wine

Cheesy Mexican Rice & Meat Free Mondays

Meat Free Monday

You may have noticed that MammaChef Jozi is an avid supporter of Meat Free Mondays (see the South African Facebook page here). So what’s the big deal?

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You don’t have to go vegan, but even one day of not eating meat has so many benefits.

Lowering your carbon footprint – this includes greenhouse gasses which are produced by livestock, farming, transportation and the masses of water it takes to produce meat.

Think of the animals – commercial farming methods have lead to unimaginable treatment of animals and going one step further than Meat Free Monday, it would be a good idea to be conscious of where your food comes from.

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Your health – Reducing intake of meat has been proven to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancers. When planning a meat free meal, we tend to focus on adding even more nutrition to our plant based meals, thereby including foods with more polyunsaturated fats, plant protein, fibre and vitamins.

Why Monday? Well, Monday just seems like a good day, doesn’t it?

So… if not, why not?

Cheesy Mexican Rice

I ended up making an enormous wok type pot of this and after dinner, there was only enough left for one of us to take for lunch. It was so, so very yummy and I really just chucked a lot of stuff in a pot and waited for it to cook (while having my little glass of wine)….

Cheesy Mexican Rice
Cook 1,5 cups rice (white long grain or any of your choice) according to packet instructions.

While the rice is cooking, saute 1 chopped onion and 1 tsp chopped garlic in a large oven proof wok or pot/pan for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tsp dried oregano and paprika and stir well.

Add in a tin of brown lentils, 3/4 tin chopped tomatoes, 3/4 tin of red kidney beans, 1 cup frozen corn, 1 cup frozen peas, 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot and 1/2 cup water.

Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the liquid has cooked down.

Set the oven to grill.

Add the cooked rice to the veg mixture, top with 200g finely grated mature cheddar cheese and pop the whole pan in the oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Sprinkle chopped spring onion over the top and add as many optional extras as you wish – we added fresh chopped chilli and extra cheese (I love cheese). You could also add avo, sour cream, tacos for crunch, etc.

Pan seared fish with tomato white wine & basil

Fresh Hake in a bright sauce, full of flavour

This dinner idea was inspired by a recipe found on Pinterest, which I played with a bit as usual and ended up with the below. I must add that the smells while cooking were amazing and just added to the anticipation of the dining.

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Depending on children and/or taste, add a small sprinkle (up to half a tsp) of red chilli flakes and 1tsp crushed garlic. Sauté for a minute.

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and a few halved cherry tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes. Add in a quarter cup of dry white wine and let the mixture simmer.

Add half a cup of finely chopped fresh basil, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, a quarter tsp lemon zest, ground salt and black pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Then transfer into a bowl and set aside.

Season portions of fresh skinless hake on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a large oven proof non stick pan over medium high heat. Place the hake in the oil until golden brown, approximately 6 minutes. Carefully turn the hake over, pour over the wine and tomato sauce and place in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes or until cooked through.

While the fish is cooking in the oven, mix 1,5 cups couscous and 1,5 cups of boiling water in a bowl. Add 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot and a dash of olive oil. Mix well and cover with cling wrap or a plate. Wait 3-4 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Serve (with some of that crisp white wine) and enjoy!


This fish comes out super soft and breaks apart very easily, so be prepared for not having perfectly beautiful golden fillets. It really is delicious though!

Pulled chicken wraps with all the trimmings

SuperDad does dinner

Last night turned into a switcheroo as Dad was working slightly late, leaving me on soccer duty and SuperDad on chef duty.

He seems to have the equivalent of “green fingers” in the kitchen. He doesn’t cook often but when he does, it’s always a big hit!

I did have something quick and easy planned as soccer nights leave very little time for cooking, so you could say he was set up for success. Enter Woolies Pulled Chicken with every colour of the rainbow that you could possibly fit into a wrap!

Seriously, when you arrive home in the dark and very close to frozen, to a poured glass of wine and a table set with a picture like this you can’t help but glow with happiness!


Each person got to put together their own wrap with choice of fillings, toppings and sauces, which is always fun for the kids. Besides the vegetables we also added homemade guacamole, humus, jalapeños…

The chicken is so tasty that it barely needs any of the extras, but it does look fantastic!

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Let me know what your favourite wrap fillings are!

