PICKLED PINK

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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.

 

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Floating Islands in the Mist?

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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!

Guavas in the glorious Cape Winelands

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We spent the most wonderful weekend in the Paarl Winelands recently, complete with open clear winter’s days and nights under a thick duvet in a Cape Dutch house circa 1692 on the historical farm De Kleijne Bos(also known as Helena).image

The nearby farm Kleinbosch in Dal Josafat is rich with the heritage of our unique Afrikaans language roots and I read that the great Totius, Afrikaans writer and poet was born on this farm and also spent his last days there. Back at De Kleijne Bos Manor House, we ate delicious pink guavas with breakfast and the manager Jan Botha invited us to pick fruit from the farm orchard where the guava trees were planted over a 100 years ago, still going strong and produces tons of fruit for the canning market. image

Well of course we obliged and Jan also gave us a container of his own guava in syrup to try out. His secret is to peel the fruit, slice in thick slices and layer with sugar and leaving it in a covered container( plastic container with lid or glass container covered with cling wrap) overnight in the fridge. The sugar and fruit juices form a thick sauce and the fruit retains an intense guava flavour as if freshly picked from the trees. No cooking and delicious! This can keep for a maximum of 5 days in a fridge.

Jan inspired me and on our way home I bought the right “tools” to preserve our bag of guavas and armed with sugar, cinnamon sticks and pretty glass containers I started peeling and boiling even before I unpacked my suitcase. Nothing like the urgency of inspiration!( or the obsessiveness of creating…)

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The top photo is Jan’s uncooked self- saucing layers and the bottom photo  is the old style preserving cooked method.

I used the recipe below from Die Volledige Suid-Afrikaanse Kookboek 1980 Edition passed on from my mother’s collection and I have never tried preserving anything before!

250 ml sugar

500 ml water

cinnamon stick(s)

I used about 20 guavas

Sterilise glass screw top jars in a dishwasher or by leaving it in boiled water until cooled down. Boil ingredients together until sugar is melted. Add peeled and halved guavas and boil until guavas are soft( still firm, not too mushy). Put the fruit and cinnamon sticks in the jars and fill up with syrup, remove bubbles by inserting the handle of a spoon in the jar and releasing the air. Fasten lid while hot and the steam will seal the bottle.

And there you have it! I preserved fruit and it worked like a charm.

We were paying guests at De Kleijne Bos Country Manor and treated like royalty by managers Rene and Jan Botha who can be visited at www.1692dekleijnebos.com

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