Monthly Mystery Munchies #21: Huevos Rancheros (Eggs with Spicy Salsa)

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Delicioso! This month’s theme was chosen by Ann, and wow, it was a goodie! Breakfast, they say, is the most imprtant meal of the day. (Side note: Who exactly are the mysterious”they”? “They” say a lot, but I tend to agree with “them” on this one!) I entered into this challenge with curiosity and muchos excitement. We’ve never done a breakfast challenge for our Monthly Mystery Munchies, so this was an excellent, and challenging, idea.

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See, I frikken love all things spice. And eggs. Gotta love eggs. The result, you ask? Huevos rancheros – a traditional Mexican breakfast consisting of a tomato-y veggie salsa, topped with eggs, and rolled in a tortilla. This dish is flexible though, so I served it on seedloaf. We also had it for dinner last night, and it was bomb! Yummers! I desperately wanted to make guacomole, but ffs, all the avos were hard. Blah. Anyway, we soldiered forth (we = The Husband and I. He loves giving input, because he is the guinea pig, a role he happily, uh, relishes. See what I did there?). Oh, and “ffs” stands for “for food’s sake” – get your mind out of the gutter!

As much as choosing one recipe was a challenge, this one is not only a fiery start to the day, but it’s easy to boot. Fry up some sweet peppers, chillies, garlic, and tomatoes. Add egg. Top with coriander. I mean! See, easy, yes? Yes! I played around with this recipe and the final result is, in my opinion, muy bueno! I’m pumped about Ann’s recipe – “Hearty Breakfast Quiche“! QUICHE, people! #BeStillMyBeatingHeart #QuicheForBreakfastIsTheNewBlack! Ch-ch-check it out at Grubbs n Critters, and feast your eyes (and tummies) on her latest offering and so much more.

Happy New Year folks, and may it be a year filled with gastronomical delights!

Huevos Rancheros (Eggs with Spicy Salsa)

  • Time: 20ish minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy (or over-easy)
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Supplies:

1 onion, thinly sliced
2 gloves garlic, thinly sliced
Mixed sweet peppers, I used yellow and red, sliced
1 green chilli, sliced (I leave the seeds in for an extra bite, but you can remove them)
1 teaspoon dried cumin
2 bay leaves
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
2 large tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large eggs
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Tortillas/toast/whatever you want to serve it with
Fresh coriander to garnish

Making It Happen:

Heat the olive oil on medium. Add the onion and fry until softened and lightly browned, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.
Add the cumin and chillies and fry for 30 seconds.
Add the peppers, tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Fry your eggs to your liking (I perfer them with runny yolk but solid whites). Scoop the salsa onto your tortilla/bread/whatevs, place your egg on top, garnish with coriander and remember to remove the bay leaves.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #19: Chilli Hummus with Roast Veg

hummus-1058003_1920Hummus! This is what came to mind when Ann gave me the outline for this month’s Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge. A minimum of three veggies and one non-meat protein. Hummus is something I’m slightly obsessed with, particularly with added chillies. Side note: The first time I made hummus, I used three chillies. You know, because I’m badass and I love spicy food, thinking “oh, I can totally eat this, watch me!” I cried. I literally cried. I hadn’t finished blitzing the hummus in the food processor when I had a taste, and I took a mouthful of half a chilli, seeds and all. Mouth on fire, I washed my hands and then rubbed my eyes. Bad move. Really bad move! Apparently the chilli oils cling to the skin, so washing your hands ain’t gonna be enough. Just so that you know.

veg-hummus-3-2So what exactly is hummus? It’s easy and delicious, that’s what. It’s an Egyptian dip or spread made from chickpeas, tahini (ridiculously easy to make), garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Blitz everything together until smooth and serve with veggies. You can serve it with raw veggies, like carrots, celery, peppers, etc, or cook them, as I did. What I did in the case of cooked veg is I mixed the hummus with the veggies once they’d cooked. The leftovers I used as a dip for a barbecue. You can leave the chilli out, or add it for a zing, just don’t touch your eyes!

Please head over to Grubbs n Critters for Ann’s interpretation of this month’s theme. I love our Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge, and Ann is theeee best partner. She is always game, always keen and enthusiastic, and always inspires me!

Chilli Hummus

  • Time: 5 - 7 minutes
  • Difficulty: crazy easy
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Supplies:

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained and 4 tablespoons reserved
2 tablespoons tahini (see recipe below to make your own)
2 garlic cloves
1 bullet chilli
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh basil or coriander for decorating (optional)

Making It Happen:

Using the metal blade attachment, blitz the garlic in the food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients plus the 4 tablespoons of reserved chickpea liquid, to the food processor and blitz until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.

Optional: Garnish with fresh herbs and some toasted seeds.

It’s literally that easy.

For the roast veggies:

Lay 4 chopped red peppers, 400g broccoli florets, 300g halved zucchinis, and 300g green beans in a roasting dish. Drizzle olive oil over the veg, crack some black pepper and salt, mix, and roast on 200C (400F) for 20 minutes. Mix hummus with the roast veggies and serve.
Alternatively, serve hummus with raw veggies.

Tahini

  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Difficulty: crazy easy
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Supplies:

1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Making It Happen:

In a non-stick pan, toast the sunflower seeds on medium for 2 minutes. Toasting the seeds will make the tahini ‘nuttier’ like me.

Using the metal blade attachment, blitz the sunflower seeds for 3-ish minutes. Add the olive oil and blitz for another 2 minutes.

Monthly Mystery Munchies #12: Ayam Kapitan (Captain’s Chicken Curry)

 

Happiest one year anniversary, my dearest Ann!

Happiest one year anniversary, my dearest Ann!

This month marks my and Ann from Grubbs n Critters‘ one year Monthly Mystery Munchies anniversary, and what a pleasure it has been! I’ve been challenged to create new recipes by thinking outside the box, pushing my gastronomical boundaries, and devising new ways of cooking, tasting and thinking about food. It’s been a tasty treat for sure, and I’ve had an immense amount of fun doing it. Happy one year anniversary Ann, and thank you for coming up with this fabulous idea! This has tremendously broadened my horizons (and waistline, but oh well).

Captain's Curry 10This month we did a culture swap. You see, Ann is originally from Singapore, although she’s been living in Thailand for over a decade, and she’s about to move to Holland. Sheesh, busy times! I’m from South Africa, no exciting worldly experiences for me. What a pleb. However, we have so many different cultures here, and thus so many different influences, one of them being Malay. I love curry! I mean, I’m obsessed. So when Ann suggested we ‘swap’ countries, I was thrilled. Just one thing: there’s a lot of food commonly used in Singaporean dishes that we don’t have here. Crap. Not to worry, I found a spice shop close by. Some women spend hours shopping for (faffing over) clothes, shoes, accessories, whatever. I, on the other hand, can easily get lost in a food shop. I was totally enthralled. The Husband wasn’t eager to spend hours there (his loss), so I grabbed the stuff I needed and promised to return. Probably on my own. With his credit card.

Back to my Singaporean dish – behold Ayam Kapitan. Yeah, I also had no clue. Turns out it’s a chicken curry, using interesting and exciting ingredients, some of which I wouldn’t usually use. Some of the ingredients I already had in my cupboard, others required a slight search. No worries, I enjoy a challenge. This dish uses some of my favouritist (that’s a word, ‘kay?) food – oh hi garlic, ginger, coconut cream, lemon grass (homegrown in my very own garden, no less) – basically I love every single ingredient. I’d never cooked with tamarind paste before, so that was an intriguing experience. I mean, I felt so *exotic*! Anyways folks, this dish is absolutely delectable. It perfectly fuses all of the ingredients to create a creamy, spicy (but not too hot), citrus-y beauty of a meal. By The Husband’s instruction (sometimes I allow him to think he has a say), I will be cooking this meal again. And again, and again, and then again. Here you go:

 

Ayam Kapitan (Captain's Chicken Curry)

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1 hour 30 mins, incl prep and cooking time
  • Difficulty: easy
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Supplies:

Captain's Curry 71 teaspoons tamarind paste
1 red onion
3 leeks
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 green chillies (I leave the seeds in)
3 tablespoons macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chicken stock
3 tablespoons lemon grass stalks
4 lime leaves
1 tin (400ml) coconut cream
1/2 tin (200ml) coconut milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
Freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper
Coriander to serve (optional)

Making It Happen:

Captain's Curry 51. In a blender, blitz the tamarind paste, onion, leeks, garlic, ginger, chillies, 1 tablespoon macadamia nuts, turmeric, and chicken stock, to form a paste. Add the coconut cream and give it one last blitz. Pour the mixture over the chicken, marinating it for an hour (or overnight).

 

Captain's Curry 32. In a large pan or pot, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry 4-5 minutes per side, until browned.

