Tomorrow is Heritage Day in South Africa. In recent years it has come to be known as Braai Day . Which ordinarily I would be the first to endorse. I love a good braai! I totally endorse the sentiment expressed by the movement in their mission statement –
“Across race, language, region and religion, we all share one common heritage. It is called many things: Chisa Nyama, Braai and Ukosa to name few. Although the ingredients may differ, the one thing that never changes is that when we have something to celebrate we light fires, and prepare great feasts.
We encourage all South Africans to unite around fires, share our heritage and wave our flag on 24 September every year.
We liken this initiative to annual celebrations cherished by other leading nations of the world; Thanksgiving for Americans, St Patricks Day for the Irish, Bastille Day for the French and Australia Day for Australians.
This is a noble cause, which will contribute to strengthening South Africa as a nation through this act of nation building and social cohesion. “
Yet I still feel our Heritage is so much richer and deeper than this, and extends to far more than just meat, a fire or a pot. It extends to flowers, to design, decor and even a simple bowl of breakfast porridge.
However you choose to celebrate Heritage Day tomorrow, I hope its FUN!
I wrote a while back about this project and what a joy it was for me. Not only is Caron Melamed one of the nicest people I have ever worked with but I also got to work with my friend and photographer Roelene Prinsloo.
These are a few of the images Roelene and I did together for the book ( not all the images in the book are by Roelene)
Mazel tov Caron ! You can stop pinching yourself , your dream is a reality.
Thank you that I could be a part of it !
The book is available directly from Caron Melamed.
In this article ( such a great pic of Caron) it says the book is now available at selected Exclusive books stores in Johannesburg, and at Thrupps.
Inspired by the current trend for all things beer and bacon I wanted to do a shoot on cooking with craft beers. I had no idea my idea would turn into a finger lickin, lip smacking, chilled afternoon. We hung out on a random week day, the cool hipster friends showed off their tattoos and drank the beer, I cooked with it and Vanessa took the photos.
***The recipes are a rough guide.
Beer & Bacon Jam
Red onion finely chopped, about 2 , approx 500g bacon, chopped ( use nice bacon rindless back, or streaky ) Craft Beer of your choice – preferably a dark ale, brown sugar, about 1 cup, and ½ cup malt vinegar.
Fry the onion and bacon together, drain the fat, add the rest of the ingredients, simmer until reduced and sticky, about an hour, I wasn’t checking the time. It should be thick and a dark rich colour. Dollop on burgers or spoon in a jar, will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.
Beer Battered Onion Rings
Whisk beer , light ale or lager into sifted flour, to make stiff batter. Seasoned with salt, toss in onion rings, and deep fry until golden brown. Drain and serve hot.
Cheddar & Pale Ale Soup
This soup was heaven in a bowl!
Sauté 2 sliced leeks in a generous blob of butter, add a bit more butter and flour( approx 1/4 -1/3 cup) and 1-2 tablespoons of English mustard powder, to make a roux, stir in the Pale Ale (1 1/2 cup) , same amount of milk and good quality chicken stock, throw in a bay leaf and some mace if you have. Allow to simmer gently,for 20 minutes or so, do not boil. I said do not boil.
Add 1 cup grated very mature cheddar ( please, not that greasy bland yellow stuff, I’m asking nicely)
Add a spash of Worcestershire sauce, adjust seasoning, scoop out mace and bay leaf. Serve in warm bowls with crispy crumbled pancetta.
Sticky Beer Glazed Ribs ( top picture)
This was the most random of all the recipes and went something like this…
1 bottle of Craft Beer – preferably a lager. 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 BBQ sauce, 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 brown sugar, 2 tablespoon paprika , 1 tsp chilli powder. 1 Tspn mustard powder. Whisk everything together . Enough for about 3 kg of ribs.
Pour over and bake and baste in a medium oven until sticky and yummy. No idea how long, as I said we were chatting, and sipping and eating, but at an educated guess I would say 11/2. – 2 hours. Don’t be tempted to crank up the oven, slow and low is better.
Pass the serviettes.
Ps. If you have time make ahead and marinade for 24 hours.
Cheats Chocolate Brownies with Milk Stout
Substitute milk stout for the milk in your favourite brownie recipe, or grab a box of Ina Paarman Chocolate a Brownies, add eggs and oil, and substitute milk stout for the quantity of milk. Mix and bake as per instructions on the packet.
Make a chocolate beer glaze by melting a slab of dark chocolate with 1/4 cup of the beer, allow to cool slightly and pour over the cooled brownies. Serve with ice cream.
***this is not a recipe blog. I had an epiphany about this the other ( details in another post ) so from now on all recipes I post will be as a guide only .
I intend to blog how I cook. I don’t often measure or time recipes – except for baking, For the rest it’s pretty much gut feel.
If you’re looking for precision recipes you’re in the wrong place.
If you’re looking for inspiration you’re in the right place, grab a beer or a coffee, I hope you’ll hang around.
A recent shoot on location in a hot , humid and remote part of South Africa had me reflecting on a few professional and personal challenges to styling on location.
1. It’s not so easy.
It means packing as much as you can into 20kg allotted luggage allowance. Including chopping boards, knives, props, tool kit , manicure set ( for the hand model holding the sun ripened fruit) and then whatever space is left over for a few clothes and toiletries. It means lugging a whole lot of heavy stuff, a long way, in a small plane, with even smaller leg room.
2. You can’t control the weather. Or the client.
No sun means no sunrise shot of the dew glistening on the fruit in the early morning, despite getting up at 5 am 3 mornings in a row.
No sun means no beautiful dappled light through the trees , and no typical fire streaked African sky at sun set.
What it does mean is that there are many things beyond ones control when shooting outside of a studio or even a city. No basic amenities, running water and even toilets. No shopping mall with a vast and varied array of props for that last minute request from the client for an extra special item to make the shot “just perfect”
It means adjusting quickly and improvising where necessary to get the job done. And a few deep breaths.
See point 3.
3. Attitude is everything.
Life lesson número uno will serve you well when only getting a few hours sleep, facing unpredictable and changing circumstances , dealing with different personalities and surviving on very little coffee.
You can’t control the weather but you can control your response to the frustrations, delays and unreasonable requests.
Grit your teeth. Adjust your sails. Do what it takes. Smile and wave.
3. The grass isn’t greener on the other side and the view in the rear view mirror isn’t as rosy
Sometimes I miss my old life. My single life of jet setting, touring numerous continents, cooking and staying in glamorous locations, and of only being responsible for myself and answering to no one. Sometimes I read blogs, look over the fence at friends lives on facebook, and I want some of it , or some of it back.
Or so I thought.
Yes the opportunity to have a double bed to myself ( albeit for only 5hours a night) complete control of the air con and tv remote ( not that there was even time for the latter) and an escape from the often mind numbing routine of domestic life, can seem so attractive.
Change is as good as a holiday they say. Well it was no holiday but the change was awesome. I came home and held my nearest and dearest just a little tighter and longer than I normally would, and gave thanks for the incredible gifts I have been given and often forget or quickly take for granted.
5. You can never be too prepared.
We covered the basics, sun cream , hats, and long sleeved t shirts. We didn’t plan for snakes, spiders, scorpions or even cuts and scratches. A basic first aid kit, cooler box with ice packs for cold waters, flask for coffee, wet wipes, tissues, insect repellant during the day ( not just for mosquitoes at night) and acetone!
(Who would have thought the hand model would have nail polish on ? )
Have all made it onto the checklist for next time.
Next time ? You cry.
Oh yes indeed!
What’s the point of learning lessons if you can’t implement them.
The silly season is upon us.
The mad crazy countdown to the end of the year has begun and I am pushed to find time for a decent breakfast let alone cook a good meal, it’s down to the basics around these parts at the moment and I’m surviving on toast and tea until the holidays arrive.
I manage to spread a little marmite ( or bovril) on some rye bread between answering emails and running after a very active 15 month old !
I asked friends on Facebook for their favourite toast “topper” the answers ranged from delicious, to very funny ( and some strange combos that I think I will skip mentioning )
I wonder if Sally Fields ever regrets gushing these words at her Oscar acceptance speech In 1984 for Best Actress in Places in the Heart ? I can’t recall the movie, but I do recall the speech. Well I thought I did, until I Googled it on YouTube and saw that she actually said, “I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”
Despite the different context, ( I am most certainly not an Academy Award winning actress, although my dear hubby would agree I have certainly put on a few private performances worthy of a nomination of best leading lady ) I can relate to Sally Field’s almost cringingly real exclamations.
A movie or story of my life would most definitely include the byline, “she doubted too much” The dreadful word doubt, seems to feature so much in what I do. My tortured thinking goes something like this…
I doubt anyone actually reads my blog, ( for this reason I don’t have Google analytics installed, just in case my fears are confirmed) I doubt my posts are useful, I doubt my words are inspiring, I doubt anyone is interested in things I find interesting, and mostly I doubt , as Sally Field put it, anyone respects my work.
Then last week I did my first Friday Favourites post, and the response I got made me feel like I had actually won an Oscar! Wonderful words of praise and acknowledgment.
