Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pork Roast with Chimichurri from Argentina

Besides football players, Argentina is famous for its meat dishes.  It is a country of carnivores and they have perfected the cooking of meat.  Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce made from a mixture of herbs, garlic and vinegar.  It can also be used as a marinade and a meat tenderiser.  The recipe for chimichurri sauce is elsewhere on the blog.

1.5kg pork roast
1 cup chimichurri sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder

Put the pork roast in a large bowl.  Take 1/2 cup of the chimichurri sauce and completely coat the pork roast with it, massaging it into the meat.  Cover and leave for a couple of hours or overnight so that it can marinate.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Remove the pork from the marinade and place in a grill pan.  Sprinkle on the different seasonings.  Place under the grill in the oven for approximately an hour, allowing 20 minutes for 500g.  Turn over the roast half way through the cooking time.  When the roast is cooked, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve the left over chimichurri sauce on the side or on top of the pork slices.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Frijol con Puerco from Mexico

This black bean and pork stew is delicious.  They say that black beans are healthy for you and some even go on to say that it will improve your intelligence.  This recipe uses left over pork roast.  If you don't have a left over roast you can fry or grill pork tenderloin that you cube before adding to the bean stew.  Alternatively you can fry or grill kielbasa or chorizo sausage that you then cut up before adding to the bean stew.  Of course if you want this to be vegetarian you can leave out the meat altogether and just make it a black bean stew.
4 cups cooked black beans or 4 cans black beans
2 cups pulled pork or leftover pork roast
1 can corn kernels
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion finely chopped
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 chili de-seeded and finely chopped
1 chicken stock cube
2 cups water
1 carrot diced
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Put the cooking oil in the pot and saute the onion, carrot, garlic and chili until soft.  Add in the cumin, coriander and chili powder and stir it in, letting it cook for about 1-2 minutes.  Pour in the water and add in the stock cube, bay leaf, oregano and can of chopped tomatoes.  Bring to the boil.  Add the cooked beans and allow to cook on a low heat for 20 minutes.  Add the pulled pork and corn kernels .  Let it simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.  If you want it spicier you can add in more chili.  Serve with rice or cornbread.  Garnish with the chopped cilantro.

Cindy Vine is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, Defective and C U @ 8.  All her books are available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats.  Cindy is currently working on a recipe book.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Poached Salmon from Alaska

It is said that the best salmon comes from Alaska.  Alaskan salmon has a firmer texture and richer colour than salmon raised on a fish farm.  Something about the still-pristine icy waters of the North Pacific.  An added bonus is that eating salmon is reported to be good for your health.  You don't have to settle for only smoked salmon.  You can grill, bake, poach or fry it.  It is only when I lived in Kyiv that I started buying fresh salmon to cook.  Probably because fresh salmon was more readily available there than my home town of Cape Town.
4 salmon fillets or steaks
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Cajun spice
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 cup vermouth
1 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Melt the butter in a large frying pan that has a lid.  Add in the Cajun spice, garlic and onion.  Saute for 2 minutes until the onions are soft.  Add in the vermouth and cook for a further 3 minutes, making sure you stir constantly.  Pour in the water.  Place the salmon fillets skin-side down on the pan.  Sprinkle the salmon with the black pepper and the salt.  Put the lid on the frying pan.  Let the salmon simmer for 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.  When you touch it with a fork and it flakes it is done.  Dribble some lemon juice on each piece of salmon and serve with a salad.
Cindy Vine is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, Defective and C U @ 8.  All her books are available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats.  Cindy is currently working on a recipe book.

Rabbit Liver Pate from France

Rabbit liver pate is rich, smooth and extremely luxurious.  It's not easily available, but if you see it buy it.  It doesn't have the conventional liver taste.  The flavour is quite delicate and much sweeter than chicken, goose or duck liver.  If you can't find rabbit liver then you can substitute it with chicken, duck or goose liver.
250g rabbit liver
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion finely sliced
1 garlic clove finely chopped
3 tablespoons port
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Melt the butter in a pan.  Saute the onion and garlic.  Sprinkle salt on both sides of the liver.  Add the rabbit liver to the pan and let it sear for a minute on each side.  Remove the liver and set aside.  Add in the port and let it simmer for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Put the liver and pan contents into a small bowl and use a stick blender to turn it into a smooth paste.  If you are wanting a coarser pate then reduce the amount of pulses of the blender.  Alternatively you can chop it all finely by hand.  Add the pepper and mix it all together.  Serve on toast or with crackers.  Serves 4-6 people.
Cindy Vine is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, Defective and C U @ 8.  All her books are available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats.  Cindy is currently working on a recipe book.

Sopa de Ajo from Cuba

This soup is strong-tasting and quite rich but extremely delicious.  However it is not recommended if you are planning a romantic evening, unless your partner consumes the same amount of soup as you.  It is definitely something you can knock up quite quickly after a hectic day at work.  This is the Cuban version of a peasant-style Spanish soup.  The Cubans reckon this soup cures all head colds.
8 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 onion finely sliced
½ cup butter
2 stock cubes (Chicken or vegetable)
5 cups water
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
4-6 slices bread
4-6 eggs
Melt the butter in a pot and sauté the garlic and onion until soft but not brown.  Remove from the pot and set it aside for the time being.  Fry the bread slices in the pot.  Put them aside.  Pour the water into the pot.  Add the stock cubes, salt, pepper and paprika.  Bring to the boil.  Add in the garlic and onion you set aside earlier.  Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the cream and stir it in and let it simmer for another 10 minutes.  The egg part of this dish can be done in different ways or omitted if you don’t eat eggs.  You can poach the eggs in the simmering soup for 2-3 minutes or you can opt for the more traditional Cuban method.  The traditional method is to put a slice of fried bread on the bottom of each individual soup bowl and break a raw egg over the bread (or croutons if you prefer.)  Pour the hot soup over the raw egg and let it stand covered for about 3 minutes until the egg is cooked.
If you are poaching the eggs in the big pot, then put your bread slices or croutons on the bottom of the soup bowl, add the soup and carefully place a poached egg on the top.
Cindy Vine is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, Defective and C U @ 8.  All her books are available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats.  Cindy is currently working on a recipe book.

Country Vegetable Soup from England

When I go into a fruit and veg market I always get completely carried away and buy far too much for my family’s consumption.  There is just something about seeing so many colours and varieties that I can’t resist and I find myself going somewhat overboard.  By the end of the week I have to use up the fresh produce to avoid wasting money and throwing it away.  A wholesome Country Vegetable Soup is the answer.  You can put any vegetable in it.  Literally.  And it will taste good.  This is perfect for cooking in a slow cooker.  Put it in the morning before you leave for work and it will be ready for dinner.
1 onion finely chopped
½ cup chopped celery
1 capsicum finely chopped
1 cup chopped spinach or kale
2 large potatoes peeled and diced
1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
4 cups water
2 teaspoons Soy sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon cumin
Melt the butter in a pot or slow cooker.  Add the garlic, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes and sauté until the onions are soft.  Add the celery, spinach and capsicum and mix together.  Pour in the water, add the stock cube and all the seasonings.  Put the lid on and you can let it simmer in the slow cooker for 7-9 hours.  However if you are cooking this on the oven top, let it simmer for 2-3 hours.  If you are wanting a smooth soup, then you can give it a few pulses with your stick blender.  Serve with warm bread rolls.
Cindy Vine is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, Defective and C U @ 8.  All her books are available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats.  Cindy is currently working on a recipe book.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jerk Pork from Jamaica

Jerk Pork is quite spicy and they say that slaves used to marinate their meat in this spicy mixture because they didn't have fridges and the marinade would disguise the flavour of meat that was starting to go off.  However, Ghanaians make something similar so maybe this recipe evolved from something that was brought across from West Africa.  Whatever the exact origin, this spicy dish is a Jamaican favourite.
1 kg pork tenderloin cut into thick steaks
3 large red chilies seeded and chopped
2 onions roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rum
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Put all the ingredients except the pork steaks into a food processor.  Give it quite a few pulses until you have a thick sauce.  This will be your marinade.  In a large bowl, pour the sauce from the food processor over the pork steaks, making sure that the steaks are liberally covered in the marinade.  Put it aside for 2-3 hours.  Overnight is even better.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius while you get the steaks ready in a grill pan.  When the oven is hot, cook the steaks for 8 minutes, turn them over and cook the other side for 8 minutes.  Serve with either rice, sweet potatoes or a salad.  Instead of cooking in the oven, this can also be cooked in a BBQ over hot coals.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Suon Ram Man from Vietnam

Suon Ram Man are caramelised pork ribs.  Vietnamese food is a favourite of mine.  The flavour combinations go so well together.  Our holiday in Vietnam was spent on trying to decide what delicious traditional meal to try next.  It was always hard to choose but I do remember the sticky caramelised pork ribs as being a winner.  The Vietnamese sometimes use coconut water instead of normal water.  Just a warning, the caramelised sugar gets seriously hot so make sure you don't get any on your skin as you can burn yourself pretty badly.
1kg pork ribs cut into pieces
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup white sugar
1 onion finely chopped
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 capsicum finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 spring onion finely chopped for garnishing
Put the water and rib pieces into a pot and bring to the boil.  Let it boil for about 5 minutes.  In a hot wok, put in the cooking oil and sugar.  Allow the sugar to caramelise stirring all the time so that it doesn't catch on the bottom of the pot and start to burn.  Burnt sugar tastes bitter so you really want to avoid that.  When the sugar has completely melted and is a light-brown colour, add in the pork rib pieces, onion, garlic, capsicum, salt, pepper, ginger, chili powder and soy sauce.  Mix everything together so that the pork ribs are completely coated in the caramelised sugar.  Let the pork ribs brown slightly.  Add in the water the pork ribs were boiled in.  Reduce the heat and allow the rib pieces to simmer in the liquid for 30 minutes.  Drizzle the sesame oil over the ribs and increase the heat slightly, cooking the ribs for a further 5 minutes.  Serve with rice.  Garnish with the finely chopped spring onion.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Veal Piccata from Italy

Although even the most isolated and undeveloped countries seem to have an Italian restaurant, not all of them make a Veal Piccata,  If you choose to live in the back of beyond and want more than pizza and pasta you have to make it yourself.  Wherever you can buy beef you'll be able to get veal.  This recipe is ideal if you need to put together something tasty in a hurry.
1 veal fillet cut into medallions
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian herbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup vermouth or dry white wine
1 handful fresh parsley finely chopped
Mix the flour, herbs, salt and pepper together in a bowl.  Drop the veal medallions into the flour mixture and make sure they are well covered.  Put the olive oil into a frying pan and get it nice and hot.  Shake the excess flour off the veal medallions and fry them in the hot pan for about 2 minutes a side until golden brown.  Sprinkle lemon juice on each side.  Remove the medallions from the pan and put aside.  Put one tablespoon of the butter into the pan and lightly saute the garlic.  Add the dry white wine.  If you use vermouth your sauce will be sweeter.  Put in the rest of the butter and half of the parsley and whisk so that the sauce thickens.  Let it simmer for about 5 minutes so that some of the alcohol cooks away.  Add in the cooked veal medallions and let them simmer in the sauce for another 2-3 minutes.  Serve with a pasta of your choice or boiled potatoes and steamed vegetables.  Use the rest of the chopped parsley as a garnish.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Potato Pancakes from Eastern Europe

Potato pancakes can be found in similar forms all over Eastern Europe.  They might be called different things but they are essentially the same.  They make a great starter or a snack.  They can be served as a savoury with sour cream or as a sweet with jam.  This recipe is for a savoury option.  I would probably leave out the paprika and capsicum if I was going to eat it with jam.  As potatoes were always available in Eastern Europe during times of poverty, potato pancakes were a cheap meal option.  And nothing has changed.  They are still cheap and easy to make.  You can add in extra vegetables like I did with the zucchini and capsicum, or you can stick to just potato.  It doesn't matter as long as you make the main ingredient potato.
4 potatoes peeled and cubed
1 onion finely chopped
1 large zucchini thinly sliced
1/2 red capsicum finely chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
oil for frying
Prepare the vegetables.  Instead of grating the potatoes  and zucchini, put them in a food processor and give it a few pulses until they are reduced to shreds.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Put some cooking oil in a pan and put it on a high heat.  When the oil is hot reduce the heat to medium, drop tablespoons full of the potato batter into it.  Press down to flatten slightly.  When the bottom is golden brown flip them over to cook the other side.  It will take 2-3 minutes per side.  Drain them on kitchen towel.  Serve warm with sour cream, smoked salmon or apple sauce.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Okonomiyaki from Japan

When I worked in a Language School we used to have quite a lot of Japanese students.  Once a month on a Friday I would have a cooking conversation class.  Students had to show the class how to make a traditional dish from their home country, talking us all through the steps.  A great way to practice speaking in English, and an even better way to feed us on Food Friday!  Without fail one of the Japanese students would make Okonomiyaki and it became a class favourite.  Basically Okonomiyaki is a kind of thick pancake, sometimes even called a japanese pizza.  There are different ways of making Okonomiyaki, depending on which part of Japan you are in.  In fact Okonomiyaki is Japanese for 'grilled as you like it' so whatever you include in it is really up to you.  You can make it seafood, vegetarian or full of meat.  I chose to make one with cooked beef mince,

Mince Filling:
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup beef mince (you can use chicken or pork)
1 chili finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Pancake:
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped coriander
1 cup flour
2 eggs
mayonnaise and BBQ sauce for garnishing
Cook the mince and set aside to cool.  In a large bowl combine the cabbage, onion, garlic, ginger, coriander and flour.  Use your fingers to toss it all together so that everything is covered by the flour.  Add the eggs and whisk together until you have a thick batter.  Fold in the cooked mince and any other fillings you are choosing to use.  Use the mince filling saucepan to cook the pancake.  Heat the saucepan and empty out the cabbage pancake mixture into the pan.  Use a spatula to flatten down the top, pressing down quite hard.  Then push the edges back a little towards the centre so that you make a round thick pancake.  Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the bottom is brown.  Turn over the Okonomiyaki and press it down firmly with the spatula.  Let it cook for 5-7 minutes until brown.  Remember to cover the pan with a lid.  If you struggle to flip it over with the spatuala, what I do is slide it off the pan onto a plate.  Put another plate on top, turn it over and slide it back into the pan.  When it is cooked, slide it onto a plate.  Liberally drizzle BBQ sauce and mayonnaise on the top.  For an added garnish crumble some dried seaweed (nori) on the top.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Cape Brandy Pudding from South Africa


Cape Brandy Pudding is another South African classic and will be found on the menu in many fine dining restaurants in South Africa.  It is also called Tipsy Tart for obvious reasons.  Although you would think something this delicious must be difficult to make, it's surprisingly  easy to make and is always a winner when served to guests.  You can add in a cup of chopped walnuts or pecan nuts to the batter.  However as I am not a nut person (my Granny said if you swallowed a pip you get a tree growing inside you) I tend to leave them out.
10 dates pitted and roughly chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
120g butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1  cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
zest of 1 orange

Syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brandy
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Put the dates in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over them.  Add in the bicarb and set aside and allow to cool.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  In another bowl cream the butter and sugar.  Add in the egg and mix well to make a smooth mixture.  Fold in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger.  Add in the chopped dates and orange zest.  Grease a pie dish and pour in the batter.  Bake for 30 minutes until the pudding is firm to the touch.  While the pudding is cooking, prepare the syrup.  Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sugar and water.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Add in the cinnamon and boil for a minute and then take off the heat.  Pour in the brandy and vanilla essence and allow to infuse while the pudding finishes baking.  For a darker colour use brown sugar throughout the recipe instead of white sugar.  As soon as the pudding comes out of the oven pour the syrup over it.  Serve hot or cold with custard, cream or ice-cream.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kingklip with lemon butter sauce from South Africa

Kingklip is a very popular eating fish in South Africa.  It is a species of Cusk Eel and is known by different names around the world.  In Japan it's called Kingu and in New Zealand Ling.  In South America it is known as Congrio.  Kingklip aren't specifically caught, they are a product of by-fishing.  In other words you are trying to catch one kind of fish and accidentally catch a Kingklip when it appears in the trawl net with the more common Hake.  Therefore they are not the cheapest fish and not always available in fisheries.  Kingklip are low in fat and have a delicate flavour.  For this recipe if you can't get your hands on Kingklip you can use any other firm white flesh fish.  Like Hake, Cod or Monkfish for instance.
Kingklip or other white fish fillets
lemon pepper for sprinkling
1 teaspoon butter for each fillet
olive oil for sprinkling
Sauce
1/2 cup water/fish stock
1/2 cup sherry
1/2 cup cream
1 onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 bayleaf
250g butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Prepare a baking tray for your fish by lining it in tin foil.  Sprinkle the tin foil with olive oil and lay your fish fillets on the foil.  Sprinkle lemon pepper on the fish fillets and place the teaspoon of butter on top of the fillet.  Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until it is just done and turns from translucent to opaque in the thicker parts.  Let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
While the fish is in the oven you can prepare the sauce.  Put the water, sherry, cream, onion, garlic and bay leaves in a pot and bring to the boil.  Let it boil while you make the next part of the sauce.  In another pot or pan, melt one tablespoon of the butter.  Add the flour and stir until it is incorporated with the butter.  Slowly add the contents of the other pot to your flour/butter mixture, stirring all the while.  Add in the rest of the butter a tablespoon at a time, never stopping the stirring.  Turn the heat down and let it simmer while you stir.  Stir in the salt, lemon pepper and lemon juice.  Take the sauce off the heat and add the chopped parsley just before you are ready to serve.  Spoon the sauce over the fish fillets and serve with steamed vegetables and rice or boiled potatoes.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Eastern Europe

My Aunty Joy used to regularly make stuffed cabbage rolls.  Having a cabbage in the fridge that had to be used and some mince, I decided to give it a go.  I researched stuffed cabbage rolls and discovered that every Eastern European country has their version of stuffed cabbage rolls.  So in this recipe, I have just given the origin as Eastern Europe so as not to offend any country who might feel particularly drawn to claim stuffed cabbage rolls as their own.  In Slovakia they are called Halupki.  In Hungary Toltott Kaposzta.  In Croatia and Serbia Sarma.  In Poland Golabki.  Ashkenazi Jews call it Holishkes.  Ukrainians Holubtsi.  Romania Sarmale.  Lithuania Balandeliai.  Russia Golubtsi.  You get the picture.  I cooked the rice separately as I wanted it to soak up the lovely tomato sauce, but traditionally the rice is added to the mince filling.  Regardless of exactly where this comes from, it is a very cheap dinner to make.

Cabbage rolls:
1 cabbage
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
500g mince (any meat will do veal, pork, beef, chicken, lamb etc)
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup uncooked rice (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Tomato Sauce:
1 1/2 cups white wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon chopped coriander
1 onion finely sliced
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
6 tablespoons tomato puree
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Dribble the olive oil over the bottom of a baking pan.  In a bowl prepare your mince filling.  Add the mince, onion, garlic, seasonings and uncooked rice if you are using it in the mince filling.  Set that aside and prepare the cabbage leaves.  Boil some water.  Pull the leaves off the cabbage and place the leaves in a large bowl.  Pour the boiling water over the cabbage leaves and leave them in the boiling water while you make the tomato sauce.  That will soften the leaves to make them easy to roll.  Put all the ingredients for the tomato sauce in a pot and allow to simmer while you form the cabbage rolls.  When the leaves have softened and are cool enough to handle, lift them out of the water.  Place some of the mince mixture on each cabbage leaf.  Fashion the mince mixture into a sausage-shape.  Roll the cabbage leaf away from you to encase the mince sausage.   Tuck in the sides and continue to roll the leaf so that you have a neat little roll.  Place the cabbage roll in the oiled baking pan.  Repeat until you have used up all the mince mixture and cabbage leaves.  You can add in some par-cooked potatoes and carrots if you wish.  Take the tomato sauce off the heat and pour it over the cabbage rolls.  Bake the cabbage rolls in the tomato sauce for about 45 minutes.  Depending on whether you have included the rice in the mince mixture or the potatoes with the cabbage rolls, serve the cabbage rolls and tomato sauce with rice or mashed potatoes.
Cindy Vine is a South African author and teacher working in Ukraine.  She is the author of The Case of Billy B, Not Telling, Defective, CU@8 and Hush Baby.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and print format.  http://cindyvine.com


Friday, August 29, 2014

Beef Stroganoff from Russia

Nobody is a hundred percent sure who invented this dish, but what we do know is that it came out of Russia in the 1800's and spread all over the world.  There are many variations of Beef Stroganoff. Some people leave out the wine, others leave out the mushrooms but nobody leaves out the sour cream.  I happen to like it with wine and mushrooms.  This is simple to make and best served with pasta, although you can serve it with rice.
4 tablespoons butter
1 kg beef cut into thin strips
1 onion finely sliced
2 cloves garlic finally chopped
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon English mustard
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup water
1 beef stock cube
1 punnet button mushrooms thinly sliced
1/2 cup sour cream
Melt the butter in a pot and add the beef strips.  Brown the beef strips and add in the onions and garlic.  Let it all saute for about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in the flour, salt and black pepper and make sure that the beef strips are evenly coated with the flour.  Add the sliced mushrooms and the English mustard.  Pour in the water and drop in the stock cube.  Stir well and reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add the white wine and simmer for a further 20 minutes until the beef strips are tender and the sauce has thickened.  Stir in the sour cream and let it simmer for another minute or two before serving.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Harira from Morocco

This hearty soup will make you believe that you are in Morocco.  It's full of flavour and very warming on a cold evening.  I made this in a slow cooker but it is possible to cook this in a pot on the stove-top.  However if you are wanting the lamb to fall apart and melt in your mouth, then a slow cooker is the way to go.
There are many variations of making Harira.  In North Africa this soup is commonly eaten to break the fast after Ramadan.
1 can chickpeas
1/4 cup brown lentils
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 kg lamb pieces (some bones will be good)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 chicken stock cube
4 cups water
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 stick celery finely chopped
1 handful fresh coriander finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
fresh mint leaves for garnishing
Put the olive oil in a pot and saute the onion until soft.  Add the lamb pieces and allow them to lightly brown. In a cup add the tablespoon of boiling water to the saffron threads.  Stir this mixture into the lamb mixture.   Add in the rest of the ingredients except the chickpeas and lentils and reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours.  Add in the chickpeas and lentils.  You might need to add a little more water.  Simmer for another hour until the lamb is falling apart.  Serve with a flat bread and garnish with the mint leaves.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Chunky Tomato Soup from Spain

This is a quick and easy and very tasty homemade tomato soup to make.  The flavour combinations give it that extra depth and you can be forgiven for picturing yourself sitting in a cafe in Spain when eating this.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 cans chopped tomato
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons mixed herbs
2 tablespoons Worcester sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 handfuls fresh herbs finely chopped (like thyme, coriander, oregano)
Put the olive oil in a pot and saute the onion and garlic until soft.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.  And then it's done!  I did say it was quick and easy!  Serve with toast or fresh bread.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Smoked Snoek Tart from South Africa

Snoek is synonymous with Cape Town.  It is a silvery, oily game fish with sharp teeth and long needle-like bones.  A bonus is that it doesn't have to be scaled before cooking.  Snoek are caught in the waters around the Cape and traditionally smoked and sold at the side of the road.  Nowadays during snoek season you can buy smoked snoek in most supermarkets in Cape Town.  However, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to pop into a supermarket in Cape Town, so the snoek can be substituted with any other smoked fish.
1 packet frozen puff pastry
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup smoked snoek that has been deboned and flaked
1 small onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
zest of a small lemon
3 eggs
1 cup cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Melt the butter in a frying pan and saute the onion and garlic until soft.  Add to the flaked smoked fish together with the pepper, zest, eggs, cream and cheddar cheese.  Mix well and check the seasoning adding in more pepper or salt if needed.  Cut out pastry circles and place them in a greased muffin pan.  Spoon your smoked fish and egg mixture onto the pastry cases.  Sprinkle the Parmesan on the top.  Pop them into the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until the tops of the tarts have browned and the filling has set.  Serve with a salad.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Carbonada Criolla from Argentina

