Sweet potato and phyllo bake ….. Christmas at Bodemloos Kombuis

Thanks to Maryke van Niekerk for sharing this recipe with me, I need to create a “noddy badge” system on my blog to highlight my top 5 recipes, yes….. , it will be real easy to select my top 5, but to start with, this recipe will be right there at the top….


Bodemloos Kombuis, the venue for our Office Christmas Dinner, will stay one of my favourites in our Valley. Looking out over our beautiful Elgin Valley it is ideal for smaller size functions like our recent Office Christmas Dinner. Maryke and Henk’s friendly approachable and enthusiastic nature combined with great food made us return year after year to this venue… and let me not mention the “rolled up lamb spit” and her sweet potato bake and and and…

Bodemloos Kombuis at night...

Bodemloos Kombuis at night…

Nicole, our General Manager’s wife, always goes “all out” with creating a real Christmas feel to these dinners, and I once said that she is maybe the only person apart from Shannon (my blog partner) who I will trust blindly with decorating and setting up for a function without any “interference” from my side.

The beautifully decorated tables by Nicole and Maryke...

The beautifully decorated tables by Nicole and Maryke…

Always something different...

Always something different…

For the second year in a row, we’ve selected the Bodemloos Lamb roll on a spit…. and I will put money on it that next year we might choose it again.

Bodemloos Lamb roll on a spit ...

Bodemloos Lamb roll on a spit …

Let’s get back to that Sweet Potato and phyllo bake that accompanied the tender and juicy lamb.

For the Sweet Potato and phyllo bake you will need:

This recipe is for +/- 12 people….

Shortcut sweet potato method

Shortcut sweet potato method

2.5kg sweet potatoes (or a bit more)
125ml or half a cup of butter
187ml brown sugar
125ml golden syrup
one roll of phyllo pastry
+/- 1 cup or tub of cream
125ml brown sugar, half a cup

Cook the sweet potato by your method of choice, basically the “traditional South African” way, and if you don’t know how to do that, follow the easy method below, thanks to Ilse Groenewald for sharing this method with me.

Peel the 2.5kg sweet potatoes, immediately put the peeled sweet potatoes in water to prevent browning. Once peeled slice the sweet potatoes in 5mm thick rings and keep covered with water. In a heavy based pot melt together 125ml butter, 187ml brown sugar and 125ml golden syrup, simmer together for about 5 – 10 minutes until it looks like a slightly thick caramel. Drain the sweet potatoes and add the rings to the simmering caramel. Give the caramel and sweet potatoes a good stir. Add boiling water to “just cover” all the sweet potatoes, this is the strange part, as the traditional method cooks the sweet potato without adding any water. Simmer for about 45 minutes on a low heat without stirring until well cooked and all the water has dissapeared. Keep an eye on it for the last 10 minutes as you only want to cook it until there’s about 1 cm of liquid remaining. Let it cool.

Once cooled completely start rolling the pastry rolls.

Very important when working with phyllo is to firstly defrost it overnight in your fridge, and once ready to use make sure you have a damp tea towel at hand to immediatly cover the sheets of phyllo as soon as you remove them from the plastic packet, if you don’t cover the flat opened sheets they will dry out quickly and stick together. I love working with phyllo, as long as you remember to cover it with that damp cloth.

Remove one sheet, and spoon one long line of sweet potato 5cm from the bottom of the pastry over the full lenght of the sheet, refer to the pic below, and roll it up tightly. Cut into 4 – 5 cm long pieces and pack the rolls into our dish. Make sure you cut the all the same length to create an even layer of little rolls stanking up in your dish…

The process...

The process…

Up to this stage you can prepare in advance, I would guess up to 3 or 4 hours before you need to serve….

About an hour before you need to serve, drizzle the cream over the sweet potato rolls and sprinkle with the 125ml of brown sugar, add a bit more sugar if the 125ml don’t seem to be enough, the cream will absorb into the phyllo and the brown sugar will turn into a crispy layer on top of the rolls… sweet crispness at the top and soft heaven inside…

The unbaked rolls sprinkled with brown sugar...

The unbaked rolls sprinkled with brown sugar…

Bake for about 40 minutes at 180 degrees or until crisp at the top and all the cream absorbed into the pastry…

For a printable recipe card click on the PDF link below:
Sweet Potato and filo bake … RECIPE CARD

The crispy top

The crispy top

I loved this recipe so much that we made it on Friday night before Christmas at our “Christmas with friends” dinner and AGAIN on Tuesday for our Christmas Lunch….

Maryke, serving crispy prawn snacks...

Maryke, serving crispy prawn snacks…

Thanks to Ilse for always grabbing my camera and taking a couple of pics….(not a lot of people will be brave enough as they might get a growl), I don’t have a lot of pics of myself and really love the fun pics I find on my camera late at night when lying in bed and quickly scanning through the evenings pics on my camera…

Me and Bruce, thanks Ilse for taking the pic

Me and Bruce, thanks Ilse for taking the pic

Now time for something sweet…

The yummy dessert.

The yummy dessert.

LET THE PARTY START!! But I’ve had a busy busy week… (one of the pics I found on my camera)

A find on my camera...

A find on my camera…

What a GREAT evening, I think we went home at 3…. the next morning….


And next year we will be back…. Thanks Maryke for your great food and Henk for the music that made us dance the night away…


Picture perfect summer picnic at the HOPE 2012 concert in aid of the Thembalitsha Foundation


When I think back to the HOPE 2012 concert, I think of PERFECTION…. the evening turned into a peach, every little detail from parking our car, the taxi’s that transported us to the Country Club, the friends who joined us drinking glasses filled with pink Rose, to the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever experienced and then I have not even talked about the Parletones, Watershed, Gian Groen and my picnic jars and lots lots more, and let me end by saying when Emma (7) wanted her Rooibos Tea at 11:15, I walked hand in hand with her and found the most amasing kiosk which made her a cup of tea….

The HOPE 2012 concert was in aid of The Thembalitsha Foundation, Thembalithsa is the Xhosa word for NEW HOPE and they aim to bring and restore hope to the desperate and needy people of South Africa, here in our Valley. Developing them to a point of self-reliance through the provision of healthcare, education and training….

Let me start with a couple of pics I took some months ago of what they do….

Visiting the needy at home...

Visiting the needy at home…

Home visits...

Home visits…

Caring for the sick at Thembacare..

Caring for the sick at Thembacare..

Now back to the concert….

Our spot...

Our spot…

Thanks Elzaan for keeping a spot for us, centre stage…

Shannon and Nicole who returned for her 30 day "trek throught the wild" on a school outing..

Shannon and Nicole who returned for her 30 day “trek throught the wild” on a school outing..

Now for the best pic of the night… Nicole went on “trek” walking, kayaking and cycling for 30 days, … she left as a young girl and returned a young women…. you are soooo beautiful Nicole…

Nicole, need I say more.

Nicole, need I say more.

Nina, Abby and Bella   .... friends having fun...

Nina, Abby and Bella …. friends having fun…

Little Emma and Lea..

Little Emma and Lea..


And now for the picnic snacks, lets start with the Cucumber avo chilli prawn jars with pinkish mayo…

Cucumber avo chilli prawn pots with pinkish mayo...

Cucumber avo chilli prawn pots with pinkish mayo…

You will need:
Cubed cucumber
Cubed firm but soft avo
Devained and peeled prawns
Chilli flakes
Butter and Olive oil
Mayo and a squirt of tomato sauce

Layer the cubed cucumber and cubed avo in the jars. Flash fry the prawns in a little bit of butter and olive oil, add chilli flakes and season well. Cool. Make the dressing by mixing 1 cup of mayonaise with a couple of squirts tomato sauce…

Click on the link below for a printable PDF RECIPECARD..
Chilli prawn and avo jars with pinkish mayo RECIPE CARD

No 12. Hope

Trading Prawn jars for Yummy Langbaken cheese... with Amanda

Trading Prawn jars for Yummy Langbaken cheese… with Amanda


If I need to list my 5 most used recipes, this one will feature on that list, I make it at least once every two weeks…. not on the stick but cut the chicken pieces in half after frying and dipping and then you stir the luke warm soft chicken into egg noodles, including the remaining yoghurt and pesto mix…. soft tender chicken with a hint of pesto… topped with grated parmesan and roasted pine nuts… lets return to the picnic….

