Saturday, 18 August 2012



1 cucumber, seeded, but not peeled
red bell peppers, cored and seeded
6 organic  tomatoes
1 red onion
garlic cloves, minced
1 liter tomato juice 
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tsp toasted ground cumin
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 tsp tabasco sauce
2 tsp sugar
freshly ground black pepper

Fill a pot halfway full of water, set over high heat and bring to a boil.
Make an X on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool until able to handle, approximately 1 minute. Remove and pat dry. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes. 
Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into cubes. Put chopped vegetables and garlic into a food processor and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. 
Once processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, cumin, worcestershire sauce, tabasco, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. 
The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavours develop.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Lemon Passionfruit Meringue Cake

Lemon Passionfruit Meringue Cake

125 grams unsalted butter
4 eggs, separated
300 grams sugar
100 grams flour
25 grams corn flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Zest of one lemon
4 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp milk
½ tsp cream of tartar
150 ml whipping cream
150 grams lemon curd
Flesh of three passionfruits
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Line and butter two 21 cm sandwich tins.
Mix the egg yolks, 100 grams of the sugar, butter, flour, corn flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and lemon zest in a processor.
Add the lemon juice and milk and process again.
Divide the mixture between the prepared tins.
Spread until smooth.
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks form. Then slowly whisk in 200 grams of sugar.
Divide the whisked whites between two sponge-filled tins, spreading the meringue straight on top of the cake batter.
Smooth one flat with a metal spatula and with the back of a spoon, peak the other.
Put the tins in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
When done, remove both cakes to a wire rack and let cool completely in the tins.
Unmold the flat-topped one onto a cake stand, meringue side up.
Whisk the cream until thick but not stiff, and set aside.
Spread the flat sponge surface of the first cake with lemon curd mixed with passionfruits, and then spread over the cream and top with the remaining cake, meringue side up.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Crispy Fried Beef Szechuan-stylie

I first came across this dish on one of my many, many ladies potluck outings.
Can't remember which one exactly, but the dish sure sticks in my cavernous mind like the proverbial glue.
After scouring the net for the recipe and found one (obviously!) I proceeded to make the Family my trial-and-error-experimentees (yeah, they're still my guinea-pigs, but I thought I'll play nice and give them a more important sounding title)

Crispy Fried Beef Szechuan-stylie

300g beef steak
2 tbsp cornflour
salt and pepper

Cut the beef julienne style, across the grain into thin and long slices.
Add the cornstarch and seasonings to the beef strips. Mix it in thoroughly, making sure that each piece is coated.
Add the oil to a wok over medium high heat. Once the oil get hot add the beef.
Toss the beef occasionally. It will start to look as is it’s drying a bit.
Once the beef turns a nice browned color, remove the beef from the oil and set aside.
Remove the excess oil with some paper towels.

To make the sauce

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar.
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp  chili garlic paste
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp roasted Szechuan peppercorn

In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients and then set it aside.

Return the beef to the wok and add the sauce mixture.
Stir until everything is thoroughly combined.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Sea Bass with Thai-style Mango Salsa

Here's the deal...

No one in the Family likes fish on bones, let alone a whole fish.
And why do I end up with 3 whole sea bass, I hear you say?
Long story short, saw them on a fishmonger shelf, they were screaming out freshness.
I was not able to resist.

And that was how I ended up with 3 fish faces staring at me.

Anyways, I turned them into crispy fried fish (sans head), seasoned with turmeric powder, black pepper and salt.
Which was in turn smothered with strips of mango, chillies and spring onions marinated in a fish sauce, sugar and lime juice mixture.

I must say, The Family did enjoy the meal (in between picking and chocking on bones).
But will I buy any more whole fish after this?
After a unanimous and resounding NO from the The Family, my work here is done.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Raspberry Jelly with Frozen Mango Yoghurt

Fresh Raspberry Jelly

450g fresh raspberries
2 sachet vegetarian gelatin
450ml unsweetened apple juice
2 tbsp sugar

Sprinkle the gelatin over the apple juice in a saucepan and simmer while stirring thoroughly until completely dissolved and the liquid appears to thicken. Turn off the heat.
Add the fruit  and mix carefully so that the fruits are not squashed. Ladle mould.
Leave to cool then chill for at least 1 hour or overnight until firm. 

 Frozen Mango Yoghurt

2 cups plain yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp honey
1 cup mango puree

Using a food processor blend all the ingredients until smooth.
Put the frozen mango yogurt in a container and keep it in the freezer for at least 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Jambalaya with Chicken and Chorizo

I have made a batch of chorizo using minced veal and I'm dying to test it out.

Jambalaya with Chicken and Chorizo

1 tbsp olive oil
6 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
1 onion , diced
2 garlic cloves , crushed
75g homemade veal chorizo, sliced
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cups long-grain rice (I'm using Basmathi)
400g can plum tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
salt, to taste

Season chicken pieces with a little salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken until golden.
Remove and set aside.

Into the same pan, tip diced onion and cook until soft.
Add the garlic, chorizo and the spices. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

Stir in the chicken back into the pan along with the rice.
Add the tomatoes and stock. Season well.
Cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Veal Chorizo

I know they're ugly.
But they're amazingly delicious and thoroughly versatile.
Since these are fresh chorizo (as opposed to those cured ones) they must be cooked thoroughly before being eaten.

Homemade Spanish-stylie Veal Chorizo

750g ground veal
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and squish the mixture through your fingers to distribute the seasonings evenly. What could be easier than that! 
Leave it to sit overnight in the refrigerator so the flavours will meld.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Vegetarian Dry Curry

It was one of those days that started off sunny and bright...
Optimistic as ever, MrD and I made our way to a nearby PYO to replenish our supply of fresh fruits and vegetables.
While going through the rows of brambles, with our baskets hardly filled up, the sky burst open and we had to make a hasty retreat to the farm shop in fear of getting drenched, to wait out the rain. It didn't look like the rain was ever going to stop soon enough, so we decided instead to pick the produce that was on the shop shelves. After all, they're all freshly picked at the farm with zero carbon footprint, says she who drove all the way in a gas-guzzling automobile...

some waxy new potatoes

just picked creamy head of cauliflower

good enough to eat on its own fresh sweet garden peas

I decided to turn them into a spicy vegetarian curry to eat with some Indian flat bread.

Vegetarian Dry Curry

1 small cauliflower, cut into smaller florets and blanched
new potatoes, boiled in salted water

a handful fresh coriander
1 small knob fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
3 green chillies

1 tsp cumin seeds
6 small red onions, thinly sliced
1 cup tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp kasoori methi
1 tsp garam masala
salt, to taste

Heat oil in a pan.
Add cumin seed and sliced shallots and saute over medium heat until fragrant and golden brown.
Add the grounded ingredients and chopped tomatoes.
Add in the rest of the spices and simmer on low heat until the oil separates from the gravy.
Add the boiled potatoes, cauliflowers and peas. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes