Doing it differently
Creating uniquely KZN dishes while supporting l ocal produce and cooking methods is the way
A FEW y ears b ack, I r eturned fr om a trip to the Cape and asked myself what I c ould do diff erently.
Following the crowds has never been my thing .
It has al ways made sense t o me t o work with local supplier s. Not just for the sake of it, but because they are producing some of the finest quality ingredients in the country, and they need to be gi ven e xposure.
Everyone should be f amiliar with quality products and have the ability to judge ag ainst this s tandard of e xcellence.
Sourcing foie gras, cheese, charcuterie and truffles from France and Italy is totally unne cessary w hen w e can g et these pr oducts right her e — and fine quality too. I therefore decided to take my appreciation of “local” to another level.
I have, over the years, spent as much time as possible with many of KwaZuluNatal’s cr afters, dr awing inspir ation from the different cultures, always with the r estaurant sc ene in mind. It is r emarkable t o see tr aditional c ombinations being created with heart and soul once the flavour profile is understood, in a ne wage way.
Having decided on local and a cultur al under standing, the thir d le g of the pot w as memorie s — my childhood memories.
Serving only inseason fruit and vegetables, Sassi (South African Sustainable Seafood initiative) greenlisted seafood, and knowing your supplier, form the f oundation of culinary cr eativity. They are the cornerstones of my cooking.
Questions I ask myself are: is this dish going t o inspir e, t each and/ or r emind a person of something uniquely KZN? If it doe sn’t then w hat is the point ?
All this was the reason I made contact with Wonderbag in KZN.
My grandmother had a Wonderbox in years gone by. It was a cardboard box filled with bright or ange cushions.
She would bring a pot of interesting ingredients to the boil and then plac e it in the Wonderbox overnight. This resulted in a delicious, slowcooked meal.
From an early age, this concept fascinated me, so a lit tle while ago, I asked my mother w hether she s till had m y grandmother’s Wonderbox.
Imagine m y disappointment w hen she told me she had only recently given it away.
I w as, ther efore, thankful t o learn about the Wonderbag and made quick work bu ying one.
I was developing a new menu and I knew the W onderbag would make all the diff erence t o the dish. It did, and the wild bo ar and bone marr ow with crispy e sposito P arma ham, g ourmet Greek yoghurt, guinea f owl purée and breast, was a great success among the restaurant p atrons.
I paired the meal with Grand Vin de Glenelly 200 7.
By the way, I have started water pairing with m y dishes. We all kno w that wine can t ake a dish fr om being g ood to great, but interestingly, water can do the same.
This c olumn is int ended t o e xcite readers about the diversity and wonders of the W onderbag.
You should all be using this cooking method. It is a lo gical alt ernative in these time s w hen po wer f ailures ar e common and mone y is tight, and there’s no need t o be c ontinuously checking on w hat’s bubbling .
Bring y our ingr edients t o the boil, add thickening and go out for the day. You’ll r eturn t o a w holesome homecooked dish.
I suggest chunky vegetable soup with meaty bones, just as gr andma used t o make it. I c ould eat soup — only the homemade variety — for every meal of the day. It is my very favourite dish, but it must be with onl y the be st ingredients. It’s probably one of the most economical meals available, with vitamins and nutrient s all in one bo wl.
I’m enjoying being b ack in the HiltonPietermaritzburg area. Friends and Visit www .jackiecameron.co.za t o find out mor e about her w omen’s chef r ange, Jackie Camer on Cook s at Home , and her f oodie adv entures.
Contact her at jackie@jackie cameron.co.za f or mor e inf ormation on the Jackie Cameron School of F ood and Wine .
For local foodie news, add her as a friend on F acebook, find her on Twitter @jackie_c ameron and Instagram — jackiec ameronincolour
Recipe de velopment and f ood styling: Marl e Behm.
All pho tos b y K aren E dwards Photography at 082 441 7429 or email k email@example.com acquaintances have welcomed me with overwhelming enthusiasm.
It w as p articularly heartw arming when I walked into the local pharmacy and everyone in the shop welcomed me “home”.
It is gestures like this that make me realise what a special plac e we li ve in — and I am truly excited about all that we can achie ve her e.
Last week I discovered The Knoll — a venue where musicians get together and showcase their talent, talent with a capital T. It’s just past the Hilton police station, in the dir ection of S weetwaters.
This chilled, laidb ack environment is unique and an yone who appreciates music should find out mor e.
Something that w ould ha ve g one down perfectly on a chilly Hilton evening would have been a glas s or t wo of gluwein. Bring this ar omatic liquid t o the boil and then plac e it in the Wonderbag where the intensity required will develop.
Ricotta … if you make it onc e you’ll never buy it again. Remember that the Wonderbag can be used as a “holding cell”. In this instance, bring the milk to the boil and add lemon juice. This, left in the Wonderbag, results in the creamiest of cr eamy ric ottas.
The W onderbag can be used as a warming oven or e ven as an eff ective cool b ag.
When I think W onderbag I think stewing — with its long and slow cooking pr ocesses — curries, st ews, o xtail, tongue and a dish I ha ven’t had in a while is a coq au vin. Leaving the cooking process to take place overnight results in a lipsmacking t ender chicken.
Vegetable hotpot is for the vegetarians among us and for those wanting a lighter dish or a side option. U se any inseason fr esh v egetables.
Now for dessert. I suggest a traditional s teamed pudding oo zing choc olate and gooeyness. This is a mus t for the entire f amily.
For details on the Wonderbag email Trevor at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him at 083 555 0178. You’ll find him v ery helpful.
Here is to adding a new technique to your table. It will gi ve you more time to spend with y our family and friends out of the kit chen.
Enjoy e xperimenting.
Jackie Camer on … ‘ enjoying being b ack in the Hil tonPietermaritzburg ar ea. F riends and ac quaintances ha ve w elcomed me with enth usiasm’.