Dee and the Dumpling

So, if you have dined at my house or any of the events I have catered for you would know by now that dumpling is one of my signature dishes.

I serve my dumpling with just about anything depending on the season as well as time of day that it is eaten.

Most cooks have that one dish they swear by. That one dish they have probably made more times than they can actually remember. That one signature dish or recipe they can make even in their sleep.

For me, that dish is the dumpling.

Seen  here is the dumpling served with one of my meat dishes; Chicken livers with caramelized onion cooked in red wine.

Growing up, I watched my aunt (my dad’s brother’s wife) make dombolo (dumpling).

She may not even remember it, but I was always intrigued by how she would steam the dish sometimes in a plastic bag and other times in an enamel dish.

The Dumpling

When making my version of the dish I would sometimes experiment and add different flavours to make it my own.

I tried things like instant custard powder, grated veggies and buttermilk. At times I even tried butter.

To add a fresh element to the dish, I added radish, cucumber, red onion and some pear.

Am happy today to say that I have found the right balance and combination.

My dumpling has made its way into many people’s tummies and hearts.

The reaction is always amazing, every time.


I don’t always have dumpling on the menu when am approached to cook for people, but it is usually demanded by clients. Which is an amazing feeling I tell you.

I hope one day I will be able to share with you the recipe for this dish, but for now it remains a closely guarded secret.


Love and Light to you and yours.




When Entertaining…

As a caterer it goes without saying that I love cooking for people.

I love serving up what I call heart on a plate. Am no Chef Benny or Siba, but I sure know how to whip up a meal that remains in people’s minds long after they’ve eaten.




The so-called seven colours meal has become a staple in many South African homes.

In many black households across the country Sunday afternoons are all about family time.

We make a big deal out of our Sunday kos.

I hardly have time to cook large feasts for my family on a Sunday so I find ways to make up for it during the week when am not as busy.

On a Sunday afternoon Am usually happy with one meat dish, one starch, two veggies.


However, when we have guests over for a lunch or dinner I do my best to serve the Duenna’s Kitchen version of the popular 7 seven colours meal.

I recently served a warm salad with boiled egg, peas, carrot, mushroom and dressed in mayonnaise.

I also served greens wrapped in bacon. This recipe was a courtesy of Siba Mtongana.

When in-laws came to visit me last month I served roasted veggies, sweetcorn, creamed spinach and a fresh salad.


I usually serve these with Basmati rice and two meat dishes.


Time permitting, I will soon post recipes of those salads.


A great week to you and yours.



Getting through January…

Happy 2016 everybody and compliments. All the best to you and yours for the new year.

It is said January is the longest month mostly because companies pay salaries mid-December and then only at the end of January.


For me it’s a little different. Am usually exhausted in January. Mainly because during the holidays I have to do makoti duties. Am usually on my feet before everyone wakes up and only hit the sack once everyone has gone to sleep.


Long story short, in January I make quick and easy meals to ensure am out of the kitchen as soon as possible.

I also make sure they are cost effective. That they save me money. LOL remember what I said about the salaries?

One of those meals was my Creamy chicken livers with garlic and white wine vinegar.

My husband is a lover of pap. To this end, when I prepare my meat dishes I make sure they can work with more than one starch product.


So, yes I served the livers on pap and then made mini chicken liver pies with the same livers for the non-pap lovers, Me.

This meal cost me less than R50 to make. LOL I know it doesn’t look like it right? Thanks. 🙂

Some of my meal ideas for this month include:

  • Pork Fillet with roasted veggies Under R100 to make.
  • Pap, sheba sauce and grilled Pork chops Under R70 to make
  • Spagetti and Meatballs Under R60 to make.

I will soon post pictures and later on recipes of these.

That, y’all, is nearly a quarter of my January meal planning.

May the year be beautiful and productive.



Breakfast: The Open Sandwhich

Mornings are not really my favourite time of the day.

The only reason I look forward to mornings, sometimes, is breakfast.

It takes me a good hour or so before am fully awake. Now this means by the time I have to make breakfast am either still half awake or in the process thereof.

I often have to come up with ways to deliver healthy, uncomplicated and quick meals at breakfast.


As a journalist, my job revolves around deadlines. I always work out my schedule to allow me to meet sources and contacts earlier in the day and leave the writing for the afternoon which is when I flow better. Could also be something in the pressure? Maybe.

