Home at last and Cheese Please!

I do not want to be in anything with wheels or wings soon. Back at home at last after 36 hours of continuous travel, which to say the least, was nauseating. Very. I am still dazed and confused or just more so than usual.

Seoul Airport- leg 2 of 4

Seoul Airport- leg 2 of 4

Morning coffee. Home sweet home!

Morning Cape Town!

Morning Cape Town!

Unpacking the suitcases took me two days, what with dragging an entire food isle worth of sauces, bits and bobs, Asian products and cool kitchen stuffs with me and even 2 liters of shower gel…., I liked the smell and it was on a special. What can I say, I have problems!

In my still sleepless state and a day and night body clock on the blink, I at least have time to catch up with blog reading, obsess about the recipes I am reading and put coal to the fire of my cheese craving, cheese of any kind! The South Koreans are not big on cheese and I need to catch up on my cheese backlog.

Chef Mimi posted her Easy Baked Brie recipe and I intended making it and eating it, the whole thing, even if it killed me. Full details here:http://chefmimiblog.com/2014/01/01/easy-baked-brie/

I used for the topping:

Honey and nuts with dried cranberries and cinnamon.

Tasted it and then decided that it was too sweet and added carrot and lemon chutney/ marmalade courtesy of my sister’s preserving skills.

It of course then need a punch and I added chili sauce- kid you not it all worked well!

I placed the cheese in the oven just like Chef Mimi said I should in an old and trusted glass dish that has seen better days, my sister visited and I forgot about my precious cheese!

Disaster, the dish cracked, the over-baked cheese burst open and the cheese and pieces of glass oozed and dripped all over the place. Unholy mess and I did not have another brie. But I did have a local soft blue cheese, yes I did.

Not baked blue cheese with topping

Not baked blue cheese with topping

The topping mixture went on top of the unbaked( of course) soft blue cheese and ooh it was nice! I almost forgot to take a photo(dazed) and these are the only two I have( half eaten). I do have manners, shared the cheese with the family in the end, just.

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Not cheese challenge excellence but I decided to enter it anyway in the http://fromagehomage.co.uk/cheese-please-recipe-challenge/, which by the way is one of my favourite blogs, not only the cheese bits, but the whole thing.

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Nice to be back home. New year, new experiences.

Mist rolling in late afternoon Cape Town, fog horn blaring.

Late afternoon mist Cape Town

Late afternoon mist Cape Town

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Blue cheese salad dressing and Nespresso Machines

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My daughter is celebrating her birthday in South Korea today and we miss her so. In celebration, complete with birthday flowers, we had a birthday lunch at home in Cape Town and skype talked to her. Such is life. I made a blue cheese salad dressing for the first time and will for sure play with the dressing to accompany all sorts of dishes in future. I did not feel like searching and reading recipes and just started mixing ingredients to taste.

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I mixed olive oil, cream and a tangy mayonaise ( use own quantities to taste)

Add fresh herbs of choice

Half a cup of blue cheese melted for about half a minute in the micro wave-I left mine a bit lumpy as it is nice to have a piece of cheese here and there in the dressing. There was more than half a cup but the other half landed in my mouth.

Mix until smooth(ish).

Add more cheese if you want a thick dressing or add a bit of water/milk if a runny dressing is called for.

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Crunch was what I was after and I layered salad leaves and baby savoy cabage which are the most beautiful and perfectly formed little things.

Next add anything you like with a lot of chrunch like cucumber, pine apple and dried onion flakes( which I am obsessed about) and lastly generous scoops of the blue cheese dressing. I did not add bacon bits this time but will certainly do that next time. We had the salad with chicken and pumkin fritters. Trust me, it is nice!

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Now, for my random photo of the day:

This is specially for chef Mimi who recently blogged “In My Kitchen” (which I thought was a great idea) on her blog www.chefmimi.com about things in her kitchen she cannot live without. She mentioned that her Nespresso machine is one of those things and I said to her that I take my obsession with good coffee to another level by taking my Nespresso with me on travels in its own travel case. Her reply quote unquote:

” Holy s&$$))))))! I need to see that!”. Well, here it is then and it saved me from depression many a time, when I just could not and would not face the tepid blueish hotel coffee that seems to go around.

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It is about the same size as a small vanity case. I will rather leave the vanity case behind……

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Enjoy Mimi! (wanted to say: Eat your heart out! hehehe).

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Ps. I was not paid for this standing ovation to Nespresso.

Caramelized beetroot and blue cheese tartlets

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I saw the nice soft blue cheese that I bought last week in my fridge and I immediately thought “beetroot”! Still don’t know why, but I no longer question how my brain works.

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I have a lovely citrus balsamic reduction and I drizzled that and olive oil over cleaned baby beetroot and added salt and black pepper to taste. Bake at 180 C until caramelized.

I blind baked rolled out puff pastry in tartlet shells until half baked (in the same oven as the beetroot at 180 C).

At the same time I roasted sliced tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and seasoned to taste (busy oven!)

Cool down the roasted ingredients and fill the tartlets ready for the second bake, just before you and/or your guests are ready to eat.

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The softest of blue cheese that did not end up in my mouth landed in the tartlets. The roasted tomatoes easily scoops out and the skin must be left behind.

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You will need your own quantities of:

baby beets

balsamic reduction

olive oil

puff pastry

soft blue cheese

tomatoes

salt&pepper

garnish of your choice ( I added preserved quince)

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