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Grilled harders with smoked paprika butter

15 Jan

Scored whole harders, brushed with smoked paprika butter and braaied over hot coals. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

My father is a fisherman. He retired from a corporate job 12 years ago, relocating to Keurboomstrand and fishing as often as he likes. Not only is he a good fisherman, he is a cunning hunter who knows the sea and its currents, the shifting beaches and the favourable winds, the lesser traveled trails and the unforgiving rocky coastal territory. He is a fisherman in heart and soul.

When I was young, I went fishing with my father and brothers often. I caught small fish like “strepies”, galjoen and harders. One of my favourite early food memories is of my dad helping me to pan-fry a whole small galjoen at our camping site one December – one that I had caught myself. Bliss.

This year, I want to eat more fresh fish. Sustainably caught fish are at the top of my list. Although harders are on SASSI’s orange list because of damaging huge drag nets, smaller batches are being hand-caught by many fishermen and you can buy them fresh from various fish shops and harbours.

For this shoot, I had my very first opportunity to scale, gill and gut fresh harders from scratch – quite an adventure. It is not difficult at all, so give it a google and try it yourself! But if you’re not in the mood for a mess, ask your friendly fishmonger to take care of it.

I love the idea of plating whole fish instead of neatly filleted little steaks. Just score the skins and brush them with a delicious smoked paprika butter. Braai over medium hot coals until done. Serve with fresh bread or boiled potatoes and a fresh green salad.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 6 fresh harders, gilled & gutted & scaled
  • 125 ml butter, melted
  • 10 ml smoked paprika
  • 5 ml chilli flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • juice of a lemon (plus extra lemon wedges, to serve)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Rinse the harders under running tap water and pat dry.
  2. Use a sharp knife to score the skin on the fillet sides.
  3. Mix the melted butter, paprika, chilli flakes, garlic and lemon juice. Season generously with salt & pepper.
  4. Brush the butter mixture all over the harders, then braai them on a grid over medium-hot coals (turning often) for 8-10 minutes or until just cooked. Baste with the butter often. Don’t overcook.
  5. Serve warm.
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Mini “lobster” rolls

26 Sep

Last week I had the pleasure of making a series of canapés at the launch of Le Creuset‘s new store in Stellenbosch. The first of these canapés were mini “lobster” rolls and they seemed to be a huge hit. I have to admit, I probably ate about 5 rolls in one sitting after this shoot – they are absolutely delicious with the chunky, sweet, cool prawn mixture and the soft, buttery, warm, toasty rolls that are slightly crunchy on the sides.

While original lobster rolls are obviously made with real lobster from the New England region in the USA, these little ones were made with prawn tails, lightly blanched to keep their beautifully firm, almost-crunchy texture. Note: West Coast rock lobsters are currently on SASSI’s red list, and so are Mozambican langoustines, so make sure you choose an option that is sustainable and safe to buy.

There are a few keys to the perfect “lobster” roll:

1) A regular soft hotdog roll should be slightly trimmed on the sides, then fried (on the cut sides) over low heat in butter for perfectly golden and crunchy sides (this mimics the classic lobster roll bun).

2) The roll should be cut and filled down the middle (not horizontally).

3) The meat should be cut into bold chunks, not shredded.

4) The filling should be just coated in mayonnaise, not swimming in it. A creamy mayonnaise like Hellmann’s is preferred.

5) Stick with a classic filling mixture: prawn/lobster meat, mayo, touch of lemon juice, chopped celery, chopped chives, touch of salt & pepper. Extras like sriracha sauce or lettuce are prohibited, according to the puritans.

I’ve added a few paper thin radish shavings, purely for garnish as I think it picks up the pink in the prawn meat beautifully and it doesn’t affect the flavour of the filling. It’s totally optional.

Ingredients: (makes around 36 mini rolls)

  • 800 g good quality frozen prawn tail meat, cleaned and peeled
  • water for boiling
  • 1/3 of a small jar (about 130 g of a 395 g jar) Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • 10-15 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • about 36 cocktail hotdog rolls (about 10 cm long)
  • a small bunch chives, finely chopped
  • a few baby radishes, thinly shaved (optional)

Method:

Thaw the prawn meat by running it under cold water to loosen any thicker ice chunks, then leave it to stand at room temperature until ready (about 1-2 hours). Bring a large pot of water (filled with enough water to cover the prawn tails) to the boil, then drop the prawn tails in it and cover with a lid. When it comes to a boil again, cook for approximately 3-5 minutes or until just cooked, then drain immediately. Rinse briefly under cold water to stop it from cooking further, then drain thoroughly and roughly chop into chunks. Place the chopped meat in a large mixing bowl, then add the mayo, lemon juice and season with salt & pepper. Mix well, then taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (this can be done a day in advance).

To prep the rolls, trim both sides (not ends) of the buns to a flat surface, then cut along the middle (but not right through). Fry the cut sides over low heat in butter until golden, then fill down the middle with the prawn filling. Sprinkle with chopped chives and garnish with a slice of radish. Serve at once.

Note: The rolls will feel very soft when they come from the pan – they will crisp up on standing, it only takes about a minute or two.

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Fresh salmon-trout burger with dill mayo

5 Sep

Pan-fried salmon-trout burgers made from fresh, cubed fish fillets, topped with a creamy mayo mix and fresh coriander. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

I had the pleasure of developing a burger recipe for the Hellmann’s #rockyourburger campaign last year via The Pretty Blog. I realized today that I haven’t posted it here, and with such a delicious recipe it simply has to be featured.

Seeing that all the classic burgers have been done over again, I decided to give a new twist to a less common yet luxurious favourite: a hand-chopped salmon trout burger made from fresh, raw fish (not cooked, like most other fish patties), pan-fried to pink perfection and served with a sharp and creamy Hellman’s dill mayonnaise.

My salmon trout burger is, surprisingly, eggless and contains very little bread crumbs – just enough to get the right texture. For a binding agent, I’ve pulsed a small piece of fresh salmon-trout with some Dijon mustard and mixed it into the fish cubes along with fresh ginger, chopped coriander and grated lemon rind. The result is a textural fish patty with phenomenal flavour that holds shape, but also with the added ability to slightly undercook the centre, which is just what you want with beautiful fresh salmon-trout.

The dill mayo is perfect with the burger, but also great with some crisp, oven roasted potato chips. Layer your burger with shredded red lettuce and more fresh coriander to taste. Fish burgers don’t get better than this.

Note: Salmon trout is a common term given to describe freshwater or seawater trout that resembles salmon. Trout and salmon are from the same family, and therefor can be easily substituted for one another. Choose sustainably farmed local rainbow trout for this recipe above imported salmon.

Chopped trout, Dijon mustard, black sesame seeds and grated ginger all form part of the burger patties. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

This is what the patties look like before they get fried. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

Ingredients for the patties: (serves 4)

  • 600 g fresh salmon trout fillets, skinless and boneless
  • 15 ml Dijon mustard
  • 15 ml fresh ginger, finely grated
  • rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 15 ml black or white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
  • a handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 30 ml olive oil, for frying
  1. Place about 1/5 of the fish in a food processor with the mustard and pulse to a smooth pulp.
  2. Use a sharp knife, cut the remaining fish into small cubes of maximum 1 x 1cm in size.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add the diced fish, fish pulp, ginger, lemon rind, sesame, bread crumbs and coriander with a generous amount of salt & pepper. Mix well (clean hands work well).
  4. Divide the patty mixture into four, then shape with your hands into discs.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan, then fry the patties on both sides until golden brown on the outside. Do not overcook.

For the dill mayo:

  • 1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • juice of half a lemon (use the lemon that you’ve already used for the rind)
  • a handful of fresh dill, finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.

Assembling the burgers:

  • 4 large sesame burger buns, cut horizontally, buttered and toasted
  • a small bag of red lettuce, shredded
  • 4 salmon trout patties, cooked (see above)
  • 1 batch dill mayonnaise (see above)
  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • cooked potato chips, for serving (optional)

Place some shredded lettuce on the bottom half of each bun, then top with the patties and a generous dollop of dill mayo. End with more coriander and the top half of the bun. Serve immediately.

