Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas vegetables

These simple roasted vegetables from Jamie Oliver are a no-brainer for Christmas dinner or a classic Sunday roast!

Serves 10
Cooks In 1H 35M
Difficulty : Super easy

 - 1.5 kg King Edward potatoes, peeled and halved
- ½ bulb garlic, separated into cloves and crushed with the back of a knife
- 1 small bunch of fresh rosemary, separated into sprigs salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
- 50 g butter
- 2 kg parsnips
- 2 tablespoons runny honey
- 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
- 1 kg Chantenay carrots, if you can't find any, use normal carrots cut at an angle into 2 inch pieces
- 1 orange , zest of

Preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7. Parboil your potatoes for 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and toss around to scruff up the outside of the spuds. Toss with the garlic cloves, half of the rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, and 30g of the butter in a large bowl. Arrange in one layer in a roasting tin and roast for 45 minutes until golden.

For the parsnips, cut them in half lengthways, parboil for 10 minutes and drain. Toss with the honey, thyme, salt and pepper to taste, 10g of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Lay the parsnips flat in a roasting tin in one layer, and roast for about 40 minutes until golden.

Put your carrots in a pan, cover with cold water and add a pinch of salt. Boil for about 15 minutes or until cooked. Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining rosemary and the orange zest together to mix. Drain the cooked carrots and toss with the remaining butter. Season to taste and sprinkle with the orange zest and rosemary before serving.

Serve with some Cheeky Chilli-pepper Chutney - cooks in 1h and is super easy to make.

 - 8-10 fresh red chillies
- 8 ripe red peppers
- olive oil
- 2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 x 5cm stick cinnamon
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 100 g brown sugar
- 150 ml balsamic vinegar

If you want your chutney to last for a while, make sure you have some small sterilised jars ready to go. Place your chillies and peppers over a hot barbecue, in a griddle pan or on a tray under a hot grill, turning them now and then until blackened and blistered all over. Carefully lift the hot peppers and chillies into a bowl (the smaller chillies won’t take as long as the peppers so remove them first) and cover tightly with cling film. As they cool down, they’ll cook gently in their own steam. By the time they’re cool enough to handle, you’ll be able to peel the skin off easily.

When you’ve got rid of most of the skin, trimmed off the stalks and scooped out the seeds, you’ll be left with a pile of nice tasty peppers and chillies. Finely chop by hand or put in a food processor and whiz up. Then put to one side.

Heat a saucepan and pour in a splash of olive oil. Add the onions, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook very slowly for about 20 minutes or so, until the onions become rich, golden and sticky.

Add the chopped peppers and chillies, the sugar and the vinegar to the onions and keep cooking. When the liquid reduces and you’re left with a lovely thick sticky chutney, season well to taste. Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves. Either spoon into the sterilised jars and put them in a cool dark place, or keep in the fridge and use right away. In sterilised jars, the chutney should keep for a couple of months.

Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas and beautiful times spent with family, friends and loved ones!


Saturday, 19 December 2015

Delicious Jaffels

Jaffels seem to be a good old South African treat, and by combining your favourite filling combinations (mine is mince and cheese) it can be transformed in a traditional, quick and charming meal idea.

I've still got one of the traditional, round Jaffel pans (I wonder if one can still buy them?), which I used over a gas flame. But a hot plate works equally well.

No surprises here, the process is simple. Bread must be buttered on the outsides (to prevent sticking) before putting it into the maker.

Prepare your fillings beforehand or you can use left-overs - minced meat, cold cooked chicken, mushrooms, tomato and cheese are but a few ingredients you can use.

Place one slice of bread buttered side down, fill with your choice of filling, place the other slice of bread on top, buttered side up, and place into into the jaffel iron. Cut off all excess crusts, place the maker on a hot plate stove and turn it over to crisp the other side. And voila! delicious jaffels!


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Pasta Alfredo

(Serves 4)

1. Cook 2 Cups durum wheat pasta until al dente.

2. Gently dry-fry one chopped onion in a heavy-bottomed pot, using only chicken stock water when it sticks. When browned, add ½ C water and simmer till soft.

3. Add 3 rashers finely sliced bacon, and toss until cooked through. 

4. Add 1 punnet sliced mushrooms, 1 clove crushed garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

5. When mushrooms are limp, add ½ tin low-fat ideal milk and 1 t Maizena pre-mixed with a little water to form a paste.

6. Stir until thickened, and serve immediately over pasta.

Top with chopped parsley.
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