Summer calls for light meals and lazy days….haha… wishful thinking, I wish I could have those lazy days….can a mum ever! Well at least I get to have the light meals, this Couscous Salad with Roast Vegetable is perfect. What I love most about is that you can have it as a meal on it’s own, great as a bowl meal or add some chicken, lamb or feta to it and you good to go.

My recipe for https://itsallaboutthekitchen.co.za/recipe/perfect-roast-vegetable/ was used in this recipe, so do follow the recipe to make the veggies. However, I have omitted the Cajun spice from the Roast Vegetable for this recipe.

I am trying to keep things simple the next few weeks as I am overseeing the renovation of our new home, it’s starting to take a toll on my stress levels. But I must admit it’s really exciting, besides cooking and making nails pretty I love interior decorating. I will definitely give you a peek into my new home sometime soon.

The one thing I’m waiting for the most is my brand new kitchen, imagine having your own dream kitchen. I never had my own kitchen designed before, all the homes we lived in had kitchens installed and they were all almost new so my hubby refused to pay for another kitchen. I finally get my way, how exciting is that. I spend most of my days in the kitchen so I want it to be a place I can relax and enjoy being in it. Isn’t it wonderful when you have people over and you can feel proud about your surroundings and even better when your home becomes your peaceful sanctuary. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just neat, clean with a simple, tasteful design.

This year has been a great start, so many exciting things happening in our lives and I am so grateful for all that we receive. With the tough life I’ve had in the past I’m sometimes almost scared when good things happen to me, almost like “do I deserve all of this”? If you going through a tough time right now just know that it will soon end, tough times don’t last forever. Trust me I know. So much for my blabbing away…let’s get back to the recipe.

Nothing much to say about this recipe except that it’s light, delicious and so versatile. Do enjoy!

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Couscous Salad with Roast Vegetable
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Instructions
  1. Roast your vegetables as per recipe in the link above
  2. If you are using store bought stock heat it up in a saucepan, add cumin and paprika. Add the couscous and butter and close the saucepan for 10 minutes.
  3. Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Add the roast vegetable and squeeze the lemon juice in. Toss gently to combine.
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I consider this to by my Old-Fashioned Potato Salad and I promise you will love it. Although I have another recipe I use, which is a French style potato salad I still prefer this recipe. The great thing about my Old-fashioned Potato Salad recipe is that there’s no fancy ingredients used. Simple ingredients that can be found in your pantry, is used to make this amazing salad. So you can have this Old-Fashioned Potato Salad anytime you wish.

My week has been a little stressful and I felt like some comfort food. What better than a creamy potato salad.

We have been looking for a new home for almost a year and we have finally found a home that we love. It didn’t occur to me just how stressful buying a new home can be. There are a million things to sort out and most of it will be my responsibility, that I do know already.  I am a stay-at-home mum and most people, including my husband, thinks we just sit around and make ourselves pretty all day. I’m already feeling the strain and we haven’t even started packing yet.  I hope I survive from now until the day we move…wish me luck! When I’m stressed I look for comfort in food and that’s not a good thing. Luckily I’m not stressed 365 days a year.

If you do make this potato salad I suggest you use waxy potatoes. Waxy potatoes have a creamy, moist, firm flesh which usually holds its shape long after it’s cooked.

Mayonnaise is definitely what adds to the creaminess of the salad together with the eggs. Not many people add eggs to potato salad but the eggs makes all the difference in creating a delicious potato salad. You can also opt for a light mayonnaise or some yogurt but if you already eating carbs then I suggest use that mayonnaise and go all the way. You can gym afterwards.

If you are crazy about potatoes like I am then you will also love my recipe for Indian Fried Potatoes


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Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

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Instructions
  1. Boil your potatoes in some salted water until they are cooked. You will know they are cooked when you poke a knife though it and it slides in easily. You can cube the potatoes and then boil but I prefer boiling them whole. I cut them up once they are cool.

  2. Boil 3 eggs, remove the shell and set aside. I boil my eggs by adding them into a saucepan with cold water. Once it starts to boil I then turn the heat off and cover the saucepan, leaving it on the hot stove for about 10 minutes. I then take it off the stovetop and remove the shells, this way I get perfectly boiled eggs all the time. If you want soft eggs you can remove it off the hot stove a little sooner.

  3. Once the potatoes are cool, add in the chopped onion and the chopped eggs. Season with more salt and pepper if required. Mix in the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. You can add more mayonnaise if your prefer. Garnish with parsley and a little sprinkle of paprika. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


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I hope you all had a great weekend.   This amazing Creamy Butternut and Sweetcorn Bake recipe is from my sister in Australia, it is so delicious so I have to share it with you. She made this often when she lived in SA and everyone fell in love with it.  Creamy Butternut and Sweetcorn Bake makes a perfect side dish, especially when braaiing. It just goes so well with braaied meat. It is not the healthiest dish to make as it’s loaded with cheese and cream but everything in moderation.

We don’t have this dish very often, probably once or twice a year but it is so worth making it. Although I’m not crazy about Cream Style Sweetcorn it works amazingly well in this dish. It was so delicious that my family cleaned out the dish, there were no leftovers. Trust me even the picky eaters will eat this.  It’s amazing how cream and cheese makes everything taste heavenly, why does everything that taste good have to be bad for you. Life is so unfair. I sound like my kids, telling me life is not fair when they can’t have their way.

Butternut can sometimes get a little boring so this takes your butternut to a whole new level. We often have butternut that’s steamed or grilled so let’s call this our butternut treat. If you are vegetarian you can have this Creamy Butternut and Sweetcorn Bake with a refreshing green salad and maybe some crusty bread….mmmm sounds mouthwatering.

In my instructions I did say “smash your butternut” and not “mash” because you really don’t want a pureed bake. The butternut should have some texture so it’s not a mushy bake. When steaming your butternut and it is slightly undercooked that’s okay, it will cook further in the oven so don’t stress too much about that. I hope you love this dish as much as we do!

 

 

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Creamy Butternut and Sweetcorn Bake
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Instructions
  1. Steam the butternut until tender
  2. Preheat oven to 180 deg celcius. Smash the butternut once cooked and place in a oven proof dish.
  3. Pour the cream style sweetcorn over the butternut and roughly mix it together, don't over mix. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle the chilli flakes
  4. Pour the fresh cream over. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese on top. Sprinkle a little paprika over the cheese and bake for about 45 minutes.
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My hubby cannot cook, he can barely fry an egg but he can make some amazing rustic salads…I have to admit his salads taste delicious. He made us this Baked Bean Salad, I think it’s his absolute favourite and he made it with such love I can’t help but share it. I don’t think his mum knew how to make many creative salads but she did make a mean baked bean salad so I think it’s where he got his tips from. Even my 9 year old enjoyed his dad’s salad. I am lucky in many ways, I have a husband that is truly a family man, I never had that before and I’m so blessed to have someone that really goes out of his way to take care of us. If someone tells you they have a perfect marriage then they need their heads checked, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage or a perfect human being, marriage is hard work and a work in progress. We work at ours every single day, there’s no denying that and the key is communication, respect and most of all trust. If it’s one thing I can say is that I trust my husband 100%,

So this recipe post is dedicated to my amazing but sometimes cranky husband, Mickesh whom I love to bits.

This is a simple salad and I know it was a salad at every braai during our childhood, I don’t remember loving it very much when I was younger but now it’s absolutely yummy and even more yum with some braai sausages.

I always have a few canned goods in my cupboard or should I say more than a few, I sometimes forget what I have and buy more so I probably end up with a whole lot of canned stuff that could last me a year, thankfully they have long expiry dates. Now that it’s summer in SA you will need loads of salad recipes so you can add this one to your list. I have a rather pedantic hubby so he’s even counted the number of mint leaves he used in the salad so here you have it, a very precise recipe.

 

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Baked Bean Salad
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix together the baked beans, red onion, tomato, mint, coriander and green chilli
  2. Add the chilli sauce and the lemon juice. Mix well and season with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve
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My hubby is constantly on diet so I often make him salads to take to work. I’m usually boring with salads, his favourite is Greek salad with his addition of pineapple so that’s the obvious choice most days. He adds pineapple to everything, have you ever seen anyone eat a pineapple salad with curries? I think only my husband can eat pineapple with everything, he has a pineapple obsession and there’s always pineapple in our refrigerator.

On my more creative days I make something different so today I decided to make him a chickpea salad and I made a little dressing to go with, wasn’t he excited.  I also added avocado which is another staple in our home these days. I usually squeeze some lemon juice over the avocado, immediately after cutting it up, to prevent it from turning brown and I pack it separately so that the salad doesn’t get all mushy.  I didn’t need a huge serving of the salad so I added a little less cucumber, tomatoes and olives but feel free to add more if you want to feed more people. It is a delicious salad and can be eaten as a light lunch, I promise you won’t have any leftovers.

Chickpea is an excellent source of protein and it’s gluten free so great for people that are gluten intolerant. Chickpeas also contains iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium and high in fibre. So here’s a few good reasons to eat chickpeas. This salad is light and refreshing and perfect for our hot South African weather.

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Chickpea Salad
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Instructions
  1. Drain chickpeas and place in a large bowl. Add the cucumber, onion, cherry tomatoes and coriander leaves.
  2. Cut the avocado and immediately drizzle the juice of half of the lemon over it and set aside
  3. Mix the yogurt and the juice from the remaining half of the lemon together. Add in the cumin and a few coriander leaves and mix well. Set aside
  4. Just before serving, add the avocado and feta to the salad. Toss gently and add the salad dressing.
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My middle son is in matric and writing exams in a few weeks but he doesn’t seem stressed. I am more stressed than he is, is this normal? Why is it that boys are never stressed about anything. I remember growing up and my dad used to run a military camp at home, we never questioned why he said no, we ate what was cooked, we couldn’t leave the house without permission and we certainly didn’t dare to back chat or we would have been punished, not grounded but hit with a stick or whatever was fitting at the time. We were terrified if we didn’t study hard enough and our report cards were a mess. I remember I one day altered a poor mark in my report before bringing it home, as I was so terrified of the consequences for my bad mark. See why they never let kids bring their report cards home anymore, because of kids like me. Oh my gosh, I hope my dad or kids never reads this.

But hey we grew up to be decent kids, at least we have respect and manners, We were taught how to give and how to treat people with kindness and we’ve learnt that everything is achieved through sheer hard work and determination. We also know that you don’t have to be rich to be a good person or have a good life, material stuff doesn’t bring happiness. It’s love and care that brings happiness and joy.  I try everyday to instill these same values in my boys but as a mum I’ve realised we can only nurture our kids and give them all the tools they need to become successful, respectful young adults. How they choose to use it is up to them. I made mistakes in my life and I regret some of them and learned from some , I keep saying that I don’t want my kids making the same mistakes I did but unless they don’t make their own mistakes they will never learn I suppose. Easier said than done.

The joys of being a mum and the joys of trying to feed your boys veggies for a month. It’s almost a week and the struggle is real. But I’m loving being creative with veggies. I made these cheesy broccoli bites, anything with cheese is always delicious, they are packed with goodness and the panko crumbs  makes it a little crunchy. They don’t have eggs but the cheese hold them together well. Perfect with a tomato dip and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This recipe makes 24 bites.

