Archives for May 2014


Photo 2014-04-29, 9 37 50 AM

Celeriac and remoulade
Almost alien looking! But what a vegetable! In a soup or roasted with butter, garlic and thyme. I love making a thick creamy puree instead of a mashed potato. But probably my favourite is raw shredded in a salad and the best is part of a remoulade. Remoulade is similar to the famous tartare sauce with the addition of peeled and julienned celeriac with a little anchovy and mustard.
I like eating it as soon as it has been made, must have a little crunch to it. One of my favourites is to add cooked prawns or plain as an accompaniment to pastrami.

Basic Remoulade
1 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons prepared horseradish sauce
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tbsp onion chopped very fine
1 tsp chopped chives
1 egg boiled grated
2 tsp capers
2 tbsp chopped gherkins (well drained)
1 ea anchovy minced
3 -5 drops Tabasco
+/- 80g celeriac grated or julienned
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

After celeriac has been grated season with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice.
Mix all the ingredients together and adjust seasoning.

This recipe is a guideline and can be adjusted to suite personal preferences.

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Cultivated blue mussels farmed in Saldanha, still a green listed species and under review from SASSI (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative).  It will be a big blow to our menu’s if mussels get moved to the orange list. Last year we saw how our beloved crayfish was moved from the green to orange list, this did not go down well. I had to break some promises made to SASSI and serve crayfish to some of our regulars, how do you explain this to guests. Soon we will have only the sand and an empty ocean. Thank goodness we still have stability with mussel supply. They might a little time consuming to clean, but so worth it. I have three conditions for eating mussels, must have good bread, must have a good wine and must make a mess.  Best sharing with friends, we see this every time we put a pot in the middle of our chefs table you can see how the mood changes and the noise levels increase.
My favourite mussels ever eaten was lunch at LQF served in a light tomato broth and then the surreal moment was in Bruges, Belgium. I just remember how a huge pot full of mussels was dumped in front of me with no cutlery and the rest was a little bit of a blur. NOTE eating and buying half shell mussels does not count as an experience!

Yield: 4 pax
Ensure that mussels are tightly closed an undamaged. Fresh mussels smell like the sea and feel heavy for their size. In the recipe below I have 2 slight variations with or with out cream.
2 kg Mussels
400ml white wine
60g Diced celery and fennel (optional)
6 cloves garlic crushed
4 sprigs thyme picked
2 bay leaf
1 small onion chopped
3 tbsp butter
15 ml olive oil
½ bunch chopped flat leaf parsley
1 -2 tbsp lemon juice to taste
Lemon zest to taste
3 spring onion sliced
Fresh ground black pepper
Sliced fresh crusty bread

To clean mussels remove the beard, rip towards the hinge end of the mussel. Discard beard and with a brush remove additional sand and barnacles, rinse under running water.

Heat large sauce pan with a wide base add butter, oil, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, zest and pepper. Cook gently for 2 minutes with out giving colour. Add wine and bring to a rapid boil add mussels and salt stir to combine, cover and allow to steam allowing all the mussels to open, this should take about 2- 4 minutes. Add parsley and spring onion and a squeeze of lemon juice. Don’t over cook mussels as they become tough and grainy.
Serve with lots of crusty bread or some french fries

With cream
After the the juices have been separated from the mussels add 250 ml cream to liquid bring to a simmer reduce for about two minutes, if you like your sauce a little thicker reduce further, place mussels back into sauce, heat through and finish with parsley and serve with bread.

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Roasted baby potatoes

Roasted New Potatoes 2

My good friend Bertus Basson made this one day when we were having lunch at Overture, I don’t normally eat a lot of potato but this pushed me over the edge. This is my own version.

Yield: 6

1kg baby potatoes
2lt water
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaves
1ea garlic clove crushed
50ml olive oil
½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
100ml sour cream
3 tbsp chives chopped


Boil potatoes with herbs in salted water until soft.
Remove from the heat strain and cool down to room temperature
Cut the top of each potato in a criss-cross with a sharp serrated knife.
Gently squeeze with your thumb and index fingers to push some of the inside of the
potato to the top.
Place onto a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast in a preheated oven at 200°c for 8 – 10mins, just enough to crisp the
tops of the potatoes.
Serve with sour cream and chives.

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Ross the bearded man and pine rings

Mashroom guy with Jaco

I don’t even know what his whole name, I just know him as Ross but most days he is the bearded man. When I met Ross the first time, I only had his number and so it was saved under the “bearded man”.  With his beard and his basket he arrives for the second week in a row and allows us to select the pine rings that we want, and when you hold the carrot orange cap in your hand and smell the forest and the wet earth, you know autumn has arrived.
He won’t share his secret spots with any one, I don’t know what promises he makes other chefs or who gets preferential treatment or even first pickings but he always arrives with little treasures like chicken of the woods or porcini and every now and then Num Num’s.
So this morning we carefully removed all the greener older mushrooms from the basket and picked out our 2kg perfect palm sized mushroom for the menu. I am the happiest when the pine rings is in a risotto, makes it so earthy. But this time around I do not want to make a risotto, seems too predictable so I think a mushroom ravioli is the way to go. In a sage burnt butter with a good sprinkle of parmesan cheese. I am even considering a soup.
This is an incomplete recipe that only explains the filling, use it in little empanadas or pies. I like adding a little Jerusalem artichoke puree with filling reducing the cream cheese in the filling.
Recipe makes 28 pieces

200g Pasta dough
For the filling
300g pine ring mushrooms cut in ¼
50g chopped onion
1 clove garlic
50ml white wine
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf

2 tsp chopped parsley chopped
2 tsp cream cheese
2 tsp grated parmesan
Parmesan for serving

80g Butter
4 sprigs fresh sage
Black Pepper
Cut in ¼ and gently cooked with a little olive oil with onion and crushed garlic and thyme.
Season with salt and peppers, sauté until soft with out over browning, add wine and deglaze.
Cook until all liquid has evaporated, before removing add a squeeze of lemon.
Remove from heat and remove thyme and bay leaf allow to cool and chop very fine.
Add cream cheese and parmesan with parsley.
Set aside until ready to make parcels. Make ravioli with a tsp of filling and measuring 5cm x 5cm.
Once the ravioli parcels are made cook in salted water, take note that they cook very quickly. About 3 minutes.


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Finding burger heaven! (part 1)


Burger in Bar

What makes a burger truly great? You know – that burger that is going to make you sit back and sigh with a stupid grin on your face.
Four years later and I am still working on making it perfect, tweaking, adjusting and eating more than my share of burgers. When the burger sits on the pass tall and proud, ready to meet it’s master I always think ”it is not perfection yet”. We all have different views and preferences, so the task in hand is a very personal adventure, as it should be. I have sampled most of the burgers in and around Cape Town
That perfect burger must have layers of soft, crunchy, tart, sour, juicy, tender, crisp, umami and sweet all in one. I want to be able to pick the burger up and finish it, without the bun falling apart.
When we started our journey the patty was a combination of bought mince 70/30 meat fat ratio we added garlic, onion, egg, crumbs, worcestershire sauce, mustard, parsley, salt, pepper, mixed herbs and somewhere in between some chutney! It looked and smelled like my grandmother’s frikkadel recipe. In hind sight we should have called it grandma’s frikkadel burger.
We called it home made…The problem with this was that we actually had no control over what went into mince mixture. Realising this meant finding the right burger patty was a priority.
So the journey began!

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Whiskey and Dine, 30 May, 2014

Join me with Pernod Ricard to bring you an evening of top class Irish Whiskeys paired with a fantastic menu on 30th of  May.

oysters with whiskey sours | beef tartare with whiskey | gravadlax with whiskey
Jameson Original

hot smoked dusky kob salad
with sweet potato, corn, avocado and a jalapeño dressing
Redbreast 12 year old

pressed duck terrine
layers of seared duck breast, confit and liver with a prune purée
served with bitterballen
Redbreast 12 year old cask strength

roasted carrot and butternut ravioli
toasted seeds and nuts with a sage beurre noisette
Redbreast 15 year old

grilled lamb loin
slow braised lamb shank, quinoa salad with bbq lamb neck,
pasture salad and a jerusalem artichoke purée
Jameson Gold

