Condiments, Sauces etc

This tuna olive tapenade is full of powerful flavours that pack a punch

This tuna olive tapenade is full of powerful flavours that pack a punch

You know you are a lucky person when you can look up from your plate and see a table surrounded with the smiling faces of friends. The air is full with the sound of buzzing conversation, bubbling laughter and clinking forks.  The table is full of tasty bites and scrumptious nibbles. Life is good!

This tapenade is a great little make-ahead dish for a fuss free dinner party. It tastes salty, rich and earthy. Originally tapenade is made with just olives and capers. This version includes tuna.  Quite moreish!

Thanks againTC and VV for giving me….and my tapenade… a place at your table.

(from ‘Aller Lekkerste Zomer’)

50g capers
150g  good quality pitted black olives
3 anchovies filets
1 can of good quality tuna in olive oil (about 200g)
a pinch of dried thyme
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt, pepper
about 2 tbsp olive oil


  1. Rinse the capers. Add to a food processor together with all the ingredients except the olive oil.
  2. Blend until the dip has reached the desired consistency. Add extra olive oil if necessary. ( I like my tapenade rather smooth.)
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Refrigerate for at least one hour or preferably over-night. Can be stored in the fridge for about four days.


Tips & Variations

Consider some of the following

  • leave out the tuna and anchovies for a more traditional tapenade
  • replace anchovies with anchovy paste
  • add a clove of garlic
  • add lemon zest
  • replace thyme with oregano
  • add chopped parsley

Serve with

  • raw vegetables as a dip
  • cream cheese or rye bread
  • crostini and baked ricotta
Smoky aubergine dip also know as caviar d’aubergines

Smoky aubergine dip also know as caviar d’aubergines

Baba ganoush is an aubergine dip with an amazing smoky flavour; I have never tasted anything like it! Gorgeous! I was over the moon when I discovered it really is not that hard to make yourself.

You start by charring some eggplant over an open flame or under a grill. The hob method is more adventurous. Cooking them under the grill is particularly good if you are making larger amounts (and you will want massive amounts, this stuff is so delicious).

Before making the baba ganoush I would actually set aside a little of the roast aubergine to use as part of this recipe for Lentils with Roast Vegetables.

Serve your baba ganoush as an appetizer with some wraps.
Or as a side dish to spiced lamb and a salad for a fabulous main course.
Or….go crazy and serve this dip as part of a mezze style feast.

Last but not least this dip not only keeps in the fridge for about five days, it actually tastes better after a day or two.


2 large aubergine
3 garlic cloves
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp tahini (roasted sesame paste)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
a pinch of cayenne or chili
optional: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp leaf parsley



I know two methods for preparing the eggplant.

Option 1: Hob & oven

  1. Heat oven to 200C.
  2. Prick the eggplants a few times with a fork. Char them by placing them directly on the flame of your gas stove. Turn them regularly until the skin is blackened and bubbles.( I so enjoy this part of the recipe – I mean how often do you get to do something like this.) Depending on how smoky you like you dip, char them for about (5 to )15 min.
  3. Put the aubergine in an oven dish and bake about 45 min until soft and wrinkled.
  4. Transfer them to a colander and allow to drain for 30 min.

Alternative: Grill

  1. Line a baking tray with a double layer of aluminum foil.
  2. Pierce aubergines a few times with a fork (to stop them from exploding.)
  3. Place them directly under a hot grill for about 1 hour, turning them a few times. The aubergines should deflate and the skin should burn and break.

Making the dip

  1. Boil a little water and throw in the garlic just briefly. (This removes the sharp edge of the garlic.)
  2. Carefully remove the garlic skin. Cut the aubergine into rough chunks and put these to your food processor together with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cayenne, cumin (if using). Process until you have a creamy dip. (I prefer my baba ganoush with some texture, but you can go as smooth as you like.)
  3. Chill at least for a few hours before serving. The dip will taste even better after a day or two. It will keep for about five in the fridge and can be frozen.

Serve with

Spicy Lamb Chops or Mini Kofta
Soft Warps or Pita Breads
Cauliflower Tabbouleh or Watermelon Feta Salad
Lentils and Roast Vegetables (you can use either baba ganoush or plain roast aubergine for this dish)

Grilled Aubergine on Lentils and Roast Veg

Grilled Aubergine on Lentils and Roast Veg

A heavenly match: fragrant orange and dark chocolate

A heavenly match: fragrant orange and dark chocolate

I just love giving presents;  thinking up a little something that will put a smile on someone’s face.

I have no idea what triggered this gift, but all of a sudden I thought back to my childhood Christmases: I seem to remember that every year someone in our family was given candied orange peel from this one particular confectionary. But people move cities, habits change. It has been a long time since one of these little cellophane packages sat under our Christmas tree.

