Onion and Apple Relish

I have a conundrum – I want to participate in something, but in order for me to do that, I have to ‘like’ something I don’t! I suppose every day we are faced with these types of moral choices. Do you pretend to be friends with someone so that you can stay in the correct inner circle? I remember at high school being part of the ‘in’ group and not wanting to be off school for a day as then I would be the one gossiped about. Do you ‘play nice’ with customers who are rude to you so that you can stay in business. Well, I know for a fact that some rules cannot be broken and in business professionalism is key! I won’t ‘play’ after hours for an order. Life, since the beginning of time has been about choices. No matter what, I try to make decisions I can live with! I was once told a very important lesson “only take pride in your successes if you are willing to take responsibility for your failures”. So, with that in mind, this blog post is not about any recurrent blend. It is about using apples – wonder what choice Eve should have made?

c2a9 onion and apple relish Onion and Apple Relish

© onion and apple relish



1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, sliced

1 tablespoon Pink’s Rosemary Jelly


heat the olive oil in a frying pan

sauté the onion until soft, without colouring

add the jelly and heat through

Printable Version


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Review: Le Creuset evening at Silwood

I’m not big on liking pages on Facebook as I consider Facebook to be my private space. But given the fact that I have an awesome collection of Le Creuset items and that I am a serious fan of theirs, I have liked their page. When they asked who wanted to attend a French cooking lesson at Silwood, my hand went straight up and I was among the lucky group to be chosen.

c2a9 le creuset cherry Review: Le Creuset evening at Silwood

© le creuset cherry

Dave dropped me off an hour early and I sat outside being kept company by the Silwood Labradors. It was raining and a cup of tea would have gone down a treat but the staff were busy preparing for us. I was really excited to have been selected but my early arrival put a bit of a damper on the start to my evening.  The Silwood kitchen was not ready and the staff were shouting at one another. I sat and observed the staff ambling around, smoking, scratching inside their ears while I waited patiently and I regretted not taking my jacket out of the car before Dave left.

c2a9 le creuset gifts Review: Le Creuset evening at Silwood

© le creuset gifts

All our mise en place was done by the staff for us and all we had to do was the actual cooking! The evening started with a glass of champagne and then Melody, my partner, and I started our pastry. Hers was a perfect circle but mine fitted into the tart tin which is what mattered to me. While we blind baked our pastry shells we moved onto the filling of our apple tart and then the watercress soup. This was accompanied by white wine and good conversation. We then finished off the assembly of the apple tarts so that they could bake and then, red wine in hand we started on the fish. There was much laughter from our side of the kitchen!

c2a9 apple tart Review: Le Creuset evening at Silwood

© apple tart

We used a cast iron dish I do not have and I am adding it to my birthday wish list. Dave arrived back in time to sample the fish and warm, out of the oven apple pie. Not only did we go home with food, we went home with new friends AND a gift bag from Le Creuset. Thank you Gill for your warm generosity. The evening ended with a few drinks until our chef Gary decided it was time to leave.

c2a9 evening with le creuset at silwood Review: Le Creuset evening at Silwood

© evening with le creuset at silwood

While we were cooking I discussed with the owner of Silwood a knife skills course. If you are interested in attending this, let me know and I will forward you the details.


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Friday’s Food Quiz Number 57

My friend PinkPolkaDot has posted her weekly quiz! Here are my answers:

1. What dish is known as Jewish penicillin?

Chicken soup

2. What spices are traditionally in Ras el Hanout and what does it mean?

I first came across this term on Pink’s blog! Ras el Hanout translates as ‘top of the shop’ and is a Moroccan spice blend consisting of the shopkeepers choice of spices. It may contain up 26 spices. Common to this spice blend is ground cloves, cayenne papper, ground allspice, ground cumin, ground ginger … click the link above to see the rest

3. What is swede?

Rutabaga, a yellow fleshed turnip

4. From which country is “pho bo” and when is it served?

Pho is a term used for a Vietnamese dish but pho bo reminds me of Po’boy which is a sandwich made from a baguette common to the are of Louisiana in the USA. It originated in New Orleans and I suppose would be served at lunch time as a complete meal, much like our South African bunny chows.

5. Many in the food world believe the three great cuisines are which three?

French, Italian and British?

6. What is a spatchcock?

A flattened chicken

7. What is the difference between Vanilla essence and Vanilla extract?

vanilla essence is a commercially made product that resembles the smell of vanilla, its colour being derived from caramel. Vanilla extract is a product made using real vanilla pods to make a liquid form of vanilla.

8. What is traditionally used to thicken the sauce of Sauerbraten?

I wonder if this is regional? Flour would be the most obvious guess.

9. Where does Malva pudding get its name?

from the wine traditionally served with the pudding

10. What are Portobello mushrooms called in their juvenile state?

button mushrooms


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Ingredient Challenge

I decided for this challenge I would take the first recipe on the pile and list some of the ingredients. All you need to do is come up with a dish using them (plus more if you want to) and blog about it. Post a comment here and link back to my blog if you do the challenge. Remember this is the last week to compete for this awesome prize.

