A Journey with Chef D

#Fromthepass – Roast Quail

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Roast quail breast

 

Roast quail breast, poached tomatoes, pecan nut praline shards, confit leg, Gorgonzola, quince apple jam, green sorrel

Quail is a firm favourite in the kitchen and one of Chef “D” favourites to eat as he points out.

“We decided to pair the quail with tomatoes as they are entering into season and they have the most amazing natural flavours imaginable, sweet, tangy, sour, bitter, sharp, natural MSG as I say, I literally walk into the vegetable fridge and eat them like apples”

‘For this dish at the chefs table we added our favourite blue cheese from cremalat and some quince jam as an unexpected combination that actually works.

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#fromthepass – Burrata, prosciutto and asparagus salad

Prosciutto

Prosciutto Salad

While travelling to London visiting an old friend whom Dion cooked with many years ago during his junior stages in the kitchen, she decided to take Dion to the Borough Market. “we bought tons and ate like pigs but what stood out the most was the insane prosciutto that was sliced paper thin and simply melted once it touched you tongue, we had it with burrata which was literally made in front of us and asparagus which was cooked on this open charcoal grill. Those flavours still cannot be erased from my memory and its the simplicity of having a few great products which simply speak for itself”

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#fromthepass – Laksa with sea-bass and prawn

Laksa w prawn and seabass

Laksa w prawn and seabass

Dion fell in love with laksa the first time during the early stages of working with me at the Saxon Hotel as a junior CDP, we had a crocodile and prawn laksa where we skewered the crocodile with lemon grass.
Through the years Dion mastered the complexity, bringing together all the flavours. Enter Marcus a talented young chef who has an undying love for Asian flavours, having travelled to Asia as youngster on numerous occasions he always has a great understanding with the complex flavours. So when he made a laksa Dion of course got excited, “I hope you know I’m the king of laksa, so please blow my mind.” An hour or so late he did just that, blew my mind and socks off, It was at that moment that I could not leave it of the chefs table menu for that night, so we took the base and worked it into a pretty looking dish but of course giving homage and respect to the all glory full laksa.”

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#fromthepass – Roast Duck Breast

Duck Breast

Duck Breast

Charred cauliflower puree, confit liver ravioli, pickled cauliflower leaves, duck pancetta
Inspired by the beautiful free range duck we have been getting and the insane flavour we get out of curing them smoking and hanging, to transform into duck pancetta ”it cannot me compared to any duck ham I have ever tasted due to the superb quality of duck we have been receiving. It was inevitable that cauliflower would be its lifelong partner for this dish after tasting the wild flavour of the breast it needed that creamy earthy flavour that the cauliflower brings to the relationship”

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#fromthepass – Grilled springbok loin

CT Springbok

Chakalaka basted Swiss chard and grilled, morogo puree, braised pulled shank brinjal parcel, steamed brinjal rubbed with morogo puree and baked
Although we have always enjoyed springbok on menu in some shape or form, this popular chefs table dish is a combination of South African flavours and ingredients that comes from Dion’s inspiration eating from venders out side of huge factories in Jozi (pap, smilies (sheep head), morogo and chakalaka)”I still go and catch a lunch every chance I get when I’m in Jozi “

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#fromthepass – Ravioli

Ravioli B

At the chefs table we celebrate heritage a lot, small elements from chakalaka to corn find it’s way on our menu often.In this dish with Smoked chicken confit ravioli we added the sweet corn in three parts as a puree with green chilli, charred sweet corn and puffed, then we added a little chakalaka oil to finish and for texture crispy chicken skin.

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#fromthepass – Peppered duck, green guava and stone fruit salad with sprouts and sesame ginger dressing

Duck and Plum
One Dion’s favourite ingredients seasoned with two peppercorns, black and Szechuan. Now even better since we have been getting our whole ducks from Lou’s farm just below Sir Lowry’s pass. As Dion explains this is how he enjoys duck seasoned with peppercorns, bringing a balance to the fatty rich taste and explodes with duck flavour. “I immediately thought of using stone fruit when I walked into the vegetable fridge one afternoon and bit into a green peach then a green guava and it reminded me of when I was a kid and stole green peaches and apricots from our neighbours trees when they weren’t around and we would eat them with salt and chili powder as we played in the streets, this automatically scram at me and said use me with the pepper duck”
Featured on the chefs table as part of a journey in the kitchen.
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Laingsburg lamb on the menu

lamb-4-october-2016

Lamb Loin, Kidney Jus, Spring Vegetables

On the menu this October a beautiful roasted Laingsburg lamb loin.

This lamb is always so tender and tasty because of the selection of shrub and pasture this time of the year. On this plate we decided to celebrate more than just the loin, but then neck and the kidneys. The neck has been slow braised and put into a little fried parcel, the kidneys we incorporated into the jus. Served with local green asparagus, broad beans, burnt onion puree and peas and pea shoots.

 

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Pancetta part two – Journey with Chef ‘D’

Pancetta

The basic recipe

 INGREDIENTS 5kg pork belly
100g black peppercorns whole
40g Juniper berries
100g garlic whole
30 bay leaves
20g thyme fresh
30g sage fresh
1kg salt coarse
1kg sugar granulated white

METHOD
Toast peppercorns and juniper berries
Combine the toasted peppercorns and juniper berries with the herbs and garlic.
Pulse in a blender until coarse and combine with the salt and sugar.
Rub the cure mixture all over the pork belly.
Place in a tray and cover with a cheese cloth.
Allow to cure for 10 days. Gently remove the cure do not wash just rub off.
Damp the belly with a kitchen towel until relatively dry.
Place on a wire rack and allow to sit in the fridge for 24hrs until it dries out completely.
Portion the belly into 2 smaller pieces, tightly wrap the belly individually in cheese cloth.
Truss with butchers string. Hang for 6-8 weeks

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Pancetta part one – Journey with Chef ‘D’

Pancetta 2

Pancetta

At the same time we received the cheeks we also received some beautiful pork belly. Eight weeks later we are in heaven, what beauties, both the smoked rolled as well as the flat pancetta will be great additions to the chef’s table experience.

But why experiment with pancetta? After all it is readily available almost anywhere. I think part is curiosity, part education, part understanding true quality. True quality in this art form can only be achieved with time. Often the products found on the shelf has not been made with the same care and the same time. The journey truly taught us that the difference is huge. We take for granted, the importance of time on true quality. Everything we want must happen quickly. This slow food will not succumb to the trap of time.

As we are doing both a rolled (arrotolata) as well as a flat (stesa) it gives us space to explore a multitude of potential recipes or just plain with bruschetta.

 

 

 

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