Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Poor Japan

The soccer games are getting tougher and far more exciting! Poor Japan played their hearts out - spending more time on the field than they have ever done before. They fought valiantly, but it just wasn't enough to beat Paraguay who scored 5 goals to Japan's 3 in the penalty shootout.

I created this simple dish in honour of Japan's outstanding effort in the tournament. It is not really authentic Japanese, but tasted delicious! Dre even said it is one of my best dishes :)

Fish Stir Fry:
(Serves 2)


2 Tablespoons Vital Soya Sauce (Yeast Free)
1 Tablespoon Smoked Sesame Oil (I bought mine from Woolies)
1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce
1 Teaspoon Honey
1 Knob Ginger, Peeled and Diced
Half a Green Chilli, Deseeded and Chopped
A Few Spring Onions, Chopped

3 - 4 Frozen Hake Fillets
1 Packet Baby Corn, Cut into Chunks
1 Green Pepper, Sliced
3 - 4 Carrots, Sliced or Chopped
Squeeze of Vital Soya Sauce
Squeeze of Lemon
Herbal Salt
A Few Spring Onions, Chopped
Vermicelli Rice Noodles
Sesame Seeds


Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Marinade frozen hake fillets for about 10 minutes
Transfer the fillets to tin foil and spoon over the marinade
Fold into parcels and bake in the oven for about 10 - 15 minutes until tender and a sauce has been created
Add the vegetables to a pan and flash fry while adding a squeeze of soya sauce and lemon juice, a sprinkle of herbal salt and a few chopped spring onions
Add the cooked fish and the sauce created in the tin foil
Serve with Vermicelli rice noodles and a sprinkle of sesame seeds

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Portugal and Me

The main reason for our trip to Durbs this weekend was to watch the Brazil/Portugal game...

I was a bit conflicted as to which team to support; the obvious choice would have been Brazil because the green and yellow matched my Bafana top perfectly - but no, I wasn't going to take the easy way out! I chose to support Portugal 1.) Half of Portugal is living in SA and most of them are in the South of Joburg :) 2.) I looooooooooooove Caparinhas and 3.) (Definitely not in this order) Ronaldo! Oh my word, I was dying for him to take his shirt off and I was certainly not disappointed - the game was complete when I saw his abs - hee hee :) I am so glad that this was my first game - the Moses Mabhida stadium is beautiful - what a work of art! And the atmosphere was indescribable - and it was amicable! I am actually so happy that the game ended in a draw because both teams were equally happy at the end of it and the celebrations were friendly.

South Africa has truly shown that we are capable of hosting a 1st class event. We decided to take the park and ride - it was so smooth and effortless that we actually thought we were missing something - but no - it was just that well organised! At the end of the game we didn't have to wait longer than about 10 minutes to get a bus as there were about 20 all lined up, ready and waiting... And the Gautrain - wow - I felt like I was back in London! Well done South Africa on hosting a world class event - we did it! Yippie!!! :)

Prawns in Lemon and Basil with Jasmine Rice:
This recipe was inspired by a recipe I found in the Taste Magazine
(Serves 3 - 4)


300g Prawns Deveined and Deshelled (I used the cooked prawns from Woolies)
Bunch Fresh Basil, Torn
1 Lemon, Diced - Seeds Removed (I kept the rind on, which made it a bit bitter - I will remove it next time)
Good Glug Basil Infused Olive Oil
Good Glug Lemon Infused Olive Oil
Herbal Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
Sheet of Tin Foil
Jasmine Rice for Serving


Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Make a marinade using the basil and lemon infused olive oil, torn basil leaves and diced lemon
Toss the prawns in the marinade
Place on a baking tray covered in tin foil
Sprinkle the paprika over the marinated prawns
Make a parcel so the heat does not directly affect the prawns
Bake in the oven for about 10 - 15 minutes (not too long as they are already cooked and you don't want them to become tough)
Sprinkle some herbal salt and cracked black pepper over the baked prawns
Serve with jasmine rice, spooning over the sauce created in the tin foil

