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Soup & Sandwich, if you know me well enough, you will know that I absolutely love this concept.  I have slightly adapted it to something even better…in my opinion.

With the cooler weather that is surrounding us, we tend to crave warmth and comfort in our food, and why not just add a little “pazaaz” to our boring old winter food.

Soup & Quesadillas

I used my Rooibos infused  Butternut Soup recipe that you can find here. With that, I made the quesadillas. Now you can go wild and crazy with what fillings you wish desire, be creative and mix some flavours.  My quesadillas consisted of bacon, feta, cheddar and fresh basil, and let me tell you, the creamy freshness complimented the butternut soup beautifully.

What you will need to make your quesadillas…as easy as this…

Tortilla wraps
Your desired fillings

Heat a pan and place the tortilla wrap in the pan to heat, turn over as if flipping a pancake, place your filling on the one side and close the tortilla in half.  Let the bottom heat up and crisp a little before flipping over again.  You want the filling to be warm and the cheese all gooey and stringy, with the crispness on the outside…makes for that perfect bite!

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This is such a great light lunch, or the perfect easy quick dinner.  And so versatile, use your favourite soup and choose whatever filling you wish!  Tortilla wraps are a great substitute for bread, it is perfect for gluten intolerant people, and of course for anyone who is watching their weight.

Right now, I am busy cooking a delicious meat soup…recipe to follow soon!

Mango Chili Salsa Chicken Wraps

It’s been a rather emotional week, I have my closure now, and I am ready to reset my mind and get my head back into the game…I thought I would make something light, yet flavoursome to go with a wonderful bottle of wine.

Chili Mango Salas Chicken Wraps

Tortilla wraps
Chicken breadts
Mango
Fresh chilli
Lavender infused honey
Paprika
Verlaque Chili Mango reduction
Fresh rosemary
Olive OIl
Salt & pepper

Dice the mango and chilli and mix together, deseed the chilli if you would like to take the major bite away. I used 1 tbsp reduction to ½ a tsp of honey, but again, I believe its to taste, and if you like it slightly sweeter, just add more honey. Mix with mango and chilli, and a pinch of paprika. Mix together and place in fridge, you want it to chill nicely, the flavours infuse.

Grill the chicken breasts in the oven, season with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and some fresh rosemary. Remove from oven and let cool.

Build your wrap now, and be creative, use what you like, I used mixed garden greens (from my own garden!!!!), tomatoes, cucumber, red cabbage, Danish feta. The creaminess and the spicy bite work wonderfully together with the fruity mango flavours.

With this, I enjoyed a glass of Like Father Like Son White from the Bon Courage Wine Estate, which is just absolutely wonderful!! We enjoy this wine so much, we even had it as our table wines at the wedding.

Some info on this great wine, courtesy of http://www.boncourage.co.za

A dry white blend with a fruity complexity. The Chenin Blanc compliments the fruitiness and the natural high acidity of the Colombard. Intricated nose of tropical fruit, guavas, peaches and a hint of gooseberries, which lingers on to the palate. Perfect partner to food, especially fish and white meat dishes. Goes well with seafood, pastas, and salads. Excellent as an aperitif on a summer day.

Ravioli stuffed with Mussels & Homemade Tomato Sauce

The challenge set by Tandy from Lavender & Lime is to use one of your many recipe books that you have not experimented with, and make something. Now, I have so many recipe books, magazines, pieces of paper and often in my diary at a recipe or two. I love looking at pictures and going “I want to make that my way”.

It was hard choosing which book to use, considering I have a few that I have not played around with…after looking through all of them, and deciding on recipes I would like to try, I finally decided that I will start with my Justin Bonello – Cooked in Africa. If you remember, I did a short post when I received this book.

The first recipe I decided was Ravioli stuffed with Mussels & Homemade Tomato Sauce. Having discussed this book with a few people, and being my first time ever using a Bonello book, I found that his recipes are wonderful and simple, yet, I don’t always see them working out. So I tweaked the recipe here and there.

This recipe was inspired by Tandy who loves to make pasta. My brother bought me a pasta machine for my birthday 2 years ago, and I have used it very little, I am going to make it my personal mission to use it more often as nothing beats homemade pasta.

