lunch at la petite colombe in Franschhoek

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Last week Friday I had the pleasure of experiencing the winter special menu at La Petite Colombe in Franschhoek. The food was exquisite. The attention to detail on every dish was inspiring. This was hands down my favourite fine dining experience in the country so far. Every single course was a celebration of its ingredients and it was evident that a lot of love and care went into each element. The winter menu is exceptionally good value for money and runs until 31 August so if you haven’t been I suggest you get yourself there with a touch of speed.

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

We were also fortunate enough to be treated to the wine pairing along with the winter menu. Andrew, the sommelier, was outstanding and the wine choices were flawless. They complimented each dish beautifully, some were old favourites while others I had never experienced before. The Saxenberg ‘Limited Release’ Sauvignon Blanc Sémillon 2011 (Stellenbosch) was a particularly delightful white blend that I am still dreaming about today.

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

It is almost impossible to pick my favourite dish. The tortellini of prawn, quail, curried hake velouté, cauliflower and coriander was as good as it gets. The textures and flavours sang together. The tiny little angel hair like wisps of fried sweet potato were a revelation. They were so good we asked one of the chefs how to make them!

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Another highlight for me was the “meet the chefs” which is a R70 supplement and you get to head to the kitchen (glass of wine in hand of course) and enjoy a surprise course right next to the pass. Ours was a play on eggs & soldiers. The soldier was toasted brioche with a foie gras filling. Let’s just say I could have eaten one hundred of those fine morsels. It was sublime!

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Another major ‘ooooh’ moment was after dessert when we received our La Petite Colombe Treasures. That little nugget of gold was something else. It was full of creamy chocolate ganache, nuts and popping candy! We were all utterly charmed and it left you with a feeling of delight and playfulness. 

Here’s a look at the utter perfection we were lucky enough to experience:

Caraway sourdough, home churned butter, sesame and roasted yeast

Môreson Solitaire Blanc de Blancs (Franschhoek)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Poached oyster, pernod, grapefruit, verjuice, dill, apple, celery

Colmant Brut Chardonnay 2006-2013 (Franschhoek)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

or

Yellowfin tuna, aubergine, miso, kalamansi, avocado

Mullineux ‘Old vines’ 2016 (Swartland)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Tortellini of prawn, quail, curried hake velouté, cauliflower, coriander

Saxenberg ‘Limited Release’ 2011 (Stellenbosch)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

“Meet the chefs”

Eggs & Soldiers

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Palate Cleanser

Blood orange sorbet

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

 

Linefish, soubise, smoked mussel, squid, endive, chorizo, creamed leeks

Rickety Bridge ‘Paulina’s Reserve’ Semillion 2015 (Franschhoek)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

or

Seared duck breast, turnip, Jerusalem artichoke, rhubarb & lavender

Haut Espoir Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Franschhoek)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Foxenberg goat’s cheese, goats milk caramel, kouign amann, guava, tamarind

Vonderling ‘Sweet Carolyn’ 2007 (Voor-Paardeberg)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

or

Valrhona Itakuja crémeux, pineapple, mango, macadamia, passionfruit, lemongrass

Thelema ‘Late Harvest’ Semillon 2014 (Stellenbosch)

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

La Petite Colombe Treasures

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

It was an absolute delight eating chef, John Norris Rogers‘s carefully constructed menu. It’s not often that I leave a restaurant and immediately start thinking of when I can go back! Take advantage of this amazing winter special menu and allow your taste buds to be treated to some of the finest food in the land. The service is flawless, the setting is beautiful and it really is an all round wonderful experience.

Winter Menu:

R395 / with wine pairing R795
There is also an entire vegetarian menu so veggies there is a whole lot of deliciousness for you too.

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

La Petite Colombe | The Secret Life of Bee

Thank you to the La Petite Colombe team!

 

 

pumpkin puttanesca

Pumpkin Puttanesca | The Secret Life of Bee

I should probably say upfront this is a Puttanesca ish pasta. This little tart went a tad rogue. Well in my book the addition of a some smoked chipotle, shallots & olive caviar is hardly all that rogue but some peeps takes the classics very seriously. I was delighted so many people also love this classic combo and wanted the recipe after I made it on an insta-story the other night. Full disclosure- the husband does NOT!

Pumpkin Puttanesca | The Secret Life of Bee

The other blindingly obvious thing here is the bright orange pasta. Its a fabulous pumpkin noodle situation that allows me to pretend i’m enjoying a bowl full of carbs. You can of course make this with whatever pasta or zoodle your heart desires. Spaghetti being the classic choice for Puttanesca.