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Cheesy broccoli bites
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Instructions
  1. Steam the broccoli until it's soft and break it into little pieces with a fork. Set aside until it's slightly cool
  2. Add a few drops of oil and fry the minced garlic for a minute.
  3. Add the chilli flakes, garlic and herb seasoning, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, panko breadcrumbs and the fried garlic to the broccoli. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Form them into 24 equal sized balls. Mixture may look a little crumbly but as you press them into a ball they become fairly intact, the cheese holds it together well. Shallow fry them on medium heat in a little olive oil. Serve with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice and a dip of your choice.
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Today is Heritage Day in South Africa, a public holiday where people are encouraged to celebrate their culture and diversity. Although we have our problems, some days more than others, I still love living in our beautiful country.It can be stressful when we hear about the escalating crime and have to constantly look over our shoulders and be extra vigilant. Amongst the negativity I choose to remain positive and hopeful, it’s the only way to live in South Africa, there is always hope. We do have some amazing people in South Africa, I have friends and neighbours from different cultures, we may all look different but our beliefs and value systems are all the same. I am blessed with a home, food on my table and clothes on my back, I’m thankful and it’s all I need right now.

It’s also national braai day and whilst I’m sitting in my lounge, typing away, I can smell the aroma of the grilled meat, coming from my neighbour’s property. We unfortunately have started our month long “abstaining from meat” for religious reasons so no braai for us. However, I cooked my family a vegetarian feast and hubby dearest said it was absolutely delicious, he couldn’t stop raving about how delicious lunch was. I’m glad he did as I slogged in the kitchen for a good few hours and would have been rather disappointed if the critic was not good.

I made dhall puri to go with the veg curries I cooked. This an Indian flat bread that is stuffed with a dhall filling and deep fried. It is buttery, a little crisp with a hint of cumin, it tastes better than any Indian bread I make and if I could I would make it often, but it is deep fried so I restrict myself to making every few months, as a treat for my family. I learnt to make this from my mum-in-law. At first I wouldn’t even attempt it as I thought it was a time-consuming, tedious task but once you get the hang of making it, it is really not that bad. Takes a little bit of patience and a few attempts to perfect the art of making dhall puri.

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Dhall Puri
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Makes 12
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Instructions
  1. For the filing:
  2. Soak dhall overnight. Rinse well and boil until soft but not mushy, dhall should be soft when pressed between your fingers. Once cooked, drain excess water and set aside to cool
  3. Place dhall in a food processor and pulse until it's processed into fine breadcrumb like consistency. Do not over process.
  4. Heat the butter in a pan, saute the spring onion for a few seconds, add the cumin and tumeric together with the dhall. Season with salt and mix well. Allow it to cool and add the coriander
  5. To make the puri:
  6. Sift flour and baking powder. Rub the butter with your fingertips into the flour. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the yogurt. Pour the milk, you may need more or less milk depending on the weather so please do not pour in all the milk at once, along the edge of the flour and bring the dough together. Knead until you form a soft, smooth dough
  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll them into round balls
  8. Flatten each ball a little, place it in the palm of your hands and add a tablespoon and a half of filling to the centre of the dough. Bring the edges of the dough together and seal it well.
  9. Roll each filled ball on a lightly dusted surface. Be very gentle when rolling or the filling will leak out.
  10. Heat oil on medium heat and fry each puri individually. Once it puffs up, turn and cook the other side. Be gently when turning it. Place individually on paper towels, to drain excess oil
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It’s been a hectic day, from having a sick child and tons of laundry to wash, I barely had time to breath. Luckily, I had some paneer in the freezer which I made about a week ago. I could never freeze meals and feed that to my family but paneer is not a cooked meal so it’s okay to freeze. I have a spoilt family that has gotten used to the idea of having freshly cooked meals everyday. I guess when you quit your corporate job and stay home your family expects a clean home, clean laundry, fresh food everyday…and then some days I still get asked the question “what have you been doing all day”. Never mind the fact that I have a helper only a few days a week and I clean on other days, I play chauffeur to the kids, I do homework, I have clients and I play maintenance lady. I fix things that I can, call on people to help with things I can’t, doesn’t my day look all rosy! So I shouldn’t be complaining about cooking???

Enough of my ranting! Let me share with you my paneer recipe. I always thought it was difficult to make but it is about the easiest thing ever! You boil milk, add lemon juice and you’ve got paneer. For those that don’t know what’s paneer, it is a cheese made by curdling milk with an acid such as lemon juice and vinegar. It is used in Indian cooking and normally homemade but you do get store bought paneer too.

