Compose Your Food

My French Birthday Cake!

Birthday Cake 1

Someone once said that there’s no common cure for birthdays. Hear hear! Ever notice that once you reach a certain age, birthdays become more of a cringeworthy event? On the opposite end of the spectrum of unwelcomed birthdays, what is invited and so zealously at that, is birthday cake. I think the genius who decided to celebrate birthdays with cake, might not have discovered a cure but certainly found the best antidote. When the cake is brought in, we stop noticing the imposing number of candles and start focusing on the delicious thoughts of cake-pleasure we’re about to receive only because we’ve added yet another digit to our age. I call that – a fair trade.

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Pear & Almond Loaf


Some years ago I was standing in the aisle of a store waiting to pay for something when I caught a glimpse of a book entitled Roast Duck on Sunday. Seduced by the title I rushed home and couldn’t wait to be captivated by somebody else’s food memories. The book was everything I expected and more, it traces the life of two sisters growing up on a farm in South Africa – their cherished moments with family highlighted through time-honoured recipes. A part of me wanted to be them. In my world, a life well lived translates into being able to look back on a scrapbook of memories built around family and friends gathering around something wonderful to eat.

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Oriental Quail Egg Salad


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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Soufflè Cheesecake


Happy Valentines Day Everyone! Or as they say in Italy, Buon San Valentino! I hope you woke up to something wonderful this morning or better yet, someone. There’s a million and one ways to say I love You on Valentines Day, I like to say it with cake.

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Valentine’s Breakfast in Bed


This week it’s Breakfast in Bed. In these modern times it’s not always possible to sit down every single morning to a hearty breakfast with your partner, that’s why special days were created, to remind us to spare a little romance when we can. Of course we shouldn’t look to a specific day like Valentines to spark the romantic flame, but let’s face it, the Day does serve to nudge us into action. Valentines Day is one of Life’s conundrums, some look forward to it while others dread it because it escalates this enormous pressure to do something special and not all of us work well under pressure. So if you’re all out of ideas or had enough of the cheesy ones, this is the read for you. Trust me, only a few gestures say I Love You quite like a surprise breakfast in bed given the forethought that goes into it. Pampering with the gift of food matched with the comfort of a bed, should catapult you into Lothariodom with absolute success.

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Burger du Jour


If you just met him/her and need to keep the mood casual but still want to prepare a knock out Valentines Day dinner, I might be able to help. Serious comfort food never fails and when enjoyed away from the hustle and bustle, it tastes even better. And if you’re worried about not impressing enough let me remind you that the old hamburger has had a facelift and can be found boasting its new look at the top of the menu alongside it’s outrageous price tag in some of the most distinguished restaurants in the world. The gourmet burger can cost from £20, proving that the old patty and bun is back in the game.

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Gnudi with Sage Brown Butter


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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Limoncello Panna Cotta with Blueberry Compote


Don’t let staying in this Valentines Day, get you down. Whether you’re spending the evening with parents, or celebrating single-hood with friends, or quietly getting some Me-Time with a good book and affection from your dog, Valentines Day is the celebration of Love. So I guess it doesn’t matter where the love comes from, but rather that it does, giving every one of us cause to celebrate. Of course you well know by now, a celebration, especially on the day of Love, would be unconsummated without a pleasurable dessert to lift the mood. So I urge you to have dessert on your list of must-do’s this Valentines Day and show yourself a little love.

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Duck Breast with Orange Soy & Baby Bok Choy



With Valentines less than a month away I thought we’d get a head start on planning that special Day. I’m dedicating the next few weeks to sharing dishes fit for a posh restaurant to help you create a romantic dinner for two in the serenity of your own kitchen. Fashionable as it always has been to spend the evening dining out with your sweetheart, I have long since changed that unsuccessful habit. It’s hardly romantic when you’re sitting in a bustling restaurant hoping for service while your food’s out there somewhere getting cold. The hustling waiter (poor guy) is up to his neck and needs three pairs of hands to be able to captain your sinking evening in a favourable direction. This year though, I urge you not leave your picturesque plans in the hands of a total stranger, but rather put your own hands to work so you and yours can sit down to a good bottle and a great meal.

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