Friday, April 15, 2011

MJ's Pasta dish

Well I had to add this one, this is my husbands creation an easy menu and yummmmmmy. Thank you my husband for your contribution.

Serves 6 - 8 people

500g Penne pasta
250g Chorizo chopped into nice bite sizes
250g frankfurter sausages chopped into nice bite sizes
1 large onion finely chopped
6 gloves garlic
1 medium seized of each red, yellow and green peppers diced
4 tbl spoons olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon oragano
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot bring water to boil and add pasta.
Boil pasta till nice and al dente.
Drain rinse and set aside.
In another large pot heat 4 tbl spoons olive oil saute onions until tender add galic chorizo and frankfurters and fry lightly until the meat starts to release oils.
Add peppers herbs and finally add chopped tomatoes and puree, cook tomatoes until the oil starts to separate from the sauce.
Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer on a low heat for about 20mins.
Add pasta to sauce and mix simmer for a final 10mins
Serve with garlic bread and salads of choice

Cabbage and peanut butter

This is a Zimbabwean side dish served with Sadza a thick maize meal porridge similar to the Italian polenta.

Serves 4-6 people

1/2 medium cabbage chopped medium slices
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 tbl spoon peanut butter
3 tbl spoon water
1-2 dried birds eye chilli
salt to taste
2 tbl spoon vegetable cooking oil

In a medium pot heat oil and saute onions until nice and soft, add cabbage and fry lightly until tender.
In a cup mix peanut butter and water to a smooth paste
Add to fried cabbage and mix well ensuring the peanut butter is mixed through the cabbage.
If the cabbage seems too thick to stir add a little more water.
Your spoon should be free to stir in the pot.
Add 1-2 dried birds eye chilli depending on the heat you would like and salt to taste.
Great with bbq (braai) meat and Sadza (Zimbabwean staple maize porridge /Italian polenta)

Chicken Biryani

My husband loves this and so do my kids and friends. It is easy and cheap as chips to make. I hope you will enjoy this as much as we all do. If any of the servings are too big half the ingredients. Im just used to cooking for many :) Also it may seem like it is loads to do but once you organised and do it step at a time you will find it a very simple dish to make.

Serves 6-8 good sized portions and probably seconds and thirds..

For the curry
2 trays Chicken thighs (I prefer this meat to the breast much juicier also you can buy them boned and skinned in some butchers and supermarkets). Also much cheaper then breasts
1 Onion diced finely
6 cloves crushed garlic
1 large pot natural yogurt
2 1/2 tbl spoons of your favorite curry powder
1/2 teaspoon hot chilli powder
4 medium sized potatoes diced into nice cube sizes, as you would do for salad
4 large onions cut into medium sized rings
1 level teaspoon cummin seed
3-4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 Bay leaf
1 Star anise
2 Cardamon
6 tbls vegetable cooking oil

For the Rice
2 large cups basmati rice (good grade basmati)
1 heaped teaspoon tumeric
2 tbl spoons cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon cummin seed


Remove chicken from bone and skin (if you cant get the thighs boned and skinned) and chop up into nice bite size pieces. Place chicken in bowel add 1 1/2 tbl spoon curry, chilli powder, half the crushed garlic and 3/4's of the natural yogurt, set chicken aside and allow to marinate for at least an hour or more if you can. I prefer doing this the day before.

In a large pot heat 4 tbl spoons cooking oil and add all seed spices for curry.
Allow the aroma to release from the spices, add diced onions and saute until nice and tender not brown.
Add garlic and remaining tbl spoon of curry powder.
Cook curry slowly for at least 5mins, adding a little water at a time to prevent the curry from sticking to your pot and burning.
Add chicken and yogurt marinide and cook slowly till the yogurt begins to split (oil will rise in the pot) at this stage add I tin of finely chopped tomatoes and continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken at least 25mins on a medium heat/slow heat

In a frying pan or deep fat fryer, fry potato cubes as you would chips until nice and brown make sure they are cooked through.
Drain oil and add potatoes straight to your curry, do the same with onion rings.
Stir pot gently and continue to allow the sauce to simmer over a very low heat, if the mixture seems a bit dry add about 1/2 small cup water.

Finally for the rice:-

Wash rice thoroughly to get the starch out, be very careful basmati is a delicate rice, drain water well.
In a large pot heat 2 tbl spoons vegetable cooking oil, make sure it is piping hot, throw in the 1/2 teaspoon cummin seed, as soon as the aroma starts to release drain your rice and put it into your pot quickly, make sure there is no water in this.
Fry the rice and saute till the rice starts to clump together Do not over stir rice as it breaks easily.
Add 3 1/2 cups boiling water to the rice (use the same cup as the one you used to measure the rice), you want the rice to be just covered by the water.
Add tumeric give it a slight stir close the pot reduce the heat to a very low setting and leave until all the water is finished. DO NOT OPEN THE POT LID during this steaming process.
Use a fork to separate the rice grains lightly if you are too rough you can break and damage the grains.

Bringing it all together

In a nice serving bowl layer the curry, potato, onion and rice mixture as you would a lasagne and garnish with corriander.
Serve with salads of choice

Nata's homemade chicken soup

I love this soup it is a perfect pick me up and great for when you sick and under the weather. My kids love it and when we all sick with flu this is the thing that sooths us.

