Choice Morsels of Food ~ Tidbits ~ Cooked and Tasted by Veronica Clark ~ For: Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Choritzo Dish ~ One Pot Wonders

Hello Foodie Friends!

We all love a quick and easy "fix" for a tasty no fuss midweek meal!!! And if it all happens in one pot or pan, it surely is a bonus!!

This dish usually gets made in House Tassels, when, we have a "Chorizo Hole to fill"!!!! I usually get an announcement from son, declaring that he has a "Chorizo hole to fill" meaning, that he has not had Chorizo in a while and is suffering withdrawal symptoms....

Chorizo Dinner Dish
Serves 2
225 g Chorizo
Tin of Tomatoes or 125 g Tomato Pesto
Onion Sliced
2 Waxy Mediterranean Potatoes, Diced
Fresh Basil (optional)
Crusty bread

Slice Chorizo ~ Do not put them in your mouth, but in a single layer in a heated pan and saute for a few minutes. No need to add oil to the pan, as the oil from the Choritzo will ooze out. As soon as this starts to happen, add your onions and fry tossing for a few seconds.
Add the diced potato and continue to saute.

Add the tin of tomatoes or your tomato pesto (I used Ina Paarman's ) and a spoon of sugar. When using pesto, I add a little bit of water to give some liquid to cook the potatoes until soften. Put over a low heat and let it simmer slowly until potatoes are cooked.

If the pesto thickens, and the potatoes are obstinate, just add a little bit more water!

Garnish with fresh sweet basil. Goodness, these leave were extra large!!!

Tonight, I served this with a fresh avocado, ciabatta rolls with hummus and tzatziki and a glass of Zesty White Wine.
Perfect before a quick evening swim!

And it was done in no time at all!

If you are the official dishwasher, save a piece of bread, to "clean" the pan afore it hits the water!!!
Your taste buds will thank me!!!
And save a swig of wine, to "help" with the dishes!!!
Bon Appetite

Please leave your comments below! My food critic, above, in his bonnet gave an approving sniff before he got shooed outdoors!!!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Light And Luscious Hake ~ Bargain Bastement Treat!

Hi dear food lovers!!!
Welcome to all my followers via Facebook and Blogger!!! I am thrilled to have you along for my kitchen antics....
It has been a very hot day and when the heat is on, you want to wiz in and out of the kitchen in a flash, and have something for the Monday meal!
Now, we all love a bargain! Especially if you are the one feeding the troops!
Our local Woolworths in Canal Walk has a fabulous fresh fish counter and when I am in Canal Walk, I always pop in to see what they have on "Special" They often have packets priced "two for the price of one" and I buy almost all my fish in this way!

The shop assistant always says "Madam, you have the luck of the devil, you always find the last packet of "Two for the price of one"!! She declared in a loud voice the one day... " When its the last packet, I know you are a coming"!!! She has on occasion even decided, that my choice was bad, removed hake from the trolley and pointed out that the Kingklip was on special and what do I want with hake?" Who am I to argue???
But this time, I snug away with the hake, very chuffed with self that I found two pieces for under R27-00!!
So hear goes....
Hake with Sauté Potatoes and Spinach Salad
Baby Spinach Leaves
Potatoes (as many as you have to, to avoid complaints!)
Olive Oil
Fish Paste
On the night I made this it happened to be raining!!!
I dashed outside and retrieved my pot with Spinach from the garden and brought it inside to "harvest"!

This particular variety of Spinach is actually called, "Dash" and grows like a weed! I snip and then it pops up again!
It is ideal in salads.
Wash and dry the leaves, and on a Monday night for two of us, there is no use for a salad bowl... goes straight onto the plate with luscious ripe tomatoes!
Now, just a word about tomatoes...
please, only buy ripe ones or pick them straight of the vine.
Leave the anaemic ones on the shelf!!!
 Do not store them in the fridge! A cool place in the kitchen where they look gorgeous is ideal, and they will be eaten quickly! How can you resist, anyway?

Now, the saute potatoes is where I fall short, literally!!!
I am always to lazy to take out the huge paella pan to make enough for two, not that my pan is small, you understand, but my son always complains that I did not make enough!!!
So, make sure you have a large pan or two pans!
I use the waxy Mediterranean Potatoes and cut them in rounds.
Cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil, heat the oil, place a single (...sigh) layer of potatoes and saute until crisp, turning once!
Towards the end of cooking, I add Robertson's Dried Garlic Flakes and saute for a few minutes.

In a separate pan, heat a good splash of olive oil.
When the oil is heated, fry the hake.
Add a large squeeze (usually juice of a whole lemon) of lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons of Fish Paste and if necessary another splash of olive oil, to form the sauce. 

When fish is cooked, remove fish to plate and drizzle the remainder of the sauce over.

I usually do not bother with a salad dressing as the sauce from the fish is enough to coat the leaves.
On occasion, I have sprinkled, chopped anchovies over in lieu of salt, but if you need salt, so be it! Please your tastebuds!

Doing the dishes has the added advantage that you can pick all the bits of saute potato off the bottom of the pan....
Bon Appetite
Hope Monday behaved herself Well!
Let's chat below in the comment box!
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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Fig Salad ~ Total Bliss and the Sexiest Salad Ever!

Hi food lovers!!
It has taken a while to start posting but here I am, finally! It was agony to decide what the first post had to be about, so I just decided that it had to be, my favourite meal!
With summer finally here, after Cape Town has managed to shake that relentless wet winter, (says I, while it is raining outside!!!) the temperatures are bound to soar and with the holidays just a few short blinks away, trust me, here at the tip of Africa, we want to avoid the hot kitchen like the plague.
This is hardly a recipe, more of just a few instructions. Very little, if any prep is involved, so relax to the max principles apply here.
I often cart all the ingredients to the stone table outside and assemble it in my bather, ready for a post lunch dip!
Some of you know this recipe well, but I have to re post all my recipes, so please forgive me, I will include new ones between all the oldies!
My gran would turn in her grave, if she knew I bought figs in a shop in a lil punnet! And she would be horrified at the price, trust me! I grew up with an enormous fig tree holding court just outside of the back door. So, in her honour, after several punnets of very expensive figs, some obviously imported, I went of to buy myself a fig tree!! But, of course I could not find a single spot in the garden so had to buy a pot!
The dude at the nursery warned about the pot cracking due to the aggressive root system and I launched into my explanation above! He just grinned when I told him we have at least five years to prepare for the catastrophe!
The birds love me and I have to resort to drastic measures to protect my lil crop of black gold!
Yeah, how about that view with fig salad, and Table Mountain just to the left. We are drinking Champagne cocktails and life is good!
Now lets put this salad together and give a grateful bow to Jamie Oliver, The Naked One for the original version!
Make sure the Wine is chilling before you start!
Prepare your tastebuds for sweet, salty and bliss...
Here's what you need:
Firstly, pour a glass of wine! I am pouring myself a glass of Springfield Wild Yeast Chardonnay... this is standard in our house with fig salad!
2 Figs per person ~ Those luscious plump Black Figs ~they look as if the are about to pop out their skins! (Two,unless you want a brawl on your hands)
Wild Rocket or your favourite tangy mix of Salad leaves Scattered over a platter
I sometimes use Asian Salad Mix
Parma Ham (can also use Black Forest Ham)
Milky Buffalo Mozzarella ~ or Baby Bocconini (Ex Woolworths)
Wash and dry your figs and handle with care (no peeling of the skins)
Snip of the little point at the top and cut a small cross in the top.Taking you thumb and forefinger, place them around the base of  fig and give a gentle squeeze until it pops open and "flowers"
Place the figs onto the salad leaves and weave the strips of parma ham through the figs
Rip some piece of mozzarella and scatter about artistically. The insides of those figs always make me think of the Italian painter Carpaccio, don't you think?
Now for the dressing
~Honey and Lemon Juice Dressing~
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix together well
Make sure you get some dressing in the middle of the figs and make extra to drizzle the leaves as well
I often do not even make the above dressing and merely drizzle over the following....
A bit of honey warmed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar Crema Reduction
(I use Woolworths Crema con "Aceto Balsamico di Modena PGI"
But of course you can also use the flavoured ones
I serve the whole lot on a large platter with a crusty baguette or focaccia bread to mop up the juices on the platter! I love watching guests watch one another and when the first one dips the bread in the central platter the rest dive in!
I have served the fig salad as a starter or a light lunch.
Wines we like with our fig Salad:
Springfield's Wild Yeast Chardonnay ~ Available from Woolworths as well as good wine shops
Nitida's Sauvignon Blanc
JC Le Roux La Domaine Sparkling Wine
Jonkheer's Est La Vida Blanca
Woolworth's Zesty White (I keep that brand alive single handily, I am sure of it!)
The original post for this Salad on Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds can be found here
Now that you have chewed the last tidbit, please leave me a comment or suggestion below!
Bon Appetite
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Welcome ~ About Me ~ How this Blog was Born ~

Welcome to my Kitchen, pantry and wannabe veggie and herb garden ...

The Table is Life!!!

Don't you agree? Put two or more people at the table with food and wine, and it springs to Life, instantly!

Passing dishes, pouring wine, breaking bread, has got to be the most convivial activity ever. Chatter turns to laughter, often becomes intense debates with wild gesticulating (in our house, anyway) and the Table that stood forlornly the whole day, has a life of its own...

Are your taste buds in a perpetual state of anticipation of the next tidbit? Do you stand in the line at the post office and think about all the fabulous wine labels you have seen lately? Do you have a cupboard full of foodie magazines that you take to bead to read on a Sunday night to plan the next shopping trip to markets? Well, then we need to chat!

 I see you nodding, so come along and lets, harvest, chop, stir, sniff and taste. I always need some company to do the dishes anyway!
And, I pay with wine and tipple, so long as you don't start throwing plates ... I have a special stash for such activity, so ask for those please!!

If weeding is your thing, I will serve the tipple payment in the herb and veggie patch, so don't be shy!

Now, some of my followers will ask, why another blog? Well here's why?

I have another blog called Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds ~ Please Click here to visit and I have posted some recipes there already!  I wanted to join the South African Food Bloggers Roll and they declined my blog due to the content of gardens and decor and it is quite understandable, that they only want food related content!

I initially started blogging to share my recipes with friends and family who kept asking, and at the time, I was teaching my daughter, who had moved to Johannesburg to cook via email! Remote parental guidance worked wonders....But decor and gardening hijacked it!
It took me some time to come up with the name, as I wanted it to tie in with Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds and of course, in the foodie world, tastebuds is a popular term, so I struggled a bit but thanks to a bloggy friend in the USA I found Tidbits for Tastebuds and it worked on blogger!!! Hallelujah!!!
By the way, for readers of Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds, when I post to Tidbits for Tastebuds, (take a sip of wine if your tongue gets in a twist!) I will indicate in my posts to that blog to make it easier for you to hop over and see what's cooking! So, no worries, you won't miss out!
I am just a home cook and cook from my heart and for my own tastebuds and mood! Often there will be an enquiry as to what for dinner at five in the afternoon and my answer will be " No Idea!!" I will dash down to the fridge and be as surprised as to whats for dinner as the former enquirer...

I feel recipes are a guideline and can also just be used to inspire you. Often the same recipe made again will turn out differently, as I added more of this or that. Sometimes, there will be a vague suggestion of...a pinch of, a handful or a soupcon (a faint suspicion) or a good dash of spice or whatever. Fell free to improvise until your tastebuds are in a blissful symphony! A flopped recipe is often just a temporary catastrophe and can be remedied, so just do it!
Baking, of course is an exception and falls into the category of precision engineering!!!

So, I invite you to share my kitchen capers, give your opinion, your advise and suggestions and share in the joy of being blessed enough to be able to do so!
I will also be sharing friends recipes, restaurants that I love, markets I visit, books and mags that I can not live without, etc!
I often get calls from friends, asking where I bought this or that or where to obtain certain ingredients so I will endeavour to include it at the end of each recipe.

I can be stickler for a specific ingredient as my tastebuds demand and will tell you where to get it, what shop and even what isle, and include the price as I did for my kids (so they know if they have to mortgage the house, or not) if I feel strong enough about it!

Wine parings is for my own pleasure and those who have enquired as to what they drank when they visited. So, if you are an expert and shudder at my particular choice, I will most certainly not deter you from adding your comments and suggestions. All suggestions are most welcome and appreciated, especially if you pitch up with the said suggestion at my door!
In terms of photographs, I am just an aim and shoot kinda gal, and hope for the best!!! Here, I also just have to say... I have a whole new respect for food stylists and food photographers!!!
So what follows is what we eat at home and what I love to cook! Most times it is just simple fare, but of course there are occasions which calls for feasting, and then that, is exactly what we do!

Bon Appetite

PS: Often the best fun is had after the party when most guests have gone home, while we do the dishes, mop up the left overs and drain the bottles...and have a post mortem.

"I don't like it when food is too carefully arranged; it makes me think that the chef is spending too much time arranging and not enough time cooking. If I wanted a picture, I'd buy a painting" ~ Andy Rooney

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My other blogs are Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds
And Mother City Magic ~ A Blog on Cape Town
Twitter ~ @MotherCityMagic