Buying Frying Pans

The amount and type of frying pans available are numerous and can be quite overwhelming. In this post I hope to help you with what I consider to be essential, and what I consider to be a luxury. If you are starting out then I can highly recommend that you spend your money once, and buy the best. I have Le Creuset and Scanpan frying pans at home and the quality is what counts. They will last a lifetime! The first frying pan on your list should be something versatile and that you can use for anything and everything. A large non stick frying pan is perfect for meat, making eggs and crêpes.

Le Creuset Toughened Non Stick Deep Frying Pan Buying Frying Pans

Le Creuset Toughened Non-Stick Deep Frying Pan

Next I would get a stainless steel sauté pan that has a lid. This can be used for getting a lovely brown colour on your proteins, as well as cooking clams and mussels. I have both a lidded and non lidded stainless steel frying pan.

Scanpan Impact Stainless Steel Frypan Buying Frying Pans

Scanpan Impact Stainless Steel Frypan

Now that you have the two basic frying pans you can slowly add to your collection. I have an oval shaped non stick frying pan for frying fish and a cast iron flat crêpe pan which I can also use for crumpets. My most recent purchase has been an omelette pan which is non stick and is perfect for a 4 egg omelette. I use it to make scrambled eggs and it fits perfectly into my oven.

Le Creuset 3 Ply Non Stick Omelette Pan Buying Frying Pans

Le Creuset 3 Ply Non-Stick Omelette Pan

You should not need more than this to make your collection of frying pans complete.

Disclaimer: I have been given permission to use these images from yuppiechef.com and a big thank you goes the Yuppiechef team for this! This post is in line with my blogging policy.

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Blog ♥: I have been so inspired by Joanne who Eats Well With Others and her concept of sharing links from bloggers around the world that I am going to do the same here, when I can find link love to share. Thanks Joanne for letting me ‘steal’ your idea icon smile Buying Frying Pans

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In My Kitchen November 2014

Each month Celia from Fig Jam And Lime Cordial hosts bloggers who share their in my kitchen posts. Usually I manage to read each and every single one of them but in September I was too busy scheduling my blog posts for while we were in France, and in October I have been busy catching up on the bloggers who I read on a regular basis. Hopefully this month I will be able to peek into a lot more kitchens! Thank you if you are here taking a look into my kitchen!

My mom sent me a birthday present just before we flew overseas. I have paged through and drooled over many of the recipes and have put it aside to work through in December. Next month we will be on leave and I plan on getting through my do to list then.

Choclatique In My Kitchen November 2014

Choclatique

When we are in France we always buy duck liver pâté. Please do not read fois gras and be offended. This is not liver from force fed ducks. My blog ethos is about sustainability, and just like we eat chicken livers, we also eat duck livers. This  pâté is amazing and perfect for a lunch time treat.

Duck Liver Pâté In My Kitchen November 2014

Duck Liver Pâté

Last month I hosted a give away on behalf of Le Creuset for CANSA. Part of the lovely gifts I received included this fridge magnet.

Magnet In My Kitchen November 2014

Magnet

In Paris we went to a visit to the Maille boutique store. I am in love with mustard and all the flavours we saw and we came home with only 3 bottles. I am so going back next year for some other flavours.

Mustard In My Kitchen November 2014

Mustard

When we were in Nevers we went into a chocolatier and Dave bought himself a pastry which was beautifully packaged in a box. I chose some 100% chocolate which I shall use to make chocolates when next I have time.

Pascal Caffet In My Kitchen November 2014

Pascal Caffet

There is a new product on the market called gooi & enjoy. For those of you who do not speak Afrikaans, gooi translates to throw. It is a set of meal dice to use as inspiration for cooking. I will be reviewing the dice soon, but in the meantime I am showing off the wooden spoon that was made for me.

Wooden Spoon In My Kitchen November 2014

Wooden Spoon

I also received a fantastic spoon holder which is so useful. It fits perfectly onto my butcher’s block and does not slip and slide away. I love that it is flat and easy to clean and the saying on it – just perfect!

