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Greedy Gourmet by Michelle Minnaar - 4h ago

Thyme is one of the most popular herbs in the world, and is commonly used in roasting recipes. You can also use dried thyme leaves as a seasoning ingredient for soups, stews, mash, salads, etc.

Thyme is such a versatile ingredient that you can practically use in a lot of recipes throughout the world. That being said, should you run out of this excellent herb, don’t panic. There are plenty of suitable thyme substitutes out there to experiment with. Just take a look at these nine thyme substitutes. Each thyme alternative can be used for a different purpose, i.e. for seasoning, garnishing, roasting, and so forth. 

I guarantee, that after reading about these thyme substitutes, you may even want to go on a shopping trip to purchase some specific spice mixes mentioned below. 

thyme substitutes in a recipe

The best part about these nine thyme substitutes is that they are widely available. Plus, they are all relatively inexpensive. 

thyme history

Thyme is an edible aromatic herb which surprisingly belongs to the mint family. Its application is extensive, ranging from medicinal, culinary and even ornamental and religious. 

Historically speaking, the use of this herb actually dates back to ancient Egypt. In those ancient times, it was used for embalming, i.e. preserving human or animal remains. In addition, it was discovered that thyme was also used in baths in ancient Greece.

Apparently, burning the thyme would provide the person with courage. For this reason, thyme was also given to the knights and warriors for courage before marching off to battle. Other people in the Middle Ages also believed that placing thyme sprigs under a pillow would ward off nightmares and aid sleep.

On the other hand, the Romans used thyme for means of purification. They would burn it to purify their living space. In addition, they also used it as a fragrant herbs to flavour they liqueurs and cheese. Over centuries in Europe, thyme was also placed on coffins during funerals. Today, in some places this practice is still done, but with rosemary.

grow your own thyme

The best part about thyme as well as some of these thyme substitutes is that you can actually grow them in your garden.

I like to plant my herbs in my garden in these types of planters:

  • Yaheetech 3 Tier Wooden Raised Garden Bed – with this planter one you can also plant other herbs and have your whole herb garden on display.
  • Vegtrug Herb Garden – I also like this one because it’s small and moveable. Perfect for tough weather conditions, because you can always bring the herbs inside.

Thyme thrives in sunny locations but can withstand freezing temperatures as well. It’s never a bad idea to have thyme in your garden. Just plant it in spring along with some of these thyme substitutes and see what happens. 

You can also consider drying the thyme. Did you know that thyme is one of the few herb on the planet that still retain their flavour, even when you dry the herbs? This is why fresh and dry thyme are in fact interchangeable in most recipes.

culinary uses for thyme

There are plenty of ways you can enjoy cooking with thyme. For example, one of the main ways to cook with thyme is to marinate or roast meat. For instance, take a look at this marinated pork fillet with thyme or this braised lamb shanks with thyme recipes. They are both divine!

You can also use dry or fresh thyme as a season or garnish in soups. For example, consider this delicious butter bean, bacon and thyme soup. Otherwise, thyme works great as a flavour enhancer in baked recipes like these gluten free scalloped potatoes or this creamy carrot and swede mash.

how to store thyme

Keep in mind that the storage life of thyme is not that long. Ordinarily, thyme lasts about a week. If you put it in the fridge, it can last longer. Just make sure you use special herb containers, otherwise the herb will wilt. Check these out:

  • Premium Herb Keeper – I think this is one of the best herb containers for your fridge because it’s also very multi-use. You can literally also include asparagus, coriander, etc. In addition, you can also store your cutlery in this. 
  • Sunpet Food Storage Canisters – then again you can always go for simple food canister. You can store plenty of other stuff with these like tea, coffee, sugar, etc.
what are the best thyme substitutes?

So, here’s a top list of top thyme substitutes.

1. herbes de provence

Herbes de provence is a mixture of dried herbs made with  thyme. Therefore it is a perfect substitute for thyme. Especially, for a recipe such as roast venison.

2. marjoram

Fresh or dried marjoram is probably one of the closest thyme substitutes. Plus, you can also consider these marjoram substitutes.

3. oregano

Similarly to marjoram, the same can be said for oregano. You can use it as a seasoning ingredient, include it in spice rubs and much more. For instance, thyme and oregano are completely interchangeable in this paprika marinade with honey.

4. za’atar

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix made with thyme, marjoram and sesame seeds. Use it as a substitute for thyme in salads or Middle Eastern recipes like this fattoush salad.

5. lemon thyme

Lemon thyme is a variation of the common thyme. Use it as a garnish or as a topping for soups. It goes exceptionally well with cheese platters too. 

6. orange thyme 

More or less the same as lemon thyme.

7. lime thyme

The same applies to lime thyme. 

8. tarragon

Tarragon is an interesting alternative to thyme in soups or stews. You can also consider these tarragon substitutes

9. rosemary

In comparison to the taste of thyme, rosemary is quite a different herb. However, in terms of essential oils and aroma, rosemary is one of the best thyme substitutes for roasted recipes. You can also substitute rosemary for thyme in these rosemary roast potatoes.

So which one of these thyme substitutes appeals to you most? Do you ca another substitute for thyme which I didn’t mention? Leave a comment below!

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Greedy Gourmet by Michelle Minnaar - 2d ago

Desserts can often be complex dishes to prepare. However, that does not apply to this brilliantly simple rhubarb dumb cake. In fact, it is so easy that it almost feels like cheating. Rhubarb dumb cake is the ideal afternoon treat or dessert for unexpected visitors. Only a few ingredients, and just ten minutes of prep time is all you need. Once the rhubarb dump cake is in the oven you are free to be with your family or friends while the dessert bakes.

Although rhubarb is in season during the summer months, you can usually find it in supermarkets all year round. This rhubarb dump cake might very well be your new favourite pudding. It is simply that good! For extra indulgence, you can serve the rhubarb dump cake with a good quality vanilla ice cream. To elevate this dish to new heights, serve the rhubarb dump cake with homemade hokey pokey ice cream

what is a dump cake?

Rhubarb dump cake is a type of rhubarb pie. Only, in this case you do not need to make a pastry. The thing that makes rhubarb dump cake so easy to prepare is the fact that you actually just pour all the ingredients on top of each other in a tray, and voilà. Furthermore, rhubarb is the perfect base for a good dessert. It has a good balance between sweetness and acidity, and need very little done to it, in order to be a success. Rhubarb dumb cake is a classic American dessert that is sure to be a crowd pleaser, whether you serve it for your family on a weeknight or as a dessert for a dinner party.

In addition, if you are looking for another crowd pleaser, try my sugar free angel cake recipe.

cooking with rhubarb

People have been eating rhubarb for centuries. It is believed that rhubarb came to Europe from Asia back in the 14th century. Although rhubarb is technically a vegetable, it more often assumes the role of fruit in modern cooking, being used in desserts such as this rhubarb dump cake. Nowadays, rhubarb is a typical dessert ingredient, tasting of summer, yet available all year round. In addition, you can even grow rhubarb yourself. Even if you don’t have green thumb, you cannot go wrong with growing this plant. It almost needs no maintenance, and will grow extensively when left to its own devices.

One word of caution if you are new to cooking with rhubarb though. Only the stalks are edible. The leaves are actually poisonous due to a high level of oxalic acid, so avoid them at all costs.

There are different types of rhubarb, and the colour can vary from crimson red, to light pink and light green. Depending on how ripe the rhubarb is, the taste can be somewhat sour and you will probably find that you need quite a bit of sugar when preparing rhubarb. Another method is to pair it with other types of fruit, such as strawberries.

rhubarb crisp using cake mix

Rhubarb dump cake is also known as rhubarb crisp, probably thanks to the crispy crust formed when baking the rhubarb dump cake. The thing that makes rhubarb dump cake particularly ease to prepare, is that you make it with cake mix. For my rhubarb dump cake, I chose a vanilla cake mix, as vanilla is a great flavour combination for rhubarb. You can consider these cake mixes:

You can also opt for a neutral, sweet cake mix if you prefer to leave the vanilla out. 

