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Roast Chicken!

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Roast Chicken

I know this is not what one would expect when ordering roast chicken. But everything is roasted and then turned into little pockets of heaven. This dish changes every now and then as we change garnishes or how the breast is cooked, but essentially it is about using every bit of the chicken, picking all the bits from the bones. We roast the breast on the crown in this edition and roast the leg and thigh. Debone the breast and gently finish in butter in a pan with sage and garlic and a hint of chili. The leg and thigh is turned into beautiful tortelloni.(My favourite thing to make and eat)

The whole dish is brought together with roasted cauliflower and cauliflower puree. Crispy bits of chicken skin is added with a little parmesan when served.

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Chestnuts

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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

Chestnuts

 

 

 

 

 

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Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Purple Kohlrabi

 

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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Slaphakskeetjies

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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.

ONIONS

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.

SWEET SOUR SAUCE
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)

METHOD
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.

METHOD
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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Artichokes

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 For weeks now Steve has been nagging me to take artichokes, I don’t know if I have been holding off because of the price hoping that it will become cheaper or the fact that it is a very tedious task, that requires a lot of hands. So this week they arrived the first 100kg. If you want to see chefs disappear, deliver 100kg of artichokes…..even the guy in pot wash runs. The trainee in the corner just hopes that you do not look his way.
We cannot deny that they are beautiful. Love them with olive oil, garlic and lemon. For me they have to be served cold and is essential as part of a mezze.
What went through the mind of the first person to eat an artichoke? How many leaves did he eat before he got to the heart, never mind the choke and the thorns.
100kg of artichoke will yield maybe 10kg of edible heart, and lower leaves. We do not get many varieties, we get ours from Porterville, from the Magic man’s back yard. Packed with goodness, and a list full of healthy facts. The leaves should be tightly compacted squeaky and should not be loose.
This is not a recipe on how to prepare artichoke hearts but rather how to enjoy the whole thing. This is less intimidating.
Cut away part of the stem leaving about a 1 cm, peel the stem and peel through to the smaller leaves, remove the smaller leaves at the base working up two rows. Then trim about 1 cm from the top leaves of the artichokes , this is where most of the thorns would be. Rinse under running cold water.
In a large pot, put in about two litres of water, ½ whole lemon sliced, bay leave, one -two garlic cloves, sea salt and crushed pepper. Add the artichokes. Bring to a boil and simmer. Cook for about 30 -35 minutes . The outer leaves should come off easily.
We often trim away most of the leaves for our recipes and preparations but this is where most of the fun lies when having a dinner party. Place cooked whole artichokes in the middle of the table, each leaf is pulled from the choke, with leaf in hand pull the inside of the leaf between your teeth. Have some handy dips available like aioli, and a simple vinaigrette made from lemon juice and olive oil. Continue until you get to the centre. Scoop out the choke(hairy bits) then eat the globe.
Be on the look out as we feature more dishes with artichoke on our menu this month

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Andante Olive oil

wereld geluk

Wereld Geluk

Andante Olive oil
Every now and then you find a real gem, in this case liquid gold. My friend Steve introduced me to Andante olive oil about five years ago. As I mentioned before, Steve always gets you to buy everything in his back yard, this includes liquid gold. Steve introduced me to Willie Duminy and his wonderful selection of olive oils from the foothills of the Winterhoek mountain range. We tend to forget that olive oil does not come from a bottle, great care needs to be given from start to finish. This is evident on Wêreldsgeluk (‘earthly joy’) – Having the right varietals and caring for them, harvesting at just the right time, just like with grapes!
Walking through the olive trees on Wêreldsgeluk on very rocky terrain one senses that it is a passion and a love for olives and doing things the right way that makes the oil so successful. Willie takes his oil very seriously, when I visited the farm a couple of years ago, he made me taste the leaves from about 7 varietals from Mission, Kalamata, frantoio, Nocellara del Belice, Leccino and Coratina. I was not allowed to taste the berries, first the leaves each more bitter than the next as I longed for an IPA.
We are fortunate in South Africa as we have some of the best olive oils in the world, this is why we keep at least 12 different olive oils in our kitchen, four of these come from Willie’s farm. Olive oil is a little like wine, each works differently on different applications. I like having a choice.
The Andante Standard Extra virgin olive oil Is a robust oil with a medium intense aroma laced with green spicy nutty and bitterness, we love using this when making A simple dressing for baby marrow and patty pan salad with toasted nuts and seeds (recipe next week) and when we make napolitana sauce with loads of garlic it works well.
Andante Intenso is a little more expensive, similar to the standard extra virgin olive oil but with a more nutty finish. We prefer this with a hanger steak with chili, garlic and fresh rocket. This is my personal favourite on my side plate with fresh sour dough.
Andante Forte not as strong as the other two and is a little more fruity, works well for dressing almost any salad. Partners well with lemon and is fantastic with fish.
Andante Delicate as the name suggests, is a lot more delicate with a beautiful spiced aftertaste I prefer using this one with a buffalo mozzarella and baby beetroot with toasted sunflower seeds
In addition to olive oils they also produce fantastic olives: a Green table olive – Nocellara del Belice and black table olives both Kalamata and Mission
The Andante olive oil and Wêreldsgeluk Olive Estate selection has achieved wonderful success over the years. Decorated with loads of awards locally as well as internationally.
Notable highlights:
SA Olive Award
Andante Delicate 2013 Gold
Andante Medium 2013 Gold
Andante Forte 2013 Gold
Andante Intenso 2013 Gold
Flos Olei
Andante oils and Wêreldsgeluk Olive Estate featured amongst the world’s premier olive producers
ABSA Top Five Awards 2013
Andante Intenso
Andante Forte
Note to self, don’t eat the leaves from the seven different olive trees without IPA in hand

andante olive oil

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Eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Inside egg mobile

In egg mobile collecting eggs

Eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Slow cooked, poached fried, custard or as a Chef Brad from Bistro 1682 referred to one of our favourite egg dishes “green eggs and ham”, slow cooked egg dish with bacon hash, and a beautiful rich spinach and watercress sauce with Parmesan. We have had egg on the dinner menu in different formats for the last couple of years. It is the perfect ingredient! No other single ingredient has so many possible applications and uses.
So why should we settle for second best, why buy just a normal egg laid by chicken who eat GMO food that are confined to the smallest of spaces with no natural sunlight.
We sneer when we have to pay more than a rand for an egg and then complain when it is a poor quality.
But then you come across a farmer who really cares and if you are prepared to pay a little more it is worth every cent. A couple of years ago I met Farmer Angus a far cry from an accounting back-ground. He brought me a chicken and 6 eggs, his sales pitch was made easy as I had just finished reading the “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” written by Michael Pollan who traced the ingredients of four different meals. The most important in my mind was the sustainable farm In Virginia called Stearns. Normally when I get shown a new product it needs really be impressive before I will change my mind. I was completely and utterly sold! It is a journey in discovering new ingredients and suppliers, to find ethical honest suppliers takes even longer. When you find them you hold on to them.
So what is it about the eggs from Angus, one thing….they are free to walk around in the pasture as they like…

everyday you should ask “where do we get our food?”

Holding Chicken

Me Holding Chicken

 

 

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Wild Peacock

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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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Celeriac

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

Method
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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My Friend Steve

 

Magic-Man017

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

Method
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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