JAN the JOURNAL has published its second volume of 2018, just before the year closed. It has taken me almost two months to look at it after buying a copy at Woolworths, the 297 page manuscript of The Jan Hendrik Group (PTY) Limited being more than intimidating in thickness, and time required to do it justice in reading it. Despite having an editor for the publication, one wonders how Chef Jan-Hendrik manages to find the time to collate such a heavy-weight Journal in his role as Editor-in-Chief, given his commitment as chef to his one Michelin star restaurant JAN in Nice, and his regular trips to Cape Town and SA. Continue reading →
How are food trends made? Is it chefs inspired by other chefs, especially award-winning ones? Is it chefs doing stages in the top restaurants of the world, and returning to create dishes inspired by what they have seen and learnt, as has happened in our country with Noma clones!? Is it chefs looking at photographs of food bloggers and restaurant reviewers, or their photographs on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook?
The six following food trends are hot right now:
1. Bread and Butter: something many restaurants have done away with appears to be making a come-back, in being created as something so special that it is a serious dish on a menu. Breads are now self-baked, Banting-approved butter is not only served salted or unsalted, but also with additives like cheese, salts, bone marrow, burnt onion, sun-dried tomatoes, or Marmite, or as I experienced at Boschendal’s new The Werf Restaurant with lamb and beef added, or with Shiraz added at Equus at Cavalli. Serving whipped butter is particularly trendy.
2. Since Banting took off last year, the price of cauliflower has soared in Cape Town, a staple element of Banting menus, including cauli-mash, making bases for pizzas, and as a ‘safe‘ vegetable. Internationally Noma has revived this vegetable, by serving it pot-roasted whole, topped with pine and yoghurt whey. It is served puréed, barbecued, pickled, and even as a ‘steak’.
My friend Whitney and I decided to give the new Tashas in the V&A Waterfront a try, after we had both heard good things about the restaurant, which opened in the previous Mugg & Bean space a month ago. It was a poor experience, leaving a bad taste in our mouths, both Whitney and I getting ill from the food.
The owner and chef Raynne Roll told us that each of the eleven Tashas created around the country over the past eight years is themed decor wise, and has signature dishes and specialist wines to tie in with the theme. The theme of the Waterfront branch is Spanish, and hence the additional Tapas menu and Spanish style cakes, which are unique to the branch. Bowls and paella pans have been bought in from Spain for the new restaurant. Tashas Constantia is French Country inspired, Pretoria is South African, Melrose Arch is ‘Sushi, Oysters and Champagne’, Rosebank in Johannesburg is New York, and the Nicolway branch is Portuguese.
I arrived before Whitney did, and walked in from the mall entrance, where the branding is so small that it is easy to miss. The iron gates do not look relevant to a
I have written about Neil Stemmet, who is a restaurant curator, pop-up restaurant designer, and ‘sout + peper’ food blogger, but I have never seen his own written word. I love the passion that he has put into his first just-published book ‘sout + peper erfeniskos’, of which the first run of 3000 has just been sold out, and how his personality comes through in his book. It is a wonderful history of South African cooking, food culture, and food brands, and is more of a ‘storieboek’ than it is a recipe book.
Stemmet writes in his introduction that it is food writer Renate Coetzee’s book ‘Spys en Drank’ that inspired him when he first started cooking in his ‘kontrei-restaurant’ Le Must in Upington. His book is a compilation of South African family recipes handed down to him by ‘tantes, my ouma, my ma’, and include those he discovered though his own research. Stemmet defines ‘erfeniskos’ (heritage food) as food dating between the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 and the ‘Seventies, an era pre-MSG, pre-TV dinners, and a time before ‘boerekos’ having become over-complicated. ‘Erfeniskos’ is also food that needs the minimum of spices, and all Neil has in his pantry is salt, white pepper, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, aniseed, coriander, lemon juice, bay leaves, and sugar, which share the shelves with his basic ‘spens’ items of eggs, honey, Marmite, flour, and Worcester Sauce. Stemmet also calls it ‘kuierkos en seënkos’, always shared with others and always blessed before eaten.
His ouma’s cooking inspired him, with its smells and kitchen sounds, like a concert hall, he writes. Stemmet grew up in Robertson, and waxes lyrical about ouma’s home-made bread, farm butter, peach jam, and ‘moerkoffie’. He writes how it was ‘grênd’ to eat KOO (from the factory in Ashton close by) peas, and fruit with custard and cream on Sundays.
The photographs of brands and packs of days gone by evoke many happy memories: Robertson’s white pepper in a box, Carmién organic Rooibos tea, Royal baking powder, Tastic rice, Cartwrights curry powder, Mrs Ball’s chutney, Colman’s traditional hot English mustard powder in a tin, KOO fruit cocktail in syrup, SASKO cake flour, and Khoisan hand-harvested sea salt.
Recipes for traditional Afrikaans foods such as skilpadjies, rusks, Hertzoggies, and Smutskoekies, as well as staples such as chicken pie, bobotie in different styles, curry, oxtail, cakes and tarts, preserved fruit, lamb stew, marmalade, fruit punches, roast lamb, and many more are contained in the 300 page book.
Neil Stemmet, ‘sout + peper : erfeniskos‘. LAPA Uitgewers. The book is to be translated into English for the next print run. Tel 082 373 3837. www.soutenpeper.com Twitter: @NeilStemmet
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage