The Curious Cook

Ancient cravings

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Digestive biscuits made with spelt flour. Served with local raspberry and pink peppercorn cream cheese from Fairview. Photo: Justus Wagener

Can you remember what was in Little Red Riding Hood’s basket? Well, most of us are just as distracted as she was by the flowers she stopped to pick along the way. And what with the looming presence of the Big Bad Wolf, who can blame us? But you may recall that Grandmother was ailing so her granddaughter was bringing her the perfect fortifying food – wine and cake.

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The Curious Cook

If almonds be the food of love

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I first made frangipane tart on the day before Valentine’s Day. I was 19 years old and had fled the nest a mere month before, to live in a shabbily charming Victorian house. To celebrate my new life, I had been collating some new recipes in an exercise book with a red spine. And this was the first one: frangipane tart with apricots. It was a sunny day Continue reading “If almonds be the food of love”

The Curious Cook

Life and lemons

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Lemon madeira with lemon curd on a bespoke handpainted cake plate from 1910. Photo: Justus Wagener

Everybody knows you can count yourself lucky if you have experienced life on a farm. There is nothing like it, waking up early to milk the cows, exploring the wonders of the veld, not to mention the dramatic, rolling rainstorms. I was happily plunged into this experience when my father married a lovely woman with red hair and they decided to raise their children on her parent’s farm in the Kowie River valley, halfway between the villages of Bedford and Adelaide in the Eastern Cape.

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The Curious Cook

Cheese, please!

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Photo: Crate and Barrel

Like for many women around the world, Christmas is usually a stressful time for me. What is it with this persistent search for perfection? I am not an A type organised homemaker by any means but as soon as Christmas comes around, my nurturing instincts go into overdrive. I become momentarily convinced that orchestrating a perfectly varied menu means a memorable time will be had by all. The truth is, having a good time means actually being relaxed enough to enjoy the occasion.

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