Saturday, 30 March 2013

Cucumber salad with smashed garlic and ginger

This is a dish I (Sofia) first made for my mum in an effort to find new things in the Ottolenghi book "Plenty" that she could eat on her no carb, high fat diet. I think it helped that it beams of asian flavours which inevitably leads to reminiscing of our holiday in Vietnam together.

It was such a delicious discovery that I made it for my friends at Rooi Els when we all went up to Madeleine's beach house on the edge of the ocean. Needless to say it got a big thumbs up. 

This post is for Madeleine at her request for the recipe.

Serves four to six as a condiment/side salad
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar (I left the sugar out to be diabetic friendly and nobody noticed)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 ½ inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 small or 8 mini cucumbers, peeled
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (these can burn quickly so keep an eye on them)
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
In a medium bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar and sugar until the sugar is mostly dissolved.  Whisk in the vegetable, olive, and sesame oils.  Add the sliced red onion, and toss to coat.  Refrigerate for at least one hour and up to 4.
Place the ginger, salt and garlic on a cutting board.  Flatten with the smooth end of a large knife, and push around the cutting board several times, so the slices crush and release juice, but stop before the mixture becomes a paste.  Scrape the contents from the board into the bowl with the onion and dressing.  Stir to combine.
Cut the cucumbers lengthwise in half, then cut each half on an angle into 5mm slices. Add the cucumber to the bowl followed by the sesame seeds and coriander. Stir well and leave to sit for 10 minutes.
Before serving, stir the salad again, tip out some of the liquid that has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl and adjust the seasoning.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ottolenghi's chargrilled asparagus, courgettes and manouri

The family in Cape Town is pretty much obsessed with the Ottolenghi recipe books. This salad as well as the chargrilled brocolli one are some of our favourites. Emma came for lunch at my - that's Sofia's - house when she came down from Edinburgh University for a bit of sunshine.

Serves 4-6

350g cherry tomatoes, halved
140ml olive oil
24 asparagus spears
2 courgettes
200g manouri cheese, sliced 2cm thick (we couldn't find any so we used shavings of parmesan)
25g rocket
coarse sea salt and black pepper

For the basil oil...
75ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
25g basil leaves
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Start with the tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 170C. Mix the tomatoes with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with some salt and pepper. Spread them out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, skin side down. Roast in the oven for 50 minutes or until semi-dried. (I waited about 40 minutes using the convection oven). Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

2. Blanch asparagus for 4 minutes (or less if they are very skinny ones). Drain and leave to cool. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil and some salt and pepper.

3. Slice courgettes very thinly lengthwise, using a vegetable peeler. Mix with 1 tablespoon of the live oil and some salt and pepper.

4. Place a ridged griddle pan on high heat and leave for two minutes. Grill the courgettes and asparagus, turning them over after about a minute. You want to get nice char marks on all sides. Remove and leave to cool.

5. Fry the manouri cheese for 3 minutes or until golden. Place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. 

6. To make the basil oil, blitz all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Keep extra oil for future salads.

7. To assemble, arrange the rocket, vegetables and cheese in layers on a flat serving plate. Try to build the salad up whilst showing all the individual components. Drizzle with as much basil oil as you like and serve.

(Photo taken by Emma Bestall)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Ina Paarman's Banana Bread

Sofia had the astonishingly good presence of mind to divert her procrastinating over her essay into something tastier. This banana bread has been signed off as 'excellent' by two generations of Youngleson cooks.


