Tag Archives: food

#shanghai – food paradise

#shanghai – food paradise

These past few weeks I have taken somewhat of a respite from my ever-busy blogging exploits. But now with the body and mind rejuvenated after the festive break, I feel both rested and at peace and am enormously excited at the wonderful year that lies ahead. Yes, I am sure it will have its challenges, but think of the opportunities to be grasped, the friendships to be made and of course the many food adventures that beckon….!

Dim sum te kus en te keur

2015 started with the most awesome adventure… I travelled to the incredible city of Shanghai in China! What an amazing city and food culture. Spending two weeks in the East gave me a completely new perspective of this amazing world we live in. And the week that I spent with my hubby in Shanghai just blew me away. I have to admit this is the first time that I have been so overwhelmed, astounded and just simply in awe of a city – it left me speechless and so much richer for all the incredible experiences. Did you know there are more than 24 million people living in this one city? People, that is almost half the population of South Africa in one city! It is a bedazzling place, almost like a well-orchestrated ant’s nest. Everyone has a place to stay, everyone has a job they need to do…there seems to be some kind of military management of things that keeps everything running in its proper order.

Eendjies, eendjies, staan in 'n ry ...

Kluitjies (dumplings) vars op straat

Shanghai is a food paradise. I am sure you can imagine the amount of food and the variety of food that needs to be prepared to satisfy the tastes and stomachs of 24 million people. Street food or rather street buffets are BIG and fabulous and it would be difficult to find a stronger food culture than in China. The food is affordable, fabulous and fantastic – a festival of oriental flavours that enriches both body and soul…

Here are a few images for you to feast on …

A friendly street chef preparing delicious squid tentacles on a stick

A friendly street chef preparing delicious squid tentacles on a stick

Fried tofu in the making - food is always served with fresh spring onions

Fried tofu in the making – food is always served with fresh spring onions

Food is made with honesty and pride and the recipes are handed down from one generation to the next over thousands of years….

A street chef busy with Rick's favourite oriental breakfast - a pancake with egg and spring onion.  4 Yuan - about R8

A street chef busy with Rick’s favourite oriental breakfast – a pancake with egg and spring onion. 4 Yuan – about R8

Beautiful fresh green vegetables.

Beautiful fresh green vegetables.

Dim sum te kies en te keur

Soup dumpling with the most delicious warm soup inside that you drink with a straw

Soup dumpling with the most delicious warm soup inside that you drink with a straw

Dried fruit and nuts anyone?

Dried fruit and nuts anyone?

Rick with a caramel strawberry kebab

Rick with a caramel strawberry kebab

robben island #christmas cake

robben island #christmas cake

robben island christmas cake

Watch me make this by clicking here.

{honour + understanding}
I was so honoured when Expresso asked me to demonstrate the Robben Island Christmas Cake on the day that Cape Town are going to have a memorial service. After reading this fantastic extract below from Anna Trapido’s book Hunger for Freedom I had to try this myself. I made my version that tasted absolutely delicious … but I am sure not as good as the real deal {see my version of the recipe at the bottom of this page}.

Please read this piece below. It will make you smile and bring some understanding of the food situation Madiba and his fellow comrades faced.

Rest in peace Tata.

{extract from hunger for freedom by anna trapido}
“The monotony of the Robben Island diet was occasionally broken by the observance of religious ritual. Those priests who were brought into minister to the prisoners were legitimately allowed to bring food items in honour of specific festivals. Many prisoners, Madiba included, developed fluid religious affiliations in order to take advantage of the temporary respite from prison food. Laloo Chiba, a fellow inmate to Nelson Mandela, recalled: ‘The authorities would come around and say, “How many people are observing Eid?” And hell, everybody was suddenly converted or Hinduism or Islam or whatever it was, including Madiba and Walter Sisulu! Madiba genuinely respected all religions and he did use to attend all types of service so it was a show of respect for other people’s religion, not just about the food. But we were all born again quite often! Muslims, Christians, Hindus: we were everything! While most of the food for ecclesiastical eating came in from the outside, there are rare examples of prisoners making their own festive food. In 1978 Laloo Chiba took on the role of Chrismas cake-maker. It was not a cake in the conventional sense of the word but all those who tasted it swear that it was delicious”. {see laloo’s recipe below}

????????

{laloo chiba’s robben island christmas cake}
Serves 6-8
4 loaves Sasko white bread
10 tbsp cocoa powder
10 tbsp white sugar
200g currants or raisins
750ml Phuzamandla*

Break the bread into pieces and place inside an old biscuit tin. Sprinkle with cocoa, sugar and currants. Soak in phuzamandla for at least 12 hours. After 6 hours place a food plate on top of the mixture and put a stone on top of the plate in order to weight down and compact the cake. Allow the cake to solidify overnight. Slice and serve.

Phuzamandla
Makes 1L

4 cups water
½ cup mielie meal
½ cup iron fortified sorghum
4 tbsp powdered yeast

Bring the water to the boil, add the mielie meal and sorghum, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked (about 30 minutes). Leave to cool. Add the yeast and mix well. Dilute with water to pouring consistency. Strain and drink.

????????

????????

 

my version of the robben island #christmas cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 9 slices of white bread
  • 5.5 Tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp currents
  • 500ml full cream milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp salt
  • icing sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  2. In a small non stick bread pan break three slices of bread, sprinkle with a 1.5 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp of currents.
  3. Repeat the next two layers doing the same.
  4. Push the bread mixture down with your hands.
  5. Mix the milk, eggs, vanilla essence and salt together. Pour over the bread.
  6. Bake in oven for 50 minutes.
  7. Turn out of pan, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve immediately.

robben island christmas cake

beef + veg and married life in the suburbs

beef + veg and married life in the suburbs

SONY DSC

{missing in action}
I have been missing in action for the past few months with work, the FreshlyBlogged competition and a host of other engagements. As a result Rick was somewhat neglected – we were like ships passing in the night. When we did see each other it was a bark about this or a mumble about that…you know how it goes when life just gets too busy. 🙂

{let me surprise hubby}
So when at long last I got the opportunity to get my life into my normal routine… I decided to make him his favourite meal – Beef and Veg. I thought I would surprise him with a beautifully set table, candles, a good bottle of red wine and a scrumptious meal.

I took a beef roast and placed it in the bottom of a roasting pan, added all the veggies and herbs that were lying at the bottom of my fridge and then poured some red wine and balsamic vinegar over the lot …. Well the dish was tender, flavourful and simply delicious.

{happpy night … nope}
Now you are probably thinking that we had this cosy, catch-up evening with candles and all. Nope, he phoned me early evening to say that he would not be home early – he had some work matters to attend to. So there I was sitting all on my own getting hammered on the wine.

Oh well this stuff happens, when he did get home I had a few sharp words to say…and so did he. We barked a bit more and I eventually gave Rick his dinner on a tray in front of the telly. You see married life in the suburbs is full of frustrations, trials and tribulations.

{what did i learn}
What did I learn this time around? Well nothing – but I still enjoyed cooking the dish, I still loved laying the table, I still loved photographing the dish the next morning before work … maybe next time…

B&V 5 800

 

beef + veg roast
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1.2kg beef roll
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 potatoes, quartered
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • handful of parsley
  • 250g cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup of red wine
  • ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ t salt
  • 1 t black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a baking tray. Toss the vegetables with your hands so that the beef and veggies are well seasoned with the salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the red wine.
  3. Bake for 1hr20 min or more in the oven till done – check every now and then. Take the roast out of the oven and cover with foil and then let it rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Cut the beef into slices and put some of the veggies and sauceover the meat.
  5. Serve with lashings of sourdough bread.

samp curry + mandela + humanity + humility = the true colours of our rainbow nation

samp curry + mandela + humanity + humility = the true colours of our rainbow nation

Respect. You are in our thoughts Tata – get well soon.

Samp Curry

Click here to watch me make this.

Samptuous samp curry – Within our democracy is a technicoloured blanket of a diverse society; of young of old, of traditional and the unconventional, there is beauty and richness in our diversity and too often we fail to see the real rainbow behind our nation. Our often tainted spectacles prevent us from celebrating the bounty of our diverse heritage. Take a simple ingredient such as samp for instance…

For years, samp in its multitude of forms has fed and sustained the poorest of our nation. I grew up with samp in the Free State {yes with pap too :-)} but we normally had it with warm milk and sugar for breakfast. The traditional Xhosa dish is umngqusho, made with samp and cowpeas – this dish is said to be former South African president Nelson Mandela’s favorite meal of his childhood.

image

Samp lends itself very well to absorbing flavours so to curry it for me is just a no brainer. It’s like an African chick pea that is curried. I cooked it beforehand to al dente (it still needs a bite) – and with fresh chopped coriander it’s a perfect vegetarian dish served with a roti. And it is extremely economical too!