The process... easy and really worth a try.

The process… easy and really worth a try.

You will need:
8 Elgin Freerange chicken fillets
1 small tub of bulgarian or greek yoghurt
2 heaped teaspoons pesto
1 cup flour
chicken spice

Slice the chicken fillets in half lenghways, and in half again (refer to picture above). Spice well with chicken spice, salt and pepper and roll the mini fillets into the flour. Pack the floured chicken fillets in one layer, if you stack them on top of each other they will become soggy. Mix the yoghurt, about 250 ml or a small tub with the pesto, don’t use more than 2 teaspoons of Pesto as you don’t want the pesto to be overpowering, the yoghurt needs to have a light green colour. Flash fry the fillets in a little bit of canola oil, secret no 1….. FLASH FRY, they must be just cooked but brown, and make sure the pan is hot before you start. Secret no 2…… remove the cooked fillets (the flour should have disappeared and crisped up the fillet) and take them from the pan with a tongue and dip them one by one straight into the bowl of pesto yoghurt, first the one side, then the other side and place on a flat plate to rest…. all in one movement, the very hot crisped cooked flour on the chicken will absorb the cool yoghurt and I am not sure WHAT happens but it turns the chicken into these tender soft juice little bites… so hot oil, don’t overcook, immediately dip into yoghurt and let rest…..

Once slightly cooled skewer them onto a medium length sosatie stick and cover…. ready for the picnic…. can be served at room temperature or warm…

Print on the recipe card for a printable PDF recipe card:
Tender Pesto and Yoghurt chiken sates RECIPE CARD

Sharing with friends...

Sharing with friends…

Nina and Abby, what a carefree age....

Nina and Abby, what a carefree age….

Amber, Emma and Rosie... fun fun fun...

Amber, Emma and Rosie… fun fun fun…


Mom and daughter having fun...

Mom and daughter having fun…

These little milktarts are soooo easy I will most definately make them again for a picnic… they look great and taste even better, I had about 5 friends and little Danny asking for more…. but what a pity there were none left… Danny, now your mom can make them for you…

I am not going to add the recipe here but will insert the recipe card….
Easy mini milktarts… RECIPE CARD

Only the filo needs to bake for 10 min's....

Only the filo needs to bake for 10 min’s….

Little Danny, I promise that next time I will make a double batch…

No 38b. Hope


No 41. Hope

What a stage Emily organised!!! WELL DONE...

What a stage Emily organised!!! WELL DONE…

Emma having fun

Emma having fun

I think a 7 year old can only handle that much and at 11:15 she demanded Rooibos Tea….

Jayyyy we found some tea...

Jayyyy we found some tea…

Passed out under the picnic blanket, and resting for our BIG race of tomorrow morning...

Passed out under the picnic blanket, and resting for our BIG race of tomorrow morning…

Not part of this blog, but let me show you the race Mom and daughter did early the next morning…

Emma and Lara, the "lappoppe" at the Jolly Jester triathlon..

Emma and Lara, the “lappoppe” at the Jolly Jester triathlon..

Tying up the pink hair before our dam crossing...

Tying up the pink hair before our dam crossing…

Did I say this was an adventure race, me and Emma decending the very steep dam wall...

Did I say this was an adventure race, me and Emma decending the very steep dam wall…

The end... well done girls we might have come last, but you've completed the 3 km trail run, 12 km MTB cycle and dam crossing...

The end… well done girls we might have come last, but you’ve completed the 3 km trail run, 12 km MTB cycle and dam crossing…

WHAT a weekend, it started with our Christmas Party at Bodemloos Kombuis, where I’ve had the most devine sweet potato bake, (on the blog in a couple of days), then prepping for the Hope 2012 concert Saturday night, and Sunday morning the Jolly Jester triathlon… I think I need a couple of hours sleep….

Well done if you’ve managed to read through this blog post, it is a bit long, sorry, but what a fun filled evening for a GREAT cause….

Cannot wait for next year EMILY HOUSE!!!

Chickpeas, spinach and sweet potato… Part 3…. Cooking for Jacques and testing recipes for Chritsmas Lunch

This is the last recipe I would like to share with you from our late November Sunday lunch with Jacques, a great side dish for our chicken braai or the ideal “main meal” for my no meat friends like Melisse…

I’ve heard of this recipe from my sister, Liezel, she emailed it to me and said it is really worth a try, it is from a book I recommended to her by “Ottolenghi”, a great book, but being a bit of a “picture” girl I battle to cook from this book as I find that the pictures are very dull and non inspiring… a terrible thing to say I know, but the truth, and now I also need to say that EVERY recipe we’ve tried from this book is a real winner. So if you have the book, don’t look at the pictures, but do try the recipes as they are great….

I try out many recipes from books and magazines around me, and sometimes like with this recipe, you just know that it will become a favourite and real winner, so this one will most definately find a special place in my recipe file.

No 3. Garden

For the Chickpea, spinach and sweet potato dish, adapted from Ottolengi you will need:
1 tin drained chickpeas
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1,5 tsp fine cumin
1 tsp fine coriander
1 tbsp tomato puree
400g tinned italian tomatoes
1 tsp castor sugar
100g baby spinach leaves
a handfull chopped coriander leaves
salt and pepper

500g sweet potatoes
water for cooking
50g butter
4 squeezes of honey

No 2. chickpea spinach and sweet potato

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, fine cumin and fine coriander. Saute until soft. Add the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes and sugar. Cook together for about 5 minutes, add salt, pepper and drained chickpeas. Add the spinach leaves, mix through and cook until wilted. Put to the side and warm through just before serving.

No 3. chickpea spinach and sweet potato

Peel the sweet potato, remember to keep the uncooked sweet potato covered with water to prevent browning. Slice the sweet potato into 4cm high rings, add to a saucepan, add the butter and drizzle with honey. Fry a little bit and then add boiling water to the saucepan, covering the sweet potato about 2/3’s… Cook with a lid on until cooked, don’t stir as you want the sweet potato to keep it’s shape, top up with water every now and then until cooked. Leave in the saucepan until just before serving.

Time to set the table…

No 2. Garden

Just before serving warm the tomato and sweet potato, use a flat shaped serving bowl, first add the tomato and chickpeas then top with the sweet potato, add a handfull of chopped fresh coriander. This dish can be served at room temperature but I prefer it slightly warm.

No 4. chickpea spinac and sweet potato

On perfect summer afternoons like this one our lunch can drag on till late afternoon…. then we quickly pack a platter of leftover’s and feed everyone again just before they need to go home, as tomorrow is Monday…

No 5. Garden

No 4. Garden

No 6. Garden

No 7. Garden

Jacques, it was great having you for lunch, hope we will see you in December for that cycle in our beautiful valley…..

For a printable recipe card click on the link below
Chickpea, spinach and sweet potatoe side dish RECIPE CARD

Crushed pesto potatoes….. Let’s cook for 50 at a good friend’s 50’th….. part 6 of 9

Let me start by saying “I can have a whole plate full of this right now….” filled with luke warm crushed pesto potatoes, topped with crunchy macadamia nuts and shavings of parmesan, sorry but have to say it, with a sprinkle of coarse maldon salt… ok, lets get back to this recipe.

We needed a “starchy” veg to bulk up our lunch, and Evelyn suggested and made these ultra yummy luke warm crushed pesto potatoes for the party.

