The Main Event

Ring the bell, Carson…

Sides (Part One)

Dec
3

Come December (in the Southern Hemisphere at least) people kick into overdrive with dieting and trying to get the ever elusive ‘bikini body’. This, in my books, has to be the most futile and impractical time of year to challenge oneself to such a feat. Tis’ the Season for goodness sake. We eat and drink on a cyclical repeat for nearly 6 weeks until things go back to ‘normal’ in the new year. My theory? Enjoy it. Revel in each and every mouthful… start the new year gorged in the wake of a delicious food coma. Now that is motivation! Go to the full recipe…

Some Pasta with my Parmesan

Nov
14

I’m convinced that come November 1st, the clocks start ticking faster. Weeks fly by, the to-do list multiplies by the second and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. This is when seriously fast food is in dire need – with no fussing about in the shops for ingredients, or the kitchen being desecrated by the end of it. Boxes ticked must be: quick, delicious and moderately healthy (’tis the season after all) – this recipe fulfills in every way.

I adore parmesan cheese and would add it to everything given half the chance – so don’t be shy with your helping of it here as it really pairs so beautifully with the creaminess of the egg yolks and freshness of the herbs. The usual sarky quip received on dishing myself up a bowl of pasta is, “would you like some pasta with your parmesan?” And the answer… “Damn right.”
 
Herby Parmesan Pasta

Serves 4                Takes approx. 20 mins

Ingredients

250g Fresh Pappardelle Pasta (or Tagliatelle)
3 egg yolks
1 clove Garlic, crushed
250g Parmesan cheese, grated
2 large Lemons, juice & zest
3 sprigs fresh Majoram (Origanum)
100g fresh Basil
50g fresh Mint
3 tbsp Pine Nuts, toasted
Olive Oil
S & P

Method

First put a medium pot of salted water on to boil. Now in a clean, dry pan, toast the pine nuts until browned. Set aside.

Get your egg yolks separated from the whites and put into a medium bowl. To this, add the lemon zest, juice and parmesan along with some salt, pepper and about 4 tbsp of olive oil. Mix well with a fork.

With a pestle & mortar, bash up a handful of basil, marjoram & mint until it’s dark and juicy looking. Add this to the bowl of eggs, along with the crushed garlic. Mix well.

By this stage the pot of water should be boiling – so add the pasta, and a splash of olive oil. Cook until al dente. If it is fresh pasta, should take about 2 minutes – if dried, about 9-10 minutes.

Drain the pasta but reserve the water that it cooked in – as you need this to loosen up the sauce. Add the pasta to the bowl of ingredients and toss very well. Add in a ladle of the pasta water and from this point on, it’s up to you how thick or thin you would like the sauce. Thinner – add more pasta water, thicker – leave it as is. Taste the sauce and see if you want to add more lemon or salt.

Once it’s all tossed well, tear in some fresh basil, marjoram and mint – add in the toasted pine nuts and serve steaming hot with a pile of parmesan on top and some freshly cracked black pepper!

A great wine pairing with this velvety dish is something light and refreshing – I love my staple Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir with a few blocks of ice, perfect for a summery lunch or al fresco dinner. Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Bobotie

Sep
11

I have to admit that when I was a kid, traditional Bobotie used to land up in front of me probably once a year – and it was not a meal I looked forward to. I found it very strange to have hot raisins, meat and eggy, savoury custard all on one plate. Sounds gross, right? Yet surprisingly, Bobotie has become for me one of those acquired flavours that you grow to love, like I have done with so many other food stuffs I loathed as a child, but as an adult, can’t get enough of. Olives, onions, black pepper, wine… the list goes on.

This is my ‘happy cow’ vegetarian version of the dish – made with slow roasted butternut, saucy spiced lentils and a mild custard topping. I made this for the first time last week whilst experimenting in the kitchen, and had two unexpected visitors arrive (conveniently) over dinner time – so I was a bit hesitant to dish it up without having tested it first. Nonetheless, it went down a treat and there were happy tummies all round.

A perfect pairing of tipple with this delicately spiced dish, is the beautiful Iona Sauvignon Blanc – hailing from one of the coolest (and coolest) vineyards in South Africa, high up on the Elgin plateau, about an hour’s drive out of Cape town.

It’s worth mentioning that my spellcheck is insisting I correct my spelling of ‘Bobotie’ to ‘Bootie’ ;)

Happy Middle of the Week, everyone!