Mixed Berry & Granola Smoothie and wonderful ladies night out

I love surprises, and wow did I receive one last night. About 2 weeks ago, myself and J were invited for dinner, I found it rather strange but none the less accepted, last night when we got to our hosts house, I didn’t smell any food cooking nor see any tables set, and when I walked in, a great big SURPRISE was called out. All the ladies decided I needed my first “wives” dinner out. Sadly I didn’t get any photos as I didn’t take my camera with, but it was such a wonderful evening.

We went to Five Elements, and again, I really enjoyed every moment. It is the fine dining restaurant in the area, and given not a restaurant you can go to every week, it is definitely a must for any special occasion ( boy oh boy do I find special occasions!)

The atmosphere is wonderful, do pop on over to the website and have a squiz.

Again, no photos, but I can tell you what I had!

I started with a dish called Fire & Ice – seared Szechuan peppered tuna with Japanese radish and cucumber sorbet. The flavours were a magical dance in my mouth. This dish was definitely a top favourit. The sweetness and the pepperiness was such a wonderful combination, with the cooling subtle cucumber sorbet.

For mains I had a hard time decided exactly what I wanted. So many lovely choices, however, the duck jumped out at me. I had Duck Roulade wrapped in swiss chard with creamed mielies, white mushrooms & duck jus. The meal was very interesting, i have to admit I personally didn’t like the plating, but the flavours made up for it. The duck was wonderful, cooked to perfection with a play of allspice which just brought so many different aspects to the palate, you kind of all over the place, yet your flavour focus comes together in the end.

Dessert, I decided on a rooibos crème brulee, which I have to say was wonderful as well. The hard crack of sugar you break through was perfect, nothing more beautiful than that crack of sugar. Thats when I know I am in crème brulee heaven. The best part is the dessert was not overpoweringly sweet, all the flavours were subtle and worked wonderfully together.

So again, a big thank you to the wonderful ladies, it was exactly what I needed!

Today, I finally got to the Department of Home Affairs and have now officially changed my last name and applied for my new ID book. I have to compliment the DOHA in Humansdorp, what wonderful friendly service which I have never received from any officially government department. I walked in and 20 minutes later, with lots of smiles and laughs, I had dotted all my i’s and crossed all my t’s and I am now officially going by my married name, which I love!

And of course, with this, I give you one more Smoothie. I am so excited about the new challenge from Tandy over at Lavender & Lime. I am working on a great rawliciouse ideas!

Mixed Berries & Granola Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp honey
1 apple roughly chopped
½ cup your favourit granola
1 tbsp chia seeds

Add all into a blender, the berries give a nice tang, just add a little more honey if you want to sweeten it up.

Our wedding menu

wow, I can not believe that its been 2 weeks already since our magical day. Time is flying this year.
I did a lot of soul searching for this menu, as a wedding venue, most of the food is buffet style, however, I do not favour buffet type meals, but had to decide what would be best, for the guest for the logistics of the wedding. My biggest concern was would the food be appreciated. Finally, after some debating with myself, I decided on this menu for the wedding, and wow, not only was the food appreciated, but the compliments were flying left right and centre.

So a great big thank you to my head chef and the wonderful team in the kitchen for the amount of love and time that went into the food. I did not do any of the cooking, my bridesmaids made sure I stayed out of the kitchen!

Mezze platters / Starters

Toasted rustic breads with the following toppings
Haggis, Garlic, beetroot and goats cheese, duck ham and cammembert
Rice paper spring rolls, filled with Asian style sweet chili veg
Assorted rustic home made bread /Farm butter / chicken liver pate / sundried tomato hummus / Gooseberry Jam / Olives / Peppadews / Whole Jalapenos







Mains

On the Tables
Garden Salad – mixed greens & herbs, grilled peaches, eadible flowers and candied pecans

Springbok Shanks, served with a port & rosemary jus, served on a bed of fluffy garlic mash

or
Vegetable inspired pasta, with season veg and marinara sauce, topped with Danish feta

Dessert

1 tier mille feuille cake,

Station – Mille Feuille selection filled with fruits and chocolates, mini lemon merguine

And of course, we had so much fun on the golf course with photos, we had the most amazing photographer! Heather Stevens, recommend her to anyone in the PE area or Eastern Cape area as a matter of fact.

Ready Steady Cook Challenge

readysteadycook

When I saw Tandy post this challenge, great memories of watching Ainsley on TV came flooding back over me. I use to love this show, it was a Saturday morning ritual for me and I always made a point to watch it. How those chefs would come up with these great dishes in such a short period of time, from a mystery bag picked up by a random person who knew nothing about food. It was always such great fun, my favourite chefs were Anthony, Ross and Lesley.

So when I saw this challenge, I jumped right to it and signed up, thinking somehow I would fit it in with the wedding, not long after I received my grocery list…and let me tell you, I was stumped. I knew this was going to be a big challenge; I was way out of my comfort zone. I had a list of vegetarian ingredients, and the biggest challenge is always trying to have a balanced vegetarian meal. Often in a restaurant, if you say you are vegetarian, you are given a salad or fries, I didn’t want to go that route.

My grocery list was as follows:
gelatine (or agar agar)
yeast
strawberries
cheese (I used goats cheese, being my favourite cheese)
bell pepper
soya sauce
banana

Along with my pantry items, I came up with this menu.

Starter
Summery grilled strawberry & Goats Cheese salad

Mains
Bellpepper & Goats cheese focaccia with lemon hummus

Dessert
Banana & Cardamom Panna Cotta

So with the wedding and honeymoon thrown into the mix, along with this 3 course meal, I decided to incorporate it all into the visiting guests and let them taste! Nothing like having some friends over who are not scared to tell you to try harder!! I started with my salad…and got some great feed back!

Summery Strawberry & Goats Cheese Salad

500g strawberries, halved
200g goats cheese
Fresh basil
Macadamia oil
White wine vinegar
Castor Sugar
seasoning

Heat a griddle pan over high heat, when hot, wipe with oil, and place strawberry down with cut half on the griddle pan. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Roughly crumble the goats cheese and place in salad bowl
Stack fresh basil leaves on top of each other, and with a sharp knife, slice into thin strands. Careful not to bruise the basil to much. Toss with goats cheese and a pinch of sugar.
Toss in cold strawberries, drizzles with oil and white wine vinegar, and season to taste.

Bellpepper & Goats cheese focaccia with lemon hummus

Roasted Bell pepper
1 of each colour bell pepper
macadamia oil
soya sauce

Heat the oven to 200 C, cut peppers in half and place on baking tray. Drizzle with oil and soya sauce. Roast for 45 minutes.

Focaccia Dough
4 cups bread flour
1 packet instant dried yeast
50 ml macadamia oil
1 tbs soya sauce
50 g castor sugar
700 ml warm water

Make a well in the flour and add yeast, sugar and soya sauce.
Pour in the warm water in batches and draw the flour in from the sides to make a soft, workable dough. Add more water or flour as needed – the dough shouldn’t be too sticky.
Knead until nice ad smooth, around 5 – 7 minutes.
Cover the dough in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.

Focaccia
Roasted bell peppers
Goats cheese
Crushed garlic
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
Macadamia oil
soya sauce

Place the dough on a greased baking tray and press holes into the dough with your fingers, don’t press too hard. Sprinkle rosemary and oregano and garlic onto the dough and press in roasted peppers and goats cheese.
Drizzle with oil and soya sauce
Allow to rise for 10 to 15 minutes in a warm place, then bake in a 180° C oven for 45 minutes.

Lemon Hummus
1 can chickpeas
juice of ½ lemon
zest of half a lemon
macadamia oil
soya sauce
black pepper
crushed garlic
fresh ginger, finely chopped

Add all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

Any dessert is always a challenge to me, simply because I am not a huge fan of desserts, and for me, a simple fruit platter, or a nice cheese board is always a great way to end off a meal. Instead…I concluded my meal with the following:

Banana & Cardamom Panna Cotta

340ml cold water
2 envelopes gelatine
250ml castor sugar
175ml water
1 banana mashed up
8 cardamom pods, split open, and only crush the little black seeds
500ml cream
500ml full cream milk

Place 340ml cold water into a bowl and sprinkle the gelatine over gently. Set aside
Mix the mashed banana and grinded cardamom seeds together
Place ¾ of the sugar and ½ of the water in a pot over high heat until the sugar has caramelized. Remove from heat and add the banana, cream, milk and the left over sugar. Place back on heat until the mixture is smooth.
Remove from head again and add gelatine and water, whisk in, place bowl in ice water and carry on whisking until the mixture is room temperature.
Place in moulds and refrigerate for about an hour and a half



New Getting To know You

Getting to know you better….got this from the only cin’s blog…thought why not

1. What 5 items are always in your fridge?
Garlic, basil pesto, green figs, mayo, eggs

2. What 5 items are always in your pantry ?
Flour, AB balsamic reduction, oats, olive oil, spices

3. Do you write a grocery list or do you shop off the cuff?
I do, I love lists, never stick to the list 100%

4. What is the most used item/s in your kitchen?
Knives, blender, pasta maker

5. What do you have in your kitchen that may seem strange to other people?
My “unique” cup collection, which I drink from a new one each time

6. If you were to enter a Come Dine With Me challenge, what would you cook?

Starters…green fig, camembert phyllo parcel, drizzled with balsamic reduction

Mains…Seared Tuna Steak, served with wasabi mayo, Asian style vegetables with a sweet chili dressing served with mixed garden greens

Dessert…Flourless chocolate cake, with white chocolate gnache topped with candied pecans, and a nice dollop of fresh cream and cherries

7. If you could invite any 4 living people in the world to dinner, who would they be?
Jodi Picolt, Cher, Francois Roode and Brett Rightford

8. What is your favorite breakfast out?
French Toast at Le Chameleon, with bacon and green figs

9. What one condiment could you not be without?
Mayo

10. Some people seemed to have a problem eating leftovers or reheated food, do you?
Nopes, not at all. I enjoy left over’s, can always whip up something new with your leftovers or make quick snacks.

Portuguese Inspired Theme – 40th Birthday Menu

Platters consisting of:

Trinchado
Chicken livers, in a creamy tomato sauce
Chourico – flame grilled Portuguese sausage, with a bite
Portuguese Rolls, and fresh farm butter

Portuguese Salad Platter – Crispy lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onions, olives and peppers, lightly drizzled with Portuguese dressing

Chicken

Peri Peri infused baby chicken drum sticks & Buffalo wings, and Lemon baby chicken infused drum sticks & Buffalo wings, grilled to absolute perfection
Portuguese Rice and chefs chips

Seafood

LM style fresh tiger prawns, served with a variety of dipping sauces
Mussels in shell, drizzled with a creamy garlic sauce
Fresh line fish, grilled to perfection with garlic lemon butter
Fresh line fish, deep fried, in chef’s special batter
Mouth watering Stuffed Calamari pockets, filled with spinach, feta and anchovies and a variety of mixed herbs
Portuguese Rice and chefs chips

Garlic sauce Peri peri sauce Lemon butter

Pudim de germas e caramelo
Traditional light caramel pudding, served with a rich cream brandy syrup sauce