We asked seven top FOOD BLOGGERS to create a dinner suitable – and it turned into a FEAST!

Who’s cooking …

Bernice Griffiths – bettybake.co.za

Betty Bake is an endeavour to create wheat- and gluten-free food with organic ingredients. Having a child who has a gluten and corn intolerance, Bernice decided she had to have an alternative for all the wheat filled cakes at parties and in shops. She started baking these treats for her little one – because ‘you cannot go through life without cake’.

Alida Ryder – simply-delicious.co.za

Description: Alida Ryder

Alida Ryder

Pretoria-based mom Alida started Simply Delicious as a way to share her easy yet delectable recipes with friends and family. After winning awards in two categories in the SA Blog Awards 2010, she made a move into the food world and is now a freelance food stylist, photographer and writer. Her first cookbook, Simple and Delicious, (Penguin) will be out in September 2012.

Cara Brink – carabrink.blogspot.com

Cara describes herself as ‘a cooker and baker and thing maker’. A qualified industrial designer, she currently works as a freelance foodie, catering and styling for select functions around Cape Town.

Sam Linsell – drizzleanddip.com

Sam is a food stylist and recipe developer enthusiastic about hunting the delicious things in life. She tracks her adventures on her blog and has written her first cookbook, Drizzle and Dip, which will be out in July 2012.

Kobus Van Der Merwe – sardineasontoast.co.za

Sardines on Toast is an online visual diary chronicling ideas on food from a tiny kitchen on the Cape West Coast. It’s about eating plants, heritage food, laid-back cooking, desktop travel, bokkoms and baking bread.

Thekla Salmon – domesticgoddesses-sa.blogspot.com

Description: Thekla Salmon

Thekla Salmon

Thekla runs Domestic Goddesses in Cape Town. The business provides a cooking training service tailored to individual needs.

Bernadette le Roux – livetoeat.co.za

Cookbook author and freelance food writer Bernadette is passionate about heirloom vegetables. Her blog is for those interested in trends, reviews, gardens, recipes and first-hand news from the food industry.

To start

Kobus Van Der Merwe’s – fiery, seasonal wild weed salad with buttermilk and olive oil dressing

Description: Fiery, seasonal wild weed salad with buttermilk and olive oil dressing

Fiery, seasonal wild weed salad with buttermilk and olive oil dressing

Forage in your own garden (and your neighbour’s) for a handful each of wild sorrel leaves, sow thistle, nasturtium, caltrop and wild rocket. Rinse in salted water and pat dry. Arrange posies of the wild weeds on four plates.

To make the dressing, combine 100ml buttermilk with 60ml grassy olive oil, a oinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a couple of spoonfuls to each plate. Serve with home-baked bread stright from the oven.

Cara Brink’s salad rolls

Description: Salad rolls

Salad rolls

These babies are healthy, quick and impressive looking

1 cucumber baby frilly leaf sald spring onions cheese (preferably Danish feta or blue cheese, but whatever is in your fridge will do!) good quality olive oil balsamic vinegar maldon salt ground black pepper

Start by prepping all your veggies. Rinse and dry your salad leaves, chop your spring onion into long, thin slices (3-4cm long, cut along the length) and break or cut your cheese into smallish pieces.

Now cut cucumber ribbons. It’s really easy, just top and tail your cucumber, removing both ends where the cucumber slopes down into points. You’ll have an almost even tube-shaped cucumber. Using a vegetable peeler, start peeling off long strips of cucumber on one side.

Keep peeling on the same side until you hit the seedy bit close to the middle. Turn the cucumber around and peel the other side. You should end up with about 10 to 15 perfect cucumber ribbons. (You will be left with the odd seedy middle bit that you can’t use for salad rolls, but you can grate and mix with yoghurt, honey and lemon zest to create a tzatziki, a great Greek dipping sauce.)

On a clean chopping board, lay out one of your cucumber ribbons. Foe the filling, take 2 or 3 frilly leaves as the base and add the spring onion, cheese and whatever else you would like. Then start rolling it up, almost like you would sushi.

Once you’ve rolled your little salad roll, secure with a mini skewer, making sure to catch the loose end bit of the cucumber ribbon. Dress with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the tzatziki for extra flavour.

Alida Ryder’s leek, pear and gorgonzola tarts

Description: Leek, pear and gorgonzola tarts

Leek, pear and gorgonzola tarts

These little tarts are dead easy to make. I love the combination of mellow leek and sweet pear with the tangy, sharpness of Gorgonzola

Serves 4

·         3 tbsp butter

·         2 tbsp olive oil

·         5 small leeks, washed and chopped

·         2 medium pears, peeled and cubed

·         2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

·         1/2 cup cream

·         salt and pepper to taste

·         1/2 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled

·         1 roll, ready-made puff pastry

·         1 egg yolk, beaten mixed leaves, to serve fresh lemon, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180oC and line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and oil together and add the lekks and pears. Fry for 5 minutes before adding the garlic cloves. Fry for another minute and add the cream. Allow the mixture to simmer for another minute. Season to taste and remove from the heat.

To make the pastry cases, cut 4 circles out of the pastry and place on the baking tray. Brush around the edges with egg yolk. Cut another 4 circles out and then cut a disk out of these cirles (so you are left with 4 rings). Place rings on the pastry cirles on the baking tray – this creates the beautiful, puffed border you are after.

Place a few spoonful of the leek and pear filling into the hollows of each tart case. Crumble the Gorgonzola over the top and brush the remaining egg over the pastry. Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and golden brown. Remove from mixed salad leaves and fresh lemon wedges.

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