Pumpkin Puttanesca | The Secret Life of Bee

One of the reasons I adore this pasta ever so much is because you can always find capers, olives, anchovies and tomatoes in our household. Oh and an excessive amount of garlic. Like actually ludicrous. Vampires beware. These simple ingredients pack quite the punch when put together. No wonder Neapolitan prostitutes lead customers to their doors with this little number. Jokes.

This mighty combo also takes minutes to whip together and is utterly scrumptious. Do not salt it until the very very end IF necessary. You shouldn’t need to with all the salty goodness that goes into it, just lots of freshly ground black pepper is your friend here. Pepper and a generous glass of something delightful like a well chilled Pinot Noir to wash it all down.

Pumpkin Puttanesca

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 500g veggie noodles of your choosing or of course +- 400g dried spaghetti
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely diced (or ½ red onion)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • ½ tsp red chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp smoked chipotle flakes
  • 100g capers, drained
  • 100g pitted black olives, chopped if desired
  • 2 x 390g boxes Italian crushed tomatoes
  • Fresh Italian/ flat leaf parsley
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive caviar for serving

Method:

Cook pasta according to package instructions until quite al dente as you are going to finish cooking the pasta in the sauce.

Meanwhile, combine a generous glug of olive oil with the onion, garlic, anchovies, red chilli and chipotle flakes. Cook over medium heat until the garlic is lightly golden and the anchovies are broken up into bits.

Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the tomatoes reduce and the sauce thickens.

Add the capers and olives and stir to combine.

Using tongs, transfer pasta to sauce. If using vegetables noodles add them into the sauce now.

Cook, stirring and shaking the pan until the pasta is perfectly al dente, or the veggie noodles are tender. Stir in the freshly chopped parsley and season well with plenty of black pepper and taste for salt if necessary.

Serve straight away with freshly grated Parmesan or some crusty bread because carbs on carbs are the way forward in life.

And if you want to be a little bit extra a sprinkle of olive caviar is just the greatest thing ever on this delicious little number.

Pumpkin Puttanesca | The Secret Life of Bee

This isn’t a sponsored post but if you want to know where to find the delicious olive caviar I buy click HERE and then click HERE for the pumpkin noodles.

Pumpkin Puttanesca | The Secret Life of Bee

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

This portabellini mushroom, pesto and bocconcini flatbread is a super speedy way to get something utterly delicious on the table. The meaty mushrooms add a fabulous umami punch and great texture. Tailor these as much as you like by playing with your favourite toppings and flavour combinations.

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

The husband and I have been steadily reducing our intake of animal products and meat specifically. So mushrooms have become a large part of our diets. They’re versatile, delicious and best of all cheap! So they really convince you never to want another piece of steak again. On top of that they’re just really good for you. So when asked by the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association whether I wanted to take part in their #festivemushrooms campaign I said hell yes!

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

The brief was to come up with a yummy mushroom recipe using our local cultivated varietals. If you’re looking for yummy then look no further. This meal will very easily become a weeknight staple! Keep up to date with the #festivemushrooms campaign and follow the SAMFA blog for more delicious recipes!

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

Portabellini & bocconcini flatbread

Makes 2 large flatbreads

Ingredients:

2 flatbreads – homemade or store bought
500g Portabellini mushrooms
1 large white onion, diced
Fresh thyme sprigs
Olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper
150g Bocconcini mozzarella
Sundried tomatoes
Fresh baby herbs and leaves

For the pesto:
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sea salt
40g fresh basil leaves
40g fresh rocket
30g Parmesan cheese, grated
80ml extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Method:

If you aren’t in a massive hurry to get lunch or dinner on the table then I suggest making the flatbread yourself. It’s deeply satisfying making dough with your hands and there’s something super duper rewarding about knowing you’ve made that baby from scratch. Also it really takes a couple of seconds to throw together.

I use a very simple flatbread recipe:
200g self-raising flour
250g full fat Greek yoghurt
1 pinch of salt

In a bowl mix together the yoghurt, flour and salt until it forms a dough.
Transfer dough onto a floured surface. Knead for a few minutes. Cut into 2 or 4 pieces depending on desired size. Cover with a dish cloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Roll out each section of dough using plenty of flour to prevent sticking or tearing.
Cook the flatbread in a dry hot griddle pan. Cook each side for 2-4 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

For the pesto:
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic clove and teaspoon of sea salt into a puree. Scrape the garlic paste into a food processor for ease; add the basil, rocket, Parmesan and olive oil. Blitz until smooth. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and set aside.
For the flatbreads:
Sauté the diced onion with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt until gently caramelised. Slice the mushrooms and fry them in batches until golden brown. And a few sprigs of thyme as you fry each batch. Season well with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 200C and move the rack to the upper shelf.

Brush flatbreads with the basil pesto. Top each one with half of the mushroom mix. Rip the bocconcini mozzarella into pieces and scatter over the mushrooms. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the flatbread is golden brown.

Top with pieces of sundried tomatoes, a few dollops of pesto and fresh baby leaves. Slice, serve and enjoy!

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

portabellini & bocconcini flatbread | The Secret Life of Bee

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

Winter has me firmly in her clutches and comfort food is keeping me going. This mushroom ragù with truffle oil is exactly that. It’s rich and comforting and feels like a warm hug. I give this pasta a hefty dose of garlic and pepper. Mushrooms love pepper! And I finish it off with some crispy sage and Parmesan. It’s dead simple but utterly scrumptious.

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

I like to mix my mushrooms up. I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday and found a gorgeous mix but you can use whatever you can get your hands on. Shiitake, king oyster and shimeji mushrooms all work beautifully in this dish. Just cook your mushrooms in batches if necessary. Mushrooms don’t like being in a crowded pan or they sweat- much like meat. So brown them a few slices at a time and then combine them all together at the end.

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

I love a good truffle oil and this one from Lemcke is a lovely subtle truffle-enhanced oil. So it’s not one of those that over powers an entire dish. You can use a rather liberal amount and it really makes all the rich earthy mushroom flavours sing. I also made a fried egg using the oil and it was amazing.

Mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 600g mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup mushroom stock
  • 1/2 lemon
  • truffle oil
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g fresh tagliatelle
  • handful fresh sage leaves
  • butter for frying
  • Parmesan for serving

Method:

Heat olive oil with a knob of butter and fry mushrooms in batches until golden brown. Set aside.

Heat some fresh olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions until soft. Add the crushed garlic, a knob of butter and return the mushrooms to the pan. Cook until the garlic smells fragrant. Add the mushroom stock and simmer until reduced by half. Season well with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and add pasta to the mushrooms. Toss well and squeeze over the juice of half a lemon.

In a small saucepan heat a few knobs of butter and fry the sage leaves until crispy. Drain on paper towel.

Serve the mushroom ragù topped with the crispy sage leaves, freshly grated Parmesan and a generous drizzle of truffle oil.

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

mushroom ragù tagliatelle with truffle oil | The Secret Life of Bee

Truffle oil provided by the lovely folks from Lemcke

balsamic beets & goat’s cheese linguine

Balsamic Beet & Goats Cheese Linguine | The Secret Life of Bee

As our weather begins to cool comfort food is coming a knocking. Very few things say comfort to me more than a beautiful pasta. This linguine is just that while remaining light and fresh. Earthy flavours from the beetroot pair so well with the sweet acidity from the balsamic. Top that off with some super creamy goat’s cheese and it’s no wonder this combo is such a classic.

Balsamic Beets & Goats Cheese Linguine | The Secret Life of Bee

I used a mix of gorgeous red, golden and candy striped beets I picked up from the market but you can use whatever you get your hands on. As for the goat’s cheese you want the super creamy kind. I used Chavroux. It’s my achilles heel of the cheese world and if left alone at home with a tub of it i’ll just gobble it up with a spoon.

Market Day Produce | The Secret Life of Bee

Balsamic Beets & Goat’s Cheese Linguine

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 500g wholewheat linguine
  • 8 medium beetroot- mixed
  • handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 45ml olive oil
  • 45ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4 large shallots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 150g creamy goats cheese, best quality
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper

To serve: Fresh baby leaves

Method: 

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Wash and scrub the beets well. Cut them into quarters. Place on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and season well with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the beets. Cover with another layer of aluminium foil and roast for 45-60 minutes until the beets are tender and a knife can easily slip through their flesh. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.

In a large saucepan fry the shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft and fragrant. Season. Toss in the beets and all their cooking juices. Finally add the pasta and use the pasta water to loosen if necessary. Coat the pasta well with the sauce.

Finish with large dollops of goat’s cheese and some fresh baby leaves tossed in balsamic.

Serve with a cold glass of Krone Chardonnay Pinot Noir.

Balsamic Beets & Goats Cheese Linguine | The Secret Life of Bee

 

*Disclaimer: This utterly delicious vino was provided by the awesome folks from Krone

fig & goat’s cheese salad

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

One of my favourite chefs on earth is Yotam Ottolenghi and the man can write a seriously good cookbook or ten. Plenty is a vegetarian filled masterpiece with an entire chapter dedicated to ‘The Mighty Aubergine.” It is jam packed with inspirational ideas of ways to cook and serve veggies you would never have dreamed of. This fig and goat’s cheese salad hails from this recipe book and is one of the most beautifully simple but flavourful salads.

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

I’ve put my own spin on this classic combination and it’s a winner. I also added some apple cider vinegar to his dressing as the acidity is perfectly balanced by the sweet figs and cuts through the richness of the goat’s cheese. This aint no ordinary goat’s cheese either. This is the good stuff. Super creamy and luxurious, Chavroux is my favourite brand of goat’s cheese. Treat yourself to the Aston Martin of goat’s cheeses! I’m a wee bit obsessed. Can you tell?

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig & Goat’s Cheese Salad

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 80g mixed baby leaves
  • 10 ripe figs
  • 150g creamy goat’s cheese
  • 20g mixed purple and green basil
  • mixed sprouts
  • edible flowers

For the dressing:

  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method:

Combine all dressing ingredients except for the olive oil.

Slowly pour in the olive oil and whisk until the dressing comes together homogeneously.

Mix the baby leaves and basil together in a large serving dish. Cut the figs into quarters and arrange over the leaves. Scatter dollops of goat’s cheese around the figs as well as the mixed sprouts and edible flowers.

Drizzle the salad with the dressing and some fresh olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Sexy salad bowl courtesy of Sugar and Vice

chefs warehouse at beau constantia

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Some meals are just special. Everything works in harmony. From the flavours and textures on the plate to the perfectly chilled wine in your ice bucket and expertly executed service. This was one of those meals.

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia is a sensory treat. Set in one of the most beautiful locations over looking the Constantia wine valley surrounded by vineyards, forest and wild proteas. The setting matches the food which is almost too pretty to eat. The attention to details is astounding. Each flourish adds flavour and texture and nothing is placed on the plate without careful consideration. The oysters were a major highlight for me. Just wow. What a way to start the meal. Adorned with flavours from the garden and a paprika oil drizzled over them. They were spectacular.

Here are some of the highlights from this utterly sensational meal:

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Middle Eastern Beef Tataki, Buttermilk Dressing, Persian Dressed Cucumbers and Char Grilled Brick Pastry

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Tomatoes on Toast, Confit and Pickled Tomatoes, Curds and Herbs

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Linefish Escabeche, Pickles and Lime Labne

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Saffron Risotto with Cajun Spiced Brisket, Sour Cream and Fried Onions

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Char Grilled Blesbok, Pickles, Burnt Butter and Beetroot Sauce

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Wild Honey and Lavender Crème, Honeycomb and Smoked Cassia Bark Ice Cream

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Lemon Posset with Berry Coulis

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

The service is seamless. Just the right amount of attention without becoming overbearing.  The courses are perfectly timed and plentiful. It really is exceptionally good value for money and you will not leave hungry. They also have a sublime cheese platter but by the end of lunch we had lost count of the amount of courses we’d had and needed to roll ourselves home. I cannot wait to return for another spectacular meal.

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Make it your next restaurant mission to dine at Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia.

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

the table at de meye – this is how to lunch

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

I spent a gloriously long and utterly delicious afternoon at The Table at De Meye in Stellenbosch. This is one of my favourite restaurants around town and it’s an utter crime that I do not frequent it more often. The food is down to earth with a farm to table focus, highlighting local farmers and producers.

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

Run by husband and wife team Luke and Jessica, The Table has the feel of being in your friend’s back yard. You are lovingly served a generous family meal on platters to share around the table. Luke explains the origin of each tasty morsel from the tomatoes that have ripened in the sun in their own garden to the life altering crusty sourdough baked by Fritz Schoon. Everything that passes your lips is ethically sourced from the very best producers. From the free-range happy chickens to the giant courgettes they’ve just pulled out of the garden.

This was our three course menu of the day:

Starter: Tomato tarte tatin with goats cheese ricotta & baby leaf salad

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

Fritz’s sourdough bread from Schoon De Companje with natural farm butter

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

Main course: Free-range roast chicken with tarragon, verjus and cream served with super crispy golden potatoes and a cabbage, bean and grape salad. Bliss.

Schoon De Companje

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

And finally dessert… what a masterpiece! Yoghurt panna cotta with pistachios, roasted baby figs and fig sorbet.

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

It was truly one of the most exceptional desserts I have ever eaten. It was one of those, ‘angels begin singing in perfectly pitched voices’ kind of moments.

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

All that went down swimmingly well with a few bottles of the De Meye unwooded Chardonnay. Now the very best part about this restaurant is that after you have sufficiently indulged in all the scrumptious food there are blankets on the lawn for that much needed afternoon nap. The husband was snoring away while mum and I polished off the rest of the vino.

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

So pop into your car one of these weekends and take a drive out to the Winelands and experience the delight that is The Table. It’s open for lunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30. The abundant three course menu is R325pp. Make sure to book well in advance.

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

 

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Gravlax or Gravadlax is the most gloriously simple cured salmon using a little salt, sugar and fresh herbs. I love the addition of the beetroot because of the earthy flavour and most of all the exquisite colour. This is such a luxurious meal and such a treat to prepare for special occasions.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

The salmon must be extremely fresh and of really high quality. Ask your fish monger for a side of the freshest sushi-grade salmon. That’s really the only expense here. The rest of the ingredients are super affordable and most importantly you’ll have some bubbles to sip on during the preparation! Remember to plan ahead if this is for a special occasion as the salmon takes 48 hours to cure.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Beetroot & Bubbles Salmon Gravadlax

Ingredients:

  • 700-800g sushi-grade side of salmon, skin on
  • 3 large beetroot, grated
  • 150g coarse Kosher rock salt
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 2 large lemons, zested
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 1 large handful dill
  • 75g Muscavado sugar
  • 75ml Méthode Cap Classique

Method:

Remove all pin bones from the salmon and place skin side down on a large baking tray lined with an oversized piece of baking paper.

Crush juniper berries in a mortar and pestle. Mix the crushed juniper berries and all the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Encrust the side of salmon with the cure.

Fold the baking paper tightly around the salmon. Cling wrap the salmon and tray very well so no air can get in. Place in the fridge for 48 hours to cure.

Remove from the fridge. Carefully drain off any liquid and gently remove the cure from the salmon. 

Slice thinly at an angle, avoiding the skin.

Serve with toasted bread, crème fraîche, fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon.

Preserve your salmon in the fridge tightly wrapped in cling film for 3-5 days.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Méthode Cap Classique provided by the fabulous folks from Krone Twee Jonge Gezellen

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

This prawn tagliatelle with chilli and lemon is one of my favourite pastas. It’s right up there with the perfect carbonara. It’s simple and elegant and allows the ingredients to shine. A great pasta dish is about balance. It’s not all about the sauce. The noodle is as much the hero as the delicious bits of garlic and chilli clinging to it.

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

Making your own fresh pasta for this dish is totally worth it. It may seem like a wee bit of admin but you’ll be so pleased you did it and I find kneading to be rather therapeutic. I have a little pasta machine to make rolling out the dough a tad easier. If you don’t, a lot of kneading, a rolling pin or even a good old fashioned wine bottle will do the trick. If elbow grease isn’t your thing of course you can just buy the pasta, fresh or dry.

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

The simplicity of this pasta requires the use of the best ingredients you can get your hands on. The olive oil is really important and a good one makes all the difference. I used the Prince Albert Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Karoo. I love it, it’s delish and it also comes in the prettiest tin ever. Oh and also- very importantly… This dish begs for an exceptional glass of white wine to go with it. So make sure there’s some top notch stuff in the fridge ready to go!

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

Prawn tagliatelle with lemon & chilli 

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 400g ’00’ flour
  • pinch of salt

*if you opt for bought pasta you’ll need about 100g pp

  • 400-500g fresh prawns, deveined & butterflied (from sustainable sources)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced/crushed
  • 2-3 mixed chillis, finely diced (seeds removed)
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 2-3 handfuls fresh rocket
  • 75g caper berries
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving

Method:

To make the pasta: Mix the flour and salt together and make a little mound with a well in the centre on a clean kitchen counter. Whisk the eggs and pour into the centre of the flour. Bring together a little bit at a time using your fingers or a fork. Once everything is combined knead the dough until it comes together into a ball. Keep kneading for a few minutes. When you’re tired, your arms ache and you think it’s done- keep going. When the pasta is completely smooth and elastic your job is done and you can wrap it in cling film and let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 min.

*Pour yourself a glass of wine. You deserve it.

Roll out the pasta, dusting generously with flour as you go. If not using a machine, roll small pieces of dough at a time as it will be easier to roll the smaller amounts thinly. Once at desired thickness, cut straight away.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Cook the fresh pasta in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes until al dente. Drain.

Place a large sauté pan onto medium-high heat and add a generous glug of olive oil. Add the chilli and garlic and cook for a minute. Add the prawns and season well with salt and pepper. The prawns only need a minute to cook. When they are almost done add the lemon juice and drained pasta to the pan. Toss well.

Drizzle with some fresh olive oil, toss in the rocket and finish with the lemon zest and caper berries. Adjust seasoning. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and some delightful chilled wine!

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee

prawn tagliatelle with chilli & lemon | The Secret Life of Bee