Mac & Cheese

when i asked Jessica if she’d like to contribute a food related guest post I didn’t give her any direction because I knew that anything she made would be amazingly tasty. i had a good laugh when she sent me this. i was having a discussion with my brother just the other day about what our last meals on earth would be if we could choose, and of course i said mac and cheese. my mom’s mac and cheese, more specifically, but Jessica’s version looks it might be the winner (probably due to this line: “Aim to use as much cheese as possible!  More than you think is appropriate.”)


Diana and I have known each other since we were 7 years old.  That’s almost 22 years I have been witness to her love affair with cheese.  On occasion she has described herself as having “a penchant for nice cheese”.  More like fervent enthusiasm.  I have a letter from our schoolgirl days in which Diana compares our friendship to no less than 25 different cheeses:

“… the legend of the Cheesemasters will live on … like mozzarella melting over a tomato covered pizza base … like Cheddar, Pecorino, Emmenthal and Parmesan; like Havarti, Sweetmilk, Motali and Brie … ” dot dot dot etcetera dot dot.

Her #1 cheese based dish of course, is Macaroni and Cheese.  It has to be the ultimate comfort food.  And boy is this recipe not the most delicious macaroni cheese I have ever tasted.  Aim to use as much cheese as possible!  More than you think is appropriate.

I adapted this recipe from Hawksmoor at Home.  They make use of distinctively English cheeses, namely Stilton, Ogleshield and Montgomery Cheddar.  I chose Taleggio for its excellent melting ability, and an aged Gruyere for its fruity flavour.

  • 500g macaroni
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 600ml milk
  • 60g butter
  • 60g flour
  • 250g Strong Cheddar, grated
  • 200g Gruyere, grated
  • 150g Taleggio, crumbled
  • Maldon sea salt
  • white pepper
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  1. You can make four individual macaroni servings, or bake in a medium-sized oven proof dish.  Brush the dish with half the olive oil and rub with the cut clove of garlic.
  2. Cook the macaroni in salted water until al dente.  Drain and refresh under cold running water, then mix with the remaining oil.
  3. In a saucepan bring the milk up to boiling point, then reduce the heat and keep warm.
  4. In another saucepan melt the butter over a medium heat, whisk in the flour and keep whisking until you have a pale golden ‘roux’ or grainy looking paste.  Return this saucepan to a medium heat and ladle the hot milk into the roux, a cup at a time, whisking all the time and completely incorporating each cup of milk before adding the next one.  After all the milk has been added, continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and bubbles gently (about 2 minutes).
  5. Take the pan off the heat, add the taleggio, gruyere and 125g of the cheddar, and stir until completely incorporated.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
  6. Pour three quarters of the sauce over the pasta and mix well.  Tip the mixture into the baking dish.  Top with the remaining sauce and half the remaining cheddar.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C and bake for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle over the rest of the cheddar and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until brown.

 

Quick & Easy

MAN things have been pretty busy for me lately, which is why things are kinda slow around here this week – i do apologise. at the end of the month i will be moving into my new place (yippee!) and going semi-freelance, which is quite scary but also really exciting. that also means i’ll finally have more time to blog.

when i have busy weeks like this i completely neglect myself health wise. i don’t take much time to cook at the best of times (i have spoken about my food laziness before) but when i have no time to even think about food, let alone make it, i end up eating terribly terribly unhealthy things just to keep going. i could go days eating just white toast with bovril if i had to. but that of course takes its toll, and when you really need the energy it’s not wise to skimp on the veggies, eh?

so here are some food ideas for when you find yourself with no time to cook, but you don’t want to possibly die of scurvy. oh and please share any of your own quick & easy recipes and ideas in the comments!

edit: for everyone asking about the typefaces – i used Hera Big & Brandon Grotesque

please click on the images to be taken to the recipes and their creators

Food & Fashion

get ready for an entirely nonsensical post combining my love for food and fashion. outfits good enough to eat? food good enough to… um… wear? no matter! just enjoy it for what it is.