LOL even my blog posts go up just before midnight.

I made these Baked Oat bars for a food tasting and have never looked back. I serve them with jam. Yum!! Pardon the bad quality pic.

I was on a tight schedule for the past four weekends. With back-to-back events to cater for and a Sunday School outing I hardly had time to can make big meals for the men in my house.

Despite these, I wanted to make sure my husband and two-year-old son were fed before I left home :-).

In comes the “open sandwich”.

Made this a day or so after using Ciabatta bread with some added chakalaka to the toppings.

Born somewhere between the madness of menu creation and cooking, this allowed me to offer my family a warm hearty breakfast which was ready in under 10 minutes.

For my serving, I simply added another slice of bread on top to make for easy eating while en-route to a food delivery.

For this recipe I only needed

  • Some free range eggs
  • Good quality bread [which I toasted]
  • Baked beans
  • Sausages
  • Hickory ham


The recipe will follow soon in the My Everyday Kitchen section.

xoxo, D


One-pot Wonders

Not sure about anybody else out there, but preparing supper just before grocery shopping can be a pain. This is usually some days before payday where fresh supplies in the pantry have either run out or almost wilted.

One could easily grab some pizza or fried chicken on the way home, yes. But I prefer to still cook supper for the family.


I love Basmati rice and it’s one of the things I never run out of (most of the time). I love how it works so well with many dishes and adds a bit of pizzazz to any dish with its fragrance as well as light texture.

I used beef patties [home-made], yellow peppers, red onion, very little carrot and sun dried tomatoes. And I had some Boerewors in the freezer, so it also came to the party.

I seriously believe that had I put the ingredients together and threw in a bowl not many would want to eat it despite the aroma from all the spices inviting you.


I had initially planned to make meatballs, but am glad I didn’t.

I’m comfortable making and learning from my own mistakes in my kitchen. It’s a great way to learn.

xoxo, MrsM.


My love for Salmon

I can’t really say I love seafood.

In fact, as far as seafood goes, I am very picky.

And of those that I do eat, I still prefer it to be home cooked, by myself. LOL, weird right. I know.


When eating out, I hardly order seafood because at times the stuff is not cooked to my taste anyway.

I feel like am expected to eat it because the chef believes it is how it must be enjoyed.

At times I just want to have stuffed calamari with without worrying about all the fancy shandis that are supposed to come with it. At times I just want to eat my fish the way I want, maybe with a cucumber and mango salsa and no lemon butter sauce.

Take Salmon for example.  My all-time favourite [fish].


I can have salmon grilled, steamed and baked, anytime of the day.

I love to cook food that looks great and tastes delicious. So I make up my own rules and cooking methods that work for me.

I baked this salmon in foil seasoned with some black pepper and chili beef flavoured Aromat.


I served my fish with Parmesan cheese and cream potatoes, mashed and slightly pan-fried it with a fresh salad. Also made a stock reduction to go with accompany such.

As always, I do hope the post inspires you not shy away from exploring with your dishes.

It is after all, your kitchen..

xoxo, D

Meal planning

I love planning and managing events. I successfully planned a few weddings in the last five years including my own.

I am no different when it comes to food. I plan every meal that comes out of my kitchen. By Monday morning I already know what will be for supper on Thursday.

My home made pie with fresh salad.

It’s a habit I inherited from my mother.

In the days leading up to my wedding anniversary I served food that is light and filling at the same time. The intention was to eat myself stupid on the actual day which didn’t happen – After a piece of steak and veggies I just could not carry on.

One of those meals was a (deconstructed) sausage pie.

No, I didn’t make my own pastry. I took a shortcut.

There is always a Fresh salad on my plate. I don’t always eat it, but it always makes its way way onto my plates. After all, salad does make for pretty presentation and that’s what I like, a great-looking plate.

Lettuce is my least favourite thing so I keep coming up with ways to make salad without it and I think I have succeeded.

Some carrot, red onion, fresh parsley are just some of the ingredients that gave me this fresh salad.

My 18-year-old little sister has beef with one thing when it comes to my cooking, the dishing up.

She says I take too long. In fact, she refuses to wait for me to make the plate look pretty. She just wants her food on the plate. No “styling or stacking”, which according to her, is what I do. No truth in that by the way. Well, at least I don’t think so.

Hope this inspires you to try out something new in your kitchen tonight, or tomorrow.

xoxo, D