Courses for 2017


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I will be running a couple of one day courses in Cape Town. The first is on the 3rd of February and the second is on the 3rd of March. The course covers blockwork, the basics of curing and how to make bacon, chorizo and sausages. Lunch is included and you get goodies to take home. The cost is R900 per person.

If you want something more in depth and hands on then come to Prince Albert in April where I will be running a weekend course with Jeremy Freemantle at The Real Food Company. This runs from 28th to the 30th of April. Contact Jeremy for more details.

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This little piggy went to market…..

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but not just any market. THE market. Yes foodies , astronauts and greenies, the place to buy your weekly produce is the OCFM. We have had a table since January and I can’t recommend it enough. Inspired, driven and developed by Sheryl Ozinsky along with her brilliant team the market must be one of the most beautiful in the world. Overlooking Grainger Bay you can enjoy a variety of breakfast options, buy local seasonal produce, meats, dairy, eggs, herbs, fish, seafood and interact with the artisans who sell them.

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Lat week we stuffed  fresh figs with Gorgonzola cream and wrapped them in Prosciutto. They were a hit and we will be doing it again this Saturday. Se you there, its open from 09:00 until 14:00.

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Of Course…….

The one day course I am running this year is proving to be extremely popular. Feb is full, I have added a March course which is also full and am considering an April course too. If you are interested please send me a message. The course covers the basics of curing,  making sausages, salami, chorizo and bacon. Lunch is included and you get to take home goodies that you have made.

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Finally…..

The silence is broken. After a roller coaster year of renovations, expansion, opening a restaurant and a couple of trips to Jozi I have finally made it back to the blog.

Phew

Block work

Block work

I would like to thank all my customers and friends for all your support during 2015. Whilst occasionally challenging and stressful it was always rewarding to receive the positive feedback from everyone.

NEWS FLASH:

The next Cape Town charcuterie course will be on the 5th February 2016. It is a one day course covering block work, salami, sausages, bacon, prosciutto and coppa. You get to take home your own products too. If you are looking for the gift for someone who has everything this is ideal. Email me for more details. I have vouchers too if you want to give the course to someone as a gift.

Happy holidays and look forward to seeing you in 2016.

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Spice Route…..

 

One of my problems up until now has been the ability to show people all the products I make. My customers stock different parts of my range but none have the full range. Up until now that is. If you are looking for a day out that offers something for everyone then a trip to a Spice Route in Paarl is a must. Whether you like artisanal beer, beautiful chocolate, homemade ice cream, grappa, pizza, luxury teas, art, hand blown glass, wine or cured meats it is all on offer in one place.

 

You can try the wine and charcuterie pairing, wine and chocolate pairing or eat at one of the 4 restaurants on the estate, each offering their own unique style and panache.

 

Come and try some of our products, see our full range and enjoy some time out in the wine lands. Spice Route is just off the R44 on the Agter Paarl road next to Fairview.

 

 

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What am I?

The earliest known town in Europe was built because of me……

Wars were fought over me…….

I used to be worth more than gold……..

You would die without me……..

Too much of me will kill you……

I'm found all over the world…….

You can cook on me, covered in me or with me………

Roman soldiers used to defend me……

I am the most referenced food ingredient in the Oxford dictionary……

I was a strategic military resource…….

I have been used as currency as well as tax…..

I have been used in religious celebrations and sacrifices…..

Superstions about me were depicted by Leonardo Da Vinci……..

People came to Timbuktu for me…….

I'm used more often to de-ice the roads than eaten……..

(Sources: Wikipedia, saltworks.us, chriskresser.com, listverse.com)

By now you have guessed I'm sure. I refer to the common condiment and seasoning we take for granted every day. Without pausing to reflect on the wonderous, violent, profitable, necessary, salubrious and fascinating history of salt, we sprinkle it with scant respect whenever and onto whatever we choose. My business is founded on the wonderful preservation qualities that salt provides and I am still regularly in awe when a piece of meat that is over a year old is transformed into something so delicious.

Today many people have a negative perception of salt. It raises blood pressure, contributes to heart disease, can be found hidden in lots of fast food and highly processed foods and should be consumed sparingly. Our current minister of health has passed legislation to reduce the amount of salt permitted in processed foods. Current bad boys are bread, margarine, butter spreads, stock cubes, soup powders,savory snacks and breakfast cereals.