Monday, June 28, 2010

Farewell to England

I had the most amazing long weekend in Durban - the weather was fantastic, we found it hard to believe that it was the middle of winter with temperatures like 25 degrees! One day when I'm big I want to have a home in Durban, to live in during the winter months, and a home in Joburg for the summer months... a girl can always dream :)

So my previous dish for Italy did not do the trick as poor Italy is out of the World Cup. I thought it best to wait to post my dish for England until after the game so that no one could blame me for them going home ;-)

This dish is an eclectic mix of flavours and actually the only parts that can be linked to England are the fish and potatoes, and this is at a push because I have used sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Fish Cakes with Beetroot Salsa:
(Makes 6 - 8 Fish Cakes)

Fish Cakes:
4 - 5 Large Sweet Potatoes, Diced
3 - 4 Frozen Hake Fillets
Handful of Chives, Chopped
Zest of Half a Lemon
Juice of a Whole Lemon
Herbal Salt
Corn Starch

Beetroot Salsa:
3 Cooked Beetroot, Diced
4-6 Salad Onions, Chopped
1 Bunch Mint, Torn
Lemon Juice
Lemon Infused Olive Oil
Dried Chilli Flakes
Herbal Salt


Preparation time: 20 minutes
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Cook and mash sweet potato (should take about 15 - 20 minutes until tender)
Cook hake in the oven for about 10 minutes, by wrapping it into a tin foil parcel after drizzling with a little lemon infused olive oil or plain olive oil
Flake the cooked fish into the mash
Add the chopped chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, paprika, herbal salt and enough corn starch to be able to make fish patties that are not too moist and can be shaped easily
Shape the fish and potato mixture into fish patties
Place a sheet of tin foil on a baking tray, spray with spray and cook (I use the olive oil one)
And place the fish cakes on the sheet
Bake in the oven for about 20 - 30 minutes until the fish cakes are nice and crispy on the outside and hot on the inside

Beetroot Salsa:
Add the diced cooked beetroot (beetroot can take anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes to cook - I prefer roasting them in the oven, but boiling in a little water is also an option) chopped salad onions and torn mint leaves to a bowl
Add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and a good glug of the lemon infused olive oil, a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes and a shake or two of herbal salt
Taste and correct flavours if needed

The smooth sweetness from the sweet potato goes wonderfully with the crunch and sharpness of the beetroot salsa.

I have also served these fish cakes with a quick tomato and onion relish, which also worked very well.

Dice and fry an onion in a little olive oil; add a diced, skinless tomato to the cooked onion. Add a little Xylitol or sugar to counterbalance the sharpness of the tomato, finish off with a good grinding of black pepper and salt to taste.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Dish For Italy

In the first half of Bafana's last game; they played like real champions, with the look of determination plastered on each player's face - you could feel the electricity in the air, even if you were just watching on tv! I firmly believe that if they had played like that in their other games we would be through to the next round. We did redeem ourselves though with the win over France and now we hold our heads up high and turn out attention to the other teams.

This dish is for the Italian team - a risotto packed full of comforting, energy bursting flavours. Perfect before their game against Slovakia tomorrow, to give them the oomph they need to squeeze out a few more points. And the green and red match perfectly with their flag - how good am I?

(I originally saw this recipe on one of the monthly Nomu Mailers and adjusted it to suit my needs.)

