food for the soul

no. 14 - bongi burger deluxe (veggie friendly!)

we had such great success with these that they're pretty regular on the dinner menu! super healthy and packed with protein for veggie munchers. here's the low down:

for the patties: (makes 6)
250g brown lentils
1 can chickpeas 
6 Tbsp toasted sesame/sunflower/pumpkin seeds
1 packet of brown onion soup powder
1 egg
a little extra flour 

boil the lentils until soft, and 'mush' with a spoon. add the chickpeas and do the same until the mixture becomes more dough like in texture. add the toasted sesame seeds and egg, followed by the brown onion soup powder. add a bit of pepper and dried herbs if you like. maybe some chilli :) mix it all together and add a little flour to thicken so that it's easier to form palm-sized patties. cook until browned over medium heat in a frying pan (a little oil for shallow frying is not so healthy but gives it an extra toasty taste). pop onto a lightly toasted bun and top with whatever toppings you feel for. 
we like: spicy guacamole, caramelised balsamic onions, fresh tomato, mature cheddar, lettuce, grilled mushrooms, a smudge of mayonnaise and fresh chilli. 
aaand if you're feeling a little adventurous- why not chuck an egg on top?! 
serve with roasty potato wedges. enjoy!

no. 13 - spinach and pecorino mermaids' purses (ravioli)

This was a totally experimental recipe but it worked out really well.. I thought they looked a bit like Mermaids Purses/Shark eggs haha.. Enjoy.

Ground corriander
Goats Milk Pecorino Cheese
Pasta dough rolled into thin sheets

In a pot, sautee the onions, garlic and spices. Add finely chopped spinach and allow to cook until soft. Place all the cooked ingredients in a blender and blend until a paste forms (add a little water if needed). Next, lay out thin, wide sheets of your pasta make small bundles of the spinach mixture on the sheets. Sprinkle each bundle with a bit of grated pecorino. Lightly wet the edges around each bundle, then cover with another identical sheet of pasta, pinching around the outside od each new parcel. Then slice each parcel to make them individual ones. Store with plenty of flour to prevent them sticking to one another. When ready to cook, boil in hot salted water for about 7mins until cooked through. Sprinkle with pecorino before serving. Enjoy!

no. 12 - brocolli and spinach bake

Wholewheat Lasagne sheets
Brocolli and cauliflower
Fresh spinach
Salt and pepper
White Sauce
Strong cheese – we used mature cheddar

Boil the brocolli and cauliflower until soft. Add 1 clove garlic and blend in a blender to make a thick paste. Cut the spinach into thick slices, leaving behind the hard stalks (keep aside for soup!) Once this is donebegin layering in a deep roasting dish. Starting with the brocolli sauce, cover the bottom of the dish, then layer pieces of lasagne sheet, then the sliced spinach, then white sauce, then brocolli, then pasta ,etc. Finish off with white sauce, and sprinkle the top with your strong cheese. Bake in the oven for about 35mins and grill to brown the cheese. Voila!

Pasta Frenzy

So we’ve been experimenting with our pasta this week, making different doughs and using different settings on the machine. We had great success with our lasagne sheets (see recipe 12) and discovered that the smallest cutting setting on the machine makes a spaghetti type of pasta. Yes! just some pics for you...

no.11 - magical brenton mussels 
(serves 2 comfortably)

30 mussels, fresh as fresh can get you
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
Dill, fresh or dried
Salt and black pepper
A splash of red wine from your glass
Parmesan cheese (if you’re fancy)
Crusty bread/toast/rolls

First off, fill a sink with cold fresh water and plop your mussels in it. Allow them to stand still for a bit, then one-by-one remove the ‘beard’, the strands that stick out the shell to hold them onto the rocks. Keep in the water until ready to cook. In a pot or wok, lightly brown the onion and crushed garlic in some butter. Add the dill, followed by the tomato. ‘Cut’ up the tomatoes using your spoon/spatula so they are no longer whole. Add the splash of red wine, salt and pepper and stir. When this mixture comes to the boil, chuck in the mussels. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer, making sure the mussels are well submersed in the sauce. Cover the pot using a lid and cook until the mussels have opened up and the flesh is firmly cooked. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve hot with warm bread and butter. Couldn’t taste fresher.

no.10 - homemade pickled peppadews

this recipe makes enough pickling juice for 1 cup of peppadews, so just multiply it as you need. we used an old wholegrain mustard jar for bottling, so there were some mustard seeds inside which added a lovely bite to the flavour. here you go;

1 cup fresh peppadews
75ml water
50ml white wine vinegar 
2 bay leaves
3 Tbsp honey
50ml balsamic vinegar
1 green pepper
about 1 chopped Tbsp of each:
black peppercorns
lemon grass

combine all ingredients except peppadews in a saucepan and bring to the boil. deseed the peppadews, but try to leave them as whole as possible. when the pickling mixture is boiling, add the peppadews and reduce heat to simmer for 10-15mins. NB: cook with a lid on the saucepan so as not to loose all the pickling juice to evapouration. Bottle while hot, filling the jar all the way to the top. No air must be in the jar or they might go off- lightly press a teaspoon on top to release all the air before closing the jar. Enjoy after 1/2 weeks!

no.9 - cheeky cherry tomato tart

this tart is SO delicious and super easy to make seeing that i bought ready-made puff pastry. cheeky. here's what you'll need:

