Meringues with the LG NeoChef

Again, not all microwaves are made equal. The LG NewChef is a surprising little machine – it even makes meringues! Well, not quite. I made meringues but I baked them in a MICROWAVE (for crying out loud) and they were perfect – crisp shell with a gooey centre.

If you missed the apple crisps I made last week, click here.

Meringues in the LG NeoChef

Serves 6-8 people or me

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 225g castor sugar
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Method

  • Whip eggs whites until soft peaks form
  • add the sugar in, a tablespoon at a time
  • squeeze in the lemon juice until glossy
  • put into a pipping bag and bake at 130C for 45mins

and Voila! meringues for days (or hours, if you’re anything like me).

How To Make Apple Crisps in an LG NeoChef

The microwaves from my youth are a far cry to what they are now. These days they have grilling, baking, defrosting, investor cooking (cooks a frozen bird from the inside), de-hradting and slow coking. The LG NeoChef is a powerful little thing.

Take a look at this video. It’s of a potter who bakes a set of crockery in the NeoChef. I thought it was impressive.

After I marvelled, I got a chance to use this machine and remained in that state of wonderment. It proofs bread dough before baking it to a crisp, makes yogurt, slow cook with a timer on and de-hydrates anything the heart desires – it’s so very different to the box that I once melted cheese in or (to the horror of my grandmother) placed a gold rimmed tea cup into and watched the lightening effect, when I was a young warthog.

This video is about making a healthy afternoon snack of apple crisps with blue cheese. I always get to 14:00 and realise that I don’t have anything sweet in the house, which make me rummage for something truly unhealthy. You’ll see that by usage the Slow Cook function, I was able to attain a crisp result in a much shorter amount of time.

Not to sound like a infomercial but the features I enjoy are the soft touch buttons – no need to break the back. The instructions are simple and the the cooking time is usually halved. I am not wild about the jingle that it plays at the end of the process. All LG products serenade in polyphonic – not my thing.

Anyway, here is the video that was shot by @Zachariha_Schrueder and edited by me. I’m quite chuffed by the end product but let me know what you think.

 

 

 

Roast & Co

As the saying goes ‘winner winner, chicken dinner’ and yes, at Roast & Co, one does feel like the jackpot is close by.

Roast chicken is one of those dishes that is seemingly easy to make. But the thing about a roast chicken is that it’s a simplistic dish and if there are errors (dry chicken, limp skin, under seasoning, claggy gravy, starchy potatoes, overcooked veggies etc) the meal lacks the will to live (or perhaps that’s the diners who are judging the cook for messing up a family favourite).

With a meal as simplistic as this, there is nowhere to hide – there are no fancy frills. It’s the best quality chicken accompanied by a subtly technical cooking method that allows a diner to feel entirely satisfied with an unfussed roast bird. And because we try to eat local, these chickens are sourced in Elgin in the Western Cape so we’re happy. No?

One can order a ¼, ½ or full chicken with an abundance of sides from the Caesar Salad croquettes that I can’t speak more highly of, with their pipettes of anchovy-rich dressing to administer at will. Or the Elgin Farmhouse chicken liver pate with duck fat and shortbread crumble – artery-clogging goodness. Each bite is succulent and positioned in the dabbled courtyard the Heritage Square and paired with a bevy of local and internationally produced beer and wine.

roastandco.co.za

Lou Lou’s

There’s a little restaurant that I went to recently, Lou Lou’s, at the Cape Quarter. I like to eat local in all senses of the phrase – eat locally produced food but also to support the restaurants in my neighbourhood and Lou Lou’s is one of those.

It’s a quaint little place in the dabbled sunlight of the piazza at the Cape Quarter in De Waterkant. The food is based on my favourite way of eating – tapas – because, as the glut that I am, I like to taste everything. There’s a combination of Asian, Italian and generally accessible food nations that are expressed on the menu.

We ate the pork belly in hoisin with egg fired rice, 7 spice seared tuna (which was spicy even for a Durbanite. And SO GOOD), truffle arancini  and the pan fried squid with chorizo. Nom.

Lou Lou’s

Lou Lou'sLou Lou's

Sunday Edition #2

I am one of those humans that does not remember which artist sings which song. I hear the track and, even though I may woo-my-head-off about it, I will still never quite recall the name of the person behind the sound. Unless I watch the artist live.

Maybe I’m not part of the right “scene” or maybe it’s that in my mature state I don’t enjoy crowds but I don’t watch enough live music. In the same breath, I don’t want to go to a sweaty club and party with the tweens. I don’t want to wait for the headlining band because I’d like to be functional the next day – I think the people at Sunday Edition heard some, if not all, of my I-don’ts.

