Sunday Afternoon Poitjiekos and Cannellini Bean & Beetroot Salad

Poitjie is such a South Africa tradition, and personally one of my favourit meals to prepare. I love doing a great poitjie, and have been lacking in doing so since we moved into the flat.

A little history on the poitjie…The round potbellied cast iron pot was the perfect cooking utensil to suit the nomadic lifestyle of the black tribes and the Voortrekkers during the 17th and 18th centuries. Potjiekos evolved as a stew, made of venison and vegetables (if the latter were available). The pot with its contents protected by a layer of fat was hooked under the wagon by the Voortrekkers while travelling and unhooked at the next stop to be put on the fire again.

When the wagons stopped at the end of the day and camp was made, game was stewed and sometimes mutton, goat or old oxen when available. As each new animal was shot, it was slaughtered and the meat added to the pot, together with whatever vegetables that could be found. The large bones were added replacing the old ones, to thicken the stew. Surplus meat was preserved by seasoning and drying.

So on my day off, I thought I would do a little poitjie. The first step to a good poitjie is to burn the pot. Wash it thoroughly, then place it back on the fire to get it really hot before cooking again.

The best part about a poitjie is that you can add whatever meat and vegetables you wish to add, and your cooking liquid is all up to you. I used beef with red wine. Another great combo I love is chicken and beer poitjie.

Now what does one serve with a poitjie? Well, traditionally it would be “pap” or dumplings and in many homes it is rice. I also served one of my cannellini bean salads, which was actually very nice. The cannellini bean’s meatiness worked really well with the poitjie, and you could even add it directly to the poitjie, however, I rather did a salad.

Cannellini & Beetroot salad

2 cups cannellini beans, leftover night to soak, and boiled until soft
fresh beetroot, boiled until soft
Danish feta
fresh rosemary
balsamic reduction

Add all together, ensure your beetroot is cooled properly before you add to the salad.

Zucchini & Carrot Koftas with a Spicy Yoghurt Curry Sauce

Something that I did learn a lot about during my 3 years of living with an Orthodox Jewish family was laktas. Potato laktas as well as a variety of other creative laktas are eaten during the Jewish festival Hanukkah. One of my all time favorite laktas is Carrot, Apple & Zucchini, I took this and just adapted it to fit in with a curry evening that I had to do…so without further ado…here with my…

Zucchini & Carrot Koftas with a Spicy Yoghurt Curry Sauce

For the Koftas

Grated carrots
Grated Zucchini
Roasted and ground cumin
Roasted and ground coriander seeds
Seasoning
Eggs, beaten
Flour
Oil for frying / deep frying

Mix the carrots and zucchini, add the spices and seasoning. Add flour and eggs, roll into balls and deep fry, or alternatively make more of a “pancake” type shape.

For the Sauce

Cape Fruit Yogurt
Greek Yoghurt
Ground Cumin
Ground Coriander
Cardamom
Cloves
Cayenne pepper
Hot Curry Powder
Fresh Chilies
Onions, diced
Garlic, crushed
Ginger paste
Coconut Milk

Fry off the onions, garlic and ginger until fragrant
Add spices and chili
Add Cape Fruit yoghurt and Greek yoghurt,
Let cook out for about 15 – 20 minutes,
Add coconut milk

You want to cook the sauce out for a while, until all the flavors have combined and you have not harsh flavors jumping out at you. You can change the heat to your liking, if you like it a little less spicy, rather leave out the fresh chilies, or alternatively leave out all the “heat” and replace with fresh mint just before you serve for a more fresh taste.

