Saturday, May 31, 2014

Summer Lettuce Soup from England

I know, I know.  You are thinking why serve a soup in summer.  Well, let me tell you I just made this and it was outstanding!  What a good use of lettuce you might have in the fridge, that is too wilted to put in a salad.  This was delicious and wasn't at all like a winter soup that warms you up.  This was fresh and light, and very tasty.  The taste was pure summer all the way!
2 tablespoons butter
1 head of lettuce
3 potatoes peeled and cubed
5 spring onions finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 cups water
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube
1/2 cup fresh cream
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
pinch of nutmeg
Put the butter in a large pot and saute the garlic, spring onions and potato cubes.  Shred the lettuce and add to the pot.  Saute until the lettuce has wilted.  Add the water and stock cube.  Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat.  Add in salt, black pepper, paprika and nutmeg.  Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the chopped parsley, coriander and mint.  Take it off the heat and let it cool slightly.  Put it in the blender and after a few pulses put it back in the pot and reheat.  Turn off the heat and add the fresh cream just before serving.  The soup should be served warm but not hot.
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 

Strawberry, Lime and Whiskey Jam from Britain

When it’s strawberry season it is almost your duty to capture the taste of summer in this delightful jam.  The lime and whiskey give this traditional jam its ‘wow’ factor and that extra bit of ‘zing.’  Besides with your morning slice of toast, this jam can be used in many other tarts and treats.  Strawberries are low in pectin which is what makes jams set.  This recipe uses homemade apple pectin, which means that no chemicals were harmed in the making of this recipe!
Apple Pectin
5 green apples
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups water
Put the water in a large pot and add the lemon juice.  Slice the apples into quarters leaving the core, seeds and skin on.  Bring to the boil and let apples cook until soft.  The liquid is your apple pectin.  Strain the liquid to remove the apple pieces and you are ready to start with your strawberry jam.  The apple pieces can always be recycled and used in an apple pie or crumble.
The Jam
6 cups sliced strawberries
¾ cup apple pectin
5 cups sugar
2 tablespoons whiskey
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
3 whole cloves

Put all the ingredients into a big pot and bring to the boil.  Keep stirring frequently to prevent sticking.  Your jam is set when you dip an ice-cold metal spoon into the mixture and it forms one big globule.  Turn off the heat and immediately pour it into sterislised jars.  Put the lid on straight away.  The jam will keep for about 4 months.  Because of the heat of summer, I usually keep the opened jar in the fridge, but it isn't necessary.
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 

Samaki Wa Nazi from Tanzania

Samaki wa Nazi is Kiswahili for fish curry with coconut.  This East African dish is very popular all along the coast and on Zanzibar.  Absolutely scrumptious, this tasty coconut fish curry will have you crying out for more.  Serve with steamed rice.
1kg firm fish
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 medium onion sliced into rings
2 cloves of garlic crushed or finely chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 red chilies finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger finely chopped
Juice from ½ lemon
2 cups coconut milk
Season the fish with salt and pepper.  If whole, fillet the fish.  You don't want bones in your curry.  Heat the oil in a pan and brown the fish just to seal in the juices.  Remove the fish from the pan and keep it warm for the moment.  Use the same oil to fry the onion until soft.  Add the garlic, curry powder, tomato paste, chilies, ginger and lemon juice.  Mix well and stir while it cooks,  for about two minutes.  Add the coconut milk and stir until it boils.  Put the warm fish into the coconut curry mixture, reduce the heat and simmer for about ten minutes.  Done.  Quick and easy, be prepared to be wowed.  Serve with 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 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Nanaimo Bars from Canada

The Canadian teachers at my school put in a request for me to make nanaimo bars.  I was initially a little hesitant as I thought I would be setting myself up for failure as they all had such high expectations and good memories of nanaimo bars grannies had made.  Could I measure up?  I thought what the hell, I'd give it a try and they came out just like the pictures I found on the internet!  My friends were pleased so it passed the taste test.
Biscuit layer
1/2 cup soft butter
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 packet digestive type biscuits
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 ground walnuts
Buttercream layer
1/2 cup soft butter
5 tablespoons thick cream
2 tablespoons custard powder
2 cups icing sugar
Chocolate topping
2 slabs chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
To make the biscuit crust:  Melt the butter in a pot and add the sugar and cocoa powder.  Stir until melted and smooth.  Bash your digestive biscuits until they become crumbs and add to the cocoa mixture.  Add in the coconut and walnuts (or almonds if you prefer).  Press this down into the bottom of an ungreased baking pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to chill.
To make the middle layer, use your food processor to mix together the butter, cream and custard powder until it is light and fluffy.  Add in the icing sugar and beat it until smooth.  Take the baking pan out of the fridge and spread your buttercream mixture onto your biscuit layer.  Cover it again with plastic wrap and pop it back into the fridge to set.
Grab another pot and melt the chocolate and butter together to make the third and final layer.  Spread this over the buttercream layer which should now be hard to the touch.  Cover with plastic wrap again and pop it back into the fridge so that the chocolate can set before cutting it into squares.  The size of the squares is a personal preference, but remember this is quite sweet and rich so you might not want to make the squares too big!
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

Transkei Mud Pudding from South Africa

This fridge tart is a South African classic. Easy to make, decadently delicious and great to serve at a barbecue as a dessert. It's got its name from the Transkei mud which is the same orangey brown colour.
It's quite rich but those with a sweet tooth will demand more.
1 Tin Condensed Milk - caramelised (boil the unopened tin in a large pan of water for 1,5 hours or alternatively just buy a can of caramel if you can get it
1 cup Double Cream
1 packet instant pudding (Butterscotch, caramel or vanilla)
1 packet Digestive Biscuits or Tennis biscuits if you can get them
Mint Chocolate or Pepermint Crisp
Here's what you have to do with the goodies.  Whisk the double cream and instant pudding until it has thickened.  Slowly add the caramel and mix thoroughly.  Grate 4-6 pieces mint chocolate into the mixture.  Layer a dish with biscuits and then the caramel mixture (try at least 2 layers of each).  Chill overnight.  Garnish with grated mint chocolate.  The easiest dessert to make ever and it always gets good compliments!
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

Gai Pad Grapow from Thailand

When I lived in Thailand this was one of my favourite meals.  You had to tell them not to make it too spicy as sometimes it can be like eating lighter fuel and it goes straight through your system.  However, this version is a milder version of a classic Thai street food dish.  Eating this always reminds me of beachfront restaurants, plastic chairs and a Thai lady cooking this over her wok.  I can almost smell the sea air!
2 tablespoons oil
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
1 chili finely chopped
250g chicken mince
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 handful basil or coriander leaves
1 lime wedge
Put the oil in a large frying pan or wok and saute the garlic, onions and chili.  Add in the chicken mince and cook it through stirring continuously so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.  Add the soy sauce, sugar and basil/coriander.  If you have some green beans you can throw them in as well as they compliment this dish.  Simmer for another 2-3 minutes.  Serve with rice or noodles.
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


Coxinha from Brazil

Coxinha is Brazilian street food at its best.  It sounds time consuming to make but it's not that bad, and you can make them in advance and freeze them.  The coxinha are shaped like chicken drumsticks, dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and then deep fried.  Yum!
2 large chicken breast fillets
4 cups water
1 stock cube
1 carrot diced
2 onions finely sliced
2 teaspoons ground bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
1 pack cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 cups flour
2 eggs
2 cups bread crumbs
oil for frying
Put the water, stock cube, carrot and 1 onion in the pot and bring to the boil.  Add in the chicken breasts and cook for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the broth and allow to cool.  In a small frying pan, saute the second onion with the garlic in 2 tablespoons butter until soft and just starting to turn golden.  In a mixing bowl, put in the cream cheese, salt and pepper, and mix together.  Shred or cube the cooked chicken and add to the cream cheese mixture.  Mix it in well.  Add in the sauteed onion and garlic and mix it in thoroughly.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge while you work on the dough.
Strain the broth and measure out how many cups of it you have, as this will dictate how much flour you will need.  The ratio is 1 cup flour to 1 cup broth.  Put the broth back into the pot and bring to the boil.  Add in the flour, a little at a time, stirring all the while until a dough begins to form.  Turn down the heat and cook until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides.  This will probably take 2-3 minutes.  Turn off the heat, remove the dough and let it rest for about an hour.  After it's rested, knead the dough well and divide it into balls the size of golf balls.  With your thumb make an indent in the dough ball and fill it with about 1 heaped teaspoon of the chicken mixture.  Close the hole by smoothing the dough over it, and mold the coxinha into the shape of a chicken drumstick.  Beat the two eggs in a small bowl and sprinkle the 2 cups of bread crumbs on a flat plate.  Dip a coxinha into the egg then into the bread crumbs so that the dough is covered.  Stand the coxinha upright until you are ready to fry them.  Deep fry the coxinha in hot oil until golden brown.  Drain them on some kitchen towel.  Serve as a delicious and different snack.
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

Canh Ga Nuong from Vietnam

Sticky chicken wings are great cooked on the barbecue or under the grill and these Vietnamese delights are no exception.  They are very easy to make and it's best to let them marinade for a while to absorb the flavours.
12 chicken wings
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped or dried cilantro
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons sweet wine
1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Lay the chicken wings in a container.  Put all the marinade ingredients in a blender and give it a few pulses to blend everything together thoroughly.  Pour the marinade over the wings and use your hands to make sure you rub marinade onto all the wings.  Cover and put in the fridge for 2-24 hours to give the wings a chance to absorb the marinade.  Cook on the barbecue or under the grill for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the wings and heat of the grill or barbecue.  Watch to see they do not burn, turning regularly.
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

Chicken Satay from Thailand

Nothing screams summer more than tasty Thai chicken satay skewers done on the barbecue.  If you don't have a barbecue you can do them under the grill.  Remember as the chicken is cut into thin strips they will cook quite quickly, so you can't leave them while you do something else.  Turn them every 5 minutes, and depending on the heat of the barbecue or grill, they'll be done in about 15 minutes.  You can serve these with jasmine rice and the satay peanut dipping sauce.  I like to prepare the marinade and let the chicken strips soak in it for 24 hours.  However if you are in a hurry, an hour in the marinade is fine.  Obviously more flavour is absorbed if you leave the chicken strips in longer.
5 chicken breast fillets cut into thin strips
wooden skewers
1 small handful chopped lemon grass
1 onion roughly chopped
2 chilies finely chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger finely sliced
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oil
Lay the chicken strips in a container.  Take the rest of the ingredients and put them into your blender.  Blend until you have a thin paste.  Pour the thin paste over the chicken strips.  Use your hand to make sure all the strips are coated in the marinade.  Cover and put in your fridge for 1-24 hours.  Thread the marinated chicken strips onto the skewers.  If you let the wooden skewers soak in water first, they will absorb the water and be less likely to burn.  Place the chicken satay skewers on the barbecue or under the grill.  Keep an eye on them so that they don't overcook and you end up with dried out chicken.  They should take roughly 15 minutes.  Make sure you turn them regularly.
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

Satay Peanut Sauce from Thailand

Satay peanut sauce is a South East Asian classic and goes well with noodles, vegetables as well as meat.  It's also a great dipping sauce and its versatility makes it very popular.  Serve it warm or at room temperature.  You can make this in advance as it will keep well in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

1 cup peanuts
1/3 cup water
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/3 cup coconut milk
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend together until you have a sauce.That's all.  How easy was that?
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

Empanadas de Carne de Res from Argentina


Empanadas de Carne de Res are semi-circlular shaped pies with a very different taste.  Make them a bit bigger for a main meal, or serve as a snack.  The flavour combinations are not something you would ever have thought of putting together, but it works.  If you make your own pies, then you definitely have to try these.
1 roll frozen puff pastry defrosted
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion thinly sliced
1 cup beef mince
1/4 cup seedless olives diced
1/4 cup raisins
1 hard-boiled egg
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.  Put the oil in the frying pan and lightly saute the onion and garlic.  Add the beef mince and salt and cook over a low heat until the mince is cooked through.  Add in the olives, raisins and hard-boiled egg.  Simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
Roll out the puff pastry sheet.  Using a coffee mug or a glass with a wide mouth, cut circles out of the pastry sheet.  Put 1-2 tablespoons of the mince filling into the centre of the pastry circles.  Beat the egg with the water in a small bowl.  Brush the beaten egg around the edge of the pastry circle.  Fold the pastry over to make a semi-circle.  Crimp the edges down together so that it is completely sealed.  Brush the top with the egg mixture and pop them into the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
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