During baking, the rhubarb will soften beautifully while the cake mix and other ingredients will form a crispy cake topping. The end result is somewhat similar to a crumble/cobbler. Love pie? Check out my cherry crumble pie

For baking, you can also use a good baking tray:

Can you make rhubarb dump cake with frozen rhubarb?

The short answer is yes, absolutely! In fact, since the texture of the rhubarb will turn mushy during the baking anyway, there is no disadvantage to using frozen rhubarb. Moreover, if you grow rhubarb in your garden you should harvest some regularly and freeze it for the winter. That way you will always have some at hand for a quick rhubarb dump cake. If you use frozen rhubarb, let it defrost before making the dump cake.

A quick tip – cut the rhubarb into smaller pieces before freezing it. It will save you space in the freezer, and it will defrost quicker once you need it. Frozen rhubarb will keep up to a year, and at its normal growth rate, you should have plenty of rhubarb to harvest during the summer.

Rhubarb pineapple dump cake

To be honest this rhubarb dump cake recipe is quite versatile. You can actually replace the rhubarb with a number of other fruits or berries. Do you fancy the sound of an apricot dump cake or a blackberry dump cake?

Another option is to add something extra to the rhubarb dump cake. Strawberries pair well with rhubarb, though I bet you haven’t thought of pineapple. As a matter of fact, the combination is surprisingly good. During baking, the acidity of both fruits will tone down somewhat, leaving you with beautiful, sweet and exotic flavours. The result is quite unique, and if you are in the mood for something different this is something to try out. Alternatively you can add other red fruits, such as raspberries or red currant.

What to serve with a dump cake

I love to serve my rhubarb dump cake with vanilla ice cream, especially in the summertime. Not to mention that the combination of textures and flavours make eating the rhubarb dump cake a restaurant quality experience. Instead of ice cream you can simply serve the rhubarb dump cake topped with whipped cream, or a spoonful of crème fraiche.  

If you want even more indulgence, consider serving the rhubarb dump cake with a special homemade ice cream. How about my Ferrero rocher ice cream for example?  If you love good ice cream have not yet tried this one, it is simply a must next time you cook a dessert.


Rhubarb Dump Cake
  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Try this impeccable rhubarb dump cake. This rhubarb recipe is the perfect balance between acidity and sweetness. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

  • 450g (1lb) fresh rhubarb, washed
  • 100g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 135g (1 packet) strawberry jelly [see Notes]
  • 425g (1 packed) vanilla cake mix
  • 80ml (⅓ cup) butter, melted 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / gas mark 4.
  2. Chop the rhubarb into bite-sized pieces and arrange them evenly in a deep, oven-proof dish. 
  3. Sprinkle the sugar evenly on top of the rhubarb. 
  4. Melt the jelly in 90ml (3fl oz) boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Pour the liquid jelly into the dish. 
  5. Sprinkle the cake mix evenly until all the rhubarb is covered.
  6. Drizzle the butter evenly over the cake mix.
  7. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until golden on top. 
  8. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
  • The jelly referred to in the ingredients list is for the concentrated jelly products available in the UK that need dissolving in water in order to make standard jelly. If you live in North America, you can substitute it with 85g (3oz) packet of powdered strawberry jello. If you are using the latter, omit the step of dissolving the jelly in a bit of water first. Simply sprinkle the jello, along with the sugar, on the rhubarb proceed with the cake mix.
  • The cake mix should be enough to make a two-tiered cake.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: rhubarb dump cake, American dessert recipe, rhubarb recipe, rhubarb dessert

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Greedy Gourmet by Michelle Minnaar - 3d ago

If you manage to make your own blue cheese sauce, then you can definitely call yourself a chef. This is one of the classics that every chef has to nail before becoming a pro. Blue cheese sauce is commonly used as a side dish to a delicious steak recipe. Otherwise, you can also use it as a filling for a fabulous steak sandwich, or on top of roasted vegetables.

Either way, blue cheese sauce is really easy to make and can be prepared within 5 minutes! Remember to serve the blue cheese sauce hot straight out of the pan. Once you’ve prepared this luscious sauce, you’ll find yourself returning to it again and again. And again.

A blue cheese sauce for steak recipe

Nothing beats a thick and creamy blue cheese sauce. Especially, when you make it with a premium blue cheese and pair your steak recipe with a delicious red wine. Blue cheese sauces are much richer in comparison to other steak sauces such as peppercorn sauce or a berry-based sauce. For me, blue cheese sauce is the ultimate go-to sauce when I am enjoying a meaty recipe. The best part about making this recipe is that you can make this sauce with literally any type of blue cheese you find in the supermarket. Before we explore all sorts of blue cheese, let’s explore blue cheese in general and why it tastes and holds the way it does.

What is blue cheese?

Generally speaking, blue cheese is a type of classification of cheeses which contain mold. These cultures of the mold are also called penicillium. Usually the mold on the cheese is either veined or spotted and it carries a very distinct smell. So, if you’ve ever seen cheese with some blue mold or blue veins on the counter, they haven’t gone bad. In fact, this means that the blue cheese has been treated in a way where it was injected with spores prior to the curding process.
If you’ve never tried blue cheese before, you should. You can enjoy blue cheese by itself, or as a spread or in a dressing or in creamy sauces. Although, the taste profile of blue cheese is generally quite sharp and most of the times salty. Ordinarily, one combines blue cheese with a sweeter element like honey to balances out the rich and distinct flavours. When this is done, blue cheese is perfect!

How is blue cheese made?

The production of most blue cheeses involves eight steps. Check them out:

  1. Acidification of the milk to change lactose into lactic acid. This is done by adding a thick starter culture, which will make the mild turn from liquid to solid.
  2. Coagulation to further solidify the milk. Here, rennet (a mix of rennin from the lining of the cow’s stomach) is added into the milk.
  3. Curdling process beings. The thicker curds are cut to release the liquid as well as whey. The smaller you cut the curds, the thicker and more solid the blue cheese will become.
  4. Salting process. You add salt to flavour the cheese as well as to preserve it so it doesn’t spoil.
  5. Mold is added into the curds as this stage to give the blue cheese its blue veins.
  6. Forming process. You form the cheese into your desired shape. In addition, weights are used to press out any remaining liquid.
  7. Needling process. This means the wheel of the cheese is pierced with a needle to allow air to enter through the small holes. This encourages the formation of the blue veins.
  8. Ripening process. The cheese ages in a temperature and humidity-controlled room where it can mature well.

And this is how blue cheese is made!

History of blue cheese

Apparently, the discovery of blue cheese was a total accident. According to legend, the earliest type of blue cheese which was invented was the Roquefort cheese. A boy left his meal unfinished in a cave. When he retoured to that same cave, he found moldy structures on his leftover cheese.

Nevertheless, Gorgonzola also plays a key role in blue cheese history. In fact, Gorgonzola is one of the oldest cheeses which has been around since the 9th century. Some historians suggest, that gorgonzola was the cheese enjoyed throughout the Roman empire. However, it didn’t have blue veins until the 11th century. Other types of cheese such as Stilton were discovered later in the 18th century. In addition, some cheeses like this Danablu as well as the Cambozola was only introduced in the 20th century.

European blue cheeses

Did you know that some blue cheeses in Europe have a protected designation of origin status, otherwise known as PDO? This means that the blue cheese can only be produced and made in a particular region with certain standards and quality measures. Some of these cheeses include:

What Type of Blue Cheese?

Once you enter the world of cheese, much like wine, you’ll be swept away in the wide range of flavours and rich history this facet of the food industry has to offer. What makes blue cheese blue is a blue-green mould Penicilliom Roqueforti. The flavour of the cheese depends heavily on the animal’s diet, whether its milk has been pasteurised, the kind of starter and cultures used and the length of time and conditions under which it’s stored. Did you know that Roquefort is stored in caves and Stilton in cellars? Gorgonzola Piccante is the best option for sauces because of its perfect balance of sweetness and heat. Another great alternative is Bleu de Causses for a slightly saltier sharpness that lends itself magnificently to sauces.

Safety Note

Because of its nature it’s difficult to tell when blue cheese has gone bad. If the white parts have turned yellow and the blue parts green, has fuzzy mould on it or smells of ammonia, throw it away immediately. It might grow legs and crawl in your bed while you’re sleeping. Okay, not really.

Blue Cheese & Special Diets

Chances are that if you’re planning on enjoying some blue cheese sauce you’re not on a calorie restricted diet. You can make it slightly less calorific by using single cream or crème fraiche instead of double/heavy cream. Special diet-wise the sauce is naturally vegetarian and gluten free. Soft and mould ripened cheeses are best avoided by pregnant ladies. Psst, when my boy was 6 months old and started weaning I gave him some broccoli and stilton puree. He loved it!

Keto blue cheese sauce

If you are wanting to make a low-carb blue cheese sauce, it’s actually not that difficult. Generally speaking, blue cheese sauce is rich and creamy, and shouldn’t be on the menu for keto diets. However, you can tweak this blue cheese sauce recipe to make it keto-friendly. Instead of the double cream, add sour cream, mayonnaise and garlic powder. Mix together and voila – instead of the thick blue cheese sauce you have a light blue cheese sauce dressing. 

Pairing Wine with Blue Cheese

When food and wine matching, we usually follow the rule of balancing and complimenting flavours and textures, however blue cheese is one of the exceptions. The classic pairing of Port and Stilton works due to the fact that we have polar opposites at play; sweet, luscious wine and salty, piquant cheese.

For this recipe Port would be too overpowering but a Cabernet Sauvignon-heavy Bordeaux wine will be perfect. Château Les Ormes Saint-Julien 2008 is a wine packed full of black fruit and spice. The tannins are grippy making it an ideal match to steak, especially when cooked medium-rare. The richness on the palate and slightly sweet black cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit softens the piquancy of the cheese and everything feels smooth and creamy in the mouth.

Blue Cheese Sauce Recipe Variation

If you’d like to lend some more depth to your sauce such as a bit of alcohol, first melt a bit of butter and fry some sliced onions or finely chopped shallots until softened. Turn up the heat. Add a splash of brandy, vodka or Jack Daniels Whiskey and let it sizzle for a minute then add the cream and shortly afterwards the cream and you’re done!

How to store blue cheese

Blue cheese stores generally well in the fridge. However to avoid the distinct smell of blue cheese in particular spreading around in your fridge, you are going to have to get a cheese container. These have helped me so much when it comes to not stinking up my fridge and my place. Check these out:

What Can You Serve Blue Cheese With? Beef

Any cut of steak, such as prime rib, fillet/tenderloin and rib-eye steak, works beautifully. Veal, hamburgers or meatballs will work great with blue cheese. There a classic dish created by the French, called Steak au Roquefort and Spain had its own version using Queso de Cabrales.


Any cut of chicken will benefit and Buffalo Chicken Wings is an amazing option. Adding some pear to a dish will make it fun and unusual.


Pork chops or fillet/tenderloin. Don’t forget the pears!


Blue cheese sauce will spruce up any green vegetable that has been boiled, steamed or roasted. Broccoli, cabbage, kale and asparagus come to mind. Cauliflower is a possibility. Butternut squash and pumpkin work well with Gorgonzola too. A bowl of blue cheese sauce with potato chips/fries make an indulgent comfort food meal. Mushrooms can be added to the sauce as you’re cooking it. If you’re rolling in it, truffle and blue cheese is a match in heaven.


Pasta mutes the flavour of blue cheese a bit and who could possibly resist that every inch of slithery pasta (pumpkin or spinach ravioli, gnocchi) is covered by this decadent sauce? Check out …..


Because blue cheese has such a big flavour it’s better to steer clear of it when it comes to seafood but there are recipes out there that uses blue cheese sauce with tuna, escargot, mussels, salmon and halibut.

How to serve blue cheese

Blue cheese alone should be served on a cheese platter. If you haven’t got the essentials for serving cheese, then you desperately need to get these now! Otherwise, eating and serving cheese will not be as enjoyable, and might I add tasteful. Here are the essentials you need:

Herbs that Match with Blue Cheese

Preferably add some crushed garlic with one of the following: rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, chives and Italian (flat-leaf) parsley. The last two herbs are best added at the end of cooking.

Other Blue Cheese Recipes You Might Enjoy

Creamy Mushroom & Sherry Sauce is another delicious sauce that can be served with steak.

Blue Cheese Sauce
  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Prep Time: 1 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 minutes
  • Yield: 2

Learn how to make blue cheese sauce in two easy steps. You can use dolcelatte, roquefort or stilton cheese, making it ideal for steak, burgers and pasta.

  • 150ml (5 fl oz) double [heavy] cream
  • 30g (1 oz) blue cheese
  1. Heat the cream gently in a pan.
  2. Crumble the blue cheese into the cream and let it melt slowly while stirring.
  3. When the sauce is smooth, serve immediately.

Serve with steak, pork, vegetables, chicken or pasta.

  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Pan Fry
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: blue cheese sauce recipe, how to make blue cheese sauce, steak sauce, dolcelatte sauce, roquefort sauce, stilton sauce

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This peppercorn chicken is a classic at my house. Packed full of flavour and very easy to prepare. Chicken breasts with creamy green peppercorn sauce only requires a few ingredients and takes no time at all to cook. I enjoy it as a tasty weekday dinner, however it is so good that you can easily serve it for guests, too. Even though chicken breasts with creamy peppercorn sauce is an easy dish, you can do many variations of it. You can choose all sorts of different sides to go with it. Even though the green peppercorn sauce is bold in flavour, it is surprisingly versatile. You can even turn the dish into a casserole or a peppercorn chicken pasta.

peppercorn chicken with creamy green peppercorn sauce

This peppercorn chicken recipe is out of this world. Plus, it’s so easy to master. Try this chicken breast with creamy green peppercorn sauce, and I bet it will be your new favourite dish. Let’s start with the basics.

what are green peppercorns?

Green peppercorns are actually picked from the very same plant that brings us the well-known black pepper. The green peppercorns are picked from the vine while the berries are still unripe and green. In order for them to maintain the green colour, the peppercorns need to be freeze-dried or brined. This means you can get green peppercorns in dried form or in a tin, kept moist in a brine.
To make the best creamy green peppercorn sauce, you definitely need to go for the brined ones. Drain them before adding to the sauce, as the brine could throw off the balance. You will find tinned, brined green peppercorns in most large supermarkets. Don’t be afraid to stock up a bit. The tins can last for years without going bad, and that way you will always have the ingredients for a creamy green peppercorn sauce at hand.

creamy green peppercorn sauce

No need to say that what makes the difference for a good chicken breast with creamy green peppercorn sauce is the sauce itself. It needs to have the right creamy texture, and above all the right punch off that green pepper. In order to get my green peppercorn sauce as nice and creamy as possible, I use crème fraiche. You can of course use normal double cream and let it reduce, however I find the best result comes from crème fraiche.
In case you prefer to cook without dairy, you can now get plant-based cream substitutes, which you can use for cooking instead of cream. Should you still find the sauce a little too thin, you can add a teaspoon of corn-starch to thicken it.

a touch of brandy

Another secret to why this chicken breast with creamy green peppercorn sauce is such a flavourful dish is the brandy. After frying the chicken, I add brandy and flambé the pan with it. This way the brandy flavour does not overpower the sauce in any way but stays as a subtle note in the background. Don’t worry though, the alcohol will have burnt off long before serving time.
If you don’t have any brandy you can add a splash of dry sherry or Madeira wine instead. These fortified wines have a much lower alcohol content, and will therefore not catch fire. In this case, simply cook for a few minutes and let the alcohol evaporate, leaving behind only the flavour.

chicken in peppercorn sauce with rice

What kind of side you choose for your chicken breast with creamy green peppercorn sauce will simply demonstrate how versatile this dish is. You can go for a classic version and serve the chicken with a side of potato gratin or a nice mash. Another option is rice. I like to do a combination of normal white rice and wild rice. Wild rice is black and much tougher than normal rice, however it adds a nice texture to the standard rice. Moreover, when served with the creamy green peppercorn sauce, it will be anything but plain!

peppercorn chicken pasta

A different spin on chicken breast with creamy green peppercorn sauce is to make it into a pasta dish. Of course, you can simply serve it with pasta on the side. However, you can also make it an actual pasta dish. After frying the chicken, cut the chicken breast up into bite-sized strips. Do the sauce as normal and add the chicken strips. Serve on top of freshly cooked pasta. For example fettuccine, the broad, long pasta bands which are great for sucking up the delicious peppercorn sauce. I used the same sort for my pancetta, leek and mushroom pasta.
If you go with the pasta version, you can even serve it for lunch. You can also store leftovers in the fridge for the next day.

peppercorn chicken casserole

Similarly you can always go for making a peppercorn chicken casserole using these ingredients. What’s not to love about a hearty peppercorn chicken casserole? Just take a look at my game casserole, perhaps you can inspire yourself with other ingredients.

peppercorn chicken Chinese

I know what you are thinking. You are probably thinking of the salt and pepper chicken recipe, a very similar recipe to my salt and chilli chicken. Well, sorry to disappoint you, but this recipe is not Chinese. You can make it Chinese by adding some black bean sauce, soy sauce or hoisin sauce. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds.
However, if you prefer to stick to this peppercorn chicken, at least your side can be Chinese. Take these salt and chili chips, they are excellent.

serve with greens

In order to make the dish more diverse and not least healthy, it is a good idea to add some vegetables to the plate. Some fried or steamed leeks are great with chicken. If you want to go all in on cream then try the creamed leeks
For more inspiration on this great combination have a look at my chicken & leeks with creamy cider sauce.
Alternatively, simply boil some fresh carrots, broccoli, green beans or whichever kind of vegetables you normally enjoy with meat. Don’t forget to top it all with a pinch of freshly chopped parsley. Not only does it look more refined, it also adds a nice herbal flavour to the dish.

veal and creamy peppercorn sauce

This mouth-wateringly delicious creamy green peppercorn sauce is not only great with chicken breast. It is also an excellent combination for other kinds of meat. One of my favourite substitutes for chicken in this dish is veal cutlet. The delicate veal flavour pairs great with the creamy green peppercorn sauce.
Needless to say, you can also serve the creamy green peppercorn sauce with beef. In fact a well-cooked steak is an excellent match. If you want tips on how to get the most tender steak you have ever had, try my sous vide steak guide.

Chicken Breast with Creamy Green Peppercorn Sauce
  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Peppercorn chicken is an easy weeknight recipe you can prepare under 30 minutes. This green peppercorn sauce recipe comprises brandy, green peppercorns and crème fraîche.

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned
  • 25g (1 oz) butter
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) brandy
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) hot chicken stock
  • 10ml (2 tsp) drained green peppercorns in brine
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) crème fraîche
  1. Season chicken breasts lightly on both sides.
  2. Heat the butter until foaming in a large frying pan, then add the chicken breasts and cook gently for 4 minutes until lightly browned.
  3. Turn the meat over and cook for a further 5-6 minutes, or until tender. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the brandy to the pan, ignite and cook for 1 minute until the flames die down.
  5. Add the stock and green peppercorns to the pan, then simmer rapidly for 30 seconds or until the liquid has reduced slightly.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche.
  7. Return to the heat and simmer for 30 seconds.
  8. Returns the chicken to the pan cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes, butter-fried leeks and sweet carrots.
  • Use green peppercorns preserved in brine for this dish, because they have a milder flavor than dried ones. Always remember to drain and rinse well before using.
  • Make sure the chicken is cooked by inserting a knife into the thickest part. The juices should run clear.
  • You can cook the breasts with their skins on. Just cook the meat skin-side down first for 4-5 minutes, or until golden, then turn around to cook the other side.
  • The sauce will go well with beef steak too.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Pan Fry
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: peppercorn chicken, green peppercorn sauce, chicken with peppercorn sauce, peppercorn sauce recipe

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Greedy Gourmet by Michelle Minnaar - 1w ago

If you think Thai cuisine is all about spicy curries then you have probably never tried a good Thai dessert. Mango sticky rice is the ultimate Thai dessert. It combines exotic flavours with a smooth rice pudding to create the perfect sweet ending for a Thai meal. In Thai, Mango sticky rice is called Khao Neow Mamuang. It is one of the most popular desserts in Thailand, and once you taste it you will understand why. Luckily, it is actually quite easy to make at home. Moreover, despite the Thai heritage, mango sticky rice is actually a great all round dessert. An ideal sweet finish to any good dinner.

Even if mango is not your favourite fruit in the world, there is no reason why not to enjoy some delicious sticky rice. Instead of mango, simply substitute with other exotic fruit, such as pineapple or passion fruit. So, next time instead of ordering this Thai dessert in a restaurant, make an authentic Thai mango sticky rice at home. 

authentic Thai mango sticky rice recipe

Mango sticky rice is a traditional Thai dessert which is also known as khaoniao mamuang. Not quite like our western rice pudding. In summary, mango sticky rice is made out of glutinous rice mixed with coconut milk and fresh mango. In Thailand, it is a very popular street-food dessert. However, it is also commonly found through the Indochina region and South East Asia. So even if you don’t have the opportunity to see Thailand during your vacation, you can still find mango sticky rice in places like these:

  • Laos
  • Vietnam
  • India
  • Bangladesh
  • Cambodia 

The best time for eating this amazing dessert is between April and July. Also, the mango sticky rice specialty stores in Asia only sell these in this period. It’s all about seasonality in the case of mango sticky rice!
In addition, if you have a chance to look through the amazing street food of Thailand, you might also find:

Now, if you are looking for something more rich and more powerful then you should try the traditional green Thai chicken curry. In addition, once you try the green, you have to also try the red beef curry in a delicious sweet peanut sauce. Check out this post on the difference between red curry vs green curry if you’d like to know more!

Thai mango sticky rice – with Mango Tree

This is the third and final recipe I shot with Mango Tree to showcase the exemplary food Thailand has to offer. What I love most about Mango Tree’s food philosophy is that there are no MSG products used in the kitchen, believe it or not. I’ve personally been in the kitchen and it’s true. It is actually very hard to come by a restaurant that adheres to this practice nowadays.

If you have a look at the entire menu, you can find comfort in the fact that everything is fresh and made from scratch. This is what, of course, makes Mango Tree so popular. There is a wide selection between starters, main courses, and more! I truly enjoyed looking at the dishes on their luxury Thai menu. You can access it here. If you have an initial look, and you are vegan or vegetarian, don’t you worry at all!

Mango Tree is one of the few restaurants who cater heavily for vegetarians and vegans. Everything is tweakable to fit every customer’s needs, while retaining all authentic Thai flavours. They have even created a separate menu. Impressed? I am telling you. This is a perfect place for you if you love real Thai meals and are a vegan or a vegetarian. So, what dish will you be trying on your next visit?

Thai sweet sticky rice with mango  

Now let’s deep dive into what makes it so authentically Thai. Well, as you might have guessed, the key ingredients to the mango sticky rice is the glutinous sticky rice. Generally speaking, glutinous rice is a sort of sweeter version of the white sticky rice. However, both are an excellent choice for replicating an authentic Thai mango sticky rice dessert.
In essence, white sticky rice is a part of many Thai desserts. For example, these include:

  • khao mak – fermented sticky rice with a touch of alcohol (for adults only)
  • khao tom – Thai sticky rice steamed and wrapped in banana leaves (can also be served savoury)

As for the preparation, you’ll need to soak the rice in water prior to cooking it. The way you traditionally cook the rice is by steaming. Otherwise, an easier method involves the use of a rice cooker. It is only once you steam the rice, you add the coconut milk so it can absorb into the rice. This is when the sticky rice becomes irresistible. 

substitute for white sticky rice

If you want to take your mango sticky rice to the next level and make it even more authentic, then listen up. Did you know that you can actually substitute with black Thai sticky rice? The common thing to do in Thai households is to mix in half of the white and half of the black sticky rice. The end result is a purplish colour which makes eating the mango sticky rice all the more fun. 

coconut milk

You can have excellent and fresh coconut milk by grating the flesh from a ripe coconut and pressing it with water. The liquid inside the coconut is coconut water, and it’s not what we need for this dish. Don’t confuse coconut water with coconut milk. To make your own coconut milk is a bit tedious, so a canned version from the supermarket or the Asian grocery shop will do just fine. In this case, there is no need to avoid the tins. Keep it nice and simple. In addition, you’ll get to eat your dessert faster!

best mango for mango sticky rice

You’ll need a Thai or Asian mango to complete this mango sticky rice. The flavour is just beyond that of the normal mangoes we know in the supermarkets. If you are looking into using fresh mango then I highly recommend you get yours in an Asian specialty store. 
The Thai mango’s peel is semi-pale yellow when ripe, and not the sort of green-red mango (Keitt) that you will find all year round in your normal supermarket. The Thai mango is sweeter and less acidic than the normal mango, and if you let it wait until it’s almost too ripe, it will be just perfect for the sticky rice. This way you get the true Thai flavours.

