Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Jiao zi from China

Chinese dumplings are also known as jiao zi (pronounced jowdzer). They consist of a ground meat or vegetable filling wrapped in a thin layer of pastry that is folded in pleats on the one side. Jiao zi can be steamed, boiled or fried and is best served with a dipping sauce of soy, vinegar, garlic and ginger. It is believed that jiao zi were first invented by a famous Chinese Medicine Man called Zhang Zhongjing. Although the preparation takes some time, jiao zi are very easy to make and can be frozen.

Dough for making Chinese dumplings
Dough for making Chinese dumplings
You'll need a rolling pin and board
You'll need a rolling pin and board
Use a drinking glass to cut out your circle shapes
Use a drinking glass to cut out your circle shapes
Pork mince filling
Pork mince filling
Half-moon shaped jiao zi
Half-moon shaped jiao zi
A tray of jiao zi or Chinese dumplings ready for cooking or to be packed for freezing
A tray of jiao zi or Chinese dumplings ready for cooking or to be packed for freezing
Delicious homemade Chinese dumplings
Delicious homemade Chinese dumplings
Boiled jiao zi
Boiled jiao zi
Steamed dumplings and dipping sauce
Steamed dumplings and dipping sauce
4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups warm water
500g pork mince
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 large cabbage leaves, finely diced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
pinch salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
Put the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
Pour the water in a little at a time, and knead the dough until smooth and it no longer sticks to your hands.
Let the dough rest while you prepare the filling.
Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a separate bowl to make the filling.
Knead the dough on a floured surface. Break off pieces the size of a handful and roll out thinly on the floured surface.
Use the open edge of a drinking glass to cut circle shapes out of your thinly rolled dough. Place these on a plate ready to be filled.
Repeat this step until you have used up all the dough. You should get roughly 60 dough circles.
Place a small spoonful of the filling in the centre of the dough circle.
Fold the two sides of the circle over the centre to creat a half-moon shape. Press down the edge and then pleat the edge to seal the filling in.
For steaming, line a steamer with cabbage leaves to prevent sticking, and place jiao zi on the cabbage leaves. Steam for about 6 minutes until cooked.
For boiling, add jiao zi to a pot of boiling water and let them boil for about 5 minutes or until they float to the surface. I like to add two stock cubes to the boiling water for extra flavour.
For frying fry the jiao zi in medium hot oil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. The add half a cup of water and cover the frying pan, letting the jiao zi steam for another 3 minutes. This creates a delicious blend of textures, with the bottom half crispy and the top half soft.
The pork mince can be replaced by any kind of minced meat, shrimp or finely diced vegetables like spinach.
To make a dipping sauce, mix together some soy sauce, vinegar and add in a half a teaspoon of finely chopped ginger and a half a teaspoon of finely chopped garlic. Add in a small pinch of chili powder if you like it to have a bite.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living in Kyiv Ukraine.  She lived in China for 3 years and learnt how to make jiao zi while living there.  Cindy is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, Defective, The Case of Billy B and C U @ 8.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  Http://cindyvine.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Vegetable Lasagne from Italy

Lasagne has got to be one of Italy's most famous dishes and needs to be in every person's repertoire of what they can cook for dinner.  It's not a quick meal, but it freezes very well.  So that means it's ideal to make a big batch of filling and cheese sauce, bake them in individual foil containers, and freeze a whole lot for later use.  Traditionally lasagne is cooked with mince in a tomato-based meat sauce.  However, it is one dish that lends itself to vegetables and can easily be converted into a vegetarian staple.
1 packet lasagna sheets
1 onion finely sliced
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 medium zucchini sliced
1 aubergine sliced
1 carrot cut into thin sticks
1 capsicum finely chopped
1 jar tomato-based pasta sauce
3 teaspoons mixed herbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup red wine
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 flour
3 cups milk/water mixture
1 cup grated cheese
Note:  You can substitute the suggested vegetables, add in extra, add in mushrooms - the sky's the limit.  Also you won't use the whole packet of lasagne sheets so it means you'll have enough sheets for the next time.
Preheat the oven at 190 degrees Celsius.  Put the olive oil in a pot and add in the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent.  Throw in the zucchini, aubergine, carrot sticks and capsicum.  Next add the wine, chili powder, mixed herbs, salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Pour in the pasta sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes.  At the same time in another pot make your cheese sauce.  Melt the butter and add in the flour stirring all the time until the flour is absorbed.  Start pouring in your milk/water mixture a little at a time, stirring all the while so that you don't get lumps.  As it starts to thicken turn the heat onto low.  You want the mixture to be like thick cream.  You don't have to use all the liquid.  Stop pouring it in when you have your desired consistency.  Add in your grated cheese and let it melt into the white sauce.  When  the cheese has melted, turn off the heat and you are now ready to start assembling your lasagne.
In a casserole dish or individual foil containers, put a few spoons of sauce on the bottom of the dish.  This is to prevent the lasagne sheet from sticking to the bottom.  Now lay down your lasagne sheets so that the bottom of the dish is covered.  Spoon the vegetable mixture onto the lasagne sheets and smooth it down so there's an even distribution.  Cover the vegetable mixture with a layer of cheese sauce.  Repeat the layers by covering the cheese sauce with lasagne sheets, then the vegetable mixture and finally the cheese sauce.  If your casserole dish is deep enough you can repeat the layers again, making sure that your last layer is the cheese sauce.  I usually put some slices of cheese on the top.  Pop your lasagne in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes until the top is golden and the pasta is soft.  Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of Hush Baby, The Case of Billy B, Defective and C U @ 8.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle formats.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lulas Fritas from Portugal

Calamari is one of my all-time favourites.  Grilled, fried, cooked Cajun-style, I'm not too bothered.  Lulas Fritas is the Portuguese version of fried calamari and I fell in love with Portuguese calamari when I was a child going to the Community Chest Carnival in Cape Town, South Africa.  They had different food stands selling delicious food from all around the world.  But it was always the Portuguese stand that I wanted to go to.  It's been many years since I was at the Community Chest Carnival and I still remember that calamari!
4 squid tubes cleaned and cut into rings
2 eggs beaten
1/3 cup flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 chopped garlic gloves
1 chopped green chili
juice from 1 lemon
lemon wedges for serving
oil for frying
Marinate the squid rings in the lemon juice, green chilies and chopped garlic for about 1 hour.  Overnight is also okay.  Get three small bowls ready when it is time to start the frying process.  In the first bowl mix the flour with the salt, pepper and chili powder.  In the second bowl put the lightly beaten eggs.  In the third bowl put the cup of breadcrumbs.  Get your pan with oil ready for frying.  The next step I usually do using chopsticks but you can do it with your fingers.  Take a squid ring, dip it into the flour mixture, then into the egg mixture followed by the breadcrumbs.  Put the crumbed ring into the hot oil.  Saute until golden.  It will literally cook in a minute or two.  You don't want to do them too long otherwise they get tougher than your mother-in-law's old army boots.  You can cook the crumbed rings in batches.  When done remove them from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and put them on some kitchen towel so they can drain.  Serve with lemon or lime wedges.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Melktert from South Africa

Melktert or Milk Tart is another South African classic.  When friends give you an hour or two's notice that they are popping around for coffee, there is nothing stopping you from quickly making this melktert and serving it warm when the coffee has finished percolating in the kitchen.  No South African tea or coffee party is complete without a melktert.  The traditional melktert has a crust of puff pastry, but as this is a spur of the moment type recipe, this is for a crustless melktert.
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs separated
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
3 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.  Grease a pie dish.  Beat the egg whites until stiff and frothy and put to one side.  Now in another bowl mix together the melted butter, egg yolks and sugar.  Add in the flour, salt and baking powder and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the milk and vanilla essence and make sure that you get rid of any lumps.  Carefully fold in the beaten egg whites and pour the mixture into the greased pie dish that's ready and waiting.  Sprinkle the cinnamon on the top.  Bake for 40-45 minutes until the middle is firm to the touch.  Can be served cold or warm.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv, Ukraine.  She is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling and Defective.  All her books are available from Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Eisbein from Germany

This has to be one of my favourite meals, tender melt-in-your mouth pork surrounded by crispy crackling.  It's a bit like the carnivore's version of a creme egg.  This is not a quick dish to make, it takes time but is well worth the effort.  It's best served with mashed potato and some kind of cabbage like sauerkraut.  I like it with cabbage and apple as I find that it balances the flavours perfectly.  Mustard on the side is also recommended.  A great meal to make on a cold blustery Sunday.
Usually smoked or cured pork hock is used for this recipe.  However, it's not always possible to get your hands on smoked or cured hock.  This recipe shows how to get a similar kind of taste experience using fresh hock.  You usually serve one hock/knuckle per person
2 pork hocks or knuckles
4 cups water
4 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup vinegar
1 handful black peppercorns
4 garlic cloves crushed
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 onions thinly sliced
2 teaspoons mixed herbs
4 teaspoons sugar
1 carrot diced
2 celery sticks diced
Put all the ingredients into a large pot and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 2 hours until the rind starts showing signs of wanting to separate from the meat.  Once cooked remove the hocks from the broth, score the skin and rub some salt into it.  Place the hocks in a roasting pan and put in the middle of the oven under high heat and grill for about 15 minutes until the skin is crispy.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Cabbage and Apple from Germany

This cabbage dish is an alternative to sauerkraut.  Many people have apple sauce with their roast pork.  This combines the apple and cabbage with an added sweet and sour flavour.  Very quick and easy to make, this is a winner!
2 tablespoons oil
1 small cabbage shredded
1 onion finely sliced
1 garlic clove finely shopped
2 apples peeled, cored and sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons water
Put the oil in a pot and add the onion, garlic, cabbage and apple.  Saute until the cabbage begins to wilt.  Add the water, salt and pepper and simmer for about 3 minutes.  Add the sugar and vinegar and simmer for about another 5 minutes.  This is a great accompaniment to roast or grilled pork.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Friday, April 25, 2014

Paella from Spain

Paella is not a difficult dish to make. The trick is that you can't skimp on the ingredients and you must be super-organised with everything prepped before you start. The Spaniards set the bar high when it comes to paella and will criticise anything that falls short in their eyes. Each region in Spain has their own take on paella. But the thing is, you are the boss in your kitchen and you can put in anything you want. For this recipe I have stuck to the more traditional ingredients.

1 sliced onion
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 green and red capsicum cut into strips
6 garlic cloves
2 chicken breasts cubed
2 cups rice
2 cups white wine
4 cups water
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup frozen peas
1 large pinch saffron
500g seafood mix
1 teaspoon paprika
salt to taste
lemon wedges and chopped parsley for garnish
Put the olive oil in your pan and saute the onions, garlic and tomatoes until the onions are translucent. Add the chicken and brown it on both sides. Add the rice sprinkling it on in the form of a large cross. Stir it in ensuring that the rice grains are thoroughly coated with the olive oil. Add in the two cups of wine. Do not stir anything again until the paella is ready to be served. Warm one of the cups of water. Rub the saffron threads between your fingers and add to the cup of warm water. Pour it into the paella pan. Sprinkle on the paprika and salt to taste. Slowly add the rest of the water until all the ingredients are covered. Allow to simmer until the liquid cooks down a little. Arrange the seafood mix on top of the rice spreading it out evenly around the pan. Add in the peas. Place the capsicum strips on top. Simmer until the rice has cooked and the seafood mix changes colour. When you remove the pan from the heat, cover it with some tin foil and let the paella stand for 5-10 minutes before serving it up. Garnish with lemon wedges and chopped parsley.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine. She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format. http://cindyvine.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chicken Tinola from Philippines

