Jane's Delicious Garden Blog

A change of season meal: Slow roasted cabbage with slightly steamed asparagus. 

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the September 4th, 2017

It is the time of year when  Winter vegetables are coming to an end and Spring ones are popping out. This results in crossover meals. Like this slow roasted cabbage (meltingly sweet and soft) with crispy fresh asparagus. 

Slow roasted cabbage. 

* Cut the cabbage into quarters. Slice out the hard centre core. 

* Place each quarter on two strips of criss crossed foil. 

* Rub all over  with butter and drizzle with olive oil. 

* Sprinkle the cut sides with Italian herbs, salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

* Wrap in the foil, leaving room for the cabbage to steam, and bake at 160° for about 2 to 2.5 hours. 

* Meanwhile, slice ciabatta into small cubes. Mix this with grated Parmesan, pul biber (Turkish red pepper) and oil. 

* Open the cabbage up, top with the ciabatta mix and bake at 180° until topping is crispy and just browned. 

* Serve with asparagus, steamed for a few minutes, drizzled with lemon butter. 

Friday night cooking on fire.

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 25th, 2017

I love cooking on fire. I have a number of braais – from a Weber to a mini rectangular shallow braai with a lid to a couple of Cobbs. They all get used often. Even when it’s cold out. 

Tonight’s meal was bone-in rib eye steak (from Boomplaats Farm via Farm Table in Linden) with a winter salad of roast butternut, onion and cherry tomatoes with crunchy kohlrabi and radish on a bed of baby spinach. Garlicky roast baby potatoes topped it off. 

Rib Eye Steak

Mix together: 1 & 1⁄2 Tbs chopped oregano, 1 Tbs pul biber (Turkish red pepper), 1 Tbs ground coffee, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 & 1/2 tsp sea salt,  1/2 tsp ground pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1 & 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin. 

Brush steak with olive oil and sprinkle the spice mix, covering all sides. Leave to sit while you prep the fire, make the salad and potatoes. 

Cook over hot coals, turning once, until medium rare. Leave to sit, covered, for about seven minutes before serving. 


  • Slice butternut (leave skin on) and two onions and mix with olive oil and dried Mediterranean herbs. 
  • Roast at 200°  until butternut is soft. 
  • Add cherry toms for last fifteen minutes. 
  • While this is cooking, peel kohlrabi and slice into sticks. 
  • Slice radishes
  • Wash baby spinach, dry and place on platter.
  • Top with butternut, onion, tomatoes, kohlrabi and radishes. 
  • Drizzle with dressing of olive oil, balsamic,  basil with salt and pepper to taste. 

Garlicky roast potatoes 

  • Cut baby potatoes in half and  steam until just cooked. 
  • Place in hot pan with olive oil and cook over medium to low heat, turning often, until nearly browned. 
  • Add chopped garlic and cook until potatoes and garlic are browned.
  • Add chopped chives and parsley, sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. 

Delicious vegetable cous cous with eggplant and yum chicken breasts.

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 8th, 2017

Simple and delicious. And about 45 minutes from walking into the kitchen to sitting down to eat.
Start by marinating chicken breasts (skinless and boneless) in whey, or buttermilk, mixed with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Leave for about 30 minutes while you prep and cook the rest.

*Slice baby eggplants in half, brush with sesame oil, season with salt and pepper.
* Roast at 200° for 30-40 minutes (turn halfway through) til soft.
* Toss with Apricot and Chimichurri sauce (made by Nataniel) or something similar.


Vegetable cous cous
* Sauté cauliflower (broken into small pieces) til just browned. Remove from heat.
* Sauté sliced courgette til just browned. Add corn kernels, cauliflower, chopped garlic and pine nuts. Sauté til pine nuts are browned.
* Mix cous cous with boiling water and leave to swell. Mix with chermoula paste and add the vegetables. Stir through, flavour with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

* Remove breasts from marinade and cook on hot cast iron griddle pan til nicely cooked on both sides. Add halved naartjie segments to the pan
* Remove chicken and naartjies from heat. Slice chicken (it will still be pink in the middle) and mix with any yum barbecue sauce (I used Nataniel’s Asian Braai Sauce). Return to pan, reduce heat and toss til cooked through.
* Mix chicken slices with the naartjie segments, coriander leaves, chopped avocado and crispy fried onions (I get them from Impala Fruit & Veg).
Serve the cous cous vegetables topped with the chicken and eggplants.
*Note: Don’t leave the chicken for too long in the marinade – both whey and buttermilk will denature protein, which makes the chicken lovely and tender. But left too long it will break down too much and become mushy.