125 g butter
250 g castor sugar
2 extra large eggs
2 T (30 ml) yoghurt
1 t (5 ml) vanilla essence (vanilla extract is nicer and less synthetic though)
6 ripe mashed bananas
4 T (60 ml) chopped nuts - I'd suggest walnuts (optional)
250 g flour
1 t (5 ml) bicarbonate of soda
1/4 t (1 ml) salt

Cream together the butter and castor sugar until light and fluffy.
Lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add to the butter mixture, creaming it in gradually.
Add the yoghurt and vanilla essence.
Fold in the bananas (and nuts).
Sift the dry ingredients together twice (if you can be asked...). Fold into the banana mixture until well blended.
Pour mixture into a lined and greased loaf tin.
Bake at 180C (350F) for 50 minutes to 1 hour until golden brown and firm.
Leave to stand on tray until cool.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Portuguese fish coconut curry

This was sourced from Jane's Delicious Kitchen p. 34 by Jane Griffiths and cooked by Lucie tonight for the Cape Town famdam. Lucie made a few changes which we think improve the recipe.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, diced
2 fresh red chillies, sliced
1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 x 400ml can coconut cream (but Lucie used 1.5 cans of coconut milk)
1 x 410g bottled tomatoes (but Lucie used half a large can of tomato puree)
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
juice of half a lime
2 teaspoons grated palm sugar
150g baby carrots, thinly sliced
100g fresh green beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
750g firm white fish, cut into bite-sized pieces (Lucie used 1kg of Kingklip fish)
fresh coriander leaves

Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot and add the onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes until starting to turn brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it softens. Add the chilli and ginger, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Then add the spices, stirring until fragrant and sticky.
Add the coconut milk and simmer until slightly thickened. Add the tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Then add the lime juice, sugar and vegetables, and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes more. Finally, add the fish and stir through gently. Simmer until just cooked, for about another 5 to 6 minutes.
Serve over basmati rice sprinkled with fresh coriander leaves.


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Lucie's Rustic Hummus


1 can of chickpeas
Quarter teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
The juice of half a lemon
1 Tablespoon of tahini (sesame seed paste)
Salt and pepper
3 large cloves of garlic
Fresh coriander


Drain the excess liquid from the can of chickpeas and place the chickpeas in a saucepan. Add enough cold water to the pot to just cover the chickpeas, add the bicarbonate of soda and simmer on a low heat for fifteen minutes until the chickpeas have become soft and mushy. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour off the remaining liquid. Use a wooden spoon to crush and beat the chickpeas into a rough paste. Add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and three to four tablespoons of water. Mix well and add more lemon juice or salt if necessary. 

If you would prefer a smoother hummus transfer the rough paste to a food processor and beat until smooth.

Serve warm and garnish with coriander. Best eaten with warm pita bread, sundried tomatoes, cucumber squares and falafel balls - delicious!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Lucie's Rice Pudding

Comfort food at its best? Rice pudding, of course. So here is the BEST rice pudding.

(serves 4 people, or five unusually small ones)
You will need:                                                                                                                                          125 ml (1/2 cup) risotto rice, 60 ml (4 T) sugar, 1 vanilla pod, 1 litre (4 cups) cream.
Tip risotto rice & sugar into medium deep saucepan. Add vanilla pod into rice with milk. Bring to boil, stir occasionally at first and more frequently towards the end until rice grains are tender & pudding is thick. Cooking time = approx. 25 min. Amount of milk may be varied. Remove from heat. Stir in cream. (Add vanilla essence now if you didn’t use a pod.) As the pudding cools, stir to prevent skin from forming. Dust a bit of cinnamon over the top.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Granny's vanilla sponge cake

This is definitely the best sponge cake around. The family has reached a consensus.


3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs

1 cup flour
pinch of salt
1.5 teaspoons baking powder

4 tbls butter
2 tbls milk
2 tbls water

Set the oven to 200 C.
Beat together the sugar and eggs for 10 minutes until thick and frothy. (most important part!)
Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder.
Bring water up to the boil.
Very gently, mix the flour into the egg mixture, alternately with the butter mixture.
Oil the cake tin(s) and cut greaseproof paper circles for the bases.
Pour into one or two cake pans.
Place immediately into the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes for 2 small cakes, or 25 minutes for one large cake.


For a chocolate cake, take out a couple of tablespoons of flour and replace it with cocoa.
Passionfruit icing is delicious.