For the pasta dough

200g flour – the best to use is MN100, however I didn’t have, so I just used cake flour
2 eggs (or 3 egg yolks)
1tsp olive oil
2 tsp fine salt

Sprinkle the flour onto your work surface and make a well, add salt and kind of mix in, add the eggs and oil and slowly bring the edges of the well together by stirring the eggs into the flour. Carry on until you have a nice crumb, start kneading your dough together, you want a slightly dry dough, but not overly dry, if you find your dough is to wet, add a little more flour, if your dough is to dry, add a dash more oil. It’s all about feel. Knead your dough for about 10 minutes, you want smooth dough. Place in fridge to let rest. I did this in the morning, that way by the time I get home, all I have to do is bring it to room temperature and work it through my pasta machine.

If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can roll the dough out with a rolling pin, this is a very tedious task, so be warned, you will hate it!!

For the Mussels
I used frozen, as I don’t have fresh – if you can get your hands on fresh, definitely go that route!

Mussels
2 glasses of dry white wine
fresh parsley
knob of butter

Place your mussels in the pot with a handful of parsley, add the wine. And let simmer for a few minutes over a medium heat. Remove mussels and place the liquid one side to add to the tomato sauce later.

Finish of the ravioli

Mix a knob of butter and parsley and a 1 clove of garlic until well incorporated.

Work your dough through the pasta machine until you have thin, roughly 3-4 cm thick pasta sheets. Cut into squares, big enough to hold a mussel. Using an egg wash, brush the edges of the pasta squares, place a mussel in the middle with a little of the parsley garlic butter and cover with another piece of dough. Using a fork pressed the edge so that it seals.

For the homemade tomato sauce

1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic
2 tomatoes
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
3 anchovy fillets, just tear up the fillets with your fingers
Olive oil

Fry of the onions and garlic until transparent, add the tomatoes and can of tomatoes, and the liquid from the mussels, let simmer over a low heat. Cook out for about an hour and half, add the anchovy fillets and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to boil and salt the water, gently drop the ravioli and cook for about 4 – 5 minutes, plate the ravioli, with a nice spoonful of the sauce, some parmesan and top with fresh parsley.

Now…what did I think of this pasta. It is a very interesting dish, and I have to admit, very time consuming, the anchovy & mussels work beautifully together, I just find that it was missing that something special. Next time, I would like to add some fresh chili to the sauce, I think it will take the sauce to a new level and will work wonderfully with the mussels. With this, I just had a small salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and feta, with Verlaque Mango Chili Dressing.


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Sunday Roast and Place In The Sun Shiraz…

I think a Sunday roast is a luxury that we tend to take for granted. Having Sunday off, I thought that would be exactly what I would do, although I didn’t do a traditional roast as such. I made a deboned leg of lamb, with roasted vegetables, with a cous cous salad and green salad.

I have had this cut of lamb in the freezer for a while, slightly to big to just have for 2 people, so I have had to wait for the right occasion. Sunday roast sounded like the perfect occasion!

Deboned Leg of Lamb Roast

Leg of lamb

olive oil
rosemary
garlic
salt
pepper
lemon juice

Make a marinade from all the ingredients, and rub onto the meat. Place in fridge for about an hour, if you have the time, you can do this the night before and leave it in the fridge over night. Remove from fridge and let stand to come to room temperature before you place in oven.
Preheat the oven to 160° C
Place marinated lamb into a roasting pan, cover with two sheets of tinfoil and into the oven for 3 hours.
Remove from oven and take the lamb out of the roasting pan. Let rest on a cool surface until room temperature.
Take the all juices from the pan and place into a pot, and bring to boil, add a glass of red wine and let cook out over a medium heat.
Place lamb back into roasting tray with vegetables and potatoes. Drizzled vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh herbs of choice, I used mixed herbs.
Place back into the oven at 180° C for 45 minutes, uncovered.
Remember to let lamb rest again before you start slicing it.

Cous Cous Salad

we all know my great love for cous cous, this one I just fine diced whatever I had in my fridge.
Tomato, pickled onions, peaches, feta, pumpkin seeds , Verlaque mango chilli dressing and fresh parsley.
We enjoyed this roast with my MIL & FIL, a small thank you to them for all the help they gave with the wedding.

We got a bottle of wine from friends for Justin’s birthday, it was a wine I didn’t know, so we thought we would open that too, and wow, was I blown away. What a lovely bottle of wine, called Place in the Sun. So I did some research on this wine, and I have to say, I am very impressed, will be drinking more Place In The Sun Wines thats for sure!