For the Crushed pesto potatoes you will need:
(can be made up to 2 hours before the time, but still needs to be luke warm)
1 kg small baby potatoes
60 g basil pesto, or more… (we used the small tub mediteranean pesto from spar)
1/2 cup roasted crushed macadamia nuts (or roasted pine kernels)
shavings of parmesan cheese
Olive oil (+/- 1/4 cup)
Maldon salt and black pepper
Basil leaves for decoration, not really needed

Boil the baby potatoes until soft, they need to be really soft….. drain the water and add the pesto, olive oil, salt and pepper to the warm potatoes. Cover with a lid and let it rest at room temperature until needed.

Just before serving, re-heat the potatoes, and slowly stir in all the ingredients that’s been resting on top of the potatoes…. they don’t need to be heated for long, you just want them semi warm, and some of the potatoes will “crush” and break up but that is what they need to do.

Serve on a flat platter, and top with shavings of parmesan and roasted (roast in a dry pan until light brown) macadamia nuts.

Double click on the RECIPE CARD LINK below to open a pdf format printable version of this recipe
Crushed pesto potatoes RECIPE CARD

Roasted beetroot, red onion and balsamic salad…. Let’s cook for 50 at a good friend’s 50th…… part 5 of 9

We’ve “outsourced” this salad for the party, it takes quite a while to roast enough beetroot for 50 people.   An easy delicious salad that can be made in advance. This salad / veg is quite a regular in our circle of friends….

For the Roasted beetroot, red onion and balsamic salad you will need:

10 x red beetroot, washed and each beetroot sliced in 8
6 x red onions, peeled and quartered
125 ml balsamic vinegar
135 ml brown sugar
125ml olive oil
salt and pepper
2 x whole heads of garlic with the tops cut off

The table…

Put all the ingredients in a zip lock bag and give it a good shake to evenly distribute the sugary liquid around the beetroot and onions.

Bake in a flat oven tray on 170 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, the beetroot needs to shrink in size and well cooked with a glossy syrupy shine to them, don’t let it brown, cover with foil if need be…

Serve at room temperature

Glossy shiney roasted beetroot and red onion balsamic salad

Click on the RECIPE CARD below for a printable version of the recipe
Roasted beetroot, red onion and balsamic salad RECIPE CARD

Peanut noodles at Black Rock….

Umtendwe Beach Cottages, situated 1 hour from East London between Haga Haga and Double Mouth…. at Black Rock….

I cannot recall how we found this spot but it is a real gem. Black Rock consists of 5 houses on the beach, in a Private Nature Reserve one hour from East London, a bit of a bad gravel road, especially after the rain and with roads knee deep full of mud, but that was soon forgotten, it ensures that you go in and only come out once you are ready to go home, so pack and plan well as the shops are FAR away…..

One of the privately owned, holiday rental houses at Black Rock is called Umtendwe Beach Cottages, it consists out of two fully furnished and well equiped units that opens up in one unit if needed. With six on-suite bedrooms and two fully equipped kitchens it was the ideal place for four families to have a little bit of a winter holiday break.

We took turns cooking for all 15 of us during our five day stay, and I made Peanut Noodles for one of my Lunch turns.

For the Peanut Noodles you will need:(recipe for 4 portions)
4 free range chicken breast fillets – I use Elgin Freerange
6 cups of chicken stock – I use Ina Paarman chicken stock powder
200g (1 packet) of egg noodles – the red packet at Spar in the Chinese section
2 carrots, finely sliced
1/2 cucumber finely sliced
1/2 lettuce finely sliced
2 handfull’s of salted peanuts
2 x sprinkles of chilli flakes

For the dressing:
3/4 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup of sesame oil (a must)
1 tablespoon soya
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
One cup of the chicken stock used for poaching the chicken

The method of the Peanut Noodles is a bit strange, but it works and ensures really soft and tasty chicken fillets.

Bring 6 cups of chicken stock to the boil in a big saucepan.
Slice each chicken fillet in 5 flat smaller pieces.
Slide the cut chicken fillets into the boiling stock, make sure they are completely covered by the stock, bring back to the boil and immediately remove the saucepan from the heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and leave to cool for about 1 hour, keeping the lid on.

