Every now and then, we are challenged by the Mela producer to take up a challenge of sorts….this one got me thinking and shopping on high alert at our local supermarket, the Broadacres Superspar. The challenge to prepare a three course meal for 4 people with R100. It may sound impossible at first but a little cash can go a long way with some clever and creative shopping! Just a quick word on costing….measure everything and weigh everything!
I headed off to the supermarket and checked out the specials and found some frozen hake fillets for just over R30 per box…I love hake but the price made this ingredient a winner….I also opted to make a little batch of choc cakes and spotted the little brinjals on special at R12 per punnet! Another winner…a walk around Spar and the menu was already created.
Herbs can be pretty expensive, sometimes costing between R10 and R15 per pack. With everyday cost-effective cooking, you need to get a little creative and I did the same a while ago by turning a sunny patch at Holi Cow into a herb garden…you have no idea how much fresh herbs and lettuce needs to be thrown out…it’s expensive and quite wasteful.
I opted to use fresh herbs from the garden…mint, coriander and spring onions were freshly picked to cut down on the costs and add oomph to the marinated brinjal starter. I always have glace cherries in my refrigerator…these are often left lying in there for a while so I decided to use them in the dessert…..it’s a shame really because they are so pretty. Another tip for cost-effective cooking, is use up what you already have!!!
On the Mela menu today….Marinated Brinjals, Spicy Fish Masala and Mini Chocolate Cakes! If you missed the episode, click here: https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/melas-r100-food-challenge/
3 – 4 small brinjals (i picked up a little punnet)
Fine salt, to sweat brinjals
Sunflower or olive oil, to grill brinjals
Half a lemon
15ml olive oil
2 spring onions, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
Fresh mint sprigs, chopped
Fresh coriander, chopped
Thinly slice the brinjals and place them in a colander.
Wipe off the excess moisture using paper towels.
Heat a frying pan or a grill.
Brush the brinjal slices with oil and grill on a high heat until cooked through and slightly charred.
Place the brinjal slices onto a platter and squeeze over the lemon juice, then add 15ml olive oil
Season lightly with salt.
Sprinkle over the chopped spring and red onion.
Garnish with chopped mint and coriander.
Serve with crusty bread
Spicy Fish Masala
50ml sunflower oil
4 sprigs on coriander with roots and stalks
1,5cm piece ginger
15ml crushed garlic
15ml mixed masala
4 ripe tomatoes, blanched and chopped
Salt to season
600g frozen fish
Chop the coriander stalks, roots and leaves into a mortar. Add the ginger and garlic and pound into a rough paste.
Heat the sunflower oil in an AMC paella pan on a low heat.
Add the ajwain or carom seeds to the oil and fry until they sizzle.
Add the rough ginger and garlic paste and fry until fragrant.
Stir the mixed masala into the oil and heat for 3 seconds.
Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer until the tomato thickens.
Season with salt and stir well.
Add 250ml boiled water and then gently place the fish into the pan.
Lower the heat and simmer until the fish is cooked through.
Garnish with fresh coriander.
Mini Chocolate Cake
40ml cocoa powder
50ml boiling water
2ml vanilla essence
100ml cake flour
5ml baking powder
Pinch of salt
60ml sunflower oil
100g milk chocolate, chopped
Cherries, to garnish
Mint sprigs, to garnish
Preheat oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
Grease and line 4 – 6 ramekins.
Dissolve the cocoa in boiling water and leave aside to cool.
Sift the cake flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl and then add salt.
Beat the eggs in an electric mixer and gradually add sugar.
Continue beating until thick and creamy – the mixture should leave a trail on the surface for 3 seconds.
Fold the flour into the egg mixture.
Fold the cocoa and sunflower oil into the mixture and pour into prepared ramekins.
Bake for 12 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
Heat the apricot jam with water and glaze the cake.
Boil the milk, remove from heat and add the chocolate – whisk until the chocolate is smooth.
Pour the chocolate over the cake and serve.
Garnish with fresh mint and a cherry
Make sure the mixing bowl is oil free before whisking the eggs – oil prevents the eggs from incorporating air.