Is it March already? Yes, yes it is! I kinda don't even know what to write because it feels like I haven't written in so long.
So what is planned for 2018? There are so many things, plans, that I have in my head and some days I feel a tiny panic attack when I imagine that everything I plan actually becomes reality... then I breathe and realize that I have not actually even reached 25% of what I want to do. How sad, ha ha ha, but not so sad. What is sad is that it is already March and already there are things I haven't done that I wanted to do. At least so far I have survived Lent and will have to do an extra week of Lent because I cheated a bit... Do you want to know why I cheated?
This year my SO really wants to use our skills to feed people. We are starting to have Dinner Parties for those who love to eat and love to eat well! Yes, our 1st 'Dinner Date' was successful and we are very happy about the feedback. Who doesn't like to hear how happy people are with the meals they were served?! Name one person and I would happily invite them to the next 'Dinner Date' and feed you good food so you can give us good feedback as well. So me being me I obviously wanted to make something with Oxtail in it and there you go, how the hell was I suppose to cook Oxtail and not taste it? Yes, my compulsion to feed people Oxtail has lead to me cheating on Lent. Never mind my dishonesty the Oxtail Dumplings in Carrot and Ginger Broth was a success!!!!!
“Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.” - Terry Prachett
OK, so now that you know why I cheated we can move on to the other things I want to do. I want to introduce some really yummy quick meals for you and your busy SO/roommate/family or whoever you spend your short nights with and don't really want to spend all that time cooking food instead of relaxing with a glass of wine... or whatever it is that you two/three/four enjoy to do together.
So here is my first quicky for you... Bacon and Pineapple Wraps. No, I haven't had it since Lent has started but I can still remember how tasty it is and that I would definitely not mind to have a wrap right now. OK, so it's not really all that quick. The pineapple should be prepared the day before and maybe some Coriander Oil (never a bad idea to have Coriander Oil in the fridge) but the rest of it is pretty easy. It just tastes so nice, or rather, juicy!
Pineapple grilled and soaked in Sugar Syrup, Chili and Ginger
Onion & Red Peppers Fried slightly
1 cup Sugar and 1 cup Water boiled together with a splash of Lemon Juice. After boiled together let it cool and then add in Ginger pieces and finely chopped Chili
Grill the Pineapple in a smoking hot griddle pan and and place in the mixture. Leave overnight.
Blend together a lot of Coriander in Oil and leave overnight.
Fry the Bacon until done then fry the Onions until slightly softened then switch off the pan and add the Peppers to just warm up.
Make your wrap!
Now what else is there? Oh yes, we made some lovely snacks for a baby shower my new chef-to-be-colleague and I. We also started a Facebook page: Casse-Croûte which will show our events that we do. We are very new but hoping for the best. Our whole idea is to make snacks (casse-croûte is the French word) for people's events and nice snacks, not the stuff you buy at the grocery store on a 'platter'... unless that is exactly what you want but it will just taste better and be a lot fresher. So... if you live in Cape Town and have an event... contact us...
Anyhow, here are the pictures one of the guests sent me.
So what are all these goodies we made? Very delicious Sun-dried Tomato Cheesecake with Basil Oil (seen above).
We made Ostrich Meatballs and here is a link to the YouTube Video. These meatballs are also a great picnic snack. I do not like plain Meatballs that much but the Quinoa and Ostrich Meatballs are very tasty and not that heavy. Quinoa and Ostrich Meatballs. Then there was the Chicken & Leek Tarts with Carrot & Oats Crust and for a little sweetness (other than the Cupcakes), Chilli & Lime Fudge.
So back at class we only have 1 practical day in the kitchen and the rest is theory so to not BORE you with the theory (which probably isn't all that boring) I will share with you our Butternut and Carrot Red Thai Curry with Oats and Carrot Pastry Shell and some Jasmine Rice. Best of all... it is Gluten free! I'm lying, the best part is that it is/was delicious! It's very basic, just caramelize the Carrots and Butternut, make a nice Red Thai Curry Sauce (basically following the package directions) and making Jasmine Rice. To top everything off, some roasted Macadamias. Yes, the pastry shell is the same as the Chicken & Leek Tart Crust. We really like the taste of it and it is a really easy 'dough' to work with so if you struggle to get a nice pastry then try this one. As long as everything is just blended together at some point you are fine!
For the Pastry, here is the recipe (also a very yummy pastry that is very easy to use).
1 cup Carrots
1 cup Oats
1/2 cup Butter
1 1/2 cup Flour (Gluten free = 210ml Corn Meal)
Blend Flour, Butter and Oats until ball forms then add carrots and blend further. Place in tine and in fridge to set. Push out into a muffin tin or little quiche tins (if you have) and bake at 180°C for about 15 min. Just check them, they don't really change that much colour but when they are crusty they are ready.
OK, so I've shared a quickly and I bragged about the baby shower... I've briefly spoken about the Dinner Date... Maybe I should elaborate on that.
For a while friends and I have spoken about cooking for people, throwing a wonderful dinner party with really good food and creating a comfortable atmosphere and, of course, doing it at the comfort of one's home. Technically this is called Private Cheffing and I am starting to really like the sound of that. I want to come cook in your house, for you and your friends, all you have to do is pay me (and be nice). So have a few beers at Soul Barrel on the R45 we spoke about it and Mr F decided that he is going to start a group with 10 guests and invite them to their house for our first dinner party. There, it was set, a date was set, this meant we had to do it, and that got me very excited. Because this was our first time we decided that each person will decide on 2 courses that they would want to make. As I mention, my compulsion to feed people Oxtail made me shout out immediately "Oxtail!!!!!" (5 exclamations again). The other course I decided on was Cured Salmon... with something... that part was still to come but all I knew was that I wanted to make Cured Salmon. I'm sure that Mr and Mrs F have been wanting to feed people the dishes they made because they also shouted out, with 5 exclamation marks, Roasted Onion Risotto and Chocolate Fondant with Orange Ice Cream!!!!! I can't reveal everything we made but I can assure you that decadent, creamy, delicate, classic, and beautiful were only some of the words that described the evenings meals. We had a test run of all the meals about 2 weeks before the event and my only thought was that how lucky are we to test out a 7 course meal made by a chef-to-be, food-scientist-to-be, a beer-brewer and my SO who definitely has talents in the kitchen (and luckily is very skilled with numbers to make idiots like me not spend a shitload of money just because I want people to enjoy the food). It was a delicious success!
So welcome to 2018, even if it is already March, there is still so much to do never mind the 250 hours of practical hours I have to work in the kitchen for my qualification. I am staying at the restaurant where I did my internship because I get along with the Chef and he really has a passion for food and I believe I can learn a lot in his kitchen (and it's nice to not be treated like and idiot). I am proud to say that Chef did use some of my suggestions towards the new menu but he obviously just took my suggestion and made it into a beautiful dish and ways I didn't even think of. It might be lame but it makes me happy and now I feel part of the kitchen, I contributed. Along with the new menu I discovered that not do I make delicious Brûlées (after many trial and errors) I actually make very beautiful Soufflé, first try around. Don't burst my bubble and say it is easy, it's the little things that make me proud. I also like making them, it's soothing. So here are 2 pics of my new found skill...
And a request from a customer for her boyfriend's birthday (just thought I'd share the first and only successful plate writing I have ever done). The amateur writing makes it kinda cute... ha ha...
So, I think that's that for now but before I leave, just another mouth watering dessert for you to look at. I didn't make it but in support of the 1st years I bought this delicious Lemon Meringue with Honeycomb Ice Cream... Look at that! #ilovelemoncurd
And until next time...