Word Crush Wednesday

This week’s quote is both literal and figurative and it’s one of my favourites. Its origin is undetermined. Some say it’s a Chinese proverb although a version of it was used in an English novel in the 1800s but one thing that’s undebatable is its message.

When doing a figurative interpretation, its message is that it’s more meaningful and fruitful to teach someone how to do something than doing it for them.

I, however, practise this every day in a more literal sense. Before I learnt how to cook, I excelled at making reservations. However, through being autodidactic and observant of other peoples’ cooking methods, nothing gives me greater joy than feeding those I love.

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Glazed Gammon with Honey, Mustard and Apricot Jam

Something’s wrong with this picture. I get home from the supermarket, unpack the groceries and stare. I’m definitely missing something. Oh swear word. I forgot the ingredients for the glazing. Swear word, swear word, swear word. You see, I promised The Husband and The Best Friend glazed gammon. They take their food very seriously. Woe betide me should I fail to deliver. People, this is what happens when you draw up a shopping list with the TV on in the background. You get sidetracked by shows like ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ and can’t tear yourself away from the dude with the gnarliest looking man-problems you’ve ever seen. Dr Christian has his work cut out for him. Shudder.

I check the cupboards and fridge and find some apricot jam and honey. Right. It’ll have to do. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it turned out to be the yummiest glazed gammon in the history of my kitchen (which I tore down a few months later). I added some mustard just because. I mean, I’ve already deviated from the original recipe so why not just go all out, right? I like to live on the wild side and also, mustard is to honey as the Kardashians are to rappers. Make of that what you will.

This is much easier than missioning with pineapples and cherries. Those toothpicks get me every freaking time. I’m not sure I can definitively say what my favourite roast is, between beef, chicken and gammon, but this recipe is definitely my favourite gammon and has subsequently been made several times.

Gammon 1 (2)2kg (approx 4.5lbs) boneless gammon
2 onions, halved
2-3 celery stalks, cut into thirds
2 carrots, cut into thirds (I never peel them, too much PT)
5 bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns

Glazing:
4 tablespoons apricot jam
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons hot English mustard

Gammon 2 (2)Put the gammon in a large pot, fill it with cold water and cover. On high heat, bring it to a boil then drain the water. Place the rest of the ingredients in the pot, refill with fresh cold water, bring it to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes per 500g/1lb. If your gammon is sticking out of the water slightly, turn halfway through.

 

 

If your gammon piece isn't fully covered by water, turn it halfway through.

If your gammon piece isn’t fully covered by water, turn it halfway through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gammon 4 (2)Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Once the gammon has finished simmering, remove from heat, drain and let cool for 20 minutes. Take off the ties before it cools too much. After 20 minutes, remove the rind and score the remaining fat in an ‘X’ shape. Mix the apricot jam, honey and mustard and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir thoroughly and baste onto the gammon ensuring the entire piece is covered. Place in a roasting pan and roast for 20 – 25 minutes, basting it with pan drippings every 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before carving it.

Roast Beef with Garlic and Rosemary

I’m one of those people who believes a home cooked meal is far more meaningful than going to a restaurant. Let me just say this though: there are times when I truly don’t feel like cooking and really appreciate a night out; not having to wash, chop, prep, steam, blanch, bake, fry, time or whatever else it takes to prepare a meal. However, other peoples’ home cooking is always so dearly appreciated. Because I cook all the time, I appreciate someone else’s home cooking so much!

In the same vein, Valentine’s Day is around the corner. To me, when somebody actually spends time doing something for me as opposed to forking out however much for a card, flowers and a meal, means a great deal to me. This is the type of meal that will “wow” and here’s the kicker – it has three ingredients. No seriously, three. That’s it. Beef, garlic and rosemary. It can be accompanied by pretty much anything. Salad, roast veggies (always a general crowd pleaser) or whatever you feel like! If there are any leftovers, and that’s a big ‘if’, you can always make beef sarmies, a definite favourite with The Husband. This recipe serves six people and please note that cooking times for roast beef (topside, silverside, blade or round) are as follows:

Cook at 160°C per 500g for

  • 20 – 25 minutes for rare
  • 25 – 30 minutes for medium
  • 30 – 35 minutes for well done

Roast beef ing1 (2)Ingredients:

2kg beef
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
10 garlic cloves (I like it really garlic-y but you can use more or less depending on your preference)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

 

 

Roast beef 1 (2)Method:

Remove beef from fridge and let it rest for half an hour before roasting. Preheat your oven to 160°C. Make incisions in the beef, about 1cm long and as deep as possible without piercing the underside, and insert a garlic clove and a few leaves of rosemary. You might have to halve your garlic cloves to get them to fit.

Sprinkle the beef with olive oil and rub over the entire piece. Sprinkle some salt and freshly cracked black pepper and pop the beef in the oven for the desired amount of time, dependent on how rare or well done you want it.

Roast beef 3 (2)Allow it to rest for a few minutes (5 – 10) after taking it out of the oven and serve.

 

 

 

 

Word Crush Wednesday – Mae West Edition

Mae West… She was a sassy broad. Yes, I know, we’re supposed to be all about moderation and balance; nothing in excess, finding that perfect symmetry between the good and the bad, which is entirely subjective. However, our kitchen renovations are thisclose to being completed. And it’s wonderful. We’ve lived with an 80s melamine monstrosity for more than ten years. We’ve always dreamt about our perfect kitchen and now it’s coming to life. After more than three weeks of renovations, we are almost done. It makes me think of this quote by Mae West, which is this weeks’s Word Crush Wednesday:

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Before:

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Almost after:

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Meatballs

During the week, we try to eat healthily. Our usual menu consists of something like chicken breasts with steamed spinach and broccoli or fish with roasted zucchinis and mushrooms. However, I often get bored of cooking (and eating) the same thing but in the quest for fewer carby, fatty meals, I regularly find myself at a bit of a loss for what to cook.

I love mince, but I associate it with spaghetti bolognaise (yum) and lasagna (yummier) but for the past few months I’ve been making meatballs and serving them with veggies like roasted butternut and green (bell) peppers (I’ve also served them with mashed potatoes which is very yespleaseandthanks) . These meatballs are really tasty and I look forward to cooking (and eating) them every week! They’re easy to make, like super easy – put everything into a food processor and mix, and only takes 15 – 20 minutes in the oven. I don’t fry them, I put them directly into a baking dish and cook them for 15 minutes. It’s that easy! If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this pretty quickly, see instructions by hand.

Makes 12  Prep time: 5 minutes   Cooking time: 15 –  20 minutes

Meatballs ing (2)500g lean beef mince
1 onion
1 sachet/50g tomato paste
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
Salt & pepper for seasoning
Non-stick spray

Method if using a processor:

Cut the onion in half and blitz it for a few seconds in the food processor until finely chopped. Add the mince, blitz for a few more seconds until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and blitz until well combined. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this in two batches. Put one large tablespoon’s worth of mince mixture into your hand and roll to form a ball.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, depending on your oven and how you like your balls.

Meatballs 1 (2)

Method by hand:
Halve and slice the onion thinly. In a large bowl, add the mince and mix well. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly until well combined. I’ve done it this way a few times (it was a very dark time in my life when my food processor broke and I had to wait a month to replace it) and I found it much easier to mix the ingredients with my hands instead of using a spatula. Sorry if that grosses you out; they were clean, promise!

Meatballs 3 (4)

Fettuccine Alfredo

Did you just say “creamy bacon”? Oh, how I love it when you talk dirty! Hold on… creamy bacon with chicken and buttery mushrooms in a garlic-infused sauce? Will you marry me?

Most fettuccine alfredo recipes use either bacon or chicken. I use both because I can and because they work so well together in this dish. I don’t often make pasta but when I do, I’m all in. And it’s quick!

Servings: 4   Prep time: 5 minutes   Cooking time: 20 – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Fettuccine Alfredo ing 1 (2)4 tablespoons butter
500g chicken cut into one-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pack bacon cut into strips
400g mushrooms, sliced
250 ml cream
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Parmesan for serving

 

 

Fettuccine alfredo 1 (2)Cut the chicken into one-inch pieces and slice the garlic cloves thinly. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan on medium-high. Add the chicken and garlic to the pan once the butter has melted and fry for 3 – 4 minutes per side, turning halfway through until the chicken is white on the outside but still pink in the centre. Remove the ingredients from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

 

 

 

 

FA mush bacon cooked 1Heat another 2 tablespoons of butter, still on medium-high, and fry the bacon for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry for another 2 – 3 minutes until lightly browned.

 

 

 

 

Fettuccine alfredo 2 (2)Pour the cream into the pan then re-add the chicken and garlic. Cover and turn down to medium-low, simmering for 7 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Fettuccine alfredo 3 (2)In the meantime, cook the fettuccine according to the instructions, drain and add it to the other ingredients. Sprinkle with grated parmesan; serve aaaand enjoy!