portabellini & bocconcini flatbread

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

This portabellini mushroom, pesto and bocconcini flatbread is a super speedy way to get something utterly delicious on the table. The meaty mushrooms add a fabulous umami punch and great texture. Tailor these as much as you like by playing with your favourite toppings and flavour combinations.

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

The husband and I have been steadily reducing our intake of animal products and meat specifically. So mushrooms have become a large part of our diets. They’re versatile, delicious and best of all cheap! So they really convince you never to want another piece of steak again. On top of that they’re just really good for you. So when asked by the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association whether I wanted to take part in their #festivemushrooms campaign I said hell yes!

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

The brief was to come up with a yummy mushroom recipe using our local cultivated varietals. If you’re looking for yummy then look no further. This meal will very easily become a weeknight staple! Keep up to date with the #festivemushrooms campaign and follow the SAMFA blog for more delicious recipes!

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

Portabellini & bocconcini flatbread

Makes 2 large flatbreads

Ingredients:

2 flatbreads – homemade or store bought
500g Portabellini mushrooms
1 large white onion, diced
Fresh thyme sprigs
Olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper
150g Bocconcini mozzarella
Sundried tomatoes
Fresh baby herbs and leaves

For the pesto:
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sea salt
40g fresh basil leaves
40g fresh rocket
30g Parmesan cheese, grated
80ml extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Method:

If you aren’t in a massive hurry to get lunch or dinner on the table then I suggest making the flatbread yourself. It’s deeply satisfying making dough with your hands and there’s something super duper rewarding about knowing you’ve made that baby from scratch. Also it really takes a couple of seconds to throw together.

I use a very simple flatbread recipe:
200g self-raising flour
250g full fat Greek yoghurt
1 pinch of salt

In a bowl mix together the yoghurt, flour and salt until it forms a dough.
Transfer dough onto a floured surface. Knead for a few minutes. Cut into 2 or 4 pieces depending on desired size. Cover with a dish cloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Roll out each section of dough using plenty of flour to prevent sticking or tearing.
Cook the flatbread in a dry hot griddle pan. Cook each side for 2-4 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

For the pesto:
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic clove and teaspoon of sea salt into a puree. Scrape the garlic paste into a food processor for ease; add the basil, rocket, Parmesan and olive oil. Blitz until smooth. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and set aside.
For the flatbreads:
Sauté the diced onion with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt until gently caramelised. Slice the mushrooms and fry them in batches until golden brown. And a few sprigs of thyme as you fry each batch. Season well with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 200C and move the rack to the upper shelf.

Brush flatbreads with the basil pesto. Top each one with half of the mushroom mix. Rip the bocconcini mozzarella into pieces and scatter over the mushrooms. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the flatbread is golden brown.

Top with pieces of sundried tomatoes, a few dollops of pesto and fresh baby leaves. Slice, serve and enjoy!

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

Winter has me firmly in her clutches and comfort food is keeping me going. This mushroom ragù with truffle oil is exactly that. It’s rich and comforting and feels like a warm hug. I give this pasta a hefty dose of garlic and pepper. Mushrooms love pepper! And I finish it off with some crispy sage and Parmesan. It’s dead simple but utterly scrumptious.

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

I like to mix my mushrooms up. I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday and found a gorgeous mix but you can use whatever you can get your hands on. Shiitake, king oyster and shimeji mushrooms all work beautifully in this dish. Just cook your mushrooms in batches if necessary. Mushrooms don’t like being in a crowded pan or they sweat- much like meat. So brown them a few slices at a time and then combine them all together at the end.

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

I love a good truffle oil and this one from Lemcke is a lovely subtle truffle-enhanced oil. So it’s not one of those that over powers an entire dish. You can use a rather liberal amount and it really makes all the rich earthy mushroom flavours sing. I also made a fried egg using the oil and it was amazing.

Mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 600g mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup mushroom stock
  • 1/2 lemon
  • truffle oil
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g fresh tagliatelle
  • handful fresh sage leaves
  • butter for frying
  • Parmesan for serving

Method:

Heat olive oil with a knob of butter and fry mushrooms in batches until golden brown. Set aside.

Heat some fresh olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions until soft. Add the crushed garlic, a knob of butter and return the mushrooms to the pan. Cook until the garlic smells fragrant. Add the mushroom stock and simmer until reduced by half. Season well with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and add pasta to the mushrooms. Toss well and squeeze over the juice of half a lemon.