And now for some more news…

This Chef has gotten engaged! I could not be happier…I have found the man of my dreams and we can not wait to spend the rest of our lives together. It was a unusual engagement, but I couldn’t of asked for a better way to be asked to marry the man of my dreams. I will do a posting about that…maybe even start a blog about the lead up to the big day…the date being…21.01.2012

Bohemian Themed 18th Birthday

I did this a while ago…realized today that I never posted photos…so thought why not…

The Green keeper from the previous Golf Estate I worked on approached me one day, asking me to do something special for his daughters 18th…she picked a Bohemian theme…and you all know how I absolutely love themed things…

And this is how the evening turned out…one of my best…and probably my most fave themes I did

Mezze platters consisting of:

Pitta bread
Assorted feta Cheese
Calamata Olives
Tsanziki
Houmous

Dolmades
Spinach leaves stuffed with rice, spice & ground beef

Mini Lamb Souvlaki
Greek style skewered lamb kebabs

Mini Chicken Kebabs
Greek style skewered chicken kebabs

Keftedes
Spicy Meatballs, served with tomato & onion sauce

Mini Spanakopita
Phyllo pastry filled with spinach, feta and onions

Dessert Platters

Hot Mud pudding
Turkish delight
Fresh fruit in season platters, served with sorbets

Siamese Pineapple Mussel Curry

Firstly, let me start off saying that this is not my recipe, credit goes to the Head Chef I work under, otherwise known as the Drunken Chef.

It is very interesting, every Wednesday night we have a curry night, for R80 pp you have 4 different curries and 1 non curry dish, poppadoms, rice and home made naan.

So over the last 7 weeks I have learnt so much more about curries, and every week its something new. I absolutely love it! This week one dish we did was a Siamese Pineapple Mussel Curry…its goes something like this….

Mussels (half shell)
Fresh pineapple
Coconut milk
Green curry paste (home made)
Fresh Coriander
Onion
Ginger

Now, the actual recipe I can’t give, but looking at those ingredients I am sure you will figure it out.

Your end result is a beautiful fragrant Thai like curry that has a quick sharp bite on the tongue, with a linger of subtle ocean like flavors. The pineapple and mussel combination is really interesting on the palette, which takes my mind to the Vietnamese Jungle.

I was absolutely amazed at how good this was. Try it out!

Tequila…makes you happy…

We tasted a few different varieties, but the one that stuck out the most for me is the XO Café Patron, it’s a coffee flavored Tequila. At first, I was kind of wait…I don’t really enjoy the taste of coffee…but I thought I have to try this…

Sticking to the theme of Tequila, I thought why not share with you my new discovery…and I am sure many have already discovered it…but it’s new to me…

A few weeks ago, we did a wine tasting, and along with that we did a few whiskeys…and some new Tequilas…and I want to focus on the Tequila for now…I was absolutely amazed.

As a young party animal…Tequila was the shot of choice…as I grew older, I started really enjoying Tequila in more cocktail kind of drinks…then Stoney brought his magical box of tasting goodies, and introduced me to the world of Tequila.

It comes in a really sexy looking bottle…the colour…wow…its this deep intense, purple shade…it looks like velvet in a bottle…it is drunk as if you were enjoying a fine cognac. You sip it slowly…its so smooth, and the velvet texture is projected into the taste…wow..if you pair it with a great cigar…a match made in heaven…what a great way to spend your wintery evening, in front of a fire enjoying the XO Café Tequila.

XO Cafe is produced and blended in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Jalisco is known for producing the finest tequila in the world.The XO Cafe is created to very exact specifications by a small family owned distillery. The owners are known to produce some of the highest quality Agave tequilas of their type. The Product XO Cafe originated from a very unique blend of XO Fine tequila and pure natural coffee essence. XO Cafe is produced at 70 proof, it was conceived to be a coffee tequila more than an overly sweet coffee liqueur. The product is blended to be “dry” not sweet as with most low proof coffee liqueurs. The higher proof brings out the flavor of the pure coffee essence and the XO Fine tequila. The sugars are kept to a minimum allowing the product to be consumed as a cocktail as well as an excellent liqueur or ingredient in gourmet cooking.

Now to the cooking side of it..wow…I can just imagine the beautiful sauces for my steaks I can make with it…maybe that should be me next adventure!