Assembling the burgers with pan-fried patties, coriander mayo, toasted sesame buns, fresh coriander and shredded red salad leaves. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

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Bouillabaisse

23 Aug

Steamy bowls of bouillabaisse made with black mussels, yellow tail and prawns. Serve with rouille and croutons.

 

Our friends at Le Creuset South Africa  just launched a brand new colour: Ocean. It’s a beautiful graded teal, perfect for flavoursome fish dishes from the deep.

To celebrate this stunning new colour, I’ve collaborated with the team from Le Creuset in creating a new seafood recipe for them (cooking in a 26cm Ocean-coloured casserole) along with a short cooking video. Bouillabaisse certainly is the king of French-style seafood stews, and it was such a pleasure to cook with all the various fresh ingredients in creating this classic, brothy, saffron-induced dish.

Although bouillabaisse has its roots in humble beginnings as a poor fisherman’s dinner using whatever didn’t sell at the market that day, this French classic takes a little time and effort to prepare: the flavours can only be as good as the love and patience that you put into making a great stock, and your choices of fresh seafood that is cooked to tender perfection. So plan ahead, visit your closest seafood specialist shop, make a proper stock and rouille, and you will be richly rewarded. What an excellent way of entertaining guests at your next dinner party!

Shop the Le Creuset Ocean range online.

Watch how to make Le Creuset’s bouillabaisse:

An inviting casserole of bouillabaisse, in Le Creuset’s new colour: Ocean.

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Rainbow poke bowl

29 May

So fresh, colourful and easy: my rainbow poke bowl. (Photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Poke bowls haave been getting a lot of attention in South Africa these days – two years after gaining popularity in the States and elsewhere during 2015. If you have not seen it yet, it’s an age-old traditional Hawaiian seafood dish made up of hot rice (sometimes mixed with sliced seaweed) in a round bowl topped with cubed or sliced raw fish (sometimes marinated), vegetables like avocado or spring onion and a dressing of soy sauce. Poke (pronounced POH-keh) means “cut up” and the end-result is only as good as the freshness and quality of the ingredients.

This simple concept wins my vote hands down. You might know that I’m not a salad person, but I absolutely adore the fresh flavours that usually come with Japanese and Vietnamese recipes. Although this dish is traditionally Hawaiian, the ingredients are astonishingly similar to Japanese sushi and Vietnamese rice paper spring rolls. Popular toppings are tuna, salmon and octopus, but vegetarian options also include tofu and kimchi. New world twists include substitutions like quinoa or freekeh for the base, and tomato, beans, sriracha and mayo on top.

This was my first attempt at a poke bowl. I call it “rainbow”, because the colours are just too beautiful: coralicious salmon, pale green avo, pink pickled ginger, purple cabbage, bright orange carrot, green and purple spring onion, grassy green coriander, ivory sprouts and a fabulous tropical summer ingredient: yellow mango. My base is basmati, although sushi rice will work even better. I mixed finely sliced blackish nori sheets and some rice vinegar into my cooked rice for some added zing and lots of umami.

This dish is stunning in every sense: visually beautiful, delightfully textural and a taste explosion. It is a fantastic choice as a pack-in lunch or outdoor picnic. I look forward to exploring many more combinations this year.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 1,5 cups rice (sushi, jasmine or basmati)
  • 15 ml rice vinegar
  • 1-2 cups finely sliced dried seaweed/nori sheets
  • about 320-400 g fresh salmon, skinless and boneless, sliced/cubed
  • 1 large avo, sliced/cubed
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup mango, peeled & diced
  • 1 bunch spring onion, finely sliced
  • 4 tablespoons pickled ginger, sliced
  • a handful sprouts
  • a handful fresh coriander, chopped (optional)
  • a sprinkle of sesame seeds
  • soy sauce, for dressing

Method:

  1. Cook your rice according to the manufacturer’s ingredients using salted water. When cooked and drained, add the vinegar and sliced nori and stir well.
  2. Fill your bowls half-full with the hot rice mixture. Top with salmon, avo, cabbage, carrot, mango, spring onion, sprouts and coriander in neat sections. Sprinkle the salmon with sesame seeds, then add soy sauce to taste. Serve immediately.

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Spicy atchar mussels with garlic & white wine

16 Sep

Spicy black Saldanha Bay mussels with garlic, paprika, and white wine.

Spicy black Saldanha Bay mussels with garlic, paprika, and white wine.

My friends at Peppadew invited me to participate in a recipe challenge using their brand new #AwesomeAtchar product range. Seeing that this is Heritage Month, it is such a pleasure to explore the possibilities of cooking with this fantastic Indian-inspired ingredient.

My recipe is a very simple yet mouthwatering starter with big flavour and little effort: spicy Saldanha Bay mussels cooked with Peppadew Hot Vegetable Atchar, garlic, paprika and dry white wine, scattered with your choice of chopped parsley or coriander leaves.

The dish can be made from start to finish in 15 minutes. Serve with crusty bread and you have an instant feast!

PS: If you don’t like cooking with wine, substitute with a good quality chicken/vegetable stock and a squirt of fresh lemon juice.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 200 g (half a jar) Peppadew Hot Vegetable Atchar (of Hot Mango Atchar)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) ground paprika
  • about 1 kg fresh black mussels, scrubbed and cleaned
  • 375 ml (1/2 bottle) dry white wine
  • a handful of Italian parsley or coriander leaves, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil in a wide casserole/pot with a lid. Add atchar and garlic and fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes until it starts to brown.
  2. Add the paprika and stir for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add the white wine and mussels and bring to a boil. Cover with the lid and leave to cook for 5-8 minutes, or until all the mussels have opened.
  4. Remove lid, scatter with parsley/coriander and serve at once in bowls with crusty bread.

Note: Discard any mussels that won’t close while still uncooked. Discard any mussels that won’t open when cooked.)

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Smoked trout terrine

11 Aug

A beautifully laid-back yet elegant starter for your special occasion (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

A beautifully laid-back yet elegant starter for your special occasion (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

There’s just something about a beautiful terrine that looks like it’s time to celebrate. This festive loaf is lined with smoked trout ribbons and filled with a creamy mixture of flaked cooked trout, fresh cream and lots of herbs.

It is not cheap to make, but it will feed a crowd and I promise that they’ll ask you to make it again. I love serving this as an elegant yet laid-back starter with crips melba toasts or crackers and some lemon wedges.

Although this terrine is such a summer stunner, you can make it all year round – all the ingredients should be available in a good supermarket. If you prefer a smoky flavour, use hot smoked trout for the filling (if you’re a progressive cook, you might even have the tools to smoke the fish at home!), but for a milder flavour you can opt for poached/steamed/grilled trout.

A slice of pale coral trout terrine and melba toast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

A slice of pale coral trout terrine and melba toast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ingredients: (serves 10-12)

  • 15 ml oil (for brushing inside of terrine tin)
  • 200 g cold smoked trout ribbons
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 20 ml gelatine powder
  • 3 cups deboned flaked trout (cooked or hot smoked, skin and bones removed)
  • juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 250 g plain cream cheese
  • a large handful of chopped herbs (chives, dill, parsley)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 125 ml cream, whipped
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • capers, for topping (optional)
  • pea shoots, for topping (optional)

Method:

  1. Use a pastry brush to oil the inside of a classic terrine dish or a 30 x 11 x 7 cm loaf tin. Line the inside of the tin with plastic wrap – leave the excess to hang over the sides for later.
  2. Use ribbons of cold smoked trout to carefully line the inside of the tin, slightly overlapping to create a continuous effect (leave 2 or 3 for covering the top at the end).
  3. Pour the cold chicken stock in a small sauce pan, then add the gelatine powder and stir to combine. Leave to sponge for 10 minutes, then heat gently on the stove top and stir until the gelatine has dissolved completely – do not boil. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a food processor, add the trout flakes, lemon juice, cream cheese and herbs. Now add the still slightly warm gelatine mixture and process to combine. Season generously with salt & pepper, then mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, then add the whipped cream and gently fold it in until thoroughly mixed. Pour into the trout-lined tin and use a spatula to smooth the top.
  6. Cover the mixture with the remaining trout ribbons, then carefully fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the terrine. Use another sheet of plastic wrap to cover the top of the terrine, then place in the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  7. To serve, remove the top layer of plastic wrap and fold the sides of the wrap open. Turn out onto a serving board, then carefully remove the tin and rest of the plastic wrap. Sprinkle with more chopped herbs or pea shoots and a handful of capers, and serve with a few slices of lemon wedges and your choice of toast or crackers.

