Mother’s Day highlights and a Smokin’ Feesh Quiche

Hello!

Remember a few days ago I described my perfect Mother’s Day ?
Well, as it turns out, I actually had my perfect day. I had my boys, hubby and super scrummy food – and champagne!

I was left to sleep in and when I woke up, I was marched right back to bed… So there I lay, just chilling for a while… Yep, me, a mom, was just lying in bed – and it was not in the middle of the night, nor was it nap time for the kids. Felt a bit strange… But also good… I could just imagine {by the sound of things} what was going on beyond my bedroom door…

About an hour later, Seb came in and brought me a huge plate of the best ever French toast with bacon & maple syrup! {He carried it all by himself – he’s turning 3 in a month.}
French toast with bacon & maple syrup has got to be my all-time favourite breakfast, hands-down! {Although I never eat it these days, because I don’t eat bread… BUT, a treat on Mother’s Day IS allowed!}
Now, hubby didn’t just make any old French toast, no, he actually found a recipe for Martha Stewart’s {my all-time hero!} version of it with cinnamon & nutmeg. But wait, that’s not where it ends…
We had no electricity and we don’t yet have a gas stove {yes I said ‘yet’ because that is the next thing I want! Cooking with gas is just SO much better!}, so Eben actually went out into the cold and lit up his little camping stove just to boil water for espresso and to prepare the most delicious of breakfasts! How great is that?! Guys, the bar has been set – and Eben, you remember that too..! Hehe
Oh yes, there was champagne too – delicious stuff!
I also got a bunch of pretty pink roses – lucky girl!

{Sadly there are no pictures of this most delicious breakfast, because I literally just gobbled it all up and by the time I thought to take a picture, it was all gone..! Really. But let me describe it for you:
3 decadent slices of thick French toast, soaked just enough and with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, all piled up and drenched in maple syrup, topped with bacon… Oh gosh I’m drooling just thinking of it..!}

The rest of the day was spent very leisurely, just lying around outside, spending time with the boys, playing in the sun, reading a book and just really chilling. We’re always so busy during the week and on weekends, always having to do something, go somewhere or just thinking of that looming to-do list, it was really nice to just relax and do nothing, just enjoying each other’s company – the perfect day any mother could ask for.

Anyways, so here’s a great recipe for using leftover fish, creating the perfect lunch or weekend snack. {A crust less quiche}

You will need:
Leftover fish {I used leftover snook that was ever so slightly smoked and then cooked on the braai, about 300g}
1 onion, diced
A sprinkle of cumin
Salt to taste
6 eggs
1/2 a cup of cream
2 tbs cream cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Mix everything together, except for the cream cheese. Stir in the cream cheese so that there are some nice chunks in the mixture.
Bake at 180C for half an hour until the cooked and golden on top.
Serve hot or cold, but it’s rather delicious at room temp, served with cucumber ribbons and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Enjoy! X

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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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

Caprese {stuffed} Chicken

Call me a fanatic, but I do love a caprese salad! The simple, yet bold flavours just speak to me.
I love the classics in general; I was just telling a friend the other day about how I switched from my ever-trusty Essie Mademoiselle nail varnish {super safe and classic – a nude if you like} to a more daring {!!} nude…with a hint of glitter! How wild!
My best friend also always jokes that her mom and I always go for the same outfits and we both love navy! {I’m not allowed to buy another navy coat this winter..!}
But, in my defense, her mom dresses great and navy will always be a classic.

Such is the caprese, it will always be fab and you can never go wrong – it’s a definite classic!
So, just to liven things up a bit, I decided to do a different version of the caprese – a hot version with chicken.

You will need:
6 chicken breasts, boneless {skin on or off, but to be honest I think on would be better, but what a mission to find! And when you do find it, it’s not boneless?!}
12 thin slices of mozzarella cheese
Plain cream cheese
12 basil leaves
Olive oil
Butter
Salt & pepper
Small rosa tomatoes
A handful of pine nuts, toasted

Start by slicing open the chicken breasts, but don’t cut them all the way through, it should look like a little open book, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Now, get a good chunk of butter and a splash of olive oil heated in a large pan and gently cook the inside of the chicken breast. {With the open side facing down in the pan.} This will ensure that the chicken cooks more easily and doesn’t become bone-dry. You just want the inside to be slightly cooked and golden, not cooked all the way through.
Remove from the pan and then start stuffing the chicken:
Spread a dollop of cream cheese
Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts
Place basil leaves
Place slices of cheese
Close them up and tie with string
Return these to the hot pan and cook until the outside of the chicken is golden brown.
Remove them again and set aside.
Add more olive oil to the same pan and add the tomatoes {keep them whole}. Cook on low heat until the tomatoes have gone soft and formed a reddish oil. Return the stuffed chicken to the tomatoes in the pan and let everything heat through.

