Sunday, June 11, 2006

Estate Agents and Bloody Marys

Right, after a few really wild weeks of work I am finally getting down to writing a new recipe. As I have decided that being a landlady is for the birds, I have decided to sell my house. A word of advise to any home-owners... Don't ever tell an estate agent (no matter how well meaning they are) that you are thinking of selling your house and may be interested in a valuation. It will only end in tears. So following the storm of very aggressive agents beating the door in I finally managed to escape to do a little work. This is a very cute little recipe for lovers of oysters and Bloody Marys. I think this recipe says a lot about my state of mind! Thanks to my friend Caroline for this great recipe.

Oysters served with a Shots of Bloody Marys

1 red onion
100ml red wine vinegar
small bunch of coriander
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

1l tomato juice
vodka to taste
salt and pepper
Tabasco Sauce to taste

10 fresh shucked oysters (can be ordered from the Knysna Oyster Company who will send round a cute hippy to deliver the oysters... Although there could be a minimum order)

10 tall schott glasses

Finely chop the onion and coriander and mix with the vinegar and sugar. Season to taste. Mix up a tasty Bloody Mary to suit your taste and alcoholic requirements. Pour your drinks into the glasses and balance an oyster on top of each one. Place a spoonful of the vinaigrette in each oyster and serve.

Makes 10.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Orgasmic Cookies

Last year I learnt this recipe and had one specific secretary emailing daily for her supply. She asked for the orgasmic cookies. The name seems to have stuck. Now you have the opportunity to make them at home or even better place your orders. As most of you probably know I am trying to get my little catering business off the ground. I am taking all suggestions for a logo and business name. Dinner for the winner!

So pass no my name to anyone you might know that is looking for catering. I also do cakes, preserves, homemade ice-creams and I will even drop off dinner for dinner parties. Heck! I will even make it in your own dishes and you can tell all those lovely guests that you made it yourself. So success, fame and riches ahead... I hope! Have fun with the orgasmic cookies.

Orgasmic cookies

150g castor sugar
300g butter
450g flour
200g butter
100g sugar
50g golden syrup or honey
125g flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 18deg C. Beat the sugar and butter together until smooth. Add the flour and beat until a smooth mixture is formed. Line a Swiss roll tin with baking paper or grease well. Spread the dough over the bottom of the pan and roll flat with a rolling pin. Place in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a pot melt the butter with the sugar and syrup. Bring to the boil and add the nuts. Pour this mixture over the semi-cooked biscuit base and spread lightly over. Return the whole lot to the oven and bake until the biscuit is firm and the caramel is evenly browned. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. When it has cooled completely cut into squares with a sharp serrated knife.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lebkuchen

Christmas comes early at OM! Since we are closing next week, we are packing in as much Christmas as possible. As some of you might know I am going on a much awaited trip next Friday, so I might not have time for all those great Christmas recipes. So it seems Christmas comes early to "recipe of the week".

I was very touched that people have actually tried out some of my recipes, and even happier that they seem to be happy with the results! Please post any requests/feedback and I will try to oblige/improve. This little recipe s for a German Christmas cookie called Lebkuchen. They have a wonderfully festive, spicy aroma when cooking and put me in the holiday mood.

Lebkuchen

125g soft butter
125g castor sugar
1 egg
125g treacle (I used honey since treacle is not something I actually have in the kitchen)
400g self raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
White and dark chocolate to decorate (optional)

Beat the butter and sugar together to form a soft cream. Add the egg and beat. Mix in the dry ingredients. Knead lightly and leave to chill for a few minutes. Roll out the mixture with a little flour or between two plastic sheets (much easier). I use the plastic that you get for covering school books but you could use cling wrap or plastic bags. Cut out festive shapes ie. stars, hearts etc.

Place on a greased baking tray and bake at 180deg C until firm, about 10 minutes depending on your oven. Place on a wire rack to cool. You can eat them just like that or melt a little chocolate and dip them or use a plastic bag with a small hole cut in it to pipe the chocolate on to make even more festive designs. I find it best to involve at least one family member and a bit of the "Christmas spirit" for maximum satisfaction! Have a wonderfully merry and happy Christmas!

P.S. Pinkthulhu- Christmas dinner on the 16 Dec sounds excellent and I have diaraised it already. I will be in touch when I get there.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Trifles

I have been unbelievable busy and have had no time left over for writing recipes. I went to the Arabella Sheraton on Wednesday night for cocktails and canapes, Hoopenburg wine farm on Thursday for wine tasting and the list goes on...hmmm...what a hard life I seem to have! Who else gets to do these things, for work purposes and all expenses paid? But after an early night last night I am feeling relatively refreshed and ready for work. Today at work I made 72 trifles. So with that in mind I penned this recipe. I realise that trifle is not to everyone's taste (certainly not mine after today) so take it or leave it!

