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Feasting… and the art of slow living

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Writing this blog, we knew right away it would be different from previous ones.

Why? Because the world is different now and we want to honour that difference without being afraid to still celebrate how incredibly special life is! So, we’ve decided to take a leap of faith and to share one of our personal feasts with you. And not only that, it will be the very first time that we will be sharing photographs of our home and farm life on our blog. We wanted to share what “the Art of Slow Living” is to us.

Living quite a simple life and both of us being rather private, putting it all out there left us feeling vulnerable today but in the spirit of this shared human condition we call “Life” we wanted to take you on a journey. With all of us homebound, sometimes all you need to do is travel a bit in your mind…

Come on in, kick of your shoes and spend some time with us and all the creatures and critters on this farm we call home.

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When we cook, we love to travel with our senses and our spice cupboard is a place where nostalgia lives with a haphazard collection of spices, herbs and condiments found during our journeys through India, Turkey and Morocco. This is usually where we start when conjuring up recipes! Of course, as South Africa is still in strict lockdown due to COVID-19, our feast this past weekend was dictated by what we had on hand in the house. We used what we had in the bottom of our freezer {duck!}, foraged in the garden and dug out that bottle of bubbly that we’ve been keeping for an occasion.

As if not now, when!?

We kept the menu simple with an oven roasted duck, earthy root vegetables, pomegranate seeds and rose Pongracz.

Now, you have to know that no feast in this household would be complete without having Hunter and Lola, our two cocker spaniels at our feet. Or having incense wafting through the house. Or curious cattle standing at the fence, soft liquorice noses twitching. More than ever we want to bring nature into our home, into our lives. We want to feel connected to the earth and to one another even when we have to stay apart.

An inquisitive calf watched as we set about foraging through the garden, picking herbs and digging out carrots. They watched as we chatted about setting a “foraged table” for ourselves which reflected the unexpected season of our lives. A time like never before. A time that called for dried hydrangeas which still smell like summer, sprigs of purple oregano picked from our somewhat overgrown veggie garden and crystal glasses. Nothing more.

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Our feast had to include an indulgence; dessert!

Which by the way we ended up eating FIRST while waiting for the duck to roast! Yes, what can we say… impatience got the better of both us and the spaniels.

It was a super simple dessert: leftover sticky-date pudding {My mother so graciously spoiled us a few days earlier by leaving a whole pudding and some custard at our farm gate. And wow, saying that sounds so strange but in this world of social distancing collecting food left at our gate seems to be the new normal.}
But of course we could not only have leftover pudding. We needed some texture, some fun and a little alchemy. So, we whipped up a creamy banana ice cream, added the most decadent Kit Kat chocolate bunny on top and there we were, just two simple souls sitting having our dessert while watching the duck roast!

We could possibly have used the hot cross buns Steph made earlier over the weekend for dessert, but there were none left! We made a whole batch from a Pretty Blog recipe and just tweaked it a little so that we had some with raisins and some without. Really hoped they would last more than a day but the smell of nutmeg and cinnamon drove us a little nuts every time we walked through the kitchen; our only solution was to finish them all!

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And then there was the duck. Stuffed with baby red onions, garlic, garden herbs and fresh oranges and basted with a decadent sauce…

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Steph secret “not so secret anymore” duck basting sauce:

INGREDIENTS
• The juice of one orange {or lemon if you prefer}
• Sugar
• Soy sauce
• Sherry {we used good old Old Brown Sherry left in the cupboard from last winter}
• Salt & Pepper
• Orange Blossom Water {the good stuff we bought in Marrakech and that smells like orchards when you open the lid!}

Now to tell you quantities would be hard as Steph is a bit of a splash here, a dash there, kind of cook unless he is baking so we’d probably say; all to taste.

But at least we can give some instructions:

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Bring all of the above ingredient to a gentle simmer on the stove-top and reduce slightly.
2. Cool off and keep to baste the duck.
3. Steph basted the duck regularly throughout the roasting. We quickly popped it out of the oven from time to time, to turn, and to generously brush with the basting sauce.

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Once the duck was cooked it, we rested it briefly before popping it on a platter with all the roasted veggies, a sauce Steph made on the side and some pomegranate jewels. A simple, delicious feast for two.
We also love cooking to the lulling sounds of Florence & the Machine or our favourite Snow Patrol songs… other days it might be the piano tunes of Nils Frahm that enchants us but this weekend it was Adele all the way.

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And we would lie if we didn’t admit that it wasn’t very long before we got sleepy. We did however manage to drag our bodies away from the ever inviting couch and wake Hunter and Lola {who had gone for an afternoon snooze on the bed} to take a stroll with us… Taking this special piece if earth that we call home, for granted has never been an option.

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Hot Cross Bun Recipe | The Pretty Blog

Turkish Towels | The Cotton Company

Photography | Dust and Dreams Photography

Styling | Thirteen Creative Emporium

Book | The Kinfolk Table

 

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