Tomorrow is Heritage Day in South Africa. In recent years it has come to be known as Braai Day . Which ordinarily I would be the first to endorse. I love a good braai! I totally endorse the sentiment expressed by the movement in their mission statement –
“Across race, language, region and religion, we all share one common heritage. It is called many things: Chisa Nyama, Braai and Ukosa to name few. Although the ingredients may differ, the one thing that never changes is that when we have something to celebrate we light fires, and prepare great feasts.
We encourage all South Africans to unite around fires, share our heritage and wave our flag on 24 September every year.
We liken this initiative to annual celebrations cherished by other leading nations of the world; Thanksgiving for Americans, St Patricks Day for the Irish, Bastille Day for the French and Australia Day for Australians.
This is a noble cause, which will contribute to strengthening South Africa as a nation through this act of nation building and social cohesion. “
Yet I still feel our Heritage is so much richer and deeper than this, and extends to far more than just meat, a fire or a pot. It extends to flowers, to design, decor and even a simple bowl of breakfast porridge.
However you choose to celebrate Heritage Day tomorrow, I hope its FUN!
Rather than embark on mission impossible, I took the advise of my daughters kindergarden teacher and applied it to the party. When faced with disciplining issues ( which I hardly ever have because my child is an angle, ha ha ) She sagely advised, ” pick your battles, and only fight the ones you can win.”
So rather than attempt a 2 year olds party without the obligatory cupcakes I strategically applied my no sugar rule where I could. I follow a LCHF diet ( low carb, high fat ) commoningly known in South Africa as Banting. A few of my friends follow the same and I wanted the adult food to cater for them.
I made all the sauces, the lemonade and a couple of cakes using xylitol as a sugar substitute and I was thrilled at how they all turned out and tasted. I dont like the artifical taste of Stevia, and I haven’t tried Erythritol. If you’re not worried about carbs or calories, you can use sugar or honey in any of the recipes.
We made boerewors ( South African type sausage) rolls with either cauliwraps ( recipe here) or hot dog rolls ( for those not following low carb) and Im thrilled to say , judging by the “leftovers” or lack of, the food was all a success! From the coldrinks to the cake, I felt I achieved my objective to be balanced and as sugar free/ low carb as possible under the circumstances.
Now for next years party….
SUGAR FREE HOMEMADE TOMATO SAUCE
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup honey or xylitol for sugar-free
1 teaspoon salt
700g tomato puree/ passata
300g tomato paste
1 tspn mixed dried herbs
Heat oil, Add onion and cook until softened.
Pour in vinegars, honey and salt.
Bring to a boil.
Add tomato puree and paste.
Bring to a boil.
Cook until reduced and sauce thickens about 15-20 minutes.
Pour into blender and blend until smooth.
Refrigerate. Makes 2 consol jars
Notes Adapted from this recipe -http://www.sugarfreemom.com/recipes/healthier-homemade-tomato-ketchup/
SUGAR FREE BBQ SAUCE ” RECIPE” This is more of a guideline as I improvise each time I make this recipe.
1 med onion, finely chopped or minced ( I whizz in a food processor)
1 tblspn garlic, crushed
1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 can diet (sugar-free) Cola
1 cup sugar-free tomato sauce
3 T mustard, I used commercial whole grain mustard which does contain a small amount of sugar
1-3 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch ground cloves
Hot sauce ( optional ) see note
Boil together for 20-30 minutes, reduce until thickened
It will not be as thick or sticky as commercially made sauces
Note – I divided mixture in half and added Tobasco to one to make a spicy sauce and 1/4 cup honey to the other to make a sweeter sticky sauce
Play around with what works for you
Made approximately 2 consol jars HOMEMADE PINK LEMONADE
Serves 4 – 6
1 cup sugar or xylitol (can reduce to ¾ cup if using sweet grapefruit) or 1/2 cup honey for Paleo
1 cup water (for the sugar syrup)
1 cup lemon juice or pink grapefruit
3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)
1. Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.
2. While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from the fruit , enough for one cup of juice.
3 Add the juice and the sugar water to a jug. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.
If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.
Serve with ice, sliced lemons or cubes of frozen grapefruit wedges
300g Lindt 70% cocoa dark chocolate
250g castor sugar/ or zylitol
6 meduim free range eggs
150g almond flour
100g coconut flour
For the ganache
200g Lindt 70% cocoa dark chocolate
1/2cup/ 125ml cream
1. Line and grease a 23 cm spring form tin, preheat oven to 180oC
2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler
3. In a bowl beat the butter and zylitol until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, eating between each addition. Do not be alarmed if the mixture begins to appear curdled, it will come together again when you add the chocolate
4.Slowly stir in the melted chocolate, alternating with tablespoons of almond and coconut flours.
5. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and transfer to the oven.
6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
7. Switch off oven and leave cake to cool in the oven with the door ajar.
8. Cake can be prepared a day ahead, and will keep for 5 days in an airtight container
For The Ganache
1. Melt the cream and chocolate together in a double boiler.
2. Allow to cool slightly before spreading over the cold cake.
3. Serve decorated with berries and a dusting of icing sugar.
I wrote a while back about this project and what a joy it was for me. Not only is Caron Melamed one of the nicest people I have ever worked with but I also got to work with my friend and photographer Roelene Prinsloo.
These are a few of the images Roelene and I did together for the book ( not all the images in the book are by Roelene)
Mazel tov Caron ! You can stop pinching yourself , your dream is a reality.
Thank you that I could be a part of it !
The book is available directly from Caron Melamed.
In this article ( such a great pic of Caron) it says the book is now available at selected Exclusive books stores in Johannesburg, and at Thrupps.
Before today I probably would have said I’m a bit over soup.
I know! Quiet a rash statement and odd as I have a reputation for my soup making skills, along with a confession on this blog that I like to slurp 🙂
Today such utterances are plain foolish! Crazy talk. We don’t need any of that around here at the moment.The temperature has plummetted and Johannesburg is shivering at winter’s announcement that it is here, and means business!
We had some prior warning which I paid no attention to. We all know how I procrastinate, and this was no exception. SOOOO, I’m now scrambling through my hard drives for the recipes I feel like making and frantically dusting off the pressure cooker to fast forward my soup action. I think I’m going with this delicious Cream of celery, white bean, and pancetta soup. One of my favourites from a photoshoot a while back for Food & Home Magazine. Nope, actually I’m going with the two Banting friendly recipes ( LCHF) the Tomato, Tamarind & Aubergine Soup with Coconut crisps is an absolute winner, and so is the Leek, Smoked Chicken & Cabbage Soup.
Maybe I’ll make the Medley of Mushroom soup for my vegetarian friend …?
Decisions decisions, now you know why I end up procrastinating
Oh what the heck, they’re all good ! Hopefully you haven’t left it to the last minute, but if you need some soup inspiration check out all the recipes below.
Keep warm & Happy Friday !
Creamy Celery Soup with White Beans and Pancetta.
50ml olive oil 50g butter 1 large bulb of celery, approx 8 stalks, washed and finely sliced 1 small onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 4 sprigs fresh thyme 200g block pancetta, cubed 1 x 440g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 1 litre good quality chicken stock 500ml cream Salt & pepper
Heat the oil and butter over medium heat and sauté the celery and onion for 5-8 minutes, add the garlic and pancetta. Add the beans, thyme and stock and bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes, add the cream and heat through. Serve in warmed bowls with crusty bread and garnished with fresh thyme
Leek, Smoked Chicken & Cabbage Soup
50ml olive oil 6 young leeks, washed and sliced ( white part only) 1 small white onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic , crushed 4 smoked chicken breasts, finely sliced 2 litres good quality chicken stock. 2 baby cabbage, thinly sliced Salt & pepper to taste
Sauté the leeks and onion for 5 – 8 minutes until translucent, and add the garlic.
Add the stock and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the chicken and cabbage and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until heated through.
Serve in heated bowls, drizzled with olive oil.
Tomato, Tamarind & Aubergine Soup with Coconut crisps
50ml olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 1 large aubergine, diced 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tin chopped tomatoes 4 sprigs curry leaves 2 tablespoons tamarind paste 500ml Tomato Passata 1 litre good quality chicken stock 1 x 400g tin coconut cream Toasted shaved coconut to garnish
Sauté the onion and aubergine until golden brown, and add the garlic, chopped tomato, curry leaves and tamarind paste, and cook for 2- 3 minutes. Add the passata, chicken stock and coconut cream and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve garnished with toasted shaved coconut.
Hot & Sour Medley of Mushroom Soup
30 ml olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped 2 sticks lemon grass, chopped 2 tablespoon galangal 2 cloves garlic crushed 1 red chilli, deseed & chopped ( optional) 500g assorted mushrooms, button, portabella, shitake and porchini. 50g dried wild mushrooms, soaked in 250ml boiling water and liquid reserved 6 lime leaves 1 litre good quality chicken or vegetable stock Juice and zest of 2 limes 1 tspn fish sauce 50ml Very dry Sherry ( do not use full or medium cream sherry) Chopped coriander to garnish
Sauté the onion and lemon grass until onion is translucent, add the galangal, garlic, chilli, mushrooms and lime leaves and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Add the mushroom water from the dried mushrooms, the stock, lime juice and zest and fish sauce, and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, and a shot of dry sherry before serving.
Serve over ramen or udon noodles and garnish with fresh coriander.
Recipes and styling – Taryne JakobiPhotography – Vanessa Lewis Article appeared in Food & Home Magazine Aug 2012
A recent shoot on location in a hot , humid and remote part of South Africa had me reflecting on a few professional and personal challenges to styling on location.
1. It’s not so easy.
It means packing as much as you can into 20kg allotted luggage allowance. Including chopping boards, knives, props, tool kit , manicure set ( for the hand model holding the sun ripened fruit) and then whatever space is left over for a few clothes and toiletries. It means lugging a whole lot of heavy stuff, a long way, in a small plane, with even smaller leg room.
2. You can’t control the weather. Or the client.
No sun means no sunrise shot of the dew glistening on the fruit in the early morning, despite getting up at 5 am 3 mornings in a row.
No sun means no beautiful dappled light through the trees , and no typical fire streaked African sky at sun set.
What it does mean is that there are many things beyond ones control when shooting outside of a studio or even a city. No basic amenities, running water and even toilets. No shopping mall with a vast and varied array of props for that last minute request from the client for an extra special item to make the shot “just perfect”
It means adjusting quickly and improvising where necessary to get the job done. And a few deep breaths.
See point 3.
3. Attitude is everything.
Life lesson número uno will serve you well when only getting a few hours sleep, facing unpredictable and changing circumstances , dealing with different personalities and surviving on very little coffee.
You can’t control the weather but you can control your response to the frustrations, delays and unreasonable requests.
Grit your teeth. Adjust your sails. Do what it takes. Smile and wave.
3. The grass isn’t greener on the other side and the view in the rear view mirror isn’t as rosy
Sometimes I miss my old life. My single life of jet setting, touring numerous continents, cooking and staying in glamorous locations, and of only being responsible for myself and answering to no one. Sometimes I read blogs, look over the fence at friends lives on facebook, and I want some of it , or some of it back.
Or so I thought.
Yes the opportunity to have a double bed to myself ( albeit for only 5hours a night) complete control of the air con and tv remote ( not that there was even time for the latter) and an escape from the often mind numbing routine of domestic life, can seem so attractive.
Change is as good as a holiday they say. Well it was no holiday but the change was awesome. I came home and held my nearest and dearest just a little tighter and longer than I normally would, and gave thanks for the incredible gifts I have been given and often forget or quickly take for granted.
5. You can never be too prepared.
We covered the basics, sun cream , hats, and long sleeved t shirts. We didn’t plan for snakes, spiders, scorpions or even cuts and scratches. A basic first aid kit, cooler box with ice packs for cold waters, flask for coffee, wet wipes, tissues, insect repellant during the day ( not just for mosquitoes at night) and acetone!
(Who would have thought the hand model would have nail polish on ? )
Have all made it onto the checklist for next time.
Next time ? You cry.
Oh yes indeed!
What’s the point of learning lessons if you can’t implement them.
The silly season is upon us.
The mad crazy countdown to the end of the year has begun and I am pushed to find time for a decent breakfast let alone cook a good meal, it’s down to the basics around these parts at the moment and I’m surviving on toast and tea until the holidays arrive.
I manage to spread a little marmite ( or bovril) on some rye bread between answering emails and running after a very active 15 month old !
I asked friends on Facebook for their favourite toast “topper” the answers ranged from delicious, to very funny ( and some strange combos that I think I will skip mentioning )
I wonder if Sally Fields ever regrets gushing these words at her Oscar acceptance speech In 1984 for Best Actress in Places in the Heart ? I can’t recall the movie, but I do recall the speech. Well I thought I did, until I Googled it on YouTube and saw that she actually said, “I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”
Despite the different context, ( I am most certainly not an Academy Award winning actress, although my dear hubby would agree I have certainly put on a few private performances worthy of a nomination of best leading lady ) I can relate to Sally Field’s almost cringingly real exclamations.
A movie or story of my life would most definitely include the byline, “she doubted too much” The dreadful word doubt, seems to feature so much in what I do. My tortured thinking goes something like this…
I doubt anyone actually reads my blog, ( for this reason I don’t have Google analytics installed, just in case my fears are confirmed) I doubt my posts are useful, I doubt my words are inspiring, I doubt anyone is interested in things I find interesting, and mostly I doubt , as Sally Field put it, anyone respects my work.
Then last week I did my first Friday Favourites post, and the response I got made me feel like I had actually won an Oscar! Wonderful words of praise and acknowledgment.
I was SO taken aback; especially when a dear, sweet unassuming lady paid me the compliment of saying, “I love what you do, you have a unique voice, I enjoy following your work.” I had no planned reply or acceptance speech, so simply said, “thank you.” And again, “thank you, that means a lot to me” and I meant it, and at the risk of gushing like Sally, let me say again,
Thank you! To all of you who read these posts, I know they are few and far between, but thank you , it means a lot to me, it really, really does !
Autumn is here, and the cool wind we felt in Johannesburg today carried with it a big hint of colder weather to follow.
