Around The World With A Wooden Spoon And Spatula

Posted in Recipes / Meat Dishes / Desserts / Soups / Drinks and Beverages / Travel

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   (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.


2kg beef on the bone, cut into large cubes (some marrow bones are delicious added to this)
3 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
60ml butter
250ml beef stock
250ml Hanepoot wine (fortified, sweet white wine) but red wine may also be used.
6 med carrots, scraped and cut into fingers
4 med potatoes, peeled and quartered
115g tomato paste
125ml seedless raisins
Salt and pepper to taste
125ml fresh mixed herbs or herbs of your choice, roughly chopped. E.g. parsley, thyme, rosemary.
250ml peas shelled
12 olives
2 wheels of feta cheese, broken


Melt butter to sizzling over medium heat.  Brown the meat, in batches, in a heavy-bottomed casserole, remove the browned, caramelised meat and keep to one side.
Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan juices. Sauté until soft and translucent.
Add the meat.
Add the carrots and tomato paste 
Add the raisins and chopped herbs and seasonings.
Gently pour the stock and Hanepoot over the casserole 
Cover with a tight-fitting lid
Simmer over a very gently heat (on the stove or fire) for at least 2 ½ hours.  (In the oven @ 160֠C)
Add the potatoes
Return to the heat and cook again until the potatoes are almost soft (30 minutes)
Lastly, add the shelled peas cook for another 10 minutes (I find frozen peas work as well)
Garnish with chopped parsley and the feta cheese.

Serve with Creamy Polenta

1 cup Polenta
450ml Milk (I use full cream milk)
50ml butter
Salt and pepper
125ml grated cheddar cheese.

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.



110g cake flour
Pinch of salt
5ml baking powder
2 large eggs
200ml milk and 75ml water
125ml Canola oil
The rind of one orange
5ml Lemon juice
15ml caster sugar

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.

The flour has now settled, and the mixture might be thicker. Add cold water until the batter is a little thicker than pouring cream.
Heat a pancake pan until very hot.  Clean the pan to prevent sticking by pouring a tablespoon of salt into the pan, using a paper towel, wipe the pan until it’s sparkling.  Toss the salt over your left shoulder for luck, but do not burn.
Add a teaspoon of oil to the pan and a soup ladle of pancake mixture.  Make your pancakes.
Run each pancake through the Orange Sauce, fold into a triangle and lay neatly onto a platter or tart plate


250ml fresh orange juice
Zest of one orange
Zest of one lemon
15ml caster sugar
45ml Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Brandy
50g Butter
Combine all these ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a simmer.  Simmer until the sugars have dissolved and butter has melted.  Cooldown until needed.
Drizzle leftover sauce over the pancakes once all have been made. Serve.


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.    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

22a High St, Hermanus, 7200
Phone: 076 837 4231

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.