In a small saucepan heat a few knobs of butter and fry the sage leaves until crispy. Drain on paper towel.

Serve the mushroom ragù topped with the crispy sage leaves, freshly grated Parmesan and a generous drizzle of truffle oil.

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

Disclaimer: Truffle oil provided by the lovely folks from Lemcke

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Gravlax or Gravadlax is the most gloriously simple cured salmon using a little salt, sugar and fresh herbs. I love the addition of the beetroot because of the earthy flavour and most of all the exquisite colour. This is such a luxurious meal and such a treat to prepare for special occasions.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

The salmon must be extremely fresh and of really high quality. Ask your fish monger for a side of the freshest sushi-grade salmon. That’s really the only expense here. The rest of the ingredients are super affordable and most importantly you’ll have some bubbles to sip on during the preparation! Remember to plan ahead if this is for a special occasion as the salmon takes 48 hours to cure.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Beetroot & Bubbles Salmon Gravadlax

Ingredients:

  • 700-800g sushi-grade side of salmon, skin on
  • 3 large beetroot, grated
  • 150g coarse Kosher rock salt
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 2 large lemons, zested
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 1 large handful dill
  • 75g Muscavado sugar
  • 75ml Méthode Cap Classique

Method:

Remove all pin bones from the salmon and place skin side down on a large baking tray lined with an oversized piece of baking paper.

Crush juniper berries in a mortar and pestle. Mix the crushed juniper berries and all the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Encrust the side of salmon with the cure.

Fold the baking paper tightly around the salmon. Cling wrap the salmon and tray very well so no air can get in. Place in the fridge for 48 hours to cure.

Remove from the fridge. Carefully drain off any liquid and gently remove the cure from the salmon. 

Slice thinly at an angle, avoiding the skin.

Serve with toasted bread, crème fraîche, fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon.

Preserve your salmon in the fridge tightly wrapped in cling film for 3-5 days.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Méthode Cap Classique provided by the fabulous folks from Krone Twee Jonge Gezellen

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

This prawn tagliatelle with chilli and lemon is one of my favourite pastas. It’s right up there with the perfect carbonara. It’s simple and elegant and allows the ingredients to shine. A great pasta dish is about balance. It’s not all about the sauce. The noodle is as much the hero as the delicious bits of garlic and chilli clinging to it.

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

Making your own fresh pasta for this dish is totally worth it. It may seem like a wee bit of admin but you’ll be so pleased you did it and I find kneading to be rather therapeutic. I have a little pasta machine to make rolling out the dough a tad easier. If you don’t, a lot of kneading, a rolling pin or even a good old fashioned wine bottle will do the trick. If elbow grease isn’t your thing of course you can just buy the pasta, fresh or dry.

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

The simplicity of this pasta requires the use of the best ingredients you can get your hands on. The olive oil is really important and a good one makes all the difference. I used the Prince Albert Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Karoo. I love it, it’s delish and it also comes in the prettiest tin ever. Oh and also- very importantly… This dish begs for an exceptional glass of white wine to go with it. So make sure there’s some top notch stuff in the fridge ready to go!

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

Prawn tagliatelle with lemon & chilli 

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 400g ’00’ flour
  • pinch of salt

*if you opt for bought pasta you’ll need about 100g pp

  • 400-500g fresh prawns, deveined & butterflied (from sustainable sources)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced/crushed
  • 2-3 mixed chillis, finely diced (seeds removed)
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2-3 handfuls fresh rocket
  • 75g caper berries
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

Method:

To make the pasta: Mix the flour and salt together and make a little mound with a well in the centre on a clean kitchen counter. Whisk the eggs and pour into the centre of the flour. Bring together a little bit at a time using your fingers or a fork. Once everything is combined knead the dough until it comes together into a ball. Keep kneading for a few minutes. When you’re tired, your arms ache and you think it’s done- keep going. When the pasta is completely smooth and elastic your job is done and you can wrap it in cling film and let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 min.

*Pour yourself a glass of wine. You deserve it.

Roll out the pasta, dusting generously with flour as you go. If not using a machine, roll small pieces of dough at a time as it will be easier to roll the smaller amounts thinly. Once at desired thickness, cut straight away.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Cook the fresh pasta in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes until al dente. Drain.

Place a large sauté pan onto medium-high heat and add a generous glug of olive oil. Add the chilli and garlic and cook for a minute. Add the prawns and season well with salt and pepper. The prawns only need a minute to cook. When they are almost done add the lemon juice and drained pasta to the pan. Toss well.

