Well, my photolessnessness still continues but I am assured by Cath that this situation will be remedied within the next three weeks. I am still feeling a bit apprehensive about the retrieval of my precious pics but am sitting in the foetal position facing West – with shell shaped pasta beads wound around my head and my two big toes tied together with a string of baby pork sossies – while I repeat the incantation “Pictorius Mine-us be foundious like today-ious!” in my best “wife of Dracula” voice! Give me a break – Halloween is drawing in and I am getting in the mood for “bloody” food!!!!! I am planning to have all the littlies over to eat blood soaked fingers and toes under the moonlight – with costumes, candles and a few scary stories!!! Hehehe …. Will they ever sleep in their beds again!!!
I spent last weekend with a girlfriend of mine Karen between Paternoster and Darling with a few other spots in between. Sadly, our very own uber-chef Kobus from the blog Sardines On Toast was away on holiday but that didn’t stop me going for a FAB lunch at his spot …. Oep vir Koep. This landmark of a shop/ restaurant is overflowing with character, wonderful goodies and great food – the shop introduces the town of Paternoster. The shelves in the “winkel” are laden with wonderful treats – cucumber relish, fleur du sel, koeksisters and bokkoms were but a few items in my shopping basket – I would have purchased half of the shop if I’d had space in my suitcase. Karen and I shared took refuge in the cool shade outside and munched our way through a plate of spaghetti with meatballs and a platter of “delish goodies” – this we washed down all too happily with a bottle of …….. “Eyes-rolling-back-in-head kind of food – yummmmmmmmmmmm …..
Where do I begin – Paternoster is on the West Coast of the Cape and delivers all that one expects with such a fabulous name as Paternoster – it’s Wonderful. Little fishing cottages rub chalky white shoulders with each other as they huddle together on the seafront. The baby soft powdery sand is bejewelled with sea shells and glistens in the sunshine. Karen and I spent a “percale linen” night at The Dunes a boutique guest house – our hosts Gavin and Deon made sure that all of our whims were seen to. We stayed in the rose room – the décor is tasteful and the attention to detail is astounding – and our rooms’ French doors opened right onto the beach ……….. somme net soo …..Heaven!!! Sunset heaven!
Darling is well, totally Darling and our time there was spent mostly in excited, breathless anticipation of our visit to Tannie Evita se Perron – OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHhhhh ….. Need I say more … can I say more? I had my first authentic plate of real contextual “boerekos” and I can’t stop dreaming about those green beans and the butternut. I shared my loo with a portrait of “Eugene Terreblanche” and fell about laughing in the Boerrasic Park. I have been an ardent fan of the inimitable and totally fabulous Evita Bezuidenhout since the 80’s. This icon has all but steered us through the political quagmire – leaping from politician faced steppingstone to politician faced steppingstones – to “tee” with BillyJean and her near and dear friends – President Mandela and the newly retired Arch – Desmond Tutu. Daarie tannie is baie deftig – I tell you and
she very kindly autographed my copy of Evita’s Kossie Sikelela! LILILILILILI……… (Me ululating)
Kobus – those green beans are “to die for”!
I shall share some more with you about the adventures on this trip next time – cost I think I am going on a bit! What’s new? Anyway – back home to the waters of the East Coast of KwaZulu-Natal – casa mia! This time of the year we have a proliferation of one of the best fish in the sea – if you ask me – sole – East Coast Soles are so thick you could use them as door stops!!! This year has been hectic to say in the least – so I am feeling quite nostalgic and this recipe is homage to my nostalgia. Any restaurant in the eighties – worth its pinch of salt – would have sported this indulgence on their menu. Hubby’s family owned the restaurant at Buxton’s Glenwood in Durban – called Capitan Spaventa next door to The Twelve Gods bakery and coffee shop – he says that Sole Bone Femme was right up there with Crayfish Thermidor. This is a classic dish that, if prepared with a bit of love and attention to detail ….. will transport the diner off into the pale yellow, creamy world of that decadent Siren – Sole Bon Femme. Careful now – one bite and you’re hooked!
Lunch in the cool shade @ Oep vir Koep
Menu: East Coast Sole Bon Femme
Portuguese Poached Potatoes
(6 – 8 Portions)
You don’t want to compete with the Sole on your plate – this recipe is packed full of flavour and is quite a rich dish – for this reason these Portuguese Poached Potatoes are the perfect vegetable to accompany the sole on your plate.
The Prawn & Cheese Sauce
1kg of prawns cleaned and removed from the shells which you put into a bowl
2 carrots roughly chopped
1 onion roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery roughly chopped
A few pepper corns and some sea salt
Firstly – we are going to make a stock from the discarded prawn shells. It would be nothing short of “stupidity” to waste the wonderful flavour lurking inside and this really doesn’t take long to make at all.
Pop the whole lot (prawn shells) in a pot – just about cover with some cold water – and bring to the boil – once it’s boiling – skim off the scum with a soup ladle and reduce until you have about 1 cup of prawn stock left.
Place the cleaned whole prawns into a glass dish
Season with some smoked paprika, salt and pepper and set aside.
Baby Button Mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
Flour – 8 Tbsp
1 cup of prawn stock
800ml of milk – low fat or full cream
1/2 glass of dry white wine – I used Springfield’s Life from Stone (yum)
3 cups of grated cheese – a nice strong sweet cheese such as pecorino or gruyere
4 Bay leaves
2 chicken cubes
Black pepper or White pepper if you don’t want black specks in the sauce
Nutmeg – a good grinding – about 1/2 tsp.
In a large heavy based pot – melt 200g of butter add the garlic and button mushrooms and fry until lightly brown then add the dry white wine and reduce until it’s almost gone – drain the mushrooms from the butter and set aside.
In the same pot add the flour and a little bit more butter and stir constantly until the flour is cooked. The flour will go quite dark – don’t worry this is exactly what you are after.
Add the bay leaves – chicken cubes – plenty of pepper and a good grinding of nutmeg (about ½ tsp) and stir in well.
Now start adding your liquids – firstly the prawn stock – little by little and using a whisk stir constantly – Now add about 800ml of milk – again – little by little. Keep stirring – this is the critical stage – you don’t want lumps. I add the milk on a low heat until it’s all in and only then do I turn up the heat to cook the sauce.
Once the milk is all in – add as much grated cheese as you feel necessary – the sauce should by nice and cheesy so don’t hold back – now add back the baby mushrooms and cook until the sauce has fully thickened – your sauce should be nice and thick because the moment that you add your prawns – they will release some liquid into the sauce and thin it down a bit. So don’t start off with a thin cheese sauce or you will end up with watery sauce ….!@!#### big no no! Remove the bay leaves.
1 fresh East Coast Sole per person
Coat the soles with some flour that has been seasoned with – salt – pepper and paprika
Pan fry them until cooked and still juicy and tender
Transfer them to an ovenproof serving dish
Spoon over enough sauce to cover the soles and sprinkle with
Some grated parmesan cheese
Place until a hot grill and lightly brown.
Serve with the Portuguese Poached Potatoes.
I will post this recipe a bit later this week.
As always – Buon Appetito