Wednesday, April 29, 2009

foodie april ~ leaving the best for last

Ok everyone. Now look me in the eye, take a deep breath and STAY CALM.

This one may sound weird, but it is without a doubt my most favouritest, most delicious, most ultimate comfort food supper ev-er. And also possibly the one meal in the whole world which Husband and I will eat 2 or 3 times a week, possibly even in succession, should the mood strike us.

But, just to play it safe, if anyone doesn't like broccoli (ah jeez, just when I thought this would be a simple post I realise I have no idea how to spell brocolli... ok fk it, I'm just going to call it brokolly - that green veg what looks like little trees. Got it?), or anchovies (those little yummy, yummy fish that are apparently on the verge of 'extinction'), then read no further.

May I present my ultimate favourite pasta, the inspiration behind foodie april to begin with and probably the simplest, quickest thing you'll ever make .... drum roll .... I think you may have guessed it by now .... ta-da!

Brokolly & Anchovy Pasta!

(it's so frikkin' simple it's almost ludicrous to write it down but here goes ...)

1 small head brokolly. chop into little florets (love that word).

1 packet whatever pasta you like (tho' may I recommend shells of some kind, the flavours in this one really linger in those little pockets. droooooooooool.)

Cook pasta in boiling salted water (duh) with the brokolly either in a steamer-thingie on top or, after 5 mins, in the same pot with the pasta.

Meanwhile ... finely dice 3 cloves of garlic and heat slowly in a good couple of glugs of olive oil in a smallish frying pan.

When oil is hot and garlic translucent quickly add 5 or 6 (or 9) anchovy fillets and slowly swirl around in the oil until almost completely dissolved.

Drain pasta & brokolly, toss with garlicky anchovy oil, seasoned liberally and grate a whole heap of parmesan over the top.

Prepare to die happy. If you like anchovy and/or brokolly that is. If not, what are you still doing here??!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

writing on the walls

I've mentioned before how much I like living in a part of town where people paint on the walls. In a suburb of thinkers, students, activists and drama queens ~ many of whom seem to like to live out loud.

I've also said how I love that South Africans have such a strong tradition of political commentary, often expressed through satire. This trait kept many people sane through the apartheid years, and I'm pleased the trend still seems to be alive and well.

This professionally printed poster went up in a random shop window within days of South Africa refusing the Dalai Lama a visa, and remains there still.

Ja, wtf was up with that?? 

And then, just days after we got our new President (he of a dubious legal past), these went up all over the 'burb. 

And I had to include this one, also a new addition. A simple Peace sign. Nice.

Of course I nearly stood in dog poo twice while taking these pics, and I drove from site to site 'cos I didn't want to risk walking with my camera on my own. And I got some broken glass lodged in my shoe. 

But hey, sometimes I think I'd still rather bear all that than live in a suburb filled with fake Tuscan architecture and whiny middle-class whingers.

Monday, April 27, 2009

the other one about camping

The thing about camping is ... you never know what you're going to get.

A good camp is a thing of wondrous beauty and infinite soul-delight. A bad camp is, well, pretty shitty.

This was a bad camp. And extremely shitty.

Herewith a seasoned camper's guide to seasonal camping:

1. Rule 1: Be Game.

Big storms predicted? Bah. Potential very cold conditions? Bah. Arriving after dark and setting up camp with a small child? Whatever.

What's the thing about camping? Yup, you never know what you're going to get. But if you don't leave the house, you'll never find out.

Turns out - in this case - that what we got was a dark dank field, miles from anywhere, with no proper signage, no hot water (which we were promised), no running water (except from the sky - in buckets), and a veritable CARPET of cow shit. Which the puppy thought was delicious.

The next morning. Still raining. We'd picked up a lot of poo. 

Made me view those brownies a little askance. But only for a minute.

2. Rule 2: Be Prepared.

And if not, be innovative.

Such as, when feeding your small child a picnic supper on the front seat of the Jeep in the dark and pissing rain, and on discovering that you have no spoon and that to get one would involve getting wet and covered in cow shit and maybe the dissolution of your marriage, make a plan by locating said child's toy box in the back of said Jeep and feeding her yoghurt off a small plastic spade. 

