Hello 2012 and here is wishing you, my fellow foodster, a delicious year ahead with many memorable moments around your table, sharing food that speaks of love and gratitude and consideration for each other and the earth that has to sustain us. I’m rather tempted to include ‘endure us’ but this is a nice post, not a whinging one …
Here are my food affirmations for the year, in order of what’s real and practical: seasonal, sustainably-reared or -grown, and local.Unfortunately the ‘local’ bit is last in the row only because our entire food industry is still caught in the trap of ‘bulk buying is better’ so our food is bought and sold in a buyer’s offices in one city for the entire country’s stores. That means in all likelihood, most of what we eat travel vast distances to reach our kitchens to the detriment of the earth, the economy, our own pockets and the food quality.
But I am veering towards the grumpy old woman post and its only January! So let’s get back to being nice … :-) After all, it’s summer and our food says it all. In season right now are all those sweet, aromatic, colourful, juicy delights that we need in this heat: the berries, apricots, figs, granadillas, nectarines (have you tried the white-fleshed ones?), peaches, plums, litchis, mangoes, prickly pears, grapes, water melon, honey dew melons and kiwi fruit. This time of the year you’ll often catch me with a little dish in hand most of the time. In the dish will be little single jewels and some cubes of one or more of the above varieties of summer fruits. This is mouth-watering time, I tell you.
And then of course on the veggie side we have asparagus, baby butternuts, chives, brinjals, endives to-die-for (if you know how to cook them!), radishes, radicchio, Italian tomatoes, sweet peppers of all sizes, shapes and colours and a glut of earthy, meaty mushrooms in dittos shapes and sizes. And then of course, not to mention that every conceivable variant of herb is available right now … and from our waters, we have snoek, hake, kabeljou and trout. They are all on the Sassi green list at the moment, meaning they are not devoured into distinction (this is a valid gripe, not just being grumpy …)
So there is our summer offering of delicious produce … obviously there are still all the usual items like onions, and squash and banana and cabbage and this is not to say I do not love those foods also. But this is to say that this time of the year offers us the A List of Food as far as I am concerned and I for one, am taking full advantage of it – especially after the indulgent festive time … And also saying that it’s time for giving the body a rest from the best: the best chocolate mousse, best fruit cake, best terrine, best ribs, best leg of lamb, best potjie, best cocktail, best everything that the festive season so richly and relentlessly demanded from us.
Simplicity will be the rule in my house for a while and here is my idea of a simple, seasonal breakfast or light lunch on the patio – it’s summer after all, so celebrate her!
Boiled egg with asparagus and Parma ham.
You will need, per person:
- 1 jumbo free-range egg
- 75 g fresh asparagus, stalks trimmed
- little melted butter
- 2 thin slices Parma ham (or any other ham of your choice)
- good salt and milled black pepper
Boil the egg to your liking. Drain and dry the egg and position in an egg cup on a serving plate. Poach-steam the asparagus for a minute or so until just cooked. Drain and toss in some melted butter and season to taste.
Lay the ham in a single layer on a board and place the asparagus onto the ham. Roll up loosely and place next to the egg cup. Enjoy! (PS an afterthought: boil two eggs. Then roll small strips of ham around EACH asparagus and then diping them into the oozing golden yellowness of the egg. Can you see that in this case, one egg simply won’t do. Yummmmm…)