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Country Pea Soup with Rosemary

photo of country pea soup with rosemary
Country Pea Soup with Rosemary

If you are wondering if split pea soup can be improved ask Rosemary, she has the answer. This delightful recipe by Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger is even better with the addition of smoked ham. Any pea soup improves in flavour when made in advance; thin it with a little water when reheating.

Country Pea Soup with Rosemary
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: Serves 8
  • 700g split peas, washed and sorted
  • 1 large rosemary sprig
  • 1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
  1. Place split peas in a large soup pot and cover them with 5cm of water.
  2. Add the rosemary sprig and bay leaf.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Sauté the vegetables in the olive oil for 10 minutes, and then add them to the peas with the salt garlic and rosemary.
  5. Cook the soup over low heat for about 25 minutes, or until the peas are done, stirring occasionally.
  6. Adjust the seasoning and serve hot.

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Pork Fillet Roast with Dried Fruit

pork roast with dried fruitThis recipe by Lynn Roblin is a great way to bring out the best flavour in pork.

The dried fruits go well with the pork and increase the fiber content.

Pork can handle all the sweet spices, including allspice, cinnamon and clove so feel free to play around with these if you’d like to spice this recipe up a bit.

I like serving this recipe with rice.

Pork Fillet Roast with Dried Fruit
  • 750g pork fillet
  • 50ml brown sugar
  • 50ml orange marmalafe
  • 50ml beef stock
  • 50ml red wine
  • 50ml chopped dates
  • 50ml chopped dried apricots
  • 50ml raisins
  1. Place fillet in roasting pan. In a small saucepan, heat sugar and marmalade, brush over pork.
  2. Add stock, wine, dates, apricots and raisins to the roasting pan.
  3. Bake, covered, for 35 to 45 minutes, or until required doneness is reached.
  4. To serve, slice meat and spoon sauce and fruit over meat.

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Insalata Caprese – Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Much like chilli peppers, basil is an obsession in our food garden and in our cooking. This recipe is one of the first we make every year when the basil starts overflowing with abundance and the first tomatoes ripens on the vines. It’s also the recipe we probably make most during the course of the growing season.

caprese salad with fresh basil
An old time favourite! Caprese salad with fresh basil.

Insalata Caprese (salad in the style of Capri or Tomato and Mozzarella Salad) is a simple salad from the Italian region of Campania, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, plum tomatoes and basil. Balsamic vinegar, good olive oil, salt and pepper make up the dressing.

According to Wikipedia, ideally, the mozzarella is “di bufala campana“, the olive oil is “extra virgin” from the peninsula of “Sorrento” and the tomatoes and basil are grown in the full sun of the “mezzogiorno“.

This is one of those recipes that celebrates simple food, local produce and healthy eating. It simply bursts with flavour and it is packed with protective antioxidant nutrients and health promoting phytonutrients. It also provides nearly a third of your daily vitamin A and vitamin C requirements and also nearly half of your calcium requirements.

Use tomatoes of any type as long as they burst with flavour. Vine-ripened tomatoes from your own organic food garden are best. You really need top-quality tomatoes for this salad, so if you don’t have any, rather make another salad instead.

Serve Insalata Caprese as an appetizer, or as a side dish. And by the way, the colours of the salad is that of the Italian flag.

Buon appetito!

tomato mozzarella salad

Insalata Caprese
Prep time
Total time
Serve the salad immediately or cover and set aside at room temperature for an hour or so to allow the flavours to develop. When serving later, dress with only half the oil and vinegar.
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
  • 4 large ripe, full-flavoured tomatoes
  • 225 g mozzarella cheese
  • 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 75 ml fresh basil leaves, shredded fine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Cut the tomatoes into thin (about 3 - 5 mm) slices and slice to mozzarella to a similar thickness.
  2. Sprinkle your serving plate with a dash of salt and a twist of black pepper.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella in slightly overlapping circles on the seasoned serving plate.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle over shredded basil leaves.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

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Healthy Tomato Salsa Recipe

This mild but addictive zesty tomato salsa is low in kilojoules and loaded with healthy phyto-nutrients and lycopene. Various studies revealed that men that eat lots of tomatoes had a greatly reduced risk of prostate cancer due to the lycopene in tomatoes.

This tomato salsa is a delicious match with any braai meal, it also adds a bright note to any Mexican dish.

I prefer to use ripe (red) Jalapeno peppers but you can use any chili pepper you like. And if you don’t have fresh peppers, dried peppers will do just as well.

Healthy Tomato Salsa Photo
A zesty tomato salsa boasting loads of cancer fighting properties.
Healthy Tomato Salsa
Serves: 4-6
  • 3 - 4 ripe tomatoes (preferable vine ripened), diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced finely
  • ½ cup cilantro (fresh coriander leaves, aka danja or dhania), chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon coriander seed, ground
  • ½ teaspoon cumin, ground
  • ¼ cup lime juice (or lemon juice)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small serving bowl.
  2. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
  4. Garnish with fresh cilantro just before serving.
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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
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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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
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.
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.