Presto Pasta Nights 222

Before the Food Bloggers Indaba I had never heard of Presto Pasta Nights but Jeanne of Cook Sister! told us we had to get out there, and so I chose PPN as my first foray into the world wide blogging community. This works particularly well for me as I do a Tandy Tuesday pasta every week. This week, Ruth of Once Upon A Feast has entrusted me to host Presto Pasta Nights and I am super excited to see what dishes make it to the round up on the 15th of July. I am combining this with my Something Savoury Challenge and hope that my regular weekly food challenge participants take part. Obviously, this week, the challenge is to cook something using PASTA. 

ppn 222 Presto Pasta Nights 222

PPN 222

If you take part in Presto Pasta Nights, please link back to PPN as well as my blog. Send an email of your link to:

lavenderandlimeblog (at) gmail (dot) com and cc Ruth Daniels rsdaniels (at) gmail (dot) com

you can still take part even if you don’t have a blog my emailing me the recipe you want to share.

the cut off time is Thursday July 14 at midnight whereever you live!


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Poached Crayfish Recipe

Poached Crayfish served with coppa, candied clemengolds and a tarragon mayonnaise

Well, if I had a restaurant this is how the starter would appear on my menu. Don’t get me wrong, I am not hankering to be a restaurant owner at all. After 8 years of the industry as a profession, I do not long for the hours. I have done my fair share of 18 hour shifts. I have opened at 8am and closed at 6am. I have dealt with rude and ignorant customers, staff complications and even owners who are clueless about the industry. I have worked in the kitchen, the bar, as a waitress, a cashier, and as a manager. I spent time in a relationship with a restaurant owner and it can be hell. Customers who don’t leave, or customers who don’t tip! Customers who treat the waitresses like shyte and others who think it is their right to complain.

But, if I won the BIG lotto I would open a delicatessen. It would be based on the ones I have seen in Europe and it would offer all sorts of delights. Home made mayonnaise, fresh herbs, fine cured products, delicacies and home baked and home cooked meals. I would have to have a sausage counter, and a cheese counter and a bakery …. See, this is why I need to win the lotto. This is the type of take home dish I would include, beautifully poached crayfish, freshly made mayonnaise and the soft, delicate taste of coppa. I would offer all sorts of citrus fruits lightly candied, and the fresh fruits sitting alongside them.

Poached Crayfish Poached Crayfish Recipe

Poached Crayfish

Poached Crayfish


  • 6 slices of coppa, for serving
  • 1 stalk of tarragon picked, to be added to 10mls of the mayonnaise
  • for the poached crayfish:
  • the peel of one clemengold – save the segments
  • 2 tarragon stalks
  • 15mls coriander seeds
  • 500mls vegetable stock
  • 2 crayfish tails, cleaned
  • for the candied clemengolds:
  • 25mls sugar
  • 60mls water
  • 5mls coriander seeds
  • 1 clemengold, peeled, segmented and pith discarded
  • for the tarragon mayonnaise
  • 1 large egg
  • 1.25mls salt
  • 1.25mls freshly ground black pepper
  • 5mls Dijon mustard
  • 15mls tarragon vinegar
  • 300mls canola oil


    for the poached crayfish:
  • place the peel, coriander seeds, tarragon and stock into a pan
  • bring to a boil
  • tie the two crayfish tails together to ensure the keep their shape or place a skewer through them to hold their shape
  • reduce the heat and poach for 4 minutes
  • remove and set aside
  • for the candied clemengolds:
  • add the sugar and the water to a small pan
  • when the sugar has dissolved add the coriander and the clemengold segments
  • allow to simmer for 25 minutes
  • remove and leave to cool on parchment paper
  • for the tarragon mayonnaise
    for stick blender:
  • place all of the ingredients into the blending container
  • blend slowly making sure the mayonnaise forms at the bottom of the container before lifting the mixer
  • for rotary beaters:
  • beat the egg, salt and pepper until the egg is frothy
  • slowly add the oil until it begins to thicken
  • then add the vinegar
  • continue to add the oil slowly until it reaches the right consistency
  • once you have made the mayonnaise take 2 tablespoons and mix in the tarragon

Cooks Notes:

you can use any oil you like for the mayonnaise, I just prefer to use Canola for the taste. Grapeseed or olive oil or a combination is also good. You may have seen the recipe for the stick blender elsewhere on the blogs. I developed this recipe over 20 years ago and had never seen it before. This was published in Lavender and Lime in 2010.
 Poached Crayfish Recipe

I have chosen ClemenGolds for this recipe so that I could enter it into the Woolworths competition.


