Running away to Turkey

Creating shade, street in Fethiye

Creating shade, street in Fethiye

This time I ran away to Turkey. The only way to get out of my office is to make a getaway a-la Bonnie&Clyde style. A true and proper, running down the stairs, jumping into a getaway car with tyres screaming around the nearest corner style, before they catch me….

What I needed was this:

Good advice from a friend

Good advice from a friend

And I got it. In Fethiye Turkey. 

Yay sailing!

Yay sailing!

Living almost on the tip of the southern part of the African continent means loooong flights and that took me right out of a cold and wet winter to high summer and all that goes with it in Turkey. My last holiday when I “ran away” was right out of summer into serious winter. Can I just not make up my flippen mind in which season I am or want to be or what? Clothes in and out of storage all the time to get the right season into the suitcase, but I am not complaining noooooo, huh-uh.Too nice to see bits of the world and to eat my way around it.

Market day in Fethiye is hectic, sights sounds and smells and half naked tourists bartering for everything in sight. I got a lot of: “Where are you from.Dutch?” No, I am too short to be Dutch even though the Afrikaans accent is similar to the Dutch and Flemish. “South Africa?? Noooo,  you are too white……”.  Really?! Perceptions people, perceptions…

Market Fethiye

Market Fethiye

People watching at its best with heat into the 40’s (yes Celsius!) and these women cook without breaking a sweat. How?????image

See Polianthus, I did not disappear on you permanently! Still working out devious get-away plans, alive, breathing and still eating as always!

Turkish pancakes with spinach and cheese

Turkish pancakes with spinach and cheese

I could not post anything while in Turkey what with the slow inter-webs but now that my soul is back in my body and my mind rested, I shall break the blogging hiatus and it seems my food slump is over! How can it not be with all I had and seen(eaten) in Turkey..

Random photo:

One has to rest in the shade after watching those women cook in the heat.image

Roast carrot and ginger soup with coriander foam

Glass house/ Greenhouse

Glass house/ Greenhouse

The colour of winter is orange. Well, that will of course all depend on where you are and what you are doing but today my winter’s colour was orange and it all started with a buchu tea/palate cleanser concoction with orange marigold flowers floating in it. It actually started before that with a spectacular rainbow after a early morning winter rain. Not bad to wake up to this.image I do not see much daylight lately. Work is taking up all available and non- available time and we did one of our overnight trips just to get the soul back into the body again. Heading in the direction of Stellenbosch, we took a detour to Babylonstoren in Franschhoek for brunch. This has got to be one of my favourite places in the world.

Buchu palet cleanser

Buchu palet cleanser

The Greenhouse is so atmospheric and the back drop is the daily weather! Clever people. I had the scone with cream and cheese and my husband the hot dog with golden fried chips which I ended up politely “helping” him to finish……

Scones&cream please!

Scones&cream please!

imageA stroll through the gardens gave me this!

Typical detail Babylonstoren

Typical detail Babylonstoren

Soul restored, we drove to the Stellenbosch wine farms and log fires, cheese (me), wine tasting (husband) followed by a very cheffy dinner and I am not complaining at all. Back into food heaven after I went through a bit of a food slump lately. My starter was a honey glazed, roast carrot and ginger soup that set my brain into a recreation obsession for the rest of the weekend and that is exactly what I made when I got home, even before I unpacked my overnight bag, handbag still slung over my shoulder (just kidding or did I…..?)

I used:

a bunch of medium sized carrots

50 ml marmalade( you can also use honey and orange peal instead)

fresh ginger

cinnamon

1 liter liquid vegetable stock or more if you want a running consistency

125 ml cream

olive oil to drizzleimage

The secret is to first roast the vegetables, mixed with the ginger and marmalade and drizzled with olive oil to intensify the flavours at 180 C for about 45 minutes. When soft and gooey, add to the boiling stock for 5 minutes. Liquidize in the blender and add the cream.

Roasted carrot, marmalade and ginger soup

Roast carrot, marmalade and ginger soup

and then came the foam……

Coriander spiced foam

Coriander spiced foam

At the crafty cheffy dinner everything had a foam or a jus or a bit and a bob and of course my soup needed foam! This is where I started getting very clever. I have a milk frother! I frothed the milk and added dried coriander spice and voi- la! Coriander foam!

Random Photo:

Still at BabylonstorenimageOn the way to Stellenboschimage

Well, at last I did a Cheese Soufflé

image

I was always(still is) in awe of a soufflé. Any kind which rises straight up from the rim of the dish/ ramekin. All I did not want to hear was the pfffeouffffff! of the thing deflating (my imagination of course). Well I did not hear that sound but it still sort of deflated, just after I took the photo’s. I think my base sauce was a bit too heavy so I will try to aerate the batter better next time as I absolutely ADORE the taste. I can just keep on eating it.

Baked Cheese Souffle

Baked Cheese Souffle

I am in a bit of a food slump lately. Living precariously through my blogging friend’s creations and no inclination to be creatively involved. Well, that is why we have blogs and bloggers. To keep us entertained and reading and dreaming. Thank you to my two loyal friends in blogging Mrs. Choux and Ahila for nominating me for the Wonderful Team Member Readership and Liebster Awards. Much appreciated and as is my habit, I shall have to take up my tools and bake you a thank you cake, which seems to be the only time I bake unless it is baking for national safety like I did here. 

imageI followed the Cheese Soufflé of Pomegranate Days and will change nothing, just concentrate more with the process next time. I read that the step where you cover the base and sides of the ramekin with parmesan, after brushing it with butter is important as it helps the soufflé rising straight above the rim, upwards. That is the step I skipped and which I will not skip again next time as mine did not do the “straight up” thing.

You will need:

500 ml milk
80 g butter
5 ml Dijon Mustard
80 g cake flour
5 ml  nutmeg
65 ml grated parmesan cheese
500 ml grated cheddar cheese
30 ml parsley and basil leaves, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 eggs, separated

Whip it up

Whip it up

Method:
Prepare 6 ramekins (soufflé dishes) by brushing them well with melted butter and thereafter sprinkling the bottom and the sides of each ramekin with the grated parmesan cheese.
Heat the milk.In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the Dijon mustard and stir well. Add the flour and use a wooden spoon to stir the butter and flour together into a thick, smooth paste.
Using a whisk add 250 ml of the milk to the paste and continue whisking until the sauce is smooth and thick. Repeat with the remaining milk. Cook the sauce over a low heat for a 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the cheeses and the herbs. Once the cheeses are melted into the sauce, season the sauce to taste.Whisk in the egg yolks and set aside to cool.
In the meantime, in a clean dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm. Gently and lightly fold the egg whites, ⅓ at a time, into the base sauce. Take care to keep the mixture as light as possible.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the ramekins, filling them ¾ of the way up. Run your thumb around the edge of the ramekin.
Place the ramekins onto a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 190˚C for 25 – 30 minutes or until the soufflés are well risen and firm to the touch.
Serve immediately

Cheese Souffle

Cheese Souffle

Seeing that I have herbs & cheese going on here, this recipe will go straight to the June’s Cheese Please! Blog Challenge on Fromage Homage, one of my favorite reads.

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Random Photo:

 

Artist unknown. I want to paint you...

Artist unknown. I want to paint you…

Same color palate in my ” front yard”.

Floating buildings in the mist. Cape Town

Floating buildings in the mist. Cape Town

Chinese Vegetables

It could have been a flower

It could have been a flower

I think bok choy is just a beautiful thing. I went to the Chinese Supermarket to buy Chinese Five Spice and I found fresh bok choy and white Chinese radish. I have never cooked with either.  Technically bok choy is part of the cabbage family but does not taste like cabbage at all. I should have bought two to keep one as decoration-just so pretty. I did a bit of reading up and a lot of the fried cabbage dishes also contain garlic and ginger and I already had those in the Asian meatballs I was making and did not want to repeat them again with the vegetables. image Trim the bok choy stem, separate the leaves and rinse. I also halved the bigger leaves to have them evenly sized. image Heat up a pan/wok with a bit of peanut oil and add soy sauce to the hot oil just before you add the vegetables, flash fry the leaves and toss fast. I find that tongs work the best. Do that for about 30 seconds and then add a splash of water to create steam and cover the pan. Steam for about 3 minutes and turn it over with the tongs in between. Add another splash of water if necessary to create steam. Plate and season with salt and a drizzle of peanut oil.image Let me tell you it tastes great. I also used half of the Chinese radish to stir fry with carrots and baby cabbage and the other I pickled.

