Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A new Goddess joins the team!

At the end of last year Natalie joined Domestic Goddesses on a freelance basis. She has subsequently fitted into the team so well and our clients who have worked with her, loved her just as much as we do. So she's joining us full time!

Apart from being a naturally gifted cook, Natalie has been working on the super yachts of the rich and famous for over 9 years. She worked her way up to the position of Chief Stewardess, which is about as high as it goes for interior staff. 

On her last yacht she led a team of 8 stewardesses ensuring that cleanliness and service was of the highest possible level. When you are paying 6 million rand a week to rent one of these yachts, guest expectations are pretty high. 

If you are curious to see the last yacht Natalie worked on, click here.

She has extensive experience training ladies in all areas of housekeeping; including laundry with a special focus on textile care and stain treatment; general and specialised cleaning, time management and cleaning schedules as well as table setting and service.

Apart from assisting me with cookery training, Natalie will be handling all our housekeeping training. I have also asked her if, from time to time, she would share some of her recipes and housekeeping tips on the blog too.  

Welcome Natalie - we are so happy to have you with us.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Crazy for organic

Yesterdays box of pure joy from Ethical co-op!
Ever since returning from Norway, I have gone organic crazy. The family I worked for there tried, as far as possible, only to eat organic or bio-dynamic products and we had many discussions around the topic. I feel particularly strongly about it as I drink freshly pressed fruit and veggie juice daily and the idea of the pesticides going in concentrated form through my juice into me, has become totally unpalatable. 

So in my quest for organic products I have found that the larger Woolies stores such as the one in Cavendish Square; Wild organics and the Ethical Co-op have provided me with a huge selection of relatively reasonably priced products which have so far not been that hard to get hold of. It's still a far cry from popping into my local store and being able to get all I need there. But then again, there is a certain special charm and enjoyment to getting a weekly hamper stuffed to the brim with good, wholesome and exciting food. And also making a special trip to a store or market to find things which are made with care and love. You end up treating those things with the same care and love they were produced with. 

I am so over the mass produced convenience which is rammed down our throats at every turn. And then having to run to the gym or the doctor to solve the problems related to our excessive life styles.   

Okay, okay - I will get off my levitating soap box now. I have sooo many guilty pleasures I can't even keep count, but 2013 is my year to try to live and eat more consciously.   

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Flavor burst Pad Thai salad

One of my most unexpectedly successful recipes from last year was my Pad Thai salad. I first discovered the inspiration for this recipe in a Fresh Living magazine and added it to a list of recipes I taught the domestic of a client of mine, who is a raw vegan. 

It has become a household favorite of mine and I have been making and remaking it non stop with various tweaks and twists each time. My clients have also been loving it and I have taught this recipe at least half a dozen times for various clients since I came back from abroad. Every time it has been a smash hit. 

When you look at the ingredients, most people are suspicious and can't imagine this being any good. But once you taste it, it is a burst of freshness and flavor. Totally unexpected. 

Pad thai salad
Serves 4 side salads or 2 main courses

1 cup of butternut, peeled into ribbons with a potato peeler
1 cup of cabbage (red or green), finely shredded
4 baby marrows, peeled into ribbons with a potato peeler
2 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons with a potato peeler
½ a red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 tsp of salt
½ a cup of raw cashew nuts (peanuts or almonds)
2 Tbsp of pickled ginger, roughly chopped

80ml of coconut cream (or coconut milk)
2 Tbsp of peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tsp of fresh ginger, finely minced
2 Tbsp of soya sauce
1 Tbsp of the juice from the pickled ginger
Juice of 1 lime or half a lemon

a handful of coriander leaves, picked and washed for serving
1 fresh chilli, chopped (optional)

Toss the veggies with the salt and set aside while making the sauce. Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce until smooth.

Arrange the veggies on a platter and drizzle with the dressing. Or toss them all together in a large bowl and serve into individual portions.

Garnish liberally with the nuts, pickled ginger and coriander. Add chopped chill to the garnish for extra zing if you like that.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm alive!

No, I have not died. No, I have not given up blogging. No, I have not run away to join the circus. But yes, I have been on holiday!!! 
Last year was quite a formidable year for me. The last few weeks of the year also culminated in complete work mayhem. So when the time came to catch my breath and take a few weeks of much needed rest, I quite literally stopped. I did the barest amount of cooking possible and relied on those who don't cook for a living to have a turn in the kitchen. I didn't write or take photographs. In fact I barely opened my laptop. 

I did sleep a lot, nap a lot, watch a lot of movies, read a bit, walk a bit, sun bathe a bit, swim a bit. All of this I did very slowly; very very slowly. There were, of course, many fun gatherings around my birthday, Christmas and New Years as well as friends and family visiting. My husband and I also celebrated our first wedding anniversary. So it was a time of celebration, fun, frivolity and above all rest!

As far as blog worthy topics go, I have allowed most of this holiday to fade away into a lovely satisfied blur, but the two things I am going to have to talk about are my new coffee machine and my induction hob! But not today... 

Today, I am going to remind you about that fabulous multipurpose paste of pure pleasure - hummus! I just made a fresh batch today and have been teaching it and making it for events non-stop over the last year. Kids love it, grown ups love it. It's great as a dipper, it's great as a spread. No fridge should be without it. 

Makes about two and a half cups

2 cups of soaked and cooked (or canned) chickpeas
2 tsp of ground cumin (or to taste)
1 tsp of paprika (optional)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tsp of lemon zest
3 - 4 Tbsp of lemon juice
2 - 3 Tbsp of tahini
1 tsp of salt
½ a cup of olive oil
½ a cup of iced water (more if needed)

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Add as much water as needed to achieve the desired consistency and blend long enough to get the mixture silky smooth.

Hummus freezes well, so you can make extra and defrost it when needed.