Beautiful Brussels sprouts with Bacon

Brussels sprouts are probably not anyone’s fave veggie {honestly, I don’t think it’s that bad, but probably not up there with say, sweet potatoes…}.

So let’s give this poor old veggie a makeover with this fab {and simple} recipe from The Real Meal Revolution.

You will need:

A packet of Brussels sprouts {about 200g}
125g bacon
Dollop of butter
Sour cream
Salt & pepper

Slice the bacon into fine strip and fry in the butter until crisp.
Steam the sprouts until they’re tender. Add the sprouts to the bacon pan and heat through.
Serve warm with dollops of sour cream, seasoned with freshly ground salt & pepper.

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This beautiful bowl was handmade by my friend Karin du Plessis {Katryn Keramiek}
Enjoy the sprouts! X

Winter-ish Salad with bacon, poached eggs and loads of other goodies

I literally have a fridge chock ‘n block full of lettuce – in a variety of sizes and types… In the middle of winter…
Why?!
Anyways, so I thought I’d better use some of it, and concocted a delicious salad that’s actually perfect for winter.
This will be a fab brunch salad too!

You will need:
A variety of salad greens {I used baby butter lettuce, watercress, wild rocket and bay spinach}
1 avo, diced
Parmesan cheese, shaved
Olive oil
1 tbs dijonnaise
Boerewors {roughly 700g}, chopped into bite-sized pieces
250g streaky bacon, cut into strips
Poached eggs {1-2 per person}
Red wine vinegar

Place the sausage and bacon in an oven dish and grill in the oven for about 35 minutes, rotating it every so often so that everything can brown nicely.

Drizzle the salad greens with some olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar and add the cheese and avo.
Mix the dijonnaise with 2 tbs of olive oil and sprinkle half over the salad.

Poach the eggs by bringing water to the boil in a deep pan or a small wok{I used a wok} and create a swirl. Add a splash of vinegar.
Once the water has reached a gentle boil, carefully place each egg into the water with a teacup. Let it cook for about 6 minutes for medium.

Add the bacon and sausage to the greens, then place the poached eggs on top and drizzle with the remaining dijonnaise dressing.

Voila – delish – enjoy! X

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Winter Warmer Soup

What better soul food for cold winter nights than soup?
I could never make soup for the life of me! My mother makes the most delicious, hearty soups and I would always try my hand at it, but could never get it right…
It would usually taste like tepid dishwater with a few veggies floating around in it! Am I making you salivate yet..? Hehe! Well, thankfully I’ve learnt a thing or two and can now make a decent {and rather tasty, if I may say so myself!} soup.
Here’s my delicious recipe for a hearty cauliflower, chicken & bacon soup:

You will need:
2 chicken carcasses {cooked, leftover from roast chicken, with some meat still on the bone}
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
Coconut oil
2 bay leaves
3 peppercorns
Salt
Water
1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
250g streaky bacon
3 sprigs of thyme
1 cup of cream

Start by sautéing the onions in coconut oil until soft, then add the celery and onions. Sauté a bit more and then add the chicken, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and enough water to cover the chicken halfway.
Let it all simmer away happily for a few hours. Taste it and season with salt accordingly.
{I didn’t use any stock, because the chicken creates the stock, but you could use it if you wanted to.}

Once the broth has properly mingled and the chicken has started to fall off the bone, add the cauliflower florets and cook until tender.
In the meantime, place the bacon in an oven tray and grill until cooked. Let it cool and then chop into bits. Don’t discard the fat!

When the cauliflower is cooked, carefully remove it from the broth and blitz it with a stick blender until smooth. Add the cream and blitz it again.
Add the cauliflower to the broth and stir it through. Add the bacon and drizzle with the fat.

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Perfect for a cold winter’s night – it’s so filling and oh-so-comforting! The kids loved it too.
Enjoy! X

Pear & Roquefort Salad

It’s pear season – yay! {I think?!}

I had a fabulous salad at a friend’s house the other day, inspired by a salad from Tasha’s, with blue cheese, pears, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Pears and blue cheese {or actually Gorgonzola and Stilton and perhaps a few other soft ripened cheeses} is such a classic combination and can be used in many different ways. I love it as a salad, because it just cuts down on being too sharp and rich and you can really make a meal of it.

For my version, I decided to leave the tomatoes and mushrooms and instead focus on the pears, cheese and bacon.

You will need:
2 pears {forelle pears are always nice and sweet, but any will do}, sliced
Mixed baby salad leaves
Wild rocket
1/2 a vanilla pod, seeds scraped
2 tbs caster sugar
125g bacon bits, or regular bacon, chopped
Butter
Roquefort cheese or any blue variety
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil

Start by poaching the pears in butter, then add caster sugar and the vanilla seeds. Let it slowly simmer until soft.
Fry the bacon until cooked and crispy.
Toss the salad leaves, add bacon, pears and crumble the cheese on top.
For the dressing, mix balsamic vinegar with a little bit of the pear syrup. Drizzle over the salad with some olive oil and finish it off with wild rocket.
So so so easy and super tasty!

Enjoy! X

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Broccoli & Bacon Salad

My son won’t eat anything green – unless it’s sweets or green tomatoes from the garden…
He loves other veggies and has a very healthy appetite, but for some reason won’t touch the Good Greens… {Except for green beans, he likes those.}
Anyways, so I made this salad over the weekend, along with a pork roast, and he just LOVED the broccoli ‘trees’!
I honestly didn’t think he would even eat it, but I always try, you never know…
So this is definitely a hit with the entire family!

You will need:
Cabbage, shredded
Butter
Broccoli
White wine vinegar
Mixed and salted nuts, roughly chopped
Dates, roughly chopped
Streaky bacon, chopped

Start by frying the bacon in a large pan with some butter. Fry until nice and crisp, then set aside and keep the fat. Quickly roast the nuts in the bacon fat and keep the fat again. Remove the nuts from the pan and keep aside with the bacon.
Sauté the shredded cabbage in the same pan in the bacon fat and a bit more butter, until tender.
In a separate double boiler, steam the broccoli until just tender and a nice bright green. They should still have a good crunch. Rinse with cold water immediately after steaming.
When you’re ready to serve, add the broccoli to the cabbage and flash-fry to heat everything again slightly, add a splash of white wine vinegar.
Add the bacon, nuts and dates.

The combination of the sweet dates, salty bacon and earthy veggies is just heavenly. It’s also really filling, so it can easily do for lunch or just a light summer’s dinner, all by itself.

Enjoy! X

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Spicy bacon nuts – a Life Changer

So, I joined a new gym where the goal is to guide you every step of the way through weekly assessments, personal trainers on hand and nutritional guidance…
At my assessment yesterday, I had a Daniel Lugo type character {from Pain & Gain movie} helping me and he reckons I should start off with a detox {before anyone can start their training there, they have to do a week’s detox}. I should only eat leafy dark greens and protein.
Right.
Well, it’s not far off from what we actually eat, but come on, not even a splash of milk in my coffee? Ok.
Like he said: ‘your coffee should be how you like your Nigerians – strong and black…’ Seriously.

Anyways, back to the point – so detox it is – and armed with these yummy nuts I’m ready to go!
{From Real Meal Revolution cookbook – totally Banting and totally Paleo! All protein.}

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You will need:
250g streaky bacon
4 cups of assorted nuts {macadamia, Brazil nuts, pecans, almonds}
2 tsp butter
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

Grill the bacon in the oven until nice and crispy. Place onto paper towel and keep the fat.
Next, dry roast the nuts in a large pan until golden. Add the butter and bacon fat. Add spices and toast until fragrant and dark brown.
Remove from heat, add the chopped bacon and a few drops of water.
‘Dry’ in the oven for 5 minutes at 160C.
Let it cool and keep in an airtight container.

Perfect for daytime snacking or adding to a salad or veggies.

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Here’s my version:

Heidi has 12 strips of bacon, she grills them and eats 2. She adds 4 cups of spiced nuts.
What does Heidi have now?
Happiness, Heidi has happiness! 😉

Loaded baked gem squash

The first Time Trials {running club} started tonight, so I cooked ahead…
More about dinner later. Ugh, I hurt my ankle about 3 weeks ago and have been taking it slow ever since and I actually haven’t done ANY exercise for the past 2 weeks. I decided to go for a run tonight, only 3km, to see how it feels. Well, it hurts!
Luckily I had a nice home-cooked meal to come home to {how nice is that?!} and didn’t have to spend any time on my feet.

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These beautiful little gems {no pun intended!} came straight from our veggie garden. Apart from the gem squash, you will need:
Bacon {half a pack, about 125g, diced}
Mince {I use venison, 250g}
1 onion, chopped
Peppadew spice
Sweet chili sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Salt

Boil the gem squash in water until they are cooked. In a heavy pot, sauté the onions until soft and golden brown.
Add the diced bacon and cook. Add the mince and a few shakes of Peppadew spice and cook until the mince is just done – not dry! Add about a tbs of sweet chili sauce and season with salt.

Halve the gem squash and remove the seeds. Scoop the mince mixture inside and top with grated mozzarella cheese. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 180C for 20minutes or until the cheese has turned a golden brown.

