Mackerel with wilted baby gem and a charred potato dressing

Crush Rudi14

Credit – Crush Online

Mackerel with wilted baby gem and a charred potato dressing

Fish choices have become a big challenge, as we are limited with choices. We try and buy responsible where possible. In many parts of the world mackerel has been fished beyond sustainable levels. We are still fortunate that we have access to mackerel for now. With an oily flesh, rich in omega-3 it make a great health choice as well as being great to cook on the open fire.

Yield: 4 people


2 whole mackerel, gutted and cleaned
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp course salt
2 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tsp apricots jam
Sprigs thyme
4tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp zest

2 heads baby gem lettuce washed
2 medium potato
120 ml olive oil
60ml lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
4 garlic cloves roasted
Salt as needed


Score mackerel on each side

Light fire
While the fire is working, place potato straight into fire and cook until soft, remove and allow to cool slightly.
Place 4 garlic cloves in foil with some olive oil and salt and roast close to the fire until soft, remove and mash roughly, combine with salt pepper and olive oil
Remove potatoes, cut in half and scoop out warm soft potato into a bowl, put aside.

Combine all marinade and basting ingredients.
Baste fish lightly place on grill.
Cook for about 5 minutes a side, check for doneness.
Remove, spoon remaining marinade over mackerel. Leave some basting for when the fish is finished.
While it is resting place lettuce on grill. Wilt on open fire edges will burn slightly.
Combine with lightly crushed potatoes, roasted garlic, lemon, olive oil and lemon juice


If you do not have a fire cook fish under the grill.

Time the fish takes to cook will be determined by the size and thickness.

The majority of our fish comes of a green list with a small percentage coming of the orange list set up by SASSI as a guideline to assist us in making correct choices. Between customer demands, supply, the weather and the green list we are sometimes left with small amount to choose from. Yes we do make mistakes with the odd fish coming from the wrong side of the list.

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Guanciale part five – Bucatini all’Amatriciana


The ingredients

Here we go again, so many variations, so many so called original recipes each with a very viable true original stories. But on this one I am going to stick to just tomato, guanciale and pecorino …I might consider adding wine and olive oil. This sauce is supposed to be simple, with a peasant heritage originating from the town of Amatrice. The ingredients used in the sauce is a reflection of what was available in the area. In some areas it is prepared without the addition of tomato, but it is the tomato sauce that makes it special. If you cannot get bucatini (thick spaghetti with a hole running through the centre get spaghetti.

It must be noted that in some recipes garlic and onion is added, this distracts and disguises the tomato flavour. The addition of a little black pepper needs to be added while some believe it is a little chili instead that should be added.

20ml extra-virgin olive oil
150g guanciale, cut into cubes
60ml white wine
425g whole peeled tomatoes crushed,
Freshly ground black pepper
400g dried bucatini pasta
40g grated Pecorino
40g Pecorino shaved or grated for serving

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add guanciale, until lightly browned.
Add wine and cook until almost evaporated and pan deglazed
Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer leave the seeds, I like to add a little water or stock to help the sauce along.
Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper, add a little extra to give a bite.
Boil pasta in salted water until just short of al dente, remove and put into sauce with about 50 ml of pasta liquid.
Continue to cook in sauce until al dente, the sauce would have thickened slightly. Remove and add cheese.

Season and serve with extra cheese.


Bucatini all’Amatriciana

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Ross the bearded man


and he is back, taking a break from climbing mountains. Last time we saw Ross was when he brought us porcini, this time beautiful chestnuts. With autumn in full swing the season just starting, they will feature all over for the next two months, but the best is still toasted over an moderate open fire or roasted. These sweet Spanish chestnuts have a beautiful soft texture once toasted. Last night we featured them as part of a vegan menu where we normally would have used a cashew cream we made a chest nut puree. Tonight we are looking at doing a candied version with a seared duck starter.


April 2012 108







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Credit – Crush Online magazine


With tomatoes still in season, why not try this refreshing tomato dish at the mezze table. Great vegan dish, we sometimes add little smoked paprika for a twist. It almost reminds me of tartare. I did a meze shoot last year with crush online with this beautiful fresh meze dish.


Yield: 500g before strained


6 large fully ripe tomatoes- (350g tomato flesh)
1 ea roasted red pepper seasoned (80g)
½ small red onion (30g)
1 spring onion
1-2 chili
1 tbsp chopped parsley (4g)
1 tbsp mint (4g)
20ml olive oil
10 ml lemon juice
Zest lemon (pinch)
10ml white wine vinegar
5ml tomato paste

Skin tomatoes, by placing whole tomatoes in boiling water and refreshing in ice water.
Cut tomatoes into quarters and remove inner juice and seeds, chop the tomato as fine as possible, do the same with the peppers, onion, parsley and mint.
Place everything in a bowl and season. Allow to stand for 1 hour. I strain my salad before serving, but this is not necessary and it can be left as.

