Tag Archives: apple

BBQ Spices

5 Jul

BBQ Spice

So I’m sure I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that as a South African, albeit one living in the UK, Barbecuing (braaing) borders on religion.  Commandment number 1 – Whenever the weather presents an opportunity meat will be thrown onto flames and charred until done.  Which is great and delicious, but sometimes well – excuse me a sec while I duck out of lightning range – it can get a little boring. Seeing as there is no wriggle room in commandment one and seeing as it has been a truly lovely summer thus far I had to find someway to spice things up – I hope you enjoy.  With all three of these all you need to do is add  some of the spice to taste to your chosen hunk of meat and then grill – and if the weather isn’t being kind – they work just as well in the oven.

Lemon & Lime Pepper – works beautifully on fish or chicken

L&L INGTo start take:

  • the zest of three limes
  • the zest of three lemons
  • 1/3 cup of black pepper corns
  • 1/3 cup of salt flakes

L&L ZestedHeat the oven to 120°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

L&L DriedMix the pepper and the zest together and bake until the zest is completely dry – about an hour should do it.

L&L GrindAdd the salt to the lemon/pepper mix and then grind.  You can use a mortar and pestle  – this will take an eternity or a coffee/spice grinder.  I have this beautiful old coffee grinder the BH gave me while we were still in Taiwan.  It started life as a coffee grinder, but is now dedicated to grinding spices.  Grind it all up and store in an  air tight jar.

Apple Spice – Brilliant on Pork

This is one of those spice that just kind created itself while I was staring at some pork loins.  I turned to the spice cupboard to find some inspiration and knocked over the fruit bowl.  I love it when stuff like that happens.

AP INGTo start take:

  • two or three apples
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 table spoons of Szechuan Pepper
  • 2 table spoons of ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup of salt flakes

AP DriedHeat the oven to 120 °C.  Finely – like use a mandolin finely – slice the apples and place on foil or parchment paper.  Bake the apples for about an hour and a half and then turn off the oven and leave the apples in the oven until it has cooled or overnight.  Process the apples until they have been broken down into tiny pieces.  Mix the apple with all the other ingredients for the apple spice and grind into a very find powder.

Cajun Rub – Perfect on EVERYTHING from potato wedges to steak

So this is the first spice mix I ever made and nothing else has ever quite matched up.  It is used on almost everything in our household and it’s simplicity itself.

Cajun ING

To start take:

  • 2 tablespoons of cumin seads
  • 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 table spoon of salt flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of hot smoked Paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme.

Cajun cumin toastingToast the cumin seeds in a heavy based frying pan until the seads are just starting to brown and pop.  Add to all the other ingredients for the Cajun rub and then grind together in a spice grinder. For the best potato wedges ever – cut your potatoes into wedges and place in a large bowl.  Add oil to taste and a teaspoon or three of the Cajun rub.  Toss to coat and bake the wedges at 200°C for about 40 minutes – potatoes perfected!

Pork, Apple and Ginger Dumplings

19 May

The BH and I were recently in London for a few nights and while we were there we couldn’t resist the lure of Chinatown. One of the  restaurants we ate in while there, yes we ate in more than one,  was a Taiwanese restaurant called Leong’s Legend, where the Three Cup Chicken and Scallion Pancakes literally had me in tears.  They weren’t particularly great and the portions were tiny, but the food tasted of a place I had called home for eight years.  They say smell is powerfully emotive, I think taste is even more so.

Rather than satiating my need for Chinese food however,  all my trip did was remind me how much I love cooking with Chinese ingredients.   My Taiwanese friends should stop reading now.  My friends who fancy themselves experts ON Chinese food should probably look away.  What I’m about to make isn’t “traditional” nor is it “correct,” but it is Fudgin’ Good.

To start take;

  • 1 pkt of Dumpling skins
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • about 4 scallions (sliced)
  • a piece of ginger about the size of your thumb (finely grated)
  • 1 apple (coarsely grated)
  • 500 gm minced pork
  • 2 tsps corn flour
  • 60 mls (4Tbs) of soy sauce
  • vegetable oil
  • water

I’m going to mention hardware here too because you’re going to need a large frying pan/wok that has a lid to cook these babies.

Splash a generous glug of oil into the pan and bring to a medium heat.  fry the onions and scallions for a few minutes and then add the ginger and apple.   Continue to cook for a further three to four minutes and then add the pork and cook until completely done.  This is where I have deviated from traditional methods which add the pork to the skins raw, but I’m a little squeamish about raw pork, so I hope you’ll forgive me.

Add the corn flower to the cold soy sauce and stir well, then add this to the cooking mince.   This will thicken up the mixture and make it easier to stuff the pastry skins.  Allow the mix to cool and then pop on a good DVD that won’t require too much cerebral action, cause you’re going to be stuffing for a while.

Brush the edges of the skin with water and then make at least three pleats on one side of the circle.  Then take a teaspoon of the filling and place in the middle of the dumpling skin. Then press the un-pleated side to the pleated side and seal.  Repeat.  Thirty times.  *sigh*  It is worth it though.  Trust me. Look below.  See how pretty.

