Showing posts with label #Scrumptious South Africa blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Scrumptious South Africa blog. Show all posts

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Low-Carb Roast Baby Cabbage Wedges with Bacon

My sister, an excellent cook, suggested this method for roasting fresh young cabbages, and I was dubious at first because I'm not enthusiastic about cooked cabbage. How wrong I was - thank you Sophie! These tender, slightly charred wedges are quite simply delicious with their plain dressing of fruity olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

Low-Carb Roast Baby Cabbage Wedges with Bacon
As a Type-2 diabetic, I'm always looking out for good ideas about preparing ultra-simple, nutritious, low-carb veggie dishes, and I'm so sold on this recipe that I've made it three times in the last fortnight.

You can, if you fancy, add all sorts of extra flavours to the wedges - Sophie uses a delicious dusting of powdered fennel seeds. I reckon I might try caraway seeds or garlic next time I make this. But, for now, I think they're perfect with just a tingle of heat from the dried chilli flakes, plus plenty of black pepper.

I've added crisped-up bacon bits for a touch of luxury, but you can of course leave these out. This is best with good quality cubes of bacon (I buy mine at my favourite, most excellent German butchery), but if you can't find these, you can use decent streaky bacon instead.

 Low-Carb Roast Baby Cabbage Wedges with Bacon 

2 baby cabbages
the juice of 1 big lemon
5 Tbsp (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp (5 ml) dried red chilli flakes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) bacon cubes, or 10 rashers of bacon, chopped

Arrange the wedges cut-side up on a tray.
Heat the oven to 200 °C, fan on, or 210 °C if your oven has no fan. Cut each cabbage into four wedges and arrange, cut side up, on a baking sheet.

Drizzle with the olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with chilli flakes and season generously with salt and pepper.

Roast for about 35 minutes, or until the edges of the wedges are slightly blackened, and they are tender on the insides.

Ten minutes before the end of the roasting time, fry the bacon until just crisp, then drain and keep hot.

Sprinkle the bacon cubes over the cabbage, add another spritz of lemon juice and serve immediately.

Serves 4 as a side dish; 2 as a main course

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Saturday, 5 February 2011

Passion Fruit, Crème Fraîche and White Chocolate Cream Pie

In the second of my series of Valentine's Day food for lovers, I present to you this wickedly creamy and rather delicate pie, gently scented with fresh passion fruit (granadillas, we call them in South Africa) and enriched with white chocolate.

Isn't 'passion fruit' a perfect name for this most erotic exotic of fruits?  The name, however, refers not to the juicy fruit of this South American vine, but to its beautiful, orchid-like flowers, which are said to resemble symbolic elements of the Passion of Christ.

Passion Fruit flower
According to this Wikipedia article, Spanish Christian missionaries in the 15th and 16th centuries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially His crucifixion. For example, the tendrils represent the whips that were used in the flagellation of Christ, while the flower's radial filaments represent the crown of thorns.

(And as for the word 'granadilla', I believe this is derived from the Spanish 'granada', meaning pomegranate. I have no idea why South Africans say 'granadilla' and not 'passion fruit'; I put this question to my friends on Twitter the other night, and even that clever bunch couldn't come up with an answer. I'll do some digging and get back to you.)

I love the heady sharp-sweet taste of granadillas, but I find them quite intense, even aggressive, so I've used them sparingly in this tart.  Because I wanted a soft, voluptuous tart, I've avoided cream cheese and instead used crème fraîche, a slightly sour, thick cream with a lovely light zinginess.

Passion Fruit, Crème Fraîche and White Chocolate Cream PieGranadillas are in high season now in South Africa, and I was anticipating a bumper crop from the three vines I planted against a sunny wall last year. Alas, the vines have produced, between them, three fruits: let's call them A, B and C. A fell off and rotted in the flowerbed, and B and C are as hard and green as tennis balls, though not anywhere as big.  So, supermarket granadillas it was.

This is fairly easy to make, but do measure all the ingredients - especially the gelatine - very precisely, using level cups and teaspoons, to ensure a perfect, whippy texture.

Lining the base of the tin with clingfilm allows you to lift it easily onto a pie plate (see Cook's Notes, below)

Passion Fruit, Crème Fraîche and White Chocolate Cream Pie

For the biscuit crust:
one packet (200 g) Tennis biscuits, or similar crumbly coconut biscuits
100 g unsalted butter, softened

For the filling:
200 g white chocolate
20 ml (4 tsp) tepid water
2 tsp (10 ml) gelatine powder
one 250-gram tub crème fraîche (I use Lancewood, or Woolies)
½ cup (125 ml) fresh passion fruit pulp
½ cup (125 ml) condensed milk
the finely grated zest of half a lemon
20 ml (4 tsp) fresh lemon juice
1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream

To top:
a little fresh passion fruit pulp

Break up the biscuits and process them to fine crumbs in a food processor (or crush them with a rolling pin). Place in a bowl, add the soft butter, and stir well to combine. Wet the base of a non-stick 24-cm springform cake tin and cover with a sheet of clingfilm. Tuck the edges of the clingfilm under the base, and place it in its ring. (If there are  wrinkles, gently stretch out the clingfilm.)