rosemary & walnut crepes /  paris x3

egg & avo sandwich / glamcanyon

dinner in brooklyn / style sightings

annabel ly / vanessa jackman

blueberry & lavender rhubarb jam / all the pretty birds

old fashioned pink lemonade / streetstyle aesthetic

bourbon chocolate milkshake / vanessa jackman

the ice creamists / style clicker

potato, celery root & sunchoke cream / vanessa jackman

lumberjack cake / streetpeeper

oh yes, i don’t follow many food blogs myself (just because it would be laughably impossible to browse on top of my already escalating subscriptions to hundreds of fashion, lifestyle and personal blogs) – so if i ever feel like some food inspiration i look to the amazing pinterest boards of su / i’m revolting, catherine / wolfeyebrows and alison / teenangster.

Clarke’s

i get a surprising number of emails from people around the world telling me they’re about to travel to cape town / south africa and do i have any tips, or “please can you make a cape town city guide post” – etc. well, truth is i don’t actually live in cape town. if you want to know the ins-and-outs of a sleepy town in the winelands, i’m your gal! that said i will be moving to the mother city one of these days (months) and i already spend a fair amount of time there – so that guide might be coming your way soonish.

in the meantime if you’re in the fairest town of the cape make your way to clarke’s bar and dining room on 133 bree street (a couple of doors down from birds and diagonally across the road from &union – you can’t miss it). we popped in there the week that they had opened and unfortunately there was no table for us (even though the kind hostess offered to send us a text in case anything opened). i admired the light fittings and was sad that i couldn’t partake in their “yum fries”. i will be dropping in there again soon, hopefully they will have a burger ready for me. HINT HINT guys!

they also have a facebook page if you’re into that. all the nice photos were taken by alexia webster.

Eat

my absolute favourite board to browse on Pinterest is Eat by Su Wu aka I’m Revolting. i don’t follow many food blogs, so this is an awesome way to get food inspiration as Su has great taste – literally. i also live with a chef, so i often pretend that i don’t know how to make things so that she will and then it tastes way better than i could have made it in the first place (hope you’re not reading this, Jessica). unfortunately we will be parting ways at the end of the year and i will have to start making my own food again – so i’ll probably be consulting Eat all the time. i would of course be okay with just eating bread, cheese, cured meats and other food that doesn’t actually require cooking for the rest of my life… but everyone has to grow up some time.

vegetarian mini pizza della sicilia.

chocolate mousse truffle cake.

jalapeno poppers.

no knead baguette stecca.

david eyre’s pancake.

fried egg bánh mì.

tomato salad.

salted caramel sauce.

crostini.

cheese souffle.

rosemary lamb popsicles with mint gremolata.

lentil stuffed samoosas.

baked camembert.

Fondue Party

i’m not sure how fondue ever went out of fashion. it is a pot of melted cheese for heaven’s sake. there’s plenty of wine in there, and you stick pieces of bread into it. how is that not a good thing? an excellent thing, in fact. the first time i went to paris i overindulged in a mini pot of fondue at one of those terribly touristy restaurants on the left bank – it was wonderful, but i did feel a bit weird sitting there enjoying it by myself. there’s a good reason why a fondue set comes with 6 sticks you know. unless you enjoy eating an entire pot of cheese on your own… in which case, more power to you.

– image courtesy of cowtools

whenever the topic of fondue comes up (especially between jessica and i) we always muse that that our parents probably still have their fondue sets tucked away in a box somewhere. so many people seem to be under the impression that making fondue is a tedious undertaking, but the classic cheese fondue recipe is so simple – there are basically only 5 ingredients: cheese, wine, garlic, cornstarch & seasoning. i think it’s time to dig around in the garage and resurrect those avocado and mustard coloured beauties for some cheesy fun times.

i am also really excited by the thought of a beer fondue. cheese + beer = diana’s weakness.

