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Roast Potatoes with Paprika and Lemon

These potatoes are incredibly moreish and you can never make enough. Serve with anything – its great with grilled chicken or fish but goes just as well with steak or a roast. Do yourself a favour and try making it just once.

1.5kg (3lb) chat or other baby potatoes
1.5 Tablespoons olive oil
30g (2oz) Butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Combine the salt, lemon rind and paprika in a small bowl.
  3. Cook potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  4. Place the oil and butter in a large roasting pan. Place in the oven for 3 minutes or until the butter melts.
  5. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Use a potato masher to lightly crush the potatoes.
  6. Roast for 10 minutes or until the potatoes start to brown.
  7. Sprinkle the salt mixture over the potatoes. Roast for a further 15 minutes or until golden.
  8. Delicious with EVERYTHING.

Baked Mushrooms

I recently discovered baking mushrooms maintains the earthy taste and deep flavours of mushrooms far better than any other cooking method. This dish is simple, quick, versatile and tastes – oh so good.

Brown, Swiss or Portobello Mushrooms have the most flavour
30g butter
fresh herbs

  1. Heat oven to 220 C.
  2. Tear mushrooms and place in 20cm diameter metal baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and fresh herbs of your choice. I like thyme or continental parsley.
  4. Dot with a few little knobs of butter – you need very little.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve as is as an innovative and healthy snack or starter. Alternatively makes a great breakfast or lunch dish if you spread sourdough toast with goats cheese and serve mushrooms on top of the goats cheese with a few extra herbs sprinkled on top.

Low Calorie/ High GI Carrot and Apple Salad

This salad originated in the High Rustenburg Health Hydro and is packed with low calorie/high GI ingredients. The sweetness of the fruit makes it delicious with any spicy food. It’s also a great addition to take along to a barbecue – no one else will have anything like it, children love it, and it’s delicious with sausages. Of course it’s also ideal for a ladies luncheon along with poached chicken or fish. Enjoy.

Serves 8.

4 carrots
2 bananas
2 apples
4 stalks celery
2 cups thinly shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 Tablespoon honey
3 Tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Grate apples, carrots and celery. Using the grate attachment on a food processor makes short work of this.
  2. Place in a large flat salad bowl or platter. Mix in sliced bananas. Toss with lemon juice until mixture is well coated to prevent the apples and bananas going brown. Mix in lettuce.
  3. Add honey to yoghurt. Drizzle over salad to taste. Toss and serve.
  4. This salad does not keep well. Eat immediately.

Lentil, Smoked Salmon and Preserved Lemon Salad

A lovely light lunch for warm spring days, a starter for dinner or even a side salad with chicken or fish. This is easy and quick to throw together so add to your standard repertoire. You may want to take a page out of my daughter, Bianca’s, book and make your own smoked salmon. Here is the link to her blog outlining how to do this.

Serves 2 for lunch or 4 as a side salad.

1 cup green puy lentils, boiled till tender
1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3 Tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 handfuls baby rocket
125g(4oz) smoked salmon, finely sliced
lemon juice & olive oil to dress

  1. Mix drained lentils with salt and pepper and remaining ingredients excluding salmon in a large bowl.
  2. Toss everything together and dress to taste with lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Serve as a side salad or add finely sliced salmon for a light lunch.

Pumpkin, Spanish Onion and Rocket Salad

Rocket adds a sharpness to the sweetness of the roast pumpkin and onions whilst the beans or asparagus add texture. The feta adds creaminess and the walnuts are a lovely surprise.  This salad works well with a Barbecue or any grilled meat – no additional accompaniments required.

Serves 6-8.

1.2kg/2.5lbs Butternut or Pumpkin, peeled and cut into 5cm/2 inch chunks
3 spanish/red onions cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bunch asparagus or 200g topped and tailed baby green beans
1 bunch rocket, trimmed and washed
100g/6oz Danish fetta
1/2 cup halved walnuts or pine nuts
Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/425F.
  2. Place pumpkin and onions in a large bowl. Sprinkle over chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lots of Maldon salt and ground pepper. Toss well.
  3. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking pan lined with baking paper. Roast 20 to 25 minutes until tender, turning once.
  4. Blanch asparagus or green beans.
  5. Layer rocket in a large shallow bowl or serving platter. Top with asparagus or green beans. Add pumpkin and onions ensuring an even spread. Top with crumbled feta. Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil – only a LITTLE. Sprinkle walnuts over the top.
  6. Serve – this keeps well for the next day if you omit drizzling balsamic and olive or only use a very small amount.

Portobello Mushrooms with Feta

Portobello mushrooms are meaty and dressed with feta and this herb and chilli dressing they are ideal as a starter or an accompaniment to a steak or any grilled meat.  Comments I have received on serving these are … “this is better than anything I have had in a restaurant”.  There you go – worthwhile compliment for a few minutes work.

Serves 4.

4 large portobello or large brown mushrooms, stalks removed
75g/3ozs Danish feta
1 long red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon chives, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

  1. Preheat barbecue or chargrill to high.
  2. Whisk olive oil, lemon, garlic, herbs, and chilli in a small bowl.
  3. Brush both sides of mushrooms with a little oil. Barbecue or girl for 1-2 minutes on each side until mushrooms are heated through.
  4. Place each mushroom on an individual plate. Top with crumbled feta. Drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

Rocket, Chickpea and Pancetta Salad

This is one of my favourite salads in recent times – it goes beautifully with grilled white fish, a barbecue and is delicious on its own as well.  The cannellini beans add balance to the peppery rocket and hint of chilli whilst the pancetta adds crunch. The feta rounds it all off.  The salad keeps overnight and the leftovers make a delicious lunch the next day.

Note: This salad is a little salty from the feta and pancetta so be careful not to add salt – if the salad is too salty for you replace the feta with ricotta.  You can replace the pancetta with very thinly sliced bacon in times when the flat pancetta is difficult to find.

Serves 6-8.

1 long red chilli, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
200g flat pancetta, thinly sliced into strips
2x340g cans of cannellini beans, drained
200g rocket leaves
200g Danish feta or ricotta
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Layer rocket in a large flat salad bowl or plate.
  2. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, Dijon mustard and lemon juice in a cup and mix well with a fork or teaspoon to combine.
  3. Cook chilli or sambal oelek in 1 tablespoon olive oil in medium sized frying pan over medium heat.  Add pancetta slices in a single layer and fry till crisp. Remove and drain on paper towel when done.
  4. Add drained chick peas to frying pan, reduce heat and cook stirring frequently until chick peas are heated through.
  5. Sprinkle warm chick peas over rocket. Drizzle with mustard dressing. Top with crumbled pancetta and top with crumbled feta or ricotta.
  6. Serve. Yum!!!

Zucchini and Basil Salad

A fresh healthy salad with a new way to use zucchini (courgettes). It has everything – currants for sweetness and texture, paprika, spring onions and garlic for spice, and zucchini which wears flavours so well. Enjoy.

Serves 8.

70g currants soaked overnight in 80ml verjuice
8 zucchini cut lengthways into 4mm slices
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
125ml olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 ml Spanish smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 spring onions, thinly sliced

  1. Combine olive oil, paprika and garlic. Divide in two.
  2. Stir vinegar, spring onions, currants, and any remaining verjuice into one half of olive oil mixture
  3. Brush zucchini with remaining half of olive oil mixture.
  4. Grill zucchini on high in a single layer for two minutes on each side until golden.
  5. Layer grilled zucchini in a dish. Scatter with basil .
  6. Drizzle currant and spring onion dressing over zucchini.

Cannellini Bean and Beetroot Salad – Ideal for a Barbecue

Low GI beetroot and cannellini beans are freshened up with crunchy snow peas and spicy rocket. The smooth avocado, tasty feta and crunch walnuts add textural elements. Easy to make with pantry ingredients and different from the usual green salad, this is an excellent accompaniment to any barbecued meat. The salad keeps well with leftovers delicious the next day.

Serves 4-6.

Large handful baby rocket leaves
50g(2oz) snowpeas, topped and finely shredded
1x1lb can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1x1lb can baby beetroot, drained, cut into wedges
1 avocado, peeled and cut into generous chunks
100g (4oz) Danish Feta
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tablespoons olive oil whisked with 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar

  1. Place rocket, snow peas and cannellini beans in the bottom of a large shallow salad bowl.
  2. Top with beetroot and avocado.
  3. Drizzle over olive oil/balsamic dressing.
  4. Dot with crumbled feta and walnuts.
  5. Serve.

Cauliflower Rice – A Delicious Low Cal Alternative to Rice

There are so many benefits to this delicious dish – its a tasty way to cook cauliflower that the kids will love, a great addition to a curry evening,  an alternative to using rice or couscous, and its paleo and vegan. It even freezes well. A rough estimate says a serve is 50 to 60 calories versus rice which is approximately 250 calories a serve.  

Serves 6-8

1 whole cauliflower, approx 800g
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon tumeric powder
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
1 mild long green chilli, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon favourite curry powder
1/2 cup hot vegetable stock or water
2 green spring onions, chopped
4 Tablespoons slivered or flaked almonds, toasted

  1. Remove thickest stems of cauliflower and discard. Slice the cauliflower florets and PULSE in a food processor briefly until they look like rice or cous cous. DO NOT OVERDO OR YOU WILL HAVE MUSH.
  2. Heat oil in large frying pan over low heat. Add mustard seeds, green chilli and cinnamon sticks. Cook 30 seconds.
  3. Increase heat to medium. Add the cauliflower, tossing well to coat. Add the curry powder, turmeric, stock or water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes – no longer.
  4. Mix in spring onions, scatter with toasted almonds and serve.
  5. If freezing, omit the toasted almonds – scatter these after you have reheated.

Italian Potatoes – As good as Chips but a lot Healthier

I always felt chips were really bad because of all that oil. This recipe was my attempt to get something that tasted as good as chips without all the calories. Excellent with grilled meat.

 Serves 4

4 large potatoes, one per person
2-3 cloves garlic
5-6 sprigs rosemary

  1. Heat oven to 180°C (350°F)
  2. Cut 4 peeled potatoes into 1cm cubes.
  3. Heat a little olive oil in 23cm casserole dish for a few minutes.
  4. Place potatoes in single layer on bottom of dish.
  5. Sprinkle over 2-3 large cloves crushed garlic and 5-6 sprigs fresh rosemary.
  6. Dot with butter.
  7. Bake uncovered turning every 20 minutes for 60 minutes in total.
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