Category Archives: Uncategorized

Nobody cares about your protein intake until they find out you are vegan

As a chef, one has to keep up with food trends and how food evolves and most importantly, special diets, whether it be for health, religious or ethical reasons. Living in Cape Town, this was in my face all the time, no one wanted to offend the vegan by not having a vegan friendly option on the menu, the pescaterian had to have a vegetarian option as well as fish available because on that day, they just never knew what they feel like, or dare have a Tim Noaks superfan and not have Banting friendly water available that has not been infused with fresh fruit because, God forbid, there would be too much sugar coming too close to their lips.

I will never understand the whole sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, low protein, calorie free diet. What do you eat then? Let’s take a moment to appreciate the humorous side of this…

Just to be clear, I am not a vegan, I believe eating a balanced diet. right portions and exercise for a healthy lifestyle, but I can really get behind some well thought out vegan food. Artichoke at the Midlands Kitchen (KZN Midlands) is a local authentic vegan restaurant with a small menu, which suits the environment and caters for the diners whom normally end up having fruit salad as a meal because a chef couldn’t be bothered to put a balanced vegan friendly meal together.

Kolleru Bowl – R65
Couscous, sweet corn, mushrooms, spinach, cannilini beans, carrots, beetroot and hummus, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sunflower seeds.

This is served hot, which I was lucky enough to get a few mouthfuls of, but having been out with my Misters, they kept me preoccupied which resulted in my food getting cold, it was just as delicious.

On a side note, this is not a review of the restaurant, I went exploring with my little dudes and we ended up here, which inspired this post.

Back to special diets. Having worked in a hospital environment for a while last year, realizing how extremely important it is to follow certain dietary requirements is life or death. Having said that, I also never realized how ‘hotel like’ a hospital is and that those menus that you tick when you are laying in bed with your bum airing, really is more of a guideline than an actual menu. Wait until I have to have a hospital stay!

There is research that says we should be eating a plan based diet, and then there is research that says meat is a must for humans to consume. So I get you are asking yourself, what exactly is this rant about?

The bottom line: for the love of all that is holy, stop being a dick about other peoples food choices. No one cares about your opinion.

Love and bubbles

Ang

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I am Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Wow, last post was November 2013…so much has happened in the last, what…5 years. Good and bad, fun and sad, calm and mad…etc.

Let’s do a quick recap so we all back on the same page.

2014 – 2018 in a flash
I went on a weight lost journey, I lost 25kgs, in a happy healthy way [read slowly with eating right and exercise], followed by an amazing trip to Mauritius with my main squeeze, followed by a night of intoxication and frolicking which resulted in (planned) falling pregnant with twins – yes, you read that right…TWINS! To be exact, identical boys with the most beautiful blue eyes and blond hair – all mine!

So I want to stop there and just answer all the questions about the twins right here and right now:

YES, I knew I was having twins, no one jumped out of my vagina and screamed surprise
YES, natural – YES, planned – YES, I wanted twins – YES, it runs in the family (then deep into the explanation of identical vs fraternal. NO, I didn’t breast feed (not out of choice and none of your damn business) – YES, I cloth diapered both until just before their 2nd birthday – YES, they are identical BOYS – NO, I can’t tell them apart…

So twins arrived, we are living in Cape Town, I go back to work, I didn’t enjoy what I was doing and I went back into the hospitality industry. A wonderful opportunity arose in the KZN Midlands, moved here in December 2017 and I am still in hospitality, it’s in my blood. Seventeen years later I am still doing what I love even though now days my threats to leave the industry happen more often, but lets be honest, I was born for this industry and I love what I do. Lucky? No, not lucky, just very fortunate to have been able to dedicate myself to this industry with the understanding of my family.

So now that we caught up, lets go ahead and appreciate some of my views.

