Saturday, June 30, 2012

3 Meat Savory Tart

Roy and I went shopping yesterday - bought a bunch some Playstation Games for him at 2 different stores, we had gone into nearly every cellular store in the hope of finding something which will give us a better signal (for the Internet) - found many different {confusing} ideas from the so-called pros .. we're sleeping on which one to choose.

I had gone into a clothing store and bought Cheri a nice Melton jacket and a pair of jeggings for me, we had a late lunch at Maxi's, I bought some baking chocolate and moulds from a new shop I discovered, I finally remembered Dimitri needed some new pillows so we got that too.

Today we did some grocery shopping at 2 of the busiest supermarkets!

Phew, what a lot for two days ! For me, anyway ... I like staying home, inside my house, I do not like to go out, anywhere .. but, if you catch me in one of my better moods, I'll do things as listed above. Otherwise, I am home 24/7 with my doggies and hamster during the day and with my family at night.

That's why I chose to share this recipe with you today.  After shopping nobody is in the mood to stand in front of the stove for hours.  Make a White Sauce, mix it up with a few other goodies and pop into the oven. While that's in the oven quickly make a salad and from start to finish food will be on the table within one hour. TOPS.

3 Meat Savory Tart

1/4 cup Butter/Margarine
1/4 cup Flour
2 cups Full Cream Milk

1 cup Viennas, sliced into rings
1 cup Bacon Bits
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 tin (300g) Corned Beef, cut into tiny pieces
4 Extra Large Eggs, beaten
1 TB Dried Parsley

1.) Pre-heat oven to 180deg C (350deg F) and lightly spray a 20 x 30cm oven dish with Spray 'N Cook.
2.) Use a microwavable bowl - melt the Butter/Margarine - add the Flour and mix until a paste has formed, slowly add the milk, stirring every now and then to combine the paste and the Milk. (make sure to scrape the sides and bottom as the paste clings a bit).
3.) Microwave at full power for two minutes, remove and stir to break up any clots before returning the sauce to the microwave - repeat this step about six times, but with one minute intervals. As soon as the sauce is thick, put aside to cool slightly. (around 5 minutes will do)
4.) Meanwhile, add the Viennas, Bacon, Cheddar, Corned Beef and the Eggs to a large mixing bowl - mix well to combine all and then add the cooled White Sauce - mix well again.
5.) Transfer mixture to the prepared oven dish - sprinkle top with the Dried Parsley.
6.) Bake 40 minutes until slightly puffy and nicely browned.

Remove from oven and let stand for five minutes to settle. Serve!



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Sunshine Award !

I received the Sunshine Award from Dawn over at DJ's Sugar Shack  this week.  What an awesome surprise. Thanks Dawn!

If you do not already know what the Sunshine Award is - here we go:

It is an Award that is passed on by bloggers to other bloggers "who positively and creatively inspires others in the blogosphere".

This Award was extremely easy to accept, answering the questions were a breeze BUT to choose only 10 deserving bloggers to pass it onto?? This is HARD - there are so many blogs that I absolutely love, but now I have to choose .. man, I wished there was no limit.

Rules first:
1.) Thank the person that gave you the award.
2.) Answer the 10 questions about yourself. (easy)
3.) Pass the Award on to 10 of your favorite bloggers and leave them a comment telling them you've done so. (hard)

The Questions:
1.) Favorite color;   Black
2.) Favorite animal;   Dogs
3.) Favorite number;   27
4.) Favorite drink;   Margarita
5.) Facebook or Twitter;   Facebook
6.) Good Book or Good Movie;   Good Book
7.) My passion;   The love for my husband and kids
8.) Giving or Getting presents;   Giving
9.) Favorite day of the Year;   Deutsche Jahrmarkt in June
10.) Favorite Flowers;   Carnations

Here is the list I am passing the Award on to: (alphabetically)

4 Little Fergusons
Adorned From Above
Hoosier Homemade
Inspired By Charm
Kathe With An E
Love Bakes Good Cakes
My Turn - For Us
Nutmeg Place
Sarcastic Cooking
The Better Baker

As you'll notice {whink}, I am still so new in the blog world and still have so much to learn, therefore I do apologize for the way I am trying to give you links to these awesome blogs. But please visit them, every single one of them are unique in their own way!

Ciao for now - have a great weekend !



Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Lick of Paint

Just a quick post !

This was the little shower/toilet area in my old craft-/storage room. Ugly green paint, I know, wish I could tell you we bought the house like this - let's just say .. I went through a crazy, lunatic color phase ;-)  {That was years ago - I think I'm okay now..let's hope}

The old craft room is now Jacobus's bedroom and I couldn't let the poor guy live with that awful bathroom. I think it would've driven him bonkers!

Anyway, see the big difference - it looks lighter and even more spacious. (and clean)

Sometimes we want a change in a room, any room, and mostly it only needs a fresh lick of paint ! Start with that - have a look again and then decide whether the room really need all the extras you probably have on a list already.

I Know that's what I usually do - look at the room, suddenly a lot is just WRONG. The furniture or the tiles, even the door handles ... or more likely, I'll find fault with everything! Then a list is being made ...

My point is : First change the easier (and cheaper) stuff before deciding on changing a whole room's appearance.

ps: I did want to rip off all those tiles and replace it with something else - fortunately I thought of paint first, then decide what to do. Glad I did not remove the tiles, because even that looks new and fresh after the little paint job.

{do think twice or thrice about that list before you spend money on something that won't really make that big a difference}


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Strawberry Yoghurt Tart

We actually live in quite a confusing world - I've noticed that more and more since I started this (mostly) foodie blog. 

When I just started (yeah, I began with Pinterest .. ), I found that I sometimes actually enjoyed the posts more than the recipe! That's the main reason I started this blog - to interact more with other bloggers. Well, I pinned a couple of thousand recipes, projects etc. 

Right, so what is confusing - Graham Crackers, huh? what's that - and it's in every second recipe. Another thing - Crescent rolls .. in a can? No way, I was lost, totally! And what about jelly, some countries call their jam, jelly .. okay, I worked that one out. But I knew Jello is what we call jelly. Now, only a couple of months ago, I noticed that most of our stores now carry the BRAND "Jello" which could be either jelly or instant pudding - but is it stronger than our jelly or not - because of the weight difference? .. no idea (still have to test something). 

For today, a last question (and I have no idea who I'm actually asking..) why can't we have Reese's Peanut Butter Cups ..?? Oh why not? I can make them, but really, it's much quicker to open a box or bag.

To give you more info on the Tennis biscuits which I love to use - it's a normal sweet biscuit with Coconut and very absorbent, so when making a dish like this one today, the Tennis biscuit layer will go softer when a liquidy (I don't know where I get these words..) mixture is added to it, but it will remain strong enough to act as a bond. I had some questions about this and what can be used instead, but to tell the truth .. I do not know what is available in other countries, therefore I can only tell you what a Tennis biscuit is. Hope this will help - and maybe if you can tell me more about a Graham Cracker .. ;-) I know, one can google it, but that will only give you ingredients and recipes.

A quick look again to remind you what today's post IS about ;-)

Strawberry Yoghurt Tart

3/4 pack (of a 200g) Tennis Biscuits
2 Cans (410g ea) Strawberries in light syrup
80g box Strawberry Jelly
1 TB Lemon Juice
2 TB Sugar
250ml (1 cup) Plain Yoghurt
2 x 175ml tubs Strawberry Yoghurt
Whipped Cream & Fresh Strawberries to decorate

1.) Line the bottom of a rectangular 20 x 30cm dish with the Tennis biscuits, keep one or two biscuits to crumble over.
2.) Drain the Strawberries but keep 150ml syrup aside - Chop half of the Strawberries into fairly small chunks - leave the other half whole.
3.) Heat the retained Strawberry syrup until very hot. Add the Jelly, Lemon juice and Sugar - stir until all is dissolved.
4.) In a large mixing bowl - add the jelly mixture, Strawberries (chopped and whole), Plain Yoghurt and the Strawberry Yoghurt - mix well to combine all ingredients.
5.) Pour over the layer of Tennis biscuits and refrigerate until set. ( about 2 hours)

Just before serving, decorate with Whipped cream, Fresh Strawberries and crumbled biscuits.

Till later,

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pea,Egg & Feta Salad


We are smack-down in the middle of Winter but I still love a good salad. Most Winter time meals are comfort foods, like a stew or a hearty meat pie - and what better side than a salad.

This is also a filling salad and can easily be eaten with only a slice or two of whole-wheat or rye bread.

Besides for the eggs that has to be boiled, it's a "throw-together" salad !  {which, if you've been following my posts, you'll know is just right for me. Easy, no fuss...}

Pea, Egg & Feta Salad

3 Hard-boiled Eggs, sliced into rings
2 cups Frozen Peas, do not defrost
3 TB Mayonnaise
1/2 Onion, sliced into rings
Small Lettuce (I like Crisp Lettuce), torn into smaller pieces
1 - 2 Feta rings, plain (depending on your love for Feta !), cubed or crumbled

1.) Place the Frozen Peas in a bowl and mix with the Mayonnaise - leave to stand about 5 minutes
2.) I start with a layer of Lettuce - Mayonnaise Frozen Peas - Onion - Eggs - Feta.
3.) Repeat the layers - or if you prefer - just dump all the ingredients into a mixing bowl, mix and transfer to a salad serving dish.

I thought the salad might need a little salt as it has no dressing (besides the small amount of mayo), but when I tried a little with salt and a little without, I preferred without the salt.

This is a perfect salad to quickly put together for unexpected guests or to take with to a BBQ/ picnic.

Bacon Wrapped Dogs in a Blanket

Bacon Wrapped Dogs In A Blanket ~ Forget the rolls and serve Bacon wrapped hotdogs this way for dinner or lunch #Dinner #HotDogs
Over the years I have seen many recipes for  a this or a that "under a blanket" but never actually made it.

This dinner we had last night started with me having an absolute craving for the Baby Marrow Feta Salad {recipe will follow in the next post}.

I started looking for something to pair it up with, braai (BBQ), maybe a stew (remember we're in the middle of Winter ! ) or something new ..?? That's when my eye caught this old print-out in my recipe file - it was originally shared by Huisgenoot , local magazine in SA.

What a winner ! I decided not to call it a "something under a blanket" as this is more like a soft biscuit and blanket made me think it'll be a somewhat softer cover. (I have no idea if you know what I mean by softer, I just can not think of any other description right now ;-)   ).

Anyhow, before we get on to the recipe, how many of you decide first on a side or salad and THEN the main ??  Bit backwards , isn't it? Well, I'm glad I tried this recipe and will for sure make it again.

Bacon Wrapped Dogs In A Blanket

2 cups Self-Raising Flour
1 t Salt
6 TB Butter, melted
1 cup Buttermilk
1 cup Full Cream Milk
2 TB Mustard Powder (don't skimp - this gives an awesome flavor)
6 Rashers of Streaky Bacon, halved
2 Tins (390g each) Viennas, in brine, drained
1 TB Parsley for garnish (I forgot to add it before I took the 1st photo - but it's on the next!)

1.) Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F). Spray a 20 x 30cm oven dish with Spray 'N Cook.
2.) Sift together the Flour and Salt. Beat the Butter, Buttermilk, Milk and Mustard Powder together and add to the Flour.
3.) Beat until there are no more lumps in the batter - pour into the prepared oven dish and spread to an even layer.
4.) Twist a piece of Bacon around each Vienna and just squeeze into the batter - repeat till all is done.
5.) Bake 40 - 50 minutes until a tester comes out clean and it is golden brown.
6.) Garnish with the Parsley and serve.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Strawberry Bread

BIG  NEWS - I just received an E-Mail informing me that my little blog "WITH A BLAST" has been featured on the weekly FOODIE  BLOGROLL !! I am so excited as I only started in May 2012 and definitely did not expect this {I'm smiling, smiling and can not stop...- oh my 15 minutes of fame}

Are you a member ? If not, you are free and welcome to apply through the widget displayed in my sidebar !

Okay, my 15 minutes of fame is up - on to today's recipe. 

I've never made Strawberry Bread - first bake and first success. Moist and really ... well, strawberry-ish! I saw a link on one of the linky parties this week, pinned it and decided to print immediately as I had all the ingredients on hand.

The recipe is just enough for a medium loaf and with our family going overboard on the desserts, I think I'll double the recipe next time!

Strawberry Bread

1 1/2 cups Fresh Strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
1 cup Sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups Flour (I used Cake Flour)
1 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Baking Soda
1/4 t Salt
1 t Cinnamon
2 Eggs 
1/2 t Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Butter, melted and cooled

1.) Place the Strawberries in a non-metallic bowl and add 1/2 cup Sugar. Set aside.
2.) Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F) - Spray a loaf pan with Spray 'N Cook and line the bottom with baking paper.
3.) Mix together the remaining 1/2 cup Sugar, Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Cinnamon.
4.) In a separate bowl, beat the Eggs until foamy, add the Vanilla and the cooled melted Butter, whilst beating continuously.
5.) Stir in the Strawberries to the Egg mixture, and mix with the dry ingredients.
6.) Transfer to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 - 70 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
7.) Remove from the oven, leave in pan for 5 minutes then turn out to cool on a wire-rack for 20 minutes.

I served the bread, sliced, with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and a few fresh strawberry slices. 

A number of goodies attracted my attention on Miz Helen's Country Cottage and I'll definitely visit her blog more often. You have the link above - go check out her blog {unless I'm the only one late to this party!}

Ciao for now,


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Yoghurt Choc Strawberry Meringues

What a combination !

I bought {yeah, I'm too lazy to make them myself}, meringue nests at the supermarket during last week. At the time I had no idea what I wanted to use them for and the packet sat on the kitchen counter asking me everyday ".. what's your plan with us..?".

When I looked at them this morning, I thought today is the day. First I baked a Strawberry Bread and had quite a few strawberries leftover. I know, just a week or so ago, I mentioned that all the strawberry recipes were starting to drive me crazy. But who can walk past a punnet of bright red strawberries and not wanting to buy some. Not a question, a statement!

Right, the name of the recipe start with Yoghurt Choc - here's where this come in:

I started off with melting 4 TB Yoghurt Chocolate together with 1 1/2 TB Coconut Oil, added about a teaspoon of the Melted chocolate into the bottom of each of the meringue nests and placed it for 3 - 4 minutes in the freezer to set.

Meanwhile I hulled and chopped 1/2 cup of Strawberries, placed it into a small saucepan, added 2 TB of Sugar and brought it to boiling point over medium heat. I then added 2 t Cornflour and stirred continuously until it thickened.

I removed it from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes and then topped the Chocolate in the meringue nests with the strawberry mixture.

What a treat ! and SWEET - I only managed two but between Roy, Jacobus & Dimitri they were all gone 15 minutes after serving. {they did not expect the Yoghurt chocolate in the center and were quite surprised - I guess in a good way, as all these meringue nests disappeared in a flash}

Change the chocolate flavor, add more chocolate and less strawberry mixture - just as you wish, but I found the Yoghurt flavor gave this a bite of sourness and together with the sweet strawberry topping this was just right.

Be good and keep baking, cooking, crafting ... and sharing!

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Sweetcorn Muffins

With some main dishes I like to add something besides rice or mashed potatoes. (as a starch).

Example : a Savory Tart - rice or mash won't do .. just a side or a salad, no, .. I want my starch! (as well as the side or salad).

From start to into your mouth - 30 minutes !  This is also great as an anytime snack, just butter, or with some grated cheese, sounds good.

I have two different favorite recipes for savory muffins which I use as a side with a meaty dish - this Sweetcorn Muffin and a Cheese Muffin. Cheri prefers the Sweetcorn and Dimitri the Cheese. Not always sure about Roy .. he's not a picky eater, but I know he likes both the Sweetcorn and the Cheese.

We have a rule (one of many !), if I make a new dish, they must give me an honest feedback, from very good to, please never again. My family knows if they're not truthful and tell me it was good, I'll make it again and what good will that do ? It'll be them suffering through a lousy dish again - right?

This is a good one, even though Dimitri has his preferences!

Sweetcorn Muffins

source: slightly adapted from the cookbook by Annette Human-Spyskaarte vir elke Seisoen (available in English as Seasonal Menus)

2 cups Cake Flour
1 TB Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt
2 Extra-Large Eggs
about 1/2 cup Full Cream Milk
1 Tin Sweetcorn

1.) Pre-heat oven to 200 deg C (400 deg F). Spray a 12 hole muffin pan with Spray 'N Cook.
2.) Sift the Cake flour, Baking powder and Salt together.
3.) Break open the Eggs in a measuring cup and fill to the 1 cup mark with the Milk. Whisk the Eggs and Milk together. Add the tin of Sweetcorn to the Egg mixture and stir well to combine.
4.) Add the Sweetcorn mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (do not over-mix)
5.) Spoon into the muffin pan holes and bake 20 minutes until light brown.
6.) Remove from oven, leave to cool in the pan for a minute or two, transfer to wire rack.

As soon as you can slice them, serve - best with just butter!



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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Moist Ginger Bread

Moist Ginger Bread ~ Recipe for 2 loaves as 1 is simply not enough ! Moist and scrumptious #QuickBread #SweetBread #Dessert #TeaTimeTreat

This bread is so moist and soft ! These pictures really doesn't do the Moist Ginger Bread justice (not from lack of me trying to get a better shot).

Baby Marrow Feta Salad

As I told you in my post Bacon Wrapped Viennas in a Biscuit, I was craving this salad yesterday.

I believe it's an old recipe which a Spa used to serve to their clients - definitely very healthy and oh, so full of flavor !

The ingredients might look like a lot, but do the slicing first and then it's basically just layering or however you prefer.

This is enough for 6 - 8 people as a side, but can easily be halved.

Just wanted to show you a pic of my favorite glass Salad bowl(was a wedding present and I guard it with special securities/alarms - big whink!!)

Baby Marrow Feta Salad

10 - 12 Baby Marrows, ends cut off and sliced into rings
250g White Button Mushrooms, sliced (I buy ready sliced to save time)
2 Rings Feta Cheese, plain, cut into bite-sized chunks (option: use reduced fat Feta)
4 Celery Stalks, cut into rings
1 Large Red Bell Pepper, cut into thin slices
1 Small Onion, cut into rings
15 Black Olives

90ml Sunflower Oil
30ml Lemon Juice
10ml Honey
2 t Crushed Garlic
45ml Parsley, chopped

1.) Start with the Baby Marrows and then just layer every vegetable on top of each other or mix the whole bunch - however you prefer {I like to leave the Olives till last and then arrange it nicely right on top}
2.) Mix all the dressing ingredients until well combined and drizzle over the Salad.

Chill and serve - easy, healthy, guilt-free and I repeat FULL of Flavor !

We had some leftover which was still good the next day (Except Roy helped himself to all the Feta and Olives) - I just added some more and there was enough for a light lunch for the two of us!

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend !

Ciao for now,


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Friday, June 22, 2012

Sausage,Vegetables and Rice Casserole

Sausage Vegetables and rice Casserole ~ Use any meat you like in this complete meal recipe ~ various cooking times - YOU choose ! #LayeredDish #CompleteMeal #QuickPrep

This is a very filling dish, containing meat, vegetables and rice. The great thing about this is YOU choose how long it must be cooked.

Maybe, you want dinner on the table within 2 hours (from start to serving) or you quickly want to put it together, pop into the oven and do something else for 3 hours ... or 5 hours ?? Without the need to check on it .. If you work close to your house - slip away at lunchtime, layer --> oven, go back to work and when you get home your meal is cooked  ;-)

We never have any leftovers - you might want to add a salad on the side, but it's really not necessary .. check out the recipe and decide whether you want to add anything else !

* I usually use Boerewors (South African Sausage), but have made it before with chicken, pork sausages and even lamb rib chops.

I've also played around with the vegetables - used green beans, carrots, with the apple and without, mixed vegetables ... the possibilities are endless.

Sausage Vegetables and rice Casserole ~ Use any meat you like in this complete meal recipe ~ various cooking times - YOU choose ! #LayeredDish #CompleteMeal #QuickPrep

Sausage Vegetables and Rice Casserole

6 Servings

500g Baby Potatoes, peeled and sliced (about 3mm thick)
2 Onions, cut into rings
2 Apples, cored, peeled and cut into slices
500g Butternut, cubed 
1 TB Butter or Margarine
1 1/2 cups Rice, raw
Salt & Pepper
1kg Sausage (I used Boerewors - see my note above for variations)*
400ml Beef stock

Special note on pre-heating of the oven : I explained above this dish can be cooked  in the oven for different times - Take your pick from here : To bake for 1 1/2 hours 180 deg C (350 deg F) - 3 hours 160 deg C (325 deg F) or - 5 hours 100 deg C (210 deg F).

1.) Pre-heat oven to your preferred degree/time. Spray a large oven dish (with a lid) with cooking oil.
2.) Saute the Onion rings in the Butter/Margarine until soft and light brown. Set aside.
3.) Place the Rice on the bottom of the oven dish, add half of the onion rings on top, add all the apples and arrange evenly over the onion rings, now place half of the potatoes in a single layer and season with Salt & Pepper, rest of the Onion rings next,  followed by the remaining potatoes - season lightly again. Add all of the Butternut, spreading to cover the potatoes, ...again, slightly season.
4.) Cut the Sausages (or other meat) into pieces and add on top of all the vegetables. 
5.) Gently pour the Beef stock over the meat.
6.) Place in the oven - use your preferred oven temperature/time.

No need to check on this .. let the oven and the dish do it's thing !

Creamy Oreo Dessert

Chocolate cookie crust, cream cheese, Oreos, pudding ... sounds good, hey?

