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The Chef’s Table

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Chefs table

We have been working for some time now developing our own little personality. Now this would not be possible if we did not have a great team in the scene, we have become more established. Dishes have developed that are a very part of our soul. These dishes are important as it is very much what we enjoy eating and sharing.

I cannot remember when last I saw a group of young chefs so inspired, creative and proud. As we progressed through the year we have established some dishes that keep on returning, some the same, some rearranged and reincarnated as something new or polished. It is not uncommon to find menu items true to our own heritage from curry to springbok, konfyt to samp and beans.

Nothing has really changed in the last year except the confidence with witch each young chef approaches the table. The pride they show. Dion has converted the team into a great tour de force.

One of these dishes that is a true reflection of our kitchen and our process, is a beautiful compilation of things we enjoy, not only from a visual point of view but rather from a process. The beauty is in the beef from Angus, a true friend from the start. With smoked marrow, homemade shiraz drenched bresaola and crispy fried biltong dusted beef tendons served with most luxurious beef oxtail croquettes. With some crispy bits of onion and celeriac puree.

It does taste like more, it is not anything new. But when you sit inside the kitchen and you look up at the big red wall with all the quotes and you read “a carrot is not just a carrot” We are reminded that the ingredient is the master.

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Aglio e Olio

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Aglio e Olio

Serves: 4 – 6 people

Difficulty: easy
Preparation time: Quick
Cooking time: Quick
This is the simplest of pasta dishes and, if you like garlic, it makes it even better. As simple Aglio e Olio is, it is also easy to make a mess of it, the most important thing is the spaghetti – use only the best, pay a little more, it is worth it. This recipe I did for crush online a couple of years ago and we used a home- made linguini. For the best results, use only the best olive oil and fresh garlic.
Cheese is not a requirement and is best if kept simple. As I am not a fan of take ways, this makes up for those really lazy Sundays, Fridays and Saturdays. Some purist believe that the garlic is removed, strained from the oil before the pasta is cooked. If you are not going burn the garlic, it would not matter too much.

Ingredients

500 g fresh home-made linguini
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or crushed
1/2 C (125 ml) olive oil
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (I prefer using red pepper flakes)
salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 C (60 ml) chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 C (250 ml) finely grated Parmesan cheese

Method

Bring a large saucepan filled with salted water to the boil. Add the linguini and cook until al dente. Drain quickly and place in bowl (if some of the cooking liquid is retained, this will help to ensure that the dish remains moist.)

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a sauté pan. Add the the garlic and cook slowly until the garlic starts to change colour, if it burns strain it off. Remove from heat and add the chilli (or red pepper flakes), salt and black pepper.

Add the parsley, pasta and cooking liquid.
Sprinkle with Parmesan over the pasta before serving.

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Where did the fish go?

Trout 3

Trout

This time of the year we do not see a lot of trout on our menu’s. I went to go investigate. Through the Huguenot Tunnel all the way to Fizantakraal, nestled beautifully between the Du Toits Kloof mountains.

With the most spectacular views next to the trout raceways we inspect the facility. What struck me at first was the amount of fish in the raceways, or rather the freedom to move around. Often I have this picture with the fish tucked in fin to fin in a race way with hardly enough water to swim. Farming fish has got some pro’s and cons. What is the ratio of feed to final weight, what feed is used? Where is the feed from. But this is for another post.

All the water used at this facility come straight out of the mountain and flow through the trout facility and then back into the stream.

So what is the deal, the trout eggs get milked or rather harvested this time of the year, a process that needs to be gentle with the trout as the eggs get massaged gently out of the fish. The fish is then returned unharmed back into the ponds. This is seasonal and happens normally May to June every year as it is farm these eggs need to be kept for the nursery and for the years production as well as for the sale of trout roe.

I was given an opportunity to harvest roe from one fish, which looks a lot easier than what it really is. Tendency is to be very gentle with the fish, this does not exactly pay off, the trout is strong and requires a very form grip without harming the fish. Holding the fish in my left hand and securing the grip against my leg, I gently message the belly with my right hand, until the roe runs freely into a bucket. It is not uncommon that one fish can yield up to 700g of roe. The roe is cured lightly after the milking process and we head home to sample our own.

So until the end of the month when all colour has returned we can put trout back on the menu.

There is also a lodge if you need to breakaway from city living nestled in the valley. Sleeps eight people with all necessary luxuries. You will need these after a day out in the cold mountains.

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Kedgeree

kedgeree

Kedgeree with trout

Serves – Depends on how hungry or hungover you are or enough for 4
No two recipes are the same. Loosely based on left-over cooked rice, spices, smoked fish and boiled eggs. Quick to make, great cure for a hangover and great for breakfast. Most recipes call for smoked haddock, as we do not get great haddock this side of the world we lightly smoked some of the tail end pieces of trout.

Ingredients

3 large eggs
600g Lightly smoked trout
400g cooked basmati rice
20g butter
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic
1-2 tbsp curry powder (depends on strength
10 curry leaves (fresh if possible)
1 tbsp mustard seeds
2 chopped tomatoes
1 hand full fresh coriander , chopped
Juice from one lemon
125g plain yoghurt

Method

Boil eggs for 7 -8 minutes and chill in ice water.
Season trout with a little curry and grill fish with a little oil, when almost cooked remove a set aside.
Place butter in sauce pan with onion, garlic, leaves and ginger, cook gently add mustard seeds then curry powder, releasing all the aromas add tomatoes with lemon juice.
Add Rice and continue to cook with lid so it can steam a little at the same time.
Add one grated egg, flaked fish – gently heat through. Top with half chopped coriander and halved eggs .
Add other half coriander into yoghurt.
Serve with limes, crisp fried onions, sliced fresh chillies and yoghurt

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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

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD

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

Serve.

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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SPICED FRIKADELLE & CHUTNEY SANDWICH

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SPICED FRIKADELLE & CHUTNEY SANDWICH

 

As winter is approaching, rain falling and the fire burning. This will warm the soul. Reminds me of Durban in Cape Town almost like a meatball Gatsby.  I was even contemplating adding cheese on top and melting it.

CHUTNEY BASE

INGREDIENTS

2 onions, peeled and finely diced
2 ea garlic, peeled chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
4 chillies, 2 chopped 2 slit down centre
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp toasted and crushed coriander seeds
1 tsp toasted and crushed cumin seeds
8 ea curry leaves
5g turmeric powder
1tbsp canola oil
1tbsp clarified butter
Water as needed
6 ea tomatoes, grated
Pinch sugar as needed
Chopped coriander

METHOD
Add the onion to the oil and butter cook the onions until soft and translucent add water if it starts catch, cook away
add all spices cook another 5 minutes until the spices become fragrant
Add a little more butter if needed
Add the turmeric and curry leaves to the onions and cook the spice for a further 3-5 minutes, until fragrant
Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and mix through – cook a further 3-5 minutes, and then add tomatoes
Add water if needed
Finish with coriander

FRIKADELLE
Makes about 25 -30ea
INGREDIENTS
500g minced beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 chilli chopped very fine
4 slices cubed bread
¼ cup milk
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground paprika
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
½ tsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
½ tsp cumin powder
1tsp salt
1tsp Worchester sauce
1tsp chutney
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil

METHOD
Soak bread in milk add all ingredients together and combine well
Form the frikkadels into golf ball size ball and press to flatten slightly
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and brown the meatballs on both sides or bake in oven.
Place in heated chutney to finish

TO ASSEMBLE
6 prego rolls
150ml yoghurt
Fresh coriander
2 tomatoes sliced
Butter for rolls
Mixed vegetable atchar

Butter rolls and toast
Place tomato slices on each
Top with 5ea  Frikadelle per roll
Top with yoghurt
Picked coriander
Serve

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Saturday 27 February, 1965

Dinner for R2.10 served at The Mount Nelson Hotel today 51 years ago in the Dinning Room.

Menu 27 Feb 1965

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Ceviche

Crush Rudi11

Ceviche

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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Crush 52

RETRO MAKEOVER!

Our contributions in Crush 52 reinvents retro… We took four recipes and gave them a complete make over – and who doesn’t love a great make over! Retro will always be cool – so this challenge was a dream brief to chef Rudi and his team.

A reinvention of classics such as Aubergine Savarin, a Mushroom Pastry Sandwich, Chicken Kiev and Chilly Con Carne in Chef Rudi’s kitchen. The recipes are online for you to try at home.

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