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Christmas lunch in Cape Town

2 friends recently had year end functions at the Mount Nelson, and both reported that it was terrible. I'm not sure if the standards are slipping or if they can't cater well for groups, but just thought to post their thoughts in case it helped you make up your mind. One of those friends is a foodie too, and I trust his opinion on this.

Need easy showstopper dessert

There's a recipe on Smitten Kitchen that I have taken to calling a cheesecake tart and making when I need something that looks impressive with minimal effort. http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/0.... The bowl you've posted would work for this too.

For the biscuit base, I use a toffee oat biscuit that I favour for such tarts.

For the tart filling, I use the full tub of sour cream too, and squeeze in the lemon juice too. You can increase the sugar a bit if you prefer.

For the topping, I usually just chop up whatever fruit I have in the fridge, and arrange artfully on the top. I've not done this with nectarines, but have used (generally a combination of) strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit, grapes...

Definitely brush the fruit with jam to glaze them. I usually heat a neutral jam (apricot, or even orange marmalade) in the microwave till it starts bubbling, then brush the fruit with that.

Dec 14, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving with Ottolenghi sides?

Yes, agreed on upping the spices in the mix. I had added chilli, cumin, and probably some other stuff (can't remember right now). I did also increase the flour in the original recipe, as I wanted it to be more of a cake than a frittata. It was quite good.

Nov 25, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Best chocolate shop in all of Ireland / Northern Ireland?

I bought some Butler's chocolate to distribute back home. I liked it well enough, and I'm a bit of a chocolate snob.

Nov 25, 2014
haiku. in U.K./Ireland

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Salads; Soups; Breads; and Vegetables

I made the Lentil Stew based on the online recipe at http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes.... In Africa, I would have to wait a month for the book to be imported from the US, so I have just been following your discussions and looking online for likely options :)

I used brown instead of red lentils, as that's what I had on hand. I ended up increasing the amount of spice in the recipe, as it wasn't to my taste as written. I also felt it needed a bit of acid to round out the flavour.
When cooked through, the lentils were still very firm and the dish didn't resemble the lentil dishes I've had at a local Ethiopian restaurant or the photo. So I opted to use the immersion blender on 3/4 of the cooked dish, and reduced it a bit thereafter.

I was happy with this dish following my changes to it. I can't recall having seen red lentils in stores, so not sure how that would affect the outcome as I've never cooked with it.

Nov 11, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking
1

QUICK BREADS! Home Cooking Dish of the Month (October 2014)

Late to the party, but always good and worth posting about. I made a half recipe of Dorie Greenspan's Cheese&Chive Bread last night. Recipe also at http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20.... Changes last night: a mix of cheeses (whatever odds and ends I had, which included small amounts of gouda, edam, mature cheddar, feta, and parmesan) just cubed instead of grated; addition of some spices; addition of chopped chili; some fresh herbs from the garden found their way in along with the chives; some frozen corn kernels tossed in.
If you haven't made this yet, I highly recommend it. Also works well as muffins.

Nov 11, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking
1

Quick Ireland Report

I only managed to fit in the Winding Stair, and we quite enjoyed it. The food was very good, and we were well placed to look into the kitchen, which was very well organised and a treat to watch.

Nov 04, 2014
haiku. in U.K./Ireland

Christmas lunch in Cape Town

I suspect that Test Kitchen would be closed on Christmas, or fully booked if not. Speaking of, I took photos of the meal I had there last month if anyone is interested in seeing it.

OP, any of the options would be good. I've not had the buffet at Reuben's, but I think they do it every Sunday so it should be fine.

Nov 03, 2014
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

Does anyone have an amazing vegetarian chili recipe?

I've made Madhur Jaffrey's Chili a few times, and it's been amazing. Recipe at this link looks accurate/close enough - http://wegottaeat.com/wegottaeat/reci...

Oct 31, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Black Pearl Layer Cake

I was thinking of the cooked flour frosting, but have never tried it before. Thanks all for the recommendation; I will go with this.

Sep 28, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Black Pearl Layer Cake

Referring to recipe at http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

I've decided to make this for my birthday next week. I did a search and see some threads on this from 2005, so hoping that those posters or other experienced bakers can comment.

I'd be looking to change this up to make mini-cakes (for my actual birthday at home) and cupcakes for the celebration with friends happening 2 days later. I'm comfortable enough with baking to be able to do this.

My concern is with the whipped cream. The cupcakes will be served at a picnic, and I doubt the whipped cream will make it till we get around to it (or should I be looking to stabalise it with gelatine/something? I don't use whipped cream much). Would it work without the whipped cream? Or should I replace it with something else, and would that work with the flavour profile? Or should I just make it for home and figure out something more hardy for the picnic?

Any other suggestions/comments on the cake welcomed.

Sep 25, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

My turn to report back on this one. I made it following the directions given (thanks, Goblin). Had some friends over yesterday, and they were all intrigued by this and wanted a taste before leaving. It comes across as a rich, not too sweet light caramel ice cream, with an unexpected but pleasant tart note.
The other half and I also shared a bowl of ice cream last night with the macerated strawberry pairing, and we didn't think it works like that - the almost delicate flavour of the ice cream is overtaken by the strawberries.
That being said, it does feel like it needs to be paired with something to bring out the flavour a bit more. I suggested a dark chocolate (possibly flourless) cake, which he thought might work too. So I shall have to try that when I next have a moment. Any other suggestions welcome.

Sep 25, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month October 2014

Thank you - haven't been online for a while, and still familiarising myself with the site changes.
I'm busy reading Yes, Chef at the moment, so quite keen to cook from Soul of a New Cuisine.

Sep 21, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

Thank you! I will grab some powdered milk tomorrow and give it a go then.

Sep 21, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

Any chance of proportions of ingredients for the ice cream? I have a bottle of good balsamic vinegar from a recent trip to Italy that I've been waiting for the perfect excuse to open, and this sounds like it...

Sep 16, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month October 2014

THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE: A DISCOVERY OF THE FOODS AND FLAVORS OF AFRICA

Sep 16, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Sharing recipes with friends?

I'm generally happy to share, except for with the wife of a friend who has a little business selling baked goods. I wouldn't mind sharing with her if it were something I'd made straight from a recipe from a book or online, but everything I make for friends is either my own or has its base in a recipe I've found but have customised to make it my own. For the rest, I say share away and use it as an opportunity to keep trying new and interesting things.

Sep 07, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

5 nights in Capetown

I started typing out a long reply, and then thought it better to first ask: What do you consider to be African/South African food? What are you hoping to have?

Jul 20, 2014
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

July 2014 COTM: Radically Simple - Pasta, Fish

I've come to realise that most wasabi pastes or powders don't include any Japanese wasabi (properly grown), or in such small quantities that it's not really contributing anything. IIRC, there is wasabi being cultivated in the US, which is used in certain preparations, but it's apparently not close to the real thing.

Jul 18, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Milan restaurants

I went to Osaka in May, and it was fantastic.

Jul 17, 2014
haiku. in Italy

5 nights in Capetown

There are 2 recent threads on Cape Town that you might want to look at for ideas.
For the seafood options, you will see Baia, Miller's Thumb, Panama Jacks (I tried it out again in December and don't think it worthwhile anymore) and (I think) Codfather recommended.
For African/South African... I'll hold off on talking of the various styles and assume that you want the tourist experience, and would suggest Gold or Moyo. The latter has recently opened up in a few more spots but I haven't been to those. Menus of both are online.

Jul 17, 2014
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

Cape Town and around again

Will try to answer as much as I can :)

For your remaining dinner day, may I recommend Gold? http://www.goldrestaurant.co.za/index...
Aimed at tourists for sure, but the food was pretty good and there was a nice variety, and the entertainment was also good.

If you do want seafood and want to stick to the Waterfront, I would highly recommend Baia. They do fantastically good seafood, and I have never had a disappointing meal there.

When you're doing the Blue bus route, you will have the option of taking the wine tour. Do it and check out Simon's at Groot Constantia for lunch. http://www.thebluebaboon.co.za/
You can also stop at the Hout Bay Harbour and eat at Mariner's Wharf. It's not sophisticated, but it's a pretty good fish&chips place.

Peninsula:
In Kalk Bay, there are several options: Harbour House and Polana have good food and nice views, Kalky's is another decent cheap fish&chips option, Brass Bell isn't my favourite for food but does have a nice location. There's also several other places you can check out on that strip.
There's a restaurant called Black Marlin just past Simon's Town that used to be good. I haven't been in years, so can't comment about what it's like now.

Difficult to comment on gems and local favourites as there are many that make others' lists but not mine, and vice versa. Also tricky to advise without knowing whether you're looking at day/night, meal/drinks, etc.

Apr 20, 2014
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

What is your favorite store bought cookie ?

Fox's Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies. An import, so can't always get it and it's not the cheapest. But I absolutely adore them.

Apr 20, 2014
haiku. in General Topics

Asking a restaurant for recipe

I think it's not something you should do for a restaurant in your area as you can frequent the restaurant, but if it's a place you encounter on your travels then you can make contact as you're unlikely to experience that again (just a personal view, and not a rule by any means).

I've done so before (email, not phone) - complimenting them on the meal, indicating that I'd dined there in my travels and asking if they were willing to reveal the ingredients/recipe.

Mar 30, 2014
haiku. in General Topics

Cape Town recs.

It's a chain, so others should be able to find branches in their area easily.

Mar 28, 2014
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

Dinner ideas for cooking with girlfriend

Sushi. Prepping the ingredients could take a while, then the fun of rolling and picking combinations.

Mar 24, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Cape Town recs.

Just replying to note that Test Kitchen is booked until June already. So an early booking is a must if you intend to dine there.

Mar 24, 2014
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

What's for Dinner #282 - Spring Daylight Savings Time Edition [through March 13, 2014]

Decided to make something new last night. The other half doubted me until we sat down to eat, then conceded that the flavour profiles all worked wonderfully together.

The base was polenta - first put some fresh corn in the water to cook while the water boiled for a bit, then added the polenta and whisked until it had thickened. I had some mascarpone on hand, and mixed that in to the polenta just before serving. Topped with some feta when put on the plates.

The protein was prawns. I first sauteed some chopped garlic and ginger, then added in some roasted garlic, a chopped (pureed) chipotle chilli in adobo, some sambal oelek, and some water. Added some cream to that, then tossed in the prawns (half shelled, half unshelled) and some jalapeno strips.

The combination worked wonderfully. The polenta was lovely and sweet, with the salty pops from the feta, and the sauce from the prawns was spicy.

I'll definitely make this one again.

Cape Town and around again

Savoy Cabbage was good many years ago. More recently... it's not worth having on the list.

I thought The Greenhouse was fantastic, and can't wait for another opportunity to dine there. I didn't experience bad service there as erica did, but I was taken there for my birthday and they may have paid more attention to me because of that, so YMMV.

Feb 08, 2014
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

Are you planning on a recipe calling for Velveeta for Superbowl Sunday?

What about making Kenji's cheese sauce/dip? I seem to recall that SeriousEats also posted that as an option for dealing with the 'shortage'.
That being said, I've never tasted Velveeta and still have no idea exactly what it is :P

Jan 13, 2014
haiku. in General Topics