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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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.