take an extra tyre…

As this road eats tyres…. and

No 67. tankwa

inspire your kids to also take lots of pic’s ….

A helping hand..

No 70. tankwa

And you know it was a GREAT weekend if you feel TIRED…. luckily the long drive home will give you enough time to “recover”, just make sure you are not the driver…..

We need to explore the hidden treasures in our area…. like the beautiful Tankwa Karoo….

Smoked Salmon tagliatelle and bunny paw prints, Part 3 of 3….. EASTER at Bosbokfontein Nature Reserve

I’ve waited eight months to post this recipe, it was the first one I thought of when I started my blog…. Now at last, 56 posts and eight months later, Shannon cooked it for me and I’ve managed to capture the process at this very special Easter venue…. Bosbokfontein Nature Reserve, a little piece of paradise….

After a long afternoon on the beach, collecting driftwood sticks for our silhouette bunnies and playing with my polariser ring we climbed up the hill and started cooking….

Collecting beach treasures...

Collecting beach treasures…

Early evening view from the deck...

Early evening view from the deck…

Shannon, first enjoying a glass of bubbles before hitting the kitchen….the one thing we missed, the champagne glasses….2 x boxes WILL be delivered , to say thanks…

4. salmon.jpg

It was time to light the candles… with no electricity, the house gets lit by flickering candles…

The lighting of the candles..for earth hour, we had EARTH weekend, no electricity for 4 days...

The lighting of the candles..for earth hour, we had EARTH weekend, no electricity for 4 days…

For the Salmon tagliatelle you will need:
6. salmon.jpg
+/- 150g smoked salmon
1 small bunch spring onions
butter and olive oil
5 large red tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar 200ml cream
2 tablespoons old brown sherry
200ml milk mixed with 2 teaspoons Ina Paarman white sauce powder or flour
salt and pepper to taste
3 shakes of tabasco
1 teaspoon grated parmesan per serving
2 handfulls chopped flat leaf parsley

Click on this link for a printable recipe card Smoked Salmon tagliatelle ………. RECIPE CARD

Peel the tomatoes

Peel the tomatoes

Cut a cross on one side of the tomatoes and dunk them in boiling water for 1 minute, this will make the peeling easier without loosing any tomato flesh.

Finely chop the spring onions.

8. salmon.jpg

In a heavy based pan or wok, saute the finely chopped spring onions in butter and a bit of olive oil. Cut the peeled tomatoes into small chunks and add to the spring onions. Fry for +/- 5 – 8 minutes to soften the tomatoes.

10. salmon.jpg

Add one teaspoon of sugar to the fried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of Old Brown Sherry. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

11. salmon.jpg

Add the cream and milk mixed with 2 teaspoons of Ina Paarman White sauce powder OR two teaspoons of flour. Cook through. Chop the smoked salmon into smaller pieces and add to the pan with one tablespoon of chopped flat leaf parsley.

9. salmon.jpg

Add black pepper and salt to taste as well as 3 shakes of tabasco.


Serve on tagliatelle with one teaspoon parmesan and more chopped parsley.

Food for angels...

Food for angels…

Emma, my “tea please” little one, first had to have a tea party with Lara…

Think it is bed time...

Think it is bed time…

Early morning, Sunday… Bunny masks done, part 1 of 3, black silhouette bunnies, part 2 of 3, and now the bunny flour paw prints….

15. salmon.jpg

Cut out the paw prints and “stencil” them with flour….

16. salmon

We could not have asked for a better EASTER weekend, thanks to great friends and magical venues……

ps…. add a squeeze of lemon… just before serving..

Chilli Chicken Liver Pancakes and Bunny Silhouettes, Part 2 of 3….. Easter at Bosbokfontein Nature Reserve

Waking up at Bosbokfontein Nature Reserve is a magical experience, the light through the huge windows gives a blue haze and the wooden house feels like a big ship floating on the open sea….

