1kg potatoes
200g bacon, diced
30g butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
125ml dry white wine
125ml cream
450g soft rind cheese of your choice, I used Camembert, traditionally Reblochon is used

Peel the potatoes and slice them into 1cm thick rounds.
Add the potato to a large saucepan and pour in enough cold water to cover. Season the water with salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the rounds are just tender – about 25minutes.
Drain the potato rounds and return to the saucepan. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 180℃.
Place a saucepan on medium-high heat and add the bacon.
Lower the heat once the fat renders, add the butter and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until soft and translucent.
Add the wine and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the potato rounds and mix through.
Pour the cream over and mix again.
Spoon the mixture into an ovenproof dish.
Slice the cheese into halves, horizontally and arrange on top, cut-side down.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes – the cheese should be melted, bubbling and golden brown on top.
Serve immediately.

Summer Pavlova

Summer Pavlova

This is a large pavlova and will feed 10 – 12 people. Make it for the perfect end to a summer’s lunch…

6 egg whites
400g caster sugar
10ml white vinegar
15ml cornflour
5ml vanilla
500ml cream
fresh cherries
fresh strawberries

Preheat your oven to 150℃. Draw a 22cm diameter circle on a piece of baking paper and place on a baking sheet.
Add the egg whites to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until soft peak stage.
Add the sugar a spoonful at a time while whisking continuously.
Add the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla and fold through.
Spoon the mixture onto the circle (on the prepared tray) and shape it into a round dome.
Place the pavlova in the oven and turn the temperature down to 120℃.
Bake the pavlova for 1 hour 15 minutes.
Turn off the oven but do not open the oven door. Allow the pavlova to cool in the oven for 2 hours.
Whip the fresh cream and spoon onto the fully cooled pavlova.
Top with the cherries and strawberries and drizzle over some passionfruit.

South African Pumpkin Tart

South African Pumpkin Tart

I want to explain myself: this is a TART because a PIE usually has a “lid” or covering of pastry of a sort. Soooo, this dish might remind one of pumpkin pie, but strictly spoken it is a tart. What makes it even more unique is the fact that it is a South African Tart. It has an earthiness from the pumpkin that is utterly yum and the cinnamon that is sprinkled on the hot tart, gives that wonderful homely warmth that is truly South African and perfect for winter meals.

This is the easiest tart you will ever make and be warned; keep a copy of the recipe because you will be asked for it!

250ml flour

250ml sugar

5ml salt

750ml cooked, well-drained pumpkin

60ml butter, melted

250ml cream

3 eggs, lightly beaten

5ml ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 180℃.

Lightly spray or grease a 25cm ceramic pie dish.

Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.

Add the sugar and pumpkin and give the mixture a stir.

Add the melted butter and cream to a wide mouthed jug and whisk together. Add the eggs and give the mixture another thorough whisk.

Pour the wet ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and mix together really well.

Pour the mixture into the pie dish and bake for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle an even layer of cinnamon over the tart while it is hot.

In winter I like serving this pumpkin tart warm as a side dish to a meal but it is equally delicious in summer, when served at room temperature.

Jodetert/Custard Cake

Jodetert/Custard Cake

Jodetert is a traditional South African bake of years gone by. It is a wonderful concoction of light and buttery biscuit discs, layered with a soft custard and literally melts in one’s mouth. Without doubt, one of my all-time favourite eats – do try it!

250g butter, softened
300g flour
240g sugar
10ml baking powder
1ml salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten

80g flour
250g sugar
4 egg yolks
1 litre milk
5ml vanilla

For the biscuit:
Preheat your oven to 180℃.
Cut 8 pieces of baking paper the size of a large baking tray. Spray each paper sheet with cooking spray.
Add the butter, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse to mix.
Add the beaten egg in a thin stream while the engine is running, until the mixture comes together in a dough ball.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Divide the dough in to 7 equal portions.
Place one piece of dough on a sprayed piece of baking paper and dust with flour. Place another piece of baking paper on top and roll the dough to a thickness of 5 mm and a 20cm diameter circle.
Remove the baking paper on top and place the dough circle on the baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden.
Repeat with the other 6 pieces of dough.

For the filling:
Add the flour, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla to a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Drizzle the milk onto the flour mixture in a thin stream while whisking continuously.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir with a whisk until it thickens.
Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
Pour the custard into a clean bowl and place some plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Allow to cool completely.

Spoon the custard into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle.
Place the first biscuit disc on a serving plate, pipe a spiral of custard onto it and place the second biscuit circle on top of it. Repeat the process of piping custard and stacking the biscuit discs until you have none left.
Dust the Jodetert with some icing sugar and serve with a good cup of coffee.

Traditional Sweet Dumplings/Souskluitjies

Traditional Sweet Dumplings/Souskluitjies

250ml flour
5ml baking powder
1,2ml salt
45ml butter, cubed
2 eggs
15ml sugar
2,5ml salt
2,5ml ground cinnamon
125ml butter, melted
ground cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle over

Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a mixing bowl.
Add the butter and rub it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips.
Add the eggs and 15ml sugar to another bowl and whisk together.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix together.
Fill a large saucepan at least 7-8cm deep with hot, simmering water.
Add 2,5ml salt and 2,5ml cinnamon to the water.
Spoon a teaspoonful of batter into the water. Add another 4 dumplings – do not crowd the saucepan- and gently simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a heatproof dish.
Drizzle with the melted butter and some cinnamon-sugar.
Keep the dumplings warm while you cook the rest.
Serve warm with extra cinnamon-sugar.

Bitterballen / Kroketten

Bitterballen / Kroketten

The difference between bitterballen and kroketten is the shape and only the shape. These Dutch delicacies are delicious as a snack, light lunch or eaten whenever the craving takes hold of you. Homemade bitterballen/kroketten are a mission to make BUT it is worth every ounce of energy that goes into the making!

1kg beef shin (beef shank), bone in
3 onions, sliced into quarters
45ml beef stock powder
salt and pepper
10ml parsley, chopped
250g butter
90ml flour
500ml panko/dried breadcrumbs
2 eggs
vegetable oil for frying

Place the beef shin (with the bone) and onions in a large saucepan and fill it with enough water to cover the meat. Add 10ml salt and bring to a low simmer.
Cook the meat for about 4 hours – it should literally fall from the bone. The shin benefits from being cooked low and slow in order to break down all the fibres and turn it into unctuous, gelatinous meat which in turn thickens the sauce in which it is cooked.
Take the meat from the saucepan and set aside.
Pour the broth through a fine sieve, season to taste with salt and pepper and then add the stock powder so that you have a salty broth.
Add the chopped parsley and set aside.
Pull the beef into very fine shreds and cut into small pieces necessary.
Now add the butter to a clean saucepan set over high heat.
Add the flour a little at a time while stirring constantly. Cook the mixture for 1 minute.
Pour the beef stock into the saucepan in a very thin stream, while whisking, JUST until you have a very thick sauce.
Take the sauce from the heat, stir in the meat and mix through.
Pour the mixture into a large roasting tin and allow it to cool.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and break the eggs in another. Whisk the egg together.
Shape about 80ml of the beef mixture into cylinder/round shapes, dredge each one in the breadcrumbs, egg and breadcrumbs again.
Fry the kroketten in 180℃ oil, until golden.
Serve with a good mustard.

Apple Almond Pudding

Apple Almond Pudding

5 eggs, separated
135g sugar
4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and grated
80g almond meal
80ml flaked almonds
icing sugar to dust

Preheat your oven to 200℃ and spay a 22cm ovenproof dish with cooking spray.
Add the egg yolks and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together until light in colour.
Scoop the apple into a clean tea towel and squeeze the juice from it.
Add the apple to the creamed mixture and mix through.
Add the almond meal and mix on medium speed until incorporated into the batter. Set aside.
Add the egg whites to a clean mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.
Fold the egg whites into the batter.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the flaked almonds over.
Place the pudding in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Dust the apple pudding with icing sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.