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I am also going to change a lot going on on this blog, I feel it’s more than just food but also family and lifestyle. I look forward to chatting to ALL the new and old supporters.

love

Ang

Brioche – a ‘must try’ in Port Elizabeth

As my loyal readers know, I am all for mom & pop kind of places, I love visiting the non touristy type places.  So every time I go to Port Elizabeth, I look for such places, even my friends know that if we going for lunch, it must be new, different, quirky and not touristy at all!!

Leely hit the spot when she introduced me to Brioche. This gorgeous Coffee Shop / Bakery is situated in the Walmer area, which is an area I frequent consistently when I am in PE, just somehow have always missed this quaint establishment.

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The old historical building is such a beautiful site, the house was built in 1884, with the original deed framed and hanging on the wall.  The menu boasts a few great easy lunch time meals (I didn’t get a look at the breakfast menu).

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Tuna Fishcakes, served with fries and caper mayo

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Homemade beef hamburger, topped with onion rings.  What caught my eye was the homemade bun, you seldom get this luxury at a restaurant, it was refreshing to see this.

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A variety of pizza, this was basil pesto, olives, parmesan, topped with rocket – thin crusted pizza.

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Other menu items, to name a few, included soup of the day served with roosterkoek, pastas, salads and a variety of sandwiches. There are also freshly baked breads (the ciabattas looked phenomenal)  and pastries to choose from.

I was introduced to the Vanilla Meringue Milkshake, and let me say, for someone who doesn’t like milkshakes, I was in love.  This is a signature here at Brioche and, in my opinion, a must try when visiting this little gem.

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Other items on the beverage menu included a great selection of coffees and teas, the classic Chai Lattes, however, I settled for freshly squeezed apple & ginger juice…this was just fantastic and refreshing, and the time it took to get to the table was well worth the wait.

With the lovely sunny winter weather we have been experiencing, we decided to sit outside, which is a great option as the garden is well manicured and hosts a jungle gym to keep the kids entertained and ample space for them to run off some energy.

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The food was fantastic, with the perfect setting, I do have to mention that the service was a little slow, yet very friendly. Food and drinks came out at different times and some of us at the table had to wait longer than other however, I can not really fault this as good food is not fast food. I thoroughly enjoyed this find, and will definitely be visiting again.

Brioche can be found at 181 Main Rd Walmer, Port Elizabeth, Eastern .
Tel: 041 581 2136
Open: Mondays to Fridays 7.30am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 7.30am to 3pm

 

 

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by anyone, I was not asked to review this restaurant, I am merely sharing my experience at this establishment.

Croissants & Pain au Chocolat – I MADE IT Challenge – May

The I MADE IT challenge for May was set by Blue Jellybean, and what a challenge it was.  In my career, this has been a challenge that has been with me for a while.

After I made these, I sat back and analyzed what I could improve on, see the CHEF NOTES below.

Croissants & Pain au Chocolat

croissant and pain au chocolat

250g salted butter
280g full cream milk (NOTE: must be grams, not millilitres)
1 tsp dry yeast
450g flour
70g white sugar
pinch of salt

Heat the milk until tepid (lukewarm) – see chef’s notes at the bottom.  In the tepid milk, add the yeast, 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp sugar.  Whisk together at set aside in a warm place for the yeast to activate.  This will take about 10 – 15 minutes, you will know it has activated once the yeast creates a large section of foam on top of the milk.

Cut your butter into slices, about ½ cm thick, place between cling wrap and roll out until the butter is really thin.
Place in a tray, cover with cling wrap and place into the fridge.
NOTE:  The butter must be very cold before you can work with it.

Mix the rest of the flour, sugar, and the salt into a mixing bowl.
Whisk the yeast mixture and pour into the flour.
Using your fingers, mix until combined.
Place on a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes.  (This stage can be done in a mixer using a dough hook).
Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a long rectangle shape, using a rolling pin.

Place butter slices on the dough, slightly overlapping the edges of the sliced butter.
Tightly, but gently, fold one edge of the dough to the middle, and repeat with the other edge, forming a 3 fold.
Fold in half.
Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Again, on a lightly floured surface roll out dough again into a rectangular shape.  Do this gently at first as you do not want the dough to split and the butter to break through. Rub a little flour on the surface if you feel your butter is breaking through.
Fold again into a 3 fold, and then into half.
Cover and place into fridge for 1 hour to rest.