Fillets busy “poaching” in the stock, off the heat.

Make the peanut sauce by mixing together the peanut butter, sesame oil, soya sauce, honey and rice wine vinegar.

Peanut sauce

The Sesame oil and Rice wine vinegar is a must, it lasts for very long in your cupboard so please don’t attempt the recipe without these very important ingredients, believe me, once you’ve tasted these noodles you will make it quite often….

After poaching the chicken in the hot stock for about an hour, gently lift the chicken from the stock, but KEEP THE STOCK.

I usually slice the chicken pieces even smaller at this stage. Add ONE cup of the chicken stock to the peanut sauce to get a more liquid consistency. Bring the chicken stock to the boil once again and add the egg noodles, cook for about 5 minutes till “al dente” and drain.

Add the chicken pieces to the cooked noodles and mix with the peanut sauce.

Sprinkle with chilli flakes, even just a little bit if you don’t like chilli, it really works with the sweet peanut sauce.

Serve on a flat platter and add the thinly sliced carrots, cucumber and chopped salted peanuts….

Peanut Noodles served at Black Rock….

These noodles works very well as leftovers for lunch the next day, also ideal for a packed picnic.


Take a walk to Haga Haga hotel for a drink….it will take you about 2 hours to reach Haga Haga

Mandy organised the horses with one of the locals, lots of laughs with the bicycle helmuts…and a couple of tense moments down the hill…

The open plan kitchen ensured hours of “relaxation” with friends, reading, others cooking and the kids playing outside…

It is a small world, meeting friends from our “hometown” about 900km’s away, who was also on holiday in one of the other five houses at Black Rock, A VERY SMALL WORLD….

The kids playing on the beach till very late in the evening… hours of fun even though it was quite cold..

Our walk to Double Mouth, passing “black rock”

Passing “black rock” , believe me this looks worse than what it was…

Double Mouth, the second river on the right

Entering the “double mouth” river mouth…. with no one around for kilometers …

Our picnic spot at Double Mouth

A little bit of a long walk back, but really worth the effort…

The last day, always a bit of a low point on any holiday….. we’ve decided to walk up the small riverbed next the Umtendwe Beach Cottages, looking for a picnic spot to braai the steak for our steak rolls, a very rocky riverbed with overgrown forest on both sides, carrying the braai, coolerboxes and chairs, well the riverbed just had to do for our braai….

Picnic spot on our last day…steak rolls…

Umtendwe Beach Cottages, Black Rock…

I can really recommend Umtendwe Beach Cottages for a family and friends getaway, it is a bit of a “pack and plan” but really worth the relaxed atmosphere and close to nature holiday break…. we will return of Black Rock, with good friends for days filled with cooking and laughing….

1. Peanut noodles RECIPE CARD

(Double click on the above RECIPE CARD to open the short printable recipe, only available on MS Word)

Centre piece Caprese tomato salad…. Let’s cook for 50 at a good friend’s 50th…. part 4 of 9…

We’ve decided on this very “visual” caprese salad for our table “centre piece”…. or let me rather say the Cakestands filled with beautiful red tomatoes made themselves the centre pieces of the tables without us really planning it to be… it just worked… for us ….

Time to play with food….

For the Caprese tomato salad you will need:
1 x standard size ripe but firm tomato per person (2 x halves)
2 x fresh basil leaves per tomato
1 x slice of mozzarella cheese per tomato
1 x tub of basil pesto
Maldon salt
Black pepper
Olive oil
1 x camera to capture this visual feast….

Cut the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with Maldon salt and black pepper. Layer the halved tomatoes with one basil leave, one slice of mozzarella and half a teaspoon of basil pesto…..

Mix the remaining pesto with a little bit of olive oil to get a more liquid consistency and drizzle over the packed tomatoes…

The cakestands worked well on our full tables, it looks big and beautiful and does not take up a lot of space.

A real visual feast and very appealing on all the senses….

Green bean, red onion and rosa tomato salad……. Let’s cook for 50 at a good friend’s 50th…. Part 3 of 9…

For the Green bean, red onion and rosa tomato salad you need a “fairy” to finely chop the red onions for you, as per part 1 of 9, I demanded that a “fairy” chop the onions for me (2 bags full), as we made this salad four fold….

A very special thanks to my fairy, Evelyn Rust…

For the Green bean, red onion and rosa tomato salad you will need:
1 x bag fine green beans
1 x small punnet red rosa tomatoes
1 x red onion finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
Black pepper
Olive oil +/- 4 tablespoons

This salad can be made up to 4 hours in advance….

Cook the beans by adding them to rapid boiling water, +/- 4 cm’s deep.

There is really no ideal cooking time as the beans we used at the party cooked within 1 minute, but sometimes it takes up to 4 minutes depending on the beans you use. I test them every minute as you really don’t want to “over cook” them. They need to be just semi cooked and still firm. If you “over cook” the beans they will be grey in colour and too soft and not visually appealing.

Once cooked immediately drain and rinse under cold running water until completely cooled down. This will ensure the cooking process to stop and the beans will keep their bright green colour once cooled quickly.

Add the cooled beans to a big “zip lock” bag, add the tomatoes, chopped red onion, maldon salt, pepper and olive oil.

Seal the bag and give it a good shake, leave at room temperature to infuse…

This was one of four salads that featured at Mike’s 50th, more visual appealing recipes to follow…..

Visual yummynesssssss

This salad was a real hit with the girls…

Sunday night’s creamy mushroom risotto….. at Linga Longa Cape Point…. Part 4 of 4

At Linga Longa guests sometimes decide to “Linga Longa” and we had to stretch our Sunday night’s quick creamy mushroom risotto.

For the Mushroom risotto you will need:

2 onions finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1 T butter
4 T olive oil
2 cups chopped wild or brown mushrooms
2 cups risotto
1 T finely chopped thyme
200 ml white wine
6 cups hot chicken stock (+/- made with 1/2 teaspoon of Ina Paarmans chicken stock powder per cup)
50 g cubed butter
1/2 cup finely grated parmasan
juice of one fresh lemon
(T = tablespoon)

Prep, prep…..

Saute the onions, mushrooms, tyme and garlic with the olive oil and 1 T of butter until soft. In a seperate saucepan bring the chicken stock to a slow rolling boil, keep this bubbling while making the risotto. (I use Ina Paarman’s chicken stock powder, 1 teaspoon per cup of water)

Add the risotto to the mushroom and onion mixture and stir to evenly coat all the grains with a thin layer of olive oil and butter from the mushroom mixture. At this stage, take the pan off the heat and let it rest for about 3 minutes.

Put the pan back on the heat and add the white wine, bubble until all the wine is absorbed while stirring the risotto with a flat sided spatula…..

Add the chicken stock, one cup at a time, stir until all the liquid is absorbed before you add the next cup, do this over a medium heat.

Continue adding the stock until the risotto is cooked. You will have to taste it, there is no specific time, but it should take about 30 minutes. You might even need more stock, depending on the type of risotto used.

At the end, once the risotto is cooked, add 50g’s of cubed butter and grated parmesan and stir vigorously, this will form a creamy consistency……

Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon….

Stir vigorously while adding the butter and grated parmesan to form a creamy consistancy….

The squeeze of fresh lemon at the end, is a real must, it breaks the richness and just works….

We served the Creamy Mushroom Risotto with “braaied” chicken pieces…. risotto is a meal on it’s own, but remember we had guests that “linga longa”…..

And on Monday morning, when all the “working guests” had to leave at 5 in the morning to be at work by 8, we “linga longa” and I made our host a quick cheats eggs benedict…and used the leftover grated parmesan over a soft boiled egg… with fresh tomato…

And while we packed up, they came to show me their baby…

At last, a close-up of the little baby…

A very big thanks to our hosts for inviting us to this SPECIAL place deep inside the Cape Point Nature Reserve, we feel very privileged ……..

