Num Num

eat. cook. write.

September 06, 2012

Cinnamon and Naartjie Carrot soup

(Thanks @chef_grl for inspiring me to write a post again, even if it's just a quickie with a phone snap. Hope you like the soup) 

End of term.
Fridge full of scraps
Lots of deadlines
No-one wants to leave the house to shop.
I scrounge around the cupboard and the fridge, and find

1 bag of carrots
half a thingy of cream

and that’s about it.
I have flour and yeast in the cupboard, a naartjie in the fruit bowl, and 6 hungry, busy mouths to feed.

It's not exactly rocket science...

Cinnamon and Naartjie Carrot Soup

1 leek (all I had, but I’m sure an onion will do great)
1 bag of carrots, peeled and chopped
abour 3- 4 cups water.
1 naartjie
1 spoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
125ml cream

Fry the leeks in hot oil
Bang in the carrots.
Add the water, and the whole naartjie. Cook until carrots are soft.
Remove the naartjie, let it cool a little then peel and add the segments to the soup.
Blend with a hand blender, add cream, cinnamon and sugar and season well with salt. Serve piping hot.

I made huge breadsticks to go with mine, (a basic 4 cup flour dough divided into six long breadsticks and baked), and we didn’t even need spoons.

Full bellies and happy hearts <3

August 17, 2012

Oppikoppi: Sings to the senses

When you go to Oppikoppi you must leave your anxiety at the gate.
There is no space for it inside.
There are just 20 000 other people looking to dance and jump and gurgle with laughter.
We all experienced Oppikoppi in different ways


My knuckles are cracked, skin still dry. My hands held another’s. Weaving in and out.
Skin a sun-shade darker. Dust in every crevice. Black boogas.
My knees shook and they shook; and my feet throbbed from adventures in tommy tackies. Boots, next time.
My arms waved, in praise, and in happy hellos, and goodbyes.
My mouth screamed and sung along. It giggled and laughed.
I licked my lips over and over, dry air. Kiss, kiss.


As we walked up and down our home stretch, Beton Boer road, there was a constant cloud of dust above us, punctuated by bursts of conversation. About shows, about beer, about philosophy, about race and about South Africa.

But we came for the music and we flocked to see Die Heuwels Fantasties on Friday night, as did many who reveled in the electric air “It gave me goosebumps” someone said. Not to mention 340ml, Bombay Show Pig, Kongos, Aking, and Jeremy Loops who all blew my skirt up. 

Lonehill Estate was my surprise band highlight. Donning green streaks and pink goggles the lead singer was cheeky and vivacious, drawing the crowd in with his antics and confidence on a hot day amongst the rocks. 

Shadowclub and Beast (and many other grand bands) also graced the stages, although I confess I was at that time holed up in my tent. I hear they were fantastic.

French band Babylon Circus were a feast, but Eagles of death metal

June 15, 2012

Kiss from a quince

Everything we eat has a story. A story about where it came from, how it was made, born, or spouted; and how it travelled toward us.

Everything we eat also becomes part of our own story. A link in the web of meaning that flavour holds for us. Each bit of sustenance that passes over our lips has the potential to start a story, or to stir up a memory.

Quince, for me, is winter. It’s granny food. It exists, in bottled form, on the colour scale from fleshy crayfish to sensuous stripper red. It’s neatly layered in conserve bottled, lids tightly screwed on.

I don’t really remember by granny ever making anything with quince. Maybe she did, and I only associate it with her because the senses of smell and roots of nostalgia were affixed in me before my visual memories. Maybe I associate quince with the wrinkled faces of old women I saw as we paused at farm stalls across the country during family holidays. Neatly packed in rows with handwritten labels. Part of the granny-domain.

Either way, I walked into a local supermarket last week in a post-exam daze. My mind was still whirling with theories and ethnographic accounts. I was craving something I couldn’t name.

I saw the quince, bright yellow, bulbous on the shelf, larger than the surrounding fruit. I knew immediately that they were what I needed. I selected three, smooth skinned and heavy for their weight.

