Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category
Beef Lentil Soup & Vetkoek
After living in the USA since June of 1998, we had to come up with a solution for making Vetkoek, our traditional Afrikaans delicacy, the quick and easy way. It’s basically a deep fried bread roll, but it comes out light and fluffy. Not overly grease as you would think it would because of the deep fried cooking method.
I’ve made the dough from scratch before and it is fairly easy to make by hand or in your bread machine, but the fastest way to make delicious vetkoeke is as follows.
Here is a fast and easy way to make Vetkoek or Fat Cakes as they are know in English in South Africa. Pictured above is two balls of Pizza dough that you can buy for dirt cheap (normally $2 each) at your nearest Pizza store. Make sure they are fresh and at room temperature for the best results.
Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin and roll out the dough, just slightly. Don’t use too much pressure when you roll it out. You want to keep it light and fluffy. Cut the dough into about 4″x4″ squares.
Pre-heat enough canola oil for deep frying on medium heat. Test whether the heat of the oil is at the right temperature after heating it up for about 5-10 minutes. Drop one of the dough squares into the oil. If it rises to the top, the oil is at the right temperature. If it bubbles up too much, the oil is too hot and you will need to turn it down a little bit. Fry the dough squares (a few pieces at a time) until they are golden brown on the one side and then turn them over to cook to a golden brown on the other side.
They are best to enjoy straight after they come out of the oil. I normally let them cool for a little bit on paper towel. Slice them open with a sharp knife and enjoy with your favorite sweet or savory filling. We love to eat them filled with jam and cheese, tomato and cheese, curried or savory ground beef and cheese or any other sandwich filling of your choice.
You can also serve them on the side with soup for a hearty winter meal. We made Lentil and Beef soup to serve to our family from the Jersey Shore, that came to stay over to brace Hurricane Sandy recently. We all made it through the storm very good, but our hearts go out to those who suffered loss.
(Low Sugar/Low Carb)…better for ya, without any weird after taste!
1/4 Cup Boiling Water
1 Packet No Sugar Added Hot Cocoa Mix
(Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets)
1/2 Cup Brewed Coffee (Cold)
3 Tbs Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup
1/2 Cup Light Cream or Half & Half
Pour the boiling water over the Packet of Cocoa Mix, stir well to dissolve completely. Add the 1/2 cup of coffee, the chocolate syrup, stir some more. Add the cream (use more cream to top up if necessary). Serve over a cup or more of ice cubes. Squirt some whipped cream on top with a drizzle of the chocolate syrup. ENJOY!
(or use any ready made crust of your choice)
2 Sticks of Butter Softened
2 Tbls. Cooking Oil
1 Tbls. Sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
2 1/2 Cups of Flour
1 Liter of Milk (2.11 Pints)
4 Tbls Flour
4 Tbls Corn Starch
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Tbls Butter
1/2 Tsp Salt
4 Eggs Beaten
2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
2 Tbls Cinnamon
Cream the butter, oil and sugar & add the egg. Now add the dry ingredients and mix until a dough ball is formed. Line a couple of pie dishes with the dough, poke a couple of holes on the bottom with a fork. Bake at 350ºF in a preheated oven until light golden brown. Take out of the oven and set aside.
Combine the dry filling ingredients with some of the milk until a paste is formed. Boil the rest of the milk in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the two tablespoons of butter into the boiling milk. Remove from heat mixing the boiling milk into the paste mixture. Return the mixture to the sauce pan and cook on low heat while whisking continually until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Essence into the milk mixture. Now stir the beaten eggs into the warm milk mixture until everything is combined very well. Pour into the pie crusts and let it cool for a little bit. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the top of each tart. Refrigerate for it to set completely. ENJOY!
I love this dish! Especially in the summer when we like to hang out on our deck in the back yard, sipping ice cold beverages. It is also a wonderful satisfying dish for my low-carb lifestyle. Make sure to check the ingredient list on the cocktail sauce. You don’t want any high fructose corn syrup or too much sugar in it…make your own with horseradish & ketchup;)
Ripe Avocado Pears
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Cut the avos into two halfs and remove the pit. Arrange the cooked shrimp on top of the avocado halfs, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Dig in with a spoon!
It’s so easy to make. The first couple of times we made it with the skinless, boneless chicken thighs and pretty much whatever else we had in the vegetable drawer of our refrigerator. Bacon can also be use…just roll up a strip of bacon and stick it in the center.
We always have some of the sweet Vidalia Onions on hand and my husband particularly like the baby Portabella or regular Portabella Mushrooms. Red bell pepper (or any other color for that matter) is also a good ingredient to use.
This weekend we made it with Beef Tenderloin and it came out delicious! Super tender of course and we had it with whole wheat pita bread, that we toasted on the grill.
A little steak sauce or some sweet & sour sauce with the chicken ones brings out the flavors a little bit more. It makes for a very easy, quick and satisfying meal – very fitting for our low carb lifestyle.
There are many different variations of this recipe. The old fashioned way was to make them with yeast but this a quick and easy recipe where they are made with baking powder.
3 Cups Flour (Cake or All purpose)
44ml Baking Powder
Cooking Oil for deep frying
5 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Water
25ml Lemon Juice
10ml Vanilla Essence
Heat the sugar and water over low heat without a lid, just until it starts to boil. Stir most of the time until all the sugar is dissolved. Boil very slowly for 7 minutes, if it boils to fast it becomes too thick and will not saturate the Koeksisters. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and vanilla essance. Keep aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mixture. Use a pastry knife/cutter while drizzling the milk into the flour mixture. “Cut” into the flour until dough is formed.
Work very gently and do not over mix, else they will not puff up in the oil. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of about a ¼”and cut into small strips +-3”long x 1”wide. Cut each strip into two, lengthwise (not all the way through), leaving one side uncut. Now plait/twist the pieces and press the ends firmly together. Some people make three cuts – it’s up to you.
Deep-fry the Koeksisters in small batches until golden brown. Submerge them, hot out of the oil, into the syrup that you have set aside before. Keep them submerged until the next batch of golden brown Koeksisters are ready to go into the syrup. Stack them on a plate to cool off.
Keep them refrigerated because at room temperature all the syrup will ooze out. Enjoy!
My husband makes our own Biltong right here at home in the USA. It is the favorite cured meat snack of almost all South Africans and we cannot live without it!
It is really quick and easy to make with fresh beef that we find at Shoprite or Sam’s Club. Since he makes it in small batches, the quality is really exceptional and it is ready to be eaten (the way l like it – fairly rare) within a couple of days after he has hanged it to cure.
The perfect high protein snack! Here is a bit of history about it and the method for making it
Biltong is a kind of cured meat that originated in South Africa. Many different types of meat are used to produce it, ranging from beef through game meats to fillets of ostrich from commercial farms. It is typically made from raw fillets of meat cut into strips following the grain of the muscle, or flat pieces sliced across the grain. It is similar to beef jerky in that they are both spiced, dried meats, but differ in their typical ingredients, taste and production process. The word biltong is from the Dutch bil (“rump”) and tong (“strip” or “tongue”).
The Dutch settlers who arrived in South Africa in the 16th century brought recipes for dried meat from Europe. Preparation involved applying vinegar, then rubbing the strips of meat with a mix of herbs, salts and spices. The need for preservation in the new colony was pressing. Building up herds of livestock took a long time. There was native game about but it could take hunters days to track and kill a large animal such as an eland and they were then faced with the problem of preserving a large mass of meat in a short time in a hot climate during a period of history before iceboxes had been invented. Desiccation solved the problem.
Biltong as we understand it today evolved from the dried meat carried by the wagon-travelling Voortrekkers, who needed stocks of durable food as they migrated from the Cape Colony (Cape Town) north-eastward (away from British rule) into the interior of Southern Africa during the Great Trek. The raw meat was preserved from decay and insects within a day or two, and within a fortnight, would be black and rock-hard after it had fully cured.
The most common ingredients of Biltong are:
- Black pepper
- Sugar or Brown sugar
Other ingredients often added include: balsamic vinegar or malt vinegar, dry ground chili peppers, garlic, bicarbonate of soda, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, and saltpetre (saltpeter).
Prior to the introduction of refrigeration, the curing process was used by pioneers to preserve all kinds of meat in South Africa. However today biltong is most commonly made from beef, primarily due to its widespread availability and lower cost relative to game. For finest cuts, sirloin is used or steaks cut from the hip such as topside (top round) or silverside (bottom round). Other cuts can be used, but are not as high in quality.
Biltong can also be made from:
Game such as Kudu and Springbok
Ostrich meat (bright red, often resembling game)
Chicken, simply referred to as ‘chicken biltong’
Fish in this case, known as bokkoms (shark biltong can also be found in South Africa).
Bokkoms should not be confused with other cured fish such as dried angelfish and dried snoek (snook).
Ideally the meat is marinated in a vinegar solution (cider vinegar is traditional but balsamic also works very well) for a few hours, and finally poured off before the meat is flavored.
