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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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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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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Prune & Apricot Salad

Oh gosh, I need to work a bit of meat into this week’s recipes – it’s been nothing but salads for a while…
But before I do, here’s a great recipe for a fun, fresh and super tasty salad with prunes and dried apricots.

You will need:
Baby salad leaves
Wild rocket
Red wine vinegar
Turkish apricots
Dried prunes
Pistachio nuts

Mix the salad leaves and rocket and add chopped dried fruits.
Dry roast the nuts, chop and sprinkle over the salad.
Drizzle with red wine vinegar.
So simple and delicious!

{I made this with grilled pork chops, using my signature rub. The dried fruit in the salad works really well with pork.}

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Enjoy! X

My twist on the classic Caprese Salad

As you know, I love simple flavours, using less ingredients and letting them shine.
Well, the caprese salad is such a great example of simple flavours that shine: from Capri, it usually consists of sliced fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and sweet basil, drizzled with olive oil & salt.
Now, as you also know, I love aubergine. No, I LOOOVE aubergine!
Long ago, like, a couple of years, I made these yummy aubergine stacks with grilled polenta, tomato and basil. I guess that’s where my Caprese was born, because I’ve made versions of it ever since.
Right, let me get to the point…

You will need:
Aubergine, sliced
Mozzarella or a soft white Gouda, sliced
Tomatoes, sliced {I used rosa tomatoes, but any will do}
Sweet basil
Pine nuts
Olive oil
Salt

Rub the aubergine slices with olive oil and grill until golden. Let it cool and place on a serving plate.
Top with sliced cheese, tomato and basil.
Dry roast pine nuts and scatter over the salad. Drizzle with olive oil and salt.

This salad is great as a starter, as it’s meant to be enjoyed traditionally, or as a side dish to a roast chicken. In fact, I’d say it’s brilliant with chicken!

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The result – a nutty and earthy salad with the freshness of basil & tomatoes.
I could easily and happily eat the entire plate!
Enjoy! X

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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Super Summer Salads

With a low supply of veggies in the fridge, I’ve been faced with a bit of a dilemma… What shall I put in the salad?
Here are two options for super tasty salads, even without a large selection of fresh goodies:

Rocket, halloumi & tomato salad:

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Grill a few slices of halloumi cheese, until just melted.
Use yellow and red Roma tomatoes and slice them in half, toss with rocket leaves, olive oil and salt.
Add halloumi and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Grilled pepper, tomato & rocket salad:

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Roast a red pepper under a hot grill, turning every now and again, until it’s charred all over. Place in a bowl and cover with clingwrap. Let it cool and then gently peel off the skin and remove seeds.
Toss pieces of the grilled pepper with rocket and halved Roma tomatoes. Add feta cheese and drizzle with olive oil.

Fast, fresh and delicious – the perfect accompaniment to roast lamb or chicken {or any meat really!}.

Enjoy! X
{The rocket came from our veggie garden, and so did some of the red tomatoes.}

Prune, rocket & halloumi salad

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A very easy dish – quick, flavourful and exciting – and quite extraordinary!

You will need:

Rocket leaves
Dried prunes
Halloumi cheese
Dried fennel seeds
Freshly ground sea salt
Olive oil

Grind the fennel & salt in a mortar & pestle.
Toss the rocket and prunes together, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the fennel salt.
Grill the halloumi on a hot griddle pan until just melted, let it cool slightly and cut into smaller pieces.
Add to salad and voila!

Enjoy! X

A great {and not boring} green salad

A green salad that gets you up and going, but thankfully not the usual boring old green salad…
Surprisingly simple too – yet packed with flavour.

{Roasted zucchini, feta & avo salad}

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You will need:

3 medium zucchini
1 ripe avo
Cos lettuce leaves
Feta cheese
Salt & pepper
Olive oil

Thinly slice the zucchini with a vegetable peeler or mandolin, toss with olive and sprinkle with salt.
Roast in the oven under a hot grill for about half an hour, rotating the zucchini every now and then to ensure they all roast evenly.
As soon as they’re ready and out of the oven, sprinkle large chunks of feta on top and let it mingle and cool.
Toss with lettuce leaves, add diced avo. You don’t even need any extra olive oil or dressing, just use the oil from the roasted zucchini – voila!

Simple, delicious and totally tasty – oh, and healthy too! Fit for any detox!

Enjoy! X

Cauli ‘couscous’

Cauliflower – the ‘new’ potato! That’s like saying orange is the new black…
Look, like orange {as in the colour – not the fruit}, cauliflower is not for everyone – but me, I like it! {I don’t care much for orange though…}
I find it much lighter than potato and it lends an interesting twist to the meal.
Hubby – not such a fan…! Although he did enjoy the cauli-mash.
With my blender well and truly broken from a previous terrine-blending-exercise, I had to settle for slightly more course couscous, as I had to crumble the raw cauliflower with my fingers. {Stick blender did not do the trick – it made it into a mush.}
Right, so with my slightly large couscous as a base, I whipped up quite a tasty Mediterranean-inspired couscous salad.

You will need:
Cauliflower, crumbled or blitzed into a crumbly texture
Olive oil
Salt
Wholegrain mustard
Small Roma tomatoes
Green pepper
Chorizo sausages
Sundried tomatoes
Feta cheese
Fresh sweet basil leaves
Olives
Bird’s eye chili, finely chopped {adds a nice kick!}

Pour boiling water over the cauliflower couscous and let it sit for 15minutes or so. Drain through a sieve and drizzle with olive oil and about a tsp of wholegrain mustard. Season with fine salt and mix well.
Fry the chorizo in olive oil and add diced green pepper & chili – fry until well cooked and golden – then let it cool to room temperature.
Toss all the other ingredients together {as much of each as you like}, as well as the couscous and chorizo & peppers.

Such a perfect meal on a hot summer’s eve – and quick to make too! Enjoy with a cold glass of dry white vino. Cheers! X

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