Baked Apples With Bay Leaves, Dates And Honey

Serves 4

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 25 minutes

·         Brandy ½ cup

·         Fresh bay leaves 4

·         Crimson raisins 70 g

·         Dates 100 g, pitted

·         Lemon 1, zester and juiced

·         Walnuts 50 g

·         Honey ¼ cup

·         Butter 1 T

·         Gala apples 4, halved horizontally and cored

Description: Baked Apples With Bay Leaves, Dates And Honey

Baked Apples With Bay Leaves, Dates And Honey

1.    Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat a frying pan over high heat, then add the brandy, bay leaves, raisins and dates. Boil for 2 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice, walnuts, honey and butter and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

2.    Fill the bottom half of each apple with the fruit-and-nut mixture, top with remaining apple halves and spoon the filling into the cores. Place on a baking tray, pour any remaining brandy syrup over the apples and bake for 25 minutes until soft and caramelized.

Fat-conscious, wheat- and gluten-free

Wine: De Krans Pink Port Non-Vintage

Beetroot, Onion And Feta Phyllo Sarmies

Serves 4

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking: 10 minutes

·         Phyllo pastry 2 sheets

·         Butter 30 g, melted

·         Red onion 1, finely chopped

·         Garlic 2 cloves, crushed

·         Olive oil 1 T

·         Beetroot leaves 400 g

·         Feta cheese 150 g, crumbled

·         Sea salt

Description: Beetroot, Onion And Feta Phyllo Sarmies

Beetroot, Onion And Feta Phyllo Sarmies

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place 1 sheet phyllo pastry on a greased baking sheet and brush with melted butter
  2. Toss the red onion and garlic In the olive oil. Scatter a layer of red onions over the pastry. Pack one layer of beetroot leaves on top of the red onions and crumble feta over the leaves. Cover with the remaining sheet of pastry, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt.
  3. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the pastry crisp and golden. Cut into 12 squares and stack on top of each other to serve.

Carb-conscious, fat-conscious, meat-free

Wine: Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Baked Bay Leaf Cream

Serves 4 to 6

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 1 hour

Cream 1 liter

·         Fresh bay leaves 3

·         Vanilla pod 1, split lengthwise

·         Free-range eggs 4

·         Free-range egg yolks 2

·         Sugar 120 g

Description: Baked Bay Leaf Cream

Baked Bay Leaf Cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°c. Heat the cream, bay leaves and vanilla pod over a medium heat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Slowly add the hot cream to the egg mixture while whisking.
  3. Pour into a 1.75-litre ovenproof dish, place in a larger dish and fill to two-thirds with hot water. Bake for 1 hour.

Cook's note: Serve with poached rhubarb or berries.

Wheat - and gluten-free

Wine: Woolworths Natural Sweet White (Spire)

For lots more beetroot recipes and tips scan this QR code using your smartphone

Choose dark purple, firm-fleshed beetroot without splits or blemishes, and with leaves and stems intact.

Prepare beetroot by cutting the stems, leaving about 3 cm of the latter attached (this stops the color from bleeding).

Store beetroot in a cool, dark place for up to three days, or in the crisper section of the refrigerator for up to 10 days

Choose fresh bay leaves that have firm leaves, which are dark green on top and lighter on the underside. Dried bay leaves should be olive in color.

Prepare fresh leaves by rinsing prior to use. The spicy flavor of both fresh and dried leaves is attributable to their essential- oil (especially cineole) content, which blends beautifully with vegetable, fish and meat sauces. Remove bay leaves from food before serving.

Store dried bay leaves in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.

Did You Know

Beetroot's purple color comes from antioxidants called betacyanins that may help prevent high blood pressure and protect blood vessels.

Bay leaves have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and can help in the treatment of diabetes, migraines, colds, wounds and rheumatism.

In 1975, during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, Russian cosmonauts welcomed their American counterparts by preparing a banquet of borscht (beetroot soup) in zero gravity.

Champions of Olympic Games traditionally wore garlands of bay leaves as an allusion to the bay wreaths worn by ancient Greek poets and scholars when they received academic honors.

Beetroot has one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable, but it is the "slow-release" kind and preferable to the sugar rush one gets with chocolate.

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