Weekend heat

Despite forecasts of rain, we continue to experience something I want to call an Indian summer, but that wouldn’t be quite right, because the dead of winter has already revealed itself. So let’s just say some freaky, but lovely, hot weather in the middle of winter.

Still, that’s no excuse not to get some other heat going. Like yesterday – I sat down fully intending to work, but after two hours there was no sign of a sentence, only this:


It’s “the one with yoghurt,” according to its Greek name, which translates more helpfully into a yoghurt and almond cake with lemon syrup. The original recipe calls for a good amount on brandy in the batter (probably why I bookmarked it), but since we had none, I put on my creative hat (which is full of multicultural stereotypes) and decided that ouzo would do the trick. It’s all Greek, right? Oh, and I used buttermilk instead of yoghurt (it’s all bacteria, right?), and plain flour instead of half semolina (all wheat, right? You get my thinking).

(You probably can’t see it, but the punktum in the above picture is just behind and to the left of the ouzo bottle. Celery salt. Indispensable for any self-respecting kitchen – or bar, that is).

Almost as nice as the cake itself with its crunchy almondy-sugary topping (excuse me while I show off my new camera, but the thing is in the detail, right?) – DSC00690

– was the sauce I concocted to go with it for an after-braai dessert: whip up a little creme fraiche with icing sgar (not too much), a squirt of lemon and a nice glug of ouzo. It worked majestically – and so did the cake quite naked of adornments for breakfast this morning.

We braaied because it was nice and balmy on the balcony – at least while the sun was up, which unfortunately wasn’t for long. But while braaing in summer is sometimes quite silly (hmm, what shall we do on the hottest day of the year? Make a fire!), some flame action is a wonderful thing to cope with early evening chills. And flame action it was, as the philosophe tried out his new coal gadget:


I would like to say it was so hot that our fire was actually pink, but that’s just some trick of lighting that I’m afraid I didn’t author. The eery bit in the middle of the cylinder did get freakishly hot – so much so that I got nervous the metal might melt, and then proceeded to put two of my fingertips far too close to it with the result that I now only have eight fingerprints left. Oh well, who needs ten right?