Archive | August 2011

CHIN WAGS, COOKING IN CARS AND FRIENDSHIP

To say I was frazzled and burnt out when I arrived in Cape Town on Friday morning would be an understatement. Tandy  (my ‘sister-from-another-mother) took charge of me and informed me that she had booked a massage for me in the afternoon. We took a drive up a very steep road (she drives like the racecar pro she once was) to the top of a high mountain (where she took this photo) and, on the way down, we were blessed with the sight of whales playing in the bay.


She consulted her homeopathic reference books and took me off to buy tissue salts (a carguard asked if we were twins!) before dropping me off at the salon for my massage.
Back at their house, in a state of relaxed dreaminess, I listened as Tandy and Dave cooked for the dinner party they were hosting that evening. The starter was crayfish in bisque and I was mildly curious to hear that they had cooked the crayfish in a sport utility vehicle; it was SUVd this and SUVd that. Then I heard Tandy tell Dave to sieve the vegetables through a chin wag. I was sure I’d heard correctly. It was only on Saturday, when we met old friends for lunch and I raved about the meal of the night before that I was made aware of my misunderstanding: the crayfish had not been cooked in a car, but had been sous vide and that a chin wag is, in fact, a chinoise, a conical sieve with an extremely fine mesh. Those bloody French!
The dinner party went extremely well (seared tuna for mains and chocolate mousse for pud, with lots of wine throughout) and we finished much later than expected and had to scurry to meet our friend JustChef and her daughter for a quick coffee before heading out to the Southern Suburbs to have lunch with granny, browniegirl and her husband. What a lovely time I had catching up with these dear, dear friends with whom I have shared so many ups and downs over the years. Too soon the beautiful dessert (pics by browniegirl) was served and it was time to head for the Wine Festival.


A very full day saw me ready to hit the sack with my snuggly bed companions, Molly and Patch to get some much-needed shut eye before an equally jam-packed Sunday.

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HOBNOBBING WITH THE GENTRY

(All these pics are copyright Tandy Sinclair; silly-me forgot to take my camera.)

rar•e•fiedAdjective/ˈre(ə)rəˌfīd/
1. (of air, esp. that at high altitudes) Containing less oxygen than usual.
2. Esoterically distant from the lives and concerns of ordinary people

Unless you’ve driven through the steep, leafy roads and lanes that pass the mansions lining the slopes of Table Mountain, you will not understand the beauty of Constantia in Cape Town. It is a rarefied world, inhabited by Cape Town nobility and so it was appropriate that Jörg Pfutzner held the inaugural South African Big Bottle Wine Festival at the majestic 5 star Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, which looks down its nose (albeit with a panoramic view) at the rest of the city.
The wine-making, wine-buying and wine-quaffing cognoscenti were there in force; not only the Cape contingent; I bumped into Richard Gunn, from my neck of the woods in Jo’burg, who was assisting his dad Andrew to pour the Iona Syrah. This Jeroboam carried the most beautiful label I saw at the show. Richard says “The idea is to showcase a different artist every year, this year Max Goldin designed them with three labels all depicting the Viking triumphs over the ocean and the creatures of myth doing their utmost to pull the ship under and the crew’s determination to overcome any catastrophe the world threw at them. My dad thought that appropriate considering the world climate and him being the farm captain determined to weather the storm for the sakes of all the people who rely on the farm for their living.”


I have decided that this is an investment I should make to keep for my daughter’s 21st birthday Andrew tells me “We are offering the Jeroboam’s at R1200 each which will include 2 x 750ml bottles which can be opened to check how the wine is developing – nothing worse than opening a Jeroboam too early!”


Tandy and I spent the afternoon guzzling and nibbling; the food was out of this world (pardon the cliché, but I can’t find a more apt descriptor!) and highlights were a fish broth served in a sea urchin shell through a straw from Aubergine at Auslese, and tiny mugs of tzatziki and pomegranate salad from BarBarBlackSheep.


There was one very strange canape that appeared to be sheep eyes, but which – on tasting – was a rather bizarre concoction of pate foie gras encased in a vanilla pod!


Our senses finally went into overload and we took our leave to spend a peaceful and lazy evening recovering at Tandy’s house.

THE DOYENNE IS GONE

Scrapbooking note …

In June of 2002 I threw a little party on a boat in Simon’s Town harbour. Gwen Gill, society columnist of the Sunday Times came along and wrote “There’s something seriously sexy about beautiful food and great wine served on board an exquisitely decorated ship with the misty lights of Simon’s Town as a backdrop. You don’t often get anything as romantic as that in the GG column (let’s face it Gallagher Estate can’t compare). So let’s skip lightly over the fact that almost all the gorgeous guys, in black and white almost to a man, were either gay or married, and concentrate on the glamour, which began with perhaps the most stunning invitation (with a black and white Titanic theme) I’ve seen this year.” Ms Gill devotes her entire July 14 column to my party.

On December 29 of that year, Ms Gill does her round up of the year’s top 10 events and my do clocks in at no 7. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

Seemingly indestructible, this grande dame of social commentary died last night. It’s the end of an era.

Rest gently, Ma’am. You leave a gap.

Picture source unknown

OH CRUMS

1853 The month and day are uncertain, but the year is correct. Native American Chef George Crum invented potato chips at Moon’sLakeHouse inSaratoga Springs,New York. (foodreference.com) I’ll be thinking a lot about Mister Crum given my good doctor’s instruction that I am to put on at least 5kgs before I see him in a month’s time. I’ve had a battery of tests and am awaiting the results, but your man mentioned an overactive thyroid or diabetes, neither of which sound particularly attractive.

Thanks to all who commented on my recent posts and for the email messages, I’ve been a tad off colour and am placing great hopes of the restorative properties of the ocean when I go toCape Townthis weekend.

