Activities / Miscellaneous

3 very quick, perfect for summer, local meals (and a dessert)

Updated Friday, 23 August 2019

I’m not fond of cooking. No, let me rephrase that. I actually enjoy whipping up a meal, particularly if I can use ingredients from the garden. I don’t like labouring over it. It must be fun to make, and it must taste good. And most importantly, I mustn’t have to spend half the preparation time trying to translate things like deci litres into something more measurable.

I’ve put together a list of three such recipes – they’re quick, they produce a really tasty meal (usually) and they’re from local cook books (well, most of them). If they’re not local, then at least they include easily sourced local products …

The first is one I use all the time. My five-year old son does not eat a lot of things (mothers with young children will know what I mean) and serving up a Roast Tomato Linguini is always met with a ‘yay’! I happen to love it too.

Roast Tomato Linguine

Harvest – recipes from an organic farmfrom: Harvest – Recipes from an Organic Farm by Christine Stevens with Russel Wasserfal

If you can, get a copy of this locally produced recipe book. It is so much more than that. Christine Stevens has been farming organically since 2001 and has two sons and a husband to feed from produce she grows on the farm. As she says – ‘there is no convenience store just around the corner’. The book also includes a handy section on preserving (the roast tomato sauce below comes from that very section).

Roast Tomato Sauce
  • 2kg tomatoes (I sometimes do this in smaller batches)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 50 ml olive oil

Halve or quarter the tomatoes and spread them in a baking dish. Sprinkle with all the other ingredients and roast in a pre-heated oven at 200°C or gas mark 5 for 20 minutes. Cool before whizzing in a blender (two whizzes do it). Freeze in individual portions.

  • 500g linguine (I often substitute with either spaghetti or penne, or whatever’s to hand)
  • 300g roast tomato sauce
  • 50g parmesan
  • salt & pepper

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to the boil, add the linguine, and cook till al dente. In a frying pan heat up your roast tomato sauce. Pour the sauce over your pasta, grate over some fresh parmesan, add some ground black pepper. Supper is served.

Courgette & Chickpea Fritters

Sprigs – fresh kitchen inspiration by Fiona & Clare Rasfrom: Sprigs – fresh kitchen inspiration by Fiona & Clare Ras

Here is a kitchen duo with a difference. They’re twins hailing from Kloof in KwaZulu-Natal, and the book, which was printed in 2006, comes inspired by their Kloof food store and lunch venue. It’s full of recipes that are worth trying, like their Feta and Peppadew Muffins, Raisin and Rosemary Bread, and Lamb Meatballs in Vine Leaves. But this is one of my particular favourites.

  • 500g courgettes
  • 1 onion
  • 15 ml ground coriander
  • 5 ml ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 200 ml chickpea flour
  • 60 ml coriander leaves
  • 60 ml sunflower oil (I substitute coconut oil)
Cucumber raita:
  • 500 ml full cream plain yoghurt
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 10 ml mint leaves
  • 2 ml ground cumin
  • 2 ml cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper

Tip the yoghurt in a mixing bowl and whisk for two minutes. Seed and finely chop the cucumber and add it to the yoghurt with the chopped mint, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Mix well. To make the fritters, grate the courgettes and mix them with the chopped onion, ground coriander, cumin, crushed garlic, chickpea flour, chopped coriander leaves, salt and pepper. Form into 12 balls. Heat a frying pan and fry the flattened courgette balls in batches for about two minutes on each side. Serve on a platter with the cucumber raita.

Chilled curried apple soup with dried apple rings

Recipes from the African Kitchen by Josie Stow and Jan Baldwinfrom: Recipes from the African Kitchen by Josie Stow and Jan Baldwin

This cook book fell into my hands in the dead of winter in London. You can imagine the joy at finding a cook book, put together by a chef in her day-to-day life in the bush kitchen she runs on a safari guest farm (she has worked at Makalali and Tswalu). Despite being English-born, Josie Stow’s recipes are all African and each has a flavour that is distinctly of this continent. Whilst we couldn’t always get our hands on all the ingredients, the meals were a wonderful reminder of home. This recipe particularly is great for summer evenings.

The dried apple rings can prove a little finicky, but worth it. They taste different from those you buy.

For the apple rings:
  • 1 granny smith apple
For the soup:
  • 15g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 1 kg granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 litre pints chicken stock
  • 175 ml single cream
  • juice of 1-2 lemons
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 100°C/210°F. Thinly slice the single apple vertically, the thinner the better. Place the apple slices on a wire rack set over a baking tray and place in the oven to dry for about 30 to 60 minutes, until dry. Turn once during cooking. Remove the apple slices from the rack and cool on greaseproof paper. To make the soup, in a saucepan, melt the butter and sweat the onion. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the copped apples, chicken stock and some salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer covered for about 1 hour. Liquidise the soup , then strain through a sieve and leave to cool. Add the single cream (you could substitute yoghurt) and fresh lemon juice to taste, then adjust the seasoning as necessary. Place soup in the fridge to chill and serve in chilled bowls with the dried slices as a garnish.

And finally, just for fun, and because it’s summer and on the way to Christmas, I’ve thrown in a delicious, perfect for very hot summer evenings dessert. Also from Recipes from the African Kitchen.

Watermelon, mint and vodka sorbet

from: Recipes from the African Kitchen by Josie Stow and Jan Baldwin

Peppermint is flourishing in our garden at the moment, right next to the borrage, but if you haven’t got it, or don’t like the particularly sharp taste of peppermint (I’m not that fond of it) then substitute with garden mint. You will need more of it though.

And whilst the recipe calls for an ice cream maker, you can use a food processor (who has an ice cream machine, anyway?) particularly if you’re using fruit as the substance.

  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 sprigs peppermint
  • 750g watermelon, diced
  • 3 tbsp vodka
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Place the sugar in a saucepan with 250ml of water and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the sprigs of peppermint, allow to cool, then chill. Purée the watermelon and pass it through a strainer to remove any pips. Then remove the peppermint from the syrup and add it to the watermelon purée with the vodka and lemon juice. Place the mixture in an ice cream machine and churn until frozen, if you have one.

Otherwise, freeze but check back almost every hour and stir the frozen edges back in. It takes longer to freeze than I thought, but it’s delicious.

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