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Antipasti/Starters

Asparagus with Lemon Custard

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It’s that time of the year when there’s an asparagus dish on the table at least once a week because like so many people, I love it so much I don’t mind eating it everyday when in season. I suppose it wouldn’t be difficult too, asparagus is a cooks dream when it comes to versatility. Finding different ways to make the best out its spell is hardly boring because whether it’s steamed, roasted, grilled, pan-fried, baked in tarts and quiches, added to salads, pasta or rice dishes or simply pureèd into a vibrant spring soup, asparagus in every way is an unsung hero to the exhausted cook.

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Baked Camembert with Bread Rolls

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When celebrations come round and we anticipate the arrival of family and friends, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is get out some good cheese and bread to keep our guests from starving while the rest of the storm is being cooked up in the kitchen. These tender pull-apart bread rolls, served with bubbling baked camembert can be layed out with a variety of nuts, pickles and jams so that everyone is happily entertained before the main course.

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Oriental Quail Egg Salad

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While quail eggs might be considered a novelty food, I recently discovered that they are more than just dainty eggs that look pleasing on a plate. Since moving to Europe and often seeing them in the markets I’ve taken a keen interest and done my bit of research on these  speckled beauties. It seems that these petite eggs boast quite a list of nutritional and health benefits, accelerating their appreciation world-wide. They’re somewhat new to me because I doubt I ever saw these in South Africa which made sense when I read that they are more common in North Africa. Other continents benefit from the presence of quail eggs too, but none so much as Asia. It seems that in parts of Asia, the demand for quail eggs are met just as widely on the street food market as they are in fine restaurants. Naturally, reading up about all of this, had to grant a more tangible meaning for me as it always does, and nowadays I find myself pleasantly lunching to my Asian inspired Quail Egg Salad.

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Gnudi with Sage Brown Butter

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Planning a romantic dinner for two this Valentines Day? My advice is to begin with an entrée so good that it either sets the standard for what’s to follow or redeems any mishaps with the other courses. Created in a food lovers paradise this dish is symbolic of Italy’s affection for cheese. Anyone who’s not scared of cheese and butter should better get their pots and pans out because this Tuscan inspired dish will leave you with the feeling that indeed “Life is beautiful” as you wipe away the last crumb from your lips.

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