Cheesy mielie and bacon bread

Mielie bread recipe with bacon and cheddar cheese.

 

Spring is in the air and with it the enticing aroma of braais (barbecues) being lit in back gardens all around the neighbourhood. Don’t you get serious lunch envy when you walk outside and smell someone else’s braai on the go, or is that just me?

No braai (in my humble opinion) is complete with some carbs in one form or another to accompany the main course, and sweetcorn bread makes a fantastic and easy side dish to pop on the table. I updated one of my old mielie bread recipes to include plenty of cheese, bacon bits and fresh herbs to up the flavour. Serve this easy, cheesy mielie and bacon bread warm from the oven with plenty of butter to enjoy alongside your braai feast.

 

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Bacon and cheese potato bake

Potato bake recipe with bacon and cheese.

 

It has been a long time since I made a good old potato bake, but I had a sudden craving a few weeks ago! So I grabbed my James Martin cookbook, scribbled down his recipe for dauphinois which I had been wanting to try and took it on our holiday to make for the fam on one of our braai evenings. Me being me I tweaked the recipe and added a few extra bits and pieces, and it tasted amazing! Potatoes, cream, two cheeses and bacon – I’m there! And making a dish that gets a thumbs up from the entire family is always a bonus.

 

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Two scrumptious side dishes: carrot salad and roasted cauliflower

I am keeping it simple this week with two good all-year-round side dish recipes that I hope you will love as much as I do. And by simple I mean easy – these dishes may not require much effort but they are not at all lacking in the flavour department!

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Peppadew® hot wings with blue cheese dip

Seeing as we are in Heritage month with National Heritage Day, also popularly known as Braai Day, coming up on Thursday, I thought it would be appropriate to share a recipe that can be whipped up on the old barbie! These hot wings are perfect for spring and summer entertaining – enjoy them around the braai with friends, serve them up at your next party or munch on them while you cheer on the Springboks (she said optimistically)!

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Steak sarmies with chunky tomato ginger chutney

Steak sandwich recipe with relish.
Summer is well on its way (hooray!) and we can look forward to plenty of sunshine, outdoor time around the braai and some fresh and summery flavours! Wednesday the 24th of September is National Heritage Day in South Africa and I was inspired to make these easy and delicious steak sarmies topped with homemade tomato and ginger chutney.

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Mielie bread with sun dried tomatoes (with video)

 

Today’s recipe is going against the current trend somewhat. It seems that every other restaurant I visit has a new banting section on their menu, or is advertising dishes that would make Tim Noakes proud. While I applaud anyone making an effort to eat less sugar and more cauliflower (if you can get your hands on one that is!) I for one will not be cutting out my grains anytime soon. And I am sure that there are many readers out there who feel the same.

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Radio Tygerberg Potjie Competition

When I started blogging, one of my goals – apart from sharing my favourite recipes – was to challenge myself to try new ingredients and dishes. I certainly have done that a number of times, but last Saturday I truly stepped out of my comfort zone when this English cook from the Southern Suburbs agreed to take part in a potjiekos competition in the heart of the Boland as part of the Ommiberg “Round the Rock” Festival.

It all started with a phone call from Radio Tygerberg. They had participated in the same competition in 2013, and this year two of their female DJ’s were challenging each other and taking part. The brief: to team up with morning drive DJ and singer, Rouchelle Liedemann, plan a delicious potjie recipe, prepare the potjie at the event, and most importantly – to secure bragging rights by beating the other Tygerberg team made up of afternoon drive DJ, Karien Basson and blogger Hila Jonker from Add To Taste.

The build up started the day before the competition, when I was interviewed by the morning drive team at Radio Tygerberg. This was another first for me and despite the nerves and lack of sleep the night before I really enjoyed it!  

The venue for the cook-off was Perdeberg Winery in Paarl, and I arrived on the morning of the competition to find our little spot under the tent, and a braai drum and wood ready to go! I met up with the friendly Tygerberg team and the lovely Rouchelle and immediately felt more relaxed and ready to take on the challenge! I was also surprised to find out that there were only 3 teams competing this year (far less than in previous years), but nonetheless, we still had another team to beat! The judges gave us our presentation time, and then it was time to get cooking! 

Although there do not seem to be any hard and fast rules when it comes to the flavours in a potjie pot, I wanted ours to stand out a little (in a good way of course!). I am a huge fan of Moroccan flavours so decided to try a Moroccan inspired lamb potjie with flavours of cumin, coriander and apricots. On the side we made an exotic orange salad which I thought would pair nicely with the warm spice flavours, and be a zesty, light side dish for a summer potjie. I was not disappointed – the lamb was tender and beautifully flavoured, all coated in a rich sauce. And the judges liked it too, we were awarded 2nd place in the competition, just one point behind winners Mr. and Mrs. Berry, aka “The Potberries” (love the name!). Our prize: a case of wine, Simply Asia meal vouchers (hello date night) and a bright, shiny medal. (Oh… and those bragging rights.) Most importantly though, it was a fun and relaxed day filled with delicious food and new friends. Definitely not a bad way to spend a Saturday – thanks for having me Radio Tygerberg! 
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MOROCCAN INSPIRED LAMB POTJIE 

with ORANGE SALAD

Makes 6-8 servings


1/2 cup cake flour
Small handful of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Large pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp cumin
8 lamb neck pieces
large freezer bag to toss the meat
250g dried apricots
water for soaking
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 green chillies finely chopped  
1 large white onion, chopped 
4 large sweet potatoes
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
500ml red wine
500g butternut chunks
8 patty pans, quartered
2 litres good quality lamb stock
1 x 250g pack mushrooms, quartered
Fresh coriander to serve
Orange salad:
2 small gem lettuces
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp castor sugar
2 oranges, segmented
2 carrots, finely grated
50g flaked almonds 
small handful of fresh mint leaves to serve
Step 1.) Combine the flour, rosemary, salt, black pepper, turmeric, paprika and cumin and mix well. Place the lamb pieces in a large freezer bag and add the flour mix. Toss the bag to ensure that each piece of lamb is well coated with flour.

Step 2.) Place the dried apricots in a small bowl and add enough water to cover. Set aside to soak.
Step 3.) Add the vegetable oil to your hot potjie pot. Add the garlic paste, ginger paste and chillies and sauté for a minute. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until glossy and starting to soften. Add the lamb pieces as well as any excess flour mix and brown for 10 minutes. 
Step 4.) While the meat is browning, peel the sweet potatoes and cut into large, bite-size chunks. Pack the meat into a layer, then place the potato in a layer on top. Pour the tinned tomatoes over the top followed by the red wine. Close the lid and allow to simmer for 45 minutes.
Step 5.) Add the butternut and patty pans to the pot in a layer. Add the hot lamb stock, then replace the lid and continue simmering for 1 1/2 hours. You can check periodically to make sure that the liquid is not reducing too much, but I found that this amount was plenty!
Step 6.) Drain the apricots and squeeze out any excess water. Add these to the pot along with the mushrooms. Check the level of liquid again and adjust the seasoning if required. Simmer for a further 20 minutes while you prepare the salad (see below). 
 
Step 7.) Dish the lamb potjie onto plates and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve with fresh orange salad. (Note that the sauce will thicken on standing.)
To make the salad: separate the gem lettuce leaves, rinse and pile onto a platter. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and castor sugar in a bowl. Add the orange segments and toss. Pop the orange segments on top of the lettuce leaves with the grated carrot. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top and top with fresh mint leaves.