Repeat the rolling out step 3 times, remembering to rest for 1 hour between each roll.

After the last rest, cut the dough in half and roll out on a lightly floured surface, the dough should be about 1 cm thick.

For the Croissants

With a sharp knife, trim the edges to make them even, cut even sized triangles out.

i made it
Cut a small slit in the middle of the top edge of the triangle.

i made it 2
Gently stretch the dough.
Not to tightly, roll the dough into a cylinder, creating a crescent shape.

Set aside to rise for minutes and bring the dough to room temperature.
Brush with an egg wash
Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30 minutes

For the Pain au Chocolate

With the left over dough, trim the edges to make them even.
Cut rectangles out of the dough.

i made it 1
Sprinkle icing sugar over the dough, break bits of chocolate and place on the surface of the dough.

i made it 3
Roll the dough into cylinders.
With the palm of your hand, gently press down on the dough to flatten slightly.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30 minutes

i made it 4

Chefs Notes

Replace 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of corn starch for lighter, flakier dough

Don’t heat the milk up to much as this will kill the yeast, however if the milk is too cold it will not activate.  You want the milk at a temperature that if you put your finger in, you feel the heat on your cuticle.

When working with the dough, ensure that your work surface is cold, keep your hands cool as the dough must stay cool to ensure the butter does break through.

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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.

Gammon with a pineapple & green pepper salsa

Tis the season to be jolly…traal la la la laaaa…la la la laaaa. Schools are closing, businesses are bustling about to finalize the last few “to do’s” before they close shop for the summer vacation.   It is that special time of the year again where coastal towns are filling up – locals curse the holiday makers for taking their parking space, but yet good cheer, happiness and laughter is filling up all around us, we fall into that “holiday mode” as we approach Christmas.

I have such fond memories of our food adventures on Christmas day.  The table spread of gammon, turkey, roast beef and chicken, the salads for every taste and not to forget that oh so special Christmas Trifle.  My father would spend 2 days prior to Christmas cooking up a storm, leaving Christmas day for eating, family time and playing with our latest little treasures that old St Nick had left under the Christmas tree…

Gammon with a pineapple & green pepper salsa

gammon

1kg gammon
1 can cherry cola
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 bottle Cherry Jam / Glaze (use the liquid from a bottle of Maraschino cherries if you can’t find jam)
+- 10 whole cloves
2 small onions, roughly chopped
1 green pepper. diced
1 pineapple, diced
½ punnet sage
1 thumb size piece of ginger, grated
½ cup vegetable stock
Seasoning

Place the gammon in a deep pot, pour in half of cola and fill up with water just until the gammon is covered.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for an hour.  (Boil for 30 minutes for every 500g of meat weight)
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Place the onions, mustard and vegetable stock in a roasting tray.
Place the gammon on the onions, pour the remainder of the cola over the gammon, stud the skin of the gammon with the cloves, evenly distribute over the surface.
Brush generous amounts of glaze over the gammon and pop into the oven for a 45 minutes.
Every 10 – 15 minutes, brush another generous helping of glaze over the gammon.
For the last 10 minutes, turn your oven to grill, this will crisp up the gammon slightly and make the glaze extra sticky
Remove from oven and let rest before carving.
Remove the sauce, place in a pot and cook out for about 10 minutes.  Blitz it up with a stick blender, thicken slightly with cornstarch and you have a perfect gravy to serve with your roast.
Add the green peppers, pineapple, sage and ginger in a bowl, season and use as a salsa over the gammon.

The great thing about Christmas meats is that you can serve hot or cold, and who doesn’t have stacks of Christmas leftovers?

Run on over to the local bakery and buy a loaf of fresh ciabatta, opening up an arrangement of sandwich ideas with your sliced gammon.

Season’s greetings with all good wishes for the new year.

Chef Angeliqueca