Christie’s Brownies

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I got this recipe a while ago from my friend Christie. They are pretty much fool proof, amazing everytime brownies! I was needing brownies as a base for my Christmas Black Forest Trifle and I used these which worked perfectly! You can use this as a base and add macadamia nuts, or pecan nuts or white chocolate and dried cranberries. Anything you like really. They are best after a day in the fridge (if you can wait that long!)

For the Brownies 

250g butter

2 cups (250ml) sugar

3 eggs (lightly beaten)

2 cups flour

5 T cocoa

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g dark chocolate

100g chopped pecan nuts (optional)

For the topping

1/2 – 3/4 Tin of condense milk

2 tsp cocoa powder

Remainder of the chocolate from the brownie recipe

  • Heat your oven to 180 C
  • Melt butter and sugar together. Cool and place in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a medium sized mixing bowl if you are using a hand mixer).
  • Add eggs to the cooled mixture and mix well in the stand mixer.
  • Add flour and cocoa and mix well
  • Add vanilla and mix. Stop the mixer.
  • Chop up 6 x 3 rows of the chocolate into small chunks and add to the mixture together with the nuts (if using) and fold through.
  • Add the mixture to a greased large, rectangular or square oven dish.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  •  To make the topping, mix all the ingredients together and heat in the microwave until the chocolate is melted.
  • Pour on top of the brownies after they come out of the oven
  • Leave to cool and then cut into squares.

Recipe by Christie Gunn

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Peanut Satay Pork Rice Paper Rolls

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Delicious little rolls that are healthy and taste great!  The nice thing about these is that you can put just about anything in them! mine change all the time. I made these on Saturday for a picnic which worked so well! I packed them into little containers and they were the perfect picnic treat.

For the wraps:

1 x 500g pork fillet

1 tsp chinese 5 spice

20 rice paper discs

1 red baby cabbage (thinly sliced)

3 carrots (finely julienned)

1 punnet watercress (torn up)

1 packet of baby spinach (torn up)

100g almond flakes

100g dried coconut shavings

3 tbs sesame seeds

Sesame oil

For the Satay sauce

2 Tbsp oil

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp dried chilli flakes (or fresh chili)

60ml peanut butter

80ml Hoisin Sauce

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 cup coconut cream or milk (I used the coconut milk – way less fattening)

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

 

  • To make the sauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan and fry the garlic and chilli. Combine the rest of the ingredients and add to  the saucepan. Stir over medium heat for about 2 – 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • While the sauce is cooling, take a clean dry frying pan and on a medium to high heat, toast your almond and coconut flakes until golden brown. (stirring constantly) Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Finely slice the pork fillet, season with salt, pepper and the chinese 5 spice. Heat some sesame oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the pork and stir fry quickly until JUST done! Add about half a cup of the sauce when it is done, mix it up and remove from the heat and place into a separate bowl so that it can cool down.
  • Get a casserole dish wide enough to fit a rice paper disc in and fill it with warm  (not boiling) water
  • Place a clean, dry towel on your work surface. You need at least half a bath towel worth of space… I hope that makes sense.
  • One at a time, place a rice paper disc in the warm water and wait about a minute until it is soft, take it out and place it flat on the towel for a few seconds, then fold in half, but slightly more on the side resting on the towel (look at the pictures below).
  • When you have done that to 10 discs you can fill them.  Mix the carrots, cabbage, spinach and watercress together in a bowl  and place a little of that veg mixture on each half moon shaped rice paper disc. Then put a little of the almond and coconut flakes on.

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  • Next, take some of the pork mixture and place this on top of the almonds, coconut and veg mixture.

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  • Now you can roll these babies!
  • Fold the bottom section (the curved side) up over the mixture (it will just go over the bottom bit of mixture)
  • Then take the left side and fold it over the mixture and roll from left to right over the ’empty flap’ until you get a roll resembling this:

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  • The rice paper is pretty sticky (it’s amazing stuff) and will stick to itself so as soon as you have completed the roll, the rice paper will seal itself. EASY PEASY!
  • Continue with this process until all your rolls are done and you can then pack them up for a picnic or serve them on a platter with a little bowl of your satay dipping sauce. (which is missing from my photo – sorry)

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They are quite cute and can stand up by themselves, making your plating fun and interesting.

Feel free to change it up! you can put fillings in like sweet chilli chicken with cabbage dressed in olive oil, soy sauce and white wine vinegar and some sugar (see my oriental cabbage salad recipe)  or you can do Pork with plain hoisin sauce and some lettuce, carrots and cucumber… ah – just use your imagination. Its endless really!

Enjoy

Serves 4 – 5

Seared Asian Tuna, Coconut Rice and Jiggy Jiggy Greens

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Another one from the fabulous Jamie Oliver! This recipe has rocketed right to the top of my favourites list!

WOW. . .

It was date night on Saturday and I wanted to make my husband something delicious and special for dinner without having to spend hours in the kitchen! (not on date night! come on!) I had planned to do this meal as it seemed to tick all the boxes. It was quick, easy and man oh man…. the flavours!  We were in heaven. The beautiful freshness of the grapefruit juice adds something amazing and the green tea (strange I know) and sesame crust is just to die for.

