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Sweet Potato & Bacon Bundles

These bundles will make a great side dish for any meal – formal or informal. It can even be served as a starter with a dip of your choice. The best part of this recipe is the simplicity of the ingredients and the method. It comes together very quickly which is great when you have a lot of other foods to prepare.

Continue reading Sweet Potato & Bacon Bundles

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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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Orange and Carrot Soup

A light, refreshing soup with a hint of spice.  The carrots can be substituted with butternut or orange sweet potato for an interesting twist.

15 ml olive oil
2 medium leeks or 25o ml onion, finely sliced
1 kg carrots, peeled and sliced
2 potatoes (230 g in total), peeled and diced
5 ml ground coriander
2.5 ml ground cumin
600 ml orange juice
1 liter vegetable or chicken stock

To serve
extra-virgin olive oil or
cream or creme fraiche or
60 ml coriander, finely chopped or snipped chives

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the leeks.  Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes or until the leeks are cooked.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.
  3. Lower the heat, cover the saucepan with a lid, and simmer for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Allow the soup to cool slightly, then process to a puree with a stick blender in the saucepan.
  5. Adjust the consistency of the soup to your liking by adding more stock.  Add milk, cream, coconut milk or coconut cream for a creamier soup.
  6. Transfer the soup to a serving dish and keep warm until ready to serve or serve in heated soup bowls garnished with the fresh herbs, oil, cream, etc.

8 servings.



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Asparagus Dippers

Asparagus is starting to come into season now. Surrounded by light and crisp Parmesan flavoured phyllo pastry makes it superb!  Prepare this do-ahead snack but bake shortly before serving, as is or as as part of a meal, accompanied by the lemon dip.

12 asparagus spears, depending on size
6 sheets phyllo pastry
±1/3 cup (100 ml) melted butter or half butter and half oil
1/2 cup (125 ml) finely grated Parmesan cheese
garlic and herb seasoning and ground black pepper

Lemon dip
1/4 cup (60 ml) mayonnaise
1/4 cup (60 ml) plain yoghurt
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
a clove garlic, chopped (optional)

  1. Line a baking tray with a Wizbake baking sheet or baking paper and preheat the oven to 180 º C.
  2. Rinse asparagus and cut away or snap off the tough ends. Brush with melted butter or butter and oil.
  3. Place 1 sheet of phyllo pastry onto the work surface with the longer side facing towards you. Brush with melted butter or butter and oil.
  4. Place 1 sheet of phyllo pastry onto the work surface with the longer side facing towards you. Brush again and sprinkle with cheese and seasoning. Fold in half, or if asparagus spears are quite short, into thirds – the tips need to protrude (see photo).
  5. Place 2 asparagus spears onto the side of the pastry, in such a way that the tips extend over the pastry to remain exposed. Fold up the edges to cover the ends of the asparagus with pastry and roll up. Place seam side down on the baking tray.
  6. When all the rolls are on the tray, brush again and sprinkle with more cheese and seasoning. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
  7. Combine the mayonnaise, yoghurt, lemon juice and garlic and spoon into a small bowl to serve as a dip with the asparagus.

6 servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.

Asparagus Spears In Phyllo

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Spinach Gnudi

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

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180º C and grease an ovenproof dish (20 x 20 cm) with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Transfer the spinach in a large saucepan with just the water that clings to the spinach and sauté gently until wilted. 
  3. Transfer the spinach to a colander and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Combine the egg yolk, spring onion, ricotta cheese, salt and garlic in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Squeeze out as much as possible of the liquid out of the spinach and chop the spinach finely.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Place the balls in the dish and brush with a little olive oil.
  10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  11. Serve the gnudi warm as a vegetable side dish.

Makes between 16 and 20 balls.


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Spicy Baked Sweet Potato With Garlic Herb Sauce

This is a different and delicious vegetarian dish that is quick and easy to make. Both the garlic-herb sauce and parsley-tomato salad can be omitted, but it tastes great with it too.

