The struggle of winter is real, but cooking dinner doesn’t have to be. While salads are on the backburner, soups, heart-warming dishes and baked desserts are definitely the name of the game. These mouth-watering and easy dishes from some of our top local foodies will help get you through the season.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP (Serves 4)
Courtesy of Wonderbag
1kg butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 yellow onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
45ml of olive oil
5ml fresh thyme
1¼ litres vegetable bouillon
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the butternut squash, thyme and bouillon. Increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered for about 5 minutes. Place your lidded pot on a mat or cloth in the Wonderbag for a minimum of 2 hours to finish cooking. Purée using a stick blender or food processer. Serve with a swirl of fresh cream and a dollop of basil pesto.
SEAFOOD SOUP WITH ROUILLE AND CROUTONS
Courtesy of Head Chef at The Plettenberg Hotel, Kaylin Shabalala
For the soup
1kg whole fish, such as hake, gurnard etc. cut into pieces, (do not use an oily fish like mackerel, trout or salmon)
90 ml olive oil
80 g of each – onion, celery, leek and fennel, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves sliced
Zest of one whole orange
Juice of one whole orange
200 g tinned tomatoes blended
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
A pinch of saffron
½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 litres very strong fish stock (see recipe below)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the fish stock
1kg fish bones
1 onion chopped
1 fennel bulb chopped
100g sliced celery
100g sliced carrots
100g chopped leeks
250 g sliced button mushrooms
1 sprig thyme
3 litres water
For the croutons
1 small baguette
Olive oil for frying
1 garlic clove
For the rouille
25 g sliced day-old crustless white bread
A little water
2 tbsp. harissa
3 fat peeled garlic cloves
1 egg yolk
¼ tsp salt
250 ml olive oil
To make the stock
Put all the ingredients into a large pan and simmer very gently for 30 minutes. Strain through a muslin-lined fine sieve, and use as required. If not using immediately, leave to cool, then chill and refrigerate or freeze.
To make the soup
Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the vegetables and garlic and cook gently for 20 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the orange zest, tomatoes, red pepper, bay leaf, thyme, saffron, cayenne pepper, and the fish pieces. Cook briskly for 2 – 3 minutes, then add the strained stock and orange juice, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes. Liquidise the soup, then pass through a sieve into a clean pot, pressing as much liquid as possible with the back of a ladle. Return the soup to the heat and season to taste with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
For the croutons
Thinly slice the baguette on the diagonal and fry the slices in the olive oil until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and rub one side of each piece with the garlic clove.
To make the rouille
Cover the slice of bread with the water and leave to soften. Squeeze out the excess liquid and put the bread into a food processor with the harissa, garlic, egg yolk and salt. Blend until smooth. With the machine still running, gradually add the oil until you have a smooth, thick, mayonnaise-like mixture. Keeps in the fridge for at least a week.
SEARED NORWEGIAN SALMON
Courtesy of Royal Palm Executive Chef, Guy Gorrie
2 portions of Norwegian salmon – weight of your choice.
1 punnet snap peas
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp. of frozen corn
Half an onion
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. Parsley
1 tsp Truffle oil
Salt & pepper to taste
In a pot, bring some salted water to the boil, add your snap peas and cook till tender. Place a heavy based pan on the stove and heat. Add a touch of oil, once the oil begins to smoke, add the Norwegian salmon skin side down, reduce the heat once the fish is in. Add your cherry tomatoes with a touch of butter and allow to sauté. After 2 to 3 minutes, flip the salmon over (you should have a lovely crispy skin). Add the corn to the pan and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the stove, and plate elegantly, placing the salmon on top of the snap peas, and dotting the cherry tomatoes around the edge of the salmon.
For the Sauce:
Finely chop half an onion and 1 clove of garlic, add to a pan and simmer with the cream. Once the cream has taken on the flavour of the onion and garlic, stain, and place back on the stove. To finish, add the parsley and truffle oil. Plate this scrumptious meal elegantly by placing the salmon on top of the snap peas, dot the cherry tomatoes around the edge of the salmon and drizzle the sauce around the plate to complete your masterpiece.
