Cauliflower falafels

Cauliflower falafels

Ok guys. You know I love using cauliflower, in as much as I can. From sushi bowls, to egg fried “rice” to pizza, to fritters.

I did this recipe the other day, as I needed to make a “packed” lunch for my vegetarian, as she was on the road, and only after did I then have to figure out what I actually put in them, but don’t worry, I remembered, tried the recipe again, and all is well in the world of Food by Jill. 🙂

Falafels, as you might know, are deep fried balls that are made from chickpeas or fava beans – or even both, its a Middle Eastern favorite, served with fresh pita breads loads of hummus or pickled vegetables – and it’s a huge part of the street food culture in this countries. Rich in protein, it’s a brilliant snack option for vegetarians, or even kids lunchboxes.

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Cauliflower Falafels

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy peasy
  • Print

1/2 head of Cauliflower

1 Handful of coriander

1 Handful of kale (stalks removed)

2 eggs

1 tin of chickpeas

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 cup of brown rice flour

Seasonings like – ground cumin, chili, salt and pepper, paprika

Depending on your taste – go wild!

Process all of these ingredients in a food processor, until fairly smooth. Shape into little balls and deep fry until golden in coconut oil, on a medium heat.

I served these with thick cut roasted sweet potato chips, that I roasted with loads of fresh herbs, and also a pea “guacamole” –  which was 1 cup of blanched peas, to 1 large avocado – blend the two and season with salt and pepper, and the juice of 2 limes! Rich in protein and so yummy!

Catch up over Macarons and Gluten Free Baking

Catch up over Macarons and Gluten Free Baking

I have been MIA for a while! Due to…no actual reason, I had a major dinner party at work, that had me off the planet of the living for a few days, and then just casual laziness of not trying new recipes.

Over the past few days, I have been busy, pushing myself out of my slump, and I’ve been trying new things by the dozen. I made macarons again, after like almost 10 years, also made a batch of Madelines, which I am not really a fan off, and opted not to use them with my menu that I did. The macarons went down well (excuse the pun) I filled them with a coffee flavored buttercream and they were delicious! I also made a Whiskey Fudge, that I topped with a Whiskey Sugar (which i also made) and flaked Maldon sea salt – this was the best fudge I have ever tasted in my entire life guys! SOOOOOOOO velvety, and ridiculously soft and all types of the melt-in-your-mouth craziness!

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Yesterday I made some fresh tagliatelle, I always find a therapeutic quality in making your own pasta. I served it with a Thai Basil Pesto, that I found over at Tales of a Kitchen – which is a staple favorite on finding new and fresh ideas. This pesto is insanely delicious, as its completely raw and went so well with the pasta, that I couldn’t stop eating it, tossed in some freshly blanched peas, and Bob’s your uncle! (Meaning = it was the business)

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Then this morning, I got handed a copy of Jessica Sepel’s new book, The Healthy Life, Instagram =  jshealth , which has become a favorite in less than a day. I tried four recipes out of it, The Gluten Free Banana bread, The signature Gluten free loaf, The protein breakfast balls, and The Zucchini Fritters – which I adapted slightly, but still remained awesome! Amazing recipes that are flavor packed and healthy. You can find the book in any good book store.

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Also, if you love smoothies and haven’t invested in a Nutribullet, I don’t know what you are doing with your mornings, its the easiest and best appliance you will have in your kitchen! (This is not a sponsored thing) I just really feel that you should go out and get one!

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I also made a heavenly mushroom and black truffle “risotto” using Pearled Barley – which was so yummy, earthy and wholesome – perfect for the cold Johannesburg evenings we’ve been having!

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Ok!! So that’s the round up!

#HelloRecommends

#HelloRecommends

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I was contacted by Hello Joburg Magazine and asked to join them, with Oudemeester, for the very first evening of #HelloRecommends, all set in the opulent Maximillien Restaurant at The DaVinci Hotel in Sandton. I walked in, to be greeted by a table of fabulous foodies and bloggers, and the team from Hello Joburg. 
  
