Foolproof sous vide ribeye steak recipe

Dinner last night. A foolproof recipe for rare sous vide ribeye steak, paired with a Vietnamese zucchini noodle salad a, fried onion rings and roast potatoes.

Since getting our Joule sous vide cooker from Chefsteps, we’ve been trying all our favourite recipes to see if sous vide is all it is made out to be. The result – an absolutely tender, juicy and meaty ribeye steak, cooked to perfection.

Just a quick note on the Joule. Some commentators have called it the Apple of cooking devices and it is – sorta. The Joule is a sleek, one button, app driven device that goes straight into your favourite pasta pot (or cooler box or whatever you have that can hold enough water so submerge your food) that cooks your food in a consistent water temperature.

Your food by the way is protected by either a ziplock bag or if you’re fancy or need to cook for longer than 7 hours, a more professional vacuum sealer. The result of this cooking method, is always tender, juicy and succulent (there I used all those words in a sentence) meat. From poultry to fish, steaks to eggs, vegetables to custards. You name it, the Joule could probably cook it.

For this recipe I sous vide two ribeye steaks in the bag with goodies (fresh tyme, a splash of olive oil, pepper and smoked paprika) for 40 minutes at 122F. This cooks the steaks to blue. Finishing them off with a quick 40 second sear on each side in a piping hot griddle pan after the sous vide cook brings the internal temperature to rare – just the way we like it.

The Vietnamese salad dressing and cilantro balances very nicely with the thyme & garlic rib eye and the crunchy potatoes.

Next time I’ll work on the plating presentation. I was just too hungry to bother.

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Traditional Christmas gammon

It is that time of the year again – time for a traditional Christmas gammon feast. Over the years I’ve tried a number of recipes. Back in 2009 I made one by cooking the gammon in Coke,  another year with a Chinese five-spice mix for an oriental flavour, a South African version with Castle lager, one with a mustard glaze and another with marmalade. Suffice to say, I’ve tried them all.

Yet, the one that never fails to satisfy is the traditional Christmas gammon topped with pineapple and a cranberry glaze. It’s tried and tested and even through the presentation may come straight from an 80’s Christmas table, we know it works. The only challenge is that the crispy glazed pineapple rings also become a very hot commodity at the Christmas table. So if you do not spark and get yourself a piece, someone will be sure to have grabbed it already – evidenced by the picture below. ;-(

Traditional Christmas Gammon dinner
Traditional Christmas Gammon dinner with all the trimmings

I was also quite surprised that we never uploaded any of our gammon recipes to Sustenance before – an obvious oversight, since gammon is a firm favourite in the house.

Just one thing to remember, if you use a smoked gammon then pre-cooking it in a vegetable broth/bath is not necessary in my opinion. Slow roasting on a 160/180 oven should do the trick. Otherwise you can prepare a bath by placing the gammon in a pot with enough fresh water to half cover the joint. Add some peppercorns, parsley stalks, an onion, a carrot and a bay leaf. Heat up to just about to boiling point and then set to a slow simmer. You don’t want to boil the gammon. Then just finish it off under the grill to glaze and crisp up.

I therefore present to you the recipe for a traditional Christmas gammon topped with pineapple and a cranberry glaze.

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Let me know what flavour profile you like for your Christmas gammon dish.




Biltong recipe – Rugby World Cup 2015

If you’ve ever attended a gathering of rugby supporters, braai aficionados or generally any group of 2 or more South Africans, there’s bound to be some biltong or droëwors as part of the snack ensemble.

With the price of biltong in the region of about R250/kg it could seriously make a dent in your pocket with all the World Cup Rugby 2015 games in the tournament.

So why not make your own with this quick and easy biltong recipe?  Biltong usually calls for the cheaper topside or silverside cuts of beef which means you’ll be munching away at your own signature biltong at a fraction of the price of the ready-made variety. And you get double-points for being able to make your own.

Naturally you could also make biltong from ostrich, chicken, bacon or any other game meat.