Tequila Marinated Chicken with Mole Sauce

Janice and I spoke about this a while ago, so I thought this will be my contribution to the Mexico vs South Africa game on Friday, 11th June. That, and I have been meaning to try this…so without further ado…here I give you my:

Tequilla marinated Chicken with Mole Sauce

Ingredients

Chicken cuts of choice – I used drumsticks and wings
½ cup tequila – I used silver, but feel free to use gold tequila
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp brown sugar

For the Sauce

2 large tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
5 Chillies (add more if you want more heat)
¼ cup sesame seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
4 whole cloves
¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves
3 cups chicken stock
4 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
25g dark chocolate, chopped
1 can tomato puree
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soad
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Method.

To make the marinade mix tequila, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Leave in fridge overnight for the best results, or for at least an hour (if you are in a hurry)

The Mole Paste

Place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves on the baking sheet and bake until slightly caramelized around the edges, mix up the garlic, tomatoes and onion so that the other side can caramelize too. Set aside to cool.

In a large pan over high heat, toast the chilies until lightly browned and the aroma fills the air. Place in a bowl, cover with hot water and allow to sit until softened.

In the same pan, toast sesame seeds and toast until light brown and fragrant. Set aside
Do the same toasting method with the peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, oregano and thyme for a few seconds, just until their fragrant is released. Place in bowl with sesame seeds, set aside

Once the roasted garlic is cool enough to handle, peel add, along with the charred tomatoes and onion, to the bowl of a food processor. Add the seeds and spices. Drain liquid off of the chilies and add these to the processor as well.

Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and puree the mixture until very smooth and thick, scraping down the sides.

In a large deep pot, heat the vegetable oil until very hot. Carefully pour the pureed mixture into the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat so that the mixture simmers, and add chocolate. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 hour, or until the mole paste is very thick and flavorful.

The Mole Sauce

Hat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until very hot.

Add the tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half a teaspoon on baking soda to puree and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the a cup of mole paste and the remaining 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and stir to combine well. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is a nice sauce consistency, add the salt and cook another 2 minutes, and the sauce is thick, smooth and flavorful. Keep warm while you cook the chicken.

Preheated oven to 160 C

Place all the chicken pieces on a lined baking sheet, Cook for about 5 minutes Turn the chicken and continue to roast for an additional 5 minutes, or until the second side is charred.

Reduce the heat to 140 C and continue to cook the chicken until the juices run clear

Serve the chicken immediately, with some of the mole sauce drizzled over the top.

Its very similar to making Green Curry paste…in the sense that its a long process. But let me tell you, so worth it!

Enjoy

Portuguese Trinchado

Ingredients

About 1kg of Rump, cubed

3 tbsp of Worchester
3 tbsp of soy sauce
Salt & Pepper

3 tablespoons Margarine
2 large Onions, chopped
3 small Hot red chili peppers, stemmed and chopped (whether you use the seeds or not depends how much of a bite you want it)
3 tsp minced garlic
3 tablespoons Flour
1tsp Cheyenne powder
2 tsp Paprika
½ Liter Beef stock
½ cup brandy
2 Bay leaves
1 tablespoon Sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Marinade the cubed beef in a mixture of Worchester sauce and soy sauce. Leave it for a min of 60 mins, to being left over night in the fridge. Rinse marinade off before you brown it.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon margarine When the margarine is melted and sizzling, add about ¼ of the beef and brown well. Remove the beef cubes from saucepan, place in a bowl and set aside. Repeat with the remainder of beef. Do not add to much beef at once to the pan as this will cause to much moisture and the beef will boil instead of fry. Once all beef is done, remove and set aside to rest.

Reduce heat and add the onions, sugar and chili and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Add the Cheyenne powder and paprika

Add the flour over the mixture and stir around until thick

Add the stock, brandy and bay leaves. Stir until the sauce thickens and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the beef cubes together with any juices that may be in the bowl.

Leave to simmer for about 20 minutes or until beef is tender and cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

Now, you can use red wine instead, but we all know how much I love cooking with brandy, I was also looking for a golden colour in the sauce, and with red wine, you may need to add more sugar as it will go bitter. But each for their own.