Well, I’m back! And here’s a brief scorecard as a teaser for a longer post on our glorious skiing holiday:
- Planes missed – none
- Bags lost by airline – one (not mine – phew! And they did later find it.)
- Evenings spent sipping champagne in the hot tub – 6
- Ski school classes completed – 6
- Fabulous chalet hosts – 2
- Episodes of weeping on the slopes – 0!
- Blue runs skied – about 8
- Cheese fondues consumed – 1
- Broken bones/torn ligaments/wrenched limbs – 0!
So, all in all, a successful trip!
I can’t wait to get back to reading blogs and catching up with what’s been happening while I’ve been away, but for now let me just update you on three things:
THE 2009 SOUTH AFRICAN BLOG AWARDS Nominations for these opened on 1 March and will still be open until the end of this week – any nominations that you’d like to bestow on me would be gratefully received! You have to nominate at least three different blogs, and each blog that you nominate may be nominated in as many categories as you like. You also have to supply a valid e-mail address so that they know you are not a robot, and you may only submit one nomination form so think before you nominate! Read the complete rules here and check out Amatomu for some inspiring South African blogs to nominate. And if you click the pic below, you will find that Cooksister has already been filled in for you in the relevant categories! Just nominate two other blogs in the categories of your choice, enter your e-mail and submit.
THE BLOGGERAID COOKBOOK It seems that a large chunk of my spare time lately has been taken up with working on this very exciting project together with my blog pal Val. In case you have been on a silent mountain retreat for the past few months and have still not heard about it, BloggerAid is publishing an all-singing, all-dancing full-colour cookbook and all the money raised is going to the UN World Food Project. We are still in the collecting recipes stage, so please please do try and send us something. All we ask is that it must be an original recipe (so it can be your old family recipe for apple cake, but not a recipe from a book or website), and that you submit it to us in Word format. A picture is good, but don’t fret if you don’t have one – our team can recreate your dish and photograph it for you! See this post for all the details.
ONE FOR THE SAFFERS If you are a South African or live in South Africa, you will know what a lawless scourge the minibus taxi industry has become. These guys appear to be motivated solely by profit and do not care one tiny bit for the safety of their customers – or anybody else. Well over 20 people are regularly crammed into 16-seater mini-buses, drivers drive drunk or without licenses, and don’t even think twice about running a red light or driving the wrong way up a dual carriageway to avoid a queue. Last week outside my old university in Port Elizabeth, a drunk minibus driver hit a 19-year old student Jason Kruger on a pedestrian crossing and dragged him for 30 metres before stopping. Jason survived with a fractured skull, arm and collarbone; missing teeth; and all the ligaments in his hands torn, but died from bleeding on the brain a few days later in hospital. His father and I were friends at university almost 20 years ago and I cannot begin to comprehend how he and his wife must feel. The university has started a petition to get the municipality (who seem resolutely determined not to enforce the rules of the road when it comes to taxis) to allow university staff to police traffi on this stretch of road. It takes about ten seconds to add your name to the 5,000+ people who have already signed. Please help to make sure this never happens again – you never know when you or someone you love will end up in a taxi’s firing line.
Enough voice-of-your-conscience stuff for one day – on to the food! Although it is rumoured to be Spring and some of the trees around here are perfuming the air with tiny white blossoms, the weather still has a distinct chill to it. What better dish to warm the cockles of your heart (or the heart of your cockles!) here at the tail end of winter than soup. I can’t remember any more how I came across Jan’s lovely blog What Do I Want To Cook Today?, but I do recall that our first conversation was about growing chilli plants! Since then I’ve been a faithful reader, and recently when she posted a recipe for cauliflower soup with chorizo, it was love and bookmarking at first sight. The recipe below is my slightly adapted version of Jan’s original: I roasted the cauliflower instead of steaming, to concentrate the flavours, and added sage to the chorizo (although the sage seems to have disappeared in my pics!). The sweet nuttiness of the cauliflower and the spicy chorizo sausage are a match made in heaven – thanks for the inspiration Jan!
2 medium cauliflowers (about 4 cups of florets)
600ml whole fat milk
600ml chicken stock
150g diced spicy chorizo
6 fresh sage leaves
salt and black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Wash and chop the cauliflower into florets.
Toss the florets in enough olive oil to coat them lightly, then turn out onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 15-20 minutes , turning once, until the florets begin to soften and brown at the edges.
Transfer the cauliflower to a large saucepan and mash with a potato masher. Add the stock and milk and over medium heat, bring the mixture just to the boil. Then turn remove from the heat and blend using a wand mixer until the soup is as smooth or as chunky as you like. If too thick, add more stock or milk. Add salt and pepper to taste and return to a low heat, keeping the soup at a gentle simmer.
Wash and chop the fresh sage leaves and dice the chorizo into small pieces. Gently fry them together in a hot pan until both leaves and chorizo begin to crisp.
Spoon the soup into bowls and top each bowl with a spoonful of the chorizo and sage blend. Serve with crusty bread.