So I decided to make some candied orange peel as a gift for my father.  I think I only failed in one respect:  everyone (even the little ones) liked them so much that by now there is not much left for him to enjoy.

These are easy to prepare and taste fabulous – so do not wait until Christmas before making these as a gift for someone you care for.

(found on the blog ‘Whisks and Whimsy’ adapted from ‘Smitten Kitchen’)

4 organic oranges
water for blanching
230ml (8 oz) of water
225g (8 oz) of sugar
100g dark chocolate (I used the 70% Green & Black’s Organic chocolate)


  1. Bring two pots of water to the boil.
  2. Slice the top and bottom off the oranges. Score them from top to bottom and then peel each orange in one large piece (if you can manage). Slice the peel into strips.
  3. Place the peels into the first pot. Blanch for 3 minutes. Tip into a colander and rinse with cold water.
  4. Repeat the process blanching them for another 3 minutes in the second pot. (Blanching them twice removes the bitterness from the peel.)
  5. At the same time combine the water and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Add peels to the syrup. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Stir once in a while to ensure the peels are submerged.
  7. Once cooked drain the peels and lay them out on a sheet of baking paper (or rack) to cool and dry.
  8. Melt the chocolate au bain marie. (If possible use a narrow deep cup for the melted chocolate. It’s not necessary, but makes dipping the orange a little more easy.)
  9. Dip each orange peel 2/3 into the chocolate. Then place on the parchment to cool. ( I left them out for 24 hours.)
  10. Once the peel has dried store in an airtight container.

Tips & Variations

  • Instead of or before dipping the orange in chocolate, the peel can be tossed in 250g (1 cup) of sugar.
  • These peels still look a little rustic. If you are looking for a more polished result temper your chocolate (this will keep the chocolate shiny and with less “feet”.)

Silky, creamy home-made ricotta – so easy to make

A few years ago I realized how much processed food sneaks into my meals;  and with it how many unhealthy additives. More and more I started making things from scratch: falafel, wraps, pizza sauce,  pita breads etc. Over and over again I was surprised how easy most of these recipes are.

I just love that ah-moment: Really it is that straight-forward? Well, that I can do myself!!

This ricotta is a great example: it really is no more than some heated milk pour through a cheesecloth.

And the result? So much more lovely and creamy than that store-bought grainy stuff.

About 200g

1 liter semi-skinned milk
0.5 liter buttermilk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
a few pinches of salt



  1. Put milk and buttermilk into a large pot.
  2. Heat uncovered on a medium heat without a lid.
  3. Scrape the bottom of the pan a regularly to avoid any milk sticking and buring. Stir the milk as little as possible though (the less you stir the more ricotta you will have).
  4. Heat the milk until you see the milk solids separate.
  5. Carefully stir in vinegar. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Wet your cheesecloth with water. Squeeze. Fold until you have about four layers. Line a sieve with the cheesecloth.
  7. Using a slotted spoon carefully ladle the solids into the cheesecloth. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt in between.
  8. Allow to sit until you have the consistency you are looking for. It differs, but I have found about 30 minutes works for me.


Tips & Variations

There are many variations possible

  • Use full-fat milk instead of semi-skinned
  • Replace buttermilk with cream
  • Replace vinegar with lemon juice or leave out all together

Serve with

Super simple stewed strawberries

My local supermarket stopped selling my favourite fruit jam.  It was a no-sugar-added compote with chunks of real fruit. Why they would take the best jam ever off the shelves beats me; but then I also do not understand how people can eat that artificial tasting sweet stuff that gets passed off as jam.  I guess I was spoiled growing up on my grandmother  and uncle’s home-made jams.

Thankfully every cloud has a silver lining: looking for a replacement I discovered this ridiculously easy compote. Sugar free and slightly tart it goes wonderfully with anything from scones to yoghurt. In the fridge it should last for at least two weeks. By the way this recipe works fine with strawberries that have too soft for eating fresh.

One day I am going to tackle real jam making, but for now I am happy to make this quick and easy compote.

(found on the blog ‘Appetite for Life)


  1. Hull and halve a punnet of strawberries. Place them in a small saucepan.
  2. Add a tablespoon or so of water.
  3. Bring to a soft simmer on a medium low heat.
  4. Turn the heat low and cook without a lid. Stir once in a while until the compote has reached the desired thickness. (About 30 minutes is a good guideline. You can cook them for longer if you are looking for a smoother compote, like on the above photograph)
  5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (Should last about 2 weeks)


Tips & Variations

In the last 5 minutes you can add some

  • Sweetner: Agave syprup, honey, stevia or sugar
  • Flavouring: lemon juice, orange juice or vanilla sugar

Serve with