An easy one pot dish that leaves your mouth feeling fresh, Chicken Tinola is a classic Filipino dish.  This is my take on the dish as some of the traditional Filipino ingredients aren't easily obtainable so I've substituted them with similar.  The traditional recipe uses papaya.  This is enough to feed 2 people and you have have it with rice or without.
2 chicken breast fillets
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 chili finely chopped
1/2 cup sherry
1 onion thinly sliced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger cut into thin sticks
6 kale or spinach leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups water
1 mango cubed
2 tablespoons oil
Put the oil in a pot, add the onions, garlic, chili and ginger and cook until the onion gets translucent.  Add in the chicken breasts cut into cubes and cook them until a little browned.  Pour in the soy sauce and sherry along with the water.  Let it cook until about half of the liquid is reduced.  Add in the chopped kale leaves and mango cubes and let it simmer until the kale leaves are soft.  Serve in a bowl as a delicious chicken stew.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living in Ukraine.  She's the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling, Defective, The Case of Billy B and C U @ 8.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and print formats.

Peri Peri Prawns from Mozambique

Mozambican prawns are famous.  They are bigger and better than the every day prawn.  Peri peri sauce is equally famous, but outside of Southern Africa you might not be able to find a bottle of peri peri sauce in a store near you.  Never fear, you can make your own version of it.  Of course you might not be able to get hold of the extra-large Mozambican prawn either, but with this sauce any medium to large prawn will do.  Beware though, this dish is a little spicy!
20 large prawns
1/4 cup oil (Olive or cooking)
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 chilies finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons butter
lemon slices to garnish
Mix the oil, garlic, chili, chili powder and paprika together in a bowl.  Throw in the prawns.  If they are very large then you can butterfly them.  Use your hands to mix the prawns in with the sauce.  Leave to marinate for minimum of one hour.  24 hours in the fridge is best.  You can grill them or put them on the barbecue.  I elected to fry them.  Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the prawns.  Cook for 2 minutes per side until the prawn flesh goes pink.  The marinade will mix with the butter to create a great sauce.  Serve with rice as a main, or a smaller portion as a starter.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living in Ukraine.  She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8 and Not Telling.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Custard Tarts from Portugal

These custard tarts are one of my favourites.  If you get unexpected guests for afternoon tea you can knock them up in no time.  You can find them in all the places in the world where the Portuguese had colonies.  The Portuguese might have left there but their custard tarts remained.  In Portugal these are called Pasteis de Nata.
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 cup white sugar
3 egg yolks
1 roll of puff pastry
Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees Celsius.  Unroll the puff pastry and use an upside down  glass to cut circles out of the pastry.  Lightly grease a muffin pan and place the puff pastry circles inside the muffin pan.  In a small pot combine the milk, cornstarch, sugar and vanilla.  Use a soup ladle to remove some of the milk mixture and add it to the beaten egg yolks.  Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the pot stirring continuously as it will start to thicken quite quickly and you don't want any lumps.  Let it simmer while you keep stirring, for another 5 minutes.  Fill the pastry-lined muffin cups with the mixture and pop into the oven.  Allow it to bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the pastry cases are golden brown and the filling is lightly brown on the top.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Meatballs from Sweden

For those of you who have an Ikea close-by, Swedish meatballs will be a dish you are familiar with.  Alas no Ikea where I am, so that means I have to make my own Swedish meatballs.  They are easy to make.  You can make the meatballs in advance and the gravy just before you are ready to serve.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs
500g pork mince
500g beef mince
1 onion finely diced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups water
1 beef stock cube
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
Combine onion, mince, eggs, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Mix until well-combined.  Roll the mixture into small meatballs.  Put the olive oil in a pan and fry the meatballs until all the sides have browned.  This should take about 4-5 minutes.  Drain on a plate lined with kitchen towel.  These can be made the day before and kept in the fridge.
To make the rich, creamy gravy melt the butter in a pot.  Add the flour and mix well.  Slowly add in the water with the beef stock cube, stirring all the while as it starts to thicken.  Let it cook for a few minutes then stir in the sour cream.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add in the meatballs and allow to simmer for another 8-10 minutes.  Serve as an appetiser or with rice or pasta as a main.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Ceviche from Peru

This dish is my son's favourite.  When I told him I was going to try out recipes from around the world to make a cookbook, he said that I had to include ceviche.  So here it is!  Ceviche in different forms is made all over Central and Southern America.  Fresh and healthy!  A great starter.
10 coarsely chopped garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablsepoons fresh cilantro/coriander chopped
3 green chilies finely chopped
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 kg white fish fillets cubed
5 large limes freshly squeezed
1 stick celery finely chopped
1 cucumber cubed
1/2 red capsicum cubed
1/2 yellow capsicum cubed
1/2 carrot cubed
1 sweet potato
1 handful of corn kernels
Cut the fish into small chunks.  Place them in a bowl with the juice from the limes and a sprinkle of salt.  Add in the onion, chopped coriander, garlic and chilies.  Mix well.  Cover the bowl with clingwrap and place in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.  Cut the sweet potato into cubes and put them on to boil.  When they are cooked but not so soft they fall apart, put them aside to cool.  Get a salad bowl and put in the celery, cucumber, capsicum and carrot.  Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and use your hands to mix it all together.  Add in the corn kernels and cooked sweet potato cubes.  Take the fish out the fridge and drain off the lime juice.  You'll see that the fish has changed colour and become white.  It has cooked in the lime juice.  Add the fish, chili, onion, garlic mixture to the salad.  You have now made Peruvian ceviche!
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Nargisi Kofta from Pakistan

