Friday, March 17, 2017

Light in a Wrinkled Cup

I remember being a little girl excited and anticipating Summer. Glorious days on the beach, warm nights braaing, cricket and school holidays. On any given day my father would come home with a castle lager box filled with lychees, peaches, nectarines, apricots, grapes. Sweet succulent deliousness. My senses longed to peel a ripe, juicy nectarine. Small fingers carefully removing the thin skin as not to bruise the flesh and so that I could eventually ravish the ripe yielding fruit. Hands wet with juice were thoroughly licked as not to waste this preciousness.

However, as I got older, but not necessarily taller, it seemed as if the old adage that things were better when I was younger rang true. At least when it came to fruit. Perhaps per human erring I was longing for something that could no longer be. The sweet nectarine of my childhood was just that, it seemed - a thing of the past, a fond memory.I can with all honesty say it has been years since I've eaten a truly transportive piece of fruit, until today, that is.

Erik and I strolled to one of the many shops that sell fruit here in Mui Ne, Vietnam, a seaside town teeming with tourists, largely Russian. We got a dragon fruit to share and a passion fruit each. As I slurped the final vestiges of the tart, sour, yellow fruit, I stared into the wrinkled cup from whence it came. For a second I had my nectarine moment something like an innocence long since past. Of Jonty Rhodes making yet another impossible catch, of boerewors with smoertjie and of a blushing Cape Town sunset bleeding into the oncoming night, allowing us for just a few moments to behold their beauty together.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Restaurants that should exist

Leo Tolstoy's Mexican Restaurant

"if you want to be happy, be"

Home of an awesome California Burrito

Charles Dickens' Pizzeria

"Please, sir, I want some more."

All you can eat affordable weekend brunch Dickens style

Jane Austen's Wok and Roll

"You must be the best judge of your own happiness."

The two for one specials are the best

D.H. Lawrence's Seafood Grille & Steak

"Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion."

All produce ethically sourced, by hand

Monday, April 20, 2015

How to be an awful dinner guest

1) Refer to your host by the wrong name throughout the night. Choose something that in no way resembles their actual name.

"Hi Suze!"
"It's Linda."

2) Bring a gift of something you know they hate or are allergic too.

"I'm so sorry I didn't know you were both allergic to and hate chocolate covered puppy."

3) Alternatively re-gift and "forget" to remove the name tag.

4) At dinner ask, "Did you make this yourself?"

5) When they say yes quietly reply, "Oh." in a disbelieving manner.

6) Regale your host with the time you made something similar yourself and how it was such a hit with your guests and how you didn't even put that much effort in and now you are ALWAYS expected to make this particular dish at the insistence of your friends.

7) Suggest possible adjustments to improve the dish to the point where it is a completely different dish altogether.

8) At the end of the night insist that "You must do this again soon!" but never actually be available to do so.

"I'm so sorry I can't do Tuesday, I have to take my dog for a bikini wax!"

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dear Prince Charming

Dear Stepmother,

I’m probably more surprised than you will be that I'm writing this letter. I've decided to leave home. Or should I say? Your home. Yesterday, I disobeyed your wishes and went to the ball. How glad I am that I did. I wore a beautiful dress and was the envy of everyone. Then I was asked to dance by Prince Charming. And as he held me in his arms I wondered, “Is this it?” Has the culmination of my life lead to this moment? I was disappointed to say the least. It didn’t feel the way I imagined it would. I wasn’t overwhelmed with happiness, I didn’t feel complete, in fact, I felt rather empty.

This is what has lead to my decision to leave. I realised that being the significant other of Prince Charming wouldn’t actually be significant, not for me anyways. I hated you for working me so hard and treating me so badly. But it dawned on me that I could actually get paid for doing what I do for free at your house. That’s exactly what I am going to do. I’ll earn money. I’ll spend it the way I choose and with whom I choose.

Best Regards,

ps If Price Charming shows up please tell him I'm dead.

Friday, February 20, 2015

You won't believe that this ingredient isn't in the following!