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Paella Recipe

I am sitting here with the wind blowing and the sky overcast, feeling a little bit sad. My Boxer had been sick for two weeks and as I typed this, they did not know what was wrong with her. In July of 2002 I went to choose a puppy at the breeder’s house. They had originally lived kitty corner to us and this was their second litter – both times only 3 of the 4 pups had survived and out of the three, Maxine would not leave me alone. She sat on my lap and kissed and kissed me. In March 2004 she jumped at a glass window to ‘save’ me and she was the one who ended up being saved. She had cut her front paw badly, and her back paw severely and had we not been home, she would have bled out. Serendipity played a hand that day and the vet was still open. They saved her life and her limb and to this day I owe a lot of thanks to Bruce, Brenda and Megan. At the end of May she became ill and she was listless and not happy. We knew that soon, if they did not discover what was wrong with her we would have to put her to sleep. On the Sunday, after we had enjoyed this beautiful paella dish, she climbed onto my lap and slept like a puppy. Something she had not done since she was 10 weeks old! Maxine’s decline was blessedly quick. She had a heart tumour and the vets made sure we knew what was wrong with her before we put her down. Paella was the dish I prepared for Eat For The Earth – something decadent that would encourage my guests to donate well – and well they did. Thank you Chantelle, Ewan and Taylor for your generosity and company.

Paella Paella Recipe




  • 15mls olive oil
  • 400g chicken fillets
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 250mls paella rice
  • 250mls water
  • few strands of saffron
  • 250mls white wine
  • 300g mixed seafood – I used mussels, calamari and prawns
  • 85g tinned smoked oysters
  • 400g tinned cherry tomatoes
  • 250mls frozen peas
  • 500g prawns, head on and cleaned
  • 15g butter
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 20 olives, depipped
  • 50g chorizo, sliced


  • heat the oil in a paella pan (or any suitable large bottomed pan with a lid)
  • season and brown the chicken
  • remove from the pan and set aside
  • lightly fry the mushrooms, yellow and orange pepper and the garlic
  • remove from the pan and set aside
  • add the paella rice, the water and the saffron to the pan
  • while you wait for the water to boil, slice the chicken into bite sized pieces
  • when the water has all but boiled away add the wine, the chicken, the cooked vegetables, the seafood, oysters and tomatoes
  • adjust the seasoning and cover and cook over a low heat for one hour
  • add the peas and continue cooking over a medium heat while you cook the prawns in the butter
  • season the prawns and check the paella seasoning
  • garnish the paella with the prawns, red pepper, olives and chorizo
 Paella Recipe


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I use caraway seeds in my bread baking, and so found this very interesting. Caraway is a popular Middle Eastern herb. Its seeds are used as an anise-scented spice in cooking. You might find this under the name of Persian Cumin. The leaves, roots and seeds are used.

caraway Caraway


photograph sourced from Deviant Art

Caraway is a biennial with divided fern like leaves and a parsley-dill fragrance. It has a spindle shaped taproot which can be cooked as a root vegetable, like carrot. The flowering stem bears tiny white flowers touched with pink that are followed by crescent shaped ridged ‘seeds’. These are known as ajmud and is a popular Indian spice.

Caraway requires a well drained fertile soil and  a warm sunny position. Sow caraway seed directly into the soil in either spring or autumn. Regularly weed and water the crop, as the seed is slow to germinate. Water in the morning and not from above.

Gather leaves at any time. Lift the roots after harvesting the seeds. Cut flowering stems when the seeds begin to darken and ripen. In order to dry, hang the stems upside down in small bunches. Shake the bunches before storing. The seeds often contain insects so freeze before storing to kill the eggs.