Tomato and Basil Risotto:
(Serves 2 - 3)

10 Large Ripe Tomatoes
Bunch of Fresh Basil
Squeeze of Vital Soya Sauce (Yeast Free)
Xylitol or Sugar to Taste
1 Cup Water (If needed)

The Rest of the Ingredients:
1 Large Onion, Diced
Olive Oil for Frying
1 Cup Risotto Rice


Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to a large pot (you may roast these beforehand if desired)
Tear the basil leaves and add them to the tomatoes along with the soya sauce, xylitol and salt and pepper
Simmer for 15 minutes - check seasoning and then blend
You may want to add a cup of water at this time to make the stock go further - but remember to check the seasoning again
Fry the onion in the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, until translucent
Add the rice and coat in the oily onion mixture
Slowly add a ladle full of the stock to the rice and only add the next spoonful when the stock has been absorbed
Carry on until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked but still has a bite to it
Serve with a drizzle of basil oil and torn basil leaves

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Potage Parmentier Revised

A truly dedicated foodie blogger should know all about the movie/book "Julie and Julia", written by Julie Powell. I watched this movie on the plane going over to London. I love watching movies on planes; there is something so cozy and delectable about knowing you have your very own tv all to yourself and can change the channel, fast forward, rewind to your heart's content without bothering anyone - plus the boyfriend/ husband won't complain about having to watch another sappy rom-com - hee hee :)

When "Julie and Julia" formed part of the movie lineup on the plane - I took it as a sign (I am big on signs coming from the heavens, guiding me in the right direction ;-)) Yes, it was indeed fate - my blog had started at just the right time and Julie Powell was proof that blogs can change your life...

Well, I am still waiting for Hollywood to phone me up to make a movie out of my allergy free blog :) - but it has changed my life in other ways - It has given me a sense of purpose and opened me up to a whole part of myself that I hadn't been embracing - and that part is my imaginative way of working around my allergies and coming up with tasty recipes even allergy-free people enjoy.

I do digress though - I recently bought the book on and the first recipe Julie makes is Potage Parmentier, which I subconsciously made my own version of. (Ok, I actually just made a potato soup, but the timing was freaky!)

I must say though, it is one of the simplest, yet tastiest soups I have made - just as Julie is stunned in the book by how a potato can make such a wonderful and satisfying soup - so was my boyfriend :) Once again, my poor boyfriend was my guinea pig - I'm sure there are some perks to the job though - like when you create something so amazing, you feel compelled to lick the bowl!

Potato and Thyme Soup:
(Serves 4)


3 Large Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
1 Onion, Diced
A Teaspoon of Whole Coriander Seeds
Sprinkle of Dried French Herbs
Bunch of Thyme
Herbal Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
Squeeze of Lemon Juice


Fry onion in a sprinkle of salt until translucent
Add the diced potatoes and fry a little
Add a cup or two of water - enough to create a soup-like consistency
Add the french herbs, coriander seeds, herbal salt and pepper
Bring to the boil and then simmer until potatoes are almost tender
Add the bunch of thyme and squeeze of lemon juice
Simmer until potatoes are tender
Remove thyme and blits soup
Serve with a dollop of soya cream or sweet potato crisps

Monday, June 21, 2010

Stuffed and Roasted!

I am an experimental cook at best; some nights, if I haven't thought of what to make for dinner during the day, during my favourite foodie day dreams - I come home and play my very own, "Ready, Steady, Cook."

Last night was one of those nights - I looked at the contents of my fridge and cupboard and had the inspiration to make stuffed peppers with quinoa. Quinoa is a very new ingredient to me - it is one of those new super foods that was the buzz word a few months ago - I first used it to make porridge for breakfast - but have been using it more and more in savoury dishes and I have to say, it tasted fabulous in my stuffed peppers. It is also easy to obtain as most supermarkets seem to be stocking it these days.

Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, Aubergine and Peas:
(Serves 2)


2 Large Red Peppers, Whole and Deseeded
1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
1 Onion, Diced
1 Aubergine, Sliced
1 Cup Frozen Peas
Lemon Infused Olive Oil
Herbal Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
Squeeze of Lemon Juice


Heat oven to 200 Degrees Celsius
Slice aubergines and coat lightly with olive oil, paprika and herbal salt
Roast in oven until tender (about 10 minutes)
Cook quinoa as directed on the packet (1 cup to 2 cups salted water, until all the water has been absorbed)
Fry the diced onion in a drop of lemon infused olive oil, with a sprinkle of salt, until translucent
Add the cup of peas and cook for a few minutes until tender
Chop the charred aubergine slices and add to the onion and pea mix
Add the cooked quinoa to the mix and season with herbal salt, pepper, paprika (if desired) and a drop of lemon infused olive oil - to moisten
Stuff the hollowed out peppers with the mixture and roast in the oven for about 10 - 15 minutes until the peppers are tender
Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Allergy Free Apple and Almond Tart

Almonds, for me, are an essential part of my allergy free cooking, especially when it comes to desserts and baking. They are so versatile - not only do they have a unique, sweet flavour, but they can also be used to bind, thicken, add texture and creaminess to a dish.

I am not one for baking, but Food24 blogger, Inspiration's challenge for this week was to make a sweet tart, which got my mind thinking - how could I make a tart without the standard flour, butter, etc?

Well, this is what I did...

Allergy-Free Apple and Almond Tart:


1/2 Cup Finely Ground Almonds (almost powder-like)
1/2 Cup Ground Almonds (slightly rougher texture)
1/2 Cup Nature's Choice Gluten-Free Cake Flour
1/2 Cup Xylitol/ Caster Sugar
1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum (this acts as a binder in gluten-free cooking)
1/4 Cup Oil
1/2 Cup Rooibos Tea (steep a bag of Rooibos Tea in boiling water for about 5 minutes and use the liquid)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract


3 Granny Smith Apples, Peeled and Chopped
1/2 Cup Rooibos Tea
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
5 Teaspoons Xylitol/ Caster Sugar
1 Cup Finely Ground Almonds


Heat oven to 180 Degrees Celsius
Sift dry ingredients together
Add the roughly ground almonds
Add the oil, rooibos tea and vanilla extract
Mix together until a dough-like consistency has formed - you don't want it to be too dry or too wet, if too wet add a little more cake flour, if too dry add a little more rooibos tea
Pat out the crust mixture into a pie tin, going up the sides of the dish
Bake for about 10 - 15 minutes until it has dried out a bit, so that when you are adding the filling, it doesn't make it soggy

Put the apples, rooibos tea, vanilla extract, cinnamon and xylitol into a pot on the stove and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes, until some of the liquid has reduced and the apples are tender
Add the ground almonds and mix together
Pour the filling into the crust
Bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until the filling has set
Be careful not to burn the crust
Serve warm with soya cream or ice cream

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ayoba - Bafana Bafana!

Wow, do I feel proud to be a South African or what!

It’s true what they say about sport being able to bring a nation together – there is such a feeling of euphoria in the air, which could be due to the distinct sound of the vuvuzela being trumpeted at every opportunity. But the fact of the matter is; we are united! We are now behind Bafana Bafana 100% and even believe that they can win – Ok, we are not that optimistic, but we believe that they will definitely not get kicked out in the first round!

Ayoba Bafana Bafana – It’s Our Time – Make us proud!

I have embraced this feeling of South African-ness in the form of my newly created:

Chocolate Maltabella Coconut Cookies:
(Makes 18 – 20 cookies)


1 Cup Maltabella
1 Teaspoon No Egg Egg Replacement or Maizena
1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum (You can buy this at Dischem)
½ Teaspoon of each container of Nature’s Choice Baking Powder (Also bought at Dischem)
½ Cup Desiccated Coconut
2-3Tablespoons Xylitol or Caster Sugar
1 Slab Nestle Albany Original Dark
1 Cup Rice Milk
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract


Heat oven to 200 Degrees Celsius
Sift all dry ingredients together
Melt chocolate in the rice milk with the vanilla extract for about 20 seconds, in the microwave
Slowly stir the melted chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients until well combined
Dollop small amounts of the final mixture onto a greased baking tray
Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside

This can also be used as a yummy muffin mix

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gone Nuts

Hi Foodie Friends, I am back after an unusually long absence for myself; did you miss me? ;-)

I have had a manic May, both work-wise and socially - it seems that all of my friends decided to get married and have babies all at the same time. I was launched into June with a bang though, an unforgettable weekend away at Tuningi Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Reserve, to be exact. And wow, were we spoilt beyond our wildest dreams!
As we arrived at the lodge, we were welcomed by four elephants bathing themselves – it was as if it had been planned, we couldn’t have asked for anything better!
We stuffed our faces with the glorious 3 course meals, savouring every bite - my brain continuously ticking over with brilliant ways to utilise all that I had witnessed and experienced.

