Commander J has never been a fan of the festive season and it takes but one Boney M song in a retail store to expedite the transition from human to grinch. Oh how I miss Gareth Cliff’s BMAP on 5Fm (I’m told calling it Radio 5 is just showing my age. Ask a teenager). BMAP stood for Boney M Acclimatisation Program and ran for the month of November. The aim was to prepare one for the onslaught of cheesy Christmas music in the mall during December thereby preventing outbreaks of road rage, shopping centre aggression and year end depression.
Commercialism in retail aside, the festive season is also filled with frantic running around for gifts combined with the consumption of some traditional foods.
Prosciutto and mozzarella
If you are looking for an early gift for that special person then consider the following: I am hosting a special December charcuterie course on Friday the 7th December. We all know Capetonians don’t work on Fridays, more so in December. In addition to Prosciutto, coppa, bacon, sausage and chorizo that we make on the course we will be doing some gammons to take home. This course also includes a champagne lunch with some Christmas food ideas to inspire you.
Email me on email@example.com to book your spot soon as there are only 3 spaces left.
A batch of hams from January 2018
Have you always wanted your own leg of cured ham but were either too busy, overwhelmed or just plain intimidated to make it happen?
Welcome to Prosciutto Club. We offer you the resources and facilities to make your own ham. Come along on the 31st August and we will guide you through the blockwork process, help you massage and salt your own pork leg and then we’ll all enjoy a delicious lunch of cured meats, cheeses and bread.
Hand carved prosciutto
Thereafter we will lovingly look after your ham, turning it daily until its ready for hanging. You are welcome to come and visit whenever you are passing and after a year it will be ready to come home with you. Perfect for that special occasion or party you are planning. Christmas 2019 is around the corner, and what better occasion to serve your own prosciutto with some fresh figs or melon.
Bone in prosciutto on a stand
It’s also an ideal gift for that person who has everything.
The workshop runs from 11:00 until 13:00 and the cost is R3000 per ham.
Date: 31st August 2018
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book you place.
The 31st of March dawned in a manner similar to most other spectacular mornings in Cape Town. The sun crept up over the mountains sending out shards of light that bounced off the high rise buildings in the CBD. There were a few gusts of wind but not enough to make the roof play its irritating ratatatat. I’d already been up for hours checking my laces, sticking plasters over my nipples and trying to pin my number on straight. It’s 2018 FFS and we still use safety pins to attach running numbers to a t-shirt (I won’t even begin to describe the registration process apart from the fact the the brother and I managed to catch up on 2 years of news in real time). Luckily Commander J was asleep and did not notice my skew departure as I crept from the house.
First big mistake was not booking the Uber to get to the start of the race. The initial enquiry with Uber informed me that the driver was 25 minutes away and nowhere near town. After driving to Rondebosch, the second Uber driver accepted the fare and then turned his phone off and failed to respond in any way. The ever reliable Doctor Y saved the day and dropped the brother and I off a couple of kilometres from the start. Once sandwiched in our starting lane we waited patiently for the big start. Two of my safety pins had come loose by now during our eventful journey and the brother tried to straighten my number at the back with a plaster which about as successful as an American trade tariff on Chinese goods.
And then we were off! As Chariots of Fire blared over the PA system we commenced the great shuffle. Three minutes and forty nine seconds later we crossed the start line, valiantly weaving and jiving like a Craven Week rugby centre, trying to avoid running into the 15998 runners in front of us. The brother had a spring in his step not seen since the rand was below ten to the dollar and I found myself having to run just to keep up. Clearly the craft lager carbo loading regime followed in Australia has some merit and should be explored further. The first challenge – Wynberg Hill came and went without a falter and suddenly we were cruising down hill and coasting along to Kendall Road where the second born daughter waited excitedly. There can be no truer display of love than a teenager out of bed at 06:30 to support her dotty old dad.
The kilometres slipped by and we managed to pass quite a few of the runners in front of us who had ignored their carbo loading regime and clearly had over trained for the event. We next turned into Southern Cross Drive and this was the part that I had been anxiously awaiting. For those who have never been to Perth – It’s flat. Like the Earth. Or at least like the Seapoint promenade. The brother had not run up a hill during his training and here was a three kilometre monster up ahead. His charge up the hill could have matched the Light Brigade but with far more spectacular results. Never faltering and with true grit, we pushed up that hill, until finally we turned at the top into the final stretch. With two thirds done the rest was a formality and while the conversation had shrunk to monosyllabic prehistoric grunting, we managed to run all the way until the end.
