Fillet Steak inspired by The Carpetbagger

Let me start off by saying that I am NOT a ‘surf ‘n turf’ fan… I find the whole concept a bit tacky – it’s just too much and nothing really ‘fits’.

Ok, so with that out of the way, let me tell you that this carpetbagger business is quite delicious, contrary to previous conceptions.

I used venison fillet, and what you must always remember with venison, that I learnt last year when I first started to cook with it, is that it is a naturally lean meat and needs a bit of fat or creaminess and it also likes to be paired with sweet things like fruit or sweet wines.

So, what is a carpetbagger? Well, it is a piece of steak, stuffed with oysters – in a nutshell.

I didn’t stuff the steak with the oysters, in fact, I didn’t even use oysters… I used smoked mussels and used it in the sauce.

You will need:
1 large piece of fillet steak, cut into thick steaks
1/2 a cup of cream
100g butter
About 100ml Cape Ruby {aka Port}
1 tin smoked mussels
Freshly ground sea salt

Heat the butter in a large, heavy based pan. Season the raw steaks with salt and fry both sides in the butter until they are medium to rare. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the port and let it deglaze the pan. Add the cream and mussels and another dollop of butter.
Let it reduce ever so slightly and return the steaks to the pan to let it simmer for a few minutes in the sauce. It should be cooked to about medium.

Serve with a simple salad of beetroot, feta and mixed herbs. I used watercress, baby spinach and rocket.


I boiled the beetroot, then let it cool. Once cooled, I removed the skin and thinly sliced it.
I drizzled it with olive oil, a splash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of ground sea salt.
Use this with a selection of greens and then add feta and vanilla flavoured pumpkin seeds.
I guess these vanilla seeds are not very kosher when it comes to Banting, etc, but they are so yummy and just elevates your salad to another level. A yummy sprinkle isn’t too bad in the greater scheme of things…

Enjoy! X

Blue cheese & caramelised onion meatballs with rocket & marinated tomatoes

These tasty little treats were quite a surprise – one of those ‘will it work, or won’t it…?’ kind of experiments…
Inspired by the blue cheese gem squash I made earlier this week, these meatballs were born. Ok, so not so much a meatball, but something like it…

You will need:
500g mince {I used venison mince}
Salt & pepper
1 egg
Half a handful of chopped coriander
A pinch if fresh origanum, chopped
50g blue cheese, crumbled
1 onion, sliced
Red wine vinegar

Sauté the onion in butter, add a splash of red wine vinegar and a drizzle of honey – cook until caramelised.
Mix the caramelised onions with all the rest of the ingredients and scoop into a muffin pan. Pat the mixture down firmly into each cup {it should make 6}.
Bake at 180C for 20 minutes.

Serve on a bed of rocket and top with marinated tomatoes and a dollop of cream cheese.
{Marinated tomatoes: cut small cherry or Roma tomatoes in half and sprinkle with freshly ground salt, olive oil and red wine vinegar – let it marinade for at least half an hour.}

So yum – enjoy! X



‘Tis the Season..!

‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-laa-la-la-la-la!

Christmas is fast approaching and everyone is thinking of their holidays – lounging in the sun, eating merry puddings, drinking merry cocktails and just generally taking it easy and relaxing. if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere somewhere, you might be all wrapped up in a holiday scarf, drinking eggnog and enjoying various pumpkin-spiced-goodies. Aah – the holidays – enjoyed everywhere!

I think most people might have their Christmas trees and decorations up already, but if you’re a traditionalist the tree will only go up 12 days before Christmas (UK) or on Christmas Eve (Germany). The Americans start to ‘deck the halls’ straight after Thanksgiving, which is close to the beginning of December in any case… But honestly, some people have their homes all kitted out by the middle of November already and some even as early as the beginning of November!

Retail shops tend to put up their decorations earlier too and have their merchandise on the shelves from mid-October, which frankly, is just too early in my opinion. But then again, I suppose they only have a short period in which to sell all their Christmas merchandise.