Growing up, we used to eat stew a couple of times a week.  As a struggling single mother, stew was a staple for us.  A way to feed a family using cheaper cuts of meat.  So always on the lookout to make stew a little different, this beef stew from Argentina is definitely unusual but decidedly delicious.  Because of the dried fruit and sweet potatoes the stew is sweeter than the conventional stew.  But when you are looking for something hearty and warming on a chilly evening, Carbonada Criolla is ideal.  Serve with cornbread and a salad or brown rice.  Perfect for cooking in a slow cooker.
1 large onion roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 green pepper finely sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 kg stewing beef cut into chunks
1 can peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 cups water
1 beef stock cube
3 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
2 white potatoes peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup dried apricots roughly chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup frozen corn
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon black pepper
chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
This is quite a bulky stew so you will need to use a large pot or your slow cooker.  Sauté the onions, green pepper, and garlic in the olive oil until golden and soft.  Add the beef chunks and lightly brown the meat.  Add the can of tomatoes, beef stock cube, water, potatoes, sugar, butternut, and dried fruit, and allow to simmer for about an hour.  Add the salt and pepper and a little more water if the stew is too thick.
Let it simmer for another 45 minutes until the beef cubes break apart when you touch them with a fork.  Stir in the frozen corn, and simmer for 5 minutes more.  Alternatively, put the ingredients in your slow cooker on low heat in the morning before leaving for work, and it will be perfect when you get home later in the day.
Cindy Vine is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, Defective and C U @ 8. All her books are available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats. Cindy is currently working on a recipe book.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Goan Seafood Curry from India

I spent a Christmas holiday one year in Goa with my children.  The food, especially the seafood, was incredible and I still have many fond memories of the holiday we spent there.  This seafood curry brought back a rush of memories.  In this recipe I used a packet of seafood mix, but you can add in fish pieces and prawns as well.  Whatever you fancy.  If you want it less spicy then only use 1 chili.
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion finely sliced
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece ginger finely chopped
2 chilies deseeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water
1 chicken stock cube
1 can coconut milk
1kg packet seafood mix
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh coriander
Put the oil in a pot and saute the onion, garlic, ginger and chilies until soft.  Add the turmeric, curry powder, cumin and ground coriander and mix it in well.  Add in the salt, tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, water and stock cube and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat and add in the coconut milk.  Let it simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.  Taste the sauce for seasoning and add more if the balance isn't too your liking.  Add in the seafood and simmer gently for about 4-5 minutes until it is cooked through.  Sprinkle in the fresh coriander and serve with steamed rice.
If you wish a thicker sauce mix 3 teaspoons cornflour with a little water and add.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Friday, July 18, 2014

Feijoada from Brazil

Feijoada is a traditional Brazilian bean stew.  Years ago it was a dish made by slaves with beans and the discarded scraps of beef and pork their wealthy owners didn't want to eat.  Today you can still find feijoada made with pigs' ears and snouts and other meat off-cuts.  The great thing about feijoada, is that you can adapt the recipe to suit you.  Use the meat cuts you like as long as you use a variety, combining fresh meat with salted and smoked, you will be on the mark.  Most feijoada is made using black beans.  However I couldn't find any black beans and used red speckled beans and they worked just as well.  The feijoada just didn't have the black colour but the taste was the same.  I used my slow cooker to make the feijoada but it could be done on the stove-top as well.
1 packet dried beans (Black or red speckled)
6 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
1 red chili finely chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 bay leaves
1 can chopped peeled tomatoes
2 smoked sausages like kielbasa, sliced
4 chorizo sausages sliced
4 rashers bacon roughly chopped
500g pork fillet or steak cut into cubes
500g stewing beef cut into cubes
sliced oranges for garnish
Soak the beans overnight in 2 cups of the water.  In a large pot cover the bottom with the olive oil.  Add the onion, chili and garlic and saute until soft.  Add the meats and brown for a few minutes.  If using a slow cooker transfer the browned meat and sauteed onion to the slow cooker.  Otherwise keep it in the large pot and know that you'll have to be around to check on it as it will be on a slow simmer for 4-5 hours.  Whatever method you are using, add the soaked beans together with the water they were soaking in, the remaining 4 cups of water, coriander, salt, pepper and bay leaves.  Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.  After simmering for 3 hours, add in the chopped tomatoes.  If the water cooks away you might need to add more.  When the beans are soft and the meat cuts tender and falling apart your feijoada is done.  The flavour improves the next day if you need to keep it in the fridge.  Serve with rice and sauteed collard greens or spinach.  Garnish with the orange slices.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Pear Clafouti from France

With pears in the fridge needing to be eaten, I researched different recipes which used pears as their core ingredient.  Eventually I was attracted to a clafouti which is supposed to be the national dessert of France.  Granted it is usually made with black cherries.  This recipe is unbelievably easy to make.  I was actually shocked that something so delicious could be so simple.  I served it with a thin pouring custard, but it could just as easily be served with whipped cream or ice-cream.
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 pears peeled, cored and sliced
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.  Grease a pie dish.  Lay the pear slices on the bottom of the pie dish.  In a mixing bowl mix together the remaining ingredients to form a thin batter.  Pour the batter over the pear slices.  Pop the pie dish into the hot oven and bake for 40 minutes until the batter has set and is golden brown.  Serve hot with pouring custard, cream or ice-cream and be prepared for your dinner guests to be wowed.  They will not believe how something with such a grand sounding name could be so quick and easy this was to make.
Cindy Vine is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, Defective and C U @ 8.  All her books are available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats.  Cindy is currently working on a recipe book.

Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce from Belgium

When some friends asked me to make them pork chops for dinner, I looked at which country had perfected the humble pork chop and found Belgium.  It's not just chocolate that they do well.  In this easy recipe the mustard sauce finishes it off perfectly.  I allowed 2 pork loin chops per person.  As my friends were on diet, I steamed the vegetables and stayed away from heaps of oil.
This recipe is perfect for those in a hurry wanting to put a delicious meal together quickly.
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 pork loin chops
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon steak and chops spice mix (optional)
Mustard Sauce
1 onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons thick cream
1 tablespoon Dijon or English mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Put the oven onto grill.  Drizzle the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet and add the pork chops.  Season them and brown them on the stove top for about 2 minutes a side to seal in the juices.  Transfer them to a roast pan and put them under the grill for about 5 minutes until cooked through but not overcooked.  Turn them over halfway through your cook time.  To make your sauce, melt the butter in a pot and saute the finely chopped onion until soft.  Add the white wine, cream and mustard.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes.  Add the lemon juice before serving, stirring it in well.  Serve the pork chop with the mustard sauce and steamed vegetables.
Cindy Vine is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, Defective and C U @ 8.  All her books are available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback formats.  Cindy is currently working on a recipe book.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lamb and Date Stew from Oman

