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


Succulent Meatloaf with Delicious Barbecue Sauce


This is another one of those recipes that I have clung onto for many years! This one is from one of my cooking gurus. Before trying this recipe I was never interested in trying meatloaf  because of the way it has been portrayed in movies. It seemed that it was always a dry, tasteless lump of meat that always went hand in hand with very upset family members! Well this recipe definitely changed my perspective! This meatloaf  is full of incredible flavour, and your senses  will go crazy when the aromas start to fill your home! Because it is cooked with this thick, rich sauce, the meatloaf comes out beautifully moistened and bursting with flavour! Leftovers are amazing the next day on freshly buttered rolls. Enjoy! 🙂

500g pork mince (you can squeeze the meat out of pork sausages)

500g lean minced meat

500ml (2 cups) white bread crumbs

2 onions – finely chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)

1 clove garlic

1 big chilli (optional) – chopped

10ml curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste

15ml chopped parsley

1 egg

For the Sauce:

250 ml chutney

250 ml tomato sauce

100 ml apricot jam

60 ml Worcestershire sauce

60 ml vinegar

60 ml brown sugar

20 ml instant coffee powder

– Preheat oven to 180.

– Mix loaf ingredients very well and fill a foil lined loaf tin with the meat mixture.

– Bring all the sauce ingredients to the boil in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour over the meat loaf. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.

– Transfer to a warm serving platter.

– Thicken gravy with a little flour.

– Check seasoning and pour over the loaf or offer separately.

– Serve with basmati rice and some garden veggies.

Serves 6

Recipe by Carol Elliott

Homemade Gnocchi with Amazing Bolognese Sauce


I’ve been making bolognese sauce for years, its always different! When I saw this recipe and read the ingredients in the bolognese I was curious about the olives and the sage  and the use of white wine as opposed to red. Oh and the mixture of pork mince and beef mince. I know that mixture works well with meatloaf, but I never thought of that combination for a bolognese!  I had to try it! And man I am thrilled that I did! This is one of the best recipes I have come across for bolognese. It goes beautifully with the gnocchi but you could use it with any pasta! The secret to this sauce is TIME, you can’t rush it and it has to cook for the 1 1/2 hours. So don’t do it if you don’t have time. But trust me…. make the time! 🙂 I’m totally in love with this one!

For the Bolognese Sauce

1 Tbsp Butter

1 Tbsp Olive oil

1 small handful sage leaves, chopped

1 small handful rosemary leaves, chopped

1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dry bay leaves

1 red onion, chopped

250g beef mince

250g pork mince (I bought pork sausages and squeezed the insides out of the skin)

3 leeks, finely chopped

100g drained, pitted, chopped black olives

1 Cup dry white wine

2 cups tomato pasata

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 cup beef stock

1 Tbsp sugar

Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

160g freshly grated parmesan

For the Gnocchi

6 floury potatoes

3 free range egg yolks

t teaspoon sea salt

180g cake flour

–       Preheat your oven to 180C. Prick the potatoes once and place on a baking tray. When the oven is heated, put the potatoes in and bake them for 1 hour. (or until cooked through)

–       Meanwhile, heat the butter and the oil in a pan and add the herbs and stir for a few seconds. Then add the onion and sauté with the herbs until soft.

–       Once they have softened, you can add the pork mince and the beef mince and brown it.

–       Add the leeks, black olives and white wine and simmer for a few minutes until the wine has reduced by about half. Then add the tomato pasata, tomato paste, beef stock and sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 ½ hours.  Stirring every 20 minutes or so.  Cover the bolognaise for the first hour of cooking and then remove the lid for the last half an hour. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

–       Once your potatoes are cooked, Take then out and let them cool. When they are cool enough to handle, peel them and then put them through a potato ricer or you can grate it with the fine side of a grater.

–       Put the grated (or riced) potato into a bowl, add the egg yolks, salt and sift in half the flour. Mix and knead to combine. Then sift in the rest of the flour. Mix and knead again.

–       Bring a large sauce pan of salted water to the boil. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. On a clean surface, sprinkle a bit of flour and then roll out the dough into a thin sausage and then cut it into 1.5cm pieces. You can indent each piece with your finger if you would like to give it a bit of character.

