There is something deeply satisfying about transforming something into something else. It is an act of creativity – whether it’s kneading dough or churning cream – that recalls a way of life we once all had.
According to an old Arabic saying, the soul travels at the pace of a camel. In contrast to our restless minds and active limbs, the soul lingers on its course: it takes time, it relishes the hands-on, leisurely act of crafting something, of taking time both to prepare it and then, afterwards, to savour the result. At DECO, we are deliberately slowing down the pace. We are championing the home-made. And for good reason. We’re looking to reduce our collective footprint: local, seasonal and artisanal are the catchwords of this new eco-consciousness. But we’re also welcoming ways to produce and enjoy soul food. Perhaps the best purchase you can make – the sign of true wealth – is to have time, time for leisure, time for DIY, time to nurture the soul.
What better, then, than to make a loaf of bread from a handful of basic ingredients? Or to patiently turn cream into butter, as our ancestors did some 5 000 years ago? Not only has it been regarded in ancient times as a food fit for the gods, the world’s most popular fat has simple goodness, endless versatility and health benefits.
Karen Pretorius, chef at the rustic Babylonstoren farm in the Cape winelands, says
Butter is high in conjugated linoleic acid, a beneficial fatty acid that protects against some forms of cancer and has been shown to lower total cholesterol. Butter from grass-fed cows contains high levels of vitamin E and beta-carotene, which are both important in promoting health.
SALTED CARAMEL AND ALMOND BUTTER RECIPE
1 cup sugar
½ cup toasted almonds
coarse sea salt
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring the syrup to the boil, and continue to boil, without stirring, until it begins to turn golden around the edges. It is important not to stir, as the syrup may crystallise. Add 400g
cold butter to the food processor and churn, adding the golden syrup and ½ cup toasted almonds. When smooth, transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
This article originally featured in Issue 102