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Crispy Cabbage w/Almonds

25 min.

serves 3-4

450g / 1lb spring greens (cabbage greens)
sunflower or groundnut oil, for deep frying
1 tsp. caster sugar
50g / 2oz flaked almonds, toasted
sea salt

Wash spring greens under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Lay several leaves on top of each other, roll tightly and shred thinly.

Fill a heavy-based pan 1/3 full with oil. Heat to 180C/350F or until a little cabbage added to the oil rises to the surface immediately surrounded with bubbles. Fry the greens in small batches for about 30 seconds until they darken and crisp. Drain well on paper towel.

Serve sprinkled with caster sugar, toasted almonds and sea salt to taste

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Bobotie (South African Lamb Casserole)

1½ hrs

serves 4-5

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
675 g / 1½ lb. lean minced (ground) lamb (or beef if desired)
1-2 onion, chopped
2.5 cm / 1 in piece fresh root ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp. mild curry powder (or more, to taste)
2 slices white or brown bread (use up your stale bread here)
250 ml / 8 oz milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 bananas, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise so each half is curved
4 bay leaves
4 tsp. apricot jam or marmalade
seasoning (salt and pepper)
serve with yellow rice (basmati or jasmine rice cooked with saffron or turmeric) and a selection of mild to hot Indian chutneys

Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4.   Soak slices of bread in milk in a shallow pan or plate.

Heat the oil and fry the lamb until lightly browned, break up lumps, move lamb to a plate with slotted spoon.

If lamb was fairly fatty, drain excess fat from pan, otherwise leave the juices in the pan and add onion, ginger and garlic. Fry gently until onion is softened. Return lamb to pan and add curry, stir until well combined.

Squeeze out most of the milk from the soaked bread and save the milk. Break bread into small pieces as you add to lamb mixture. Season mixture well and spoon into a 4-5 cm / 2 in deep ovenproof dish.

Stir beaten eggs into saved milk to make a custard, pour over lamb in pan allowing it to soak down into mixture. Arrange the 4 banana halves on top with the bay leaves. Brush bananas with apricot jam/marmalade to glaze them. Bake for 45-50 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

Serve with yellow rice and various chutneys.

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Salmon Loaf

45 min.

serves 6

454g / 1lb. canned or fresh salmon
2 eggs
¾ cup crushed crackers (e.g. Ritz)
½ cup hot milk
2 or 3 tbsp. melted butter
2 tbsp. grated onions
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp. salt (less/none for salted crackers)

Drain salmon - remove any bones.  Beat eggs slightly.   Add rest of ingredients.  Turn into a greased loaf pan.  Put in larger pan of boiling water.  Bake for 30 mins. at 190C/375F/Gas 5.

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Hot Cabbage & Black Pudding Salad

40 min.

serves 4

450g / 1lb spring greens (cabbage greens)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2.5cm / 1in piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 eating apple, peeled cored and sliced
225g / 8oz black pudding, sliced

For The Dressing:
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. dry sherry
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. clear honey

Steam or boil the spring greens for 6-8 minutes until just tender, drain and cool quickly under cold running water; roughly chop.   Heat half the oil in a large pan, add the onion and fry quickly for 5 minutes until softened and slightly browned. Add the ginger and apple and fry until the apple is just softened. Stir in the black pudding and cook for 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

Heat the remaining oil, add the greens and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Return the black pudding mixture to the pan and mix together.

Make the dressing: heat the olive and sesame oils in a separate pan, add the chilli, mustard, cumin and sesame seeds and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until the seeds are lightly coloured. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bubble briefly.

Turn the mixture into a warm serving dish and spoon the dressing over it just before serving

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Classic Tabbouleh

serves 6

1 cup / 200 ml Bulgar wheat
7 teaspoons / 35 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 cups / 425 ml vegetable stock, boiling
1/3 cup / 70 ml scallion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups / 425 ml flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup / 100 ml mint leaf, chopped
3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 seedless European cucumber, diced
7 teaspoons / 35 ml lemon juice
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Mix bulgar wheat and 1 tbsp olive oil in a bowl.
2. Pour boiling stock over, cover and let stand for 15-20 minutes,
    or until tender.
3. Drain well in a strainer.
4. Toss rehydrated bulgar with remaining ingredients and
    remaining olive oil.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste, and refrigerate until ready to

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Okra w/ Garlic and Chilli

25 min.

serves 4

225g / 8oz small fresh okra, trimmed
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 small red chillies

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and cook onion until softened. Add the garlic and fry until it is just beginning to turn brown.   Add the okra and chillies to the pan, season, then stir fry for 5 mins. over a high heat until the onion has caramelised.

