Archive | December 2010

31 DECEMBER 2010

The strangest emotion held me in its grip on the first day: I feared this new year. This was an alien awareness for me, as I had never given much thought to the end or beginning of any year. I had never made a New Year’s resolution in my life, and I was always pleased when the festivities and holidays were over and we could get on with life.

So South African writer Zuretha Roos begins the 22nd chapter of her book ‘The Saffron Pear Tree and other kitchen memories’.





Ten Questions : let’s find out how spicy the Foodie bloggers are.
Let me know when you’ve posted.
Was there a defining moment, or did you always know that you were a foodie?

I can remember, as a very little girl, making little mud cakes in the garden and decorating them with flowers.

What would you do with 3 courgettes; an apple, an onion, a stick of butter and one cup of flour. You may add one ingredient, plus water.

I’d use the flour and water to make a base, chop the courgettes, apple and onion and mix them with the butter. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and bake a tart.

What is the most ghastly tasting thing you have ever eaten?

My daughter made me breakfast on Mothers Day.  There was something red on the plate and I couldn’t figure out what it was; possibly a baked strawberry topped with chopped capers.

What is the ugliest looking thing you have ever eaten?

An unidentifiable, slimy thing (in Hong Kong), I think it may have been a slug.

Assuming you were stranded on an island, there is fire, water and provisions. What single cooking utensil would you want to have with you?

My set of Joseph Joseph knives and chopping boards.

What sign of the Zodiac are you and do you think it influences your cooking character?

Capricorn, yes; I am a perfectionist.

Are you a fanatically tidy or shamefully messy in the kitchen?
Quite tidy.
How many frying pans do you own?
Four, plus a tiny one shaped like a bear’s face; I use it to make omelettes for my daughter.
What is your all time dream kitchen appliance to own?

A shiny, red KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer from Yuppiechef, but everyone already knows this …
Have you ever had rumpy-pumpy (slap & tickle) in a kitchen?

Alas, no and the opportunity, sadly, has come and gone… don’t want to scare the dogs.


Talk of joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread – there may be.

David Grayson.
We, as a family, have a passionate relationship with good bread. We seek out artesan bakeries and relish new finds. Not for us the supermarket government loaves; we lust for ciabatta, baguettes, pumpernickel and rye.

Strangely, baking bread has never been a focus in my kitchen and I’ve resolved to change this in the new year. I started my efforts with a super beer bread from Andy Fenner’s recipe and was extremely proud of the praises from my husband:

As if to endorse my resolve, I opened the new Taste magazine this morning to Mariana Esterhuizen’s page (always my first read in the magazine) and found a recipe for corn bread in a skillet. Easy and perfect for the salad I was planning for lunch.

Now to get busy with the real stuff.

I’m off to get some yeast.



(Mariana is a chef who owns a delicatessen and bistro in the quaint little village of Stanford in the Western Cape.)

Butter, for greasing

1 cup maize meal or polenta

1 cup cake flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup sweet corn kernels

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup diced green pepper

4 tablespoons chopped coriander

3 jumbo-sized free-range eggs

1 cup yoghurt or buttermilk

3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 26cm cast iron skillet (with an ovenproof handle) very well with butter. Sift the maize meal, cake flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the vegetables and coriander and stir into the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs lightly in a jug, then stir in the buttermilk and olive oil. Pour into mixing bowl and stir until combined.

Pour into the skillet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes (mine took 50 minutes) or until top is browned.


There are many different types of curry the world over; in South Africa the current trend is for all things Thai, but I often forget our local faithfuls: the Cape Malay and Durban curries.

During the late 1800s, when South Africa was a British colony, thousands of Indian labourers were brought to then-Republic of Natalia (today KwaZulu-Natal) to work in the sugar cane plantations. Today the province still has the highest Asian population of our country. And the best curries I have ever eaten, anywhere in the world.

It came to pass that our household had had an overdose of meat; none of us could face another slice of turducken or gammon and the dogs were presented with a windfall of scraps. I was presented with a plea for vegetables: Durban vegetable curry.

Sliced onion

Sunflower oil
Minced garlic and ginger
4 Tablespoons of mixed masala (I have these, brought over for me from India by Old Spouse.)

A sprinkle of turmeric

A tablespoon of sugar
1 Tin of chopped tomatoes
Butternut, potato, sweet potato and green beans

Chopped coriander leaves

Salt & pepper to taste


Serve with Basmati rice.


The photo has absolutely no relevance to this post, it is for my Northern friends, who are snow-bound.

The post is a re-post in response to Side View’s weekend theme, because I still buy about 7 magazines a month.


I’ve given up on ever having my home featured in H&L, G&H etc. as I just don’t have the heart to hide all the gifts made for me by The Child over the years. Her foray into pottery (mercifully short-lived) yielded an astonishing number of gifts and I had to be extremely careful when giving thanks.  “What a beautiful carrot!” brought the indignant response “It’s a vase, Mom!”   So, in all, I wasn’t achieving the minimalist, monochrome mansion I’d long dreamed of.

The upshot of all this is, of course, that I was able to eliminate one magazine genre from my guilty habit.  When New Year loomed, I gave my addiction some thought: I was buying upwards of 15 magazines regularly.  As I’d always made easily attainable resolutions: one year I resolved to not eat fish eyes, ever (easily done), it now came to me that I would buy ONLY ONE magazine A MONTH!

The decision alone made me feel virtuous; both ecologically (save a tree) and economically (more money for Merlot). But how to choose? Décor was already out (vases, birds, dogs, ET, see above).  I can cook as well as I’m ever going to, besides, there’s my new online friend, Giggling Gourmet, if I get stuck; so that crossed the Foodies off the list.  The Child was born delinquent, so the Parenting Mags hadn’t worked for me anyway.  Cape Town steals whatever time I have to break away and I don’t camp (unless it’s with My Moffies*, but then we CAMP!) so there was no need for Travel.  My dress-sense is abysmal and I’d long-ago resigned myself to being considered ‘quirky’, so it was farewell to the longtime companions, Fair Lady and Femina.  (I shall miss Marianne Thamm).  Sex was a distant memory, so that took care of COSMO. 

What I wanted was a ‘keeper’.  Good journalism and slick production, something that lasted a while and that I could return to for reference. I also wanted to be taken out of my immediate world, so there had to be a good chunk of glamour.  With the looming extinction of print already on the horizon, I wanted a souvenir for the child: a chunky stack of history that I would keep at the beach house for rainy days and nostalgia.

It’s bloody chilly here today, I’m off to the fireside with Vanity Fair.

I know it’s unpatriotic that I chose a foreign mag, but the Merlot is – and always will be – from Stellenbosch.

Keep warm.

*Moffies is a local slang term for homosexuals. It is derogatory, unless one is a fag hag,. Fag hags may use the term freely.

©Cindy Taylor 2008


And so it’s all done for another year.

There were eight of us; more than enough food. Each little party went away with ample tin foiled-wrapped parcels, which means nobody has to cook today and all can make forays to the fridge as and when they’re hungry.

Lunch was a leisurely affair, with swimming between courses. Bonhomie prevailed and everyone was happy.

I am grateful.

Prawn salad with mandarin oranges and jalepino peppers (before being tossed with guacamole).

Liz’s piedmont roasted peppers with haloumi and anchovies. (From the Delia Smith recipe).

My turducken with plum glaze. An enormous success after all the anxiety during the cooking process.

My pineapple and ginger infused gamon roast.

Paul’s meat stuffing with chourizo (from the Gordon Ramsay recipe).

After the salad course, I could only manage a small plate of mains, and skipped out the gravy  and mash bit.

And then … Eton Mess, lemon meringue tartlets, strawberry tartlets and Liz’s chocolate fruit cake (from the Nigella recipe).

Gosh, now that I have all of that out of the way, I feel a snack-atack coming on!