The best thin crust pizza recipe . . .

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 5th, 2017

The best pizza I  ever tasted was in Naples. I have always preferred a thin crispy pizza base but the Napolese one wasn’t crispy. It was thin and floppy, with the simplest topping of fresh tomato sauce (made from tomatoes grown in volcanic soil of nearby Vesuvius), buffalo mozzarella and basil. 

Back home the closest I have come to replicating that sublime pizza is the following recipe. I most often cook it until its crispy, but every now and then I don’t, just to remind me of that Autumn week in Naples. 


 ¾ cups lukewarm water

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1½ teaspoons salt

2 cups Tipo 00 flour

olive oil, for greasing


Combine the water and yeast in a bowl and stir. Add the salt and flour and mix until combined.

Turn the shaggy dough (and any loose flour) onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball and place inside an olive oil greased bowl, turning so the dough is covered with oil. Cover and leave to rise for about an hour and a half, until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to the highest temperature.

Place a pizza stone or baking tray in the lower middle part of the oven.

Halve the dough with a dough scraper. Take one piece and form it into a large disc using your hands to pull, turn and stretch it. Place it on a 30cm piece of baking paper. If you want it even thinner, use a rolling pin. (It will stick to the paper, but when it bakes, the dough will release from the paper.) If the dough starts shrinking back, leave it to rest for five minutes before trying again.

Repeat with the second half of dough.

Add your toppings and place the pizza (with the baking paper) in the oven. Bake for about five minutes then rotate the pizza, removing the paper as you do. Bake for a further 5 minutes until the edges are golden brown.

 Makes two 25cm pizzas 

This was the pizza from Pizzeria da Michele.    We went there on our first night in Naples after a long flight from Joburg via the Middle East to Rome. We shared a hire car with a couple we met at the airport who were also going to Naples. They were heading straight to a pizzeria that claimed to make “The best pizza in the world.” It certainly was the best pizza I’d ever eaten. The following day our guest house owner told us that Julia Roberts had been in town the week before, filming Eat Pray Love. One of the scenes was at the pizzeria where we’d eaten. It was a good start to a holiday!

A Delicious Launch

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the October 17th, 2015

What a great turnout at Love Books for the launch of Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening. I was interviewed by Jenny Crwys-Williams and she was so enthusiastic about the book. Great welcome home!


Delicious Launch at Love Books 

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the October 17th, 2015

What a great turnout at Love Books for the launch of Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening!  




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What to do with venison mince and fresh cabbage?

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 28th, 2015

My friend Guy is a hunter. And I am  a conscious carnivore – if I am going to eat meat I try and source it from an animal that has lived a natural life. (I used to say ‘a happy life’ but who am I to define an animal’s level of happiness?) Last weekend Guy gave me a bag of blesbok min. Tender, high in protein and low in fat, it is ideal for a bolognaise. But it can be quite rich. To leaven it I added mushrooms and creamy roast eggplant but then came the magic ingredient to add a fresh crunch to rich bolognaise: thinly sliced cabbage from the garden. After  placing the hot spaghetti in a bowl, I scattered the cabbage on top and then added the bolognaise sauce. A sprinkle of grated parmegiano and voila. A fantastic mix.  


Down Pmb memory lanes

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 24th, 2015

I grew up in Pietermaritzburg. My Dad’s pharmacy (Stephenson & Griffiths) was in Longmarket street, providing easy access to the warren of lanes between Longmarket and Church streets. Their names – Timber street, Theatre lane, Buchanan Street – bring back floods of memories.

Entertainment venues came and went. The Laager ice rink ran for a few years and we all became skating fanatics until it closed. I remember family outings to the Putt Putt course near the Bird Sanctuary and the Drive Inn, out past Epworth School. The Royal Show was a highlight. In those days we had the fairground, with its Big Dipper and Swings, that accompanied the show jumping, cattle arena and The Fudge Lady. The annual Azalea Festival, with its parade of floats and drummies through the city centre, and Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race were also never missed. We went to movies at the Grand Cinema (with its red velvet curtains and upstairs balcony) and the 20th Century, both long gone. Weekends were spent riding ponies in Winterskloof, sailing at Midmar or hiking up to World’s View, stopping for a picnic in the pine forest.