Asian meat balls and stirfry

Asian meat balls and stirfry

Random photo:

Art

Man

Man

 

All in a day

Sometimes it is better not to plan. Just go on a whim by the seat of your pants. This weekend was one of those.

Room with a view-Simon's Town

Room with a view-Simon’s Town

We went for a one night stay in the sleepy Naval village of Simon’s Town about 40 km from Cape Town. Browsing, shopping a bit, eating a lot and sleeping well.

Simon's Town

Simon’s Town

The next morning the full intention was to go straight home but a detour here and there and playing tourists in our own area, we ended up at Cape Point. To most it feels like the most southern tip of Africa but is is not, it is however open water from there right to Antarctica. Ahoy sailer!

Cape Point and then Antarctica!

Cape Point and then Antarctica!

A very nice weekend always has to end with a special lunch of sorts……

White and dark chocolate desert. Hotel Hohenhort Constantia

White and dark chocolate desert. Hotel Hohenhort Constantia

Random Photo: #ilovecapetown

This is how far we are

This is how far we are

Eisbein and Rhubarb Epic

I grew up in a home where nothing was boiled and never did meat touch water in the cooking process, ever. I bought lovely smoked Eisbein and all the recipes I found wanted me to boil the meat first for a few hours before roasting it. No, not in this here house. This particular cut of the pork shank is of German origin and can be fresh but is usually pickled or smoked.

Roast Eisbein and baked apples

Roast Eisbein and baked apples

The name however is Nordic in origin and means “pork knuckle” . In Swedish it is Islaeggor and in Norwegian it is called Islegg. Directly translated into my Afrikaans home language therefor: Ysbeen! The interesting part is that it has nothing to do with the “Ysbeen” in our bodies, but the name stuck because they used to make ice skates of the knuckle bone in the Nordic countries. There you have it!

So upwards and onwards and hell bent on not boiling anything and definitely not my smoked Eisbeins, I googled and found the passionate blog of The Rider who also did not boil his meat but instead did a barbeque and smoked it in a Webber. We corresponded and food friends made, I told him smoking and Webbers are out of the question as it is not going to go down well in an apartment block where no such shenanigans will be allowed. The poor man was having a gall stone attack at the other end of the country after his indulgences with the exact same Eisbein culprit went too far for his doctor’s liking (oh what we would do for good food…). I hope he is alive and well and firing up the Webber again as we speak.

Investigations done, I  found a recipe for pork fillet by Jamie Oliver which he combined with rhubarb of all things and I had rhubarb in my fridge!

Preparation: I formed a bed of onion, garlic and rhubarb. No water no oil no nothing, the meat has enough fat and juices.

Tucked in on a bed of rhubarb

Tucked in on a bed of rhubarb

Oven: The Eisbeins went into the oven, covered with foil. Bake it at low heat (140 C) for 3.5 hours. I added carrots towards the end. Roast : remove foil and roast for another hour or however long you want on n higher heat or if you do not have another hour, grill it at high heat until you have hard crackling. Be around and look often if on a high heat so you do not overdo the roasting and burn the crackling part.

Eisbein & roast veg

Eisbein & roast veg

In other words, take your merry time on a Sunday or whenever because it is so worth it. No need to boil anything and the meat was soft and juicy. The rhubarb with smoked pork is an absolute winner, it has the same tartness as the baked apple. Next time I will put in the rhubarb much later as mine disintegrated into a sauce ( nice) but lost its pink colour and I am all about colour as we know.

imageI served it with baked apple slices and pickled radishes instead of the normal sauerkraut.

Baked Apples: Place sliced and cored apple on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and butter and bake till you have a soft apple.

Random Photos:

I miss Europe. Do I feel a trip comming on…..?

Mont Martre, Paris

Montmartre, Paris

Walk- about

Walk- about

PICKLED PINK

Aside

Pickled Radishes

Pickled Radishes

I always wondered how the contestants on Master Chef could pickle all they pickle within one hour. I thought pickles had to sit pretty in brine or whatever for weeks to be just right .Well I was wrong. No suprise that I was wrong on that score as I only for the first time preserved guavas a year ago after putting it off for half of my natural life, because yet again I thought it would take lots of time and effort, which it did not.

Today I made a bon voyage lunch for my sister and her husband who is going for a week of 5 star holiday in Mauritius, awful I know….If she loved me she would have taken me with. Another first for me was to make Eisbein which is a robust German dish of smoked pork knuckle and which deserves a blog on its own. I did not have sauerkraut and wanted some pickles to go with the obligatory mustard and veggies for the Eisbein feast.

No hard work for these pickles

No hard work for these pickles

A bunch of big fat radishes lying around in the fridge ended up being just the thing to pickle and low and behold, ready in 10 minutes. I bought a bottle of Verjus which I have never tried before (a lot of firsts being tried out here!) and the label says:: “use instead of lemon juice or vinegar”, perfect for the radishes.image

Mix the following:

1 cup Verjus/Vinegar of your choice

1/2 a cup water

2t salt

2 T honey(I used ginger infused honey)

A bunch radishes sliced thinly

3 cloves garlic

Pickled Pink!

Pickled Pink!

Cook the first 4 ingredients for 2 minutes in the microwave or warm up on the stove top. Add the radishes and garlic to the liquid(do not cook again, the heat is just to melt the honey) and leave to cool down. Taste the liquid and adjust the sweetness if you have to. 10 minutes later you have pickled radishes! Pretty and pink. I will definitely use Verjus again, I like the gentle taste of it and can think of a lot of ways to enhance food with my newfound bottle of joy. If I do not have ginger honey, I will definitely add ginger to the normal ingredients as it just took it to another layer of taste.

Random Photo:

Miss you Tara! Starbucks all the way from Ulsan, South Korea.

My Tara to the right, Jeanri to the left.

My Tara to the right, Jeanri to the left.

 

Floating Islands in the Mist?

Aside

In the mist-Cape Town

In the mist-Cape Town

On a scale of weirdness these past two months were just that, weird. I did not travel(by plane) for two months. First time in eight years. I am a commuter and work in two cities. One where my whole heart lies and where I live and the other where I need to be to do what I do. My body and mind is so used to leaving on a jet plane that at first I was at a loss as to why I felt between two worlds, as if I needed to be somewhere where I am not. The broken up weeks of the past two months with public holidays, Easter Weekend and Workers Day added to the stop-start, stop-start of normal routines. A bit like floating around in the mist really. At least I spent quality time with good people and great mini road trips in between. Just as sudden as this small hiatus started, it stopped and I am on my way again. More sudden is winter that descended with a vengeance and is now here to stay. Good soups, curries and pot pies come to mind!

Walking, walking, walking in Paris a year ago.

Walking, walking, walking in Paris a year ago.

It is now a year since I visited my friend OddlylivinginParis and I miss the walking,walking and talking, talking with her (not to mention the eating-eating…) and sitting in front of her picture perfect Parisian window putting the world to rights! Her written piece on “hands” make me weak in the knees, so beautiful.

Odette's view

Odette’s view

The floating island dessert I made and blogged on my return needs a re-mention to celebrate remembrance.

Oeufs a la Neige/Floating Islands

Oeufs a la Neige/Floating Islands

It is to remember and celebrate mothers passed, mothers around me, sisters near and far and children of my heart. One so far and one so near. Happy Mothers Day.

Thank you Boxofrecipes and lapetitartichaut with their lovely blogs for the rewards, much appreciated. This dessert is also for you!

