Posted in Recipe

Chicken Liver Sosaties and Creamy Samp

As some of you might already have read here on my blog, I was a finalist in the Sunday Times Stalwart of the Year competition in 2011. When I first received the entry form for the competition, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about entering, but as I read through the list of ingredients I can use, this recipe just presented itself as I wrapped my mind around it and so I entered and became a finalist on the strength of this recipe. It can be both a starter or a main, when you use it as a main, just make the sosatie a bit bigger. A sosatie in South Africa is the Arikaans word for a kebab. Unfortunately it is a bit complicated and you need time for this starter, but it is delicious and worthwhile making it.

Samp is dried corn kernels that have been stamped and chopped until broken but not as fine as Mielie-meal or mielie rice. The coating around the kernel loosens and is removed during the pounding and stamping process. It is tasteless and needs a strong chicken stock and other accompaniments to add flavour.  Samp also takes a long time to cook and you’ll need to soak it well before you attempt cooking it. I prefer and overnight soak and a minimum of 5 hours. If you cannot find samp in your country you can use risotto as a replacement. Enough for 4 starters.

For the Chicken Livers & Marinade:

  • 250g Chicken Livers
  • 125ml Buttermilk
  • 125ml Sauvignon Blanc
  • 10g Coriander Leaves Chopped
  • 1 Garlic clove finely mashed to paste
  • 1ml Ground Coriander
  • 1ml Turmeric
  • 1ml Ground Black Pepper
  • Salt to taste


  • Clean the livers of all connective tissue and cut into 30x30mm pieces and set aside.
  • For the marinade, mix together in a bowl all the rest of the ingredients, except the wine, and add the chicken livers, allow to marinate in the fridge for about 1 hour.
  • After the marinating hour, skewer the liver cubes onto 10cm skewers that was soaked in water for the time that the livers marinated. Once skewered set aside and continue with the samp and rest of your preparations.

For the Samp:

  • 250ml Samp
  • 1l Strong Chicken Stock
  • 125ml Sauvignon Blanc
  • 100g Butternut
  • 120g Mixed Mushrooms (Shitake, portabelini & Enochi)
  • 6-8 Broad Bean Pods
  • 5-6 Pea Shoots
  • 50g Butter
  • 30g Pecorino cheese
  • Salt to taste


  • Wash the samp twice and then cover with water and allow to soak for about 5 hours.
  • While the samp soaks, prepare the butternut by small dicing it and set aside.
  • Remove the broad beans from their pods, blanch and refresh in cold water. Remove the shells until you just have the two inside halves, they should be bright green and soft under the touch.
  • Roughly cut the mushrooms and set aside.
  • After the soaking of the samp, par boil (over a slow heat) the samp covered in the 500ml of the chicken stock, once al dente (after about 20-30minutes of cooking) remove from heat and transfer as is (do not drain, you’ll need all the water left to get it soft) to a heavy sauce pan with half of the butter.
  • Add 125ml of chicken stock and cook until most of the liquid has cooked off.
  • Add the 125ml of Sauvignon Blanc and again reduce.
  • Repeat this process with the rest of the chicken stock until the samp is soft and almost sticky.
  • During the last 5 minutes add the butternut and mushrooms and cooked until the butternut is soft but still firm, it shouldn’t become a mash.
  • During the last minute add the pecorino and mix well.
  • At the same time pan fry the chicken liver sosaties until just cooked, they should be still pink on the inside. Reserve the rest of the marinade.
  • Remove the sosaties from the pan and deglase the pan with the wine, allow to reduce by a third.
  • Add the rest of the reserved marinade and reduce.
  • Do not allow the buttermilk to split, add the rest of the butter to thicken.
  • All components are now ready to be plated.

To Assemble:

  • Set the samp in a round food form on the plate.
  • Add the two sosaties next to it.
  • Drizzle some of the reduced marinade around the plate.
  • Drop the broad beans onto the plate.
  • Set the pea shoots on top of the samp and some of the broad beans.

Enjoy with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot de Blanc will also go well with this dish.

Posted in Best Find, Good Food, Recipe

A Festive Trio of Fennel

First of all apologies for not being on my blog for the last two weeks, but it is winter in South Africa and I took my winter hibernating break! Well, it wasn’t that much hibernating as I went on a short holiday to the Cape, which is the wine producing region of SA and I tasted some lovely wines from a variety of vineyards, will write later more in detail about it. Back again I worked on my spring and summer catering menu, which I will publish shortly, some of the photos didn’t come out the way I wanted it so I have to make some of the recipes again, style the food, re-shoot and hope for a better set this time around.

Everybody always rave about the liquorice smell and taste of fennel and yes it is the primary smell and taste, but fennel transports me back to Parys (not in France, but the one in the Free State province of SA) where my grandparents lived. The ground is rich from the fertile waters of the Vaal River and my grandfather’s mulch of good compost and around this time of the year during the winter school break we would go and visit. Above ground stood the proud fennel stalks with these beautiful and most delicate leaves, fragrant and sweet when you start to chew on it. O, and the the best part was when my grandfather would lift a bulb out of the ground, pure white and so inviting to use as best as you could.

One of my grandmother’s recipes was roasted fennel with the Sunday lamb roast and I thought I would like to repeat her recipe for you here as it really goes so well with about anything. All three recipes are vegetarian and part of my dedication to and support of Meat Free Mondays. Enjoy and hope they’ll bring you as much nourishment both physically and emotionally and spiritually as they do for me! Woolworths and most of the good Fruit and Veggie Shops have these fat bulbs available at the moment, so pack them in and try these recipes for Meat Free Monday!

Oven Roasted Fennel

You’ll need:

  • 3-4 large fennel bulbs
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 40ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Additional olive oil


  1. Cut the long stalks off and quarter the bulbs lengthwise.
  2. Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic and rub the fennel quarters with this mixture and then add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Drizzle some of the additional oil on your baking sheet, arrange the fennel on the tray and bake in the oven for 40-50minutes at 180°C.
  4. Serves about 4-6 people and great with a roasted chicken, fish or beef.

Fennel Terrine

This is a wonderful terrine and goes well with trout and salmon. It can be served cold or once sliced you can pan fry the slices if you would prefer it hot. The great advantage of this recipe is that you must make it the day before as the terrine needs a good 24hours to set in the fridge. If you want to you can add more layers of other vegetables such as spinach leaves or ribboned carrots that have been blanched. It will add flavour and colour.

You’ll need:

  • 6 – 8 medium potatoes (choose a waxy variety which will give you the sticky type of consistency)
  • 1 Fennel bulb
  • 1 punnet (250g) of Shitake Mushrooms
  • 5ml crushed garlic
  • 125ml Milk
  • 150g Butter
  • 1ml Grounded Fennel Seeds Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Additional olive oil


Potatoes: Peel and quarter the potatoes and boil in salt water until soft but still firm. While waiting for potatoes to cook, drizzle some olive oil in a 220x110x65mm loaf tin, with your fingers rub the oil to cover the whole pan and then line with about two lengths of perforated glad wrap, some of the glad wrap must overlap the pan to cover the terrine once made. Also finely chop a good handful of the fennel leaves to be added to your mash. Once the potatoes are cooked, remove and drain and make your mash by adding salt, pepper and the ground fennel seeds as well as 75g of the butter and adding the milk as needed. You need a fairly firm mash, so add just enough milk to make the mash bind together. You’ll need 700g of mash to make the terrine. Set a side.

Mushrooms: Remove the stems of the mushrooms and then heat 75g of butter in a pan and add some olive oil as well. Once the oil is hot place the mushrooms bottoms down in the pan and fry, once they have absorbed all the oil and butter and start to smell smoky, turn around and fry until soft. Once fried, add salt & pepper to taste and the garlic, set aside on paper towels to allow excess water to drain away.

Fennel: Remove the stalks and wash. Reserve a good bunch of the fine hair like leaves if the fennel to be chopped and added to your mash. With a mandolin slicer, thinly slice your fennel lengthwise. Bring 2 litres of water, 10ml salt and 5ml lemon juice to the boil. Once the water is boiling, blanch the sliced fennel for 3-4 minutes, remove and refresh in cold water. Set aside.

To assemble: Spread 220g of the mash in the bottom of the loaf tin. Then layer the whole mushrooms. Spread another 220g layer of mash. Now add your layer of blanched fennel. Finally spread the remaining 260g of mash on top of the fennel layer. Take the overlapping pieces of glad wrap and cover your terrine. Once covered, use your hands and firmly press the terrine to ensure that you have a well compacted terrine. Refrigerate for 24hours. After the refrigeration, remove your terrine from the loaf tine, the glad wrap should make it very easy to remove, set and slice on a platter and decorate with some reserved fennel leaves. Serve about 6-8 portions.

Fennel & Potato Pot Pie

This is such and easy recipe and can also be made well in advanced. If I don’t serve it on its own as part of a vegetarian dish, I like to serve it with roasted pork belly or mackerel. There is a little cheating in terms of the pastry, but still a great way to present it to your guests. Serves 4-6 depending on the size of your ramekins.

You’ll need:

  • 1 roll of puff pastry 400g
  • 1 egg
  • 5ml Maldon Salt (it must be the large flaky salt)
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 3ml fennel seeds
  • 5-6 spring onions
  • 250g sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 2ml crushed garlic
  • 50g butter and 30ml olive oil
  • 125ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 60ml dry white wine
  • 30ml Cognac or good brandy
  • 125ml double cream or Crème Fraiche
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


For the Pastry: Defrost and thaw your pastry. Flour a work surface well, unroll the dough onto the flour and using a cookie cutter, cut 4-6 forms that will fit on top of your pie. Transfer to a baking tray, egg washes the pastries and sprinkle with salt. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 15-20minutes until golden brown and puffed. Set aside. Note: You can reheat them for a few minutes in the oven if they have cooled down too much.

For the Pie: Peel and quarter the potatoes and boil in salt water until soft but still firm. Slice the fennel with some of the stalks and the spring onions. Fry them in the oil and butter mix with the fennel seeds and mushrooms until soft. Add your stock of choice, cognac, white wine and potatoes and reduce by half. Add your cream and seasoning and reduce the liquid until your have a stew like consistency. Remove from the heat and divide into individual ramekins. Set a pastry on top and serve immediately with pan-fried ostrich fillets, duck or beef fillet or smoked mackerel.

Posted in Recipe, Wine

Pan-Fried Trout with Carrot & Cucumber Ribbon Salad, poached Fennel and Sesame Vinaigrette

Living in Pretoria and near prime trout towns such Dullstroom, Belfast and Lydenburg, it just makes sense to me to support trout farmers as they are closer to us in terms of freshness and accessibility of produce. Sea fish options are usually frozen due to the fact that we live far inland and nearly 700km away from the nearest coastal town. We are very fortunate to have access to quality farmed trout. Yes, I know there is this perception that farmed is not always so good, but I have found that many of the farmers are extremely conscious and sensible when it comes to the treatment of their fish and many still try to use natural farming methods where they can and I feel they add to the sustainability of trout.

I love the delicate flaky pink to orange flesh of trout and when lightly smoked the flavour is much rounder, fuller and I find more enhanced as well. I do my own smoking when I have time for it, otherwise if you don’t have time for it, Woolworths sells a lovely lightly smoked trout that will work just as well. Here is my recipe for a delectable fillet of Lightly Smoked Trout, pan fried and served on a bed of carrot and cucumber ribbons, poached fennel and a delicate sesame vinaigrette. This is a quick and easy light spring or summer, of course spring is just around the corner, and most of the components can be prepared in advanced and assembled just before serving. Enough for 4 portions. I love to pair it with La Vierge Temptation.

For the Salad:

  • 2-3 Large Carrots
  • 1 Large English Cucumber
  • 2-3 Fennel Bulbs
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Onion seed sprouts

For the Vinaigrette:

  • 90ml Olive Oil
  • 30ml Sesame Oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2ml Onion Seeds
  • 1ml powdered fennel seeds
  • Salt to taste

For the Trout:

  • 800g of Lightly Smoked Trout
  • Salt and Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 30ml Olive Oil
  • 1 pack Onion Seeds Sprout


For the Vinaigrette: Add all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until emulsified. Set aside till needed.

For the Salad: Peel the carrot and slice ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Blanch the ribbons for 1 minute and refresh in ice water, remove and set aside. Peel the cucumber and with a vegetable peeler slice ribbons off the cucumber. Add to the carrot ribbons. Cut the fennel into slices and blanch for a minute in lightly salted water with the juice of half a lemon, remove and refresh in ice water. Combine the carrot and cucumber ribbons and blanched fennel in a bowl and dress with half the vinaigrette, mix well.

For the Trout: Cut the Trout into 200g fillets and season only the skin side with the salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a pan and pan fry the trout until the skin is crispy and the fish is just cooked. Allow fish to rest while assembling the plate.

To Assemble:

  1. Add a heap of the ribbon salad to the middle of the plate.
  2. Set a piece of trout on top of the ribbons.
  3. Arrange some of the fennel around the trout.
  4. Add a small bouquet of the sprouts on top of the trout.
  5. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette around on the plate and scatter some onion seeds around on the plate.
Posted in Good Food, How To, Recipe

Chicken Boudin with Courgette Spaghetti & Thyme Velouté

I think most people experience a moment in their lives when they felt regret that they didn’t listen more carefully or paid closer attention to what mom or dad was trying to teach you. I had such a moment in my life recently when I decided I want to make my own sausage or in Afrikaans “Boerewors”. My dad came from a generation where they were taught to be completely self-sufficient, he could do anything and everything – a true Jack of all trades and master of many as well, may I add. One thing where he was a great master was sausage making and today I can kick myself that I didn’t pay closer attention when he tried to teach me this art as a teenager. He is unfortunately not with us anymore so I can’t ask, but decided recently to start from the bottom and work my way up in the art of sausage making.

