Lovey Dovey

From the Belly to the Heart

Valentines Shmalentines

Feb
11

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!

Stink Eye

Strawberry & Lime Sublime

Oct
29

I grew up in a household where the only ice cream available was of the sugar free, sugar free (!?) kind, due to my Mother being a serious diabetic. This was graciously tolerated up until the point of teenage-dom, when the complaints became more frequent about how ‘everyone else’ gets normal ice cream after dinner. My Mom eventually caved and stocked the fridge with a hearty supply of Magnum’s for my brother, Dad and I. Thus, ironically out of my own callous demands, was born my first weight problem. Once the complaints shifted from the lack of sugary cream in the freezer, to the abundance of sugary cream on my muffin tops, the Magnum’s were swiftly phased out. What a delightful child I was.

This is such an easy dessert to make – honestly the only skills necessary is to operate a scale and have a bit of gusto with the whisk. What I particularly love about it, is that the two core ingredients – double cream and icing sugar – make an amazingly kind canvas for flavour combination experiments. That, and it is a super easy pudding to prepare days in advance for a dinner party.

Serves 4         Takes 30 mins       Freezing time  5 hours

Ingredients

400g Strawberries, topped, squashed & strained

75g Icing Sugar, sifted

250ml Double Cream

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

2 Limes, juiced

Method

Clean and top the strawberries. Pop into the food processor and pulse until they form a nice pulp, takes about 2 minutes. Remove from the processor, and pour into a sieve placed above a medium sized bowl. With the backside of a large spoon, smear the pulp around whilst applying pressure – so that all the beautiful juice is pressed through into the bowl below. This takes a bit of time, probably 10 minutes or so – but is worth it. If you like having the seeds in your ice-cream, then skip this step – I have just never liked anything that has ‘bits’ in it. Once all the strawberry juice is in the bowl, squeeze in the juice of the limes and then sift in the icing sugar, stirring vigorously with a fork for a few minutes.

Add all the double cream into the bowl and with a whisk, beat the mixture for about 10 minutes until it forms soft, stiff peaks. Spoon into a tupperware for freezing. Depending on how cold your freezer is set, it can take up to 5 hours to freeze properly. I couldn’t resist a spoonful after 3 hours and it was a delicious soft smooth texture – but not quite officially ice cream. Eat it how you please!

 

Rosewater Cupcakes with a Litchi-Mallow Middle

Sep
2

Last week I was in the mood for all things sweet. It strikes me every now and then – and when it does, best you steer clear. It was whilst I was nursing this craving, guiltily ploughing through a bag of marshmallows in front of the fire (alone, with no-one to judge), that it dawned on me that marshmallows have a surprisingly obliging flavor. They could pair with so many different tastes that could bring out more in the mallow than just its’ sickly sweetness. I went to the fridge to find something to cut this sweetness and came upon some fresh litchi’s and above this, my un-opened bottle of Rosewater essence, something I had been wanting to use for a while, but hadn’t thought how. So, from munching a mallow, then a litchi and having a big whiff of the heady, gorgeous rosewater (repeatedly), it was decided – these babies ought to go into a cupcake… somehow…

Go to the full recipe…