World cup fever

2010-06-26 00:00

THE reverberation of vuvuzelas, and motor vehicles of all makes and shapes sporting a flag or three heralded a national unity unseen since 1995. The 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup arrived — and anticipation is behind us. Continued enthusiasm, spirit and ubuntu are inspiring and I’m stirred by a warm, fuzzy proudly-South African sensation. With the month-long festivities and little time to indulge in cookouts, I suggest a selection of sensational bites.

Ensure you always have available thinly sliced biltong, the cheesiest-of-cheesy cheese straws and a selection of lightly salted hot nuts. An assortment of olives and pickled onions are also an option. These quick-and-easy nibbles are the basics of my ‘emergency kit’.

The easiest samoosas are the gorgonzola-filled option and they never fail to impress. I relish the warm centre of oozing gorgonzola surrounded by the crisp spring-roll pastry. Simplicity at its best!

A smoked snoek spread brings South Africa into your television room. Serve this with paper-thin Melba toast, bowls of roasted garlic, caper berries and sundried tomatoes. Scrumptious!

I enjoy something slightly spicy when having a drink or two. This sparks memories of Dodo’s vegetable market in Church Street, Pietermaritzburg, where my mom would stock up on supplies and my dad would buy a large paper packet filled with greasy chilli bites for my sister and me. The outer crispness and the inner slightly-spicy softness — almost sponginess — is a texture sensation. I add onion, tomato, pepper and lots of roughly chopped ­dhanya. For its intensity and versatility, I rate dhanya one of my favourite fresh herbs and served on Camembert it makes a memorable meal with a homemade sweet chilli sauce, or with curry, or in samoosas, or in salads or with chicken livers. The options are endless.

On a healthier note, an avocado guacamole served with crudités (raw vegetables cut into bite-size strips) is light and satisfying. Nearby, place slices of old-style homemade cumin-flavoured white bread and quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil. This will allow guests to drizzle vinegar and oil on the bread and, for a more substantial portion, finish with a spread of guacamole.

I am sure these quick, uncomplicated snacks will serve you and your guests well.

Keep the spirit alive … Ayoba!

Send comments and food-related questions to me at jackie@hartford.co.za. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jackie Cameron, head chef: Hartford House — 033 263 2713.

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