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Poor Man’s Caviar (Aubergine Paté)

A paté or dip made from the flesh of roasted aubergines with ingredients such as garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. The paté looks similar to caviar, but does not have the same price tag.  Pickled mustard seeds (pictured below) are also known as poor man’s caviar due to its texture which is similar to that of caviar.   It is a tongue in the cheek expression for having a rich man’s taste but a poor man’s budget.

500 g aubergine/eggplant/brinjal
4 dried apricot halves (optional)
30 ml coriander, finely chopped
5 ml ground cumin medium
10 ml lemon juice
10 ml olive oil
10 ml crushed garlic
15 ml peanut butter
60 ml plain yoghurt (optional)
2 ml salt
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 º C and line a baking tray with a Wizbake baking sheet.
  2. Prick the aubergines all over with a utility knife and place them on the baking tray.
  3. Roast the aubergines until it is tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. Larger aubergines will take longer to roast than smaller ones.
  4. In the meantime, soak the apricots for 10 to 15 minutes in a bowl of boiling water. 
  5. Transfer the apricots to a food processor and reserve the water.  You might need to add it to the pate if the paté is too thick.
  6. Chop the coriander finely and add it to the food processor.
  7. Cut each aubergine in half on a chopping board with a cook’s knife and scoop out the flesh with a table spoon. Discard the skin.
  8. Add the cooked aubergine flesh to the food processor.
  9. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and puree the mixture using a pulse action until it is smooth.
  10. Add a little of the soaking water if the pate is too thick.
  11. Transfer the paté to a serving dish or container and serve immediately with crackers or fresh bread or use as a spread on a sandwich.

Store leftover paté in an
airtight container in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

6 servings.

Adapted from Gabi Steenkamp’s recipe.



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Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is based on either mayonnaise (made from egg yolk, mustard or vinegar, oil) or aioli (made from egg yolk, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice), with certain other ingredients added. In the UK, ingredients such as capers, gherkins, lemon juice and dill are added. US recipes may include chopped pickles, capers, chives and fresh parsley.Chopped hard-boiled eggs or olives are sometimes added, as may be Dijon mustard and cocktail onions.  The sauce can be served withBatter-fried Calamari Rings, Best-ever Batter-fried Fish, Prawn Tempura (Batter-fried Prawns), Tuna Fish Cakes, etc.

125 ml mayonnaise
15 ml fresh parsley, finely chopped
15 ml onion or spring onion, finely chopped
15 ml chives, finely chopped
15 ml gherkins, finely chopped
15 ml capers, finely chopped (optional)
5 ml salt

  1. Combine the ingredients for the tartar sauce in a mixing bowl.
  2. Transfer the sauce to a serving dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Photo credit:

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Mexican Mince In Tortillas

Another version of Mexican Enchilada‘s to try!  This recipe is from Heleen Meyer’s Make five/Maak vyf recipe book. Heleen writes: “Mexican food typically contains red peppers, paprika and corn. Bake this in filled tortillas for a delicious weekend meal and serve with coriander leaves and avocado. A spoonful of yoghurt or sour cream rounds it off beautifully.”

Continue reading Mexican Mince In Tortillas
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Make-ahead Fillet With Rosé Sauce

This recipe is perfect for those wanting to prepare dinner ahead of time, without spoiling the fillet.  All the cooking is done in advance and the sauces may be varied.  See the recipes for Creamy Mushroom Sauce below which is equally tasty.

1 kg g whole fillet of beef
50 ml canola oil
50 g butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Cut the fillet into 8 sections, allowing a little more length on the narrower section.  Turn the portions onto the cut sides and flatten with a mallet to an even thickness of about 20 to 25 mm.  The fillet slices will become slightly thicker during frying.
  2. Tie a food tie around each piece of fillet so that it can keep its shape.
  3. Heat half the oil and half the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan and heat well.
  4. Fry half of the slices for about 3 minutes on each side to seal and brown well. Do not cook any longer if rare or medium rare meat is preferred.  If well-done meat is required, cook another 2 minutes on each side but not longer, for the meat will continue to cook slightly when kept warm or reheated.
  5. Place the meat on a rack in a glass or tupperware dish in order for the meat juices to drain. The reserved liquid can be added to the sauce (see recipe below).
  6. Wipe the pan clean and do the same with the rest of the slices.
  7. Sprinkle the meat lightly with salt and pepper and arrange the pieces slightly overlapping in a deep serving dish which will hold the meat and the sauce.
  8. Cover the dish with a lid or clingfilm and refrigerate until ready to re-heat. The meat can be refrigerated for several hours or up to a day before serving.
  9. When ready to re-heat, arrange the meat in a deep serving dish which can hold the meat and the sauce.
  10. Stir any juices that collected at the bottom of the dish into the sauce before adding the sauce to the meat in the dish.
  11. Re-heat the meat and sauce by covering the dish with a lid or foil and heating it on a hot tray for 25 to 35 minutes or until the sauce starts to bubble or place the dish in a pre-heated oven (160 º C) for 20 minutes until heated through and bubbly.

8 servings/125 g per person.


Rosé Sauce

50 g butter
50 ml cake flour
5 ml lemon juice
30 ml sherry
30 ml cheddar cheese, grated
5 ml tomato paste
125 ml cream
7,5 ml beef stock powder
300 ml water or drained liquid made up with water
30 ml spring onion, finely sliced

  1. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan and remove from the heat.
  2. Stir in the cake flour, lemon juice, sherry, cheese, tomato paste, cream and stock powder to make a smooth paste.
  3. Return the saucepan to the heat and gradually beat in the liquid to form a smooth, thickened sauce.  Simmer for 3 minutes, season to taste with salt and black pepper and pour over the meat.


Creamy Mushroom Sauce (makes 600 ml)

400 g mushrooms, thinly sliced
125 ml onion or leek, coarsely chopped
5 ml crushed garlic
60 g butter
60 ml cake flour
pinch dried origanum
pinch mixed dried herbs
2,5 ml beef stock powder
375 ml milk
125 ml additional milk or cream
15 ml dry sherry (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan and stir-fry the mushrooms, onion or leek and garlic over a medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until tender but not browned.
  2. Combine the flour, herbs and stock powder in a small mixing bowl and add a little milk at a time while stirring to prevent lumps.
  3. Add the rest of the milk and mix well. Add the milk mixture to the mushroom mixture and bring to the boil, stirring continuously.
  4. Stir in the additional milk or cream and sherry, if used. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Season to taste and if making the sauce with the fillet (recipe on previous page), add any meat juice to the sauce and mix well before transferring the sauce to the serving dish with the fillet.
  6. Alternatively, transfer the sauce to a gravy boat or alternative container.

Recipes by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book p. 223 & 224.

Make-ahead Fillet
Make-ahead Fillet

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Tomato & Onion Sauce

tomato sauce

This sauce is very versatile and will not last long, so you might want to double the recipe!

5 ml canola oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium red apples, grated
5 ml crushed garlic
3 medium tomatoes, finely diced
125 ml tomato sauce
250 ml water
5 ml salt
20 ml treacle or Demerara sugar
20 ml Worcestershire sauce
20 ml mild mustard sauce

flatleaf parsley, finely chopped

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and stir-fry the onion, apple, garlic and tomato until cooked – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on a low heat until reduced.
  3. Serve with braaied meat, pasta, etc.

Add 250 g sliced mushrooms.

Recipe adapted from Gabi Steenkamp’s Barbeque Sauce.


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Get Sauce Savvy

Sauce is a French word taken from the Latin salsa, meaning salted.  A sauce is essentially flavoured liquid plus thickening agent. By varying the combination of liquid, flavouring and thickening agent, the possibilities are endless. Sauces are not normally consumed by themselves; they add flavor, moisture, and visual appeal to another dish. As Julia Child, the late American chef and cookery teacher, eloquently summed it up: “Sauces are the glory and splendour of French cooking”.  Scroll down to see Julia’s tips for making perfect sauces.

Be sure to read my post on The Hundred-Foot Journey for a foodie movie must see!

Classic French cuisine features five mother sauces that can be enhanced with spices, herbs, meat, vegetables, and more to be made into innumerable other sauces. The five sauces are: Béchamel, Espagnole, Velouté, Hollandaise and Tomato and they differ based on their main ingredient and thickening agent.   These fundamentals either begin with a roux, a stock, or a combination of the two.  Roux (“roo”) is used in 3 of the 5 mother sauces:  Béchamel, Espagnole and Velouté. Heating equal parts in weight of flour and fat (usually butter) will produce white roux (5 minutes), blond roux (20 minutes) or brown roux (35 minutes). The darker the Roux, the nuttier the flavour.

