I always find it nigh impossible to break the ice after a long lay-off! Jan, the hedonist wages a fierce yet useless battle with Jan, the organised-disciplined mum, wife, worker, blogger, cook cum general factotum! All this battle seems to achieve is a Jan that’s frozen stiff. This happens every year! I am not comfortable with change, and my carefully contrived plans to diet, exercise, blog, and cook and work all got vaporised when I was struck down with a chronic chest infection which was treated with antibiotics, which meant that I could not possibly diet! Well, that’s the excuse that I am sticking to it!
So, instead of kicking off the year with more traditional hip-busting, money saving health tips and recipes, I have chosen a fabulous recipe from an already cherished book that I received as a Christmas gift from Max. Rick Stein’s latest book entitled SPAIN encapsulates all that Rick is! Each of the 302 pages, beautifully adorned with the very best that Spain has to offer. Rick’s food is not fussy, it’s not contrived and his prose are spectacular! Rick and I see life through very similar eyes. We both love to cook, to travel, to read and to share the simplest nuances with regards to food. We each have one foot planted in the classics and the other in a foreign kitchen where we both revere and respect the time honoured recipes passed down from generation to generation. The kind of recipes that celebrate all that is seasonal, fresh and local.
I don’t like messing with time honoured traditions and that’s just who I am. Don’t ask me to re-invent these dishes and add the ‘flave’ of the moment. I will always put my stamp on a recipe, replacing on flavour with another if it’s what is going to keep the horde quiet. Perhaps it’s my age and that I am of the ‘sit-up, eat-up, look-up and shut-up’ generation where we were praised for following orders to the letter and NOT for ‘doing it our own way!”
Last Sunday our dinner table was blessed with a handful of regular friends and family. The problem with desserts in Durban at this time of the year is that it’s generally around 32degrees at lunch time when you want to serve them. Ice creams, no matter how hard they have been frozen, start melting the moment that you open the freezer door, never mind served and garnished on a plate; and hot desserts are just not particularly enjoyable in this heat. Fruity flavours offer just a little respite from the heat so Flan de naranja (orange caramel creams), which is served ice cold from the fridge was my choice. These orange caramels are not made with cream but rather freshly squeezed orange juice which is much lighter on the tummy and the orange juice just burst with flavour. Win, win!
Flan de Naranja
Page 289, ‘Spain’ by Rick Stein
Orange Caramel Creams
You will notice that I added the bean of 1 Vanilla pod to my caramel.
4 large oranges
300g caster sugar
14 large free range egg yolks
2 large whole free range eggs
For the caramel
100g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 160d. Put six 175ml pudding basins or eight dariole mould into a small roasting tin and bring a kettle full of water to the boil. I own neither of these two pieces of kitchen equipment so just used coffee cups instead.
For the caramel, put the sugar and water into a small, heavy-based pan and leave over a very low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Then increase the heat to high and leave to boil rapidly without stirring until the syrup has turned into a brick-red caramel.
Remove from the heat and quickly pour a little into the base of each dish, twisting to coat the bottom and slightly up the sides. Be careful as the dishes may be hot.
Finely grate the zest of two oranges, then squeeze the juice from them all and measure 400ml into a pan. Add the orange zest and caster sugar and bring to the boil over a low heat, stirring now and then to dissolve the sugar.
Meanwhile, put the egg yolks and whole eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk together. When the orange juice comes to the boil, turn down the heat slightly and simmer rapidly for 2 minutes. Pour the mixture onto the eggs, stirring, and then strain through a fine sieve into a large jug.
Pour the mixture equally into each dish and pour boiling water around them to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the dishes.
Bake for 20 minutes for the pudding basins, 15 minutes for the dariole moulds, then remove from the oven and lift out of the water. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. To serve carefully invert each dish onto a small serving plate and pour some of the caramel syrup around each one. If too much caramel has stuck to the base of the pots, put them back into a small roasting tin, pour boiling water into the tin and leave until the caramel has melted.
These little Flan de Faranja’s coped very well with the unforgiving and scorching midday heat in Durban. What made them particularly enjoyable was that they are very light on the tummy … really quite moreish!
And all there is to these babies, really very simple to make. No complicated or tricky methods that need to be navigated; really a simple and very light and delicious summer pudding. Serve ice cold out of the fridge with a splodge of cream!
ps: This is NOT a hint! Cupcakes aren’t sexy! However: With Valentines Day looming – this could be just the ticket for a bit of romantic body paint / dessert / thingy! I am busy working on a recipe for the LOVERS out there! It’s GUARANTEED to add some spice to a romatic soiree with the ‘subject’ of your desire!!!! May 2013 bring you wonderful exciting challenges, unfortold oppotunity and an abundance of good health!
Despite my best efforts, I didn’t manage to win Dinner Divas. Thank You so very much for your encouragement and support during the whole process and I offer my sincere apologies for letting the team down! Congratulations must go to Anel of www.lifesazoobiscuit.co.za. Anel embodies the very soul of a Diva through and through.
Her food was exciting, different and her passion for food is immeasurable. We had loads of laughs on set with the whole crew! I had such a fantastic time with all of the Divas and one Divo – it’s really difficult blogging from Durban as one suffers a tremendous sense of isolation. There is no doubt that Cape Town is the centre of the South African food world which is why I try and visit as often as possible. Meeting all of those incredible Diva’s was fantastic and I thank them all for their love and encouragement. Kristy, I fell in love with your feisty personality and love your approach to food. I only WISH I had some of your photography skills! Max and Daniele are both avid Kristy followers and if you need any (nudge nudge wink wink) special jobs done … they have availed themselves. I will be posting the recipes from the final once I have had a chance to cook them and photograph them properly Fresh Prawn Ravioli in a Seafood broth Crostolli d’Agnello – Rosemary Crusted rack of lambwith a Red Wine & honey juswithParmesan MashSpring Vegetables