750 g sweet potatoes
1 x  400 g tin chickpeas, drained
7.5 ml olive oil
2.5 ml ground cumin
2.5 ml ground coriander
2.5 ml ground cinnamon
2.5 ml ground paprika

Garlic Herb Sauce
60 ml hummus (or make your own home-made hummus)
5 ml lemon juice
5 ml dried dill
10 ml crushed garlic
2.5 ml salt

Topping (optional)
100 g cherry tomatoes, quartered
60 ml parsley, finely chopped
2.5 ml salt
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200º C. and line a roasting tin with a Wizbake baking sheet and set it aside.
  2. Slice the sweet potato in half lengthwise and arrange the sweet potato in a single layer in the roasting tin
  3. Brush the cut side of each of the pieces with a little olive oil.  Set it aside.
  4. Pour the contents of the tin of chickpeas through a strainer to get rid of the water.
  5. Combine the chickpeas and the spices and mix well.
  6. Transfer the mixture to the roasting tin with the sweet potatoes.
  7. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked.
  8. Transfer the sweet potato to a serving dish and make a few slits in the flesh with a utility knife
  9. To make the sauce, combine the hummus, lemon juice, dried dill, garlic and salt in a bowl and mix well.  Add a little water if the sauce is too thick. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  Set the sauce aside.
  10. To make the topping, combine the tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well.  Set it aside.
  11. Spoon the chickpeas, sauce and topping ingredients on top of the sweet potato and serve as a vegetable side dish.


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Tuna Salad With Olives, Green beans and Chickpeas

This salad is great to serve as a light meal.  The tuna may be omitted if preferred and replaced with crumbled feta cheese or parmesan shavings.

Salad Ingredients
350 g green beans
250 g cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
125 ml spring onion, thinly sliced
10 to 20 olives (optional)
1 x 400 g tin chickpeas, drained (only use half the tin)
2 x 170 g tins tuna in brine, drained
1 x packet mixed lettuce or butter lettuce (90 g)

45 ml olive oil
20 ml vinegar, e.g. white wine, balsamic, etc.
5 ml crushed garlic
2 ml mustard powder
2 ml white sugar
2 ml salt
2 ml origanum
2 ml freshly ground black pepper

  1. Top and tail the beans and slice it into 2 cm lengths.
  2. Steam the beans until al dente, i.e. cooked but still crunchy.  Rinse the beans under cold water to stop the cooking process and to retain the colour.
  3. Combine the beans and the rest of the ingredients for the salad in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Combine the dressing ingredients in a measuring jug and mix well.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and mix well.
  6. To assemble the salad, break the lettuce into smaller pieces if necessary and place it on a large salad platter or line a salad bowl with it.
  7. Spoon the salad mixture onto the lettuce and serve immediately.  

The salad mixture can be made and refrigerated for a day or two.  Assemble the salad when ready to serve.

Tuna Salad With Olives GreenBeans & Chickpeas

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Part condiment and part garnish, gremolata is classically used with the famous Italian recipe Osso Buco, where it adds a fresh, zippy note to the rich, meaty dish. Gremolata is usually made with three ingredients: lemon zest, garlic and parsley.  I think the additional ingredients my variation makes it taste even better!   Try it sprinkled or drizzled over grilled or roasted vegetables, baked or grilled fish, chicken, or lamb.  It is great to stir into pasta dishes or to use as a dipping sauce for crudités.

30 g packet curly fresh parsley, rinsed and big stalks removed
30 ml spring onion, finely chopped
15 ml lemon zest, finely chopped (or use a microplane grater to remove the skin from a lemon)
5 ml crushed garlic
2.5 ml salt
100 ml olive oil (use more or less oil depending how liquid you want the mixture to be)

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until you have the desired consistency.
  2. Use the gremolata right away or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.



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Hummus (Chickpea Paté)

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.  As an appetizer and dip, hummus is scooped with flatbread, such as pita. Garnishes include chopped tomato,cucumber, coriander, parsley, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, whole chickpeas, olive oil, etc.

Hummus Day is an annual event celebrated on the third Thursday in May. The holiday started in 2012.

Also see the recipe for Falafel or chickpea croquette, which is another great recipe which uses chickpeas.

1 x 400 g tin chickpeas, drained
30 ml olive oil
30 ml lemon juice
15 ml Tahini (sesame seed paste)
10 ml crushed garlic
5 ml ground cumin
good pinch salt

  1. Drain the chickpeas and transfer it to a food processor.
  2. Add the oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt and blend until thick and creamy.
  3. Add a little water if you want a different consistency.
  4. Transfer the hummus to a serving dish and serve with pita bread.

Makes ± 500 ml.


