April 30, 2020

The golden hues of Autumn

fresh produce in SA

THE GOLDEN HUES OF AUTUMN

I’m convinced that Mother Nature granted display rights for autumn in the Western Cape to the winelands, and in Cape Town to the leafy southern suburbs. I was delighted to be released from captivity for a doctor’s appointment last week. Being driven past Rhodes Memorial the first varying hues came into sight. Still exclaiming in delight, the rich red tones of the leaves hugging the walls below UCT rugby fields then rendered me speechless. The golden stretch past Newlands Forest reminded me of how when the leaves start turning brown, curling and falling from the trees, we witness more curves and contours of the mountain. It seemed like a good metaphor for life in captivity – perhaps I had stopped seeing the wood for the trees?

A FORTNIGHT’S REPRIEVE

The return drive to town was equally captivating, and I would be delighted with the same view next week, if it were not for the fact that I will be returning to the hospital for a shoulder operation. It will render me useless for a few months, unable to write (with a pen), cook, bake, garden and paint – some of the things that I love doing. But I will adapt, uncomplainingly and read, read and read. I will take a fortnight’s break from blogging, but then be back to no doubt share many a book review.

THE ART OF FRUIT

When I am not dining in or out, in the kitchen, I am happiest at my easel, and my favourite subject to paint are fruits and vegetables. Visit Constantiaberg Art Society to see their online exhibition, in which my figs and my berries are part of the show. Originally intended as a live exhibition at Kirstenbosch Gardens, the society quickly moved it online. It ends today, on 30 April.

Constantiaberg Art Society

 

COOKING FOR THE HELPLESS

I was 12 years old when my mother had to have a shoulder op. She immediately sent me on a cookery course, with Pamela Shippel. I learnt the basics like macaroni cheese, spaghetti bolognaise, simple chicken dishes and chocolate cake. It was sufficient to start a life-long love affair with food, and to convince me to study food and nutrition.

DÉJÀ VU

Freedom Day was spent shopping for a huge cook-up starting with those same comfort foods. Most of it was attempted with mainly my left hand, and an initially enthusiastic husband.

A symphony of simple dishes, created with the backdrop of the sounds of Alexa playing happy music, was completed, labelled and shipped into the freezer. I started with my mom’s good ole mac cheese (elevated with the addition of some Richard Bosman bacon) and bolognaise sauce. I paged through the recipes that I have extracted from enthusiastic cooks all over the world, and I ‘banked’ Sri Lankan chicken, an Indian cardamom chicken stew, a decadent Persian pomegranate and walnut chicken and finally a spicy Moroccan chicken with Ras el Hanout. I then moved to Italy and made caponata, to Mexico to make some chilli con carne and came home to prepare lentil bobotie and curried mince.

Soup day followed – courgette and feta, Spanish red pepper and tomato soup plus a carrot miso soup found their way into my freezer.

RECIPE FOR SPANISH RED PEPPER AND TOMATO SOUP

by Gourmet Guide, Jenny Handley

Serves 6 (large portions) or 10 small bowls 

INGREDIENTS

6 to 8 large tomatoes

1 large onion

2 red peppers

50ml garlic oil

2t smoked paprika

250ml white wine

1 medium-sized sweet potato

3C chicken stock

salt, pepper

1 round of feta

handful of thyme

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Wash and halve the tomatoes, removing the core.
  3. Slice the onion and peppers, and place with the tomatoes in an oven roasting pan.
  4. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the paprika.
  5. Pour the wine into the pan around the tomatoes.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and pour the roasted tomatoes and pan juices into a 3 litre pot.
  8. Peel and dice the sweet potato and add to pot.
  9. Add the chicken stock and seasoning.
  10. Bring to the boil and then cook, covered, for 30 minutes.
  11. Cool slightly, add the feta and with a hand-held blender, liquidise the soup.
  12. Serve hot or cold, with a sprinkle of thyme as a garnish.
Soup recipes

HELPING OTHERS

There are some heartwarming and innovation activities to help others during this desperate time of increasing poverty. I plan to start my weekend with Ard Matthew’s concert, making a donation via Quicket: https://www.quicket.co.za/event/104287/collect. Follow the performance live by clicking here: click to watch live

Ard Matthews
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