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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)

Dressing
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.  

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

 

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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.

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Ratatouille

Ratatouille (pronounced rah-tah-too-ee) is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice.  Ratatouille is usually served as a side dish, but may also be served as a meal on its own, e.g. as an entree (see the Confit Byaldo vartiation below).  Tomatoes are a key ingredient, with garlic, onions, baby marrow, eggplant, sweet peppers, basil or thyme.  The roughly cut vegetables are pan-fried and then baked, and plated as a stew. There is much debate on how to make a traditional ratatouille. One method is simply to sauté all of the vegetables together. Some cooks, including Julia Child, insist on a layering approach, where the eggplant and the baby marrows are sautéed separately, while the tomatoes, onion, garlic and sweet peppers are made into a sauce. The ratatouille is then layered in a casserole and baked in the oven.

My personal favourite is a variation of the traditional ratatouille called “Confit Byaldi” which was created by French chef Michel Guérard.  It is the ratatouille recipe they used in the Disney Pixar movie Ratatouille (2007).  It is also known as Remy’s Ratatouille (see more about the movie below). The dish consists of a piperade sauce – a combination of tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, garlic and sugar – topped with thin slices of tomato, eggplant, baby marrow and patty pans. The dish is baked for two hours, cooled and refrigerated overnight for the flavours to develop.  It is served as an entree on individual plates.  The vegetables are fanned out accordion-style and it is finished off with a drizzle of vinaigrette.  This dish is labour intensive, but so worth it!

The movie Ratatouille (2007), from the creators of “Cars”, “The Incredibles”  and Finding Nemo (to name a few), the main character is Remy, a provincial rat.  Remy is not ordinary rat though.  Not only is he literate, he has developed a passion for cooking after watching numerous cooking programs on TV.  Remy’s culinary hero is French chef Auguste Gusteau, author of “Anyone Can Cook” and owner of Gusteau’s, a restaurant in Paris with no less than 5 Michelen Stars!   After running for his life from his family home in rural France, Remy ends up in Gusteau’s very busy restaurant kitchen, where he meets Linguini, a clumsy young man hired as a garbage boy, the film’s other main character.  Remy’s passion for cooking and Linguini’s eagerness to learn sets an hilarious and exciting rat race into motion that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.  This movie is a must see!

olive oil (for brushing)
450 g aubergine, sliced into 0.5 cm thick slices and quartered
15 ml olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
5 ml crushed garlic
500 g baby marrow, sliced in half lengthwise
3 large tomatoes, cubed
5 ml salt
5 ml dried origanum
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 °C and line a baking tray with a Wizbake sheet and set it aside.
  2. Transfer the aubergine to the baking tray and brush each slice with oil on both sides with a silicon brush.
  3. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes on each side until just tender.
  4. Transfer the aubergine to a chopping board and set it aside to cool.
  5.  Stir-fry the onion until cooked.
  6. Steam the baby marrow until crisp tender and add it to the onions.
  7. Chop the aubergine into cubes and transfer it to the saucepan.
  8. Add the tomato to the saucepan and stir-fry for a few more minutes.
  9. Add the salt, origanum and garlic with a 5 ml measuring spoon and add it to the saucepan. Add a few grindings of pepper to the saucepan.
  10. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes.
  11. Transfer the ratatouille to a serving dish and serve it as a vegetable side dish.

Ratatouille5
Ratatouille aka Provencal Vegetable Stew

Ratatouille3
Ratatouille aka confit byaldi

Ratatouille aka confit byaldi from the movie Ratatouille

ratatouillemovie3

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Baby Marrow, Bacon & Mushroom Boats

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

To garnish
fresh parsley

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 ºC  and line a baking tray with a Wizbake sheet.
  2. Cut the baby marrows in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds so that it looks like boats.
  3. Steam them in a steamer until almost cooked but not soft.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the creme fraiche, mushrooms, spring onion, seasoning and salt and pepper to the pan and stir-fry until cooked.
  6. Stir in the bacon and mix well.
  7. Transfer the baby marrow to the baking tray and scoop teaspoonfuls of the filling onto the baby marrows.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
  9. Transfer the baby marrow to a serving dish and garnish with parsley.

4 to 6 servings.

Variations
– Omit the bacon for a vegetarian dish.

BabyMarrowBoats

BabymarrowBoats

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Roast Vegetable & Cheese Slices

Trendy and delicious. A recipe which will become a favourite vegetable treat to serve from brunch to supper or any time in between. It is good warm or cold, as a light meal, side dish or a nutritious packed lunch.

Roast Vegetables
1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive or avocado oil
1 tsp (5 ml) balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
½ tsp (2.5 ml) chopped garlic
good pinch each salt and ground black pepper
good pinch dried Italian or mixed dried herbs
½ cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped red or brown onion
½ cup (125 ml) diced pumpkin or butternut
½ cup (125 ml) halved and sliced zucchini
¼ cup (60 ml) seeded and diced red or mixed capsicum
1 – 2 basil leaves, finely shredded (optional)

Quick Buttermilk Pastry
1 cup (250 ml) cake flour
1.5 tsp (7.5 ml) baking powder
¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
¼ cup (60 ml) sunflower or olive oil
¾ cup (75 ml) buttermilk
a little extra buttermilk as necessary

Egg and milk mixture for filling
1 cup (250 ml) milk
¼ cup (60 ml) cream or additional milk
4 large eggs
1 tsp (5 ml) chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp (15 ml) snipped chives or spring onion
good pinch salt
¼ cup (60 ml) dried breadcrumbs