Bags of flavour is the best way to describe this tasty stew from Oman.  You can cook it on the stove-top letting it simmer for a few hours until the lamb chunks just fall apart.  Or you can do as I did and let it simmer all day in the slow cooker.  Serve this stew with brown rice and be prepared to be wowed by the flavour combinations.  This is easy to make as you put everything in a pot and forget about it until it's ready for eating.
1 kg boneless lamb cut into chunks
1 large onion finely sliced
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon dried chili finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 stock cubes
2 cups water
6 dates pitted and chopped
Mix the salt, chili and spices together and throw over the lamb chunks making sure they are evenly covered.  Put the oil in the pot and saute the onion and garlic until soft.  Add in the spiced lamb chunks and brown.  Add in the water and the stock cubes and leave the stew to simmer for a couple of hours until the meat is starting to fall apart.  Add in the chopped dates and cook for a further 15-20 minutes.  Serve with rice.  You can use roasted almonds as a garnish if you wish.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Monday, June 23, 2014

Samaki Wa Kusonga from Zanzibar

Samaki is the Kiswahili for fish.  Samaki wa kusonga are fish croquettes.  The fish used for making croquettes can be from any white flaked fish.  Leftovers are good. Canned tuna or salmon can also be used.  When I made this I used canned tuna and it worked very well.  Just remember to drain the canned fish.  The trick to successful fish croquettes is not to deep fry them but rather saute them in butter.  Very easy to make and extremely tasty.
2 cups or 2 cans cooked fish
1 teaspoon salt
1 big pinch saffron
1 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs or rolled oats
butter for the saute
lemon slices for the garnish
whole cloves for the garnish
In a large bowl mix the fish, salt, saffron, vinegar, chili powder and cumin together.  Shape and roll the fish mixture into croquettes and place them on a plate in the fridge to firm up.  Spread the breadcrumbs or rolled oats out on a plate.  Personally, I have found that the rolled oats give a crispier crust.  Take the croquettes out the fridge.  Dip them first in the egg and then roll them across the breadcrumbs or rolled oats.  Pop them back into the fridge for about half an hour.  You want them to be firm.  Put some butter in the hot pan and as soon as it melts put in the croquettes and saute until golden brown on all sides.  Garnish with lemon slices with 2-3 whole cloves stuck into them.  Serve the croquettes with dipping sauces like satay, coconut chutney, peri peri sauce or a fruit chutney.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U@ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

N'dizi Na Kasted from Zanzibar

N'dizi is the Kiswahili word for bananas. Zanzibar is an island off the coast of Tanzania, famous for its spices. When you go there for a beach holiday, you will be served delicious desserts which utilise the fruit and spices from the island. The bananas in the dessert can be substituted with crushed or diced pinapple, but then it will be Mananasi Na Kasted, mananasi being the Kiswahili for pineapple. This dessert can be made with vanilla, butterscotch or caramel packaged pudding. It can also be made with the pouring ready-made custard you buy at the supermarket. Alternatively you can make your own custard from custard powder. Do not make it too thick though. Since Zanzibar is the Spice Island, you cannot leave out the spices as that is what makes this dessert unique.

Custard for 4-6 servings
3 bananas peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons peanuts finely chopped
whipped cream
Put the banana slices in the parfait glasses or champagne flutes or whatever glasses you are using for this dessert. In a small bowl mix together the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, sugar and peanuts. Fill one third of the glass with custard, then sprinkle a teaspoon of the spice/sugar mixture, pour in another third of custard and sprinkle the top with another layer of the spice/sugar mixture. Repeat until the glass is 3/4 full. Top with some whipped cream and finish it off with some more sprinkles of the sugar/spice mixture. Place the dessert in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Tortillas from Mexico

Tortillas are surprisingly easy to make.  Once you make your own you won't use shop-bought again.  They are extremely versatile and the humble tortilla can be tarted up and changed from a snack, to a breakfast, to a starter, main meal and even a dessert.  With a tortilla the possibilities are endless.  You can make them in advance and store them.  Cut them into wedges, season them and bake them in the oven to make tortilla chips.  Fold them around a filling to make taco.  Roll it around a filling, smother it with a spicy sauce and bake it in the oven to make an enchilada.  Use it as a wrap for a healthy lunch.  Turn it into a pizza base.  As you can see, the choices are endless.
4  cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 cups warm water
Butter for spreading
Put the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.  Add the oil and mix it in with your fingertips.  Pour in the water, a little at a time, working the liquid into the dough until a sticky ball forms.  You don't want the dough to be too dry or to wet.  That's why I suggest pouring in a little at a time so that you get the right balance.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for about half an hour.  Divide the dough into balls so that you are ready to roll them out into large circles.  Depending on the size of the tortillas you are wanting to make, you should get about 8 out of the dough.  Roll out each ball on a lightly floured surface so that you get the size or thickness you want.
Heat a dry pan over high heat.  Do not oil or grease it.  Place a tortilla in the pan and cook it for about a minute on each side until the dough stiffens up a bit and brown spots form.  You need to keep an eye on them so that they don't overcook otherwise they will be hard.  Once you have cooked both sides, remove from the heat and spread one side with butter and roll it up.  This will stop it from drying out and cracking when you want to use it after it has cooled.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chicken Kiev from Ukraine