When I saw this recipe on Mandy's Recipe Box, I new I wanted to make it immediately!

I never actually bought Oreos for myself, the kids asked for some now and then but otherwise I didn't know much about it. Not just a cookie to dip in a glass of milk, oh no !

In this recipe it's actually used as the crust - gives my very trusting Tennis biscuit crust a good run. To be honest, I wouldn't be able to choose just one, as the one biscuit is as versatile as the other.

I've made cupcakes with Oreos inside or on the bottom, used it in frostings, crusts as with this recipe, in a type of candy and a lot of other goodies... But, all this started only a few months ago when I started using Pinterest. {I'm now an addict}.  This is truly an eye-opener site - many people, I've come to realise, still think it's just a site where they can look at some nice pictures and pin it if they like it. 

That's one thing I think Pinterest should really get into - explain from the start how it works (click on a pic, click again and you'll be taken to the recipe). I've seen time and again where people ask, in the comments line, where and how to get the recipe. Fortunately, a lot of pinners would leave a comment explaining the procedure.

True, there are a whole lot of pictures which are just that, but Pinterest's stats has shown that actual recipes rule the site !

Creamy Oreo Dessert

very slightly adapted from this source:

1 box (4 sleeves) Original Oreo Cookies, crushed finely
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
3 (90g boxes) Instant Chocolate Pudding
3 cups Cold Full Cream Milk
500 ml Fresh Cream, whipped
250g Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Icing Sugar, sifted
1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

1.) Make a crust with the crushed Oreo cookies and the melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 20 x 30cm (9 x 13") dish.
2.) Add the Chocolate pudding (all 3 boxes) to the Milk and mix according to the instructions on the box. Place in refrigerator.
3.) Beat the Cream cheese until smooth - Add the sifted Icing Sugar, mix well, and then add half of the Whipped cream, stir just enough to combine.
4.) Spread the Cream cheese over the crust,  followed by the Chocolate pudding.
5.) Top with the remaining Whipped cream and sprinkle with the Mini Chocolate Chips.
6.) Refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours before serving.

I just could not get enough of this dessert and I think I had more than half of it !



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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crispy Provolone Salad

Crispy Provolone Salad ~ Delicious, quick last minute salad #Salad #QuickAndEasyRecipe

Here is a recipe for a quick and easy salad ! Only 3 salad ingredients, but it's the dressing that makes this Crispy Provolone Salad special.

Father's Day at the Nortje's

Sharing a few pics of Roy's Father's Day  -  TOP; Roy and our kids, Dimitri & Cheri

We had a small, very casual late lunch (with lots of dessert !)

All the attendees (obviously I'm behind the camera) - From left : Jacobus {turned 21 on Father's Day!!}, Dimitri, Daddy Roy, Cheri and her boyfriend of the past two years, Vince.

On the Menu ; Starters on sticks
                     ; Oxtail served with Basmati Rice (Roy's favorite)
                     ; Crispy Provolone Salad

Dessert Bar with some close-ups ; Decadent Chocolate Cake,  Chocolate Nutella Seashell Cupcakes, "Hamburger Cupcakes with Fries",  Cake Pops,  Lemon Cheesecake squares drizzled with chocolate,  Dad Rocks "Fudge",  Peppermint Crisp Tart and Chocolate dipped Fresh Strawberries.

Roy had been hinting for EVER a long time that he must have a Home Theatre System (just for the surround sound !) to use when he's playing Playstation .. yep, Playstation - the man is addicted to this {do you or your hubby use Playstation ?} Anyhow, that was his Father's Day gift and he's enjoying it thoroughly!

My Dad, Johan, passed away in 2008, but I was thinking about him all day, missing him. We had quite a special bond since the day I was born. When I was 9 months old, my Dad had to do a 3 month Army duty - I became very ill with bronchitis and the doctors actually told my Mom to let my Dad come home as they did not think I would make it.  Dad was home (I was too ill to be moved to a hospital and it was 1970) only for a couple of hours, when my fever broke and by the next day I was almost my old self ! Unbelievable, the bond which parents and their children share .. truly amazing.

My Father-in-law passed away in 2004 and I know he was in Roy's thoughts as well. 

I do however, think the worst was Jacobus's sadness on Father's Day. He turned 21 but had lost his father some years ago. My heart ached for this young guy which we have become to think of as one of our own.

Well, I did not really mean for this post to end on a sad note, but thing is, we celebrated Father's Day not only for Roy, but also all the Dads and Granddads no longer with us.

Hope every Dad worldwide were spoilt on this special day !



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mushroom Beef Grilled Cheese

I'm busy on my laptop this afternoon when Roy asked what's for dinner tonight ?

Me; I don't know - it's still early.
Roy; Any ideas?
Me; No, Roy .. I. am. busy. now.
Roy; Maybe we must ...
Me; Yes, I'm thinking - I might have an idea.
Roy: Like what?

Now, I am really getting riled up..

Me; I don't know - I'm making something up in my mind and if you keep pestering me, I can not think ! (remember, all the while my attention is on the laptop and by now I'm even tapping away faster..)
Roy; Okay, I hope it'll be ........................ and I tuned him out.

No, I'm not normally like that, but sometimes my family will ask me at 9 am what's for dinner. I mean, really?? And I totally dislike it when they know I'm busy and they keep hammering on about whatever. There's a time and place for it all (and believe me - if it's something urgent - I MAKE TIME for them).

Anyway, this grilled sandwich took place in my mind - in between me reading very important letters my favorite blogs and Facebook and ... you get the idea.

