Asparagus, Artichoke and Roast Pepper Salad with Feta, Olives and Parmesan

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So there are a few cheats in this one, but honestly one of the yummiest flavour combinations that will transform your mid week meals into something special! Super quick to make and packed with deliciousness!

  • 3 cups of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tub of marinated artichokes
  • 1 Roasted red pepper with skin removed
  • About 10 pitted black olives
  • 1 round of feta cheese
  • 2 cups of fresh green asparagus
  • Fresh Parmesan Shavings
  • Rocket leaves (Arugula) to garnish
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle
  • Balsamic Glaze to drizzle

Wash and drain the spinach leaves and arrange on a serving plate / dish and drizzle a teeny bit of balsamic glaze over to dress lightly.

Steam the asparagus for 5 -6 minutes and then add them to ice water to cool. Then remove and pat dry and season with salt and pepper and put aside.

Arrange the sliced roast pepper, olives, feta, artichokes and seasoned asparagus on top of the spinach leaves and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Top with parmesan shavings and rocket leaves and then drizzle the balsamic glaze over the top and serve.

Enjoy x

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Homemade Flatbread with Bacon Jam, Camembert, Roast balsamic figs and walnuts.

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The beauty of flatbread is that you can pretty much imagine your favourite ingredients and pile them on! This is a topping that I did because I just love these ingredients together and they worked beautifully on the flatbread. Bacon Jam might sound strange but it is just crispy bacon blended with caramelised onions and it is ridiculously addictive!

For the Bacon Jam 

  • 500g bacon
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Cook the bacon in a frying pan until nice and crispy and the fat has rendered well. Take the bacon out and set aside. Keep the bacon grease in the pan.

Slice the onions thinly and add to the pan and stir to coat well with the bacon fat. Turn the heat low and cook for an hour stirring every now and then. When the onions have darkened then add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and season with salt and pepper and stir for about 5 – 10 minutes until it thickens.

Add the onion mixture and bacon into a food processor and blend until the desired consistency is formed.

For the roasted figs

  • 8 – 10 fresh figs
  • Balsamic glaze

Cut the figs into quarters and lay on a baking sheet and drizzle with balsamic glaze and grill in the oven until browned and set aside.

For the rest of the toppings

  • 2 rounds of camembert cheese (at room temperature)
  • 100g chopped walnuts, roasted in a dry frying pan for a few minutes
  • Fresh Rocket (Arugula) to garnish

Spread a layer of bacon jam on the flatbreads, sprinkle on the roasted figs and chopped camembert and top with the walnuts and rocket and serve immediately.

Serves 4 -5

 

 

 

Homemade flatbread with roast sweet potatoes, spicy chickpeas and Tahini dressing

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Another great topping for flatbreads. This one was inspired by a very yummy recipe that I found that I thought would work really well on the flatbread as a topping. I was right – it works really well!! The Tahini dressing is to die for!

For the flat bread

  • 2 Cups of Self Raising Flour
  • 1 Cup of plain, natural greek double cream yoghurt
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to season

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Once a sticky dough is formed, turn out onto a floured surface and kneed until well combined. Add more flour if the dough stays too sticky. Tear dough off in ‘balls’ that are roughly 1 and a half times the size of a golf ball. Roll out and then dry fry on both sides until done. Set aside.

This makes about 5. You can double if making more.

For the topping 

Spicy chickpeas

  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Roast sweet potatoes and onion 

  • 2 large orange sweet potatoes (or 1 butternut)
  • 1 red onion cut into eighths

Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • The juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 Tbs Maple syrup (you can sub with honey)
  • Hot water to thin

Heat the oven to 190 c

Cut the sweet potato into small chunks and lay on a baking sheet with the onion pieces. Sprinkle with the olive oil and some salt and pepper to season.

Roast for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

While the sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare the chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas and then pat dry. Mix all the seasonings together and then sprinkle over the chickpeas and mix well so that they are well coated.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and once hot add the seasoned chickpeas and turn the heat down to just above a medium heat. Fry them until browned and starting to crisp (about 10 – 15 minutes).

Add the sweet potato and onion mixture onto the flatbread and then top with the chickpeas and then pour the dressing over and serve immediately.