Kunafa ala Nawal

Kunafa ala Nawal

Kunafa is a Middle Eastern dessert made with spun pastry and drizzled with rosewater and sugar syrup. This is my adapted version of Kunafa, inspired by my favourite tennis “tweeter”! Thanks Nawal!!

250ml sugar
125ml water
5ml rose water
450g vermicelli noodles, cooked and cooled
140g butter, melted
300g mozzarella cheese, grated
a handful of pistachio nuts
icing sugar to dust

Preheat your oven to 200℃ and butter a 25cm loose bottom cake tin. Place the cake tin on a large baking sheet and set aside.
Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan set over medium high heat.
Stir the mixture until all the sugar granules are dissolved and then bring it to a simmer for 1 minute.
Take the saucepan from the heat, add the rosewater and set aside.
Place the cooked noodles in a large mixing bowl, drizzle with the melted butter and mix with your hands to spread the butter over the noodles.
Place half of the noodles in the prepare cake tin, in an even layer.
Spread the mozzarella over the noodles and top the cheese with the remaining noodles.
Press the layers down into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden.
Remove the cake tin (still on the baking sheet) from the oven and immediately drizzle the kunafa with the rosewater syrup.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Take off the ring of the tin and sprinkle the kunafa with pistachio nuts.
Sieve over some icing sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.

Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)

Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)

This is without doubt my favourite salad! If you are a fan of tomato, this is a must-try.

4 x 2cm thick slices of sourdough bread
6-8 fresh, ripe tomatoes at room temperature
half a cucumber
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
125ml olive oil
60ml balsamic vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
a bunch of fresh basil leaves

Preheat your oven to 190℃ and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Cut the sourdough slices into cubes of 1,5 – 2cm.
Spread the bread cubes on the prepared baking sheet and liberally drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the bread is golden and crisp.
Remove from the baking sheet and set aside to cool.

Chop 3-4 tomatoes into very small pieces. The chopping is best done in a shallow bowl so that you preserve all of the tomato’s juice.
Add the tomato and the juice to a small mixing bowl.
Chop the onion as finely as you can, mince the garlic and add to the tomato.
Now add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.
Mix these ingredients together and seasonal with salt and pepper. Make adjustments according to your liking.

Slice the remaining 3-4 tomatoes into chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.
Cut the cucumber into chunks and add that as well.
Pour the dressing over the tomato and cucumber and mix through.
Scatter the croutons and basil on top of the salad and mix through.
Transfer to a serving platter.

Greek Filled Flatbreads (Plakopsy)

Greek Filled Flatbreads (Plakopsy)

This is such an easy filled bread to make and is guaranteed to transport you straight back to that Greek Taverna on the beach and all its wonderful aromas and tastes!! It is crispy, subtly flavoured and makes a great addition to mezze. Yields four flatbreads.

1 egg
200ml water
a pinch of salt
450g flour
400g feta cheese, crumbed
60ml thyme leaves
60ml chives, chopped
50ml olive oil plus extra for brushing the breads

Add the egg, water and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed for a minute or so.
Add the flour a few tablespoons at a time with the engine running.
Mix/knead the dough until it comes together and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. About 2-3 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.
Flour a work surface and roll a piece of dough out as thin as you can, aiming to end up with a rough square of 25cm x 25cm.
Brush the square with some olive oil.
Sprinkle a little less than a quarter of the crumbed feta onto the top half of the square.
Now sprinkle some thyme and chives over the feta.
Fold the bottom half of the dough over the half with the cheese and lightly press it down with the palms of your hands.
Brush the folded half of dough with olive oil and sprinkle the rest of the quarter of feta over one half. Repeat with some herbs.
Fold the one half over the other and lightly press together. You will now have a 4-layer piece of dough with filling.
Repeat the process with the rest of the pieces of dough and filling.
Heat 50ml olive oil in a large frying pan set over medium-low heat.
Fry the breads for 3 minutes on each side, lowering/regulating the heat if you see them catching.
Serve warm with other mezze.