Curry Butternut Soup and Spanakopita

Isn't she just lovely! Art at Tokara Wine Farm

Isn’t she just lovely! Art at Tokara Wine Estate

Today I start and finish with a random photo because she is just too lovely to be last, and I like her shoes….

I recently ordered this curried soup and spanakopita combination in a restaurant in Hermanus (they did not even intend the two starters to be a combination and now it is my favourite pairing).Two dishes that has absolutely no relation or is not a known or even a usual pairing of dishes, but just the right two things to make it spectacular. For me at least.Of course since eating it, the usual obsession started about making it with my own changes.

Curry Butternut Soup

Curry Butternut Soup

For the curry butternut soup-( without quantities as it is just so easy you can just wing it):

Fry onions and garlic with curry mix and powders of your choice in butter/oil. Add chili flakes and add butternut and fry to incorporate the flavours.I also added pumpkin spice and grated orange rind for sweetness. Add vegetable stock and boil until soft. Liquidise the soup and add a bit of cream to taste. I served it with a dollop of Greek Yogurt and added a slice of a filled jalapeño chili popper (left over form a previous meal) as garnish and drizzled with olive oil.

Curry Butternut Soup with Spanakopita

Curry Butternut Soup with Spanakopita

With that I served the spanakopita – a Greek spinach pie  (with my own take on the filling) which is something I used to make regularly and then sort of forgot about it for a while, until now.

400 gr Swiss Chard spinach boiled in salt water and drained very well-press with a wooden spoon in a colander until it is properly drained

I mixed the spinach with: 1 table spoon freshly grated ginger, 250 gr ricotta ( I proudly made mine previously and the method is here, but this time it was store bought ricotta), 150 gr cream cheese and 80 gr chopped pecans. Salt and white pepper to taste.  The ginger gives it a depth of flavour that worked so well with the curried soup.image

Cut filo pastry in long strips and roll a big spoon full in triangular shapes or round cigar shapes (close the ends by folding the filo in) and brush with butter. Bake at 180 to 200 Degrees C for about 30 minutes. Do not use too little filo as the filling can make the parcel burst open and you will have the filling spilling out. Serve with the piping hot soup! Crispy and great-if you heat it up the next day, just put it back in the oven to revive the crispness. Nice for ‘dunkin’ in that soup!image

Fae there on the other side of the world also made spanakopita and her recipe (filling) is slightly different from mine, and I am sure also delicious. It is always so intriguing that one does not see a dish for ages and then suddenly you see it all over. I am very much in a Greek food mood so will keep on trying more varieties of the same.

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Random photo:

Thinking.....also at Tokara

Thinking…..also at Tokara

Arty window display-Busan Korea:

Window display in Busan-art in itself! Photo by Tara

Window display in Busan-art in itself! Photo by Tara

Bitter-sweet Flourless Orange Cake

imageThere is a lot of things that is bitter-sweet at the moment as we go into winter.I love winter but do not feel entirely ready for it. My friend Ina is such a clever woman, not only with food. She cooks in a way that is familiar because it is traditional and exciting because there is always a new twist. Those are the things that inspire me.

Flourless Citrus Cake

Flourless Citrus Cake

She invented this cake and it is as clever as it is delicious.I particularly like the bitterness with just the right amount of sweetness to it and it is not a cake you quickly whip up(as if I ever do….) but rather one of those that you do over a weekend which will make your house smell like an orange orchard when you need to be reminded of that smell!.

Bitter-sweet Flourless Orange Cake

Bitter-sweet Flourless Orange Cake

Use: 250 gr ground almonds/almond flour, 5ml baking powder, 6 eggs, 1 cup castor sugar and 2 oranges, cream.

Boil oranges for 2 hours in water-fill up with water as you go Liquidise/process the whole oranges to form a soft pulp Beat eggs and sugar Add oranges to egg mix, followed by ground almonds, baking powder and grated peel of one orange(optional)-mix through. Use a lined cake tin and bake at 160 degrees C for 1hour 30 minutes. Served with whipped cream.

Brandy Sauce optional:-but very nice! Equal quantities brandy, water and sugar-I used 125ml each Boil to a thin syrup and pour over the cake and serve with cream.

Orange Cake with brandy sauce

Orange Cake with brandy sauce

Random photo: Goodbye summer

St Helena Bay gems

St Helena Bay gems

Shell art.

Draaihoek Lodge West Coast between St Helena Bay and Elands Bay

Draaihoek Lodge West Coast between St Helena Bay and Elands Bay

Coconut Bread makes me think of Islands (of course)

Zanzibar 2005: photo by Tinus

Zanzibar 2005: photo by Tinus

Of course it would, what with coconut trees, white beaches and solitude in my head. All of the aforesaid in no particular order. I woke up thinking of Zanzibar which we visited a few years ago and where the chef in the villa (which a group of us shared) introduced me to a whole new way of thinking with the way theyliterally “perfume” the food with gentle spices, creating whiffs of gentle aromas and subtle tastes. Nothing bold and in your face but oh so memorable and tasty. Thinking of islands, led to thinking of food ,led to being hungry- nothing new then.

Gluten Free Coconut bread

Gluten Free Coconut bread

My sister at nowathome posted the recipe for these gluten free and sugar free” breads”, but I really think it can be adapted to just about anything you want it to be. Savoury or sweet depending on the (hunger) mood. It is made with coconut flour and it leaves that same “perfumed” sense I was talking about because the coconut taste is just there in the background,the way I like it.image Coconut Bread (the recipe is per small bread, about the size of a bread roll):

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
    Instructions
    1. In a medium bowl, use a fork to mix the ingredients until very smooth.
    2. Using a spatula, transfer to small ramekin.
    3. Microwave on high for 90 seconds.

I toasted some cheese on top and had it with parsley, butter and Marmite for breakfast. A lot of things can come from this recipe. If you think of going the sweet way, I can just imagine how carrots, nuts and cinnamon would change this to a carrot type cake. Any sweet or savoury ideas are anyway endless. My sis brought the plain ones along to a picnic we had at the botanical gardens in Cape Town and we piled them high with pickles , cheese(of course) and avocado. Very delicious.

Random Photo: We had a great time at Klein Roosboom Wine Farm, Durbanville Area today and there are a lot of quirky things going on at the tasting room.

Classic!

Classic!

Another use for the old silver teapot.

 great lightfitting idea

great lightfitting idea

Shapes

My mind is always occupied with colour, shapes and lately buildings and roof shapes everywhere and at unexpected places even in shops ( of all places). Maybe time to tackle a painting again to satisfy the obsession.

These absolutely gorgeous row-houses were displayed above the door on the outside of the entrance to a shop in Knysna, Western Cape. Very clever.

image imageThis shop window in Seoul, Korea caught my eye and imagination.

Seoul, window dressing.

Seoul, window dressing.

These beautiful wooden houses I bought in Ulsan, Korea. I have no idea what the idea/use was behind them but they were there and had to come home with me as well.

Indiidual wooden blocks.

Indiidual wooden blocks.

The blue and white canvas roofs were lined up on the beach in Busan-I think as part of the Ice Bear Swim ( or something to that effect) event in the dead of their winter.

Busan beach

Busan beach

Yes, for sure a continuous theme going round in my head.

Random Photo:

Window to my soul.

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Late afternoon at a time of year that it was not ” supposed to” rain in Cape Town.

Cape Town

Cape Town

“Shab-Shab” Japanese dish the Korean way

Donglim Knot Workshop Seoul

Donglim Knot Workshop Seoul

I had to laugh.Twice. I told my daughter that the Shabu dish we were having in Korea is truly a Korean dish which I would love to have again and she said: “Yes, only it is not Korean but Japanese”. Then Fae posted the Shabu-Shabu with Spicy Soy Milk Broth out of the blue and she had to help me decide whether the dish I had was the traditional version or not because due to language problems I transferred and plonked the cooked part of it into the “sauce bowl” on the table only to realise that as Fae explained, the sauce was meant to be a “dipping” sauce. What the hell, I was was having a ball with this experience, dipping or not!

Condiments with Shabu-Shabu dish

Sides with Shabu-Shabu dish

The experience is what counts and the Shabu Salad Bar was a family type of buffet establishment in Ulsan City where you paid a price per head for the full spread and the only choice you had to make on ordering was the type of beef you wanted, the rest was on display to eat as much as you like, including all sorts of random sides and condiments.

Australian beef

Australian beef

We chose Australian beef and the sides of battered sweet potatoes and root type vegetables with salads from the buffet were great.IMG_7098 The pot of stock is brought to the table, cooking away on an induction plate on the table and you go choose fresh ingredients to make your own broth.The beef is extremely thinly sliced and immediately cooks when it hits the boiling stock and from there on you eat it by dipping it into sauces on the table.IMG_7100 That is where I went wrong-the dipping part for me was transferring whole portions into the dipping bowl and and eating it from there-delicious anyway.Language problems, what can I say!Traditional Japanese Shabu Fae has a comprehensive explanation of the dish and ways to prepare it at home. Other thing I just loved over there were pickled peanuts-soft and sweet with a honey like consistency and pickled cucumber, will I have to read up about more as I never had that before.

Sweet Pickeled Peanuts

Sweet Pickeled Peanuts

Since I came back from cold Korea, a short weekend trip away and a week’s business trip thereafter brought me right into February and I still need to remove the last remnants of Christmas from my home while I have a summer feeling of note!

Die Hoekie Paternoster

Die Hoekie Paternoster

Anything nautical is catching my drift at the moment. The weekend trip was to Paternoster in the Western Cape and the laid back town where “dressing up” means putting on shoes, is what I craved Polianthus-you are so right again. Eating fish and seafood for breakfast, lunch and dinner and that’s how we rolled!

Clever art

Clever art: Die Hoekie Paternoster

Random Photo:

My motto for 2015:

Courtesy The Noisy Oyster Paternoster

Courtesy The Noisy Oyster Paternoster-my new motto for 2015

Hello and Goodbye South Korea

Beach huts Busan

Beach huts Busan

So I am here again and it is one continuous hello and goodbye.

Busan

Busan

Hello food experiences, sights and sounds. Also experiencing temperatures between  -3 and – 15C, much colder than last time, especially after 30 degrees C in Cape Town when I left.

Seoul minus 8 C.....

Seoul minus 8 C…..

Well at least the under and outer layers and piles of clothes helped, even if it was just to make me look like I am in a moon suit.

Traditions

Traditions

Funny shop in Seoul. Pick a box for a set price and be surprised at what is inside. A bit like Korea, always a surprise after the next layer.

Pick a box

Pick a box

Goodbye to my daughter that stays behind for another long year. I am not getting better at this, in fact I really just suck at this.

Ulsan Station: Tara

Ulsan Station: Tara

Happy 2015 where ever you are and decide to go and let us make it a good one.

Random Photo:

Save the Rhino! Photo by Tara in Korea

Save the Rhino! Photo by Tara in Korea

Turkish Delight Fridge Cake

Jingle Bells!

Jingle Bells!

Open Sesame! The ark is open here in Cape Town. If you exit a door you fall over a tourist, or their cameras, whichever. There is defenitely a sense of expectation in the air and I like it! My sister over at nowathome and I are so giddy with excitement, awaiting the Christmas visit of our other sister(the real baker) that we ourselves started baking in a big way. We had to get the Chrismas cakes going you see, so that it can be topped up with brandy in the month to come to be ready for the event(s) planned. At this stage all of the events include either eating or wine tasting or cheese and chocolate tasting on the farms and I still do not know how it happened but we ended up baking 11 Christmas cakes and 3 cheese- chocolate fridge cake doodah thingies all on the same day. The recipes for the two types of fruit cake ( one dark and full of spices and the other light and buttery) are both posted on nowathome as she is much better with weighing and measuring things than me, so she wrote it all out for us.

Fruit cake jewels

Fruit cake jewels

Talk about overkill, but I figured this amount of cakes would do for the family birthdays and other visitors comming and going before THE VISIT of my other sis on the 24th of December. A cake gift here and there to others won’t hurt either (guilty concience perhaps). So a lot of messing and testing going on inbetween.

Oops....

Oops….

I made the chocolate- cheese fridge cake as a birthday cake for my husband and followed my mother’s recipe, which used to be my birthday cake-wish every year.

Turkish Delight Fridge Cake

Turkish Delight Fridge Cake

I made two of them the traditional way and the other one my way by adding Turkish Delight to the already unholy concoction of fattening stuff, but well, it was for his birthday and all that.

Layering

Layering

The old fashioned triangular shape I kept because it is just too precious to change and it will always remind me of my mother.

Shaping

Shaping

Ingredients: 

1 cup sugar, 2 x 500 gr full cream cottage cheese, 3/4 cup butter, 1 egg, 2 packets biscuits, 1 t vanilla, glazed cherries, chocolate flake( optional) 2 slabs milk chocolate, tin foil. I replaced the cherries with Turkish Delight and used dark chocolate as an alternative.

Cream butter and sugar, add egg and beat well. Add cottage cheese and vanilla. Place 4 biscuits in a row, 5 or more down on a well greased piece of tin foil. Spread cheese mix over the biscuits and repeat the biscuit layer this time 3 in a row and spread again. On top of the last cheese blanket place the cherries and flake( or Turkish Delight) and by placing your hands under the tin foil, form a triangle, close the tin foil and smooth the tin foil out with your hands to tidy and neaten the triangular shape. Freeze over night or at least 3 to 4 hours

The nice part:

Melt the chocolate over a double bouler and spread over the frozen cheese cake, thickness to your taste. Freeze open for  half and hour and then you can close the foil loosely to keep in the freezer. Thaw for about 10 minutes before you cut slices so that the chocolate does not break or flake.

Chocolate cover

Chocolate cover

Everyone swears it is the most heavenly creation they have ever tasted. I agree and I solemnly promise not to have it more than once a year. My sister ( the real baker) says her hand luggage is allready filled with her baked goods, ready to fly over for the festivities so I honestly do not know where on the scales we are all going to end up this summer…..

Fridge Cake

Fridge Cake

Random Photo:

I dreamed I could fly

I dreamed I could fly

Eating chilli con carne with sweet potato chips

Chilli Con Carne & Sweet Potato Chips

Chilli Con Carne & Sweet Potato Chips

This post is not about a recipe at all, more about the way I like eating this dish. It all came about in South Korea last year when I had one of those days that I did not feel like eating authentic Korean food. I just booked my tickets to go there again and maybe that is what made me think of the chilli con carne I had there of all places. It is exceptionally cold over there in Dec/Jan and I was in the mood for a hearty, warm, filling something that day, very hungry as always.

Sweet potato chips

Sweet potato chips

We were in a food court of a very big shopping centre and there were hundreds of Korean and Asian dishes to choose from which I normally did, but as I said, not really in the mood for it that day. I spotted an American Diner type place with burgers and of all things between all of the normal fast foods also a chilli con carne (originally a dish from Texas USA according to Wikepedia), served with freshly grated cheddar and crispy french fries. Chilli served in a bowl, topped with the cheese and dipping the chips in the sauce and melting cheese and there I just knew: I will forever remember that meal and will eat it like that forever more!

Dippin' n scoopin'

Dippin’ n scoopin’

Exactly like I made today, but I used sweet potatoes baked in the oven instead of french fries. Try it, fork in hand and dipping and scooping away.

Tex-mex!

Tex-mex!

I served it with guacamole as an extra and I mixed smashed avocado, lemon juice, white pepper, red spring onion and full cream cottage cheese to make a thick guacamole. Another thing I can eat by the bowl full. I would imagine if you combine the meal with tortilla chips or wraps it would not be half bad but it hit the mark, just as I served it.

Guacamole

Guacamole

Food memories. I wonder what my next trip there will bring me on that front, other than spending time with my one and only precious girl.

Hope you had a good Sunday.

Random Photo:

My African Violet is blooming!

African Violet

African Violet

Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends

Strawberry Cheese Cake and Nut Crumble

Today, as the saying goes: I shall stay in the moment…..unless of course I do not like the moment, in which case I shall take a nap!