It is a simple thing but it is often the unusual, the unsuspecting ingredients however plain they may seem that is the very dye that brings the colour to our lives and our life. We just have to look a little deeper , beyond the mirage of our own perceptions to live our lives in true colour …

Postscript – I was most fortunate to meet Mandiba once in the 90’s at a memorial function for the late Samora Machel. You see I am good friends with his granddaughter Ndileka and was very privileged to sit at one of the family tables back then. What did he say to me … this humble man? His words to me were – “Hi, so good to meet you Anél. Oh I have heard so much about you (me? – really Madiba!) and thank you for being such a good friend to my granddaughter” – well, I nearly fainted … To this day these words remain etched as a very special and lasting memory. Respect. You are in our thoughts Tata – get well soon.

Samp Curry

samp curry + mandela + humanity + humility = the true colours of our rainbow nation
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups of cooked samp – the samp must not be all soft – it needs to be slightly al dente and still have a bit of biting texture.
  • 2 Large onions finely chopped
  • 3T Cooking oil
  • Spices
  • 3 Cardamom pods
  • 3t Mustard seeds (yellow)
  • 1t Fennel seeds
  • 1t Cumin seeds
  • ½t Coriander fine
  • 4t Curry powder (I use medium for this dish)
  • 1t Turmeric powder
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1t Chillie flakes
  • Other
  • 4 Large garlic cloves – grated
  • 2 Thumbs fresh ginger – grated
  • 6 Medium tomatoes – grated
  • Salt and pepper.
Instructions
  1. Fry onion till translucent in the oil.
  2. Then add all the spices as well as the grated garlic and ginger and fry slowly for about 5 minutes until all the flavours are released.
  3. Add the grated tomato and let it simmer till thick – +- 10 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add ½ cup of water and let it simmer again till thick. This way you are really creating this delicious tomato chutney.
  5. Then add the samp and heat through for about five minutes - season to taste.
  6. Serve with fresh coriander and a roti.

 

10 tips to poach the perfect egg

10 tips to poach the perfect egg

My favourite Saturday morning breakfast is a soft poached egg on whole wheat toast with a bit of wild rocket out of my garden and a pinch of Maldon salt. When you cut into that egg and the yellow slowly ooze onto the bread … it is like early morning sunshine on my plate! What I want to share with you today is not a specific recipe on how to poach the perfect egg but a few interesting facts and tips that might help you along the way. I am sure you will know most of them but one or two of these pointers are quite interesting.the perfect mother's day breakfast - 10 tips to poach the perfect egg
1. The fresher the egg, the easier the poach – fresh eggs hold together better when slipped into the simmering water.
2. To test to see whether an egg is fresh – put the egg into a bowl of water. A very fresh egg will immediately sink to the bottom and lie flat on its side – an old egg will float.
3. The eggs must preferably be room temperature.
4. Remember to add a bit of vinegar to the simmering water – it helps hold the egg together.
5. The water must be simmering not boiling.
6. Now, my best tip is to slowly submerse the whole egg with shell and all in the hot simmering water for 10 seconds before you break it. This ensures the whites on the outside of the egg hold together better during poaching.
7. Before breaking the egg into your simmering pot of water, use a spoon and give the water a stir so that it forms a little bit of a whirlpool…the centrifugal motion will pull the egg together when you slide it into the water.
8. When you break the egg break it into a saucer or cup first – be careful not to break the yolk and then simply slide the egg off the saucer or cup into the centre of the whirling water.
9. How long to poach the egg? Here’s a quirky snippet I read…when you put your bread in to toast put your egg in to poach…when your toast pops out of the toaster…your poached egg should be ready to be removed from the pot. Otherwise poach it for 3-5 minutes until cooked.
10. When done scoop out with slotted spoon or spatula onto a paper towel to dry excess water from the now poached egg.

It’s quick but fabulous when poached to perfection… decadent and yummy all at the same time!

Don’t forget too that a poached egg on top of a rocket + bacon salad makes for a wonderful salad option just ever so slightly out of the ordinary.