Mushroom Beef Grilled Cheese

(this made 10 sandwiches)

20 Slices of Bread (your choice)
10 Large slices Roast Beef
10 Gouda Cheese slices (we normally like double cheese, but the Mushroom sauce is quite rich)
1 TB Avocado Oil
500g Mushrooms, sliced
1 t Garlic, minced
250ml Fresh Cream
7.5ml Paprika
1 TB Fresh Basil, chopped
1 TB Fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 t Flour
10 Eggs

1.) Toast 10 slices of bread on one side only (I did mine in the oven under the grill)
2.) Top each toasted slice of bread (toasted side on the bottom) with a slice of Cheese and fold the Roast Beef double and place on top of the cheese.
3.) Saute the Mushrooms and Garlic in the Avocado oil until soft and brown. Add the Fresh cream and simmer until sauce has reduced by half. Add the Paprika, Basil, Parsley, Salt and Pepper. Mix well to combine. Stir in the Flour and let simmer until sauce has thickened (about 1 - 2 minutes)
4.) Add the Mushroom sauce on top of the Roast beef.

5.) Top with a buttered slice of bread (buttered side up)
6.) Place in the oven under the grill and toast until brown.
7.) Meanwhile, fry (or poach) the Eggs, and as the sandwiches come out of the oven (I had to do two batches), top each with an Egg.

The family loved it - no complaints. I did however go lightly with the Mushroom sauce on Cheri's and my own sandwiches ... totally just to make us think our's was healthier, lighter more diet friendly!

What are your favorite sandwiches ? I must also still do a post on our top of the log Philly Steak Grilled Cheese recipe - but that's for another day.

Be good all
Bye-bye for now


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Monday, June 18, 2012

Peppermint Crisp Tart

Who can say no to a piece (not slice) of Peppermint Tart ?

Delicious ! Does not look like much until you taste it, out of this world and with such simple ingredients as well.

One thing about this particular recipe: it does not slice well, no way, you use a LARGE decent sized spoon and dish it up, then sit back and just ... enjoyyy.

Kids and adults all go crazy for this tart/pudding. I suppose it is really a pudding and not a tart, whatever, you can call it the way you like.

Forget the layers of biscuit and use it as a filling for .. uhm, meringues, ice cream cones, ready-made mini shells ... and the list goes on.

Here we are;

Peppermint Crisp Tart

1 packet Tennis Biscuits, or what you normally use in layered puddings, if unavailable
250ml Fresh Cream
5ml Peppermint Essence
1 can (397g) Caramel Condensed Milk
1 Medium size Peppermint Crisp Chocolate, grated

1.) Whip the Fresh cream until stiff, adding the Peppermint essence during whipping.
2.) Gently fold in the Caramel condensed milk to the whipped cream.
3.) Use a 20 x 20cm (8 x 8") dish and place a single layer of  Tennis biscuits at the bottom. Pour half of the Caramel mixture over the biscuit layer and repeat ending with a layer of Caramel mixture.
4.) Sprinkle the grated Peppermint Crisp Chocolate on top.
5.) Refrigerate 1 - 2 hours before serving. (It will only set slightly - that's okay, you want it that way!)

Serve on it's own or maybe an extra dollop of unsweetened whipped cream - it's a very sweet recipe, therefore you might want to "balance" it out with something unsweetened? As always, up to you!

I'm going to play with Chichi and Rex for a while now, be good, till next time!


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Oxtail (slow-cooker)

Roy's all-time favorite dish - OXTAIL ! I do not make this a lot, as it is a very rich dish, red meat and all that, but there was never a question what would be the main dish on Father's Day .. He never actually asked for it, but after 27 years together, I think we can read one another's minds ... really, I do believe that. One thing they {anyway, who is this "they" everybody, me included, always mention ..? mmm} say, which I absolutely do not believe is the fact that the longer two people are together, the more they look like one another .. no, no, no waayy!

My late father-in-law could cook up a storm, without having to go out to the grocery store first - he just used whatever was on hand. He was the one who introduced me to mussels .. yeah, mussels, I did not grow up eating "foreign" stuff like that, .. and Oxtail ?  Never, even heard of it before my father-in-law made it.  {Ate the mussels - now love it! - but it was still a few years until I finally made my first oxtail dish.}.

The recipe I'm sharing today was the first one I used (have it written down on a piece of paper - no idea where it came from). Over the years I tried other recipes as well, but this is still the best.  It is very saucy, and literally finger-lickin' good.

Okay, onwards to the recipe:

Oxtail (slow-cooker)

2 Large Onions, cut into rings
Oil for frying
Salt/Pepper seasoned Flour
1.5kg - 2kg Oxtail, cut into 5cm (2") pieces
around 500ml Boiling Water
75ml White Vinegar
75ml Brown Sugar
4 - 6 Carrots, peeled and cut into rings
500g Baby Potatoes, peeled, if still a little big, cut into half
1/2 - 1 packet of Oxtail Soup Powder

1.) Saute the Onions in a little oil until soft and slightly brown, remove from pan and keep aside.
2.) Roll the Oxtail pieces in the Seasoned Flour and fry all sides until just browned.
3.) Place the Oxtail, together with the sauteed Onions in the slow-cooker, cover with Boiling water, add the Vinegar and Brown sugar, cover with lid and cook on HIGH for 4 hours.
4.) Add the Carrots and Potatoes to the slow-cooker and cook on high for another 2 - 3 hours until the veggies are soft.
5.) Add the Oxtail soup powder to thicken (1/2 pack should do - but check after another 5 minutes) and cook until thickened 5 - 10 minutes.