Serves 4 – 5 people

Home made flat bread with Chicken, peppers, hummus, feta and Tzatziki

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There’s nothing better than having a meal made for you with lots of love all wrapped up in it. I was on the receiving end of this a few months ago when a special friend made this for my family. It was ridiculously comforting and yummy! I have made it a few times since and have played around with the topping options as they are pretty much limitless, but this one is the Courtney Original and always the favourite of the varieties that I now make. Thanks Courts! Come and cook for me again!!

For the flat bread

  • 2 Cups of Self Raising Flour
  • 1 Cup of plain, natural greek double cream yoghurt
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to season

In a large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Once a sticky dough is formed, turn out onto a floured surface and kneed until well combined. Add more flour if the dough stays too sticky. Tear dough off in ‘balls’ that are roughly 1 and a half times the size of a golf ball. Roll out and then dry fry on both sides until done. Set aside.

This makes about 5. You can double if making more.

For the topping 

  • 3 x Chicken breasts , diced into small squares
  • 1 large red pepper diced into small squares
  • Seasoning of your choice for the chicken (I used sweet sticky chicken spice)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 2 – 3 rounds of feta cheese
  • Hummus
  • Tzatziki
  • Rocket (Arugula) for garnish

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chicken and the seasoning and the red pepper into the frying pan and stir fry together until the chicken is just done.

Spread a layer of humus on the flatbread. Then top with the chicken mixture and then crumble the feta on top of the chicken mixture and then top with blobs of tzatziki and serve.

Serves: 4 to 5 people

Courtney’s special touches: 

You can add cubes of roast butternut and caramelised onions. DELISH!

 

 

 

 

Pan-Fried Gnocchi and Blue Cheese Salad

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I am LOVING blue cheese at the moment and am loving experimenting with different ways of using it. I came across this recipe and juggled it slightly and was super stoked with the outcome! All  the beautiful flavours of blue cheese buddies with the soft comforting yumminess of the soft, scrumptious gnocchi.

Ingredients

  • 4 – 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1 Package of dried gnocchi
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50g Walnuts
  • 200g or a small pack of streaky bacon
  • 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
  • 50g Dried cranberries
  • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
  • A big bunch of fresh Rocket (Arugula)
  • 80g Blue cheese of your choice

 

Method 

  • Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the gnocchi straight from the packaging to the hot melted butter and saute until golden brown. (5 – 10 minutes)
  • Add the walnuts and garlic to the pan with the gnocchi and cook for about 3 minutes
  • Put the gnocchi and walnuts into a warm dish and return the pan with any juice to the stove and add the bacon, onions and cranberries and saute until the onions are soft. add the Gnocchi and walnuts and toss and leave to cool for a little bit.
  • Add the rocket and toss together and crumble the blue cheese on top with a bit more rocket to garnish and serve immediately.

 

Crispy Oriental Chicken Salad

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Well things in our home have been hectic to say the least! A busy toddler is no joke! But I am trying to get back into getting  bit more creative with the meals I have been making and I am trying hard to find a little time to look for some yummy recipes to share with you. I found this one yesterday and made it last night and it was a real winner! My son has a gluten intolerance so I used gluten free flour to make the whole dish gluten free and it was a hit! Beautiful fresh flavours. I apologise for the quality of the photo – I’ll get better!

Ingredients: 

For the Batter: 

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 2 cups flour (I used gluten free flour)
  • 2 cups crushed cornflakes
  • Salt and pepper

For the salad: 

  • 4 – 5 chicken breasts
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 large carrot, finely Julienne
  • 1 cup red or green baby cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cucumber – sliced
  • 60g flaked almonds and 2 chopped spring onions for sprinkling on top
  • Oil for frying

For the dressing: 

  • 6 Tbsp Honey
  • 3 Tbs sushi vinegar (you can use rice wine vinegar)
  • 2 tsp dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Splash of sesame oil (half a teaspoon at the most)

Method: 

  1. Put all the dressing ingredients into a little blender and blitz until mixed and put aside.
  2. Mix the egg and milk together in a bowl and then in a separate bowl mix the flour and cornflakes together and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Slice the chicken into thin strips, then dip each strip into the egg mixture and then into the flour mixture, making sure that it is covered completely.
  4. I used my deep fryer to cook the strips but if you don’t have one then you can use a pot and put enough oil in to deep fry at a relatively high temperature until the coating is a crispy golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel. You will need to probably do the chicken in batches.
  5. Mix all your salad greens and bits in a bowl or separate bowls for each person, place the chicken strips on top and then sprinkle with the almonds and spring onions. Finally dress the salad with that yummy dressing! ENJOY!

