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Welcome to Broad Bites. Join me on a culinary adventure where I battle daily with my nemesis, the Calorie. I am curious, I am passionate, I am RIDICULOUSLY in love with food - and with life. As a chef, I believe only in one thing - flavour. As a woman, I am in search of balance. I am just a regular broad ... I am you!

Message from The Broad

June19

 

My husband and I have bid farewell to the (utterly gorgeous) Hout Bay in South Africa, and have safely arrived in the UK just a few days ago, to settle in to our new home in the equally beautiful historical market town called Wokingham. (About 50 min drive from London)

What can only be described as possibly The Most Stressful Thing One Can Put Oneself Through, our list of things to do in only 3 days (before hubby had to return to SA for work and tie up loose ends) included buying a car, opening a bank account, furnishing a house – complete with cutlery, appliances etc, getting a new SIM, joining the gym, getting internet access etc. This does not include the admin we had to attend to back home to the lead up to this adventure, which included finding tenants for our house, selling cars, getting the dogs booked on a flight in August … I could go on and on but I fear the headache may return. Needless to say, all of the above were done between Saturday and this morning! I am now alone in the house, sitting on the floor eating a tin of Bully Beef. (And positively THRILLED that they sell that here. I am no longer ashamed to say that I love it!)…. I always have been the eternal optimist.

We faired well, under the circumstances, although we had to share a single bed for two nights (loaned to us by family)…. and finding a perfect car was pure hell (and I gave pretty easy instructions: No primary colours) Getting around was also hugely frustrating as the GPS lady kept interrupting me while I was trying to tell hubby how to drive…

Anyway …. the reason for this post …

As some of you know, I am privileged enough to be working for – and with – what can only be described as an icon in the food world. This is a dream job come true for me, and I want to make an absolute success of it!

I met my new colleagues yesterday and my first month of induction involves working for a week in each of his restaurants, and 2 of the restaurants I will be working at were recently rated in the Top 15 IN. THE. WORLD. Yes, I am still pinching myself. In August, I will be settling in at his lab to tackle extremely exciting (confidential) projects!

SO … This blog post is also to sadly let you know (but I am sure you will understand) that given the nature of the work I will be doing and the brand I will be representing, I am no longer in the position to blog or tweet or update the BROAD BITES brand or Facebook page. I will keep what has so far been uploaded live on the internet as my employment only begins 1 July and I am sure you will still want access to the delicious recipes I have uploaded thus far!

However … this will be my last post.

Thank you SO much for all the support and encouragement over the past few months. Writing was new to me but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had wonderful feedback since the launch in April – and I will continue to keep records of my favourite tips and tricks to shave off those calories.

YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE LAST OF THE BROAD.

Happy feasting my friends.

The Broad.

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Pork in Pink Sauce

June8

 

Don’t be put off or dismayed by the title of this recipe. The truth is I am running out of cute-and-clever alliterations for the titles of my dishes. The meat is pork. The sauce is pink. (And pink in a way that screams all of kinds of scrumptious.)

I allowed myself the luxury of a dollop of sour cream in the sauce by trading mashed potatoes (that would go superbly with this pork) for a green salad instead. So while this sauce is (shock-horror) ‘creamy’ – let’s not get our panties in a twist. This bargain I made with myself was to lose an accompaying carb, use no other fat in the sauce-making and take advantage of lean pork fillets. Then I can enjoy a bit of cream – guilt-free. This is something I am often found doing. (Because I am a grown up and I can do as I please). Also, pork is a healthy choice. Contrary to what you may think, a trimmed pork fillet is remarkably low in fat as most pork fat is on the surface of the meat – not running throughout the meat, like in the case of beef.

I absolutely love this dish, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that you will too! It’s superb, so easy – and the flavour of this heavenly sauce is sophisticated enough for this to be your next dinner party dish. Enjoy – and please let me know how it goes!

