Birthday Cakes Galore and a Scrummy Salad

Hello and happy Monday!

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I am very busy, I tend to eat badly… I don’t bother with salads or much veggies, I eat too much meat and don’t drink enough water. Oh yes, and I eat waaaay too much sweet things… {Blush}

Here’s a recap of some of the cakes I did last week and a scrummy salad to start the week off on a good note:

Go-Kart themed cake {chocolate cake}
Spider-Man themed cake {red velvet cake}
Lawnmower themed cake {chocolate top layer, red velvet bottom layer}
Rugby themed cake with sports balls cupcakes {polka dot vanilla sponge cake, chocolate cupcakes}

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And here is a scrummy, quick and easy salad to start the week off on a good note:

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{I just realised that I’ve taken the photo before adding the greens… Oh well…}
So, you will need:
Ripe papaya, diced
Herby greens or baby salad leaves
Ginger syrup {I used the syrup from a jar of preserved ginger, straight from the fridge, so it was set and I dolloped a few bits into the salad}
Vanilla pumpkin seeds from Woolies
Feta cheese with black pepper
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar

Toss the leaves together and drizzle with olive oil and red wine vinegar.
Add the papaya and feta cheese, then sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and finally, add dollops of ginger syrup.

Totally delicious and perfect for a light lunch or enjoy with a tasty piece of fish for dinner. {And vino of course ;)}

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#Banting Coconut Chicken Bites

You know, the thing I enjoy about Banting, is that it really let’s you be creative. You can use all the delicious things you want: bacon, butter, cream, etc. and nothing needs to be steamed or tasteless – bleh. {Just make sure you use the right fats!}

Anyways, so these chicken bites are my adaptation from The Real Meal Revolution’s coconut fish bites.

They’re just the thing for a light lunch or a snack, or as an appetizer.
Also a goodie for lunch boxes!

You will need:

Boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
Desiccated coconut
2 eggs, beaten
Coconut oil for frying
Curried mayo
Freshly ground Himalayan pink salt

You will need to use about 2 tbs coconut oil to shallow fry the chicken.
Season the chicken strips with salt and let it sit for a few minutes while you prep the mayo.
Heat the oil, then dip the chicken strips in the egg and then the coconut. Fry over medium heat until both sides are a nice golden brown.

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Serve with the curried mayo and a small herb salad. You could also make a fab fresh salsa:
Diced papaya
Diced green pepper
Diced tomato
Diced red onion
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Salt
Small diced red chili {optional}

Enjoy! X

Best Ever Spinach Quiche

Oh my, is it June yet..?!
Where has the year gone? I turn a whopping age on Sat and it still feels a bit unreal… I just can’t cope with the fact that half the year’s gone already, I still feel as if I’m busy settling into the new year, preparing for the year ahead, meanwhile it’s halfway gone!

Anyways, moving along…

I made this fab quiche that is totally ‘good’ in every sense of the word. It’s carb-free and high fat, packed with healthy spinach.
And no, there are no ‘fillers’. I can’t stand it when you have quiche {not at my house!} and you can just taste that it’s been bulked up with flour inside the quiche.

So here’s my recipe for the ultimate spinach and feta quiche – Banting-style of course:

You will need:
200g of spinach, chopped and ready to use
1 onion, diced
100g butter
Olive oil
Nutmeg
1 cup cream
6 eggs
100g mozzarella cheese, grated
1 round of full-fat feta cheese
1/3 tub of cream cheese {Philadelphia or Lancewood}
Pink salt
Black pepper

Start by sautéing the onion in a bit of olive oil until soft, then add the spinach and wilt it down slightly. You don’t want it to be cooked dead…
Add the butter, a pinch of nutmeg and the cream.
Season to taste with pink salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Let this cool.
In the meantime, line an oven dish with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 180C.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and add the mozzarella cheese and crumble in the feta. Mix in the spinach mixture.
Now spoon half the mixture into the baking dish. Add dollops of cream cheese evenly all over and then cover with the rest of the mixture – the cream cheese should be like a hidden centre of creaminess.
Bake for 30minutes until it is set and golden brown.

This is perfect for lunch, served with some wild rocket or other mixed lettuce and herbs, perfect to pack for a picnic, or even just a light supper.
Ok, let’s face it, you could easily have this for breakfast too – so it really is the perfect breakfast / lunch / dinner dish!

Enjoy! X

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5-ingredient Hearty Chicken Livers

I must say, I never used to like chicken livers – well, before I tasted them – in fact, I’m not very keen on most offal or organ meat… The thought really just puts me off.
Chicken livers {and only chicken livers} are now one of my favourites! I love them crispy and spicy, I love chicken liver pâté and I also enjoy them in a creamy sauce.
But, I must say, they’re not really very versatile, I’ve just listed about all the different ways to have them…
I decided to make chicken livers tonight, but I didn’t have any other ingredients to go with it – no cauliflower for cauli mash! Alert – we have NO mash!
A quick squiz around the fridge and I decided to make a hot salad with green beans and tomatoes.
This dish only has 5 ingredients and is super easy to make. The grilling of the livers takes a bit of time, but only just…

You will need:

500g chicken livers, cleaned
Green beans {about 2 cups}
Rosa tomatoes {2 cups}
1/2 an onion
Parmesan cheese {grated, to be sprinkled on top}
{Butter & olive oil for frying and salt to season}

Start by quickly boiling the green beans in some water for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat up a dollop of butter and some olive oil and sauté the onions until soft.
Add the livers and fry on both sides, using another pot to weigh them down. Season with salt.
Do the livers in 2 batches and set aside once they’re done.
In the same pot, add the tomatoes and some more olive oil and sauté them until they start to soften and release some of their juices. Add the green beans and heat them through.
Dish the green beans and tomatoes into a large serving dish. Reheat the livers in the pot and add to the dish.
Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese.

Perfect for a light, yet hearty weeknight dinner or even lunch.

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Quickie veg

Ok – this is gonna be a real quick one – focus, you might miss it!
I was low on veggies and along came this amazing, yet simple and very flavourful cabbage dish.

What you will need:
Cabbage, shredded
Carrots, ribboned
Onion seeds {aka kalongi}
Butter
Salt
Sauté the carrots and cabbage in a chunk of butter {surely butter and bacon are two of the best ingredients?! Giving amazing flavour to just about anything…}.
Add a few sprinkles of onion seeds and season with salt.
That’s it – seriously!
Don’t overcook the veggies, you still want a bit of crunch, but they should be mostly soft and cooked.
Enjoy this with a nice pork chop or even just as is for a quick lunch.

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Enjoy! X

Veggie curry – our lunchtime staple in India

It feels like a lifetime ago, our year-and-a-half-stint in India… It’s only been {almost} a year now since we’ve been back, but it seriously feels like ages ago and I haven’t really cooked anything Indian since!
So, in this blazing summer heat, I decided to make a nice veggie curry for lunch – mild enough for the boys to enjoy {toddler of 2 and a half, and baby of 10 months}.
This curry is so simple, yet truly flavourful. Just because it wasn’t overly spicy doesn’t mean it was bland.
I learnt to make curries from our nanny we had in India, dear Annu, as well as some local food magazines and on our trip to south India, where we stayed in a ‘homestay’ near Kerala.

This is not from a recipe, I just used the spices I had and from what I know work well together.

You will need:
1 small aubergine, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 potatoes, diced {I had some leftover from bad ol’ December that I needed to use!}
1 large sweet potato, diced
1 cup {roughly} frozen peas defrosted in some hot water, just enough to cover the peas {the water will also go into the curry}
Whole coriander seeds
Yellow mustard seeds
Mild curry powder {includes turmeric and other spices}
Cumin powder
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
Cream
Tomato paste
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Start by sautéing the onion in olive oil. Add all the spices and fry until the mustard seeds start to pop. {I didn’t measure the spices! but I probably used about a tsp of each…}
Add the veggies, tomato paste {about a tbs} and cream {half a cup} and another half a cup of water. Add enough salt, probably about a tbs and let it all simmer away until the potatoes are soft. Season generously with salt & pepper.

Garnish with fresh coriander.
Enjoy! X

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Chicken-salad-in-a-jar

A great way to use up leftovers – jar it!

I used leftover roast veggie salad and layered it in a jar with some chicken mayo.
I used leftover roast chicken, chopped up and mixed with a bit of mayonnaise and a dollop of chicken gravy {chicken stock and cream}.

Voilà – lunch is sorted! {Especially handy for a picnic, road trip or a quick lunch at home while busy with some tasks…}

Enjoy! X

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My Food Baby

I officially have a ‘food baby’…
What is a food baby you might ask? Well, when I first joined our estate’s book club, there was talk of food babies, when you eat so much that you feel pregnant – with a food baby!

We had our estate’s Christmas lunch today and I honestly ate more than I had in ages – totally overdid it! Oops… {blush}
The food was just SO good, the company even better and the wine – well, the wine was great, as always! {my trusty old favourite – Pierre Jordan Tranquil}

Each person was assigned a dish – there was gammon, roast beef, chicken, salads to die for, veggie bakes, and desserts so good I had 2 helpings! {I will post my menu contributions during the coming week: smoked and roast beef, a veggie cheesecake and cinnamon custard slices}

What a great day – great food, great people and heaps of fun had by all! We even had a visit from ‘Santa’!

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Summer Lamb Roast

Ah – the Sunday roast… Surely a tradition in most homes?

With meat-galore and starchy side dishes until the cows come home… To me, the traditional Sunday Roast lunch is more suited to Winter – a kind of comfort meal.

So what to do when it’s Summer or Spring and you feel like making a roast? Well, just skip the heavy side dishes and focus on light and bright salads and veg.

My perfect Summer Roast Lamb:

Roast lamb with a herby rub {sea salt, rosemary, garlic, mustard, black pepper, paprika, brown sugar, lemon zest, nutmeg and bay leaf}

Steamed asparagus with garlic, butter and sea salt

Minty green salad {granny smith apples, mint leaves & cucumber}

Mint dressing for both salad & lamb {fresh mint, whole coriander seeds, apple cider vinegar & honey}

What you need to do:

Rub a leg of lamb (I used 1.3kg leg) with olive oil and your rub mixture an hour or more before cooking for all the flavours to absorb into the meat as much as possible. You can make your own rub with the above ingredients, or buy a ready-made version. I used the Lamb Rub from Woolies – simply divine.

Place the lamb in an oven dish (no lid) and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hrs at 180C – in an oven, Weber or Big Green Egg. I used the Egg of course! {We actually cooked the lamb directly on the grill and used a drip tray underneath, so you get a nice golden crust on all sides of the meat!}

For your salad, cut an apple and cucumber into thin slices and add a handful of roughly chopped mint. {Each person can add their own dressing}

For the asparagus, break off the woody end bit off the stems and steam or boil with a tbs of butter and chopped garlic clove until just cooked. They should still be crunchy – please, no  and limp asparagus!

For the dressing:

Grind a handful of mint leaves and a tsp of coriander seeds in a mortar & pestle until you have a course paste. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and a tbs of honey. Mix well and keep in a little jug for serving.

Keep an eye on the lamb and don’t let it dry out. It should be moist and juicy and just the teensiest bit pink.

Serve with a Chardonnay and enjoy! X

Summer Lamb Roast

Summer Lamb Roast

Perfect lunch – in a jar!

I saw a really clever idea for packed lunches recently in my fave food magazine {Sarie kos} and decided to try it out.

You can really use anything that goes together and it’s a great way of packing leftovers for hubby’s lunch.

I used last night’s leftovers of boerewors, sweet potatoes and strawberry salad.

Boerewors & sweet potato lunch-in-a-jar:

In the bottom of a glass jar {with lid}, squeeze a dollop of Dijonnaise {mayonnaise mixed with Dijon or wholegrain mustard} and top with slices of boerewors. Place slices of sweet potato on top of that and add salad on top of everything. You can enjoy this at room temperature! X

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