Spoon Holder In My Kitchen November 2014

Spoon Holder

We visited Sancerre while we were on the barge and the visit necessitated 2 taxi trips. While Dave was waiting for the taxi to bring me, he went into the tourism office. Together with a map of the village, he bought this wine opener. I will use it and remember what was our great last morning on the barge and our visit to the amazing museum in Sancerre.

Wine Opener In My Kitchen November 2014

Wine Opener

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The Bootlegger, Clive Cussler

The Bootlegger opening line: Two men in expensive clothes, a bootlegger and his bodyguard, dangled a bellboy upside down from the Hotel Gotham’s parapet.

The Bootlegger The Bootlegger, Clive Cussler

The Bootlegger

This collaboration with Justin Scott has not been my favourite Clive Cussler book. I am not sure if this had something to do with the topic of the Prohibition in America, or if it was the actual writing. Dave also did not enjoy this book so I am not going to recommend it unless you have an obsession with the period of time.

The book is about Prohibition and the lengths people would take to get alcohol into the country. Coupled with that is the secondary plot of the Russians trying to destroy capitalism and instil communism into the country. Of course, the way they see to do this is to become rum runners themselves.

First published in the United States of America by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in 2014

ISBN number 978-1-405-91434-5

Paperback – 403 pages

Disclaimer: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Books South Africa. I was not required to write a positive review. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

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Food Gifts You Can Make at Home

Disclaimer: I have received payment for this post and the text and photograph have been provided to me. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

Now is a great time to make food gifts that you can give as Christmas presents. As the growing season comes to an end there is plenty of fruit and vegetables that you simply have too much of. Old fashioned cooking has been making a big return and one of the harvest time cooking tasks of old was to make preserves.

Food from the Allotment

With the resurgence of old fashioned cooking has come the desire to grow your own fruit and vegetables. Allotments have also seen a big come back and the varieties that you might find on today’s allotments may have changed a bit. While some people still grow the traditional potatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage and beans (and there’s still a place for these) you might also find more exotic vegetables like yams or okra. Of course, it’s personal choice what you grow – it all depends on the food you like to eat. Inevitably there will sometimes be a glut. Runner beans have done exceptionally well this year and you can usually find some being sold at a very reasonable price outside the allotments.

What to do with all this Produce?

Without doubt, anyone who has grown runner beans this year has just about had their fill of them. Modern technology means we can freeze down a lot of our produce to use throughout the year. But there’s no fun in that and you can’t give a bag of frozen beans as a present at Christmas! How about making jars of runner bean chutney? This is sure to be a gift that thrills your friends and family and it’s not the sort of thing that you can readily find in the shops. Make a selection of chutneys and jams and you can put them together to make a charming gift that has extra meaning because it’s home-made.

I can’t grow Veg!

Not everyone has access to allotments or has the ability or desire to grow their own vegetables. You can buy fruit and vegetables when they are in season so that you can make your own jams or chutneys but you may not have the time to do it. All is not lost as there are a number of purveyors of luxury food gifts that have done the job for you.

The essence of a Christmas Food Gift

Whether you are making your own or collecting some food items to give as a gift put some thought into it so that the recipient gets a gift they will remember. Here are a few tips to help you create the perfect gift:

  • Mix your own home produce with a gourmet item like the ones you can find at http://www.maille.co.uk/online-boutique/gifts.list
  • Give the ingredients for a favourite recipe
  • Make up a winter picnic basket and include your chutneys and some mustard to warm things up
  • Make your gift look attractive by adding gingham cloth fabric lids to your jars and lining a basket with the same cloth
  • Make a cheese and wine hamper and include chutneys and mustard

It doesn’t matter if you use your own produce or buy speciality produce to make up your own gift. As they always say, it’s the thought that counts so make sure your gift will be special to the person it’s intended for.

