Archive | June 2011

MYSTERIES AND MAGIC MUSHROOMS

Let’s start the day with a little mystery, shall we? On this date, in 1930 Judge Joseph F. Crater of the New York State Supreme Court, walked out of a 45th Street restaurant in New York City on his way to the theater. He was never heard from again. So we’re told by foodreference.com. Wikipedia disagrees and gives the date as August 6; and tells of many smoking guns. Nowhere do we find out what the dodgy judge ate at the restaurant; which is called a ‘chop house’ in one account.
Chop house is not a familiar term in South Africa; thefreedictionary.com defines it as ‘(Cookery) a restaurant specializing in steaks, grills, chops, etc.’ After our very carnivorous weekend in the mountains, my husband has requested that we have a meat-free week to ‘unclog’ his arteries. This is quite a nice challenge for me, given that I am currently on a mushroom-mania tangent. I’ve done some research and have found some amazing facts about mushrooms:
Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. One medium portabella mushroom has even more potassium than a banana or a glass of orange juice. One serving of mushrooms also provides about 20 to 40 percent of the daily value of copper, a mineral that has cardioprotective properties.
Mushrooms are a rich source of riboflavin, niacin, and selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Male health professionals who consumed twice the recommended daily intake of selenium cut their risk of prostate cancer by 65 percent. In the Baltimore study on Aging, men with the lowest blood selenium levels were 4 to 5 times more likely to have prostate cancer compared to those with the highest selenium levels.
… especially the fresh button mushrooms, possess substances that inhibit the activity of aromatase (an enzyme involved in estrogen production), and 5-alpha-reductase (an enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT). The latest findings show that white button mushrooms can reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. An extract of white button mushrooms decreased cell proliferation and decreased tumor size in a dose-dependent manner. The chemoprotective effect can be seen with an intake of about 100 grams (3.5 ozs) of mushrooms per day. (Source: vegetarian.info)
I rest my case …

Spinach and feta stuffed mushrooms

JUSTIN TIME

I’ll admit that I was ambivalent about local cook Justin Bonello. Until I won an autographed copy of his book Cooked, Out of the Frying Pan in one of the Kleine Zalze challenges last year. When I received the book I became quite star-struck and now follow Justin’s TV shows avidly. I’ve also bought some of his other books. I’ve grown fond of his blokeish honesty and down-to-earth way of doing things.
Justin is currently running a cooking challenge (with a Le Creuset prize) to make a dish from any of his books. As I had two filleted angel fish in the freezer, I decided to do the Fish Frikkadels and Apple and Mint Raita that Justin learned to make at Cindy Muller’s Johannesburg restaurant, Gold. (Page 47, Cooked, Out of the Frying Pan – recipe available on request.)


The tasting panel were my husband, daughter and her best friend. The girls liked the raita, but my husband said he’d prefer an aioli. All agreed that the frikkadels were superb.
And, wouldn’t you know it; today is Feast day of St. Peter, patron saint of fishermen, bakers, harvesters.


As an aside, I’d like to make a comment about Facebook competitions. I am a long-standing member of the South African food blogging community, so my comment is an informed one: people have grown tired of ‘most likes’ popularity contests and it is becoming to be seen as in extremely bad taste to ‘beg for votes’. If brands decide to run competitions, they should be judged on merit instead.
Just saying …

SIDE VIEW’s WEEKEND THEME

This was the view from our sitting room/kitchen area. This part of the Drakensberg mountain range is called the Amphitheatre (widely regarded as one of the most impressive cliff faces on earth.)

The family packed for the weekend with great excitement for their planned adventures; the girls had boots and jodhpurs, hardy jeans for rock-wall climbing and sneakers for tennis. I watched Old Spouse’s hiking pack, water bottle and boots going into the car. Me? I packed kitchen stuff, ingredients, crockery, utensils, even a few appliances. Experience has taught me that self-catering accommodation has only rudimentary kitchen equipment; most people don’t go away to cook, they bring convenience foods instead. My angle on recreation is seen as very unusual by most people …

Boiled eggy. There’s a bacon & cheese muffin in the little silver chafing dish.

