Bobotie Spiced Pork, Apple and Carrot Chutney with Turmeric Rice; A South African Inspired Dish- An Amazing Holiday

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I’m back!  Yes, it has been a long, long time.  Since I last wrote, I basically packed up my whole house in Barcelona, spent 12 marvelous days in Cape Town, South Africa and it’s surroundings, then flew back to Spain, but to my new city, Madrid, and set up house here.  It has been sad, exhilarating, and frustrating at its best and worst!

Since moving in to our new house, which is gorgeous, I haven’t been able to post because we had to wait for our internet to be set up.  But finally, they came yesterday and I am up to date with the world again!  Our new house is amazing, and my favorite part is obviously the kitchen.  We have a pantry……and a large double door fridge (which here in Spain they call a ‘American Fridge’), and we’re able to fit a table to seat six in the kitchen.  So excited to begin to create so many goodies in this amount of space.  This is true luxury for me!  The only catch is that the oven doesn’t work.  But they are coming to install a new one tomorrow!  Wooo hooo!  Gone are the days of over/under cooking from my previous and ancient oven!

Anyhow, our vacation to South Africa was amazing.  My best friend Miki is from South Africa, but her family is German/Japanese.  The reason of our visit was to attend her wedding.  And what a beautiful and fun wedding it was.  We reunited with old high school friends and new ones I have made along the way thanks to her.  Oh, and to totally make you even more jealous, her family owns vineyards in Stellenbosch.  Yes, we were more or less drunk everyday.

Stark-Code Vineyards, my friends' family farm where the wedding was held

Stark-Code Vineyards, my friends’ family farm where the wedding was held

Now, apart from the wedding, my family and I went on Safari, and also did a few tours in Cape Town.

Inverdoorn Game Reserve

Inverdoorn Game Reserve

 

3 year old White Rhino

3 year old White Rhino

 

A few of the Cheetas on the reserve

A few of the Cheetahs on the reserve

 

Mama Cape Buffalo checking us out

Mama Cape Buffalo checking us out

 

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One of two hippos on the reserve

One of two hippos on the reserve

 

I love Zebra Print!

I love Zebra Print!

 

Cape Barbary Lion

Cape Barbary Lion

 

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Sunset with the Cheetah's

Sunset with the Cheetah’s

We made it all the way down to the Cape of Good Hope, which was breathtaking, and also did a Township tour, which was heartbreaking.

View of Lion's Head from Table Mountain

View of Lion’s Head from Table Mountain

 

Food wise, South Africa is a very diverse country.  There are so many cultural influences, from Malaysian to Indian to German to Dutch….the list goes on.  Here are a few things I learned about eating in South Africa:

1.  They eat a lot of meat.  Beef, lamb, pork, Springbok, Ostrich, you name it.  It is on every menu.  My new favorite is Springbok, but I don’t think my butcher has any.

2.  They put bananas on pizzas.  Huh?

3.  They put butternut squash on EVERYTHING.  Each and every menu had something with butternut.  Salad, pizza, pasta, dessert.  You get the idea.

4.  They’re obsessed with avocados, or as they call them, avo.

5.  They make Buffalo mozzarella from Cape Buffalo.  Still damn good!

6.  They make kick ass wine.  (But I knew that already)

That said, one of my first meals in the house was a dish inspired from the flavors of South Africa, and Miki’s wedding menu.  I was so impressed with the different spices, their use of sweet and savoury, that I had to make something like this to alleviate my depression upon returning, and to try to eke out every last moment we had.  Served with a well chilled glass of Pepin Conde Sauvignon Blanc that we brought back, of course!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

For the pork-

4 slices of Pork Loin, 1 inch thick

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Salt, to taste

Olive oil for the pan

For the chutney-

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp chopped fresh ginger

1 tsp chili pepper

2 apples, peeled and chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Juice of 1 Lemon

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup unsulphered molasses

1 tsp salt, more or less

Water to cover the ingredients

For the rice-

1 cup long white rice

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

2 cups water

Fresh Spinach

In a small stock pot, add the olive oil and butter over medium low heat.  Add the onions, ginger, chili and sauté for about 5-7 minutes, or until softened.  Add the rest of the ingredients, with enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium low, and let simmer for about an hour.  If it is getting too dry, add some more water.  Cook until it is thickened, keep warm.

In the mean time, make the rice.  Wash your rice, and in a bowl, mix the water with the turmeric and salt.  Place in a deep sided pan, add the rice, and bring to a boil, covered.  Let boil for 2 minutes, then lower the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is evaporated.  Keep warm.

In another bowl, mix all the spices for the pork.  Coat the pork well on both sides with all your spices.  In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil over high heat.  Just before it starts to smoke, add the pork and cook, about 4 minutes on each side.

To plate, place a bit of the fresh spinach and top it with a pork slice.  Then add some chutney and rice.

Enjoy!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Gratin Dauphinois – Potato Gratin Dauphin Style

Gratin Dauphinois

I love gratin dauphinois.  I’m kind of obsessed with it.  I remember as a kid, seeing the commercial’s for Betty Crocker’s Scalloped potatoes, and thinking, why won’t my mom make this for me?  (It’s the same feeling I had for the snoopy sno cone machine.)  No matter how much I begged and pleaded, my mother would NOT make scalloped potatoes, nor did they ever purchase the sno cone machine for me.  (I swear, I still want one.  And and easy bake oven).

But I digress.  When I started to cook myself, I made this.  Wow.  I was mystified at the fact that something so easy could be so good.  It really is a sophisticated dish, fragrant and flavorful.  Decadent, warm and seriously addictive.  Because I had left over sliced potatoes from Saturday nights dinner, I made this to go with the Osso Buco, which I will post tomorrow.

So, if you are so inclined to indulge, here’s what you’re going to need:

1 clove of garlic, minced

3/4 cup milk

6 tbsp heavy cream

1 lb russet potatoes, sliced thinly with a mandoline

Salt and White Pepper to taste

2 pinches of cinnamon

4 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).  Add the garlic, milk and cream to a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the sliced potatoes, salt and spices.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring and coating the potatoes carefully.

Butter a baking dish.  Add the potatoes and smooth the top.  Bake until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.  Serve hot!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Miniature Apple Pies with Thyme

Miniature Apple Pies

Ahhh, Autumn is fast arriving here in Barcelona, and for me it is one of the most special times of year.  As the days get shorter and the heat of Summer fades away, my mind wanders to longer, warmer food.  There certainly is nothing better than the smells of apples and spices emanating from your kitchen.

I have never been a big apple lover, but for some reason, apples that are baked are truly scrumptious.  A flaky crust, moist and tender, filled to the brim with those soft and delicious apples.  Served warm with some vanilla ice cream, it’s a decadent treat that will please everyone!!

For my last dinner party, I made these miniature versions.  I don’t have a beautiful pie tin, so I opted for giving everyone a mini pie.  It’s a perfect little serving.  And so easy to bake, it bakes in a cupcake tin, and they pop right out when you’re done!

Miniature Apple PiesI had lots of fun creating different tops, so feel free to let your imagination run wild.  I created a lattice top, and then I have the lovely Williams Sonoma Leaf cut outs, which I used on another, and lastly, I used a large frosting tip to create small holes.

Miniature Apple Pies

 

So have fun with them, no matter how you decided to decorate the tops, they are guaranteed to be delicious!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 12

For the Short Crust Pastry:

250g All purpose Flour

150g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

1 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tbsp milk

In a large bowl, measure out your flour.  Add the butter and crumble with the tips of your fingers, until your flour looks like wet sand, and all the butter has been incorporated.   Add the egg, salt and milk, with your hands, mix and knead until a firm dough forms.  Roll into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, flatten into a disc and refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the filling:

5 mixed apples, such as Golden Delicious or Gala, cut into 1 inch cubes

125g butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp salt

Black pepper to taste

1 sprig of Thyme, leaves detached

3 tbsp water

1 egg, beaten

In a large pot, add all your ingredients except for the egg, and cook, about 20 minutes, until the apples are tender and the filling has thickened.  Let cool.

