Archive for November, 2010

Peri Peri Ostrich


Snow snow snow snow snow! I know most people wont agree and I’ll probably be slightly less exuberant after I’ve tried to get to work in it tomorrow, but until then… I’m making snow angels! Sorry I had to get that out of the way first.

So you are probably frowning at the title of this post. It’s what I’m calling the ostrich prego rolls I made for dinner last night and also the recipe I’m entering into In the Bag November 2010. For the unfamiliar, this is a regular recipe competition run by the authors of The Real Epicurean and A Slice of Cherry Pie and this month’s “bag” is game. I know Ostrich isn’t the most obvious choice but since it’s South African and it’s a game bird, I thought it would do nicely for my first entry to this competition.

And before I get in trouble for choosing ingredients from the other side of the planet I should point out that depending on where you live, you can get ostrich meat in England and Scotland fairly easily now and even our local farmer’s market has ostrich on offer (I do feel a little sorry for the ostriches given the current weather though, hope someone gives them a jumper).

The peri peri part of the dish is Portuguese, which is also South African to me. I realise that will sound odd to some but without recounting a history of South Africa,  we have a big Portuguese influence and we like our peri peri. Case in point – Nandos. If you don’t know what Nandos is, google it. You are missing out.

Anyway, back to the point. A prego roll is a very simple dish of thin steak marinated in chillies, wine and garlic and served in a chewy Portuguese roll. It’s not a fancy dish with lots of frills but the simplicity is partly what makes it so good and the steak is the star of the show. I normally make prego rolls with beef but the rich gamey flavour of ostrich is perfect with the chilli and garlic. The warmth of the marinade also leaves you with a nice after glow which is perfect if you plan on going out to play in the snow afterwards.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe. Oh and happy sledging!!

Peri Peri Ostrich Prego Rolls

Serves 2.

  • 2 ostrich steaks
  • 1-2 chillies chopped (depending on the strength of the chillies and your preference)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • sprig of rosemary
  • half a cup of white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil for frying
  • 2 Portuguese or Ciabatta rolls

If you have very thick ostrich steaks place them between two pieces of cling film and flatten slightly with a rolling pin. Put the garlic, chilli and rosemary in a shallow dish with the wine, cover and marinate the steaks for at least a couple of hours in the fridge.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the steaks for a few minutes each side until cooked to your liking. Take out of the pan and leave to rest. Pour the marinade into the pan and fry until it reduces slightly. Place each steak in a roll and pour over some of the marinade.

Enjoy and spare a thought for a chilly ostrich! ♥


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There’s nothing more satisfying than an excellent food experience when you least expect to have one… I’m getting ahead of myself though. I have so much to write about the weekend that I almost  don’t know where to start.

Let’s start, as one always should, with cake.

The road to this cake started out with a speed bump or two. In fact, less speed bump, more ten car pile up. I have been dying to try out one of Nigella’s “chocolate cake hall of fame” recipes since I took ownership of her book Feast (the source of inspiration for the winter spice muffins in my last post). So when my other half expressed a cake craving I forbade him from buying anything off the shelf and promised to make him something better. I got home, only to discover I was missing key ingredients for the flour-less chocolate orange cake I had set my sites on. Given I had promised I would deliver chocolate wonders and it was howling a gale and pouring with rain outside ( yes, again), I decided to make do instead of going out again and try the honey chocolate cake for which I had all the bits and pieces.

I knew it probably wasn’t going to turn out as planned when I combined everything and it was closer to chocolate soup than cake batter. Not to be defeated though and ever trusting in Ms Lawson’s foolproof recipes, I poured it into the tin which then started to leak chocolate all over the kitchen. Still hoping to salvage it, I placed the tin on some baking paper in a roasting tray and quickly put it in the oven in the hope it would cook before the whole cake landed up in the tray.

It turns out the tray trick works but the cake batter was past hope. After 2 hours in the oven it was obvious a skewer was never going to come out without being covered in a clump of goo, never mind clean. So I admitted defeat, although we still picked off all the cakey-ish cooked bits round the edge which eaten warm, made a just-about-acceptable chocolate cake fix.