Months of planning, preparing and training (in my case) was over in under two and a half hours. Now to find Commander J and where the car was parked – Carumba! We had a great time and completing something like that with a sibling who lives so far away was really special. Thank you to all the kind people who donated to the Cape Kidney Foundation. We managed to raise over R4000 which will no doubt be put to good use. Thank you also to the marshalls and Capetonians who came out in their droves to support the runners. It made all the difference.
I’m not actually holding him up, he’s just short.
Koji cured guanciale with avocado and yuzu hollandaise
Commander J (my most ardent and loyal supporter, guinea pig and partner) would like me tell her more stories. She suffers my lack of verbal interaction with a variety of responses from mild irritation to less mild irritation (censored here). Fortunately, providing daily sustenance and gastronomic variety keeps her from taking more drastic actions.
Butabushi – a pork version of katsuobushi
One of the current reasons for my distressing lack of verbal stories is my obsession with Koji. Koji is a fungus (yep, you read correctly) that grows on protein, carbohydrate and fat. It requires some warmth and humidity to propagate well and its growth produces enzymes that break down the macromolecules into simple ones. That about the extent of my scientific vocabulary.
You’ve all eaten koji at some point in your life. The enzymes are used to make soy sauce, miso paste and sake wine. Its also used to make katsubushi (dried bonito flakes) which is used to flavour dashi stock and provides the basis for many japanese recipes. Most ramen stock is made with dashi as a base to which other ingredients are added.
Koji cured pancetta and guanciale
In more recent times, koji has been added to cured meats during the drying stages and the results are spectacular. By breaking down the macromolecules in simple ones such as amino acids glucose and dextrin, the exterior of the protein has more sugars resulting in more caramelisation during cooking. The process also results in a nutty aroma and enhancement of the products flavour. Another interesting fact is that the curing time is reduced significantly due to the enzymatic action.
We’ve been experimenting with a variety of product for the last six months and it has been a lot of fun and very interesting – more for me than Commander J, but she has tasted some delicious things this year. We sell a variety of items depending on whats in stock at the Oranjezight Farm Market at Granger Bay and the Olive Branch Deli in Kloof Street.
Thats my story for today 🙂
Appeal for donations.
The older, funnier, more handsome brother arrives shortly from that suburb of Cape Town known as Perth. 2018 is his year to regain fitness (not very aspirational as, at his peak, he could barely lift 2 six packs) but admirable none the less.
The goal is to run the Two Oceans Half Marathon this year on the 31st March- Yikes.
In order to ensure his survival I have offered to chaperone him around the route on the day – on foot I must add. Needless to say I’ve been putting in some hours plodding along the Prom in Seapoint to avoid embarrassment. If I passed you along the way and failed to greet you, be assured it was purely due to a lack of oxygen and nothing personal. Its unlikely you would have recognised me unless you were wearing blue tinted specs as my countenance during these endeavours makes an oompa loompa jealous.
A dear friend and foodie who is a regular customer is very involved with kidney transplants in Cape Town and as a result I have decided to use the race to support the Cape Kidney Association. The older brother is partial to wine and these services might come in handy in the future. Please support us and make a donation (if this post made you smile you really should) to a very worthwhile cause.
Regards and thank you in advance.
Yes, you may call me a slacker…….
No posts for a year is pretty poor in terms of blogging and if any of my loyal subscribers are still following (read family here) this will probably end up in your spam folder 🙂
However the exciting news is that we have a couple of slots that have just opened up for a weekend course in Prince Albert. Jeremy Freemantle of the Real Food Company and I will be hosting a course from the 13th to the 15th April in Prince Albert where you can learn the art of charcuterie, participate in block work, sausage making, chorizo making and bacon making.
The weekend also includes great food, a ghost walk, a chance to visit some of the interesting and beautiful parts of Prince Albert. There is also a Park Run every Saturday for those who find the course too sedate.
For more information please contact email@example.com for the details.
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.