Baked Moroccan Cauliflower with Date and Pistachio Gravel
WHOLE BAKED MOROCCAN CAULIFLOWER WITH DATE AND PISTACHIO GRAVEL
- 1 whole cauliflower, leaves removed and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon ras el hanout (or make your own mix using turmeric, cumin, coriander, black pepper and fenugreek powders)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Flake salt and crushed black pepper to season
- 2 tablespoons crushed pistachios, toasted
- 2 tablespoons chopped dates
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped mint OR basil OR coriander
- 1 large zucchini, cut into ribbons with your potato peeler
Pre-heat oven to 200c Place the rinsed cauliflower in a small frying pan with a metal handle, or a small roasting tray, even a piece of foil if this is going in the air fryer instead of the oven. Make a paste of the oil and the spices, either by placing spicing on the cauliflower and then rubbing it into the surface with the oil OR you can mix the spice and oil together and use a pastry brush to ‘spray tan’ your cauliflower. Get all that delicious colour and flavour all over the cauliflower. Now season well with the flake salt and the crushed pepper. Place in a preheated oven of 200c, or in the air fryer, and cook for 18-20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender (but not dead and overcooked) and the spices and oil have browned and have formed a delicious crust. Pop the zucchini ribbons in the oven or air fryer for 5 minutes until just tender, you could also steam them. To serve, top the beautiful baked cauliflower with the zucchini ribbons, and then sprinkle with the chopped nuts and dates and freshly chopped herbs. Either carve straight through or cut into quarters and serve at the table. Simply elegant and delicious!
Quickie 50 Second Keto Bread
QUICKIE CARB-FREE BREAD IN A MUG
- 1 tablespoon crunchy or smooth peanut butter
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 straight up & down coffee mug
- cooking spray
Mix the peanut butter, egg and baking powder together by smashing against the side of a small bowl with the back of a tablespoon, you will have to keep scooping the paste back in and bring it together, the thick peanut paste with take a bit of squishing to blend with the egg and powder but keep going! Now put this batter into a greased coffee mug and cook in your microwave for ONE MINUTE. Cool and then slice and have on its own or with your favourite spread or as part of another dish. Too easy. Too cheap. Too brilliant.
Quickie Cauliflower Paella
- 10ml oil or cooking spray to grease the pan
- 450-600g chicken pieces of your choice cut into pieces no larger than your palm (optional, you can keep this vegetarian)
- 80g chorizo sausage or bacon, finely diced or minced
- 1 onion minced or finely chopped
- 1 head cauliflower food processed (cauliflower rice)
- 1 tablespoon smoked or sweet Paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 1 cup peas, snow peas or beans
- 80g fire-roasted capsicum (from your deli)
- Pinch of dried or 1 teaspoon fresh sage or thyme
Spray a large non-stick frying pan with cooking spray or oil and allow the pan to get swearword hot. Once hot add the chorizo gravel/mince and allow to brown nicely, don’t stir just for fun, only stir if it needs to be stirred! We want the sausage to render its fat and if you cool it down too much it will stew. Now add the onions, garlic, herbs and cook through. You can reduce the heat at this stage. Now coat the chicken in the spices and the stock powder to give it a Spanish spray tan. Make some space in the pan, turn the heat up, and add the chicken to the hot pan. Don’t stir until the first layer of chicken is brown, then stir and turn the pieces to brown. Once brown add the capsicum, peas and cauliflower rice and lemon zest and stir fry until tender. Season to taste and then Add the lemon juice! Ready to serve! So quick and easy!
Ultimate Broccoli Salad
THE ULTIMATE BROCCOLI SALAD
- 1 small head of Broccoli, rinsed and then chopped (about four cups)
- 1 pink lady apple, sliced
- baby bulb fennel finely chopped or use cabbage, carrots etc
- 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon grainy mustard
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
BESPOKE CULINARY BARK WITH
BAKED BRIE FONDUE
Chef Mel’s Vegan Tower of Pleasure
BRAISED MOROCCAN LAMB SHOULDER WITH DATE & PISTACHIO GRAVEL
This is the Moroccan Lamb with a date and Pistachio Gravel served on Happy Yellow Butterbean Puree
I N G R E D I E N TS
- 2-4 kg-lamb shoulder bone-in
- Salt and pepper to season
- 1-2 liters weak chicken stock (this will depend on the depth of the baking dish you use)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin and 1 tablespoon turmeric OR use a blend of rasel hanout spice
- 1 cinnamon quill and three star anise
B L I N G
- 2 tablespoons chopped dried figs or pitted dates
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup almonds/pistachios/other nuts roasted and chopped freshly chopped mint or coriander/cilantro
Season the shoulder with salt and pepper, some of the turmeric and spices and rub into the skin with a little water or oil to give the shoulder a nice suntan! Now place skin side up in a roasting tray with the stock making sure the stock comes at least halfway up the shoulder so it is nicely submerged by half. If you have too much cooking liquid reserve it for later as you may need to top up the lamb during the cooking process.
Roast (it’s referred to as braising) in a hot oven of 220c for at least an hour, remove from the oven and turn the shoulder over, return to the oven for half an hour and turn over again. Cook for another 15-30 minutes to get the skin nicely brown and crisp and then remove from the oven.
Make the bling by mixing the chopped dates, nuts and zest together. Garnish the lamb with the bling and then serve!
NOTE: If you have a little more time this actually benefits from a long slow cook so reduce the heat to 160c and cook for 2-3 hours.
Serve the lamb with this quick and easy butterbean puree…
HAPPY YELLOW BUTTERBEAN PURÉE
I N G R E D I E N TS
- 2 tins of butterbeans, drained
- 1/4 cup cream or milk or simply use stock if you want to omit dairy
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- a teaspoon of turmeric
- a veggie or chicken stock cube to taste
Guys this recipe is just too easy. If you have any roast carrots, butternut or sweet potato left over in the fridge, feel free to throw about half a cup of that roasted goodness in here too.
Place all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes until wonderfully hot. Once the beans are heated through, simply mash with the metal head of a stick blender OR place in a food processor once cooled slightly. Either process completely or leave it slightly chunky for a more rustic mash. Feel free to add some hot water to make this puree thinner if you don’t want it as thick. You can make this as thick or as thin as you like. And if you have leftovers, you can repurpose this as a sexy dip (drizzle with olive oil, crushed pistachios, and dukkha). Serve either serve chunky or as a puree.
NOTE You can change the flavour of these beans to suit or match your meal. These beans can take on multiple personalities so have fun! Add a teaspoon of chopped rosemary if you are matching lamb. Add a teaspoon of grainy mustard or horseradish if you are matching beef or pork. Add a teaspoon of curry powder if you are serving this with a curry. Add smoked garlic and smoked paprika to match a Spanish theme.
One Pan Suntanned Chicken
ONE PAN SUNTANNED CHICKEN
I N G R E D I E N TS
- 600-800g chicken breast fillets
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1-2 tablespoons of either curry powder, paprika, fajita spice, ras el hanout or Thai Curry paste
- oil or water to bind, about 20-30ml
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 cup sliced cabbage or a bunch/packet of sliced spinach
- 1 cup sliced leek
- 1 cup sliced capsicum
- YOU CAN USE ANY finely sliced vegetables you like!
- 2 teaspoons pistachios or peanuts or fried shallots for crunch!
Okay, who’s sick of washing pots and pans and millions of dishes! I certainly am. Join me as I show you the art of preparing a quick, yet magnificent, chicken breast in half the time and with half the fuss…but with all the sexiness and gorgeous flavour you’ve come to deserve! For those nights and days where you really just need to get a healthy, nutritious meal onto the table in under 15 minutes! Can’t wait to hear about how you turned this dish into your own special design! It’s so versatile you can change the spices and the vegetables a hundred times…just like your favourite outfit. New earrings, a new handbag, it’s a new outfit! Gents, for you it’s new shoes new tie, a new outfit!
Slice the chicken breast in half lengthways. Now use a nice sharp knife to cut slashes in shallow cuts into the chicken breast. This will open up the breast, helping it to cook faster AND helping that flavour to really get in there. Once you have your slashed chicken breast, blend your turmeric and your choice of spice with the oil or water until it forms a nice wet paste. Brush on with a pastry brush or simply combine with a spoon to coat, and season well with salt and pepper.
Heat and grease a frying pan with a few sprays of canola or rice bran spray, or a tablespoon of vegetable oil. When the pan is swear word hot add the chicken…it should SIZZLE as it hits the pan! Let the first side get really nice and brown and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, before turning over and doing the other side. Cook the second side until sexy and brown and fragrant and then turn over again, you can reduce the heat at this stage!