Last month I randomly got a surprise in my inbox (which is usually a minefield) – tickets to the Sunday Edition featuring Zaki Ibrahim, The City, Card On Spokes (band names that I know I am not cool enough to be familiar with). As the nerd that I am, I proceeded to download music of all of the bands because it’s pointless to go to a concert if you don’t know the music. Yes, I did my homework before I arrived.

What I found when I got to the event was that I should’ve gone earlier and listened to the other bands before Zaki, the headliner. I should’ve told my friend to dress in her jeans and sneakers. I should’ve orders craft beer instead of bubbly. In spite of all of those regrets, the music was ah-maze and the snacks. Well, I always have time for a snack but I should’ve really committed because there was food galore. Vegan burgers, falafel’s, wood-fired pizza and donuts that will make your toes furl. And the crowd – well, to be frank – all the wok people in Cape Town were at the event. Artisans, designers and creators of craft beer/hair styles/illustrations and more were all strewn around The Biscuit Mill. THERE WAS SPACE TO BREATH in all the good vibes.

The second coming of the Sunday Edition is on the 12th of Nov. I’ll do the right and so should you.

 

TICKETS

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The City

Donuts

Matt Manning’s Private Kitchen

Life is better when you have friends who brunch. Matt Manning has been a friend for eons and he also happens to be a damn good chef. So good that Gordon Ramsey and Markus Wareing both had him as part of their brigade before he moved to Cape Town and rose through the ranks at La Colombe.

These days he is a garden variety geezer (my favourite kind) and a private chef. His latest project is his Private Kitchen Brunch where you arrive at his apartment in Cape Town CBD and he feeds you within an inch of your life (I mean it, wear stretchy pants).

This is a shameless punt but these images that I took and were too good to go to waste.

Menu: Le Lude MCC for as far as the eye could see, poured by the ever-fashionable Miss Leibbradt. Bloody Mary. Steel cut oats with spiced pineapple. Sri Lankan spiced tuna with kedgeree risotto and a poached egg. Beef brisket that I have been having suggestive thoughts about and it’s Tuesday. Brioche french toast with poached peaces, maple bacon, honey comb and creme fraiche.

PS: You’ll also notice Pete Goeff-Wood and his wife, Elise at the table – it’s always great to have a @MasterChefSA reunion.

www.mattmanningchef.com 

Le Lude MccIMG_2314.jpgIMG_2371.jpgIMG_2384.jpgmaple bacon, honey comb,IMG_2407IMG_2419IMG_2421

Savoury Cottage Cheese Cake

Sometimes some things just need to be easy. No sweat. No tears. Just a one trick pony. This Savoury Cottage Cheese Cake exactly that. It’s is less of a recipe and more of a people-are-coming-over-I-need-to-feed-them-but-also-look-fancy type of dish.

Savoury Cottage Cheese Cake 

serves 6 (as a starter)

Base

Ingredients: 

  • puff pastry
  • poppy seeds
  • 1TBS butter, melted

Method

  1. Bake puff pastry according to the instructions on the packaging
  2. using a stick blender, blend the pastry until it is a crumb-like texture
  3. mix in poppy seeds and butter until pastry in coated in butter.
  4. divide the pastry base between the ramekins and pack tightly using the back of a spoon to smooth down
  5. bake at 200C for 10mins to set

Red Onion Marmalade 

Ingredients:

  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 close garlic
  • 1TBS strawberry preserve (to taste)
  • 2tsp rice wine vinegar (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)

Method

  1. Heat olive oil in a small pot with red onion. The onions needs to sweat so keep the lid of the pan on while staring at intervals.
  2. When the onions are soft, add the strawberry preserves and rice wine vinegar with a pinch of salt to taste

Cheese Cake 

Ingredients: 

  • 250ml Lancewood Fat Free Cottage Cheese
  • 50g Chevin, black pepper
  • 150ml cream
  • 1 gelatine sheet (250 bloom)
  • salt

Method:

  1. soak gelatine leaf in cold water
  2. heat the cream in a sauce pan. do not let it boil
  3. Mix the cheeses, season to taste
  4. Remove cream from heat and add the gelatine leaf using a whisk
  5. Mix warm cream in with cheese mixture
  6. allow to set for 4 hours

To serve, spoon on some of the red onion marmalade and enjoy at room temperature.

 

Woman’s Day Ice-Cream Competition

There are brands and there are brands. Some evoke natural kinship and others couldn’t offer enough to buy an iota of affection. If you’ve been watching my social media feeds, you would’ve noticed my appreciation for Unframed Ice-Cream.

Unframed is committed to locally sourced ingredients and have a sincere interest in pushing the boundaries of flavour combinations, texture of both dairy and vegan options, as well as being innovative within in a category of food, that much like baking bread or making beer or making any artisanal product, the process is simplistic in nature. The subtleties of the ratio of sugar-to-dairy (or dairy substitute)-to-egg-yolks -to-freezing-temperature and of course, the flavour, doesn’t give ice-cream too much of room to hide with fancy foot work.

Long story short, I’ll be running a competition to win a R300.00 voucher to gorge on some well-crafted roomys to celebrate Woman’s Day tomorrow – 9 August 2017.

Rules:

  1. you’ve gotta be a woman
  2. tag your ride-or-die aka. BFF
  3. there will be 1 winner, chosen randomly
  4. This winner needs to live in Cape Town (sorry world!)
  5. Like the @LifeUnframed Instagram page

Thanks @Verushka_n for being my ice-cream shmodel. X

PS: I can highly recommend the sea-salt chocolate, turmeric latte and vegan salted caramel.

 

Before The Flood

Perhaps, like I was, you are a little late on hearing about Before The Flood. It’s the documentary that Leonardo DiCaprio shot with National Geographic that talks about the realities of Climate Change.

Instead of butchering (pun very much intended) the documentary, set aside an hour and watch it yourself.

From a food perspective, this documentary puts the Methane-Carbon-Dioxide-beef-farming dialogue into perspective. I eat beef once a month, at most, but I have never thought that I would consider a life without any beef product. That goes far beyond a dry aged Rump but includes milk in tea and decaffeinated coffee, cheese, yogurt, ice-cream, cream, butter – pretty much everything I am allergic to but have an unnatural love and appreciation for.

I grew up in a vaguely Hindu household (dressing in Indian attire on holidays but mostly over catering) so beef is a product that I have grown into. I am partial to a consciously reared, marbled porterhouse flamed and rested; and I have been known to add beef broth to anything that will accept its wiles. I have also been known to prize cheese over pretty much anything on the planet, even though I have been tested as ‘cows milk intolerant’.

Which leads me down the rabbit hole of ‘how I can change my diet without coming off as a weakling (who succumbs to the coy shrug of a wedge of Brie or the supple lilt of a slice of biltong) or simply a trendy hypocrite who wants to believe Leo”. Still not sure which is worse.

Truth be told, I never draw up a meal plan. I know it’s the right thing to do (TV licence voice) but it takes the whimsy out of the Mystery Box Challenge that all of us face on the regular. My methodology is usually to stock up on fresh fruit, veg and meat once a week and see how the chips fall.

Instead of a living a diarised dinner schedule that will dash my food dreams, I have identified the substitutions:

  • goats milk cheese and yogurt
  • coconut milk and cream
  • chicken broth
  • vegan ice-cream
  • almond milk (or no milk. I loathe lactating grains)

This list has raised the point about butter. There is nothing quite like a slather of butter on fresh sourdough. If you have any suggestions for butter-on-bread substitutes, I’d appreciate your advice.

 

 

Lilly’s Restaurant, Cape Town

When you waltz out of CameralandCT with an Olympus E-M1 (Obi-wan Kenobi’s cousin) you take it out to lunch. You take it some place with faultless natural light, enough buzz for a weekday lunch and plating that makes your eyes sparkle. That place is Lily’s Restaurant in Moullie Point, Cape Town.

The menu is varied but light, even if you choose a hunk of beef – Epic Fish & Chips, Monsieur Sirloin with cafe de Paris butter and fries, Broccoli Every Which Way (tempura, charred & pickled with toasted pine nuts and things) and Lily’s Salmon Fish Cakes. I chose two of the appetisers – the beets with goats milk cheese, toasted pine nuts and balsamic; and the The Gun Show “Mussels” in garlic, thyme and white wine.

Anthony Bourdain calls it “food f***t” – when a food-person accepts the multi-course meal and leaves feeling like a stuffed sow. I’m not a fan of that feeling when my belly is pressed up against my clothing and mouth-breathing is the only option. Thankfully, I didn’t feel like that after my lunch-4-one. Which, I might add, is a huge step in the right direction for someone who had only eaten alone a handful of times before 2017.

This lunch made me remember how much I love taking photographs. How in awe of food photography I am and how much I miss feeling inspired. This lunch made me feel like a real creative. It made me remember how easy it is to get stuck in the details of life and forget to stoke the fire of my being.