  • Replace the tahini paste with peanut butter.
  • Add 15 ml soy sauce or sweet chilli sauce (mild or hot) – or both!
  • Add 30 ml chopped peppadews (mild or hot) or chopped parsley or fresh coriander
  • Add 2.5 ml ground cumin.


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Spicy Bean Stew

This is a most rewarding dish made with canned beans in tomato sauce.  Serve as a vegetarian meal with bread, rice or pasta, or as a vegetable side dish with braaied meat.  It can also be served as a salad.

30 ml sunflower or canola oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
10 ml crushed garlic
1 large green pepper, finely diced
5 ml curry powder
1 ml ground cinnamon
1 ml ground coriander
1 ml ground cumin
1 ml ground ginger
1 ml ground turmeric
5 ml salt
2 x 400 g tin baked beans in tomato sauce
1 large green apple, diced
50 ml raisins or sultanas
30 ml chutney
salt, pepper & vinegar to taste

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan.When the oil is hot, add the onion, green pepper, garlic and spices and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the baked beans, apple, raisins or sultanas and chutney and simmer partly covered for about 20 minutes or until the apple is cooked.
  3. Season to taste with salt, pepper and vinegar (5 to 10 ml) and mix well.
  4. Serve piping hot, at room temperature or cold from the fridge.  

Note: this stew can be refrigerated for up to a week


  • Replace one of the tins of baked beans with a tin of drained chickpeas, lentils or other beans.
  • Replace the chutney with sweet thai chilli sauce.
  • Add finely chopped peppadews

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking Recipe Book p. 385.


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Spicy Macadamia Nut & Fruit Bobotie

Meatless meals need not be without texture, taste or excellent nourishment. Serve this bobotie as the main dish with nutty brown rice and colourful vegetables or salad. Leftovers will step in well as a side dish with meat or fish.  Also see the traditional Bobotie recipe.

1 large onion, finely chopped
½ cup (125 ml) peeled and chopped tomato – fresh or canned
1 banana, peeled and diced
1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely diced (e.g Granny Smith)
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive or any favourite vegetable oil
2 slices wholewheat or brown bread, crusts removed and crumnled
1 cup (250 ml) milk
2 cups (500 ml/200 g) ground macadamia nuts
1 Tbsp (15 ml) favourite mild curry powder
½ – 1 tsp (2.5 – 5 ml) hot curry powder (optional)
1 tsp (5 ml) turmeric
good pinch each ground ginger, cumin and coriander
1 tsp (5 ml) vegetable stock powder
¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
2 tsp (10 ml) apricot jam or fruit chutney
2 tsp (10 ml) white vinegar
1 large egg

2 large eggs
125 ml milk
3 – 5 young lemon or bay leaves (optional)

To serve – Sambals
Small separate bowls with diced cucumber, pineapple, colourful mixed peppers, snipped spring onion and fruit chutney

  1. Sauté the  onion, tomato, banana and apple in the oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Pour the milk over the bread to soak while sautéing.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir to combine evenly.
  4. Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish of a suitable size and smooth the top.
  5. Set the oven at 180 º C and bake the bobotie for 20 minutes.
  6. Beat together the eggs and milk and pour over the bobotie.
  7. Arrange the leaves on top decoratively and continue baking for another 20 minutes until the topping becomes attractively golden brown and set.
  8. Serve with Yellow Brown Rice & Raisins.

6 to 8 servings.

Leftover Bobotie can be used as a filling for Phyllo Triangles.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.


Yellow brown rice with raisins 

Turmeric, widely used in Cape Malay cooking, colours and flavours the rice.  Raisins add texture and sweetness while the cinnamon stick creates a mysterious aroma to the rice. Brown rice is recommend but white rice may also be used.

1 cup (250 ml) brown rice
1 cup boiling water to soak the rice
1 tsp (5 ml) sugar
½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
1 tsp (5 ml) turmeric
1 Tbsp (15 ml) butter or margarine
2 ½ cups (375 ml) water
¼ cup (60 ml) raisins or sultanas
1 small cinnamon stick

  1. Place the rice in a saucepan and cover with the boiling water. Allow to  soak at least an hour. Rinse the rice with the soaking water and drain.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and bring to boil.
  3. Turn down the heat, cover partly and allow to simmer gently for about 30 minutes or longer if necessary until the rice is tender to taste and dry.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick, fluff lightly with a fork and serve hot.

Soaking brown rice not only shortens the cooking time but softens the outer husk to make the rice deliciously palatable.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.

bobotie phyllo triangles

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Braaied Corn On The Cob


This truly South-African side dish will be a hit at your next braai.

8 cobs of corn, husks & silk removed
60 g melted butter
30 g fresh basil, torn
2.5 ml brown sugar
2.5 ml garlic & herb seasoning
1 ml paprika
freshly ground black pepper

knobs of butter
fresh basil, torn

  1. Combine the melted butter, basil, sugar and spices in a mixing bowl.
  2. Place each cob of corn in it’s own sheet of foil.
  3. Brush each cob of corn generously with the butter mixture.
  4. Wrap each cob tightly in the tin foil.
  5. Place the corn cobs on the braai and cook for about 20 minutes, making sure to turn the cobs often or they will burn.
  6. Transfer the corn to a serving dish and place a small knob of butter and a little fresh basil on each cob.

Serves 6

Wrap 1 or 2 pieces of rindless bacon around each of the cobs before you wrap them in foil and roast on the grill over the fire for about 20 minutes.


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Lentil & Nut “Meat Loaf”

This vegetarian dish can be served hot or cold as part of a festive feast or on meatless Mondays.

115 g red lentils
100 g hazelnuts, roasted and shelled
100 g walnuts
1 large carrot
2 celery sticks
1 large onion
125 g mushrooms
25 g butter
10 ml mild curry powder
30 ml tomato sauce
30 ml Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg, beaten
10 ml salt
60 ml fresh parsley, finely chopped

Roasted Vegetables
2 medium red or white onions, sliced into rings
1 large red pepper, cut into 2 x 2 cm chunks
500 g baby marrow, cut diagonally into 1 cm slices
10 ml olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper
home-made basil or sweet red pepper pesto (optional)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C and line  one large or two smaller baking trays with Wizbake baking sheet(s).
  2. Soak the lentils in cold water for one hour.
  3. In the mean time, prepare the vegetables for roasting.
  4. Place the vegetables in a single layer in a roasting pan. Use two roasting pans if necessary.
  5. Add the oil and mix well to coat all the vegetables.
  6. Roast the vegetables for 10 to 20 minutes, stirring often.
  7. In the mean time, drain the lentils and set it aside.
  8. Process the nuts briefly in a food processor using the pulse action or chop coarsely.  Add the nuts to the lentils and set it aside.
  9. Process the carrot, celery, onion and mushrooms briefly in a food processor using the pulse action or chop finely.
  10. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir-fry the vegetables for five minutes.  Add the curry powder and cook for another minute. Set aside to cool.
  11. When the roasted vegetables are ready, remove the baking tray(s) from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 190°C.
  12. Season the vegetables to taste with salt and pepper (or other spices) and mix well.  Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto and mix well.
  13. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish and serve it hot or at room temperature as a vegetable side dish with the lentil dish.
  14. Add the stir-fried vegetables to the lentils and add the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, egg, salt and parsley.
  15. Grease and the base and sides of a rectangular ovenproof dish (10 cm x 20 cm) or a medium loaf tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray and press the mixture into the dish or tin.
  16. Bake for about 1 hour until just firm, covering the top with a piece of foil if it starts to brown to much.
  17. If using a bread pan, allow it to stand for about 15 minutes before you turn it out.  It will be fairly soft when cut, as it is a moist loaf.  If using an ovenproof dish, serve from the dish.


  • The roasted vegetables can also be prepared on its own and mixed with macaroni or couscous as a warm side dish or cold as a salad.   Add a handful of finely chopped fresh herbs and mix well.
  • The lentil loaf can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.

Serves 6 to 8


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Mushrooms With Blue Cheese & Bacon

This vegetarian recipe can be served as a starter or side dish.

12 whole Portobello mushrooms
125 g Cream Cheese, plain or flavoured
50 g Blue Cheese or Gruyere, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices rindless bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Wipe the mushrooms with absorbent kitchen paper and remove the stems.
  3. Combine the cream cheese, blue cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Divide the cheese mixture evenly between the mushroom.
  5. Cut each slice of bacon in half so that you have 12 pieces and wrap a piece of bacon around each mushroom.
  6. Place a toothpick into the mushroom where the bacon ends overlap.
  7. Pack the mushrooms in a single layer on a roasting pan and roast for 5 to 7 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and the filling bubbly.

4 servings.

The mushrooms can also be cooked on a braai.