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Enjoy with a salad of rocket, basil, fresh tomato, toasted pine nuts and olive oil. Nice and simple! X

Bacon & brinjal roll

Two of my favourites – bacon and brinjals! I could easily eat bacon three times a day and I just LOVE the creamy texture and taste of brinjals, so I decided to try these out in a type of meatloaf roll:

Bacon & brinjal roll

The result – salty bacon meatloaf, with a creamy centre of brinjals {or eggplant} and a hint of cumin. {Cumin & brinjals go oh so well together!}

What’s also great about this dish, is that you can make it a bit in advance, say in the afternoon, to be reheated later. {Running club on Wednesdays, remember?!}

So, you will need:

Streaky bacon rashers {enough to form a 15cm roll)

500g venison mince {you can use any type, I suppose}

1 medium brinjal, chopped into small cubes

1 onion, chopped

1tsp cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Peppadew spice

1 egg

1 green chili, finely chopped

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbs chopped Italian parsley

Olive oil

In a skillet, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until soft. Add the cumin and parpika and let the spices fry off. Add the brinjals and cook until soft. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix the mince with the egg, Peppadew spice, cayene pepper, salt, chili & parsley.

Lay a sheet of cling wrap on your work surface and carefully arrange the bacon rashers to form a solid layer. Spoon the mince mixture on top and pat it down. Next, spoon the brinjal mixture onto the mince and carefully start to roll it.

Once you have a nice roll, remove the cling wrap and secure it with some twine.

Place it into an oven dish and bake at 180C for 40 minutes.

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This went nicely with a simple salad of roasted beetroot, mixed lettuce leaves, feta cheese and pecan nuts. Drizzle the salad with balsamic glaze and olive oil.

Enjoy!

{A few other top bacon goodies to try SOON are: Bacon Jam and bacon biltong – can I just say Oh My Goodness!!}

Bacon-wrapped, goats cheese-stuffed chicken

My husband always says that chicken is a vegetable – he worked in the Northen Cape on a project for a while and there they really didn’t eat salads or veggies – their veg was chicken..! I know, right?!

I used to cook chicken so often – and especially chicken breasts, that he would get teased by a friend at work about getting chicken for lunch almost everyday. I haven’t actually made chicken breasts in a while – it can be quite boring sometimes, and I hate dry chicken. I’m not one for saucy dishes either, I would rather have a sauce on the side that I can add to the dish as I please. Anyways, so this dish is great because the chicken is moist and the bacon also adds extra flavour.

So that would make tonight’s dinner almost vegetarian, apart from the bacon…

6 chicken breasts, sliced open halfway

olive oil

butter

baby spinach leaves (3 per chicken breast)

sage leaves (5 per chicken breast)

salt & pepper, freshly ground

goats cheese (2 slices per chicken breast)

streaky bacon (2 strips per chicken breast)

Start off by heating a glug of olive oil and about a tbs of butter in a pan. Season one side of the chicken breasts (open them up so they lie flat) and flash-fry on the inside. The chicken will cook much quicker when the inside is already partly cooked, plus you get extra flavour from the browning of the chicken on the inside. If you don’t flash-fry the inside, you will be left with a very dry breast, trying to get the whole thing cooked through.

Just brown the one side slightly – don’t cook all the way through.  Remove from heat.

Place spinach leaves, sage & goats cheese on the cooked inside and season with salt. Wrap in bacon and secure with a toothpick.

Fry until golden & cooked through.

Serve with asparagus – blanched, with a drizzle of lemon juice, salt & a dollop of butter.

Enjoy! X

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Meatilicious bake

I love different meats together – it just seems to add to the taste and make it more exciting! {not always – and not with all meats… Still – just try it out sometime, there are lots of options here!)

For tonight’s bake I layered strips of bacon, tenderised and flattened chicken breast, pork roast meat, mozzarella cheese and more bacon.

I seasoned the chicken breast with freshly ground sea salt and olive oil then layered on the pork roast meat. {This I had leftover from a roast I made a week ago – and froze the leftovers – it also had an apple & sage stuffing.} I added freshly ground fennel seeds,another layer of chicken breast, then thick slices of mozzarella cheese and more bacon.

{You could use any cooked pork meat, a leftover roast or even some pork chops…}

Bake at 180C for 45 minutes – this is just enough time to ensure the chicken is cooked properly but is still juicy.

I served this with a sundried tomato & goats cheese salad. {Mixed lettuce leaves, diced cucumber, sundried tomatoes, goats cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.}

I prefer salads with less but more ‘punchy’ ingredients – like they say, less is more!  And forget elaborate salad dressings – you want to taste the salad, right?! My current favourite dressings are vinegars and olive oil – perhaps with a splash of fresh minneola juice {now in season} and honey to bring out the flavours of the salad. And nuts – yum, I love nuts in salad! Raisins are great too!

Ok, before I get too carried away – here’s a pic of my meatilicious bake and my youngest, ‘helping’ me in the kitchen today…

Enjoy! X

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