whiskey and cheese fondue
Green Spot
chocolate, coffee and Jameson
Jameson Reserve

starts at 19h00 | R485 per person
reservations essential| +27-21-4831000


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My Friend Steve



Once a week every Tuesday I receive that dreaded weekly call from Steve the “magic man”. It is not that I dislike Steve, it is the fact that I find it so hard to say no!  So last Tuesday his latest surprise offering was parsley root.
What do you do with parsley root, rooted parsley or Dutch parsley, known as a winter root and looks a little like a parsnip.
As Steve warned me the first batch would be small, this makes it a nightmare to clean. As I was not to familiar with this root vegetable,  I needed to experiment.  I needed to understand the taste profile.
Last season we tried the root the first time but they were very small and it seemed like a waste of time and effort. This time he had the right stuff.

So in between trying to sell me everything in his backyard in Porterville he explained how clean, stew and make a soup with this root, the lesson resulted in a puree that would go on the menu. The sample he sent was just n0t enough so for the experiment I made soup. Imagine turnip, parsnip, celeriac and parsley in one vegetable. It has found away on our menu. Thanks Steve!

Parsley Root Soup

We changed ingredients around a little so instead of celeriac we used parsley root and adjusted it adjusted it slightly. In the original recipe I used truffle oil, but this oil has fallen out of  favor in the last couple of years.
Serves: 4
450g parsley root, peeled, cut into small chunks
150g sweet potato, peeled, cut into small chunks
1 clove garlic peeled and sliced
100 ml cream

+/- 600ml chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 sprig thyme
30ml olive oil
30g butter
½ stick celery stick washed and cut
¼ piece washed and fine dice
½ onion peeled and fine dice
50g Cream cheese
salt and white pepper
2 tbsp chopped chives

Season parsley root and sweet potato with salt and pepper and thyme, place into a small roasting tray with olive oil and cream, cover with foil and roast for 45 minutes covered.
While this is happening sauté onions, leeks and celery over a moderate heat with butter until well softened.
Add the roasted celery root mixture and continue to cook add stock and bring to the boil.
Blend the mixture to a smooth puree. I like using a thermomix as it blends any wannabe soup into the smoothest creamiest velvety soup ever. If you do not have a very strong blender you might want to pass the soup through a fine sieve or chinois.
Remove and place back on heat, check the consistency and add cream cheese.
Adjust seasoning and serve.





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Finding burger heaven!

Burger in Bar 2

What makes a good burger is pretty much a personal thing. A lot of people – chefs, bloggers – have written about the same topic. Some blogs are dedicated to the search for the ultimate burger.

I have used the search as a valuable tool in my kitchen to guide myself as well as illustrate to my staff that everything we do is a process of learning and a search towards perfection. Burgers are everywhere, we are all so familiar with the damn thing. We even settle for cheap fix on the run, late at night when we can not distinguish right from wrong even if we regret it later. But we still do it. It was important that everyone in my kitchen could relate to the one thing all of us know and are familiar with – good or bad.

All the lessons and all the mistakes we have made in the journey of making and eating burgers, we have applied to all our other recipes. None of them is perfect, none of them complete. But every day we go to work we know we have to try and be a little better than we were yesterday, no matter how small the improvement or the change. So while I search and compare burgers I know perfection is a dream, but it is a journey we must travel.

As one of my favourite burger spots would say  “not all burgers are created equal”

Our journey must start where we source our ingredients.




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Biodynamic Luncheon on Sunday, 18 May on Avondale Farm

Avondale’s will be hosting a Biodynamic Luncheon on Sunday, 18 May from 12h00 to 15h30. This is a small intimate three course lunch prepared by Rudi at the table on Avondale farm, showcasing beef, eggs and vegetables from Farmer Angus McIntosh paired with the wines from Johnathan Grieve
Please contact Caelli at or 021 863 1976021 863 1976. The cost is R500 per person.
pepper cured beef tender chuck
fried beef cheek parcels

slow cooked egg
linguini, oxtail ragout and pasture

grilled beef rump
red pepper BBQ beef rib, butternut and sweet potato pave, sautéed organic vegetables

crème brulee
served with a fruit sorbet

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