Delicious South African Lamb Burger

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So the Rugby World Cup is looming and we South Africans are all about supporting our “BOKS”. Our company decided to kick off an industry competition called “Build a Bok Burger”. The burgers had to have green and gold in them and have a South African Rugby Theme. Naturally, I didn’t want to do a normal beef burger. I started researching and combining all sorts of different recipes and came up with the LAMBIE BURGER. A Lamb burger named after a South African Rugby Hero – Pat Lambie. It was a hit and won the competition! Whoop!! The flavours are awesome and the tzatziki and sweet peppers compliment the lamb beautifully!

Have a TRY at the Lambie PAT-tie! (yes, yes…uber cheesy!)

700g Lamb Mince (I used lamb sausage and took the casing off)

1 egg

1 tsp Dried Oregan0

1 tsp dry sherry

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (you can use white wine vinegar)

1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes

4 cloves garlic – crushed

1/2 cup spring onions

1 TBSP chopped fresh mint

2 TBSP bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

5 Mini Panini

1 tub Tzatziki

Fresh mint leaves to garnish

2 yellow bell peppers

Olive oil

Butter

 

  • Mix the lamb mince, egg, Oregnano, sherry, vinegar, chilli flakes, garlic cloves, spring onions, fresh mint, bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a bowl and shape into patties.
  • Slice the pepper into slices and place on an oven tray. Baste with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the peppers under the grill until a nice char is formed.
  • Grill the patties on a braai (barbeque) or under a grill in the oven until done.
  • Slice the mini paninis in half, butter each half and toast slightly on the braai or under the grill.
  • To assemble the burgers, place a generous amount of tzatziki on one half of the panini, then place the slices of grilled yellow pepper and then the pattie and garnish with some fresh mint leaves and cover with the other half of the panini.
  • ENJOY with an ice cold beer watching the Ruggers!!

GO BOKKE!!!

 

 

Pork Belly Kebabs

 

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We recently had a kebab cook off  as a team building exercise which was loads of fun! Being a competition I immediately started researching for something different, something fresh and unique to blow the competition away. (Im not competitive at all *coughs*) Anyway…. I came across these kebabs on the Food24 website and the ingredients immediately stood out for me. Our team agreed and so we went about preparing these little beauties and braaied (barbecued) them. Constantly basting with the marinade.

I was nervous about cooking the pork belly in a new way as I have only ever slow cooked pork belly. But they turned out beautifully and the soy, honey, ginger, garlic, chilli flavours worked SO well with this cut! My husband said it was the best kebab he has ever had. I think he might just be very excited that I have started cooking properly again after a few months off! But they were really good!

Definitely use the reduced sodium or light soya as they can be quite salty if you don’t.

oh, and I know you are wondering… yes – we WON!

  • 1kg pork belly, bone and skin removed but with some fat left
  • 8-10 kebab sticks

For the Marinade:

  • 150ml reduced salt or light soy sauce
  • 100ml water
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 3 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 thumb fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 fresh chilli, chopped (optional)
  • 1 lemon grass stem, bruised

For garnish:

  • Chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds

 

Method:

Slice the pork belly in 1cm thick and 5cm long slices.
Make the marinade by whisking all the ingredients except the lemon grass stem.
Pour the marinade over the pork belly, add the lemon grass stem and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Remove the pork from the marinade and thread the strips on the kebab sticks.
Grill on a griddle pan or on the barbecue turning on each side until cooked through. Garnish with the chopped spring onions and the toasted sesame seeds.

 

 

Photo and recipe from Food24.com

Halloumi and Mushroom Kebabs with Salsa Verde and Cous Cous

Halloumi and Mushroom Kebabs

I came across this Hairy Bikers recipe on the BBC Food website about 3 years ago when I was going through a halloumi craze! I wasn’t very big into no meat meals so I got a deboned leg of lamb from my butcher and cut it into cubes. Rubbed some of the salsa verde onto them with some salt and pepper and then seared them in some hot olive oil and then added them to the skewer and finished them off with the rest of the ingredients in the griddle pan. I also precooked my button mushrooms before skewering them and it worked beautifully. You could also add cubes of rump steak and treat in the same way as I did the lamb.  There are so many fantastic flavours in this dish and make for a really great vibrant and colourful meal to brighten your week up! This is the recipe that introduced me to salsa verde which has become one of my absolute favourite tastes!

 

For the couscous

125g cous cous

125ml hot vegetable stock

5 tbsp olive oil

1 lemon, juice only

1 ready-roasted red pepper, shredded

50g toasted flaked almonds

50g dried apricots, chopped

 

For the skewers

200g halloumi cheese, cut into 2.5cm cubes

8 cherry tomatoes

8 button mushrooms

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano

Rumb steak or deboned leg of lamb cut into cubes (optional)

 

For the salsa verde

bunch parsley,chopped leaves only

bunch basil, chopped, chopped leaves only

bunch mint, chopped, chopped leaves only

2 tbsp drained capers

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

½ tsp Dijon Mustard

100ml olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

 

Preparation method

  • For the couscous, place the couscous into a bowl and cover with the hot stock. Cover the bowl with a plate or cling film and leave for four minutes.
  • Uncover the bowl and fluff up the couscous with a fork. Stir in the remaining ingredients, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • For the kebabs, preheat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat. Toss all of the kebab ingredients together and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Thread the ingredients onto metal kebab skewers and cook on the hot griddle for 5-6 minutes, turning frequently.
  • For the salsa verde, place all of the salsa verde ingredients, apart from the olive oil, into a food processor and blend, gradually adding the oil until you have a loose paste.
  • To serve, spoon the couscous onto plates, top with the kebabs and drizzle with the salsa verde.

Serves 2

 

Photo from the BBC Food Website

Pork Fillet with Roast Crushed Baby Potatoes, Prosciutto and Balsamic Dressing

 

Pork Fillet with potatoes and balsamic dressing

I’m halfway through my pregnancy and the first trimester pretty much obliterated my desire to cook! Last night I was desperate for some ‘proper’ and interesting food and found this recipe on the Taste website. It was very easy and pretty quick to make with a really fantastic result. The pork fillet turned out beautifully and tender and the combination of proscuitto, rocket, balsamic vinegar, whole grain mustard and red onion is such a winner.  My poor family have obviously been a bit deprived of tasty food and devoured it! I will definitely make this again! Its absolutely divine!  Enjoy!

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

Leaves from 1 large sprig rosemary

4 garlic cloves, sliced

750g piece pork fillet, trimmed

500g baby potatoes

1 red onion, cut into wedges

4 slices prosciutto

Rocket leaves, to serve

 

Balsamic dressing

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon grainy mustard

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the rosemary leaves and sliced garlic.
  • Brush a little over the pork fillet.
  • Par-boil the potatoes for 10 – 15 minutes, then drain and lightly crush. Toss the potatoes and onion wedges with the remaining garlic and rosemary oil, then place on a large baking tray and roast in the oven for 25 minutes, turning occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork filet and cook for 2-3 minutes, turning to brown all over.
  • Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the pork and add to the baking tray with the potatoes and onion, and roast for the remaining cooking time (20 minutes). For the final 5 minutes, add the slices of prosciutto to the tray to crisp.
  • While everything is cooking, make the dressing. Place the olive oil, balsamic and mustard in a jar and season with salt and pepper. Shake well.
  • To serve, place some rocket onto each plate and divide the potatoes and onion among them. Slice the pork thickly, place on top and drizzle with the balsamic dressing. Place a shard of crisp prosciutto on top of each.

Serves 3 – 4

Recipe and photo from the Taste.au website.