As a single mother of two teenagers, Patronella Sello, who acts in SABC’s police drama Streets of Mangaung, is always looking for easy and tasty recipes to make for her family. I offered to help her cook a meal.
“We are all quite health conscious,” she told me, “but my daughter has a passion for pies, my son eats anything, and I have a weakness for chocolate.”
Eventually we settled on a menu that had something to please everyone.
Patronella got into the film industry by chance.
“Many years ago, I went with a friend to an audition and ended up getting hired,” she told me.
She has no formal training, but has had mentors whom she credits with helping her in her journey.
Not only does Patronella act in the series, but she also helped to write and direct it.
“Although I started out as an actress, I was eager to learn about other aspects of the industry, and am involved in script-writing and production.”
Patronella strives constantly to learn new things. She is studying for a ministry degree and feels it has strengthened her leadership and management skills.
She was born in Swaziland, but her family have lived in different parts of the world.
During their travels, her taste in food was influenced by the wide variety of dishes to which she was exposed.
After a health scare a few years ago, Patronella has tried to keep her diet simple, filled with lots of fruit and vegetables.
“Moderation in all things is my motto, but I am happy to indulge in the occasional treat,” she said.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT AND PASTA SALAD
500g butternut, cubed
1-2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
50 ml sweet chilli sauce
30ml olive oil
salt and pepper
125g prepared basil pesto
A generous handful of rocket leaves
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
Put the butternut and onions into a roasting pan. Add the sweet chilli sauce, olive oil and seasoning. Toss to coat the vegetables.
Roast at 180°C for 20-30 minutes until the butternut is tender. Remove and set aside.
Cook the pasta according to the instruction. Drain well and add the basil pesto.
Line a serving dish with the rocket. Top with the pasta and arrange the butternut on top.
Sprinkle with pine nuts before serving.
BEST EVER CHICKEN PIE
250g butter, cut into cubes
250g crème fraiche
beaten egg for glazing
250g sliced mushrooms
250ml frozen peas
1 cooked chicken, skin and bones removed and chopped into bite-size pieces
60ml chopped parsley
PASTRY: Put the flour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add enough crème fraiche to bring the mixture together to form a dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Roll out the dough to about 3mm thickness and cut it to fit the dish you have the filling in. Brush the rim of the dish with beaten egg.
Place the pastry over the filling and press it down around the rim of the dish. Cut a slit in the top of the pastry for the steam to escape.
Brush with egg and bake at 200°C for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
FILLING: Melt the butter in a pot and fry the mushrooms until soft. Add the flour and cook for a minute.
Gradually add the milk, stirring until the mixture boils and thickens. Season well.
Add the peas and the chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.
Spoon the mixture into one large or 4-6 individual dishes and top with the pastry.
50ml olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
15ml chopped garlic
2 brinjals, cubed
3-4 courgettes, cut into 2cm pieces
1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green pepper, diced
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
a 1 sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a pot and gently fry the onions and garlic until soft. Add the brinjals, courgettes, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, seasoning and sugar and bring to a simmer.
Cook for 20 to 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and serve.
Thi is delicious hot or cold.
SELF-SAUCING CHOCOLATE PUDDING
Serves 4. This truly is a magic pudding. Just pour a simple combination of sugar and water on top of the pudding mixture and – surprise, surprise – out of the oven comes a delicious cakey dessert with a sticky sauce beneath.
60g butter, softened
125ml castor sugar
5ml vanilla extract
250ml cake flour
15ml cocoa powder
5ml baking powder
125ml brown sugar
250ml boiling water
Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat until pale. Add the egg and beat well.
Sift over the flour, cocoa and baking powder and stir through, gradually adding the milk until mixture is smooth.
Spoon the mixture into a medium-sized ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top of the mixture. Mix the cocoa powder and boiling water until dissolved.
Place pudding on a baking tray and carefully pour over the boiling water mixture.
Bake at 180°C for 20-30 minutes or until risen and firm to the touch. - The Star