I am such a fan of Gathered, a site that serves up ‘a collection of culinary charms’. This online space is peppered with glorious imagery and recipes created by Nicky and Nikki Albertyn – a mother and daughter duo with serious talent and who love to entertain. What i love about Gathered are the images that make me want to both set a table for friends and family but also create contemplative meals for two. The recipes are also dead simple – and that’s always worth celebrating.
I sent some questions to Nicky and Nikki and what they had to say about life, food and the things that inspire them was just lovely.
Q How did your love of food arise?
I think my mother passed her love for food on to me, and her mother to her. We love exploring it’s power to transport you to your ‘happy place’ and believe that every meal should be a celebration. Cooking for friends and family when we get the chance is a great honour for us and we enjoy doing it together. Starting Gathered was a means for us to document our recipes and simply hangout and cook great food.
Q What’s your signature style?
Wholesome dishes but also nostalgic dishes as we love the power food has in being able to transport you to places where memories have been made sharing meals with special people.
Q A dish you’re known for and that’s flop proof
My mom and I do this really fresh, simple summer pasta with fresh tomatoes, basil and capers (see above and click here for the recipe). It’s quick and easy and a total crowd pleaser.
Q A comfort food favourite?
Polenta. Polenta with a lot of sweetcorn, cheese and tomato relish.
Q What are you making/baking this weekend?
Turkish bread rings! They’re called simit and am completely obsessed since coming back from a recent trip to Istanbul. Besides for selling them every Thursday and Friday at Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants on Church Street in Cape Town. I bake them almost every weekend because I can’t get enough of them!
Q Current favourite ingredient?
Eggs. Eggs in Shakshukka, eggs in Ramen, eggs in EVERYTHING. It’s such a versatile ingredient and you find it anywhere.
Q Favourite kitchen utensil?
The good ol’ wooden spoon. It never let’s you down!
Q Food heroes?
Tessa Kiros and Rachel Khoo.
Q Foodie blogs you love?
My favourite blog of all time is Eva Kosmas’ Adventures in Cooking. I am in love with her photography, styling and ability to draw you into her environments she creates in her stills. Her food and photography is just, for a lack of better words, magical.
Q Paint us a picture of how you like to entertain – from the music to the table décor, flowers and of course – the food! Oh and who you invite…
In the candle-lit room the music, when present, is always laid back – a Billie Holiday kind of tempo. When there is no music, the quiet compliments the uncluttered dark wooden table with silver cutlery, white crockery and linen. Small bouquets of fynbos flowers and foliage dot the table with space for the wine, olive oil, salt and pepper bowls to always make an appearance. The side table with the rack of lamb, tabbouleh and green salad meets the guests in waves as everyone dishes up and finds their seat around the large table. Our table is big and almost always has family and close friends around it.
Q A cookbook you’ve recently used and loved and why?
Tim Haywards Food DIY – because, Bacon Jam!
Scroll down for a recipe from Nikki and Nicky – because everyone needs to know how to make a Mini Unicorn Cake, right?
Mini Unicorn Sprinkle Cakes
Prep time: 15 mins
Baking time: 30 mins
Makes: 3 mini cakes
You will need:
100’s & 1000’s
For the cake:
3/4 cup castor sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup corn flour
1 tsp baking powder
For the frosting:
100 g cream cheese
30g unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C icing sugar
a drop of pink food colouring
Preheat your oven to 160°C
Remove the paper from three empty cans and clean the inside before greasing and flouring the inside.
Place the eggs in a stand mixer and start off by beating them on a medium speed until the eggs have doubled in size (approx 2 minutes).
Slowly add the sugar in thirds, add the vanilla and continue beating for a further 5 minutes.
Combine the flours and baking powder and sift three times. Using a metal spoon or spatula, lightly and swiftly fold the flour mixture through the batter, ensuring it is all combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the tins, filling a little over half. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tins for five minutes, remove and place on a cooling rack. If you struggle to get the cakes out because of the tin having a lip, turn it around and remove the base with a tin opener and pop the cake out of the bottom.
Once cooled down completely, use a bread knife and cut off the rounded top. Then cut the cakes into little layers. Be very careful to cut them flat and even.
For the frosting:
Place the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until pale. Gradually add icing sugar, beating until combined before adding a drop of pink food colouring and mixing again.
To frost, pipe a thick line of frosting around the edge of the cake. Using a wet knife, smooth over the frosting to make it even and spread all the way to the edge. Gently place the next layer on top and repeat until you are finished. Pipe the top of the cake with frosting and smooth with a wet knife. Top with sprinkles and enjoy!
This recipe first appeared on the Zana blog – click here for the original post and to download the recipe