Monday, 30 September 2013

Let's Go A Little Lebanese

Hi peeps!

Welcome back to the Chef Mother and we are holding thumbs that you manage to go through the week without clobbering a colleague with a keyboard.

Last week I was particularly lazy and I feel it only fair I make up for my laziness with a week's worth of awesome recipes. On today's menu; we take a look at two gorgeous Lebanese dishes; but first; here's a little write up about it from wiki:

Lebanese cuisine includes an abundance of starches, whole grain, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat. When red meat is eaten it is usually lamb on the coast, and goat meat in the mountain regions. It also includes copious amounts of garlic and olive oil, often seasoned by lemon juice.; olive oil, herbs, garlic and lemon are typical flavors found in the Lebanese diet.

Most often foods are either grilled, baked or sautéed in olive oil; butter or cream is rarely used other than in a few desserts. Vegetables are often eaten raw or pickled as well as cooked. Herbs and spices are used and the freshness of ingredients is important. Like most Mediterranean countries, much of what the Lebanese eat is dictated by the seasons.

BABA GHANOUJ - Esperance Sammour
Baba Ghanouj is a delicious Mediterranean appetizer made with fire roasted eggplants and Tahini sauce.
Ingredients
• 3-5 medium eggplants (3 lbs)
• 5 table spoons Tahini paste
• Juice from 1 freshly squeezed lemon
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 table spoon white vinegar
• 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Instructions
Roast the eggplants in the oven on medium heat, or on a BBQ grill for about 30 minutes.

While eggplants are still hot (not too hot so you don’t burn your hands), peel them and discard as much as possible of their seeds.

Strain the water from the eggplants by placing them on a colander for about 10 minutes. This step is important so you don’t get a liquid Baba Ghannouj.

Add eggplants and all ingredients in a food processor and let run for 2-3 minutes until you get a paste.

Place Baba Ghanouj paste into a serving plate, garnish with any/all of the following: olive oil, chopped parsley, sumac spice or chili powder, salted pickles…etc

Serve cold as an appetizer, with a side of Pita bread


LEBANESE STYLE RICE PUDDING WITH PISTACHIO - Esperance Sammour
Try This Delicious and Easy to Prepare Lebanese Rice Pudding Dessert.
Ingredients
• 4 cups of milk
• 10-12 teaspoons of sugar (to taste)
• ½ cup of rice
• 2-4 Table Spoons of corn flour
• 2 teaspoons of orange blossom water
• Pistachio as a garnish

Instructions
Rinse the rice then let dry

Boil the milk with the sugar and rice on low heat for 15 minutes or until the rice softens all while stirring continuously.

As the rice softens add the orange blossom water and the corn flour and stir it in and boil/stir for another 5 minutes or until the pudding hardens and gains the consistency of yogurt. If you add too much corn flour the pudding becomes too jello-like and if you add little it’ll take on a more watery consistency. This is a personal preference. Try adding 2 first then increase if you need to.

As the pudding hardens, pour it in your heat-resistant serving cups/plates and let rest for a few minutes before garnishing with pistachio and stick in the fridge.
Serve cold.

Both these recipes with the images were extracted from www.mamaslebanesekitchen.com. Go make a stop there for more delightful traditional Lebanese recipes <3.

Made my mouth water! See you on the flipside!

*a little Lebanon love*
Chef Shants ************

Friday, 27 September 2013

Beautiful Cakes and Cupcake Images

Hi peeps!

Its been such a wonderfully lazy week for me with the long weekend just passed over and it now making it feel so short. I've spent a lot of time with family in this week and will definately be showcasing recipes again as from next week; when things go back to normal.

Seeing as its a lazy Friday in a lazy week; I will just be sharing some cool cakes and cupcake pics with you again today (-images thanks to google.). Feast your eyes on these absolute masterpieces:

 


















Beautiful as always!