2. chicken liver.jpg

Evie treated me to a real coffee experience and we downed huge cups of steaming coffee discussing the menu’s of the day…

The real coffee experience WITH a view...

The real coffee experience WITH a view…

5. chickenliver.jpg

We moved inside, to the kitchen with the “best view” I’ve ever cooked in and Evie spoiled me with these lovely baked pancakes filled with chilli chicken livers…and more coffee….

A kitchen with a GREAT view...

A kitchen with a GREAT view…

For the Baked Pancakes filled with chicken livers you will need:
1 x batch of pancakes- see recipe on recipe card
500g free-range chicken livers
1 onion and 1 clover of garlic chopped
Black pepper and Ina Paarman chilli and garlic salt
Dash of Wellingtons Hot Sweet Chilli marinade
2 tablespoons rosemarie leaves
200 – 250 ml cream
Lemon juice and grated white cheddar cheese

Chicken liver pancakes ………. RECIPE CARD Cut on this link for a printable PDF recipe card.

The process...

The process…

We asked the girls if they wanted some Chicken Liver Pancakes as well…. look at the faces we got…

Lips in spasm...

Lips in spasm…

Evie busy in the kitchen… it took her about 45 minutes to get this dish on the table… nice chat time for the two of us …

Evie busy spoiling me ....

Evie busy spoiling me ….

Suite the onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil and butter. Once soft add the roughly chopped chicken livers. Fry until cooked and nicely browned. Add black pepper and 2 good shakes of Ina Paarman Chilli and Garlic salt. Add a dash of Wellingtons Hot Sweet chilli marinade and +/- 250 ml cream. It should not be too runny. Add 1 tablespoon of rosemarie leaves and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and cook through.

Fill the pancakes and add a thin line of mayo over the chicken liver mix before you close the pancake.

Add grated white cheddar and bake for +/- 20 minutes until crisp on top.

Yum yum...

Yum yum…

Ready for the oven... bake until crisp..

Ready for the oven… bake until crisp..

After our BIG breakfast it was time for a quick walk on the beach…

12. chickenliver.jpg

And then, Evie and Albert went to show me the farm… Evie, apparently is the “better” driver and in the loose sand we needed a GOOD driver. At one point we went up a very steep hill and could not see the road going down, Albert shouted “sharp right” which was what Evie did…. but it was not as sharp as what we thought….

A view of the Nature Reserve..

A view of the Nature Reserve..

Our very capable driver..

Our very capable driver..

A quick damage check...mmm not tooo bad...

A quick damage check…mmm not tooo bad…


We’ve decided to cut out 20 black silhouette bunnies for the easter egg hunt. We did not want to disturb the vegetation and decided to do the hunt all along the access road, and marked the “nests” filled with chocolate eggs with our black bunnies on a stick.

Evie busy cutting out the bunnies...

Evie busy cutting out the bunnies…

Bunny silouette

Print the bunnies on A4 white paper and make photocopies on the darkest setting, roughly cut them out and stick them to cardboard. Cut them out and tape a small stick to the back…

Midnight creative fun by candle light..

Midnight creative fun by candle light..

Evelyn woke me at around 6 on Sunday morning… mmmmm it was drizzling outside but we had to get this done before the kids wake up…

Early morning fun, think we had more fun than the kids..

Early morning fun, think we had more fun than the kids..

WE also had some mmmmmmm bunnies for the adults…

Bunnies for the Adults..

Bunnies for the Adults..

Let the HUNT begin…



A little bit of hassle, a HUGE lot of creative fun…

Full of smiles...

Full of smiles…

To follow in part 3, Shannon’s Smoked Salmon Tagliatelle and bunny paw prints…

The week of the Braai Pie and “Bakkie sakkie”, riots, fires and high stress…

What a start to the year, labour unrest, fires, high stress, and then a relaxed evening and my first introduction the a “braai pie” and “bakkie sakkie”…. at least I can say it ended on a high and it seems that peace have returned to our beautiful Elgin Valley….

We were invited for a Saturday evening braai, a supposedly “quick one” as Matthew had to do his “farm watch” duty, a late and nearly midnight shift, very abnormal for our peaceful little town.

Mandy whipped out Matthew’s Christmas Gift, a lovely “braai” cookbook and made this lovely “braai pie” …… I loved it, something new ….

For the “Braai Pie” you will need:
2 x 500g rolls puff pastry 2 – 3 baby marrows
1 large onion chopped 1/2 cup cubed feta
1 yellow pepper sliced 1/2 cup grated matured white cheddar cheese
250g sliced brown mushrooms 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
4 chicken breast fillets cubed olive oil

Mandy prepping the pastry...

Mandy prepping the pastry…

Fry the onions, mushrooms and sliced yellow pepper in a bit of olive oil until soft. Fry the cubed chicken and season well. Leave to cool and refrigerate – the pastry needs cold ingredients.
Defrost the pastry in your fridge.

Adding the ingredients...

Adding the ingredients…

On a tray that fits into your fridge, open the first roll of puff pastry, brush with a bit of olive oil and flip it over onto the plastic sheet on the tray. Scatter the cooked chicken, onion, mushrooms and yellow pepper. Make sure you drain all the liquid before adding the filling on the pastry. Add the cheese and top with thin slices of baby marrow, ( Mandy used a potato feeler to slice the marrows). Season with salt and pepper…

Adding the cheese...

Adding the cheese…

Cover with the second sheet of puff pastry, close the sides by pressing lightly with a fork all around the edges. Brush with olive oil and refrigerate. It is important to refrigerate the “braai pie” for at least 45 minutes otherwise the pastry will be too soft for the braai grid.

Close the sides...

Close the sides…

Transfer the “braai pie” from the tray and plastic onto the braai grid. Braai for +/- 10 minutes over a medium heat, make sure the pastry don’t burn.

Turning with a semi closed grid...

Turning with a semi closed grid…

Carefully close the grid, don’t press it tightly, and turn over. The pie might be slightly stuck to the “now top side” of the grid, carefully loosen it, and braai for another 10 minutes on a low heat until golden brown..

Serve immediately

No 9. braai pie

OK, us girls, we don’t normally do this, but we had to get rid of the week’s stress …..

The "bakkie sakkie".... portable fire cart on the back of a "bakkie"...

The “bakkie sakkie”…. portable fire cart on the back of a “bakkie”…

And then it was time for Caroline to introduce me to the HERO OF THE WEEK, “die bakkie sakkie”….. we’ve had several fires in the Valley this week and “DIE BAKKIE SAKKIE” definately helped the farmers getting to the “hot spots” quickly and on time…


Slow roasted acorn-fed pork shoulder with honey and buttered apples and pears….Christmas with friends…

Christmas, friends, gifts, acorn-fed tender pork shoulder, honey and buttered apples….. what more do you want for a lovely early Christmas get-together with friends to exchange gifts and eat delicious food produced here in our beautiful Valley…

Once a year a couple of our friends get together to celebrate Christmas the weekend before “Christmas”. As usual it will take us a week or two to decide on “what to cook”, this year we outsourced the snacks, starter and desert to two of the other families and myself and Shannon focused on the Main Meal…. we did however demanded Yummy Galore food from the contributors and they knew they had to perform or be scrapped for the invite list, and believe me they did not disappoint…

Shannon decided on a simple yet beautiful and tender acorn-fed pork shoulder for The Pool Room at Oak Valley Estates… wow, what a beautiful piece of meat, you should have seen Shannon handling that lovely shoulder, rubbing it with the lemon salt with true respect…
We are spoiled with various restaurant’s in the Elgin Valley and THE POOL ROOM with chef Nicole Precoudis, is the latest edition to a growing list… they also have a deli and restaurant filled with local produce, flowers, freshly baked breads and bakes, acorn-fed pork, beef and their own Oak Valley Wines.