Drizzle with some fresh olive oil, toss in the rocket and finish with the lemon zest and caper berries. Adjust seasoning. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and some delightful chilled wine!

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

tuna poke bowl

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

Poke, pronounced ‘poh-keh’, is a scrumptious Hawaiian dish that is basically deconstructed sushi in a bowl. So if you’re really rubbish with chopsticks you can finally eat sushi with a fork and not be judged. Well, judged a bit less. I adore this dish because of the different textures and flavour combos. The crunchy raw veg and creamy avocado are a match made in heaven for the salty fish and sweet rice. It really is such a well balanced dish, takes no time at all to put together and looks darn pretty too. Check out this awesome article from HuffPost for a run down on all you need to know about poke!

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

One of the most important and delicious flavours in this dish is the sesame seed oil. I used the Organic Sesame Seed Oil from Lemcke Oils. It has a subtle nutty flavour and adds depth to the dish without being overpowering. It’s a great oil to eat as is on salads and dishes such as this one but it is also a great oil to cook with as it has a high smoke point. In a dish like this it is very important to use high quality, fresh ingredients because it is such a simple dish, each ingredient really needs to shine.

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

The fish is obviously paramount. Don’t make this unless you have the freshest and very best quality of tuna or salmon you can get your hands on. When I got home with this chunk of tuna I had to stop the husband from eating it straight off my chopping board with a dash of soy sauce. It was sensational. As for the accompaniments… there are no strict rules. You can add and experiment with all sorts of veggies. You can leave out the rice as well for a deliciously healthy low carb meal. Poke can be as versatile as you allow it to be. This has definitely become a weeknight staple for us.

Tuna Poke Bowl

serves 4

Ingredients:

For the fish:

  • 400-500g fresh tuna, skinned and deboned
  • 75ml soy sauce
  • 45ml Organic Sesame Oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha or more to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced

For the rest of the bowl:

  • 1 cup sushi rice
  • 60ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • grated carrot
  • shaved cucumber
  • sliced radish
  • radish sprouts
  • nori
  • avocado
  • spring onions

Method:

Begin with the rice. Rinse the rice well in a sieve until the water runs clear and then cook according to package instructions.

*While working at The Mandarin Oriental in Paris I was taught to make sushi like a pro. Granted it was filled with foie gras and mango which was not very traditional but it was delish. Rinse the rice until the water runs completely clear. Cook the rice in just enough water to cover it with a fine layer of water sitting on top of it. About 3mm. Also only ever use a wooden spoon when working with sushi rice and do so gently or you’ll break the grains. We even had a dedicated wooden bowl for mixing the seasoning into the rice if you want to go to extremes!

While the rice is cooking mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pan. Heat until the sugar and salt dissolve. Cool.

Once the rice has cooked and cooled gently fold in the seasoning using a wooden spoon.

Prep the veggies.

Finally mix all the seasoning ingredients for the fish in a large bowl.

Slice the tuna into cubes and toss gently in the marinade.

Assemble the poke bowl with rice, veggies, avocado, nori, tuna, toasted sesame seeds and little extras like pickled ginger and wasabi if desired.

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

tuna poke bowl | The Secret Life of Bee

 

*Disclaimer: Delicious oils supplied by the awesome folks from Lemcke Oils

 

the perfect homemade pizza

homemade pizza | The Secret Life of Bee

God bless dough. Dough is king. Cheese and meat on crispy dough is a magical thing. There are few things on this earth I enjoy more than a homemade pizza straight out of the oven. It’s such a social thing. I put the husband to work on rolling out the bases. The mamma bear is generally on wine pouring duty and I get the sauce and toppings going. I have a little Earthfire pizza oven that works like a bomb but we sadly can’t use it at our apartment complex. So we just blast the oven as high as it will go and pop a pizza stone in to get piping hot.

homemade pizza | The Secret Life of Bee

I made this pizza a couple of weeks ago before I went to the US on a foodie extravaganza with the husband. Two of the very many highlights were going to the famous institution that is Joe’s Pizza for the best slice in NYC and getting a serious dose of Italian food porn at Eataly. Walking into Joe’s Pizza is hysterical because no one is talking. They’re all way too busy chewing and munching on one of the best slices of pizza i’ve ever had. The back wall is lined with photos of Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Murray and every other famous person you can think of getting their NYC slice on at Joe’s.  The husband went for the pepperoni and I went for the mozzarella. Both were delicious and perfectly balanced. Thin chewy base with just the right amount of toppings.

