Friday, October 22, 2010

All we need is a Pot and a bit of Luck

This is Jozi Foodie Fix Eat-In edition. I had a potluck dinner this week with a group of girlfriends. For those who don't know, a potluck dinner is a bring and share a dish dinner. For those who don't cook it tends to be a buy and share a dish. Lucky for us, most of the ladies invited have a reasonably good hand in the kitchen.

Starter was an always impress salad made by me. If I have to say it myself, I will, it was a GOOD salad. Truly it was just a wonderful combination of great ingredients, brightened by a wonderful dressing. The salad had the Woolworths prewashed greens, butter lettuce rocket & basil, cucumber, bella tomatoes. The items that lifted the salad were the balsamic and truffle oil (just a drop of truffle oil) soaked strawberries. And the Taleggio cheese (italian brie) topped by a fig jam with pecans & macadamians (courtesy of the Cheese Gourmet). Finally the dressing which is homemade combination of truffle oil, hot english mustard, balsamic vinegar and honey. A Must Try for Eating In!

Thirusha's Biryani
Next up was a tasty lamb biryani with yellow lentil dal and raita (cucumber, chilli and yoghurt). The spice combination was perfect it wasn't too strong but a slight hint of chilli came through amongst the wonderful masala spices. The dal was tasty enough to eat as is! Wonderful!

Pranesha's vegetarian pasta
 For the vegetarians and my gluttonous self was the vegetable cream pasta. This was packed with butternut, green beans, crunchy baby corn and mange tout. Not at all overpowered by the cream. Just the right amount of richness! And it was just as tasty for lunch the next day.

 Finally we reached dessert.
Ashleigh's pavlova
  A pavlova with drunken strawberries and a fridge cheesecake. You would think there wasn't room for more but there's always space for a sweet something extra. The pavlova was the perfect combination of meringue and a custardy cream filling. Surprisingly it wasn't overly sweet at all. was delicious with the amaretto flambed strawberries. Then the creamy fridge cheesecake, just melt in your mouth wonderful!
Michelle's cheesecake
Thanks to Leigh-Ann for the wonderful wine! No dinner can go without it.
I love potluck dinners, it gives everyone a chance to try out a new recipe in a safe environment. It's cost effective and you know that there are quality ingredients and it's made or bought with love. Next time we will however only have three items because it was a wonderful but heavy beginning of the week dinner.

So please next time you're planning a dinner out consider eating in! Eat In is a great guide to finding the best produce in your area.

Tasting the Fresh Earth after Jozi's first October rains

I agreed to have lunch, a saturday two weeks ago, with friends at Fresh Earth, one is moving towards vegetarianism and the other was fasting. Off to vegetarian Fresh Earth we went. It is very relaxed and rustic, almost a dorp (small town) feel.

So you know when you were young and the soil smelt so delicious after it rained that you just had to tastes it, well I did at least. The first handful was always great with the mineral rich taste, just like it smelt. The second handful however was not such a good idea, well Fresh earth turned out to be the second handful.
For a fully vegetarian place I fet sometimes the key ingredients were masked in far too many sauces. I am someone that enjoys the natural taste of vegetable with little enhancers. Like tossing steamed brussel sprouts in a light garlic butter, not smothering it in a non descript but off putting dressing that covered the green beans on that day.
I do admit that the jam on the beetroot was wonderful along with the vegan prawn curry, however the same can not be said for the other items on the buffet table. The falafel balls were dry but that's probably due to all the fresh air the buffet table got. I also found out tofu isn't for me, but will give smoked tofu a try for completeness sake before I write off a food item totally.
There were 4 of us and only one person truly enjoyed her meal which was the falafel burger. So if ever you get to Fresh Earth just order the falafel burger. The best item on the menu are their fresh juices ( try the apple pineapple and ginger), but note ask for ice because they don't chill their fruit or vegetables. And I expect chilled fruit and vegetables or at least ice without having to ask for it.

Now onto the service, which lacked the enthusiasm and vooma that the occassional piece of meat gives.

But maybe this is really what vegetarians want after all that's all they eat. So what's a vegetable between sauces?!