Choice Morsels of Food ~ Tidbits ~ Cooked and Tasted by Veronica Clark ~ For: Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds

Monday, 24 June 2013

Greengate's Organic Salad ~ Brown Rice, Lentils, Peas, Fresh Herbs.

Hi Dear Friends
Many of you have been waiting an old age for me to post this recipe!

Well, drum it is!!!
It took a herb tour to get it out...blush..blush!!!
Um, they did make it out the windowsill and into pots...promise! 
But first, credit goes to my daughter, Jacqui who studied at Stellenbosch University. In those days, her favourite lunch time hangout was just a couple of metres from Die Ou Hoofgebou, namely Greengate! She introduced me to Greengate and the lovely owner, Ingrid du Toit!
Greengate offers a splendid lunch time harvest table and is my favourite restaurant! I have spent many happy hours with both my kids and their friends at Ingrid's table! When Jacquie, finally had to leave the luxe life of a student, she panicked that she could not live without Greengate's Organic Salad, and so Ingrid parted with the recipe!
Thank you Ingrid!!!
Above, a friend added a bit of red for her staff Christmas lunch!
It is now part of our family's braais (BBQ) and have been at almost every large party, as it feeds a crowd without breaking the bank. It can be made ahead of time and keeps very well, improving all the time as the flavours develop!

Short Grain Brown Rice, Lentil and Pea Salad aka Organic Salad
Serves 6
250 g short grain brown rice ( I just use brown rice)
150g brown lentils
100g frozen peas
150g chopped fresh herbs ~ coriander, parsley,basil
I make it time and a half!
8 Tablespoons Olive Oil
(I use the oak smoked olive oil from Aphrodisiac Shack)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 Tablespoons Mrs Ball's Chutney
50 g fresh mint leaves, chopped
Place all the ingredients, except the mint, in a food processor and blend for 3 mins. Set aside.
Boil the rice in salted water until tender ~ about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Boil the lentils in water for 10 minutes. Do not overcook them! Drain and set aside.
Steam the peas. Make sure you do not overcook them. You don't want mushy here!!!
Combine the rice, lentils, peas and herbs.
Add the mint to the dressing, then stir it through the rice mixture.
The recipe can easily be doubled!
Yes, it even put in an appearance at the Christmas Table!
This is such a wonderful way to use loads of fresh herbs!
Happy Cooking!
 PS: You can leave your comments below... I am all ears....

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Summer Berry Trifle!

Hi Foodie Friends!!
I am back on line !!!
Time to post all the recipes that friends and family have been asking for...
Best place to start is with pudding, of course, how else?
I found this recipe in an old cookbook that I took out the library many years ago... called, Pudding and Desserts, but have no idea who wrote the book! The photocopy of the recipe is almost indecipherable...
Berries are of course, the epitome of summer lusciousness and festive celebration, so it inevitably ends up on my Christmas menu.
It is so easy to prepare and takes no time at all, ideal,not only for the stressed Christmas cook but also for any summer table...So give it a go and let me know what you think!

Summer Berry Trifle
You need a 3,25 litre bowl and to move the shelves of the fridge to allow space to fit it in!!
2 x 225 g  (1 1/2 cups)jars of red current jelly
170 ml (2/3 cup) fresh orange juice
600ml (2 1/2 cups) cream
250 g mascarpone
30 g (1/4 cup) icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
250 g thin sponge finger biscuits (savoiardi)
1 1/2 cups Marsala or Old Brown Sherry if you prefer
400g raspberries
250 g strawberries
400 g blueberries
(I normally just add up the weight given above and usually use more strawberries and make up the rest of the weight in a variety of fresh berries that are available at the time)
(Hull and slice only those that you are adding to the layers of the pudding ~ I keep the ones for the top of the pudding whole)
 For a friend's Christmas function we topped it with fresh Cherries sprinkled with fresh pomegranate rubies!
1.Melt the redcurrant jelly in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the orange juice and set aside until the mixture reaches room temperature.
2.Put the cream, mascarpone,icing sugar,vanilla essence and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and  beat with an electric beater until soft peaks form,
3.Dip each biscuit in the Marsala and line the base of your serving bowl with the biscuits.
4.Sprinkle over a third of the combined berries over the biscuits and drizzle with half the remaining Marsala and a third of the cooled redcurrant jelly sauce.
5. Spoon over half the cream mixture over the sauce.
6. Repeat the layering, starting with the biscuits, berries, Marsala, jelly and cream.
7.I arrange the remaining berries in a mound on the top (hence the fridge calamity, but you can always pop them on later if your fridge is too full!!!)
8.Glace the top of the berries with a bit of the reserves redcurrant jelly sauce, heat it gently if it is too cold.
9. The trifle can be made the day before, covered and refrigerated and the mound of berries added before serving if need be!
Bon Appetite!
Please leave your comments in the comment box below!


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Salad Days ~ Tomatoes with Anchovies and Basil

Hi Food lovers!!
How are you all?
On a hot summers day like today, relaxing by the pool is such a blessing...

A cold beer and I felt like a tomato salad!

I extracted this recipe from the owner of an Italian restaurant. The price I had to pay was quite a number of strawberry daiquiris, before he would part with it!!! I gladly suffered the consequences and am happy to share it with you... If you feel you have to have a strawberry daiquiri to repay me, feel free before you continue...
Now, before we start... you have to go buy the tomatoes!
Please dear ones, those pink anaemic affairs are not tomatoes, leave them on the shelf and look for luscious red and ripe ones or better still, pick them of the bush that you have planted!
Please, for the love of your taste buds, do not store them in the fridge!!!
A cool place will do. If they are ripe, put them in a bowl they look luscious in the kitchen...
Tomatoes with Anchovies and Basil
Ripe Tomatoes
 1 teaspoon White Sugar
8 Anchovies in Olive Oil finely chopped
Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Basil
Black Olives
Freshly Ground Black Pepper (optional)

Place a teaspoon of sugar in a pestle and mortar, add about 50 ml of the oil from the anchovy jar, the balsamic vinegar and the chopped anchovies. Pound until well blended. 

I used cocktail tomatoes here but prefer Bella Tomatoes. I simply cut them in half, but if you are using large tomatoes, slice them as thickly as you prefer.

Lounging in the windowsill, patiently waiting to be planted is the basil and bloody sorrel! Oi! Tomorrow, I promise!!!
Drizzle the dressing over the cut tomatoes
Garnish with fresh basil.

I had some baguette leftover, which I brushed with some smoked olive oil and popped into the toaster (it was much to hot to fire up the oven, and add to the heat in the kitchen!)
If you have not  yet discovered the pleasure of Aphrodisiac Shack Smoked Olive Oil, you are missing out!!
If you can not find it, drop me a line and I will point you in the right direction

We stood in our bathers around the counter with a beer and tucked in, before the olives even landed in the bowl!!

The best way....

Dipping the toasted baguette into the dressing, adding a tomato and popping an olive in the mouth....

Caught out!!! Hand in the bowl...

Bon Appetite

Pleasurable sighs may be left in the comment box below...

Monday, 3 December 2012

Spaghetti with paprika bacon,tomato and avo!

Hello Foodie Friends!
Do you have any teens to feed or worse still students!!! You know, ...those things that eat like there is no tomorrow, and they usually come with a variety of hangers onners, when your fridge stock is at its lowest!!
I can not tell you how many times a tin of good ol chopped tomatoes have saved my bacon!!!
So, this is one of those hit and run numbers as I like to call them! When you approach the kitchen and have no clue what's going to end up on the table in less than half an hour to be consumed by said gang of starving students.
I love cooking this for week night meal because that means that lunch is sorted for the next day (that is when there are only two for supper)
I have a student who dances four to five hours a day and a carb laden lunch is a preference, and besides, it tastes better the next day when the flavours have infused the pasta!
Spaghetti with a smoky tomato, bacon and avocado!
1 packet of Spaghetti
1 Onion Chopped
Olive Oil
1 Packet of Rindless back bacon
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 heaped teaspoon of paprika
a pinch (or two) of sugar
I like to get the onions in the pan with a glug of olive oil to sauté slowly while I boil the water for the pasta.
Give the onions a light sprinkle with paprika and a tiny bit of sugar and keep the heat low.
Remove onions and add bacon, chopped or diced, as you like it.
Fry for a few minutes, then re-add the onions and the tin of chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper and the rest of the paprika and if need be a bit more sugar to taste.

Simmer gently over low heat while you prepare the pasta according to the instructions (on the packet boys!!!)

Peel and chop avocado

Drain pasta and return to pot. Drizzle with a little olive oil and work it through the pasta.
Add the bacon and tomato sauce and the avocado and mix together.
Check seasoning...

Serve with a crusty baguette and Parmigiana (unless you are a student on a tight budget, then you won't miss it, or the money has been spent on beer!!) 

