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Potato and Mushroom Bake 

There are few dishes that give you that home comfort feeling like a great potato bake and this one, which I recently served with a Prime Rib Roast andMelanzanewas such a huge hit I am being forced to make it again… very soon Just gotta love it when people enjoy your food! (makes enough for 6 people) Use an ove dish that is about 30cmx20cmx8cm high or similar

The three dishes for the meal required a bit of planning because they were all done in the oven so prepare the melanzane first and into the oven, prepare the potato bake next and then leave them in the oven until almost cooked. Then remove them and pop the prime rib in the oven high up in the oven leaving the second rack on the bottom. When you are about 1/2 an hour from serving, pop the potato bake and the melanzane back into the oven.

What you need

  • 5 Medium potatoes sliced thinly
  • 2 medium onions sliced thinly
  • 1 punnet button mushrooms sliced
  • 2 x 250ml fresh cream
  • 1 packet dry cream of mushroom soup
  • Pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Good cheddar cheese for the topping

The process

  1. Place a layer of potato, then onion, then mushrooms, then about 1/3 of the mushroom soup, repeat until the dish is 3/4 full (should be 3 layers.
  2. Now pour the cream over the top and cover with a layer of cheese.
  3. Pop into the oven on 180 to 200 Celsius for 40 minutes or so and the top is golden brown and bubbling. Check that the potato is cooked through by poking with a knife.

This is seriously delicious for a braai, as a vegetable with a roast or just because you want something that reminds you of home if you are in a far flung place away from home.

Quick Cheese Muffins 

Man these are so easy and so delicious you will not be able to wait for them to cool. The great thing about these is that they take just 10 minutes in the oven so if you are having people over just pop them in the oven a few minutes before they arrive and you will treat them to warm fresh cheese muffins. (makes 12)

I also like these with plenty of butter and a something sweet so you will usually find them smothered in marmalade or a jam of some description if they are on my plate. Give these a try, the family will love you no matter what…

What you need

  • 120g sifted flour (1 cup sifted flour)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 150g grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder (don’t leave this out)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 185ml milk

The process

  1. Heat your oven to 200 Celsius and butter a muffin tin.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and mustard powder together into a bowl and then add the cheese and give it a quick turn with a spoon.
  3. Whisk the egg lightly with a fork to break it up and add to the milk, then add it to the flour mixture and give it a good mix to distribute the cheese evenly and make a consistent batter.
  4. Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 10 minutes.

TIPS: It really doesn’t get much simpler than that folks and they are very delicious. They will also keep in the fridge for a few days ready for work or school. Try the banana bread as well if you are in baking mode.

Chocolate mousse

In the past I have had a few chocolate mousse disasters but this recipe from a 1995 Bryanston high school recipe book I came across in the market some time ago turned out beautifully.  It’s really simple and needs to be made at least 2 hours before serving.. perfect. I made the chocolate mousse without alcohol but you can add you favorite liqueur to fancy it up a bit. (makes 6-8 ramekins)

What you need

  • 3 eggs separated
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 125ml fresh cream
  • pinch of salt
  • (Optional 1 tablespoon of kahlua, brandy, amaretto or Baileys)

The process

  1. Place a small pot of water on the stove to boil then place a glass bowl over the water but not touching it and melt the chocolate.
  2. In a large bowl add the catser sugar and the egg yolks then use an electric beater to beat the mixture until it is thick and creamy.
  3. Add the melted chocolate ensuring you get it all by using a baking spatula to clean the bowl. Beat again until well blended.
  4. In a separate bowl whip the cream until stiff, add to the chocolate mixture and fold in using a metal spoon. Don’t mix it, just fold it in gently until evenly distributed.
  5. Now take another bowl and add the egg whites and pinch of salt. Beat with your electric beater (be sure to clean the beaters) until stiff.
  6. Add to the chocolate mixture and fold in with a metal spoon until colour is uniform. If you are using alcohol, this is the stage you add it, together with the beaten egg whites.
  7. Spoon into cups or ramekins and chill in the fridge for a few hours. It will need at least 2 hours to set well.

TIPs : You can grate over a bit more chocolate or add a mint sprig, a dollop of cream… you get the idea. Truly one of the easiest and nicest tasting chocolate mousse recipes I have tried.

Coffee and chocolate froth
This has got to be one of the easiest desserts to make and is so versatile you just have to try it. Make it with Enrista’s 3 in 1 coffee of chocolate for Coffee froth or chocolate froth or a combination of the two. You can have it as it is or dress it up with whipped cream and fruit and a few chocolate shavings but the froth is awesome. Imagine an aerated creamy jelly, just try it you will love it. Makes enough for 8-10 people depending on how you dress it up.
What you need
1 380g tin Evaporated milk
2 sachets clear unflavoured gelatine (look in the jelly section for Sheridans)
2 strong Enrista 3 in one coffee
2 Enrista hot chocolate
The process
The first thing you need to do is pop the tin of evaporated milk into the fridge to chill. Pop it in, in the morning for when you are ready, you want it to be nice and cold.
Get 2 serving bowls for the 2 different flavours.
Take 2 small mixing bowls and add 200ml hot water from the kettle and melt the 2 coffee sachets in one and the two chocolate sachets in the other. Mix it up with a spoon to ensure that the contents are completely dissolved. Then add a sachet of the gelatine to each and mix to dissolve.
Now place the two bowls in a cool place to cool. Don’t put them in the fridge, we don’t want the jelatine to set, we want it to cool. In winter it takes about 10 minutes.
Once it’s cooled add the cold evaporated milk to a large bowl and with your electric beater, beat the hell out of it for about 5 minutes until it has increased in volume about 4 times and is fairly thick.
Now put half of the cold cream into another mixing bowl and add the cooled chocolate mixture, beat it well for another minute or so and then transfer into a serving bowl, do the same with the coffee and then pop them into the fridge for about 10 minutes to set.
That’s it, simple and delicious, not too sweet and a texture unlike anything you have tried.
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Coffee and chocolate froth

This has got to be one of the easiest desserts to make and is so versatile you just have to try it. Make it with Enrista’s 3 in 1 coffee of chocolate for Coffee froth or chocolate froth or a combination of the two. You can have it as it is or dress it up with whipped cream and fruit and a few chocolate shavings but the froth is awesome. Imagine an aerated creamy jelly, just try it you will love it. Makes enough for 8-10 people depending on how you dress it up.

What you need

  • 1 380g tin Evaporated milk
  • 2 sachets clear unflavoured gelatine (look in the jelly section for Sheridans)
  • 2 strong Enrista 3 in one coffee
  • 2 Enrista hot chocolate

The process

  1. The first thing you need to do is pop the tin of evaporated milk into the fridge to chill. Pop it in, in the morning for when you are ready, you want it to be nice and cold.
  2. Get 2 serving bowls for the 2 different flavours.
  3. Take 2 small mixing bowls and add 200ml hot water from the kettle and melt the 2 coffee sachets in one and the two chocolate sachets in the other. Mix it up with a spoon to ensure that the contents are completely dissolved. Then add a sachet of the gelatine to each and mix to dissolve.
  4. Now place the two bowls in a cool place to cool. Don’t put them in the fridge, we don’t want the jelatine to set, we want it to cool. In winter it takes about 10 minutes.
  5. Once it’s cooled add the cold evaporated milk to a large bowl and with your electric beater, beat the hell out of it for about 5 minutes until it has increased in volume about 4 times and is fairly thick.
  6. Now put half of the cold cream into another mixing bowl and add the cooled chocolate mixture, beat it well for another minute or so and then transfer into a serving bowl, do the same with the coffee and then pop them into the fridge for about 10 minutes to set.

That’s it, simple and delicious, not too sweet and a texture unlike anything you have tried.

Warm cherry sauce

Cherry sauce came to mind when recentlybeing asked for some suggestions for a birthday party. This is fantastic and really simple dessert idea that is a winner every time and is so simple to prepare for just a few people or a huge crowd. It can also be used as an accompaniment with duck or pork by simply leaving out the cinnamon and letting the sauce reduce further. (for 4 desserts)

What you need

  • 1 400g tin cherries
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon/ 1 cinnamon stick
  • Good ice cream

The process

  1. Add the cherries with all of their juices straight from the tin into a pot on a high heat.
  2. Bring the sauce to almost boiling, reduce the heat, add cinnamon and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes or so to warm through thoroughly.
  3. If you like a thick sauce for your dessert or are serving with duck or pork, just let it simmer for a few more minutes to reduce slightly and thicken.
  4. Spoon over the ice cream and you are done.
  5. Remember to go out and buy really good ice cream, it makes such a massive difference. Another tip is to take the ice cream out of thye frezzer and put it in the fridge about an hour before you serve, this lets it soften up ever so slightly.
  6. If you like this you will love the Eton Mess recipe
  7. Served with the roast pork belly it is amazing. It is also really good if you add tinned pineapple pieces to it for a dessert sauce.

Creamy chicken lasagna 

Lasagna has become one of my favorite dishes this winter and this is a really nice variation. You can add cream for a really rich sauce. (Good for 6 people)

What you need

  • Olive oil and butter for frying
  • 750g cooked and sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 cup pasta marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar grated cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 boxes par cooked lasagna sheets
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The process

  1. In a frying pan with some olive oil and a little butter, cook the onions until soft and add the garlic.
  2. Add the cooked chicken and salt and pepper to taste. You can add the chicken breasts uncooked at this stage and cook until white.
  3. Now add the pasta marinara sauce or similar tomato sauce of your choice and about 125ml cream if you need real comfort food.
  4. Your pasta should be boiled for about 7 minutes before you begin constructing the lasagna.
  5. Butter a baking dish well and put 1 layer of pasta on the bottom, then a layer of the chicken sauce mixture and sprinkle over a layer of cheese.
  6. Repeat until you reach the top of the dish and finish with a layer of pasta, Top with the remaining cheese and set in a 180 Celsius oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned in places.

YUM!

Kung Pao chicken 

A hot and spicy Chinese classic that you will not be able to keep your chopsticks out of.


What you need

  • 500 skinless chicken breasts cubed
  • 1 tablespoon maizena
  • 2 spring onions chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chili-garlic paste
  • 4 dry red chilies halved
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chinese rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • palm of roasted unsalted peanuts

The process

  1. Dust the chicken pieces with maizena and toss the pieces around until the are all coated.
  2. Heat a wok/frying pan with oil and stir fry the chicken pieces for about 5 minutes, they should be almost cooked through.
  3. Add the onions, chilies and ginger and toss a few times to combine and remove from the pan.
  4. Add the rice wine, soy sauce, sugar and garlic chili paste to the wok and stir well to form a uniform sauce.
  5. Add the chicken back to the pan then the peanuts and stir to coat all of the pieces with the sauce for about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately with steamed/boiled rice.

Eggplant parmigiana

Eggplant has always been a favorite of mine, whether as an extra layer in lasagna, as a vegetable or as a meal like this great recipe. You can serve with grilled chicken breast or steak or as a starter to one of the pasta recipes to complete an Italian table.

What you need

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes
  • Palm full of chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • Parmesan for the topping (tablespoon or so)
  • Olive oil
  • Sugar

The process

  1. Cut the eggplant length ways about 1 cm thick.
  2. Stab each piece with a fork all over and rub olive oil onto both sides and place under the grill until slightly browned and soft on both sides. While these are cooking..
  3. In a pot over a medium heat, add the garlic, tomatoes, basil and sugar and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
  4. Top each piece of eggplant with some of the tomato sauce, cover with mozzarella and grate a little parmesan over the top.
  5. Place under the grill again until cheese has melted.
  6. Done and delicious.

