What is tapas

October 26th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

I was recently served a calamari ring so large, it resembled a halo in a fishy nativity play. It came straight off a “tapas” menu, along with three other equally confused dishes. Is there no end to this pseudo Spanish fuckery, I grumbled through cumin-laced burps.

I’m not going to tell you what tapas should be because even in Spain, tapas is a diverse offering. There are, however, certain traditions and classic dishes that could inspire a lovely tapas menu. I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re going to do tapas, why not draw inspiration from the country that’s been doing it for several hundred years?

Getaria, Basque country

Getaria, Basque country

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Classic croquetas de jamón

October 12th, 2016 § 3 comments § permalink

Croquetas are a staple of bar counters around Spain. Fantastic as a tummy liner on a night out, equally adored by children for their melt-in-the-mouth moreishness. A basic béchamel sauce infused with ham, cheese, chicken, boiled egg or seafood… Then cooled, rolled into oblong blobs,  coated in crumbs, and fried. Classic peasant food. The best kind.

Savoury flavour bombs

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S’coolBeans are cool beans!

September 16th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

SA students win award for nutritious version of Nutella” popped up on my newsfeed recently. A nutritious version of Nutella? Made with fermented beans and sweet potato? I have to taste this, I thought.

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Nicholas Grobbelaar‚ Megan Kleyn‚ Shannon Howell, Cenette Bezuidenhout, Taryn Harding and Carin-Marie Engelbrecht at the IUFoST World Congress of Food Science and Technology in Dublin, Ireland

The award-winning S’coolBeans spread was developed by six Food Science students from the University of Stellenbosch, just down the road from where I live. News of the product spread, well, faster than Nutella but they kindly found the time to talk in between radio interviews and meetings to map the future of their nutritious brainchild. I considered taking crackers to the tasting but they arrived with a loaf of white and a little jar of S’coolBeans in hand. » Read the rest of this entry «

Hit that perfect beet with this spring salad

August 25th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

And strawberries – they’re very cheap at the moment – just R18.99 per 250g punnet at my local. Beetroot is always cheap at just over R10 a bushel of raw beets. Bless its high carb content* for saving it from going the cauliflower route. Everyone claims to love beetroot but it seldom features as a side or main dish when eating at friends’ homes. Beets are dense so perhaps the cooking or roasting time is a deterrent in our quick-fix society? Or the red-stained fingers from peeling and slicing? It just can’t seem to shake its working class aura, which is fine by me.**

This salad is the perfect embodiment of spring’s current hide-and-seek show. Strawberries and basil bounce off the earthy gravitas of no-nonsense beet.

Jewel-toned beets & berries

Beetroot and strawberry salad with berry and basil vinaigrette

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Jy het ‘n Wenresep! Of, het ek?

August 15th, 2016 § 10 comments § permalink

Ek het in die verlede live restaurant reviews op Expresso gedoen en is tans deel van DIS op VIA – ‘n lighartige program wat kykers aan heerlike kos bekendstel – so ek het ‘n bietjie TV ervaring, maar ek was nog nooit so op my senuwees soos met die opname van Jy het ‘n Wenresep! nie.  Dis obviously net soveel makliker om ander mense se kos te beoordeel as om self iets te maak. En dan nog in kompetisieformaat, met een van SA se grootste kos ikone as beoordelaar.

Zirkie Schroeder, ek, Christina Jacobs

Zirkie Schroeder, ek, Christina Jacobs

Dit was ‘n ysige, rëenerige dag op Nooitgedacht landgoed maar die filmspan was fantastiese en my kompetisie, Zirkie Schroeder en Christina Jacobs, was relaxed en lekker geselskap. Deelnemers raak soms bietjie tewerig op Wenresep – een van die redes hoekom die program so entertaining is – en dit was my voorneme om dit te probeer vermy. Maar, » Read the rest of this entry «

A Few Of My Flavourite Things

July 26th, 2016 § 4 comments § permalink

We all have our meals, ingredients, cuts and condiments that we gravitate to on a regular basis. But when I cook myself into a lacklustre corner it’s time to shake up the shopping trolley, so to speak, because you’re only as good as the contents of your pantry and fridge. These are the ingredients that keep my meal wheels turning. Most of them are good flavour mates to each other and although some are pricey, they’re good value given their potency and shelf life. I’ve not listed great olive oil, salt, pepper and butter as they’re non-negotiable. So, before the yodeling kicks in, here are A Few Of My Flavourite Things:

 

O Captain! My Captain Beefheart!

O Captain! My Captain Beefheart!

