I do enjoy a cooking challenge, and when I was contacted by the team at Faithful to Nature and invited to participate in their recent blogger competition I was immediately interested. The challenge was this – to create one seasonal, organic, vegetarian family meal using pantry products from Faithful to Nature as well as fresh organic produce. Each blogger received a voucher to purchase their choice of products from the thousands and thousands of products on the Faithful to Nature website, ordered their goodies online and then used them to create a delicious dish.
We also did a bit of walking along the beautiful coastline – it was only right what with all of the feasting that was happening inbetween!
Christmas has come early to Cupcakes and Couscous with the second challenge I am participating in this month. The lovely Sam over at Pomegranate Days has teamed up with Karon Grieve from Larder Love to challenge bloggers to come up with their favourite foodie Christmas gifts. This is right up my street as I love giving foodie presents during the Festive Season – cookies, flavoured oils, roasted nuts… and this rather delectable salted caramel sauce.
Last month I received an invitation to participate in the Two Oceans Simple Snacking Challenge, where Western Cape food bloggers were challenged to create a tasty snacking solution for four people with a budget of R100. The prize is a 2 night stay at Paternoster’s Strandloper Ocean Boutique or Birkenhead House in Hermanus, how could I say no?
I received a bottle of Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot to get me started. I enjoyed being back in “challenge mode” and soon had a long list of ideas buzzing around in my head. In the end I settled on three dishes that I felt would complement the wine best. I’m also pleased to say that I came in under budget, as the total cost of the ingredients was R79.00.
If you think that these dishes look like too much work then don’t be fooled – they really are very easy to prepare with no special skills required. And they are so easy serve – just pop them on the table and let your guests tuck in – no cutlery required!
THE SIMPLE SNACKING CHALLENGE
Roasted vegetable bruschetta with minty gremolata
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley leaves
2 tbsp roughly chopped mint
2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 French loaf
2 large cloves garlic
Spiced roasted chickpeas
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
1 tsp medium curry powder
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp olive oil
Step 1.) Preheat your oven to 200°C. Drain the chickpeas, then place in a colander and rinse in cold water. Pat dry with kitchen towel (be sure to remove as much water as you can).
Sweet potato parcels
1 large sweet potato (about 500g), peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp finely chopped parsley
25g English spinach, steamed and roughly chopped
4 sheets phyllo pastry