 

 

Captain's Curry 113. Pour in the remaining marinade over the chicken and add the coconut milk and cinnamon stick. Cover and boil for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat and partially cover, simmering for 45 minutes – 1 hour until the chicken is tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve on a bed of rice. Garnish with macadamia nuts and coriander.

Captain's Curry 4Remember to remove the lime leaves and cinnamon stick before serving!

 

Monthly Mystery Munchies #11: Prawn Soup

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I have been incredibly slack lately, but for good reason. In my quest to become healthier, I have been playing around with recipes – adjusting, adding, removing, contemplating their worthiness of making it onto my blog. This month I found myself challenged and excited about my and Ann’s Monthly Mystery Munchies theme – shellfish. Easy, you might say, but as it turned out, not so much.

Ann killed it again this month, being the creative culinary aficionado that she is. I swear, we’re like long distance psychic twins, as we both did a prawn dish! She made oven grilled Gambas al Aljillo, and for the love of all things food, it looks freakin’ delectable! Initially, however, I had my heart set on doing a crab dish. Ironically, crabs freak the crap out of me! I mean, do not show me a crab. I’ll do an embarrassing girl-run into the next zip code. Yes, it really is that bad. I thought finding crab meat, actual meat, not ‘crab-flavoured’ fish sticks, would be easy. After all, I live in Cape Town, and we have a huge selection of fresh seafood. I phoned around and found two places who swore to me that I would be purchasing meat, not crabs. Off I went, happy that I would not have to put my running shoes on, and, at both places, I was handed freaking crabs, people! Eeeeeeeeeeeek! The Husband laughed as I waved my hands in the air, shouting “I can’t! I really can’t!” whilst trying not to hyperventilate. Yeah, the dudes behind the counter laughed too. That was it, crab was nixed, a hard “no” from me. However, they did have prawns, but the eyes freak me out. I mean, just gross. Aah, but they had prawn tails, challenge accepted. Plan B, I love it!

Prawns purchased, heart rate returning to normal, we headed home and discussed our options. The Husband is also getting into my and Ann’s monthly challenge, and he fancies giving me ideas. I settled on prawn soup because, recently, I made a spicy vegetable soup which we demolished, so why not use that same recipe and add prawns? Excellent. We’re back on track, plan in hand, let’s do this. Of course my hob decided to break at that exact moment. Crap, it’s Monday already, and I need to have this done by Friday! Two long days later, the hob was fixed. Much hallelujah. Finally, after a few setbacks and a mini breakdown, I was able to complete my recipe, all the while wondering what Ann’s going to come up with – please check out her recipe for this month’s shellfish theme. I’m obsessed with spicy, tasty food, so this dish is rocking a Thai-ish theme. It has a beautiful flavour without being hot, and the coconut milk adds a creaminess to it, without having to add actual cream. Without further blabbing and complaining, here we go!

Spicy Prawn Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Difficulty: not a schlep
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Supplies:

Prawn soup 1400g prawn tails, deshelled
2 grean chillies, sliced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 onion, thinly sliced
250g portabellini mushrooms
4 sliced carrots
400g thinly sliced zucchini/courgettes
1 grated red cabbage
150g snap peas
1 x 400g tin lite coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Fresh coriander for serving – optional

Making it happen:

Prawn soup 21. Deshell the prawns. In a large pot, fry the chillies, ginger, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.

 

 

 

Prawn soup 4 22. Pour in the coconut milk and vegetable stock, and add the remaining vegetables. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice, then cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the veggies are soft.

 

Prawn soup 73. Add the prawns and simmer until pink, about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with coriander if desired.

 

 

 

Monthly Mystery Munchies #6: Waterblommetjie Bredie

Waterblommetjie bredie 8I am so excited about this month’s challenge. Not only did I have a great deal of fun creating (and tasting) this recipe, but Ann and I have reached our half-year mark of our Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge and it’s been an incredibly fun, challenging and exciting experience. Thanks, Ann, for the wonderful idea!

 

This month Ann chose well! The theme? Stew with beans. My take? Waterblommetjie bredie. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce it, it’s a South African stew with an Afrikaans name; literally translated it means ‘small water flower stew’. It’s indigenous to the Western Cape region of South Africa (proudly South African, proudly Capetonian) but if you’re not in South Africa, you can substitute the waterblommetjies with green beans, as that’s what they taste the most similar to.

I added chillies to give it a bit of oomph and used the most traditional stewing meat – lamb. Expensive but definitely worth it if you’re looking to treat yourself and your guests. Of course, I’m incapable of making a stew without potatoes and I used butter beans in keeping with Ann’s theme. I’d never normally think to add beans to this stew, but it came out abslutely beautifully and bursting with flavour! Who would’ve thought flowers (more like weeds) picked from ponds would taste so good? The Khoikhoi, that’s who. They taught the early settlers how to cook with waterblommetjies. How cool is that?!

Mosey on over to Grubbs n Critters and take a gander at what Ann came up with this month. No doubt it’s delicious!

Waterblommetjie bredie

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1hr35
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Supplies:

Waterblommetjie bredie 1500g waterblommetjies, soaked and hard parts removed
1kg lamb knuckles
1 large onion, chopped
2 green chillies, sliced (optional)
5 garlic cloves, crushed
500g baby tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from stalk
1 teaspoon coriander
1 cup beef or lamb stock
1kg baby potatoes, halved
1 lemon, halved
1 tin butter beans, drained
Olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making it happen:

Waterblommetjie bredie 21. Clean and soak the waterblommetjies in salted water for a minumum of 1 hour or overnight. Before you cook them, cut the tough parts off.

 

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 32. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and brown the lamb on all sides. Set aside.

 

 

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 43. In a large pot, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the onion, chillies and garlic on medium for 5 minutes.

 

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 54. Add the lamb to the pot. Add the tomatoes, rosemary and coriander and fry on medium for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

 

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 65. Add the potatoes, stock and juice of half a lemon, stirring well. Bring to a slow boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

 

 

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 76. Add the drained beans and waterblommetjies and simmer for an hour. Do not stir too vigorously or overcook, you don’t want the waterblommetjies breaking apart or turning to mush!

 

Waterblommetjie bredie 107. Serve with rice once cooked, or cook in advance as stews get better with time!

Monthly Mystery Munchies: Chilli Con Carne

So much excitement here! Ann over at Grubbs n Critters suggested that we do a monthly collaboration whereby one of us chooses a theme or a few ingredients and we each cook a surprise dish and link to the other’s blog without knowing what the other has cooked. I happily accepted this challenge because it’s fun and Ann is a fantastic cook and story-teller! Thank you, Ann, for suggesting this challenge, and here’s to many more!

This month I chose a Mexican theme because I love Mexican. I mean I am obsessed with chillies! Also, it’s Cinco de Mayo on 5 May so I thought this was an appropriate time to do this theme.

Chilli Con Carne is hands down one of my top three favourite meals, both to cook and eat. It’s absolutely delicious. The inviting fragrant aroma of cumin and other herbs and spices mixed with the tangy taste of chillies, onion and garlic, simmered with tomatoes, ground beef and red kidney beans, makes for a mouth-watering food festival of flavour like none other. I’ve been cooking this recipe for years and the serving choices are plenty. My personal favourite is to top it with sour cream and wrap it in a tortilla. The Husband prefers it another way. You have the option of serving it in tacos, tortillas or with plain or spicy rice. Topping it with a smattering of guacamole is also a firm favourite. My ideal serving is to wrap it in a tortilla, drop a dollop sour cream on it, add a smidgen of guac and cheese and fold it up into one flavorful (and moreish) tortilla.

Stock up on these ingredients, pour yourself a margarita and get cooking! Olé!

Chilli con carne ing500g beef mince
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or 1 teaspoon crushed garlic)
2 chillies, sliced, seeds in
500g baby tomatoes, halved
1 x 400g tin whole peeled tomato
1 x 50g tomato paste
1 x 400g tin red kidney beans
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fine black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
Canola oil

Chilli con carne 1 2

Thinly slice the onion, chillies and garlic if you’re using garlic cloves, and heat about two tablespoons of oil on medium heat. You can also use minced garlic, one heaped teaspoon. Add the onion and garlic to the heated oil and fry until soft and translucent, about three to five minutes.

 

 

 

Chilli con carne 2 2

Once the onions are soft, add the cumin and paprika and fry for 2 minutes. Mix in the mince and tomato paste and fry on medium heat until browned, about five minutes. If you’re using a gas hob, fry on medium-low. Add the herbs, salt and pepper and simmer for five minutes.

 

 

 

Chilli con carne 3 2

Pour in the tinned and fresh tomatoes and red kidney beans, cover and bring to a boil, then uncover and simmer on medium-low for 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream, guacamole or cheese (or all three!) in tortillas, tacos or with rice.

 

 

 

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