Crazy About… Roast Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze

Balsamic glazed roast veg 2 1Roast veggies are always delish, but sometimes one needs to add a little somethin’ extra. This balsamic glaze is the perfect choice to zhuzh it up – easy, sweet and healthy. Here ya go…

Roast Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Veggies:

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
250g button mushrooms, halved
500g baby tomatoes
3 carrots, julienned
5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
Sea salt
Parsley for garnishing

Balsamic Glaze:

⅓ cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lime juice
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making It Happen:

Balsamic glazed roast veg 1Preheat oven to 200°C.
Prepare the veggies and place them in a large roasting dish. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with paprika, and roast for 45 minutes, turning after 20 minutes. Once cooked, remove the garlic skins.

 

Balsamic glazed roast veg 4 1For the glaze: Add all glaze ingredients to a saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil slowly, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the glaze is reduced and sticky. Pour over the veggies and serve hot.

 

Roast Vegetables with Quinoa

Quinoa veggies 7Thank you, Joaquin Phoenix. Why, you ask? When I initially read about quinoa, the only way I could remember the correct pronunciation was by saying this sentence: would Wah-keen like some keen-wah? See? It works! So, thank you Mr Phoenix, brilliant actor and moderately strange human being-slash-space cadet, for preventing major embarrassment when talking to my friends about this super healthy grain seed!

In my attempt to eat more vegetarian dishes, I discovered the deliciousness of roasting peppers, onion, baby tomatoes and carrots, and adding it to sautéed whole tomatoes and beans. This meal is protein-rich, full of goodness, and drenched in yumminess.

Roast Vegetables with Quinoa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Quinoa roast veg 11 yellow, red & green pepper, halved lengthways and deseeded
1 red onion, halved
250g baby tomatoes
3 carrots, peeled & halved lengthways
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 tin red kidney beans, drained
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 heaped teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon Greek pesto
1 cup vegetable stock
½ cup quinoa
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 handful Italian parsley
Olive oil
Salt

Making it happen:

Quinoa roast veg 21. Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Grill the peppers (skin side up), onion, baby tomatoes and carrots for 15-20 minutes until the peppers have blackened. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool.

 

 

Quinoa roast veg102. While the roasted veggies are cooling, drizzle the olive oil (just enough to cover the surface) into a large pan over medium heat and pour in the drained red kidney beans and tinned tomatoes. Add the celery, paprika, garlic, lemon juice and Greek pesto, and simmer.

 

Quinoa roast veg 33. While the above is simmering, peel and slice the peppers and slice the carrots, adding them to the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes.

 

 

Quinoa roast veg 54. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under cold water. Pour the vegetable stock and quinoa into the pan, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes until the quinoa is cooked.

 

Quinoa roast veg 65. Garnish with Italian parsley.

Monthly Mystery Munchies: My Big Fat Greek Lamb Kleftiko

Lamb Kleftiko 11It’s the fifth installment of my and Ann’s Monthly Mystery Munchies and this month we went Greek. When scouring the internet and cookbooks for ideas, I settled on lamb kleftiko. Why? I freaking love a good roast! Also, the story behind it is so amusing and that endeared me. ‘Kleftiko’ means ‘stolen’ in Greek. Back in the day, bandits would thieve cattle and cook the meat, sealed in a pit oven and covered with sand, to prevent their opponents from seeing the fire. They would leave the meat buried in the ground all day and return to a slow-cooked meal at night. Genius. I’m not an advocate for theft but I like the initiative these dudes showed. (Please buy your meat with actual money!)

The dish is encased in layers of tin foil and/or parchment paper (unless you happen to have a pit oven). Here’s where it gets even yummier: it’s marinated overnight in garlic, fresh herbs and lemon juice. Then, when you’re ready to cook it, it’s surrounded by veggies, topped with thickly sliced tomatoes, sprinkled with seasoning and drizzled with olive oil. And a partridge in a pear tree.