Birthday Lunch

Two birthdays

Last week was my own birthday (of course I turned 21 again) and my little Blake turned 4 the day after. On Sunday we had a lovely lunch with family at home and everything conspired perfectly, including the weather, to make for an absolutely beautiful day!

My dearest dear husband, aka SuperDad, makes the world’s best espetada and this has become our “signature” dish when we have the family over.

In summary: good food, good wine, lots of laughter, sunshine and the most amazing people!

Daddy’s Weekend lunch for my parents

Chat

My parents came for lunch on Fathers Day weekend and as I don’t get to cook for them all that often (we usually spend more time at their house) I wanted to make something warm, saucy and delicious.

On the menu was chicken thighs cooked in the most divine creamy sundried tomato sauce, roasted baby potatoes with garlic and herbs, sauteed baby marrows and young carrots. The second best part, after the sauce, was the freshly baked Portuguese rolls from our local Portuguese bakery which were perfect to mop up all the creamy deliciousness and even became a second meal – rolls and sauce!

Fathers Day Lunch

Recipe

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Season 16 chicken thighs with ground coarse salt and black pepper.

Place 1kg baby potatoes into a large, shallow oven dish or roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil, add a few knobs of butter, ground salt and pepper and Italian mixed herbs. Place into the oven to start roasting while preparing the chicken. Total cooking time should be around an hour, give the dish a shake/mix every 15 minutes or so. The special trick to my potatoes is to forget about them so that they don’t quite burn but become slightly charred and crispy on the outside.

Roast Garlic Herb Baby Potato

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large, deep frying pan over high heat. Add chicken thighs, skin down first and brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Do this in batches if necessary, then remove chicken and place into an oven dish.

If necessary, add another tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add 2 teaspoons crushed garlic, a sprinkling of smoked chilli flakes (to taste) and cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Add to this 2 cups chicken stock, 1 cup double thick cream, 2/3 cup jullienne sundried tomatoes (drained of olive oil), 1/2 cup grated Parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil, thyme, oregano. Simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Pour sauce over the chicken thighs and place into the oven for about 30 minutes or until completely cooked through.

Quarter 8 young carrots and 8 baby marrows lengthways. Put the carrots into a small plastic bag, tie a loose knot and microwave them on high for 5 minutes. Empty carrots (and any juices) into a frying pan with a small glug of olive oil and add the baby marrows. I sauteed/steamed them with a lid on for a while to nicely soften the marrows, then removed the lid and let them stir fry to get some lovely brown colouring.

Sautee Carrots Baby Marrow

Eat

I then opened a bottle of ice cold Fat Bastard Chardonnay which is one of my favourites that just complimented the creamy dish so well.

This is a meal that you should take your time cooking and also take your time eating and enjoying with your family! Let us know what you did for Fathers Day?

PS… love you, Dad!


 

The Team…

While we cook tonight’s meal, a short introduction to one of our high level staff at #MammaChefJozi.


 Jack carries a huge amount of responsibility in that he is our resident jazz musician, bearer of the toothpicks and holder of the one ring (if I put it anywhere else, it’s lost). Okay, okay… dinner is nearly ready!

Colourful Paella!

The Mediterranean Diet prescribes lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, healthy oils, minimal dairy and a glass (or two) of red wine every day!


So today, let’s imagine we find ourselves on a beautiful beach in the Med, having a glass (or two) of wine, a good chat, a lot of laughter and a warm, colourful Paella!
Sidenote: I actually didn’t get a photo of the finished dish as my phone was annexed by a certain 8 year old…

Honey & Mustard smoked pork neck with roast vegetables & butter beans

Our resident vegan is in the house so we have loads of veggies!


Smoked pork neck in honey mustard sauce
Butternut, sweet potato, baby potato, baby carrots, brussels sprouts oven roasted
Butter beans

Chicken meatballs with tagliatelle & homemade Napoli sauce

This Monday calls for some comfort food! One big little boy with bronchitis and a long week ahead!


Some juicy chicken meatballs – chicken mince, bread crumbs, parsley, an egg
Napoli sauce – diced tomatoes, thyme, onion, garlic
(Gluten free) Tagliatelle
Add parmesan, chilli, salt and pepper to your heart’s content!
As for me, wine is poured and I’m off to make a Peter Pan outfit.

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