1 pack pre-rolled puff pastry
cherry tomatoes (about 250g)
basil pesto
salt and pepper
1 egg yolk (for brushing)
parmesan cheese
fresh basil

preheat your oven to 220 deg. open out your puff pastry into it's rectangle shape. with a sharp knife, cut 1.5cm strips off either side, and place them back onto the remaining rectangle, creating a 'frame' around it. (you don't have to, but sometimes it helps to brush a small amount of egg yolk underneath the strips to make them stick. otherwise just pinch them slightly.) place on a baking tray. slice the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a separate bowl. Toss with about 2 Tbsp of basil pesto, and a little salt and pepper. once these are well coasted, tip out onto the pastry to cover the rectangle. next, brush the 'frame' strips with the egg yolk (this gives it a lovely golden shine when cooked). put into the oven and cook until the pastry is puffed up and golden. when its ready to come out, grate some parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top, and garnish with fresh basil leaves. cut into squares and enjoy hot or cold!

no.8 - angelic angel fish

this marinade is super easy to make, and the flavour combination is one that sings in your mouth, making your tastebuds do a little jig. add however much you like of the ingredients listed below according to what your taste fancies.

wholegrain mustard
olive oil
soy sauce

bash it all together (i used a pestle and mortar) until it makes a coarse paste. lather over your fish (we used angelfish but it works tuna and yellowtail too) with and allow to stand for at least 30mins. when its ready, pop it on the braai until cooked to perfection. enjoy!

no.7 - what old mother hubbard had in her cupboard
(serves 4)

tonight there wasn't much to work with on the ingredient side of things, but this jumble-up of whatever i could find turned out a trrreat. this time i put cayenne pepper into the pasta dough which gave it a nice little bite :)

then to go with the pasta i made: roasted butternut with ginger and red onion. into that i put some raw chopped peppadews as well as their seeds for extra heat, and some little green peas. once the pasta was ready I tossed it all together, then threw on some long green beans and finely sliced radishes, and crumbled over some feta. 
quite an odd flavour combo but it worked!

no.6 - mango tango
(serves 2)

the cool thing about this simple healthy treat is that you can eat it at any time of the day- for breakfast, an afternoon snack or for dessert!

1 mango, sliced
plain yoghurt
tennis biscuits or shortbread
toasted sesame seeds
mint, for garnish

place some slices of mango in each bowl and dollop (love that word) 2-3 Tbsp of yoghurt on top. Drizzle over about 1 Tbsp of honey. Then sprinkle on top some crushed tennis or shortbread biscuit, followed by the toasted sesame seeds. Finish off with a bright green mint leaf for freshness and a kick. Yum!

no.5 - eggs and soldiers

there's nothing like bringing back the childhood memories of eggies and soldiers on a sunday morning... it's a healthy way to prepare your eggs, and a variation of herbs and condiments can really spruce it up! AND it's a super babalas basher too :) if you don't have egg cups, just cut up the egg box to make holders. easy peasy.

these are our favourite side-kicks:
sundried tomatoes
corriander or basil
basil pesto
wholegrain mustard
grated parmesan
asparagus or baby mielie soldiers

no.4 - iiitsa piiiizza

I'm pretty sure we've all had a go at making our own pizzas, but I found that this combo of toppings and a salad on the side made a delicious lunchtime bite for two :) 

mature cheddar cheese
emmentaler cheese
baby spinach leaves
pickled Peppadews
olives (pitted)
cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
feta cheese
corriander leaves
parmesan cheese

sprinkle over the base as much of each as you want, it's up to you! just go easy on the cheese, too much of a good thing isn't always so good.. and we know how great cheese is. bang it in the oven for 15mins on 200c or until it looks good to go. Then once its out put on the avo, corriander and parmesan shavings. voila!

no. 3 - prawn ginger pasta thing

red onion
red pepper
red cabbage
chilli or peppadews
soy sauce
lemon juice
coconut milk
prawns (de-shelled)
corriander pasta
toasted sesame seeds

in a pan, lightly fry chopped red onion, garlic and ginger. add finely slice strips of red pepper and cabbage. add peppadews. cook together for a few minutes, then add a bit fo soy sauce and lemon juice. pour over coconut milk and add prawns. allow to simmer until the prawns are cooked with a crunch. cook pasta as in recipe 1 (corriander pasta is just a variation to basil pasta) until tender. spoon the mixture over the pasta, not forgetting to add some of the lovely coconut saucy bits! sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and finish off with some fresh corriander (avo is great too!). deeeeelish!

no. 2 - trail mix for mountain munchies

dried cranberries
dates (pitted)
shredded coconut
pumpkin seeds
sunflower seeds

in a dry pan over the stove, lightly toast the coconut, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds until golden and toasty (be careful not to burn!). add to other ingredients in a big bowl and toss together until evenly mixed. the quantities of each ingredient is up to you, depending on your taste buds and energy needs. easy as that, get munching!

no.1 - home made basil pasta
(serves 4)

200g white bread flour
2 large eggs
30g (big handful) basil leaves, finely chopped
pinch of salt
olive oil

pour flour onto a large flat surface. whisk eggs and chopped basil leaves together, add salt, and pour onto flour. mix together to make a dough. lightly oil hands and knead the dough until all smooth and well distributed. begin sending through the pasta machine until level 6, then cut into linguine strips. leave to dry for 2 hours of so. when ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add pasta and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender. BOOM!

serve either as is with a sprinkling of grated parmesan, salt and pepper... or chuck in a couple of roast veggies to colour it up! we used butternut, cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and a healthy amount of garlic.