Avocado ritz is delicious and an easy starter to make since avocados are plentiful throughout the summer. Although it is not the most economical starter with the price of avo’s being what it is, it is a South African favourite. The seafood salad can also be spooned onto a bed of lettuce.
Prep time 20 minutes plus cooling time for cooked fish Cook time 10 minutes
3 firm ripe avocado’s ± 400 g boneless, skinless white fish ± 250 g cooked, peeled prawns or shrimps 1 x quantity Pink Seafood Sauce
To serve fresh bread or crackers
Place the fish into a dish, cover with cling wrap, leaving an air vent and microwave on HIGH for 6 – 8 minutes or until the fish becomes firm and cooked. Drain and cool and break up into chunks without flaking too finely.
Combine the ingredients for the dressing, add to the fish together with the prawns or shrimps, toss all together lightly and refrigerate until ready to serve or up to two days.
When ready to serve, halve the avocados, remove stones and place onto individual plates or a serving platter. Spoon the filling into the avocado halves and sprinkle with black pepper.
Servings 6 as a first course or 3 as a light meal
Notes To ensure that the avocado halves will sit stable on the plates for serving, slice a small section off the bottom to create a flat surface.
Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book p. 54.
Frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, vegetables or pasta. The word frittata is Italian and roughly translates to “fried”, i.e. egg fried in a pan. It was apparently Delia Smith who described a frittata as “Italy’s version of an open-face omelette” for the first time. All you need is a few eggs and a small quantity of almost any raw or cooked, fresh or leftover ingredients from the refrigerator.
6 large eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
30 g butter
± 500 ml variable ingredients
± 100 ml finely diced red pepper or mixed peppers ±200 ml finely shredded young green cabbage ± 100 ml chopped mixed herbs ± 100 ml chopped spring onion or chives ± 125 ml cooked or smoked ham, cut into strips ± 125 ml smoked salmon or trout, cut into strips + capers, rinsed ± 125 ml Danish or Greek Fetaorgrated Cheddar cheese 100 to 200g Haloumi cheese, cut into strips or diced (optional)
To serve Green salad (optional)
Combine the eggs and herbs in a mixing bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter in a shallow non-stick saucepan (± 25 cm in diameter).
Pour the egg mixture into the pan and turn the heat down to its lowest setting.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until set and lightly browned on the one side. The frittata should still be runny on top.
Remove the lid and scatter the variable ingredients evenly over the surface.
To complete the cooking on top, transfer the pan to the oven and place under the grill (not too close) and cook briefly to allow the egg to set. This will take 20 to 30 seconds. This can only be done if the handle of the pan is oven proof.
Slip the frittata onto a warm serving platter. Cut the frittata into wedges and serve as is for breakfast or with a green salad for a light meal.
Authentic Italian pannacotta is quite high in fat and kilojoules, but in this lighter version some of the cream is replaced by milk, making it a viable dessert option for those following a low-fat lifestyle. It is just as tasty though! Serve as is or with a fruit or chocolate sauce for a dreamy dessert. Scroll down for the recipe for Coffee Panna Cotta.
500 ml milk 1 cinnamon stick or strip of lemon peel 50 ml sugar or xylitol 15 ml gelatine 50 ml cold water few drops almond essence 250 ml cream, stiffly beaten
Garnish Chocolate drizzle (recipe below) OR
± 1 cup (250 ml) blueberries, raspberries or strawberries +/- 100 g coarsely chopped chocolate or any flaked chocolate bar preferred OR
250 ml fruit sauce, e.g. raspberry, strawberry, blackcurrant, etc.
Place the milk into a saucepan with the cinnamon stick or lemon peel and bring to boil. Remove from heat as soon as it boils and stir in the sugar.
Place the gelatine into a 500 ml ovenproof bowl or jug and cover with the water. Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds – 1 minute or stand over the steam of simmering water until melted.
Stir the gelatine into the hot milk, remove the cinnamon stick or lemon peel and pour into a bowl to cool.
Stand the bowl in a basin with water and ice or refrigerate until the mixture just starts to set at the sides. Stir gently from time to time until softly set.
Beat the cream until stiff and beat it into the partly set milk mixture until evenly blended.
Pour into 6 to 8 ramekin dishes into stemmed bowls or glasses, ready for serving.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving from the stemmed bowls or glasses or loosen the sides and carefully turn out the moulded desserts onto a large platter or individual plates.
