Author: Daniel

Peppers roasted perfectly

Peppers roasted perfectly

There is another recipe – pickling your own bell peppers – that has a delicious pickling liquid recipe. However, this recipe focuses on the peppers. Someone asked me recently why I buy a box of peppers at a time. Well, as a box costs R39 

Gazpacho! Mama Mia, this is good!

Gazpacho! Mama Mia, this is good!

Summer. Ripe tomatoes. Hot evenings. Perfect for a Gazpacho.

I had to come up with something tasty and quick. It was as hot as a cat on your lap and after my third ice water, I couldn’t even think of a warm meal. Also, as a bacon-and-cream laced chowder appeared on the table, my stomach couldn’t face it. Or my face couldn’t stomach it? After having a Pasta ragu made with venison recently, I felt poorly for hours. Not worth it, methinks. 

Looking at the contents of the fridge, being fascinated by my spinach that became nori sheets, I spotted the bag of beautiful red ripe tomatoes that I had hand-picked two days before. Hand-picked from the box at the grocer, that is. The half of an english cucumber sealed the deal. Gazpacho it will be. 

No time to look in my recipe books, so Google led me to the most wonderful recipe by Lena Abraham on the Delish website. Always winning dishes here, and this one is spectacular!

As always, I had to make my own twist based on availability and creativity battling it out. I found the lovely paprika chilies, as well as some long red peppers. Also, I have two types of Basil in the garden, Greek basil (small furry leaves) and Sweet basil (the rice shiny smooth big leaves). So, both were harvested. 

This is so quick and easy to make, and makes enough for at least three meals. And the paprika chilie I added developed a nice little kick that was just what I needed. A real pick-me-up. 


Easy to make, quick, and absolutely delish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Cucumber, Gazpacho, Tomato
Servings: 4 people


  • Blender


  • 6 Med to large Ripe tomatoes
  • 15 cm English cucumber
  • 1 small Paprika chili
  • 1 large Long red pepper (sweet)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup Water
  • cup Olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp Greek basil added to the mix
  • 1 Tbsp Sweet Basil added as garnish
  • 1 slice Full-grain bread, toasted.


  • Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, garlic, vinegar, and water in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, then add olive oil and blend to combine. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar if needed.
  • Add the Paprika and red peppers, the Greek basil and blend in.
  • Toast the bread and cut into cubes.
  • Thinly slice the Sweet basil for garnish.
  • Pour into soup bowls, add the croutons and the sliced sweet basil and enjoy!


Vegetarian journey – Indian Makai Shakh Gobhi (broccoli)

Vegetarian journey – Indian Makai Shakh Gobhi (broccoli)

After a week of three Spinach dishes, I decided to twist a Makai Palak recipe to be a little different. And what a surprise. Vegetarian lesson 1.1: Changing a recipe is good – it explores new tastes. 

Now, my favourite Makai Palak recipe is one in my favourite cookbook of all time – Sanjeev Kapoor‘s “Mastering the Art of Indian Cooking” – this book changed my cooking life. I have tried many many dishes – and all are wonderful. Sanjeev Kapoor unpacks regional Indian cooking in a way that is just spectacularly easy and tasty!

However, I decided to be bold. I replaced the spinach with broccoli. Why not? Love the taste, love the texture. And, truth be told, I had two heads of broccoli winking at me from the fridge…

vegetarian broccoli makai palak
a broccoli version of Makai Palak

The broccoli makes for a smoky and complex vegetarian experience – the chilli makes it fresh and zippy. I love this and noticed that the next day the pot is cleaned out overnight. Strange, as vegetarian is “what dad does”… LOL.

I found that adding more sweet corn to the dish – as well as more chillies – is a great variation to accomodate the broccoli – and, yes, I apologise for the fact that I may be hammering an age-old traditional recipe with unacceptable changes. But, at the end of the day, or the meal in this case, my taste-buds are the judges!

Before this, I only had Jamie’s wonderful recipe.

What I keep finding interesting is the family’s reaction to vegetarian meals. Initially it is strange, this pot of vegetables. But as they tuck into it – they take seconds. So, the reluctance is the paradigm and the tucking in is the experimetation. But the only compliment is taking seconds. And they do ! They love this vegetarian meal! Another win. 

Broccoli Makai Palak
Serves 6
Being bored with spinach I decided to try a broccoli Makai Palak. And it worked quite well, thankyouverymuch.
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  1. 2 medium heads of broccoli
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 2 medium onions (red or white)
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh garlic paste (buy a jar)
  5. 4 small green chillies
  6. 1 red chilli
  7. 2 red sweet pepper
  8. 3-4 cm fresh ginger - chopped
  9. 1/2 tsp red Karachi chilli (my favourite)
  10. 1/2 tsp turmeric
  11. 1 tsp Amchur Mango powder
  12. 2 cups sweetcorn (fresh - cut from 2 cobs)
  13. 1 cups full cream yogurt
  14. 1 Tbsp garam masala (buy a good brand)
  15. 1 tsp dried curry leaves (or Kasoori Methi - if you have some)
  1. Use a large pan - with a lid - and add the olive oil.
  2. When hot (bubbles) - add the onion and saute for 3-5 minutes - until you feel happy that it is fragrant and sticky.
  3. Add the garlic paste and ginger. Also add the chillies.
  4. Saute until the colour changes to a nice gold.
  5. Add the deep red chilli powder and the turmeric and the Amchur. Stir in.
  6. Now add the finely chopped broccoli (I even chop the core stem finely to extract all flavour).
  7. Now I add the finely chopped red pepper and the red chilli.
  8. The dish suddenly looks very pretty - red and green and yellow.
  9. Add the sweet corn and saute.
  10. When the broccoli is nice and soft and fragrant, add the yogurt and stir in.
  11. The added acidity nicely balances the sweet of the onions and the peppers.
  12. When you think it's cooked - add the dried curry leaves and the garam masala. It gives this wonderful frangrant nuttiness to the dish.
  13. Serve hot on rice or on grits.
Adapted from Mastering the Art of Indian Cooking
Adapted from Mastering the Art of Indian Cooking
Love Cooking With Wine
Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes

Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes

Mediterranean Baked Sweet Pototoes
Baked sweet pototatoes with roasted chickpeas, a simple garlic-herb sauce and a parsley-tomato salad.
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  1. 4 medium sweet potatoes* (~140 g each)
  2. 1 can (425g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  3. 1/2 Tbsp (7.5 ml) olive oil
  4. 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) each cumin, coriander, cinnamon, smoked (or regular) paprika
  5. Pinch of sea salt or lemon juice, to taste
Garlic Herb Sauce
  1. 1/4 cup (60 g) hummus or tahini
  2. 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  3. 1 tsp (5 ml) dried dill (or 2-3 tsp fresh dill)
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. Water or unsweetened almond milk to thin
  6. Sea salt to taste
  1. 50g cherry tomatoes, diced
  2. 1/4 cup (15 g) chopped parsley/coriander, minced
  3. 2 Tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 180'C and line a large baking sheet with foil.
  2. Rinse and scrub potatoes and cut in half length wise. Boil/steam sweet potatoes till soft.
  3. Rub the parboiled sweet potatoes with a bit of olive oil and place face down on the baking sheet.
  4. Toss rinsed and drained chickpeas with olive oil and spices and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
  5. While the sweet potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, prepare your sauce by adding all ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisking to combine, only adding enough water to almond milk to thin so it’s pourable. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more garlic for more zing, salt for savoriness, lemon juice for freshness, and dill for a more intense herb flavor. I found mine didn’t need anything else.
  6. NOTE: If you don’t have hummus, tahini (which you can DIY!) will make a great base substitution for the sauce - just adjust the seasonings to accommodate the lack of flavor tahini provides.
  7. Also prepare the parsley-tomato topping by tossing tomato and parsley with lemon juice and setting aside to marinate.
  8. Once sweet potatoes are fork tender and the chickpeas are golden brown - roughly 25 minutes - remove from oven.
  9. For serving, flip potatoes flesh-side up and smash down the insides a little bit. Then top with chickpeas, sauce and parsley-tomato garnish. Serve immediately.
Adapted from The Minimalist Baker
Love Cooking With Wine

The best dry cured beef – ever!

The best dry cured beef – ever!

I saw this principle in a program snippet of on of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s programs, and thought that I should try it.  The principle was simple – good beef should be cured for at least a month or so to be tasty, tender and good. Which is