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.

image

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

Advertisements

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

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!

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

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

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

Fig and Blue Cheese Parcels

I bought a new Afghan carpet. A red one, which promptly made me think of red food of course, as carpets do….

Fig&Blue Cheese Parcels

Fig&Blue Cheese Parcels

The fig parcel is similar to a starter I had at Weltevreden Estate with its beautiful Cape Dutch Manor House and clever chef, but I love it as a dessert or to serve instead of an after dinner cheese plate.

Red figs&green preserved figs

Red figs&green preserved figs

Chop fresh red figs and a few preserved green figs.

Prepare phyllo sheets by brushing with melted butter.

Add chunky bits of blue cheese and form parcels. I used Blue Rock from Fairview wine&cheese Farm in the Paarl Winelands. I also added a small dollop of cream cheese but it is not really necessary if you don’t feel like it.

Bake at 180C until crispy and eat warm or cold, on its own, as a starter or dessert or just because you have to celebrate a new carpet. (Who needs an excuse).

The blue cheese featuring this month on the Cheese, Please! Blog Challenge really fits right into my everyday life and the love of the blues!

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Oozing Blues

Oozing Blues

After the pretty cheese parcels I had a red dessert as well, just to stay in theme, eaten on my red carpet as it should. Strawberry compote (strawberries stewed in castor sugar) made into a jelly with gelatine leaves topped with strawberry cream. The dessert idea came from the light mousses blogged by Bakering and I will still try the lemon one for sure (or maybe I should buy a yellow carpet first…).

Dessert on Afghan!

Dessert on Afghan!

Very befitting to the carpet theme, the flowers I bought at the market the previous week, opened in all their glory. They stayed on the table and did not end up on the red carpet as well.

In all its glory

In all its glory

Random photo:

My two “Peace in the Home” are happy just where they are, unlike my purple African Violet that is unhappy in every “best spot” I place them.

Peace in the Home in Ardmore pots

Peace in the Home in Ardmore pots