Hosting Hysteria

Impress your guests.

Beat the Heat

Feb
28

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.

Happy Drinking! Go to the full recipe…

A Soup for All Seasons

Jan
7

Aaaaand exhale.

After having three sets of guests over the month of December, all back to back, the need for peace, quiet and marathons of catching up on beloved TV were dire. Along with this came the craving for simple meals – low in fat, calories and portions. I think I’ve had soup for a week straight since the start of the new year, and loved every bowl of it. This recipe in particular was so quick and easy to make, and I just felt good eating it – totally guilt free, (not that that truly ever plays a role in determining what gets shoveled down the gullet).

The soup was emboldened with some of the freshest summer flavors I’ve had combined – Courgettes (or Zucchini’s for my American counterparts), Peas & freshly picked Mint from the garden, drizzled with a squeeze of lemon, a swirl of Bulgarian yoghurt and some bashed pink peppercorns (my new obsession).

Courgette, Pea & Mint Soup

Serves 4 Takes approx. 30 mins

Ingredients

600g Courgettes, sliced into discs 1cm thick
2 cups Peas, frozen
2 Handfuls fresh Mint, torn roughly
4 baby Leeks, finely diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 red Chili, sliced and de-seeded
2 Lemons, juiced
1 tsp Olive oil
300ml boiling water
30ml Nomu Liquid Vegetable Stock
2 tbsp Bulgarian Yoghurt (to serve)
Handful Pink Peppercorns, bashed up (to serve)
Salt

Method

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Dice up all the courgettes and pop them into the boiling water to cook for about 5 minutes. Sieve out the courgettes and set them aside to continue steaming in a dish. Add the frozen peas to the same water, and leave them to cook for about 3 minutes. Strain the peas and discard the water.

Chop up the baby leeks, chili, and garlic and add to the same warm pot, with a bit of olive oil and some salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until they all become soft. Remove from the pot and scrape into a blender. Add to this the courgettes, peas and handfuls of mint. Blitz for about 15 seconds. The soup should instantly turn a beautiful bright green. Boil the kettle and mix 300ml of the hot water, with about 30ml of the vegetable stock to make a light brown stock. Add half of this to the blender, and blitz for about 10 seconds. I don’t normally use all the stock I’ve made, I just add it to the blender until I’m happy with the consistency. Squeeze in the lemon juice, blitz again quickly and now taste. Season to your liking. Add a bit of yoghurt into the blender if you want to make the soup more creamy, if you like. Bash up some pink peppercorns, and sprinkle over the surface of the soup once dished up.

Side note – this soup is delicious served cold too, so is a nice idea as a starter. Bon Appetit!

Friday’s Jug of Joy

Oct
18

It’s been a while since my last post – and this was not planned. As the saying goes… ‘Life happened’… A whirlwind trip back to Durban on personal matters, lead me through experiences good and bad – from indulgent spa sessions, to two hour hospital appointments and ending off with a beautiful wedding of one of my oldest friends. The sadness of leaving family back home, was quickly erased by the arrival of my second (and final) furry baby. Literally, I landed at the aiport – and then collected her at the same time. Thus, the week that’s passed has been a trying one and when the going get’s tough, the bar fridge get’s opened.

The sun is shining, it’s warming up and that calls for pitchers a-plenty. Pitchers, or jugs are some of my favourite things to make – especially in the recipe development phase…taste… hmm… more Pimm’s… taste… more Vodka…taste…

This is my recipe for an easy jug of joy. Have a fabulous weekend, one and all.

Watermelon Fizz
Serves 4   Takes approx 25mins                

3 cups of Fresh Watermelon
2 Limes, juiced
1/2 cup Blueberries
1/2 cup Raspberries
1/2 Cucumber
Handful of Fresh Mint
6 tots Pimm’s
4 tots Vodka
Bos Ice Tea -Apple
Soda Water
Ice

Method

Put all fruits and mint into the bottom of the pitcher.
Squeeze in the lime juice.
Pour in the alcohol.
Leave to soak into the fruit for about 20 minutes.
Top up with your ice tea, soda water and ice blocks.
Swirl & Enjoy!

fizz1