Once seated we were treated to an education on Brandy, by Oudemeester, and sampled three varieties of the house. The 12 year old Reserve, The 18 year old Souverein and The Demant, which has been winning Gold Medals, since 2010. The tips given at these little talks are amazing. One tip that stood out was that you should never swirl your brandy before you taste it, and I always thought that I looked so clever and like all “proper” when I did this! Who knew right? Also another little tip was that Oudemeester works well with Ginger Ale….so no brandy and coke vibes here!!! Albeit that I am not a brandy drinker, any education and tips always help to enlighten ones knowledge!

 

Onto the food…although I do think a pairing would of been stunning, we were treated to an amuse-bouche (rather huge) of an Avocado and Crayfish Tian, which was followed by table salads, which included a deconstructed Caprese, Salt and Pepper Calamari with Mushroom Arancini and fresh Greek Salad. I managed to get my hands on the Greek salad and a piece or two of the calamari, and the next time I visit, I will be having a double helping of the Calamari for sure. A palate cleanser was served (also huge) of mango sorbet with berry coulis, which was delectable. My main was the Beef Medallions, served with a saffron and mushroom risotto with a red wine berry sauce. Dessert was the Vanilla Flavored Crepe with marmalade infused marscapone and a whiskey sauce…which was good, but half way through I started nibbling on the Edible Bouquets that were on the table and found myself surprisingly ravenous for the chocolate covered strawberries.

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The Maximillien is what I would call a charmer. It’s dark wooden finishes, rich leather details and gorgeous setting will do well, for a sexy date night or an intimate birthday celebration. While the live band plays, you are drawn into the music and soulful sound, it becomes an almost hypnotic and luxurious ambiance.

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We were also told about the new GoHello App, that you can download in your App store, and its focus is more on lifestyle and the happenings of whats going on in this place called Joburg, which is refreshing as its not just one platform of information.

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After all this, we were handed parting gifts and merrily mad our way to our cars…albeit slightly intoxicated with brandy, wine, good food and chocolate covered strawberries! Talk about a VIP experience! Thank you Hello Joburg and all involved!

  
Photos: Phillip Santos

Location: The Maximillien

The Food we love.

The Food we love.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if we all just stop being so fanatical about food?

Think of your Instagram feed without those amazing photos, of breakfast tables or lunches, cakes and pastries, imagine a feed without that juicy burger or vibrantly green matcha smoothie. How dull would life be?

Since dedicating my Instagram solely to food, albeit the occasional image of me having a picnic or a random cup of coffee, I have come to realize how small the world actually is and how social networking brings people together. I have followers from Japan, Norway, Australia and America, to name a few, and have noticed how home cooks, lifestyle coaches, trainers and even just the mom down the road, pull in these huge followings and cult status Instagram profiles.

Then we get all the amazing Bloggers, who are so dedicated to sharing recipes and giving advise on what works and what doesn’t as far as food goes, also experiences shared or restaurants reviews, that you get drawn into scrolling their pages and loose track of time completely.

Being a chef, it’s opened my eyes to the immense beauty of food, the love that people have for it and the overwhelming satisfaction of seeing an amazing photo of a plate of food, a cake, a burger or even just a donut, and thinking “I need to recreate this!” or “God help me not bite into my phone!”

Links to my fav blogs and Instagrams below:

Blogs:

The Jozi Food Fix

Tales of a Kitchen

Eat in my Kitchen

Nourish and Evolve

Instagrams:

Epicurious

Mikkibeach

The Art of Plating

We are Food

Nourish Atelier

Dennis Prescott

These are just a few of my favs, the top picks out of the many I follow.

They will give you some major #foodporn  to lust over!