Tofu Hambagu from Japan

When you think of Japanese cuisine you think of healthy food and this tasty snack is no exception.  Although it contains tofu, it also has meat in it, so despite its name it is NOT suitable for vegetarians.  Sorry about that!  The meatballs have an extra dimension to them because of the tofu.  And the teriyaki sauce compliments it beautifully.  In this recipe I have used chicken mince, but you can substitute the chicken with beef or pork mince if you wish.
250g chicken mince
1 pack tofu
1 1/2 capsicum (different colours)
1 onion finely chopped
1/2 thumb-size of ginger finely chopped
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons cooking oil for frying
Sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sweet wine
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon potato starch
Mix the chicken mince, tofu, capsicum, onion, ginger, egg, salt and pepper together in a bowl.  The mixture should be quite sticky.  Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes.  Put the oil in a frying pan.  Sprinkle the cup of bread crumbs onto a flat plate.  Form the mince mixture into meatballs and roll them in the bread crumbs before frying them in the hot oil.  When the meatballs are cooked through reduce the heat.  In a cup mix together the soy sauce, sugar, sweet wine, vinegar and potato starch.  Pour over the meatballs in the frying pan.  Allow to simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens.  Don't forget to flip over the meatballs so that both sides are coated in the sauce!  Serve with rice or put on a hamburger bun.
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

Kokoda from Fiji

Kokoda is the Fijian version of ceviche and makes good use of the products commonly found on the islands.  It is fresh, tasty and requires no cooking whatsoever.  Very easy to make, kokoda is a great starter and looks pretty when served on a lettuce leaf.
4 white fish fillets
4 limes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 onion finely chopped
1 green chili finely chopped
2 tomatoes quartered
1 capsicum finely chopped
Slice the fish fillets into bite-sized chunks.  Sprinkle over the salt.  Cut the limes into quarters and squeeze their juice onto the fish chunks so that the fish is completely covered in lime juice.  Cover with plastic wrap and pop into the fridge and forget about it for 24 hours.  Just before serving, pour off the excess lime juice.  Add the onion, chili, tomato, capsicum and coconut milk.
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

Spanakopita from Greece

Spanakopita are spinach and feta triangular-shaped pies traditionally made with phyllo pastry.  Here's the thing.  Phyllo pastry is quite fiddly to work with and not always obtainable.  So this recipe uses frozen puff pastry sheets instead of the phyllo and is much easier to make.  Delicious to eat and quick and painless to make.
1 roll frozen puff pastry
2 eggs
1 large bunch spinach or 1 pack frozen spinach
1 onion finely sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
100g feta cheese crumbled
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.  Put the olive oil in a frying pan and saute the onion until soft.  Add in the spinach, salt, pepper and copped parsley and saute for another 2-3 minutes until the spinach wilts.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool.  Mix in one egg and the feta cheese.  Roll out the puff pastry sheet.  Cut it into about 3 long strips.  Then cut each strip to make squares.  Place some filling in the centre of each pastry square.  Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl.  Brush the edges of the square.  Fold over the squares to make triangles and crimp down the sides.  Brush the tops with the egg and place on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
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

Gateaux Piments from Mauritius

These dal fritters from Mauritius are delicious and exceptionally quick and easy to make.  The longest part of the process is soaking the lentils overnight.  Serve hot as a tasty snack.
1 cup lentils/yellow split peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 onion finely chopped
2 chilies finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
oil for frying
Soak the lentils overnight in water.  Pour off the excess water and put the lentils in the food processor to make a paste.  Add the salt, onions, chilies and baking soda and mix it all together.  Divide the mixture up into golf-sized balls.  Flatten slightly and fry until golden.  It doesn't get much easier than this!
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, May 18, 2014

