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

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