These babies had me champing at the bit.

Fried the monster mushrooms in garlic butter.

And then the littlies as well, with parsley and pepper, on some Chinese noodles.

Stywe pap is a stiff maize porridge that is eaten either with milk and sugar or with savoury sauce. Called pap en sous, (pronounced pop an sews) no mountain sojourn would be complete without a bowl.

What better way to watch the light change on this exquisite scene than whilst stirring a sauce on the stove?

MOTORCADES AND MOUNTAINS

So, Mrs Obama is visiting our country, to the great excitement of some and the great aggravation of many who get stuck in backed-up traffic when our roads and highways are closed to allow her motorcade to ferry her from place to place. She better not be in my neck of the woods this morning, I have a buffet to deliver before we hit the road for the mountains.
I’ve been up since 3.30 this morning; this is what I’ve made:
Oriental style meatballs and potato salad
Caprese salad on sticks
Pistachio and sumac chicken skewers
Vegetable spring rolls & chicken samoosas with sweet chilli sauce
French loaf with salmon filling
French loaf with cheese and tomato filling
Chocolate toffee cake with whipped cream.

I’ve also made potato salad, curried mince and a chicken mayo ciabatta bread for our supper when we arrive at the chalet tonight. I’m terribly excited; while the girls go horseriding and Old Spouse goes hiking, I plan to play in the kitchen with my camera. Lookie what my friend Sue brought me from her recent trip to England. I’m like a child in a toy store.

Happy weekend, friends. Love you all, see you next week.

HOLY CODFISH AND AFFIES HOCKS

Well doesn’t this beggar belief? On this date, in 1626 A large Codfish, split open at a Cambridge market, is found to contain a copy of a book of religious treatises by John Frith. The witch hunt brigade must have been delirious!
Also on today’s calendar; in 1868 Christopher Nathan Sholes of Wisconsin patented a mechanical writing machine, called a type-writer. It was as large as a desk, made of black walnut and had black and white keys. He signed a deal with the Remington Arms company for its manufacture in 1873. It was Remington who turned it into a more practical machine. Chefs could now type their recipes so others could read them (only Doctors have more illegible handwriting than Chefs). Appropriately enough, I started at my list of things-to-do yesterday and puzzled for ages over one item: affies. It finally dawned; Sally had reminded me of Meeta’s Monthly Mingle challenge and I’d jotted down a note to cook with apples!


Winter fruit is abundant here, so I had ample affies at hand. I also had some smoked hocks and decided to roast them, along with the apples and then to use the apples to make a spicy relish, adding chopped chillies.

Perfect to take along on our weekend trip to the Drakensberg for crusty fireside sandwiches and soup.

All food history is sourced from foodreference.com

A CALLUS ON HUMP DAY

Pic from Wikipedia

I have a callus on my Luna Mount! I saw it yesterday; it is from my hand rubbing against my desktop when I move my mouse. I never had it before I started blogging.
According to Wikipedia, The mount of Luna (or Moon – represents the first stage of our evolutionary process. Luna stands for the original plan of creation, as in the Bible quotation, “in the beginning was the Word…” As such, it relates to the collective unconscious as well as to each person’s individual receptivity to tune into that creative source. Luna pertains to the qualities of perception, creativity, imagination and sensory awareness.
This is quite confusing to me; does my callus blunt all those qualities?
Who knows. Anyway, I had a wonderfully warm moment yesterday; I had made an English trifle for teatime at a photographic stills shoot. The photographer is a well-known food photographer and must be quite jaded after years of shooting beautiful dishes. He spooned up a mouthful of my trifle and – I am telling the absolute truth – he went into a swoon! “My God,” he said “I am four years old, it is Sunday after lunch, my family are all around me watching me eat this; my favourite thing in the world!”
Exactly, Mister Photographer, that is exactly what I wanted you to feel. Thank you.


This is not a photograph of my trifle. No, it is a wrap stuffed with pork fillet sautéed in orange juice, honey, ginger, carrots, chillies, garlic and soya sauce. It is my contribution to Tandy’s latest challenge to cook something savoury using oranges and honey.
Happy hump day friends.