Kishuim Spread from Israel

My first encounter with kishuim spread was when I visited a friend in Israel and instantly fell in love.  I knew that the minute my holiday was over I'd be in my kitchen trying to recreate the spread.  You can serve this as a spread on bread, with pita or even as a side with a barbecue.  It is extremely versatile and unbelievably delicious.
1 large zucchini or punnet of small zuchinni
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions finely sliced
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 cup mayonnaise or Greek yoghurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
Grate the zucchini leaving the skin on.  Put the olive oil into a pan and saute the onions and the garlic.  When it is soft and translucent add the grated zucchini. Saute until it is very soft.  Add the salt, pepper, sugar and soy sauce.  Saute for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and empty out the contents of the pan into a bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it all together
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

Baba Ganoush from Middle East

Baba Ganoush is a classic aubergine dip found all over the Middle East region.  Incidentally, aubergine is also known as eggplant and brinjal.  It just depends on where in the world you come from.  Baba Ganoush is very easy to make and is best served with pita bread or pita chips.  To make pita chips, you just cut the pita bread into 4 wedges and bake them in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius until they are lightly browned and crisp.  The trick to making a great Baba Ganoush, is to roast the aubergine so that you get a smoky flavour.
1 large aubergine
2 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
drizzle of olive oil for presentation
Roast your aubergine with the skin on in the oven for about half an hour at 190 degrees Celsius.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes before you remove the soft insides.
While the aubergine is doing its thing, mix the tahini, finely chopped garlic, cumin, lemon juice and salt in a bowl.  Use a fork to mash the roasted aubergine which you removed from its skin, into the tahini mixture.  Don't make it into a puree as you want it to have some texture.  Stir in the chopped parsley and drizzle with olive oil just before serving.  You can make Bab Ganoush ahead of time as it lasts about 2 days in the fridge.
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

Beef Rendang from Malaysia

Beef rendang is not a quick dish to make.  It will take you at least 3 hours but the resulting taste sensation will be worth all the time it took to make.  Granted, you will not be hovering over a cooking pot for 3 hours!  Every time I've traveled to Malaysia I've always made sure that I had some beef rendang.  No beef rendang is made exactly the same and it's okay for you to put your own spin on it.
500g boneless beef cut into cubes
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cloves
2 star anise
3 cardamom pods
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup water
5 tablespoons desiccated coconut
salt to taste
Spice Paste:
1 onion roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ginger finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 lemon grass stalk roughly chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 large chilies deseeded and finely chopped
For the rendang paste, put all the spice ingredients into a food processor and blend until you have a fine paste.
Heat the oil in a large pot and add the rendang paste, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and cardamom.  Fry them until the aroma fills the kitchen.  Add the beef and stir for a minute.  Add the coconut milk, water and lime juice.  Bring to the boil then let it simmer for an hour until the meat is nearly done.  Toast the coconut flakes in a dry pan until they are lightly browned.  Add the toasted coconut flakes, kaffir lime and sugar to the rendang.  Stir it in well so that it blends in with the meat.  Let it simmer for another hour until the meat is falling apart and the gravy has almost dried up.  Add salt to taste.  Serve with steamed 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

Peri Peri Sauce from Mozambique

When you visit Mozambique and travel up north, you'll see street-side vendors selling bottles of homemade peri peri sauce, some so lethal they'll blow your socks off.  Peri peri sauce can be added to anything where you want a little heat, but goes best with chicken and prawns.
6 large chilies
1 red capsicum
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup oil
6 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons dried cinatro
Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour it into a glass jar with a lid and refrigerate until needed.  It lasts for about 2 weeks, so it is a good idea to make it in advance so that the flavours develop.
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

Chimichurri Sauce from Argentina

Chimichurri is a South American version of pesto.  It can be used as a marinade, basting sauce or condiment.  It's fresh taste definitely puts a zip in your mouth.  There are many variations of chimichurri.  This is one that uses fresh coriander/cilantro.  As a marinade it acts a bit as a meat tenderiser as well.
6 cloves of garlic
1 onion roughly chopped
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro/coriander
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Put the garlic cloves and chopped onion in the food processor and give it a few pulses.  Add in the vinegar and the parsley and give it some more pulses.  Add in the red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Blend that together until it almost a liquid.  Add in the coriander and blend it until you have a paste resembling pesto.  Pour it into a glass jar and refrigerate it for up to a week to allow the flavours to develop.
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