Living in Ukraine I could not leave chicken kiev out of my foodie tour of the world.  Now there is a lot of speculation about the origins of chicken kiev.  Obviously Ukrainians think they own the dish as it's named after their capital city.  You find chicken kiev on all the restaurant menus in Ukraine.  Russia claims chicken kiev as belonging to them.  And there are those in France who say one of their esteemed chefs created the recipe.  Wherever it came from, Ukrainians have made it their own, and you get all kinds of chicken kiev in Kyiv.  Some are balls of chicken which resemble crumbed bull's testicles, and others are made to look like a giant drumstick.  But one thing they all have is the garlic and parsley butter inside.  Ukrainians add in dill as well.
4 chicken breast fillets
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 bunch fresh parsley finely chopped
1 bunch dill finely chopped (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup rolled oats or breadcrumbs
oil for deep frying
Mix the garlic, parsley, pepper and butter together.  If you want you can shape it into a cigar-shape and put it in the freezer.  Take each chicken breast and cut a cavity into it.  You can do this by starting from the thick end and sticking a knife down the middle, being careful not to break through the flesh and make a hole where the garlic butter will be able to leak out.  Or if the breast has that extra flap to it, you can slice the breast down the side and then use the flap to seal it once you have put the garlic butter inside.  Either way, chances are you might need to use toothpicks to keep everything in place.  Once you have made the cavity in the breast, insert your cigar-shaped garlic and parsley butter mixture.  Seal it closed so that the garlic butter cannot leak out.  Put the flour in a bowl and add the paprika and salt.  Roll the stuffed chicken breast in the flour and then into the lightly beaten eggs.  Finally roll the chicken breast in the rolled oats or breadcrumbs.  In the past I always used breadcrumbs.  This time I used rolled oats and the crispy crunch they gave was so good, I'll not use breadcrumbs again.  You can refrigerate the chicken kievs until you are ready to cook them.  Put your oil in a pot or deep fryer and allow it to get quite hot.  Pop your chicken kievs into the hot oil and deep fry them until they are golden.  If you want to be sure they are cooked through, you can put them into the oven at 190 degrees Celsius and bake them for 10 minutes.  You do want to be careful though that you do not overcook the chicken so that it becomes dry.  Allow the chicken kievs to rest for about 5 minutes before serving them.  Serve with mashed potato and steamed vegetables.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Friday, June 20, 2014

Aloo Gobi from India

When I visited India this was one of my favourite lunch meals there.  Potatoes and cauliflower go so well together in this dish.  It is quite spicy but is very tasty and surprisingly quick and easy to make.
1 small cauliflower divided into florets
4 potatoes cut into small cubes
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Put the cauliflower florets and potato cubes into a pot with the water and bring to the boil.  Add the salt and cook until it is beginning to get soft but is not fully cooked.  Take them off the heat, drain and add to the curry sauce.
Curry Sauce
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 tomatoes peeled and chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger finely chopped
5 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup water
chopped fresh coriander for garnishing
Put the oil in a large pan or wok and saute the onion, ginger and garlic until soft.  Add the tomatoes, paprika, cumin, turmeric, curry and chili powder.  Let it simmer until you have a thick sauce.  Add the half-cooked potatoes and cauliflower.  Pour in the water and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the cauliflower and potatoes are cooked through.  Garnish with chopped coriander.  Serve as a side-dish or a starter with rotis or parathas.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Palak Paneer from India

I had a great animated discussion with a colleague at work about palak paneer versus saag paneer.  I said palak means spinach and he said saag means spinach.  So after some research we discovered we were both right, although I do declare I was the most right.  Saag means green leafy vegetable which means it can be spinach.  However it can also be mustard greens.  Palak is just spinach.  Regardless of whether you call it palak or saag, palak paneer is a classic Indian vegetarian dish which is really easy to make at home.  The paneer can be substituted with tofu or even sliced mushrooms.
1 bunch fresh spinach
2 green chilies finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 cup water
Put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil.  As soon as the spinach is soft take it off the heat.  Puree the spinach mixture in a blender and set it aside while you make the rest of the dish.
1 onion finely chopped
1 tomato peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon cooking oil
1 block paneer cut into cubes
2 tablespoons cream
Put the cooking oil in a large pan or wok and saute the onion until soft.  Add the tomato and all the spices and let it cook for 2 minutes.  Spoon in the spinach mixture from the blender and mix it in well.  Let it simmer for about 5 minutes so the spices and spinach cook through.  Add the paneer cubes and let it simmer for about another 10 minutes so that the paneer is soft but not disintegrating.  Stir in the cream and let it simmer for another minute.  Serve with rotis, naan or rice.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Imeretian Khachapuri from Georgia

This bread is incredibly easy to make and tastes delicious.  Really all it is is a round bread stuffed with cheese.  Perfect for barbecues.  You'll probably find it on menus in Russian restaurants as they took it on board when Georgia was a part of the Soviet Union.  My son, Tony Kedian, introduced me to this bread as it's served at the hotel he works at.
5 1/2 - 6 cups of flour
1 packet yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup luke-warm water
3/4 cup luke-warm milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Cheese filling
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
Put the luke-warm water in a bowl and add the yeast, sugar and salt.  Stir until the yeast dissolves.  Add in the milk, one egg and the oil.  Put in the flour one cup at a time and mix it in until you have a soft ball of dough.  You might need a little more flour or you might need less.  You have to gauge this as you knead your dough.  It should not stick to your fingers when you knead it.  Cover the dough and let it rise for an hour.  Punch down the dough and knead it again.  You might need to add a little more flour.  Cover it and let it rise for another half an hour.  Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.  Put all your cheese filling ingredients into a bowl and mix together.  The Georgians use a special cheese called sulguni, however that might not be easily available.  Mozzarella works well as a substitute.  I tend to use whatever cheese I have in my fridge and it works well.
Take your dough and divide it into 2-3 balls.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface so that you have a circle the size of a large pizza.  Place some of the cheese mixture in the middle and spread it evenly over the dough, making sure you leave a cheese-free border around the edge of your circle.  Fold the dough over the cheese making folds as you would do if you were making a washing bundle.  Flip it over so that the pleated side is on the bottom.  Gently roll out the dough so that you have a circle the size of a medium pizza.  Make sure you don't press too hard otherwise your cheese filling will leak out.  You don't want that to happen, you want it to be fully encased with the dough.  Transfer the khachapuri to a greased baking sheet.  Take your remaining egg and make an egg wash and brush the top of your khachapuri so that it will be a golden brown colour when it bakes.  Pop it in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until it is golden brown.  Let it cool for about 5 minutes before serving.  This recipe makes 2-3 khachapuri, depending on the size of your circles.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Friday, June 13, 2014

