Roast Leeks with Almonds

One of my favourite restaurants in the Cape Winelands is Maison. The food is incredible and you sit on a green sweeping lawn looking over the vineyards and the mountains. The perfect summer lunch destination.

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The last time I went to Maison I had yet another delicious meal, but what really stood out was one of the vegetarian dishes with leeks as the star. The leeks were grilled and topped with brown butter, toasted almonds and fromage blanc. This relatively simple dish definitely was the dish of the day!

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Since I love leeks so much, I decided to try and recreate it in my own kitchen. My version does differ from original (since I had no recipe!) but I am supper happy with the outcome.  The leeks are soft and sweet, with salty butter and creamy yoghurt complementing the crunch of the almonds – the perfect side for any meal (seriously it goes with everything – peri peri chicken, roast lamb, steak etc). To top it off it is super simple and requires almost no work! An added bonus for me is that I get the most amazing leeks in my bi-weekly veggie box!

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Roast Leeks with Almonds

Serves 3-4 (as a side)

  • 6-8 large leeks, trimmed and washed well
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 15g butter, cubed
  • 4-5 Tbsp full cream plain or Greek yoghurt
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C
  2. Place the leeks in an oven proof dish, drizzle with olive oil and season
  3. Place in the oven and cook for 20 – 30 minutes (or until the leeks are soft)
  4. Remove from the oven and place the cubed butter over the leeks
  5. While the butter is melting, place the almonds in a frying pan on high heat
  6. Toast for a few minutes (be careful that they don’t burn)
  7. Once toasted, roughly crush in a pestle and mortar or chopped with a knife
  8. Add dollops of yoghurt over the top of the leeks and sprinkle with the almonds and serve

Tomato and Baked Feta Salad

A few weeks ago I discovered the delight of baked feta. I literally become addicted and made it three times in one week! I drizzle a round of feta with a bit of honey and olive oil and bake it in the oven for about 5 minutes, until it just starts to go a bit golden. It is seriously delicious and you can add it anything. Salads are the obvious choice, it you can add to any sort of grain (quinoa is a good choice) to make it more exciting and it definitely can pass off in some sort of cheese-based dessert. The whole salty-sweet combo is just too good!

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One of my favourite ways to eat baked feta is in a Greek Salad inspired dish. It has all the usual suspects – tomatoes, cucumber, oregano – and it is such a great side on a summers day. I made it as a side for braaied (barbecued) peri-peri chicken, complementing the spicy chicken perfectly! The key to using such simple ingredients is to ensure they are top quality – good olive oil is essential, fresh oregano and ripe tomatoes. YUM!

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To top it off, it is on the table in 5 minutes! You will never look at feta or a Greek salad the same ever again.

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Tomato and Baked Feta Salad

Serves 2

  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 round of feta
  • Honey
  • 1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • Olive oil (good quality)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C
  2. Place the feta in a small baking tray and drizzle with a bit of honey (I normally use 1 tsp) and a olive oil
  3. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes
  4. While it is baking, place the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and herbs on a large plate
  5. When the feta is done, take out the oven and let it cool for a minute or two. It will be very soft when it comes out and as it cools it will slowly become harder
  6. Break into pieces (use a knife or fork because it will probably still be quite hot) and add to salad
  7. Season with salt and pepper
  8. Drizzle some olive oil and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the top (if it is a big lemon add half a lemon)

Apple Slaw with Tahini Dressing

Growing up I really disliked cole slaw. It always was swimming in mayo and for some unknown reason there were always raisins. Soggy raisin! I like raisins but not in a cole slaw!

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Over the last few years I have started to enjoy slaw again, mainly because I make my own. I never (EVER) add raisins and I always swop out the mayo for yoghurt, tahini or a simple lemon and olive dressing. There are so many crunchy vegetables you can add – sugar snap peas, carrots, fennel, apple – as well as other tasty toppings like sesame seeds and sprouts Continue reading “Apple Slaw with Tahini Dressing”

Sweet Corn Salsa and a Fried Egg

During the week breakfast is normally a rushed affair –  a quick bowl of oats, a smoothie or an egg of sorts. However, when the weekend comes I like to take my time over breakfast. It becomes a real leisurely affair.I enjoy the process of making a great breakfast on the weekend (though normally it is closer to bunch) – no rushing to work or gulping down a cup of coffee. Doug and I often freshly squeeze some orange juice and if the weather is good we sit out side in the morning sun. On Sundays we often make Doug’s famous crumpets or pancakes.

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Continue reading “Sweet Corn Salsa and a Fried Egg”

Mushroom Bourguignon

Today is Mandela Day, where we celebrate the life of the great man and spend 67 minutes giving back to those in need. I spent the day planting a food garden for a educare centre in Masiphumelele. The WWF Interns (myself included) organised the day and together with all the amazing volunteers we managed to plant turnips, beetroot, spinach, cauliflower and carrots. Mint and marigolds were used as natural pest repellents and the volunteers went over and above and fixed the broken fence around the property. We also played some educational games with the kids, teaching them about nutrition and healthy eating.

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Guacamole

There are very few people in the world who don’t like avocado, and the only benefit of knowing people who don’t love this creamy, green delight of a fruit is that there is more for you!

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Guacamole, is obviously a firm favourite for most avocado lovers. It is amazing on basically  everything ranging from Mexican tacos, toast, nachos to roast veg. My guacamole recipe has been evolving over time. A friend from Texas gave a few pointers (cayenne pepper and white pepper) and I adjusted it according to my tastes (limes juice definitely over lemon juice or other vinegars). Continue reading “Guacamole”

Tomato and Caper Salad

A Caprese salad is honestly one of my best things to eat, combing some of my favourite ingredients, flavours and cuisine.  Tomato and basil are obviously a classic combination and, unless you are a vegan, I doubt there is a person in the world who doesn’t like mozzarella. When I say mozzarella, I mean proper buffalo mozzarella in the whey, not that hard, tasteless stuff that comes in block like cheddar from a supermarket.

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In an attempt to retain to last vestiges of summer and coax the warm weather back to Cape Town (it worked a bit because this weekend was a stunner!), I changed up the traditional caprese salad recipe.

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Quinoa Fritters with a Poached Egg

People often ask where I get my ideas, recipes and general inspiration to cook different meals all time. Obviously recipes books play a huge part (and I have a considerable collection of recipe books) and food magazines are also great (I love the Woolworths Taste Magazine). Pinterest, however, is a never-ending gallery of  food inspiration. I often just scroll through until I see something that catches my eye. This is how today’s recipe came into being.

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Shakshouka with Baby Marrow

About 2 weeks ago I was in London for a short trip. I haven’t been to London in about 10 years so it was great to go back and it was during the Rugby World Cup so there was a great atmosphere! I was also super excited to try some new and different restaurants, the food scene in London is very exciting.

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 My first stop was the Borough Market, which was so good I went back for a second time. The produce, meat, cheese and seafood there is amazing and the small stalls sell delicious food. I had the best scotch egg I have ever had with crispy perfectly cooked sweet potato fries. Continue reading “Shakshouka with Baby Marrow”

Sugar Snap Pea, Radish and Mozzarella Salad

On Sunday, it was an absolute of a pearler of a day. The sun was shining, it was actually hot and the braai was out. Doug and I prepared a delicious peri-peri chicken for my family for a late Sunday lunch. Watch this space – the recipe will come soon! So delicious.

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