What’s for dinner? Lamb shanks – that’s what!

As I was sipping my morning coffee yesterday, my Yuppiechef newsletter arrived in my inbox…
Always exciting stuff – what’s new in the world of cooking and culinary gadgets – one newsletter that I actually read!

They had a feature on lamb shank and I decided, ‘that’s what I’ll make for dinner tonight’, it’s just the perfect hearty dish for a cold winter’s evening.
I made mine with cauli mash, so it’s totally Banting-approved!

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You do need enough time for this one – so get cracking NOW – it needs to cook for at least 2.5-3hrs.

Other than that, it’s super easy – here’s what you’ll need:
4 lamb shanks
Salt & pepper {I prefer to use fine salt and white pepper with lamb}
Lemon rind of 1 lemon
Tin of whole peeled tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
A handful of thyme sprigs
400ml dry red wine
Olive oil
1 large head of cauliflower
A chunk of butter {perhaps 50g or so}
1 tbs sour cream / crème fraîche

Use a medium-sized oven casserole that will snugly fit all 4 shanks.
Season the lamb shanks with salt & pepper.
Heat enough olive oil and brown the meat on all sides and set aside.
Add a bit more olive oil to the casserole and sauté the onions until they’re nice and soft.
Add the garlic, the thyme and lemon peel and cook for about another minute.
Add the tomatoes and just give them a rough chop in the pot, then add the wine.
Return the shanks to the casserole, place the lid on top and cook in a pre-heated oven of 140C for 2.5-3 hrs, until the meat is really tender and starts to fall off the bone. I cooked mine for 2.5hrs…

Serve with cauli mash:
Steam or boil the cauliflower until tender, then purée with a stick blender, season with salt & pepper, add the butter and crème fraîche and blend until smooth. Voilà!

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#dessert anyone?

I have such a sweet tooth and that’s just a fact. No use lying about it…

So, here’s my recipe for a super easy, super quick and super satisfying chocolate and peanut butter pot {for 4 servings}.
Chocolate and peanut butter – so very American and so very delicious!

You will need:

4 dark chocolate cupcakes with dark chocolate icing, halved
4tsp condensed milk
4tbs cream cheese
4tbs cream
4tsp peanut butter {use the one without added sugar, as the dessert is quite sweet already}
About 40 dark chocolate buttons

Place the top half of the cupcake {the one with the icing} in the bottom of an oven-safe glass or ramekin.
Layer a teaspoon each of peanut butter and condensed milk on top of the icing {the icing should face up, obviously}.
Next, layer a tablespoon of cream cheese and cream and sprinkle with about 10 dark chocolate ‘buttons’.
Place the remaining {bottom} half of the cupcake on top and bake at 160C for 20 minutes.
Serve warm and do let each person stir up their pud to get everything nice and mingled!

Enjoy! X

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Hearty Chicken & Butternut Quiche #lunchtime

Hello!

What’s for lunch on this sunny winter’s Monday?

I think a hearty quiche is just the thing! It’s quick and easy and you can make it ahead of time too.

Perfect for The Lunchbox or a Sunny Picnic – you decide.

All right, so here’s what you’ll need:
Deboned {roasted} chicken meat {I used the brown meat from a whole chicken: thighs, some of the wings and the drumsticks.}
6 whole eggs
Handful of Gouda cheese, coarsely grated
6 tsp sour cream
3 sprigs of thyme
1 small butternut, diced and cooked
A splash of milk
2 large leeks, cut lengthways into quarters and caramelised in butter

Start by prepping all your already-cooked ingredients:
Remove the cooked chicken from the bones and roughly tear into strips
Cook the butternut and let it cool
Caramelise the leeks by slowly sautéing in butter until it becomes golden and soft

Next, whisk the eggs and add a splash of milk. Add the grated cheese and season with salt & pepper.
Butter a small oven dish and pre-heat your oven to 180C.

Layer the chicken and butternut in the bottom of the dish and press the thyme sprigs inbetween.
Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the chicken and butternut and add dollops of sour cream randomly onto the dish.
Finally, arrange the leeks all over and then bake for about 35 minutes until the eggs are set and the quiche is beautifully golden on top.

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You can totally make this quiche with a traditional pastry shell, but I prefer it without, plus now it’s carb-free!

Enjoy! X

Random Ramblings…

Hello!