  • capers
  • anchovies
  • garlic


Cindy has made a cake with butter beans! This is for the something sweet with spices challenge. Sue has added her contribution for the something savoury with sweet challenge by sharing a chicken dish with us. Zabwan has shared with us a baked pork sausage dish. Cindy too has cooked with pork, but she chose fillet. Mitzi is first timer on the weekly challenge front, and she has done a Nigel Slater recipe.


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Recipe For Cinnamon Buns

It is not often that I try something and want to eat the whole lot of them! I made a batch of these very tasty treats and Dave and I had to ration ourselves to making them last two days. This recipe for cinnamon buns was given to me by my friend Bev and I can lay no claim to it’s goodness. You would do well to make double the batch and cook the second batch as soon as you take the last one out of the container you have hidden them in. I am going to save these for a weekend tea time treat, as if I make them for after dinner dessert during the week, my waist line and I will soon not be on the same page.

cinnamon buns Recipe For Cinnamon Buns

cinnamon buns

Cinnamon Buns


    for the filling:
  • 125mls brown sugar
  • 60mls sugar
  • 15mls ground cinnamon
  • 0.625mls ground nutmeg
  • 1.25mls salt
  • 15g butter, melted
  • for the buns:
  • 280g cake flour
  • 2.5mls salt
  • 15mls baking powder
  • 65g butter, fridge temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 125mls buttermilk
  • 45mls water
  • flour for dusting
  • 60g melted butter


  • preheat the oven to 190° Celsius
  • butter a 22cm cake pan really well, and line the base with baking paper
  • for the filling:
  • combine the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl
  • add the melted butter and stir with a fork until it resembles wet sand
  • for the buns:
  • sieve together the flour, salt and baking powder
  • chop or grate the butter into the flour and gently rub with your fingertips to form a crumble
  • beat the egg, buttermilk and water together with a fork
  • use a knife to mix this into the flour
  • lightly knead for 30 seconds
  • roll the dough out on a well floured surface to a 35cm x 25cm rectangle
  • brush the dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • sprinkle and level the cinnamon sugar mixture, leaving a 1cm border all around
  • roll the dough lengthwise into a tight log
  • wet the exposed end and seal
  • keep the seam side down and cut the log into 8 even slices
  • slightly flatten each slice and place seam side down into the pan
  • place one in the middle and the others around the perimeter
  • brush the remaining butter over the top of the buns
  • bake for 25 minutes until browned
  • turn out onto a cooling rack and flip over so that the cinnamon side is facing up
  • place your cooking rack over some baking paper to catch any drips while cooling and when icing

Cooks Notes:

add ½ a cup of raisins or pecans etc. to the filling

 Recipe For Cinnamon Buns


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Recipe For Guacamole Burgers

I always look for the positive in all situations, and even more so in ones that are not good. For instance, on the Friday afternoon I was supposed to cook with Jonathan Daddia, I was deserted by Robyn. Whilst waiting for her I met Hayley who sells the most wonderful Wasabi. This led to an idea and the idea led to a possibility. And if that comes to fruition, the wait will have been well worth it! In my life, there have been lots of bad moments but all in all, the scale is way up on the good side, and I suppose that is what counts. One of the up things is my blog – Dave now cooks with me and my kitchen time is spent thinking of recipes to share. Of course, some nights we have the old faithful pasta dish, but most nights we have something new and creative. These burgers came about as I did not want to serve up a plain burger patty on a roll, and I was not in the mood for meatballs. I used the lovely ingredients I found while shopping and this is what I came up with, a guacamole burger.

Guacamole Burger Recipe For Guacamole Burgers

Guacamole Burger

Guacamole Burgers


  • 250g ground beef
  • 1 slice of bread ground up
  • 15g fresh coriander, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 5mls oak smoked red bell pepper
  • 1 egg
  • flour for dusting
  • oil for frying
  • 2 brown mushroom steaks
  • 15g butter
  • 20mls guacamole
  • 2 quail eggs


  • place the beef, bread, coriander, seasoning and the red bell pepper into a bowl
  • lightly whisk the egg and using your hands mix into the beef
  • dust your hands with flour and shape your burger patties
  • cover the bottom of a large frying pan with oil
  • cook your patties to your liking
  • melt the butter and brush onto the mushrooms
  • cook them under the grill
  • fry the quail eggs
  • now assemble your burgers!
 Recipe For Guacamole Burgers


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Burdock is a strong growing biennial and the fairly bitter but tender young foliage of the spring regrowth is eaten as a green vegetable. The taproots are used as a vegetable as well, and the flavour is between that of a parsnip and Jerusalem artichoke.

220px Villtakjas 2008 Burdock

photograph sourced from Wikipedia

Burdock requires a moist humus rich soil and full sun, although it will tolerate some shade. It is also fully cold hardy and dies down in winter. Propagate from seed in spring or late autumn (fall). Thin seedling to 15cm apart, and to ensure high quality, long straight roots, dig the soil to a depth of 60cm and incorporate compost before sowing.