Food Gifts You Can Make at Home Food Gifts You Can Make at Home

Food Gifts You Can Make at Home

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Simon Howden

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Recipe For Za’Atar

In 1985 I visited Israel and everywhere I looked I could see army personnel. They would walk around in a group of 3, with bullet proof vests and sub machine guns at the ready. This was an expected sight as the country is always in a state of war, whether actively or just waiting for one to happen. In 1991 I saw the same level of army presence in Singapore and as I was travelling alone, I found this of great comfort. In Switzerland, Italy and France you see the army patrolling the streets and frankly, I do not even blink an eyelid when I see this. There is a feeling of safety and security and the police carry some weight, making crime seem impossible. In South Africa, crime is everywhere. It is creeping closer and closer to where I live, with our local shopping mall having been the most recent target of a cash in transit heist. I think it is about time we deploy the army to patrol our streets and shopping centres. They should be armed and ready to shoot and anyone who pulls out a gun should expect to be killed. It is about time that the people in charge of this country took control so that we can feel safe and secure in what to me is still the most beautiful place on earth.

Something else I ‘witnessed’ for the first time in Israel, was the use of the spice blend Za’Atar. I am sure every household has its own recipe, and I used mine to coat some labneh. These middle eastern treats are easy to make at home, and no matter where you live, you will be able to experience the beautiful creamy fresh cheese with this spice blend. I used the left over Za’Atar to season a chicken I was roasting for a family dinner.

Does the army patrol the area where you live?

Labneh Coated In ZaAtar Recipe For ZaAtar

Labneh Coated In Za’Atar

Za'Atar
 
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Za'Atar is a herb blend made mainly from fresh oregano and is used in middle eastern cooking.
Ingredients
  • 20mls toasted sesame seeds
  • 60mls loosely packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 20mls dried marjoram
  • 25mls sumac
  • 5mls salt
  • 10mls ground cumin
  • 5mls dried thyme
Method
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a spice blender and blitz until smooth
  2. Store in a sterilized glass jar and use as needed

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Le Mesturet, Paris

I cannot remember where I saw the recommendation for Le Mesturet in Paris, but as it was only a 20 minute walk from where we were staying, it seemed like the perfect place to go for dinner. Having returned from the Burgundy region, we chose a carafe of Bourgogne Pinot Noir Bader Mimer to drink. The wine was slightly acidic, with a distinct nose of red berries.

Le Mesturet Le Mesturet, Paris

Le Mesturet

We did not have starters as we had had a late lunch and I chose the fresh cod with home made aioli for my dinner. Despite it being served on a cold plate, the meal was perfect with just the right level of garlic. My cod was served with periwinkles, which I teased out of their shells with a fork. A hat pin would have been a good idea. Dave chose the fricassee of Beliac lamb which was served with an olive, tomato and lemon compote. The lamb was tender and moist and flavoursome. Both of the plates came with streamed seasonal vegetables. We decided to have dessert at a local ice cream place, so our visit was short and sweet. The coffee is good and you will find the staff most helpful and able to speak English fairly well.

Le Mesturet is situated at 77 Rue de Richeliue in Paris and is open 7 days a week from 12h00 to 23h00. Prices are reasonable and the restaurant is worth a visit. Contact them on +33 (0)1 42 97 40 68 and I would recommend that you make a reservation as they were pretty full on the Sunday evening when we went.

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Recipe For Chopped Liver

When I was growing up, every Jewish Holiday was celebrated at my Grandmother’s house. The day of the celebration she would have all the aunts over at her house to prepare for the meal. I can remember being served tongue, hunting for the affikomen on passover and enjoying my Aunty Tilly’s ice cream. Pesach meals are very traditional and during the reading of the Haggadah I would nibble on horseradish. We would start with boiled eggs in salt water and then move on to chopped liver, chopped herring, Danish herring and gefilte fish served with chrain. This would be followed by chicken soup with kneidlach before we got to the meat and vegetables. And then of course the desserts! Dave and I love chicken livers and I am always trying to find new ways to make them. When I got my copy of Jerusalem I paged through the book and came across the recipe for chopped liver. As soon as I saw the photos I was taken back to my childhood. Of being the oldest of the cousins at the table, of knowing my grandmother loved each one of us as if we were the only grandchild, of cuddles with Buddy, the border collie, and the little ones having ‘ships’ for beds. Next year April I will be having passover dinner at my house for the first time ever. My parents are going to spend the weekend with us, and this recipe for chopped liver will definitely feature as I am sure it will remind my dad of his mom.

