Food: fresh produce & sumptuous seafood
Celebrate National Garden Day on Sunday 21 October with food straight from the earth
FEW things are as satisfying as growing your own food. You don’t need a large tract of land – experiment with planting vegetables between the flowers in your garden or in large pots. Or grow your food garden in wooden or plastic planters.
SIRLOIN STEAK WITH SMOKED TOMATO AND SPEKBOOM SALSA
SERVES 4 PREPARATION: 20 MIN SMOKING: 5 MIN COOKING: STEAK 12 MIN VEG 45 MIN MARINATING: 1 HOUR RESTING: 10 MIN
15ml (1T) chopped garlic 15ml (1T) smoked paprika 15ml (1T) dried oregano 30ml (2T) olive oil 15ml (1T) balsamic vinegar 500g game or beef sirloin steak salt
SMOKED TOMATO AND SPEKBOOM SALSA
250ml (1c) loose rooibos tea 15ml (1T) sugar 250g ripe baby tomatoes, halved 30ml (2T) chopped leaves of spekboom (also known as porkbush or elephant’s food) 30ml (2T) chopped fresh basil 30ml (2T) red wine vinegar 30ml (2T) olive oil 15ml (1T) sugar 15ml (1T) salt 15ml (1T) black pepper
250ml (1c) olive oil 20g fresh basil, chopped
ROOT VEGETABLE PURÉE
250g each orange and yellow sweet potato, peeled and sliced 250g turnips, peeled and roughly chopped 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped 15ml (1T) olive oil 10ml (2t) salt flakes 10ml (2t) ground pepper 50g butter 30ml (2T) chopped fresh rosemary 30ml (2T) crushed garlic 5ml (1t) finely chopped chilli salt and freshly ground pepper
large handful of beetroot, spinach and/or kale leaves olive oil 15ml (1T) each chopped garlic, ginger and chilli salt and pepper
a few spekboom sprigs
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
1 Steak Mix the garlic, paprika and oregano with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Rub the mixture all over the meat and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour. 2 Smoked tomato and
spekboom salsa Line a pan with foil. Mix the tea and sugar and sprinkle over the foil. 3 Put a wire rack over the tea. Switch a stove plate on and heat the pan until the tea starts smoking. 4 Put the tomatoes on the wire rack, cover with a lid and smoke for about 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to soften (not too long or they’ll turn bitter). Remove from the heat and switch off the stove plate. 5 Mix the remaining ingredients to make a dressing – the spekboom adds a slightly tart taste – and pour over the tomatoes. Set aside to cool.
Herb oil Heat the oil and basil until lukewarm. Set aside to cool then pulse in a food processor until smooth.
Root vegetable purée
Put all the vegetables in an ovenproof dish, add the olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Leave to cool a bit, then put in the bowl of a food processor. In a separate bowl, melt the butter and add the rosemary, garlic and chilli. Add the butter mixture to the vegetables in the food processor and blend until mixed but still with a few chunks here and there. Season with salt and pepper.
Steak Remove the meat from the fridge, season with salt and set aside until it reaches room temperature. Fry in a hot griddle pan or over hot coals until sealed on the outside and medium to rare in the middle. Wrap the steak in foil and set aside for 10 minutes or until the meat juices have been reabsorbed.
Blanched greens Submerge the greens in boiling water then immediately in ice-cold water. Heat a little olive oil in a pan with the garlic, ginger and chilli. Add the greens and sauté until drenched in the aromatic oil. Season with salt and pepper.
To finish Remove the foil from the steak and carve into thick slices. Spread veg purée on a plate, spoon leafy greens on the purée, then add a slice of steak. Finally, spoon salsa on top, drizzle herb oil over and garnish with a spekboom sprig.
GARDEN SALAD WITH ONION PICKLE SERVES 4 PREPARATION: 20 MIN PICKLING SAUCE
180ml (¾c) rice vinegar 80ml (¹⁄3c) warm water 80ml (¹⁄3c) sugar 1 star anise fresh ginger to taste 1 chilli
60g radishes, thinly sliced 2 red onions, thinly sliced
125ml (½c) fresh orange juice 30ml (2T) red wine vinegar 30ml (2T) honey 60ml (¼c) olive oil
50g variety of salad greens and rocket 60g young green beans, blanched 2-3 oranges, segmented
few slices of cheddar cheese with nettle or black salt handful of toasted almonds and onions in a sterilised jar and pour the pickling sauce over. Seal. 3 SALAD DRESSING Mix all the ingredients.
4 SALAD Arrange the salad greens on a platter, then arrange the green beans and orange segments on top and drizzle salad dressing over.
5 TO FINISH Top with the onion pickle and sprinkle the cheese and almonds over.
PICKLING SAUCE Mix the vinegar, water and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the star anise, ginger and chilli.