3. Rule 3: Stay Upbeat.

I mean, it's not like you're going to turn around and drive home right? Not after packing all afternoon and driving for hours and getting all excited and finding someone to feed the cats. And bah-humbugging in the face of everyone's dire predictions that you'd be rained out ... cough ...

Nah, you push through the rough patch and the next thing you know the tent is pitched, the child is peacefully asleep, it's stopped raining, someone's gotten a bonfire going and you're holding a glass of wine. And right then you're really happy to be there.

Of course the puppy's still eating cow shit but hey ...

4. Rule 4: See the Beauty.

Protea Aurea - isn't she utterly beautiful?

'Cos regardless of what kind of camping experience you're having, you're outdoors see, and ergo there'll always be something beautiful. 

5. Rule 5: Know when to Quit.

And pack up the kid, the dog, the wet and shit-bespattered tent, and make haste to a friend's beach-house for the rest of of the weekend.

um ... hi ...?

Cough cough.

I'd just like to give a great big Molly's Blog Welcome to my brand new 35 followers (gulp), who seems to have arrived while I was off having a fairly traumatic camping trip (more about which will be said a little later). 

I feel a little like a 16 yr old who's self-indulgent and angstful poem was chosen to be read out loud at school assembly - a mix of mortification and pride.

Thanks Julochka. And also Extranjera. And my parents. And my 1st grade teacher. Oh, and my dog. All I want is World Peace. Oh wait, where am I?

Ok, so thanks. Now bugger off and pretend you're not watching so I can carry on blogging like nobody's reading ok?

Oh and PS: now that there's so many of you, go easy on the fish food ok, I don't want them getting fat.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

zumast be joking* ...

And so it comes to pass that we have a new President. A man who was charged and tried (and, admittedly, acquitted) of rape. A man who was directly implicated by the presiding judge in the fraud trial of another high profile South African, but who had the charges against him dropped just weeks before these elections. A man who is a master at 'bird-talking' (apparently an Australian term - gotta love those forthright Aussies - for telling people what they want to hear). A man who inspires very little confidence all round.

So basically, no suprises.

But are we down-hearted? A little. Apprehensive? A lot.

Prone to baking when the world goes mad? You bet ya!

Husband says I'm not allowed to count these a-m-a-z-i-n-g chocolate brownies as one of my 100 things as they're the second batch I've made in little over a month (and I totally counted the first ones). 

But I am going to share the recipe, I am going to eat one every time I feel concerned about the future, I am going to urge you to bake your own and follow suit.

And I am going to hope we don't get too wet and miserable on our camping long weekend away. Leaving tomorrow. Back-to-back storms predicted. Are we apprehensive? No, we've got brownies!


Perfect Chocolate Brownies

150 g butter

350 g castor sugar

4 large eggs

5 ml vanilla essence

150 g plain flour

100 g cocoa powder

 a pinch of salt

100 g chopped macadamia nuts

50 g chopped glace cherries

2 slabs chopped chocolate Turkish Delight (praise the Lord yes)

Cream butter & sugar. Beat in eggs one by one, then add vanilla. Sift in flour, salt & cocoa powder and mix. Mix in nuts, cherries and chocolate. Gloop out into greased baking tray and bake in pre-heated oven (170 degrees C) for approx. 30 min. 

Keep an eye on them though 'cos as everyone knows, if it's not soft and squidgy in the centre it's not a brownie. Just cake. And while there's nothing wrong with cake. It's not a brownie. 'Nuff said.

*title totally ripped off from a recent tabloid headline. 'twas too good not to repeat. oi vey.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

election day on the southern-most tip of africa

We voted.

And then, with the rest of a lovely still, cool, public holiday ahead of us, we dropped the kidlet off at Granny's and took a long bike ride round this awesome place we live.

I just tried to upload this one to Earth Mosaic, but it seems they've been inundated and are no longer able to upload anything. Guess the world's a pretty big place ...

And some more eating ... Lovely fish 'n prawns, with my tagged thumb to prove I did my civic duty.
Let's see what comes of that.

foodie april ~ and the eating continues

You know, at this rate I'm going to have to consider a foodie May. Or possibly just becoming a food blog in which I catalogue everything I eat to the utter tedium of anyone out there, and maybe throw in some recipes willy-nilly.

Many people have said that starting a food diary really made them realise how much they eat. I can believe this now, as just through this silly little thing I've been doing here, I've noticed food, and what I'm eating, in a different way. And I have to say, my god I've been eating some yummy things!

I like to cook, as I mentioned at the beginning of the month, but more noteworthy is that Husband likes to cook too, and he is spectacular in the kitchen (and a couple of other rooms in the house but hey, this isn't that kind of blog now is it ...).  

Following close on the heels of his amazing chicken hyderabadi curry on the weekend, he sealed his status as the hero of my heart (and stomach) by last night making a light, creamy Yoghurt Tart for supper which was just the thing for my utterly exhausted, and mildly hungover, state. (How that all happened is, incidentally, a long story involving more great food ~ mussels in a creamy white wine sauce, lemon tart, a couple too many glasses of wine and some great girlfriend company, but more on that later).

Anyhoo, this beauty must be shared. 'Cos she's a winner.

Yoghurt Tart (yup, Y-o-g-h-u-r-t Tart, keep an open mind ok?)

115 g butter or margarine

200 g sugar

3 eggs

140 g self-raising flour

a pinch of salt

450 ml milk

350 ml plain yoghurt (Bulgarian, Greek, low-fat, double cream - wha'eva you fancy)

coupla small cubes of butter or margarine for on top.

Cream the butter and sugar 'til pale and fluffy. Mix the eggs in one by one. Add the flour and salt and mix it all well.

Mix the milk and yoghurt together separately and then gradually add to the flour etc mix well.

Pour into a greased tart/pie dish, dot with small cubes of butter and bake at 180 degrees C for approx. 45 min 'til browned on top.


Oh and, enjoy left-overs cold for breakfast the next morning.

blog love

I've SO many posts lurking in my mind, and in my Drafts, which I'm just not getting to. New things happen, new thoughts, new presidents (oh no wait, that's not official quite yet ...), but the merit, or the utter arbness as the case may be, of the forgotten posts remains, and I really want to try and catch up a bit!

Starting out, I've an overdue thank you to say. The lovely Julochka ~ bestower of iPods and awards, and co-blogger on Balderdash ~ has recently honoured me with another blog award. She's such a prolific blogger and reader of so many great blogs that I am quite touched. Thanks Julie! And also, it seems her blogthusiasm has paid off - Moments of Perfect Clarity was chosen as Blogger's daily Blog of Note yesterday and she's well-deservedly basking in the glory, and now hosting a whole bunch of new followers round her virtual dinner table. 

So this is me, spreading joy and love like an acorn! Thanks for not reading ; )

Monday, April 20, 2009

wtf wednesday

PLEASE tell me this is not a picture of a masturbating cow on the side of a popular kiddies toy (the 'cow in a can' which moo's when you turn it upside down)??!! 
And surely these are not being handed out to kiddie travellers by that reputable Swiss airline?
Surely not?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

foodie april - cheese scones

Whipped these up for Saturday morning brunch. With the ease and grace of a veritable domestic goddess. Naturally.

They are seriously easy though, and perfect for those weekend mornings when you feel like a bit of baked goodness for breakfast and happen to have a few dodgy pieces of cheese in the fridge. You know, those mornings.

Cheese scones (makes 12) ~

2 cups cake flour

2 cups grated cheese (or 1 cup grated Gouda, 1 quarter over-ripe Brie, 1 hunk of blue cheese & some grated Parmesan. Or whatever, the point is: a lot of cheese.)

2 and a half teaspoons baking powder

salt 'n pepper

1 egg

milk to mix

Sift flour & baking powder. Add cheese. Season. Add egg. Add milk while you mix to a moist dough. Scoop into greased muffin trays and bake at 180 degrees C for approx. 15 mins.


a sensory weekend

smells ~

husband's Chicken Hyderabadi curry (inspired by his recent trip to Pakistan) *the sea *the last of the frangi-pani's, sprinkled with rain

sights ~

my daughter playing with a long-time friend's baby (who'd've thought we'd grow up and be parents??) *great grey banks of cloud and zero-viz sheets of rain *ponies in transit, Africa-style 

sounds ~

the cure*jack johnson*black-eyed peas*led zeppelin*wyclef*madonna*burning spear*the white stripes*red hot chilli peppers*afro-cuban all-stars*bob marley*inxs*ninja tunes*depache mode*brian ferry ~ all courtesy of my iPod on a 2h drive by myself, a rare occurrence

tastes ~

that damn-fine hyderabadi! *granadilla fridge tart *4 cheese muffins with home-made marmalade *pea soup with chorizo and home-baked bread *dark chocolate enrobed nougat ...

(and yes, they are no. 20)

A very splendid weekend, if a little wintery ... 

Friday, April 17, 2009

and now it's our turn

Election Day next Wednesday!

And after the political turbulence of the last year or so, this is a much anticipated day indeed.

The recent announcement by the National Prosecuting Authority that all fraud charges against Jacob Zuma have been dropped kind of cancelled out the last hope that he might not become our next President. Now it seems he will. We're in for some interesting times indeed.

And I really do feel that's the only way to forge ahead into the future. To take this on as the next 'interesting' (don't you love how all-encompassing that word can be? How it can say everything and nothing? A bit like 'working together to make a better life for all' ... ), sorry where was I? Oh yes, the next 'interesting' phase in a political history which has, at the very least, never, ever been boring. 

What I have been greatly enjoying about our politics recently is the upswell in political satire. Something which we became really good at during the apartheid years, a lot of satirists took a back-seat in deference to celebrating our wildly optimistic Rainbow Nation. Ah those heady days in the mid 1990's when even the razor-sharp wit of Pieter Dirk-Uys was tempered a little, and we would joke about how comics such as he would now have to dig deep for their material. Turns out not so deep at all.

For inevitably (and how could we really for a moment have believed that just because we had a unique political situation we'd have unique politicians?) and quite swiftly, a host of new preposterous buffoons presented themselves, like virgins at a coming-out ball, to be flayed alive by that good ole SA sense of humour which never fails to make one laugh, even when sometimes you think you should be crying.

Zapiro must undoubtedly be our finest right now. Proof thereof being that JZ himself is trying to bring a defamation suit against him - guess he struck a nerve huh? The marvellous Evita is still getting it right every time, and whole new waves of younger South African stand-ups and public commentators are regularly making us chortle.

But there's an even more recent trend, a deliciously dangerous one, of uncompromisingly ripping-off election slogans and posters, an underground movement which really does hark back to the bad old days.

Let's hope this is as close as we come.

And on a bit more serious note, our big weekly publication, the Mail & Guardian, has posted this poll on their website. By answering a few questions about key current issues facing SA at the moment, the poll will tell you who it thinks you should be, or are most likely to, vote for next Wednesday. The questions are very astute, and if nothing else will get you thinking. And you may even be quite surprised by the results.

Here's hoping there's some surprises in the election results in general. Stranger things have happened in this bizarre country of ours.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the thing about this ..

... is that it's more than just a very lovely Skermunkil necklace.
It's also:
  • an investment in South African design
  • the fulfilment of a long-held desire to own one
  • celebrating my décolletage, which I'm usually a little shy of revealing too much of as I have scarring from a long battle with acne
  • an embracing of the colour blue, and an acknowledgement that it is, in fact, my favourite colour, in all it's hues and nuances
  • a celebration of the fact that my girlie has gotten old enough to understand that delicate jewellery is fragile, and must be handled with care. Soon I'll be wearing dangly earrings again ...
  • something which is making me happy every day

And yes, that is my cereal bowl in the background. I'm a domestic slut.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

foodie april ~ pizza, no. 19 and goodnight

Homemade pizza. Bacon. Zucchini. Mushrooms. Brie. 

And no. 19.

Too tired to share recipe. More tomorrow. Burp.

Monday, April 13, 2009

foodie april ~ homecoming pie

Husband came home last night. Weary, stiff, a little chubbier (can you imagine how a spicy food lover eats when in Pakistan. Yup, like a chubby Pakistani. I'm so jealous.). Declared Karachi to be 'just like Maputo' and had photos to prove it.

And you know all those You Tube clips and email joke things depicting the world's most unbelievable driving? The intersections which look like swarms, the families of 5 on 1 motorbike etc? He now reckons they're all filmed in Karachi! I imagine he'll be more tolerant of South African bad driving for a few days. But probably only a few ha ha.

Although, and maybe because, I knew he'd been eating all kinds of exotic food for days I thought he might appreciate a homelove meal of roast chicken etc, followed by this apple cake recipe I've been wanting to try for ages. It comes from a friend who's been making it for years, and makes it supremely. So no pressure or anything. Ack.

I think I probably need to make it a few more times before I achieve her standard of orgasmic yumminess, and admittedly I probably didn't pay it the attention I should've trying to bake it in 30 mins before leaving for the airport. But as we all know, practice makes perfect, and what a pie to practise on.

And so easy!

So here we go ...

Le Apple Tart / Pie / Cake thingie 

60 ml butter

¾ cup castor sugar

3 eggs

1 ½ cups self raising flour

pinch of salt

1/3 cup milk

1 385 g tin pie apples

Cream butter and sugar together. Stir eggs in one by one. Sift in flour and a pinch of salt and mix, with the milk, until you have a smooth thickish batter.

Grease one large, or two medium pie dishes, pour in batter and arrange pie apples on top.

If using one dish, bake for about an hour at 180C until light brown on top, if using 2 medium pie dishes (which I think is better), bake for approximately 25 min - half an hour. 

You want the cake/s to have risen and browned, but not dried out. 

As soon as the cake/s come out of the oven, start making the syrup. This
is the really good part ...
250 ml Cream
1 teaspoon caramel essence
1 cup Sugar (I think if using castor sugar a full cup makes this too sweet. I used about 3/4 of a cup of brown sugar.) 

Slowly stir all 3 ingredients in a pot on stove until the sugar has melted and the mixture just starts to bubble around the edges. Stab the cake/s all over with a fork or skewer (this
is the fun part), and then slowly pour the syrup over them.

Either serve warm or wait 'til it cools. Oh so tasty.

Yesterday morning, before the cook-a-thon and airport collection, I took the 'kids' for a walk on the promenade and was thrilled to see a large pod of whales in the bay! The Southern Right whales visit our waters annually to spawn, usually between May and October. This is quite early for them to be here and I don't think I've ever seen them on the Atlantic ocean side of Cape Town before.

I love, love, love, the whales. They remind me of my childhood growing up near the sea and how, on still evenings, we could hear their ethereal calls to each other and their new calves. There are few things as uplifting as a wave from a whale tail, and almost nothing as heart-soaring as seeing one of these giants leap right out of the sea for joy. Welcome home whale friends!

If I thought they'd like apple cake I'd make a zillion and float them out into the bay.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

easter enthusings

I had fondly imagined that with Husband away I would spend lots of time blogging all the bloggy posts which've been running around inside my head for some time now. Turns out that flying solo with a toddler and a puppy is far more time-consuming than duel parenting - duh - and so I've 5 incomplete drafts, each started in a moment and a thought process which I've not been able to pick up again once the moment passed. I still like to believe I'll get back to them but in the meantime, a little lazy, a little slurry, a little chocolate-ified after a raucous family dinner, all I can manage is a list (another list) of all the things I'm deeply grateful for on this different, but lovely, Easter weekend.

1. my family (again!) ~ that I have mine so close. That Frieda is growing up knowing them all and securely encircled in the love and devotion of grandparents (and a great-grandparent!), uncles, aunts and wonderful friends (which I count as family).

2. my home ~ that I feel warm and safe here, even when flying solo. That although it's not the Ultimate Family Home I dream of, it's large and spacious and interesting and most importantly, ours.

3. my home town ~ that I can walk on a wide open beach with my child and my dog and my parents and laugh and run and see a Cape Fur Seal up close and taste sea salt in my hair in the bath hours later.

4. my girlie ~ that I can lick peanut butter off her fingers and dance wildly with her to the Basement Jaxx and cradle her in my arms as she drifts off to sleep murmuring '(a)mazing', her new favourite word.

5. myself ~ that I'm comfortable in my own skin and can drink a few too many glasses of wine on my own and sneak an illicit ciggie and eat a couple of Frieda's Easter eggs (she's too young for all that chocolate ok) and lovingly fondle my new Skermunkil necklace (a little pressie to myself ...)

and bonus point, and dare I say my favourite:

6. my husband ~ who's been off having a crazy adventure and will be home to tell us all about it by this time tomorrow. As much as I've missed him I'm so glad he's had this time out by himself, and I can't wait to see the expression in his (no doubt) tired eyes tomorrow.