To prepare the chocolate drizzle, melt 50 g dark chocolate with 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of cream in the microwave on Medium for 30 seconds or until the chocolate has softened. Mix well with a teaspoon to create a glaze and use to garnish the serving plates or drizzle over the Pannacotta.
Alternatively decorate with fruit sauce or chocolates.
6 to 8 servings.
375 ml cream
125 ml milk
50 ml sugar
15 ml gelatine powder
150 ml strong coffee for instance Espresso OR
150 ml boiling water, plus 15 ml instant coffee granules
50 ml Kahlua or similar coffee liqueur
125 ml whipped cream
chocolate drizzle (see below) or chocolates (e.g. Cadbury Whispers)
Place the cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Place the gelatine into a 500 ml ovenproof jug or bowl and add the coffee or water and the instant coffee granules. Microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds – 1 minute or stand over the steam of simmering water until melted.
Add the gelatine and liqueur to the cream and mix well until evenly blended. Pour the mixture into individual small or one large bowl to set.
Garnish with the cream and/or chocolate drizzle or chocolates.
Recipes by Carolié de Koster.
To add texture and flavour a chopped or flaked chocolate bar may be used instead of the fruit sauce. Make the stemmed bowls or glasses half full with the cream mixture and spinkle half of the chocolate over the cream before adding the remaining cream and chocolate.
Make a gorgeous layered dessert (twice as much in the end!) by using Coffee Panna Cotta and allowing it to set before covering with chopped or flaked chocolate bar and plain pannacotta. Allow to set completely and decorate with more chocolate or as desired. See a photo of this here.
Cover well and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
This dessert is excellent to make for many. The dessert may be moulded in small individual bowls or moulds or in large moulds or decorative dessert bowls.
If you plan to unmould the pannacotta, refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours before unmoulding.
Gnudi (pronounced nude-y), is basically meatless meatballs, and the best way to eat spinach! I adapted this recipe from a recipe by Canadian-Italian celebrity chef David Rocco. It is a firm family favourite and I get requests to make it often!
600 g baby spinach leaves 1 large egg, (yolk only) 60 ml spring onion, finely chopped 200 g ricotta cheese, crumbled 50 g parmesan cheese, grated 5 ml salt 10 ml crushed garlic 150 ml cake flour or additional grated parmesan cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 180º C and grease an ovenproof dish (20 x 20 cm) with non-stick cooking spray.
Transfer the spinach in a large saucepan with just the water that clings to the spinach and sauté gently until wilted.
Transfer the spinach to a colander and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
Combine the egg yolk, spring onion, ricotta cheese, salt and garlic in a large mixing bowl.
Squeeze out as much as possible of the liquid out of the spinach and chop the spinach finely.
Take a handful of the chopped spinach at a time and squeeze again to get it as dry as possible before transferring it to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Do the same with the rest of the spinach.
Add just enough flour or additional grated parmesan cheese to bind the mixture, i.e. the mixture must hold its shape when formed into a ball.
Using oiled hands, take a tablespoon of the mixture at a time and shape into 16 to 20 balls – about the size of a golf ball.
Place the balls in the dish and brush with a little olive oil.
Also known as Souffle Cheesecake, this delightful cake is a cross between a cheesecake and a sponge cake. This quick and easy version is delicous with only 3 ingredients, but this simple cake lends itself to a variety of flavours. See the suggested variations below.
6 large eggs, separated
250 g white chocolate
1 x 250 g cream cheese or creamed cottage cheese
icing sugar, sifted
Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC. Have a 22 cm spring form cake tin ready.
Cut a circle the size of the bottom of the spring form cake tin. out of baking paper and place it in the tin. Spray itwith non-stick cooking spray.
Cut a collar out of baking paper and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Place the collar in the tin. Set the tin aside.
Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler on the stove. When melted, stir until smooth. Set aside.
Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites with an electric hand mixer to the firm peak stage.
Add the cream cheese to the melted chocolate and mix well.
Add the egg yolks and mix well.
Add one-third of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture and mix well.
Add the rest of the egg whites and mix well.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin.
Place the cake tin in a roasting pan or ovenproof dish and pour boiling water halfway up the side of the cake tin. I have had success without the water bath as well!
Please the pan or dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Lower the temperature of the oven to 160ºC and bake for a further 15 minutes.