The room was stunning, probably the size of our house :) The attention to detail was mind blowing, from the welcoming gift of amarula (which was perfect cos we had a marula tree just outside our room), to the rubber ducks in the bath, the turn downs with lovely notes and hot water bottles in our beds and a roaring fire when we got back to our room.
We were treated to four game drives, by a dedicated game ranger and tracker, who wouldn't rest until he had shown us all that the reserve had to offer - we weren't disappointed, as we saw the whole of the Big 5! We were even the first to see lion cubs, which had been born about 4 weeks earlier.

Sundowners, snacks, early morning coffees and muffins in the bush, were some of the pinnacles of an amazing trip!

And now I feel inspired and refreshed to come up with some original dishes - I came up with these two dishes on Monday night - which were both part of challenges given by fellow blogger, Inspiration, on Food24.
Inspired Chicken Curry:
(Serves 4)

This week's task was to use a marinade consisting of onion, ginger, honey, soy sauce, sambal oelek and limes in a dish of our choice - I however, decided to use my own interpretation of the ingredients - and I couldn't find limes


2-3 Large Free-Range/ Organic Chicken Breasts, Diced
2 Tablespoons Honey
6 Tablespoons Vital Soya Sauce (Yeast Free)
2.5cm Peeled and Diced Root Ginger
3 Large Chillis (I used 2 Red and 1 Green), Chopped
2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Water
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Large Onion Diced
1 Tin Tomatoes
1 Tin Tomato Paste
1/2 Tin Water
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Cup Cashew Nuts, Crushed


Marinate the diced chicken in the honey, soya sauce and diced ginger
Put a pot onto the stove and add the chillis, sugar, salt, 1/4 cup water and lemon juice - boil for about 10 minutes
Transfer chilli mixture to a blender and blend until relatively smooth (this is my interpretation of sambal oelek)
Add the sambal oelek to the marinating chicken
Fry the diced onion in a little olive oil, with a sprinkle of salt, until translucent
Add the chicken a little at a time and fry until the colour changes to white
Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste and 1/2 tin of water
To give the dish a bit of a smokey taste, add in two tablespoons of paprika
Simmer until all flavours have infused
Taste - you may need to add a bit more lemon, soya sauce or honey
Lastly, stir in the crushed cashew nuts and simmer for a few more minutes
Serve with basmati rice

This dish should take about 40 - 50 minutes all in all

I loved this interpretation of a chicken curry and I will definitely make it again. Thanks Inspiration, for the idea :)

Stuffed, Baked Brandy Pears:

(Serves 2)

Last week's challenge was to use pears and almonds in a dish - this is what I came up with.


2 Large Pears, Peeled and Cored
1/4 Cup Almonds
2 Teaspoons Xylitol or Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 - 4 Tablespoons Good Quality Brandy
2 Teaspoons Xylitol or Sugar
2 Tablespoons Hot Water
2 Squares of Tin Foil


Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Place the almonds, 2 teaspoons of Xylitol, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a blender and blend until fine
Stuff the pears with the almond mixture
Mix the brandy, 2 teaspoons of Xylitol and hot water together
Place each pear on a square of tin foil and spoon over the brandy mixture
Wrap each pear in the tinfoil and transfer to an oven dish in the oven
Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes until the pears are tender and bubbling (you may need to increase the temperature if this is not happening)
Serve with soya cream or ice cream