So delicious- enjoy!

{Serve it with cauli mash or a simple broccoli salad: baby salad leaves with wild rocket, watercress and lightly steamed broccoli, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.}

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Very Most Delicious Chicken Curry

Oh {head wiggling} here is my recipe for the very most delicious chicken curry {more head wiggling}…

Hehe, if you’ve ever been to India, you’ll get this… If not, it’s time to visit India!

We spent a year and a half in India and like I’ve said before, the curries we get here in SA, and most probably anywhere else outside of India, are not the same as you’d find in India. Yes sure, you’ll get your butter chicken anywhere in the world, as well as the touristy spots in India, but even then it’s not quite the same.
Nevertheless, the food you would eat at people’s homes or tiny authentic, local ‘restaurants’ or ‘dhabas’ were always the best! You can taste all the different spices and everything is always made with only the freshest ingredients. The dishes were also never extremely hot & spicy, just the right amount of chilies were used.

You’ll notice my curry doesn’t look creamy, even though I used coconut cream. This is just to give it a bit of a coconut flavour, nothing too overpowering.

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You will need:
1 whole chicken, broken down into pieces {use everything, even the leftover carcass bit, as this adds to the flavour and nutrition}
1 onion, chopped
Yellow mustard seeds {1 tsp}
Whole coriander seeds {1tbs}
Curry powder {masala powder, includes turmeric} {2 tbs}
Black onion seeds {kalonji} {1 tsp}
Green cardamom seeds {3, bashed to open up the seed}
Garlic {3 cloves, chopped}
Ginger {thumb sized piece, chopped}
Tomato paste {2 tbs}
Chopped canned tomatoes {1 tin}
Coconut cream {3 tbs}
Fresh coriander to sprinkle on top
Chicken stock {1 cup}
Salt
Olive oil
Butter
1 large sweet potato, diced

Start by sautéing the onions in butter and olive oil {you could also use coconut oil} in a large pot. Add all the spices and fry until fragrant.
Salt the chicken and add all the pieces to brown. Once the chicken has browned, remove it and the onion & spice mixture and set aside.
In the same pot, caramelise the tomato paste and add the tinned tomatoes to form a rich tomato sauce.
Return the chicken, onions and spices and add the stock and sweet potato.
Season with salt and let it all simmer away for about 50 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Sprinkle with fresh coriander {use the stems and leaves!} and serve.

You’ll be rewarded with a very tasty, delicious chicken curry packed with flavour. If you want it a bit hotter, just add a small red birds eye chili, sliced lengthways.
The broth is so healthy and tasty and will do just the trick to keep the flu at bay.
Enjoy! X

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Introducing the Paleo ‘Boerie’ Burger…

It’s been a while since we’ve made paleo burgers, don’t ask me why… It’s such a yummy, easy & quick supper and tastes waaaay better than a normal bun burger. {Trust me on this one!}
So while I’ve been battling to come up with new food ideas and scrummaging through the freezer, I decided to make boetie burgers! That’s like a hamburger, but made from Boerewors meat. {Boerewors is a traditional South African sausage, made from minced beef, pork and/or lamb coriander and other spices and has quite a distinct flavour. It’s not a very fatty sausage.}
I also recently heard Wimpy’s new ad for their boerie burgers but haven’t seen or tasted it, so no idea what it actually is, but it did give me an idea!
Now, I’m sure you’ve seen {and hopefully made} my Paleo burgers, where I use thick slices of grilled aubergine as the ‘bun’? Well, same concept, but instead of using regular minced meat for the patty, I used Boerewors meat.

So, here it is:
Roughly 500g boerewors, removed from the outer casing
A handful of fresh coriander
Salt
1 egg

For the construction of the burger {add or omit as you please}:
Thick slices of aubergine, brushed with olive oil and grilled
Grilled bacon
Slices of fresh tomato
Caramelised onions
Sliced mozzarella
Fresh baby leaves
Cream cheese mixed with fresh avo, salt & pepper

Remove the boerewors meat from the outer casing and mix it with a spoon to combine properly. Add chopped coriander, salt and egg.
Mix it well to combine and shape into burger patties.
Grill until just cooked.

Use the aubergine slices to contain everything and layer all the rest inbetween.

Enjoy! X

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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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Shepard’s Pie – Banting-style

I suddenly have ‘Gangnam Style’ in my head..! {Hehe}

Is it just me, or does anyone else like to make casseroles, one-dish-oven-dishes or similar things on a Monday night?!
It just seems like the logical thing to do to ease into the week and get your bearings straight. It also feels very comforting to start the week with some comfort food {all Paleo / Banting of course!}.

Ok, so my Monday night comfort dinner is from the Real Meal Revolution and substitutes mashed potatoes for cauli-mash and it is rather delicious.

I adapted the recipe slightly – here it is:

You will need:
500g venison mince
250g bacon, diced
Butter
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 carrot, finely grated
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Tomato paste
5 baby Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cup beef stock
Salt & pepper to taste
Peppadew spice
2 sprigs of thyme

Start by frying the bacon and mince in the butter and let it brown {you will need a large pot, or do it in batches}, season with salt and peppadew spice.
Once the meat has browned, remove it from the pan, add another dollop of butter and sauté the onions, celery, garlic and carrot. Add the meat, tomato paste, thyme, stock and tomatoes and let it simmer for an hour.
Season to taste.

For the mash topping:
1 large head of cauliflower
2 egg yolks
100g of butter
Nutmeg
Salt
Cheese, grated

Steam the cauliflower florets until tender, then purée with a food processor or stick blender.
Add the egg yolks while blending and then the butter. Make sure the butter melts into the mash.
Season with a pinch of nutmeg and salt.
Layer the mince mixture in a large oven dish and top with cauli-mash and grated cheese.
Place it under a hot grill for 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and has turned a golden, bubbly brown.

Enjoy with a herb salad. X

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{The kids’ verdict: Francois (the baby) absolutely loved it and gobbled an entire bowl, while Seb didn’t want to eat it…
My other boy (hubster!) also loved it – but then again, he will eat just about anything and even better if it’s made of mince! Anyways, it was good and a definite do-again!}

Meatballs with caramelised onions & mushrooms

Don’t you just hate those days when you have x, y, z ingredients and you can’t seem to picture a whole dish..?!
I had mushrooms – had to use them soon, I had onions and I had lettuce… {Mince in the freezer.}
There were also a few other bits and bobs in the fridge, but nothing that made sense. I decided on meatballs and everything else was still a blank.

For the meatballs you’ll need:
500g venison mince {or beef}
Salt & pepper
Cumin, about a teaspoon
Cayenne pepper, a sprinkle
1 egg
Bacon fat {for frying}
Mix all together and shape into small bite-sized balls. Fry in bacon fat.

I prepared my never-fail caramelised onions to go with the meatballs, because they go with just about anything, plus the venison goes very well with something slightly sweet.

You will need:
1 onion, sliced
Butter
Balsamic vinegar
Honey
Sauté the onion in butter until soft, then add a tbs of honey and balsamic vinegar and let it caramelise.

You can have the meatballs just like this, topped with some caramelised onions on a bed of baby lettuce – perfect – or you can add a moreish mushroom sauce.

You will need:
Brown mushrooms
Cream
Butter
Salt

The best way to prepare this entire dish is as follows:
Start by making the onions.
In that same pan, fry the meatballs.
Again, in the same pan, make the mushroom sauce. That way you get the additional flavour from the bacon fat and meatballs infused in the mushroom sauce. That is the key!

So, to make the mushroom sauce, add some butter to the pan and sauté the mushrooms until soft. Season with salt and add about half a cup of cream. Let it reduce a bit and voila.
Finish it all off with a handful of wild rocket and a drizzle of olive oil.
You have the comfort of the meatballs, with a bit of sweetness from the onions, an earthy mushroom sauce {just enough, not to drench the dish in a creamy sauce} and fresh, sweet, crisp greens. A perfectly balanced meal!

I must say, this would also work really well as an appetizer for a dinner party – it’s certainly elegant enough and very tasty, plus you could make everything in advance and just assemble it on little side plates to serve. I would just make it a smaller portion, perhaps 2 meatballs per person.

Enjoy! X

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Pork Stir Fry

I can’t remember the last time I made stir fry, it always seems like a lazy dish to make… Well it IS super easy, but for me, the key is to get the seasoning right, as with any dish really.
Stir fry is actually such a great weeknight dinner, it’s one of those hearty all-in-one-eat-it-in-front-of-the-TV-from-a-bowl dishes.

You will need:
Pork steaks, cut into strips
Cabbage
1 onion
2 or 3 carrots, ribboned
1 large broccoli
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
Butter
Olive oil
Garlic

Start by sautéing the onions in a chunk of butter. When they’re soft, add the garlic and pork strips and brown them, season with salt & pepper. When they’re just about cooked, add the shredded cabbage and carrot ribbons. Add a dash of sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce {both to your taste, but remember the sesame oil has quite an overpowering taste, so go easy on that one – I’d say a tablespoon is good}.

Let everything cook, but don’t overcook – soggy stir fry is not a good thing!
When you’re almost ready to serve, add the broccoli florets and let it cook for another minute or so – again, do not let them go soft – just cooked and still crunchy.

Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy! X

{Little Seb just LOVED helping me cook and he enjoyed eating something that he’d cooked himself!}

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