Caraway seeds are used to flavour rye bread, sausages, cabbage dishes, cheeses, soups, pork dishes, goulash, harissa and cooked apples. Schnapps contains caraway seeds, as well as ‘sugar plums’ which are sugar coated caraway seeds. Use the feathery leaves in salads and soups.

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs


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Tomato and Anchovy Pasta

I have a good friend who is in love with anchovies! Well, at least I think she is, as she uses a whole bottle to make potato salad. My friend Cindy not only loves anchovies, she also prompted me to do Tandy Tuesday. This is a pasta theme that started with using only 5 ingredients to cook a pasta dish, excluding the pasta, oil, salt and pepper. I love the simplicity of pasta and the fact that you can make a sauce of olive oil, garlic and chilli’s; or go over the top and add a shopping cart of ingredients to make a sublime ragú. Every time I cook pasta, Cindy becomes a part of my kitchen, and the night I prepared this meal, she was even more a part of the whole cooking experience as I used her favourite ingredient. I too love anchovies, but it is a taste I had to acquire. Ten years ago you would not have found me eating one and now, I can quite happily not only cook with them, but eat them with a slice of cheese on a cracker. I have been told they are expensive, but, you use so few at a time that I personally feel it is worthwhile having a jar in your fridge, not only for pasta’s, but for tapenade and to use when you next roast a leg of lamb.

c2a9 tomato and anchovy pasta Tomato and Anchovy Pasta

© tomato and anchovy pasta



1 tablespoon olive oil

1 whole chilli, split down the middle

1 garlic clove, sliced

4 anchovy fillets

125g roma tomatoes, cut in half

small handful of fresh basil, chopped

parmesan for garnishing


while your pasta is cooking heat the olive oil in a large frying pan

add the chilli and the garlic and sauté the garlic until soft, without browning

add the anchovy fillets and allow them to break down

add the tomatoes and let them heat up

remove the chill

mix in your pasta and basil

garnish with parmesan

Printable Version

I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours


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Taste Test: Wasabi

We were gifted 25kg of sushi grade tuna and I knew that we had no wasabi in the house. Ordinarily I buy the powder so that I can make the paste myself, but I could not find any at my local shops. I happened to be at the Woolworths store in Cavendish where I found some of their preprepared paste. I purchased this and one taste at home left me with one desire – “take it back”. Before I could do so, I was at the Good Food and Wine Show and I tasted the Wasabi-O products. Hayley kindly gave me a selection of their products and it was this that inspired me to do a taste test, comparing their paste to the Woolworths paste. Dave did not know which wasabi was which, and so his blind taste test results are what I have listed here.

wasabi taste test Taste Test: Wasabi

wasabi taste test


Dave scored this a 2 out of 5. He thought it was tasteless. I thought that the taste was not good at all, it is not strong enough and the texture is gritty.


Dave scored this a 4 our of 5 and he said it has a nice citrus flavour. I thought it had a very strong wasabi taste but it was a bit too oily for me.


This has no wasabi taste but Dave still scored it a 3 out of 5. I thought it was mild and sweet.


This is a real traditional wasabi and Dave scored it a 5 out of 5. It is strong and smooth but I am sure the strength has to do with how I made it.


This is very sweet and scored a 4 out of 5. It is flavourful but mild and gets better the more you use. Dave decided that if he used lots of the sauce it was the clear winner.


Woolworths need to send their paste back to the supplier as it does not meet their high standards. Get the Wasabi-O products into stock and there will be a lot of happy people around icon smile Taste Test: Wasabi If you are only going to get one of the products, the powder is more versatile. But if you don’t feel like making your own, get the paste (1st choice) or the sauce (2nd choice).


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Friday’s Food Quiz Number 58

PinkPolkaDot has posted her weekly food quiz, and here are my answers:

1. What are the main ingredients of Oyster sauce?

oyster essence, sugar, salt, water

2. Ginger is native to which continent?

South Asia

3. What are Calçots?

Spanish onions

4. What spices are used to infuse sangria?

I was under the impression that sangria is not a spiced wine, but if it is, then it would be cloves, cinnamon and vanilla?

