Archives for June 2014


Xato salad

Xato salad

For me this salad is about the dressing as much as it is about the salad, I prefer calling the whole salad Xato and not just the sauce which basically is a romesco. Endive has never tasted better. The base of the salad is made up with olives, curly endive, anchovies, salted or tinned tuna and bacalao which is optional.
For the sauce I have used a combination of sun-dried tomatoes, charred peppers and roasted garlic. The bread has been toasted on an open flame.


40g toasted almonds
40g toasted hazelnuts
1 anchovy fillet
1 clove garlic
2-3 cloves roasted garlic
1-2 red chillies charred and deseeded
2 peppers charred and deseeded
2 oven dried tomatoes or sun dried
1 sliced grilled sour dough bread
50ml red wine vinegar
100ml olive oil
salt and pepper

200g curly endive
anchovies as needed
200g tinned tuna
100g black olives
extra virgin olive oil


Grill bread (I like doing over an open flame)
Soak bread in vinegar
In a blender combine everything
Season, sauce will be thick, water down if you prefer runnier.
Best to assemble the salad in layers with sauce between layers
finish with olive oil and more sauce on the side

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Finding burger heaven! (part 3)

Mixing Burgers

Enter chuck and brisket!

It is about temperature! That was the secret, not the egg or the seasoning or the binding. Temperature! When we used to make pates and terrines we had one important rule in the process. Keep the equipment and the product as cold as possible. You don’t want to start cooking the protein during the mincing process.
So the meat was cut into small pieces, seasoned and placed in the freezer until really cold, not frozen. Success! So now we were left with mustard, parsley, salt and pepper. It was amazing!

Beautiful beef without the makeup packed with real flavour. (more about beef and suppliers on another day)

I was happy and we were producing up to 40kg of burgers a week, which does not sound like a lot, this is only one of the many items on the menu so yes it is great. We were selling close to 30 – 40 burgers a day. The only other real competitor on the menu is the club sandwich (nightmare for most of our trainees working the sandwich section)
Our success was short lived as the mustard acted as a preservative keeping the colour of the meat pink during the cooking process. We only picked this up if the patty stood for longer than two days, when made daily we never noticed the change.

Now you try and convince a guest who has ordered a dead burger that the burger is dead when it is still pink on the inside. Frustration!

Finding Burger Heaven – Part 2

Finding Burger Heaven – Part 1

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Spingbok dish, June 2014

Chakalaka is a vegetable relish some don’t like it spicy but for me it is a big must. Great accompaniment to pap(maize porridge like polenta).

Best with a braai, lamb chops or boerewors. Even on toast it is great. The first time I encountered this vegetable relish I was working in a factory that produced 5 tons of salad a day. We must have made close to 300kg of the chakalaka at a time. This dish is about happiness, lots of happiness. Colourful and spicy and goes with everything.
Recipes differ but most contain a mixture of cooked fine diced or grated carrot, onion, peppers , beans with some curry spices and garlic, ginger and chilli. We add tomato or tomato paste. Some recipes tend to be oily but that is personal personal choice!

In the photo above we do a springbok loin, with Jerusalem artichoke puree and a springbok shoulder croquette with chakalaka.


50ml oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
30 ml ginger grated
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
3 green chilies chopped fine
10 ml curry powder
3 ea medium carrots grated
200g green beans fine cut
30 ml tomato paste


Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, peppers and chillies add curry powder
Add carrots cook gently add tomato paste.
Add beans check seasoning
Use as required


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Chef’s who share 2014

The one event that can not be missed, after last years success it is back on the 11th  September, 2014.

Take note that this is an unbelievable event imagine:

7 different menus

14 award winning chefs from South Africa

7 Internationally acclaimed chefs from Europe

7 top Sommeliers

The chefs team up in trios to create individual menus for groups of only 36 people each! The proceeds of the ticket sales and the art auction go to two established charities who support underprivileged children: MAD Charity – Make a Difference and the Laureus Sport for Good
Venue: City Hall Cape Town / South Africa
Tickets: R 3 000 per person; tables of 12 available; enquiries at
More information on

Last year I was teamed up with Christiaan Campbell from Delaire Graff and we had the most fantastic evening, even if I was in a moon boot. Below is the menu we served, many of our dishes were based on sharing and passing food around.

