Around The World With A Wooden Spoon And Spatula
Pfft, to armchair travel we might think. For the foreseeable future, it’s a new reality whichever way we look at it. The thought of not travelling is like telling a ladybird she may not save her children burning in their house. Dreadful. Unthinkable. Depressing. Every morning I throw back a fistful of tablets to boost my immunity so that the dreaded Covid19 stays at bay or to fight other deadly viruses, and most importantly to keep the travel bug alive with hope.
There are numerous ways to keep the travel bug inspired, and never before have we had so many tools at our disposal. We can read books about exotic places, recount our experiences while paging through our old photo albums. YouTube is a great way to explore any place on earth, no matter how remote. Rifling through my library, I can lay my fingers on at least a dozen books telling stories of great adventures.
While I wait for a fizzy tablet to dissolve my travel memories inevitably return to our food experiences. The flakey, buttery Pain Chocolat in Paris, thick, strong Espressos in Lisbon, Pasteis de Nata in Porto, scoops of gelato moulded into sugar cones in Siena, spicy Peri-Peri LM prawns in Tofo and crispy Pani Puri bursting with flavour in Mumbai. Tequila in Mexico. Fish Tacos and chocolate. Seeing a picture transports me back to the time and place instantly. All my senses immediately on high alert.
Recipe books are bookmarked with stubs, photographs, menus and lists of ingredients for meals past. Favourite books are easy to spot, the pages are stuck together by sticky fingers, juices and dough droplets. I pry them loose carefully not to erase the recipes.
We’re in for a weekend of inclement weather. Preparations have to be made to counter the squall.
A few years ago we celebrated a friend’s 40th birthday in France, at La Jacobine we supp’d on the best French Onion Soup in Paris. We’ll have that for supper tonight. Instead of crusty French bread, I’ll use slices of my Mana Pools Pot Bread with a thick spread of garlic butter to make my crouton. Served with the last Sherry in the bottle. In our valley we have Sop en Dop (Soup and Toot) festivals, we’ll keep traditions alive. See the recipe in a previous blog http://maricha.co.za/blogs/post/i-can-conclude-im-no-food-prude (there are some super recipes included in this blog.)
For our main course, comfort food from Peru. Estofado will be slow-cooked in our sizeable cast-iron pot.
Serve with Creamy Polenta
Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the butter and seasonings. Add the Polenta. Bring to the boil gently, frequently stirring to prevent sticking or lumps. Once the polenta is boiling, and smooth. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the grated cheddar cheese. Serve. Garnish with some chopped herbs used in the Estofado.
For dessert, we’ll do citrus flavours, boosting our Vitamin C intake. Flambéed Crepe Suzette’s always hit the spot perfectly. I’ll flambé with Cointreau just before serving to make a statement and boost tangy orange and lemon flavours. This good old-fashioned favourite is always popular and can be prepared a few days in advance.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, using an electric beater whip until smooth. Set aside for 60 minutes. Now make the Orange sauce.
If you make the pancakes a day before; use an ovenproof plate and cover with tin foil. On the day of serving, heat the oven to a high temperature. Place the platter in the oven. Switch the oven off and leave for 10 minutes.
You can flambé the dish when you remove it from the oven by pouring 65ml of brandy over the pancakes and setting it alight. It does make an entrance.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or cream or both.
The flavour of the week? Butch has been brewing Mulled Wine (Gluhweine) it’s one way to warm the cockles I must admit. My favourite recipe can be found in a previous post. http://maricha.co.za/blogs/post/hot-chick-spicing-up-the-kitchen I believe it’s not necessary to use your best wines. It’s best to remove as much pith from the oranges as possible to prevent a bitter after taste. The longer the wine is left to simmer, the smoother it becomes. Nectar of the gods.
We have discovered a fabulous bakery and Deli in Hermanus, just down the road from Woolies, for the best takeaway organic coffee (I thought all coffee was organic mind you), but, the croissants are just perfect. This girl has mastered the craft. Her patisseries are all delicious, we’ve tried them. There are so many beautiful things to buy one is hard-pressed to decide. Do make a turn there. She has vegan offerings too.
The Gallery Deli
Next to me, I have a chair piled high with recipes I’ve tried during these days of lock-down, I wish I could share them all.
My brother has been hospitalised and is gravely ill. Every day brings new, unexpected consequences of this dreaded disease. It is only when one has a loved one on oxygen that you realise the severity of Covid19. We are all breathing for him. He is alone, afraid, uncertain and confused. His Dr answered this morning when asked how long he’ll be there, “two weeks minimum to 10 weeks”! As weak as he is, he’s fighting and clawing his way out.
Out of respect for others, please mask up and sanitise, it’s the right thing to do. Covid19 is indiscriminate, engineered to destroy the host all the while searching to find new hosts.
If you’re a SHOWMAX subscriber, please watch JAN – a travel and food programme. I’m so envious I become quite ratty and have to stop watching. On NETFLIX I watched THE CHEF, twice. Delightful. And last but not least. Watch DIE BOEKKLUB on Showmax - it reminded me of my only trip to the KKNK with my BFF. I can't remember the food we ate, but, the laughs we had and the Poetry slam we attended. Magic.