dubliner cheese fondue – image courtesy of a spicy perspective


– spring green vintage fondue pot


– ingredients for a porcini cheese fondue, image courtesy of tastefood


ruffoni copper fondue pot & old dutch copper brass fondue set

– image courtesy of uh … bob

Diner Journal

Leah Campbell from Diner Journal contacted me some time ago asking if she could send me a copy of the latest issue of their publication. i politely replied HELLS YES thinking perhaps i could get a digital copy since i live on the other side of the world, but she very kindly posted me a hard copy which i was thrilled to receive shortly afterwards one fine boring day at work. i wanted to get stuck into it that evening, but as things go i didn’t get round to reading it until quite a while later (something that happens in all aspects of my life, no offence to the cool peeps at Diner Journal.)

in the meantime my flatmate Jessica, who i have spoken about a number of times on here and who i do the sporadic food series with, picked it up and immersed herself in it. she’s a chef, you see. she appreciates good food, and great events, and people coming together to make food and take beautiful photos of said food and and and… that’s what Diner Journal is! well, that’s a very succint way to put it. basically –

Diner Journal is a quarterly magazine with original art, lit and recipes, published by Brooklyn restaurateur Andrew Tarlow of Diner, Marlow & Sons, and Roman’s and butcher shop Marlow & Daughters. The journal is produced by a group of people from our community of restaurants, and Diner’s bartender Anna Dunn is our editor in chief. Ad-free and three hole-punched since 2006.

issue no.17 is filled with stories, toasts, recipes, art and music that came about from a dinner party inspired by the ancient greek epic the odyssey. i loved this quote from the introduction by anna dunn,

telemachus tells athena, “here in our house you’ll find a royal welcome. have supper first, then tell us what you need.” one of life’s great thrills is to make an unhappy person happy, to care without condition, to satisfy the unsatisfied. it can be a small moment when you understand the opportunity you have to change things for other people. be it by touching their shoulder, offering them food, simply seeing them or, say, offering to take their sword. i get a chill every time i feel someone travel from the darkness to light.

there are many highlights in the journal, not least of which are the recipes, beautiful design and photography – the centrefold spread of the feasting table is enough to make your mouth water. i came away from it feeling completey inspired (and hungry) with the sudden urge to band together a group of friends and have our own feast.

you can purchase past diner journals here, and be sure to visit their website for more info.

currently getting an ip banned message on their website (ugh, south africa!) but also try their blog

BKFST 2.0

whoa, the BKFST tumblr hit 900 1000 followers today! i have to tell you that this is partly because of the greatness that is catherine green aka wolf eyebrows. you have probably noticed her in my blog roll on the right, and you may remember her things i like right now when i first started the series. she is something of a bloggin’ kindred spirit… so it was a bit of a no duh moment when i asked her if she’d be keen to contribute to BKFST. she is totally putting me to shame too – i find myself having to keep up with all her incredible tasty finds.

please see BKFST for all the image sources

rose bakery

i would have liked to pop into rose bakery when i was in paris recently, which is a popular eatery for lunch & brunch on the weekends (the concept of which is apparently a newish institution amongst parisians.) i’ve read mixed reviews about it online, but i suppose with any really popular place you’re going to have your fair share of lovers and haters.

since i can’t actually go to rose bakery, i might buy their book – the food looks rustic & scrumptious. though i have to admit i’d buy the book based on the cover alone, which is probably not a surprise.

photos: Rose Bakery

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andy: things i like right now

