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.

Koji bacon

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 🙂

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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.

Richard Gump

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Courses for 2018

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.

Block work

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 jeremy@realfoodcompany.co.za for the details.


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Courses for 2017

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…..


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.


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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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.


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.


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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