Biltong recipe

Since summer is upon us, making biltong in the cold confines of the garage in winter  becomes less of an option, so rather opt for a quick biltong maker. I use the Mellerware Biltong King, biltong maker and hydrator which you can find almost everywhere. Expect to pay in the region of R250-R500 for a box. Shop around, there are some specials at the moment.

For this biltong recipe I used Smoked Flavours’ Liquid Smoke. The hickory smoke flavour in my last batch of biltong was an incredible hit with family and friends. So I will definitely be doing that again.

The biltong spice comes from our local butchery, Country Meat. We found this mix to work the best for us. Try some of their biltong first, and if you like it just get one of their biltong kits. It contains between 2-3kg of biltong meat and a sachet of biltong spice.

For complete decadence – try Country Meat’s waygu beef biltong. It has at an eye-watering price, but it is pretty good.

If you want to make your own biltong spice, just combine 1/2 cup ground coriander, 2 Tbs ground black pepper, 1/2 cup sea salt (not pouring or table salt – Himalayan pink salt works wonders) and 2 Tbs brown sugar.  Taste the mix and adjust to fit the flavour profile you’re trying to achieve. You could also add some smoked paprika to the mix.

On with the biltong recipe then.

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Depending on the weather conditions (warm weather vs. cooler temperature), the cuts of meat (thicker strips vs. thinner strips), how you like your meat (soft or hard), the drying time could vary from 24 hours to 5 days. The biltong maker is quite efficient, so it doesn’t take that long before you can sample your first batch.

Basically if you start by latest on Wednesday, you could have your very own batch of biltong ready for the World Cup Rugby game on Saturday.

And that’s a win in anyone’s books – regardless of how the team performs.




Springbok sushi rolls – Rugby World Cup 2015

It is the Rugby World Cup 2015 and what better way to celebrate the games than with family, friends, good food and the amazing spirit of supporting the South Africa national team.

In honour of the games, I thought of combining a recipe from South Africa and from each of the countries we’re competing with for the coveted William Webb Ellis trophy. Few may know that my passion is fusion food – combining different styles and tastes into a (hopefully) harmonious marriage of taste and experience.

South Africa is playing against Japan in their opening match of the RWC. So what dishes are these countries famous for?

For Japan it is quite simple. Many people would immediately think of sushi. And if you think of the South African rugby team – The Springboks – one or another meat dish comes to mind. So in honour of the match between Japan and South Africa, I bring you Springbok sushi rolls.

Springbok carpaccio would work extremely well as a substitute to salmon, smoked salmon or even tuna. Similarly , this could work with any other venison meat including ostrich.

For this dish and to make things a bit easier – you’ll need smoked springbok carpaccio. You could of course make your own carpaccio and that would be as simple and even tastier. But for ease, we’re using smoked carpaccio.

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Serve with wasabi and soy sauce.

You could also roll the sushi rolls in sesame seeds before slicing, but this is optional.

Update: South Africa lost 32-34 against Japan.

Disclaimer: Smoked Salmon Sushi Rolls Pictured




Slow braised short ribs with butternut mash

Sundays are for…? Slow braised short ribs with butternut mash. A hearty winter warmer with fall off the bone meat and a buttery smokey honeyed butternut mash.

I always ask the guys at Country meat butchery and deli in Fourways, to cut me about 3kgs of short ribs from a full slab in an English style cut.

Difference between English style and Flanken style beef short ribs

English style: The ribs are cut parallel to the bone, with one bone per piece. They tend to hold their shape even after a long braise and make an impressive presentation.

Beef Short Ribs English Flanken Cut

Flanken style: The ribs are cut across the bone. Each piece has three to four short sections of bone with a generous portion of meat around them. The cooked ribs should fall off the bone in tender pieces.

So, the English style works much better for this recipe.

View step by step

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After this hearty meal, you will probably want to go take a nap. You deserve it.




On the menu – pork rump steaks with charred aubergines and tahini

Pork rump steaks – cooked on the griddle pan for 4 minutes on each side, seasoned simply with salt and pepper and a dash of smoked paprika.