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Quick Veggie ‘Schnitzel’ Salad

June7

Whoever said packing your entire life up and fitting it into one 23kg suitcase was going to be difficult? On my pending relocation to the UK in 7 days time, this was easy as pie for me and took me all of 10 minutes. If somebody searches my bag – all they will find are several knickers and about 20 treasured recipe books. And while I know ‘everything is replaceable’ – the argument I gave my husband was that I was instructed to pack my sentimental things, and … well, as you can imagine being a lover of food and cooking – my recipe collection are mostly gifts from loved ones over the years. I love them with all my heart, their sticky pages and their broken spines. They belong to ME.

So having revealed my pending departure from this beautiful country, I also have the task of finishing off what I find in my freezer and pantry. Even though I am not a vegetarian, I adore the low-fat, vegetarian products from Fry’s. I still had a box of their delicious ‘chicken schnitzels’ and while I could have enjoyed the schnitzel on a roll as a burger – this is what I did with them instead. This is a really quick, delicious, healthy, meat-free salad that tastes and good as it looks. Enjoy!

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Pink Apple Pancakes

May30

Culinary School was an incredible experience for me, as it was something I only did after I turned 30, which meant I had years and years of food questions I wanted answers to. I would absorb everything my lecturer told, taught and showed us. I was blown away every time we created something, and the novelty that I was working towards living my dream never wore off for me. I had an excellent lecturer, Chef Romeo, who would follow the syllabus, but also add just the right amount of spontaneity to our lessons by seasoning and altering the recipes with reckless abandon. I AB-SO-LUTE-LY loved it!

A similar creation to this one was born one lesson where we used what we had in the school’s pantry that day, and needless to say – I never forgot it. (Neither did my husband who had a FABULOUS time when I was in Culinary School, because I always came home with a huge grin, sore feet, usually a bandaged finger – but always a Tupperware full of our day’s creations.) I have nipped and tucked this recipe in all the right places to suit a healthy lifestyle and I added my ‘Monnie-touches’. I also wanted to experiment with a new product I purchased at the recent Good Food & Wine Show in Cape Town – a sweetener that has no aspartame and no after-taste. This is a sugar-free dessert! …. And it’s delish.

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Spicy Vegetable Lasagne

May28

Even though I know my husband adores spicy food, it always come as a pleasant surprise to me when he requests THIS dish. Firstly, because he is a dude and dudes like their MEAT. (I just say the word ‘steak’ and his gorgeous eyes light up, thinking it’s a night off from my being anal about his cholesterol) – but more importantly, I am touched because I invented it myself.

Being married to me must have posed quite a challenge for him in the beginning – as I saw him as a live-in guinea pig, and tried all sorts of bizarre inventions on him. Bless his cotton socks, he never complained – and as I got better and better (as one does when you practise) – I can now proudly say that his eyes light up when I tell him I am making this healthy lasagne. The dough is homemade, the ‘mince’ is made purely from veg (ensuring your ‘five-a-day’), it’s virtually fat-free – and it is unique in flavour. Plus … it’s pretty. Here’s to Meat-free Mondays!

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Sensational Asian Steak Salad

May25

I woke up particularly well this morning. For two reasons; Firstly, I am en route to the Cape Town Good Food & Wine Show – which makes me giddy beyond recognition! And secondly, Mr Higgins snuggled right up against me the entire night, and I woke up with his little nose breathing small amounts of snot onto my cheek. Bliss :) It certainly beats one Winter morning last year when – still half asleep – in an effort to cover my shoulders with the duvet, my hand slipped and I punched myself in the face. Yes, I would take a bit of Scottie snot any day.

Forgive me, I digress. Building up to the GF&WS where I plan to sample EVERYTHING, because the novelty of sampling different cheese, or dipping those small pieces of bread into little pots of pesto just never wears off for me. So, I need to be extra careful on the food I CAN control, and have decided on a Carbo Embargo this week leading up to my Big Day Out. Having been to Thailand twice in my travels – I am sure you can agree how incredible and fresh the flavours are, and there is a strong Thai influence in this salad. It is also fast, fat-free, simple and satisfying! Born up a tree!

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Pesto Fillets – Your New Breast Friend

May23

Why do all the truly great things in the world turn out bad for us somewhere down the line? Why does chocolate, cigarettes, whiskey and too much Reality TV end up detrimental to our hips, lungs, liver and general mental state – respectively. And don’t even get me started on crispy chicken skin! It’s mind-numbingly unfair that small pieces of what can only be described as heaven clog our arteries while grinning in all their saturated fat glory.

We all know that moderation is the key, but we certainly don’t apply that as often as we should. So I devised a way to make “deboned, skinless chicken breast fillets” (I know your head is ringing B-O-R-I-N-G, because mine does every time I type those words) – taste fabulous! You will forget all about that droolingly delicious chicken skin and its evil side-effects. For now…

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Magical Mojitos – Beluga-style!

May21

In about three and a half weeks, I will be leaving South Africa indefinitely to follow my dream of working with Mr Blumenthal at his Berkshire Lab. It is something that I am certainly still pinching myself over, and I sway between having no appetite, to eating everything in sight – including my friends’ tinned mushrooms (eeeeuw!) at breakfast this past weekend, where it was an all-girls, no-rules weekend of pure messiness.

Anyhow, it should be shared with you the interesting work I was doing at the beginning of this year for the popular Caviar Group of Restaurants – and tell you more about the exciting product they launched, considering I was a large part of the process, and even though I no longer work there – I am still very proud of the end result.

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Ticket Giveaway – GF&WS 2012

May18

Capetonions – are you in the mood for WINNING?

I have been a fan of the annual Good Food & Wine Show for many years now, having missed only one in 2004 where I was working on a cruise liner in Alaska, dressing up as a Beaver (… That’s a whole other post; remind me to tell you about it sometime)

We would book our tickets far in advance and set aside the whole day for it. I used to round up my fellow Broads, and with military precision, draw up our Project Plan for the day. Of course, they weren’t allowed to lag behind – or complain – for fear of not being invited back the following year. It was a blast, fond memories indeed!

With the rise of the Celebrity Chef – the GF&WS now offers an even more incredible experience, bringing the familiar faces of BBC Lifestyle and Food Network right into our lovely Mother City. You can read more about the Chefs In Action line-up here.

Anyhooo, it is with enormous pleasure that I can say, my blog BroadBites.com has been given 6 double tickets (general entry) to give away for the Good Food and Wine Show in Cape Town. The tickets are valued at R 95 each and can be used ANY DAY of the show next week.

HOW TO ENTER:
LIKE the Facebook BROAD BITES page and then simply tell me WHICH article you like the best on BroadBites.com by writing on the wall!

Winners will be notified by Wednesday Noon.

Good luck!

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Seasons-and-reasons Chicken Pasta

May15

I believe people come into your life for a reason – or a season as the saying goes. But I for one get particularly annoyed when friends / family members break up with their partners before I had the chance to lay my grubby hands on a recipe of theirs I fancied.

ME: “Oh I am so sorry she left you! And she took Mittens the Cat!? … AND your Depeche Mode collection? How awful! …. OK, so … um …. did she by any chance leave the recipe of that pasta dish we all loved?”

You see, people enter our lives, and even though their culinary skills (albeit some rather unrefined) are long gone; I am still left with the unfinished business of having to figure out their dishes which were winners – all by myself. (This comes from my unrelenting obsession with food – not relationships).

Of course, nowadays I am so much more on-the-ball. If I met you at a party and you served a dip I couldn’t stop thinking about, you will more more than likely get stalked by me on Facebook until you have surrendered the secret. Just in case our paths never cross again.

I once went to a 21st and hounded the mother (who catered the event) so much about her delicious chicken pate (I was only 20 at the time) that she sent me home with a tupperware full of it. After a night of dancing, I walked happily to my car with my high heels in one hand and the Tupperware in the other!

So, back to the dish today > I have had to tweak it slightly to make it easy on our hips, but this recipe is my attempted recreation of a pasta I loved dearly by someone I once knew – who in turn dated someone I still know. Seasons-and-reasons aside – I am just glad I got it right. It’s marvellous. Enjoy!

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