Joe's Pizza NYC | The Secret Life of Bee

Joe's Pizza NYC | The Secret Life of Bee

Joe's Pizza NYC | The Secret Life of Bee

We then hit Eataly where the finest ingredients on the planet are all on steroids. The creamiest mozzarella, ripest Italian tomatoes and a cheeky Italian dude making the pizzas and chatting away over the counter added to the vibe. The pizza was delicious and at $25 we made sure there wasn’t a crumb leftover.

Eataly | The Secret Life of Bee

Alrighty. So enough blabbing. Pizza time.

If you don’t have a pizza stone an all natural unglazed tile will do the trick. Or just use a baking tray. The crust won’t be as crisp but it’ll still be fun and yum!

The perfect homemade pizza

makes 2

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 300g doppio zero “00” flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 200ml warm water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast

Combine warm water, olive oil and yeast in a jug and leave for 5 minutes. Combine salt and flour in a large mixing bowl and mix well to distribute the salt. Pour the water mixture into the flour and mix well with your hands. Knead the dough until bouncy and elastic. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. Split rested dough into two and knead each ball for a few minutes. Cover both with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 2-4 hours at room temperature.

Sauce:

  • 1 tin whole peeled Italian tomatoes, blended
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sea salt to taste
  • bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped (optional)

Gently fry the garlic in a saucepan with the olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the tomato paste, oregano and salt and cook for a few minutes. Finally add the blended tomatoes and sugar and allow to simmer gently for 1 hour until reduced. Stir through the chopped basil once the sauce is thick and check seasoning.

To make the pizzas:

Preheat your oven as high as it will go! Place the rack into the top third of the oven and if you have a pizza stone pop that in there too.

Roll and stretch the dough out on a floured surface. If you have a pizza shovel assemble pizzas on there. If not an upside down baking tray works just fine!

Spoon about 3 Tbsp of the tomato sauce on the pizza. Spread it out with the back of the spoon. Brush the edges of the pizza with olive oil for a great crust.

Add toppings of your choice.

Here I used buffalo mozzarella, asparagus, parma ham and fresh rocket. And I decided to #putaneggonit

If you want to keep your yolk nice and runny pop the pizza into the oven for a few minutes first, then crack the egg on and finish the cooking.

Be careful when transferring the pizza onto the super hot pizza stone. Preferably drink wine moderately until this is done.

Cook each pizza for about 5 minutes until golden, bubbling and crispy!

Buon appetito!

homemade pizza | The Secret Life of Bee

 

egg-in-a-hole grilled cheese sandwich with Tabasco butter

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

This is not your average breakfast sandwich. This egg-in-a-hole grilled cheese is the ultimate crunchy, buttery, eggy, spicy, cheesy indulgence. Oh and there’s bacon so yeah… Bring it on.

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

The husband is always on Reddit and therefore constantly providing me with titbits of the latest news, a lot of useless information, funny cat pictures and cool food snaps. One of the food pics inspired him to demand a grilled cheese with an egg in the bread. You never have to ask me twice to put an egg on something but now an egg IN something seems way more exciting!

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

I’m fairly egg mad and so why not just double egg it and have yolks for days. Also seeing as we’re taking some bread out of the equation technically we can say this is low carb right? That’s how it works… i’m sure of it. (These jeans also definitely shrunk in the wash.)

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

The Tabasco spiked butter is a revelation. The yolks are very rich and the vinegar and chilli peppers cut through that richness adding a depth of flavour and some great heat. Go as wild as you like with the Tabasco. I even chucked some on top and sadly some in my eye. Preferably don’t do that. But do make this sandwich. It’s just all kinds of delicious.

egg-in-a-hole grilled cheese sandwich with Tabasco butter

makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 thick slices of sourdough bread
  • 50g butter, softened
  • Original Red Tabasco
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 rashers of bacon, cooked to your level of crispiness
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • sea salt & black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven on the maximum grill setting.

Mix a few good shakes of Tabasco into the softened butter. Cut holes out of each slice of bread using a cookie cutter or a small glass.  Spread each slice with a generous amount of Tabasco butter on both sides.

Using a large non-stick frying pan fry the bread until golden brown. Crack one egg into each hole and cook for about a minute until the egg white is slightly set underneath and you can gently turn the slices over with a fish slice or similar wide flat egg lifter. Cook for another minute or so (you really want to keep the yolks runny for maximum yumness) season the eggs and then top one slice with the grated cheese.

Place the cheesy slice under the hot grill to melt the cheese. Remove and top with bacon and the other slice of eggy bread.

Eat every last bite and pair with a cold beer or bubbles because you deserve it and it’s always five o’clock somewhere.

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by the awesome folks at Tabasco SA 

WIN R10 000 if you head over to the Tabasco Facebook page.

Like their page and SHARE my eggy blog post. Every share is a vote for me and a chance for you to win the cash! And of course i’ll be eternally grateful and Fedex you some food 🙂

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

I’ve been Casper the invisible blogger lately but alas sometimes real work has to happen to pay the very real bills! I’ve also been a rather useless wife serving the husband some fairly boring dinners lately so it was time to make up for it. Enter chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes. Yes please.

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

These pockets of joy are truly one of the yummiest and most satisfying meals i’ve ever had. The rich and spicy chili con carne pairs so well with the sweet, smooth flesh of these orange sweet potatoes. You can of course use the white ones as well- I just find them a tad more starchy so tend to use them for creamy bakes or cottage pie like toppings. Either way they are a delicious little nest for the meaty goodness that is a patiently made pot of chili.

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

When making the chili and any dish using mince all I can say is never ever crowd the pan. Use a really large pot and brown your mince in batches. If you put too much in at the same time the meat sweats and boils and goes grey. No bueno. As for the rest of the dish you can really make it your own. Go as heavy or light on the spices and of course the chilli powder as your heart desires. I used rather large heaped teaspoons of all the spices! This recipe makes a really fragrant, spicy dish that gets even better the next day. I had some left overs with a fried egg on top for breakfast and it was sublime!

Chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes

serves 8

Ingredients

  • 8 sweet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 2 red onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed into a paste
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large sticks of celery, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried origanum
  • 1 kg best quality mince
  • 2 x 400g tin Italian chopped/crushed tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil

To serve: sour cream, tomato & onion salsa, fresh coriander

Method:

Heat oven to 180˚C. Rub sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil. Prick with a fork or small knife, season with a little salt and roast until soft for 40 minutes depending on their size.

In a very large pot brown the mince in batches and remove from the pot. Add a fresh glug of olive oil and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, red pepper and garlic. Add the spices and cook until the veg had softened slightly, got some colour and the spices are fragrant.

Add the two tins of chopped tomatoes. Rinse the residual tomato out of each tin with a splash of water and pour into the pot. Bring to the boil and allow the tomatoes to reduce until thick.

Add the mince and kidney beans, season well and simmer for about 1 hour.

To serve- slice the sweet potatoes down the centre and stuff with a generous spoonful of the chili mix. I topped ours with sour cream, tomato & onion salsa, fresh coriander and even a dollop of guacamole.

Enjoy!

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

To be perfectly honest I didn’t even wait for the husband to come home from work before I started tucking in.

chili con carne stuffed sweet potatoes | The Secret Life of Bee

peri-peri fish tacos with pineapple salsa

peri-peri fish tacos | The Secret Life of Bee

Fish tacos are darn delicious. Layers of flavour and texture all neatly packed into a little edible parcel. Fried or grilled these babies are a crowd pleaser and so versatile you can go wild with flavour combos, sauces and spices. I decided to pan fry the fish for these tacos keeping things on the healthier side and also my kitchen on the cleaner side! Once cooked I finished the fish off with a generous whack of peri-peri sauce and fresh lime juice. Yum.

peri-peri fish tacos | The Secret Life of Bee

The peri-peri sauce in question was made by the girls from ShortChefSkinnyChef. Claire Allen and Siphokazi Mdlankomo make up this duo and clearly both of them like a touch of spice in their lives. This flavour packed sauce is pure homemade deliciousness free of preservatives so if you make this recipe use the very best peri-peri sauce you can get your hands on or make your own!

peri-peri fish tacos | The Secret Life of Bee

Select your fish wisely. Make sure you buy fish or any seafood off the green SASSI list. They have an app and even a nifty sms number you can text the name of the fish to and you’ll get a reply letting you know if the fish is green for go, orange for not ideal or red for hell no. Stick with green choices and maybe our grandkids will have some fish on their table someday. I went with Cape Yellowtail. It has beautiful large flakes when cooked which makes it ideal for tacos and absorbing lots of sauce. With all the heat from the peri-peri sauce I balanced it with some sweetness from the pineapple salsa which includes some kiwi fruit for added zing! The crunch from all the fresh fruit and veggies, the creamy avocado and drizzle of sour cream make these tacos a real textural delight.

Peri-Peri fish tacos with pineapple salsa

serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 500g yellowtail or similar fish, filleted & cleaned
  • olive oil
  • peri-peri sauce
  • fresh limes
  • 1/4 red cabbage
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 pineapple, diced
  • 1 kiwi fruit, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • fresh coriander
  • sour cream
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • 6-8 soft tortillas

Method:

Slice the fish into small fillets and pan fry in olive oil. Season well. Once the fish is cooked, turn the heat off and add the peri-peri sauce to taste and the juice of half a lime. When cool enough flake the fish, toss well and leave in the sauce.

Finely slice the red cabbage and the avocado.

Combine the diced red onion, pineapple, kiwi fruit and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper and the juice of 1 lime. Add coriander leaves and toss.

Heat a dry pan and colour tortillas on both sides until warm and golden brown. (I love this easy recipe but store bought is just fine too)

Assemble the tacos. Start with some slices of avocado and red cabbage. Top with peri-peri fish, the pineapple salsa, fresh coriander and a drizzle of sour cream. Enjoy!

peri-peri fish tacos | The Secret Life of Bee

peri-peri fish tacos | The Secret Life of Bee

Catch Claire Allen, The Foodie in Love, at The Good Food & Wine Show this coming weekend (27-29 May) for a live chefs theatre performance as well as the skinny half of the ShortChefSkinnyChef duo performing in their own live theatre cooking up a storm.

~Disclaimer ~ I was invited to be a media partner for Claire Allen & the ShortChefSkinnyChef duo.

 

 

 

 

broccoli, coconut & chilli soup

broccoli, coconut & chilli soup | The Secret Life of Bee

This is my absolute favourite soup. It’s perfect for autumn weather. The broccoli and chilli keep things light and vibrant, the coconut cream makes it luxuriously silky and the fresh whack of coriander wakes up your palate. I’ve made this soup for years and it takes minutes. All of the ingredients are cheap and cheerful so you can feed your family in no time at all with a delicious meal that is very easy on your wallet! Also broccoli is really really good for you. Don’t believe me? Read this 6000 word ode to broccoli on Well Being Secrets and you’ll be buying it by the ton!

broccoli, coconut & chilli soup | The Secret Life of Bee

This soup is vegetarian/ vegan if you make it as is but you could always use chicken stock or add some crispy fried chorizo bits on top. Shavings of Parmesan cheese would also be an excellent addition or melted cheesy toasts for dipping. I like it as is. The husband and I have drastically reduced our meat intake in any case and loving a more veggie intense diet. If you are going to add meat make sure it’s the very best free-range, organic, grass fed and ethically sourced meat you can find. To add a punch of umami I used half vegetable stock and half mushroom stock. The mushroom stock has exceptional earthy, meaty flavour. If you can’t get your hands on some and don’t feel like making any either straight up veggie stock is perfect.

broccoli, coconut & chilli soup | The Secret Life of Bee

Broccoli, coconut & chilli soup

serves four

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of broccoli (about 500g)
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 small bird’s eye chillies
  • 400ml coconut cream (1 tin)
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 250ml mushroom stock
  • handful fresh coriander
  • olive oil
  • organic sesame oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Fioretto stems for garnishing (totally unnecessary but heavens they’re pretty!)

Method:

In a large pot- sauté the red onion and chilli with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and cook until soft and translucent. Remove the broccoli florets from the stem, chop roughly and add to onions. Sauté the broccoli for a couple of minutes and then add a splash of water to your pot and cover with a lid to allow the broccoli to steam until cooked through.

Once the broccoli is cooked add coconut cream and stock. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for a few minutes. remove the pot from the heat and add a handful of fresh coriander, stems and all.

Blend the soup while hot using an immersion blender. Be careful. That’s why using a large pot will help keep the swirling liquid in the pot and not on you.

Check seasoning and adjust with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve the soup with some crispy fried Fioretto stems, fresh coriander leaves, a drizzle of sesame oil and some crusty bread for dunking.

broccoli, coconut & chilli soup | The Secret Life of Bee