What a treat!! I just can not recommend this one enough….

Rice

1 x 400g tin light coconut milk

1 x coconut tin (300g) of basmati rice or jasmin rice

1 lime

Tuna

1 x 450g piece of yellowfin tuna steak

2 x green tea bags

1 tbsp black and white sesame seeds (mixed)

Olive oil

Pickled ginger

2 spring onions

1 fresh red chilli

The juice of 1 small pink grapefruit

low salt soy sauce

½ bunch fresh coriander

Greens

2 bok choi

1 large bunch of asparagus (300g)

200g tenderstem broccoli

2 tsp sesame oil, plus extra to serve

3 cloves garlic

1 tbsp teriyaki sauce

  • Pour the coconut milk, 1 tins worth of rice and 1 tin of boiling water into a small pan. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, cover and cook for roughly 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, then turn the heat off.
  • Halve the tuna lengthways, then empty the contents of the tea bags on to a board with the sesame seeds and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roll and press the tuna in the flavours to coat, then put in the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sear for about 40 seconds on each side, then remove to a plate, leaving the pan on the heat.
  • Halve the bok choi, then finely slice in a food processor with the trimmed asparagus and broccoli.
  • Put the sesame oil into the frying pan and turn the heat up to high. Squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher, then tip in the sliced greens. Toss and move around for 2 minutes, then season to taste with Teriyaki Sauce and remove from heat.
  • Arrange pieces of pickled ginger around a serving platter and about a tablespoon of the juice.
  • Finely slice the trimmed spring onions and chilli and sprinkle over the top.
  • Squeeze over the grapefruit juice and season to taste.
  • Slice the tuna 1cm thick and place on the dressing, drizzle with a little soy sauce, then sprinkle with coriander leaves and a few dribbles  of sesame oil.
  • Serve with the rice, lime wedges and greens.

Serves 4

Recipe and photo by Jamie Oliver

Lamb Kofte, Pitta and Greek Salad

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I think that I shared the same point of view with many other people who have tried to lose weight before with various diets. And that is that healthy, low fat food has no taste, no pizzaz, offers zero challenge or excitement to an adventurous cook who’s looking to up their skills and learn more about food and flavour.  This presented me with a real dilemma in that I felt as though I had to choose between my love of cooking, food and my health.

Something had to give right? WRONG.

I really applaud Jamie Oliver and his intense mission that he has undertaken to introduce healthy eating habits and has not just highlighted a problem, but has offered a solution in his recipes that are FULL of amazing flavour, are quick and easy to make but remain interesting, fresh and different!   I don’t have to choose between interesting great tasting food and my health, I can now cook amazing food that is good for me but that also feeds my cooking and food passion. It’s just about making the right choices, cutting the wrong things out and focussing on flavour combinations and making good, healthy food WORK well by combining it with the right stuff! Something that Jamie does very well and is teaching me how to do which has proven to be a very valuable lifestyle lesson!

I made this from his 15 Minute Meals recipe book last night and have fallen in love with it! The honey and pistachio coating is just gorgeous. The honey adds a subtle sweetness that lamb loves and the pistachios add interesting colour as well as a beautiful texture.  I also really enjoyed the grated red onion and cucumber mixture that he puts on the greek salad. It worked so well and I am not usually a fan of onion in salad, but this was fantastic!

This meal works so well for entertaining as you can just pop platters on a table and people can go nuts! I will definitely do this one again! ENJOY! 🙂

Kofte

400g lean lamb mince

1 tsp garam masala

Olive oil

25g shelled pistachios

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

1 tbsp runny honey

Couscous

½ bunch fresh mint

1 fresh red chilli

½ mug (150g) of couscous

Salad

½ an iceberg lettuce

½ a red onion

½ a cucumber

5 ripe cherry tomatoes

4 black olives (stone in)

4 heaped tbsp fat-free yoghurt

2 lemons

40g feta cheese

To serve:

4 Pita breads

  • In a large bowl, mix the mince with salt, pepper and the garam masala.
  • Divide into 8, then with wet hands shape into little fat fingers.
  • Put into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, turning until dark golden all over.
  • Tear off most of the top leafy half of the mint and blitz in the processor with a pinch of salt and pepper and the chilli until fine. Remove the blade, stir in ½ mug of couscous and 1 mug of boiling water, put the lid on and leave to sit in the processor.
  • Cut the lettuce into wedges and arrange on a nice board or platter.
  • Peel and coarsely grate the onion and cucumber into a bowl, season well with salt, then squeeze out any excess salty liquid and sprinkle over the lettuce.
  • Chop and add the tomatoes, then squash, destone and dot over the olives.
  • Mix the yoghurt in a bowl with the juice of 1 lemon, season to taste , then drizzle over the lettuce and crumble over the feta.
  • Bash the pistachios in a pestle and mortar.
  • Drain away the fat from the lamb, then toss with the bashed nuts, thyme leaves and honey and turn the heat off.
  • Pop the pitas in the microwave (800W)  for 45 seconds to warm through, then cut in half and add to the board with the kofte.
  • Fluff up the cous cous, scatter the remaining mint leaves over everything and serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4

Recipe and photo by Jamie Oliver

Decadent Chocolate Mousse

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I have searched high and low for a decent chocolate mousse recipe. Some of them I found had great ingredients, but a terrible method. Some had a great method but the ingredients lacked something. Again, I did what I do best and scrambled up a few recipes to come up with this one. It works beautifully and tastes SO good! You do have to let it set overnight though, which I think is great for dinner parties as you can get a whole course sorted the day before. Don’t take shortcuts, this one needs that time in the fridge! You can decorate with some icing sugar and berries or strawberries. This one is a winner!!