Do you have a recipe that reminds you of your grandmother?

Chopped Liver Recipe For Chopped Liver

Chopped Liver

Chopped Liver
 
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Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi Jerusalem page 186
Ingredients
  • 90g duck fat
  • 2 large onions, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 500g trimmed chicken livers, cut into chunks
  • 5 hard boiled eggs, peeled
  • 60mls dessert wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 15mls chopped chives
Method
  1. Place 60g of the duck fat into a large frying pan
  2. Sauté the onions over a medium heat until soft and they have taken on some colour
  3. Remove and set aside in a bowl, leaving as much duck fat in the pan as possible
  4. Add the rest of the duck fat to the pan
  5. Add the livers and cook through completely, turning occasionally
  6. Add the liver to the onions, retaining the duck fat in the pan
  7. Leave to cool slightly
  8. Place the coarse grinder blade into your meat grinder
  9. Process the livers and onions and place into a bowl and set aside
  10. Process two of the eggs and place into a separate bowl
  11. Place the fine grinder blade into your meat grinder
  12. Process the liver and onion mix and place into the bowl with the coarsely ground egg
  13. Process two of the eggs and add to the liver mixture
  14. Add the duck fat, wine and seasoning to the liver mixture
  15. Mix gently and adjust the seasoning
  16. Transfer to a ceramic or glass dish
  17. Cover tightly with cling film and leave to cool
  18. Refrigerate for 2 hours until slightly firm
  19. Finely chop the remaining egg and sprinkle on top of the liver with the chives
Cooks Notes
If you do not have a meat grinder, process the liver and onion mix in a food processor in 3 batches, until it resembles a slightly lumpy paste. Chop the eggs by hand. Using the meat grinder for your eggs helps clean the grinder and push through all of the livers. At the end process half a slice of bread to help clean it completely. I have decorated my liver as my grandmother would have done it. You can add some chopped spring onions for extra zing.

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Out And About: Friday 24 September 2014

Last week Sunday Dave and I were out and about at the Lourensford Harvest Market. The market is open from 10am until 3pm and I would suggest you get there early. Other than the usual places where you can buy ready to eat meals, I was really pleased to see a stand with fresh vegetables. I bought a bag of courgettes which I sliced on my mandolin and pan fried with a little bit of olive oil and some lemon juice. From funki fungi I got two huge portobella mushrooms. I grilled these with a topping made from the stems, some button mushrooms and feta cheese, topped with a locally made grana that I also purchased from the market. As there were loads of mushrooms available I will be heading back, with more cash or an app on my phone to make payments. Dave bought half a trout from Lourensford Trout which he is curing using my home made liqueur and tarragon. Aside from the food, there are other stands with knives, clothing and one selling soap. I purchased a bar of hope soap which is a business that was started to empower unemployed women in a local community.

Lourensford Harvest Market Out And About: Friday 24 September 2014

Lourensford Harvest Market

On Tuesday night Dave and I went to The Cooks Playground to cook with Fry’s. Fry’s is a South African product range created by vegetarians for vegetarians. The invitation was extended to us by Carla from Have You Heard and we were there with a lot of home cooks. Amy from Fry’s told me that at least half of their client base is looking for a product that has the same texture as meat, and that is a motivating factor behind the range that is available. The meat substitute uses grains and legumes which makes them high in protein, an essential part of a good diet, and something most new to being vegetarian people don’t consume enough of. The food is also egg and dairy free which makes it suitable for vegans. We made warm sesame toasted strips with the ‘chicken’ style strips, and zesty c-food coconut curry with the crispy ‘prawns’. Being confirmed meat eaters both Dave and I do not feel that the products have the same texture and / or taste as meat but, if you are thinking about meat free options then I would go with Fry’s.

