Baked Crumbed Potato Balls

Crumbed potato balls 5 2I love potatoes. Everyone does. Even if they’re on a health kick and say they prefer cauliflower mash (shudder). They’re lying or in denial. The Husband is obsessed with mashed potatoes. I, on the other hand, prefer them roasted. I get bored of plain ol’ mash. There’s nothing wrong with it but I enjoy variety. Enter this recipe. Because the potatoes aren’t enough (when are they ever not enough?) I added cheese, formed balls and crumbed. Clearly that still wasn’t good enough so I drizzled butter over them and baked. I was pressed for time and didn’t fancy the idea of standing in the kitchen frying them while my guests were at the dinner table so I baked them. Try this. It’s easy, creamy, crispy and cheesy.

Baked Crumbed Potato Balls

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients for the mashed potatoes:
2kg potatoes, peeled and boiled
100g butter
⅓ cup milk
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients for the potato balls:
2kg mashed potatoes (see mash recipe below)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs
75ml milk
100g corn flake crumbs
100g melted butter

Directions for the mash: 

Peel and boil the potatoes until soft, about 20 minutes in the microwave. Drain and mash. Add the butter and stir. Pour in the milk and sour cream, mix well and mash again. Sprinkle in the nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Give it one last good stir. It’s easier to work with the mash if it’s cold, so refrigerate it for an hour.

Directions for the potato balls:

Crumbed potato balls 1 21. Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Once the mash has cooled, add the grated cheese and mix well, making sure it’s evenly distributed. Put two heaped tablespoons of mash in your hand and form into balls.


Crumbed potato balls 3 22. Mix the eggs in a bowl and add the milk. Stir to combine. Put the bread crumbs in a separate dish. Dip the potato balls into the egg mixture on all sides and roll in the bread crumbs, covering the whole ball. Repeat until you’ve used up all of the mash.



Crumbed potato balls 4 23. Put the balls into a large dish, heat the butter and drizzle over them. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and serve fresh and hot. No one likes cold balls.


Words Crush Wednesday – Gwyneth Paltrow Edition

Last night while making cream cheese frosting, this gem of a quote popped into my head. Gwynnie has a way with words. In this case, however, I agree with her.

“I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin” – Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow


Words Crush Wednesdays will never be the same again…

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


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!

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


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)


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!





Crustless Mini Quiches with Caramelized Onions and Brie

There are few things I love more than cheese. Not many, but a few. The Husband, the cat, shows about people who are ardently readying themselves for doomsday, dreaming I can fly (it only happened once but it was awesome) and, on that note, sleeping late. Actually, take the apocolypse show off the list. I definitely prefer cheese to watching people build underground bunkers in preparation for the inevitable alien invasion. If I were to do that, I know what I would take. Cheese. A lot of cheese. Probably not the best idea in the event of said aliens cutting all power, but you get the gist.

Brie is also known as “the King of Cheeses” and was believed to have been a tribute paid to French kings. I mean, if it’s good enough for royalty.

There are many ways to eat this cheese but this is by far my favourite. The sweetness of the caramelized onions perfectly compliments the gooey creaminess of the Brie. I use a medium (180ml/cup) muffin tray which gives me six mini quiches but you can use small pie dishes too.

Crustless Mini Quiches with Caramelized Onions and Brie

Servings: 6   Prep time: 5 minutes   Cooking time:  Caramelized onions 40 minutes + 25 – 30 minutes for quiches

Ingredients for mini caramelized and onon quiches

Ingredients for mini caramelized onion and Brie quiches


  • 125g Brie cheese
  • 2 onions, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 250 ml cream
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Non-stick spray


Peel, halve and slice the onions. Don’t slice them too thinly, you don’t want them to burn. Usually for caramelizing you would slice the onion whole, however, the quiches are too small for this.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and butter, stirring to spread the butter.

Onions in olive oil and butter

Onions in olive oil and butter

Spread the onions evenly across the pan. Fry for 5 minutes on medium high, stirring to prevent onions from sticking, then turn the heat down to medium low and saute for another 10 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and salt and saute for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) and spray non-stick spray in the muffin tray cups, making sure you cover the sides too.

Brie is too soft to grate so cut it into small pieces, keeping a quarter aside for the topping.