 

200g dark chocolate, chopped

20g butter

3 eggs, separated

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 cup (250ml) pouring cream

120g raspberries

 

  • Place the chocolate and butter in a small glass bowl that fits snugly on top of a small saucepan with boiling water in the saucepan, one third full. Over a low heat and stir until melted and smooth.
  • Meanwhile whip the cream until soft peaks form and then place in the fridge to keep cool.
  • Put the egg yolks into a bowl and give them a light whisk with the castor sugar. Once the chocolate is melted, add a little to the egg yolks to temper the yolks and then mix. Then add the rest of the chocolate. Pour everything into the same bowl that you melted the chocolate in and then return the bowl to the bain-marie sauce pan and stir continuously over the boiling water for about a minute or 2 until slightly thickened. Set aside to cool.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold through the chocolate mixture and the whipped the cream.
  • Spoon into serving glasses and refrigerate overnight until set.
  • Top with the raspberries to serve.

Serves 4

 

Homemade Gnocchi with Amazing Bolognese Sauce

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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

Pecorino and Breadcrumb-Crusted Lamb Cutlets

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This recipe is indeed a classic and is really not that difficult. Take your time with it and do it with love. Don’t rush the frying either by making the oil too hot. These will be wonderful if they are allowed to fry gently and become beautifully golden and cooked just right inside. The flavour friends in this dish are definitely the mustard and thyme with the pecorino. Its a great combination for Lamb!

Crumbs:

2 pita breads (you can also use 3 or 4  slices of ciabatta loaf)

1 sprig rosemary (leaves only)

2 sprigs thyme (leaves only)

½ cup (125ml) coarsely grated pecorino cheese

Salt and milled pepper

12 lamb rack cutlets (French trimmed)

¼ cup (60ml) Dijon mustard

Flour for dusting

2 eggs – beaten

Vegetable oil, for frying

Tzatziki, for serving

–       Place crumb ingredients in a blender and pulse until medium-sized breadcrumbs form. Tip onto a plate.

–       Season the cutlets and brush all over with mustard. Dust in flour and dip in egg. Coat in crumbs and refrigerate for 30 minutes to set crumbs.

–       Heat about 4cm oil in a pan and fry cutlets until golden all over.

–       Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot with tzatziki.

Serves 4

Recipe from the Pick ‘n Pay Fresh Living Magazine

Greek Lamb and Haloumi Kebabs

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This is such a simple. delicious and easy meal to make. Ask your butcher to cut up the leg of lamb for you. I do that and it works brilliantly. I just select the leg I want and then they take it to the back for me and chop it up – free of charge, and they do it really well! Makes life a LOT easier!

Ingredients: 

800g deboned leg of lamb cut into 2.5cm cubes

200g haloumi cheese, cut into 2.5cm pieces

1-2 red onions, cut into wedges

Marinade Ingredients:

50ml chopped oreganum

5ml chopped garlic

5ml grated lemon rind

50ml lemon juice

50ml olive oil

salt and pepper

For serving:

Soaked wooden skewers

Pita breads for serving

Hummus for serving

– Combine the lamb and cheese and onion with the marinade ingredients and marinate for 3-4 hours or overnight.

– Thread the meat, cheese and onions on to the skewers and cook on a griddle pan or over a braai until the meat is cooked to your liking. 
Baste frequently with the remaining marinade.

– Serve with warm pita breads and hummus for dipping.

Recipe by Angela Day

 

Mango Rice Pudding with Palm Sugar and Lemongrass Syrup

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This gorgeous pudding is so different with some beautiful Thai flavours that are light and summery.

For the rice pudding

1 cup (200g) arborio or risotto rice

3 cups (750ml) water

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

2 cups (500ml) coconut milk

¼ cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar

4 mango cheeks, halved

For the palm sugar and lemongrass syrup

1 cup (250ml) water

½ cup (60g) grated palm sugar

2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and bruised

–       To make the lemongrass syrup, place the water, palm sugar and lemongrass in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15–20 minutes or until syrup has thickened. Remove lemongrass and set aside.

–       Place the rice, water and vanilla in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed.

–       Add the coconut milk and sugar and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for a further 5–8 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Top pudding with syrup and serve with mango halves.

Serves 4.

Recipe by Donna Hay

Gordon Ramsay’s Chili Beef Lettuce Wraps

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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.

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