Saturday, March 27, 2010

Avo Season - Avo and Sardines on toast

The maid arrived on Sunday bearing a packet that marked the beginning of a new fruit season on the island. A shopping packet filled with about 6 massive, freshly picked and very enticing avocados.

Now, when I was a kid avos were one of those foods that I wouldn't touch with a barge pole. In the same category as broccoli or asparagus. Its only pretty recently that I've been giving them a try again. They're often refered to as a super-food, but I can't remember why right now. Suffice to say that you should eat more avos. Of course, avos themselves don't make their consumption any easier because you can't buy them ripe, and then once they ripen you've got to use them really quickly. So it clearly helps to have an avo tree nearby, that provides you with way more than you could possibly eat yourself.

The recipe dropped into my lap at a perfectly opportune time then. It was probably sometime last week that I stumbled across this recipe from One serving of Sardine and Avocado Toast. Yes, as you are thinking now, my first thought was how digusting that would be. And that sardines and toast have a special relationship already, and don't need some fancy avo so that they can pretend to be "cuisine". But the recipe stuck in my mind until I was sure I wanted to try it.

Its also very easy to prepare lunchtime food, good for you, and rather yummy.

Brush some pita bread with olive oil and grill until golden and crispy.
Drain a tin of sardines, place in bowl, and mash them.
Scoop half an avo into another bowl, add about a tablespoon of lemon juice, some salt and pepper and also mash.

Spread the mashed sardines on the toasted pita.
Spoon the mashed avo over.
Drizzle a little more olive oil over the top of the whole thing.

Tuck in to the most unusual sandwich you've had in a while.
You can almost feel your body getting healthier by the second, and the last remnants of hangover from last nights shindig drifting away.

Put some Jack Johnson on the stereo, sit back and watch the catamarans come in from their Saturday cruise.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Next comes Easter

So we were sitting at the Yacht club late Sunday morning, having drinks with the out-laws, and discussing how we're going to set the place up for our wedding in August. Despite being pretty suspect to start with, I think we will manage to fit all the guests on the main veranda, which will actually make it a nice venue.

Anyway, as things were slowly starting to get a little tipsy, Vicki's mom kindly informs us that Easter lunch is at the beach cottage every year. (And Vix and I are living at the beach cottage over Easter). I can do a leg of lamb on the weber, and there'll be flagolet, and green beans, and cheesecake, and a starter of some sort. The Vix started to freak, but then we got our heads around it and we started to make sure that the rest of the family weren't going to stuff it up too much ("No, don't worry, we'll do the starters as well, why don't you do the flowers and bring the easter eggs."). There'll be about 20 - 25 people.

Events like this always (for me at least) start with a kind of gung-ho excitement; then later in the day you get this nagging doubt, bordering on absolute terror (picture everyone sitting around the table watching me trying to carve a completely burnt 4 kg block of charcoal that I'm going to try to feed then); then the cycle repeats itself, and I get kind of excited again.

Oh, and its two weekends away, and we've got to spend next weekend moving house. There is no prep time for this one. (hehehe, bring it on!)

So, ladies and gentlemen, the plan ...

(some time passes)...

We were served an absolutely wicked Roast Lamb Shoulder on our recent soiray back to the homelands in Africa. Gorgeously tasty meat, true Jamie Oliver style food, and good family company. Thanks Denzil.

However, this is Easter lunch with a massive contingent of my future spouses extended family - I feel that the presentation of the meat is going to be pretty critical, and the problem with the shoulder was that it fell apart when carved and served. A leg of lamb, or possibly even a crown roast, make for great presentation, and oo-ing and aa-ing when folk see it at the table. A leg also lends itself to the showmanship style of carving at the table which is undoubtedly going to be expected.

Maybe crusted with a mustard, breadcrumb, parmesan and herb crust. Maybe marinaded in onions, garlic, lots of herbs, some wine and olive oil. Maybe try something slightly different and coat it in a spicy mixture of lemon grass, ginger and garlic, lime leaves and lemon juice (although I think I'm trying more for a classic presentation of the banquet this time.)

Side dishes? I shouldn't have asked at the Yacht club. "Flagolet and green beans" - It's just how things are done here. "Can we please have roast potatoes with it?" - says the other expat at the table. I shouldn't have asked. I'm all for the roast potatoes. Maybe the flagolet and green beans can be mixed together in one dish, maybe even the same dish that holds minty peas that I'd like to see added. In any case, I'm sure that's not enough. There are a lot of people coming, and its nice for them to have a little variation.

And a prawn cocktail starter?!? Not again please. Even if they do taste nice, lets try something refreshing.

Then there's the problem of timing the thing. I'm going to have to go to church in the morning, then come home and start the braai. That means that lunch is going to be served really late. That means we have to spend a fair bit of time feeding people before hand (but carefully so that they still have space for the magnificent main course.)


I'm going for a walk. I'll keep you informed on progress.