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eat. cook. write.

January 11, 2011

Colour me green

I never coloured in the lines when I was little. I wasn’t patient enough. But I’m quite sure that my grass was always green, my rivers and skies blue and my mud as stinking brown as I could make it.

I detest it when food doesn’t taste like the colour it is. When I did a stint at The Five Flies restaurant in Cape Town, I was amazed to see the pastry chef add green food colouring to her crème anglaise. I then expected to see peeled pistachios going in, or mint essence- but alas.


It looked green and tasted vanilla.

Similarly, I like it if food is, well, the colour it sounds like. After making Rick Stein’s green curry paste I could see that something was seriously amiss. I delved into the fridge, only to find that my fresh coriander had gone over to the dark side. I desperately groped around and found some red salad onions. In my pursuit for colouring perfection, I finely chopped the lime- coloured heads off all my salad onions and added them to the paste. It was delicious and my conscious could rest.

To the same tune, it highly offends me to see garnish that is not applicable to the dish. There seems to be an underlying chef’s obsession with seeing green on a plate. I can understand why, as green is lovely colour (my favourite in fact) and it certainly does liven things up. But seeing roughly chopped parsley scattered around the rim of my plate makes me cross.

And whole trees of rosemary poking out of mashed potato piles just look stupid.

As it happens,  one of my freezers defrosted today because some buffoon (probably me) left the door open. I lost meat, 2 rolls of cookie dough and a frozen dessert I had been picking on for a while. But a tray of sweet baby pastry cases had semi- survived so I baked them off for the hell of it.

Scrounging around the fridge, I found some left over ganache from my minted Christmas macaroons. Light bulbs flashed like it was Christmas in Adderley Street and chocolate mint tartlets with summer berries took shape.

I poked some baby mint leaves between the berries on top of my tarts with the happy knowledge that they were true to my theme: a hint at the minted, scrumptious chocolate ganache that awaits the eater; and not a trick as cruel as the hollow Easter egg I once got next to my brother's solid one.  

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