Missing: one CookSister blogging mojo, presumably left behind in Cape Town. Much loved. Reward offered for its safe return… Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those “I’m taking a break” (translation: I’m never coming back) posts with which the blogosphere is littered, just my attempt to explain my woefully inadequate blogging record since my return from holiday in South Africa. Despite missing my blog and my readers terribly while I was away, I have struggled to settle down and write anything since my return – mea culpa! So let’s ease back into it with my holiday in numbers: 1 – food blogging conferences attended 2 – nephews hugged and entertained 3 – towns/cities stayed in (Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Cape St Francis) 4 – courses eaten for fabulous dinner at The Roundhouse 5 – hours spent at Doha airport 6 – old school friends met at Kirstenbosch for tea 7 – bottles of vintage South African wine consumed from our SA “cellar” 8 – walks on Cape St Francis beach 9 – kilograms (at least!!) of condiments and foodie gifts brought back in my luggage 10 – fabulous friends at my birthday dinner at VovoTelo Pizzeria Good times, good times… While we were at the beach house in Cape St Francis, my darling sister-in-law wisely suggested that we split the catering, so that Nick and I alternated with her and my brother. On the day that my dad came to visit us, it was my and Nick’s turn. We wanted to make lunch a bit special, but at the same time we wanted to spend time with my dad rather than in the kitchen, so this easy-peasy yet indulgent pasta dish provided the ideal main course. Although I mention chilli flakes in the recipe, we had none to hand… but what I did have was a jar of wonderful chilli salt from the Caviar Group – one of the many wonderful goodies I received at the Cape Town Food Blogger Conference. I urge you to get hold of some – it’s addictive!
SMOKED SALMON PENNE (serves 6) Ingredients: enough penne (or other pasta) for 6, cooked according to package instructions 6 spring onions, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, crushed pinch of chilli flakes extra virgin olive oil 2 tsp flour 200ml single cream 1 tsp dried dill 200g smoked salmon, chopped snipped chives to garnish Method: Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and prepare the pasta according to package instructions. In the meanwhile, cover the base of a large sauté pan with olive oil and sauté the chilli flakes, spring onions and garllic together over gentle heat until the onions are soft but not browned. Stir in the flour and mix well before adding the cream and dill. The sauce needs to be fairly thin, not thick and leaden. Add some of the cooking water from the pasta if it is too thick. Once the sauce is heated through, add the dill and the smoked salmon, reserving a handful to garnish. Turn the heat right down. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it back a ladle at a time to the pan of sauce, stirring all the time so that the pasta is properly coated. Spoon ladlefuls of the coated pasta onto plates and garnish with a little salmon and some snipped chives (I did not have any to hand, which is why you don’t see them in my photos!). Serve with a tossed salad and some bread for mopping up the creamy sauce. I am submitting this recipe as my entry into this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, the event conceived by the lovely Ruth of 4 Every Kitchen and hosted this week by Daphne of More Than Words. Look out for the carbolicious round-up this Friday!