Dinner for three…

There is no doubt in my mind that my two-year-old son is not the only child in the world that hates eating veggies.


As his mommy I have the lovely job of making sure he eats healthily.

Although I hardly have time to plate up veggies to look like a ship or an animal, I make time to ensure that veggies taste and look interesting enough to eat.

I cook for three people being the husband, our son and myself.

Just like my son, the baby daddy, my husband, is not big on veggies either. Who can blame them?

Roasted leg of lamb crusted with black pepper.

Take broccoli for example, after steaming it in garlic and stock infused water I serve with meat dishes like stew.

This way the bold flavours from the stew will overpower  the veggies.

Apart from fighting with my toddler about his veggies, I offer him a little peanut butter with his carrot and celery sticks. It has worked for me thus far.


Instead of serving him slap chips (fries), which he loves so much, I make him julienne cut apples.

Am no expert in baby feeding, but with advice from my favourite baby nurse,I have managed to find what works for me.


My son eats what we eat. He sits around the table with us. I find that it is a lot easier for him to try new flavours because his parents are also eating the same thing.

Like Duenna’s Kitchen on Facebook and share how veggies are received in your home and how you serve them..

God Bless.






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.



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.


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



How I made chicken work

One of the reasons I decided to go into catering is that I love cooking for people.

The thing though, about cooking for people, is that they all love different things and have differing tastes when it comes to what they like to eat.

Take chicken for example…


Personally, when I think chicken [breasts] two dishes come to mind; butter chicken and sweet/sour chicken strips.

I recently decided to make a dish that kind of resembles the two, but would also be enjoyed by my husband, who is not into either of those.

Thanks to the sun-dried tomatoes, amasi and mayonnaise I added halfway through the dish, It was a hit.


I actually regretted not having made more.

I served the dish with Basmati rice and fresh salad for my husband. I had mine on a ciabatta roll. We all went to bed happy.


For me cooking is about giving people everyday food that taste better than they expected. Taste that will stay with them for sometime after they have eaten.

I had ordered butter chicken at a number of restaurants serving Indian cuisine, but because it is not to the taste of my family I knew I had to find a compromise. This dish represents that for me.

I am more than happy to make this for you and your family. Call me up. Anytime.

xoxo, D