Thursday, 28 April 2016

Classic cottage pie with mustard mash

If you're looking for the ultimate in comfort food then this cottage pie is the answer. Perfect this for the coming winter months and your family will be begging for more.

3 tbsp olive oil
1¼kg beef mince
2 onions, finely chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp tomato purée
850ml beef stock
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves

1.8kg potatoes, chopped
225ml milk
25g butter
200g cheddar cheese

Heat one tablespoon oil in a large saucepan and fry the mince until browned. Tip mince in to a bowl and set aside.
2. Add the rest of the oil and cook the onions, carrots and celery until soft.
3. Add the garlic, flour and tomato purée. Increase the heat and cook for a few minutes, then return the beef to the pan.
4. Pour over the stock, worcestershire sauce and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 45 minutes. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30 minutes – if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy a little. Season well, then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
5. Meanwhile, make the mash. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes in salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. Drain well, then allow to steam-dry for a few minutes.
6. Mash well with the milk, butter, and three-quarters of the cheese, then season with the mustard and some salt and pepper.
7. Spoon meat into an ovenproof dish. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Heat oven to 220ºC and cook for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

How to loan a friend money

Can't say no to a friend in need? Follow these simple steps to limit your financial risk.

1. Talk about interest.
Tacking interest onto a personal loan may discourage your friend from viewing it as "cheap money". However, bear in mind there's an upper limit to the interest you're legally allowed to charge.

2. Draw up a payment plan.
If your friends can't come up with the money today, there's little chance that he will be able to rally up the full amount in six months' time. Save him – and yourself the stress of a lump-sum payment by agreeing on a realistic monthly payment schedule beforehand.

3. Get it in writing. While a verbal agreement is legally binding it is difficult to prove, especially if you don't have witnesses to your agreement. So get it in writing: use a black pen, get two witnesses to sign with you and make sure you each have a signed copy of the agreement.

4. Take action. If your soon-to-be ex-friend doesn't take your friendly payment reminders seriously and stops taking your calls, as long as the loan was for R15 000 or less you can take them to the Small Claims Court. You will have to present your own case so be sure to have that written agreement in hand and your facts in order.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Grilled vegetable salad

Liven up your veggies at the supper table with this delicious grilled vegetable salad.

Baby lettuce leaves
500g butternut, thickly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 baby marrows, sliced lengthways
1 pack patty pans, cooked
1 large red onion, cut into thick wedges
1 carrot, grated
Feta to sprinkle

2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves

Preheat oven to 220°C.
2. Place butternut, garlic and oil in a bowl. Toss well to combine. Place mixture, in a single layer, onto a large oven tray. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes.
3. Turn the butternut and garlic. Add the baby marrow, patty pans and red onion to the tray. Roast for another 15 minutes. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
4. Meanwhile make the dressing. Place lemon juice, oil, mustard and oregano in a screw-top jar. Secure lid and shake well to combine.
5. Place the lettuce leaves and vegetables in a large bowl. Pour over dressing and toss gently to combine. Top with grated carrot and crumbled feta.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Help your child build a better body image

Both boys and girls are at risk of developing unhealthy habits, such as eating disorders, because of a poor body image. A good body image is essential for your children's happiness so take note of these three simple ways of helping:

1. Set a good example
If you are obsessed with your body, your child will be too. Rather, demonstrate healthy eating habits with the occassional indulgence so that they can see the importance of a nutritious balanced diet.

2. Emphasis and demonstrate the benefits of exercise

Help your children develop an interest in some kind of outdoor sport or game to give them exercise. By getting involved and even doing it with them, you set a good example and decrease the chance of them losing interest.

3. Focus on what's inside rather than outside
Although everyone likes to be told they look nice, don't put all your energy and focus into how your child looks. If you focus more on their inner qualities and their talents, hopefully they will too.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Seafood pasta

This seafood pasta is ideal for easy entertaining. Serve with a fresh green salad.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp paprika
400g can of chopped tomatoes
1l chicken stock
300g spaghetti, roughly broken
240g pack frozen seafood mix, defrosted
Handful of parsley leaves, chopped, and lemon wedges to serve

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, then cook the onion and garlic over a medium heat for five minutes until soft. Add the paprika, tomatoes and stock, and then bring to the boil.
2. Turn down the heat to a simmer, stir in the pasta and cook for seven minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the pasta from sticking. Stir in the seafood, cook for three minutes more until it’s all heated through and the pasta is cooked, and then season to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Discipline your toddler

Disciplining your toddler may be one of the most confusing parental challenges, but it doesn't have to be as difficult as some parents make it.

The key is to understand your child and what he is capable of. For example: Toddlers are driven by curiosity, they are meant to explore and learn, so if you leave something on the coffee table, the chances are your baby will try and pick it up to have a look. Even if you have told him not to, at around 12 months his memory isn't developed enough to remember what he is and isn't allowed to touch. Consider also that he doesn't yet have the physical skills to pick it up safely.

But he is a toddler – if an object is within his reach he'll try and pick it up and the chances are he'll knock it over or drop it. That's not his fault, he's just curious.

Be a smart parent and don't leave the object within his reach and then shout at him for breaking it or try and punish him for not listening to you. Rather put it out of his reach and avoid the situation altogether.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Oven-baked risotto

An easy way to make tasty risotto for the family. You can try this recipe too.


1½ cup arborio risotto rice
4½ cups chicken stock
1 cup finely grated parmesan
40g butter
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Place the rice and stock in a deep baking dish and stir to combine. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until most of the stock is absorbed and the rice is al dente.
3. While the risotto is in the oven fry the leeks and bacon in a pan with butter.
4. Pour boiling water over the peas and allow to defrost.
5. Take the risotto out of the oven and stir through the parmesan, leeks, peas, bacon, butter, salt and pepper and serve immediately.
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