Tag Archive | dinner

My Favourite Chicken Dish adapted from Jamie Oliver

I love Jamie Oliver – his recipes are simple, don’t take long to make and dfull of flavour. I accept the man is a cook rather than a chef but for me that’s just perfect for everyday meals and most of the basic entertaining I do. l always use chicken thighs with the skin on as they go all crispy and delicious. I serve with mashed potatoes and a green salad or steamed greens. The next day I shred the remaining chicken, squeeze out the garlic cloves and mix up all the leftovers in the pan to make a wonderful ‘sauce’ for pasta. 

Serves 4-6.


8 Chicken thighs with skin on plus 4 plum chicken legs
2 punnets cherry tomatoes
1 bulb garlic, separated into unpeeled whole cloves
1 large red chilli, finely sliced
1 generous bunch basil, leaves picked and stalks finely sliced
1 can cannellini beans, drained
sea salt and cracked black pepper
olive oil
mashed potatoes to serve


  1. Place chicken pieces skin side down in a single layer in a large casserole dish. They should fit snugly. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then turn and sprinkle the skin side with salt and pepper.
  2. Now scatter basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, whole unpeeled garlic cloves, chilli and basil stalks over the top of the chicken.
  3. Mix around a bit so that most of the tomatoes and basil are at the bottom with the chicken resting on top. Drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Place in a 180 degree C oven for 45 minutes. Move chicken around so that skin will brown and crisps up evenly. Place in the oven for another 30 minutes.
  5. Add the drained cannellini beans and mix around. Finish off in the oven for 15 minutes while finalising the mash.
  6. Eat with steamed greens or a green salad.

Pork with Walnuts

We didn’t often eat pork – mainly cause I didn’t know how to cook it without it tasting dry. One day I discovered this recipe which leaves the meat moist and fall off the bone with a rich delicious sauce. It’s a great winter dish suitable for a dinner party or a delicious treat for the family.

Serves 6-8.

8 lean pork loin chops with the rind removed
2 large onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1.5 cups canned pineapple juice
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
3 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons soya sauce
1.5 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
3-4 strips lemon zest – approx from half a lemon
1 cup chopped walnuts
parsley or chopped sultanas to serve with rice (optional)

  1. Dust chops with flour and brown in a little olive oil. Remove.
  2. Brown sliced onions and garlic over low heat until onions are very brown and add remaining ingredients excluding the walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Place pork chops in a casserole dish in a single layer. If using a Le Creuset casserole dish, use the same dish you used for browning to save on the washing up.
  4. Pour onion mixture over top of pork chops.
  5. Cover casserole dish and bake for an hour in a moderate over at 180 C (350 F).
  6. Serve with rice sprinkled with parsley and/or sultanas and extra chopped walnuts.

Squid en Papillote

A tasty poached squid casserole in a package that I discovered when trying to conform to a 250 calorie meal on the 5 2 Fasting diet. This dish is approximately 250 calories per portion and you can freeze portions so they are always at the ready and there is no excuse not to have a low cal meal on hand. Plus it’s delicious !!! If you are not dieting serve with crusty french bread, or baby boiled potatoes which you can dunk into the broth. Another option is to add a handful of warmed cannellini beans to the broth when u serve it.

For each serving:

125g baby squid cut into 5mm rings
35g red capsicum, sliced into matchstick strips
35g yellow capsicum, sliced into matchstick strips
35g zucchini, sliced into thick matchstick strips
35g baby eggplant,finely diced
40g cherry tomatoes (approx 6)
30g semi dried tomatoes
tomato concentrate, water and lemon juice to make sauce
20ml kalamata olives
1 small clove garlic, crushed
salt & pepper to taste
basil, parsley, oregano and chives to taste
lemon zest and lemon juice

  1. Make a greaseproof paper or foil package.
  2. Add all ingredients starting with squid. Drizzle top with a little olive oil.
  3. Close and seal package. Freeze at this stage.
  4. When ready to eat, defrost and bake in oven at 180C for 13-15 minutes till cooked. If you do not defrost, add an additional 10-12 minutes cooking time.

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.

Celebrate 4th July with American Apple Pie

No one does fruit pies and tarts as well as the United States especially in the country towns. I scoured the country trying to find the secret of the luscious gooey apple pies and as you can see from this recipe it’s all in the syrup made from apple ‘juice’ and butter. What more fitting way to celebrate 4th of July than with this Apple Pie.  Serve with ice cream –  ‘a la mode’ – as the Americans would say.

Serves 8.

1.2 kg (2.5lb) granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 cm thick slices
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup dark treacle sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon maizena/cornflour
Flaky pastry to fill a 9 inch (23cm) pie dish – ensure it is deep enough as this is a typical American high pie.

  1. Line deep  pie dish with flaky pastry.
  2. Mix apples and all the ingredients excluding the butter, maizena and pastry in a large bowl.
  3. Macerate for at least 30minutes. Drain in a colander collecting all the “juice”. You need about 1/2 cup of “juice”.
  4. Boil this “juice” together with the butter in a small saucepan until thick and the liquid has halved.
  5. In the mean time add the maizena to the apples and and mix till dry.
  6. Now add syrup to apples and stir through. Place in pie crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 60 minutes to maintain flakiness of the pastry.
  7. Remove plastic wrap. Bake in preheated oven at 425F/210C for around 40 minutes in bottom shelf of oven.
  8. Cool for 4 hours before serving.

Aunt Marie shares her Chow Mein Mince

As a child growing up I always considered Aunt Marie to be a ‘modern’ woman. She didn’t appear to spend hours labouring in the kitchen or washing and ironing. Aunt Marie took an interest in Uncle Wim’s business and helped to make it a success. She was organised and practical – when she put meals together it was efficient, with the minimum of fuss and tasty … plus there was often something of the ‘exotic’.  Here is her Chow Mein Mince.  

Serves 4.

500g mince
1 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 pkt chicken noodle soup
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups boiling water
3 cups finely shredded cabbage
1 large carrot, grated
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon chutney
1 teaspoon sugar

  1. Brown finely chopped onions with mince in a little oil.
  2. Add remaining ingredients with water going in last. Note: Rice and soup mix are added dry.
  3. Cook over low heat for around 20 minutes stirring periodically until all liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Serve with a tossed salad.

Souffléd Fish Pie

I always sought the unusual – even in the times where meat and two vegetables were the standard fare. One sunny summer’s day in 1982 I discovered this recipe in a quaint cookbook at a school fair. It was an incredibly modern recipe in it’s day and became the regular favourite way to cook our weekly fish dish. It’s stood the test of time – still a little different and quite delicious with the unusual combination of fish and ham and the souffle topping works well.  Serve it with steamed vegetables in winter or a green salad in summer.

Serves 6.

1kg (2lb) firm white fish like ling or cod
60g (2 oz) butter
3 Tablespoons plain flour
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 cups milk
3 eggs
75g (3oz) chopped ham
2 teaspoons dill or fennel seeds

  1. Butter a large shallow gratinee or pie dish. Cut the fish into large pieces and lay in the dish in a single layer. Sprinkle with dill or fennel seeds, salt and pepper.
  2. Pour over the milk, cover the dish with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 400F/200C for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove fish and reduce oven heat to 300F/150C. Pour the milk off the fish into a separate jug. Add the chopped ham to the fish in the dish.
  4. Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring all the time. Gradually add milk fish was cooked in, still stirring. Bring to the boil. Add cheese and stir until melted and smooth.
  5. Cool slightly. Then add egg yolks, one by one stirring thoroughly after each addition.
  6. Whisk egg whites until stiff and fold into the sauce with a metal spoon.
  7. Pour this mixture over the fish in the dish. Cook in the centre of the oven at 300F/150C for 30 to 40 minutes until risen and golden brown.
  8. Serve immediately.

Neil Shares: Sausage Ragu for Casual Entertaining

NAGSausages and mash with a twist – a wholesome and more-ish dish. It’s ideal for a boys night, a teenage gathering, or casual sunday entertaining, especially as the days get cooler.  This is my friend, Neil’s, signature dish, that always impresses and gets the boys coming back for more. Neil often barbecues the sausages for extra flavour and reduces the oven cooking time by 15minutes.  If you cannot find beef chipolatas then buy quality beef breakfast sausages(thin ones) and cut them in half. 

Serves 4-6.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 green capsicum, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 rashers bacon, trimmed and chopped
500g (1lb) button mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size
800g (2 lb) can diced tomatoes
12 chipolata beef sausages
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley to serve
Mashed potato to serve – 1 medium potato per person

  1. Preheat fan forced oven to 220°C (450°F).
  2. Combine oil, onion, bacon and carrot in a large casserole dish, approx 22cmx30cm(9x12inches).
  3. Cook in heated oven for 5 minute.
  4. Stir in mushrooms and capsicum. Spread mixture evenly over base of dish. Arrange sausages over vegetables and return to the oven. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sausages start to colour.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook uncovered for 15minutes until sausages are cooked through.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with mashed potato or crusty bread.
  7. Serve with beer – for the boys anyway.