A professor who I respect and happens to be very controversial for a variety of reasons was recently (and is frequently) quoted as saying “Question everything”. He was referring to current medical opinion on diet but I like to apply the advice to everything. I can quote 9 studies currently that show no link between a low sodium diet and a reduction in heart disease. Don't take my word though, question everything. Go do the research, check your facts and understand what an associative study is before you make up your mind.

Another wonderful use for salt is cooking. I recently was privileged to receive a slab of Himalayan pink salt that is used for cooking. You can heat it up slowly until red hot and then use it to cook steak, vegetables, fish in a manner similar to a hot rock bit better as it seasons the meat perfectly without any added salt.

My current favourite spice rub is Chorizo Salt. I make a mix of smoked paprika, chilli, ground fennel seeds and salt. Use it as a rub, a seasoning for soups and stews, sprinkled on roasted vegetables or even to cure a beautiful piece of fresh tuna. The picture below is a slow roasted pork belly rubbed with Chorizo Salt.

– Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all – Nelson Mandela

 

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V Day……..

I've never been accused of being romantic, nor have I been described as a volatile and reckless person, however I do enjoy a bit of romance, special food (obviously) and hard as it might be to believe I do experience a variety of emotions. It is just that they don't necessarily always manifest in facial expressions or expletives. But I digress. What I do find hard to swallow is paying double for roses, fighting for restaurant bookings, being over charged for mediocre churned out food made from sub standard ingredients that the chef has sourced based on price and then being accosted by a swarm of single red rose sellers, often with raggedy small teddy bears in tow, who seem to think that between appealing to your sense of charity or desire to please your date, you will be forced to purchase their valentine delights. Wow I need to calm down lest I ruin my carefully crafted reputation that has taken so long to create.

In order to reduce the stress felt by many of my fellow humans at this time of year, whether you are a man or a woman just wanting a special evening on Valentines day, I have put together a simple menu of delicious treats which I plan to serve to Commander J. It is Banting friendly and requires no special skills, equipment or knowledge. You will have to do some food shopping and this is where you should not skimp. The recipes are brief and please adjust where you see fit.

Take a piece of Bresaola, inside place a dollop of soft cheese (goat or cream), add a drop of truffle oil and fold up like a wonton. Top with a chive or two and eat!

Buy the best smoked salmon or trout you can afford. Mix a teaspoon soy sauce, half a teaspoon wasabi and half a teaspoon minced ginger. Pour over the salmon, season with pepper and a good olive oil.

Bring a small pot with 2 cups water, 1 clove garlic and 100ml white wine vinegar to the boil. Add a teaspoon salt and a 250g punned of portabellini mushrooms. Boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and cool slightly. Drain off the liquids and pour over some olive oil and a sprinkle of dried organum. Mom I think this might be your green bowl that I borrowed. Please don't get mad when you see this pic.

If you have ever made ghee, you will be familiar with the foam that is removed during the clarification process. Don't throw this away as it makes a delicious foam for asparagus and steak. However for the purposes of this simple dinner butter is perfectly acceptable. Once you have finished your mushrooms above, place them into a serving bowl and return the same pot to the heat. Nobody likes a sink full of pots and pans especially on V day so reuse wherever possible. Add your asparagus and fry in a good dollop of butter. Once they are just cooked squeeze over half a lime, grind some pepper and if not using salted butter add a sprinkle of maldon.

Ok so this one took a bit more planning. It is actually tuna that I “cured” with a bit of salt, lime juice and chilli, wrapped in cling film for 3 days and then thinly sliced. If you want to make this tonight you still can as it is delicious after an hour of curing. Try to find a nice log of tuna rather than a steak. I went to Ocean Jewels in Woodstock for this piece and the best part is Julie will cut you the piece that you want. Freezing the tuna for 30 mins before you slice it also makes it easier to cut thinly. On top is some store bought guacamole as I can't bear to buy avos from Spain even if I could afford to.

In keeping with my simple nature and intelligence I cut these tomatoes in half, added the best olive oil and tore some strips of basil. Salt is a must and that's it. If you store the tomatoes out of the fridge they have that summer sun ripe flavour that reminds one of Naples but they do need to be eaten faster this way.

In addition to the above I bought some oysters from Wild Peacock (they will open them for you) and also put a slab of feta cheese drizzled with olive oil to go with the tomatoes.

You can prepare a lot in advance and it is all served cold which means no running back and forth to the kitchen and ruining that romantic moment.

Happy Valentines day!

(Apologies to the chefs who take pride in their craft. The ones who source the best and insist on it from their suppliers and staff. You know who you are, I know who you are and for those who don't – they are the ones with restaurants full of locals all year round.)

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