Passion Fruit, Crème Fraîche and White Chocolate Cream Pie
Press the biscuit mixture evenly onto the base of the tin and place in the fridge while you make the topping. A good way to get a nice even crust with a sharp edge:  lay a small shot glass on its side, rim touching the side of the tin, and roll it lightly round in a circle.

Break up the white chocolate and place it in a glass or metal bowl over a pot of simmering water. Allow to melt gently (and take care not to allow steam into the chocolate, as it has a tendency to 'seize').

Put the water in a little bowl, sprinkle the gelatine evenly on top and set aside to sponge.

Put the crème fraîche, passion fruit pulp, condensed milk, lemon zest and lemon juice into a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth and well combined. Stir the chocolate and scrape it into the mixing bowl (work quickly here, or it will set). Whisk until quite smooth.

Put the sponged gelatine into the pot of simmering water (the water should come half way up the sides) and allow to melt. When the liquid is clear, remove the bowl and set aside to cool for a minute. Whisk the melted gelatine into the other ingredients.

Whip the cream to a nice firm peak. Stir a large spoon of cream into the crème fraîche mixture to slacken it, then very gently fold in the rest of the cream.

Passion Fruit, Crème Fraîche and White Chocolate Cream Pie
Pour the filling onto the prepared crust (pile it all in the middle, and then gently press down in the centre with the back of a big spoon so that the filling spreads evenly outwards to 'kiss' the edges of the tin. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until set (two to three hours).

Warm the sides of the tin (as described below) and release the cake. Slide a palette knife between the crust and the clingfilm, turning the pie as you go and using gentle levering movements, and then slide the cake onto a platter. Pour a little fresh granadilla pulp on top. Slice the pie using a knife dipped in hot water.

Makes one 24-cm pie; serves 6-8

Cook's Notes 

These are a repeat of the instructions on the post about my Buttermilk Cheesecake with a Strawberry Topping

There are various methods of loosening a gelatine-set dessert from its mould. Professional chefs use a blowtorch, which is briefly flicked over the outside of the tin, but this is a risky business, as a few seconds too long can liquefy the outside of the cheesecake and, besides, it's useless if you're using a plastic jelly mould. A better way is to dip a kitchen cloth in boiling water, and press it to outside of the cold tin for a few seconds. But the best way of all, I've found, is to use a hot pack designed for soothing acheing muscles.

If you don't have a Happy Hugger, here's how to make one yourself. (I keep one of these in my kitchen drawer for the sole purpose of loosening jellies!). Steal a long cotton sock from someone's drawer. Fill it with rice or barley, and tie a firm knot in the open end. Place the sock in a microwave oven for 2-3 minutes, or until very warm to the touch. Press the hot pack around the edges of the tin, for 30 seconds at a time, moving it around the edges as necessary. At the same time, release the spring-form lever (or lift the cake ring)  in small increments.

 When you cut the pie, use a hot knife (heated over a flame, or in a bowl of boiling water) for slicing. Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Ripe Figs with Baked Camembert and Spicy Caramel Walnuts

This is such a versatile, sexy recipe, because it can be served as a starter, a snack or right at the end of a meal as a combination dessert and cheese course. I found these gorgeous purple figs at my local Woolies, and, as I don't like eating figs whole, I melted some lovely ripe Camembert over their middles. But the final result was too evenly voluptuous, so for texture and crunch I added walnuts, which I coated in caramel and then tossed in paprika, cayenne pepper and salt.

You could use any sort of nut here - macadamias and cashews, for example - but I like the slightly bitter taste of walnuts.

If you're serving this as a savoury course, dress the rocket leaves with a little olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice before you arrange them on the platter. If this is a sweet course, omit the salad leaves and the salt and pour a little warmed honey over the figs.

Ripe Figs with Baked Camembert and Spicy Caramel Walnuts

6 ripe figs
a round of ripe, but not oozing, Camembert or brie
16 walnuts
4 Tbsp (60 ml) white sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) fresh paprika
½ tsp (2.5 ml) cayenne pepper or chilli powder (or more, to taste)
flaky sea salt
fresh rocket or salad leaves

Preheat your oven's grill to its hottest setting.

First prepare the walnuts. Put the nuts into a dry frying pan and toast, tossing frequently, for a minute or two, or until just beginning to turn golden on the edges.  Set aside.  Sprinkle the sugar evenly into the saucepan, set it over a medium heat, and watch it like a hawk. The sugar will begin to liquefy and then turn golden in patches. At this point, give the pan a sharp swirl, or stir gently to redistribute the melted bits. (Here are some great tips for making caramel). The moment the sugar is melted and turning a light copper colour, remove the pan from the heat (it will continue to darken after you've removed it).  Toss the walnuts into the hot pan and shake to coat.  Fish them out with a fork, put them on a plate or sheet of greaseproof paper and sprinkle with paprika, cayenne pepper and plenty of salt. Leave to harden.

Put the figs on a baking sheet. Cut a cross in the top of each fig, stopping a little short of its bottom.  Squeeze the base of the figs so that the four 'petals' open up.  Lightly press a little wedge of cheese (how much is up to you) into each fig.  Place under a very hot grill - on a rack in the middle of the oven - and grill until the cheese is just melted. Watch the figs closely as they grill, making sure that they don't burn.  Serve on a bed of dressed greens, sprinkled with the whole, or chopped, caramelised walnuts.

Serves 6. Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly