Baked camembert with blackberries and spiced pecans

Baked camembert with blackberries and spiced pecans
Baked camembert with blackberries and spiced pecans

Christmas is around the corner and I am always on the hunt for fun recipes that are quick and simple. No one wants to stand and cook for hours if you don't have to. This recipe is a win because it is utterly delicious and will take you 20 minutes to make! The spiced nuts are heaven and in my opinion a dish all on their own! Get ready for a cheese crime scene. If you are anything like me I know that you will be victorious scoring the most nuts! Don't be shy to mix up the berries. I just like the blackberries as they are tart and compliment the sweet nuts perfectly! 


Serves 5 as an appetizer,  

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams pecan nuts, halved
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted  
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 250 grams camembert, choose one that is in a container to bake.
  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries plus a few to decorate
  • 1/4 lemon freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • fresh thyme to garnish
  • crackers of your choice for serving.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven 180°C

Place the nuts on a roasting tray and roast for 10 minutes to release the flavours. 
Meanwhile, add the butter, sugar, and spices along with two tablespoons of water to a pot over a medium heat. Let the mixture reduce but keep an eye on it as it can burn easily. Let the mixture bubble and start to thicken. Once the nuts are ready add them to the pot and stir until they are evenly coated. 

Line the roasting tray with wax paper. Spread the nuts out on the wax paper and pop them back into the oven for 10-15 minutes. 

When you add the nuts to the oven also add the camembert. It takes about 10-15 minutes to warm up. 

In a small pot add the blackberries, lemon, and honey. Bring to a simmer and let it reduce for 5-10 minutes until it reaches a jam-like consistency.

Once the cheese and nuts are ready remove them from the oven. Let the nuts cool for 5 minutes. Add the cheese and crackers to your serving plate. Top the cheese with the berries and nuts. Add a few fresh berries and sprinkle over thyme leaves. 

Serve hot and get ready for cheese heaven! 

-Melissa 


 


 

Braai Broodjies for Heritage day + a prize!

Braai Broodjies for Heritage day + a prize!
Braai Broodjies for Heritage day + a prize!
Braai Broodjies for Heritage day + a prize!
Braai Broodjies for Heritage day + a prize!
IMG_4236.jpgBraai Broodjies for Heritage day + a prize!
Braai Broodjies for Heritage day + a prize!
Braai Broodjies for Heritage day + a prize!
IMG_4164.jpg
Braai Broodjies for Heritage day + a prize!

Heritage day is around the corner and I have paired up with Netflorist to give away an awesome prize. It is proudly South African and it is perfect for the man in your life! Netflorist caters for all occasions, not just the one’s we remember such as heritage day! Read to the end to see the giveaway. 
I am a braai loving gal and pride myself on my ability to cook with fire. I have my father to thank for that! 
All the countless braai nights and fire builds were not in vain! 

I decided to share a fun recipe that is not only delicious but also gives you a great vegetarian option for braai day. Whether you choose to snack on it or make it the main event, that’s up to you. 

Braai broodjies (BBQ toasted sandwiches) are one of my favourite things at a braai. I mean, let's be honest, cheese on fresh bread flamed to perfection is heaven. These are no different. I’ve shared a basic cheese and tomato because I feel everyone needs that in his or her arsenal and I have also shared a slightly more fancy one. The secret is in the quality cheese and bread so try and find great sourdough that has been freshly baked and melt in your mouth good cheese. 


Serves 5

Ingredients: 

1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 large red onion, sliced
1 loaf sourdough
200 grams butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
250 grams Raclette cheese, grated
250 grams Boerekas or mature cheddar, grated
1 plum tomato, sliced
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 handful fresh rocket
100 grams sundried tomatoes in olive oil
Salt and pepper 


Instructions:

In a medium frying pan over a medium heat add a teaspoon of coconut oil. 
Add 3/4 of the sliced onion and gently sauté until soft. Add the balsamic and reduce until the onions become sticky. Once ready set aside. 

Slice the sourdough into even 1cm think pieces. 
Butter both sides of each slice generously. 

Now it is time to build the sandwiches. 
Start with a smear of Dijon mustard. Then add a generous amount of both kinds of cheese. 
For half the toasties add a layer of the fresh onion that you saved. Then add the fresh tomato. Close the sandwiches.
For the other half add the sundried tomatoes and the balsamic onions. Top it with the rocket and close the toasties. 
Season the toasties and they are ready to cook! 

Add them to the braai when the fire is hot. I like to add mine to the side so that they do not burn and get a chance to melt. Once the toast is golden and the cheese has melted, about 6 minutes, they are ready! 

Feast! 

***Competition closed

Prize time: I am giving away a custom engraved biltong slicer to one lucky reader! 

Braai Broodjies for Heritage day + a prize!

All you have to do is comment below with your best braai memory and follow both Netflorist and me on Instagram and you could win! T's and C's apply. Competition for South African residents only. Entries close 21st September at 12 noon. Prize not redeemable for cash. 

Instagram handles:
@netflorist
@trufflejournal

-Melissa 

 

 

Kale Parmesan Chips

Kale Parmesan Chips

Crunch is the ultimate texture in my world. I find it utterly satisfying. I used to be obsessed with crisps that are unhealthy, oily and didn't offer any nutritional value. Once I figured out that it was the crunch I was after, I started to shift what I saw as a snack. I decided to rather go after tasty, crunchy snacks that are high in nutritional value and don't leave me with guilt after eating empty calories. A nutritional snack will also leave you satiated rather than hungry 20 minutes later. Making mindful decisions on snacking has been one of the best things I have done to support my decision in leading a healthier lifestyle. 

These kale chips are easy to make and are a fun way to use the dark green leaf. You can play around with toppings. If you are vegan why not try mixing them with some toasted pumpkin seeds and hummus for dipping? 


*Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, stalks removed 
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons coconut oil
  • salt
  • ¼ cup parmesan, finely grated

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Tear the kale leaves into bite sized portions and place them onto a roasting tray. Massage all the leaves with coconut oil until they are evenly coated. Spread them evenly on the roasting tray and crack some salt over the top.

If the roasting tray is full, rather spread the kale between two trays to give the leaves space to roast without steaming, otherwise, they’ll get soggy rather than crispy. Pop them into the oven and roast for ten minutes tossing them at the halfway point. Once ready, sprinkle with some grated parmesan and serve.

Food Tip:

Parmesan is the ultimate umami flavour and a light sprinkling can help to elevate a dish. After all, umami means yummy!

-Melissa 

 

 

The Mojo Market - Sea Point

The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point
The Mojo Market - Sea Point

There is a new foodie hotspot in town and it's called The Mojo Market. A dazzling little space filled with food and design vendors serving up all things delicious. (Yes – even the leather handbags) 

With a large variety of cuisine, this is the new place for inducing food comas! 
You can find traditional South African cuisine such as bunny chows, bobotie and potjie along with international treats such as Mexican, Cuban and Hawaiian (my personal favourite - Hokey Poke - A fresh bowl food concept that I am in love with.)

If you are anything like me and find cheese something of a spiritual experience; be sure to visit raclette store. 
For those that don’t know; raclette is a Swiss cheese that is melted and served with baby potatoes along with pickles and pickled onions. 
This could very well be their greatest claim to fame (along with wartime neutrality and the Large Hadron Collider in Cern)

If you have visited Switzerland, Germany or Austria the smell will fill you with European nostalgia in a nano second! 

Whether you are looking for sushi, burgers, nourish bowls, tacos or pizza you will find it at the market. There is even an artisanal tea stand selling exquisite teas. 

It also houses stands of local designer wear that showcase some pretty amazing homegrown talent. 
You’ll find handcrafted leather bags, beautifully handmade clothing, jewellery, accessories - All with a truly local flare.

In hindsight, I must say it would have been a great discovery before my journey out to the desert for AfrikaBurn. The craftsmanship of some of the items I stumbled on at Mojo would have found a perfect juxtaposition in Tankwa. I love supporting local and with such great designs, it’s really a bit of a no-brainer. 

If you find yourself there in the evening why not visit the fresh oyster and champagne bar? A glass of crisp bubbles paired with sunset views of the Sea Point promenade is a pretty great end to the day. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the sunset with a perfect glass of bubbly and raclette.
The seating area has more of a cafeteria/food-hall feel to it, great for relaxed, laid back missions but perhaps not the right fit for a couple looking for a bit more ambience and privacy.

My sweet tooth kicked in like the demon it is while I was perusing the goods and I had to hunt for something to satisfy the craving immediately. 

I tried Baskin Robbins (because of the sugar content) and of course the novelty of trying the only American brand in the market. Its inclusion does seem a bit off amongst the craftier food stalls but judging from the queues – it’s clear that my perception is lost on the regular market goer and family units where the kids are screaming for the brightest fare on offer. Their neon pink signage certainly does the trick.

After my cotton candy ice cream, I popped in to try the brownies at the local sweet store - which was a wise choice in my opinion. (The wise choice here being a second dessert...obviously) 

I love the fact that there is also a small local butcher, bakery and vegetable store. All organic and fresh. 
It's a great spot to pop into if you are needing to fill up the pantry with odds and ends. The selection is small and considered, so don’t expect sprawling aisles. You have a local woollies or checkers for that.

The market is attached to the Mojo Hotel. Offering private rooms and dorms. This space has a quirky interior that falls in line with the design element of the whole experience. I must say that if I was passing by Cape Town I would stay at the hotel just to experience the market and the food. In fact, they have created a little oasis that means one might never leave! 

The market is walking distance from my house which means the temptation to hardly cook and pretty much move in is strong. 

-Melissa 

 

Brie stuffed artichokes

Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes
Brie stuffed artichokes

This week has been simply manic and I  must admit as grateful as I am to be busy it does make me miss my kitchen and question my sanity. Cooking by myself with some music on in the background is everything to me. Its like a zen meditation that I get to do. It doesn't happen often but I get these slight moment where I doubt myself. Im not sure if you get them? Where I have this chaotic life and then in the hast I think to myself, am I doing the right thing? Can I really create this food dream that I work so hard for. Do I have the talent in my kitchen to be creative and take on a dish that I haven't made before as well as develop it? All these questions come rushing in all at the same time when I have these moments. It is so hard with social media to not doubt myself. I find myself in a moment of hesitation comparing myself to other creatives which is creative death in my opinion, yet I still do it. 

Then I enter my kitchen and I can breath. I find a moment where everything makes sense and I know what I am doing is being done in the best way that I know how. I remind myself to take a second and acknowledge myself for how far I have come and how much I have learnt. I force myself to look up from my phone and away from my social media. To rather look inward at my talent and not at everyone else's. I know that no matter what happens, or how crazy life gets that I just need to keep cooking. 

On that note I found these amazing artichokes at the farmers market this past weekend and knew I wanted to be creative with them. They are so beautiful to shoot. I have never cooked with artichokes before but I know that I love to eat them. The result is juicy moorish cheesy artichokes that are the most fun to eat and delectable! They are best served with a great white wine as the richness of the cheese is perfectly paired with the wine! 

After I made these I had to remind myself that I've got this. That I can do this and that it isn't that bad if you have a good glass of wine in your hand and a delicious meal!  


Ingredients:

  • 5 medium artichokes
  • ½ cup of cream
  • 250 grams Brie cheese, diced with rind on
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Honey to serve

 

For the bread crumb topping:

  • 2 slices of thick cut sourdough bread, torn into fine pieces
  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Bring a pot of salted water to boil.

Cut the stems of your artichokes so that they have a flat base. Trim the leaves slightly. The base of the leaf is edible so don’t cut it all off. Once trimmed, pop the artichokes into the pot and boil for 15-20 minutes. Once ready drain and set aside in the colander.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a small saucepan over a low heat add the cream, Brie, and Parmesan. Melt all the ingredients together until soft and creamy.  Remove from heat and while whisking add the egg yolk and cayenne pepper to taste.

Cut the artichokes in half or leave some whole if you prefer. Place them on a roasting tray lined with wax paper. Pull the leaves outward opening them up like a flower. Fill the artichokes with the creamy cheese sauce. Make sure you fill all the grooves!  

In a separate bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, pistachios, butter and oregano. Sprinkle over the top of the artichokes. 

Bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm with fresh lemon zest on top! Of course, add a beautiful glass of white wine!

-Melissa