Bay Leaf

2016-05-24 10:40:26


The symbolic, medicinal and culinary attributes associated with bay leaves (laurel leaves) are vast. The ancient Greeks and Romans used bay leaves to crown their warriors and literary heroes and to make wreaths for Olympic champions; bay leaves have traditionally been used as a treatment for arthritis and inflammatory conditions, and several phytochemicals (e.g., caffeic acid, rutin, salicylates quercetin, eugenol and catechins) present in bay leaves have cardio-protective and anti-cancer properties. When the aromatic leaves of the bay leaf are paired with other spices and cooked for a while in a warm environment, an additional layer of flavor is added to soups, stews, sauces, meat, seafood and dessert.  Whether fresh or dried, bay leaves are usually used whole. The whole leaves are added to the dish during the cooking process and removed before the dish is served.

This basic marinara sauce is incredibly versatile. You can serve it as a pasta sauce, use it for lasagna, as topping for homemade pizza, serve it with roasted meat, or combine the sauce with chicken, seafood or minced meat. It can also be pureed and turned into a delicious tomato soup. The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for about a week or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Click on the link to download your own copy of the recipe.

Basic Marinara Sauce


5 ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onions, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cans (2 x 410g) crushed tomatoes
1 fresh or 2 dried bay leaves
fresh thyme, basil, oregano, or other herbs – optional 


  • Heat the oil over a medium-high flame in a medium sized pot. 
  • Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 7-10 minutes. 
  • Add the celery, carrots, salt and pepper. 
  • Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. 
  • Add the tomatoes, their juices and bay leaves (and additional herbs if using), and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 25-30 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. 
  • Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. 


Tip: If you are using this as a pasta sauce, you can make it more substantial by adding mushrooms.

Nutrition and Endurance exercise

2016-05-24 10:06:53

Sarah was recently interviewed by Bryony McCormick at the Old Mutual World of Endurance online magazine to chat about nutrition and endurance exercise. Bryony was specifically interested in some ideas for Joburg2C.

Use the links below to check out the some of the common questions and tips provided.

Joberg2C Nutrition Tips

Snacking for Endurance exercise

The Benefits of Recovery Eating







2016-05-16 11:01:32

Aniseed spice 

Aniseed, also known as anise, is the fruit or seed of a flowering plant which is found in the Mediterranean. It has a liquorice-like taste and is related to fennel and dill. It has traditionally been used as a digestive aid with the seeds being eaten after a meal to settle the stomach. In the Middle East and India it is added to soups and stews and is often used in the seasoning blends for curries, hoisin and sausages. It can also be used in sweet dishes and is added in crushed or whole form to biscuits, cakes and pastries. Interestingly, it is the liquorice flavour added to certain liqueurs such as absinthe and Greek ouzo.

Try this delicious, spicy, winter-warming soup and see whether you can pick up the aniseed. Use the coconut milk rather than the yoghurt for a dairy-free option.

Click on the link to download your own copy.

Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup (serves 4)


¾ cup split red lentils
3 tsp oil
½ cup finely chopped onions
¾ cup finely chopped carrots
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
3 ¼ cups water
¾ cup chopped tomatoes
¼ tsp turmeric
½ cup coconut milk or plain yoghurt
¼ cup cooked rice
½ tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Masala powder

2tsp coriander seeds
2tsp cumin seeds
2tsp aniseeds
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 small sticks cinnamon

For serving

½ cup chopped cashew nuts


  • Combine all the ingredients for the Masala powder in a non-stick pan and dry roast for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool slightly, blend to a smooth powder and keep aside.
  • Heat the oil in a deep pot or pressure cooker and add the garlic, ginger, carrots and onions. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the lentils, Masala powder, tomatoes, turmeric, 3 ¼ cups water and cook until soft.
  • Blend the soup and strain and pour into a deep, non-stick pan. Add the coconut milk, rice, lemon juice and salt and cook for 2 minutes stirring continuously (if using yoghurt, stir it in at the end).
  • Serve hot sprinkled with cashew nuts.