Trifle Deluxe

Serves 72 (just joking... serves 4)

4 Lammingtons or similar sponge cake type thing
sherry to taste
500ml custard (preferably homemade but Ultramel will do)
400g berries (if using frozen, defrost first)
100g chocolate
100ml cream
flaked almonds
250ml cream, whipped and flavoured with a little vanilla and sugar

Slice the Lammingtons and place a layer at the bottom of 4 wine glasses. Drizzle a little sherry over each. Layer the custard and berries and more sponge until the glass is about 2/3 full. In the micro melt the chocolate and 100ml cream together to make a chocolate sauce. Toast the almonds lightly in the oven. Top up the glasses with the whipped cream and decorate the top with the almonds and chocolate sauce. You can use the chocolate sauce in the layers if it takes your fancy. In fact, you can, pretty much, include anything that you like. I have used Nutella and finger biscuits soaked in coffee for a kind of tiramisu. You can substitute the berries with jam for a budget version, just use your imagination and create your own personal style including all the things that you love!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Life without Chocolate

Some friends of mine, no names mentioned, have decided to give up chocolate. They are so serious about it that they have placed money (actually stuff) on it. I think it has been 3 weeks so far... A degree of stubbornness is required and they have both tried to tempt the other in order to win... Chocolate body paint has been mentioned...A lot! All I have to say is good for them. I haven't managed to give up any of my vices and I seem to be picking up more as time goes by!

Just because I have a rather sadistic sense of humor here is my best ever recipe for chocolate brownies... Better than body paint I swear!

Orgasmic Chocolate Brownies

350g dark chocolate
250g butter
2 tsp coffee powder dissolved in water
3 eggs
225g castor sugar
75g self raising flour
5ml vanilla essence
175g hazelnuts (or other, pecan work nicely)
150g white chocolate (chopped)

Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in the microwave (about 2 minutes) with the coffee. Whisk the eggs (no need to go too wild just break them up a bit). Add the castor sugar and whisk until mixed. Add the flour and vanilla essence. Mix in the melted chocolate, white chocolate chips and nuts and pour into a well greased tin (approx 22cm square tin). Cook for 30 minutes at 180deg C or until firm. Allow to cool and I mean cold here. Cut into squares and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Getting old

So I held my first dinner party as a single on Saturday. I can happily report that it was a great success. I was speaking to some of my work mates the other day and the baby of the group asked if life was more boring as you get older. The answer from the grannies of the group (that includes me) was a resounding "no"! We did agree that the desire to go out clubbing was severely subdued with age. But Caroline, one of the other grannies, said that as you get older you get more sophisticated at living it up. Her comment was that now when we have dinner parties everyone arrives with at least two bottles of wine because we have learnt the hard way that one just isn't enough! This pretty much summed up my Saturday night dinner party.

The other thing about getting older is that, probably as a result of all the wine, our bodies are a little more fragile than they were when we were 18. So catering to a wine drinking, decrepit crowd means "dietary requirements". I take all the blame here as I can't quite get my mind around the attitude that if they don't like it they can leave it. And it makes a great excuse for not making dessert when you are feeling VERY lazy!

Anyway, the long and the short of this is that I finally settled on making roast chicken and nice fresh veggies. So here is an easy lazy recipe for roast chicken pieces.

Lazy Chicken

chicken pieces (as many as you need to feed the folks, allow at least 2 per person)
cloves of garlic
2 lemons
handful of thyme
salt
black pepper
2 cups of chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 180deg C. Arrange the chicken pieces on a deep baking tray. Peel the garlic and place in the baking tray. Grate the zest of the lemons over the chicken and squeeze the juice into the baking tray. Sprinkle all the other ingredients over the chicken, place in the oven and bake until the chicken is brown and cooked through. The stock makes a kind of gravy. Serve with baked potatoes and salad for the low fat option.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Biltong and boerewors

I spent the weekend at my high school reunion in Pretoria. My first impression of Pretoria in October was "wow, what a beautiful place to live". The jacarandas were as beautiful as I have ever seen them. All the gardens are beyond compare. I spent a happy day catching up with old friends and looking around the school. It was very affirming to see that everyone looks just the same. There appear to be two camps. Those that have married and had children and feel obliged to tell everyone just how happy they are and those of us that are unmarried/childless/single/sick of our original careers/all of the above. I was worried that I would be the only one...

We had a rather pedestrian lunch in the school hall. Starter of bread rolls and pates (chicken liver, cheese and biltong). Followed by a buffet style main of roast lamb, chicken pie, potato salad, bean salad and green salad. Topped off with fruit salad, ice cream and meringues. There was something about this menu that reminded me of my childhood. I found it very comforting.

So here is the Great PGHS recipe that we have all been waiting for....

Biltong Pate (a true south African original made my way)

100g finely ground biltong
250g cream cheese
5ml cumin, ground
5ml coriander, ground
squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
Place in serving bowl and serve with fresh bread. Very Pretoria!