Coconut Chutney from Fiji

Coconuts make you think of the equator and tropical islands.  This classic chutney is served with Fiji’s traditional curries. However you can also use it as a side dish.  When I lived in Tanzania I had a machete which was great for opening coconuts.  In the Ukraine there are no machetes and opening the coconut was a bit of a mission.  Eventually I used a bread knife and a meat mallet which isn't ideal but it worked.  And I didn't even cut myself!
                                                                                    2 cups fresh coconut
liquid from the coconut
1 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger cut into slices
1 green chili
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and mix well. Put in in a glass jar with a lid and allow it to sit for at least an hour before using, so that the flavours can blend and develop.  It will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
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, May 12, 2014

Apple Strudel from Austria

Apple strudel is a delicious dessert which is very easy to make if you are prepared to cheat a bit.  While you can make your own pastry, I go the easy route and use shop-bought puff pastry.  However, I do use fresh apples instead of canned ones.  You can make one large strudel or several small ones.  While many countries in Central and Eastern Europe have the strudel as their main dessert, it supposedly originated in Vienna in Austria.
1 packet frozen puff pastry
4-5 apples peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup raisins
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Grease a baking pan.  Lay out the puff pastry sheet on the baking pan.  Place the apple slices down the centre of the puff pastry sheet.  Sprinkle the lemon juice, cinnamon and ginger over the apple slices.  Cover the apples with the raisins.  Fold the two sides over the apple mixture and turn the roll over so that the fold is on the underside.  Cut slits in the side facing up.  Alternatively you can cut the slits on the side pieces and fold it over in a criss-cross pattern.  Mix the milk with the egg and use this as an egg wash on the pastry.  Bake in the middle part of the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the strudel is golden brown.
Let it cool and then dust the top with icing sugar.  Serve with cream or vanilla ice-cream.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Ukraine.  She is the author of The Colorful Art of Pain, The Great Mountain to Mountain Safari and several novels.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and print format.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Duck Curry from Mauritius

Mauritius is a holiday island in the Indian Ocean where many different cultures have come together to create Mauritian cuisine.  Europe and Asia have strongly influenced the food and helped make it a holiday in your mouth.  Tasty and delicious, you'll be wanting more!
thumb-sized piece of ginger chopped
8 large garlic cloves chopped
2 small  chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1 duck cut into portions
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2  onions finely chopped
4 tablespoons curry powder, mixed with water to make a wet paste
1 cup water
1/2 cup coconut milk
4 tomatoes roughly chopped
1 handful fresh coriander roughly chopped
Place the ginger, garlic, chili and a pinch of salt in a mortar, use your arm muscles and pound it to a chunky paste.  Set that aside and move onto your duck.  Place the duck portions in a bowl and season with the salt and pepper.
Heat a large pot, add a little oil and brown the duck pieces in batches. When all the pieces are browned, remove them from the pot making sure that you leave a little melted duck fat behind.
Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until light brown and soft. Add the ginger, garlic and chili paste.  Sauté for about another 2 minutes before adding in the curry paste, chili powder, cumin and turmeric.  Stir it in and allow to cook for another 2 minutes. Add the water, the duck pieces and any juices that have leaked out. Mix it in well and add the coconut milk. Let it simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.  Add in the roughly chopped tomato and let it simmer for another half an hour to give the sauce a chance to reduce. Taste whether you have enough seasoning and adjust if necessary.  Add the chopped fresh coriander just 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            

Lemon Meringue Pie from Britain

While the French might have been the first to experiment with meringue, the British definitely perfected the lemon meringue pie and took it with them as they colonised the world.  Nowadays you find lemon meringue pie all over the world, especially in coffee shops and cafes.  This recipe is a bit of a cheat one as you use biscuits as the pie crust and condensed milk in the filling.  But, it's easy enough to knock up quickly when unexpected guests arrive for tea,
1 packet of sweet biscuits
125g butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs separated
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Melt the butter and crush the biscuits.  Add the crushed biscuits to the melted butter in a greased pie dish and mix together well.  Press down firmly as this will be your crust.  Refrigerate while you make the filling and the meringue.  Put the egg yolks, condensed milk, lemon juice and zest in a bowl and mix together.  Spoon it onto your biscuit pie crust.  In another bowl beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and if you turn the bowl upside down they don't fall out.  Carefully fold in the 1/2 cup of sugar.  Spoon the meringue onto the lemon filling.  Put into the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the meringue turns a golden colour.
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.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Challah from Israel

Challah is a traditional sweet eggy bread eaten by Jewish people on the Sabbath and Rosh Hashanah.  Not only tasty, this braided bread is pretty to look at as well.  The history of this bread goes back to ancient times and it does have spiritual connotations.  Baking this bread is considered to be a blessing and the smell of freshly baked challah permeating the house is indeed a blessing, albeit not a spiritual one.  This is not a quick bread to make but it is worth the effort.
1 packet dried yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
5 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/3 cup honey
egg wash: 1 egg, 1 tablespoon water, pinch of salt

Add the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar to 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water you have put in a mixing bowl.  Let it stand for 10 minutes so that the yeast activates.  You know it's activated when it gets frothy.  Add in the rest of the lukewarm water, the eggs, oil, honey, salt and sugar and mix well.  Slowly start adding in the flour, half a cup at a time and mix after each addition.  As
the dough thickens you will need to start kneading it with your hands until it is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky.  Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and put it in a warm place for an hour so that it can rise.  When it has doubled in size, punch the dough down to remove any air pockets and cover it up again and let it rise in a warm place for another hour.
Punch down the dough again and knead it for a few minutes.  Separate the dough into 3 or 4 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a long snake about 2 1/2 cm thick and 30 cm long.  Braid the dough snakes as you would hair to make a plait.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.  Mix up your egg wash ingredients and brush half onto your braided challah loaf.  Place the loaf on a baking tray covered with baking paper and cover it, allowing it to rise for another 30 minutes.  Put in the middle of the oven and
bake it for 20 minutes.  Take it out and brush with the rest of the egg wash mixture and put back into the oven to bake for another 20 minutes.  The challah should be a golden brown and should sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom.
Cindy Vine, a South African, currently lives and works 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.

Yassa Chicken from Senegal

I was first introduced to yassa chicken by West Africans when I lived in Botswana and immediately fell in love.  Years later I worked with Evy Yaguibou, a teacher from Burkino Faso, who made the most delicious yassa chicken.  There was no way I could put together a cookbook with recipes from around the world without including yassa chicken.  So here it is!
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 onions finely sliced
1 chili finely chopped
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 teaspoons mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
5 tablespoons cooking oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 chicken cut into portions
oil for saute
2 carrots diced
1 small cabbage cut into chunks
1 stock cube
1/2 cup water
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, except the chicken portions, water, vegetables and oil for saute, so that you make a marinade.  Carefully lay the chicken portions in the marinade making sure that they are well-covered.  Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for a few hours, overnight is best.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and saute it in a large pot.  When the chicken has started to brown, add in the onions from the marinade and saute them as well.  When the onions are soft, add in the rest of the marinade, the water, stock cube and the vegetables.  Bring to a boil so that the marinade turns into a sauce.  Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Serve with rice.
Cindy Vine, a South African, currently lives and works 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.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Nyama Stew from Tanzania

Nyama is the Kiswahili word for meat.  This easy to make delicious stew will have your mouth watering as the sensational cooking smells seep up your nostrils. It is so tasty you might want to double up as everybody will want seconds!

2 tablespoons cooking oil
500g beef cut into cubes
1 large onion cut into rings
6 tomatoes finely chopped
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves
1 chilli finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a pot.  Brown the beef and the onion rings.  Throw in the rest of the ingredients and leave to simmer for about 45 minutes on a low heat until the meat is cooked and falling apart.  That is all there is to do, seriously easy.  Serve with a hefty spoonful of mataha, ugali (both Tanzanian classics) or rice.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently working in Ukraine.  She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective and Not Telling.  All her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and print format.