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eG Foodblog: gsquared


gsquared
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I am, courtesy of Al Dente, to inflict my fooding upon you for the coming week. Not a bad week to do this, as there is not much planned that would require me to expose my shortcomings as a cook to your scrutiny. Wednesday we host a lunch for the partners of our GP. The wife is intent on selling their practice some paintings, so this will be a sort of business lunch, the idea being that I soften them with good food and wine, leading into the sales pitch. I will work on the menu tomorrow and give details later. My daughter wants me to prepare a lunch for her adventure club on Sunday (I do all the prep and she will go and cook it), and we will have an indaba (conference) on that on Wed., after the medics have departed. For the rest of the week it looks pretty much like "normal" family dinners, barring, of course, the unexpected. We generally eat fruit and cereals for breakfast, salads and so for lunch and focus on dinner as the big meal of the day.

Most of our meals are al fresco. Johannesburg has wonderful wheather - mild in winter and generally mild in summer. We live in a small suburb that is the home of a large number of arty people, and has 32 restaurants within walking distance from our home. Our house has a veranda running around two sides. It is furnished and is where we spend most of our time. Here is a pic of part of it with the dining table and deck in the background.

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From the garden (the dogs on the couch are Tutu and Sissy)

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We also have a cat, Sipiwe:

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The deck has a large thorn tree protruding for it, providing great midday shade:

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The garden is small, but very lush with large, mature trees.

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So - dinner tonight. We had a 8 people around for dinner last night, and I am still coming down from the effort, so dinner was simple - pan fried salmon with stir fried noodles and coriander with a puree of basil. We accompanied it with a bottle of Villiera Gewurtztraminer 1999. The intense talc and fruit flavours went well with the salmon, which was, by the way, Norwegian farmed. My fishmonger gets a daily consignment flown in from Norway. We never get wild salmon down here, so to me, the Norwegian fish is as good as it gets.

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Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Nice pics! Ah warmth. Your pics look especially inviting as we are currently being buried in snow as I type. :sad:

Looking forward to reading your foodblog this week :smile:

Edited by Marlene (log)

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I can tell already that this is going to be an exciting week. The pictures are terrific. Your veranda is beautiful. This is probably very naive, but are those fresh flowers in the baskets? If so, how often do you have to replace each arrangement?

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This is probably very naive, but are those fresh flowers in the baskets? If so, how often do you have to replace each arrangement?

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.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Hmmm. Torture us with paradise. Your veranda looks like the ideal antidote to the winter doldrums.

Look forward to some blogging from outside the DC area (no disrespect meant to prior bloggers, but, ummm....Johannesburg).

Edited by GG Mora (log)
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What a wonderful beginning. Thank you for the photos, they really promote a complete view of your life. Out my window is a quintessential postcard of winter: snow drifts as far as the eye can see, trees frosty and white. We have received six inches thus far with another six to come in the next few days, -30C/-23F. This is the middle of our soup/stew/braising weather. Mmmm, I long for your relaxing deck, lush garden and grilled meals! We are a little more hot toddy than gewurtz!

Really looking forward to your blog, I shall be living in warm weather vicariously through you. :cool:

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As another person freezing, please - more warm pictures!! I have forgotten what greenery looks like.

Do you always plate your food so stylishly? Or is that for our benefit?

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Do you always plate your food so stylishly? Or is that for our benefit?

Yes, I always plate and make an attempt at styling the plates. When my culinary efforts fail, at least they fail attractively!

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I'll chime in. Beautiful flora, fauna and food. I too am looking at a whole lot of snow, so it is nice to daydream of warm weather. Will you tell us a little bit of your background and philosophy? I'm charmed already by your "failing attractively" idea.

That cat has the biggest paws I've ever seen, or is that just the camera angle?

Is your puree of basil just basil? EVOO as well? Just curious. It is a lovely presentation.

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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That cat has the biggest paws I've ever seen, or is that just the camera angle?

Just naturally big-pawed, I guess.

Is your puree of basil just basil? EVOO as well? Just curious. It is a lovely presentation.

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.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Basil! I would kill for some real, fresh basil.

Are you able to grow it all year round? What fruits and veggies are in season now?

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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gsquared, how did you learn to plate like that? It's lovely. Are you a food professional, or a talented amateur?

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.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Basil! I would kill for some real, fresh basil.

I was just thinking the same exact thing. Fresh basil is a vague memory to the tastebuds right now.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Basil!  I would kill for some real, fresh basil. 

I was just thinking the same exact thing. Fresh basil is a vague memory to the tastebuds right now.

I'm literally dreaming of it :wub:

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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Are you able to grow it all year round? What fruits and veggies are in season now?

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.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Are you able to grow it all year round? 

More or less.

Gasp! I am turning basil green with envy!

Bloviatrix, I can be at JFK in three hours. Want to go to S. Africa to east some basil with me?

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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Gasp! I am turning basil green with envy!

Bloviatrix, I can be at JFK in three hours. Want to go to S. Africa to east some basil with me?

:laugh::laugh:

That sounds so tempting. I've had enough of icy cold weather. I'm ready for spring to start.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Yet another comment on seeing greenery at this time of year!!! :cool:

Looking forward to your blog, gsquared -- best not make it too intriguing, sounds like you could have a lot of eGulleters jumping on planes!!

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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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.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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....sounds like you could have a lot of eGulleters jumping on planes!!

No problem, Jake! Now let me see - the outside guest room can sleep two, inside room another two......

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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The menu sounds fabulous. Thank you so much for sharing with us and good luck with your full day!

I'm ready to buy a painting just sampling the menu by proxy! :raz:

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Gerhard, I can tell that this blog will be a great deal of fun. You may consider yourself nothing special as a cook, but while I can't taste your creations vicariously, I can tell that you are ambitious and willing to work hard on complex dishes. I also enjoyed the photos!

I'm a New Yorker but actually have some South African heritage. My grandmother Sylvia was born in Malmesbury not far from the Cape, and always told me she came to the U.S. at the age of 7 speaking nothing but Afrikaans (though I figure she must have understood some Yiddish as well). I hope to visit your beautiful country someday.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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