Sweet sat­is­fac­tion

JACKIE CAMERON sat­is­fies your sweet tooth this week­end with some de­light­fully in­dul­gent treats.

Weekend Witness - - Arts -

I DON’T ad­vo­cate eat­ing too many sweet treats. But when you do, I rec­om­mend you choose qual­ity.

To round off din­ner at Hart­ford House, our well-loved and tal­ented pas­try chef, Delli Nene, takes her hand­made de­lights to each ta­ble. There is noth­ing bet­ter than pop­ping one of th­ese au­then­tic in­dul­gences into the mouth to sat­isfy a sweet crav­ing.

A dig­i­tal ther­mome­ter is es­sen­tial to en­sure per­fec­tion when mak­ing th­ese de­lec­ta­ble del­i­ca­cies. This leads me to pan­forte, the si­enna (Ital­ian) round Christ­mas cake, which is very dif­fer­ent from the fa­mil­iar English fruit cake. It has the sweet-spici­ness and nut­ti­ness of the tra­di­tional cake we all know so well, but it is nougat-like, with deep co­coa and cit­rus flavour­ing. It can be eaten on its own to keep things sim­ple. Al­ter­na­tively, home-made ice cream or vanilla bean frozen yo­gurt make de­li­cious ac­com­pa­ni­ments.

For some strange rea­son, fudge al­ways seems to be dif­fi­cult to per­fect. There is a shop-bought va­ri­ety that, with all the will in the world, I can­not re­sist. It is vanilla flavoured and mem­o­rable. It is smooth and but­ter rich, and has the deca­dence all fudge should have. I get mad when fudge is made up of sugar crys­tals. I have stopped buy­ing the prod­uct from home in­dus­try shops be­cause I’m tired of the dis­ap­point­ment it car­ries.

The recipe I have in­cluded com­prises white or dark Bel­gian choco- late, which for a rea­son I can­not ex­plain makes this fudge a lot eas­ier to make. Fool­proof? Well al­most. Try it. It prom­ises to please.

I have seen ev­ery vari­a­tion of meringue over the years used as dessert dec­o­ra­tions. And do not for­get the lively turquoise or perky pink bought meringues. Try­ing out a “fresh” op­tion, I added berry coulis to the mix­ture in the pip­ing bag and it worked. Noth­ing beats berry fresh­ness. The joy of the true flavour is in the crispy crunch of a per­fectly dried-out meringue fin­ished with rounded berry flavour.

Lady fin­ger bis­cuits, cat tongues or — as we South Africans know them — Boudoir bis­cuits are al­ways a hit with the young peo­ple. Ac­tu­ally, come to think of it, all ages are pretty fond of them. This recipe demon­strates how easy it is to make them at home. There is no need to rush out to the shop when a crav­ing arises — just step into your kitchen and whip up a few.

We re­cently started mak­ing bas­kets filled with sweet and savoury mac­a­roons. Jes­sica Meyerow­icz, one of my trainees, made the best I have tasted. It was a blood-or­ange mac­a­roon that tick­led my taste buds, with flavours I shall al­ways re­mem­ber.

I like to roll salted caramel in rice pa­per to make lit­tle bon­bons. We use black lava salt, but this is not es­sen­tial. Th­ese are de­li­cious lit­tle trea­sures that will play around in your mouth and take you on a jour­ney of dis­cov­ery. Like the Hart­ford House guests, you too will find your­self dream­ing about the del­i­cate lit­tle creations.

Here’s to qual­ity-rather-thanquan­tity recipes that work.

Keep an eye open for Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home hit­ting the shelves in April.

Send com­ments and food-re­lated ques­tions to jackie@hart­ford.co.za. I al­ways look for­ward to hear­ing from you. — Jackie Cameron , head chef: Hart­ford House, at 033 263 2713. For the lat­est on lo­cal foodie news, add me as a friend on Face­book. Find me on Twit­ter at @jack­ie_­cameron. • All pho­tos taken by Karen Ed­wards Pho­tog­ra­phy: www.karenepho­tog­ra­physa.com

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