Now add the vegetables on top and over the chicken, leave for a minute, and then stir through! Cook for just a few minutes, really just until the vegetables are wilted rather than overcooked, and then you’re ready to serve!
You can top with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt, depending on what spices you ended up using, and then add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice to freshen up the dish!
Voila! Too easy I know, but a good one to know for those times that you have to get that food on the table! You can also use this method for pork chops and pork fillets! Please don’t do this to a steak!
Quickie Salted Pistachio Praline Ice Cream
GLAMOROUS PARTY PIES
Quickie Porcini Mushroom Sauce
- 1 tablespoon canola oil to heat in the pan to sear the beef
- 200 g fillet or rump per person, thick-cut to about 4-5 cm, season well with salt and pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 shallots finely chopped
- 1 cup porcini or your favourite mushroom finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage or thyme
- 1 chicken/mushroom or vegetable stock cube
- 100ml cream
- season well with black salt/flake salt and pepper
This is how to easily and perfectly cook a successful steak. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the seasoned steak to the pan, it should sizzle! Do not turn the steaks until the first side to hit the pan has absolutely made the sexiest crust. It should look brown and perfect with heaps of personality and flavour, not grey and dodgy. Once cooked you can turn over and do the next side, keeping that sizzle sound UP in the pan. We want the same result for the second side too! Depending on how you like this cooked, if you are going for rare, you can now add the garlic and shallots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, being careful not to burn them but browning them will be perfect. If you want a more medium style, I would turn the steak over, drop the heat and cook a further 4-5 minutes on the original side. Now add the mushrooms and the sage and the crumbled up stock cube and the cream and then stir through and let heat through and boil for about a minute. If you leave it for longer it will reduce, which is sometimes good if the flavour wasn’t deep enough to start with BUT if you over reduce you will be left with a salty sauce so please add a bit more hot water and taste again! Serve with the steak and your choice of sides, either the butterbean puree, parsnip or sweet potato fries, or good old fashioned potatoes of your choice!
Quickie Eggplant Steak Stack with Chef Mel
Quick & Easy Cream Cheese Pastry
CREAM CHEESE PASTRY
- 125g butter
- 200g flour
- pinch salt
- 125g cream cheese or crème fraîche
- BLING: Add matching bling to really show your guests you care! Add 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon lemon zest to really get a round of applause for this, you can really mix and match it depending on your fi lling!
Grate the butter into the flour and then pinch in till the flour resembles breadcrumbs and the butter is evenly distributed. Now add the salt, bling, and the cream cheese and mix through or use a food processor to combine. Do not overwork the dough! Roll into a dough ball and then cover and chill for about an hour before rolling out and using as desired!
Quick & Easy Focaccia
Fab feasting table ideas
Chef Mel’s SIGNATURE BLACK SALT AND ROSEMARY FOCACCIA
• 450 g plain or baker’s flour
• 2 teaspoons instant yeast
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 320 ml lukewarm water
• 1 teaspoon salt • 30ml oil
• 2 teaspoons extra flour
• 2 tablespoons polenta
• Cooking spray to grease the baking tray.
• 1/2 teaspoon Sexy Black Salt Flakes or good quality flake salt
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary gravel
• 3 large lashings of extra virgin olive oil
Add the yeast to the warm water, with the 2 teaspoons of extra flour and sugar, stir and set aside for about 10 minutes until foamy. Now mix this liquid with the flour, salt, and oil until it forms a smooth dough. Place on a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and pliable. Use your mixer and a dough hook if you aren’t doing this by hand, about 5-7 minutes at least! Now place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a clean wet cloth and allow to prove for about 15 minutes or until doubled in size. Grease a baking tray with the cooking spray and then add the polenta, shake to coat the tray. Remove the dough ball from the covered bowl and place on the polenta baking tray. Put some oil on your palms and then spread the dough over the polenta to each end of the baking tray. Make deep holes (Nona’s fingerprints) by using your fingertips to poke the dough. Garnish with the sexy black salt flakes, rosemary gravel and oil. Now allow to prove for a second time for about 10 minutes in its shape and then bake in a pre-heated oven of 180 c for about 15 minutes until golden. TO SERVE: Pour 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil onto a saucer or side plate, pour a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar in the middle of the plate as per demo!