Tuesday, 29 January 2013


....cause one always needs a little something with a cup of tea.

I introduce to you Crunchies...a South African favourite, truly the simplest and quickest biscuits of them all. 

As long as you have a bag of oats lying around, you're away.  My favourite part is measuring the golden syrup, man oh man golden syrup and me are very good friends, I always add a little extra just because.

Makes approx 24 pieces (depending on how big you cut them)

You'll need

1 cup of flour
1 cup of coconut
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of oats
1 teaspoon of bicarb of soda
1 1/2 tablespoons of golden syrup
6 0z of margarine


Melt margarine and syrup, add to dry ingredients and mix well. 
Spread in a tray and bake at 180C for about 15-20 mins or until golden brown
While still hot, cut into square and leave in the tray to cool.

Tip:  The mixture may seem a little dry but you need not worry, when it bakes it all binds together.  Just make sure you pack in in the tray tightly

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

golden beetroot & feta risotto

Talk about having to climatise...  Having just returned from a long stint in sunny South Africa this snowy winter wonderland sure is an adjustment.  Coming from a land of salads and BBQ's, I had all good intention of carrying out the all healthy, all slimming January detox.  It soon became apparent that in this icy weather, we are still very much in need of warm comforting food and that's exactly what you can expect over the next couple of weeks.

Let the detox begin in February, where we'll 'Detox - the delicious way'!   There will be soups, curries, stews, bean salads, dips, healthy snacks and lots of herbal teas. 

But for now, here is a warm creamy risotto, using golden beetroot which you don't always find and feta.

Serves 4

You'll  need:

1 red onion, chopped
3 golden beetroots (roasted in foil to maintain their juices and diced)
1 slab of feta (to taste)
400g arborio risotto rice
300ml boiling stock
4 Tbs white wine
salt and pepper to taste
slice of lemon


1) Put oil in a pan and saute onion
2) Pour in the rice and coat with the onion and oil, then add the wine
3) Gently add the stock spoon by spoon, allowing all the stock to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next ladle, over medium heat for approx 20 minutes.  If you need to increase the amount of stock do so, until the rice is al dente, but not too soft.
4) Add chopped up feta and beetroot and let it cook through the rice.
5) Serve immediately warm and creamy, and squeeze a slice of lemon over and season with salt and pepper

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

slow cooked lamb pasta (Youvetsi)

Here is something to bring warmth and comfort into all homes before the big feast.  It's a very rich and rewarding meal.

I truly love it, but the real secret is the tender fall-off-the-bone meat which is cooked slowly in a rich tomato sauce.

Also known as Youvetsi, it's a typical Greek dish made traditionally by baking rice pasta.  This version is a simple rendition which my aunt introduced me to using Penne pasta, transforming it into a very tasty pasta dish.

Serves 4

You'll need
  • 8 or 10 lamb chops (or stewing lamb on bone)
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500g Penne pasta

1) Gently fry the chopped onion in the olive oil
2) Add the meat and brown
3) Add the tinned tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and bay leaves, simmer on low heat for approx 2 hours, adding boiling water to ensure it does not dry out.  Meat should be tender and falling off the bone.
4) In a separate pan, boil the pasta
5) Mix all together and serve immediately.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

easy cranberry sauce

Christmas is all about 'Giving' and 'Eating'.  This year for the first time I made my own home-made cranberry sauce and I will never look back, after all a traditional turkey is not complete without it.

I've said this before and not sure why, but for some reason people are intimidated with things that come in jars.  Chutneys, jams and sauces are some of the easiest things to make and this recipe proves it.

The reason the idea dawned on me was solely down to my husband.  I sent him out to buy some fresh red currants which I was going to use to decorate a cheese board.  He returned with, wait for it.....a frozen packet of cranberries :)

I kept my cool as I realised I hadn't explained myself properly (lesson No.1 learnt) and secondly thought, good work Jimbob.  Instead of leaving these little puppies sit in the freezer for months on end, I decided to put them to good use.

Our annual Christmas dinner with friends is always a great success with everyone taking turns to host.  This year was our turn.  I tend not to get involved in the cooking as it's all down to hubby, his tradition, his mates. However I did contribute this little jar of red heaven and would encourage you to try it too.

It's the quickest, easiest preserve I've ever made, taking 5 minutes, or slightly more if you prefer it less runny and an absolute delight.  Eat that Mr Oliver's 15 minute meals, GF does it in 10.

