I’m not the worlds best aubergine fan, however the aubergine rolls that Hirsh made were sensational. Grilled slices of aubergine, filled with ricotta and spiced with za’atar, mint, basil and chili. The flavours in the Gurnard cooked with tomatoes and bacon were amazing. A touch of genius by adding granadilla to the berry and chocolate dessert. I’m glad I wasn’t driving back to the apartment!
Polly spent the morning barking at everything walking past the studio, so after Tim and Sarah had collected their painting, I walked her up to Tapas with Craig, Coreta and Diva to give her an outing and different stimulation. Obviously, two days in the studio with me painting were driving her a tad crazy. She chased boats, and barked with Diva at a couple of dogs walking past while we had a bottle of wine and some sushi.
I’ve had a few people through the studio. An artist from London who paints nudes spent quite a long time looking at my portraits and discussing various techniques and surfaces to paint on. Interestingly she has moved away from rectangular canvases as she says they feel like her paintings are in a coffin!
Three small paintings of seahorses inspired by the Knysna seahorse (Hippocampus capensis). Endangered, it’s an enchanting greenish-brown (can also be yellow, white) creature, a bit larger than the palm of your hand that has survived for 40million years.
They are elusive and masters of disguise. By blending them into the background and using colours of fantasy, the seahorses in the paintings are things of mystery. The challenge to make the three panels work together as a unit, or individually.
The wind has stilled, and the lagoon is a reflecting pool for the lights. Perfect for that last glass from Craig’s superb Sequillo ’04.
The kitchen is sorted. Polly has had her walk. Cleaned her dishes, and there are minimal leftovers.
Rack of lamb, rubbed with the magic Blue-Sky organic salt, was an excellent foil to the roasted cauliflower with brown butter and Parmesan. The hint of smokiness from the grill, rather than the oven, worked well with the anchovy and chili that was melted into the butter. With a cool wind blowing across the Weber, it took all of 30 minutes to get the lamb done and every bit of the hour and a half for the cauliflower. A fresh caprese salad with avo, from Coreta, worked perfectly to add visual and freshness to the meal. Managed a fair amount of Black Rock ’08.
I certainly had more cauliflower than I would have thought possible!
Thrilled that the painting of ‘I’m William’ is sold.
Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 ounces/80 grams butter, at room temperature or softened
Preheat your oven to 425˚F/220˚C.
Cut the stem off the cauliflower as close to the base as possible and remove any leaves. Rub oil all over the cauliflower.
Put the cauliflower in an oven-proof skillet. Slide the pan into the oven and roast the cauliflower for 45 minutes.
Remove it from the oven and smear the soft butter over the surface. Sprinkle with a four-finger pinch of salt. Roast the cauliflower for another 30 to 45 minutes, basting it several times with the butter, which will have browned.
It’s done when you can insert a paring knife into it and feel no resistence. It should be completely tender.
A delicious thing to do with the browned butter: whisk in lemon juice, minced anchovies, and whatever chopped herb you prefer–serve with the cauliflower
Grilled Aubergine Rolls filled with Ricotta, Balsamico Vinegar and Basil
As a starter for 4 you need
big aubergines, cut into 1/2cm / 1/4″ slices, 2
olive oil to brush the slices of aubergine, around 75ml, maybe more depending on the size of the aubergines
fresh ricotta 140g / 5 ounces
heavy cream 2 tablespoons
Balsamico vinegar 2 tablespoons or more to taste
fresh basil leaves, cut into strips, around 10 or more to taste
salt and black pepper
Set your oven to grill.
Brush the aubergines with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper. Grill in the oven until golden brown and soft on both sides, they will darken partly but that’s fine. Mine needed 7 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other but that depends on the oven. Set the aubergines aside and stack them, that will keep them moist and soft.
Whisk the ricotta, cream and Balsamico vinegar, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the basil. Spread a teaspoon of the ricotta cream on top of each slice of aubergine and roll lengthwise.