Quince poached in rosé wine with orange and vanilla

I bought them home, and started to put the exam out of my mind as I emptied the bottle of rosé wine (merlot and pintoage) that I had bought into a saucepan with 1 cup of sugar and 1 orange, cut into wedges. I peeled the three quinces one by one, with a peeler, nibbling at the skin to gauge it. Apple-y and sour, strong.

May 18, 2012

A Book deal with a side of sweet potato

Shock and horror.
I’ve been a bad blogger.
but I do at least have a book deal! 

(This photo is not really relevant to anything in this post, I just put it here because photos are nice. However, it will come into the story later.)
Yes. Despite the fact that this is meant to be my year of writing (that is indeed a part of what I’m studying) and despite the fact that it’s compulsory for me to blog every week for my course; I have left my poor little blackpepperplum to ferment in the back of a dark cupboard, just like the sweet potato we now have sprouting roots and feelers because nobody remembered to cook it. I am planning on planting it this weekend. Just like I am planning to blog more often.

In fact, the sweet potato with feelers is just the perfect metaphor for my life. This blog is the sweet potato, once fresh and budding with potential. It is currently in a stagnant stage. It’s on hold. Why? The cook has found other things to fry. Yes, by frying I mean writing. (I am getting heavily involved in my metaphors here, please just oblige me).

The thing that I am writing is a cookbook for students.

Its name is Yum-mo: Student Cooking 101.

(I am silly pleased about this, you have no idea) 

This is the story of how it came to be: 

April 18, 2012

Eet en onthou: Woordfees 2012

Ek eet, en ek onthou. My herinneringe is gevleg met maaltye, met proe sensasies en eet rituele. Verlede kwartaal vanaf die 9de na die 11de Maart, is ek en vyf klasmaats, deur die Nederlandse Taalunie na Stellenbosch toe gestuur om die Woordfees, en onder andere die Neerlandistiekdag by te woon. Heel gaaf, dankie.

Ek proe die naweek nog.
Die nederige standbeeld wat ons na La Motte verwelkom het

Die Greyhound bus was, voorspelbaar, twee ure laat. Op ons tasse het ons in die parkeerterrein gesit en uiteindelik, verveeld, ons lekkers uitgedeel. Wine gums en saggeel dinosouruse bedek my tande met ’n laag soetgoed. My goedkoop pastel gekleurde lekkers was fassinerend op die rak, maar in die mond was hulle hard, en skreeu- soet. Ons probeer die smaak uit ons monde kry met ’n vodka – suurlemoen – ment mengsel. Die gevolg is ’n gegiggelery en ’n goeie begin.

Ek het nog nooit lang afstand bus gery nie. En as ek weer daaraan dink, weet ek wat ek sal onthou. Die reuk van my mede passasier se toebroodjies, toe sy 3 uur in die oggend haar dosie se deksel oop kliek en die gis reuk van brood laat ontsnap.

Met honger mage het ons op Stellenbosch aangekom. Voordat ons selfs kon stort het ’n vriendin ons opgelaai en La Motte toe geneem waar ons eerder geld aan wynproe wou spandeer as ontbyt.

March 18, 2012

St Paddy's Day: Spinach and basil mayonnaise

St Patricks’s day in Grahamstown signifies many things: Primarily, its an excuse to dress up in green, brandish a beer glass all night and join thousands of others behaving abominably in bars. Great. Except that it also signifies green beer (whose bad idea was that anyway?!), sometimes accompanied by free green cane shots. Sies. The combination of these someone leads to a green mess in gutters. Not so Irish. 

This year, I squirmed at the thought of St Paddy’s. It was a rainy Saturday, and mugs of tea appealed to me more than liquor. I decided to resist the peer pressure and stay at home like a grandmomma, catching up on my work. Yes, I even wrapped my knees up in a crocheted blanky while I read.

It felt great. I thought of all the loud noises I was escaping; the squash of bodies and the smell of cigarettes, beer and burps. I made a green mayonnaise as my spirited token for the day, and settled back smugly. There is a time for everything.

February 26, 2012

Apple Crumble

Floury apples. I don’t understand them. I don’t understand how they are still sold in stores. I don’t understand why people still buy them, planning to eat them… for fun.

One of my housemates recently got hoodwinked into buying a pack of “sweet and crunchy” red apples only to find that the texture was a combination between sponge and sand.

Not fit for the lunch box, we decided to find a purpose for the apples. we decided that if you can get past the sif texture to the timeless ripe- apple taste, you're still the winner. 

When life throws you floury apples- make apple crumble.

Humble crumble

Yes. The 70's are back. We moved into a fully furnished house and it came with these period petal glasses. We love them so don't laugh. 

January 28, 2012

Fresh fig, Parma ham, and Rocket salad with Cabernet Sauvignon reduction

It's a scorching hot day. The kind where you'd rather not do anything, cause moving translates into sweating, unless it's in the direction of the pool or the sea.

Guests flew in from blustery England this morning. I could think of no better February salad than this one to welcome them in:

Fresh Fig, Parma ham and Rocket salad with Cabernet Sauvignon reduction

I was planning on going with the old goat's cheese standard, but this submission on my new fave Drizzle and dip blog, which credits Jamie Oliver, gave me the idea to use mozzarella instead. I love mozzarella. I think mostly because it's a word with two 'z's and two 'l's. Which ups it's dialogue cred and also makes it sound sultry in an Italian- only kind of way. If you can't get hold of a sufficiently sultry mozz, I recommend a nice Chevin (not the same sex appeal, really but you can't have it all)

January 27, 2012

Yakitori Chicken skewers

Nothing yukky about this Japanese treat. 

I used this grand Saveur recipe  to spice up my chicken skewers. The addition of spring onions (scallions, green onions, as you will) makes the recipe into Negima Yakitori. 

I adapted the recipe... 

January 25, 2012

Cloudy Prawn, Ginger and Sesame cakes

An elbow- watching, palm-clapping, enthusiastic high five to Food and Home magazine for a grand February issue. I don’t know when last I bought one, (I ignored them for a while because a flashy macaroon front cover recipe I sweated over didn’t work) but this one was worth it. Totally. The styling and photography is much improved except for a few photoshop hiccoughs. I feel that some thought really into went into this. And always one to appreciate a bit of serious foodthought, I thought I’d tell you why I like it:

There’s interesting niche stuff (chocolate focus,) the books, restaurant reviews, competitions and usual. But also some really thoughtful tidbits like useful salad dressings, a food market insight, recipes from movies (I’m going to make Uma Thurman’s pretty fucking good milkshake, from Pulp Fiction, soon) and a zoom in on seasonal produce. It also helps that they published an extract from the fantastic- looking Savour  cookbook by Hirschowitz, Alsfine and Sacharowitz that I have been eyeing out for a while. 

I tried out the Prawn and ginger fishcakes on page 62 for dinner. I adapted it rather a bit, as I do; but the foundation is theirs and it’s GREAT.

January 18, 2012

Granola squares

My granola glistens. It’s softer than you’d think, and it’s studded with all sorts of treats.

The recipe draws on inspiration from both the Essential Baking Cookbook and Ottolenghi. The list of ingredients is flexible- Play with it, see what’s in your storecupboard. But this is my fave combo of sweet, crunchy, chewy, citrus-y moreishness. Keep it in the the fridge.

  • 1 cup cereal (like special K)
  • ½ cup pecan nuts, toasted
  • ½ cup flaked almonds, toasted
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • 1 ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 ½ cups dried fruit (I used prunes, raisins, soft apricots, nectarines and pears)
  • 1 tablespoons (30ml) mixed candied citrus peel
  • 1 tablespoon mixed spice
  • 250g butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey

    1. Preheat the oven to 150 C, line a 25x 35 cm baking tray with baking paper and butter, leaving an overlay on the sides for easy removal.
    2. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, except for the butter, sugar and honey.
    3. Place butter sugar and honey in a medium- large saucepan and stir without boiling until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to boil and continue stirring until a light coloured caramel has formed and thickened slightly.
    4. Combine caramel with the dry ingredients and pour into baking tray, spreading evenly. If you like your granola a little thicker, use a smaller tin.
    5. Bake for about half an hour, then check for doneness. It should be light brown on top.
    6. Allow to cool in tin the refrigerate for a few hours until set before slicing into bars or cubes. Keep in the fridge.