–       In batches, put the gnocchi in the boiling water for about 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful not to over cook!  They will come up to the surface and you can scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a warm dish and sprinkle with a touch of olive oil to prevent them sticking together.

–       Place them in individual bowls, top with the bolognese sauce and grated parmesan.

Serves 4

Recipe inspired from the Woolies Taste Mag

Panini Steak Sandwiches With Pickled Peppers And Crispy Baby Potatoes

Steak sm

This is a fantastic recipe to entertain with. We had friends over on Sunday afternoon and it was a perfect lazy Sunday afternoon meal! It was stress free entertaining because it was quick and easy and tasty! You can do the steaks on a braai (barbecue) or you can do then in a pan. You can add whatever you like to the steak sarmies but I find that keeping it simple highlights the flavour of the steak – which is the hero of the dish! You don’t want to overpower that with adding too many ingredients.

1 kg good quality steak (sirloin, porterhouse or any of your favourite cuts – I used porterhouse) cut about 2cm /  2.5cm thick (about 4 large steaks)

1 small jar of pickled, grilled red peppers

1 handful of italian flat leaf parsley

1 handful of Thyme leaves

Salt and Pepper to season


Olive oil

100g butter

10 baby potatoes

6 cloves of garlic

2 sprigs rosemary

2  – 3 handfuls of micro greens

6 small panini loaves

– Start with your potatoes.  wash them and cut any large potatoes in half, then add all of them to the large heavy based casserole dish that can go on the stove top and oven. Add a good pinch of salt. Peel and bruise the garlic cloves and add them to the casserole dish. Pour in enough cold water to cover, then bring to the boil and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

– While the potatoes are cooking, you can prepare the paninis. Slice them and drizzle them with a little bit of olive oil. Then lightly spread one side with a very thin layer of horseradish. (You can add more if you like!). Lay them out so that when the steak is ready you can place them on the paninis easily.

– Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them steam ‘dry’ for a little while.  Return the pan to a high heat, add a good lug of olive oil, and tip the potatoes and garlic back in. Use a potato masher to lightly burst the skins open (don’t mash them though). Add a few sprigs of rosemary and a pinch of salt. Toss every couple of minutes until golden and crisp. (You can finish them in the oven if you want to)

– Finely chop the pickled red peppers on a large clean board. (Save some of the juice that they come in).Finely chop a few parsley leaves, mixing them in with the peppers. spread them out a little to make a ‘bed’ for the steaks (divide the pepper mixture over  two boards). Drizzle over a little bit of the pickling juice.

– Put the steaks on a different (clean) board. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, pick and scatter over the thyme leaves, and drizzle with olive oil. Rub the flavors into the meat, then flip over and repeat on the other side. Pound the steaks once or twice with your fists to flatten them a little, then put into the screaming-hot grill pan to cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side for medium rare, or longer if you prefer. This depends on the thickness of your steaks, of course, so use your instincts and cook them to your liking. Add a blob of butter in near the end of the cooking and let it get hot and coat the steak before taking it out of the pan.

– Take the steaks out of the pan and place them on the ‘pepper bed’ and let them rest with the juices running into the pepper mixture.  When you are ready to slice, take them off the peppers, scrape the peppers to one side and slice the steak into strips (not too thin) at an angle. Mix the slices up with all the peppers, parsley and any meat juices and then place on the paninis. Repeat with the other steaks on the other board.

– Top the steak with micro greens or with rocket or baby spinach (micro greens look prettier and add more variety).

– Pile  the steak rolls on a large platter and then arrange the potatoes around them. Finish off by sprinkling with a few more micro greens.  And serve immediately.

Serves 6

Oxtail with chickpeas


This recipe was given to me years ago by my cooking hero! It’s not the prettiest dish, but you need to take my word for it, this is a little bit of heaven on a plate!  Oxtail is amazing on a cold winter’s night served with fluffy basmati rice and some lovely veggies on the side.