Cawl and Dumplings from Wales

Cawl is a meaty broth loaded with veggies in season.  You can use lamb or beef, and as this is perfect for the slow cooker, the cheaper cuts of meat are fine.  You can make it the day before as the flavours improve over time.  For those operating on a tight budget, this dish is relatively cheap to make.  This recipe can be adapted to whatever vegetables you can lay your hands on.  Traditionally, the Welsh farmers would drink the broth and then eat the meat and vegetables.  If you don't want to be bothered with the dumplings you can serve it with slices of fresh bread.
500g beef or lamb cuts into cubes
10 cups water
2 large onions cut into quarters
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 bay leaf or 1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
2 stock cubes
6 potatoes cut into quarters (skin optional)
2 carrots cut into thick slices
2 leeks thinly sliced
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 cups roughly chopped veg (parsnips, swedes, green beans, etc)
4 rashers bacon cut into blocks
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
Dumplings
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 cup luke-warm water
To make the cawl, put the water in a large pot together with the meat cubes, onions, salt, pepper, bay leaves and stock cubes.  Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 2 hours until the meat can be broken apart with a fork.  Add in the potatoes and other vegetables and let it simmer for 30 minutes.  In a pan fry the bacon and add that to the stew.  Add the parsley and thyme and the dumplings and let it simmer with a lid on for another 30 minutes.  To make the dumplings, rub the margarine into the flour, salt and baking powder with your fingers until you have a mixture resembling bread crumbs.  Add the water a little at a time, stirring it in with a spoon.  You'll have a soft dough.  Drop spoonfuls of the dumpling dough onto the top of your stew.  By putting the lid on your pot you are enabling the dumplings to be steamed.  You'll need a soup ladle to serve this tasty stew in bowls.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com


Machboos from Qatar

Machboos is like a Middle Eastern version of paella.  This popular dish can be made with meat, poultry or seafood.  It is the paste that gives it its unique flavour.  I guess you can make it vegetarian by substituting the meat with vegetables.  I first had machboos at the Qatari stand at an international food festival and was hooked.  This recipe is quite simple.  Don't let the many ingredients make you believe it's complicated.
The Paste
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground bay leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
4 cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
6 peppercorns
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
The Dish
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion finely sliced
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 stock cube
500g beef/lamb/chicken cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
pinch of saffron
drizzle of yoghurt
To make the paste, put all the ingredients for the paste in a small bowl and grind together.  Next put the oil in a pot or wok and add the onion and garlic.  Saute until soft.  Add the spice paste and mix it in well with the onions and garlic.  Add the meat and brown for about 4 minutes.  Empty in the can of whole peeled tomatoes and add the stock cube.  Add the water.  Let it simmer until the meat is cooked.  Add the rice and stir it in well.  Add the pinch of saffron.  Let it continue to simmer until the rice is cooked.  If you taste and the rice isn't quite cooked, then add a little more water if the water has cooked off.  Make sure that the rice doesn't become overcooked and soggy.  It should have the consistency of the rice in a paella.
Serve in bowls with a drizzle of yoghurt and a salad.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Koshari from Egypt

When I first saw a recipe for koshari, I thought you must be kidding me!  Rice, lentils and pasta?  Seriously?  And this is the most popular street food in Egypt and some even call it the national dish?  There must be a mistake.  The more research I did, the more I found it wasn't a mistake.  I was intrigued as to how it would all come together to make a tasty dish.  What I found out, was not only was it delicious but it was incredibly easy to make.  So here is my take on koshari, ideal for vegetarians and perfect for beginner cooks.
1 cup brown lentils
9 cups water
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup uncooked pasta (Macaroni or similar)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground bay leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 large onions thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baharat spice*
Put 3 cups of water in a pot with 1 cup of lentils.  Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat.  Add in the salt, bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of garlic and cumin.  Cover the pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on the lentils that all the water doesn't cook away.  If need be top up the water.  When the lentils are soft, add the rice and another 3 cups of the water and continue simmering for about 20 minutes until the rice is cooked.  In the meantime, cook the pasta in the remaining 3 cups of water in a separate pot.  Drain the excess water from the pasta when it is done and set the pasta aside.  In a frying pan, fry the onions and garlic until it is caramelised.  Add the tomatoes, chili powder, black pepper, vinegar and baharat spice and let it cook for 10 minutes until it forms a thick sauce.
The time has come to assemble your dish.  Place some of the lentil/rice mixture on each plate.  Put a couple of spoonfuls of pasta on top and finish it off with the spicy tomato sauce.
*baharat spice is a Middle Eastern spice blend.  If you don't have a Middle Eastern store near you it's quite easy to make yourself.  Fill a container with it to get that special Middle Eastern flavour in your cooking.  All you need to do is mix together: 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mango Lassi from Laos

I know you are thinking mango lassis are from India.  Well they are and they aren't.  They're also from all over South East Asia.  The reason why I'm crediting them to Laos is I think they might have perfected them.  Besides the old temples, Mekong River and Buddhist monks walking everywhere, the thing I remember most about my holiday in Luang Prabang in Laos is the mango lassis.  They were sold everywhere, restaurants and street food stalls.  Wherever you looked there they were.  And without exception they were all delicious and very refreshing.  They are incredibly easy to make.
1 mango peeled, pitted and cut into cubes
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 milk or water
Put all the ingredients in your food processor and blend until you have a thick liquid.  Pour into a glass filled with ice-blocks or crushed ice.  If you have fresh mint you can use a few leaves as a garnish.  Take a sip, close your eyes and you'll see the old temples in Luang Prabang.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Fahsa Saltah from Yemen

This is the traditional lunch dish in Yemen.  It contains something called hulba which is made from fenugreek.  However, that is not always easy to come by so I have come up with an alternative you can try which will give a similar flavour.  The meat in this dish could be lamb or beef.  This is ideal for a slow cooker as you want the meat to be literally falling apart.  Put it on in the morning and eat it when you come home from work.
1 tablespoon oil
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 onion finely sliced
1 green chili finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 beef stock cube
500g beef cut into cubes
5 cups water
Hulba alternative
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fennel
1 capsicum finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 green chili finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon water
Put the oil in a large pot or slow cooker.  Saute the onion, garlic and chili until soft.  Add the beef cubes and lightly brown.  Add in the water, stock cube, turmeric, salt, coriander and cumin.  Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 2 hours, until you can break the meat apart with a fork.
For the hulba put everything in a food processor and blend it until you have the consistency of a thick cream.
Remove your fahsa saltah from the heat and stir in the hulba.  You don't have to use all the hulba as it is quite spicy.  3 Tablespoons should do it.  Eat with naan or slices of fresh bread.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com