Steel grey in colour the choppy waves capped with white foam, heave and churn wildly below my garden deck, it is as always quite an awesome site. It’s raining too and I am pleased that I shopped for food yesterday.
Tomatoes cut in half lightly drizzled with olive oil, topped with a smidge of Demerara sugar, a light sprinkle of Greek oregano and salt and pepper, are roasting off in the oven. It should take about an hour and half at 180C to reduce them to a concentrated richness. When done I put them in a pot, add some chicken stock, correct the seasoning and simmer for about 5 minutes then blend the lot together. Sometimes I will strain the soup, most times I prefer not to. By roasting the tomatoes you get a rich unctuous creamy textured soup yet it has no cream, served with some crusty homemade bread and a good bottle of wine it makes a perfect light dinner or a starter.
But for lunch; a nice piece of fresh farmed salmon seasoned and gently poached in about two table spoons of the fat, skimmed off the top of the stock from last night’s coq au vin, it adds another layer of subtle flavour. I serve the salmon with some fig and raisin chutney which compliments the fish beautifully.
After all the Christmas and New Year hosting, feasting and of being hosted, I was rather desperate to get away from it all and food wise needed something really simple and easy on the stomach. There were some lovely leaks in the fridge and I also had some nice potatoes in my storeroom. I decided that a delicious leak and potato soup, followed by a crisp salad would do the trick.
As it happens the first dish I ever cooked on my own at the tender age of 11, under the direction of the Chef who I was totally in awe of, was potato and leek soup. I loved it then and I still do so now. That anything so simple could taste so good!
And of course; with the beautiful view of the ocean below my sundeck, the magnificent yacht anchored in the bay, with such an awesome view eating in made me feel that I was in the best restaurant in the whole world. What more could one ask for.
This is his (the Chefs) original recipe from way back then.
Leak and Potato Soup ( So simple yet so delicious)
Served on my deck, while watching the sun set gently over the sea.
4 leeks cut into small dice (there should be about 1½ cups)
1 medium onion peeled and diced (about ½ cups)
2 Tbsp. butter
4-5 potatoes peeled and cut into about 1cm dice (about 3 cups)
2 cups milk
2 tsp. salt (or to your taste)
White pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the leeks and onion, cook them slowly, covered, for a few minutes, or until they are soft but not brown, stirring occasionally.
Then add the potatoes, 4 cups of water, 2 teaspoons of salt and simmer covered for about 30 -40 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
Add 2 cups of hot milk and a tablespoon of butter; simmer gently for a few seconds, blend together but not too much. Taste and correct the seasoning.
Serve with some fresh crusty bread and a nice glass of wine.
This is an unusual but exquisite pairing of juicy, burst-in-your-mouth caviar with pasta; a luxurious treat, one which I save for special occasions.
1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
lemon zest from one lemon
juice from half a lemon
half cup of white wine
one cup fish stock or chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
chives for garnishing
Caviar ( sometimes a mixture of red and black is fun)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a salt. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking; heat a little oil in a pan and sauté the onion and garlic for about 2 minutes, then pour in the white wine and reduce liquid by half, then add the stock and reduce by half.
Toss the sauce together with the fettuccine; add the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste; allow to cool slightly before tossing in the caviar, working it gently through the fettuccine to make sure it is evenly distributed.
Garnish with chive sprigs and serve immediately! Enjoy with a full-bodied white wine, I like to serve Cloudy Bay Chardonnay