PICKLE Put the radishes
TEAR AND SHARE BREAD
MAKES 36 PORTIONS PREPARATION: 30-40MIN RISING: ABOUT 1 HOUR BAKING: 50MIN
1,5kg stone-ground white bread flour 10ml (2t) salt 30ml (4t) aniseed or cumin 2 packets (20g) instant yeast 200g sugar 200g butter 500ml (2c) lukewarm water 500ml (2c) lukewarm milk
baby brinjals, onions and carrots
30ml (2T) sugar 30ml (2T) lukewarm water
1 packet each (20g) coriander, parsley and basil 375ml (1½c) olive oil
125ml (½c) sunflower seeds, toasted 180ml (¾c) sesame seeds, toasted 45-60ml (3-4T) chopped pecan nuts or walnuts 30ml (2T) brown sugar 5ml (1t) each coriander and cumin seeds 5ml (1t) sea salt flakes 2-5ml (½-1t) sumac ( optional) Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease a large baking tin (36x13cm) and 1 medium bread tin (20x10,5cm) well with nonstick spray.
1 DOUGH Mix the flour and salt well. Add the aniseed or cumin and instant yeast and mix . 2 In a different bowl mix the sugar, half the butter, water and milk until the butter has melted. 3 Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix and knead for 10 minutes until supple and elastic. Knead in the rest of the butter. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes. 4 Knock back the dough and divide it into equalsized balls (100g for the large tin and 70g for the smaller tin). Arrange the dough balls in the tins so they don’t rise sideways.
5 VEGGIES “Plant” a whole veggie in each ball. Cover and leave to rise until doubled in volume. 6 Bake for 10 minutes and then lower the heat to 160°C and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of a ball comes out clean.
7 SUGAR WATER Mix the sugar and water and brush over the warm crust of the bread. Set aside for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool until lukewarm.
8 HERB OIL Heat the herbs and oil until warm (but not hot). Set aside to cool, then put it in a food processor and pulse until smooth. 9 SEED SPRINKLE Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor until the texture resembles breadcrumbs. 10 Break the bread into portions, drizzle a little herb oil over and dip in the seed sprinkle.
MERINGUES WITH FRUIT
MAKES ABOUT 20 MERINGUES PREPARATION: 12 MIN BAKING: 2 HOURS COOLING: OVERNIGHT cornflour for sprinkling
10 egg whites 500ml (2c) sugar 2ml (½t) tartaric acid 60ml (¼c) cornflour 10ml (2t) rosewater 7ml (1½t) chopped rosemary or lavender flowers handful of pistachio nuts for sprinkling
1 litre hot water a few lavender sprigs, lemon verbena and fresh mint 20-30ml (4-6t) sugar 20ml (4t) rosewater syrup 2 each kiwi fruit, plums and/or guavas, thinly sliced
whipped cream (optional) Preheat the oven to 100°C. Grease two baking sheets with nonstick spray, line with baking paper, grease and sift cornflour over.
1 MERINGUES Put the egg whites, sugar and tartaric acid in a glass bowl, then put the bowl on top of a saucepan with boiling water and simmer for 3 minutes or until warm and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and beat until light and shiny – about 10 minutes. Sift the cornflour over, add rosemary or lavender and fold into the egg mixture. 2 Heap tablespoonfuls (at least 20) of the eggwhite mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, then sprinkle pistachio nuts over. Bake for 2 hours until cooked on the outside. Switch the oven off and leave to cool in the oven overnight. Store in an airtight container. 3 FRUIT Pour the water over the leaves and allow to cool. Drain. Add the sugar and rosewater syrup to the same water and boil for 5 minutes. Pour the syrup over the fruit pieces and allow to cool.
4 TO SERVE Put the meringues in a bowl and spoon the fruit over. Serve with the whipped cream (if using).
ALMOND SHORTBREAD, CHEESECAKE AND STRAWBERRY STACK
SERVES 12 PREPARATION: 20 MIN CHILLING: 15 MIN (DOUGH) RESTING: 10 MIN (CHEESECAKE) BAKING: 10 MIN
75g ice cold butter, diced 20g icing sugar 5ml (1t) grated orange zest 100g cake flour 30g ground almonds 30g fine breadcrumbs pinch of salt
10ml (2t) gelatine 230g creamed cottage cheese 250ml (1c) cream zest and juice of 2 lemons 5ml (1t) vanilla essence 75g icing sugar
250g frozen berries a little sugar 80ml (¹⁄3c) green tea with buchu
250g fresh strawberries, sliced 30ml (2T) castor sugar 5ml (1t) black pepper
500ml (2c) icing sugar 12,5ml tartaric acid 12,5ml bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
1 SHORTBREAD Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well combined and the dough starts clinging to the blade. 2 Remove, shape into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. 3 Remove from the fridge and roll into golf ball-size dollops. Flatten between two layers of baking paper, then arrange on the greased baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until done.
4 CHEESECAKE Sprinkle the gelatine into 15ml (1T) water and let it stand for 10 minutes. Heat in the microwave until just dissolved. 5 Beat the rest of the
ingredients together, add a little of the mixture to the gelatine and mix. Then transfer the gelatine mixture to the rest of the cream cheese mixture and stir. Spoon into a piping bag and chill in the fridge until fairly firm. 6 COMPOTE Add the berries, sugar and tea to a saucepan and cook until syrupy and soft. Then mash the berries or strain through a sieve if preferred. 7 STRAWBERRIES Mix all the ingredients.
8 SHERBET Sift all the ingredients together three times.
9 TO FINISH Pipe a bit of the cheesecake mixture onto a plate, put a shortbread biscuit on top and finish off with another helping of cheesecake mixture. Spoon strawberries and compote on top. Repeat the layers twice. Finish off with a dusting of sherbet and serve.