I’m not one to accept defeat but I couldnt work out what had gone wrong with the first batter so this weekend I decided to try again with the chocolate orange cake I had planned to make in the beginning. You start by boiling whole oranges for 2 hours, blitzing to a pulp and then combining with the other ingredients in a blender once cool. It couldn’t be simpler but not content with disaster number one, I managed to put the oranges on and forget about them for a few hours so that the pot boiled dry and luckily didn’t burn my new kitchen to the ground before Ross mentioned the odd burnt orange smell emanating from the stove top. Thankfully the crisis was averted (oven cleaner works wonders on burnt pots as long you clean them well afterwards by the way) and I managed to salvage the oranges and finally produce something that could be considered a proper cake – a dense, damp chocolate crumb full of sweet citrus undertones. Although according to Ross, it’s not cake if it doesn’t have any icing so I had to whip up some chocolate orange and cinnamon butter cream to top it off as Nigella’s recipe was for an unadorned version.

By the time I was finished I could only manage one slice (I still haven’t learned to heed my own health warnings about ingesting significant amounts of icing during the baking process) but according to the family guinea pigs the recipe was a success and with all the orange and cinnamon it’s suitably festive for this time of year! So if you’re looking for a very simple chocolate cake that keeps well (I’m trusting Nigella on this as this one didn’t last long enough to prove the theory) then as long as you keep an eye on the oranges, this one couldn’t be easier!

On Saturday we decided to get out of the house and go window shopping in Morningside again. Before I go any further I have to mention the Cheesemonger we discovered and the little veg shop next door. I wandered into the Cheesemonger and was immediately greeted by a serious pong and a whole hoard of cheeses from all over the world. Once I had managed to take it all in I chose a wedge of Tallegio and then, noticing my overwhelmed expression, the helpful staff reccommended I try the Prima Donna. Well lets just say there’s a sizable chunk taking up all the space in my cheese drawer. I would definitely reccommend you go past if you are in the area and ask the guys behind the counter to help you pick something new to try (IJ Mellis – check out their website for info). I plan to go back every week until I’ve worked my way along the counter from left to right. On the way out the door I stumbled across these beautiful squashes in the neighbouring convenience shop, which have already been roasted and devoured with a honey ginger pork fillet (I’ll have to post that recipe some time as well).

It was positively glacial outside so after putting our spoils in the car and a brisk walk up the road we agreed it was time to stop somewhere cozy for lunch. Most of the trendy coffee shops were packed to the rafters with shoppers who clearly had the same idea as us and we were about to press on up the road in the hope of finding something at the other end when we passed an Indian with a 5.95 lunch special and plenty of spare tables. Normally empty tables  aren’t a good sign but since we were bone cold and ravenous and it looked all snug and welcoming inside, we thought why not?

Well I wouldn’t normally have thought to have an Indian meal for a Saturday lunch but I think I’ll be making it a regular occurrence from now on, especially over the winter months. The name of the little restaurant we had landed up in was The Clay Oven and they definitely know how to cook. The lunch special consisted of a sabzi pakora starter, a handful of curry options and your choice of tea/coffee or ice cream to finish. It might not sound very out of the ordinary but the food was so delicious that it didn’t need any fancy frills or modern twists.

The onion and vegetable pakora was perfectly crunchy and spicy and perfectly balanced by their tomato ‘special’ sauce (I remembered to take a picture just in time – the poor quality is testament to the hurry I was in to get back to eating). For my main I chose the sweet and sour Pathia curry which I hadn’t tried before and can safely say is going to be my number one choice from now on whenever its on a menu (by this point photos were the last thing on my mind).  After mopping that up with a fluffy naan bread the size of my head, we waddled back out on to the street with satisfied grins and slightly rounder profiles, not to mention much warmer tummies.


Flour-less Chocolate Orange Cake with Butter Cream Icing

The cake recipe belongs to Nigella Lawson and the butter cream is my own concoction.

  • 1 large or 2 small, thin-skinned oranges
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 50g cocoa
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda


  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • 125g softened butter
  • 50g melted dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Put the whole oranges in a pan with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours, or until soft. Drain and when cool, halve the orange and remove any big pips. Pulp everything in a food processor.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter and line a 20cm spring form cake tin. Add the eggs, baking powder, sugar, bicarbonate, almonds and cocoa to the orange in the processor. Run until you have a cohesive cake mixture. Pour and scrape into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour.

Cool the cake on a rack while you make the icing. Cream the sugar and butter together and mix in the melted chocolate, cinnamon and orange zest. Add the orange juice a little at a time until the icing is the right consistency.  Cut the cake in half and spread both halves with icing. Put back  together and serve!

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Having survived several nights of gale force wind and rain with the roof of our house just managing to stay intact, we woke up yesterday to a beautiful sunny morning. Baltic outside, but beautiful. I managed to coax fiancé out of his Sunday bed with the smell of winter spice muffins for breakfast and then bribed him into a walk up the hills near our house with the promise of warm chourico bread for lunch on completion of said walk.

The spice muffins are a new recipe but the chourico bread was the result of inspiration from two sources, old and new. Chourico is popular in SA, presumably because of our Portuguese influence and my parents used to make a delicious chourico loaf which I have tried to copy once before but not with any success. This is largely due to my bread making skills (or lack thereof)  which I’m trying to improve on. So when I joined the Foodie Blogroll last week (not exactly an award or difficult to achieve but I was quite proud that my blog was accepted even although they probably accept everyone besides axe murders and pornographers) and saw the Chourico contest, including a bread recipe,  I decided it was time to try it again.

The idea behind this recipe is to let the dough rise once, knock it back and roll it out, sprinkle with chopped chourico and then roll it up so the final loaf is dotted with little spicy morsels that ooze into the bread. It’s still not as good as my parent’s one which I’ll have to get the recipe for, but definitely edible (according to Ross anyway, but then he was dying of starvation by that point) and I thought pretty good straight out of the oven smothered in butter, with or without a few slices of cheese.

For the bread recipe, click here. I had to use a mix of wholewheat and plain flour because I realised at the last minute I didn’t have any bread flour but I would probably go with white normally unless you specifically want a brown loaf. I also made into two loaves instead of four and froze one to stop us eating it all in one sitting.

If you want to try my trick for getting your other half out of bed on a Sunday with the smell of Christmas wafting through the house, my winter spice muffin recipe follows. I used Nigella Lawson’s granola muffin recipe from her Feast book as a base and adapted to create what I hope is a pretty good cinnamon muffin with endless possibilities for further Christmasification, some of which I’ve suggested below. If you come up with even better ideas please let me know!

Winter Spice Muffins

Unfortunately these don’t keep very well so I recommend eating as many as possible when they come out of the oven and then freezing the rest. Just take them out and pop in the microwave when you need one. Makes 12.

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 175g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground all spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 80ml vegetable oil
  • 200g jumbo rolled oats (I tried using granola but I don’t like the chewy lumps, up to you)

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a muffin tin with muffin cases.

If you want to make your own cases like I did here, cut 5-6inch squares (depending on the size of your muffin tin) from baking parchment. Spray the tin with cooking oil to help them stay in place and push the papers into each hole so that the edges crease into the round shape.

Now combine the sifted flour, bicarb, spices and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the sugar, egg, buttermilk and oil and pour this into the dry ingredients. Fold to combine and then fold in the oats. Spoon into the muffin papers and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Cool slightly on a rack while you make a cup of coffee,pile a few on a plate and apply to face!

Optional extras:

  • Add the grated zest of an orange to the batter (I’m definitely going to try this next time) and/or make an icing with icing sugar and a little orange juice and drizzle over each muffin when cool.
  • Add dried cranberries or cherries  or chopped nuts to the batter

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