‘Tennis’ Turkey

tennis_turkeyWhen my son was much younger, he, like most children these days, had all sorts of after school activities to attend; Mad Science on a Monday, swimming on a Tuesday, football on a Wednesday and tennis on a Thursday. I would make him an after school snack – usually Vogel seeded bread with either hommous and cucumber or peanut butter and banana –  to keep him going until dinner. We would get home and I would get something cooked  and on the table in record breaking time. ‘Tennis’ Turkey came about when we stopped at the Sainsbury’s Local near the tennis club on the way home and picked up a pack of turkey breast steaks. I got home, took a look at what I had in the cupboards and this dish came together.

It was so tasty, with a depth of flavour which belied it’s short cooking time, that I wrote down what I had done whilst Jake cleared away (he has been setting the table and clearing the dishes for a very long time now – just wish he would show some interest in cooking rather than just eating!). I asked him what he thought the dish should be called and without hesitation, he said ‘Tennis Turkey” and the name has stuck.

tennis_turkeyIt is one of those dishes where prep and cooking harmoniously segue into each other. I start by washing and putting some rice on to cook. Then as the oil in the frypan heats up, I slice the onion and toss that in, with a pinch of salt to help it along. As that cooks, I thump the cumin in the pestle and mortar, slice the turkey into long strips, mince the garlic and chop some herbs.

tennis_turkeyOnce the onions have had about 10 minutes – and cooking them long and slow is what give the dish such a great depth of flavour- I stir in the garlic and then spread the turkey strips out in a layer. While those are cooking on one side, I get the peas, creme fraiche and bouillon out and slice the lemon. Then I  give the strips a stir, add the cumin and cook for a minute or so until there is very little pink visible in the meat.

tennis_turkeyThen I yell up the stairs at Jake to set the table, add the bouillon powder, the creme fraiche and a little water, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any caramelisation and let that bubble and thicken, stir in the peas, squeeze over some lemon and it’s done!

tennis_turkey

Of course you can substitute chicken breasts if you don’t like or can’t find turkey. Both cook really quickly and are ideal for this sort of cooking. Can I also mention this time saving flavour booster?

tennis_turkeyI love these tubs of crispy fried onions – a little sprinkle  adds crunch and a savoury note to things like egg salads, noodle soups and rice – a very short ingredient list (onions,  vegetable oil, wheat flour and salt) and a real time saver…I have seen them in bags in the Indian grocery stores too.

tennis_turkey

Tennis Turkey

  • Servings: 4
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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large onion or 4 shallots
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 500g (or 4 x) turkey breast steaks
  • 2 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds, separated
  • 1 tsp Marigold bouillon powder or a vegetable stock cube, crumbled
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp  ½ fat creme fraiche or double cream
  • ¼ of a lemon
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • crispy fried onions (optional)
  • red peppercorns (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Halve and slice onion in half moons and sauté gently  on a medium low heat, in the olive oil with a pinch of salt, until floppy and pale gold. This should take about 10 minutes. If the onions start to catch, stir in a little water and lower the heat
  2. While the onions are cooking, slice the turkey across the grain into 1 cm thick strips, chop the garlic and pound 1 tsp of the cumin seed in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Then stir the garlic into the onions and let this cook for a minute or so.
  4. Add the turkey strips, spreading them out in one layer and let them cook on one side, browning slightly, before stirring to cook on the other side.
  5. Sprinkle on the ground and whole cumin and stir for a minute.
  6. Sprinkle on the bouillon power stir, then add the water and the creme fraiche. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken a little. Squeeze in a little lemon to taste.
  7. Stir in the peas and cook for a couple of minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the parsley just before serving.
  8. Top with a few crispy fried onions and a few red peppercorns if using.

Serve with rice.

Enriched Milk and Butter Loaf topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

I am in Cape Town, staying with my friends A and R who really make the most of this beautiful city they call home. They live in a gorgeous Victorian villa in Sea Point, perched high on the slopes of Signal Hill with a panoramic view of the suburb below and the Atlantic Ocean.

View from the deck

View from the deck

As you may imagine, the sunsets have been simply stunning.

Sunset over Sea Point

Sunset over Sea Point

Sunset from the deck

Sunset from the deck

The people I have met on this visit have been so friendly and so sociable and seem to pack so much into their days. The magnificent landscape probably has a lot to do with this as well as not having to waste hours commuting on a packed train to and from work.  The days and evenings have been spent  meeting up with or hosting friends in that warm, hospitable Capetonian manner, enjoying the gorgeous wines and eating beautiful food. There is an incredible food scene here about which I will post more another time.

Sundowner on the deck

Sundowners on the deck

We spent last weekend at their stunning holiday home in Greyton where R cooked up a storm.

The garden at Greyton and Lily the springer spaniel

The garden at Greyton and Lily the springer spaniel

Saturday was spent walking their adorable dogs, wandering around the Saturday market in Greyton, lunching at Searle’s and then back to the house for a marathon cooking session.

Searle's

Searle’s

Searle's

Searle’s

A stunning cake was baked and iced.

THAT cake!

THAT cake!

Bread was baked (recipe below), fillet was stuffed and trussed and salads were made. For dinner that night, a group of us feasted on the braaied (barbecued) fillet and boerewors, potato wedges, salad with flowers from the garden, palm hearts dressed with white balsamic and parmesan cheese, tomato and mint couscous, the bread and finished off with a slice of that cake.

Feasting at Greyton

Feasting at Greyton

This bread needs a little elbow grease but is completely worth it.

Dough before second proofing

Dough before second proving

Dough after second proving

Dough after second proving

Bread before topping

Bread before topping

Topping with floppy onions

Topping with floppy onions

Topping with cheese

Topping with cheese

Ta da!

Ta da!

Enriched Milk and Butter Loaf topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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INGREDIENTS

  • 500g bread flour
  • 10g instant yeast (10ml)
  • 10g salt
  • 350ml tepid milk
  • 50g softened butter

Topping:

  • 1/2 a large white onion sliced in half moons and one clove of chopped garlic, fried in a little olive oil until translucent but not caramelised
  • 100 g grated cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the flour yeast and salt in a bowl and slowly pour in the tepid milk, 100 ml at a time. The milk must not be too hot as it can kill off the yeast. (24-28 degrees)
  2. Stir with your fingers until it comes together. You may not need all the milk so don’t pour it all in.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly  floured surface and start to knead, incorporating the butter, one spoonful at a time. Or, if your butter isn’t quite soft enough, cube it and add it in a few cubes at a time. Knead until the dough is elastic, smooth and glossy – this may take up to 20 minutes. It is quite a wet dough so it does take some time to come together. The dough should be fairly firm and not sticky to touch.
  4. Oil a bowl and place dough in it turning it around in the oil and cover with tea towel or cling film ad leave it to rise until doubled. Knock back (deflate) and then weigh dough. Slice off approximately 100g lumps of dough and roll and shape each one by placing on your worktop (you should not need any flour) Cup your hand over it and start work in a circular motion, tucking with with your thumb and fingers – the finished ball will have a smooth top with the crease underneath.
  5. Place in a round tin – we used a non-stick one, cover and leave to rise again for about an hour. It should double in size, filling in any gaps.
  6. Bake in a oven preheated to 230 C /450 F for 1/2 an hour. Scatter over the floppy onions and then the grated cheese and place back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so. Cool on a rack for about 5 mins and then turn it out of the tin.
  7. The bread is ready when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when you rap the base with your knuckles.

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese

Enriched Bread topped with Floppy Onions and Cheese