With the Winter Reaper knocking on our door, and Summer breathing her last breaths – we have a lovely little grace period called Autumn. This is my absolute favorite time of year, not only because I can now finally cover up – but so can the rest of the cut-off wearing, mid-riff bearing beautiful population of Cape Town. The playing field is somehow more even in the colder months… and one can take just that much more delight in soothing any weight worries with rich indulgences and solace in the knowledge that throwing on an oversized jersey won’t be out of place.
So, I bring to you (after a reflective break from the blog) the perfect meal to usher in the cooler weather and cozier evenings… Butternut, Fennel & Cambozola Risotto served with a homemade Maple-glazed Pumpkin seed and crispy Sage dust. Sounds complicated, but it truly isn’t. This is why I adore risotto because it lends itself to an infinite amount of possibilities when it comes to flavoring. Just like a blank canvas. So light the fire, open a bottle of chilled Pinot Noir and cozy up with a gorgeous bowl of deliciousness!
With the past week of severe heat waves here in the Cape, I was struggling to find inspiration from any kind of food stuff that would snap me out of my Christ the Redeemer pose in front of the fan, and into a Nigella-esque one over the stove – especially with my kitchen hitting a high of 42.5•C on Wednesday.
It was whilst sucking back on a defenseless ice cube, that it hit me – I wanted a Granita. This delicious slushy type drink, albeit a more elegant one, is rarely found on menu’s in South Africa for some bizarre reason. The most refreshing flavor I could think of pairing with the slushed ice had to be watermelon, because truthfully nothing beats it’s sweet smack, complimented with the herby freshness of basil. I added a bit of chili for fun, and it actually worked really well – despite personally not being the biggest heat seeker when it comes to chili in food. Topped up with a splash of lemonade (and some white rum or vodka, if you are in the mood), it makes the perfect sundowner for guests, or an anytime slushy snack for when you need cooling down.
Tip: I froze mine in a non-stick metal loaf tin – and every hour or so, scratched the surface of the granita with a fork to fluff it up and create the desired texture.
Not one for being a ritual celebrator of Valentines’ Day, I generally prefer to stay home – open a good bottle of something and eat some equally good food. This trumps being at the mercy of restaurants on this Hallmark Holiday that mostly just capitalize on set menus filled with chocolate fondants and ‘complimentary’ below average bubbles.
So without further ado, this is what I have planned for Friday’s evening in… Roasted Butternut, Leek & Feta Quiche, with a Nectarine & Chavroux Salad. Chavroux is a type of really creamy, soft Goats cheese – it’s amazing, and I only use it on special occasions. You can find it at Woolies in a little conical shaped container – don’t look at the price, just buy it and trust me on it’s incredible flavour and the knowledge that a little goes a long way.
I can’t not mention my favourite wine at the moment, being La Motte’s Pierneef Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – made from organic grapes, it is a beautiful choice to pair with anything summery and creamy. So…Happy V-day in advance, everyone!