Healthy Christmas Leftovers

Stuck with Christmas leftovers? This is usually not a bad situation to find oneself in unless you have already reached your limit for overindulgence. Well Zest Magazine (November 2013) has the answer:

Image from Zest Magazine November 2013 issue.


Christmas Cookies - No icing required!

Baking cookies is always such fun but the cookies themselves can be boring. This is quickly addressed with some icing and ta-da, you have beautiful cookies ready for the biscuit tin. However in South Africa, Christmas time is summer time so icing melts and gets sticky, the designs (which you spend hours on) is distorted and soon you are grumbling ba-humbug. But here is another easy idea from Martha Steward's Easy Food Magazine (December 2012 issue - available form zinio.com) for beautifully decorated cookies, no icing required!


Pizza dippers

I thought I would share one of our snacks that are so easy to make. I buy frozen Margarita pizza and add extra mozzarella cheese to it and then I dip it in basil pesto (homemade with extra Parmesan). Cut them in slices or wedges and serve with a small cup of pesto on the side or as I have done. Quick and easy and surprisingly delicious.


Marinara Sauce 5 ways

Everyone loves pasta but many people like me get stuck in a rut making spaghetti bolognese every time. Now thanx to Martha Stewart's Every Day food (December 2012 issue - available at zinio.com) we now have 5 different versions to try out that includes adding just 3 ingredients!

I hope you will enjoy using this recipe as much as I do.

Every Day Food available from www.zinio.co or see below:


Chakalaka Cheese Hotdogs

These hotdogs are brilliant to make in big batches for loads of hungry guys and children without having too much time in the kitchen. The buns turn crispy, the hotdogs warm and the chakalaka nice and spicy. Chakalaka is a South African spicy vegetable relish similar to Indian Achar. You can use any spicy relish or chutney.

6 hot dogs
6 hotdog buns
6 tbsp chakalaka or any spicy relish
60g grated cheddar

1. Preheat oven to 180*C. 

2. Cut the hotdog buns horizontally almost all the way through. In an oven safe dish add the buns itch the cut side facing up.

3. Add 1/2 tbsp chakalaka to each bun, spreading it evenly. add the sausages and 1/2 tbsp chakalaka on top. 

4. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted, the buns are crispy and the hotdogs are heated all the way through.



Chakalaka is a South African relish/sauce that is very popular especially with the ethnic population who are the authors of this amazing condiment. Some use it in stews, as a base, as the main ingredient or as a topping. We get to buy this amazing product in a can! But you can make yours at home and it only takes a few minutes. I like mine to be fine as I only use it as a condiment

1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 garlic clove, puréed
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 peri peri powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 medium carrots, grated
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup corn, frozen (optional)
1 cup peas, frozen (optional)
1 can tomato and onion mix
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onion in the oil until soft.
2. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 1 minute.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked but not too soft.
4. Season with salt and pepper.


Green Eggs (and Ham)

I love pesto whether homemade or store bought. I love Princess Pesto products and they have such an interesting range such as Greek and Thai pesto. I'm big on the Thai at the moment and decided that boring scrambled eggs need a sprinkle of excitement. So introduce cheesy pesto scramble eggs.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Kiri cheese block or 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp pesto (any flavour)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used low fat)
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Toasted sourdough bread to serve

1. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. 
2. Add the salt and pepper and whisk again.
3. In a non-stick pan, heat a bit of butter and the cheese to melt a bit.
4. Add the eggs and over medium heat scramble slowly.
5. When the eggs are almost set, turn off the heat and add the pesto. 
6. Stir through and serve while hot and slightly runny.


Hawaiian Cheese Burger

I have said it before and will say it again: there really is no substitute for a homemade burger! You know exactly what is in it (just pure beef for me thank you) and you can adjust your toppings to anything you feel like - camembert, rocket and redcurrant jelly sounds yummy. Or you can go old school like I did here.

But there is a trick to it: don't you hate biting into your Hawaiian Burger just to have the (cold) pineapple slide out the back? And if you want a proper size pattie then your mouth is too small to have a bite of pattie, bun and pineapple which means you loose so much flavour! Then use CRUSHED PINEAPPLE.

  • 4 thick burger patties (beef)
  • 4 burger buns
  • 8 slices gouda or cheddar cheese
  • 4 tbsp crushed pineapple
  • Lettuce or rocket
  • 4 tsp 1000 Island sauce
1. Barbecue the burger patties until almost done to your liking.
2. In a bowl mix the pineapple and 1000 Island sauce together.
3. Top each pattie with a tbsp of the sauce and pineapple mixure then add 2 slices cheese on top.
4. Continue to barbecue until the cheese is melted (and the pineapple mixture is hot).
5. Assemble each burger with a bun, some rocket, a pattie and some more sauce on top.

Enjoy with some home made fries, And I promise every bite will give you a taste of Hawaii


Chicken, Avocado and Mango Wrap

I like making my wraps into these little parcels, as it means none of the filling can escape as you start eating it from the one corner. I'm a little pesto crazy at the moment. I used plain Basil Pesto though Thai Pesto would have been even better!

  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 1 cooked chicken breast
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/4 small mango
  • 1 tsp basil pesto
  • 2 tbsp grated cheese
  1. Heat a grill or George Forman Grill like we use.
  2. Mash the avocado (I like leaving some pieces bigger so don't mash it too fine), add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Dice the mango.
  4. Dice the chicken.
  5. Spread the middle of the tortilla with pesto.
  6. Top the pesto with chicken, avo and mango.
  7. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and fold edges in to form a little parcel.
  8. Place in the grill and grill until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is melted.
  9. Enjoy while hot.


Fresh Herbed Salmon

I am always wary of cooking fish as it is such a dificult ingredient to get right. Over cook it and it is dry, under cook it and it is slimy (or so I think of it - as you can see I'm not a big sashimi fan!).

Then you have the white fish variety and the more meaty fish such as tuna and salmon. I am much more willing to cook with salmon than any other fish as I at least know how the fish is supposed to look like and it doesn't need to be cooked all the way through.

For this dish I used just a couple of fresh ingredients to give the fish some flavour and nothing else.

  • 4 salmon fish fillets
  • 1 cup fresh coriander
  • 2 tsps fresh ginger, granted
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Spray a pan with olive oil.
3. Place each fillet in the pan.
4. Smear the garlic and ginger evenly over the fillets.
5. Top with the fresh coriander.
6. Drizzle over the lemon juice and the olive oil.
7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes depending on the thickness and size of your fillet. 

It is done if it flakes easily and is an even colour all the way through. Serve with mash and steamed green beans.