Traditionally speaking, Thai people use the flower nectar mango and other ok-rong varieties. So, mostly yellow mango because it tastes much sweeter than the green ones. You can also use the red or orange mangoes from Mexico or the Caribbean islands. They are a good alternative to the Thai mango because they are also jammed with flavour. 

If you can’t get your hands on a good mango due to seasonality reasons, you can substitute with durian. Sometimes, other authentic mango sticky rice versions have a twin, which is banana sticky rice. So, you can use banana as well.


For traditional toppings, you can also include crispy yellow mung beans. Otherwise, to highlight the coconut flavour of the coconut milk, top with coconut shavings. I also enjoy it with a fresh berry coulis or fresh fruit. Consider it a European version of the Thai mango sticky rice.

how to serve the mango sticky rice

Usually, you can serve it on a plate (ceramic or plastic) with a fork or a spoon. However, it is also traditionally enjoyed in the hand, especially when it comes to buying it on the street.

Mango Sticky Rice
  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Mango Sticky Rice is a traditional Thai dessert recipe that is vegan. Thai sticky rice is cooked in coconut milk and served with mango. Try it!

  • 250g (½ lb) gluten rice or sticky rice
  • 125ml (½ cup) coconut milk
  • 90g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 20g (⅔ oz) salt
  • 2 Thai mangoes, cut into small cubes
  1. Soak sticky rice overnight.
  2. Steam the rice for 20 minutes.
  3. Make coconut milk sauce by boiling the coconut milk, sugar and a pinch of salt together.
  4. Peel the Mango and roughly chop it into small pieces.
  5. Mix coconut sauce and sticky rice.
  6. Layer the dessert by alternating chopped mango and sticky rice. Enjoy!
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: mango sticky rice, traditional Thai dessert recipe, vegan Thai dessert, Thai sticky rice

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A special thanks to Kelly Reeve for assisting with the recipe shoot.

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Greedy Gourmet by Michelle Minnaar - 1w ago

Looking for Aleppo pepper substitutes? Look no further! This spice, which also come in the form of Aleppo pepper flakes, is one of the most common ingredients used in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Oftentimes, Aleppo pepper ends up in soups as seasoning or as a topping. For example, you can use Aleppo pepper for an extra kick alongside sumac in this fattoush salad. If you find yourself in a position where your recipe calls for this ingredient, make sure you also have some of these Aleppo pepper substitutes. For some people, Aleppo peppers might be too hot. Therefore, you can actually use milder substitutes for Aleppo peppers and still end up with a delicious meal.

8 Aleppo Pepper Substitutes

In fact, some Aleppo pepper substitutes are completely interchangeable with Aleppo pepper dried chilli flakes. So, depending on your heat tolerance, you can select the substitute that suits you best.Hopefully, this list of top Aleppo pepper substitutes will provide you with the right guidance for selecting the appropriate alternative, whether you are looking for a hot or mild Aleppo pepper substitute.

crushed red pepper

Crushed red pepper will provide a subtle sweetness to your dish. It’s very similar to Aleppo pepper. You just have to add a little bit more salt and maybe 1-2 drops of oil to get that perfect Aleppo pepper consistency.

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Again, paprika powder is an excellent substitute for Aleppo pepper flakes. Paprika is used to season stews, soups and it makes an excellent topping. Also, make sure to check out these smoked paprika substitutes

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chipotle powder

Chipotle powder is very popular seasoning ingredient in the Mexican cuisine. You can find it in tacos, refried beans  and sometimes even guacamole or pico de Gallo. Chipotle powder is a mild substitute.

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Ancho powder

Ancho powder or poblano pepper powder is the best option. It scores roughly 1,500 heat units on the Scoville scale. Therefore, it has a very mild flavour of chilli, but it won’t blow your head off. It is the closest mild alternative to Aleppo pepper.

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Chili powder

Of course, chilli powder or chilli flakes are completely interchangeable with Aleppo pepper. You can also check out these top chilli powder substitutes.

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Hot Paprika

It is a similar substitute to paprika powder. Only this time, it includes a bit of heat. Remember to add a pinch of salt to counter the sweetness and smoky flavour.

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Piri Piri Powder

Piri piri powder would be one of the hotter substitutes for Aleppo peppers. In short, it is very hot, ranking form 50,000 – 150,000 on the Scoville scale. Use with caution and avoid using it as a topping.

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Cayenne pepper powder

Cayenne pepper powder is another hot substitute for Aleppo peppers. Hence, use it for seasoning soups or stews.

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different places, different names

Which Aleppo pepper substitute will fit your desired recipe the best? Let’s dive a little deeper. Aleppo pepper is often referred to as an Arabic spice, although it also appears a lot in the Mediterranean region.

  • You might also know Aleppo pepper as “Halaby pepper”.
  • In Turkey, the flakes of Aleppo pepper are known as “pul biber”.
  • In Armenia they are known as “haleb biber”.

Did you know that Aleppo peppers are named after the city of Aleppo? If you didn’t know already, the city of Aleppo is actually based in northern Syria, in the Middle East. Historically speaking, Aleppo formed a major part of the Silk Road where spices were traded for other goods. You can consider Aleppo pepper a traditional Middle Eastern spice.

Today, it is grown and cultivated in Turkey and in Syria. It was only in the 20th century that Aleppo pepper made its way to the USA and Britain along with the immigrant communities.

what is similar to Aleppo pepper?

The fruit reaches a beautiful burgundy colour when ripe, which is then deseeded and ground to make a delicious seasoning mix. In terms of heat, Aleppo peppers are actually quite hot. They score roughly 10,000 heat units on the Scoville heat scale, ranking as a moderately hot pepper. Therefore, if you have an intolerance to chili or ingredients with high heat, I encourage you to select one of the milder Aleppo pepper substitutes.

In terms of the taste profile, Aleppo pepper tastes very similar to ancho powder. In comparison to the latter, it carries slight notes of fruitiness, similar to those of raisins, along with a touch of saltiness. So, if you cook with Aleppo pepper, you should go easy on the salt. If you use one of the other Aleppo pepper substitutes, you can add a little bit more salt to your recipe.

Remember, you don’t want to throw your recipe off balance. Some varieties of Aleppo pepper also taste like ground sun-dried tomatoes with mild notes of cumin as well. So as you can see, Aleppo peppers are quite a complex ingredient and is no ordinary hot pepper.

how to dry Aleppo peppers

It can be the case they you might find fresh Aleppo peppers. Naturally, the best way to dry fresh Aleppo pepper would be using your kitchen oven. First, pre-heat your oven to the lowest possible setting. In the meantime, wash the Aleppo peppers and clean them thoroughly. I recommend wearing gloves for protection, just in case. Next, using a sharp knife cut the Aleppo peppers lengthwise.

With their innards exposed completely, spread them out on a baking tray – side-down best. By the way, cooking the Aleppo peppers can take hours and even a full day on the lowest possible setting. So, every hour, you will need to flip and rotate the peppers so that they get dehydrated evenly.

Once the peppers are completely dry, you can store them, or ground them into a fine powder or crush them into flakes. Alternatively, you if you have a dehydrator at home, feel free to use it!

Aleppo pepper recipes

My favourite ways to consume Aleppo pepper is to use it with chicken. For instance, feel free to add the Aleppo pepper flakes into these delicious recipes:

Find it on amazon

In short, you can find Aleppo peppers in any Asian specialty store. Also, if you have a favourite Middle Eastern restaurant in your neighbourhood, you can also consider asking them where they source it. Oftentimes, I’ve been able to locate ingredients by asking the right people. If you live in a larger town, you should also consider attending the local community market.

Alternatively, you can always find Aleppo pepper flakes online. Just take a look at these crushed Aleppo pepper chilli flakes sellers here:

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Greedy Gourmet by Michelle Minnaar - 1w ago

Beef kofta curry is a spicy Indian curry (some also say Pakistani), that consists of minced beef meatballs and a ton of spices. If you like your curries with maximum amount of flavour and a bit of a kick, then this easy beef kofta recipe is definitely for you. Think of this curry as Indian comfort food!

Typically, one uses beef meatballs but it’s not uncommon to use lamb mince or mutton mince as well. If you enjoy a hearty and meaty Indian style curry, then I encourage you to give this beef kofta curry a go. It’s very simple and it will give you a chance to play around with Indian spicing. If you feel like making a similar curry, you can also try this lamb bhuna. Pair with traditional Indian sides like naans, rotis or white rice. Adjust the level of spice to your liking! 

how to make beef kofta curry

If you are looking to improve your Indian cooking skills, then learning how to make this beef kofta curry will certainly do the trick. Beef kofta curry is a very common dish in the Middle East as well as in Southern and Central Asian cuisine. ‘Kofta’ originates from the Persian word ‘koftah’ which means pounded meat. Simply put, they are balls of ground meat, which usually consist of beef, pork, lamb or chicken. So, depending on the region, you can create your own version of beef kofta. In essence, whatever it’s name, you won’t find a country that doesn’t include some sort of meatball recipe. 

In the Middle East, a beef kofta curry comprises lamb or mutton. For some, these flavours can be too bold. In the Balkan region, pork and beef are used. By the way, don’t confuse koftas with kebabs or souvlakis from the region. Kofta are solely minced meat meatballs with lots of spice. You can pair them with almost any type of curry sauce, so if you’ve made a large batch feel free to freeze them and reuse. Also, feel free to put your own spin on this recipe and experiment with your favourite spices.

Here are a couple of substitutes you might want to read about before you proceed with this cook:

I hope these substitute will help you get through cooking this amazing beef kofta curry!

Jamie Oliver’s beef kofta curry

As always, I love to take inspiration from great chefs. That’s why I looked up Jamie Oliver’s beef kofta recipe. Jamie calls for using premium beef mince or beef mince of very high quality. I couldn’t agree more! 
Naturally, you can also use inexpensive beef mince, but expect it to be more fatty. The premium beef mince usually has a higher meat content and thus is much juicier as well as heartier.
You can find Jamie Oliver’s version of the beef kofta curry here

chicken kofta curry

Yes, you can also consider poultry as a substitute for this beef kofta curry recipe. Of course, it won’t have that natural rich flavour from the beef mince, but chicken will do just fine!
Cut them into even and sizeable pieces to resonante the shape and size of the kofta balls. Remember, the more even they are, the easier they will be to cook. This way, you won’t have to check each piece of chicken, as they will all cook the same.

vegetable kofta curry 

What I love about Indian dishes is that you can make most of them suitable to your dietary needs. For example, if you are a vegetarian, you can just substitute the meat element with vegetables. Just to give you an example, take korma curry! Usually, you’ll find prawn korma or chicken korma on the menu. However, it’s totally possible to substitute with vegetables and enjoy a crunchy vegetable korma.
Vegetables that work best with these are:

  • potatoes
  • cauliflower
  • broccoli
  • beetroot
  • carrots
  • cabbage (again, traditional substitute in the Bengal region)

However you can use more vegetables like swedes, turnips, etc. The sky is the limit.
On top of that, for a lighter alternative to a meaty beef kofta curry, try making this vegetarian-friendly beetroot curry. You can also try this Indian beetroot poriyal which is quite similar. These two beetroot-based dishes are an excellent alternative for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. In addition, these meals are packed with nutrients and will keep you slim all year if you eat these types of Indian dishes for dinner. Trust me on that! 

paneer kofta recipe

You might think that this is impossible but it’s not. In fact, I love to use paneer (Indian cheese) in curries. It falls apart very nicely once you bite into it. So, feel free to experiment and substitute with a pack of paneer. If you’ve got leftovers, make malai paneer or better yet, paneer korma
If you can’t get your hands on paneer, then I highly recommend substituting the koftas with tofu. In essence, tofu is a good substitute for paneer. However, don’t substitute with smoked tofu. Plain soft tofu is the best in this case.

beef kofta recipe Indian

For an Indian version of a beef kofta curry recipe, you should interchange the koftas with:

  • potatoes
  • paneer (Indian cheese)
  • shrimp – traditional in Bengal (southern parts of India)
  • fish – also traditional in Bengal 
  • green bananas – also a traditional substitute believe it or not
  • minced goat meat
  • cabbage
traditional Indian sides for beef kotfa

There are so many, so depending on your desired intake, feel free to select whichever side dish you prefer. Below, a list of filling and low-calorie sides:

filling side dishes low-calorie side dishes

So, which side will you chose to complement your beef kofta curry? Will it be the lighter one or a more filling one? If you have a different side dish in mind, please do share in the comments below! I hope you enjoy making this traditional Indian / Pakistani dish!

Beef Kofta Curry
  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Transform this simple minced beef recipe into an Indian kofta curry! It’s easy to prepare and makes for a fragrant, comforting dinner. Try it!

  • 30ml (2 tbsp) sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) ground coriander
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) ground cumin
  • 10ml (2 tsp) ground turmeric
  • 10ml (2 tsp) garam masala
  • 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) cayenne pepper
  • 2.5cm (1in) fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 red chillies, washed, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 700g (1 1/2lb) beef mince
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) fresh coriander, washed and chopped 400g (1 can) coconut milk 30ml (2 tbsp) tomato puree
  • 250ml (1 cup) beef stock
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 green cardamom pods, crushed
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until softened and lightly browned. Add the ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, masala, pepper, ginger and chillies and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Scrape half the mixture into a bowl and add the minced beef and fresh coriander. Mix well.
  3. When cool enough to handle, shape the koftas into walnut-sized balls. Set aside.
  4. Add the tomato puree, stock and coconut milk to the remaining mixture in the pan.
  5. Bruise the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom pods and add to the curry.
  6. Bring to the boil then add the meatballs.
  7. Simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is well reduced and thickened. Divide between 4 plates and garnish with fresh coriander sprigs. Serve with steamed basmati rice and chopped fresh coriander.
  • As tempting as it may be, refrain from adding salt to the curry. The stock and spices make it plenty flavourful.
  • If you like your curry on the mild side, adjust the quantity of chilli used.
  • No egg is needed to bind the meat.
  • Category: Curry
  • Method: Braise
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: beef kofta recipe, kofta curry, minced beef recipe, Indian kofta curry uk, jamie oliver beef kofta curry, traditional indian recipe

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Greedy Gourmet by Michelle Minnaar - 2w ago

Doesn’t pear and rocket salad sound like the perfect summery salad? Well, it is!

This pear and rocket salad sounds fancy but calls for humble and inexpensive ingredients. For this reason, it makes a wonderful salad to serve as a starter, main course or as a side dish to a fish or meaty recipe. In either case, I recommend doubling up in portion size and serving this pear and rocket salad with a delicious mature white wine. If the flavour of blue cheese is too overwhelming for you, feel free to use other alternatives.

Feeling decadent? Add candied walnut for the sweet crunch. If you’re more health conscious, standard walnuts will do and you won’t miss out on much needed Omega-3 fatty acids. Whatever tweak you come up for this salad, I’d love to hear about it, so please let me know in the comments section below! 

pear and rocket salad with blue cheese

Rocket salad is in fact a very healthy leafy green. It’s popular as a salad because of its sharp, peppery and tart flavour. Rocket salad also goes by these names:

  • garden rocket
  • rucola
  • roquette
  • eruca
  • rugula
  • colewort
  • rucoli
  • arugula

Do any of these ring a bell? Rocket salad has been found in the heart of many ancient cuisines. Amongst those was the ancient Roman cuisine, which means this salad was cultivated thousands of years ago! In fact, in ancient Roman times, it was believed that rocket salad was an aphrodisiac. As a result of this belief, it was banned to be grown and consumed in churches and monasteries. Funny.

Today, rocket salad is used in making delicious Mediterranean salads and as toppings to pizzas. You can even make a tasty rocket salad pesto! In this case, this pear and rocket salad is a great way to use rocket. 

which pear should I use?

There are many pears you can use for this pear and rocket salad. In fact, I would say the pear is the hero ingredient of this recipe, so it’s important to select the optimal variety. I suggest selecting one that’s sweet and soft, so that it will go well with the other textures and flavours in the salad. 

If you haven’t got a clue which pear to use, here is brief list on the types of pears you can find in the supermarket:

  • green Anjou – semi soft and semi sweet
  • red Anjou – also semi soft and semi sweet
  • barlett – very soft, juicy and sweet (great choice for this salad, it’s comparable to the Williams pear)
  • red barlett – very sweet, very juicy 
  • bosc – quite crisp, more acidic than sweet (not a good choice)
  • comice – sweet and juicy (good choice)
  • concorde  – semi hard but very sweet (also a fantastic choice)
  • forelle – not sweet at all and semi hard
  • seckel – crisp, not sweet
  • starkrimson – sweet and soft 

These are just a few of the pear varieties you can consider for making this pear and rocket salad. If you are not a fan of pear, not to worry. You can substitute it with figs. 

Figs drizzled with honey are equally sweet and also pair well with blue cheese. Just take a look at my fig salad with parma ham and blue cheese recipe. Divine!

pear and rocket salad blue cheese

You can use all sorts of blue cheese.

The most popular types are: 

You can use either one of three because they all work very well in this salad recipe. However, if you are not a fan of blue cheese, you can use a couple of cheese alternatives. Check out these suggestions below.

pear walnut feta salad

Instead of blue cheese, opt for feta. It works very well with rocket salad and it is widely available. It’s semi-firm so the texture is perfect.

rocket parmesan salad

Otherwise, just use parmesan, although its texture is significantly drier and crumblier. 

rocket pear and walnut salad recipe

Think of the last cheese platter you had in a restaurant. I bet you anything that you had walnuts served with the cheeseboard. Oftentimes, blue cheese is served with walnuts and some form of pear chutney. The flavours of blue cheese and walnuts just work. Don’t believe me? This pear pizza with stilton and walnuts will prove you wrong.

Walnuts are known as the brain nut.  They are full of nutrients and healthy fats. Did you know by the way, that the largest producer of walnuts in 2017 was China? 

In either case, walnuts are an excellent pairing to this pear and rocket salad. Not only will the nuts complement the creamy texture of the cheese, but the nutty flavour will cut through the sharp, peppery taste of the rocket salad. For further inspiration, take a look at my amazing watercress salad recipe where I also used pear and walnuts. 

rocket and pear salad with candied walnuts

The only thing that would make this salad even better with walnuts is if you candy them first. The nutty sweetness will work wonders with the salty nature of the blue cheese and the sweet acidity of the pear. If candying walnuts sounds too complicated for you, you can opt for a jar of preserved walnuts. Ordinarily, they are super sweet. So, cut them up and serve them generously with the pear and rocket salad.

Don’t know what to do with a leftover jar of preserved walnuts? Have them with yogurt for breakfast or dessert in this amazing Greek recipe.

wine pairing

This pear and rocket salad loudly calls for a mature white wine. What I mean by mature is an older wine. You should aim for a wine that carries notes of petroleum, wax and ripe pineapple in it. So, I highly suggest you look for a mature Reisling. Look for these years: 2015, 2014, 2013 or 2012. Of course, you can use older wines, but they must be of premium quality. Otherwise, they won’t withstand the maturity in the bottle. 

Pear and Rocket Salad
  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

This pear and rocket salad with blue cheese is easy to prepare. Use ripe pears pair with a mature white wine. Use candied walnuts or plain ones if you can.

  • 120g (4 oz) rocket leaves, washed and dried
  • 2 pears, washed and thinly sliced
  • 120g (4 oz) blue cheese, crumbled
  • 16 walnut halves, crumbled
  • 2.5cm (1in) fresh ginger, peeled
  • 60ml (4 tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 20ml (4 tsp) honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Toss the rocket, pear, blue cheese and walnuts together in a large salad bowl.
  2. Place the ginger, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a small blender and process until the sauce is smooth.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately. Enjoy!
  • Any type of blue cheese works in this salad, so have fun trying out some artisan cheeses!
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: pear and rocket salad, pear walnut feta salad recipe, rocket and pear salad with candied walnuts, vegetarian salad

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @greedygourmet on Instagram and hashtag it #greedygourmet

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Greedy Gourmet by Michelle Minnaar - 2w ago

Do you love chocolate as much as I do? If you do, then you will adore my chocolate fudge sauce recipe.

Forget about buying pre-made chocolate sauce in the supermarket. Making your own homemade chocolate fudge sauce is the best thing ever! You won’t even want to share the fudge sauce with anyone, giving Golem a run for his money with his ring. Let alone drizzle the chocolate fudge sauce on top of something, it’s too precious!

I have a feeling you might need to make a larger batch because you’ll find yourself snacking on the jar. You can decide the type of chocolate you use in this chocolate sauce, hence controlling the sweetness and consistency. In short, I hope you enjoy this irresistibly finger-licking delicious chocolate fudge recipe. Let me know how it works out for you in the comments below.

chocolate fudge sauce by nigella lawson

As always, I always love to find inspiration from one of the greatest cooks on the planet, Nigella Lawson. I love her style of comfort cooking, and this chocolate fudge sauce is all about comfort food. Her version of hot fudge sauce calls for chocolate and evaporated milk. Although, she doesn’t specify which type of chocolate she uses. 

You can check out her recipe here, however, I feel like I’ve tweaked her chocolate sauce recipe to perfection. Plus, I try to be more specific so that you won’t have to deviate or improvise. Let’s get this chocolate fudge sauce right! 

old fashioned hot fudge sauce

What comes to mind when you hear or see the words ‘old fashioned‘ hot fudge sauce? For me, it conjures images of grannies in the kitchen cooking up a storm. 

One ingredient that they swear by to this day is booze. Add a bit of rum or even whisky! The rum will add a lovely vanilla well-rounded flavour to the chocolate sauce. 

sauce serving

Chocolate fudge sauce is runny when it’s warm. This one anyway. Hence, you often see chocolate fudge sauce being used as a topping for ice creams, cakes, sundaes, s’mores and much more. Just take a look at what you could use this luscious chocolate fudge sauce recipe with:

Also, here’s food for thought. You can also use a hint of this chocolate fudge sauce with milk and make a hot cup of cocoa on a rainy day. Also, feel free to add a spoonful of it into this incredible chocolate and banana protein shake.

At room temperature it becomes thick and diving in with a spoon eating it straight from the jar is simply irresistible.

chocolate sauce with alcohol

As mentioned before, you can add alcohol to this chocolate fudge sauce to make things more interesting. I think that the alcohol actually balances out all the flavours and ties everything together. However, this step is optional and you can omit this step completely. 

Rum possesses a lovely vanilla flavour from the oak barrels. If you are not a big fan of rum, you can also add orange liqueur. Orange and chocolate is a divine combination. If you’re not convinced, I dare you to try these chocolate orange cupcakes to win you over. You can use the chocolate fudge sauce as a topping in this case too.

If you are not keen on alcohol, you use extracts to enhance this chocolate sauce. For example, peppermint extract. Who doesn’t love the marriage of chocolate and mint? In addition, you can use the leftover peppermint extract in making the famous South African peppermint crisp tart.

