One would imagine that when two self-styled foodistas (don't you hate that word?) get together for an evening of nosh and natter in the kitchen, that their combined knowledge, talent and enthusiasm would result in an extraordinary meal, one imminently worth blogging about. And so, when my oldest friend Sasha...
(INTERMISSION: Let us pause here for a moment to picture two girls in school uniforms, each just shy of their 10th birthday. One is fed up with her current gaggle of catty friends and in need of succor, and so ventures up to the other girl one break [little break], and says simply, 'Can I be your friend?' The other girl says, 'Okay,' and that, to quote Casablanca, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Fast forward 19 years or so, and one of those girls is the editor of foodie mag Avocado, and the other has taken to publishing rants and recipes on her blog called 'Koek!' It is a mystery how these two — with their love of food — are still able to fit into size 34 jeans. END INTERMISSION)
... and I were trawling the food isles at Woolies, unable to agree on what to cook, it came as somewhat of a surprise that, when I tentatively suggested, 'Mashed potato?', she replied, 'Yes! Thank God! That's just what I feel like.' So that's what we did. In-between catching up on gossip and bad-mouthing women we deemed more attractive than us, we made and ate mashed potato and some sort of ready-crumbed fish. Oh and some broccoli — steamed, plain. We watched a dreadful movie called 500 Days of Summer, and went to bed, completely satisfied that we'd had hoot of an evening.
So go figure.
But I do not come to this blog post empty-handed. I have two scrumptious offerings that are guaranteed crowd pleasers. Enjoy...
Lentil, salami and feta saladServes 4
4 tbsp olive oil
4 chorizo sausages, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large handful fresh thyme,
2 cups green lentils, washed
11/2 litres chicken stock
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
100ml red wine vinegar
100g baby spinach leaves
120g feta, sliced
1. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the chorizo and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned.
2. Add the garlic and thyme, and cook for a further minute (be careful not to let the garlic brown).
3. Add the lentils and stock, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Set aside to cool slightly for 10 minutes.
4. Combine the Dijon mustard and vinegar, and stir through the lentils. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Add the spinach to the lentils and divide the salad between four plates.
6. Top with feta slices and serve with crusty bread.
Chicken salad with bocconcini and croutonsServes 4
300g cherry tomatoes
Olive oil, to taste
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 loaf ciabatta, broken into chunks
1 roasted chicken, sliced
250g bocconcini, torn
30g basil leaves, torn
1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Place the tomatoes in a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil and the vinegar. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until the skin begins to wrinkle.
2.Add the bread chunks to the tray and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Roast for 5 or 6 minutes, or until golden and crunchy.
3. Remove from the oven and arrange the chicken slices so that they nestle between the croutons and tomatoes.
4. Top with the bocconcini, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, scatter with basil leaves
These photos were taken by Deryck van Steenderen for Psychologies magazine.