What you will need for a nice big pot to serve 6-8

1 small/medium chicken
6 carrots diced
3 sticks celery diced
3 parsnips diced
2 medium onions diced
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 chicken stock cubes
3 tbl spoons cooking oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop up chicken into 1/4 pieces, add about 3lts water and bring to the boil in a large soup pot simmer for about 45mins.
This will create a nice stock. Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool.
Once cool remove meat from carcass and cut into chunks.
Remove stock from pot and place in a jug/bowl until ready to use.
Heat oil saute onions until nice and tender add garlic, add all diced veg and fry lightly for 5 mins.
Add chicken pieces and liquid stock you set aside previously along with the 2 stock cubes.
Allow to simmer for a further 5 mins at this stage add salt and pepper to taste.
Depending on the amount of liquid in your pot you can add probably 1 cup of water, the idea is to make sure all veg and chicken are well covered.
Continue to simmer over a very low heat for 30 mins. (You can also add quick noodles to give your soup more body)
Serve with nice fresh bread and butter....

Quick and easy mushroom sauce

This is a sauce I use on beef or chicken burgers or simply as a side for a nice juice steak and chips. I make alot as you can always keep it in the fridge for upto a week and use it as you like.

1 punnet button mushroom or oyster mushrooms
1 small onion
1 tbls butter
2 tbls plain flour
500mls milk

In a medium pot melt butter and lightly saute onions and mushrooms till nice and soft. Add flour and cook till the flour becomes pale and fluffy, slowly add milk to mixture and cook on a medium heat for 5 mins until nice and thick.

Friday night burger king burgers

I love this easy Friday night dinner no mess no fuss. This is one dinner I cheat and my kids and hubby love it.

Serves 4 people

1 pack 100% 1/4 pounder burgers found in the freezer section of (Lidil yes lidil they in a orange box) alternatively for those in countries without Lidil get any brand as long as they 100% beef content and are 1/4 pounders
Burger buns
1 Beef Tomato
1 Large onion sliced in rings (these can be cooked or raw depending on your taste buds)
Cheese slices

Optional Mushroom sauce (see recipe for my own mushroom sauce)

Fry burgers in a pan with no oil, I dont use oil as I find burgers have enough of their own fat content. Butter burger buns pile on lettuce, tomato, onion rings, mushroom sauce (optional), beef burger, cheese slice.... If you like you can add relish or ketchup.Serve with American fries or as we would say chip sticks, I buy these too from lidil and pop them in the chip fryer. No mess no fuss its so simple and yet so yummy beats a takeout any day.

Mac and Cheese

This is one on my daughter's favourite dishes, if you not up for the extra pounds do not make this!!

Serves 6-8 people you can half the quantities for less people

Preheat oven 180 degrees

500g Macaroni pasta / penne pasta
500g Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese
200g Parmesan cheese
200g Gruyere/Swiss/Emmental or Gouda cheese
2 heaped tbl spoons plain flour
2 heaped tbl spoons butter
1lt milk
1 heaped teaspoon black or white pepper
1 teaspoon English mustard

In a large pot bring to boil enough water to boil pasta at least 3 lts. Boil pasta until cooked and not al dente, you want your pasta to be tender but not too soft.

In a medium to large pot melt butter and add flour and cook slowly till you see the colour of the flour become pale and fluffy.
Do not cook on a high heat this will burn the butter and flour.
Slowly add milk and stir quickly be careful of lumps forming, I suggest you use a bell whisk.
Slowly add cheese use half of all the cheese, add mustard, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 mins on a low heat stirring occasionally.

At this stage pasta should be ready, drain and rinse with cold water, pour white sauce over pasta sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake in a preheated oven for 30mins or until top is nice and golden brown, to add an extra crunch mix handful of bread crumbs into cheese to sprinkle the top.
Serve with a nice green salad yummy

Milk Tart (Melk Tart)


250g Plain Flour
50g Icing Sugar
150g Butter
2 Egg Yolks (keep whites for meringue)
3 tablespoons iced cold water

Pie Filling

500ml milk
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons flour
2 large eggs

100g castor sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Cinnamon to sprinkle 
Heat oven 180 degrees

For the crust:-
  • Sieve the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Rub in the butter.
  • Beat the egg yolks and water together and slowly add is to your dry ingredients, mix to a soft dough.
  • Turn onto floured board and lightly knead. Cover and store in fridge until ready to use.
Now take your pie dish (about 9inch) and roll out your pastry 3-4mm in thickness to cover the pie dish. Carefully roll the pastry back on to your rolling pin and place it  into your pie dish making sure it goes up the sides with an even thickness.

Prick your pastry with a fork about 4 or 5 times over the base. Place a piece of baking parchment or grease proof paper on your pastry, fill with baking beans/rice or normal dried beans and then pop it into the oven for about 30minutes. In the last 5 minutes of your time remove the beans/rise and bake blind until the pastry is light brown. Remove and set aside to cool.

For the filling :- 

In  a mixing bowl and add the flour, cornflour/cornstarch, sugar, salt and eggs, whisk together.

Now take a small pot on a medium heat and add the milk and heat until gently until it reaches a  threatening to boil at this stage.
Remove from the heat and slowly pour the milk in a slow stream into the egg mixture while you whisk. It is really important to add the heat gradually while you whisk. This prevents lumps from forming and does not cook the egg too quickly.

The mixture will be thickening while you whisk and once you have finished adding all of the milk mixture, return everything to the pot over a medium to low heat and add the vanilla essence. Cook it for a few minutes stirring constantly(slowly) until the custard has thickened to a wonderful creamy texture. Add salt, vanilla and butter and mix well.

Fill up your base with the custard filling, giving it a good dusting with cinnamon and set it aside in a cool place to set. Then pop it into the fridge for about an hour before digging in.

I know it seems like a long recipe but it’s really not…. I just want you to really enjoy this one!