Pearled Barley, Pea and Mushroom Cakes

Pearled Barley, Pea and Mushroom Cakes

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Did anyone else in the Southern Hemisphere notice that its winter? This major onslaught of cold weather that came through overnight, especially here in Johannesburg! It went from Hero to Zero in a few moments!  As I have mentioned before, winter brings with it an entire amount of weird emotions and strange eating patterns. We tend to comfort eat, because its so cold, and the food we do flock to is normally the heavy, carb laden, thick stewy dishes. I AM NOT COMPLAINING! As always I try to figure out “alternates”. Ways to still eat “comfort” food without it being full of processed products and heavy on the stomach. One of my favorite products to work with is barley. I love the chewy texture, and it is Low-Gi, so it keeps you fuller for longer and cuts the cravings in half (lets be honest, we all still crave stuff). It is a versatile, cereal grain with an almost nutlike flavor, and once cooked, its almost like eating an al dente pasta. So besides soup, what else do I want to eat barley to, and also what are my favorite flavor combos to add to it? Because its generally a bland base, it can take on any flavor without it being over powering. I came across a recipe for sweet potato cakes with barley, and felt that I did not want the “sweet” characteristic to this dish, what I actually wanted was to use what i had in the fridge, and take it from there. So I found some peas, mushrooms, and potatoes. I also have loads of thyme (for some strange reason) and fresh oregano, parsley and Parmesan. Ok, mashup begins (excuse the pun).

Pearled Barley, Pea and Mushroom Cakes

  • Servings: 4 cakes
  • Difficulty: easy peasy
  • Print
 

Ingredients 

2 Small Potatoes – steamed, and cooled (leave the skins on them)

2 handfuls of Portabellini mushrooms – remove stalks and chopped (keep the stalks aside for later)

1 cup of Portabellini mushrooms – chopped 

1 garlic clove, minced 

1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, chopped and halved (I LOVE THYME WITH MUSHROOMS)

1 cup of cooked barley 

1/2 cup of peas 

1 tablespoon of chopped parsley 

2 kale leaves, stalks removed and chopped finely 

Parmesan 

Olive oil 

Himalayan Salt and black Pepper to season 

Method 

Soak barley for at least 1 hour in cold water Preheat oven to 180C Steam your potatoes, until soft and set aside to cool, once cooled, cut up into chunks. 

Cook the barley and peas in a small pot of water (don’t add any salt to it, the water cooks away and you might land up with really salty barley and peas)

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Drain the barley and peas, if needed, and return to the pot to start the “drying” process. You will notice that the barley will become sticky, remove from heat and add to the potatoes. 

In a pan, add a good glug of olive oil and start frying your mushrooms, once they are slightly soft, add the thyme and garlic and keep tossing the pan.

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Let the mushrooms cook until they are soft and spongy and have absorbed all the gorgeous flavors of thyme and garlic, and season them slightly (bear in mind you will season the entire dish before you start to shape the cakes). 

When the mushrooms are ready, give them a rough chop, and add them to the other ingredients.

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Add the parsley and kale. All the ingredients are cooked, give the mix a taste and add more seasoning if needed, shape into 4 big cakes or loads of smaller ones. 

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a shallow pan, and seal the cakes on either side before popping them into the oven to heat. When the cakes are in the oven, roughly chop the mushroom stalks, fry it off with the cup of chopped portabellinis, the same way as you did the mushrooms for the cakes, adding the extra thyme and season well.

To serve 

Plate each cake, topped with the warm mushrooms, sprinkle with loads of Parmesan and serve with fresh micro herbs. You can also use these as a burger night patty, topped with onion marmalade and melted provolone.

These are so good, the will become a staple and once you get the hang of all the prep work, it becomes a breeze to make!

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Love what you do

Love what you do

It is an old saying and most preach it everyday, because its absolutely vital to love what you do. 

When you have to wake up with the dreadful notion of getting to work, then you might as well stay under the covers and call in sick.

I am blessed to be working for an amazing family in Johannesburg, as their chef. 

Most of the food that I post to my Instagram account (@foodbyjill) and to this blog are actually their meals! Breakfasts, lunches, dinners and maybe some snacks in between.

I am fortunate enough to be given the time during the day to experiment with countless things, and they are obviously the ones that benefit from this! 

They have been really supportive of me using their space to capture all the yummy amazing’ness for my blog, and I am ridiculously grateful for that! 

Thank you for always reminding me to take photos, for your patience when I take the plate away to actually capture the picture and for pushing me out of my comfort zone (all the cakes) ha!

❤️🍴