Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. -Maya Angelou

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grahamstown Festinos July 2010

Two glorious days spent in the City of the Saints. The Festinos that wonderful multicoloured mix of people from the weired to the ridiculous ,old codgers to young kids were out in force taking advantage of the warm and sunny weather.Tommy and I wandered the craft tents on Fiddlers Green which were stocked with a profusion of eclectic wares, rainbow hats, "African time" clocks made from recycled tuna tins,ethnic clothing of every description ,local art and so much more. I bought a piece of kiln fired glass,a pendant of flaming orange as bright as the wild aloes which were flowering in profusion in the veld. We discovered a stall which sold a unique portable stove called "PotjieKing".which we decided would be perfect for our travels in the outback. Small and compact, great for a braai for two,but even better just the right size for our cast iron three legged potjie pot in which I make stews, pot bread and curries.
Had a riotous time laughing at the humour of David Newman, Went to his one man show called "Politically Incorrect" South Africans have reached that healthy stage of being able to laugh at themselves......."you can't impress me ...i know that is your Vuvuzela" and wife wearing husbands bafana shirt....."don't get any ideas darling.....no one is scoring tonight!"
Home to Schoenies and three days of trying out different recipes on the "PotjieKing" all so easy and delicious. Heaven on a plate....this is Soul Food at its best.......not to be confused with a certain fast food chain that purports to have the "soul"rights to food of such high distinction!

Soul Food Chicken (a succulent dish of tender meat simmered in a tangy apricot gravy with seasonal vegetables)

One free range chicken
4 Onions roughly chopped
4 Carrots
4 medium Potatoes
2 Gem Squash
1/2 cup of sunflower oil.

1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon brown suger
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup of white wine
1/2 cup Apricot jam
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic
knob of fresh ginger grated.
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chicken stock.

Put the Rub mixture in a small bowl and stir to mix with your fingers. Remove giblets from chicken and rinse under cold water, inside and out. Dry with paper towels. Sprinkle a little of the Rub inside the chicken and use the rest over the outside of the bird.
Heat the oil in your casserole or poitjie pot and brown the chicken all over. Remove. Add the roughly chopped onions and and stir well.Cook till transulcent .Place the chicken on top of the onions and place your peeled and cut carrots and potatoes around the bird.
Mix the white wine, apricot jam, soy sauce, garlic and ginger and add to the pot. Top up with chicken stock so that the vegetables are covered.
Put lid of pot on and simmer for +- 45 mins.
Then add halved gem squash to the pot and continue cooking for another 15 mins.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

The chicken will be so tender, it will fall off the bone. Serve this succulent chicken in soup bowls with the vegetables and gem squash on the side and lots of crusty bread to mop up the delicious tangy gravy.

A bottle of Springfield "Life from Stone" sauvignon blanc will take this to another leval!
Bon Appetit!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Autumn in East Susssex 2006

I have been back in the "old country"for two weeks and already have slipped on the comfy cardie that is England. The Brits are still full of irony, Radio 4 and by gosh a decent cup of tea!
Damp days and leaden skies, but the joy of kicking through piles of fallen leaves, collecting blackberries from the hedgerows and going home for hot buttered crumpets for tea.
Sussex is beautiful at this time of the year with the Ashdown forest ablaze with all the burnished russet colours of Autumn. The countryside is winding down. quiet and sleepy, ready for Winter.

Such a contrast to my first week in London with Em and Thom, where all was hustle and bustle and teeming with people.London has this wonderful energy, and I became a tourist and did all the usual things. Took a red doubledecker bus around the City, popped into Buck House for a spot of tea with Queenie (unfortunately she wasn't in but her Gift Shoppe sells nice tea towels) Spent many happy hours wandering along the South Bank and had a futuristic trip on the London Eye. Amazing to see London with a bird's eye. A mind blowing visit to the Dali exhibition. His sculptures were challenging to say the least;a lobster telephone and a sofa made in the shape of Mae West's lips.
The bliss of all those second hand bookshops. I picked up a first edition of poetry by W.H. Auden. (He was my North, my South, my East, my West,.......my working week and my Sunday rest,My noon ,my midnight,my talk, my song.....I thought love would last forever...I was wrong.) A bargain to keep for posterity.I had to be physically restrained from the cookery sections, how can you resist Nigella for 50p?!

Hedgerow Blackberry Jam (for hot toasted crumpets dripping with butter)

Wash and weigh the blackberries you have picked. Take a heavy base pot and put in the same amount of sugar as berries and the finely grated zest and juice of one lemon. Simmer slowly till the sugar melts and then add your berries and stir carefully. Bring to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes.By now you should have a luscious shiny dark red jam oozing with flavour and the scent of Autumn. Spoon into clean jars when cold. Delicious on crumpets or toast or anything.....hmmmmm.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wet,Windy and Cold in PE 2010

Three days of rain, freezing south westerlies and cabin fever setting in with a vengeance. There are only so many DVDs you can watch at any one time.....tending the fire and having a chronic attack of "the munchies"
The only travelling I am doing is in my head, remembrance of places,sights and tastes of colourful Mexico warm my soul.
What can I cook, I need some comfort food.
It has to be good old Bangers and Mash with onion gravy. The gravy is the key and loads of butter and cream if you have it in the spuds! To hell with cholesterol.

Caramelized Onion Gravy

Big knob of butter.
2 thinly sliced onions
Worcestershire sauce
Flour to thicken
Marsala or red wine

Melt the butter and fry the onions gently till golden brown and soft. Add some flour (about a tablespoon) and stir into the onions, add the Worcestershire sauce, Marsala and stock cook gently for 15 minutes,stir occasionally.
Pour over crispy pork sausages and soft fluffy mash.Hmmmm comfort food at its best !