The doorbell rang and I just had a feeling. I knew my box had arrived. The week of waiting was over.I ran out to fetch it and plonked it on the kitchen table. I felt as giddy as I did as a little girl in front of the Christmas tree, when my grandmother would reproach me: “Handjies agter die rug”; which loosely translates as ‘keep those little hands behind your back’.
With no restraining orders now, I ripped the pink Yuppichef tape off and delved into my box of treasures. There are quite a few things that excite me in life and one of them is those thin strips of brown paper nested in packaging.
Plum plans to do a bit of lip- smacking catering this year (Grahamstown: beware) and I have indulged in some goodies to ease the work.
- 1x Kitchen Craft mandoline (heeeehaaaaa)
- 1x Soehnle Kitchen scale that goes up in grams (= great joy)
- 1x Rick Steins fabulous book Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey which I got for Mrs X and then absolutely had to order for myself- review coming soon but so far it has been amazing ( and is cheaper on Yuppiechef than in stores)
- 1x tomato knife ( you can never have enough)
- 1x Krupp’s ice- cream maker (Which is for Mrs X and not for me, but ooh I am excited to get on it. )
Then I promptly did the following:
a.) Set up my scale and weighed the packaging, (small things amuse small minds, I know I know)
b.) waved my shiny new recipe book in the air as I danced, and
c.) placed the ice- cream machine bowl in the freezer where it needs to chill out, bru for the next 24 hours before I can use it.
d.)Then I set up my mandoline and went all cross- eyed at the prospect of all the fittings and proceeded to waste two potatoes and a carrot after which I discovered, with great joy, the ribbed fitting.
It took me straight back to Saturday mornings in the early nineties. We would gather around in front of our haywire TV ( We lived in the Lesotho Highlands, where signal strength was rather dim, and relied on a bunny ear arial set that was propped into a vase and fiddled with depending on the channel); to watch Simba Surprise. The opening scene was my favourite: all the little Simba chips (which are the equivalent to crisps, for non- Africans) would gather in formation waving their arms and crispy golden bodies around singing “I wanna be a Simba Chippie, III wanna be a Simba Chippie!”
Then the presenters would go around to schools and homes and surprise the lucky children, with Simba the Lion roaring “Simba Surprise” I can’t remember exactly what else the surprise entailed. Chips, I suppose, and maybe a party. But six- year old me would lie in bed and fantasize about Simba coming to surprise us at home. Which he never did, sadly.I guess he was a South African lion so Basotho kids didn’t have rights on him.
My reminiscing inspired a light lunch of Simba- like crisps and a health bread french toast treat fit for a snazzy bistro. I wish I could say that C roared with appreciation when she ate it, but she is quite genteel. However, she did say it was fit for a king, it follows that the lion is the king of all beasts, so I figure Simba would approve.
Glorified Ham and Cheese
I got the idea for the moreish, pretty pink vinegared onion from chef Jenny at the quirky Haricot's in Grahamstown.
- Heavy or wholewheat bread. Spar's is exceptionally yum. I buy loaves and freeze them for breakfast toast- They sell out so often it's worth it. Nice and stale is good, for french toast. Soaks that egg up.
- Wholegrain mustard
- Basil pesto
- Serrano or parma ham (get from Deli’s if you’re in Hermanus, or from the cheese man at the Hermanuspietersfontein market, see Market Pickings post)
- Pecorino cheese, sliced, (I also tried Boerenkaas with cumin and it was delish)
- 2 egg, whisked, per 2 slices of bread
- 15ml olive oil
- 10ml cream or 15ml milk per 2 slices of bread
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 white onion
- 30ml red wine vinegar
- 3ml castor sugar
- a few baby potatoes ( about 6 serve two people)
- oil for deep- frying
- Make sarmies with the yummy bread etcetera.
- Heat up the olive oil in the frying pan and heat the oven to 180C
- Mix together the egg, cream or milk and season well. Dip the zarms in this mixture, holding them together and coating all over.
- Toast in the hot oil until nicely browned on both sides, holding them up to do the crusts if you fancy.
- Pop on a baking tray and into the oven to get that cheese oozing.
- For the onion: finely chop the onion and combine with vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Simmer for a few minutes and remove from heat. Onion must still be firm.
- For the chips, slice to a a Simba-licious ribbed size on a mandoline, or else cut thinly with your chef's knife, and don't be too sad that you don't have a mandoline ( waaahaaaa, sorry can't help gloating).
- Heat up the oil in a medium saucepan. ( I used a small one to tray save on oil- what a fool. It took forever. See? Gadgetry doesn't help those with lesser brain capacity) and deep- fry until crisp and golden. Season well with salt and drain on paper towel. Serve with vinegared onion on top.