I tried to be a little adventurous so I made my paneer a little different to how it’s usually made. I added some spice to it and it didn’t turn out bad at all. I’ve never seen anyone else do this before so I thought it was quite ingenious, if I should say so myself. I used this paneer in my Paneer Makhani and it was delicious!

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Paneer
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Instructions
  1. Heat milk on medium heat until bubbles form on top
  2. Add 4 tbsp. lemon juice and mix until it starts to curdle. Wait a few seconds and if it doesn't curdle add more lemon juice until the curds and the whey starts separating
  3. Line a stainless steel colander with a cheese or muslin cloth
  4. Pour the curdled mixture into the cloth and allow all the whey to drain out
  5. Add the herbs, chilli, salt and spices. Mix well
  6. Bring the ends of the cloth together and squeeze out the excess whey. Wrap it into a neat little bundle and place something heavy on top, I use a heavy pot. Set aside for 30 minutes
  7. Cut into cubes. Paneer can be frozen
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Some of us are not as crazy about our veggies as others are, especially my kids. They really need help getting those veggies down especially those long periods of time when Hindus have to abstain from meat, they are not very adventurous trying new veggie dishes. I do try and accommodate everyone in my home but some days it’s a matter of eat what’s cooked or starve. I never cook just one veggie when we are abstaining from meat, I usually cook two or three veggies, this is what our mums did and now the tradition continues. Well our “fasting” period is almost over, at least for a couple of weeks so the boys will be really happy to abandon their strictly vegetarian diet. I do enjoy eating veggies, especially if it’s made the Indian way but please don’t give me bland or boiled veggies.

I made these green beans a little differently to the way I usually cook them. It’s a very simple dish to cook and the addition of the fenugreek seeds gives the dish a unique, nutty flavour. Its great as a side dish or as a main served with rice and dhall.

 

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Fried Green Beans
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Instructions
  1. Heat oil. Add methi seeds, fry for a few seconds until fragrant and then add onion
  2. Once the onion is translucent add garlic and fry for another minute
  3. Add the green beans and season with salt
  4. Cover and simmer on a low heat until green beans is cooked
  5. Remove the lid in the last 5 minutes until beans start "catching" to the pot and turn off heat
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This dish is typically served with veg breyani, there are different variations to cook dhall but this particular recipe has masala as one of the ingredients. Most South Indians would probably cook it this way. I am South Indian and Mickesh is North Indian, when  I sometimes cook a South Indian recipe he would think I’m crazy, there are not many differences between the South Indian and North Indian way of cooking in South Africa, flavours and ingredients are fairly similar. However, South  Indians do like their dishes with a lot more spice. Talking about North and South  I think with our diverse culture in South African there are some people who are still confused about language, religion and heritage.  Hindu is a religion and Tamil/Telegu and any other language that Indians speak is just a language, it can be annoying when people refer to South Indians as Tamil or North Indians as Hindi, we are not Tamil nor Hindi, this is a language not our heritage. Now that I’ve got that off my chest…this type of dhall was typically served at Indian weddings and functions, with the new generation not so much. It was also a staple in many Indian homes, my kids still love it with rice but I cook it a little differently if I’m not serving it with Breyani.

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Dhall
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Prep Time 1 hour
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Instructions
  1. Wash the split peas well, rinse it a few times until the water runs clear. You can also soak your dhall for a few hours before boiling but not necessary. Add dhall, turmeric and some salt with 2 cups of water to a saucepan and cook until soft, I prefer mine really mushy but if you are happy with it a little grainy that's fine too.
  2. In a separate pan heat oil, add the mustard seeds and cumin. As soon as the seeds start popping add your onion, dry chilli and curry leaf. Saute until onion is a little brown.
  3. Add garlic and fry for a minute. Add masala and garam masala. Fry for a minute and then add the tomato. You can add a few drops of water, cover and cook on a low heat until tomatoes are cooked.
  4. Add the cooked split peas and let it simmer on a low heat until dhall thickens, you can check the consistency as it cooks and add more water based on your preference.
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