Thyme, Mustard & Crème Fraîche Baked St Joseph

St Joseph aka the Elephant Fish.  I had never heard of this before, which of course made me want to try it even more. I found this strange fish at my closest Food Lovers Market,  I was not sure how to handle it, fish is not that simple, you must treat certain flavours with certain types of fish otherwise you loose the true flavour of the meat.

After doing some research, and finally finding the info in a book from my father in law, I was educated with the information that the Elephant fish should be treated like Kingklip.

These fillets are rather large so 1 fillet could easily feed 4 people.

Thyme, Mustard & Crème Fraîche Baked St Joseph

 

st joseph fillets cooked

400g St Joseph fillet , cleaned and rinsed
1 tub Crème Fraîche
5 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp freshly chopped thyme
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 cup cheddar & mozzarella mixed, grated
seasoning

Preheat the oven to 240°C

Spray an oven proof dish, large enough to hold the fillet, with olive oil or run the bottom with butter, to ensure the fish doesn’t stick. You may have to cut the fillet to fit into the dish.

st joseph fillets

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Crème Fraîche, mustard, thyme, lemon juice, lemon zest and cheese.

Place the fillets in the dish and season.  Pour the mustard mixture over the fillets, ensuring that the whole fillet is covered.

Bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes.  This may seem a little excessive for fish, however the fillets are rather thick, so you will have to keep them in the oven for some time. If you are using different fish for this, you have to determine the time by the thickness of the fillet.

The mixture on top of the fillet creates a nice crust over the fish, with so much flavour however, personally I did not enjoy the texture of the fish or the flavour of the meat. It was a little to stringy for me, I am very picky when it comes to fish and sadly I enjoy boring old hake.

 

House Lamb Curry

Curries are definitely my thing! I love the aromatic flavours that entice all your senses. I often mix my own curry spices, I have a small collection of different spices that sit in my pantry waiting to be used, now with my recent trip to Durban, I have accumulated a fair amount of new spices.

Finding the Victoria Market downtown Durban was a mission, my poor husband was slightly less thrilled to be on this mission with me, however, he also knows that once I get something in my head, it is best to go along for the ride…most adventures do turn out to be a whole bucket of fun.

I NEEDED to find a spice vendor that would mix my spices, I NEEDED to experience meeting such a spice vendor and truly experiencing what I have only heard or saw on TV, and boy oh boy did I get what I wanted…and more.

This is where I met Joe, from Joe’s Corner Shop at the Victoria Market.  Joe has “prison chubs”  covering his arm and a bandaged foot with a black toe peeping out with no toenail…I didn’t want to ask, so I kept the conversation to spices.

joes corner shop sign

Once Joe found out that we were from the Eastern Cape, he quickly ran (read limped) to the back of the shop asking if we could deliver a parcel for him…my husband and I exchanged looks of “turn and walk away…and do so fast” however Joe realized that his package was actually for the Western Cape and continued with the spices.

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After discussing the different spices Joe offered to make me my own special spice mix, he asked me what flavours I favoured, if I liked it stronger or milder type mix.  I opted for a medium style, as I like hotter, but also know it’s not for everyone) and while he was tossing different spices together, he was calling the names out to me, this only got me more excited, wanting to try my special masala mix as soon as possible.

joe

Last night I got the opportunity…cold wet day out, I decided a “House Lamb Curry” was in order, slowly cooked for 5 hours…the wait was worth every second, I was blown away with the flavours and can honestly say, if you are every visiting the Victoria Market in Durban, stop by Joe’s Corner Shop.  The best part, he also deliver’s worldwide…or so his sign says.

I didn’t need to add much to the spice mix, so this would me more of a recipe idea than a recipe!

Angie’s House Lamb Curry

600g – 900g Lamb Neck / Lamb Knuckle (I used a mix of both, bone in)
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
4 heaped tsp Masala Curry Mix from Joe
1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp crushed ginger
1 Knorr beef stock gel
2 cups boiling water
2 large onions
Seasoning
3 medium potatoes, cut into large chunks, skin on

Preheat the oven to 150°C

In a cast iron pot, over a medium heat fry the onions until translucent.  Add the garlic, ginger and spices and fry gently until the oils start splitting from the spices.
Add the meat and brown off
Add the stock gel, water and whole peeled tomatoes.

Cover pot and place in the oven for 3-4 hours to slowly cook.
Add potatoes and cook for a further house until potatoes are soft.

Avoid stirring the pot too much; you don’t want to break up the meat.

lamb house curry

Wintery Butternut & Mushroom Salad

With the cooler weather settling in we are all heading towards comfort food…I can hear you say “but salad is not comfort food???” Well, this one is filled with comfort goodies, and perfect as a side for a cool evening braai. This is also a great vegetarian meal with substance.

This is very versatile, you can add or take out flavours you do not like, just remember to balance the flavours.  I used my Froggit salad dressing, but you could use any light dressing. Or make your own, I would love to know what works for you!

Wintery Butternut & Mushroom Salad
served 15 – 20

2kg cubed butternut
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
honey
seasoning
olive oil
1 tbsp garlic butter
250g sliced white mushrooms
Seeds from 2 pomegranates
100g crumbed feta
200g baby spinach
1 packet rocket & watercress salad mix (from Woolworths)
100g cherry tomatoes
100g sugar snap peas
3 tbsp roasted pumpkin seeds
Froggit Pomegranate dressing

Pomegranate Dressing

Preheat the oven to 200°C

In a large roasting pan, place the butternut, garlic, olive oil, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, seasoning and honey.  Mix until the butternut is well coated and roast for 45 minutes.
Remove and set aside to cool down completely.
Fry the sliced mushrooms in garlic butter, season and set aside to cool

Once the butternut & mushrooms are cooled down completely, mix together, you can now build the salad.

Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and mix with the butternut & mushrooms.
Layer the salad now, at the bottom of the bowl put some baby spinach, rocket & watercress, a few pomegranate seeds a few sugar snap peas, the feta, pumpkin seeds, repeat layering.

Wintery Butternut & Mushroom Salad

 

Beetroot, Bacon & Goat’s Cheese Tarte Tatin

I have had a *slight* obsession with beetroot (again) these last few weeks. My poor husband has gone from not touching beetroot to tasting here and there, to thoroughly enjoying THIS dish to “enough with the beetroot…PLEASE!!!”

I have baked, roasted, pickled and juiced beetroot in all weird and wonderful ways, with all types of combinations.  Out of all my experiments with beetroot, I have to say that, apart from beetroot juice, this Beetroot, Bacon & Goat’s Cheese Tarte Tatin was my favorite and will definitely make a reappearances on my dinner table.

Now…before we get right into the recipe, let’s examine why these little balls of red (sometimes yellow, sometimes white, sometimes stripped) happiness is so good for you.

The beetroot taste is described as sweet, earthy and tender to eat. It is grown in the ground and is related to turnips, swedes and sugar beet.

If you’re considering beetroot as one of your 5-a-day, it contains potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants and soluble fiber.

Researchers have known for some time that juice may help lower blood pressure, but in 2010 UK researchers revealed that nitrate is the special ingredient in beetroot which lowers blood pressure and may help to fight heart disease.

People with very high blood pressure can end up being on multiple tablets, so a more natural approach could prove popular if the initial research results are confirmed.

Drinking beetroot juice increases blood flow to the brain in older people, which may be able to fight the progression of dementia, a 2010 study suggested.

Beetroot contains high concentrations of nitrates, which are converted into nitrites by bacteria in the mouth. Nitrites help open blood vessels in the body, increasing blood flow and oxygen to places lacking in oxygen.

 Beetroot, Bacon & Goats Cheese Tarte Tatin
serves 2 – 3

beetroot & goats cheese tart tatin

½ Roll Today’s Puff Pastry
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
4 medium sized beetroots, cooked and thickly sliced into rounds
4 pieces streaky bacon, cut into quarters
¼  packet Goats Cheese
Balsamic reduction
Fresh Thyme, roughly chopped
salt
black pepper
egg wash

Preheat oven to 180°C

Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface, cut slightly bigger than the pan you using to bake the tarte tatin in.

Add sugar and butter to a small, non stick pan, place over medium, heat and let caramelize. Swirl around the pan to ensure the entire bottom of the pan is coated in caramelized sugar
Remove from heat, place beetroot rings over the bottom of the pan, creating a nice even layer.
Place the pieces of bacon over the beetroot, season with black pepper and sprinkle with thyme.
Cover with puff pastry, tucking in the sides so the puff pastry fits snug in the pan.
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
While still hot, carefully flip the pastry onto a plate, top with goat’s cheese that is just roughly broken up and season with salt and black pepper.

Serve hot or cold.

I added a little onion marmalade, you can find the recipe here, and drizzled with balsamic reduction.

Roasted Butternut, Caramelized Onion, Danish Feta & Mixed Herbs Quiche

Quiche and myself have a love hate relationship.  I love the idea of quiche, but I hate that eggy flavour of quiche.  So I am always sceptical at ordering quiche at restaurants, but am all for making quiche at home.

This was a meatless Monday dinner, so feel free to adapt the ingredients if you insist on using meat.  I would add a little crispy bacon bits to satisfy the carnivore in you, but otherwise just as it is pretty delicious.

Roasted Butternut, Caramelized Onion, Danish Feta & Mixed Herbs Quiche
serves 8 – 10

Enough shortcrust pastry to suit the size of the dish you are using to make your quiche in
1kg butternut roasted (I roasted it the same was I always do when making my butternut soup)
2 large onions, chopped pole to pole
200g Danish feta, roughly crumbled
chopped mixed fresh herbs of choice
200ml milk
100ml cream
3 eggs
seasoning
1 tsp sugar
1 clove of garlic, diced
200g grated cheddar
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180C

I made my quiche in a large spring form tin, you don’t need to grease the tin as the pastry won’t stick.

Roll out the pastry and cut to desired size. You want to ensure that you have a pie like crust for the quiche, so ensure your pastry comes up the sides of the tin.  Remember your pastry shrinks when baked so leave a little room for shrinking.
Blind bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

While the butternut is roasting, fry off the onions in a drizzled of olive oil, sprinkle the sugar over the onions and let caramelize, add the garlic and sauté gentle.  Do not burn the garlic as this will make your quiche bitter.
Mix the butternut, onions and feta, with the herbs in a bowl, season to taste.

Mix the milk and cream together and add the eggs.  Ensure that the mixture is well incorporated.

Place your butternut mixture evenly in the pastry base, pour the milk mixture over, tap the tin once or twice to get the mixture to seep through the butternut, sprinkle cheese over the top and bake for 45 minutes.

Turn your oven up to grill for 2 – 3 minutes just long enough for the cheese to form a nice crust over the top.

Remove and let cool for 5 minutes, release spring form clasp.  Let sit for another 5 minutes.

Cut and serve with a beautiful garden salad.
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Basil & Three Cheese Soufflé

Chefs, foodies, home cooks and students all fear the dreaded Soufflé.  But in essence, they should not be feared at all.  As long as you have your fundamentals down you should have a successful soufflé time after time.

The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up”.

Once I get an idea in my head, I don’t let it go.  I was paging a magazine which had a bean soufflé recipe; my husband was not very excited about this idea, so I opened my fridge door and put a few ideas together.

Basil & Three Cheese Soufflé
makes 6 servings

50g whole meal flour (extra for dusting ramekins)
50g softened butter (extra for buttering ramekins)
500ml milk
1 small onion
1 star anise
3 cloves
2 sprigs of Thyme
100g mature white cheddar, grated
100g boerenkaas, grated
50g feta cheese, crumbled
2 tsbp Princess Pesto basil pesto
6 eggs, seperated
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Prepare ramekins with butter , using a pastry brush, brush the butter in an upward motion (this is a very important step). Dust with flour and black pepper and place in freezer.

Preheat your oven at 200°C

Mix the butter and flour together to form a paste.  Place in fridge to harden.
Heat the milk over a medium heat with the onion, star anise, cloves and thyme infusing in the milk for about 15 minutes. Strain and place back on the heat.
Whisk in cold butter, the milk will thicken, cook out for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
Whisk the egg yolks, cheese and basil pesto together and then into the milk mixture.

All this point you can stop and set aside for up to 2 days.

Whisk your egg whites until just before hard peak.  You don’t want dry egg whites.

Fold your whisked egg whites into your mixture gently.  Spoon mixture into the prepared ramekins.  Ensure that the mixture is level on top.  Using a paper towel and run your finger along the inside edge of the ramekin, this encourages the soufflé to rise.

Place in oven for 10 minutes, drop your heat to 180°C for a further 15 minutes.

As you can see, mine raised beyond expectations, careful though, as soon as you remove the soufflé from the oven, it will start dropping within a minute.

cheese souffle

Oven Baked Biltong, Citrus & Thyme Chicken Schnitzel

I saw a post on Facebook a few weeks ago which asked…what is healthy eating…there were so many different answers, and all great ones…then I stood back and thought to myself, what is healthy to me…and I remind myself of my motto for healthy eating…choose right

I chose right when I made this healthy alternative to a deep-fried chicken schnitzel.  This is an easy, healthy and quick light dinner for the beautiful summer evenings we have been experiencing…let’s hope it lasts (touch wood)

Oven Baked Biltong, Citrus & Thyme Chicken Schnitzel
Makes 2

2 chicken breasts, about 130g each
135g bread crumbs
3 tbsp biltong powder
zest of one orange
2 tbsp thyme, chopped
seasoning
2 eggs
1/8 cup water
1 cup flour
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Butterfly the chicken breasts.  See end of post for tips

In a bowl mix the bread crumbs, biltong powder, orange zest, thyme and seasoning

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and water together (this is the egg wash)

Place the chicken breast in the flour, then into the egg wash, then into the bread crumb mixture.  Make sure the chicken breast is well coated in the flour and egg to ensure the bread crumbs stick to the chicken breast.

Place on an oiled baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, place in the oven for 15 – 25 minutes, until cooked and has a good gold colour to it.

Serve with sides of choice, I enjoyed this with rosemary and garlic baby potatoes and a Greek salad.

** Store the left over bread crumbs in an air tight container for next time.

How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast
Lay the boneless & skinless chicken breast on the surface of your cutting board.  You can remove the tenderloin or work around it.  With the edge of your knife parallel to the cutting board, begin cutting down the length of the side of the breast. Carefully slice the breast in half, almost to the other edge. Open the chicken breast like a book.  If you have ticker parts of the breast, repeat the process until you have a nice thin chicken breast.