Night 2 of my vegetarian week was another pastry/mushroom creation. This one did not claim to be life-changing but personally I found it a lot more life-changing than Monday night’s recipe. Honestly, I don’t kow how any dish can claim to be life-changing. It would take something really special to make a significant impact in my life at all, let alone change it permanently. Thinking back over the years of my culinary development there are only 2 things that I can possibly say changed my life in any way. The first was the recipe for lasagne that I learned from an Italian boyfriend many, many years ago. Without the instruction that I had on his granny’s lasagne recipe and construction method, I would not be able to make the absolutely amazing lasagne that is my signature dish now. This lesson also opened me up to the idea of adding nutmeg, cinnamon and mixed spice to savoury dishes, a concept that I had never heard of growing up but one that has helped me tranform many a mediocre dish into an aromatic masterpiece over the years. The second food revelation in my life was sushi. I do not remember the very first time I dared to venture into the dark and scary realms of raw fish, but it was around 2002 that I fell in love with it. I have many a fond memory of sushi nights at my favourite South African fish restaurant ‘Cape Town Fish Market’. The sense of adventure from selecting little plates of never-before-tried sushi off the little sushi conveyor belt, and slowly relishing a oh-so-expensive but oh-so-worth-it bottle of Kanonkop Cabernet while watching the master sushi chefs effortlessly construct beautiful masterpieces out of the simplest of ingredients. If I had never tired sushi, my life would be a little worse for it.
But I digress… last nights vegetarian dish was a filling of shallots, garlic, white wine and mushrooms with camembert cheese in a puff-pastry parcel, with a roasted red-pepper sauce. The mushroom parcel was very tasty, but I do find puff pastry a little rich, so I would probably have preferred filo. The sauce however was lovely. I do not normally make sauces that are a separate component to the dish, but this one fitting into the cooking time well as I made it while the pastry parcel was cooking, and it was well worth it. The sweetness of the red pepper with the undertones of tarragon and garlic lifted the ratehr simple mushroom-pastry parcel to a whole other level. It was lovely and the combination worked beautifully, so I will happily call this one a success.
Tonight is Penne al Arabiatta, a simple yet wonderfully tasty pasta dish, according to the recipe. I look forward to it.
Until tomorrow, happy cooking.