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LAZY DAYS
Contemporary country-style cooking

 

By Phillippa Cheifitz

 

In her latest book, we are taken on a lazy meander
up the West Coast to her family beach house at
Paternoster, a retreat where there is time to cook
honest delicious food, the kind we all love and don’t
have time for during the busy weeks.

 

 

To eat, if it is mid-morning, a thick slice of bread, farm butter and homemade apricot jam together with a pot of bush tea. Nearer to lunch, something savoury, shredded biltong or cheese and pickles, perhaps smoked snoek and a dab of korrelkonfyt. A tall glass of lemon syrup, gin, sparkling mineral water, lots of ice and mint or a gingerbeer with gin and a drizzle of grenadine on the rocks - the holiday has begun! 

 

Phillippa’s ‘Lazy Days’, Contemporary Country-Style Cooking, is a joy. Lovely simple food, exquisite photography by Craig Fraser mirroring the tranquil mood of the West Coast at its most evocative, you can almost breath the invigorating, bracing salty sea air!

 

 

BACON & EGG PIES

 

For each pie:
1x 10 cm square puff pastry
1 free-range egg
2 rashers bacon

 

Cut strips off the edges of each square of pastry. Brush each square with water, then press on the strips, trimming to fit, to make a raised boarder. Bake at 200°C for 5 minutes. Bake the bacon separately at the same time. Remove and cool slightly. Drop an egg onto each pastry square and add the bacon. Bake for 15 minutes or until the egg is just set and the pastry is puffed and golden.

 

FRENCH TOAST

 

4 free range eggs
1 cup full cream milk
4 slices white country bread
a mix of butter and sunflower oil for frying
(for 4)

 

Beat the eggs and milk together. Turn into a wide shallow bowl. Prick the sliced bread all over with a fork. Dip into the egg-and-milk mixture. Turn until the bread is nice and soggy. Shallow-fry over a medium heat, in a mix of hot butter and oil, until golden brown on both sides. Serve as is or with a drizzle of honey.

 

Note: To make French toast sandwiches for brunch or lunch, sandwich the soaked bread with sliced baked ham or Gruyère, a smear of mustard and a grinding of black pepper. Or use sliced tomato and mozzarella, lightly seasoned. Fry the whole sandwich in a mix of butter and oil over a medium heat, pressing down with a spatula, until the sandwich is golden brown on both sides and the egg is cooked through.

 

 

Family food in the cool of the day, late brunches, hearty
lunches, good teas and comforting dishes for supper. Fish
soups, steamed mussels, crayfish and oysters are part of the
abundant fare enjoyed on lazy days. 

 

 

HOMEMADE ITALIAN-STYLE TOMATO SAUCE

 

1 large onion
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil
3 - 4 cloves garlic, crushed
1,5 kg ripe red tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
sea salt and milled black pepper
2 - 3 tablespoons shredded basil leaves or chopped Italian parsley

 

Gently cook the onion in the oil until softened but pale in colour. Stir in the garlic, then the tomatoes. Season, cover and simmer gently for about 1 ½ hours. Serve as is, or blend to form a smooth thick sauce. Or if you prefer, uncover and reduce over a high heat to create a thick chunky consistency. Stir in the herbs and check seasoning. The sauce freezes well, so you could prepare a big batch and divide into singe-portion containers.

 

CHEESE AND TOMATO PANCAKES

 

About 8 thin pancakes cooked on one side only.

 

For the filling, mix together:
1 soft basil mozzarella, shredded
½ cup crumbled ricotta
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon dried oregano or some shredded basil leaves

 

For the topping: 
About 1 cup homemade tomato sauce
A few tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

 

Place some cheese filling on the cooked side of each pancake and roll up. Arrange in an oiled baking dish and spoon the tomato sauce over. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for about 20 minutes or until hot and golden.

 

 

CAULIFLOWER-CHEESE SOUFFLÉS

 

1 medium cauliflower
2 cups vegetable stock
strained juice of 1 lemon
butter for greasing
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup warm full-cream mil
sea salt and milled black pepper
4 free-range eggs, separated
2 cups grated Gruyère
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
grating of nutmeg
extra grated Gruyère for sprinkling
sprig or two of rosemary to garnish

 

Break the cauliflower into large florets. Soak in salted water for 5 – 10 minutes. Simmer in 2 cups vegetable stock with the lemon juice for 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain, but reserve ½ cup of the stock. Butter 3 – 4 ovenproof soup bowls. Divide the cauliflower between the prepared dishes. Melt 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour until smooth. Remove from the heat, and gradually add the warm reserved stock and milk until blended. Season.

 

Return to the heat and, stirring all the time. Cook until thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and season. Lightly beat the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in. Stir in the grated Gruyère, mustard and nutmeg. Stiffly beat the egg whites and fold in. Divide the mixture between the soup bowls. Sprinkle with extra grated Gruyère. Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden. Reduce the heat to 180°C and bake for 5 - 10 minutes or until set. Serve immediately.

 

 

ROAST CHICKEN WITH HERBS AND POTATOES

 

Serve with a mix of baby salad leaves or lots of watercress, tossed in a minimum of oil, a little wine vinegar, sea salt and milled pepper.

 

1 large free-range chicken, 1,5 kg
sea salt and milled black pepper
1 lemon
a bunch of fresh mixed herbs –thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage and parsley
butter (optional)
olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 large potatoes
(for 4)

 

For serving:
A mix of baby salad leaves or watercress

 

Split the chicken down the back and open out as flat as possible. Rinse and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze the lemon juice over. Push some of the herbs under the skin of the breast of the chicken and some butter as well, or if you prefer, moisten with olive oil Grease a roasting pan with olive oil. Place the chicken skin-side up on a bed of the rest of the herbs, the onion and the garlic. Drizzle the skin with a little olive oil. Scrub, or peel, and halve the potatoes. Place around the chicken. Roast, uncovered, at 200-220°C for an hour or until the skin is golden and crisp and the chicken tender.

 

LAZY DAYS  Contemporary Country-Style Cooking
Published by Quiver Tree 
www.quivertree.co.za

 

 Quivertree Publications has won international acclaim at The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2006. Phillippa Cheifitz’s latest book "Lazy Days" won gold in the ‘local  cookery’ category and bronze across all language groups.

 

 
 

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  • Stephne
    24 May, 2016, 15:58

    I have had the priviledge of seeing this 2009 book at a friend and made the shank recipe - looking for the book is a nightmare - out of print1 Could you please share this recipe with me and also let me know where I can obtain a copy of this book. Thanks so much - I loved the simple ingrediants and simple but absolutely amazing tastes that you have created - also made a soup from this book that was equally good!

 

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