Snap, Sizzle & Cook

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Archive for the month “December, 2012”

Crayfish Thermidor

My husband and I love seafood but we don’t get the opportunity to eat a lot of crayfish, if any at all. Not only is it frightfully expensive, but it’s not readily available in stores. When the prospect arose for us to “hopefully” get our hands on these little (or big) beauties, we jumped. Why I said “hopefully” is because it’s quite a mission diving for them and chances of a successful dive are not always guaranteed. There are difficulties such as heavy swells and poor visibility that affect the possibilities of a “fruitful” catch. Needless to say we were adamant that nothing would dampen our efforts so off we went to the Post Office to obtain our licenses. One license permits the license holder to remove only 4 crayfish from the ocean per day so between my husband, his son Byron (our designated crayfish catcher) and me we could remove 12 crayfish that day. We were eager and amped that we would be eating a large number of crayfish for dinner that night.
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We set off for Soetwater just past Kommetjie to legally obtain our stash.
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Our proficient crayfish diver Byron gearing up “solo” for the great catch. After about an hour and forty five minutes in the freezing ocean (albeit wetsuit), Byron made his way back to the rocky shore with two adults and a baby. The baby was later released. As I mentioned earlier, heavy swells and poor visibility made it an extremely difficult task, especially solo. After a good banter about the disappointing catch, we were at least grateful that we had a “starter” for dinner.
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I have never made Thermidor sauce before but do know that it’s a rich, creamy sauce that is combined with the cooked meat of crayfish, covered in Parmesan cheese and grilled in the oven. Because of the small number of crayfish we had, I decided to make a very basic Thermidor sauce with brandy and capers. The following recipe will make about 350ml of Thermidor sauce, enough for 2 crayfish tails. You’ll need:
1 Onion finely chopped
2 Tbsp. capers roughly chopped or whole
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 stick (100g) real butter (Springbok unsalted)
75g flour
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
50ml Brandy or Sherry
50ml white wine
1 tub cream
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Method: In a heavy saucepan, melt butter and gently simmer onion, capers and garlic. Add Dijon mustard and stir in well continuing to simmer. Add a bit more butter if needed. Add flour and mix in well. You should have a paste consistency. Add brandy and white wine and whisk continuously ensuring that lumps don’t form. Add tub of cream and whisk till smooth. Your sauce should now be thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in cooked, diced crayfish meat and return to shell and serve. If you have parmesan cheese or any other mature hard white cheese, sprinkle some over the top and grill in oven till golden brown.
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Road Trip Biscuits

With my families road trip to Cape Town drawing near, I decided to start baking some treats for the long drive which will at least last in terms of freshness. We’re taking a slow coastal drive down through the Transkei (as I know it) and then on to the Garden route and down to Cape Town. We’re planning on spending the first night somewhere in the Eastern Cape and then sleeping over in Knysna the second night. How exciting. Anyway, I decided on making some biscuits for the trip. I got cracking about a week ago and made an enormous batch of Peanut Butter and Cornflake cookies from the lovely @ninatimm food blog http://www.my-easy-cooking.com/ but sadly it’s been eaten long before the road trip even began. Yes, we made over 100 cookies from the batch and between my son and I we devoured the lot. They were delicious. I had to get cracking again on a new batch of biscuits and had to give myself and my son strict instructions not to eat it this time round. I decided to make lovely butter biscuits with an easy 3 ingredient recipe that I’ve been using for months now from another stunning chef, @jackie_cameron. To get her original recipe, log on to this blog http://blog.hartford.co.za/hartford-recipes/1-2-3-lavender-biscuits-recipe.html. The recipe is actually a lavender biscuit recipe but I’ve eliminated the lavender and left the biscuits just plain. Either way, they are delicious and I could quite easily polish the batch solo. I’ve also made gorgeous date balls with a touch of extra oomph………brandy! Not to be eaten by my son. You can stack your biscuits in empty, sterile tins like I have (see images) and give as Christmas gifts.
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For the Butter biscuits you will need:
60g castor sugar
120g butter
180g flour
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Method:
Cream butter and sugar and add flour. Continue to rub in until mixture comes together. Roll into dough ball and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before use. Roll out onto a floured surface, cut desired shapes with cookie cutters and decorate as you please. Place on a baking tray and bake at 140 degrees for 14 minutes. This dough freezes very well.
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Date Balls with oomph
125g butter
250g dates finely chopped
1 extra large egg
15ml brandy (add more if you wish)
1 packet of Marie biscuits finely crushed
100ml coconut
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Method:
Melt butter, add dates and stir till hot. Add whisked egg, brandy and biscuits and mix together. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes or until cool. Roll into balls and coat in coconut. Enjoy!
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