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My Vegetarian Journey

My Vegetarian Journey

 

Can vegetarian work in a family of five adults? How do you keep it interesting? Will vegetarian cooking give you all the nourishment you need? 

When I started this Vegetarian journey on the 1stof October I had many questions. And many anecdotal comments about protein, vitamin B-12 and whether I am just a bad hunter (thanks Herman). 

Vegetarian Black Bean Tortilla Soup
Black Bean Tortilla Soup – delicious and vegetarian!

And as the days ticked by and the vegetarian dishes seems to be finished first, and the leftovers are packed for luch to varsity, the data started to emerge. And vegetarian is leading. By far. 

You would believe that choosing vegetarian cooking or (for me) lifestyle is a sin, the way people reacted. I had comments from friends (recycled ones, sorry) that focused on “my food eats your food” and “it is not sustainable living, we are omnivores, just look at our teeth” that were not very helpful or encouraging, but it gives you a snapshot of where people are regarding the vegetarian topic.

As a scientist and a cook, with a passion for taste and a daugther that converted me with a strong personlaity to “live healthier”, this was a perfect challenge. And, as I like to push myself, I added more to it. 

“I will go to the gym every day”, I announced. This was the only way that I could measure if my energy levels were affected by the lifestyle. 

And the results are as astounding as confounding. 

But more about this later. 

We have had some vegetable recipes in the past:

Mediterranean Sweet Baked Potatoes

Chickpea Fritters

Warm Pepper Salad

or check out the category…

But there are many new and delicious recipes to come! i have found an inexhautible source of excellent Indian vegetarian dishes (the sort of perfected the craft of eating well on a small budget). Check this out!

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 why wet-cured or dry-cured beef is so expensive. But, as I stay on a farm, I buy cheap cuts. I bought a bulk pack of sirloin for R69 per kg. The “aged” beef was R127 per kilo. But, I had a trick up my sleeve and just couldn’t wait to try it. 

Dry-curing is where you simply cover the meat with a mixture of salt, sugar and white pepper, and it draws out the moisture from the meat and, at the same time, ages it. Quickly. 

The mixture was (in relation) – 1 cup salt, 2 cups sugar and 1 tablespoon white pepper. I made less than this. 

Then, simply cover both sides of the meat with the dry mix and let it rest for a few hours. I rested mine for a day. After covering the meat, I packed it in a baking tray on top of a metal rack (so it doesn’t touch the bottom of the tray), and then packed the top of the meat with about quarter of a centimeter of mix. 

I put it in the oven we don’t use to keep it away from animals and the maid (who would most probably have put it in the fridge, thrown it away, washed it or filed it in the library. With her, you never know. With respect, of course). When I took it out, the tray was full of watery red juice and the meat was considerably smaller. I rinsed the meat under a running tap (no, I did not have to chase after it). Interestingly, the meat was a bit salty (next time I would use coarse salt, not fine), but not sweet. It is as if the sugar does not penetrate the meat, but the salt does. 

Alex did his beautiful mushroom sauce and we flash-fried the steaks in a smoking hot pan. It seared to golden brown in seconds, and I cooked it for less than two minutes per side. They must never touch each other, so do it in batches. I then rested them for about a minute, we covered/ smothered them in mushroom sauce and meal done!

And I have to say, on its own it was a little salty, but with the sauce it was well balanced. And it was decidedly the best steak I have ever had. Ever. 

It was incredibly tender and it was as if the taste was concentrated to perfection. I will never buy aged steak. I will buy cheap cuts and age them myself. 

Trinchado made simple

Trinchado made simple

 

  The taste and texture of Trinchado takes us back. All the way back to dating, when we would go to Hillside Tavern and have a romantic sepia-coloured dinner. Funny how these memories are candle-lit, fragrant and full of taste. Now we are in our 

Cream Cheese and Lemon Cake

Cream Cheese and Lemon Cake

 

lemon-cream-cheese-cake-2Noudat ons oudste kind in Stellenbosch studeer en hy net elke drie maande by die huis is, het ek besef hoe belangrik familietradisies is.   Ons het so om die etenstafel gesels oor ons gesin se tradisies wat hulle die meeste geniet en die beste onthou het. En meeste het met kos te doen.

Ek het besluit om iets in die familie se geheue (en op die heupe) neer te lê wat ek baie geniet.  Ek het begin om  elke Saterdagoggend ‘n koek vir die gesin te bak.  Elke week word ‘n nuwe resep getoets.  Die eerste week was daar bekommernis oor dieet, klere wat nog moet pas, ens.  Na net drie weke word daar nou al die Vrydag gevra wat se koek ma more gaan bak.  Is dit nou wat mens soete herinnerings noem?  😀 

Lemon Cream Cheese Cake
This Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Lemon Coffee Cake is sweet and moist with a light lemon flavor and a creamy, crumbly topping.
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Cream Cheese Layer
  1. 250 gr Cream Cheese
  2. 1/4 c (60ml) sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. 2 teasp (10ml) Fresh Lemon Juice
Cake
  1. 1,5 c (375ml) Flour
  2. 1/2 teasp (2.5ml) Baking Powder
  3. 1/4 teasp (1.25ml) Salt
  4. 1/2 c (125ml) Vegetable Oil
  5. 1/2 c (125ml) Sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1/2 c (125ml) Greek Yogurt
  8. Zest of one lemon
  9. 1-2 tblsp (15-30ml) Fresh Lemon Juice
Crumb Topping
  1. 1/2 c (125ml) Flour
  2. 1/4 c (60ml) Sugar
  3. 2 tblsp (30ml) Butter
  4. Powdered sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare an 20cm x 20cm baking dish by lining it with parchment paper, leaving extra paper hanging over two of the sides. If you don't have parchment paper, spray the dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. FOR THE CREAM CHEESE LAYER
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, sugar, egg, and lemon juice until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  5. FOR THE COFFEE CAKE
  6. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  7. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, mix oil and sugar. Add egg and mix well.
  8. Add Greek yogurt, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix well on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
  9. Gradually add the flour mixture to the batter and mix until incorporated on low speed. Be careful not to over mix.
  10. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth it out to the edges.
  11. Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the batter, spreading it almost to the edges.
  12. FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING
  13. To make the crumb topping, pour the flour, sugar and cold cubed butter into a medium bowl, and using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter into the flour and sugar until you are have pea sized crumbs of flour coated butter. Pour the crumb mixture over the cream cheese layer.
  14. Bake the coffee cake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
  15. Allow to cool, and then dust with powdered sugar.
  16. Remove from the dish using parchment paper to a cutting board, and cut into 16 squares.
Adapted from Two in the Kitchen
Adapted from Two in the Kitchen
Love Cooking With Wine https://lovecookingwithwine.com/