Sunday, January 18, 2015

Friday Night Dinner Project: South African Dinner *updated*

You may have noticed that no menu appeared last week.  Our entire house was sick.  There was not much cooking of any sort getting done.  We are back on track now.  This week’s installment of the Friday Night Dinner Project is the South African Dinner.  It is actually a vegetarian menu, but I use chicken broth where it calls for vegetable broth so….not so vegetarian in our house.

Avocado and Ricotta Spread
This is the starter on the menu, and unfortunately I did not make it.  Despite having avocado on my grocery list, I forgot to pick it up.  I will post an update on this recipe next weekend.
UPDATE: I made the dip.  It is very good.  I would not have thought to pair avocado with ricotta cheese for a dip but I loved it (so did my husband and my son).  I will try to update with a picture once my computer issues are resolved.

Curried Butternut and Peanut Soup

Butternut squash, coconut milk, peanut butter, curry paste….all in one soup?  It is heavenly.  This soup is so creamy and smooth and delicious, without being too rich.  This is one that I will make over and over again.  Truly, this soup is amazing.

Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Potjie
I had never heard of this dish until I read this recipe.  Bonnie recommends serving it over couscous and that is what we did.  It is a vegetarian entrée and a very delicious one.  The amazing blend of spices – cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, brown sugar, chili paste, salt and pepper – makes this a very aromatic dish.  We served it over couscous, drizzled with plain Greek yogurt.  The yogurt really adds something nice to the recipe.  We enjoyed reheated leftovers for several days – my colleagues were all asking me about it because it smells so good.

Amazing South African Seed Bread
If you have any health nuts in your circle of friends then send this bread recipe their way.  It is full of healthy sounding stuff like wheat bran, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flax seeds, the list goes on.  My husband (who is not a huge fan) calls it bird seed bread.  I actually like this bread with jam or a light white cheese.  The only thing I would say is that I find the molasses flavour quite strong when I follow the recipe exactly, so I usually substitute honey in for the molasses.

Couscous with Nuts and Seeds
Couscous is so quick and easy to make, I love it.  The crunch in this recipe is lovely and it is great with the Roasted Vegetable and Chickpea Potjie.

Lauren’s Brazil Nut Biscotti
I made the biscotti.  I ate the biscotti.  Neither of us (my husband + me) drink coffee so we never eat biscotti.  We decided to try it with hot chocolate.  It was pretty good.  Not being biscotti eaters I have nothing to compare it to, so we are both taking a bunch to work tomorrow for colleagues to try.  I will say that this is an easy recipe to make and quick (if you don’t count the time you let the loaf sit in the fridge before slicing it and the slicing time), and it actually looks quite impressive once done.  It would make a nice gift for the coffee drinker on your list.  Or a nice change from the usual cakes and what not served at coffee hour.
UPDATE:My husband and I both took this to work with us and it turned out to be insanely popular at both of our workplaces.  People kept coming back for more and asking for the recipe!

Pavlova with Passionfruit Cream
Well there was no passionfruit cream due to not being able to find any.  I used lemon curd instead (plus I love lemon and meringue together so…).  Seven years ago we were at a dinner party in South London and I remember how impressed I was when the hostess brought out a beautiful Raspberry Pavlova for dessert.  It was fabulous and looked amazing, I always wanted to try making one after that.  When we lived in the United Kingdom I did not buy any electric appliances (because I knew we would eventually be leaving – I only bought a cheap toaster and a blender) and the idea of making meringue without an electric mixer seemed ridiculous to me.  So here I am, seven years on, making my first pavlova.  It is not going to win any awards for presentation, but it tastes good.  Very sweet but light at the same time.  Hopefully my next one will look a bit prettier!  Here is a link to a different version of pavlova from Bonnie Stern.

That's it for this week's Friday Night Dinner.

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