Pink heaven

Pink heaven

I recently made this cheese cake originally blogged by drizzleanddip and it is honestly the nicest nut crumble I have ever had. The photo’s are not great as the light faded fast and a retake or re-do is time wise just not an option.

Recipe – makes 12 individual portions( however in this house only enough for 6….)
Nut crumble
250 g flour, 170 g butter, 110 g macadamia nuts, 110 g almonds, 110 g Demerara sugar, 1/2 t vanilla extract.

To make the crumble topping, preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas mark 3. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until the mixture is the texture of breadcrumbs. Spread out the crumble on a baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, being sure to stir the crumble mixture every 10 minutes. Remove when the mixture is golden brown and set aside to cool.

None of the utensils I have, wanted to work properly so I made the crumble in batches with my nifty little blender thingy I bought in Turkey. Yip, that was in the suitcase too!

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Cheesecake

125 g crème fraîche, 225 g Philadelphia cheese, 100 g icing sugar, 150 ml Strawberry Syrup (plus extra to garnish), 250 ml cream, 3 leaves Gelatine, Fresh strawberries for garnish.
For the cheesecake, soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, and use a little bit of the cream and melt the gelatine over a double boiler. Set aside to cool.
Mix together the crème fraîche, cream cheese, sugar, and strawberry syrup (I used an electric stand mixer with whisk attachment). Put the cream in a separate bowl and whisk until stiff. Gently fold the gelatine into the cream mix and gradually fold the stiff cream into the cream cheese mixture little by little until completely combined.
To assemble the cheesecake, spoon out a layer of crumble at the bottom of your serving glass and top with a good dollop of strawberry cheesecake mix. refrigerate until ready to serve.
Decorate with a drizzle of strawberry syrup and a few slices of fresh strawberries.image

I made my own strawberry syrup by boiling frozen strawberries and sugar and blitzing it into a pulp.

Rich ingredients but not too rich in taste at all, only heavenly in fact .

Strawberr Cheese Cake&Nut Crumble

Strawberr Cheese Cake&Nut Crumble

Random Photo:

Cheers to November!

Cheers to November!

Blue Cheese Mousse & Balsamic Baked Pears

Blue Cheese Mousse, baby pear and walnut salad

Blue Cheese Mousse, baby pear and walnut salad

Long name for a quick process. I am not really a gadget person but I love the basics and bought my nifty little food processor/blitzer in Turkey, which I now use as often as I can. Perfect for blitzing smaller quantities, sauces, pestos and things. We are getting glimpses of spring and I made the blue cheese mousse and balsamic baked pear salad as a starter for a dinner with friends.

Blue Cheese Mousse

Blue Cheese Mousse

Blue Cheese Mousse

100gr blue cheese, 125ml cream, 75 ml creme fraiche , 2 table spoons tangy mayonaise, salad herbs

Blitz all of the ingredients together. The quantities above are just an indication and you can add more to taste. I absolutely love the consistency of the mousse and can see a lot of potential here. It is soft and fluffy but dense enough to use in a piping bag and I am getting the idea that it will hold well if gelatine is used to form something….anything with blue cheese!

Spring salad

Spring salad

Balsamic Glazed Pears 

Pears, olive oil and balsamic cream/reduction

Cut pears in thin slices, skin and all, no need to remove the skin. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic cream and bake in the oven at 180 C until soft

Balsamic glazed baked pear

Balsamic glazed baked pears

I served the mousse and pears with baby leaves, rocket, walnuts and a herb vinaigrette.

My friend Ina introduced me to these gorgeous tinned baby pears. See the pepper pot in the back ground, that is how small they are! Small or not, they became the centre piece and conversation topic of the night.

Baby pears in petit colander

Baby pears in petit colander

This mousse will become a spread or a topping for many a thing in future.

Blue cheese mousse starter

Blue cheese mousse starter

This one goes to Fromage Homage for the September Cheese Please! Challenge as hosted by The Garden Deli for the cheese and fruit combination for this month. Somehow I always end up sending some or other blue cheese for the challenge so let me not deviate this time then!

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Random Photo:

Yip, definitely a front rower …..

For sure right in the front!

For sure right in front!