Cut the Brie into small pieces, keeping a quarter aside

Cut the Brie into small pieces, keeping a quarter aside

Whisk the eggs and yolks and add the cream, stirring until thoroughly combined. Add the onions and Brie to the egg and cream mixture, stir and pour into the muffin tray, filling each cup ⅔’s full.

Pour the mixture into a muffin tray, filling each cup by two-thirds

Pour the mixture into a muffin tray, filling each cup by two-thirds

Bake for 25 – 3o minutes until golden brown on top. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before gently lifting the quiches out of the muffin cups.

Caramelized onion and Brie quiches

Caramelized onion and Brie quiches

Brie onion 8 (2)

Individual ramekins also work very well


Baked Camembert in Phyllo Pastry

This dish is perfection, if I may say so myself. And I just did. I’m not joking when I say your guests will be talking about it for months, if not years, to come. I have friends who are still talking about it, three years later. The beauty of this recipe is, well, absolutely everything but I will be more specific.

Gooey, creamy camembert wrapped in crispy, buttery phyllo pastry accompanied by sweet cranberry sauce. It literally melts in your mouth. Three ingredients, that’s it. A few minutes to prepare and 12 – 15 minutes in the oven. Winner, winner, winner. It’s not complicated. In fact it’s almost too easy. I have a good friend who is a very fussy eater. She does not do cheese. Like, ever. I made this recipe a few years ago and she relented after hearing the “ooohs” and “aahs”. She has subsequently converted. She still doesn’t eat cheese, with this exception.

It’s the perfect starter because it’s quick and delicious. You can prepare it ahead and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake it but I’d suggest doing it fresh.

It only takes these three ingredients plus cranberry sauce for serving

It only takes these three ingredients plus cranberry sauce for serving

Baked Camembert in Phyllo Pastry

Servings: 4     Prep time: 10 minutes     Cooking time: 12 – 15 minutes


  • 2 wheels camembert, halved
  • 6 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 1 cup melted better
  • Cranberry sauce


Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F).

Cut the camembert in half. You’re going to use three sheets per whole camembert, with those sheets then halved for both half wheels of cheese.

Melt the butter and lay one sheet of phyllo pastry on the counter. Paint the sheet with butter, drizzling butter across the sheet and then using a brush to paint it. I use my turkey baster and it works really well but you can drizzle the butter across the phyllo and then use a brush to spread it, making sure you cover the entirety of each sheet. Lay a second piece of phyllo on top of the first and repeat the process until you’ve painted three layers. Cut the phyllo down the middle by gliding a sharp knife down the centre, vertically.

Place one half of camembert in the bottom of the phyllo sheets and roll up, folding over each time. Tuck the sides of the phyllo under the parcel and paint the top and bottom with more butter.

Place half the camembert wheel on the phyllo and wrap it up

Place half the camembert wheel on the phyllo and wrap it up

Once the camembert is tucked into the phyllo pastry, fold over

Once the camembert is tucked into the phyllo pastry, fold over

Place in a roasting tray and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve with cranberry sauce.

Creamy, buttery baked camembert with cranberry sauce. It will melt in your mouth!

Creamy, buttery baked camembert with cranberry sauce. It will melt in your mouth!



Crustless Mini Quiches with Bacon and Mushrooms

My mother-in-law, who is an incredible cook, gave me a recipe for crustless quiches. It’s the yummiest quiche recipe, and it’s quick and easy, and so convenient! You can serve them warm or cool, and make them ahead of time. With only 20 minutes prepping time and 15 minutes cooking time, it is the perfect recipe!

Crustless Mini Quiches with Bacon and Mushrooms

Servings: 6     Prep time: 20 minutes (inclusive of frying the bacon & mushrooms)    Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 250g bacon, chopped
  • 250g white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 250ml thick cream
  • 2 large eggs plus an additional 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup cheddar, grated (or any cheese of your choice)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (normal table salt will also do)
  • 1 tablespoon self-raising flour
  • non-stick spray


Preheat your oven to 180°C.

In a large pan fry the bacon and mushrooms on a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes.

Mix the eggs, egg yolks and cream together until the eggs and cream are  thoroughly combined.

Spray the muffin tray with non-stick spray. Sprinkle a little bit of self-raising flour over the bottom of each individual tray. Shake the tray well to ensure the flour lightly coats the sides as well. Add a little bit of cheese to the bottom of each tray then add some egg and cream mix to the bottom to lightly moisten the bottom.

Combine the bacon, mushrooms and cheese minus two tablespoons to the egg and cream mixture. Mix well. Fill each muffin tray to the top with the quiche filling. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the tops of each tray.

Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes. Once done, remove the tray from the oven and let the quiches cool for about 15 minutes before removing them. Serve warm or cool and refrigerate if you’re serving them much later or the next day. Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Brussels Sprouts Gratin pre-baking

Admittedly, I have never been a big fan of Brussels sprouts. My mother loved them and my mother-in-law also loves them but seldom does she have a chance to enjoy them. You see, my father-in-law doesn’t quite fancy them and much prefers gem squash. For Christmas last year, I decided to make a dish that we would all enjoy. After a few practices this is my tweaked version which also includes mushrooms just because they taste delicious with the bacon.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Servings: 4-6     Prep time: 15 minutes     Cooking time: 20-25 minutes      Standing time: 15-20 minutes


  • 500g frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 125g bacon, fat removed and cut into small pieces
  • 4 large brown mushrooms, sliced into ¼’s
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, I use canola
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper (I always use sea salt but table salt is absolutely fine too)


Preheat your oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a baking dish. I use cholesterol free Spray and Cook.

In a microwaveable dish, pour in boiling water and add a pinch of salt. Add the frozen Brussels sprouts and microwave, uncovered, on medium-high for eight minutes. Drain and immerse the Brussels sprouts in ice cold water for ten minutes (to stop the cooking process).

While the sprouts are chilling, slice the mushrooms and cut the bacon. Add the oil to a large pan and fry the bacon on medium-high for three minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry for another three minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the sprouts are cool, drain and halve them. Put them in an ovenproof dish and add the bacon and mushrooms. Season further with more salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients to ensure even distribution.

Evenly pour the cream over the sprouts, bacon and mushroom mixture. Toss one more time. In a separate bowl, mix the bread crumbs and grated cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the Brussels sprouts mixture. Distribute the butter over the bread crumbs and bake uncovered, on a low shelf, until heated through and golden brown, approximately 20 – 25 minutes.

Allow it to stand for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Note: I sometimes also add ten halved strings of green beans and five sliced baby marrows. These two ingredients do not require and pre-cooking and you can add them when you mix the Brussels sprouts, bacon and mushrooms. Yummy!

Creamy Baked Gnocchi with Bacon, Mushrooms and Broccoli

“Hmmm… yummy!” is what comes to mind when I make this meal. This is such a crowd pleaser – crispy bacon, creamy, cheesy veggies added to gnocchi and baked to golden brown perfection!  Yummers! Do it! Do it now!

Creamy Baked Gnocchi with Bacon, Mushrooms and Broccoli

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Stuff dreams are made of:

  • Gnocchi ingredients200g bacon, chopped
  • 250g white button mushrooms, washed and cut into thirds
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, or 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 500g broccoli, broken into florets and cooked in boiling water for 4 minutes (parboiled but firm)
  • Gnocchi, cooked per package instructions

For the cheese sauce:

  • 50g butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon hot English mustard
  • 250ml cream
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon fine black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 300g grated Cheddar cheese

Making it happen:

Gnocchi 1 21. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat and add the garlic, bacon and mushrooms. Fry for five minutes until the mushrooms have browned (or let the bacon fry for a little longer to get it crispy). While this is cooking, parboil the broccoli.



Gnocchi 3 22. For the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the flour and mustard to make a roux paste. Slowly add the milk and cream while constantly stirring with a whisk. Once the sauce has thickened, add the salt and pepper and mix well. Take the pot off the heat and stir in half the cheese.


Gnocchi 4 23. Place the broccoli and gnocchi in a large ovenproof dish and add the mushrooms and bacon. Mix well. Pour the sauce over the veggies and again, mix well. Sprinkle the remaining half of the cheese on top and place the dish uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. Take the dish out and allow it to stand for a few minutes before serving.


Gnocchi 5 2TADA!