Tuesday, April 19, 2011

butternut, feta and chicken lasagne

I love fellow bloggers, particularly foodie bloggers.

Since I am currently carbo-loading for the two oceans half (three days away), I wanted to make a lasagne!

Okay, who am I kidding, I can pasta at any time… relying on carbs to get me through the race to make up for my lack of training is a poor excuse.

So really, I just felt like making a warm, oozing lasagne dish.

But not a regular mince lasagne – a chicken and butternut lasagne.

So I browsed through my recipe books at home and getting frustrated I opted for online and came across one of my favourite fellow blogger’s recipes:

http://www.cooksister.com/2009/12/chicken-roasted-butternut-and-feta-lasagna.html

It sounded super yummy and so I set to work.

It turned out fabulously.

I pretty much stuck to her recipe (below), but changed a couple things (see *)

You have to give it a try – it will become your favourite winter warmer dish!


CHICKEN, ROASTED BUTTERNUT AND FETA LASAGNA (serves 6)

Ingredients:

2 cups raw butternut squash, peeled and diced (*I just used one whole small butternut sliced thinly)
Olive oil
200g feta cheese (*Danish feta)
Uncooked lasagna sheets
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (*replaced with almost two cups cheddar)
2 chicken breasts
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon ground cloves (*left this out as I didn’t have cloves)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, crushed

For the tomato sauce:

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed (*three garlic cloves)
Olive oil
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (*I used whole Italian tomatoes and squashed them up)
1 Tbsp tomato paste (*I didn’t have any so left it out)
½ cup white wine (*I used a half cup of Porcupine Ridge Viognier)

For the cheese sauce:

2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
340ml milk (*I used half milk, half cream)
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup grated mature cheddar (*I used vintage 20 months mature cheddar for this)

Method:

Spread the butternut cubes evenly in a shallow roasting dish and toss in enough olive oil to coat lightly. Roast in a pre-heated oven at 190C until tender (about 20 minutes).

Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips. Heat a little love oil in a frying pan, add the crushed garlic, the bay leaf and the chicken. Cook until just done and add the cloves, salt and pepper. Remove from the pan, discard the bay leaf. Set chicken aside and keep warm.

In the same pot, add a little more olive oil as well as the onion and garlic. Fry gently until the onions are translucent but not brown. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato, paste and wine and cook until sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Stir in the cooked chicken, set aside and keep warm.

In a clean pot, melt the butter for the cheese sauce. When melted, add the flour and stir until all the butter has been absorbed. Cook for a minute or 2, then over low heat gradually add the milk, whisking after each addition to make sure there are no lumps. Stir in the nutmeg and grated cheddar and stir until cheddar has melted.

To assemble:

Lightly grease a large square oven-proof dish. Cover the base with lasagna sheets, then top with a layer of the tomato-chicken mix, crumbled feta cheese, roasted butternut cubes and cheese sauce. Repeat these layers, ending with cheese sauce on top. Top with grated mozzarella and bake at 180C until bubbly and golden.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The City Bowl Market


On Saturday I went to the very first City Bowl Market on Hope Street and I will definitely be heading back there again soon. I bought some organic Rooibos with sieve (R20), gemsbok biltong (R45), dark chilli chocolates from Saszali chocolates (delish!) at R8.50 each, and two Paulaner weiss beers (at R25 per 500ml draft).

I think it will do well in Winter as it is indoors and offers quite a fair amount of space for standing and seating.

They have a variety of food products available to take home and dishes to eat while at the venue, so it’s ideal for morning shopping followed by a light lunch.

They are open every Saturday from now on at 9am-2pm.

The rooibos was definitely the find of the day. It is free of any types of additives; colorants etc and the same leaves can be used 2-3 times over. I tested it! The amount I bought for R20 fills a 1litre jar and as I am a real tea junkie, this is a great addition to the tea-cupboard.

The only thing is you have to wait 10 minutes for the tea to draw – and the colour of the tea is a gorgeous deep red.

Some of the other impressionable products available include: honeys, freshly cut flowers, herbs, cupcakes, breads, cheeses, organic nuts and dried fruits, olives, pastries, locally brewed beer on tap from Darling and Napier, wraps, Indian curries and a boutique clothing store just outside.

The market is inside a big red and white building (14 Hope Str). (www.citybowlmarket.co.za)

Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo

What a lovely day it was at the Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo at Val de Vie (www.valdevie.co.za).

The estate is huge and very beautiful, near the Pearl Valley Golf Course, a few kms from Paarl.

There were plenty of celebs moseying around, such as Jeannie D, Herschelle Gibbs and Ryk Neethling. The food was fab and the champagne flowed.

The best thing about Veuve Clicquot – no hangover today! And normally bubbles and I don’t go down too well together.

I also had a foot massage, which was fabulous considering how my feet were swelling in the heat in my dainty heals, but I should have done this just before I was leaving, as it was tricky to keep my shoes on for the rest of the afternoon.

The music was great. We were entertained by the beautiful voices of D7 and Lindiwe Suttle (launched of her debut single Man Made Moon).

It was the first Polo game I had ever attended, and it really was interesting. It is one of the fastest sports in the world and those horses are truly magnificent. You can appreciate how physically demanding and challenging the game can be.

Here are some pics, for those who weren’t there to get a sense of the vibe.

Friday, April 15, 2011

To market, to market…

I happen to love markets, especially foodie ones, and there seems to be a market boom in our beloved mzansi.

There happen to be two awesome markets happening tomorrow!

Designer Easter Market on Waterkant Street
Designer/artisan market at the Freeworld Design Centre on Waterkant Street.

It promises a wonderful vibe and loads of awesome hand-crafted gifts.
“Following the runaway success of its Christmas market in December 2010, the historic Evangelical Lutheran Church circa 1780, the oldest operating church in Cape Town, and Freeworld Coatings, South Africa’s leading coatings company, will jointly host another designer artisan market on the Saturday before Easter. This event will take place on 16 April at the Freeworld Design Centre premises along Cape Town’s Fan Walk, with the market in the courtyard that lies between Freeworld Coatings and the church. There is no cost to attend the market.”

New City Bowl Foodie Market

To rival the ol’ Neighbour Goods Market, this new food market, located in an old building on 14 Hope Street promises to be the new Saturday morning hot spot. Expect: A main hall with lofty ceilings, where they plan to show black and white movies and place a few tables at which marketgoers can eat and drink. Upstairs, overlooking the main market area, there’s an area for chilling and having a few drinks. Outside, to one side, there’s a secure grassy section just for kids, and on the opposite end of the building a lovely area, complete with small pool (not for swimming) which they plan to use for braaiing and hanging out away from the general market hubbub. (9am-2pm)

I’m going to try getting to both tomorrow, so expect an update. Thanks to Mothercityliving and various posters around CT for keeping me, er, posted.

Bakery bliss - De Oude Bank Bakkerij


If you get bread cravings like I do, I know just the place to get your fix. When I say bread, I don’t mean a sliced white sasko sam plastic packaged loaf. I mean freshly baked, traditional wood-fired style dark rye, sour dough and ciabatta.
I have recently fallen in love with Stellenbosch and envisage myself living there at some point, on my wine farm complete with recording studio, deli and art gallery. But for now I’ll just settle for visiting the town, as it’s less than an hours drive from Cape Town and filled with gorgeous shops, restaurants and of course, wine farms.
Stop in a the De Oude Bank Bakkerij off Church street. You have to walk down a little alley, and then to your right you will find what is reminiscent of a summer cottage house.
Inside bustling bakers, trendy diners and a selection of locally made cheeses, pestos, pastes, beers etc.
You can order the types of breads in slices and toppings. I went alone, but I recommend doing this with at least one other person so you can get to try something of everything.
I had a honey ale from the tap, two slices of sour dough, basil pesto, olive tapenade and mature Huguenot cheddar cheese. It made for a lovely lunch, while a browsed through a book I found on the shelves: Bread, beyond the basket. I also bought a rye loaf 90% (R35) and my total bill came up to R81.
They also have live music on selected evenings, 021-8832187

Monday, April 11, 2011

hmmmmm gelato





I spent some time in Stellenbosch last week – love it!!!
Besides the awesome wines on offer, the town itself has a few hidden gems that are def worth a visit...
For example: Lecca il Gelato. It's a little ice-cream shop on Church street.
They have a gorgeous array of flavours, including dark chocolate orange and Amarula – yip that's what I had.
I only found out about it through the locals who clearly run on the gelato steam.
Next time you are in town, make a point of visiting this spot.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Coffee cravings


If you are a coffee fanatic like me, I’ve found the perfect little brewing spot in Cape Town: Haas Coffee Collective (www.haascollective.com), on Rose street in the Bo-kaap. This unique roastery also happens to serve one of the world’s most expensive coffees, Kopi Luwak, at R2850/k.

Here is a brief explanation from HAAS of what kopi luwak is… and I’ve tried it!

Kopi Luwak, with a caramel-chocolate taste, takes its name from Kopi, the Indonesian word for coffee and Luwak, the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) that feasts on the ripest, sweetest red coffee cherries growing on coffee trees in Sumatra. Once the Luwak eats the cherry, the parchment-covered coffee beans inside are passed through its digestive system, with a unique combination of enzymes in the stomach breaking down the proteins to remove all traces of bitterness. Still intact even after being excreted, the parchment cover protects the green coffee beans. In a very labour-intensive process, the beans are collected from the faeces of civets and the parchment is removed. The coffee is then thoroughly cleaned and sun-dried before being sold.’

We did a formal cupping tasting with a few coffees, which was interesting enough. But I’ll still drink mine with a bit of milk. A kopi Luwak cappuccino costs about R80. And really doesn’t taste anything like poo… It has a very smooth, almost soft tatse compared to some of the other coffees that were on offer.

Try the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, which goes for about R60 a cup (R1 824

Per kilo).


Other cool noteworthy things:

–The collective only roasts on demand, so the coffee is always fresh.

–Food is also available in forms of custom-made pastries and wholesome sandwiches

–All coffees sourced by Strictly Coffee are shade-grown as a cooler environment protracts the ripening and intensifies the flavours

–While you are drinking your coffee, browse through the design section of the store, it’s great for gifting ideas or adding item to that personal collection. Items on sale range from jewellery to cushions, from paintings to ceramics and more.

–There are indoor and outdoor tables and chairs, and it’s where all the cool coffee addicts hang out (aka us media peeps and partners who can actually afford the fancy stuff).

Coffee storing tips:

– Drink your coffee within two weeks of its having been roasted. Contrary to popular belief, you should store it dry, in an airtight container and not refrigerate or freeze it to retain its freshness