Frys Family Food Out And About: Friday 24 September 2014

Fry’s Family Food

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the Fry’s Family Food evening and my invitation was not based on my writing a blog post. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

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Recipe For Grapefruit Cordial

I love how one word can have so many meanings! Being cordial means amongst other things being pleasant. When I deal with suppliers I try to be as cordial as possible. What makes me wonder, is why some people ignore polite emails when they are actually complaints. I recently took on a new product range but my clients were unhappy with the products and asked me to not stock this range of body products any more. The Beautiful Earth products were to replace The Victorian Garden range I was no longer stocking. My customers were unhappy with the shampoo but as I would rather stock one range of body products I decided to not stock any of their products. When I sent them an amiable email telling them my customers were complaining about the products, they did not ask me what the complaint was. They merely replied saying they would take me off their data base. I found that so strange, but as I had only placed one order with them I left it at that. But when I told a supplier I have been dealing with since 2009 that my customers were complaining about the consistency of her product range I expected some sort of response. Better Earth has been a regular supplier of household products and I love using them as I love the ethos behind the company. But, my complaint has been met with silence. Kerry has not emailed me back or called me to find out more about the complaint. As I needed to supply my customers with products they are happy with I turned to Earth Sap who do both body and  household products. I can only hope my relationship with them will be more than cordial. Now, let us turn to the noun which means a sweet fruit-flavoured drink. This grapefruit cordial is not too sweet and is extremely refreshing.

Grapefruit Cordial Recipe For Grapefruit Cordial

Grapefruit Cordial

Grapefruit Cordial
 
Prep time
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Mix this not too sweet grapefruit cordial with soda water for an extremely refreshing drink.
Ingredients
  • 125mls water
  • 100g sugar - I used fructose
  • zest of 1 grapefruit
  • 250mls grapefruit juice
  • 5mls citric acid
Method
  1. Place the water and sugar into a small sauce pan
  2. Over a medium heat, stir the mixture until the sugar has dissolved
  3. Bring to the boil and leave to bubble away for 5 minutes
  4. Add the zest and the juice and bring back to the boil
  5. Leave to simmer on a medium heat for 20 minutes
  6. Remove from the heat and add the citric acid
  7. Strain into a sterilized glass bottle
  8. Leave to cool before storing in the fridge
Cooks Notes
Use with soda water at a ratio of 5:1. Add a tot of Campari for a cocktail.

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Tomate Et Chocolat, Nevers

We spent two nights in Nevers before heading out to the countryside to spend two days driving around the Burgundy region. We chose to spend our last night back in Nevers as we wanted to catch an earlier train to Paris than we had originally planned. We chose a different hotel and close to where we were staying was the very quaint looking Tomate Et Chocolat. The owner started off being quite abrupt but once we told him we were from South Africa he became quite pleasant. We chose the Domaine Dupré Bougogne 2008 wine which was very light and slightly acidic with cassis on the nose. Our amuse bouche were crispy toasted baguette with white sardines.

Tomate Et Chocolat Tomate Et Chocolat, Nevers

Tomate Et Chocolat

We both had the Moules de bouchet to start. The mussels came from Mont-St.-Michel which we have visited and they were fantastic. I had a very tasty steak done blue for my main course which was served with a vin rouge, and brilliant vegetables. Dave had the same vegetables with his fish main course which was served with a pesto de sésame. I am going to try and make this at home.

Our Meal Tomate Et Chocolat, Nevers

Our Meal

Dessert was listed on the menu as le cheesecake au citron vert and both Dave and I commented that they did not use the French for cheesecake. It was very smooth and full of lemon. Dave had the carpacio d’orange which was served with a very minty glace. Dave had an espresso to end which was served with biscuits.

Desserts Tomate Et Chocolat, Nevers

Desserts

Contact them on +33 (0)3 86 69 05 63 and reservations are highly recommended.

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