Switch the oven off and leave the cake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove the cake tin from the oven and set it aside to cool.
Remove the outer ring of the spring form pan and invert the cake onto a cake platter.
Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Substitute the white chocolate for milk or dark chocolate. This cake can be turned into a banting-friendly cake if 85% or 90% dark chocolate is used.
Add flavourings such as finely chopped lemon zest, coffee or vanilla extract. You can even add used ground coffee (i.e. the coffee that you usually chuck in the bin!)
Drizzle the cake with melted white or dark chocolate or a combination of both!
I used a 25 cm spring form cake, which rendered a very flat cake. I recommend baking it in a 22 cm spring form pan lined with baking paper in the bottom and a collar along the sides or a 30 cm quiche dish (see 2nd photo).
I love to make this dish, which can be served either hot or cold, during the festive season, as it reminds me of Christmas trees and Christmas Baubles, but you can definitely enjoy it right through the year!
700 g green beans, topped and tailed
5 ml canola or coconut oil
1 large onion, sliced
zest of 1 large lemon, finely chopped
5 ml crushed garlic or garlic & herb seasoning
500 g cherry tomatoes
2.5 ml salt or seasoning of your choice
freshly ground black pepper
Weigh the beans with an electronic kitchen scale to determine the weight if you don’t have the exact amount.
Cut the beans into 3 cm sections and rinse the beans in a colander under running water.
Steam the beans for 5 to 8 minutes in a steaming basket on the stove, in an electric steamer or in the microwave. Be careful not to overcook the beans – they need to be firm and crisp.
Rinse the beans under cold water and set it aside.
Zest the lemon with a zester and chop the zest finely. Set it aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, lemon zest, garlic or garlic and herb seasoning and stir-fry with a turner for a few minutes until tender.
Add the tomatoes and stir-fry for a further 2 to 3 minutes. The tomatoes must still be whole, i.e. remove the saucepan from the stove before they burst open.
Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Add the green beans and heat through.
Transfer the bean mixture to a serving dish and serve hot or at room temperature as a vegetable side dish.
8 to 10 servings.
Add slivers of Parmesan or Pecorino cheese to the beans when ready to serve.
This is one of my favorite salads by far – and I am not really a pea person! This is the banting-friendly version of Carolié de Koster’s Nutty Bacon & Pea Salad from the Art Of Cooking Recipe book p. 472.
250 g rindless bacon, cooked and finely chopped
100 g pecan nuts or walnuts, coarsely chopped
50 g Grana Padana or Parmigiano Regiano cheese, grated (optional)
250 ml frozen peas
250 ml celery, finely chopped
125 ml spring onion, thinly sliced
125 ml creme fraiche or natural yoghurt
salt & freshly ground black pepper
200 g mixed baby lettuce, rinsed and dried with paper towel
This recipe is a modern take on “spaghetti and meatballs”, which is not an authentic Italian dish but an American invention. The meatballs are given Italian flavors and is served with a marinara sauce. Marinara sauce originates from Naples, Italy and comes from the Italian word, marinaro, meaning sailor. In his book How Italian Food Conquered the World John Mariani explains how the sauce was named: “There was a simple one of garlic, oil, and tomatoes called marinara, supposedly because it was made quickly, as soon as the mariners’ wives spotted their husbands returning fishing boats in the distance.”
50 g pine nuts, toasted
500 g beef mince
10 ml crushed garlic
125 ml onion, finely chopped
125 g Ricotta cheese, crumbled
1 lemon, zest only
50 g tomato paste
15 g fresh basil, finely chopped
1 large egg
2.5 ml salt
± 200 ml breadcrumbs or almond flour to make it banting friendly
125 ml olive oil
½ large onion, finely chopped
10 ml crushed garlic
6 x 10 cm stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 x 400 g tin whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped
125 ml dry red wine
2,5 ml salt
Pinch chilli flakes or freshly ground black pepper
Dry-fry the nuts in a saucepan until it has a golden colour. Transfer the nuts to a chopping board and set it aside to cool down.
Combine the rest of the ingredients, except the bread crumbs or almond flour, in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
Add sufficient bread crumbs or almond flour to the mincemeat until the mixture is stiff enough to form into balls.
Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture at a time and roll into a ball the size of a golf ball. If you decided to make the smaller or bigger than a golf ball, you have to adjust the cooking time. Pack the balls slightly apart on the roasting pan.
