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Refreshing Mint Tea Recipe

In summer there is nothing as refreshing as mint tea. I often make iced tea by substituting the green tea in the recipe below with rooibos, letting it cool and then adding a few ice cubes.

In North African countries sweet mint tea is served everywhere for almost every occasion.  According to Georgeanne Brennan, author of The Mediterranean Herb Cookbook, it is a ritual rather than just a beverage. It is regularly offered and sipped in cafes, in offices, shops and homes. It is the beverage of both family gatherings and business meetings. Different countries have different versions, but in general green tea is served with a large measure of mint, either fresh or dried.Refreshing Mint Tea

Refreshing Mint Tea
 
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Recipe type: Beverages
Serves: 6
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves, slightly bruised/crushed
  • 2 teaspoons green tea
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • about 6 tablespoons honey or sugar
  1. Rinse a teapot with hot water and put the mint and tea leaves into it. Pour in the boiling water, cover, and let steep for about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour into small glasses, using a strainer if necessary, and stir about 1 tablespoon honey or sugar into each glass.
  3. Serve at once.

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Colourful Chicken Casserole with Sage

This chicken casserole is real comfort food and a firm family favourite. It’s ideal for a mid-week family meal but equally suited for special guests. If you don’t have fresh sage rather omit it as dried sage is just to overpowering for chicken. Or substitute the sage with tarragon, thyme or rosemary.

chicken casserole

Colourful Chicken Casserole
 
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Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, or home-made rosemary or tarragon oil
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 fresh sage leaves, bruised
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red bell pepper, thickly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thickly sliced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • ½ cup fruit chutney
  • 3 heaped tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Brown the chicken pieces on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add onion and fresh sage (or other herbs) and sauté for one minute, then add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
  4. Transfer the chicken pieces to an ovenproof casserole dish. Add the bell pepper slices.
  5. Mix the mayonnaise and chutney and stir in the onion mixture. Spoon mixture over the chicken and bell peppers. Cover the dish with a lid or aluminium foil and bake in preheated oven till done. About 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with rice or noodles.

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Maître d’Hôtel Butter

In culinary circles flavoured butters are often referred to as compound butters or beurres composes. Various herbs, spices and other flavourings are added to salted or unsalted butter to add new notes and interesting dimensions to dishes.

Because salt overpowers the natural sweet flavour of butter, compound butter recipes generally call for “salt to taste” or no salt at all.

Once you get the hang of it, you can beat almost anything, from anchovies to watercress, into the butter.

herb butter
Maitre d’Hotel butter is wonderful addition to grilled dishes like steak and corn on the cob.

Maître d'Hôtel Butter
 
Maître d'hôtel butter has melted the hearts of many. As the butter melts, the food beneath is seductively imbued with last minute lavishness.

Serve this herb flavoured butter with grilled fish, fish fried in an egg-and-breadcrumb coating, grilled steak, corn on the cob, various steamed or boiled vegetables, and as a sandwich spread.
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  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • A pinch of salt and pepper to taste
  1. Let butter reach room temperature.
  2. Whip the butter to a thick creamy consistency (en pommade).
  3. Blend in other ingredients.
  4. Shape or form into molds.
  5. Chill for at least 1 hour to allow the flavours to develop.

 

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Grilled Corn Salad with Cilantro and Chive Mayonnaise

On our list of favourite flavour combinations the combination of corn + chives + cilantro + sweet peppers features prominently. This recipe is especially good when made with freshly harvested sweet corn and vine ripened sweet peppers from the food garden.

This easy corn salad recipe is a must when you are having a “braai”. It is simple to make and goes well with any type of meat. I prefer it with chicken or lamb.

Grilled corn salad recipe

Grilled Corn Salad with Cilantro and Chive Mayonnaise
 
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Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
  • 6 medium corn cobs (leaves removed)
  • 20g butter for rubbing
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chives finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Rub each corn cob with butter.
  2. Roast the corn on an open fire or grill for approximately 10-15 minutes turning regularly.
  3. Remove the corn from the heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Meanwhile take a mixing bowl and combine the mayonnaise and yogurt together.
  5. Add the chopped chives, cilantro, and cayenne.
  6. Use a knife and remove the corn from the cob.
  7. Add the corn to the mayonnaise mixture, and mix.
  8. Add the chopped red pepper, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and mix.
  9. Serve cold.
Notes
Variations: Use red chilies instead of red peppers.
Tip: Your grill or fire can be hot, just make sure you turn the corn regularly so that it doesn’t burn, but still obtains some grill marks, which adds great flavour.

 

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Potato Wedges with Rosemary and Thyme – Recipe

A favourite in almost every household and restaurant, this potato wedges recipe can be enjoyed as a snack, side dish, or as a light meal on its own. I love serving it with a juicy steak or as a quick snack with sweet chili sauce or a dipping sauce.

You almost can’t make a mistake with this recipe and if you do, well then you might have just created your own signature version of it.

Potato Wedges

Potato Wedges with Rosemary and Thyme
 
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Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
  • 6 large potatoes (peeled)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt & pepper
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 C with a roasting pan inside
  2. Cut the potatoes into wedges about 1 cm thick.
  3. Boil the potato wedges in salted water for about 5-6 minutes until just tender not soft.
  4. Drain the potato wedges and pat dry with paper towel.
  5. Remove the hot roasting pan from the oven and scatter the potatoes in the pan.
  6. Coat the potato wedges with the garlic, herbs, olive oil, salt & pepper. Use tongs to toss all the ingredients to make sure everything is mixed properly.
  7. Bake for 10-15 min until golden brown and crispy, turning regularly during baking. Remove and serve.
Notes
Variations: Baby potatoes cut in halves. Add a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice. Tip: Use fresh herbs and not dried, as the fresh herbs flavours will develop more in the oven. Make sure the potato wedges are well coated with olive oil as this is vital in getting them crispy.

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Making Lavender Sugar

lavender sugar
Lavender sugar is for the discerning sweet tooth.

If you have a discerning sweet tooth, you’ll love lavender sugar.

Like the scent of rose geranium, the smell of lavender reminds me of my grandmother’s garden, kitchen, closets and drawers. She had it tucked away everywhere.

She also infused sugar with the perfume of lavender and used it in shortbread, sprinkled over a sponge cake or stirred into berries.

I’ve expanded on granny’s uses a bit and love using it with pancakes, cheese cakes and cakes. It also makes a nice gift to show your appreciation and can also been made into gifts for wedding guests.

The recipe is still granny’s and couldn’t be simpler:

  1. Pick your lavender flowers and stalks and let them wilt slightly to ensure that they are completely dry.
  2. Pack them in a jar and layer with sugar, either normal granulated white sugar or castor sugar for a finer texture.
  3. Seal and decorate the top with some dried lavender flowers.