Think of it as your one-stop roast pot. Remove the meat from the fridge an hour before you’re ready to roast, cook it on low for 4-5 hours depending on how you like it, and when you take it out of the oven, you have everything you need. Beautiful, succulent, falling-off-the-bone lamb, and potatoes, onions and carrots that have been absorbing all the tasty lamb and herb juices. No missioning with extra veggies. Carve it, dish it and you’re good to go. Amen. Let’s do this, but before we go ahead, make sure you mosey on over to Grubbs n Critters for my BBF (Best Blogging Friend) Ann’s take on this month’s theme.

Monthly Mystery Munchies: My Big Fat Greek Lamb Kleftiko

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Supplies:

Lamb Kleftiko 11.8-2kg leg of lamb
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from stalk
1 sprig lemon thyme, leaves removed from stalk
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 garlic cloves, crushed and halved
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil + more for drizzling
2 tomatoes, thickly sliced
4 potatoes, peeled and halved
4 carrots, sliced lengthways
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
Freshly cracked black pepper & salt

Lamb Kleftiko 21. Crush and halve the garlic cloves. Put all the herbs in a bowl, add the garlic and olive oil and stir well.

Lamb Kleftiko 3

 

 

 

2. Make incisions in the lamb, 2-3 in a vertical row and repeat across the meat. (Don’t cut all the way through to the bottom.) Stuff the holes with the garlic and herb mixture. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice with black pepper and salt and pour over the lamb, rubbing it in with your hands, and rubbing the underside of the meat too.

Lamb Kleftiko 53. Put the meat in a sealable bag and refrigerate overnight, or for a minimum of 2 hours.

 

 

 

Lamb Kleftiko 74. Remove lamb from the fridge and let it rest for an hour before you cook it. Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F). Lay a long piece of tin foil down, lengthways, and lay a piece of parchment paper over it. Lay another piece of foil horizontally, and again lay a piece of parchment paper over it. (You’re creating a cross.)

Lamb Kleftiko 85. Cut the onions into quarters, positioning one onion in the centre of the cross. Halve the carrots lengthways (I never peel them, I’m too lazy, but I wash them thoroughly) add 6 halves to the onions. Peel and halve your potatoes, placing 6-8 halves with the onions and carrots. What you’re going for is a mixture of veggies at the bottom of the dish, but not all of them. Drizzle some olive oil over them (about 2 tablespoons)and grind some black pepper and salt over them. Place the lamb on top of the veggies and drizzle more olive oil on top of the lamb. Sprinkle with salt. Position the rest of the chopped veggies around the lamb. Place 6 tomato slices, cut thick, on top of the lamb.

Lamb Kleftiko 96. Bring all of the foil/parchment paper sides together. What you’re going for is a very well-sealed effect. Put the parcel in a deep roasting dish put the dish in the middle shelf of your oven. Roast at 160°C (320°F) for 4-5 hours (4 hours for rare, 4½ for medium and 5 for well done).
Lamb Kleftiko 10

7. Remove the roasting tray from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before opening it. Carve the lamb, add veggies to the plate and dig in!

 

Oxtail Stew

The Husband and I were cruising the butchery section at our local supermarket when his eyes lit up and he made a run for the section behind me. “Pleeeeease may we have oxtail?”. Let me be honest – I don’t cook a lot of oxtail, and The Husband recently bought a box of gazillion marshmallow and chocolate-covered Easter eggs which he hid away from me (for obvious reasons) No seriously, I jest not. A happy compromise – oxtail for Easter eggs. The thing is, I absolutely love this stew! It’s packed with flavour, fresh herbs, a delicious variety of veggies and it has wine. This is a wonderful excuse to open a bottle of red, just remember to keep some for the stew. A rich stew popular in South Africa, this is the perfect meal to serve on a chilly day. It’s packed with flavour, does not disappoint and will you leave you with a wonderfully satisfied tummy!

Oxtail used to only come from the tail of an ox, but it now comes from the tail of a cow of either gender (uh… gender equality?). It is a bony, fatty piece of meat with marrow in the centre. This makes it ideal for slow-cooked stews so here it is! Serve with rice or mashed potatoes. Let’s dig in!

Oxtail ingredients

1kg (2.2lbs) oxtail
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oil
4 leeks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
50g tomato paste
250ml red wine
250ml beef stock
500g baby tomatoes
1 x 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
1kg (2.2lbs) baby potatoes
5 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Fresh thyme and rosemary
2 bay leaves
Freshly cracked black pepper
Salt

Oxtail 1 2

Sprinkle flour over the oxtails and coat fully. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium and add the meat when the oil is hot. Fry for about 10 minutes until the meat is browned on all sides. Set aside.

 

 

 

 

Oxtail 5 2Pour the hot oil and pan drippings into a large pot, heat on medium and add the leeks and garlic. Fry for about 3 – 5 minutes. Return the oxtails into the pot with tomato paste and fry, turning the meat, for another 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and beef stock, add the fresh and tinned tomatoes and start bringing the stew to a slow boil.

 

 

 

Oxtail 6 2Add the carrots and potatoes. Wash your fresh thyme and rosemary and sprinkle a few sprigs into the pot. Splash in Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice and crack some black pepper. (I don’t add salt at this point – let it stew for an hour, taste it and add salt. The Worcestershire sauce is already salty so try to avoid adding too much salt.) Stir everything, cover, bring to a boil, uncover and simmer for 2 hours. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

 

 

Oxtail 8 2

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Cottage Pie

We’re in the midst of extensive kitchen renovations and I knew that for six weeks I wouldn’t be able to cook, so I made a whole lot of home-cooked meals which I froze. This is my idea of microwave meals and cottage pie is at the top of the list! It’s delicious and it’s the type of dish you can cook and serve the next day or freeze until it calls your name. It’s screaming my name right now! This is the perfect winter meal or, if you’re like me, the perfect meal to freeze and reheat on a blisteringly hot summer’s day in the Southern Hemisphere!

Servings: 6   Prep time: 5 minutes   Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:

500g lean mince
2 onions, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons oil
30g tomato paste
250g mushrooms, sliced
8 carrots, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
Sprinkle of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
1 sachet or cube beef stock (my preference is Ina Paarman’s real beef liquid stock in a sachet but you can use any beef stock)

Method:

Cot pie stove (2)On medium-high heat in a large pan, fry the onion and garlic for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mince and fry for another 2 minutes, stirring to prevent from sticking, until lightly browned. Add the tomato paste, mushrooms, carrots, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme and pepper. Do not add the salt yet, do this after you’ve added the stock  to prevent the dish being too salty. Fry, stirring, for another 5 minutes.

 

Add the stock in water and flour, stirring to mix well. Cover, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes until thickened.

Meanwhile, make the mashed potatoes:

6 potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
200 ml milk
1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon mustard (optional)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
200g cheddar

 

 

Peel and quarter the potatoes, place them in a dish, cover with water and cook on high power in the microwave for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain them, add the butter and stir until melted. Pour the milk in and mash until smooth and creamy. Stir in the mustard and nutmeg and season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Cot pie cheese 2 (2)Preheat your oven to 200°C or 400°F. Take the mince mixture off the heat and pour into a large casserole dish. Spread the mash evenly over the mince and sprinkle with cheddar.

 

 

 

 

 

Cot pie done 2 (2)Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown on top. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve, or refrigerate and serve the next day. I cooked and froze this a month ago and it still tastes as if I made it today!

 

 

 

 

Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

With winter fast approaching, one of my favourite comfort foods is Chicken Noodle Soup. It’s pretty easy to make and it tastes amazing! Also, because there is five hundred grams of noodles in the soup, it’s really filling too! Perfect for a chilly night in!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Servings: 8   Prep time: 5 minutes    Chicken baking time: 15 minutes    Soup boiling time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, de-boned chicken breasts (weighing approx 400 – 500g), par baked and shredded
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 125g sliced button mushrooms (optional)
  • 3 potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2tsp cracked black pepper
  • fresh parsley
  • 2 packets instant noodles
Method:
Preheat your oven to 170°C.  Bake the chicken breasts for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion for 4 – 5 minutes.
Shred the chicken and add it to the pot with all the remaining ingredients except egg noodles. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the carrots are soft.
Add the noodles and simmer for another 5 – 15 minutes or until the noodles are tender.
Enjoy!