TOMATOES – My great love. Sadly, all tomatoes are picked before they’re properly ripe. Never ever ever refrigerate a tomato unless it’s been really mean to you. Give them at least a few days on the shelf to ripen and for some reason, they last longer if placed bottom up. If you have a really beautiful ripe tomato (like a beefheart, which is scarce in SA), peel it with a sharp knife before slicing and serving with a generous amount of excellent olive oil, Maldon salt and a few drops of vinegar. If you’ve bought a really decent mozzarella or burrata, take the time to peel smaller tomatoes by first immersing in hot water, then cold, and removing the peel with the help of a sharp blade. It does taste better. The Italians and Spanish do it, and they are world leaders in Tomatoism. » Read the rest of this entry «

Melt Sieberhagen answers the PROST! Questionnaire

June 8th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Talker, actor, writer and joke-machine Melt Sieberhagen talks kitchen melt-downs, flavour fiestas and why bacon should get back to basics.  A generous host, he insists any injury-by-artichoke would be unintentional. Also, it is now officially official: Peppadews are not cool.

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What is your favourite flavour combination?  I’m a total sucker for bold, powerful flavours. And combining them. Strong umami and savoury tastes. The sharp chilli, garlic and ginger in a fresh stir fry, enhanced with a big dash of soy sauce. A feisty vinaigrette, pickles, olives… » Read the rest of this entry «

You can’t have your cake preservative-free and eat it next month

May 9th, 2016 § 6 comments § permalink

I thought of Lunchbox Lies as a title for this post because I’m a sucker for sensationalist alliteration. Also because it started out as a mother’s earnest quest to analise the content of her son’s lunchbox – an exploration of the toxic-sounding components of modern food, if you will – that devolved into a whole lot of bitching about how small ‘small print’ has become. Almost like it’s not meant to be read.

Before I take you down the preservative-lined rabbit hole, let me say that I am not a health food fanatic. My life has been characterised by pervasive hunger and what I like to think of as discerning taste buds (my mom called it ‘being full of shit’). I’ve always punched above my financial weight when it comes to food shopping. I’ve eaten little organic fruit and veg (limited availability and just too expensive) but I buy the cleanest meat, eggs and dairy on the shelf. I stay away from artificial sweeteners, fruit “juice”, pre-cooked sauces, long-life anything and carbonated cold drinks, unless heavily diluted with hard tack. In short, I think I’m quite balanced.

Sometimes I play with Ben's food

Sometimes I play with my son’s food

But the food industry is full of horror stories. Good old MSG was the first scary blip on my radar, then tartrazine, followed by growth hormones causing young boys to grow breasts and girls to menstruate at 9, carbon dioxide-ripened tunnel tomatoes, pesticides, a plethora of preservatives, carcinogenic colourants, mad cow’s disease, BPA-seepage from plastic packaging, the alluminium free radicals in tinned food and let’s not forget those GMO-peddling mofos over at Monsanto. I can’t even begin with the cruelty at the heart of the meat industry. There is a certain poetic justice in humanity being eradicated by a cloud of cow fart. » Read the rest of this entry «

Koekedoor Twee is kolwyntjies in high polfies

April 12th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Die tyd om te bak is sommer nóú nóú! Koekedoor is terug en hierdie keer draai hulle nie vatdoekies om nie. Koekedoor Een was vir my ‘n meditasie in pastelskakerings met sagte skadus wat deur meelwolkies filter, ‘n spel van soet en sout wat hom nooit verstout het nie. Tot die saggeaarde en perfeksionistiese Martjie Malan die f-bom sommer drie keer in ‘n ry gedrop het. Maar bak kán dit mos aan ‘n mens doen.

Ek was onlangs bevoorreg om die eerste 90-minute episode van Koekedoor Twee saam met beoordelaars tannie Elizabeth, Tiaan Langenegger en Mari-Louis Guy te kyk terwyl ons aan soet- en southappies uit die einste episode gesmul het.

Drie dae lank was die Cakebread Studio 'n fees van kleure en geure

So reg uit Riaan Cruywagen se kinderdae uit…

 

En glo my, hierdie is ‘n Koekedoor van ‘n ander kleur. Die Barbie-pienk en Sound of Music saligheid van die eerste reeks het ‘n gravitas bygekry wat jou laat regop sit. Koekedoor Twee se intro is so belaai met hartsnaarbeelde en dramatiese musiek, ek het skoon tranerig geraak. Goeie hel, dog ek, dis soos een van daai epiese, opswepende bankadvertensies. Of het ek straks PMS, moes ek myself vra. Any which way, dames, moenie julle pêrels stukkend druk nie! » Read the rest of this entry «

Alex Hamilton answers the PROST! Questionnaire

April 8th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Pop artist, exhibition curator and creator of the word Hoepelpoep, Alex Hamilton also owns what may well be the world’s largest collection of vintage wall sconces. He talks about his fear of 1000-year-old eggs and middle-aged mozzarella sticks in New Mexico.

The fascinating Alex Hamilton with fascinator

Fascinating with fascinator

 What is your favourite flavour combination? Quince jelly and Gruyère cheese. » Read the rest of this entry «