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Guanciale – Journey with chef “D”


Guanciale curing



We are always looking for new and exciting suppliers and products. These two go hand and hand.

“The product is the only truth and the only star of the kitchen, not the cook, whose sole task is to enhance it and respect the truth” (Chapel/Ducasse)

Without a great supplier we will never have great products. These people essentially form part and is an extension of our kitchen team. As in my kitchen the most important philosophy and rule, is to respect the ingredient.

So last week we received three beautiful pig heads from Terra Madre, this always creates as stirs excitement. What are we going to make? Consensus was reached, Chef D will be making cheese head and with the cheeks for an extra special treat, Guanciale!

The first thing that comes to my mind is, Carbonara. The journey of this beautiful story and will be told over the next couple of weeks as Chef D looks and takes us through the process from start to finish, when we present our final dish at the Chef’s Table.

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Fresh Spinach Salad with green beans & cocktail tomatoes

Spinach salad

I love this salad because of the dressing, punched with garlic and chili. The acid in the dressing mainly comes from the tomato pulp. With tomatoes in season it is perfect lunch.

Yield: 4


200g Spinach Baby Washed
140g Tomatoes Cocktail cut in half
50g Toasted whole almonds chopped
100g Green beans blanched whole and refreshed

80g feta

20g spring onion sliced

½ clove garlic
8ea Tomatoes Cocktail
5ea Basil leaves
1 ea chili
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
20 ml olive oil
Black pepper


For the dressing grate garlic, chili, lemon zest and tomato on the finest grater, mixture should resemble a pulp mixture add basil, olive oil and lemon juice.
Season and adjust
Combine all salad ingredients and dress just before serving.


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Crush Rudi11


Ceviche Our banqueting chef Jaco returned from South America two years ago, with a couple of Peruvian culinary secrets, after doing a South African food promotion at the Belmond Miraflores Park Hotel in Lima. Now the ceviche has become a regular favourite with the right balance of salt, lime, chilli and coriander. In oasis we add a little fruit element like mango or litchi to emphasise summer eating even more. While in Planet, radish and avocado with the occasional corn is featured.


Basic recipe

250 ml lime juice

15g salt

1 small onion cut into brunoise

3 garlic cloves finely grated

2-3 red chilies deseed and chopped fine

Pinch Zest of lime

1 tsp chopped Coriander fresh

let it stand for 10-20 minutes strain and use


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I love eating and it is because of all fond food memories that I continue to enjoy food above making or cooking it, no ingredient has left such a deep impression like this fruit. From early childhood memories, enjoying grandma Dennie’s brinjal breyani, I remember every little detail up to the table cloth in her small Berea flat. My first vegan meal with brinjal and peanuts at the Hare Krishna house in Hillbrow, the aubergine  chutney served with the Flying Boar Burger by Wynand van Rooyen. My first outside catering function where we served fried egg plants. Every time I make salad at home it ends up having brinjal in it, and my daughter loves me for this.

How can I forget, two years ago while travelling through Malaysia on the Eastern Oriental Express en route to Singapore, we had just passed the River Kwai when lunch was served, a fiery Thai chicken curry with the tiniest little brinjal (makhuea pro).

As a young executive chef one of my first gourmet wine evenings working at the Parktonian hotel in Braamfontein, I got this amazing recipe from Art Culinaire, a pressed vegetable terrine with layers of delicately cooked vegetables, each flavoured to perfection then brought together in one moment with grilled brinjal, slow roasted tomatoes, roasted peppers. It was so simple but at the same time it was complex.

Call them what you want…… they are amazing, my new favourite baked with miso, so unbelievable!

If eaten raw it has a bitter taste, but once cooked it becomes a vessel that works with so many applications absorbing and highlighting the richness, as Fortunato Mazzone makes his “parmigiana di melanzane”, fried and baked with tomato and Parmesan, this is a recipe that is worth killing for.

Moussaka, Ratatouille, Baba Ghanoush, İmam bayildi, Caponata. It is clear that it is an important part of any vegans and vegetarians diet and it is clear to see why. Even dried brinjal that is seasoned with vinegar, salt, coriander and pepper then dried to look like biltong sticks.

Greatest thing about a brinjal is that it is available all year round, original word brinjal derived from Portuguese name beringela. Derived from the Arabic term badinjan. The French transformed it to Aubergine. Called egg plant when introduced to Europe and America because of the common variety grown resembled hen’s egg.

So call it what you want melanzana, garden egg, patlican, brinjal, egg plant, aubergine, badnijan

Baba Ghanoush (Egg plant dip)

4 ea large Brinjal
2 tbsp parsley chopped
2 tbsp mint chopped or chiffonade
4 Garlic cloves roasted and 1 raw chopped crushed fine

30ml lemon juice and 1/2  tsp lemon zest
2 – 3tbsp / 20-30ml tahini
40 ml olive oil
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp sesame toasted

Prick the aubergines with a fork.
Grill the aubergines on an open flame grill until charred. Brinjal will be soft. This will take a good 20 minutes.
Allow to cool and remove pulp and chop fine
Combine garlic, zest, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and pepper.
Combine the flesh with garlic mixture, parsley and mint.
Adjust seasoning and serve.

If you prefer a more smokey Baba Ghanoush, slice brinjals into thick slices, season rub with olive oil then grill.

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Purple Kohlrabi



Walk in to most convenience stores and try find a kohlrabi, it is not going to happen. Finding this turnip cabbage is hard, but for chefs with friends, yes this would be Steve, it is slightly easier as he grows them almost through out the year.

Great raw, in a stew, soup, puree, baked, roasted and as part of a stir-fry.

Must peel them past the fibrous layer, once peeled a fine julienne works well with partners like apple and carrot. We get them purple as well as green, once peeled, a light yellow slightly green in colour. The young leaves work well in a salad and the older tougher leaves also work fantastically with stews or even as part of a stir-fry. If using them in  a salad they do have a tendency to be on the dry side, so extra moisture is needed in the dressing.

Kohlrabi slaw

2 medium kohlrabi, peeled and trimmed
1 cup shredded cabbage
3 green leaves from kohlrabi washed and finely shredded
1 carrots, grated
1 apple granny smith grated
walnuts crushed as needed

1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp toasted mustard seeds
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp chopped parsley
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or more, if you prefer)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Chill for several hours before serving.


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Onion and shallots

Back with my friend Steve and this time he manages to sell me the most beautiful shallots and manages to squeeze in a bag of small limes from a neighbours farm which I am dying to use on a ceviche. As the morning conversation with Steve mostly revolved around growing onions, shallots and how he came about growing shallots. I could not help wondering what to cook with them, we have used the banana shallots from Steve for a number of years now, love the way they make our springbok dish shine with sour and sweet notes not mushy but firm and crisp. For years we were not so spoilt being mostly exposed to  yellow onions which  pretty much was used for everything.  So when Wednesday arrived I was so excited when we received our delivery of golden and red shallots.

I must make it clear that if my kitchen does not have onions it is a catastrophe, the world will come to an end, I cannot imagine cooking without onions, it is an essential  seasoning, building block in creating layers of flavour in any dish, just like the addition of spice and stock. Leave it out and the dish will lack the required depth it needs to be complete. Imagine an Indian curry without onion, how will it be possible to create a proper thickness in the sauce?

Shallots form part of the allium family and I find them milder than large onions. They have a great way of bringing flavours together and melt away so beautifully when cooked. They grow in sulphur rich soil in clusters similar to garlic. They are more pricy and they do take a little more effort, but so worth it.

I still wanted to cook something that was only going to make the onion shine, why not make  Slaphakskeetjies with the shallots, I have not cooked this in years, the last time with baby onions. It has been in the back of my mind for months after eating it at Overture, Bertus made me jealous!

Slaphakskeetjies is basically onions in a sweet and sour mustard sauce and very South African. The sour sauce also works well with green beans. Great served at room temperature.

Typically the recipe is straight forward with sugar, vinegar and English mustard. Over the years the recipe I now use has changed a couple of times, I now add a little cayenne pepper and turmeric after trying a recipe from Peter Veldsman from Emily’s.  The sauce is thickened with egg yolk and corn flour.


1.2 kg pickling onions, peeled but kept whole with the base intact. Place in hot water for a couple of minutes this will make them easier to peel.

80ml sugar
15 ml mustard powder
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1½ Tbsp (22.5 ml) corn flour
¼ tsp turmeric
Pinch cayenne
4 egg yolks
1 egg
80ml white wine vinegar
125 ml water
2 bay leaves

100 ml fresh cream (optional, and can be substituted with water)

Place the peeled onions in boiling water, bring back to the boil for 2 minutes, remove and leave in water for about 10 minutes until soft. Drain.

Mix the salt, mustard, half sugar and corn flour together.
Over a double boiler add the eggs and half sugar, whisk over a double boiler until doubles in volume and is nice and thick.
Bring the vinegar and water to boil, make sure corn flour is well incorporated and cooked out.
Temper the egg mixture with a little mustard mixture, before adding all together.
Adjust seasoning
Add the cream
Pour the sauce over the onions and serve .

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