To assemble the pies:

Pre-heat oven to 190C.  Cut the dough in half, on a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough until 1/4 inch thick.  If the dough gets too sticky, then just refrigerate it for another 15 minutes until it is easy to work with again.

Break out your cupcake tin, and get a biscuit cutter or glass that is slightly bigger than the circumference of the circles on your tin.  Cut out the base of the pastry and place in the cupcake tins.  Then grab a bowl or something similar (look at the picture above) that is slightly larger than what you used to cut the base, and cut out the tops.  Now, decided what shapes you want to cut out, holes, lattice, etc.

Add the filling to the base, and brush the rims with a bit of the beaten egg, and then add the top of the crust and press to seal tightly.  Brush the tops of the pies with the egg wash, and add a little sugar to the tops if you want.

Bake in the oven in the middle rack for about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the tin and let cool on a wire rack.  Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

 

Fried Green Tomatoes with Three Chile Sauce

Fried Green TomatoesThe other night I made enchiladas.  And unfortunately I don’t have a picture of them, otherwise I would have obviously shared the recipe with you.  But, I will share the chile sauce recipe, because you can use this on any type of enchiladas you wish.  I made them with chicken, onions and cheese.  If you have a hankering for a vegetarian version, well, go ahead and use this sauce to coat them.  It is spectacular.  That’s why I chose to top the tomatoes with the sauce too, and I plan to use this sauce as a base for other things too, or maybe just as a flavor enhancer.  The deep rich smokiness elevates a lentil soup, perhaps, to plain ole good for you, to hell yeah! for your taste buds.

Fried green tomatoes are super simple.  But I thought I would include this recipe, so you could have the sauce too!  So, you craving huevos rancheros?  Add this sauce to them.  Maybe some nachos?  Bring this out as a dip.  Or maybe you want to make a butternut squash soup.  Well, this sauce will lend the perfect balance to the sweetness of the squash… endless possibilities, one sauce!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

1 large green tomato

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup olive oil

Maldon Sea Salt

For the sauce:

3 guajillo peppers

2 ancho peppers

3 new mexico peppers

1 cup soaking liquid

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp achiote powder

1 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp onion powder

1 small can diced tomatoes

3 tsp brown sugar

4 tsp cumin powder (if you don’t like cumin as much as I do, add less.  But trust me on this!)

1 tsp dried oregano

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 dash ground chipotle

1 bay leaf

Salt and Pepper, to taste

 

To make the sauce:

On a comal, or griddle set to medium high heat, toast the dried peppers on both sides, about 1 minute per side, until fragrant.  Don’t let them burn, if they do, chuck them out because they will just become bitter.  Slice the toasted chiles, and remove seeds and veins.  Then place in 3 cups boiling water, and soak for about 20-30 minutes, or until tender.  Strain them, and reserve one cup of the soaking liquid.  Puree the chiles with the soaking liquid and reserve.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil, onions and achiote powder.  Saute for about 7 minutes or until the onions are softened.  Add the minced garlic and sauté another 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.  Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Add the pureed chiles, and lower the heat to medium and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until thickened slightly.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Reserve the sauce for whatever you need.  Will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

For the tomatoes:

Slice the tomato in 1 inch thick slices.  Arrange the slices on a paper towel and let the water from the tomato be soaked up.  Beat the egg in a small bowl, and add the cornmeal on a plate.

In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil over high heat.  When it is very hot, dip the tomato in the egg, then coat both sides with the cornmeal and fry for about 2-3 minutes per side.  Drain on a fresh piece of paper towel.

When they are all done, arrange on a platter, sprinkle with sea salt and dollops of the chile sauce.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla