Baked eggs with cream and salt cured ham

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This must be one of the easiest and most delicious ways to serve eggs for breakfast. You can obviously use different types of ham but using prosciutto, Jamon Iberico, Serrano or Bayonne ham is best for this recipe.

I used Jambon de Bayonne, a salty boneless French ham, named after the southwestern France port city of Bayonne. This ham is still produced according to regulations founded on ancient practices and is still preserved exclusively with inland “mountain salt” found at the base of the Pyrenees mountains. The ham is aged for about 9 to 12 months.

According to a legend in the south of France, the Count of Foix was out hunting wild boar in the 14th century and wounded a boar. The animal escaped. Months later its carcass was found in the hot, salty spring water in the town of Salies-de-Béarn. The meat was apparently preserved and still edible! This discovery of the preservative qualities of salting pork led to a ham production industry in the area that still thrives today.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
4 slices ham
¼ cup cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley

Method:

Preheat your oven to 160°C / 325°F
Generously butter 2 large ramekins and place on a baking sheet
Place 2 slices of ham in the base of each dish
Crack 2 eggs in each dish
Divide the cream and pour into each dish
Add some black pepper and salt if desired (but remember the ham is already salty)
Bake until eggs are cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes (depending on how runny you like your yolks)
Sprinkle on some parsley and serve with a crusty baguette
Bon Appetit!

Thai vegetable salad

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Crunchy, zingy, tasty and good for you too.  Now, how good is that?  Before lock-down, I had invited six friends over for a Thai style lunch.  I love Asian cooking but it is not something I often do.  A good friend of mine, Sally Sprinkle, had recently returned from a vacation in Thailand and had brought me back some spices and pastes and I was chomping at the bit to start experimenting with some new ideas. The main course was decided – that was the easy part- we would make a classic Shrimp Pad Thai and a Green Thai chicken curry with coconut rice.  But, what to serve as a starter?  I wanted something light and fresh and full of flavour and preferably vegetarian.  I tried out a few ideas and settled on a very simple vegetable salad which I tossed in a Thai dressing.  It hit the spot perfectly and was thoroughly enjoyed by all, so much so that there was not one peanut or bean sprout left on the serving platter.

If you wanted to serve this by itself you could simply add some cooked shrimp or chicken or even some chilled egg noodles.  If you do not want to add peanut butter to the dressing, simply leave it out and the tasty will still be as delicious, more citrusy but just as good.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the Salad

  • 3 cups finely sliced Chinese or Savoy or Napa cabbage
  • 1 cup sprouts
  • 1 finely sliced green and/or red pepper
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves or arugula or both
  • 1 finely sliced, seeded red chilli
  • 1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise, gutted and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded or finely sliced carrots (optional)
  • 1 cup whole sugar snap peas or edamame beans (optional)
  • 2 medium scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil, mint and cilantro
  • For the Thai Peanut Dressing

    • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter (use unsweetened)
    • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
    • 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
    • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
    • 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and finely sliced or ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • Handful of fresh cilantro and basil, chopped

Handful of toasted cashew nuts and/or peanuts

Method:

Place all the fresh vegetables and herbs in a large bowl and toss to combine
In a small glass bowl, mix all the dressing ingredients and whisk well, this can be done using a sticker or immersion blender
Dress the salad with the dressing just before serving
Sprinkle on some toasted cashew nuts and/or peanuts
Bon Appetit!

Chicken sosaties

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Sosaties are one of the great  traditional South African braai (barbeque) foods of all timeSosaties are not just any old kebabs.  They’re usually lamb meat on skewers, marinated in a distinctive aromatic Cape Malay-style sauce.  The term derives from sate (“skewered meat”) and saus (spicy sauce).  There are a few variations to the sosatie marinade, but most at least include apricot jam, curry powder and onions. The combination of fruit and curry flavors is something you’ll see often in  Cape Malay recipes, like the classic bobotie, and give such delicious results.

Today, I have decided to do a chicken sosatie.  See Lamb sosaties for my lamb sosatie recipe.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut up into large cubes
1 large green pepper
1 onion
12 dried yet plump apricots
marinade:
3 small onions, diced
1-2 small chili peppers or ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons/ 30 g curry powder (depends on the strength)
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons powdered ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander/cilantro
10 dried apricots, cut into tiny pieces
175 ml/ ¾ cup apricot jam
50 g / ¼ cup light brown sugar
150 ml / cup white wine vinegar
300 ml / 1¼ cup water

Method:

Peel and dice the onions
Cut up the peppers finely
Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onions and chili and cook until just translucent
Add the curry, turmeric, bay leaves, ginger and coriander and allow to cook for a minute
Add the apricots and all the remaining ingredients and leave to simmer about 15 minutes
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely, about 3 hours
When cool, add the marinade to the meat and place in the refrigerator for about 24 hours ideally (minimum 4 hours)
Now cut the peppers and onions to the same size as the meat cubes
When ready to grill, thread four meat pieces alternating with green pepper, onion and apricot to make a sosatie
Remember to soak the skewers first if you are using wooden ones so that they do not burn
Heat the BBQ to about 250°C/500°F
Cook the kebabs about 10 to 15 minutes
Turn several times to make the edges golden, basting with the marinade
Enjoy! Lekker eet! Bon Appetit!

Wine suggestion: Viognier or Chenin Blanc go well with this spicy dish but if you prefer a red, Shiraz or Grenache are equally good choices