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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Recipes with cayenne pepper

05Jul 12

Broccoli in Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Broccoli in Cheddar Cheese SauceAlthough broccoli is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet  due to its high content of calcium, vitamin C, folic acid and iron, it can be quite difficult at times to get your kids to eat it, regardless of how much you threaten them with chores or no dessert!

Luckily, almost all kids love Cheddar cheese, so this broccoli in cheddar cheese sauce may just be the perfect way to finally get them to eat something green and healthy for once.  I know it worked for me when I was a kid!

You can really use any kind of cheese you prefer for this dish, but I find the bright orange colour of the cheddar looks really nice with the dark green of the broccoli and helps make this into an attractive and delicious side dish. (If you prefer a main dish, I recommend this pasta salad with broccoli and bacon – without the bacon, of course!)

What you’re going to need:

  • 315ml milk (or soy or other milk)
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 100g (1 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese or cheese alternative
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 500g broccoli, cut into 2 to 3 cm florets


What you have to do:


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together about 65ml of the milk and the cornflour until smooth and lump-free.
  2. Add the rest of the milk and the garlic and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  3.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the cheese. Keep stirring until all the cheese melts.
  4. Add salt and cayenne pepper and taste.  Add more if desired.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and reduce the heat as low as possible in order to keep the sauce warm while the broccoli is cooking.
  6. Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on the size of the florets.
  7. Remove the broccoli from the water, drain, and pat dry with kitchen towels.
  8. Drizzle the cheese sauce over the cooked broccoli and serve immediately.


Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Easy

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06Jun 12

Aubergine Purée with Cumin Pitta Bread

Aubergine Purée with Cumin Pitta Bread

This aubergine purée with cumin pitta bread is about as close as you can get to everyone’s favourite Greek restaurant aubergine purée.  It is intended to be an appetiser, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find it hard to stop eating it and end up ruining your appetite for the rest of the meal.  So either make only half of the recipe, or make sure you’ve got plenty of guests to share it with.  Alternatively, just make a whole lot of it and eat it as your main course – you’ll only need a little salad and some black olives to complete the meal!

If you love aubergine like I do, I also recommend this baked aubergine parmesan with tofu pesto.

To make it pretty, I like garnishing it with black olives, lemon and a bit of red pepper. You can present the dip any way you´d like, or not at all. It´s all up to you.


Aubergine Purée with Cumin Pitta Bread
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1 large aubergine, washed
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped very fine
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 6 pieces of pitta bread
  • Extra olive oil for brushing the bread
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
  2. Baste the aubergine in olive oil and roast it in the preheated oven until it is deeply golden, about 40 minutes.
  3. Leaving the skin on, blend the aubergine adding the olive oil a tablespoon at a time as you blend. The mixture will expand quite a bit.
  4. Add the garlic, onion, lemon juice and cayenne and blend again until the mixture turns light and creamy.
  5. Stir in the chopped herbs by hand.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and place in the centre of a round serving plate.
  7. Cut the pitta bread into quarters and brush both sides with olive oil.
  8. Arrange on a non-stick baking tray.
  9. Sprinkle the cumin seeds over the oiled pitta bread quarters.
  10. Bake in the oven for 5 or six minutes or until golden brown. Keep a close watch to make sure they don't burn.
  11. Serve immediately while the bread is still warm.
  12. Eat by dunking the bread into the purée.


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18May 12

Baked Fennel with Tomato Gratin

Baked Fennel with Tomato GratinThere’s something very comforting about au gratin dishes; somehow the melted cheese and breadcrumbs seem to make all your troubles just fade away while you’re eating them!  This baked fennel with tomato gratin is no exception, and the Italian cheeses and whole-wheat bread crumbs seem to hit that special place in your belly that warms your body and soul.   (Fennel also goes well with bell peppers in this pancetta, fennel and sweet pepper tart.)

Fennel is one of my favourite veggies, and its subtle anise flavour makes the perfect bed for the gratin, especially after the baking brings out its natural sweetness.


What you’re going to need:

  • 4 young fennel bulbs
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 110g Ricotta cheese, crumbled
  • 85g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 65g whole-wheat bread crumbs
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

What you have to do:              

  1. Preheat the oven to 205ºC.
  2. Trim the fennel and quarter lengthwise.
  3. Cut the core out of each piece without removing the leaves.
  4. Chop up the tender leaves and set aside.
  5. Bring 2 litres of water with 1/2tsp of salt to the boil.
  6. Add the fennel quarters to the boiling water and blanch for 6 minutes, then submerge in cold water and drain thoroughly.
  7. Remove the cores from the tomatoes.
  8. Plunge the cored tomatoes into boiling water for a few seconds and then transfer to cold water to loosen the peels. Remove the peels, cut into quarters and dice finely.
  9. Wash the parsley and finely chop the leaves.
  10. Trim the green onions, then wash thoroughly and cut into fine rings, including the tender green part.
  11. Peel the garlic and mince.
  12. Combine the Ricotta cheese with the tomatoes, flat-leaf parsley, fennel leaves, garlic, green onions, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and olive oil and mix thoroughly.
  13. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
  14. Place the fennel quarters in a baking dish.
  15. Spread the tomato gratin over the top.
  16. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the gratin is nicely browned.
  17. Serve hot.


Preparation Time:  35 minutes

Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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14Apr 12

Spinach and Bell Pepper Potato Salad

Spinach and bell pepper potato saladFull of colour, slightly spicy and a bit tangy, this spinach and bell pepper potato salad makes for a great side salad to go with your main course, or can easily be set up on some Melba toast as a unique hors d’oeuvre for your next party.  In fact, I did just that for a party at my house a few months ago, and the verdict was a unanimous thumbs up from all my guests!  (For a lighter side without potatoes, try this roasted pepper and goat’s cheese salad.)

The original recipe also called for two hard-boiled eggs, but I’ve never really been a fan and decided to leave them out in my version.  However, if you prefer, you can go ahead and crumble some into the mix.


What you’re going to need:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 600g potatoes
  • 75g fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 65ml olive oil
  • 1tbsp small capers


What you have to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 245ºC.
  2.  Wash the bell peppers, cut in half and trim the white part and seeds.
  3.  Place the pepper halves on a baking sheet with the cut sides down.
  4.  Peel the onion, cut in half, and place on the baking sheet with the cut sides down.
  5. Bake the vegetables 20 minutes in the oven until the skin on the peppers blisters. Let the peppers stand briefly, then peel, and cut into strips. Also cut the onion into thin strips.
  6. While the vegetables are cooking, wash the potatoes, and cook covered over medium heat 20-30 minutes in a little water. Don’t let them get too tender.
  7. Drain, wait until they’re cool enough to handle, peel, and dice.
  8. Trim the spinach well and wash thoroughly in cold water. Allow to drain very thoroughly or spin dry.
  9. Wash the basil and break the leaves into smaller pieces.
  10.  Combine the lemon juice with the salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Vigorously beat in the oil.
  11.  Combine the potatoes, bell pepper strips, onion strips, dressing, and basil. Add seasoning if necessary. Lay out the spinach leaves on a serving dish or four plates. Arrange the potato salad on top, sprinkle with capers, and serve.


Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 50 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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