Creamy Chicken & Parma Ham Tagliatelle

10 things about Me you may not know

How well do we know each other, me and you?

I’d say if you read the twitter stream in addition to the blog, you’ll get some sort of idea. Some sort of fairly good idea of what you’re dealing with. I shudder sometimes when I look at my own stream.

I enjoy people-centric stories, psychological hypotheses and studies, travel, art and design. Oh and food.

I love a good laugh but it isn’t always possible to explain your idea of a funny in 140 twitter characters. When will I ever get rid of that “misunderstood” badge? Now that I’ve outgrown my jeans, may be a good a time as any to give it up. Oh, darn! I’ve just given you one thing on my list.

So, 9 things then that perhaps you don’t know about me. Of course, I don’t assume you want to know more about me after all my blatherings on twitter. Just I thought it could be nice to get to know each other better…she said sidling in closer.

(Don’t you think I’m being brave? Considering I don’t know you that well…or at all? Why don’t we change that?)

10 things about Me you may not know

1. I can not wear proper high heels, the way I used to. Being removed from the corporate environment for years has literally neanderthalised my feet, I swear. The best I do is a moderate heel. The platform super-killer heels that are the fashion du jour, put my back into spasm by the mere act of looking at them. Also I become unnaturally tall, for me – around 1.8 meters.


2. Unless it’s a cookbook (oh, how I’ve learnt from courting disappointment), I am far too impatient to wait for a book to arrive so I purchase instantly on the Kindle. It’s a pity, really, as I have a beautiful library collection growing. I rationalise that if I love it, I will order the hardcopy. At some stage.

3. I struggle with heights (nothing to do with heels, by the by). Some situations are worse than others. Victoria Falls for example. You will see pics of me smiling on the outside, near the rope bridge where madmen go on to foofy slide (the name- a clue?). On the inside, I’ve melted into a pool of fear and rabid self-talk.

4. I used to love just the green, orange and pink Jelly Tots. If I ever eat them, I maintain the same pattern. Routine can be good.

5. If I buy jewellery in sterling sliver, more often than not I have it gilded. Gold has a lovely glow and seems to suit my skin colour better than silver. I don’t mind white gold or platinum though, in small doses. Like my wedding ring.

6. A world without potatoes would be a miserable place indeed.


7. I have cooked the most amount of Indian food than I have in my entire life, during 2011. Perhaps a journey of rediscovery of my cultural roots and heritage. I’ve loved every delicious moment of it too.

8. I believe in the good in people. When people make it difficult to believe in their good, with things like pettiness, and small minded behaviour, I’ve taken to changing the focus from “What have I done to offend/bother/annoy  X?” to “What can I do to help?” in avenues where my help is required. It doesn’t answer the questions but gives me perspective and focus. Or something.

9. I really hope the South African food community would realise how wonderful and unique each of our bloggers are, and consider coming together more often. Not for recognition. Or free stuff. Or possible networking. But just for the sheer joy of being in this blogging thing right now, that’s probably bigger than any of us can imagine. I enjoy talking to and learning from fellow bloggers more than paging idly through books and sites.

10. I did an enormous closet cleanse recently. You know the kind that can have you sobbing for hours? Luckily I skipped the waterworks. I don’t fit into 70 % of the jeans I’ve been holding onto. Refer to number 6, I spose.

This isn’t a pic of me, btw

Tonight, I leave to Amsterdam to visit family very briefly, and then business in Andorra and Barcelona (you can be assured there will be some food adventuring). It’s going to be utterly freezing. As we always do on travels, I plan to be walking a lot – mainly to the subways with the incredibly challenging vertical escalators, or cabs. I’m packing boots and jackets. And gloves.

A lovely, creamy pasta with chicken, nicely browned onion, Parma ham and a dollop of creme fraiche to ease the mental transition between the fiery heat of Cape Town to the cold of Europe.



Serves 4

4 cups tagliatelle, cooked

1 medium onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

2 T olive oil

400 g chicken fillets, cubed

3 T butter

3 T flour

550 ml milk (or milk and fresh cream)

1/4 t nutmeg, preferably freshly ground.

5 slices Parma ham, torn

salt, to taste

black pepper

creme fraiche to serve

4 spring onions, snipped

Parmigiano Reggiano, to taste


In a wide based saucepan, fry the onions in the olive oil till well browned on medium heat. It’s importnat to colour the onions- this adds flavour.

Add garlic and fry for a minute, stirring.

Remove onions and garlic and set aside.

Add a little more oil to the pan and fry the chicken on medium-high heat until browned on all sides and cooked. Add salt to taste. Set aside.

In the same pan, heat the butter and add the flour.

Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the the flour just starts to colour, 3 minutes or so.

Add the milk, a little at a time, using a wooden spoon or a whisk to stir to prevent lumps.

Add salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Add the onion, garlic and chicken back into the pan. Adjust seasoning.

Mix well and add snipped spring onions.

Serve pasta with bits of torn Parma ham, creme fraiche and a grating of Pamigiano or Parmesan cheese.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email