The spice mix traditionally consists equal amounts of: rock salt, whole coriander, black pepper and brown sugar. This mix is then ground roughly together, sprinkled liberally over the meat and rubbed in. Saltpetre is optional and can be added as an extra preservative (necessary only for wet biltong that is not going to be frozen).
The meat should then be left for a further few hours (or refrigerated overnight) and any excess liquid poured off before the meat is hung in the dryer.
It is typically dried out in the cold air (rural settings), cardboard or wooden boxes (urban) or climate-controlled dry rooms (commercial). Depending on the spices used, a variety of flavors may be produced. Biltong can also be made in colder climates by using an electric lamp to dry the meat, but care must be taken to ventilate, as mold can begin to form on the meat.
A traditional slow dry will deliver a medium cure in about 4 days.
An electric fan-assisted oven set to 40-70 °C (100-160 °F), with the door open a fraction to let out moist air, can dry the meat in approximately 4 hours. Although slow dried meat is considered by some to taste better, oven dried is ready to eat a day or two after preparation.
Comparison to Jerky
Biltong differs from jerky in two distinct ways:
* The meat used in biltong can be much thicker; typically biltong meat is cut in strips approx 1 inch wide – but can be thicker. Jerky is normally very thinly sliced meat.
* The vinegar and salt in biltong, together with the drying process, cures the meat as well as adding texture and flavor. Jerky is traditionally dried without vinegar.
Biltong is a common product in Southern African butcheries and grocery stores, and can be bought in the form of wide strips (known as stukke, meaning “pieces”). It is also sold in plastic bags, sometimes shrink-wrapped, and may be either finely shredded or sliced as biltong chips.
There are also specialized retailers that sell biltong. These shops may sell biltong as “wet” (moist), “medium” or “dry”. Additionally, some customers prefer it with a lot of fat within the muscle fibers, while others prefer it as lean as possible.
While biltong is renowned for being chewed as a snack, it can also be used in all kinds of recipes such as stews, or add in the fine form to muffins and pot bread. Biltong-flavored potato chips have also been produced.
Biltong’s popularity has spread to many other countries, notably the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand which have large South African populations, and also to the United States. Biltong is also produced within South African expatriate communities across the globe, for example in Germany and even South Korea.
Here is one of our favorite ways to eat it, on whole grain bread, butter and cheese…yummy!
This is thee most delicious, rich and satisfying burger you will ever hope to eat. Enjoy!
1 lb Ground Sirloin (1/2 kg)
1 lb Chorizo Sausage
2 Tbls Vegetable Oil
4 Medium Sweet Onions, 1 chopped & 3 sliced
1 Roasted Red Pepper, quartered
1 Cup Ranch Dressing
1 Pinch Powdered Saffron (optional)
1 Tsp Spanish Paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 Soft Buns or Brioche Buns
1 Cup Manchego Cheese, grated
In a large bowl, mix together the ground sirloin and chorizo using your hands. Set aside to let the flavors blend.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add one chopped onion and sauté until tender. Transfer the onion to a blender, and add the red pepper, Ranch dressing, saffron, and paprika. Now pulse until fairly smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the remaining onions, salt and pepper. Cook and stir for about 15 minutes until the onions has caramelized. Set aside.
Preheat the grill for high heat. Form the meat into four patties, slightly larger than the buns.
Place burgers on the grill, and cook for 5 minutes per side, or until done. Split buns in half, and spread butter on the inside. Place on the grill to toast briefly.
Place burgers onto the buns, and top with caramelized onion and the roasted pepper ranch sauce. Sprinkle with a few shavings of Manchego cheese, and place the top of the bun on top.
If you are watching carbs like I do, omit the bun or replace it with a hearty whole wheat, grainy bun. You can also “hollow” out the bun if it is too much bread.
During visit to South Africa in December 2009 some of our dear friends had us over on many occasions and, at one of these gatherings our hostess, Joan served up this amazing bread salad.
½ Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Mustard Powder
1 Cup White Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
½ Cup Cream
½ Cup Mayonnaise
Wisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing except for the cream and the mayonnaise. Bring to a quick boil while stirring, until it becomes a thick consistency. Remove from heat and let cool for about half an hour or until almost ready to serve. Add the cream and the mayo to the dressing mixture. Mix all the salad ingredients together and pour the dressing over shortly before serving.
It was served as a side dish with homemade (cooked outside on an open fire) rotisserie chicken and a lamb roast. Yum!
Beautifully presented on a platter are simply salad vegetables and fruit of your choice in colorful rows. Your guests can then serve themselves with whatever they want to pick off the plate (dressing on the side).
Thank you Chris & Judy;)