No 24. w2s the poolroom

No 21. w2w the poolroom deli

For the slow-roasted acorn-fed pork shoulder you need to follow the following steps:
The day before, soak the shoulder in brine…
+/- 3kg or larger acorn-fed pork shoulder with the bone and skin on
1/4 cup sea salt
3/4 cup castor sugar
2.5 litres water
6 bay leaves, rosemary, a hand full of sage leaves or 1 tablespoon of dried sage
1 whole head of garlic with the top cut off to expose the cloves
1/4 cup green peppercorns

Make the brine, by adding the salt, sugar and water to a saucepan, slowly bring to the boil and dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the cooled liquid to a plastic bowl, big enough to fit and cover the shoulder. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, sage, whole garlic and peppercorns. Prick the shoulder with a skewer and dry the skin. Score the skin at 1cm intervals with a small sharp knife or ask your butcher to do it, rub with salt… Place the shoulder in the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.

4 hours before serving…
Pre heat the oven to 220 degrees. Remove the shoulder from the fridge and discard the brine. Pat DRY with paper towelling.

Handled and rubbed with LOVE it could not be anything else that tender...

Handled and rubbed with LOVE it could not be anything else than juicy and tender…

Make the Lemon Salt rub..
Make the Lemon Salt Rub by grinding together in a pestle and mortar…
1/3 cup sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon rind
1/3 cup green peppercorns
1 tablespoon olive oil

No 4. christmas with friends

Rub and massage the DRIED shoulder tenderly and with LOVE with the Lemon Salt mixture…work it into the scored/cut skin.
Line a roasting pan with foil, and add 500ml of boiling water, rosemary, sage and bay leaves. Place the shoulder skin side up in the roasting pan. The water should come up +/- 3 – 4cm in the pan. Roast for 35 minutes at 220 degrees. Remove from the oven and cover with foil, REDUCE THE HEAT to 150 degrees. Roast for 3 hours 30 minutes, remove from the oven, uncover the pork and crisp at 200 degrees for a further 30 minutes until crisp. Rest for 15 minutes, remove the skin and cut the skin into smaller pieces to serve as cracking with the sliced tender pork.

For a printable version of the recipe click on the LINK BELOW
Slow-roasted acorn-fed pork Shoulder with Honey buttered apples and pears … RECIPE CARD

No 7. ch5ristmas with friends

We’ve set the table as per Shannon’s instructions, silver and white, while the pork roasted in the oven and finished a couple of bottles of bubbly on the kitchen floor, life like we love it…..

Me in kitchen heaven...

Me in kitchen heaven…

The silver and white themed table...

The silver and white themed table…

Shannon decided to serve the tender pork with sweet honey and buttered apples and pears straight from the farm…
Poach the peeled and cored apples and pears until slightly soft but still firm. Drain and fry on a high heat with 1 and a half tablespoon of butter and a big squirt of honey until golden brown…

Honey and butter like the girls in the kitchen...

Honey and butter like the girls in the kitchen…

We started the afternoon with me and Shannon and the other friends joined us a bit later… the girls all dress up for our dinner…

After dinner it was time for the VERY important “exchanging of gifts”…. thanks to Vissie for being very “willing” to be Father Christmas, I wonder why??

No 27. christmas with friends

So Shannon promised me a scale,( see it is in Vissie’s hand on the pic above) yes I don’t have a kitchen scale and every second day phone her to “weigh” flour ect for me and give me the ml’s…. so when I saw my flat small parcel I gave it back to her, unopened and said “WHERE IS MY SCALE??”, she gave it back and once opened I saw it’s a VERY FANCY flat electronic scale that can take any type of bowl… wow how lucky am I…

And for the “outsourced” desert … a truly decadent triple layered chocolate mousse… to follow on the blog as soon as I can get Elzaan to make it for me again…Elzaan I demanded Yummy and it was “Yummy GALORE”…

nO 29. christmas with friends

Christmas is all about tradition, and this is one tradition I would like to keep…