Marinated chicken skewers

This recipe for marinated chicken skewers was sent by a reader who had won a competition with the recipe and was kind enough to share it with us. Thank you Christine. I gave it a try and well, it is going to be on my braai menu from now on for sure. It turns out beautifully garlicy with a sweet and fiery aftertaste that is quite amazing. You just have to try it and best of all it’s so simple. (makes 6-8 skewers) I didn’t do it exactly as Christine did, I prefer to thread then marinade but you can marinade then thread if you like.

What you need

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hot English mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
  • salt and pepper to taste

The process

  1. Soak bamboo skewers in water while you prepare.
  2. Mix together all of the marinade ingredients with a whisk and set aside.
  3. Slice your chicken breasts through the center to butterfly them and then cut into 4 thin slices. Thread them onto a soaked skewer and place in a flat dish.
  4. Pour the marinade over the skewers, roll them around a bit to ensure that they are completely covered with the marinade, cover with cling film and place in the fridge over night to marinade.

They were fabulous and as she suggests, the marinade can be used for wings or drumsticks as well. This along with the marinated pork ribssosaties and potato bake makes for a great braai.

Foolproof chicken ala king

This is a really delicious chicken ala king that is fooproof and can be easily expanded for as many guests you have. Everyone should have a chicken ala king recipe that they can call on any time and this is the one I use often. This is for 4 or 5 people. Enjoy it.

What you need

  • 60g butter
  • 60g flour
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • large handful of mushrooms quartered
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 3 chicken breasts cubed
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 350ml milk
  • 125ml cream

The process

  1. Poach the chicken breasts in a little salted water until cooked through and chop into 2cm cubes.
  2. In a pot on a medium heat melt the butter and cook the onions, mushrooms and red pepper until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add a pinch on nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Then add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.
  4. Begin adding the milk stirring all the time until you have a nice smooth texture in the sauce.
  5. Add the cream and stir until the mixture is hot (not boiling). Add the chicken pieces, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Done! serve with boiled white rice. Try some of the other easy chicken recipes

Thai coconut chicken

A taste of Thailand and that creamy coconut aroma is quite addictive. Sticky rice with spicy hot and fragrant chicken does it for me! Choose your chilis according to your taste for heat, generally the larger the chili the less heat is a good guideline. Good for 4 servings.

What you need

  • 6-8 chicken thighs thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 2 chilis thinly sliced
  • 6 spring onions finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Oil for frying

The process

  1. In a pan over a high heat, seal the chicken slices in batches and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat, add a little more oil and fry the chili and spring onions for about 1 or 2 minutes. Add back the chicken and toss to combine everything.
  3. Add the stock, coconut cream and peanut butter, stir well and allow to simmer for 5 or 6 minutes.
  4. Done!
  5. Serve with boiled rice.

The chicken and sweet potato curry is a real winner if you are a curry fan.

Smoked chicken pate

Smoked chicken pate is another really simple and very impressive starter for any dinner party. It’s  great to serve individual little pots with melba toast and see everyone digging out the last little morsel. Makes 6 starter portions.

What you need

  • 350g smoked chicken breasts
  • 125g softened butter
  • 30ml port
  • 30ml jersey cream (stiff)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Melted butter to cover the tops

The process

  1. Chop the chicken breasts into small pieces and place in a blender to mince.
  2. Add the soft butter, port, cream, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper and blend until everything is well combined. You may need to scrape the sides once or twice.
  3. Spoon into individual pots and press down firmly. Place them in he fridge to cool and set.
  4. Once cool, melt another 125g or so of butter and spoon over enough to cover the top with a thin layer of butter which will set.

That’s it, your starter is ready. Serve with melba toast and crisp French loaf.

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