Num Num

eat. cook. write.

January 02, 2011

New Years Day

New Years day was waking up in Cape Town to a beautiful thunderstorm and sheets of soft rain.
New Years morning was getting up (reasonably) early and driving two hours back to Hermanus. Thank goodness for coffee in bed and a perfectly soft gammon and scrambled egg roll for the road.
New Years day was three extra guests for dinner and two less staff members. That’s a lot of dishes to wash. 
New Years day was cauliflower and dark chocolate soup for lunch. Always goes down well in cloudy weather.
New Years day was a three hundred rand parking fine, thanks for coming. Hermanus has the most savage traffic cops in the country.
New Years day was discovering the best of Elizabeth David. Her onion tart is sublime, her raspberry crumble is simple, perfect.

New Years Day was not a day for resolutions. I don’t generally make them, they’re as cliché as a gym full of eager faces in January. Or facebook statuses, telling lies: “I’ll never drink again”

But I know that I should:
  • Taste less and eat more proper meals. (I already know what pastry and mangoes taste like, so I don’t see why I always feel the need to stuff a piece in my face.) 
  • Run along the cliff path every morning, thus increasing chances of spotting an off- season whale. Keen!
  • Blog every day.
  • Remember to take my own shopping bags. Help save the trees.
  • Be less careless and smarter; or less smart and a little more carefree, depending on the occasion. I should take decisions more seriously anyway. Or at least in context.
  • Buy seeds and grow herbs. I want lavender.
  • Write a cookbook for students. Don’t laugh now. I've thought it all out, and you're going to love it. 
fun with sparklers

Cauliflower Soup with dark Chocolate
I got the idea for this recipe from a Heston Blumenthal show. He has scientifically proven that cauliflower and dark chocolate go well together, how cool is that. You can also try lamb shanks with cauliflower risotto and dark chocolate jus- it's really a remarkable pairing. 
This version of cauliflower soup is based on a recipe I learnt from a chef I used to work for, John Shuttleworth. I remember him saying that you have to cook the cauliflower till it looks like cat's puke (or something equally revolting). 

Serves 6
  • 2 heads cauliflower, nasty bits trimmed off
  • 700ml - 1 L low- fat milk
  • 2 ml freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 30g of a 70% cocoa chocolate slab, cut into shards
  1. Break the cauliflower into flower and place it in a medium saucepan. Pour over enough milk to cover.
  2. Add the bay leaves and nutmeg. 
  3. Simmer gently until the milk has sort of split, the cauliflower will be super- soft and the milk will look, well gross. It takes at least an hour. 
  4. Blend and season. The soup should be silky. 
  5. To serve, heat up soup, pour into warm bowls and drizzle shards on top. Sho!

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