You'll need:

  • 1 Pkt frozen cranberries
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • juice from 1 orange
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 Tbs port (optional)


1) Place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to boil
2) Simmer for 5 - 10 mins (or till sauce thickens slightly)
3) Pour into jar and let cool, serve with Christmas meal.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

strawberries and cream, Santa style

When my sister sent me a picture of little strawberry Santa's I couldn't resist making them to share with you all.  They are just so adorable and so simple. 

The original recipe, not entirely sure where it came from seemed to be a festive mailer, using cream cheese however I think these work just as well with whipped thick cream and icing sugar.

The next time you're asked to take a plate of eats rounds to friends, why not take a plate of Santa's

You'll need:
  • 1 punnet of strawberries
  • 1 tub of double cream, whipped till thick
  • a handful of linseeds
  • 3 Tbs icing sugar


1) Wash the strawberries and remove the stalks, cutting the bottom of the strawberries so they stand straight.
2) Slice the top half of the strawberry to create the hat.
3) Using a paring knife, remove the inner core of the strawberry
4) Fill the strawberry with cream and using a piping bag pipe the buttons down the front and the tip of the hat.
5) Place two linseeds for the eyes and sprinkle with icing sugar

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Camembert brulee

With only a month to go to Christmas, we're really getting in the spirit and it's all about feasts and delicious treats here. 

Let’s eat and be merry I say!

After all there is plenty of time in January to detox and I'll be bringing you lots of tasty detox recipes to try, but for now and until then it’s all about eating anything and everything, join in the festivities and indulge.

If you're thinking of serving a cheese course with your Christmas meal, then you have to try this neat and impressive little trick.  Introducing, the Camembert brulee!

It's oh so simple and the perfect finale to a great meal and best enjoyed with a glass of port. 

If you have a blow torch its best to torch it in front of your guests, alternatively the grill caramelises the sugar in exactly the same way.  Both warm the cheese leaving it all gooey on the inside with the sweet caramelised sugar on top.  It’s divine and will leave your guests wanting more

You'll need:

1 block of Camembert cheese
2 Tbs of sugar

1) Sprinkle a think layer of sugar on top of the cheese.
2) Using a blow torch, torch the sugar until it starts to melt and caramelises, careful not to take it too far as the sugar burns very quickly.

Alternatively, if you don't have a blow torch, you place the sugared cheese under a grill for a few minutes until the sugar caramelises.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Christmas baklava

Don't you hate it when you click 'publish' instead of 'save'.  Well, here it is a little premature but I think its time to start feeling all Christmassy! 

And what better way to get in the spirit than with this Christmas baklava.  Taking the same old traditional recipe and giving it a bit of sparkle - it's my take on a scrumptious mince pie. 

Made with layers of crispy filo pastry, tangy fruit mince all soaked in syrup and topped with crushed almonds!!!  What more can I say, other than it comes with a warning...this is only for the very sweet tooth. 

Try it with with cream or ice-cream.

Serves 12

You'll need:
  • 1 Pkt filo pastry
  • 200g raw almonds, crushed
  • 5ml cinnamon powder
  • 1 bottle of fruit mince
  • 250g melted butter
for the syrup:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 50ml honey
  • 115ml lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

1) Before you start with the baklava, make the syrup so that it can cool.  Mix all ingredients for syrup in a pan and boil on slow heat for 10 minutes and leave to cool.
2) Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
3) Grease the Pyrex (I prefer to use a glass see through one so you can see when the pastry is cooked)
4) Mix the crushed nuts with cinnamon powder.
5) Cut the filo pastry sheets so they are the size of your dish.
6) Start to layer a sheet of pastry, brush with melted butter then spread some fruit mince over, then another layer of filo, brush with butter and sprinkle some of the nut mixture over.  Continue to layer, alternating between the fruit mince and nut mixture until you have reached your desired amount of layers - I did approx 8 layers in total.
7) Cut the baklava before putting it in the oven.  It can be tricky trying to get the perfect diamond shape, so it may be worth practising on a piece of paper beforehand.  Basically you slice straight vertical parallel lines, and then at an horizontal angle the other lines, to create lots of little diamonds.
8) Bake in oven for approx 30 minutes or until golden.
9) Take the baklava out of the oven and pour over the syrup immediately, its very important for the cooled syrup to be poured over the boiling baklava.
10) Leave to cool and enjoy with a cup of tea and some cream or ice-cream.