August 29, 2020

This week on SASTV: Ratatouille! (aka how to deal with all the zucchini & eggplant people keep giving you)

When one of our team members handed Sue-Ann a sack filled with eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes from his garden, she knew that Ratatouille was in her future. 



This classic Provencal vegetable stew is the perfect distillation of late summer flavours and can be served so many ways. Eat it hot with torn chunks of baguette, swirl it into hot pasta, or serve it cold as a chunky dip. Any way you have it, it's a delicious solution to the abundance of fresh veg typical of August. 

Ratatouille (from Once Upon a Chef)


  • 1 large (1.25 lb) eggplant, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 5 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 large vine-ripened tomatoes (1.75 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes, with their juices
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan (no need to clean it). Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate; set aside.
  3. Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes more. Do not brown. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, thyme, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down into a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cooked eggplant to the pan; bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Add the zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until just warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh basil and thyme, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired, and serve warm or chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  4. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: Let the dish cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. (Keep in mind that the zucchini won't stay crisp after being frozen.) This is delicious served cold, or reheated in the microwave.
August 15, 2020

This week on SASTV: Venison & Cabernet Franc

Today's recipe is Venison Smash Burgers! Recipe at the bottom of the page.

Sue-Ann's inspiration is this recipe from Hank Shaw and his fabulous website

Venison Burgers

Keep in mind that what's important here is the technique and the grind, not so much my additional ingredients. Of course, I love my venison burgers like this, so I am biased. But so long as you follow general guidelines on toppings: mix something rich (cheese) with something sharp (tomato) and something slightly bitter or cleansing (lettuce or sorrel leaves) and a touch of sweet (ketchup) and you will be in good shape.


  • 1 1/2 pounds venison
  • 1/2 pound bacon ends or regular bacon, chopped roughly
  • Salt (smoked salt if you have it)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter, lard or vegetable oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • Burger buns
  • Something green like bibb lettuce, arugula, sorrel or spinach
  • Slices of fresh tomato, or canned, fire-roasted peppers (winter), summer
  • Slices of cheese of your choice
  • Condiment of your choice (ketchup mustard, remoulade, mayo, etc)


  1. Make sure the meat and bacon are cold. Cut the venison into chunks that will fit into your grinder. Do the same for the bacon. Mix the two together roughly so you can add a bit of each into the grinder as you go. Grind 1/2 to 2/3 of the mixture coarsely and the rest with the fine die. NOTE: If you are grilling your venison burgers, flip this so you grind 2/3 of the mix fine and only 1/3 coarse -- the reason is because grilled burgers tend to cook better and stay juicier when the grind is fine.
  2. Make between 4 and 6 patties, depending on how large you want your burgers. Form the patties with only as much force as absolutely needed -- you want the patties to hold together only loosely. Make them about 1/2 to 1 inch thick. Use your thumb to press an indentation into the center of each patty: This prevents the burgers from turning spherical when you cook them. Set the burgers aside.
  3. Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the sliced onion and cook until it's done to your liking. Some people like juicy onion with a little char on the edges, some people prefer to go the full caramelized onion route. When finished, put the onions in a bowl so you can have them ready.
  4. I prefer grilled burgers, so I'll go through that method. Heat your grill on high and be sure to scrape down the grates with a wire brush. Only salt your burgers right before you cook them, and if you are salt-sensitive you might not need to with these because of the bacon. Place the patties on the grill and cook them without disturbing them (with the grill cover open) for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how well done you like your burgers. Flip and cook for the same amount on the other side. I prefer 3 minutes per side with a really hot grill.
  5. When you flip the burgers, grind some black pepper over them, then spoon a little caramelized onion on each one if you'd like. With about 90 seconds to go on the second side, lay the cheese on top of the onions and cover the grill until the burger's ready. If you like toasted buns, toast them on the grill in this last 90 seconds. When everything's done, move the burgers and buns to a sheet tray or plate so the meat can rest for 5 minutes, while you build the burgers.
  6. You can do this any way you want, but I start with a green thing, then some ketchup or mayo or whatever, then the burger patty that has the onions and cheese already on it, topped with a slice of tomato (or roasted red peppeand finally some more of whatever condiment I happen to be using. My method is just how I do things; you can do anything you'd like.


The Toughest Day.

One of life's toughest days. 

The dreaded day .... Brix is cuddling with Dad now ... and I assume Dad is already continuing to train Brix how to sit up on his hind legs which used to be their morning ritual.

Brix quickly succumbed to a large tumour on his scapula...

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This week on SASTV: Keen-what?

Vegetarians rejoice! Here's a fab meatless slider idea, perfect with Frissonesque Sauv Blanc!

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July 18, 2020

Today on SASTV: Gobble Gobble!

What to do with all those zucchini in the garden? How about Turkey & Courgette Sliders?



Turkey & courgette burgers with spring onion & cumin – serves 4-6 (about 18 burgers)

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 large courgette/zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 40g scallions/green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium egg
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander/cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • about 100ml sunflower oil for searing

Sour cream & sumac sauce:

  • 100g sour cream
  • 150g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

To make sauce by putting all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and chill until needed.

Preheat the oven to 220ºC/200ºC Fan/Gas Mark 7/400°F

Mix all ingredients for the meatballs, except the sunflower oil, together in a large bowl. Shape into small burgers – they should weigh about 45g each and you should aim for around 18 of them.

Pour enough of the sunflower oil into a frying pan to get a thin layer on the bottom, about 2mm thick. Heat well and sear the meatballs in batches over a medium heat on all sides. Cook for about 4 minutes, adding more oil as needed, until golden brown.

Carefully transfer the meatballs onto an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and cook in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until just cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the sauce spooned over.

Wine Suggestion: a fresh, vibrant rosé suits the dish and the time of the year. Something like the Roc des Anges “Effet Papillon” rosé made from Grenache Gris really hits the mark with this.

July 04, 2020

Today on SASTV: Sue-Ann's Fusion Lamb Sliders with Feta Spread and Cranberry Jalapeno Sauce



Feta Spread

  • 200g finely crumbled feta
  • ¾ mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Herbe de Provence (thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaf)
  • 6 teaspoons chopped chives
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate before use.


Cranberry Jalapeno Sauce

  • 1 diced jalapeño
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water + 4 Tbls.
  • 2 Tbs. orange juice
  • 100 grams dried cranberries

Heat the cranberries, jalapeños, sugar, water and orange juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Cook for 5 minutes.

Let the cranberry sauce sit for 30 minutes.

Refrigerate before use.



  • 1 slice white bread, crust removed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots, from 1-2 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground lamb (not lean)
  • 6 pita bread rounds*


Be sure grill is clean and preheat to high.

Combine bread pieces and milk in a medium bowl. Mash with a fork until paste forms. Add shallots, garlic, mint, oregano, salt, pepper and mix well. Add lamb, then use your hand to mix ingredients together until well combined. Do not over mix. Form mixture into 12 oval-shaped patties about ½-inch thick.

Grease grill (dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and holding wad with tongs, carefully wipe cooking grate several times). Grill patties, covered, for 4 minutes. Turn, cover again, and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes more. Place burgers on a tray and cover with foil while you warm mini- pita rounds or slider buns on the grill.



Spread the Feta in/on the pita or slider bun. Place delicious lamb patty on top, add generous dollop of Cranberry Jalapeno sauce and eat!

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