This feels like a list I keep replicating, but it's also a litany of gratitude I can't help but express over and over. I am, as we say in Cape Town, truly kak lucky! 

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

the (not so) little doggie who could

Our (not so) little pup is proving to be a wonderful addition to the family. 

[Moment of gracious deference to Husband's foresight and good judgement.]

In fact, I may even be so gushy as to say that a dog really makes a family, and could even have a completely archaic un-pc moment whereby I say something silly like 'family = moi + husband + child + dog'. But then I'll quickly reassure you with the knowledge that my mathematical ability is non-existent and that I'm radically pre-menstrual, so I'm not even vaguely to be trusted to make any kind of equations or say anything sound at this time. And also I'm getting this look from another highly valued family member so best I just STFU and move on. Ahem.

But what brought on this emotionally-charged little puppy love-fest? 

Yesterday our sweet and loving family pet turned into a ferocious barking scary beast from hell. And just when I was starting to wonder whether she had it in her ... 

On Friday I mentioned to my brother that I was a little concerned that she'd not shown any signs of aggression or defensive attitude. Obviously this is primarily a good thing, but I didn't agree to get a dog just for the company - lord knows I don't need any more of that - and I was starting to wonder if we'd lucked out with the soppiest bull terrier on the planet. My brother assured me that if Lego (le pup) thought for a minute that her turf or family were being threatened we'd see what she's really made of, and yesterday she proved her mettle. Big time.

Allow me to digress a little ... you may remember the neighbour with the avo tree? I've been watching the latest harvest growing fat on the er, tree, for some time now, biding my time til the fruits are ready for some surreptitious midnight harvesting (much to the disgust of Husband who likes to pretend he owns the moral high ground but will feast on those avo's as avidly as me when the time comes so there). The avo's are nearly there, a couple more days and they'll be perfect. So imagine my shock at seeing one of my other neighbours creeping along our wall yesterday morning on a stealthy avo-raiding mission of his own!

Not stealthy enough! Oh no, my lovable family pooch, on spotting an unknown figure atop the garden wall, turned into a bristling rabid fireball of manic barking and spitting outrage. The avo-thief very nearly toppled into her awaiting jaws from fright, our illicit avo supply was spared and the Very Brave Pup was rewarded with mega puppy treats and lavished with praise. As soon as I was brave enough to open the back door. Man, she was s-c-a-r-y.


And the perfect time for me to gain faith in her guard-dog abilities - as Husband is off to Pakistan for Easter. Yup, 5 days in Karachi on business the poor dude.

I don't have high hopes for Pakistan's Easter egg supply ... But at least I'll sleep easy while he's away knowing that Lego the Lion-Hearted is On Guard.

Monday, April 06, 2009

foodie april ~ book club soup

Take one book club, chop finely and sauté until translucent ...

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Foodie April has been continuing at a cracking pace. Honestly I guess it's no different to (foodie) March, (foodie) Feb etc etc, I'm just giving food a bit more attention than usual (who knew that was even possible?), and I'm liking what I'm seeing.

Last week I hosted book club, always a very fun and relaxed thing to do with our bunch of lovely girls, but I have set the bar fairly high for myself in the past making falafel from scratch (ok, okay, tinned chick-peas if you must know but other than that: from scratch) and curry (totally from scratch) with poppadums and the works and other such delights. This time, after my long weekend in Joburg I didn't have that kind of energy, and in the spirit of Foodie April decided on a very simple, very cheap, very delicious soup, served with lots of cheeses and salad and ciabatta. I think it was a hit.

And so, voila ~

Book Club Sweet Potato Soup

about 3-5 large sweet potatoes

1 x onion, roughly chopped 

1 large-ish piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced [and here's a bonus foodie tip: don't you just hate it when you buy a big ole knob of ginger which invariably shrivels up and dries out before you finish using it? Get this: if you freeze it you can just shave bits off it whenever you require and it'll stay fresh n tasty for months. Don't say I never teach you anything ok?]

1 tablespoon red curry paste (you can turn the heat up or down here depending on your audience ...)