Today I’ve a lot of things on my mind, none of which really have anything to do with each other. Just some random ramblings…

I met up with a friend for some tea today, our ‘annual’ get-together, as she lives far, far away, in Windhoek.
A charming place, one I’ve driven past many times and heard of, but never been to, Contessa’s.
So anyways, we always chat about everything and anything, but what I love is that we can bounce ideas off each other, she’s great with marketing things and a LOT more organised than I am. Mentally and physically. So it helps me to sort of just organise things a bit in my own mind…

I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog, my Facebook page and Twitter, and how these should all tie together and whether they or not and if it all makes sense, you know?!
So I’ve decided now that yes, it does make sense, that this blog is about me and Pink Poppadom and anything really that I want it to be and that the Facebook page is more of a marketing tool for Pink Poppadom Cakes & Bakes. Something like that…

And Twitter, well, Twitter is Twitter I guess! I understand it, but sometimes all the hash-tagging gets a bit confusing, so I either end up not tagging anything, or I do everything.

Then, as I was driving home today, I just realised how much I love my automatic car! Gear / stick-shift cars are the pits…
I had to use hubby’s car today and his isn’t automatic, plus it’s a Land Rover Defender {basically a lorrie!} and it is just SO annoying to have to change gears every time you approach a red robot and have to slow down, or go through a stop street or drive up a hill, etc, etc… Grrrr so that was my bit of annoyance today.

I’ve also decided to do a detox… A juice-cleanse to be more specific. More on that later – let me first get my mind around it! I think I will start with a 2-day cleanse.
I’ve just been feeling a bit horrible the past few weeks, I get nauseous very easily {no, not pregnant!}, I’m not sleeping well and I have bags {!!!!} under my eyes! Yes, so I think a cleanse is in order…

What else..? Hmmm…

Oh yes, I thought I would just share my best winter buy: the best slippers ever! Sheepskin slippers that come up to your ankles, lined with wool.
As you can imagine, they’re not very pretty, but oh.my.gosh. they are super warm, super comfy and I can wear them outside too, they’re super durable!

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I bought Eben a pair last year, and I’ve been wearing them whenever it gets cold. I’ve put off buying my own, because they’re quite ugly and pricey too, but then I just had to have them, so…
A definitive must-have for winter.

All right, well that’s all my rambling done for today!

Oh wait – movie to see: The Lego Movie

It is SO funny! More of an adult movie, but totally child-friendly too, it’s just more adult type humour.
Also, I’ve found my country of origin, or actually what my mind is like inside: Cloud Cuckoo Land from the Lego Movie. Hilarious, watch it!

Ok, ta-ta for now! 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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Slow-cooked Orange Spiced Pork

Hello and brrrrr…!

So, it seems that winter is here in all its glory. Freezing mornings and nights, with chilly yet sunny days and we just had a very, very cold weekend…
I sound a bit like the weather man, don’t I..?

Anyways, it’s that time of year when we crave warm comfort foods, usually in the shape of one-pot-meals or something baked and cheesy and carby… So if you’re trying to stay good and on the Banting or Paleo path, it’s really not that difficult! Ok fine, we all crave those carby things in winter, but you can still indulge in some serious comfort food, while sticking to your eating plan.

I’m totally in love with oranges at the moment, they’re in season and packed with vitamins. Yes, they contain sugar and so strictly speaking not quite an eat-as-much-as-you-can item on the Banting list, but just use them in moderation.
Oranges and spices can transform almost any food into a warm, rich winter staple…

Here is my recipe for slow-cooked orange spiced pork:

You will need:
+- 1kg Pork chops or stew cuts
1 orange {half of it thickly sliced! the other half juiced}
3 cloves
3 star anise
1 tsp honey
2 cups chicken stock
Salt
1 cinnamon quill
1 tbs soy sauce
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly chopped
1 butternut, diced and cooked

{You will need a slow cooker / crock-pot for this recipe, although you could also make it in a large, heavy bottomed pot.}

The thing I love about using a slow cooker, is that you literally just place everything into the pot, switch it on and hours later you have a fab meal. The downside of using a slow cooker is that you don’t get that lovely browned meat flavour into the food, unless you brown the meat before putting it into the cooker. With this recipe, I don’t brown the meat first, I do it at the end by placing everything under the grill. This gives everything a slightly caramelised effect.

Enough babbling…

Start by placing the meat in the bottom of your slow cooker and just pack everything on top and around:
Place the cloves, star anise, cinnamon and ginger around the meat.
Season with salt. Combine the soy sauce, honey and orange juice and pour over the meat. Place the orange slices, as well as the half of squeezed orange on top and around everything.
Add the stock and let it cook on high for about 4 hours.
Once the meat is cooked {the meat will be cooked but the fat not rendered and still bleak-looking}, remove and dish it into an oven dish.
Drizzle some of the juices over the meat and place the orange slices on top, again. Add chunks of the cooked butternut and make sure everything has a drizzle of juices…
Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, until everything is golden and some bits start to get charred.

Enjoy as is, with a glass of dry red of course! You can also add a few bits of mini lettuce or a micro salad, but let’s face it, who wants salad on a freezing night?!
I think it would also work with cauli-mash…

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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