OK, so I started with dessert. A friend left some naartjies (tangerines? clementines?). As I mostly feel like tucking into a Golden Delicious when I’m in the mood for fruit, I decided to turn them into this cake. The recipe is for a moist orange cake, so I guess that makes it a moist naartjie cake (there’s a “glaze” on top, a syrup that doesn’t quite penetrate to make the entire cake soggy, but it’s moist and fluffy insde anyway, and the glaze just adds a bit of welcome stickiness to the top crust).
It’s pretty lovely actually. And nice to make something that is clean and simple. Eggs, sugar, butter, flour and citrus. Goes very nicely with strong milky coffee. (I’m sure tea would be good too)
For the next course, turkey thigh. I stuffed some sage and salami under its skin to keep it nice and moist, browned it with plenty of salt and pepper, a bit more salami and some onions:
Then a basic braising in the cast iron pot: add tomatoes, garlic, a liberal splash of white wine, small dollop of Dijon mustard, some chopped aubergine and more fresh sage. An hour and a half later, add some potatoes (note I found the nice ones with the red skins).
Possibly finish the turkey off under the grill for a crisp skin. Haven’t quite decided on that yet.
Well the first thing you should know about me is that I pop my popcorn in a pot. It requires a little labour, this is true. But the labour is just the secret of the process. I will share it with you:
Pour enough olive oil into a small pot to cover the bottom. Then fill that same bottom with a layer of popcorn seeds. Make it a single layer, but a plentiful one. You don’t want big holes where you can see the pot. Now toss them lightly to make sure they all get a bit of oil.
Now put the lid on (firmly) and turn the heat onto HIGH.
Now go something for a few minutes. You could roll a cigarette. Check your email. Put the dvd in the machine and make sure your TV is working.
When you hear the first pop RESIST the instinct to go and shake the thing about. Let it pop. Let it pop some more. Let it get a good vigorous popping going. This should take between 30-60 seconds. Then you shake.
Now you put it back on the heat and stay close. If you have estimated the amount of seeds correctly, they should be starting to pop the lid off round about now. This is when you carefully pick up the pot with one hand (hence a small pot), open the lid with the other and release some of the poppers into your bowl, which should be close by. When you’ve created enough space for the rest of the poppers to do their thing, replace the lid and put the pot back on the heat. Give it another shake and once the popping slows down, turn the heat OFF. Shake it once more and leave it to get those final kernels to just half-pop for that crunchy business at the end.
When you are sure that there will be no more popping, you can open the lid and let the pot-poppers join their friends in the bowl. If your bowl is the right size, it should be perfectly full but not overflowing. This is important for the next step.
Now you add the salt. Give it a (depending on your blood pressure) liberal sprinkle of FINE salt. Then you put your two hands around the bowl’s upper rim and with gentle jerking movements, toss the whole lot so the salt spreads evenly. This motion has a little poetry in it. Don’t worry if you spill a few in the beginning. When you have got it down the result will be perfect.
And so much goddamn better than anything you pull out of a paper bag that’s been nuked in the microwave.