Charred garlic and thyme aubergines with a chunky tahini-style sauce.

The kids wanted a dipping sauce, so I made an adapted nut butter satay.

No leftovers – guaranteed.




Roast pork belly with fennel

I have a confession to make. I love pork belly. There are few things in life that awakens the taste buds like a crunchy crackling serving of juicy pork belly. Let’s get into it…
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Ingredients
1.3kg pork belly roast
4 sprigs rosemary, chopped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zest only
1½ tbsp maldon or himalyan salt
1 tbsp olive oil
4 medium carrots
2 large fennel bulbs
4 cloves garlic
200ml white wine
squeeze lemon juice

Method
For extra crispy crackling I like to make sure the pork belly is washed and patted dry. Score the skin with a sharp kitchen knife in either a diamond pattern or thin horizontal lines. Put it in a glass tray, with another one on top, weighted down with two cans or any other heavy weight. This ensures a relatively even thickness of the pork belly. Keep it in the fridge over night.

Preheat the oven to 220C

Chop the rosemary leaves, pepper, lemon zest and salt. Rub the pork all over with the oil before rubbing the herb and salt mixture into the skin, pushing it in between the scored lines. Place the pork onto a rack in a roasting tin, skin-side up, and cook for 40 minutes or until the skin starts to puff and crisp at the edges.

In the meantime, remove the stalks of the fennel (keep the fronds). Slice the bulb into thin wedges. Flatten the garlic and remove the peel, leaving the cloves whole. Cut the carrots into quarters.

Remove the pork belly from the oven and turn the oven down to 160C. Lift the rack and add the fennel, garlic, carrots and wine to base of the roasting tin and coat with any of the pork fat drippings. Set the rack with pork back on top. Return the tray to the oven and roast for a a further hour at 160C.

Remove the fennel and carrots from the oven, squeeze over some of the lemon juice, set aside and keep warm.

Turn the oven back up to 200C. Cook the pork for another 20 minutes, or until the skin is crisped up to your liking.

Remove te pork belly, rest for 5-10 minutes and slice. Serve with fennel and carrots, sprinkling over the chopped reserved fennel fronds for garnish (optional).

You’ll love it so much, you’ll probably lick the plates clean while wishing you had bought a larger pork roast. So next time, get a 3kg roast and double the recipe. Trust me on this.




Pulled pork sliders with sweet potato buns

pulled pork sliders Paleo

I have a soft spot for anything with pulled pork in the title. I’ve eaten some of the best pulled pork at the Pitt Cue Co in Soho London. While I managed to get their cookbook to try and recreate their sublime dish at home, it is quite a lengthy process as it involves a number of sauces and a smoking process that take the better part of the week to make. The taste is completely out of this world and definitely worth your while as the sauces make up the base for many of their other dishes.

But when a pulled pork craving hits and you’re fresh out of mother sauce, you’re going to have to improvise. Below is the result of that improvisation. Bite-sized pulled pork sliders that are Paleo / Banting (LCHF) friendly, by substituting the buns with sweet potatoes. The trick though is to try and get the biggest even shaped sweet potatoes that you can find as to best mimick a mini-burger. Mine ranged between small and medium, but actually worked out perfectly well as delicious bite-sized morsels.

The list of ingredients and the three processes may seem daunting, but it’s pretty easy to make and taste delicious.

Ingredients for the pulled pork

  • 1 smoked boston butt pork roast (1kg – go bigger if you can)
  • 2 large onions – quartered
  • 1 tablespoon five-spice
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water

Ingredients for the barbeque sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion – diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons tomato sauce

Ingredients for the sweet potato buns

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of maldon salt

To make the pulled pork

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160 C
  2. Stir together the spices and rub all over the roast.
  3. Lay the onion slices down on the bottom of the roasting pan together with the water and bay leaf.
  4. Put the roast on top of the onions, cover with lid or foil and cook for 2 hours.
  5. When done, take the roast out and shred the meat with two forks.
  6. Keep the pan juices and onions aside as we’ll combine those with the barbeque sauce