There are no traces of Christmas in our house yet – apart from the delicious and boozy fruitcake I baked on Tuesday. Perhaps some mince pies and eggnog next week?
{This fruitcake might not make it all the way to Christmas, let alone get a cap full of brandy every week – it’s just too delicious! I even had some for breakfast this morning..!}

In the spirit of the ‘jolly season’, I made venison kebabs with figs in a Port reduction:

Venison kebabs & Port figs Venison kebabs & Port figs


I used venison kebabs that we had made for us – marinated in Woolies’ BBQ marinade. Of course, you can make your own marinade too! You could also use any meat for your kebabs…

For the figs, you will need:

Turkish figs, dried

Port {Cape Ruby}

Castor sugar


Cover the figs in Port in a small sauce pan and bring to the boil.  Add a tbs or 2 of sugar and a splash of water and let it simmer until it has reduced to a rich, syrupy sauce and the figs are soft.

Serve with buttery butternut mash {I added a dollop of butter and a bit of water to the raw butternut and let it steam in the microwave} and a green salad {lettuce, mangetout, cucumber, avocado and feta cheese}.

Delicious – enjoy! x

Thursday – Asian-style venison with butternut squash


I don’t know how much venison they eat in Asia, but nevertheless, this is my Asian-inspired venison with butternut squash:

500g stewing meat (I used venison)

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tsp fish sauce

2 cloves of garlic

1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, roughly chopped

2 red chillies, sliced open length-wise

peppadew spice (one my faves!)

1 cup of chicken stock

1 tbs honey

Place all these ingredients in your slow-cooker (so easy!) and cook on high for 3 hours. After 3 hours, remove meat from cooker and chop into pieces and remove bones. Return to cooker and add another splash of soy sauce, a dash more water and 3 tbs of sweet chili sauce. (Venison loves something sweet!)

Cook for another hour and serve with roasted butternut squash.

Enjoy! X

Tuesday dinner

Mince pockets filled with raisin relish and wrapped in bacon

I do love bacon! Who can live without it?! Like I’ve mentioned previously, most of the meat I use is venison (blouwildebeest to be exact), but all these recipes can be made with beef too.

I usually make this with stewed prunes and cling peaches, but tonight I used the leftover raisin relish from yesterday’s dinner.

500g venison mince

1 tablespoon peppadew spice

half a teaspoon salt

half a teaspoon paprika

half a teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons raisin relish juice

1 egg

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Mix all ingredients together. Now, take your bacon rashers and place them in a muffin pan in a cross-shape with the ends draping over the side of the pan (to fold over the filling later.). Add a spoonful of mince mixture, press down and create a hollow for the relish. Add spoonful of relish and cover with more mince.  Wrap the ends of the bacon over the parcel and secure with a toothpick. Bake at 180C for 30 minutes until cooked.

Serve with a salad (I made a simple salad of lettuce, roast pine nuts, carrot ribbons, fresh basil and tomatoes)


On the menu this week

Like I’ve mentioned, I love lists and ‘listy’ things – so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I like to do a menu for each week, and then I shop accordingly.

Here’s this week’s dinner menu: (I will post a photo and recipe for each day)


Spicy chicken livers with sweet potato mash and a raisin relish


Game mince pockets wrapped in bacon, served with a salad


Angelfish salad and a berry panacotta for dessert


Thai-style salad


Roast chicken with roast veg


Slow-roasted leg of wild boar with roasted beets and a caprese salad – along with some scrummy cake for dessert

We have a get-together with all our neighbours on Sunday, yay!

*I use mostly game meat or venison – whatever you’d like to call it – in my cooking, I apart from chicken or pork, which I just get from the local supermarket.  (However, the wild boar is wild game.)

One of Eben’s best friends goes hunting every season and he supplied us with our venison.  Now, the reason for us going the ‘wild’ route, is health (we’re trying to eat as paleo as possible – and how much more paleo can you get than hunting for your own meat?!) and also cost (it works out to almost half the price of what you pay for hormone-injected beef in the supermarket! Plus it tastes way better!)

Watch out for these recipes this week, along with a snappy…