Cheese
½ cup (125 ml) grated or finely diced cheese such as Edam, Feta or Mozzarella

Garnish
mixed green salad such as rocket, baby spinach, etc. tossed with a little dressing

  1. Combine the oil, vinegar or lemon juice, garlic, seasoning and vegetables and toss together.
  2. Spoon the mixture onto a baking tray and roast at 200ºC for 10 minutes.
  3. Re-arrange the vegetables, roast 10 minutes more until slightly browned and barely softened.
  4. Allow to cool while preparing the pastry and filling.
  5. Grease a deep 25 cm or slightly shallower 28 cm pie dish with butter and turn down the oven to 180°C.
  6. Place all the ingredients for the pastry in a mixing bowl and mix by hand until the pastry holds together, adding a little extra buttermilk as necessary to a make a dough that holds together but is quite soft.
  7. Spoon the pastry into the pie dish and spread evenly, covering the base and sides. Press out the pastry in the corner of the dish until quite thin and push back the pastry to neaten the edges.
  8. Arrange the vegetables onto the pastry and place cheese in between. Beat together the milk, cream if used, eggs, parsley, spring onion, bread crumbs and salt and pour over the vegetables.
  9. Bake about 25 – 30 minutes or until light golden and set in the center.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into slices and garnished with the greenery.

10 to 12 servings

Note

  • Use one kind or mixed varieties of cheese as preferred
  • Butternut and pumpkin may be replaced by carrots or parsnips 

Recipe contributed by Carolié de Koster

Roasted Vegetable & Cheese Slices
Roasted Vegetable & Cheese Slices

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Steamed Romanesca

Romanesca, also known as summer cauliflower, is a curious-looking cruciferous vegetable which can be used in any recipe that calls for cauliflowe or broccoli! Try my recipes for Baked Cauliflower Mash and Cauliflower Cakes with Romanesca next time.

500 g romanesco, cauliflower or broccoli
± 250 ml water

  1. If using a head of romanesco, cut the stem in the middle out and cut it into florets.
  2. Steam the romanesco in a steaming basket or a steamer for about 10 minutes on a medium heat until the romanesco is soft went pierced with a knife.
  3. Transfer the romanesco to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  4. Shake off excess water and transfer the vegetables to a serving dish.
  5. Serve as is or with a sauce of your choice.  Re-heat when ready to serve.

6 servings

PorkFillet1

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Roasted Brussels Sprout Leaves

I’ve never been a fan of brussels sprouts – that is until I tried this recipe!  Brussels sprouts look like miniature cabbages and are a cultivar of the same species that includes cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi, so they have quite a strong smell when being cooked!

500 g brussels sprouts, trimmed and leaves separated
15 ml olive oil
15 ml grated lemon zest plus lemon wedges for serving
50 g walnuts, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
60 ml freshly grated Pecorino or Parmigian0 Reggiano cheese
1 medium lemon, cut into wedges

  1. Preheat oven to 190 °C and line a baking tray with a Wizbake baking sheet.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the cheese in a mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the baking tray and spread out.
  4. Roast until the leaves are crisp and golden around the edges – about 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with the cheese and and serve with lemon wedges.

4 to 6 servings.

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Baby Marrow Pasta With Pesto

Turn your baby marrow into “pasta” and toss with fresh basil pesto. A fresh and healthy meal in minutes!

250 g baby marrows, topped and tailed
500 ml packed fresh basil leaves
10 ml crushed garlic
80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
10 ml fresh lemon juice
60 ml Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
100 g cherry tomatoes

  1. Use a julienne peeler or mandoline to julienne the baby marrows.
  2. Heat 5 ml olive oil in a saucepan and stir-fry the baby marrow.
  3. To make the pesto, combine the basil and garlic in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  4. Add the olive oil in a steady stream while the food processor is running.
  5. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
  6. Add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until blended.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add the pesto to the saucepan and mix well.  Add the tomatoes and stir-fry for  a minute or two.
  9. Transfer the baby marrow to a serving dish and serve at room temperature or chilled.

4 servings.

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Baked Butternut With Honey & Nuts

The golden brown butternut will contrast well with the roast or grilled meat and fresh vegetables on a plate.  Delicious!

2 medium butternut squash
50 g coarsely chopped walnuts or pecan nuts
100 g butter, melted
50 ml honey or maple flavoured syrup
1 ml salt
2.5 ml ground cinnamon

  1. Peel and seed the butternut and slice into neat even slices.
  2. Place into a saucepan with a small quantity of water and simmer 15 minutes or until just cooked but not yet soft.
  3. Arrange the slices decoratively into a serving dish and sprinkle with nuts.
  4. Pour the melted butter,  mixed with honey or syrup, salt and cinnamon over the butternut.
  5. Bake at 180º C for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Baste with the syrup once or twice while baking and if preferred place under the grill for a few minutes to caramelize the top.
  7. Serve hot.

Variation
Substitute the honey for golden syrup or maple syrup.

8 t0 10 servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster – Art Of Cooking recipe book p. 371.

Baked Butternut With Honey & Nuts
Baked Butternut With Honey & Nuts

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Southern Fried Green Tomatoes

I first heard of fried green tomatoes when I saw the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” which is based on a novel by Fannie Flagg. The combination of firm-fleshed tomato with a crunchy polenta coating, the slight tartness of the unripe fruit balancing the oiliness of the exterior makes fried tomatoes a side dish for a braai, breakfast or brunch. It is said that Fried Green Tomatoes were invented by families with vegetable gardens who needed a way to use up an unwanted bounty of unripe produce. 

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