things i like right now by andy of jamie who

  1. Bulldogs. I have an unnatural love for my bulldog, Elvis (that’s him in the pic.) He gets treated like a child and I can’t imagine a life without that fat little thing snoring next to me. I’m noticing a lot more bulldogs popping up though. In advertisements, at cafes, in the parks etc. They’re definitely popular at the moment, which is awesome. One bulldog is funny. Two is hilarious.
  2. Having a local. The beer revolution is gaining steam in Cape Town, as micro-breweries gain momentum. People are starting to appreciate how good real beer can be. This means for the first time in a long time there is a bar I visit a couple of times a week to feel at home. The place? Brewers & Union, Bree Street. My beer of choice? Berne. Nutty, full of honey and a nice smooth finish. [ &Union Photo from Bree Street ]
  3. Watching TV. I think it’s because of all the functions I’ve been going to, but time spent chilling on the couch has become absolute gold. And I’m catching up with some great shows. Dexter, Californication, Arrested Development, Boardwalk Empire, 30 Rock and Modern Family are my picks.
  4. Tailored shorts. We’re not 18 anymore. Oversized, baggy shorts don’t interest me. A nice, fitted pair of shorts is the most versatile thing in my wardrobe. So I’ve got a couple. They can be dressed up with a great shirt, or just worn with a v-neck and sandals. If you’re brave enough you can throw on a jacket and wear them to smarter functions.
  5. Dressing up instead of down. For some reason I’m digging it. Crisp shirts, bow-ties, skinny ties and even suspenders have been pulled out pretty often lately
  6. Limes. Walk out of a shop with a bag of limes and you already feel one step closer to holiday. They’re perfect for outdoor, summer cooking but more importantly they’re great for outdoor summer boozing. Mojitos, caipirinhas, or even just vodka straight from the freezer on crushed ice. Fresh limes are vital.
  7. Boat shoes. I spent 3 weeks travelling through Europe and spent time on every one of those days looking for the perfect pair. I came home empty handed and found a pair in Country Road. Go figure.
  8. Vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I still love meat. But I read a few books that changed my life and I am now only able to eat meat when I know EXACTLY where it came from. Most people don’t stop to think about the cruelty that goes into farming animals. I only eat free-range meat from animals that have been treated with respect. So I’ve gotten to appreciate that vegetarian meals don’t have to be boring. [ Photo by Brandt Botes ]
  9. Being married. Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s bit cheesy. But in a year when I have taken massive risks and chased a few dreams having someone to support me along the way has been incredible.
  10. Bistros. There’s a time and a place for foams, froths, smears, bubbles, jellies etc. But my favourite style of cooking still remains simple produce, with clean uncluttered flavours.
  11. Pinot Noir. As I continue to learn about wine from some of the best in the business, Pinot Noir has leapt out at me as my favourite. I love it’s versatility. I’m a big fan of Paradyskloof, Oak Valley and – if you’re treating yourself – Hamilton Russel.

5 ingredients, 10 minutes

i’ve already admitted to being a lazy cook. i resort to avocado or eggs on toast way more than i should (that goes for breakfast, lunch, dinner… snacks) and sometimes a can of chick peas or a tub of hummus is my only salvation. the problem is that i like fast food – as in, quick to make… not the unhealthy variety. ok i love pizza, who doesn’t?

stonesoup is a blog written by jules clancy who wants to help people become better cooks by using a minimalist approach to cooking. she says, “It’s about reducing the number of ingredients, the amount of equipment, the number of steps involved and the time we spend in the kitchen to a minimum so we can focus what’s important.” she shares great tips on how to stock your kitchen, saving money by not buying useless ingredients, making “2 dollar dinners” and tons more. check out the recipes, they are inspiring. she’s also written an  ebook called 5 ingredients, 10 minutes.

i want these bangers in my mouth (he he he)

i ate a lot of cheese

i can get by in a foreign city on very little – and paris is no exception. i’m talking food, here. give me a baguette and some cheese and i’m pretty much good to go the entire day. actually, give me bread and cheese just in general and i’m good to go – forever.

the first thing people usually say when they talk about paris is, “it’s so expensive!” maybe, if you eat out all the time and really treat yourself – sure. but if you’re on a budget i find it the same as any other city, if not cheaper. you can buy a baguette for around a euro (let’s say about 10 ZAR) and the same goes for anything you want to put on it. plus the markets are great for food shopping, obviously.

(those are giant balls of cheese, by the way)

of course there’s nothing like actually sitting at a sidewalk café in paris. just stick to drinks… and linger over them.

if you want to splash out a bit, go to montmartre and visit aux bons vins – i had the best white wine i have ever tasted there (i also said this a number of times during lunch) and the food was superb.

also, i didn’t buy any macarons (sacrilege! sacrebleu! etc!) it was my last day in paris and i had just checked my credit card balance (thanks to clothes shopping, not food) when i stumbled upon a ladureé in st germain. went in, appreciated all the goodies, watched the parisians buying giant boxes of the tiny pastel macarons, saw the prices, walked out.

see more of paris at my flickr