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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by gsquared

  1. Dinner tonight will be pork loin chops with a garlic mash. Neither of us are really hungry. We oversnacked at lunch on a great loaf of bread (sniff), Danish butter and Eland biltong. For those of you that are not familiar with biltong, it is dried meat. It bears the same relationship to jerky that a Ferrari has to a VW Beetle. This is what the Eland biltong looks like, sliced: Before slicing. A special cutter to slice biltong is available everywhere.
  2. No, it was not. Here are a few samples - sorry about the quality, but taking pics of paintings is not easy.
  3. I am a hopeless accumulator of food. The freezers never seem to get emptier. We unpacked all the frozen meat and fish today so that I can try and bring some sanity to our stock levels. Looking at what we have, and seeing that I already have some suggestions for the Fool's menu for Saturday, and that the blog will end on Saturday, I thought that I could get you to design the two hot meals for Saturday. Breakfast with Egullet. Here is what is available in sufficient quantities: Kudu fillet (size of a beef fillet) Springbok loin (same size as the impala fillet, but finer grained and more gamey) Blesbuck fillet (in size halfway between Springbok and Kudu) Eland fillet (same size as Kudu but much less gamey) Smoked cocodile (thin slices) Smoked Ostrich (thin slices) Ostrich fillet Smoked Swordfish (thin slices) Kassler rib Pork loin chops Chicken breasts Whole pigeon Calf's liver Chicken liver Ostrich liver Small shrimp (shelled and deveined) Prawns (15-20/Kg) Fresh loin of Tuna - got it today Whole quail Lamb chops - but I think that will go on the menu for tomorrow Assume whatever veggies you need will be available Anybody up for it? The only condition is that the menu must be capable of being cooked a la minute. No casseroles or anything that takes longer than 15 minutes to prepare. Pre-cooking means you have to guess at the order mix - I hate waste.
  4. The Western Cape has an abundance of proteas. We have a contract with Paul and Jeanette Engels, who farm proteas, to supply us on a weekly basis. We get bunches that we put in the breakfast lounge in the two foyers and in the rooms
  5. I like the sound of that, Michelle. Recipe please. Plain English scones, chive scones, buttermilk and lemon. I very seldom set out to make a specific scone. The important thing is to start rubbing the butter into the flour and then hunt around for inspiration. My methodology is somewhat slapdash. Maybe that has been my bread problem, the absence of rigorous discipline. Maybe I need to change my entire outlook on life to become a successful baker. Or perhaps I should shave in the mornings before dealing with yeast. And comb my hair.
  6. Farming was a misnomer. Game farming in S.A. means that you have a farm or ranch where the animals roam freely - in the wild. The "farming" bit comes in by how you control the species you have by bringing in new breeding stock (there are a few large game auctions every year), by selectively culling and keeping predators out. If you want warthog on your farm, you bring in stock and allow them to breed. If you don't, you sell them off. You are quite right that you can use warthog meat pretty much the way you would pork - the gamey taste is not very pronounced. Squinty, yes. Calculating I'm not so sure of. Sounds great. Please PM the recipe to me. My list of recipes resulting from this blog is growing apace. Thanks for the kind words.
  7. Hmmm....The only problem I would have with that is that I would either have to do the scones the previous day, which might leave too little time for other important tasks such as my siesta, or make more on the morning that I do bake scones in any event. I will think on this. Thanks. Good idea. The costing is good - I'll look into it. Thanks again.
  8. Military background, then, fou? Yeah, right! Do I detect a smidgen of smugness?
  9. All our groceries are supplied by The Grocery Express, started last year by a young enterprising couple, Chis and Natasha. They operate from George and focus on supplying the hospitality industry. Natasha also set a small baking industry. She bakes and packages the complimentary biscuits we place in each room. Peanut, chocolate cream and a biscotti: In-room coffee was a bone of contention from the word go. I tried and rejected just about every small coffee making gadget and appliance known to man. Some because they simply did not work well and others because they are not suitable in the context of a guest house room. An example of the latter is the french press. It works well, but repeated testing showed that every now and then it seems to "stick". This happens when air gets trapped beneath the sieve. The reaction is to press hard and the result is a spout of water squirted into the air. Dangerous and messy. In the end Natasha found a supplier of pretty decent ground coffee packed into small teabag-like bags. You use it like a tea bag and if you allow about 2 minutes for infusion, you get an acceptable cup of coffee. If anybody out there has a better solotion, let me know. I have been playing with the idea of buying the new pod machines for the rooms. Maybe I should buy one to test.
  10. Dankie, Klary. Now there's a thought - bobotie for breakfast. For those who do not know, it as basically a cottage pie with a lot more spices and an egg custard substituting the mash topping. It is already leaning towards breakfast with the egg custard. Maybe increase the "eggyness" on top. And make it in ramekins. I have a moleskin that I use for jotting ideas down. This goes in immediately.