Over the past 29 years I have done extensive research on the following:

Yes, all my life I have been researching food, deliciously good food. Yet, it is only recently that I have stumbled a very important discovery. I often felt that the amount of love and joy I experienced whilst eating these things needed to be balanced with similar amounts of guilt. Now, I'm going to change your life, like Oprah change your life. You know how for awhile we've been encouraged to become intelligent consumers? Learning the facts about what we're really putting into our mouths. I've always been a late starter but recently upon perusing the nutritional facts of my favourite products I noticed that guilt is not an ingredient. Also, fat does not equal guilt either. Don't believe me, see for yourself then.

Fat: not a feeling, just a thing!

Now I can enjoy my cake when I eat it. Also remembering that because cupcakes are mini cakes I can have more than one.

"Guilt, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!" That's the cake singing.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Yum-Yum Dessert

In about two weeks Erik and I will be celebrating six months of marriage! What?! Where did the time go?  Something I've realised is not only did I marry into an entire family but also the food that comes with that family.  In this case I am referring to a specific dessert that was a part of Erik’s childhood. It’s called Yum-Yum dessert. It doesn’t require much effort,  time or even money but the result, as I found out recently, is pleasantly surprising. This is one of the reasons I have fallen in love with this dish. The outcome feels disproportionate to the actual labour put in and it’s a good reminder that life needn’t be hard. Sometimes all you have to do is wait for the ice-cream to melt. Actually, sometimes I can’t even do that.

Let me be honest though I wasn’t always enamoured with Yum-Yum. What put me off was the use of instant pudding  in the filling– yuk! I’ve never liked instant pudding, even as a child I just thought it tasted artificial. So, unlike many of the other things Erik wanted to make I wasn’t at all enthuasiatic about this particular dish.  Also factor in that a few months ago Erik made a delicious peanut butter pie. I am not crazy about peanut butter, give me chocolate or nutella instead, but wow the memory of that pie always takes me back to a very happy space. It had an oreo crust. It was filled with inordinate amounts of cream cheese mixed with peanut butter, drizzled with melted chocolate. It was decadent. Yum-Yum didn’t stand a chance when compared to this. Poor Yum!

I'm just happy I did give it a try because this dessert works on so many levels. Like I said before you have the quick and easy component. It is surprisingly light and works well after a heavy dinner; I think the ritz cracker base has a lot to do with. The first time we made it we did a vanilla Yum-Yum, because that's what the recipe calls for. We have subsequently made a mint chocolate chip version of it. Where the vanilla ice-cream and pudding was substituted for mint choc chip ice-cream and white chocolate pudding. It turned out to be delicious and when you think about it there are just so many variations. Plus, the recipe is simple enough to be halved which we did on both occasions and it really was more than enough for four people. You can also make it on the same day you plan to eat it and don’t have to worry about it setting thanks to the pudding. The added bonus, however, of making it the day before is that it tastes better, which is somewhat unbelievable.

A note for people from the South(do you guys remember Dali Tambo?) I’m not sure if ritz crackers are available in SA. If they are not I’m struggling to find an equivalent. For the base you definitely want a savoury biscuit, perhaps similar to a salty crack, but more  buttery in flavour. This is only if you want a lighter dessert, if not make whichever biscuit base you like. Also, this is a great Summer dessert, similar to a fridge tart, but I think easier to make.

Here’s the recipe. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as we do!

Yum-Yum Dessert

60 Ritz crackers
half gallon ice cream
2 pkgs instant vanilla pudding (dry)
1 stick butter
1 1/2 c. milk

Melt butter and mix with crushed Ritz crackers.  Press into bottom of 8x10 pan.  Reserve some for top.  Soften ice cream and mix with milk and dry pudding.  Scoop into pan and top with remainder of cracker mixture. Refrigerate until set.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hopes for the New Year

Today I share some of my hopes for 2015. I could only think of five. So, perhaps another hope could be hoping for more?

1.  Being the voice of reason on a reality show.

2.  The complete extinction of red velvet cake as a thing. Why has a fad so bad lasted for so long?!

3.  That every ailment I have is a result of extreme sexiness.

4.  Being discovered for a talent I didn’t even realise was a talent because it’s such a part of who I am, and I just do it anyways. Like being, just being.

5.  News that a Gilmore Girls movie is in the works. However, it really won’t be the same without Edward Herrmann’s Richard Gilmore.