And I still need to be there during a BIG storm…

Creamy Fish Pie….. at Linga Longa Cape Point ….Part 2 of 4

I’ve always wanted to make a fish pie, not too sure why I have not made one before…..

When inviting us to Linga Longa, Bruce asked me to make a Creamy Fish Pie, after several discussions with my “cheffy” friend Shannon we’ve decided that I need to combine two recipes….. out of experience I know that when it comes to food, Shannon knows best… so here we go.

For the Creamy Fish Pie you will need:

10 Medium size peeled and quartered potatoes – for the mash
100g butter – for the mash
125 ml warm milk – for the mash
1 pinch of salt – for the mash

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 finely sliced leeks
1 finely sliced clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of sugar
5 peeled and pips removed medium red tomatoes
1 shake of nutmeg
3 shakes of white pepper

1 cup white or bechemel sauce – not thick
1 tub cream
1 box frozen or fresh hake (about 4- 5 pieces)
1 box frozen or fresh salmon (about 4 – 5 pieces)
1 box frozen or fresh haddock (about 4 – 5 pieces)
1 punnet peeled and deveined prawns (about 1 1/2 cups full)
1 punnet calamari rings (not crumbed and optional)
6 – 8 SOFT boiled peeled eggs
1 handfull of finely chopped dill
2 handfulls of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 x LARGE oven proof dish

To make the mash, boil the quartered potatoes until soft, add the butter, warm milk and salt and mash until a creamy consistancy, don’t make the mash too long in advance as it will become “stodgy” if it cools down too much before you pipe it onto the pie.

Cut a cross at the top end of each tomato and pour boiling water over to cover completely, let it rest for about 2 minutes, pour the water off and peel the tomatoes, the peels should slide off…. slice each tomato in 4 and spoon the pips out. It is important to de-pip the tomatoes as it will make the pie too liquid if not removed…

Add the olive oil, butter, garlic and leeks to a hot pan and fry until soft, don’t brown the leeks, add the peeled tomatoes and sugar and saute for about 4 minutes over a medium heat. Add one shake of nutmeg and three shakes of white pepper to the tomatoes.

Then add the tub of cream to the tomatoes and bubble for 2 minutes, add the cup of runny white sauce and mix well, this should give you quite a runny liquid that will be poured over the fish.

Arranging the fish and seafood…

Arrange the raw fish in the oven dish (i’ve cut the fish into +/- 4cm x 4cm blocks and remove all skin if any, then add the prawns and calamari on top of the fish. Slice the SOFT boiled eggs in half and arrange evenly inbetween the fish. Add the dill and parsley. Pour the hot creamy tomato mixture over the fish….

Cover the fish with the warm mash, I’ve piped the mash with my “icing tube” but that is really not necessary as the liquid of the fish “flattened out” the mash into an even layer, so just spoon it on and even out….

We baked the fish pie for +/- 45 – 50 minutes on 180 degrees until golden brown…

This pic should tell you why I love this place so much, the view, the kids and adults playing cards in front of the fire, the smell of the creamy fish pie bubbling in the gas oven…. I just love it…

I served the Creamy Fish Pie with a green salad made from, shredded lettuce, cucumber, feta, 2 x soft avo’s, shavings of parmasan and toasted pine nuts…. and drizzled over a red wine vinegar sweet syrup. There’s something about the smell of bubbling red wine vinegar that takes your breath away… I am a bit addicted to it…

For the Red Wine Vinegar salad dressing:
Bubble together half a cup of red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar for at least 10 minutes, let it cool.

It should form a syrupy sweet / sour yummy salad dressing…

And loooong after dinner, when everyone sits in front of the fire, and just before SOME of us wants to go to bed, I quickly made them hot chocolate….. for 6, bubble together 2 x 90g slabs of chopped DARK chocolate, one cinnamon stick, 150ml cream and 4 cups of milk…..

Homemade HOT chocolate… serve in smallll espresso cups…

Time for some of us to go to bed now…..