I decided to start with a Boudin, but followed a simple and very modern way of making this French version of a sausage. The technique is very easy, you need a filling, cling film and a pot of boiling water. First make your sausage filling, then place about 150-200g of filling at the one end of your cling film and start rolling the filling to be encased by the cling film. To compact the sausage, take the two ends of the cling film and start to twist them to push the filling all to the middle until you have a sausage measuring about 10-12cm. Make a knot on both sides and set the sausage aside making the rest. Your boudin should look something like a christmas cracker at the end. Once you have made all the sausages, you then poach them in fast boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Once poached you can remove the cling film  and if you like you can give the sausage some colour by frying it in a hot pan. Here is my recipe for Chicken Boudin with courgette spaghetti and a creamy thyme velouté:

For the Boudins:

  • 200ml water
  • 195g flour
  • 600g skinless chicken breast fillets, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 slices white bread, crust removed
  • 120 g butter, softened
  • 50ml White Jerepigo
  • 100g mushrooms, chopped and fried
  • 250ml double cream
  • 4ml smoked paprika
  • 4ml ground cumin
  • 2 Garlic clove
  • Leaves of 4 thyme sprigs
  • Salt to taste

For the Velouté:

  • 40g Unsalted butter
  • 3 Shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 100 ml White Jerepigo
  • 75ml vermouth
  • 375ml strong chicken stock
  • 250ml double cream
  • 5ml smooth dijon mustard

For the Spaghetti:

  • 1 Large Courgette per person
  • Salted boiling water
  • 40ml Olive oil
  • 6-8 Rosa tomatoes per person
  • Himalayan Rock Salt
  • Giant Oyster Mushrooms, sliced (see photo)
  • A few chive sprigs for decoration


  1. First make the boudins. Fry the mushrooms in the butter until they are golden and nearly crispy. The next step is to place all the ingredients for the boudins in a food processor and blend until smooth. To make a boudin, lay a length of cling film on the kitchen top. Put the mixture in a piping bag and pipe a long tube of 100-150g and about 10-12cm long, on one side of the cling film, lengthways. Roll the cling film across the chicken mixture to form a long cylindrical shape and tie a knot in end. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Turn the heat down now as the water must not boil or the sausages will puff and split. Plunge the sausages into the simmering water and poach for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your boudins. When cooked, lift out of the water and allow to cool for about two minutes. Remove the cling film and cut each boudin at an angle and flatten the bottoms by cutting it so that it can stand on your plate. You can serve as is or I like to give it a little colour later just before service in a pan. You can make the boudins well in advance, when you fry them in the pan for colour, that will add heat to them again.
  2. To make the velouté: Heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme and black pepper, once the shallots are translucent add the Jerepigo and vermouth and reduce by 60% or until it resembles a thick syrup in consistency. Add the chicken stock now and reduce by half. Add the cream and dijon mustard and reduce until the sauce starts to thicken. After all the reductions the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it is too runny reduce for a further 5 minutes. Taste now for salt and add if needed. Strain the sauce through a sieve, discard the whole parts and keep the sauce warm over a double boiler or bain-marie until needed.
  3. To make the spaghetti: First fry the sliced king oyster mushrooms in half of the oil until golden brown and nearly crispy. Sprinkle with himalayan salt once out of the pan and set aside. Add the rest of the oil and quickly sear the tomatoes until their skins blister, remove from heat and sprinkle with some of the himalayan salt as well. Please see my article here on how to make the courgette spaghetti. Important: blanch the spaghetti only for about 20-30 seconds, more than that and they disintegrate to a mush on your plate. Refresh immediately in ice water to stop the cooking. Here the pasta can’t wait for the sauce! So make that sauce first and everything else first. 

To Assemble:

  1. Make sure your plates are warm for the dish.
  2. Place one boudin slighty pan fried and cut at an angle on each plate.
  3. Arrange some spaghetti and tomatoes around it.
  4. Place two slices of the mushrooms against each boudin and decorate with two chive sprigs.
  5. Laddle about 50ml of velouté over each boudin and serve.

This is such an easy way to start making your own sausages, you can use pork, fish and I have recently made a prawn and scallop boudin with a curry velouté which was heaven on a plate! Will share this later with you. Point is this is a good start in learning how to make a sausage and the lessons learned here will come in handy later. Enjoy and have fun!

The same plate from another angle.