Jump to content


eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by gsquared

  1. Forgot to post a pic of the table set for lunch. Here it is. Dinner tonight presents a slight problem. Under normal circumstances I would, given that we had a large lunch, have just done toasted sandwiches or something. My wife has a works from 6pm until 9:30pm and thus has to be fed before she leaves. Our sleep-in guest returns at 8pm and would, I think, have a reasonable expectation of something more. So, early sarmie for the wife and maybe just a stir-fry (chicken and noodles?) later for the guest. Maybe I will also be more nibbly by then.
  2. After all that, the Muslim guest could not make it - problem with a patient. Oh well...Had she pitched, I would have been ready. For the rest the lunch went well. Very well. The signs for a sale by my SO are promising. On to the lunch: The tomato tart with tapenade and young greens dressed in a basil vinaigrette: The Gewurtz and mussel jelly: The duck rilette with fresh fig and chevres with a teriyake sauce. The fillet of kudu on a bed of orange scented spinach and polenta with a green peppercorn sauce. Spinach was a last minute addition. I know the sauce is a reprise of last night's, but it worked so well with the ostrich that I thought it a perfect mate for the kudu. Strawberry ice with creme fraiche and black pepper One meal done. What to do for dinner? Methinks a post-prandial nap may just refresh the creative juices.
  3. Interesting, Michael. Thanks for that. I had better play it safe and not add any brandy to the sauce for the Muslim guest. No, I borrow from a Muslim neighbour.
  4. Minor unexpected snag with the lunch today: one of the guests is Muslim and eats halaal. So: Tomato tart and tapenade will be ok. Gewurtz and mussels - the wine is out, mussels maybe ok. I will do a grape jelly and hope that the mussels are fine. Duck rilette is out, the duck I used was not halaal. I went to the local Halaal butcher and bought a chicken breast. Challenge is to make a quick chicken rilette. We'll see. Kudu fillet is out. Bought halaal beef fillet and halaal ghee to pan fry it in. I need to remember to cook the halaal stuff seperately and to check that I do not inadvertently chuck something that is non-halaal in.
  5. Here is a pic of my stove. It dates from the 1920's and I am, despite the fact that it is completely useless for anything other than roasting meat and warming plates, inordinately fond of it. I recived sad news a few weeks ago. The company that supplies piped gas to my home informed me that they will, in March, be switching to LPG gas. This implies that I will have to retire the old fellow, as it cannot be converted safely. I think a wake will be called for. The idea of getting a new, modern range has its appeal, but I have a relationship with that stove, dammit! Simply discarding it like so much scrap iron seems almost immoral. The wife tells me "It is only a stove, after all". She can be so callous at times.
  6. The spuds: 1. Peel, shape into an oblong and shave off a level base. 2. Run a skewer through just above the base. 3. Cut 1/4" slices down to the skewer. 4. Drizzle with melted salted butter. 5. Bake in a 180C oven until done through. They can be held at this point until 10 minutes before service. 6. Increase the oven temp to 230C, drizzle again with butter and bake until golden brown. The only non-obvious thing here is that if you try to bake them the way you would normally do baked potatoes, the individual slices can get too dry, especially around the top where they fan out. Hence the lower temp to cook them and the higher temp to crisp up the outside. The peppercorn sauce was a simple pan sauce. Deglazed the pan in which the ostrich was fried with cream, added the green peppercorns and reduced on a slow simmer for about 5 minutes. Increased the flame, added a splash of brandy and burnt off the alcohol. Adjusted the seasoning. Whisked in a good knob of butter.
  7. I guess that we in South Africa are not much different from people anywhere else in the world. Some of us are fortunate enough to afford the pursuit of good food. Some are indifferent to it, and for those less fortunate food and eating is far more basic. Perhaps the essential function of food, that of nourishment, is more apparent when one lives in the third world. Some of my friend share my passion for food, others do not. We welcome uninvited friends knocking at the door, although it sometimes calls for nimble thinking, food-wise. We have an indoor dining room, but make infrequent use of it, mostly in winter and then only in the evenings. For the rest, we always dine al fresco.
  8. Lest I forget, anyone who fancies doing next week's blog, please PM me.
  9. Ok, so I have a rubber arm. Capitulated on the dessert. A quick caramelized pineapple with cottage cheese into which lime zest was incorporated. Now someone else can go fetch the coffee and the dram (Lagavulin 16yrs)
  10. Dinner went well - the ostrich was plumply tender and juicy, the green peppercorn sauce worked well (got the splash of brandy just right this time!) and the spuds were satisfyingly golden and crisp. The asparagus was, well, asparagus. There is a clamour for dessert, with threats of marches and such, but I think coffee and maybe a wee dram will be it for the day.
  11. Not quite as common as beef, but I think it has now descended into the common pool of food and is not as much a speciality item any more. You are kind. Thank you.
  12. Cross Maltese poodle and Peckinese. And no, I never cook for them, although they do pull a very good Biafran act during dinner and usually do get something from the table after we have eaten.
  13. Not even remotely like chicken. The meat is in texture far closer to a hoofed thing than a bird. It has a delicate, gamey taste. I generally deal with it in the same manner as I would beef fillet.
  14. Hasselbacks are in the oven - I like to pre-bake them at around 200C and then, around 15 minutes before serving, crisp them up in the convection oven at a high heat. Used the skewer trick to prevent cutting the slices through. The ostrich fillets look a bit woeful and hacked about, but will have to do. This stuff is getting more expensive by the day - I paid around US 7 per pound. I thought I had spinach in the fridge, but it has mysteriously gone walkabout. So, grilled asparagus will be substituted. I will report back on dinner later.