Random Photo:

Very quirky upside down, inside out display in Paris. I like!

Upside down, inside out!

Upside down, inside out!

Breakfast Ring

 

Cape Malay Pickled Fish

Cape Malay Pickled Fish

One of our very traditional South African Foods is Curried Pickled Fish, made either with battered Hake or Yellow Tail and pickled with the gentle and aromatic Cape Malay spices. There are loads of recipes on the internet for this and I will not post it as I bought mine this time around. Luckily we get this year round and we certainly do not only eat it as a starter or main, but also for breakfast as we did this Easter.

Ardmore Ceramics

Ardmore Ceramics

It is usually served cold and has a sort of sweet, curried-pickled taste and goes well with anything savoury. I did not feel like the usual bacon, egg and toast so I rolled everything I liked into a phyllo pastry ring and we brunched to hearts content.

Preparations

Preparations

Really not rocket science this one as you can use any filling you like, sweet or savoury.

I used:

left over spinach salad

camembert cheese

a tub of chunky cottage cheese

chopped walnuts

chopped gherkins

boiled eggs

brush each phyllo sheet with butter( I used 4 sheets as the filling was quite heavy)

bake at 180 C until golden

Breakfast Ring

Breakfast Ring

Breakfast/ brunch on a long weekend is the best, it can go on forever and no reason not to have it in your pajamas I say!

Curried Fish

Curried Fish

Our recent weekend road trip was to the Stellenbosch Winelands. These lavender fields are on the way to Jordan Wines.

Lavender on the way to Jordan Wines

Lavender on the way to Jordan Wines

And just look at this stunning, stunning table at De Morgenson wine tasting room, what I would give for a kitchen big enough to hold a table just like that….

Dream on

Dream on

Random Photo:

Our wild animal (Jack) is really taking over our lives….

So wild

So wild

Very happy wild animal indeed.

Jack, wild, wild animal....

Jack, wild, wild animal….

 

All things Red

Baked figs and Blue cheese

Baked figs and Blue cheese

I am still in my red phase, or fig phase, don’t know which, which started with the red Afghan carpet I bought. I need very visually stimulating food and things around me and that is not a phase, it is just how it is.

I just put the blue cheese in the sliced figs with a sprig of thyme and baked at 180 until soft and gooyy. Green grapes and baked figs made a great salad in what is a hot summer in Cape Town.

Baked figs and ice cold green grapes

Baked figs and ice cold green grapes

Red post or not, this blue fig one will go to the Cheese, Please! April challenge featuring the blues.

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

We are doing short over-night road trips over weekends to the wine farms and surrounds to clear the brain and I always pick up fresh produce and cheeses along the way. I wish we had time for a longer break but alas, it will not happen now.

Ataraxia Wine Farm, Hemel&Aarde Valley

Ataraxia Wine Farm, Hemel&Aarde Valley

Figs will always remind me of the huge fig tree in front of our house when I started my school years in George, Eastern Cape. There was often a big juicy red fig in my packed lunch, which even then I could not wait to get my teeth into. Strange if you think that others had sweets or crisps and I wanted fruit, strange kid indeed. I am still strange, come to think of it.

Figs, Feta & Capers

Figs, Feta & Capers

This fig salad was made with baby spinach, sun-dried tomato feta and capers(my latest craze).

Baked Ricotta&Beetroot Pots

Baked Ricotta&Beetroot Pots

The funny red concoction happened when I adjusted my baked Ricotta Vegetable Pots Recipe to make baked beetroot and ricotta pots. Dark, deep red. Oh, and of course I added vintage cheddar to the beetroot mix. Great combination. Instead of pouring the ricotta mix over oven baked beetroot(drizzled with balsamic cream), I mixed the beetroot and ricotta mix with added vintage cheddar in a mixer to form a paste and then baked it in individual ramekins. Do NOT forget to put the lid on the mixer…ahem…uh, okay it took very long to clean the kitchen……

Random Photo:

Good night Cape Town

Lion's Head Cape Town

Lion’s Head Cape Town