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Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya or strawberry pear, can be a little intimidating at first sight, but its bark is worse than its bite!  The scaly outer skin of the dragon fruit, which looks similar to that of a pineapple, is not prickly and very easy to peel.  Some say Dragon Fruit was given its name because it looks like the fiery flames coming from a dragon’s mouth!

Continue reading Dragon Fruit

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Tamarillo Cheesecake

Finding out how to utilise tamarillos when in season is worth doing!  Tamarillo, also known as tree tomatoes, can grow to about two meters tall with clusters of fruit that slowly ripen to a deep red. The taste can be described as “unusual and interesting – even as “an acquired taste”.  See the image below.  The unique tropical flavour which reminds of a mix between passion fruit and guava and a hint of other fruits, turns a cheesecake into a sublime dessert or tea time treat. Continue reading Tamarillo Cheesecake

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Home-made Fruit Coulis

RaspberryCoulis

Coulis is the French word for “strained liquid” and refers to a thick sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables or fruits. Coulis can be sweet or savory, depending on what it is meant to accompany. The base of coulis is a fruit or vegetable. Fruits are generally used uncooked, while vegetables may be roasted, blackened, or simmered so that they soften. The base is pureed so that it is creamy and smooth, and then it is usually seasoned. After seasoning, the coulis may be strained to remove things like seeds or chunks of skin. The sauce may be artfully drizzled on a plate, or pooled next to the food. When fresh fruits are abundant, turn them into sauces.  Do not add too much sugar or water at the onset of cooking.  Add sugar at the end as necessary for the type and acidity of the fruit used.  The moisture in the fruit will create a sauce when cooked.  Wash and prepare the fruit as is appropriate and cut up before making the sauce.

500 g fresh, prepared fruit, e.g. strawberries, blueberries, mulberries, raspberries, etc.
10 ml cornflour
50 ml  water
a few drops of lemon juice, sherry or liqueur as preferred.
50 to 125 ml sugar (adjust after tasting)

  1. Place the fruit, cornflour, water and preferred flavouring into a saucepan and bring to boil while stirring. Simmer until tender and add sugar to taste.
  2. Serve the sauce chunky as is or turn into a smooth or ultra smooth sauce by blending the sauce in a food processor until smooth. The sauce can also be strained through a sieve.
  3. Cool quickly and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.  The sauce freezes very well.

Makes ± 500 ml sauce.

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Fruit & Veg Chicken Sosaties

Pineapple&CHickenSosaties

These colourful sosaties can be prepared in advance and can be served as a starter or main course at a braai.

1 kg chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 large red sweet pepper, cut into chunks
2 large onions, cut into wedges
1 x 800 g tin pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved

Marinade
125 ml reserved pineapple juice
60 ml soy sauce
50 ml honey
60 ml vinegar
10 ml sesame oil
2.5 ml ground  ginger
60 ml olive oil

Grilling Sauce
60 ml reserved pineapple juice
30 ml honey
15 ml olive oil
5 ml soy sauce

  1. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a mixing bowl and set it aside.
  2. Cut each chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Transfer the chicken pieces to the bowl with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.
  4. Combine the ingredients for the grilling sauce in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.
  5. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. Soak the sosatie sticks for at least 30 minutes before using. Or use metal skewers instead.
  7. Cut the sweet pepper into bite-sized chunks and the onion into wedges.
  8. Thread the ingredients onto 6 or 8 sosatie sticks, leaving about 4 cm at the blunt end of the sosatie stick to make holding easy.
  9. Transfer the sosaties to a airtight container and brush each sosatie with the grilling sauce.
  10. Heat the grill to medium-high heat.
  11. Lightly oil the grill grates and place the sosaties on the grill.
  12. Cook over medium-high heat, turning and brushing with pineapple grilling sauce often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

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Grilled Pineapple With Coconut Sugar

Frilled-pineapple
Pineapple grilled on a braai is one of my all-time favourite desserts.  Using coconut sugar gives it an extra tropical taste.  Coconut sugar, also know as coconut palm sugar, tastes like caramel flavoured sugar, not like coconut!  It is produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm.  The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar is 35 and is therefore considered to be healthier than refined white sugar  that has a GI of 60 and brown sugar that has a GI of 64.  It can be used as a 1:1 sugar substitute for coffee, tea, baking and cooking.  Coconut sugar has a high mineral content, being a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron.  It also contains Vit B1, B2, B3 and B6.
1 or 2 fresh pineapples, trimmed, cored and cut into wedges
30 ml coconut sugar or regular brown sugar (see notes below)
2. 5 ml ground cinnamon
a few drops water
  1. Preheat your braai to a medium-high heat.
  2. Combine the sugar, cinnamon and a few drops water in a mixing bowl and brush it onto the pineapple pieces.
  3. When you are ready to braai the pineapple, lightly oil the surface of the grill.
  4. Braai the pineapple for approximately 15 minutes, searing all sides.
  5. Serve on it’s own, or with cream or ice cream.

Variation

Substitute the pineapple for peaches that has been pitted and halved for an equally delicious dessert (see photo below).

Grilled-peaches

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Fig Coulis

This unusual fruit sauce can be served as an accompaniment to a variety of meats or combined with a light olive oil to make a salad dressing.  Be sure to read my post In season: Figs for the health benefits and good accompaniments for figs.

250 g fresh figs, chopped
80 ml white sugar
80 ml boiling water
l5 lemon juice

  1. Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook until the desired consistency.
  2. Serve with pork, chicken, duck, or turkey.

Also see the recipe for Home-made Fruit Coulis.