Archives for February 2018

# From The Pass – Green Tomato Carpaccio


IMG_6883Green tomato carpaccio served with lime air, sun dried tomato powder, shaved giant green olives

We often forget how nature and climate effect our decisions and our menu choices. One of our long standing suppliers make like magic Steve has been supplying us with beautiful tomatoes for years, every year as we hit the height of summer we can not wait for the tomatoes. Things were slow.

Dion investigated the current supply and effect of drought with the effect on produce grown and supplied.

In the past Steve used to supply us with the most amazing heirloom tomatoes, this was not even 3 years ago and now they struggling to grow which is sad knowing that those full flavoured tomatoes might never see our kitchen this year, so during the conversation Steve tells Dion that he has green heirlooms and that no one wants to buy them, so Dion immediately demands a delivery. “As ideas start racing through my head of the many possibilities of this insane product: chutneys, pickles, preserves and just keeping the damn product natural as it has such a complex raw flavour, so it was decided at that moment, raw would be its destiny,  hence the tomato Carpaccio”


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Crushed chickpea & lentil salad with bulgur wheat

Chickpea and lentil

Almost like a tabbouleh but with crushed chickpeas, lentils and seeds

(Will serve 6)
100g cracked wheat cooked
100g crushed cooked chickpeas
50g cooked lentils
30g sunflower seeds
30g pumpkin seeds
20g sesame seeds toasted
2 bunches flat leaf parsley (40g)
2 bunch mint (30g)
4 spring onions
250g cocktail tomatoes cut into quarters
120ml lemon juice
100ml olive oil
½ clove garlic crushed
¼ tsp lemon rind
Seasoning salt and pepper

Wash and chop parsley (optional can be kept whole)
Wash and chop mint (optional can be kept whole)
¼ Cocktail tomato

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Aioli Three Ways


Garlic, gift from the Gods

Aioli is simply an emulsion, similar to a mayonnaise made up of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and egg yolks. Recipes may differ from one to the next with the amount of garlic used. Some recipes may include mustard or part vegetable oil, even bread.
In some similar sauces egg is omitted as in the Catalan Allioli using only a pestle and mortar with only garlic and olive oil made slowly drop by drop. Another similar sauce called skordalia is made with potato, olive oil, garlic and vinegar.
Previously I featured aioli with a picture of Le grand Aioli featuring boiled or steamed fish, egg, potatoes and vegetables all prepared in the simplest manner served warm or at room temperature with lots of aioli.
So this time I received a sample of some garlic from a supplier growing 15 varietals, so we were wondering what garlic is the best for an aioli? Up to now we have always been at the mercy of the supplier, they give us what they have. Choosing a varietal has never really been an option.
I have been aware in limited experience of a Softneck (silverskin and artichoke), hardneck (racambole, porcelain and purple stripe) and the very large garlic, elephant garlic.

I was given four different garlic cloves each very different, Tuscan a Turban variety from Italy with a medium strength with large and fat cloves. Second one a Persian Star, Purple stripe variety from Uzbekistan a mild but spicy garlic
Third a Purple Glazer – Glazed purple stripe variety from Georgia a strong long lasting flavour.
Fourth, Rose Lautrec Creole variety from France Sweet and subtle.

I personally do not like a garlic that is to spicy in aioli, preferring a mild to sweet garlic.

I have added two more recipes to the blog, one using no egg and one that is great for vegans
The milk emulsion was introduced years ago by very good friend of mine, at the time I did not believe him. But admittedly a high speed blender does make it possible.
Milk emulsion (egg free milk garlic emulsion)
This is so easy so quick, milk, garlic, lemon, olive oil and yes a stick blender.

1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp lemon juice (assists with the thickness)
little zest
2 garlic cloves
dijon mustard optional
salt and pepper to taste
125 ml vegetable oil
75 ml olive oil
in a deep measuring jug add milk, garlic, lemon and mustard, with a stick blender start off slowly and increase speed, when everything is combined add oily slowly, adjust seasoning.
For a milder aioli use mashed roasted garlic.

Vegan Nut Aioli
100g cashew cheese
20g pine nuts soaked
8 small garlic cloves roasted and skinned
20m lemon juice
1/8 tsp fine rind
White pepper
2 tsp mustard dijon
50ml olive oil

Combine all ingredients, place in blender until creamy.