  15. It is almost too simple for a recipe - 1. Hull and whizz in a blender. 2. Run through a juice extractor to get rid of the pips. 3. Consult McG's table for sweet fruit ice and add sugar as required. 4. Put in ice cream machine and freeze. It always comes out pinker than expected, due, I think, to the amount of air retained in the mixture and to the extent of whitish parts of those berries that are not completely ripe. I will serve it on a pool of whipped creme fraiche with a few twists of black pepper. On the creme fraiche, not the ice. I know that that leaves me without a texture contrast, but the ice is so intensely luscious and sensual that a textural element would be like a nipple ring on a perfectly formed breast.
  16. I just cannot resist those figs. I think I will serve them with the duck rilette in stead of the pear & onion relish and creamed corn. The mangoes I got turned out to be rather watery, so for the last course I will substitute strawberries. Prep for the day is done - I am especially happy with the tapenade and the strawberry ice Dinner tonight will be ostrich fillet with hasselback spuds, spinach balls and a green pepper sauce.
  17. There seems to be somewhat of a yearning for fresh basil about. I found a packet in the fridge - sells for around 50c US in the local supermarket. Started the duck breasts this morning: Shopping went well, except for the mussels. I had to settle for frozen. I have decided to cook the mussels in slightly diluted fish stock to compensate for the decrease in flavour due to them being frozen. Bought some liquid fish stock which I have used before and is pretty good. I found some ripe black figs at the greengrocer Something will have to be done with them - perhaps for dinner tonight. On the with planned prep for today.
  18. Thanks, Michael. You have a piece of Africa irretrievably embedded in your marrow!
  19. No problem, Jake! Now let me see - the outside guest room can sleep two, inside room another two......
  20. I have the menu for Wednesday’s lunch sorted. I decided to be conservative and construct a menu around tried and trusted recipes. It will be a small tasting menu: • Tomato tarts with tapenade and young greens in a basil vinaigrette. This is is straight from Keller's FLCB. • Gewurtztraminer jelly and Mussel jelly. This is somewhat of a signature dish and finds a place on almost all my menus. Gewurtz gelled with gelatine. Mussels cooked in vegetable stock, blended, sieved, then reduced by 75% and gelled with gelatine. Served on spoons – two to a guest, one with the Gewurtz, and one with the mussel. The wine jelly is interesting:- it only works with a fruity wine. The flavour of the wine is held in the gel, and the taste release is delayed until the jelly melts in the mouth. • Rilette of duck with a pear and red onion relish and creamed corn. Time is tight for this, so I have to start the duck confit this morning. Tomorrow morning I can do the rilette as early as possible, pot it and it should be reasonable come lunch. I know the confit should mature, as should the rilette, but I think it will still be edible. I will use Keller’s recipe for the creamed corn. • Small lozenges of frozen verjus with a knifepoint of finely shredded coriander embedded in it as a palate cleanser. • Medallions of Kudu with polenta and a mushroom puree. I have some rolls of Kudu fillet in the freezer. • Mango ice with crème Fraiche and black pepper The plan for today For the tomato tarts 1. Make the tapenade 2. Slow roast the tomatoes 3. Make the basil vinaigrette 4. Defrost the puff pastry For the jellies Make and chill both For the rilette 1. Make the confit 2. Extract the corn juice For the lozenges Prepare and freeze For the Kudu Make the polenta For the Ices Make and freeze the mango ice. Tomorrow's to-do list 8am: Defrost the Kudu fillet Cut the rounds of puff pastry and refrigerate Make the rilette Make the pear and onion relish Cut the polenta into rounds Check the mango ice for scoopability Check that the white wine is in the fridge. Not sure that much wine will be consumed, though. A Longridge Sauv. Blanc, 2002 up to the kudu, then a Beyerskloof pinotage. Check that still and sparkling mineral water are in fridge. 11am: Cook the corn and hold warm Pan fry polenta and hold warm Make the mushroom puree Cut the Kudu medallions Whip the creme fraiche and refrigerate 12:15 Preheat the oven to 200C Check plates and cutlery for serving Place the Pinotage in the fridge to cool down (26C expected today). 12:30 Assemble and bake the tarts 13:00 Start serving The ingredients to buy: Tomatoes, fresh mussels, corn, mangos, crème fraiche. Thus - small shopping expedition required after breakfast – greengrocer, fishmonger, supermarket. I will take pics and post later. I have just learnt that we will have guests for dinner tonight. A niece is sleeping over and the neighbour is coming around for a whiskey on the veranda and will probably stay for dinner. Oh vey! I will think about what to make later today.
  21. More or less. My garden is well protected by a screen of trees, so we never get frost in winter. The basil get a bit scrunched up in winter, but still useable. Fruit - apples, melons, strawberries, pears, bananas, pineapples, kiwis, granadilla, guava, peaches, nectarines, litchis, prickly pears, mangoes, plums, apricots. Veggies are not really seasonal any more, given the variety that is produced year round in tunnel farms and the variety that is imported.
  22. You are very kind to class me as either professional or talented. I am an amateur. Plating is, it seems to me, not that difficult if one keeps things simple. That is why I like pure white plates. It is relatively easy to make food look good. Plus I have a artistic wife at hand to crit my efforts.
  23. Just naturally big-pawed, I guess. Thank you. The basil (lots of it) was blanched for 1 minute, cooled in ice water, dried off and then blended with just sufficient EVOO to get the blender going.
  24. Yes, I always plate and make an attempt at styling the plates. When my culinary efforts fail, at least they fail attractively!
  25. Yes, they are fresh and we replace them every two weeks. We keep the baskets up from start of December until end of January, (sort of a festive thing) and then replace them with planted baskets.
  • Create New...