Food Glorious Food

Alex needs some ideas for weekend food and Judy has asked for a dip recipe. Since summer is on its way, I thought something light and cool would not go amiss.

 Savoury Dip

Mix together the following:

  •  250g cream cheese
  • 2½ Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • 3 Tbsp green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Pinch of celery salt
  • A few drops of Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper

 Bacon and Egg Salad

I saw Nigella prepare this on one of her shows. The dressing made with bacon fat is sheer genius! And thanks to Tim Noakes we can now eat it without any guilt.

4 servings


  • 4 eggs
  • 250 g mixed salad leaves (the Italian mix with radicchio is nice)
  • 1 teaspoon cooking olive oil
  • 1 packet smoked bacon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 teaspoons wine / cider vinegar
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce


  1. Put the eggs into a saucepan of water, over medium heat. Bring to boil, then turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a bowl of cold water. Peel the eggs once they feel cool to the touch.
  2. Meanwhile, tear the salad leaves into bite-sized pieces and drop them into a serving bowl.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, over medium heat. Cut the bacon into chunks and fry until crisp, about 5 minutes or so. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spatula to some paper towels to drain, while you make the dressing.
  4. Add the Dijon mustard to the bacon juices in the pan and whisk to combine, then add the vinegar and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Whisk again, then pour it over the salad leaves, tossing to mix.
  5. Sprinkle in the bacon chunks. Quarter the eggs and add them. Gently mix to combine, trying not to break up the eggs.

I love the combination of avo and bacon but not so much avo and egg, so sometimes I substitute avo for the eggs.

Serve it with some slices of crispy ciabatta to mop up the juices.

 Calamari Salad

  • 1 packet frozen calamari rings
  • 70 ml olive oil
  • 10 ml lemon juice
  • 45 ml wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • A few drops of Tabasco
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 20 ml tomato sauce
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cook calamari according to the instructions on the packet.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients together.
  3. Marinate the calamari in the dressing.
  4. Serve with lettuce and sliced red/ yellow pepper.

Sliced Steak

This recipe for sliced steak is adapted from Nigella’s Tagliata for Two recipe. Adding a splash of acid to the steak really seems to brings out all the sweetness of the meat.

I am sometimes daunted by a slab of meat on my plate, but sliced like this makes it more palatable – and a little goes a long way! In South Africa eating shisa nyama is a very social activity. Nigella’s recipe reminds me of braais that we used to attend when we lived in the bush in Maputaland. The cooked meat would be sliced and served on large wooden platters with a piles of salt and crushed red Pelindaba chillies on the side. And everyone would tuck in.

Serves 2

  • 400 g rib eye
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried chilli
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  1. Pour the oil, vinegar, oregano and chilli in a small dish about the size of the steak.
  2. Coat the steak in a little olive oil and cook in a hot frying pan for 3 – 5 minutes. Then pop the steak into the oil vinegar mixture and rest for two minutes on each side to absorb the flavours.
  3. Take the steak out and add the tomatoes cut side down into the oil mixture.
  4. Slice the steak and pour the tomato and juices over.

When I went to Thailand with the kids all those years ago (it seems), we spent a wonderful day exploring the food market, cooking, eating and generally mucking about at the Classic Home Cooking School in Chiang Mai. This recipe for Thai Beef Salad is adapted from their cookbook.

 Yam Nua

Serves 4


  • 500 g beef fillet or rump
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • Handful of chopped spring onions
  • Handful of mint leaves
  • Handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced


  • 1 tsp ‘crashed’ garlic
  • 2 small red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced and pounded lemon grass stems
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp soft brown or palm sugar
  1. Cook the beef in a hot frying pan for 3 – 5 minutes each side, or until cooked to your liking. Allow to cool and then slice into thin strips.
  2. Place the dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake well to combine.
  3. To serve, mix together the salad ingredients, place on a large platter and top with the slices of beef. Pour over the dressing.

Yesterday I sliced two roasted chicken breasts into strips to make a Thai Chicken Salad, using the Yam Nua recipe above. I poured half the dressing over the chicken strips while they were still warm and let them marinate while I made the salad, to which I added finely sliced, home-grown cabbage for crunch. Once the chicken strips had cooled down I added them to the salad and poured over the remaining dressing. It was a delicious, fresh tasting meal and Peter and I scoffed the lot!

Roasting chicken breasts on the bone is easy peasy:

Place the chicken pieces in a roasting pan and rub them with olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and any dried herbs languishing in your kitchen. To keep the chicken from drying out, simply tent the pan with some aluminium foil. Cook in the oven at 180°C for about 45 minutes.

When I was in my early teens, growing up in Port Elizabeth, I worked in Michael’s record bar on Saturday mornings. After work I would meet up with my friend Michele and we would go across the road for hot dogs and root beer, before heading off to the matinee movie show. I have very fond memories of that time in my life. Years later, when I started making hot dogs for my children, I concocted this relish to go with them because it reminded me of the sauce that we used to get with our hot dogs in PE. It became a firm favourite in our household and Alex asked me to include it in my post. I forgot, so here it is, post script.

 Hot Dog Relish


  •  1 Tbsp cooking olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped (to skin a tomato, make a slit in the skin on the stem side and cover with boiling water for 30 seconds, drain and peel)
  • 1 Tbsp hot chilli sauce (I use Wellington’s)
  • 1 Tbsp Mrs Ball’s chutney
  • 1 Tbsp tomato sauce
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan and soften the onion.
  2. Add the mustard seeds and when they start jumping out of the pan, add the tomatoes and cook until they start to break down.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook on a gentle heat for about 10 minutes or until all the ingredients have combined

Our orchard is full of baby fruit. We have a long way to go before there’s enough to go around, so once the birds have had their share, I don’t think there will be any left for us. It’s exciting nonetheless.

clockwise, from top left: hazelnuts, pomegranates,  peaches and apples

clockwise, from top left: hazelnuts, pomegranates, peaches and apples

walnuts, nectarines, apples and peaches

walnuts, nectarines, apples and peaches

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2 Responses to Food Glorious Food

  1. Judy says:

    I made the Savoury Dip for our Christmas “do”. It received a lot of compliments and requests for the recipe!

    • Cathy says:

      I am delighted to hear that. It comes from a book that the PTA of Berea West Pre-Primary School put together as a fundraising effort when I was teaching there in 1979 / 80. I must have made it at least a hundred times and it’s slightly different every time but always a firm favourite in our household (especially with Lays chips). Thanks for your comment BTW!!

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