This is also such an easy dish for students to prepare in their digs, not to mention that lunch is sorted as well. So, this is for you guys at Stellies for next year!!! Remember to invite me ova to taste!!
By the way, if you are a seasoned cook or pro chef and have not read the intro to my blog, the main reason for blogging my recipes was to parent by remote control, and teach my offspring to cook, instead of answering twenty phone calls at dinner time, or some ungodly hour of the night, when students decide that its dinner time!!!
So pardon if some of the instructions sound a bit mundane!!! And no, while they lived at home they gave the kitchen a wide berth hence me rattling on here!!!

Bon Appetite


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Choritzo Dish ~ One Pot Wonders

Hello Foodie Friends!

We all love a quick and easy "fix" for a tasty no fuss midweek meal!!! And if it all happens in one pot or pan, it surely is a bonus!!

This dish usually gets made in House Tassels, when, we have a "Chorizo Hole to fill"!!!! I usually get an announcement from son, declaring that he has a "Chorizo hole to fill" meaning, that he has not had Chorizo in a while and is suffering withdrawal symptoms....

Chorizo Dinner Dish
Serves 2
225 g Chorizo
Tin of Tomatoes or 125 g Tomato Pesto
Onion Sliced
2 Waxy Mediterranean Potatoes, Diced
Fresh Basil (optional)
Crusty bread

Slice Chorizo ~ Do not put them in your mouth, but in a single layer in a heated pan and saute for a few minutes. No need to add oil to the pan, as the oil from the Choritzo will ooze out. As soon as this starts to happen, add your onions and fry tossing for a few seconds.
Add the diced potato and continue to saute.

Add the tin of tomatoes or your tomato pesto (I used Ina Paarman's ) and a spoon of sugar. When using pesto, I add a little bit of water to give some liquid to cook the potatoes until soften. Put over a low heat and let it simmer slowly until potatoes are cooked.

If the pesto thickens, and the potatoes are obstinate, just add a little bit more water!

Garnish with fresh sweet basil. Goodness, these leave were extra large!!!

Tonight, I served this with a fresh avocado, ciabatta rolls with hummus and tzatziki and a glass of Zesty White Wine.
Perfect before a quick evening swim!

And it was done in no time at all!

If you are the official dishwasher, save a piece of bread, to "clean" the pan afore it hits the water!!!
Your taste buds will thank me!!!
And save a swig of wine, to "help" with the dishes!!!
Bon Appetite

Please leave your comments below! My food critic, above, in his bonnet gave an approving sniff before he got shooed outdoors!!!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Light And Luscious Hake ~ Bargain Bastement Treat!

Hi dear food lovers!!!
Welcome to all my followers via Facebook and Blogger!!! I am thrilled to have you along for my kitchen antics....
It has been a very hot day and when the heat is on, you want to wiz in and out of the kitchen in a flash, and have something for the Monday meal!
Now, we all love a bargain! Especially if you are the one feeding the troops!
Our local Woolworths in Canal Walk has a fabulous fresh fish counter and when I am in Canal Walk, I always pop in to see what they have on "Special" They often have packets priced "two for the price of one" and I buy almost all my fish in this way!

The shop assistant always says "Madam, you have the luck of the devil, you always find the last packet of "Two for the price of one"!! She declared in a loud voice the one day... " When its the last packet, I know you are a coming"!!! She has on occasion even decided, that my choice was bad, removed hake from the trolley and pointed out that the Kingklip was on special and what do I want with hake?" Who am I to argue???
But this time, I snug away with the hake, very chuffed with self that I found two pieces for under R27-00!!
So hear goes....
Hake with Sauté Potatoes and Spinach Salad
Baby Spinach Leaves
Potatoes (as many as you have to, to avoid complaints!)
Olive Oil
Fish Paste
On the night I made this it happened to be raining!!!
I dashed outside and retrieved my pot with Spinach from the garden and brought it inside to "harvest"!

This particular variety of Spinach is actually called, "Dash" and grows like a weed! I snip and then it pops up again!
It is ideal in salads.
Wash and dry the leaves, and on a Monday night for two of us, there is no use for a salad bowl... goes straight onto the plate with luscious ripe tomatoes!
Now, just a word about tomatoes...
please, only buy ripe ones or pick them straight of the vine.
Leave the anaemic ones on the shelf!!!
 Do not store them in the fridge! A cool place in the kitchen where they look gorgeous is ideal, and they will be eaten quickly! How can you resist, anyway?

Now, the saute potatoes is where I fall short, literally!!!
I am always to lazy to take out the huge paella pan to make enough for two, not that my pan is small, you understand, but my son always complains that I did not make enough!!!
So, make sure you have a large pan or two pans!
I use the waxy Mediterranean Potatoes and cut them in rounds.
Cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil, heat the oil, place a single (...sigh) layer of potatoes and saute until crisp, turning once!
Towards the end of cooking, I add Robertson's Dried Garlic Flakes and saute for a few minutes.