Roast for about 10 minutes until well-browned. Turn the meatballs and roast for another 10 minutes.
To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion until translucent.
Add the celery, salt and chill flakes or pepper and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour.
Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste.
Keep the sauce hot while the meatballs are baking.
Transfer the meat balls to a serving dish and pour the sauce on top.
Garnish with the parsley and serve piping hot with cooked pasta.
This bread is a great alternative to bread made with bread or cake flour.
375 ml almond flour
90 ml coconut flour
60 ml psyllium husks
2.5 ml salt or seasoning of your choice
7.5 ml baking powder
10 ml sugar or xylitol
5 large eggs
60 ml coconut oil or butter, melted
5 ml apple cider vinegar
Pre-heat the oven to 175 º C and grease a small loaf tin (10 cm x 20 cm) with butter.
Combine the almond flour, coconut flour, psyllium husks, sugar or xylitol, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and mix until combined.
Combine the eggs, coconut oil or butter and vinegar in a measuring jug and whisk it with a fork to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Transfer the batter to the loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes.
Set the tin aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Transfer the bread to a cooling rack to cool before transferring it to a serving dish or storing it in an airtight container.
This recipe can be done equally successfully in the oven or on a braai.
1 kg lamb chump chops
50 ml olive oil
50 ml lemon juice
50 ml rosemary, finely chopped
5 ml garlic & herb seasoning
5 ml salt
freshly ground black pepper
To serve Italian parsley, leaves removed from stalks
Arrange the chops in a single layer in a shallow glass dish or a Tupperware marinating dish.
To make the marinade, measure the olive oil and lemon juice with a 15 ml measuring spoon x 2 and add it to a small mixing bowl. Set it aside.
Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, seasoning, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk with a form until blended.
Pour the marinade over the chops, cover the dish with cling wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 2 or for up to 24 hours turning the chops a few times to allow the marinade to coat the meat evenly on all sides.
Place the rack in the top section of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 230 °C.
Lift the chops out of the marinade and place it on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.
Grill the chops under a pre-heated grilling element for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Set an electronic kitchen timer so that you don’t forget about it!
This is one of my favourite ways to eat spinach. Be sure to try it – even if you are not a spinach fan!
200 g large, fresh spinach leaves (the leaves should be about the size of your hand)
250 ml coconut chips or shavings, toasted
2 medium lemons, thinly sliced
250 ml spring onion, thinly sliced
250 ml salted peanuts or almonds
250 ml sweet Thai chilli sauce
Dipping sauce 125 ml soy sauce
60 ml white vinegar
30 ml white sugar (or more to taste)
Rinse the spinach leaves cut them smaller if necessary.
Shake off the excess water and place the spinach leaves decoratively on a serving platter. Set it aside.
Toast the coconut chips in a dry pan until lightly browned. Be careful not to burn them!
Transfer the coconut chips to a serving bowl.
Slice the lemon thinly on a chopping board with a cook’s knife and remove the pips.
Chop the lemon finely and transfer it to a serving bowl.
Transfer the spring onion and the nuts to serving bowls.
Transfer the sweet thai chili sauce to a serving bowl.
Cover each bowl with a lid or cling wrap and refrigerate until required.
To make the dipping sauce, combine the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk with a fork until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer it to a serving bowl.
To eat, place a spinach leaf on your plate. Place half a teaspoon of each of the fillings in the middle of the leaf, fold it into a little bundle, dip it into the sauce and enjoy!
These boats can be filled with a variety of stuffings. Omit the bacon for a vegetable side dish.
500 g large baby marrows, topped and tailed
125 g bacon, diced
50 ml creme fraiche
250 g mushrooms, chopped
125 ml spring onion, thinly sliced
10 ml seasoning of your choice, e.g. Rosemary & Olive, Italian Cheese, etc.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
100 ml Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated
Pre-heat the oven to 180 ºC and line a baking tray with a Wizbake sheet.
Cut the baby marrows in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds so that it looks like boats.
Steam them in a steamer until almost cooked but not soft.
While the baby marrows are steaming, fry the bacon in a non-stick pan until cooked. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a chopping board. Chop it finely and set it aside.
Add the creme fraiche, mushrooms, spring onion, seasoning and salt and pepper to the pan and stir-fry until cooked.
Stir in the bacon and mix well.
