Monday, February 14, 2011

Food of Love Part 3: Chocolate for the Senses

The chemistry of food and wine has fueled a journey of passion that begs to be cooled... Rich chocolate, a bitter sweet offering of cream and ice, is the perfect ending to a simple, yet tantalising display of food Heaven.

More endorphins will be released when the smooth ice cream is eaten with glee. Toasted cupcake crumbs and a juicy sliver of nectarine will send the senses soaring to new heights.

Chocolate Ice Cream with Red Velvet Cupcake Crumbs and Fruits:

(Serves 2, with lots left over)

Ice cream: (Makes a small tub)
1 Tin Coconut Cream
1 Slab Albany Smooth Dark Chocolate
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar or Fructose
2 Teaspoon Good Quality Cocoa

Cupcake Crumbs (homemade or store bought – if you want to make them, you can make these a few days in advance and just freeze the crumbs, after crushing the cupcake into crumbs)

Homemade: (Makes 6)
90mls Pouyoukas Rice Flour
90mls Potato Starch
90mls Fructose
1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1 – 2 Teaspoons Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
½ Tablespoon Light Agave Nectar
½ Cup Raw Beetroot Pulp
1 Teaspoon Egg Replacer mixed with 1 Tablespoon Warm Water
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence

Fruits such as nectarine, raspberries, gooseberries


Heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius
For the cupcakes sift the dry ingredients together
Add in the wet ingredients
Mix until the batter is smooth
Spoon the batter into a muffin tin
Bake for 25 minutes
Remove and cool on a wire rack
When cooled – blitz into crumbs
When serving – transfer the crumbs to an oven tray and bake until crisp
For the ice cream combine all ingredients in a pot on the stove
Slowly heat, while stirring, until the chocolate has melted
Bring mixture to a gentle boil for about 20 minutes
Transfer to a freezer container and freeze for a minimum of 2 hours, but preferably over night
Just before serving, take container out of the freezer and allow to melt a little, so that ice cream is easier to work with
Serve with the crispy cupcake crumbs and fruits of your choice


I wish you all a love like this:

"Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me."

--Sarah Bernhardt

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Food of Love Part 2: Mind, Body and Soul

Candlelight sets the scene.

The woody scent of rosemary wafts from the oven, over-powering the citrus aroma that clings to the chopping board.

Love is in the air.

The crunch from the chicken skin echoes as the juices run clear. A hit from chilli, rosemary and lemon engrained in flesh, awakens the senses.

Tonight there are no boundaries.

The creaminess of the butterbean mash, suggestive of things to come…

In ancient times, rosemary was thought to strengthen the memory and thus became the emblem of fidelity for lovers. The lemon symbolizes the human heart in Judaism and chilli increases heart rate, helps to release endorphins and ultimately creates a hot and steamy environment. With this heady trio, the night is guaranteed to get off to a pulsating start.

Crispy Chicken with Butterbean Puree and Poached Carrots

(Serves 2 as a Main)


Zest of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lemon
A Few Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
1 Teaspoons Dried Chilli
Olive Oil
2 Chicken Breasts or Chicken Thighs – Skin Still On

1 – 2 Tins Butterbeans
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Chicken Stock
Dollop Dairy or Soya Cream

Chicken Stock
1 – 2 Teaspoons Good Quality Whiskey
Corn Starch to Thicken
Dollop Dairy or Soya Cream
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Squeeze Lemon Juice (Optional)

1 Punnet Baby Carrots
Chicken Stock


Heat oven to 180 degrees
Dry roast lemon zest until crispy
In a pestle and mortar crush the lemon zest, rosemary and dried chilli with sea salt
Add a glug of olive oil and mix to form a marinade
Rub all over the chicken pieces – and under the skin
Place each chicken piece on a stick of rosemary
Roast in the oven for about 20 – 30 minutes
Grill for the last few minutes to crisp the skin – add some salt onto the skin
Allow the chicken to rest
Fry the drained butterbeans, add lemon juice, paprika, some stock and salt and pepper to taste
Mash with a potato masher or blend until smooth
Adjust seasoning if necessary
Poach the baby carrots in the chicken stock until al dente
For the gravy – add some of the chicken stock to the roasting pan with the chicken juices, removing any burnt bits from the pan
Simmer on the stove
Add the whiskey and allow to cook out
Thicken the sauce with a bit of corn starch dissolved in cold water
Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice if desired
Finish off with the dairy or soya cream

Wax drips seductively down the candle stem, herby aromas a fainting memory, music plays in the background and wine bubbles forth as two lovers intertwine... mind, body and soul.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Food of Love

The ripe beetroot stain of his lips flashed through my mind as he bent into kiss me; my eyes involuntarily closing with the action. His tongue played magic with mine as the sweet nectarine juices, mingled with the subtle sourness of the apple and the creamy saltiness from the pistachio crumbs, still lingered there... I was drifting... and I never wanted it to end.

For centuries food and love have been inexplicably intertwined and this Valentine's Day there will be no exception. The simple flavours in this dish all join together in a harmonious dance of love; a seduction of the senses.

Beetroot Carpaccio with Pomegranate Jelly and Infused Olive Oil:

(Serves 2 as a starter)


2 -3 Baby Beetroot, Sliced Very Thinly
1/2 - 1 Pomegranate (you can use pomegranate juice)
Gelatin (about 1 - 2 leaves)
1/2 - 2 Teaspoons Fructose or Sugar
1/2 - 1 Nectarine, Cut into Thin Slices
1/2 - 1 Apple, Cut into Thin Slices
Salted Pistachio Crumbs (for dipping the apple slices into)
Parmesan Infused Olive Oil
Basil Infused Olive Oil
Mustard Microherbs (for garnish)
Edible Flowers (for garnish)


Start off by squeezing the juice from the pomegranate – an idea is to rub the pips through a sieve – so that the pips and juice are separated
Halve the juice and add half the gelatin mixture to it (you will need to melt the leaves in a drop of hot water)
Add fructose to the other half of the pomegranate juice to sweeten it – don’t overdo it – and add the rest of the gelatin mixture
Transfer the jelly to an ice cube tray and allow to set in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours
Arrange the thinly sliced beetroot into a circle on a place
Add four slices of nectarine on top of the beetroot in a wheel-like fashion
Dip the edges of the apple slices (skin side) into the pistachio crumbs (crush some pistachio nuts in a pestle and mortar)
Arrange on the beetroot next to the nectarine slices – also in a wheel-like fashion
Top with some mustard microherbs and edible flowers
Take the jelly out of the fridge and slice thinly into little cubes – dot these around the plate – alternating the sweet and sour
You may want to add some more pistachio crumbs for extra flavour and texture
Drizzle over the parmesan and basil infused olive oils

"Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” Harriet Van Horne, ‘Vogue’ 10/1956

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Way You Make Me Feel

The sun twinkled laughingly off the Atlantic Ocean as the car crawled up the Chapman's Peak Pass; the unexplainable pull that Cape Town has had over me intensified and I held my breath, gazing out at the ocean and wanting nothing else, but to call this mysteriously beautiful place home... Suddenly I saw the sign for Noordhoek and Monkey Valley and I began to giggle with excitement and squirm in my seat - I was coming here for the Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba on 20th February and I couldn't wait! What a surprise to find myself here, the pull must have been even greater than I imagined...

I am so looking forward to learning, chatting, growing, absorbing as much as possible, but especially to meeting all of you, the blogger friends that I have made over the last year - who of you do I finally have the pleasure of meeting?

The last few months have been a challenging time for me; everything that has been a constant is no longer there to rely on. As I try to figure out what I want from life and to make sense of all the thoughts racing around in my head; small things keep whispering at me, tugging me, begging me not to give up on the journey that I began over a year ago, with the intention of helping myself and others.

It amazes me how answers can be found in the most unexpected of places; the place in question was Wang Thai and the answer came in the form of a "Wang Thai Tini", which was ordered by a friend...

Strange that a cocktail can give you the answers that you have been looking for, but I don't think this was an ordinary cocktail, the magical properties of taste were at play. A combination of coriander, lime, ginger, chilli and coconut begging to be tried, savoured, enjoyed...

The first reaction my friend had was one of shock as the intensity of the chilli hit, burning the lips and almost making the eyes water.

The sense of the unknown was so overwhelming; I had to try it.

My experience, however, was totally different.

My first taste was of the coriander as it hit the back of my throat with a powerful earthiness that made me smile, then the tang and zing of lime and ginger held hands as they skipped over my tongue with the chilli in hot pursuit as if it was a bad wolf getting ready to devour the two innocent children, Lime and Ginger; the coconut, sensing that the chilli was becoming overbearing swept over my tongue in a soothing layer of silk and I sat there in awe, marveling at the effect that flavour has on me.

I tried to explain my experience to my friend, wanting desperately to share this magnificent feeling and I said, "Wouldn't it be amazing if you could taste the way I could?"

And that's when I thought, whatever I decide to do and wherever this year takes me, there is one thing that I will not let go of for anything and that is the way that taste makes me feel.