This morning when I got up, I already knew what kind of a day it was going to be. All night the wind howled as our timber frame house creaked and rocked around me like a reaver’s lugger. I didn’t actually need to open my eyes as I rolled out of my berth (sorry, bed) to know that no summer sunshine beckoned. No way was I going to greet the day as per normal, by flinging open the doors onto my deck to make my salutations. Instead I swaddled myself in multiple layers of cotton and cashmere, wool and warmth, then reinforced this internally with a cup of steamy mocha. Mmm…delicious!
With all my defences in place I felt impervious to the whispering white fingers of early morning mist, and I opened my heart and mind to the vision that greeted me as we rounded the mountain, and the expanse of False Bay came into full view. As I said, I knew it was going to be a Smuggler’s day.
The huge, open bay that we gaze at everyday was suddenly shrouded in secrets, swathed in nearly as many layers of grey as I. I could almost feel, but not quite see, the mist parting to give us just a glimpse of a time gone by, perhaps 300 years ago, when sailors still stopped at the Cape for fresh victuals and there must have been some intrepid souls who took the opportunity to indulge in a little illicit trading.
Somehow it was fitting that the first thing on my baking agenda this morning was a deli favourite. We call them Berried Treasure Chests, because they are shaped like miniature chests, which broken open, reveal their treasure of golden ground almonds and spiced berries. Less fanciful people might call them friands.
To make them is simplicity itself, the difficulty comes in leaving them overnight before you eat them. This is not strictly necessary, but I’m going to make it part of my recipe, as given just a little extra time to let the almonds develop, these little treasures will be doubly rewarding, and just the thing to go with a cup of rum laced coffee on a secretive Autumn day.