Transfer the baby marrow to the baking tray and scoop teaspoonfuls of the filling onto the baby marrows.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
Transfer the baby marrow to a serving dish and garnish with parsley.
4 to 6 servings.
– Omit the bacon for a vegetarian dish.
This is a quick and easy recipe and a fantastic way to get all the goodness of egg without flour.
10 g butter
2 extra large eggs, beaten
5 to 10 ml sugar (optional)
Nutella or melted dark chocolate (optional)
Place the pan on the stove and switch the stove on on a moderate heat to melt the butter.
Add the eggs to the pan and cook in a similar was as if you were making a pancake.
When the egg is set, slip it onto a chopping board, spread a little Nutella onto it or give it a dusting of icing sugar.
Fold the pancake in half and in half again before transferring it to a serving plate.
Serve with creme fraiche and fresh berries and a dusting of icing sugar.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled according to need.
For a savoury version of this recipe, stir-fry 50 ml thinly sliced spring onion in a little butter and sprinkle it inside the pancake before you fold it. Serve it with creamed cottage cheese or creme fraiche, halved cherry tomatoes and snipped chives on the side.
These low-carb macaroons should not be confused with French Macarons, which is made with egg whites, icing sugar, ground almonds and food colouring. See my post Ode To The French Macaron for more info on Macarons.
2 extra large egg whites
a few drops Stevia or 15 ml Xylitol or table sugar
2.5 ml coconut essence (to mask the taste of the Stevia!)
250 ml desiccated coconut
100 g 70, 85 or 90% Lindt chocolate, finely chopped and melted
Pre-heat the oven to 160 ºC and line a baking tray with a Wizbake sheet.
Beat the egg whites until soft peak stage.
Add the Stevia, Xylitol or sugar and beat for a few seconds longer.
Fold in the coconut essence and desiccated coconut and place heaped teaspoonfuls on the baking tray.
Bake the macaroons for 10 to 12 minutes until light-brown around the edges.
Set the macaroons aside for a few minutes to harden.
Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler.
Place the macaroons in a single layer on a Wizbake sheet and drizzle the chocolate over the top.
Set the macaroons aside to set.
Transfer the macaroons to a serving dish or airtight container.
Makes 16 to 20.
Substitute the coconut essence with 2.5 ml clear vanilla essence.
The recipe can easily be doubled.
This do-ahead mousse tastes as good as it looks! Salad garnishes as preferred and crusty bread or crackers will set off the mousse perfectly.
1 cup (250 ml) cream, whipped and divided evenly into 3 to use 1/3 for each layer
Fish layer 1 Tbsp (15 ml) gelatine
½ cup (125 ml) water
1 x 200 g tin tuna or pink salmon, drained and flaked
½ cup (125 ml) mayonnaise
¼ cup (60 ml) tomato sauce
1 medium pickled cucumber or 1 Tbsp (15 ml) capers
½ medium onion
Avocado layer 1 Tbsp (15 ml) gelatine
½ cup (125 ml) water
2 large ripe avocados (± 1¼ cup mashed)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml) mayonnaise
good dash salt and white pepper
Egg layer 1 Tbsp (15 ml) gelatine
½ cup (125 ml) water
4 hard boiled eggs (10 minutes)
1/3 cup (75 ml) mayonnaise
1/3 cup (75 ml) plain yoghurt
few drops Tabasco sauce or good pinch cayenne pepper
good dash salt and white pepper
Grease a (±) 23 cm loaf shaped dish or straight sided pie dish lightly with oil.
Fish layer: Place the gelatine into a suitable dish and microwave on MEDIUM for 30 seconds or until melted.
Blend with the remaining ingredients until smooth and mix into the whipped cream. Season, pour into the prepared dish and place into the freezer to set while preparing the next layer.
Avocado layer: Melt gelatine as explained above. Blend with the avocado, lemon juice and mayonnaise and mix into the whipped cream. Season and pour over the fish layer.
Freeze again to set quickly before adding the last layer.
Egg layer: Melt gelatine as explained above. Blend with the eggs, mayonnaise and yoghurt , mix into the whipped cream and pour over the set avocado layer.
Refrigerate until set and turn out carefully to a serving platter.
Garnish around the mousse with salad ingredients as preferred and cut into neat slices to serve.
36 – 48 slices, depending on the thickness of the slices
Recipe by Carolié de Koster for the Art Of Cooking Recipe Book p. 38.