Lastly, you can also add these flavour enhancers to make this chocolate fudge sauce to your taste:

  • vanilla extract
  • orange zest
  • cinnamon
  • chopped hazelnuts or almonds
  • ground frozen raspberries or ground raspberries
  • ground chilli powder – chilli and chocolate is an excellent combo

Do you have any other flavour enhancers that you like to use?

hot fudge sauce made with cocoa powder

You can substitute real chocolate with cocoa powder. Beware, you might need to add a little bit of butter into the mixture as chocolate is already made with butter. Of course, if you would like to keep the butter element out of the equation, you can.

I still prefer melting chocolate because there is something satisfying about watching chocolate melt. Plus, I love to lick the spoon at the end. In addition, you can also alter milk chocolate and dark chocolate. So, you don’t have to end up with a super sweet chocolate sauce. I recommend going for milk chocolate and dark chocolate above 85%. The balance of flavours between sweet and bitter is superb.  

hot fudge sauce recipe sweetened condensed milk

Now, if you would like to use your hot chocolate fudge sauce for something else, you can. You can make this incredibly sinful but amazing slow cooker Nutella fudge. You’ll need Nutella as well as hazelnuts to complete the recipe, but it is worth the extra effort. Take my advice and have a look at that fudge. It really is as good as it sounds. So, would you be able to resist the temptation of this rich chocolate fudge?

How would you use your homemade chocolate fudge sauce? Let me know in the comments section below. I am very curious to see who else would just snack on this bad boy directly from the jar! Enjoy!

Chocolate Fudge Sauce
  • Author: Michelle Minnaar
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: ± 3 cups

This chocolate fudge sauce recipe is simple to make and can be used for many desserts. Choose between chocolate and cocoa powder, and add your own twist!

  • 30g (2 tbsp) butter
  • 150ml (2/3 cup) double cream
  • 170g (1/2 cup) golden syrup
  • 50g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 20g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 170g (6oz) 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
  1. Combine the butter, cream, syrup, sugar and cocoa in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture it to a simmer. Keep stirring for 3 minutes or until everything has melted.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and vanilla.
  4. Once the mixture has cooled, drizzle over your favourite ice cream.
  • Alternatively, if you’re not going to be using the sauce immediately, pour it in an airtight container. Let it cool down completely and then store in the fridge, which should last for a month.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chocolate fudge sauce, dessert sauce recipe, dark chocolate sauce

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Greedy Gourmet by Michelle Minnaar - 2w ago

Chives are one of the most common herbs found in supermarkets. They carry a mild flavour that adds an elegant finishing touch to any recipe, and is commonly used as a garnish.

On numerous occasions, chives have been sold out when I was shopping, which was frustrating. So, for whichever purpose you would like to use chives for, you should keep these top chives substitutes in mind. If you like using other alternative for fresh chives, that aren’t listed below, then do let me know in the comments sections. However, I believe I have compiled the most comprehensive list for the best substitutes for fresh chives, which will arm you in the future should you not be able to get hold of this desirable ingredient.

What are chives?

Before we get into details about which are the best chives substitutes, let’s talk about the actual plant first! Chives are edible herbs, and are closely related to the onion, leek, garlic and scallion families. This herb has been around for millennia and has been cultivated all around the world.

In short, scientists still have debates to this day about the plant’s true origin. However, historians insist that one type of chive originally comes from the Mediterranean region in Europe, mainly Greece. Another type of chive plant could have originated in China and in other parts of Asia.

The name ‘chive’ comes from the Greek words ‘skhoinos’ and ‘prason’, which translates to ‘rush’ and ‘leek’. In addition, the French word for “chives” is ‘cive’, which comes from the Latin term for “onion”. Gathering from its linguistic roots, it’s no surprise that chives were referred to in the Middle Ages as ‘rush leek’.

Chives have long grass-like leaves when they are cut. In fact, have you ever seen a clump of flowering chives? You would never have thought that chives flower with a purple bulb. Next time I see chive growing wild, I’ll be able to spot them immediately.

what do chives taste like?

They are quite mild in flavour so they are perfect as toppings or as garnish. Generally speaking, chives have a very delicate onion flavour and don’t overpower your food. Plus, they are quite kid-friendly in comparison to more punchy herbs. In some cases, they are the perfect substitute for recipes which call for fresh onions. In fact, chives are so mild, that chefs usually add them to a recipe all the way at the end of cooking time so they don’t completely lose their flavour.

how to grow chives

I can’t even stress enough that fresh herbs are the best. If you’ve got a garden, I am sure that you’ve got some of the herb essentials like thyme, oregano, basil or mint. In either case, I hope that you also consider planting your own chives. Once you grow and harvest them, you’ll discover just how delicious they are!

First and foremost, chives are suitable for cooler climates but prefer full sun. It is a very cold-tolerant herb and the best time to plant them is early spring when the temperature of the soil is about 16-21°C(60-70°F). The soil needs to be rich and moist, and adding a bit of compost and along with fertiliser is always a good idea. Chives to particularly well when planted next to carrots and they start flowering in May and June. Take note, the purple flowers are also edible!

how to store fresh herbs & chives substitutes

In summary, chives can be eaten fresh or frozen. Don’t dry them out! By doing so, they will lose their flavour completely. Take an airtight resealable bag and store the chives, cut or intact, in the fridge. Otherwise, feel free to cut them up and store them in the freezer.

what’s a good chives substitute?

Here, we’ll discuss all types of chives substitutes. Those which are best for substitutes fresh chives or those, which taste similar. 

best substitute for fresh chives 1. scallions

Scallions, also known as spring onions, are the perfect chives substitute. They are also green so they will have more or less the same visual impact for garnishing purposes. In addition, they carry a mild onion flavour as well. However, take care when adding scallions in recipes, because even thought they are mild, they are stronger in onion flavour than chives. Therefore, add them earlier in the cooking process. You can also use them for toppings like I did in this ABC soup recipe.

2. leek

As you know, leeks are quite strong when consumed raw. They carry a distinct peppery flavour but when you cook them, they release a lovely sweet and delicate flavour. However, you can add thin slices of leek into a salad with escarole. Go and check out these escarole substitutes.

3. barlauch or wild garlic

This is an excellent chives substitute. It carries a mild garlicky flavour which is similar to chives, although it looks very much like tarragon. You might also know wild garlic as ramsons, wood garlic, bear leek, bear’s garlic or buckrams. It grows wild in the forest and it’s one of those fresh herbs which makes an excellent addition in salads or mashed potato recipes. For the best results, cut the wild garlic into very thin slices and use it as garnish. Also, if you like wild garlic, you might also like tarragon or these tarragon substitutes.

4. shallots

Shallots are mild and make an excellent addition in the making of sauces. You can also consider then as a fresh chives substitute, however add them as a topping in small quantities. Although shallots are sweeter than onions, they still carry that peppery sharpness of the onion. Use them in moderation. 

5. onions

Fresh onions are an excellent alternative to chives. Remember, chefs add chives at the latest stage of the cooking process so that they don’t lose all their flavour. In contrast, you should add onion midway through cooking so that they soften up and release some of the sharp flavour. 

6. garlic

As with onion, use garlic in moderation. Add only a small pinch of it to replicate some of those delicate garlicy flavours. Above all, don’t over do it!

7. chinese leek

If you happen to have a good Asian store around you or you are situated in Asia, then by all means use Chinese leek. This is one of the top chives substitutes you can find in Asia. Generally, they are blanched to produce a really lovely subtle flavour. 

substitutes for chives that tastes similar

The top substitutes for chives that taste similar are wild garlic, scallions and leek. These are definitely the top three. 

what can I substitute for chives in a recipe substitute for chives in mashed potatoes

The best chives substitute for a mashed potato recipe is wild garlic or scallions. Of course you can use other herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley. The same goes for any fish or soup recipe. 

substitutes in dip recipes

The best substitute for chives in a dip like this one is wild garlic, Chinese leek and garlic. Again, feel free to use other fresh herbs for seasoning as mentioned above.

Here are some other ingredient substitutes which you will find handy:

These are the 6 best chives substitutes. Here, you’ll read about fresh chives substitutes and best subsitutes for chives in mashed potatoes & dips recipes. This is one of the most informative lists on the best chives substitutes.

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