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth stock
3 and a half tablespoons lemon juice 
1 teaspoon kosher (or non-kosher ...) salt 
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (this is the most uncommon ingredient, but it does actually make a big difference to the taste, and it'll keep forever
so invest in a bottle. You won't be sorry.)

fresh dhania (coriander leaves/cilantro) for sprinkling 

Preheat oven to 180° C. Bake the sweet potatoes for an hour or until tender. Even better if you let them caramelise a bit. Yummo.
Remove from oven, let cool and peel (you can even do this a day before the rest, but I'd recommend peeling them as soon as they're cool enough. It's easier that way).

Heat some oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and ginger until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and broth and gently bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Cut the potatoes into chunks. Add to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes. Blend/mash/puree/you get the idea. Stir in the lemon juice and salt. Drizzle with sesame oil. Garnish with the dhania.

Super easy. And super yum.

I am also happy to report that the Foodie April craze (may I call it that?) of cooking simply and cheaply is not an all-encompassing one. This weekend I enjoyed, amongst other things, a wildly innovative and delicious lunch of chicken roasted with a chocolate and chilli sauce (using Lindt dark chocolate no less), an awesomely yummy homemade chicken pie (not in the same meal which would've been weird) and some delightful lady-bug cupcakes. All made by people near and dear to me. The last so sweet that I must include a picture.

They were made by the friend who encouraged me to start on my list of 100 crafty things. She is not participating, but when I see these I think she should be ...

Friday, April 03, 2009

grateful friday

This Friday I was grateful ~

  • to spend the morning in a wonderfully creative and inspiring place,
  • that the temperature hit 40 degrees in the City! Exhausting heat but really nice to know we can still have an awesome summer day in April. Global warming, yeah!
  • that my angel child had a loooooong nap allowing me time for a leisurely lunch with a magazine and a little snooze,
  • to have the afternoon free to splash in the pool and eat ice-cream with my aforementioned angel child,
  • to live at the foot of one of the world's most beautiful mountains,
  • that my ankle has healed sufficiently to go for an amazing walk on the slopes of this mountain with my 3 beloveds (husband, child & dog) at sunset,
  • that a cool breeze has just started wafting through the house in time for me to take my weary bones and pile of new reads to bed.

What a lucky girl I am.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

foodie april: part 1 ~ chicken & lemon pasta

As you may have picked up, I'm quite into eating. And cooking. And baking.

One of my favourite ad's recently had a little girl asking her Granny what did they do in olden times without mod cons etc, the Granny responds that they 'cooked and cooked and cooked'. 'But Granny,' says the little girl, 'what did you do for fun?'. Granny replies: 'We baked.'

I totally get that.

But I've started becoming more discerning about what I eat, and cook. Ok, ok, this doesn't seem discerning at all, but if you're going to eat trash you got to do that with flair too see?

And, less voluntarily, I've started becoming more discerning about what it costs. Goddamn stuff is expensive these days!

And also, as much as I enjoy cooking, I do rather hate deciding what to cook, especially on week nights. So I hereby decree that April is all about quick, easy, cheap and delicious recipes. Yup, I'm going to become a foodie blog for a while (in between the usual shit). And I'm totally going to count successful and especially yummy meals as part of my 100 things. When I remember to photograph them. And/or photograph the picture from the recipe. 'Cos obviously mine looked exactly like this ...

Chicken & Lemon Pasta

(adapted from Nigella, stolen from a magazine, but I don't really care 'cos that's another thing about me and my wildly exciting food blog - I don't credit recipes unless I want to. So there.)

1 x packet any kind of pasta you like

1 x large onion, sliced however you like it

2 x garlic cloves, crushed as above

Peel of 1 lemon, sliced into thin strips or ... however you like it

1 x Rotisserie or deli roasted chicken (or some roasted chicken pieces), skinned and shredded

Quarter cup lemon juice

1 and a half cups chicken stock (or vegetable I guess)

Quarter cup roughly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley and quarter cup chopped basil or rocket (never let it be said I'm a taste dictator)

Salt & pepper

Heat some olive oil, saute onion 'til soft. Add garlic & lemon peel and cook for 2 mins. Add shredded chicken, lemon juice & stock and heat through - about 5 mins.

Add herbs, salt and pepper and simmer.

Toss through cooked pasta and eat immediately with some more of the herbs scattered on top and freshly shaved Parmesan. 

De Lish Us. Trust me.

And no. 18.