Serve over lots of rice or mashed potatoes - very saucy indeed!

Ciao for now, as usual the laundry is waiting ;-)


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Decadent Chocolate Cake

Anyone watch the Rugby Saturday ?  In South Africa Rugby is HUGE ! Really, when our provincial teams play against each other or in a Series like the Super Rugby (4 teams each of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia), you stand by your team. Mine of course is the Blue Bulls - as I said in a previous post, always has been and always will be !

But ... enter the world of International Rugby ... all (well, most {whink} ) South Africans stand together. Suddenly the provincial team players you hated last week, are now the BEST. This past Saturday the Springboks (see my badge on my profile pic !) won the second of three matches against England. Great stuff, there are a lot of new players, new combinations etc, but we'll climb our way to the very top again. That's the way in the Rugby World in South Africa.

Anyhow, you must be wondering why all the rugby talk ?  Because we have a cookbook called "Springbok Kitchen" where old and new players show their way in the kitchen. Yes, this cake recipe is from none other than our fast, very experienced wing Bryan Habana.

I've made it several times and it is DELICIOUS - and exactly what the name says - "Decadent".

4  Layers with different Fillings !

Decadent Chocolate Cake

very slightly adapted by me from this cookbook "Springbok Kitchen"

1 cup Cake Flour
2 TB Cocoa Powder
2 t Baking Powder
1 cup Castor Sugar
1/2 cup Canola Oil (I used Sunflower Oil)
1/2 cup Boiling Water
4 Extra-Large Eggs, separated
1 t Baking Powder 

1 can (360g) Caramel Condensed Milk
3 TB Apricot Jam
2 TB Coconut (I use fine)
4 cups Icing Sugar, sifted
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
250g Butter, room temperature (I used Margarine)
about 5 TB Water
Cherries and Toasted Flaked Almonds for decorating

1.) Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F) - Spray 2 x 20cm diameter cake pans with Spray 'N Cook and line the bottoms with baking paper.
2.) Combine the Cake Flour, Cocoa Powder, Baking Powder and Castor Sugar. Mix the Oil and Water and add to the dry ingredients. 
3.) Whisk the Egg Yolks and add to the mixture - mixing well.
4.) Beat the Egg Whites with the extra 1 teaspoon Baking Powder until stuff. Gently fold into cake batter.
5.) Divide the mixture between the two prepared pans and bake 20 - 25 minutes until spongy when touched.
6.) Remove from pans, let cool on wire rack and then cut each cake in half (you will now have 4 layers - they're quite thin, but the fillings must still be added).
7.) Mix the Caramel condensed milk and Apricot jam together. Divide the mixture into two and add the Coconut to one half. Sift the Icing sugar and Cocoa powder together. Cream the Butter and slowly add the Icing mixture - add the water and beat in (a little more or less can be used)

*****To Assemble: Place the bottom layer of cake on a plate - Spread with a quarter of the Icing/Cocoa mixture. Place another layer of cake on top and spread with the Caramel/Coconut mixture. Place the third layer on top and spread with another quarter of Icing/Cocoa mixture. Place the last layer of cake on top and spread with the Caramel/Jam mixture. Use the remaining Icing/Cocoa mixture to ice the sides of the cake. Finally decorate with Cherries and Almond flakes*****

The longer this cake stand - the better it gets. I always try to make it a day before, but the cake rarely makes it to the following day !

Enjoy - and let me know whether you're a supporter of Rugby or if you're  following this sport at all.



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Friday, June 15, 2012

Pork Fillet with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Pork Fillet with Creamy Mushroom Sauce ~ Tender, juicy Pork Fillet {Tenderloin} in the most delicious Mushroom Sauce #PorkRecipe #ComfortFood

What a crazy week this has been ..! 

To most people, my crazy week, will sound normal .. but to me it was a very busy week.

Let's see - I hired and fired a cleaner (still trying to sort out the mess she managed to create in less than a day and a half), went out to get Roy his Father's Day gift, bought all the ingredients needed for Sunday's special Daddy's day (will be making an appetizer, main meal and a lot of dessert), finally got to the hairdresser (haven't been for months!), took a stroll through our local baking supplies store and saw a lot of goodies I need want.

That is why I love this recipe - quick, easy and delicious. My kind of food.  Make the Mushroom Sauce on its own and serve with whatever you normally make. It's great over any kind of meat or vegetables. I even made it with oven-chips one day for lunch (Chips and a creamy sauce, yeah, I know, not all that healthy - but sometimes one must give in to a craving or keep suffering)

I did not serve the sauce separately over the Pork, but instead mixed it all up and scooped it over creamy mashed potatoes with veggies on the side.

Pork Fillet with Creamy Mushroom Sauce

800g Pork Fillet (Tenderloin)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Juice of one Lemon

500g White Button Mushrooms, medium cut in half and larger cut into quarters
3 t Garlic, crushed
400 - 500ml Fresh Cream
1 t Paprika
Juice of one Lemon
Salt & Pepper, to taste

1.) Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F)
2.) Sear the meat in a large pan until just browned all over - transfer to an oven dish with a lid (or use foil to cover), pour over the Lemon juice and season with the Salt & Pepper and cook for 20 - 25 minutes until cooked through but still moist.
3.) Use the same frying pan and dry-fry the Mushrooms until they are brown and soft. Add the Garlic and Fresh Cream - let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce has reduced by about a quarter.
4.) Add the Paprika, Lemon juice and Salt/Pepper to taste to the Mushroom sauce. Cook another minute and remove from heat.
5.) Once, the meat is fully cooked, remove from oven, let rest for (covered) 5 minutes and cut into cubes or slices.

