Monday, October 24, 2011

pesto puff pastry snacks

These little guys are ideal for an appetizer or any-time snack or, as seen here, paired with a side salad for a light lunch.

- Puff pastry
- Pesto
- Cherry tomatoes (halved)
- Feta (cubed)
- Cheddar (grated)

- Defrost and roll out some puff pastry with a rolling pin.
- Choose a cookie cutter and cut out rounds in the puff pastry (I used the lid of a jar of instant coffee to do this).
- Place the rounds onto a greased baking tray.
- Take a butter knife and cut an inner circle into each pastry round (try not to cut all the way through to the baking tray though).
- On the inside of the circle liberally smear some basil pesto.
- On top of that layer some halved cherry tomatoes.
- On top of that layer a chunk or two of feta cheese.
- On top of that layer some grated cheddar.
Place in the oven at 180 degrees celsius until the outer crust of pastry is golden brown.

* Pictured above is a very plain side salad of rocket, cherry tomatoes and feta.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Steak Sandwiches

We made these steak sandwiches one lazy Saturday afternoon. 

We had: 
  • left over beef fillet steaks from the previous night's braai (bbq);
  • hangovers, also from the previous night's braai; and
  • hunger
No one was keen to tackle anything too complicated, lucky for us, the resulting meal was not only easy but pretty darn delicious too.

White Wine
Thyme, basil and any dried herbs your heart desires
Left over beef fillet steaks
Bread or hamburger rolls

Melt a knob of butter in a frying pan
Add chopped onions and fry til transluscent
Add a generous amount of garlic and simmer til fragrant
Add sliced mushrooms and simmer
Toast the bread/rolls (these can be left untoasted but we toasted because our rolls were from the night before so not the freshest - I liked the crunchy texture of the toasted roll in this sandwich)
Add some white wine (not too much if you're still feeling tender from the previous night)
Slice the beef fillet into strips and add to the pan
Season with salt, pepper and mixture of herbs
Simmer until the meat is warmed through
Chuck the fried mixture onto your toasted roll and gobble down your sandwich.. Mmmm mmmmm.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jilera, Innes Road, Durban

The first time we we ever ate at Jilera the salad was amazing. Now, it's a real rarity for me to order a salad but I wasn't very hungry that night and salad sounded interesting. 

It was fantastic. 

The salads can also be ordered as a wrap or an open sandwich. On this, the second occasion we were visiting the place, I opted for a different salad as I wasn't feeling the carb vibe that evening. My meal arrived as an open sandwich and I was completely disappointed. It was mostly bread and sparse on the good stuff. The waitress graciously offered to rectify the mistake but, as a rule, I don't send food back because I like to avoid the possibility of ingesting the chef's spit at all costs. 

We were a party of 7 diners. My order was wrong, one of the burgers was cold and the deep dish of nachos only had toppings on the top layer... when you're paying almost 70 rand for something as simple as vegetarian nachos you expect a bit more. The bunny chow was a very mild but by far the best meal at the table.
We were there on a Friday night and the place seemed more geared towards the bar vibe than the restaurant vibe that night. Such a pity because the first time we visited we had such an unexpectedly good experience, but I can't see any of us back there anytime soon

Completely Cooked: 3/10

Monday, October 3, 2011


According to the Meat-Free Mondays South Africa website: A vegan driving an SUV is more eco-friendly than a meat-eater riding a bicycle'. Really? Well, who am I to argue?

So, I've been persuaded to join the movement and I think everyone should give it a try - not because its the trendy thing to do, but because going without meat for at least one day a week is good for both your personal health and the environment.

And if you'd like to know more about it have a look here

Monday, September 19, 2011

The good ol' days

Often, when I eat something I haven’t eaten in a while (but LOVED during childhood), I am disappointed. It seems that ‘when we were young’ isn’t a cliché for nothing. Certain things just tasted better when we were kids. 
Now, I know some people will say that its just because we’ve now developed a more mature palette so we no longer find the same pleasure in foods we adored as children but I say bollocks to that. Here's why:

When I was young I remember the distinct crunch of a Kit Kat. 4 fingers of chocolate were never enough, I always wanted more. It seems to me that these days the wafer is more air than actual wafer and the chocolate forms the thinnest of veneers over said airy wafer. Unsatisfying, to say the least.

The next on my list of disappointments in the BarOne. Again guilty of thinning the chocolate layer to such an extent that, I feel, it has lost the very essence that made it a BarOne. In the old days there was a decent chocolate coating around the entire thing but the real win was the top of the bar, which was a thick hard chocolate layer, with ridges all along its back. The memorable CRACK which was heard and felt when biting through that top layer has now vanished, and in its place is a thin, silent imposter.
One of my favourite memories of Easter during childhood is finding a whole 6 pack carton of white eggs. Back in the day you would suck on one those things for hours until your entire mouth was covered in the white candy coating. Eventually your patience would be rewarded as after wearing the shell down enough you would be able to crack the egg open with your teeth and enjoy the delicious chocolate layer on the inside of the egg. 
Pure heaven. Back then it was literally impossible to bite through the shell straight out of the packet, similar to the impossibility of biting through granite. These days, to my utter dismay, the shell of the egg may as well be made of glass. It is so fragile that one small nip means that the egg is in pieces. Fair enough, it might be better for the teeth of today’s children but I feel like the old white eggs were a lesson in patience. Nowadays, its all over in a matter of 2 minutes and the child is already stuffing the next white egg in his mouth.

In these days of declining quality it is great to know that some things are just as you remember them as a kid. I ate a bag of NikNaks this morning and they were deeelicious, the same crunch of my childhood, the same distinct cheese flavour, the same orange fingers after consuming the bag. It makes me happy that the quality of some things is so carefully maintained. Not only does it satisfy the craving. It also provides that warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling in your tummy.

NikNaks, you rock my world.

Interestingly, the NikNaks packet design has changed again. Trying to evolve with the times.. badly, in my opinion.. but I do not want to sound ungrateful as I am thankful to them for maintaining the awesomness of what is inside the packet.

Evolution of the NikNaks packet:
             Child hood                   Teenage years                          Now

Friday, September 16, 2011

French Toast with Banana

Yay for lazy weekend mornings!

Double yay for syrupy-bananery-french-toasty goodness!

I like making this when I'm feeling a little more adventurous than cereal but a little less adventurous than full english or waffles.

Ingredients (for two people):

4 Eggs
1/2 cup of Milk
Maple syrup


Beat eggs and milk together til combined.

Soak each piece of bread in the eggy mixture.

Fry each piece of bread on both sides.

Chop the banana into discs about 2cm deep.

Fry banana discs lightly.

Pile fried banana on top of cooked french toast.

Add Maple syrup.

Kick back and enjoy your breakfast - and your weekend.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Parmigiana

Last night I decided I needed to use up a half block of parmesan that had been in the fridge a while. In my searches I came across Pioneer Woman's recipe for chicken parmigiana. I adjusted portion size and then proceeded to follow the recipe as best I could.

The result was quite spectacular. We sat down to eat and, after a few mouthfuls boyfriend got distracted by something on his iphone. When I brought to his attention that his food was getting cold he looked down at his plate and said "Wow, I didn't realise I had so much food left. This is so awesome".

Now, that's the type of compliment that makes me smile really wide.
Be warned - this is by no means a diet friendly meal (I think I used about double the cheese pioneer woman did - if thats even possible) but making it will almost certainly make your life better.


4 chicken fillets
1 and a half cans whole peeled tomatoes (this was all I had)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup wine
mixed herbs

Chop (PW left whole) coat with flour and cook chicken - I cooked til crispy cos I like the texture.

Cook chopped onion and garlic, pour in wine and reduce til half.

Chop tomatoes roughly in the can and then add to the pan.

Simmer until reduced to your liking. PW suggested half an hour (but used double quantity). I waited around 15 mins.

Chuck chicken on top and sprinkle with parmesan (liberally, very liberally) and then cover for 5-10mins to let the cheese melt. 

Plate, serve, and sit back and wait for the compliments.