To make the barbeque sauce

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan, add onion and garlic with some seasoning and the sugar, and fry for 5 minutes until softened.
  2. Add paprika and stir to combine.
  3. Cook for 10-15 minutes until onion is caramelising, then add vinegar and let it cook out for a few minutes.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce, mix well and continue to cook for about 8 minutes until sauce has reduced.
  5. Combine the barbeque sauce with your reserved pan juices and onions from the pork roast.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning.

pulled pork sliders Paleo

At this point you can now combine the barbeque sauce with the pulled pork.

pulled pork sliders Paleo

Method for the sweet potato buns

  • Slice the sweet potato into 1/2 cm rounds. Lay them out on a roasting tray lined with baking paper.
  • Brush each slice with coconut oil and sprinkle with the spices, flip and repeat
  • Bake at 220 C for about 15 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 15 minutes until brown on the outside and cooked through.

To assemble
Top a slice of sweet potato with some lettuce, thinly sliced tomato, a generous helping of the pulled pork and finish with another slice of sweet potato. You can of course add any other toppings of your choice, but these turned out finger-licking good.

pulled pork sliders Paleo




Slow roast leg of lamb with garlic, rosemary, paprika rub

Slow roast leg of lamb rosemary garlic smoked paprica rub

There’s not much to say about a slow roasted leg of lamb. It is as classic as it gets. Comfort food at its best.

I’m getting pretty partial to smoked paprika at the moment, so most of my meat-based dishes and smoky vegetables are sprinkled quite liberally with this heavenly spice. Paprika is a spice made from ground, dried fruits of bell pepper or chili pepper varieties or mixtures thereof.

I have some Spanish smoked paprika, which is rather mild but has a distinctive oak flavour. Add to that some garlic, olive oil and rosemary and you have a winning rub.

Ingredients

  • 1 leg of lamb, approximately 1.5-2 kg
  • 4 giant garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • olive oil
  • 3-4 large sweet potatoes, cut in rings
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 2 tbsp butter

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  2. Rinse the lamb and pat dry.
  3. Mix all the ingredients: garlic, rosemary, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper together in a pestle and mortar. Add enough of the olive oil to make a nice thick paste. Rub over the lamb on both sides.
  4. Place the lamb into a deep sided roasting tray and add 250ml of water to the tray.
  5. Cover the lamb with foil and roast for 3-4 hours, basting from time to time until the meat is falling off of the bone.
  6. When cooked, remove the lamb from the oven and transfer to a board or plate. Cover with foil and leave to rest for 15- 20 minutes.
  7. Preserve the pan juices for your gravy.
  8. Cut up the sweet potatoes and cook in boiling, salted water. When cooked but still firm, drain in a colander.
  9. Add butter, garlic and thyme to a pan and heat till foamy. Add the sweet potatoes and fry till just brown and crispy on the outside. Find more culinary tips at DCWCasing.com.

Slow roast leg of lamb rosemary garlic smoked paprica rub
To serve, carve the lamb into chunks and serve with the sweet potatoes. Pour over the pan juices.




Moroccan mince with couscous

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After visiting Morocco earlier this year and receiving a tagine as a Christmas gift, we felt like something Moroccan inspired for our post gammon and turkey hangover. This Moroccan mince with couscous dish is extremely simple to make and ready in about 30 minutes.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g beef mince
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 2 t ground turmeric
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 cup couscous
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • knob of butter
  • 4 T fresh mint, chopped
  • 50g unsalted cashews, toasted

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan, add onions and cook gently for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Stir in the spices, coating the onions, then add the mince and fry till brown.
  3. Add the apricots and stock and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook gently for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add couscous into a bowl and cover with just boiled water. Once it has absorbed all the water, fork through a knob of butter, lemon zest and mint to give it a nice fluffy texture. Season to taste.
  5. To assemble, spoon couscous onto serving plate, pile the mince mixture on top and scatter with the cashews.

Note
We have some Ras-el-hanout spice from Morocco which gives the dish a bit more complex flavours where up to 30 or more different spices could be in the mix, so you could use that instead of the cumin, cinnamon and turmeric suggested in the recipe. Ras-el-hanout can now be found at most good Pick-n-Pay stores.

South Africans may also have noticed some slight similarities in flavour between this Moroccan dish from North Africa and the traditional South African bobotie recipe. The kids therefore asked that we add some slices of banana and sprinkle some coconut on their portions. Nothing wrong with adding a dollop of chutney too while you’re at it.

Traditionally, Moroccans serve their couscous with seven vegetables, so if you want to bulk up the dish with some oven grilled veggies such as courgettes, red peppers, aubergines, red onions, butternut, carrots, parsnips and leeks then just chop them up, drizzle some olive oil, coat with harissa (chili kick), salt and pepper and pop them into an oven at 180 C for 30 mins or until cooked and caramelised.




Tre gli spaghetti pomodoro – Three tomato spaghetti

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Spghetti pomodoro is intended to be a quick light dish, and this one is full of tomato goodness. It is basically spaghetti tossed with three types of tomatoes – whole peeled, cherry and sundried with crispy bacon, sweet basil, garlic and topped with corriander.

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti pasta
  • Can of whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 sundried tomatoes
  • 4-6 slices of back bacon diced or slices
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Handful of basil leaves chopped finely or (1 tablespoon dried sweet basil)
  • Couple of sprigs corriander leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Method

  • Cook the pasta in boiling water per packet instructions
  • Heat up some oil in a pan and fry the bacon with some finely chopped garlic and half the basil
  • When almost crispy, add the cherry tomatoes and heat till they start to blister
  • Remove from pan and keep warm
  • Add the can of whole tomatoes to the hot pan and roughly break into pieces
  • When the sauce starts to bubble, add the rest of the basil, sundried tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes back to the pan
  • When heated through, take off the heat, add the bacon, season to taste and top off with the corriander.

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By now the pasta is also ready, drain and serve with the tomato sauce. Add some chilli flakes and grated parmesan (optional).




Roast leg of lamb – Heston Blumenthal style

I’m a huge fan of Heston Blumenthal‘s food, oft for the shear entertainment factor as for the ability to recreate his recipes at home. Imagine my delight then when I stumbled on Heston Blumenthal at Home at the local Exclusive Books store. The How to cook like Heston TV series also had us glued to the television on Thursday evenings.

Hands up if you’ve ever wanted to perfect the art of poaching an egg or making melt in your mouth steak. Then this cookbook is for you.

Fast forward to today, a cold wintery and misty day in Johannesburg. Real comfort food weather.
I already had a roast leg of lamb in my mind, but wanted to try something different. Perhaps not the recipe as such, but the cooking method. So I paged through Heston’s book and found his roast leg of lamb with anchovy, garlic and rosemary recipe.

At first most people may think anchovies with lamb? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. The anchovies don’t bring a fishiness to the lamb, but rather a nice salty depth to the overall dish.

Unfortunately for me, I used up all our anchovies about two weeks ago when I made an anchovy butter for our pasta. I opted to replace the anchovies with some smoked streaky bacon. Also something that brings a smoky saltiness to the dish.

So on with the details.

Notes before you begin

  • The recipe serves 4 hungry people
  • You will need a meat thermometer
  • Cooking time: 4 hours + 30 mins for resting
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 1.8 –2.2kg whole leg of lamb
  • sea salt
  • 3 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 12 anchovies, sliced in half lengthways – I substituted this with 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, halved and de-germed
  • fresh rosemary (4 sprigs)
  • 400ml milk (semi-skimmed / 2%)

For the sauce

  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 500g lamb or chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 80 degrees Celsius. Yes, this is right, low and slow.
  2. Season the lamb with salt. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is smoking hot, sear the lamb until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and place in a roasting tray.
  3. Blanch the garlic in 100ml milk four times, using fresh 100ml milk each time.
  4. Cut the blanched garlic into slivers.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut slits in the surface of the lamb at regular intervals. Use a small spoon to enlarge the holes and stuff them with the anchovies (or bacon), garlic and the rosemary.
  6. Place the lamb in the oven for approximately 3-4 hours until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 55 degrees Celsius.
  7. When cooked, remove the lamb from the oven, wrap it in foil and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
  8. While the meat is resting, make the sauce. Place the roasting tray over a medium-high heat. Add the wine and use a spatula to scrape all the delicious bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the liquid to reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and mustard and reduce to a sauce consistency.
  9. Strain and pour into a warm jug to serve with the lamb.

Tips for carving the lamb
Grip the knob of bone that juts out of the meat with your left hand (reverse if left-handed). Keeping the joint flat on the board, rounded side upwards, cut into the meat from the top downwards, until the knife meets bone, in slices of whatever thickness you prefer, all the way along the top of the meat. Then, while still gripping the bone, run the knife horizontally across the meat, just above the bone, separating the slices. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

This method of cutting across the grain actually makes the meat seem more tender as you’re biting into the grain as opposed to across the grain which will be more chewier and tougher.

Heston explains it best by comparing it to chopping a log of wood. Trying to chop the log horizontally will be all near impossible. However, standing the log vertically and chopping into the top following the grain, the log will split more easily and naturally.




Courgette lasagne

Re-post of the recipe that appeared on Aquilaonline, my other blog.


Zucchini or otherwise courgette lasagne
View Zucchini or otherwise courgette lasagne on Instagram.

Ingredients

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can tomato and onion mix
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 3 medium courgette
  • 2 cups mozzarella or cheddar cheese, shredded

Bechamel sauce (makes about double than what is required)

  • 60g butter
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 75g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • good pinch ground nutmeg

Method
In a medium sauce pan, brown meat and season with salt. When cooked drain in colander to remove any fat. Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer on low for at least 30-40 minutes, covered. Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.

Meanwhile, slice courgette into thin slices. I used a cheese slicer that had the perfect thickness. Lightly salt and set aside or 10 minutes. Courgette has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel.

On a griddle pan, grill the courgette on each side, until cooked, about 2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.

Preheat oven to 180° Celsius.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from heat. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth. Return to heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat. Stir in parmesan, salt and nutmeg.

In a medium casserole dish spread some sauce on the bottom and layer the courgette to cover. Then place some of the white sauce mixture, then top with the mozzarella/cheddar cheese and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up. Top with sauce and mozzarella/cheddar.

Bake 45 minutes. Let it stand about 5 – 10 minutes before serving.




Lamb chops with balsamic reduction

Tonight we had absolutely no idea what to make for dinner. We’ve had our fair share of fish, chicken and vegetarian the last few days and I was craving some read meat.

The problem of course is that it was getting late (food shopping after 6pm) and I wasn’t feeling like building a braai or smoking out the house by grilling meat in the oven.

Then I remembered a quick and easy method for a balsamic reduction, which would go nicely with some pan fried rosemary lamb chops.

A quick meal in 15 minutes.

Lamb chops with balsamic reduction

Ingredients

  • 6 lamb chops
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Method

  1. Sprinkle rosemary, salt and pepper over lamb chops.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook lamb chops for about 3 1/2 minutes on each side (medium rare).
  3. Remove lamb and set aside to rest. Add onion to pan and sautee until slightly browned.
  4. Add the balsamic vinegar and chicken stock.
  5. Allow mixture to cook until reduced by half, this takes about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter.
  6. Pour sauce over lamb and serve with some seasonal veggies and couscous.

rosemary lamb chops with balsamic reduction

This seemed to be a roaring success. Our 18-month old son even grabbed some of the balsamic reduction off my plate by the handfulls and helped himself to a chop too.

Of course I complety forgot to take a pic of the end result. I hope the one of the uncooked chops, is not too gnarly for some folk. I may have to do this again soon.