Vol.40 Meals

Knock, knock…are you guys still there?

Du du du du dududududu!

Countdown to the final menu of 2021 has begun. This is the first of three. Like I mentioned in my small note – please booked your favourite frozen meals into the upcoming menus. Thanks to those that have already requested meals. ONLY *2* slots left:

Menu

Frozen Meal 1

Frozen Meal 2

Frozen Meal 3

Vol.41

Thai chicken curry

‘Ndunderi in tomato sauce

Cheese, courgette and honey kataifi pie

Vol.42

Traditional Lasagna

TBD

TBD

*Side note: If you want to watch another truly glorious music video that above gif is taken from follow this link – it has everything! Pyrotechnics, glam rock hair, a perfectly preened frontman, a huuuge synch setup, a high-pitched guitar solo, and shirts which have the top two button un-done and display surprisingly hairless chests. End of side note*

 Vol.40 features some well establishes dishes and the *once-a-year* appearance of Marillenknödel. In case you don’t know what those are, last year’s description will follow below. Just a note to say that you can order frozen Marillenknödel if you’re keen – just take R10 off the price displayed. And my first ever FROZEN dessert – ICE CREAM! And it’s vegan to boot!

Let the countdown begin! – Vol.40

So the first lot of meals to stock your freezer with over the long hard month of December 😉 is here. All three dishes will be very familiar to you. But just in case you’re new here, I’ve added descriptions from previous Food Letters.

Chicken and mushroom pie (this was last on the menu back in May! Vol.19 – I can’t believe it’s been so long) – a firm family favourite this one is. Sliced chicken breast is fried (in some butter for extra yum!). Added to that sliced spring onion and mushroom. Then in goes some Dijon mustard and a big dollop of the creamiest crème fraîche. Add a little stock, give it a good stir and some seasoning and voilà! The ingredients might be day to day but the combination just makes for a hearty, delicious pie. Oh and don’t forget the crispy puff pastry lid!

 Kimchi and tofu dumplings with dipping sauce – These were last on the Vol.34 menu. I suggested retiring them. What was I thinking?! – They are truly delicious though and a seriously easy bit of food to have in your freezer. This filling is a mixture of kimchi, carrot and tofu. The tofu is really only there to bulk out the filling. The flavour comes from the kimchi. A spicy, salty, sour flavour – kimchi is pickled cabbage after all. There’s a little sweetness from the carrots and some garlic and ginger for extra kick. Each bit of filling is encased in a dumpling wrapper which you then fry until brown and crispy and then steam until cooked throughout. They can ready in 15min (and that includes the time it takes for your non-stick pan to heat up). Great as a quick snack or a light dinner.

 Lentil shepherd’s pie with sweet potato mash – And this dish last appeared on Vol.20! Back when it was winter. So, please excuse the wintery references – it works well in summer too – perhaps during one of these glorious thunderstorms we’ve been having. The veggie shepherd’s pie on the menu is a favourite winter dish of mine. And the umami flavouring with this one is REAL! Caramelised onions are joined by carrots, tomato paste and then some red wine. With the final veg in the filling being lentils. The topping is a buttery mash of orange sweet potato sprinkled with just the right amount of mature cheddar. When you bake it, the cheddar melts and sort of fuses with the mash and you get these little bites of cheesiness as you eat the dish.

 If there are any fresh dishes you’d still like to see before the end of the year just let me know. The tofu dish on the menu this week is a special request and the garlic fried beans that go with them are too. I’ve got the Mushroom Tom Yum lined up for the next menu but the rest of the dishes are all up to you guys. Anyway, back to Vol.40

Honey, soy and ginger braised tofu with jasmine rice and garlic fried beans – this gorgeous tofu dish was on the Vol.21 menu (it seems a lot of dishes from my late teens and early twenties (menus) are making a comeback with this menu – cue the rush of hope and wonder at being an “adult” (of the menus)) Right, so here’s the tofu description. This is one pf Meera Sodha’s recipes and of course – it’s gorgeous. The braising ingredients are honey, soy and ginger (no duh!) but we’ve also got garlic (since it’s Meera this is also a bit of a no duh!), pear (! super NOT no duh!), sesame oil and gochujang paste. This was the first recipe I bought gochujang paste for. In case you’ve forgotten what that is or never read my first explanation – gochujang is a Korean red pepper paste. Made with chillies, glutinous rice, fermented soy beans and sugar. The glutinous rice makes it sticky, the chilli spicy and the rest balances it all out. Sides will be the seemingly ever-present jasmine rice (who’s cooking I am slowly getting to perfecting – small batch seems to be the way) and the Suoyi cucumber salad garlic fried beans.

Marillenknödel

Bottom row; Second from the left – you’ll thank me once you’ve ordered

I had a few of you order last year, I hope you choose to order again. Austrian cuisine has this wonderful thing called “Mehlspeisen” – literal translation “Flour Meals”. You see, in Austria it is completely acceptable to have something sweet as your main meal of the day. Having (4 or 5…or 6) thin pancakes filled with apricot jam or sugar and lemon juice (“Palatschinken”) as dinner was a treat for us as kids – and as an adult I realise it was also something easy for my mom to cook up. Another occasional dinner was “Topfenauflauf” – which is a cottage cheese based baked sweet tart/soufflé. The dish that really was a treat is the one I’ve added to this week’s menu – Marillenknödel – or Apricot dumplings. You need really small apricots to make these dumplings – which usually are only available for a short time of the year – basically the beginning of apricot season – which is now. The apricot pip is removed, a sugar cube inserted in its place and the fruit is then wrapped in a smooth cottage cheese based dough. The dumplings are then boiled and once cooked they’re covered with some butter-fried breadcrumbs. And to finish it all off they get a good dusting of icing sugar. I’m going to offer you four dumplings per serving which should be enough to fill you – and if you want to get really traditional have them with a glass of milk. I hope some of you give these a try. Remember to order some frozen ones to have these amazing bites available for another visit.

And now to dessert! Ice-cream!! As I’m sure you can all agree – Joburg is HOT! And therefore, ice-cream seems like the most appropriate response. Coconut ice cream with coconut chips. This recipe comes from Flavour – remember when we were eating our way through it at the beginning of the year? And here we are at the end of the year. The circle of food! Like I mentioned in the introduction of this Food Letter, this ice cream is vegan. So, where we would usually use eggs and milk, here we use aquafaba and coconut cream. The coconut cream is flavoured with vanilla bean, star anise and a little sugar added for sweetness – I mean, this is ice cream after all. The aquafaba is whipped to soft peaks (just like egg whites!) and the infused coconut cream is folded in. Into the freezer it goes and after 5hrs and regular churning we should have ourselves a creamy delight. This ice cream also comes with coconut chips – which the Ottolenghi team describes as “coconut crack” – I can’t wait for those!

And so, we’ve come to the end of the almost-last Food Letter of 2021. Thanks for reading 😊

Now that you’ve read all about the meals, why not order!?