Oven roasted green beans

Dont judge a book by its cover they say. Likewise do not be put off by the picture. This is one tasty way to cook beans. Spicy, tasty and hardly any oil to boot. From Bong mom’s cookbook blog, give this one a try and you won’t be disappointed.

Take a bunch of beans, about 500g. Wash and chop ends off. Leave them whole.

Chop an onion into big slices. Add a couple of garlic cloves. Add to beans.

Mix together

1 tsp garlic powder, red chilli powder, salt and chaat masala and 2 tsp olive oil. Add this mix to the green beans. Mix well and set aside for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C. In a large tray place beans in one layer and roast for 15 minutes. Stir once then roast for another 10-15 minutes keeping an eye after the 10 minutes mark.

Serve warm.

Recipe source: Bong Mom’s cookbook ( with slight changes)


Baked Brie with honey and nuts

This one is for cheese lovers. Brie baked with honey and fruits and nuts enclosed in puff pastry. It does serve 14! In case you are wondering😜


2 sheets puff pastry

2 Tb honey

1/3 cup dry cranberries

1/4 cup walnuts

1 tsp rosemary leaves fresh

16 oz Brie or Camembert

1 egg beaten with 1 Tb water


Preheat oven to 200C

Roll out the pastry to 30 cm squares. Trim edges to form 2 circles.

Cut off the top rind of cheese gently as much as you can remove. Place cheese rind side down on one pastry sheet. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with rosemary, nuts and berries. Brush exposed edge of pastry with egg wash. Cover with the other sheet of pastry. Press against the sides of the cheese to seal in the cheese. Press firmly. Cut off excess pastry edges leaving a generous 1 inch border.

Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Brush pastry all over with egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes. Let stand for 45 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers and fruit.


In the original recipe the off cuts of pastry were used to decorate the top of the cheese. Pecans instead of walnuts and dried cherries instead of cranberries were used.

Recipe source: onceuponachef.com

Serves : 14



Almost manchurian

Continuing my love affair with cauliflower… Cauliflower manchurian is a favourite of mine. But the deep frying often puts me off. But this recipe, where the taste is almost like the manchurian, but without the deep frying, caught my eye. It’s a tasty addition to my regulars now.


2 handfuls of coriander leaves, stems and all

2inch ginger

4-5 cloves of garlic

1 tsp of pepper

11/2 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp white vinegar

11/2 tsp Garam masala powder

a pinch of red colour (optional)

1 medium sized cauliflower

1Tb besan

2Tb cornflour


Oil to cook

Make a paste of the coriander leaves, ginger,garlic and pepper. Mix with soy sauce, vinegar, red colour and Garam masala.

Chop cauliflower into bite size florets. Marinate in the paste and set aside for 3 hours.

Heat oil in a flat pan. To the cauliflower add the flours and fry in the hot oil on medium heat. Stir now and then. Fry till crispy. Best to cook on a high heat at first then on a low heat gently till crispy.


Strawberry Jam

Strawberry farmers here must have had a bumper crop because the market is flooded with strawberries. After making smoothies and cakes and pies and yogurt berry Popsicles I still had strawberries to play with. So I tried my hand at making jam. Tentatively. Jam making, I wrongly assumed, was a tedious process, all the canning, sterilising jars, setting the jam, pectin… Well, guess what? It is terribly easy to make.

So here is my first jar of strawberry jam. Delectable, sweet with no preservatives and so much better than the store bought ones. You can see the actual fruit and taste them. Served with yogurt and granola it was really worth the effort.

I followed my favourite blog Lebovitz for the recipe. If you are really into it go to his blog for more details, read the comments section.

You will need

900 g strawberries

580g sugar

1  juicy lemon

Wash, hull and chop the berries into quarters. Keep all to the same size. In a large pan made of non reactive material add the strawberries and sugar. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and add to pan with the peels. Stir and leave for 8 hours or at least two hours at room temperature.

When ready to make place a small plate in the freezer to check if jam is done. (If not use a candy thermometer).

Cook the berries with the lemon peels for 10 minutes stirring a bit on medium heat, do not raise the temperature to boiling. When the syrup looks like maple syrup after about 15 minutes , place a tsp of jam on the plate in the freezer. Return plate to freezer and check after a few minutes. If the surface of the jam wrinkles on touching it’s done.

Or use a candy thermometer and when it  reaches 218- 220F it is done.

Remove lemon peels and pour into jars.

Makes about a kilo of jam.


I would like to reduce the sugar a tiny bit but comments in the blog suggest this much sugar is needed to preserve and jell the jam.

My jam was not set like a jelly, it was a bit runny but I love it this way so it was not a problem. If you want it like jelly you can grate part of a green apple into the mix before cooking.

If you want a smooth jam, just purée with a stick blender, after cooking and cooling, to desired consistency.

Sterilise jars before filling. I poured boiling water in the jar, left it for few minutes then emptied it. I then stood it upside down till dry.

Recipe source: Lebovitz


Homemade granola is delicious and quick to make. And you can add whatever you like according to your taste, more nuts, less dried fruit or vice versa. If you can’t live without chocolate add choc chips or not. You get the idea. I made up this mix and at the rate it is depleting I can only guess it’s really good.

2 cups old fashioned traditional oats

1 heaped cup mixed nuts ( I used almonds,pistachio and peanuts)

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup mixed seeds like sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds

1 tsp cinnamon powder

5Tb brown rice syrup or maple syrup or honey

3 Tb olive oil

11/2 cups dried fruit like craisins, currants, raisins, dates

Preheat oven to 350F/ 160C

Mix nuts, coconut, oats, seeds and cinnamon. Spread on a large lined tray. Smooth down then drizzle the honey and oil over.

Every five minutes remove from oven and stir, then smooth over with a wooden spoon.

When it turns golden, after about 25-30 minutes, remove and add the dried fruits, mix well and set to cool.

Serve over yogurt or with milk.

Recipe source:  Jamie Oliver




Berry Tart

Straight out of Nigella’s Kitchen book, where she calls it a No-fuss tart, it is a very easy tart to put together. No cooking! And the assembling of all the various luscious berries on the satiny base of cream cheese and lemon curd is almost meditative.

375g digestive biscuits

75g soft unsalted butter

2x 200g packets cream cheese, at room temperature

1x240g jar lemon curd, at room temperature

125g blueberries

125g blackberries

125g raspberries

125g pomegranate seeds or red currants

125g small strawberries

1x fluted tart tin about 25 cm diameter x 4-5 cm deep with a loose base

Process the biscuits and the butter to a sandy consistency. Press into the sides and bottom of the tin. Freeze it for about 15 minutes.

Process the cream cheese and lemon curd till smooth and spread onto the chilled base evenly.

Arrange all the fruit gently over the base.

Place tart in the fridge overnight. It has to be very cold to be served in slices.

Serves 8-10

I made the tart with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Chilling the base and then the completed tart is a must. And take it out of the fridge just before serving.

I forgot to use a fluted tart tin and that made cutting the tart a bit messy. But the taste was phenomenal.