As I sit typing the delicious smells of a slow cooked stew are reaching me from my kitchen. I am a big fan of slow cookers and adapted the Lamb Bredie recipe below for some stewing beef I had in my freezer. I’m ahead of the “cold snap” we are forecast for this weekend, and stew is one my husbands favourite meals, so its sure to be a Friday hit in our household.
These pictures and recipes were done last year for the Autumn Issue ( April 2012 ) of Food & Home Magazine. I can’t recall why I didn’t do a blog post about them as it was one of my favourite shoots from last year . I love the simple styling and minimial props, just the dark background with the autumn colours in the food and few select props. No fussiness and not over styled, clean, sharp in focus photography and really really good recipes! Just a few of my favourite food styling things.
I hope you will give the recipes a try.
Happy Friday everyone!
Beef Short Rib with Harvest Veggies Serves 4-6
1 Tblspn oil
1,5kg Beef short rib
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1/butternut , peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper
2 TBS cake flour
2 bottles 375mls Milk stout beer ( I used Castle)
3 cups beef stock
1 TBS tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 stick cinnamon
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Grated zest & juice of 1 orange
Heat the oil & Seal the meat in a deep, oven proof dish, set aside.
In the same pot add the carrot,parsnip, butternut and onion and cook over a medium heat until soft. Add tomato paste, garlic, spices, orange zest, salt and pepper and flour.
Add the stout, orange juice, sugar and the stock, and stir well until a sauce forms, add the meat, cover and cook over a low heat for 4- 6 hours until oxtail is tender, beef short rib should take 2 – 3 hours
To serve – Skim the fat, and thicken the sauce with a little extra flour if necessary, serve with samp or pearl barley
Light Lamb Bredie with Two Tone Carrots This light bredie contains no tomato, it is not as rich as traditional Bredies but still full of flavour!
Serves 4 – 6
1,5 kg lamb neck, trimmed of excess fat
2 tblspns seasoned flour ( flour to which salt , pepper and 1 tablespoon paprika have been added)
2 tblspns olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tblspns coriander seeds, crushed
1 cup / 250 ml white wine ( optional)
2 cup / 500 ml lamb or beef stock
6 potatoes, peeled and halved
300g carrots, chopped
Toss the lamb neck in well seasoned flour ( I do this in a ziploc bag)
Heat the oil in thick bottom pot, brown meat, remove and set aside, sauté onion and garlic and add the coriander seeds.
Drain excess oil, return meat to the pot with the wine, stock and potatoes, and simmer for 2 hours covered until the meat is tender.
blanch the carrots and add to the meat, cook for a further 15 – 20 minutes
Serve with sweet potato mash or rice.
Pulled Pork on Apple Roasted Pumpkin Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, once everything is assembled this is the most simple and carefree recipe to make, and well worth the wait on the cooking time.
2 kg pork shoulder, rolled
½ cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1 cup orange juice
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup dark brown sugar
15 ml wholegrain mustard
15ml Worchester sauce
15ml smoked hot paprika powder
15ml cumin seed, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 orange, rind and juice
2 bay leaves
30 ml dried thyme
For the veggies
1 /4 piece pumpkin, sliced
1 tin baby apples, or 2 red apples, cored and quartered
4 sprigs thyme
Sea salt & black pepper
Except for the pork place all the ingredients in a oven proof dish and whish to combine.
Place the pork in the centre of the dish and cover with a tight fitting lid
Roast at 150oc for 5 -6 hours until the meat shreds when pulled apart with a fork.
Place the veggies on a roasting tray , drizzle with oil, season, and roast at 180OC for 30-40minutes.
To serve, shred the pork with two forks, pulling the meat apart, toss with remaining sauce and serve over roasted veg with extra bread to mop up the sauce.
Chicken, Leek & Porchini Pies
30ml olive oil
4 medium sized leeks, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic crushed
50g wild mushrooms, soaked and chopped, reserve 150ml of the liquid stock
1 large roasted chicken (Season bird with salt & pepper, place in roasting dish with a stem of celery, roughly chopped up carrot and onion, cook for an hour at 190 degrees)
Season with salt and pepper
1 rolls prepared Puff pastry
1 egg yolk, beaten to glaze
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in frying pan over medium heat. Cook the leeks and garlic for 5 minutes, or until the leek is soft and translucent, add the mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes.
Remove the meat from the chicken and cut into small chunks/strips.
Make a white sauce with the butter, flour & milk. Add the mushrooms, leeks and chicken, season to taste. If too thick, add the reserved liquid from the mushrooms
Divide the filling among 6 pots. Cut the pastry into squares. Brush the rim of the pots/big ramekins with a little egg yolk, place the pastry on top, pinch together along the sides to seal. Brush the top with the remaining egg yolk. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.