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Tiger Prawn Stir Fry w/ Rice Noodles

1 hour

serves 2

16 tiger prawns in shells without heads or 200g / 8oz defrosted uncooked tiger prawns
100g / 4oz rice noodles
200g / 8oz broccoli, broken into small florets
4 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed

8 spring onions, chopped
2 tsp. five-spice powder
600ml / 1 pint fresh fish stock or 2 fish stock cube dissolved in 600ml / 1pt water
4 tsp. light soy sauce
2 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander (optional)

Five-spice powder encompasses all five flavors - sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty.

Dry the prawns and soften the noodles in cold water. Place broccoli in a bowl, cover with boiling, salted water for 30 seconds, then refresh under cold running water.  Heat oil in a wok, when just smoking, add the prawns and cook for 2 mins. Add the onions, garlic, 5-spice powder and broccoli and stir fry for 2 mins.  Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

Pour the stock into the wok and bring to the boil. Drain the noodles and add to the wok. Cook for 3 mins. over a low heat or until all of the liquid has evaporated, then add the soy sauce. Spoon the prawn mixture on top of the noodles and warm through. Season, garnish w/ the coriander, if using and serve

Making 5-spice powder
If you cannot find Chinese 5-spice powder it is easy to make in about 15 minutes.
2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns (or black
1 8-star anise (or 4 teaspoons ground anise)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds

How to make it

— In a dry skillet, roast the peppercorns by shaking the pan over low to medium heat until the aroma of the peppercorns is released (about three minutes).
— Grind the roasted peppercorns and the 8-star anise (if not using ground anise) in a blender or pepper mill.
— Strain the blended seasonings.
— Mix in the ground cloves, cinnamon, and fennel seeds (and anise if using ground anise).
— Grind the seasonings until very fine.
— Store in an airtight container.

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Smoked Salmon and Cucumber


serves 2-4

75g / 3oz smoked salmon slices
4 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tbsp. natural unsweetened yoghurt
1 tsp. lemon juice
75g / 3 oz cucumber roughly chopped

Mix together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, lemon juice and cucumber. Add pepper to taste. Chop the smoked salmon into 1cm squares and add to mixture; spoon into baked, cooled vol-au-vent cases. Garnish with fresh parsley or cucumber twists.

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Spinach Potato Skins (w/Tomato Mozzarella)

2 hrs

serves 4

4 X 175g / 6oz baking potatoes
100g / 4oz frozen leaf spinach, defrosted
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

R_SPSkin.jpg (15206 bytes)

4 tomatoes, sliced
125g packet mozzarella, sliced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander
crisp green salad to serve

Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Scrub the potatoes, dry well and bake for 50-60 mins. until tender. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Mash until smooth. Press the spinach in a sieve to remove excess liquid. Heat the oil in a small pan, add the shallot and fry for about 5 mins. until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the ground coriander, cook for 1 min.

Stir the shallot into the mashed potato with the spinach, lemon juice and seasoning, mix well.

Place the potato shells into an ovenproof dish and fill with the spinach mixture. Arrange the tomatoes on top so the slices overlap, then return to the oven for 15-20 mins. until the cheese has melted. Sprinkle with the chopped fresh coriander (optional) and serve with a crisp green salad.

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Sliced Potatoes Baked w/ Tomatoes & Basil

1½ hr

serves 4-6

900g / 2lb potatoes, skins on
454g / 1lb red ripe tomatoes
6 tbsp. fresh basil leaves
1 onion, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove. finely chopped
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes and leave for 1 min. , then drain them and slip off the skins. Chop the tomatoes quite small, then slice the potatoes thinly.

In a lightly oiled gratin dish (23cm / 9in) arrange a layer of sliced potato, a little chopped garlic and onion and some seasoning, followed by some chopped tomato, some more seasoning and a few torn basil leaves. Repeat until you have incorporated all the ingredients, then drizzle a little oil over the surface and bake for about an hour, or until the potatoes are tender.

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