This may be a bittersweet farewell for the time being food lovers, but I’ll be back, promises Ant Ellis.
As the darkest of days (my deadline for this, my final piece of writing for these hallowed pages) approached – insidiously stalking me, creeping ever nearer, much like the icky, burgeoning mould eating at the lost potato at the back of the veggie drawer – I was bound to ponder. Reflecting on three amazing years, nearly 100 published recipes and what a blessing it has been to work with this rockin’ team, I decided – rather than stewing in my own juices (food pun) – to treat this column not as a misty-eyed retrospective, but as a heroic last foodie hurrah for all the amazing people at Famous Publishing. Suck it, misery!
Yeah, this is a sad occasion, but writing for this mag has also been the raddest of rides – bittersweet, indeed. I’ve been through culinary school, become a chef and learnt so much more about food – ingredients, techniques, trends and more – than expected in my research and recipe testing. Most importantly, I’ve fallen even more in love with the cathartic creative outlet that is the kitchen. So, to round things up satisfyingly in this, our final issue, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to deliver two recipes that reflect and express the Rock The Kitchen ethos I have shared with y’all from day one: Good Food. Better Drinks. The Best of Times! So, let’s raise a glass, a spoon and our voices to the good life.
This deliciously sharp and refreshing cocktail is the precursor to the classic negroni, and was named for the American tourists to Italy in the mid-1800s, who, the bartenders found, wanted their Milano-Torino cocktails of bitter Campari and fortified vermouth watered down with soda water. It was after that, that the soda was replaced with gin to create the boozy negroni. Karin and I love this drink – it’s the perfect weekend Kickstarter.
•1½ tots (45ml) Campari
•1½ tots (45ml) sweet vermouth (osso, no other hooch will do)
•1½ tots (45ml) soda water, with more to your taste
•orange twist (slice or peel), to garnish
Fill a glass – I prefer a highball glass, but traditionally it’s served in a short or rocks glass – with ice. Pour in Campari, vermouth, and soda water. Give it a gentle stir, add soda water to taste. Garnish with an orange twist and serve, then mix another.
Natalie’s Easy Tiramisu
More Italian influence here. This is pretty much the only dessert we eat in Italy, where every family has a secret recipe for this incredible after-dinner treat. As legend has it, this delightful dish dates back to a brothel mistress in Turin around 1800 (Ha!) and was brought into the mainstream only in the 1960s. Disclaimer: This isn’t the most authentic recipe, because according to them Italians (including Natalie), everyone else’s is wrong. Still, I can’t get enough of it.
•1½ cups whipping cream
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•8-ounce container mascarpone cheese at room temperature
•1½ cups cold espresso
•3 Tbsp Kahlua
•1 pack Boudoir finger biscuits
•cocoa powder for dusting the top
Add cream to a mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl and begin beating. Slowly add sugar and vanilla, continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Add mascarpone cheese, mix gently until just combined, then set aside. Add coffee and Kahlua to a shallow bowl. Dip finger biscuits in coffee (don’t over-soak them – just quickly dip them on both sides to get them wet) and lay them in a single layer on the bottom of a 20x20cm pie or casserole dish. Smooth half of the mascarpone mixture over top. Add another layer of dipped finger biscuits. Smooth the remaining mascarpone cream over top. Using a sieve, dust top generously with cocoa powder. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or preferably overnight before serving.
And that’s a wrap. Thanks for reading, and for all the amazing feedback over the years. Yup, all good things must come to an end – except, of course, our enduring and eternal love of food. They may take our magazines, they may take our internet access … but they will NEVER take our appetites! Always remember that the best times we spend together are at the table. And hell yeah, I’ll be back.