A foodie family's diary of travel, food, and photos

Summer in the Mountains

September 1st, 2014 | Posted by Ruby in France | Holidays | Summer - (Comments Off on Summer in the Mountains)

Hiking in Chamonix

Summer in the Alps

Summer in the Alps



This summer, by way of a change, instead of heading to the beaches we spent a few days in the mountains hiking.  Although the weather was mostly miserable, unfortunately, we did enjoy an abundance of crisp fresh air, fabulous food and way too much healthy exercise.

Summer in the Alps

Summer in the Alps

Healthy and Tasty please

November 18th, 2012 | Posted by Ruby in Mains | Snacks | Starters | Summer - (Comments Off on Healthy and Tasty please)

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Faith is currently on the Paleo diet and she’s been asking the obvious question: “Can’t you make some meals that are healthy ie no carbs but still really tasty”.   And because I am known for taking what might, to most, be a relatively healthy dish or meal and turning into a cholesterol binge – I said I’d try.  (I’m the one that has to add lashings of syrup and pounds of butter to my cooked oats – I know I know it destroys any upside the oats might have – but oh it tastes sooo goood).

So here’s something that I make infrequently but always enjoy thoroughly.  Traditional rolls often include rice noodles in the roll but I prefer them without the noodels – it’s just empty calories.  I’d rather pack my rolls with tasty goodies.


Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Recipe for Vietnamese Spring rolls

What you’ll need for the sauce:

½ clove crushed garlic

2 limes

2 Tablespoons fish sauce

½ teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon soya

2 Tablespoons water

½ – 1 teaspoon chili (sambal oelek)

To make:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and leave for at least 20 minutes to allow flavours to meld.


What you’ll need for the rolls:

1 small bunch fresh coriander

1 small bunch fresh mint

1 cup fresh bean sprouts

1 carrot grated (on large grate)

12 – 16 medium cooked prawns (cooled)

6 – 8 rice wrappers or lettuce leaves

To make:

  1. Wash and pat dry the coriander, mint and sprouts and arrange on a plate alongside the grated carrot and prawns
  2. To prepare rolls using rice wrappers: you need a shallow dish with warm water, dip 1 wrap into the water making sure that the wrap is completely covered and then remove from the water (the whole dipping process shouldn’t take more than 10 seconds) shake excess water off wrap.  Lay the wet wrap  flat on a plate and place a small quantity of each ingredient onto the wrap roughly 2 cm from front edge heap the ingredients on top of each other.  Make sure that you leave about 3 cm on either side.  Then roll one side edge in over the small mound, pull the edge closest to you over the side edge and roll tightly for 1 turn.  Fold the other side edge in and continue to roll to end of wrap.  Here is an example of how to roll the wraps.
  3. You would use the same method using lettuce as a wrap.

Note:  instead of prawns you can use fried tofu or cooked and shredded lamb, pork or beef – all work equally well.

Perfect Pickled Fish

September 17th, 2012 | Posted by Ruby in Lunch | Starters | Summer - (Comments Off on Perfect Pickled Fish)

Most South Africans are familiar with pickled fish. It’s a typical Cape Malay dish and one of those dishes that I must eat whenever I go to SA. Having not been back to SA for well over a year now and with no plans to return in the foreseeable future I decided it was time to find the right recipe.

Cheri and I have had some interesting experiences lately with our attempts to recreate typical south African dishes.  The recipes are usually easy enough to find but very few produce a perfect result and so it was for the pickled fish.  After a few attempts, the first too vinegary, the second too bland I’ve finally arrived at my version of perfect pickled fish.  Almost any white fish can be used, and either sea or fresh water fish.  I’ve used haddock, tilapia and red snapper with equal success.

For those of you who’ve never eaten pickled fish it’s a lot better than you might imagine.  It’s usually eaten cold or at room temperature with a salad of your choice and a hefty chunk of artisanal bread.  Although I usually skip the salad and eat it with bread and lots of butter.


Pickled Fish Recipe


4 Tablespoons oil + 1 extra spoon
2 pieces white fish fillets about 400grams (haddock, hake, tilapia)
2 Tablespoons flour +1 extra spoon
1 onion thickly sliced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon curry powder (medium strength)
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar +1/4 cup extra
1 cup water
1. Dust fish in flour
2. Fry fish in old till lightly golden on both sides then remove with slotted spoon to a plate
3. Add the extra oil to the frying pan and fry the onion over a slow heat until softened  (about 8-10 minutes)
4. Add all the spices and extra flour and fry for a further 2 minutes
5. Add the vinegar, sugar and water and turn the heat up and simmer briskly for about 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to reduce and thickens slightly
6. Remove from heat and add the extra vinegar.  Remove the bay leaves and allspice.
7. Layer the fish and sauce in a dish and allow to cool.  Keep in the refrigerator until about 30 minutes before needed.  Bring to room temperature before serving.
Is best eaten a day or 2 later so that the sauce has time to soak into the fish.
It’s also available from the SA stores dotted around the planet – looks like this: