Foraging into the deeper tastes of The Botanist

Revamping the gin ‘n Tonic.

I am by no means an expert of alcohol, spirits, wines or even beer and was thus quite unsure about how to take on the challenge of reviewing The Botanist gin. The bottle itself is an imposing force, so beautiful and carefully designed and crafted, you almost feel scared to pop the cork — yes there is actually a rubber cork (that’s how I generally classify alcohol to be the good stuff). It was more than a week that The Botanist was looming unopened on the dining room table before I had the courage to take it on, and honestly now after I have explored its delicate tastes, I don’t think I can ever turn to any other alcohol again. Continue reading

A pickle of curried fish

Preparing for Easter comfort food.

Every year during Easter we have a big family holiday centred around wine, food and fun. It is also our tradition to eat freshly prepared pickled fish with hot cross buns during this time. And so it has become tradition for my mom to climb onto an aeroplane with about 2 Kilograms of pickled fish in her hand luggage. Apart from fooling the 100ml scanners somehow, the greatest trick is of course hoping that the trustworthy Tupperware doesn’t give in and flood the flight with an aroma of fish… Honestly, if I were one of those unfortunate passengers, I wouldn’t mind, I love the dish. Cold, curried fish served with copious amounts of bread and butter. To me that tart, spicy meal is the taste of love and happiness. And so this recipe is dedicated to that taste, and I can feel it already tickling my senses as Easter is drawing near. Continue reading

Minted Mascarpone Brownie-Cupcakes

Face it, it’s basically health food.

I am a self-proclaimed chocaholic. I like chocolate cake, chocolate sauce, chocolate biscuits and more than anything, chocolate brownies. What I’ve found in the recent past, however, is that my sugar meter has greatly shifted in the sense that I cannot consume a whole cake, or even worse, a whole tray of brownies in a day (I was a rather chubby child). You all know that horrible feeling of having eaten too much richness, buegghh. So driving back from a soccer game (we lost) I went back to my emotional eating roots. I had limited ingredients, leftover mascarpone from Easter, basic flours and chocolate and a box of fresh mint with which a delicious lamb was made. CATCHING! Suddenly the sullen mood from the lost game lifted as I found an answer to the age-old question: “How can I turn rich, dark chocolate into something fresh without going the health route?” Continue reading

Ooey Gooey Garlic Camenbert

The Fondue on the go!

Now I’m not going to sell this one as anything special or spectacular. The fact is you’ve probably seen this done before, many a time. But what kind of foodies do we think we are if we don’t celebrate oldie but goodies? Baked gooey Camembert swimming in honey with floating islands of whole garlic cloves. Now I’m sorry, but I just need a moment to wipe away a tear in a moment of admiration of this symphony of perfect tastes. Mix in some carbs and I’m done for. Gooey garlic camembert and bread. I can die in peace now. Continue reading

Lavender ‘n Strawberry Blondies

Delicately Delicious. That’s All.

Oftentimes when I think out recipes, people around me tend to greet me with frowns rather than excitement. I get it. Sometimes they are very bad ideas, like these. But sometimes the crazy in me works magic, and this was one of those times. I love the idea of using fresh fruit in something as rich as a Blondie (a white chocolate Brownie).  I believe every flavour needs to be balanced out. I know how pompous that sounds. But just close your eyes for a moment and imagine: Sickly sweet caramel-like white chocolate broken by bursts of fresh strawberry, rounded by a light crunch of sea salt. Delicious. Now as the Blondie has passed the palate something else remains, a light floral note singing sweetly at the back of your throat, just subtly lingering as a reminder of a perfect balance. Gosh. This is pure poetry. Continue reading