  11. By coincidence, I ordered one of those, i.e. the traditional shape one, two days ago. I will, of course, not allow that to dilute my steely determination to win back Jackal10's regard..... I completely agree - that is the only part of breadmaking that I enjoyed. The therapy is, however, undone if you have to chuck the product away
  12. Racheld mentioned upthread that she would like to see the staff at work. Here is Veronica doing scrambled eggs for the first guest this morning: We offered watermelon today: Scrambled eggs with warthog, mustard sauce, cinnamon butter apple and an onion bhaji. The bhaji was not as big as it appears - foreshortening or something.... The Mes Amis croque madame:
  13. One of the warthog loins: Sliced up: Table laid. I am not too keen on the furled napkin, but the girls like it. I even remembered to turn on the pie warmer we use as a plate warmer.
  14. No more of that, Kouign I'll desist if you will - this could get out of hand.
  15. Thanks Jamie. I like this approach - no possibility of it being taken seriously! Into the file straightaway. Thanks.
  16. The split is: 61% South African 13.6% German 7.8% UK 2.8% Switzerland 2.1% Holland 1.5% Begium 1.4% U.S.A. 1% Canada 1% Sweden The rest under 1% No, the only consideration is to cater for dietary requirements - gluten intolerance, religious requirements, vegans and so on. It is obviously not possible to cater for all cases - I cannot deal with Kashrut, for example, but in most cases I can create a menu specifically for a guest with special requirements. I am careful, though, not to use quotes that poke fun at a nationality. If people from that county ar in the house.
  17. Great! Thanks. On a related note, I await delivery of my circulating water bath.....
  18. No, these animals come from game farms where they roam wild. The supply of game meat comes mostly from culling and tophy hunting. There are very few farms that keep game only for commercial meat production, but even then the animals are kept in the wild.
  19. This may be a good time to introduce you to my staff: Miki, Welda, Veronica, Margie and Patricia with Hope at the back. We can run Mes Amis with fewer staff, but we have very strong ideas regarding our role in the community, especially given the high unemployment rate. We are not in the business to accumulate wealth. If I wanted to do that, I certainly would not be running a guest house. In any event, employing 5 ladies means that we have 4 on duty at any time given days off and so on. Hope is the general handyman and gardener and also drives the ladies to and from work using the staff car: they all live in George, about 15Km from Wilderness. Working hours are 7am to 4pm and they work a 5 day week. The ladies circulate though the basic tasks in the house on a fortnightly basis. The tasks are laundry, chef, housekeeping/waitress and housekeeping. We spend 2 or 3 hours on Mondays on cooking lessons. Initially all the teaching time was spent on basics, such "All about eggs" . (I made extensive use of EGCI materials!). We moved on to more complicated things later. I have to confess that I enjoyed, and still enjoy, the teaching thing. It is immensely satisfying. All the ladies can now cook the hot breakfasts to what I think is a high standard. Other areas that we covered in training was breakfast service, doing dry runs and rehearsals until everyone was comfortable serving the guests. Food hygiene, safety and fire drills, housekeeping, the use of chemicals in cleaning and in the laundry, computer literacy, basic accounting, controlling stock levels, stocktaking and ordering. Where required I got local experts to do the teaching. (fire procedures, for example) All this has paid off handsomely. After the first year the staff was placed on a generous profit share scheme. We have had zero staff turnover so far. Running the guest house is just so much more fun with an entire team geared and eager to increase profitability and provide our guests with the best service we can. As we do not serve dinner, I decided to keep a range of frozen meals in a freezer in our breakfast lounge, install a microwave and make crockery and cutlery available. The idea was that this would offer our guests an alternative to the local restaurants.. I created a brand – Five Ladies Foods, and the staff runs this as a business, providing the meals to Mes Amis on consignment. They cook for Five Ladies on Mondays after their Mes Amis work is done. We developed just three meals, a beef lasagna, chicken Florentine and a lamb curry. It has proved to be a good idea and the turnover, though not brisk, is sufficient to keep the five ladies happy. All in all I think that we have a happy business. The Artist and I are content. So is the staff. I hope.
  20. Thanks, Margaret. It is, however, I who am the lucky one.
  21. Last year, on the 1st April, I prepared two printed menus, one intended as an April fool's joke. It had, for example, as the chef's choice, "Thinly sliced Elephant testicles, pan-fried, and served with a concasse of mopanie worms, tomato and basil". About half the guests took it seriously! I'm not sure whether to repeat it this year, so I'll be grateful for suggestions.
  22. Thanks, Jake. No, it does not. Make me feel better, I mean
  23. It is 5am. The first batch of muffins (sweet corn) is in. I think I'll make scones today. I should report that jackal10 was so upset about my inability to bake decent bread that he has offered to take me under his wing and rehabilitate me. So, all future Mes Amis guests, there may still be hope beyond muffins and scones. If 5am is the wee hours of the morning, does that make 4:30am the wee wee hours? I'll report back after breakfast.
  24. No - to the locals it is not that exotic and for the foreign touists it is, I guess, part of experiencing a new country. I do not persists day after day with game - that would in itself get a bit boring. Some more common game such as Kudu, Impala and Springbok is fairly widely available. For others such as Eland, crocodile, warthog you need speciality suppliers.
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