Dondeng – A Popular Family Casserole

This is a popular family casserole that we nicknamed Ding dong do.  Whilst it is a curry of Asian origin this recipe is mild with only a pinch of chilli powder and ideal for all children. The lemon rind, almonds and jam give it a rich dark colour and beautiful flavour. If you like it hot serve some chopped chilli on the side.

Serves 6.

2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1kg topside or chuck steak, cubed
3 Tablespoons whole almonds
1 Tablespoon grated lemon rind
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons plum jam or any dark jam
1ml chilli powder
1 cup beef stock

  1. Place beef cubes in a plastic bag. Add a little flour and toss cubes in the bag till coated with a fine layer of flour.
  2. Brown meat in batches in a large pot, removing when golden.
  3. Then sauté onions and garlic in the same pot.
  4. Add meat to onions after a few minutes.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 2½ hours or till meat is tender
  6. Serve with steamed rice

Arroz de Marisco – A seafood hybrid to wow your guests

I have not discovered a dish like this anywhere outside of a small fishing village in Portugal – a hybrid between a paella and bouillabaisse with an added touch. The combination of perfectly cooked seafood in a spicy broth with a rice base is soooo good. You need to serve nothing much else with this but some crispy French bread to mop up the sauce. The dish is expensive to make with all the seafood and the need to visit the Fish Market to get the necessary ingredients.  Cook just before eating and don’t let it stand else the rice will absorb the broth which is the best part. Many friends tell me this is the best dish I cook.

Serves 8.

2x300g(3/4 lb each) swimmer crab, halved – cooks in 5 mins if halved
1kg (2lbs) clams or pippis
800g (2lbs) mussels
2-3 prawns per person, peeled. I use medium tiger prawns.
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or to taste
chilli to taste, I recommend 2 long red chillis, finely chopped
4 Tablespoons tomato paste or to taste
Arborio or paella style rice, 1/2 cup per person
3 cups stock for every 1 cup rice
1/2  Bunch chopped parsley or coriander to garnish

  1. Sauté onions and garlic till limp in a large Le Creuset or Chauseur casserole pot.
  2. Add chilli and tomato paste and sauté for another 5 minutes to release the flavour.
  3. Then add rice and stock and boil for 15 minutes.
  4. Now add seafood – crabs  and after a minute add the mussels, then clams or pippis and lastly prawns.
  5. Cook till rice is tender but has not absorbed all the liquid and seafood is heated. This should take no more than 5 minutes MAXIMUM from when crabs are added. Seafood will continue to cook when the dish is taken off the heat.
  6. Add extra stock if necessary, sprinkle with chopped herbs and serve immediately.
  7. It is important to ensure the rice does not soak up all the broth which will happen if you let the dish stand.



Make stock by blanching shellfish, then adding prawn shells and boiling for another 5 to 10 minutes

Lasagne tastes so much better Homemade

It tastes so much better homemade despite the fact that there is some work and so many dishes. My son, Sven, always loved the crispy topping – finishing the top with the lasagne sheets instead of the cheese sauce makes it extra crispy. Sven and his Dad were always in there fighting for that last helping.

Serves 6-8 (In our family it was only enough for 4 !!!!!)

Meat Sauce
1 tablespoon oil
500g (1 lb) minced steak
2 x 470g (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon rosemary
½ teaspoon sugar

  1. Saute onion and garlic.
  2. Add mince and brown over a high heat.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 30 minutes.

Cheese Sauce
60 g (2 oz) butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
pinch nutmeg
125 g (4 oz) grated cheddar cheese

  1. Melt butter in saucepan, stir in flour; cook gently, stirring, 1 minute.
  2. Gradually add the milk, stir until sauce boils and thickens.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg. Finally add cheese.

Assembling the Lasagna
250 g (8 oz) lasagne noodles
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup cream

  1.  Layers 1/3 of the meat sauce in the base of a 33cmx22cm (9x12inch) ovenproof dish.
  2. Cover with 1/3 of the cheese sauce; Then layer lasagne pasta sheets to cover top completely.
  3. Repeat these three layers twice more finishing with the pasta sheets on top – not the cheese sauce.
  4. Sprinkle top of lasagne sheets with 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese.
  5. Bake in moderate oven 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, gently pour or spoon cream over the top of cheese. Bake for further 10 to 15 minutes.
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