Myrna Robins

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Posted by on in Recipes


I've tried dozens of apple pie, tart and crumble recipes over the years, but still think that this streusel, found in one of Robert Carrier's collections, is by far the most delectable. Roasting the apple at a high temperature adds to the flavour, and, there's no separate cooking of the apple, so its quick to prepare as well..

To suit local palates I have increased the spice quantities from Carrier's original, and you can omit the pastry base if you wish.If you are using a wide dish (25+cm diam) you may need to increase quantity of topping ingredients - if so, increase each ingredient by 25g to 100g.

Whether you serve it with cream, custard or icecream is up to you - when entertaining, I splash out on mascarpone, thinned with a little pouring cream and a good splash of Cape brandy, then whipped. Dont' substitute margarine for the butter and don't use bottled lemon juice.

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths

juice of 1 - 2 lemons

1 shortcrust pastry shell, unbaked

light brown sugar

1tsp powdered cinnamon

1tsp powdered allspice

half tsp grated nutmeg


75g brown caramel sugar

75g butter, softened

75g cake flour

Toss the apple pieces in plenty of lemon juice. Bake the pastry case blind at 200 deg C for 10 mins. Cool slightly then arrange the apple in the shell. Combine the sugar and spices and sprinkle over, turning the apple so they all get coated.

Make  the topping by combining the 3 ingredients, mixing until you have a crumbly texture. Crumble it evenly over the apples. Bake at 230 - 240 deg C for 15 mins. Reduce oven temperature to 180 deg C and bake a further 30 mins. Check after 10 - 15 minutes, and, if top is browning too much, cover top loosely with a round of foil.

Serves 6 generously.


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Posted by on in Recipes



No need to feel guilty about indulging in cheesecake with this delectable savoury cake, ideal for brunch, lunch, supper  and entertaining.




1 cup finely crushed cheese crackers

60g (60ml) butter, melted

45ml (3T) grated parmesan cheese


500g fresh or frozen spinach

3 rashers rindless bacon, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

250g creamed cottage cheese

110g feta cheese, crumbled

250ml (1 cup) sour cream

3 free-range eggs, lightly beaten

Make the base: Combine cracker crumbs with melted butter and cheese and press into a 22cm diameter springform cake tin. Chill for 30 mins.

If using fresh spinach, wash well, remove thick stalks and steam or microwave until just tender. Drain well and chop. Or cook frozen chopped spinach according to packet directions. Drain well.

Saute bacon and onion until onion is tender, adding a little oil or butter if necessary. Beat cream cheese, crumble in the feta, stir in sour cream and mix. Stir in beaten eggs, then the spinach and bacon mixture. Spoon filling over base and bake at 160 deg C for about 1 hr, or until set at centre. Leav for 10 mins before slicing. Remove cheesecake carefully from tin and slice into small wedges. Serves 8. Note: You will need about 1 and half bunches of fresh spinach to make 500g.

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Posted by on in Recipes

No other brinjal recipe comes close to this one for optimal enjoyment. It takes time, but it’s worth every minute, making a wonderful first course for a late summer lunch or as part of a buffet of Med fare. I have simplified the recipe from Delia Smith (Delia’s How to Cook, Book 2) a little – she, in turn, sourced it from Elizabeth David via a London restaurant called Chez Bruce.

About 700g fresh purple aubergines, cubed, unskinned

2 – 3 T fresh coriander leaves, choppedb2ap3_thumbnail_brinjal.jpg

About 700g firm, ripe, bright red tomatoes

45ml good Cape olive oil

About 300g onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 large mild red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1tsp powdered cumin

1and half tsp powdered allspice

Salt and ground black pepper

To serve:

1T top quality Cape olive oil

Pita breads or bread of your choice

4T Greek yoghurt

Additional chopped coriander leaves

Chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)

The day before it’s required, salt aubergine cubes, place in colander and leave to drain for an hour, stirring mixture after 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 230 degC. Skin tomatoes by leaving them in boiling water for 1 minute, then slipping skins off. Halve and place cut side up on oiled baking tray. Brush with olive oil.

Rinse aubergine cubes under cold running water, dry and transfer to a bowl. Add 1T olive oil and toss to coat. Spread out on a baking tray. When oven is ready, place aubergine tray high and tomatoes underneath and bake for about 25 minutes (less for fan ovens) until aubergines are tinged gold and tomatoes tender. Remove. Chop tomatoes when cooled.

Heat 2T olive oil in large pan and fry onion until softened and golden, about 10 minutes. Add chilli and garlic and fry for 1 further minute. Add tomatoes, aubergine, cumin and allspice , stir well, bring to a simmer and season to taste. Transfer contents of pan to serving dish, cover, and leave overnight in the fridge.

Next day bring mixture to room temperature, drizzle with fine olive oil, top with a dollop of Greek yoghurt (serve more on the side) garnish with coriander and mint leaves and serve with pitas or bread of your choice. Serves 4 or more.

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Posted by on in Recipes

Occasionally I will pop a recipe into this section, something that I have found both delicious, uncomplicated, seasonal and popular with diners. Already there is a hint of autumn in the early morning and evening air, which means that the time is ripe for harvest fare, for Mediterreanean specialities, and for treats made from apples and pears.

This is when my recipe for vegetarian friends (of which there are many in the village of McGregor) comes into its own, as gardens are full of ripe tomatoes and sweet red peppers. It’s a dish that carnivores also savour, whether as a main course or a side to accompany lamb chops or a lemony roast chicken.


Make your favourite version of ratatouille, using onion, garlic, courgette, fresh tomato, brinjal and red bell peppers. I also add fresh thyme. Use plenty of good olive oil as this is intrinsic to the flavour, and season well. The final mix should be fairly thick, and fill an ovenproof dish about two-thirds full. Then whisk 2 – 3 extra-large free-range eggs well, season and stir in a good quantity of coarsely-grated parmesan or grana. Bake at 180 deg C until topping has set and veggies are bubbling. Serve hot or lukewarm. Accompany with French and wholewheat breads or add your choice of carb. Number of servings depends on how big a ratatouille you have made.

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