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
  • 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!

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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!

 

Monthly Mystery Munchies: Lamb Saag and Aloo Curry

It’s the third installment of Monthly Mystery Munchies with myself and Ann at Grubbs n Critters. This month I chose lemons/limes, thyme and coriander as our ingredients. I really enjoyed playing around with these ingredients and pairing them with others. The recipe that won is lamb, saag (spinach) and aloo (potato) curry. I never say ‘no’ to curry and lamb is the ideal meat for this. Naturally I added potatoes because in my mind, curry without potatoes is like… summer without blue skies, mojitos without mint (I just recoiled), Bono without his sunglasses – unexpected, disappointing and unnatural.

Ann made spiced chicken with saffron, thyme and lemon gravy. Okay, lemon gravy? I’m all in. Saffron? What a treat! Check it out, it’s droolicious. She added other interesting and complimentary ingredients and you can see this is a winner.

I too added a plethora of other ingredients – veggies, spices and herbs, and finally got the balance right. What one needs to keep in mind when using so many ingredients is that balance is key – especially with spices. They shouldn’t be overpowering because that can ruin the dish in one easy step. They should all work well together to create the ideal blend. From fragrant coriander (cilantro) to succulent lamb to the bite of the chillies, this comes together beautifully! This meal contains many superfoods and superspices (yep, that’s a thing), so not only is it delicious, tasty and fragrant but ridiculously healthy too! Here we go:

Monthly Mystery Munchies: Lamb Saag and Aloo Curry

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1kg lamb knuckles, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 4 leeks, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, sliced (I always keep the seeds in)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced
  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 500g baby tomatoes, halved (or 1 tin chopped tomatoes)
  • 250g spinach, chopped
  • 1kg potatoes, halved
  • Vegetable stock
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro) for garnish
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

Lamb Saag and Aloo 3 21. In a large pan, heat up the olive oil and fry the lamb on medium low until browned. You might have to do this in batches. Fry for ± 5 minutes, turning halfway through. Set aside. Fry the leeks in olive oil for 5 minutes.
Add chillies, garlic, ginger and cardamom and fry for a further 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, spinach, thyme and remaining spices and simmer for 5 minutes.

 

 

Lamb Saag and Aloo 5 22. Add the lamb and potatoes, pour in 250ml vegetable stock and bring to a boil with the lid on. Uncover and simmer for 1 hour, pouring in the lime juice during the last 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

Lamb Saag and Aloo 7 23. If you have the time, let the curry stand for a few hours. Garnish with coriander, however much you like (we like a lot!). Curry is always better when it stands for a while so this is the perfect dish to cook the day before.

 

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.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Tomato Bredie

Right now my butt is planted firmly on the couch with the TV on the background. Something about a family with 18 kids. My very first thought is “how on Earth do they feed everyone?”. No, really, HOW? Can you imagine cooking for 20 people? That’s a small village. It’s apt, though, that this show is on at the same time as I was planning to blog about this recipe.

Food never goes to waste in my house. Ne-verrr. The Husband is a human vacuum. It’s really quite amazing, his dedication is admirable. There have been many occasions when I’ve though we’d have considerable leftovers, only to wake up the next day and find empty bowls and containers scattered around the kitchen. However, with this tomato bredie, we did actually manage to live off this food for the next three days. This made me very happy as bredie only gets better with time.

I’ve played around with this recipe for a few months and finally feel like it’s blog-worthy.  Bredie is a quintessential South African stew of Malay origins and I feel like it’s only right that I finally post a traditional dish, this being my favourite. I used beef roast instead of knuckles or lamb, but you can use mutton or lamb. Beef is my favourite meat and I love how tender it is when slow-cooked for several hours but there are some who would fiercely disagree and insist upon only using lamb. You can do either, it’s entirely your preference.

Bredie 1

Ingredients:

1.5kg beef roast
200g bacon, cut into strips
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
100g tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
1 cup beef stock
1 x 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
500g baby tomatoes
8 potatoes, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Bredie 2Cut the beef into inch-long pieces. Heat oil in a large frying pan and on medium heat, lightly brown the beef on all sides taking care not overdo it. You will probably need to do this in two batches. Remove the beef from the pan and add the bacon, frying until cooked.

 

 

 

Bredie 3In a large pot, heat the butter on medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Fry until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Bredie 4Pour in the stock and add the tomato paste, tinned and fresh tomatoes, paprika, cinnamon, parsley and thyme and and fry for another 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Bredie 5Add the beef and bacon to the pot, adding their juices too. Add the potatoes, bay leaves and sugar. Cover and bring to a gentle boil, turn down and simmer, gently and uncovered, for three hours. Season as desired. This dish is best when it’s rested overnight or for at least several hours. It’s ideal to cook the day before or put it in the slow-cooker overnight. Serve with basmati rice.

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!