A South African stew, referred to in Afrikaans as ‘tamatiebredie’, normally made with mutton, is cooked for a very long time, and its seasonings include cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves as well as chilli. It is of Dutch origin. “Bredie” is the Afrikaans word for “stew”. Bredie is actually a word of Malayasian origin. This form of cooking was first introduced to theCape by Malays, usually slaves, who were brought to the colony. The word bredie refers to oriental spinach. In tomato bredie tomato is obviously used instead. Pumpkin, green beans and waterblommetjies (Cape water lily flowers) are also used. (wikipedia)

Now, what shall I have for pudding?

BALD HEADS AND HAIRY KIDLEYS

Early Saturday morning, I’m trying to tie together two posts about hair: one about how I am coping with my bald head and one about the Hairy Bikers inspiring me to cook devilled kidneys (which I called kidleys as a child). I’m stuck, so I put the post on hold and go to Facebook. My friend Elmarie’s status update says she’s thinking of cutting her hair very short. OK, coincidence. I move along to reading blogs; Kate Shrewsday is guest blogger on Paula Calhoun’s blog, she’s talking hairs and worms. More coincidence. I decide to listen to some music and go to YouTube and stumble onto an old favourite: the famous laughing version of Are You Lonesome Tonight. And then my child walks into my studio in her pyjamas, holding her Elvis mug and asking for a cup of cocoa. I am officially freaked out …if I had hair it would be standing on end …

Elvis, occasionally during live performances, would randomly change lyrics to give them humorous connotations. One popular instance was recorded at the International Hotel in Vegas on August 26, 1969. During the performance, instead of singing: “Do you gaze at your doorstep and picture me there”, he sings “Do you gaze at your bald head and wish you had hair“. Moments later, he saw a bald man in the audience (as legend has it), and burst into laughter which continued into the next lines. The audience was treated to additional laughter during the spoken verse singing: “You know someone said that the world’s a stage, and each must play a part.” Seeing the irony of his own lyrics, Elvis was again overtaken by laughter and barely recovered. The audience enjoyed the sincerity of the moment while Elvis regained his composure. Meanwhile the band and backup singers continued to keep the song going. It is speculated that much of Elvis’ mirth derived from the solo backing singer whose falsetto remained resolute throughout. To this, Elvis comes back just in time for the line: “And I had no cause to doubt you” followed by more laughter. So overtaken, Elvis encourages the backup singer to “sing it, baby” drawing even more laughter which nearly brings the house down. (Wikipedia)

I grew up thinking I would marry Elvis. He had such an important place in our lives: I was born on my father’s 21st birthday, the 8th of January; which was also Elvis’s birthday. Interestingly enough, without knowing this and without prompting, Original Bunn has a near-obsession with the late star and collects all manner of Elvis-branded things.

Devilled kidneys, recipe here.

 

SIDEY AND PINKY BACK TOGETHER AGAIN

Sidey’s weekend theme this week is Sunset, I like to watch mine from my backyard, on a cane chair, with a nice glass of wine. That glass of wine is a type of ceremony; I reflect on my day and make a mental note of what needs to be done tomorrow. A routine of sorts, I am – after all – a creature of habit.

One habit, when I was on my previous blogging platform, I thoroughly enjoyed answering Pink Polka Dot’s weekly food quiz and combining it with Side View’s weekend theme every Saturday morning. When I came over to WordPress I deleted that blog and stopped going to the platform. I am so glad that Pinky has moved over here now and I can take up the quizzes again.

1. What is a Mille Feuille?

A multilayered dessert of puff pastry with sweet filling

2. What is the national dish of Indonesia?

Nasi Goreng

3. Percentage wise, how much water does a mushroom contain?

Lots

4. What is Ponzu?

A sauce in Japanese food.

5. What is the national fruit ofIndia?

Mango?

6. What is the difference between a pawpaw and a papaya?

There’s a difference?

7. What is “Caldo verde” and what is the main ingredient?

Portuguese green soup, it’s mainly made of potatoes, but coloured with kale. We don’t have cale so – at Adega, where I often order it – they use spinach.

8. What enzyme does pineapples contain that tenderizes proteins?

Bromelain, learned that from my ex MIL

9. What is Amchoor more commonly known as?

I have to take a guess, is it an Indian spice?

10. What is a Machiato? 

An espresso with a dash of milk

GETTING TO KNOW YOU BETTER

Mandy, of thecompletecookbook has posted another enjoyable challenge to let us all get to know one another better:

1.  What 5 items are always in your fridge?

Milk, mayonnaise, sambal oelek, cheese, grated beetroot

2.  What 5 items are always in your pantry ?

Tinned lentils, flour, sugar, spices, castor sugar

3.  Do you write a grocery list or do you shop off the cuff?

I make a list of dry goods every Saturday morning and my husband does the shopping. I buy my meat, fish and vegetables daily in the local village

4.  What is/are the most used item/s in your kitchen?

My stove and my knives

5.  What do you have in your kitchen that may seem strange to other people?

Thousands of wine corks

6.  If you were to enter a Come Dine With Me challenge, what would you cook?

Starter: A prawn and citrus salad

Mains: Greek style Lamb shanks

Dessert:Eton Mess, it’s my personal cliché, but everyone loves it

 

7.  If you could invite any 4 living people in the world to dinner, who would they be?

Sting, Graydon Carter, David Bowie and Mick Jagger

8.  What is your favourite breakfast out?

French toast with bacon and grilled tomato at Scusi in Parkview

9.  What one condiment could you not be without?

Soya sauce

10. Some people seemed to have a problem eating leftovers or reheated food, do you?

No. Anna Trapido wote a magazine article recently where she cooked two identical casseroles in two days. She served them to family and asked them to vote. All the people liked the two-day-old one best.