POTATO GNOCCHI, ROAST BRINJAL, POMODORO SAUCE AND PARMESAN CHEESE
Courtesy of Culinary Artist, Theo Mannie from Granny Mouse Country House
500g potato gnocchi
1 medium brinjal cubed
10ml olive oil
5 large plum tomatoes chopped
1 onion chopped
3 cloves crushed garlic
30g of fresh herbs (such as basil, parsley, and oregano)
Put the tomatoes into a food processor and blend lightly. Transfer into a strainer to get rid of the excess juice and set aside. In a roasting tray, place the brinjal. Season and lightly drizzle with olive oil before roasting in the oven at 180 degrees until it is cooked but still a little firm. To a large saucepan over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil, onions and garlic. Sauté for about 5 min until the onions are soft and translucent before adding the strained tomatoes and bringing it to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 30 min stirring occasionally. In a pot of boiling water, blanch the gnocchi for about 60 seconds. Strain and transfer to the Pomodoro sauce. Cook gently until the gnocchi is cooked all the way through. Serve straight away. Place the roasted brinjal over the gnocchi and sauce. Garnish with parmesan cheese.
Courtesy of Head Chef at The Conservatory at The Cellars-Hohenort, Paul Nash
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup dried porcini
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup white wine
1 cup full cream
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
To rehydrate the mushrooms, place them in a bowl with two cups of water and let them soak for about 15 minutes. Water should be warm and not boiling hot. Drain the water from the mushrooms and slice into pieces, keep the stock of the mushrooms to add to your sauce at a later stage. Slice your onions and chop your garlic. Heat your pan to a medium heat and add the butter and olive oil, once the oil is hot add the onions and garlic and sauté until golden brown, add the hydrated chopped mushrooms and then the white wine and reduce the wine down in the pan to a 1/3. Add the cream and the mushroom/ vegetable stock and let reduce until the desired taste has developed, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to break the richness of the cream in the dish. Just before the sauce is ready to serve grate half of the Parmesan cheese into the sauce and pull of the heat, add the fresh chopped parsley and serve with your al dente cooked pasta.
LAMB SHANK BUNNY
Courtesy of Head Chef at Big Easy Durban, Noel Kanyemba
50g Garlic, Crushed
25g Ginger Crushed
100g Biryani mix
200g Chili Powder
150g tomato Paste
1kg whole peeled tomato
3kg Lamb shanks
Sear the lamb shanks in a pot with the oil until shanks are brown on each side, now remove the shanks from the pot and put aside. In the same pot add in the sliced onions, garlic and ginger and cook till onions are soft. Now add in the biryani mix and stir for 5min, add in all the spices and stir for 5 min till spices are slightly toasted. To that add in the tomato paste and mix till it all blended in with the spices. To this now add in the blended whole peeled tomato and a little water just to get the sauce going, bring sauce to the boil and simmer for 45min so it reduces slightly. Season to taste and place the shank in a deep roasting dish and pour over the sauce till shanks are covered by the sauce, now cover the dish with shanks and sauce with tin foil and place in the oven for 140c for 4 hours. When cooked serve the shank with bread, Rice or mash.
ROLLED BEEF ROAST WITH VEG
(Serves 6 to 8)
Courtesy of Wonderbag
12 baby potatoes
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch slices
8 – 10 baby onions, peeled
1 – 1.5kg boneless beef roll
45ml basil pesto
30ml fried onion
2 cloves garlic crushed
500ml beef bouillon
15ml chives, chopped
30ml parsley, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
30ml onion soup mix
30ml Worcestershire sauce
1 x 400g can cream of mushroom soup
Put potatoes, carrots and onion in a medium sized pot. Unroll the roast and spread the basil pesto over the inside, sprinkle with fried onion and chopped garlic and roll up again. Place the roast on top of the vegetables, fat side up. Pour in the beef bouillon. Sprinkle chives, parsley, pepper and Onion Soup mix over the meat. Pour Worcestershire sauce and mushroom soup over meat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes with the lid on Place the sealed pot in the Wonderbag on a mat or cloth and seal. Leave to cook for 5 – 8 hours or overnight. Remove the meat and place under the grill for the fat to brown. Spoon the vegetables on a platter and thicken some of the juices from the pot with some onion soup to make a gravy.
LAMB FRIKKADELS WITH SPICED TOMATO RELISH
Courtesy of Head Chef at The Marine, Tronette Dippenaar
For the Spiced Tomato Relish you’ll need:
400 g blanched and peeled tomatoes. Cut into 1cm cubes.