I was SO taken aback; especially when a dear, sweet unassuming lady paid me the compliment of saying, “I love what you do, you have a unique voice, I enjoy following your work.” I had no planned reply or acceptance speech, so simply said, “thank you.” And again, “thank you, that means a lot to me” and I meant it, and at the risk of gushing like Sally, let me say again,
Thank you! To all of you who read these posts, I know they are few and far between, but thank you , it means a lot to me, it really, really does !
Autumn is here, and the cool wind we felt in Johannesburg today carried with it a big hint of colder weather to follow.
As I sit typing the delicious smells of a slow cooked stew are reaching me from my kitchen. I am a big fan of slow cookers and adapted the Lamb Bredie recipe below for some stewing beef I had in my freezer. I’m ahead of the “cold snap” we are forecast for this weekend, and stew is one my husbands favourite meals, so its sure to be a Friday hit in our household.
These pictures and recipes were done last year for the Autumn Issue ( April 2012 ) of Food & Home Magazine. I can’t recall why I didn’t do a blog post about them as it was one of my favourite shoots from last year . I love the simple styling and minimial props, just the dark background with the autumn colours in the food and few select props. No fussiness and not over styled, clean, sharp in focus photography and really really good recipes! Just a few of my favourite food styling things.
I hope you will give the recipes a try.
Happy Friday everyone!
Beef Short Rib with Harvest Veggies Serves 4-6
1 Tblspn oil
1,5kg Beef short rib
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1/butternut , peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper
2 TBS cake flour
2 bottles 375mls Milk stout beer ( I used Castle)
3 cups beef stock
1 TBS tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 stick cinnamon
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Grated zest & juice of 1 orange
Heat the oil & Seal the meat in a deep, oven proof dish, set aside.
In the same pot add the carrot,parsnip, butternut and onion and cook over a medium heat until soft. Add tomato paste, garlic, spices, orange zest, salt and pepper and flour.
Add the stout, orange juice, sugar and the stock, and stir well until a sauce forms, add the meat, cover and cook over a low heat for 4- 6 hours until oxtail is tender, beef short rib should take 2 – 3 hours
To serve – Skim the fat, and thicken the sauce with a little extra flour if necessary, serve with samp or pearl barley
Light Lamb Bredie with Two Tone Carrots This light bredie contains no tomato, it is not as rich as traditional Bredies but still full of flavour!
Serves 4 – 6
1,5 kg lamb neck, trimmed of excess fat
2 tblspns seasoned flour ( flour to which salt , pepper and 1 tablespoon paprika have been added)
2 tblspns olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tblspns coriander seeds, crushed
1 cup / 250 ml white wine ( optional)
2 cup / 500 ml lamb or beef stock
6 potatoes, peeled and halved
300g carrots, chopped
Toss the lamb neck in well seasoned flour ( I do this in a ziploc bag)
Heat the oil in thick bottom pot, brown meat, remove and set aside, sauté onion and garlic and add the coriander seeds.
Drain excess oil, return meat to the pot with the wine, stock and potatoes, and simmer for 2 hours covered until the meat is tender.
blanch the carrots and add to the meat, cook for a further 15 – 20 minutes
Serve with sweet potato mash or rice.
Pulled Pork on Apple Roasted Pumpkin Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, once everything is assembled this is the most simple and carefree recipe to make, and well worth the wait on the cooking time.
2 kg pork shoulder, rolled
½ cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup bbq sauce
1 cup orange juice
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup dark brown sugar
15 ml wholegrain mustard
15ml Worchester sauce
15ml smoked hot paprika powder
15ml cumin seed, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 orange, rind and juice
2 bay leaves
30 ml dried thyme
For the veggies
1 /4 piece pumpkin, sliced
1 tin baby apples, or 2 red apples, cored and quartered
4 sprigs thyme
Sea salt & black pepper
Except for the pork place all the ingredients in a oven proof dish and whish to combine.
Place the pork in the centre of the dish and cover with a tight fitting lid
Roast at 150oc for 5 -6 hours until the meat shreds when pulled apart with a fork.
Place the veggies on a roasting tray , drizzle with oil, season, and roast at 180OC for 30-40minutes.
To serve, shred the pork with two forks, pulling the meat apart, toss with remaining sauce and serve over roasted veg with extra bread to mop up the sauce.
Chicken, Leek & Porchini Pies
30ml olive oil
4 medium sized leeks, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic crushed
50g wild mushrooms, soaked and chopped, reserve 150ml of the liquid stock
1 large roasted chicken (Season bird with salt & pepper, place in roasting dish with a stem of celery, roughly chopped up carrot and onion, cook for an hour at 190 degrees)
Season with salt and pepper
1 rolls prepared Puff pastry
1 egg yolk, beaten to glaze
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in frying pan over medium heat. Cook the leeks and garlic for 5 minutes, or until the leek is soft and translucent, add the mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes.
Remove the meat from the chicken and cut into small chunks/strips.
Make a white sauce with the butter, flour & milk. Add the mushrooms, leeks and chicken, season to taste. If too thick, add the reserved liquid from the mushrooms
Divide the filling among 6 pots. Cut the pastry into squares. Brush the rim of the pots/big ramekins with a little egg yolk, place the pastry on top, pinch together along the sides to seal. Brush the top with the remaining egg yolk. Bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
“Sure, no problem, I have a couple running around my garden,” I replied confidently.
“Great, can you bring one along to the studio tomorrow please, I have an idea for a shoot.”
Hmmm, I failed to mention at the time that my two chickens ( Henny- short for Henrietta, and Penny) are particularly unfriendly. Dispite their safe, tranquil suburban enviroment, they continually behave as if Chicken Licken has announced “the sky is falling” and are very skittish, shy and well, unfriendly!
So there I was on rather fresh and frisky Johannesburg morning trying to catch an even more frisky and decidedly unfriendly chicken. I eventually succeeded, dosed her with a syringe full of rescue remedy, took a massive swig of the stuff myself, threatened her with a basting of peri -peri or lemon and herb, if she did not behave, and off we went to our shoot.
I think she did particularly well. In dolce whispered tones I had to remind her of my threat a couple of times, ( if she read my other posts , she would know it was actually a hollow threat) but all in all I think she was a star!
This morning I watched a Hadeda Ibis stand on the edge of our swimming pool, hop in and swim around for 5 minutes, ( just like a duck) fly out, shake himself off on the grass and then carry on his business of digging for worms in the lawn. (The Hadeda is a large bird of the ibis family (about 76 cm long), dark brown in colour with a white “moustache”, glossy greenish purple wings, a large black bill with a red stripe on the upper mandible, and blackish legs. )
Simple as that. Quick dip and then breakfast.
I watched amazed.
Firstly I can’t even put my hand in the c-c-c-c-c-o-l-d swimming pool water to adjust the pool cleaner ( to clean the Hadedas’ morning ablution which he also does in the pool) and secondly my morning ablutions includes a very HOT running shower, after which a strong cup of coffee is needed to get me going… I have never been a morning person, and the approach of winter, only makes my slow starts worse!
One thing I am enjoying about the shorter days and cooler months is the opportunity to cook more of my favourite comfort foods.
My slow cooker has been hauled out from the back of the cupboard and is starting to get regular use after a summer of salads and fruit; we are starting to enjoy lovely veggies soups and light stews and casseroles, such as these recipes*** I developed for an article in The Post Newspaper this week. If you are in KZN look out for it, and if not, well then, here you go… a few winter warmers to get you going.. enjoy!
PS. The recipes are now at the end of the post after the images, and will soon be in a handy downloadable/ printable version.
***The cookery pages on a Thursday in The Post are sponsored by Spekko Rice . I was not asked to use the product nor did I get paid for this post.
I used the Spekko Rice product as a courtesy to the sponsors.
The recipes would work equally well served with alternative accompaniments.
The soup is delish with either pearl barley ( cooked according to the instructions on the packet) or for a very light soup omit the starch altogether.
The oxtail is so popular in our house we have served it with samp & beans, pearl barley, polenta, and creamy mashed pototo. Let me know what you serve it with!
Thank you to my lovely friends,Vanessa Lewis for the photography at short notice; and the “queen of curry ” Yudhika Sujanani for asking me to do this article.
Clear Chicken, Lemon & Rice Soup. I know the addition of lemon sounds a little weird, it isn’t. It really tastes delicious and just gives an extra zesty zing to the soup. Perfect for Autumn!
Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 medium carrot, grated 1 small celery stalk, diced 1 small onion, finely chopped 300g chicken breast , boneless, skinless 1/2 cup baby spinach , roughly chopped 1 cup SPEKKO Brown rice, washed ( see note) salt and pepper 8 cups , good quality chicken stock ( preferably homemade as it really does make all the difference) Zest and juice of a lemon
Directions: In a large soup or stock pot , heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the carrot, celery and onion pieces. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken breast, the spinach, oregano, rice and season with salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, half covered for about 30 minutes or until the rice is al dente. Remove the chicken breast from the soup. Let cool enough to handle and shred it into pieces. Return the shredded meat to the pot. Add the lemon juice and zest, stir and serve.
Oh-so-good! Beef oxtail in milk stout beer with orange zest
1 Tblspn oil 3 kg Oxtail, trimmed of excess fat 1 carrot, peeled and chopped 3 leeks, washed and chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped 1 onion, peeled and chopped Salt and pepper 2 TBS cake flour 2 bottles 375mls Milk stout beer 3 cups beef stock 1 TBS tomato paste 2 cloves garlic, crushed 4 stick cinnamon 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar Grated zest & juice of 1 orange
Heat the oil & Seal the meat in a deep, oven proof dish, set aside. In the same pot add the vegetables and cook over a medium heat until soft. Add tomato paste, garlic, spices, orange zest, salt and pepper and flour. Add the stout, orange juice, sugar and the stock, and stir well until a sauce forms, add the meat, cover and cook over a low heat for 4- 6 hours until oxtail is tender. To serve – Skim the fat, and thicken the sauce with a little extra flour if necessary, serve with Spekko parboiled rice, mash potato or polenta ( see note)
Brulee Rice Pudding with Raspberry Preserve I made this dessert with both berry and peach preserve, they were equally yummy!!!
Serves 4- 6
2 cups basmati rice, well rinsed 2 cups fresh full fat milk 1 cup evaporated milk 1 cup sugar 2 cardamom pods, crushed 2 vanilla pods, split ½ cup good quality raspberry preserve ( apricot or strawberry work well too) ¼ cup light brown sugar
Combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer until the liquid is evaporated and the rice is cooked and soft. Place a heaped tablespoon of jam in the base of each ramekin. Spoon the rice mixture into the ramekins. Sprinkle with sugar and caramelise with a blow torch or under the grill of the oven until lightly golden and bubbly. Serve immediately.
Two months ago I recieved the most flattering email from someone I respect in the Food & Wine Industry. Micheal Olivier had come across my blog and I quote ” I am totally BERSERK about your work. Would luv to have some of it in Crush! Would you consider it ?”
Seriously, how could I refuse ? ( secret squell… people out there actually read my blog !!!)
I was working on developing recipes for my new obsession, Salted Caramel, so it was perfect timing. Below are our pictures and a few of the recipes.
All other recipes are available on the CRUSH Magazine 18 th issue online website ( pg 32 & 33 ). The recipes are fabulous ( a- hum…even if I do say so myself!) the Salted Caramel Toffees are very easy to make despite having to use a sugar thermometer, and although I am not a drinker I highly recommend the Salted Caramel Margarita.I know it sounds weird, but do give it a try.
The Salted Caramel Sauce is such a great stand-by, it keeps well in the fridge for months so all you need is a few doughnuts, poached pears or vanila ice cream, and voila you have a delicious and quick dessert. ( recipe below) or mix with good quality dark chocolate and warm milk for a delicious and unusual hot chocolate, perfect for the fast approaching winter.
As always a big thank you to Vanessa for the pictures. We were both thrilled at the quality of the pictures, which reproduced so well in digital format, after Vanessa took these shots with a fabulous super duper new PHASE 1 meduim format camera ( usually reserved for massive billboard size pictures)
We are also both enamoured with the clever and the cool layout! If you click on the pictures a bigger picture comes up and a printable recipe card, and all the recipes( not just my own) include a handy shopping list.
I also love the article on page 24 about debunking Food Myths, and the article on the beautiful IONA wine estate. ( ohhh I feel a trip to the Cape calling me!)
I really think South Africa has “arrived” in the online media industry with CRUSH, I hope you will check it out and even subscribe.
Lots of love
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCERECIPE
200g unsalted butter
150 g soft light brown sugar
150 g caster sugar
150g corn syrup
250 ml thick cream
5ml vanilla extract
5ml Maldon Sea Salt, or more to taste.
A few tips before starting
Please make an effort to find and use corn syrup, golden syrup can be substituted but it will affect the flavour of the sauce.
Always use unsalted butter so as not to influence the flavour of the sea salt.
Combine all the ingredients except the salt, in a deep, heavy bottom pot.
Stir over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the salt.
Store or serve.
Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate
SALTED CARAMEL HOT CHOCOLATE
4 blocks good quality dark chocolate , such as Lindt
1 cup full cream milk
1/2 cup cream
2 tablespoons salted caramel
Warm the milk and cream in a double boiler and stir in the chocolae blocks.
Place 1 tablespoon of salted caramel in each cup and pour in the hot chocolate.
Stir and serve.