To serve: Either mix the Pork and Mushroom Sauce or pour the sauce over the meat - as you prefer - I did it both ways and either is delicious.

I read a blog today where it was said that Pork (even Fillet) is always dry - no matter how you cook it. Do you agree ?  I don't .. this Pork is very tender and moist.

Have a great weekend !!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bacon Peas

Bacon Peas ~ Simply the BEST side dish and kids love this ~ even the pickiest of them all ! #SideDish #PeasAndBacon #KidFriendly

This is one of my all time favorite (side) recipes.

A Lifetime ago, I worked at a company with an Italian owner and his wife. I haven't even been married for a year then and made many, many cooking mistakes {still do - but not as much!}

This lady worked out her menus in advance and she told me that they NEVER had the same thing twice in a two week period. {I still wonder if she thought maybe having "take-aways" twice in this 2 week period meant the same..?}

I asked her if she knew any other way to cook peas - when she asked me how I did it at the time, I very wisely stupidly told her my "recipe" ... take a tin of peas, pour (with the liquid - no, I'm not kidding ..) it in a pot, add some butter and sugar, boil it for a few minutes, drain and serve.

She had this absolute horrified look on her face when she asked " .. with the liquid ?..." I'll never forget that look on her face - can you imagine?

Then she gave me this quick and easy (and much healthier) recipe, which she told me was the way the Italians prepared their peas. 

Bacon & Peas

500 g Frozen Peas
6 Bacon Streaks (there has to be a little fat)
1/2 Onion, chopped, not too finely
Salt & Pepper

1.) Boil the Peas for 10 - 15 minutes.
2.) Meanwhile fry the Bacon until crispy, remove from pan and crumble.
3.) Fry the Onion in the same pan as the bacon till soft and light brown.
4.) Once the Peas are done, drain, return to pot together with the Bacon and Onion.
5.) Heat through and season with Salt and Pepper.

That's it ! And you have a nice, very tasty side dish.

You will not be sorry if you make your next side dish this way ! (Oh yes, did you notice how colorful this dish is ..?)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Low-Fat Chicken & Veggies

Do you find some days, you wake up and just know .. I'm not going to like today? No reason .. yet .. you just get that FEELING ..

Today was one of those. Yesterday a new cleaner started to work for us (the previous one lasted a little over two months, before I told her that I needed someone with a bit more initiative and that, really, after two months, when I ask her to do something - please note, ASK not tell, that she should do what has been asked of her).

I am a total control freak, very set in where and how I put my stuff. Also, if you're cleaning my house, that better be 100%. I, myself ... no good at cleaning, ironing etc, although I enjoy doing the laundry - washing, hanging and even folding. That's why we PAY someone to clean, and I do not like paying for a useless no-good cleaner ! 

Yes, I am very angry - the one who started yesterday, did not even know how to wash dishes, she lied about ironing, didn't do what was expected of her, and I laid down the do's and don'ts beforehand - TOTAL DISREGARD from her side! This morning took the cake - told (not asked .. I'm beyond that now) her to do something and she did her own thing. Well, by 10am I paid her in full for the two days and just sent her on her merry way.

There is so much unemployment in our country, you'd think people would take their jobs a little more serious, but no, everything is expected to fall in their laps. Not so with me, maybe before - NO MORE!

Anyhow, my whole sad story has absolutely nothing to do with the recipe, I just wanted to vent... sorry.  I'm looking up all recipes I used some time ago when I had to wanted to loose some weight. Cheri decided she wants to eat healthier as do my cousin, Erica, which I mentioned in my post on a recipe for Low-Fat Beef.

Without any further "that's life" stories, here is the recipe: (I used my pressure cooker to cook the chicken)

Low-Fat Chicken & Veggies

a recipe slightly adapted by me from this cookbook by Christelle Erasmus "Gesonde Gesinskos"

4 Large Chicken Fillets
2 Onions, chopped roughly
3 Carrots, peeled and cut into rings
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
500 ml Water
2 t  Seasoning (I used Aromat - use your favorite, if Aromat is unavailable)

250 g Mushrooms, sliced
1 Large Green Bell Pepper, chopped
20 ml Vegetable Oil (I used Sunflower Oil)
15 ml Flour
1/4 cup Cornflour
200 ml Fat-Free Milk
1 t Salt
50 ml Medium Sherry

1.) Place the Chicken, Onion, Carrot, Black Pepper, Water and Seasoning into a pressure cooker (you can use a normal pot a well - it might just take a bit longer). Cook on pressure for 15 - 20 minutes. Remove the cooked chicken and vegetables with a slotted spoon and keep aside. Retain 300ml of the liquid.
2.) Cut the Chicken into bite-size pieces.
3.) Heat the Vegetable oil in a large sauce pan and saute the Mushrooms and Green bell pepper until soft.
4.) Meanwhile mix the Flour, Cornflour and the Milk until smooth in a separate medium-sized bowl. Add the retained Chicken stock to the Milk mixture together with the Salt and Sherry. Add to the Mushroom mixture in the pan and let simmer over low heat until the sauce thickens. Stirring continuously (5 - 7 minutes)
5.) Add the Chicken and other vegetables to the saucepan, stir gently to mix it all up again - Simmer for a minute or two until the chicken is heated through.

Serve with Brown Basmati Rice.

Ciao for now,


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