In a separate pan, heat a good splash of olive oil.
When the oil is heated, fry the hake.
Add a large squeeze (usually juice of a whole lemon) of lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons of Fish Paste and if necessary another splash of olive oil, to form the sauce. 

When fish is cooked, remove fish to plate and drizzle the remainder of the sauce over.

I usually do not bother with a salad dressing as the sauce from the fish is enough to coat the leaves.
On occasion, I have sprinkled, chopped anchovies over in lieu of salt, but if you need salt, so be it! Please your tastebuds!

Doing the dishes has the added advantage that you can pick all the bits of saute potato off the bottom of the pan....
Bon Appetite
Hope Monday behaved herself Well!
Let's chat below in the comment box!
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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Fig Salad ~ Total Bliss and the Sexiest Salad Ever!

Hi food lovers!!
It has taken a while to start posting but here I am, finally! It was agony to decide what the first post had to be about, so I just decided that it had to be, my favourite meal!
With summer finally here, after Cape Town has managed to shake that relentless wet winter, (says I, while it is raining outside!!!) the temperatures are bound to soar and with the holidays just a few short blinks away, trust me, here at the tip of Africa, we want to avoid the hot kitchen like the plague.
This is hardly a recipe, more of just a few instructions. Very little, if any prep is involved, so relax to the max principles apply here.
I often cart all the ingredients to the stone table outside and assemble it in my bather, ready for a post lunch dip!
Some of you know this recipe well, but I have to re post all my recipes, so please forgive me, I will include new ones between all the oldies!
My gran would turn in her grave, if she knew I bought figs in a shop in a lil punnet! And she would be horrified at the price, trust me! I grew up with an enormous fig tree holding court just outside of the back door. So, in her honour, after several punnets of very expensive figs, some obviously imported, I went of to buy myself a fig tree!! But, of course I could not find a single spot in the garden so had to buy a pot!
The dude at the nursery warned about the pot cracking due to the aggressive root system and I launched into my explanation above! He just grinned when I told him we have at least five years to prepare for the catastrophe!
The birds love me and I have to resort to drastic measures to protect my lil crop of black gold!
Yeah, how about that view with fig salad, and Table Mountain just to the left. We are drinking Champagne cocktails and life is good!
Now lets put this salad together and give a grateful bow to Jamie Oliver, The Naked One for the original version!
Make sure the Wine is chilling before you start!
Prepare your tastebuds for sweet, salty and bliss...
Here's what you need:
Firstly, pour a glass of wine! I am pouring myself a glass of Springfield Wild Yeast Chardonnay... this is standard in our house with fig salad!
2 Figs per person ~ Those luscious plump Black Figs ~they look as if the are about to pop out their skins! (Two,unless you want a brawl on your hands)
Wild Rocket or your favourite tangy mix of Salad leaves Scattered over a platter
I sometimes use Asian Salad Mix
Parma Ham (can also use Black Forest Ham)
Milky Buffalo Mozzarella ~ or Baby Bocconini (Ex Woolworths)
Wash and dry your figs and handle with care (no peeling of the skins)
Snip of the little point at the top and cut a small cross in the top.Taking you thumb and forefinger, place them around the base of  fig and give a gentle squeeze until it pops open and "flowers"
Place the figs onto the salad leaves and weave the strips of parma ham through the figs
Rip some piece of mozzarella and scatter about artistically. The insides of those figs always make me think of the Italian painter Carpaccio, don't you think?
Now for the dressing
~Honey and Lemon Juice Dressing~
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix together well
Make sure you get some dressing in the middle of the figs and make extra to drizzle the leaves as well
I often do not even make the above dressing and merely drizzle over the following....
A bit of honey warmed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar Crema Reduction
(I use Woolworths Crema con "Aceto Balsamico di Modena PGI"
But of course you can also use the flavoured ones
I serve the whole lot on a large platter with a crusty baguette or focaccia bread to mop up the juices on the platter! I love watching guests watch one another and when the first one dips the bread in the central platter the rest dive in!
I have served the fig salad as a starter or a light lunch.
Wines we like with our fig Salad:
Springfield's Wild Yeast Chardonnay ~ Available from Woolworths as well as good wine shops
Nitida's Sauvignon Blanc
JC Le Roux La Domaine Sparkling Wine
Jonkheer's Est La Vida Blanca
Woolworth's Zesty White (I keep that brand alive single handily, I am sure of it!)
The original post for this Salad on Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds can be found here
Now that you have chewed the last tidbit, please leave me a comment or suggestion below!
Bon Appetite
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