2 Punnets Oxtail

2 Onions

Olive Oil

2 Bay leaves

2 oxtail stock cubes

1 lemon

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tin tomato paste

2 tbs dried parsley

3 tbs sugar

2 tins chickpeas (drained)

Basmati rice


  1. Brown the oxtail in a little oil and set aside to drain on paper towels
  2. Add 2 finely chopped onions to the oil in the pot
  3. Add the browned oxtail
  4. Mix the stock cubes in one litre of boiling water and add to the onions and oxtail together with the bayleaves. Make sure that the meat is covered by the stock.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low heat and allow to cook and lessen for 4 – 5 hours , stirring every 20 mins
  6. Once the mixture has reduced, add the juice of 1 fresh lemon, the tomato paste, the garlic, parsley and sugar and cook for 45 mins at a gentle simmer
  7. Add the drained chickpeas and allow them to heat through in the mixture but turn the stove off.
  8. This dish is best served the day after with Basmati Rice.


Serves 4

Recipe by Rene Kairuz

Asian Style Sticky Short Rib

sticky short rib pic

Ribs are one of those things that are just decadent and make you feel like you are on holiday! Well thats how I feel when I eat them. You can lighten up the meal by serving it with a gorgeous side salad or you can serve it with some onion rings and crunchy chips! 🙂 This recipe has a bit of a teriyaki vibe going on… .one of my new found favourite flavours! yummm!!!

2 kg Short rib

1 x 6cm piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

2 red chillies, chopped (take the seeds out for milder heat)

250mls (1 cup) soya sauce

6 Tbsp brown sugar

3 Star anise

250mls (1 cup) apple juice

125mls (1/2 cup) water


– Preheat your oven to 160 c

– Brown the short rib in a little oil over medium heat to get a bit of colour and transfer to a baking tray

– Add all the other ingredients to the baking tray

– Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 3 hours, turning once half way through

– Take the ribs out of the sauce and place all the sauce into a frying pan and reduce the sauce on a medium heat for about 20 minutes until sticky.

– Toss in the ribs to coat them with the sticky glaze and serve.


Serves 4

Recipe & photo from the Woolies Taste Mag

Pasticcio Macaronia (Baked Macaroni and Mince)


A gorgeous layered dish of macaroni, mince and creamy sauce similar to lasagne. Serve in squares with greek salad and crusty bread!

For the meat sauce: 

2 Tbsp butter

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

500g beef mince

Salt, pepper,

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup red wine

1 can tomato pure’e

Chopped parsley

For the Cheese Sauce:

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup flour

4 cups milk (warmed)

salt and nutmeg

1 cup cheese

2 eggs, beaten

For the topping:

Grated cheddar cheese


Slivers of butter

250g Macaroni  – cooked according to packet instructions.

– Fry the onion in the garlic and butter. Once the onions are soft, add the mince and stir until the colour has changed.

– Add the salt, pepper, and cinnamon  and stir to combine.

– Add the wine and cook for a minute and then add the tomato puree. Cook for 30 – 40  minutes on a low heat. Add the parsley at the end.

– For the cheese sauce, melt the butter and then add the flour. Stir until you get a paste. Slowly add warm milk and stir until thickened. Add salt and nutmeg. Remove from heat and add the cheese and stir in the beaten eggs.

– Grease a baking dish with butter and cover the base with half the cooked macaroni. Spread meat sauce over evenly and then pour half the cheese over the top. Top with the remaining macaroni and then pour the rest of the cheese sauce over it.

– To make the topping, mix the cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the mince and macaroni and dot with butter.

– Bake uncovered at 170 C for 50 minutes until golden brown.

– Turn off the oven and leave to settle for 15 minutes and serve!

Recipe by Adele Koninis

Meatballs in Fragrant Coconut Broth

Photo 2013-04-19 8 27 46 AM

A refreshing little twist on boring old meatballs! This meal freezes really well, so it’s a good idea to double the recipe and freeze half of it for a meal on another day.


1 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced

Salt and pepper to season

500g beef mince

1 Tbsp chilli flakes

1 cup bread crumbs

3 or 4 tbsp milk

Coconut Broth

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds

3 or 4 cardamom pods

1 tsp tumeric

½ tsp cinnamon

2 whole, dried chillies

2 stalks lemon grass, bruised and cut in half

1 x 5cm piece of ginger, sliced thinly

375 mls chicken stock

375 mls coconut milk

Zest and juice of one lime

–       Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and onion and sweat gently with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

–       When the onions are translucent and soft, add the chilli flakes and cook for 2 minutes. And then set aside to cool slightly.

–       To prepare the mince, spread it out in a large bowl to maximse the surface area and season well. Mix it all up and then flatten out again.

–       Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl, make a well in the middle and then add the milk and mix to form a soft dough consistency.

–       Add the bready dough and the onion mixture to the mince and mix well.

–       Make balls that are slightly bigger than golf balls, squeezing gently to make sure that they stick together while cooking. Flatten them slightly with 3 fingers so they sit nicely in the pan.

–       Wipe out the frying pan and add another glug of olive oil and heat the pan on a medium to high heat. Once the oil is warmed up well, add the meatballs.

–       Add the coriander seeds, cardamom pods, tumeric, cinnamon, dried chillies, lemongrass and ginger.

–       Turn the meatballs over. They should have great colour now.

–       Add the chicken stock and coconut milk, check and adjust seasoning. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer gently for 8 – 10 minutes.

–       After it has simmered for 8 – 10 minutes, add the juice and zest of the lime to finish it off.

–       To serve, place a ladle of the broth in a bowl and then place the meatballs on top.

–       Serve with fluffy jasmine rice or noodles

Recipe by Gordon Ramsay

Traditional South African Bobotie


You either love it or hate it but Bobotie is firmly tied up in our South African roots! A delicious curried mince dish with a fruity sweetness makes for a great traditional family meal 🙂

2 onions, finely chopped

3 Tablespoons olive oil

3 slices of white bread soaked in milk (enough to cover the bread)

2 Eggs

3/4 C milk

2 or 3 bay leaves

Group A 

15 mls (1 tbsp) curry powder

30 mls (2 tbsp) ground ginger

30mls (2 tbsp) brown sugar

15mls (1 tbsp) ground tumeric

10mls (2 tsp) salt

5ml (1 tsp) freshly ground pepper

Group B 

100g raisons

30 mls (2 tbsp) apricot jam

30 mls (2 tbsp) vinegar

60 mls (4 tbsp) chutney

30 mls (2 tbsp) Worchester sauce

30 mls ( 2tbsp) tomato paste

– Soak the bread in enough milk to cover the 3 slices and set aside for later.

– Fry the onions in the oil until the onions are just soft and have some colour. Add the group A ingredients to the onion mixture and stir for 1 minute. Add the mince and fry together until the spices are well incorporated and the mince has just changed colour.

– Add the ingredients of group B and mix well, stirring for a few minutes until the mince has cooked through. Take it off the heat and let it cool down a bit. Once it has cooled a bit you can add the soaked bread (squeeze out any excess milk first).  Mix well.

– Put the meat mixture into an oven proof dish.

– Beat the eggs and milk together and pour it over the Bobotie. Place the bay leaves on top (they will float around, thats ok).

– Bake at 180 C For 45 minutes or until nice and golden on top.

Serve with yellow rice and mixed veggies.

Recipe from Candice (Monica)

Gordon Ramsay’s Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps


This is a fantastic ‘dinner with friends’ meal! you can serve it all separately and people can help themselves. Its fun food and not expensive at all to make! and you can make a LOT if you are feeding more people – just multiply the recipe 🙂

Olive oil for frying

200g lean beef mince

200g minced pork

Toasted sesame oil for frying

1 – 2 red chilis – finely chopped

1 x 5cm piece of ginger, grated or finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp fish sauce

Zest and juice of 1 lime

3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 little gem lettuces, separated into leaves, to serve

Sweet and spicy dipping sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp olive oil

1 – 2 tsp fish sauce

1/2 chopped chilli (leave the seeds in for extra heat)

The juice of 1/2 a lime

A bunch of coriander, chopped

– Heat a large frying pan and add a little oil. Mix the beef and pork mince together and season with salt and pepper and mix well to ensure the seasoning is evenly distributed. Fry the mince in the hot pan for five to seven minutes until crisp and brown and broken down to a fine consistency. Drain the crisped mince in a sieve – this will help it stay crispy. Set aside.

– Add a tablespoon of sesame oil to the pan and add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Fry with a pinch of salt and the sugar for two minutes. Add the drained mince and stir to mix.

– Add the fish sauce and heat through. Stir in the lime zest and juice, then add the spring onions, stirring for thirty seconds. Turn off the heat.

– Mix all the dressing ingredients together and adjust to taste.

– To serve, spoon some of the mince mixture into the lettuce leaves, drizzle with a little dressing and serve.