First up, thank you and Hurrah!
Goodness. What a weekend.
My most sincere thanks and gratitude to all of you for reading, tweeting, and interacting with me via the blog, twitter and the Facebook page. Okay, let’s be honest you don’t always interact or comment, but I see you hovering via google analytics and the posts that you retweet or favourite. I hope you can feel me waving like a mad banshee when you do!
You (some of you) actually read my blog and voted for her in the SA Blog Awards! That was the first gargantuan surprise, being nominated in the top 3. I think Food and the Fabulous is awesome; if only you knew how many hours of the day go towards maintaining her, but I’m a realist. So, being nominated was a very, very pleasant surprise. (I mean nothing like a top 3 nomination to stroke the ego of a blogger)
The second surprise came this Saturday past when Food and the Fabulous was awarded Pick & Pay Best Food and Wine Blog 2011.
I may have said to the lady who presented the award, something along the lines of “I’m so utterly… surprised…thank you!”
I started Food and the Fabulous one night in September 2010, on a whim, after months of tweeting pics of the dishes I prepared or enjoyed out or on travels. It started as a journal of sorts, a record of my life in food, a challenge. And it has been my very engaging, rewarding and sometimes (alright, often) frustrating hobby. Food does play a central role in my life – the beauty of its reconciliatory powers, the unbridled joy of a home abundant in these delicious things, the horror of its scarcity.
I understand that this is not a typical food and wine blog. I post and tweet about design, fashion, football paired with dishes dedicated to dishy ‘ballers, travels, sometimes very personal matters that motivate a meal or vice versa and most importantly, to me particularly, my involvement with social campaigns, some of which involve food.
My index needs work. My photos hold oodles of room for improvement. My spell check secretary is often tanning herself on the deck (good help truly is so hard to find these days).
And so as a young blog (Lord, I wish I could say the same of myself), you can understand my joy and gratitude to you, the readers and the judges, who took the time to delve into my world, to understand my vision and to present me with this honour.
Thank you and I hope you will accompany me on this food and fabulous journey. I have great things in mind. Ideas in cyberspace need friends, I’ve realized. Thanks for being mine.
Huge congratulations to the other nominees and friends Drizzle and Dip and Ask Nanima, whom I have no doubt, made the judges’ decision very tough.
*I should at least put up a pic of the handsome award, but alas I haven’t taken any yet. I had a quick dinner and rushed home for the Barca-Madrid game the same night. P.s We beat Madrid 3-1! *
Cherry Bomb Eton Mess
I studied in the Free State Province (yip, believe it) and cherries are a fruit that are proudly and bountifully Vrystaat (Afrikaans for Free State). On a recent trip to Lesotho and Clarens, I came upon preserves of the wonderfully old-school sort that the Free State tannies (aunties, affectionate) produce best, including preserved cherries, cherry jam and cherry bombs (cherries soaked in brandy) and Kirsch from Ficksburg, the self-proclaimed cherry capital of the world. To me, kirsch and cherry bombs are begging for a christmas pudding of sorts.
As explained in my post about Pimms & Star Anise Stewed Plums and Cherries with Amaretti, we need to be crafty here in the sunny south of Africa. While the greeting cards and general store decor depict snowy scenes with pot bellied jolly Santas being pulled along in sleighs by dutiful reindeer, there isn’t a flake of the stuff here. It’s hot with varying degrees of hotter, depending where you live. We, in Cape Town are thankful for the merciful cooling breath of the South Easter (or at least I am).
So, traditional puddings, which I too love, can seem like a lot of bother to slave over on days when the pool and outdoor cocktail spots are beckoning. Enter, a light but indulgent and ever so slightly boozy fresh and brandy soaked cherry Eton Mess – perfect, chewy vanilla meringues, folds of fluffy, cool kirsch infused fresh cream. Easy to prepare and festively flavoured. This pudding is a take on the proper Eton mess made with strawberries, meringue and whipped cream.
2 t Kirch or cherry liqueur
125 ml fresh cream
2 t caster sugar
250 ml meringues, broken (I used small vanilla ones, break up bigger ones. Ensure you use good pavlova quality meringues, not the dry cardboard variety)
16 cherries soaked in brandy, reserving a few teaspoons of the liquid
8 fresh cherries
Whip the fresh cream with the Kirsch and sugar till soft peaks form.
Layer the cream, broken meringues and fresh and brandied cherries on a serving plate.
Drizzle some of the brandy from the cherry bombs over.
crumble in some ginger cookies for more of a Christmassy feel and another layer of flavour.
I’m really proud to be associated with the folks at:
Tenacity Works – design and maintenance of this blog
Barcelona the Offside – my friends in football
WeFeedback – affiliate of the World Food Programme
Help2read – changing children’s lives for the better