Have a sweet weekend peeps and see you bright eyed and bushy tailed for another awesome set of recipes from Monday. (And I promise to be more productive and informative too; tee hee :-P).

*vanillafrostinghugs*
Chef Shants - The Crazy Lazy Lady xxxxx

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Rabbit Hole

Hi peeps!

I'm a bit of a Facebook freak and enjoy browsing the many pages that they have. Most times; "liking" one page will open doors to finding even more wonderful pages and this is how I found The Rabbit Hole. This page on FB showcases some of the most stunning arts and images that truly leave you staring at your screen in wonder.

I do not claim to know the owner or the admins of the page personally; but so far they have already become part of my life. I can't wait to wake up in the morning and scroll through to see what Renee; Rattlehead, Vivikara and Lady M have been posting while I've been sleeping or getting through the day.

Not only does this page showcase some of the most stunning art you will ever see; but the owner and the admins are truly wonderful when it comes to interacting with the fans on their page. And if you request to see certain art; (please keep in mind it is a tasteful page so no vulgar images are shown);
The Rabbit Hole team go out of their way to accommodate you and they do it with class and style!!

 Most of their images are from deviantart but some of their images are from other sources too; and the team make sure that they give the correct credit where credit is due to the artist. They also look up poems or pictures for you and will even send you links too. Here are a collection of a few of my favourite images from this awesome page and you can view the artist's name for credit due on The Rabbit Hole page.

Aren't these fantastic?! The Rabbit Hole features many forms of art; from abstract to body art and the genres just keep coming.
















If you are a lover of art and are in dire need of some inspiration; or just to connect with other artists; go and hit the Like button for The Rabbit Hole on Facebook. You will not be disappointed.
To Renee; Rattlehead; Vivikara and Lady M - thank you for being such a big part of my day without even realizing it. Thank you for the wonderful work you do and know that you are appreciated by many. Keep up the good work and a heartfelt thanks for making your fans feel special and for going out of your way to keep us entertained and our requests fulfilled.

I have found a rare gem in the form of The Rabbit Hole and I hope that all you awesome peeps who pop in here at The Chef Mother every day, also go and hit the Like button. I really hope to see you beautiful peeps there!

*gorgeous arty hugs and more mad hatter love*
Chef Shants xxxxx

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Heritage Day South Africa.

Hi peeps!

Feels weird to only be blogging halfway thru the week. We had our Heritage Day yesterday; also known as Braai Day in South Africa and because it fell on a Tuesday; most companies declared it a long weekend by giving their employees Monday off as well. Awesome stuff hey?!






Anyhoo. In honour of Heritage Day yesterday I'd like to post some pictures of South Africa today; seeing as I did recipes for Heritage Day last week.

Join me tomorrow for some of my favourite Art pics showcased by a favourite page of mine.

*N'kosi sikeleli iAfrika!* - God Bless Africa.
Chef Shants xxxxx

Friday, 20 September 2013

Eat Like A South African Boer

Hi peeps!

Firstly; I'd like to make a correction thanks to Leslie; that credit for the Cream Puff recipe back in April is to go to a Vickie Fox. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Leslie and apologies for any inconvenience and upset that this honest mistake has caused you. Apologies also to Vicki Fox too and thank you for a wonderful cream puff recipe. Secondly; a quick HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Yolandie Labuschagne!! Hope you have one magical day; Dolla and that Gertjie and Righart spoil you stukkend this weekend!!

Once again; I haven't done an Eat Like in a while so I thought it would be nice to take a look at my home country and my heritage and show ya'll how we do it here in sunny SA. I have done a few SA recipes already; which include vetkoek and mince, bobotie and paptert. Today I want to go a little deeper and show you how the Afrikaans people of SA chow down. With our National Braai Day happening on Tuesday 24 September; (YES!! South Africa celebrates Heritage Day and has a public holiday dedicated to having a bbq!! That's how much we love having bbq's!!!); its the perfect time to eat like a boer.