Clean out the frying pan/wok and heat another splash of vegetable oil in the pan and bring to a medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, place as many dumplings as you can in the pan without crowding them.  Cook until the bottoms are crispy and brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Now comes the fun part.  the thing your mother told you never to do.  Ever!  We’re going to add water to a pan of hot oil.  Get the water and the lid ready.  Splash about 100mls of water into the bottom of the pan and immediately cover with the lid.  Leave the dumplings to steam for about five minutes until the skins begin to look translucent and then serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.  Enjoy!

PS  You are you going to probably have a lot of filling left over.  It’s great on toast, or noodles or even just on it’s own.

Tear and Share Bread

4 Mar

There is something wonderfully decadent about weekend breakfasts. Especially when the day is grey and rainy and you have a full day of nothing to do stretching out in front of you. If you’re like me though, you’ve probably had your fill of full English fry ups. Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon just as much, if not more, than the next born again carnivore, but sometimes I want something a little less greasy. I also want something a little more satisfying and indulgent than muesli and this bread is the perfect balance between the two.

This is definitely a lazy morning breakfast, if you’re rushing to get somewhere it might not be the breakfast for you. It doesn’t require much work on your part, but it does need 40 minutes or so to rise and about 20 minutes to bake.

Again this is one of those wonderful recipes where you can adjust it to suit your own tastes and use whatever you have to hand. Start with

  • 1 quantity of your favourite bread dough (bought, made up from a packet or from scratch)
  • 60gm of butter
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 2 Tbs of cinnamon
  • ½ cup of toasted walnuts
  • 2 tsps of vanilla essence

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the vanilla essence. Roll the dough into a rough rectangle and then brush on the butter, leaving a space of about two centimeters on one of the long sides of the rectangle . Sprinkle on the sugar, the cinnamon and the walnuts.

Then starting on the side where the butter is brushed to the edge, roll the dough into a long cigar shape finishing on the side where you left the space.

Using a sharp knife dusted in flour cut the cigar into seven or eight equal pieces and place in a pie or spring form tin.

Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about 40 minutes. This is usually where I take the dog for a walk while the BH serenades me with sonorous snoring from the bedroom.

Once the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to about 220ºC and bake the bread for about 20 minutes.

Once the bread is baked, leave to cool for about 10 minutes then tear off a hunk and serve hot with coffee and orange juice.

Now while breakfast is all very well this also makes a great alternative to dinner party rolls. It also works as side at a BBQ (Braai) and as tea bread. All you have to do is juggle up the dough you use and filling.  In this one, I spread a layer of sun-dried tomato pesto on wholemeal dough and topped it with cheese and fresh basil. On other occasions I peal, core and chop 2-3 apples and then soften them with some butter and vanilla essence in a saucepan on medium heat for about 10 mins and then puree.  Spread this puree on the bread and sprinkle on some cinnamon.  Sprinkle the top of the rolls with sugar before baking and enjoy.  The possibilities are endless.

Piggy Bites

22 Jan

There are lots of reasons not to start a food blog. It takes huge amounts of time. I don’t have picture perfect cooking equipment and I have a kitchen the size of a postage stamp. I am not now nor will I ever be a photographer. There are about a zillion other food bloggers out there who have all done a better job than I could ever hope to. I mean they’re real chefs or food stylists or BOTH! Did I mention how much time it takes?

There are however a couple of reasons to start one though. The first being a love for cooking and coming up with new recipes and an incessant need to talk about food. The second being when your better half, or BH.  tells you that if you don’t stop talking about food blogging and actually start doing it, he’s never going to talk to you again.  And you love him all the more for it.

So this it the outcome. The first recipe we’re going to tackle is a new favourite of my BH. I like to call them caramelised apple, sage and pork stuffing balls lovingly wrapped in crisp salty bacon.  He likes to call them Piggy Bites.

First up, the ingredients. These don’t have to be exact.  The list below will make ten bites with left over filling.

  • 250 gm minced pork
  • 2 apples
  • 20 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 50 gm bread crumbs
  • 16 sage leaves (10 whole and 6 finely chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 30 gm butter
  • salt
  • pepper

First you’re going to need to toast the bread crumbs until they’re lightly golden and crispy.  They should resemble panko crumbs.   Alternatively just use panko crumbs.  I toast the bread at 200°C and then leave the oven on so it’s ready to bake the bites.

While these are toasting, peal and cut the apples into wedges.   Then melt the butter in a small pan and caramelise the apples to sweeten and soften their flavour.  They should land up looking something like this.

Once the apples have cooled, chop them really finely or even process them into a puree, depending on your taste.  Add the apples, pork, crumbs, egg, salt, pepper and the finely chopped sage into a bowl and get stuck in with both hands and mix.

Then haul out your muffin tin and place a piece of bacon in one of the cups.  Top the bacon with a sage leaf and then place another piece of bacon at a right angle on top of that.  Make a small stuffing ball and place it on top of the bacon and then fold the over lapping bacon pieces over the stuffing.  Secure with a cocktail stick. Something like this.

Once you have ten muffin tin holes filled with bacon-ey goodness, pop the tin into the preheated oven and bake for 40 -45 mins.  I tend to serve these for breakfast and this gives me enough time to get eggs scrambled, bread toasted juice squeezed and coffee percolated.  Enjoy!

P.S.  They also work really well as a stuffing side for your Christmas/Thanksgiving turkey.

oh.four.one.

the port elizabeth blogger

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