Pinks Food Quiz # 66 and other news

Not been on the blogs lately, however, I did get hold of the latest Taste Magazine and read the awesome write up of my beautiful friend Tandy from Lavender & Lime.

I have been really under the weather since Wednesday, finally gave in and went to see a doctor yesterday. Hopefully by tomorrow I will be A-OK again, he suggested lots of rest to help my body rebuild the damage that has been done…

Today marks my brother’s 30th Birthday!

So I have to give a great big shout out to my big brother! Hope your day is filled with all the love and happiness you could ever ask for, and more!

Along with this great celebration, I am now 9 weeks and 6 days away from our wedding, I am super excited and can not wait to marry my soul mate & best friend (and favorite person in the world). Still not found the shoes I want…I am starting to think I should just get married barefoot!

Another interesting happening in my weekend…I got my little cheffy paws on the Verlaque Dried Mango & Chili Reduction. Now I want to play! But I first have to feel better! Been reading all my Taste Magazines and Food & Homes, finding inspiration!

Pink’s Quiz is always a great way to educate not only myself, but others, and I so do love reading everyone’s answers.

What is an Italian dumpling better known as?
Gnocchi

What is “strata” in culinary terms?
Bascially a brunch type dish, you place layers of leftovers on a piece of stale bread, cover with cheese, and a milk & egg mixture and bake in the oven.

What does “sous vide” means?
Cooking foods that have been sealed in an air tight plastic bag, by means of a water bath with controlled (lower) temperature over a long period of time

The “fifth taste” discovered by Japanese scientists, called “umami” describes what?
A mixture of savory & beefy kind of flavor

What are the main ingredients of “vichyssoise”?
Otherwise known as Potato & Leek Soup, served cold, I am going with potatoes, leeks, cream, and stock

What is Mentsuyu?
Japanese condiment made from soy sauce, dashi sugar and mirin

The fruit of which African tree is use to make monkey bread?
Baobab tree, otherwise known as Adansonia (thank you Bonzai reseach!!!)

Why is fish traditionally served with lemon?
Enhances the flavor of the fish, would be my guess

What is tahini?
It is a sesame seed paste which is appears a lot in Mediterranean cooking

What are the basic ingredients of Fregolata, a hard and crumby cake, which are eaten all over northern Italy at the end of a meal?
Flour, butter, eggs, almonds, vanilla and I think its lemon juice that goes into this cake

Cous Cous – Food so nice they named it twice

I remember cous cous being a rather in depth question in my Food 101 exam…and since then, it has made many appearances on my dinner tables…

Couscous is a Berber dish ( Berber cuisine is considered as a traditional cuisine which evolved little in the course of time) of semolina traditionally served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it.

Couscous is among the healthiest grain-based products. It has a glycemic load per gram 25% below that of pasta. It has a superior vitamin profile to pasta, containing twice as much riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate, and containing four times as much thiamine and pantothenic acid.

In terms of protein, couscous has 3.6 g for every 100 calories, equivalent to pasta, and well above the 2.6 g for every 100 calories of white rice. Furthermore, couscous contains a 1% fat-to-calorie ratio, compared to 3% for white rice, 5% for pasta, and 11.3% for rice pilaf. (Thank you WikiPedia for the info)

My all time favourite way to use cous cous would be in a salad. It’s easy, quick and healthy…everything I love about food!
We had some friends over, and I had not really planned a salad, so I quickly put this together…

Cous Cous Salad

To make the perfect cous cous, you need to use equal parts cous cous to water. Thats the secret behind the magic in a box.
I used 4 cups couscous to 4 cups boiling water. To the water I added 2 tsp of mint sauce. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap, until all the water has been absorbed.
The best part about this salad, you can add exactly what you feel like…my list of salad ingredients are the following:
Dried pomegranate
Diced onion
Dice jalapenos
Diced capers
Diced feta
Dice red & yellow peppers
Finely chopped fresh coriander

Let couscous cool and add all the ingredients together, season and serve. I drizzled a little Verlaque Cape Lemon Olive Oil Cranberry Balsamic Reduction Pomegranate SPLASH!
This is a great salad now that the warmer weather is setting in and we are coming out of our winter blues.