Tjops En Dop Marinade - by Chef Shants
Ingredients:
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tot Klipdrift Premium
1 can of beer (Castle works best)
Salt
1/4 cup Olive oil
Whole Peppercorns
1 cup Mrs Balls Chutney
2 tblpsn Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice.
1 tblspn brown sugar
1 tblspn honey

Method:
Finely dice the peppers and pop in a shallow, rectangular pyrex bowl. In a jug; mix all the liquid ingredients together plus the sugar and honey. Mix very well. Pour over the peppers and season with salt and peppercorns. Place your chops into the marinade; cover with clingwrap and pop in the fridge for 3 hours. Turn chops once. Pop on braai when ready and baste with leftover marinade.

Easy Chips Dip - Tannie Marianne Fourie
Ingredients:
1 tub smooth, plain cottage cheese
1/4 cup Mrs Balls Chutney
1 packet brown onion soup.

Method:
Decant cream cheese into a small bowl; add other ingredients and mix very well. Serve with your pre-braai snacks.



 
Peach and Pineapple Chilli Pasta Salad - Chef Shants
Ingredients:
1 small tin peach halves in syrup
1 small tin pineapple halves in syrup (or freshly chopped pineapple pieces)
Salt
Pepper
1 punnet button mushrooms
2 cups mayonnaise
Garlic
Olive oil
1 packet of pasta of your choice. (I find the mixed Twirls work beautifully)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 medium onion; finely chopped
3 fresh tomatoes; finely diced.
Some Feta cheese wheels
1/2 block small cubed Mature cheddar cheese.
6 gherkins, chopped.

Method:
Boil your pasta in salted water till el dente.
While your pasta is boiling; chop your mushrooms in half and toss into a heated frying pan with garlic and olive oil and fry till tender.
Bomb your cooked pasta in a large serving bowl; add the cooked mushrooms; the finely chopped onion and tomatoes; the chopped pineapple pieces with the peach pieces and mix. Sprinkle over the curry and cayenne pepper and give it a good mix; season with salt and pepper and toss through the mayonnaise. Mix in the cheese blocks and the gherkins and crumble over feta. Serve immediately.
-credit to google for images.

Have a fabulously funky weekend, peeps! And see ya'll soon again.

*Warm South African Boere Braai hugs*
Chef Shants xxxxx

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Awesome Food Ideas Kids Will Love!

Hi peeps!

Today's blog is dedicated to all the children in the world. May your hearts and lives be blessed and your tummies never go hungry. And may your food bring you awesome joy! And that's what we are going to do today. Here are foods that your kids will love. Why not share the ideas with other moms and dads too. Have a look at these cool ideas:

Rainbow Pasta

So easy to do:
Boil a few pots of water and chuck in some food colouring and voila!!! Rainbow pasta that kids will adore.



Pizza Flavoured Scrambled Eggs
50g shaved light leg ham, chopped - I like to use bacon too
1 medium tomato, deseeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons reduced-fat grated pizza cheese - I like mozarella and white cheddar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
Olive oil cooking spray
Toasted bread, to serve

Method:
Combine ham, tomato, cheese and oregano in a bowl. Lightly whisk eggs and milk together in a jug.
Spray a non-stick frying pan with oil. Heat over medium heat. Cook egg mixture for 1 minute or until edges just begin to set. Using a wooden spoon, push set egg towards centre of pan, tilting pan to let uncooked egg cover the base. Cook for 1 minute or until creamy curds begin to form. Fold through ham mixture. Serve with toasted bread.

Colourful Berries and Syrup on Yoghurt and Muesli
2 x 150g punnets mulberries
1 x 150g punnet blueberries
2 tbs icing sugar mixture
2 tbs fresh orange juice
1 x 500g container creamy premium- blend vanilla yoghurt
Muesli, to serve, if desired.