5. What does contain the most vitamin C? Red peppers or oranges?

This is so funny, I have a similar question set for our weekly Gordons Bay Quiz! Kakadu plums have the most Vitamin C and red peppers have nearly 4 times as much vitamin C as oranges per 100g.

6. What is Verjuice?

an acidic juice made from unripe grapes

7. In what substance are preserved lemons preserved in?


8. What is Ketjap manis?

a thick and sweet soy sauce

9. Tamarind paste is made from which fruit?

the tamarind

10. Which vegetable is served with steak Oscar?



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Regional and Seasonal

Do you know where your food comes from, and do you care? Seems like there are a lot of people finally acknowledging that we should be eating food grown locally, and that which is in season. I have been promoting this challenge for quite some time now, as I am fully behind local farmers and home grown produce.

This week the challenge is to cook using any citrus fruit

Remember, if you take part in the challenge, please link back to my blog, and leave a comment here for me so that I can include you in the round up! This week, the person who uses the same fruit as I do will ‘earn’ themselves an apron! This is open to bloggers anywhere. If more than one person uses the same citrus fruit, a random draw will be done.


PinkPolkaDot has contributed a spicy butternut and orange soup – this would qualify for two recent challenges!

The winner of the iced cake and flowers is The Only Cin for her regular and original contributions to the challeges.


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Recipe For Olive Tapenade

One of the most amazing things about Italy and France is the fact that farmers farm the land right up to the edges! Another thing is that on one side of a hill you will see grape vines, and on the other, olive trees. Here, our farmers farm only part of the land, and seldom do you see a wine estate growing olives, or an olive oil estate growing grapes. There are of course the exceptions. When I think of olives I think of my father – it is something we both like. I love the salty taste of olives, and I am not fussy about which type I snack on. I use olives for my bread making, and they are an essential ingredient to any good paella and it is one thing I am never without in my store cupboard. I marinade olives in olive oil with lime, lemon, thyme, rosemary, garlic. etc. – what ever takes my fancy that day. On this day I decided an olive tapenade would be good, as I wanted to make pizza’s with a difference for lunch.

Olive Tapenade Recipe For Olive Tapenade

Olive Tapenade

Olive Tapenade


  • 10 capers
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 20 olives, depipped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Pinch of herbs Provencal
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 30mls olive oil


  • place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until you have a fine paste
 Recipe For Olive Tapenade


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Recipe For Vegetable Cous Cous

I met my friend Kim when I started high school in 1983. Her sister Lynda was friends with Nadine and Michelle, my mom’s sisters and so we were instantly drawn to each other through me knowing Lynda. We are still friends today and yet since we were 21 we have seldom lived in the same city. Kim has traveled and lived in many interesting places. Currently she is living in Denmark, a small village in Australia. I have spent a holiday there with her and it is truly beautiful – forests and beaches and greenery. There are cows and wildlife to be seen but the most memorable aspect is that it is very quiet. This solitude is so good for the soul, and one cannot help but want to eat healthy food to nourish your whole being. This cous cous recipe is from Kim, and I have adapted it. Funnily enough, when we were chatting on the phone yesterday she asked me if I had tried it. I had told her that Dave is not a fan of cous cous, but that I had made it regardless and that he ate more than half!

c2a9 cous cous Recipe For Vegetable Cous Cous

© cous cous

Vegetable Cous Cous


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced thickly
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced thickly
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried origanum
  • 500mls stock
  • ½ teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 2 sprigs of basil
  • 2 tins crushed tomatoes
  • 150g cous cous


  • put the olive oil into a pot
  • soften the onion and the garlic
  • add the vegetables
  • season to taste and add the origanum
  • add the stock, the vinegar and the soy sauce
  • add the basil
  • simmer with the lid on until the vegetables are tender
  • add the crushed tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes
  • sprinkle the cous cous into the pot and allow to stand for 15 minutes

Cooks Notes:

you can use any vegetables of your choice, including potatoes, asparagus, butternut, courgettes
 Recipe For Vegetable Cous Cous


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