Keep the soil moist and weed the crop regularly, particularly when the plants are young. Remove the flowers and burrs to promote root growth. For cooking collect young shoots and leaves in spring. Lift the roots in autumn when they are at least 30cm long.

For cooking, scrape the young leaf stalks and cook them as you would celery. Use the roots raw as a salad vegetable or cook for stir fries as you would carrots.

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs


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Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

I have read a few recipes for this classic ragu in the past couple of weeks, and here is mine. I once read that there is in fact no traditional ragu from Bologna. We commonly refer to this sauce as bolognaise which is the French term. When we were on honeymoon in 2003 we went to Bologna twice. The first time we arrived in the morning and went straight to the Ducati factory. This in itself was an adventure which you can read about here. The second time we went was to go to Ferrari (notice a theme?) We arrived in the morning from Rome and checked into our hotel. We then walked back to the train station and started the very long journey to Maranello. We caught a train to Modena and then from the train station, we caught a bus to the bus station. And from the bus station we caught a bus to Maranello. And when we got out of the bus, and started walking to Ferrari, we saw a sign “Bologna 43km”. Our trip had taken 2 hours. We walked around the Ferrari museum, and it is amazing and we spent some money in the shop. After this wonderful walk through history we went to the bus station to reverse our trip. However, we had a wait for the bus and so we walked around the cemetery and then we went to Nello’s pub and looked closely at the walls at all the famous Formula 1 winners’ signatures, including Jody Scheckter’s. After our visit to the pub we caught a bus and another bus and then went to the ticket machine at the train station but there was no train to Bologna! Thankfully we knew that the train to Rome would stop there and so we got our tickets (and watched some Italians follow us with gratitude) and went back to the hotel. That night when we went for supper I had a ragu, a traditional Bolognese, nothing at all like the ones I had previously made! This recipe is not traditional in the slightest, but is made with the memory of Bologna close to mind.

c2a9 spaghetti bolognese Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

© spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese


  • 15mls olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 200g minced beef
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 5mls dried origanum
  • 30mls olive tapenade
  • 125mls red wine
  • 10g parmesan, grated


  • heat the olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion until soft
  • add the garlic and the chilli and cook for one minute
  • add the beef, and brown
  • season before adding the tomatoes
  • add the origanum, olive tapenade and wine
  • simmer for 30 minutes with the lid off on a low heat
  • turn the heat up to medium when you put your water on to boil
  • cook the spaghetti as per the packet instructions
  • drain, and add to the sauce
  • serve with the parmesan as garnish
 Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Simona of Briciole


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Lamb Meat Balls Recipe

It is not often that you can find lamb mince in the shops, but I have been able to find lamb steaks. I got an artisan stand mixer for Christmas and it came with a few attachments, one of which is the food grinder.

picture20070606201022 300x330q80 Lamb Meat Balls Recipe There can be nothing better than grinding your own meat and using a product you can trust to have no additives to make your own meat balls. I am so impressed by my artisan stand mixer and I can tell you that it is easy to use and the attachments are easy to clean. It is a simple process of putting the food grinder onto the machine and slicing your meat before pushing it through the grinder. You have a choice of coarse ground or finely ground and so you can decide on the thickness of your meat pieces to suit your own needs. The meat is cut by the grinder before being ground but you need to ensure you are not trying to push through large chunks of meat. If you don’t already have a food processor then I would highly recommend you invest in an artisan stand mixer for a mixer as well as all the wonderful and extremely useful attachments you can get with it. I got a red one, as my friend Cindy says, every kitchen needs a little bit of lipstick!

c2a9 lamb meat balls Lamb Meat Balls Recipe

© lamb meat balls

Lamb Meat Balls


  • 1 small handful fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 small handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 250g lamb mince
  • 2 anchovies, chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2.5mls ground cumin
  • olive oil for frying


  • mix the ingredients together and using your hands, form small meat balls
  • allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving
  • heat the olive oil in a frying pan – you want to cover the base only
  • cook the meat balls over a medium heat until done
 Lamb Meat Balls Recipe

photograph sourced from yuppiechef


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Something Savoury Challenge To Use Oranges And Honey

Even though I bake something once a week and I have the most unbelievable sweet tooth, I much prefer to create savoury dishes. I very seldom follow recipes for savoury dishes but I do seem to collect them where ever I go. This challenge theme is to get me cooking something from my growing pile of recipes. Please feel free to challenge yourself, by making something new, or sharing with us an old and faithful recipe.

The challenge this week is to cook something savoury using oranges and honey!

As usual, there is no end date to the challenge, but if you do decide to take part, please link back to my blog and leave me a comment to let me know you have done so. You will be included in the following week’s post.


Mandy has created carrot cupcakes for the something sweet challenge.

Don’t forget, you could win yourself an iced cake with a spray of sugar flowers if you live in Johannesburg


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