In my teen years many a Saturday night was spent at the infamous Lord John disco at The Imp, as the Imperial Hotel was known. The ice rink was converted to the Electric Ballroom, which lasted for about two seconds, however, The Polo Tavern and its great folk music, entertained us for years. Twiggy’s Pie Cart, Bimbos and The Owl’s Nest were late night (or early morning) post party eateries.

But the lanes were a constant, with antique shops and hippies selling funky hand-made leather shoes, Gents’ Outfitters, second-hand book stores and delicious bakeries. Geoff, a flamboyant hair dresser from London, set up his salon here and shocked Pmb by introducing pink and purple hair dyes. Hey Jude, a record lending library, was always full of great music and people, and George’s coffee shop were Saturday morning hang out spots. Today, the lanes are still there, but the magical shops of my youth are gone. For Pmb children of today, the single lane of Liberty Mall is the one they prefer.

So the question today is: Are you feeling LUCKY???
I am thrilled to see that the annual Witness Garden Show is such a great success.

I have FREE TICKETS to give away to 12 lucky people – simply send an email to
info@janesdeliciousgarden.com with the subject line Witness Garden Show

The first 12 people to respond will receive them.

This year my fabulously green fingered friend, Tanya Visser and her team from The Gardener Magazine have taken over its management. Some of the new attractions include:
• A Gourmet Food Hall
• A Go Green Hall of eco-friendly products and services
• A bigger, better Kids Zone
• More, improved garden designs
• A greater selection of plants from more plant growers and nurseries
• Demos on gardening, cooking, flower arranging and more.
• Ready, Steady, Plant with Tanya Visser
• Competitions to win fabulous prizes

Pic for FB

Cauliflower crunch

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 19th, 2015

I picked one of the last cauliflowers today, along with collard greens and coriander.  

I also had some baby eggplants and all these ingredients suggested an Asian dish. (I never quite know what I’m going to make for dinner until I start cooking. These ingredients could just as easily have turned into an Italian soup.)

First:  slice the baby eggplants in half, toss them with olive oil, diced garlic and ginger. Roast at 220C for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, fold the collard green leaves and slice the stems off. Dice stems and chop the leaves separately.  

Heat peanut oil in a wok or pan and stir fry chopped cashew nuts and diced dry chilli for 30 seconds or so. Add the cauliflower florets and collard stems and cook for a few minutes. Add the collard green leaves and a good few squirts of Black Magic (a YUM  mixture of salty, sweet and sour*). Turn the heat down, cover and cook until the collards are tender but the cauliflower still crunchy. 

Mix the eggplants (plus all the crispy garlic and ginger) with the cauliflower mixture, give it a final squirt of Black Magic and serve with egg noodles and fresh coriander. 

 *(If you can’t find Black Magic then mix two tablespoons soy sauce, two teaspoons fish sauce, two teaspoons mirin and juice of one lime.)

Singing the boerewors blues

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 18th, 2015

Whenever I go through Pietermaritzburg I buy some Greenfields meat.  From a farm near Mooi River, their  free range, grass fed beef is superb. Usually I go for a whole fillet and spoil my Kzn family.   On my last visit I spied some boerewors. Now, I am not a great fan of boerewors, most often finding it over spiced. For me a little goes a long way. But the Greenfields’ boerie was different. Simply cooked over some hot coals, with a dash of mustard, it was superb. So on my way back through Pmb after a week at the coast, I stocked up on more. Last night I made my version of boerie rolls: 

Grilled boerewors topped with onions (cooked with crème fraîche and thyme) on crispy garlicky ciabatta rolls. Served with a salad of lettuce, rocket, tomatoes and feta. 

Ciabatta rolls (Cut in half and brush with olive oil mixed with finely diced garlic. Place on hot griddle pan cut side down til browned.)

Onions: (Slice and cook in olive oil until just softened and beginning to brown. Add fresh thyme and cook few minutes more. Add a few dollops of crème fraîche and stir through. Thin with milk and season with salt and pepper.)

Using the leftovers (I always cook too much) tonight I made an Italian style peasant salad: chickpeas with sliced boerie, tomatoes, feta, mizuna buds and flowers, lettuce, sorrel and rocket plus cubes of the day old garlic ciabatta. (Slightly stale bread is best for these salads, giving them a crunch and soaking up the dressing). The dressing was simply olive oil,  fresh lime juice, roughly chopped parsley, salt, pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes.  


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