Corn taco with cured beef
Green asparagus bun, Gruyère mayonnaise
Crisp fried BBQ Pork and sticky rice
Pickled beetroot and labneh

Home Made Artisan Bread

Beef short rib and mushroom broth
beef cheeks, sweetbreads, cauliflower parmesan cream, pickled mushrooms, charred corn

Sharing Fish
Fennel crusted smoked trout, fresh oysters, marron terrine, Saldanha Black Mussels, White mussel sausages, Cured Farmed kabeljou, white asparagus, pickled vegetables
Abalimi Bezekhaya salad

Farmer Angus Lamb ….a little bit of everything served with vegetables from Eric, Steve & Jerry.

The things you never see
From a bowl, a spatula, a tray, a piping bag……




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Every now and then you find yourself going back to old favourites. Years ago when I was working at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton my sous chef Michael Colling insisted that the Reuben had to feature on the menu. Not being to familiar with the sandwich, I said make me one.  Oh my word! this was a man’s sandwich with layers of lots of cheese salted beef, sauerkraut with a Russian dressing all squashed in between two slices of rye and pan fried.

So for the winter season we decided that it needed to make a return to our menu’s only this time we made our own salted beef and of course with our very own home baked rye. Wish I could say that is our very own sauerkraut, but it is not!

Instead of pan frying we place the sandwich in the sandwich toaster and use both Gruyère and Emmentaler and lots of it.

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Lamb Pies with yoghurt

Lamb pastries

The recipe was created after Crush Online asked us to create four yoghurt based recipes. At about the same time I had dinner at one of my favourite eateries – South China Dim Sum bar. Ed made a beautiful Dim Sum filled with lamb and served it with yoghurt. That is all I needed(Thank Ed). As we make loads of empanadas at the hotel I thought why not make them with lamb instead of mushrooms. So we made a beautiful soft and light pastry made with yoghurt and for the filling we added a good helping of yoghurt.

At the hotel we often substitute sour cream with a good yoghurt like buffalo milk yoghurt from Buffalo Ridge Farm or goats milk yoghurt from Foxenberg. Especially when served as an accompaniment with a little coriander and mint.

Yield: 25 -30

30ml buffalo milk yoghurt
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
300g fine diced lamb or minced lamb
3 tomatoes, deseeded, chopped
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 small chilli chopped
Lemon zest to taste
2 tbsp lemon juice
150ml chicken stock
Chopped mint to taste
Salt & Pepper taste

400g Yoghurt dough

Heat olive oil in a pot and onion, sauté with toasted cumin and coriander
add chili and garlic. Take great care not to burn add lamb and continue to cook until evenly browned add remaining spices.
Add tomato and continue to cook until all tomatoes cooked away add stock.
Continue until all liquid is absorbed, add sesame seeds, fresh coriander, zest and lemon juice adjust seasoning. Remove from heat and add yoghurt.

Roll out dough to about two millimeters and cut into 10cm rounds, place about a tsp and half on each and close.
Deep fry
Serve with a cucumber and rocket salad

Yoghurt dough

Yield: 30 disks


360g Flour
270g buffalo milk yoghurt
120g Butter
15 ml Sugar
Salt to taste

Rest for 30 minutes before use

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Light seafood salad with a cold spiced broth

Fresh seafood salad in a cold spiced broth

Canapés on arrival
Mulled Marianne Natana Cuvee Rouge

Fresh seafood salad in a cold spiced broth
Marianne Sauvignon Blanc 2011│2012

Seared scottish salmon
with avocado salsa, sour cream and pickled fennel
Marianne Sauvignon Blanc 2011 & Marianne Merlot 2008

Confit chicken tortellini
served with a mushroom ragout
Marianne Cape Blend 2009

Beef sirloin en croûte
beef sirloin, mushroom, spinach, bacon and foie gras
wrapped in puff pastry, served with bone marrow and red wine jus
Marianne Floreal 2006

Cheese selection
brie, Healey’s cheddar, blue cheese and apple compote
Marianne Desirade 2005

Frangipane and kumquat tart
raspberry rose chantilly and raspberry sorbet
Marianne Rosé 2012

Freshly brewed coffee and infused Tea


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


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Wild Peacock



What about Wild Peacock?
Having a great supplier is more than just placing orders and delivery of an ingredient, it is a relationship. I can only count on one hand those relationships that have developed over the last 20 years. One of these suppliers is Wild Peacock.
Wild Peacock’s fine food business was established in 1991 purely out of Sue Baker’s love of oysters! Other products slowly came into the range over the years through amazing relationships with chefs and producers, which has ultimately formed the backbone of the business. The philosophies of the business have remained the same since day one. Sourcing the best consistent quality, local as far as possible, with a massive emphasis on sustainability.
We do have a large basket with them, but that is because of the quality.
Today they supply the hotel with farmed sustainable seafood, from farmed Oysters, Mussels, Kabeljou & Salmon Trout, all from ethical sources within Southern Africa with green ratings from SASSI that are supplied either still alive or unbelievably fresh. But it does not stop there, they also supply us fresh poultry and cheese, mushrooms , caviar and lastly Valrhona chocolate.
Over the past five years the working relationship with wild peacock and my team has become very personal. They want to be a part of our success and , they do not know how to say NO, they aim to please….. absolute privilege to be supported by such a great family.
Thank you Sue, Ross and Sarah Baker

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Finding burger heaven! (part 2)


Photo 2014-05-02, 12 46 26 PM

In my mind all the secrets of the perfect burger were supposed to be locked up in the patty. It is meant to be packed with flavour from corner to corner. I put this to the team and we started work. The thing is, you are tempted to add the whole pantry to the mixture to get it right. The problem is, the more ingredients we added the more binding agent is needed, making the burger far less than 100% beef.
Then the dietary/allergen nightmare started: “I am allergic to garlic” or “no onion with my food”, and so on.
So we started leaving out the garlic and the onion, followed by the mixed herbs. We believed that the mixture should always have eggs to assist with the binding, but slowly started reducing the quantity. The problem with this was that we still did not have control of everything that was going in.
The solution was in plain sight, we needed to take control of the meat mixture. First it was whatever we had available from all our trimmings in an approximate 70/30 beef fat ratio . This ended up being far too inconsistent.
Then late 2012, we decided that we needed to set up specific criteria for our burger.
We had a team chat and selected the beef cuts that we thought that would taste great in a burger, it is after all about the 100% beef.
Now we were on a journey to purity and flavour.

Finding Burger Heaven – Part 1

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Quinoa and chicken salad

quinoa salad

This salad started at home, I loved it so much that it became part of our menu’s.  Over the past season we could not stay ahead with the prep and it proved a firm favourite with guests. The ingredients are interchangeable and items can be added or taken away.

Yield: serves 4-6

300g cooked spiced de-boned chicken thigh cut into cubed
100g cooked quinoa red
100g cooked bulgar wheat
100g cooked millet
60g alfalfa
60g lentil sprouts
2 avocado cut into wedges
3 tsp sesame seeds toasted
3 tsp flux seeds toasted
¼ cup crushed toasted cashew
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds toasted
2 tbsp goji berries
½ cup picked Italian parsley
150g Greek feta
2 ea spring onion
1 cup pea shoots

50ml olive oil
25ml lemon juice
tsp dijon mustard
black pepper
1tsp honey
1/2 tsp fresh chopped chili


Place all ingredients into a bowl combine, leave alfalfa last
Mix gently and serve with alfalfa on top with avocado

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