When I decided I wanted to put Scotch eggs into my book, I thought it would be a good idea to check to see whether or not they came from Scotland.  There is nothing Scottish about a Scotch egg.  They were first sold by Fortnum and Mason back in 1738 and they claim to have invented them.  However, something very similar is Nargisi Kofta which is made in Pakistan and Hyderabad in India.  Parts of Northern India also make this dish, wherever there is a Muslim influence.  It's probably likely that sailors or colonists took the dish back to Britain where it was adapted to the Scotch egg we know now.  After discovering the Pakistani version of the Scotch egg, I decided I'd rather have a go at making that.  It was easy to make and very tasty.  I'll definitely be making this again.
Sauce
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 onion finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 finely chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup water
1/4 cup yoghurt
Kofta
4 hard boiled eggs
500g beef mince
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
chopped coriander for garnish
Peel the hard boiled eggs.  Mix the mince, onion, ginger, garlic, chili and curry powders, salt and pepper together in a bowl.  In a separate bowl beat the egg.  In another bowl put the breadcrumbs.  Cover each hard boiled egg with the mince mixture.  Dip it into the beaten egg, then cover it with the breadcrumbs.  Fry the kofta until it is golden brown.  Put it aside and let it drain on some kitchen towel.  These can be made the day before and refrigerated.
To make the sauce, put 1/4 cup oil into a pan and saute the onion, garlic, ginger and chili.  Add in the 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes.  Add in the turmeric, curry powder, cinnamon, chili powder and tomato paste.  Pour in 1 cup water and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add in the yoghurt so it can thicken.  Slice each kofta in half and place them in the curry sauce, egg side up.  Garnish with chopped coriander.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Garlic Bread from Italy

Garlic bread goes with so many different dishes and is so easy to make yourself.  There is no reason to buy shop-bought garlic bread.  You can make up quite a few garlic breads and keep them in your freezer until you need them as they freeze really well.  You can pile on the garlic, add in more herbs, personalise it.  When you make your own, you have the power.
1 large baguette
100g butter softened
10 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
tin foil
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Divide the baguette into 20cm pieces if very long.  I used a large baguette that I made into three garlic breads.  Add the softened butter, finely chopped garlic, thyme, salt and pepper together.  Using a butter knife, mix it all together so that you have a spreadable paste.  Make 2.5cm slices into the bread but don't go all the way through.  Put a generous dollop of the butter mixture between each slice.  Spread a little of the butter mixture on the top of your garlic bread.  Wrap the bread in the tin foil and heat in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  Serve hot and crispy on the outside, soft and buttery inside.  This is a perfect accompaniment to soups, pastas and barbecues.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Peri-peri Chicken Livers from South Africa

Peri-peri chicken livers is another South African classic.  It's on the menu at many restaurants as a starter and has just the right amount of sauce and spice.  Serve it with toast or Portuguese bread rolls.
1 cup chicken livers
1 onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 can  peeled tomatoes
1 capsicum finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 cup sherry or brandy
2 tablespoons olive oil
Put the olive oil in a pan and cook the onion and garlic until the onion starts to get translucent.  Add in the chicken livers.  You can chop them up into bite-sized pieces.  Brown them and then add in the paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper.  Mix it all together then add in the can of peeled tomatoes, chopped capsicum and the sherry.  Let it all simmer for about 15 minutes.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chopped Liver from Israel

Spending a large part of my childhood in a predominantly Jewish community, gave me a taste for chopped liver.  While many turn their nose up at the thought of liver, when cooked properly it is a great starter.  It is thought that this dish originated in Eastern Europe when people were so poor they ate every part of the chicken.  Don't let those humble beginnings put you off.  Not as smooth as goose liver pate, but just as tasty.
2 cups chicken livers
1 onion thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 boiled egg
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon thyme
3/4 cup sherry or sweet wine
2 tablespoons chicken fat (or butter if you are not Jewish)
Put the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion and garlic until they begin to get translucent.  Add in the chicken livers.  Cook until the livers change colour.  They should still be pink on the inside.  You do not want to overcook them otherwise they get very tough.  Add the seasonings.  Pour in the sherry or sweet wine and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Once it has cooled a bit, put the mixture into your food processor.  Add in the chopped boiled egg and the 2 tablespoons of chicken fat.  Only give 6-8 pulses of the food processor.  You want it to be finely chopped but not a smooth pate.  Spoon it into the serving bowl, garnish with a finely chopped boiled egg and cover with clingwrap.  Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before serving with matzo, crackers or toast.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Kimbap from South Korea

When I lived in Korea and later in China, my Korean students would often bring me plastic containers filled with kimbap.  Although kimbap resembles sushi in some respects, it is not the same.  The rice isn't vinegary like Japanese sushi.  Kimbap is perfect for school lunches and picnics.  While it might sound complicated to make, it is surprisingly easy.  The important thing is to have everything prepared and ready to go when you need it.  If you can get sushi rice that is great, but I have made this many times with whatever rice I can get.  While the pickled radish is essential in the traditional kimbap, I have not always been able to get it and have done without it. Once you get the rolling perfected, you can make a batch of kimbap pretty quickly.
4 sheets dried seaweed
4 cups cooked rice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons salt
soy sauce for dipping
fillings
1 carrot cut into thin julienne sticks
1 cucumber (Slice off the outer skin, that's the part you use) cut into thin julienne sticks
a few spinach or kale leaves
1 garlic clove finely chopped
2 eggs
cooked ham or tuna or bulgogi beef strips
1 pickled radish cut into julienne strips
When rice has cooked and cooled add the salt and sesame oil.  Prepare your vegetables.  You need to do everything beforehand so you are ready to go when it is time to rock and roll.  Blanch the carrots sticks, cucumber sticks and spinach leaves.  Cover the blanched spinach leaves with some finely chopped garlic and sprinkle a little sesame oil on it.  Put that aside and beat the eggs in a bowl.  Put a little oil in a small frying pan and throw in the beaten eggs.  Cook, then turn over.  It should resemble a pancake.  Cut the cooked egg into strips.  If using ham make sure that you cube it into small pieces.
Now is the time to assemble your kimpap.
Using a bamboo sushi roller, lay the dried seaweed shiny side down.  If you don't have the sushi roller mat then you can use tinfoil.
Spread about 1/2 cup of rice onto the seaweed leaving the top 1/3 bare.  Lay carrot sticks in a line across the bottom of the rice about 3cm in.  Lay the other fillings next to it and on top, following the same line.  Roll from the bottom, pressing down firmly to make sure the fillings stay in and don't fall out.  As you roll you pull the edge of the mat away from you.  Keep rolling until you have a firm roll.  You can dampen the top seam with a little water to help
hold your roll together.
Leave it for about ten minutes while you continue with the other seaweed sheets repeating the same process.
To cut into slices, I always cut the middle first and then work my way to the ends.  Make sure you have a very sharp knife for the slicing.  You'll get about 8 slices out of a roll.
Either eat straight away or pack into plastic containers and keep in the fridge until you are ready to indulge.  You can have a small bowl of soy sauce for dipping, but most Koreans don't bother.  Eat with your fingers, chopsticks are not needed.
Cindy Vine is a South African by birth but has lived and worked in 11 different countries.  She currently works in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, Hush Baby and Defective.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Soda Bread from Ireland

Irish soda bread is a perfect accompaniment to a good hearty Irish stew.  In America they add in raisins, but the traditional soda bread is a bit like a giant scone without raisins.  Filling and wholesome.
4 cups flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilkPreheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease a large baking sheet.  Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in the buttermilk and egg. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form the dough into a round and place on the greased baking sheet. The next step is to combine the melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk and brush the dough with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.  You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.  Do your first check after about 30 minutes or so to see if it's done by sticking a thin knife in the centre.  If it comes back dry without any dough sticking to it then it's done.
Cindy Vine is a South African living in Ukraine and is the author of Hush Baby, Defective and C U @ 8. All her books are available on Amazon in print and on Kindle. http://cindyvine.com

Pavlova from Australasia

Does pavlova come from New Zealand or Australia?  I'm not going to get into that argument so created one from Australasia.  They say if the topping is strawberries it's from Australia and if it's kiwifruit it's from New Zealand.  For the sake of peace I put both strawberries and kiwifruit on mine.  The meringue base is quite tricky and you might not get it right the first time.  But it is worth persisting until you get it right.
6 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300 ml whipping cream
fresh fruit
Preheat the oven to 140 degrees Celsius and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Put the separated egg whites in a bowl and beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.  You can use the egg yolks if you are baking pies at the same time.
Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time. Don't just lump the sugar in the bowl and never stop beating the eggs until you finish the sugar. Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.
Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently.. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.
Now gently spread the meringue onto the baking paper to make a circular base. Try and put extra on the edges of the meringue so it is slightly higher than the centre.
Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and a quarter.  Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly open to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly and that is okay.
Only put the cream and fruit on just before serving otherwise it will make your meringue soggy which will make it collapse.
Cindy Vine is a South African living in Ukraine and is the author of Hush Baby, Defective and C U @ 8. All her books are available on Amazon in print and on Kindle.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Izakaya Pork Ribs from Japan

An izakaya is a Japanese version of a pub.  The sole purpose of an izakaya is for you to drink and talk nonsense with your friends.  As with all pubs, they need to sell easy finger food to go with the alcohol.  So that you keep drinking of course.  Pork ribs or pork belly would be shared with friends tapas-style.  The Japanese would use sake (rice wine) and rice vinegar, however as I don't have either I used ingredients most people would be able to get quite easily.
1 kg pork ribs
Ginger root thinly sliced into finger length pieces
1 onion finely chopped
1 green chili finely chopped
1/3 cup soy sauce
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup sugar
1 stalk celery finely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1/2 cup water
1 star anise
Cut the rack into individual ribs.  Put the oil in the pot and braise the ribs until they are brown on both sides.  Add the ginger, chili, onions, garlic and sugar and cook until it begins to caramelise.  Add the rest of the ingredients and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove ribs from the pot and place in an oven pan, pour over the liquid from the pot.  Grill at 180 degrees Celsius for an hour, turning the ribs over after 30 minutes.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of Survival Tips for the Suddenly Single, Hush Baby, Defective and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and print format.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Baked Salmon from Norway

Nordic cuisine is all about going back to the roots, taking traditional ingredients and finding exciting ways to combine them into something very tasty and simple to make.  Norwegian salmon is famous all around the world.  This recipe is so simple that you can even get your children to make it for you.
500g Norwegian Salmon fillet
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
1 handful fresh coriander/cilantro finely chopped
1 sheet aluminum foil 
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium carrots, cut into thin strips
1 onion, cut into thin slices
1 handful thinly sliced cabbage
1 tbsp water 
4 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 225 degrees Celsius.   Place aluminum foil on table with shortest side facing you. All food will be placed in middle of bottom half of foil. Top half of foil will eventually be folded over food. Brush centre of bottom half with butter.  Mix all vegetables and spread them over the butter. Arrange the portion of salmon on top of the vegetables. Add water. Season with salt and pepper.  Mix the juice of the lemon, finely chopped garlic cloves and coriander in a small bowl.  Pour this over the salmon.  Fold the foil over the food and place on a baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes.  You can use different vegetables and other sauces, but just remember that this dish has a short cooking time as you don't want your salmon to be overcooked otherwise it will be dry.

Cindy Vine is a South African currently working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She's the author of Hush Baby, Defective, Not Telling, C U @ 8 and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Cornish Pasties from England

Traditional English Cornish pasties have beef, onions, potatoes and swedes in them.  The Cornish say peas and carrots in a pasty is a crime.  Perfect comfort food for a cold, drizzly climate.  However we don't have to be so traditional.  There is no reason why you can't add in vegetables that are currently in season just so long everything you put in is chopped to the same size.  The meat and vegetables traditionally go in raw and cook inside the pastry.  But there is no reason why you can't use leftover lamb roast and veggies from the night before.  For my Cornish pasties I am using leftover rabbit from my Lapin a la Cocotte.
Make the dough several hours before and keep in the refrigerator.
Shortcrust Pastry
3 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter into small blocks
1/2 cup iced water
egg wash consisting of 1 egg and 2 tablespoons milk
Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.  Add in the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingers until you have a mixture resembling coarse breadcrumbs.  Pour in a little iced water, a tablespoon at a time and cut it into the butter and flour mixture with a knife.  As soon as the dough holds together and forms a large ball it is done.  Put it on a piece of clingwrap, flatten it into a large rectangle, cover with the clingwrap and place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
When you are ready to make the pasties, heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Divide your pastry into about 6-8 pieces.  On a floured board roll out each piece until you have a side plate-sized circle.
You will place the filling on one side of the circle, and then brush some egg wash around the edge and fold over the other part of the circle so that you now have a perfect semi-circle.  Seal the edges of the pastry together by decoratively crimping the edge with a fork.
Brush the tops of the pasties with egg wash and bake in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown.
Filling
2 cups cubed meat
2 cups cubed potatoes
2 cups cubed veggies
2 cups sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
healthy sprinkle of olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
Mix all filling ingredients into a large bowl and spoon onto the pastry.  Remember you can use leftovers and add in other vegetables in season.  Just make sure that, besides the seasonings, the filling ingredients are all cubed into the same size.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She's the author of Hush Baby, Defective, Not Telling, C U @ 8 and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Rosti from Switzerland

The Swiss have perfected rostis.  Rosti means crisp and golden and that's exactly how you want your rosti to come out.  Rostis are crisp on the outside and soft in the middle.
3 medium-sized potatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons oil for frying
Par-boil the potatoes until half cooked.  They must be firm and not soft.  Grate the potatoes using the large hole part of the grater.  Add in the salt and pepper.  There must be no liquid in the bowl.  You can make one large rosti and then cut it into quarter when cooked, or make 4 small rostis.  Put the oil into a frying pan and when the oil is hot add in handfuls of the shredded potato mixture, using a fork to distribute it evenly until it is about 1.5 cm thick.  Press the potato shreds down firmly.  You might need to turn the heat down now so that it is just sizzling.  Cook for about 12 minutes until the underside is a deep golden brown and the top is beginning to get translucent.  If you are making a large one, slide it off onto a dinner plate, put another dinner plate on top of it.  Turn it over and slide it back into the frying pan to cook the other side.  Cook this side for about 8 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.  If you are making small rostis then you can turn them over individually with the spatula.  You can serve them with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives or Zurich-style veal.  In fact, use them as extra-tasty hash browns and serve them for breakfast with a fried egg.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She's the author of Hush Baby, Defective, Not Telling, C U @ 8 and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Zurich-style Veal from Switzerland

Switzerland is famous for many things, the Alps, skiing, the Red Cross, banks, chocolate, cheese, a big lake.  But this tasty veal dish should be top of the Swiss list!  This meal is most famous in Zurich from where it gets its name.
3 tablespoons oil
500g veal cut into strips
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon flour
1 onion finely sliced
1 punnet sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1 stock cube
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Fry the veal, remove from the frying pan and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and flour.  Saute the onions and mushrooms, then add in the white wine and vinegar.  Add in the stock cube.  In a measuring jug add the cream, water and cornstarch and mix together.  Add it into the pan and let it simmer until the sauce starts to thicken.  Put the cooked veal strips in and simmer until the sauce is nice and thick.  Serve on a rosti.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She's the author of Hush Baby, Defective, Not Telling, C U @ 8 and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Wiener Schnitzel from Austria

Austria can lay claim to the schnitzel, one of the easiest meals you can ever hope to make.  Start to end it will take you about 20 minutes max so is perfect after a hectic day at work when you are too tired to cook anything complicated.
4 veal cutlets or medallions
1/4 cup flour
large pinch of salt
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs beaten
lemon slices for squeezing
oil for frying
Pound the veal until it's about 1 cm thick.  Put the flour and salt in one bowl, the beaten eggs in another and the breadcrumbs in a third bowl.  Take each schnitzel and dip first in the flour and salt mixture, then into the beaten eggs and lastly into the breadcrumbs.  Fry the scnitzel in the hot oil for about 3-4 minutes a side.  Drain excess oil on some kitchen towel.  Serve with a green salad, potato salad or french fries.  Squeeze a little lemon on it.  If you can't get your hands on veal, you can use pork or chicken.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She's the author of Hush Baby, Defective, Not Telling, C U @ 8 and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Boerewors Rolls from South Africa

If you live in South Africa you nip down to your local supermarket and buy a pack of boerewors and a packet of hot dog rolls and you are A for away.  However, if you live in a place far from South African influences, then you might have to make your own hot dog rolls and boerewors.  Boerewors loosely translated means farmers' sausage.  There are many varieties of boerwors, many closely-guarded secret recipes.  If you have a mincer attachment to your mixer, chances are you'll have the sausage-making attachments as well.  Electric mincer/ sausage-makers are reasonably cheap to buy, you can get them for under $30!  When you make your own sausages you know exactly what is going into it.  Some commercially produced sausages have very little meat in them.  The big thing you have to do is source hog casings.  This is not as difficult as it sounds.  Wherever sausage is made there are hog casings available for you to buy.
Hot Dog Rolls
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
4 1/2 cups flour
1 packet instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
Warm the butter, milk and water.  Add it to the mixing bowl containing the flour, salt, sugar and yeast.  Mix, add the egg and knead it until the dough pulls together and becomes smooth and elastic.  Divide the dough into 12 pieces.  Shape them into long rectangles and leave them covered in a warm place and allow them to rise for about half an hour.  Bake in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees Celsius for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.
Boerewors
3 kg meat cuts into chunks ready for mincing (Can be a mixture of beef, lamb and pork)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons coarsely ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup vinegar
Hog casings
Mince the meat, mix together with all the ingredients and use the sausage-making attachment on your mincer to stuff the hog casings.  Traditionally boerewors is made as one long length.  While this is a basic boerewors recipe, you can experiment and add in some herbs, or even cut down some of the vinegar and add in red wine.
Assembling the boerewors rolls
Grill, BBQ or fry the boerewors.  Cut into piece after it has cooked, roughly the same length as your rolls.  Cut open a roll lengthwise and put in a piece of cooked boerewors.  Add in fried onions, mustard, tomato sauce, sweet chili sauce or chutney, whatever you wish as an extra condiment.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She's the author of Hush Baby, Defective, Not Telling, C U @ 8 and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Hot Cross Buns from Britain

No Easter is complete without hot cross buns.  Chocolate bunnies I can do without, but not hot cross buns.  Hot cross buns have been around for centuries.  There were even times in English history when the sale of hot cross buns was banned.  It is said that if you share your hot cross buns with friends then you will cement that friendship for the coming year.
4 cups flour
1 packet instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups currants or dried fruit mix
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs lightly beaten
For the crosses: 1/2 cup flour with 4 tablespoons water
For the glaze: 1/3 cup boiling water 2 tablespoons castor sugar
Put the flour, yeast, sugar, spice, salt and dried fruit mix in a large bowl.  Mix together.  Melt the butter and add the milk so that it is warm but not hot.  Add this to your dry mix in the bowl.  Add in the beaten eggs.  Cut it in with a knife until the dough starts to come together.  Discard the knife, put your hands in and knead until you have a soft elastic dough.  Cover the bowl and leave it in a warm place for about 1 - 1 1/2 hours until your dough doubles in size.  Divide the dough into 12 balls and place them on a greased baking tray.  Cover and leave in a warm place for another 30 minutes until the buns double in size.  Make the flour paste to make the crosses that you put on the top of each bun.  Bake in an oven preheated at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes or until the buns are golden brown.  As the buns come out of the oven, you need to apply the glaze when they are still hot.  Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water and brush the glaze over the hot cross buns.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She's the author of Hush Baby, Defective, Not Telling, C U @ 8 and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.  http://cindyvine.com

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lapin a la Cocotte from France

This is a fancy name for a French rabbit stew.  Rabbit is very tasty and healthy.  Similar to chicken but better.  The French are renowned for cooking with rabbit.  This dish is best served with mashed potato.
1 rabbit cut into quarters
3 slices of bacon chopped into small pieces
2 large onions finely sliced
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups water
1 stock cube
1 cup red wine
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cooking oil
Put the oil in a large pot and fry the bacon pieces.  Add in the onions and garlic and cook until translucent.  Throw in the rabbit quarters and saute on a medium heat until golden brown on each side.  Sprinkle the flour on the rabbit quarters and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the seasonings, water, stock cube and red wine and let your rabbit stew simmer for about an hour on a low heat.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and print format.  http://cindyvine.com

Buttermilk Rusks from South Africa

The best way to wake up in the morning is if someone brings you a mug of coffee and a couple of buttermilk rusks.  And of course before you go to bed at night some hot chocolate or milo with a couple of buttermilk rusks.  If you are a tea drinker buttermilk rusks are great for dunking.
6 cups flour
250g margarine or butter
2 eggs beaten
6 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
2 pinches salt
Add the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs.  Add the beaten eggs, mix it in then add the buttermilk a little at a time until you have a soft smooth dough.  Rather like a cookie dough.  Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Grease a large baking pan.
Roll the rusk dough into golf ball-sized balls and place them next to each other in the pan.  Let this rest for 15 minutes before putting in the oven.  Bake for an hour.  Take out the oven and loosen the rusks.  Cut them in half and spread the rusks out on the baking tray.  Put them back in the oven so they can dry out.  It would be on a low heat of 100 degrees Celsius for 2-3 hours.
You can add in some cornflakes, raisins or muesli to your dough if you want to give them some added texture.
Dunk in your tea or coffee for an authentic South African experience.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of The Great Mountain to Mountain Safari, a travel diary about her drive from Kilimanjaro to Table Mountain at the foot of Africa and back again.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback format.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Koosa from Lebanon

An old school friend of mine, Jeannette Ferriera Mostert, shared her favourite recipe with me and I decided to do a little research and then do my own take on it.  The traditional koosa dish consists of a large marrow stuffed with a mince and rice mixture and boiled in a tomato based sauce.  Where I live I can't find those large marrows so this take on the traditional recipe is a little different.  Just think of it as a deconstructed koosa.
2 large courgettes (baby marrows) or a punnet of small ones
400g mince
1/2 cup long-grained rice
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
1 green chili finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup water or chicken stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Bulgarian yoghurt
Mix the mince, seasonings, rice, garlic, chili and onion together in a bowl.  Form into meatballs and place on the bottom of a large pot.  Slice the courgettes into rings and some of it into about 3cm long thin slices.  Lay the sliced courgettes on top of the meatballs.  Pour over the can of whole peeled tomatoes and the small can of tomato paste.  Add the water and lemon juice so that the food is covered.  Cook on medium heat for about 45 minutes until the rice inside the meatballs is cooked.  Add extra water if need be to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  When serving you can pour Bulgarian yoghurt over the meatballs.
Cindy Vine is a South Africa currently living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of Not Telling, Defective, Hush Baby and C U @ 8.  All her novels are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Malva Pudding from South Africa

This is another South African classic dessert, best on cold nights with a glass of South African port, with the fire raging in the fireplace, the kids asleep in their rooms, the sheepskin rug on the floor...
This is what you need to have in your kitchen:
FOR THE CAKE PART
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon apricot jam
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup milk

FOR THE SAUCY SAUCE
1 cup whipping cream (not whipped because we are not into that kinky stuff)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup hot water
Dash of brandy or whisky
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
This is what you have to do to make this veritable delight:  
Beat the egg and sugar well in a mixer. Add the jam, sifted flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Melt the butter and add the vinegar. Add liquids to egg mixture alternately with the flour. Beat well and bake in a COVERED dish (that means it should have a lid) at 180 Celsius for 45 minute to 1 hour.  I cover it with foil.  It is important to use a covered dish otherwise the sauce won't soak into the cake.
Melt together the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the pudding as it comes out of the oven.  You might have some sauce left over.  Don't feel you have to use it all if the cake is already saturated.  Serve with whipping cream or ice-cream. Man oh man, you will succumb to the pleasures of the taste sensations going on inside your mouth.

Cindy Vine is a South African living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback format.

Beef Curry from Sri Lanka

When cooking Sri Lankan food, be aware that the heady aromas travel quite far and you might get neighbours dropping by to see what you are cooking.  This beef curry tastes as good as it smells.  I cooked it the day before so that the flavours could permeate through the beef cubes.
1kg beef stew meat cut into cubes
6 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger finely chopped
1 green chili finely chopped
3 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 tablespoons cooking oil
2 onions sliced thinly
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cardamom pods bruised
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup water
1 can coconut milk
Put oil into a large pot and add the garlic, ginger, cardamom pods, chilies and onion and cook until the onions are soft.  Add in the curry powder, chili powder, salt, pepper and cinnamon powder.  Mix well with the onion mixture.  Add the beef cubes and brown them and at the same time cover the beef with the curry and onion mixture.  Add in the 1 cup water, vinegar and tomato paste.  Let it cook on medium heat until it starts to boil.  Reduce the heat and add the coconut milk.  Leave to simmer until the beef is tender.  Serve with jasmine and cashew nut rice.
Cindy Vine is a South African living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback format.

Chicken Curry from Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan curries have different flours to Indian and Thai curries.  Quite spicy with a heavenly aroma.  Cook the day before so the chicken can really absorb the flavours.  You can keep in the bones.  I removed them when the curry was cooked and falling off the bones as I just thought it looked prettier without bones sticking up.
3 tablespoons oil
1 cinnamon stick
6 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger finely chopped
6 cardamom pods bruised
2 chilies finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped kaffir lime leaves (optional)
2 onions thinly sliced
 3 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2.5 kg chicken pieces
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup water
Put oil into a large pot and add the cinnamon stick, garlic, ginger, cardamom pods, chilies and onion and cook until the onions are soft.  Add in the curry powder, chili powder and cinnamon powder.  Mix well with the onion mixture.  Add the chicken pieces and brown the chicken pieces an at the same time cover the chicken with the curry and onion mixture.  Add in the 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice and tomato paste.  Let it cook on medium heat until it starts to boil.  Reduce the heat and add the coconut milk.  Leave to simmer until the chicken starts to fall off the bone.  Serve with jasmine and cashew nut rice.
Cindy Vine is a South African living and working in Kyiv Ukraine.  She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective and The Case of Billy B.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback format.

Chapatis from East Africa

Whether you are in Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda, you'll encounter chapatis served with mild curries.  Chapati is a bit of a staple in East Africa.  Surprisingly easy to make, you can knock them up just before your dinner guests arrive.
4 cups flour
8 tablespoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
Cooking oil for dribbling
Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.  Add the cooking oil and mix it into the flour.  Add the water a little at a time, kneading and mixing until the dough is soft, elastic and not sticky at all.  Let it rest for about 15 minutes.  Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.  Sprinkle a little flour on your pastry board and roll each of the 8 pieces into a round flat thin circle the size of a dinner plate.  Now is the fun part.  Put a little cooking oil in a large frying pan.  When it's hot carefully place a chapati in it.  Dribble some cooking oil on the top of the chapati and flip it over.  Dribble some oil on the side facing you.  Flip it over again.  You'll see brown spots on both sides.  The whole process of cooking the chapati takes only a couple of minutes.  Lift it out, put it on a plate and fold it in half and then half again.  You'll quickly get into a rhythm of flipping, folding and rolling the next one.  Serve with curry.
Cindy Vine currently lives in Kyiv Ukraine, and 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 Kindle and paperback format.