Do­ing it dif­fer­ently

Cre­at­ing uniquely KZN dishes while sup­port­ing l ocal pro­duce and cook­ing meth­ods is the way

Weekend Witness - - Money - JACKIE C AMERON

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 arene@bun­dunet.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 trevor.lan­g­ley@icloud.com 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.

PHOTO: KAREN ED­WARDS PHO­TOG­RA­PHY

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’.

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