The five “mother” sauces are:

Béchamel (“bay-sha-mel”) 
The smooth, classic white sauce is made from cooking butter and flour together, then whisking in some milk. Its thickness depends on how much milk is added: the more milk, the thinner the sauce. Béchamel forms the basis of a wide variety of other sauces.  It is usually served with white meats, eggs, fish, pastas (cream sauces) and vegetables. Pasta such as Lasagne and Cannelloni, mushrooms, vegetables, steamed or poached poultry.

Hollandaise  (“ol-uhn-dehz”)
Hollandaise is an emulsification that uses butter and egg yolks as binding. It’s that lusty, pale lemon-colored sauce. A derivative of hollandaise is béarnaise sauce, which is most often served with steak.  It is usually served with eggs (Eggs Benedict), steamed asparagus, grilled salmon, and lightly poached poultry. 

Velouté (“veh-loo-tay”)
Veloute is a stock-based white sauce that can be made from chicken (most common), fish or veal stock thickened with white roux. It’s made similar to a béchamel, except in this case, stock replaces the milk. It is usually served with hearty chicken dishes, vegetables, pastas and veal dishes.

Tomato (“to-ma-te”)
Raw tomatoes, tomato paste, stewed tomatoes and tomato puree are all common in making a traditional tomato sauce. A roux is traditionally used in making a tomato sauce, but many chefs skip it because the tomatoes themselves can be thick enough to hold up the sauce.  It is usually served wtih pasta dishes, fish, veal, chicken dishes, vegetables and polenta.

Espagnole  (“es-puhn-yohl”)
Espagnole is the common brown sauce made with a roux and brown stock, and is the basis of Bordelaise sauce (the one made with red wine, shallot, bay leaf and thyme).  It is usually served with roasted meats like beef, duck, lamb and veal.

The five “mother” sauces in French cuisine: Béchamel, Espagnole, Velouté, Hollandaise and Tomato (The Hundred-Foot Journey)


Julia Child’s tips for making perfect sauces:

  • Reduce sauces to increase flavor. To reduce a sauce, simply cook it over a low heat in order to evaporate water from the pan. As the sauce simmers, the volume decreases but its intense meaty flavor will remain, certain to complement your dish.
  • Deglaze your pan to capture the richest flavors. After sautéing aromatic vegetables or searing meats, begin the sauce by adding wine, juice, or stock to the sauté pan. This releases the sweet browned bits of food from the pan and into the sauce.
  • Spike up the flavor. Acid ingredients such as wine, vinegar, and citrus juices are used to bring out full flavors that may be otherwise hidden in a heavy sauce. A touch should bring a flat sauce to life, but the heavy-handed will suffer from too much tang.
  • Adjust salt just before serving. Masked by water, fiber, and other naturally occurring flavors, salt tends to hide within many basic ingredients. As a sauce reduces and its flavor becomes more intense, so does its salt content. Rather than adding salt while starting a sauce, sprinkle it in at the end to make sure you don’t end up with an unpalatable disaster.
  • Use fresh ingredients. From meat to stock, from vegetables to wine, use only products that look, smell, and taste good on their own. While fine wines may be overkill in a sauce, make sure your cheaper alternative is drinkable before committing it to the pot.
  • Thicken sauces as naturally as possible. If there’s enough protein in your stock, reduction alone may give your sauce the body it needs, but at times you’ll need to look elsewhere. Avoid using cornstarch where possible, as it creates an undesirable sheen and feel. Try vegetable purees instead. Flour slurries or roux are the next best option.
  • Allow your sauce time to grow. Make your sauce in advance and hold for a few hours under refrigeration prior to serving, allowing flavors to meld together and bloom. Sharp acids often calm down and aromatics and spices intensify, leaving you with a complex, flavorful sauce just like you’ve tasted in restaurants.
  • Finish sauces with delicate flavors just before serving. Toss in a little pat of butter, a hint of truffle oil, or a handful of fresh herbs just before your reheated sauce is ready to plate, giving it one last kiss of personality as it heads to the dining room.


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Greek Yoghurt & Cucumber Dip (Tzatziki)

Serve as a dip with crusty bread, fresh vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower broken into florets or carrot and celery cut into julienne strips.  For special appeal, spoon the Tzatziki into a hollowed bread roll and serve with the raw prepared vegetables!

1 large cucumber peeled and finely grated
500 ml Greek or full cream yoghurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and white pepper

To serve and garnish (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
a little crumbled Feta cheese
fennel sprigs or mint to garnish

  1. Place the cucumber into a fine sieve over a bowl to drain well. Line a colander with a double layer of porous kitchen cloth and pour the yoghurt into the colander.
  2. Drain for about 10 – 15 minutes or until a good thick consistency is obtained.
  3. Add the yoghurt and garlic to the cucumber and mix well.
  4. Season to taste with salt and white pepper, cover and chill well.
  5. Sprinkle with black pepper before serving and garnish with fennel sprigs or mint .
  6. Refrigerate up to 4 days.

Makes 500 ml dip or 10 to 12 servings.


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Fruity Curry Sauce

This sauce is a great accompaniment to beef, pork, chicken or fish dishes.

30 g butter
50 ml cake flour
10 ml medium curry powder
375 ml reserved syrup from apricots
50 ml sultanas/raisins
2.5 ml salt
10 ml white vinegar

  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the cake flour, curry powder and reserved syrup and water mixture away from the heat.
  2. Cook on a medium heat until thickened.
  3. Stir in the sultanas or raisins, vinegar and pepper and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
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Pink Remoulade

A classic condiment used in French and Cajun cooking, rémoulade is a tangy, mayonnaise-based sauce made with Dijon mustard and capers. Other ingredients, including anchovies and tarragon, are often added as twists on the traditional recipe.  It is similar to tartar sauce and  is traditionally served with seafood like prawns, crab cakes and fried fish. Louisiana-style remoulade starts with a mayonnaise base as well, but the addition of tomato sauce (ketchup), paprika and tabasco (hot sauce) gives this creamy, tart, and spicy sauce a pinkish colour.

250 ml mayonnaise
60 ml spring onion, finely chopped
30 ml Dijon mustard
15 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
15 ml finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
10 ml whole-grain mustard
10 ml garlic, minced
10 ml capers, roughly chopped
5 ml worcestershire sauce
5 ml paprika
1 ml salt
tabasco sauce to taste

  1. To make the remoulade, combine the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and set aside for 1 hour for the flavors to develop.
  2. Serve immediately with fried green tomatoes or seafood or cover refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Ricotta & Smoked Salmon/Ham Topping

A tasty and nourishing topping or filling for sandwiches.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: –
Serves: 1½ cups (375 ml) topping or dip

1 cup (250 ml) Ricotta cheese
½ cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped smoked salmon or ham
1 Tbsp (15 ml) tomato sauce or topping (or a little more if preferred)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) mild or hot sweet chilli sauce
paprika and finely snipped chives or spring onion to flavour or garnish

  1. Mix the ingredients together – the paprika and spring onion can either be used as garnish on top or mixed into the topping for flavour and colour.

Recipy by Carolié de Koster.

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Spicy Ricotta & Almond/Chickpea Topping

A dip or topping filled with flavour and nourishment for high days and holidays! Serve on pikelets, crackers, toast or with vegetable sticks. OR serve as is typical in the southern American regions, spooned into a bowl and surrounded by fruit such as grapes, sliced pears, apples or bananas on cocktail sticks.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: –
Serves: 2 cups (500 ml) topping or dip

1 cup (250 ml) Ricotta cheese
½ cup (125 ml) slivered almonds or drained canned chickpeas
1/3 cup (75 ml) fruit chutney such as Mrs. Ball’s or peach or mango
2 tsp (10 ml) curry powder (mild or hot as preferred)

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Scatter the almonds or chickpeas onto a baking tray and bake 6 – 8 minutes until toasted to a light golden brown colour. Take great care not too brown them too much.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Use as a topping or once refrigerated the mixture will become firm enough to shape into a dome on a serving platter. Very elegant sprinkled with more flaked and toasted almonds and surrounded by the crackers and fruit.

Carolié de Koster.