Thin crust spelt flour pizza

Spelt flour pizza base.
It’s a new month and time to get back to normal after all of the school and public holidays which have had many of us wandering around much of the time scratching our heads and trying to work out what day it is! (Or maybe that was just me?) Last week I took a little break and the family headed to beautiful Knysna for a couple of wonderfully chilled days. Well, as chilled as you can be with two small children running about. We had a brilliant time and I so enjoyed being out of the normal routine, free from the usual daily chores and away from my laptop screen! Just what the doctor ordered. 

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Spicy BBQ chicken quesadillas

Spicy chicken quesadillas.
The other day I was chatting with a group of school moms about cooking, specifically family dinners, and a couple of us (myself included) were saying how we keep soft tortillas in the cupboard for quick, fuss-free suppers when time is limited. The kids love them and they can used to make wraps, fold overs and even pizza. The other meal you can make with them of course is quesadillas!

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Soy Cashew Chicken with Jasmine Rice

Chicken with honey and soy
Quick is the name of the game today and this fabulously delicious dinner will be on the table in thirty minutes, making it a week night winner! It is an adaptation of this chicken dish and I love the addition of crunchy toasted cashews and jasmine rice cooked in coconut milk.

Chicken in soy sauce and honey with jasmine rice

Can we just acknowledge how quickly January has flown by (how? when?), and February is shaping up to a hectic month. Yesterday was a special day in our house with my youngest heading off for his first day of school. I am happy to report that it all went smoothly with very few tears, and my son did not cry at all, hah! 

In the build up to The Big Day, and keeping in mind that I have been at home with kids for five years now, I thought about some of the things I could do to celebrate my first day of “freedom” – go for coffee at a restaurant that did not have a play area, treat myself to a manicure with the bonus of not having to arrange a babysitter first or simply plonk myself on the couch for two hours of Netflix during the day (perish the thought!) simply because I could. In the end I did none of these as it turned out I had to work instead but that proved to be good distraction as I counted down the minutes until pick up time and I enjoyed being able to have a quiet and productive morning without the usual distractions. Yes, I think I could get used to this. 

Chicken fried in soy sauce and honey with cashews

So while we all wade through the daily grind rest assured that with this chicken recipe in your repertoire dinner does not need to be one of your worries. And I think I will keep that manicure idea on the back burner, just until things have calmed down a bit. 




Serves 4

Chicken stir fry with jasmine rice

1 cup jasmine rice
400ml coconut milk
4 cups water
1/2 cup raw cashews 
4 free range chicken fillets
1 large garlic clove, crushed
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp raw honey
25g spring onions, sliced
150g portabellini mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp lime juice
good handful of Asian baby leaf mix

Step 1.) Place the jasmine rice, coconut milk and water in a pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer with the lid off for 18 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow the rice to steam for a further 10 minutes. 

Step 2.) While the rice is cooking heat the cashews in a dry frying pan until lightly toasted. Set aside. 

Step 3.) Cut the chicken fillets into thin strips about 5cm long. Place in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the garlic, soy sauce and honey. Cook for 5 minutes. 

Step 4.) Add the spring onions and mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the lime juice. Stir in the Asian leaves and allow them to wilt. Remove from the heat. 

Step 5.) Stir the toasted cashews into the rice. Top with the chicken and serve immediately. 


Creamy chicken with lemon and rosemary

Chicken thighs in a creamy sauce with lemon and rosemary.
After what felt like a particularly cold winter we are in full spring mode, hooray! The worst should be behind us now and I have a suitably zesty and lemony fresh recipe to get you into a sunshiny mood. If you are lucky you may even have a lemon tree in your garden with fresh lemons that you can use to make this amazingly creamy sauce. We have one which was given to us by some good friends several years ago, soon after we moved into our then new home. Fortunately it has not succumbed to drought, pests or a lack of conversation but it has not exactly flourished either. In fact, nearly six years after we planted it, I think it is roughly the same height as it was when we got it, give or take a few extra leaves on either side. So until our stunted tree can get its act together it is store-bought lemons for us!

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Spring vegetable and red pesto tart

A slice of vegetable and tomato pesto tart.

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.

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Creamy tomato penne with pesto

 Quick pasta dishes
We love a good pasta dish in our house, and this is one of my go-to recipes for a quick and delicious week night meal. The sauce is ready in under thirty minutes and can even be made ahead of time and reheated. And I have to say it again – it is so tasty!

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Bacon and Broccoli Macaroni Cheese

This post comes a week later than planned, and regular readers might have noticed that I was missing in action last week. The week started with a fun trip to Bloemfontein and a food demonstration (look out for another blog post about this next week) but quickly went downhill after that as I returned home to two sick children as well as having a nasty bout of flu myself! So unfortunately my regular schedule went out of the window, but I am happy to report that aside from a few lingering symptoms things are on the up for team Ulyate!  

Here we are in the thick of winter, the perfect season for gathering the family indoors and around the table for a home cooked meal. My mind conjures up romantic images of myself, dear hubby and the children gathering calmly at our dining room table and enjoying a peaceful meal whilst smiling and reminiscing over the day’s events. In reality it is a rather different picture. 

Not only must I prepare a meal that agrees with each diner’s specifics tastes but it is best that it be delivered to the table at the perfect eating temperature and with the approved crockery (“the pink plate, mum!”) and favourite condiments. Do not forget to factor in the time needed to herd little ones to the table after getting them to wash their hands, and then fielding complaints about the lack of cheese on top of the meal (“but darling, those are carrot sticks”). If we are lucky everyone stays seated for the duration of the meal and no-one is injured by a piece of cutlery that has been launched across the table. After the meal it is time to roll out the housekeeping trolley for the mammoth clean up operation.

With two littlies in the house, it is always exciting to add another dish to the “meals that everyone will eat” list. Mac and cheese is easy and always popular, but I wanted to jazz it up a bit and add some extra flavours to the meal. Here I have added bacon, because bacon. The tomatoes add a touch of sweetness and sharpness, and the fact that I have snuck a bit of broccoli into the mix (albeit completely coated in cheese sauce) is a nice little nutritional bonus.

I will continue to day dream of that perfect dinner, remind myself that this is just a phase and when all else fails, come to the table armed with a good handful of grated cheese! 



Serves 6

1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
200g streaky bacon, cut into chunks
200g fresh or frozen broccoli florets
pinch of salt
250g macaroni
2 large tomatoes thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

For the cheese sauce:

2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Step 1.) Preheat your oven to 190°C. Start heating a large pot of water on the stove.

Step 2.) Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the garlic and cook gently to soften. Add the bacon and fry until just cooked. Set aside.

Step 3.) Steam or boil the broccoli florets until tender but not mushy. Allow to cool for a few minutes before chopping up roughly. Set aside.

Step 4.) Once the pot of water is boiling add a pinch of salt and the macaroni. Cook until al dente, then drain.

Step 5.) Make the cheese sauce while the macaroni is cooking. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and whisk for a minute on the heat. Take the saucepan off the heat and gradually whisk in the milk. Return the pan to the stove and heat while whisking until the sauce has thickened slightly (it will still have a pouring consistency). Take the saucepan off the heat again, add the grated cheese and whisk until smooth. 

Step 6.) Tip half of the cooked macaroni into a large casserole or baking dish. Add half of the bacon, broccoli and cheese sauce and toss gently to combine. Add the remaining macaroni, bacon, broccoli and cheese sauce and mix gently. 

Step 7.) Arrange the tomato slices on top and sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until golden.