80 ml canola oil
100 g blanched and peeled cherry tomatoes, cut into ¼
1 red and 1 green chilli diced finely
250 g whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
450 g white onion diced finely
15 g garlic cloves finely minced
300 g liquid of whole peeled tomatoes
15 ml lime juice
Sauté the onions until light brown and caramelised. Add all the other ingredients and bring to the boil. Let simmer for about 15minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
For the Lamb frikkadel you’ll need
1 kg lamb mince
3 g white pepper
2.5 g fennel seeds
4.5 g coriander seeds
70 g white onion, finely Brunoised
6 g Maldon sea salt
45 g Mrs Ball’s chutney
On a low heat dry roast (no oil) pepper, fennel and coriander until the seeds start to pop. Grind to a fine spice. Sauté white onions. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Roll into 25g balls if to be served as canapés (12 guests, 3 frikkadels each). Alternatively, the frikkadels can be rolled into 50g balls if served as a main (6 guests, 3 frikkadels each).
Basic Quinoa if served as Main
250ml uncooked quinoa
500ml water or broth
Bring quinoa and liquid to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (15 – 20 minutes). Fluff with a fork. This will yield 3 cups of cooked Quinoa.
Heat the spiced tomato relish on a low heat in a pot. Pan-fry the lamb frikkadels in a non-stick pan. Put the lamb into the oven for 5 minutes at 180 degrees
If served as a main course, plate the cooked quinoa first, then spoon on the relish, followed by the frikkadel balls on top
If served as a canapé, plate the relish first, then place the balls on top. Grate some haloumi over the balls mixed with grated parmesan cheese. Place the dish back in the oven until cheese has melted. Garnish with chopped peppadews, mint or basil leaves.
Courtesy of Royal Palm Executive Chef, Guy Gorrie
What you’ll need:
50g melted butter, for brushing
cocoa powder, for dusting
200g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
200g butter, in small pieces
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs and 4 yolks
200g plain flour
First get your moulds ready. Using upward strokes, heavily brush melted butter (use 50g in total) all over the inside of the pudding mould. Place the mould in the fridge or freezer. Brush more melted butter over the chilled butter, then add a good spoonful of cocoa powder into the mould. Tip the mould so the powder completely coats the butter. Tap any excess cocoa back into the jar, then repeat with the next mould. Place a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, then slowly melt 200g good-quality dark chocolate and 200g butter, both chopped into small pieces, together. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for about 10 mins. In a separate bowl whisk 4 eggs and 4 egg yolks together with 200g golden caster sugar until thick and pale and the whisk leaves a trail; use an electric whisk if you want. Sift 200g plain flour into the eggs, then beat together. Pour the melted chocolate into the egg mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition, until all the chocolate is added and the mixture is completely combined to a loose cake batter. Tip the fondant batter into a jug, then evenly divide between the moulds. The fondants can now be frozen for up to a month and cooked from frozen. Chill for at least 20 mins or up to the night before.
To bake from frozen, simply carry on as stated, adding 5 mins more to the cooking time. Heat oven to 200°C/ fan 180 °C. Place the fondants on a baking tray, then cook for 10-12 mins until the tops have formed a crust and they are starting to come away from the sides of their moulds. Remove from the oven, then leave to sit for 1 min before turning out. Loosen the fondants by moving the tops very gently so they come away from the sides, easing them out of the moulds. Tip each fondant slightly onto your hand so you know it has come away, then tip back into the mould ready to plate up.
When plating, add some whipped cream or some strawberries to spruce up the dish. Just a warning though, once you’ve had a mouthful of this decadent treat, you may not want to share the rest with your guests.
SELF-SAUCING GOOEY MARSHMALLOW CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS (Serves 4)
Courtesy of Katelyn Williams from The Kate Tin
100g cake flour
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
¼ cup (40g) Natura Dark Muscovado Sugar
3/4 cup milk
40g butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
100g chopped good-quality dark chocolate
1 packet white marshmallows
For the sauce
½ cup (90g) Natura Dark Muscovado Sugar
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
To make the chocolate pudding, preheat oven to 180°C (fan-forced) or 200°C (conventional). Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the milk, butter, egg and vanilla and mix well to combine. Fold through the chopped chocolate. Spoon into 4 x 1 cup-capacity oven-proof dishes and place on a baking tray. Place the extra sugar and remaining cocoa in a bowl and mix to combine. Sprinkle over the puddings and pour over the water. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops of the chocolate puddings are firm, risen and springy but the centre should still be a bit squishy underneath then place the marshmallows on top and bake for another 3-5 minutes until golden.