Thursday, January 4, 2018

Durban Chicken Curry from South Africa

Durban curry is different to any curry you would get in India.  It's red in colour and the different spices give it a complexity of flavour that will have you jumping up for seconds.  When the British owned South Africa, they brought in thousands of labourers from India in the late 1880's to early 1900's to work on their sugar cane plantations.  Food was not plentiful, so the new immigrants had to adapt their traditional curries to the ingredients they could source locally.  Traditionally, Durban curry is very hot.  However, many are unable to cope with the heat.  This recipe is for a medium curry that might just make your nose run a little while eating it.  Increase the chili powder or add fresh red chilies if you are brave enough to make it hotter!
1 kg chicken pieces
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 can chopped tomatoes
2 onions finely chopped
1 small bunch coriander finely chopped
2 cups water
4 potatoes peeled and cut into quarters
1 teaspoon ginger finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Cornflour for thickening if needed
salt and pepper to taste
Optional to add in a cup of frozen peas or frozen mixed vegetables
Put the oil in a large pot and saute the onion, garlic and ginger on a low heat.  Add in the dry ingredients (spices and masala).  If it starts to catch on the bottom of the pot, add in a little of the water so that you make a paste.  Increase the heat and add the chicken pieces and allow them to cook a little so that the chicken starts to change colour.  Pour in the rest of the water.  Cover the pot and let the chicken curry cook on a medium heat for ten minutes.  Add the potatoes, chopped tomatoes and tomato puree.  Add salt and pepper according to taste.  If you want to add in the frozen vegetables, now would be the time to do so.  Reduce the heat a little and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Serve on a bed of rice or if you want to do something different and very traditionally Durban - you can make a Bunny Chow.  Garnish with the chopped coriander.
Serves 4-6 people
To make a Bunny Chow you will need a fresh loaf of unsliced bread.  Divide the loaf of bread into 3-4 large chunks.  Using a sharp knife, hollow out each chunk leaving a thick wall around the sides and the bottom.  Spoon the curry into the hollowed out chunk of bread.  Place the bread you removed from the inside on top of the Bunny Chow as a lid.  Eat with your fingers.
Cindy Vine is the author of Not Telling, Hush Baby and Defective.  Her books are available in both Kindle and Paperback format on

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Aprikosenkuchen (Apricot Cake) from Germany

This is a very popular German cake which is incredibly easy to make. I first had it on a stopover in Frankfurt, and as apricots are one of my favourite fruits, I always wanted to try and make it. You can use fresh apricots or canned apricots.  Whichever is easiest to lay your hands on.  This cake does resemble a cobbler.  So if you are asked to quickly produce a cake, this cake is the answer!

10 tablespoons of soft butter or margarine
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice or the zest of a lemon
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk if you can get it
1 can apricot halves or about 10 apricots halved and pitted
Preheat the oven at 175 degrees Celsius.  Grease a medium cake tin.  In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar an vanilla.  Add in the eggs, beating well after each egg.  Add in the lemon juice/zest.  Add in all the dry ingredients and mix well.  Add in the milk/buttermilk and mix to a smooth batter.  Spoon the batter into the cake tin and smooth it down.  Place the apricot halves, cut side down, on top of the batter.  If you are using fresh apricots, you might want to sprinkle a little sugar on the top of the apricot halves.  If you are using canned apricots, they will be sweet enough.  Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of your cake tin.  Serve with fresh whipped cream or just enjoy on its own.
Cindy Vine currently lives in Norway and is the author of Hush Baby, Not Telling and Defective.  All of her books are available on in both paperback and kindle format.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pork Roast with Chimichurri from Argentina

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

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

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

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Frijol con Puerco from Mexico

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

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Poached Salmon from Alaska

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

Rabbit Liver Pate from France

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

Sopa de Ajo from Cuba

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