Method:
Combine half the mulberries and blueberries with the icing sugar mixture and orange juice in a saucepan over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the mulberries soften. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes to cool. Stir the remaining mulberries and blueberries into the mulberry syrup until combined.

Use a balloon whisk to whisk the yoghurt in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Spoon the yoghurt into a 1L (4-cup) capacity rectangular glass dish and smooth the surface.

Spoon the berries in syrup over the yoghurt and swirl with the spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.

Serve the berries in syrup on yoghurt with muesli, if desired.

And that's the way you can have some fun with your kids this weekend!
Thanks to Taste.com for the marvellous ideas too.
See ya'll tomorrow for another Eat Like blog South African style!

*family hugs*
Chef Shants xxxxx

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Baby Food Recipes Take 2

Hi peeps!

For my beautiful cousin, Yolandie; its just a few short weeks to go and her and Jan's beautiful daughter will arrive into this world. Not long after; her bestie; Liani and her husband, Franco (from LF Photography - link is on the right; please go take a look!); will also be welcoming their bundle of joy too.

It reminded me that I did promise to do more recipes on baby food and I forgots. :(
Sorry.

But I'm making up for it today with these fab baby foods that baby will definitely love! Let's take a look:

Baby's first vegetable purees recipe

These purees are your baby's very first tastes of solid food and should be served one at a time to introduce new taste sensations gradually. Pureed vegetables are the next step on from rice cereal.

Age suitability : 4.5months+
Suitable for freezing : Yes
Food group: VEGGIES
Ingredients Suggestions:
pumpkin
potatoes
broccoli
sweet potato
carrots
zucchini

Stove or oven method:

Take two cups of your chosen vegetable. Peel if required and cut into even sized pieces.

Steam until tender and then puree using a stick blender, blender or food processor.

To make it the right consistency for your baby's first food, you will need to add some boiled water to hte puree until it has a nice moist, soft consistency.

Set aside a portion or two and then freeze the remainder in a covered ice cube tray so you are able to defrost portions when required.

Notes:
Steaming on the stovetop, using a pressure cooker and steaming in the microwave are all ideal ways to make baby food.

Boiling the vegetables is fine but it will leave your puree less nutritious as the vitamins end up in the cooking water.

You need to make sure that you use clean and dry utensils and bowls when preparing baby food to ensure good hygiene.
*This recipe was created by Jennifer Cheung*

Apple and mango puree recipe

Packed with vitamins A, B and C, iron, potassium and protein, mangoes are a sweet-tasting treat that are good for babies. Mix with simple, well-loved apple puree for a fruity surprise.
Age suitability : 8 months+
Suitable for freezing : Yes
Ingredients:
1 ripe mango
1 apple - Granny Smith or Golden Delicious are best

Stove or oven method:

Peel, core and cut the apple into chunks.

Place in a small saucepan and fill with just enough water to cover the apples.

Boil until tender, constantly checking the water doesn’t dry up.

Cut the mango lengthways as close to the seed as possible.

With your knife, cut the mango flesh-side-up into little squares, being careful not to cut all the way through the skin.

Gently “pop” the mango squares out by pushing from the skin side up and cut the cubes off.

Place cubes of mango and cooked apple chunks into a blender and blend until smooth.

Notes:
Make a large batch of mango and batch of apple and freeze the fruits separately in cubes. Then you’ll be free to mix either in with other fruits or veggies. Just ensure you never refreeze the second recipe if using defrosted fruits.

Mangoes are tropical fruits and therefore not ideal for babies younger than six months, but eight months is ideal. Introduce it alone for four days to ensure there are no reactions before mixing with other fruits or foods. Mangoes can sometimes cause mild allergic reactions - check your baby for rash around the mouth area and the bottom after it passes through.
Can be frozen for up to four weeks.
*This recipe was created by Belinda Graham*

*excited baby hugs and delicious squeezies to all expecting mom's and to everyone who have already been blessed*
Chef Shants xxxxx