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Paw Paw Salad


Taken from some inspiration from the street food from Thailand where the hawkers walk around with all the ingredients balanced on their shoulders with mini charcoal grills for satays, counter balanced on the other side with large pestle & mortars to pound and crush paw-paw and dried shrimp salads with peanuts and lime on beaches and on sidewalks.

1 Green paw-paw shaved pieces
1 Cucumber shaved into ribbons
80g Bean sprouts
4 Spring onions sliced
80g Peanuts, red shelled toasted and crushed
20g Coriander roughly chopped
1 ea lime flesh cut into pieces

2 Chillies chopped
50ml soya sauce
40ml mirin
40ml olive oil
60ml fresh lime juice
1 tbsp Fish sauce
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients for dressing
Combine with salad ingredients by crushing and rubbing ingredients together
Serve and sprinkle with sesame seeds

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#From the pass – Tomato dusted poached kingklip

Fish Roulade 2

Tomato Dusted Kingklip

In this week’s dish Dion presented a sundried tomato crusted kingklip with a seaweed dust, poached tomatoes, tomato dressing, spekboom salsa verde with dried olives. Dion has been playing around with seaweed a lot experimenting with many combinations and variations. In this dish the kingklip was cooked a low temperature then rolled in tomato powder, this just brought it to another level, with intense tomato flavours. The tomato and seaweed combination was a surprise, both packed with umami which was well suited for the kingklip that loves to be the vessel that carries and bring together flavours.

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Rejected Canapés

We had an opportunity to show and tell a large group of people this week, so for the group of 30, we did a selection of canapés showcasing 14 potential ideas around saving and working smart. What made this event interesting, was my chef’s and their contribution, thinking outside the box.

They pushed past the normal ideas and I was kind of stunned by the creative thinking. It once again highlighted how much of what we do daily must be integrated into a menu or a recipe. We have become so obsessed with perfect loins and cuts that we lost focus on the whole. During the discussion I brought up seconds and thirds during harvesting, often the best or the firsts are always in demand and are seldom a problem to sell, the challenge comes in in selling the tomato with a blemish. Often organic well looked after vegetables are picked at the right time when it is ready to eat and not while still unripe, like in many cases shops sell items that have been picked two weeks before it should have been. With picking at the right time many items ripen past the best, but are still good for certain applications, this would be considered thirds, it is at this point that waste is found, many will not touch, this sector must be looked at a it holds possibilities not just on menu’s but for the hungry. But more on this at a later stage.

But for our lunch we presented canapés some of these concepts for the event included crispy lamb fat and celeriac skin remoulade rolled in biltong dust, Cauliflower leaf latke with trout tartare, tomato ciabatta tortelloni, spinach stalk pakora and smoked trout belly rillettes. It must be said that we use waste in recipes in conjunction with ingredients in our recipes. We will be investigating and exploring some of these recipes at a later stage.

My personal highlights was the tortelloni, bread is so underestimated, underappreciated and just gets a bad wrap because of gluten. Get over all of that and its use and application becomes far more than a sandwich or a bread crumb. We often add toasted bread crumbs with anchovy to spaghetti, which is totally divine. In this application we combined skins from tomato and peppers, stale ciabatta, wine, olive oil that is cooked down before adding off cuts parmesan for the filling.

Cook the tortellini and toss it in butter or even better burnt butter with sage(stalks).

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WASTED 6 – Time!

Everyday we juice boxes and bags of oranges for fresh orange juice, we then throw away all the juiced oranges. On the other side of the kitchen we serve morning and afternoon tea and lots of it. It is missing something unique. Homemade goodness!
Cannot believe it took us this long to figure it out. But the first trial by Chef Jaco was snapped up by Craig our pastry chef for the cheese boards. The thinking was to make a marmalade for the scones and the preserve for the cheese boards.
But after tasting the orange preserve we all decided that it will work fantastically on the scones with clotted cream. The biggest challenge in making this preserve is time, and more time as the oranges are cooked multiple times in fresh water to remove the bitterness. The result is unique as the skins are soft, very soft and easy to apply.
We still have a lot of skins, we need to consider other applications, orange salt, candied oranges and marmalade.
With the shortage of water, we will have to cut one or two steps.

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Finding Burger Part 14! Southern Fried.

Chicken burger

Photo Credit –

If it has to be chicken then I would do a Southern fried chicken, mincing chicken for a burger just does not seem right. A couple of months ago we did a burger shoot with Crush on line. I this shoot we covered various options from fish to chicken to vegetarian.
There is something to fried food on a bun, like Gatsby with fried fish and chips on a bun, or a po’ boy sandwich. The same goes for fried chicken it just tastes so much better no matter how bad it sounds.
At the hotel we offer these in miniature slider versions with a little coleslaw and aioli.
In the picture we added grilled pineapple, coleslaw, pickles and chili aioli (because chili makes everything ok)

Recipe does contain some extra steps, but so worth it
600g de-boned chicken thigh or chicken breast if using breast cut into two thinner pieces in length. This is a lot of ingredients but well worth the effort

Cream Mix
600ml buttermilk
6 ea garlic cloves
1 small chili
1 ea spring onion sliced
¼ tsp Black pepper
1 ½ tsp White pepper
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp chili powder
2-4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander root included
1 tsp chopped thyme

Salt as needed

Flour (for dusting)
200g Flour
1 tsp Salt(to taste)
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp celery salt (optional)
1 tsp dried parsley (optional)

Oil for deep frying
Pour cream and eggs together into a deep cup and blend with a stick blender.
Add garlic, coriander leaves, paprika, salt pepper, fresh chilies continue to blend.
Add portioned chicken to the egg and cream mixture.
Leave over night before use.

Combine sifted flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne.
Dip egg drenched chicken pieces into flour mix. Allow to rest for 30 minutes before frying.
Into a deep fryer.
Fry until golden brown, if the pieces are very large finish in the oven.

For Burger Assembly

1 cup shredded ice berg lettuce
1 cup coleslaw
2 large pickled gherkins sliced thinly
Chili aioli
100g shaved pine apple grilled
4 ea sesame buns
Butter for buns to toast

Butter each bun top and bottom and toast in pan or grill until warmed trough and crispy.
On each base sprinkle a shredded lettuce followed by a spoon full of coleslaw.
Top with fried chicken followed by pineapple and sliced gherkins.
Drizzle some ranch dressing on top of everything, finishing with top of bun.

Photo Credit –

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Tender-stem Broccoli & Asparagus salad with sunflower seeds and a Dill Yoghurt Dressing

Broccoli & Asparagus salad with a Dill Yoghurt Dressing

Tender-stem Broccoli & Asparagus salad with sunflower seeds and a Dill Yoghurt Dressing

As we love yoghurt a lot, I have been looking for a thick natural Greek yoghurt for months, so Sarah at Wild Peacock found just the yoghurt we have been looking for, with no additives all the way from Natal, Milkwood Yoghurt. This is so creamy, could eat this as an accompaniment to every meal.

400g Broccoli Tender-stem blanched
400g Asparagus Green Cleaned and blanched
20g Sunflower seeds

Yoghurt, Lemon Dill Dressing

100g Thick Greek Yoghurt
20ml lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
2tsp chopped dill
20ml Olive oil
20ml Water

Combine all ingredients for dressing and pour over salad that has been arranged on platter, for extra twist add garlic and mint to yoghurt.

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#Fromthepass taste of Peru


We change the dishes up on a weekly basis depending on the fresh seafood we have to work with. A lot of the inspiration from this compilation comes from Dion’s time spent in Florida with a friend from Peru.”I will never forget the lobster ceviche she made for us during the intensely hot summers that we experienced in Fort Myers, the lobster was simply cooked with lime, olive oil, cilantro, salt and shallots rings she would place it on top of this rustic mushed avocado and ripe vine tomatoes”
We use multiple elements on the Taste of Peru that is shared at the table with some influences from across the world. On this selection we have, Marinated calamari with chorizo, basil and chili, Prawn carpaccio with crispy head salads and prawn crackers, Oyster explosion with curry oil and lime atchar salsa, Tuna tartare with seaweed puffed corn and a sea trout ceviche with fennel, radish and avocado.

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