Credits:

Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography & styling: Tasha Seccombe

This recipe has been featured on The Pretty Blog.

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Baked fish with harissa

12 Nov

Baked hake with harissa on caulirice (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Baked hake with harissa on caulirice (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

This whole food revolution (banting diet, paleo, whatever you want to call it) hasn’t exactly caught my attention. Maybe it’s because I’m a sugar loving pastry addict, to be honest.

To me, healthy eating involves balance and care when it comes to choosing ingredients. I don’t eat salad all day, but I also don’t cook with over-processed goods. Still, I do admire the fact that butter, cream and bacon fat has become such popular items in househoulds all over the world. Those three have been on my list of favourites for years.

I bought Tim Noakes’s book a few months ago, and to my surprise I was delighted by the content. The recipes were simple, full of flavour and very much the stuff that I love to cook at home. Of course some ingredients were slightly different (like the wheat flour substitutes), but the dishes were beautifully photographed, had great variety and looked delicious.

At The Demo Kitchen people often ask me for low-carb menus, so I was forced to start paying attention. This recipe is inspired by Dr Noaks’s book – fresh hake fillets baked in a spicy tomato sauce that include home-made harissa paste. The harissa keeps for weeks in the fridge and is great on almost anything. I especially also tried his cauli-rice, as so many of my friends love eating it.

This is a great, flavourful dish for anyone – banter or non-banter. Serve with couscous or rice if you don’t like cauliflower.

Harissa paste (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Harissa paste (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ingredients for harissa paste:

  • 40g dried smoked red chillies, soaked in 125 ml boiling water for 10 minutes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 15 ml ground coriander
  • 15 ml ground cumin
  • 15 ml fennel seeds
  • 2,5 ml salt
  • 60 ml olive oil

Method:

In a small food processor bowl, process all the ingredients together to get a slightly chunky paste. Place in a glass jar, cover with a little extra olive oil, then cover and refrigerate until needed. Will keep for at least 2 weeks in the fridge.

Ingredients for spicy tomato sauce:

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 30 ml butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2,5 ml) cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) smoked paprika
  • 2 cans whole tomatoes, diced, or processed to a pulp
  • 2 tablespoons (60 ml) harissa paste
  • rind of a small lemon, finely grated
  • salt & pepper

Method:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and butter, then fry onions over medium heat until soft.
  2. Add garlic and fry for a minute. Now add spices and fry for another minute.
  3. Add tomatoes and harissa paste, then bring to a slow simmer and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add lemon rind and season to taste with salt & pepper. Set aside.

For the baked hake:

  • 1.5 kg white fish fillets, portioned into individual pieces
  • 1 batch spicy tomato sauce (see above)
  • fresh coriander leaves, to serve
  • cauli-rice or cous-cous or rice, to serve (optional)

Method:

  1. Grease or line a large baking tray, then lay the fish portions out without them touching one another. Cover with a generous layer of sauce, then baking at 200 C for 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness and size of the fish. Do not overbake.
  2. Serve hot topped with fresh coriander leaves.
Hake fillets with a spicy tomato sauce, ready to to into the oven (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Hake fillets with a spicy tomato sauce, ready to to into the oven (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronje

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

 

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Sardines and tomato on toast

17 Jun

Portuguese sardines and roasted tomatoes on toasted ciabatta (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Portuguese sardines and roasted tomatoes on toasted ciabatta (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

My father is a very unique guy. At 63 he is one of the fittest and most active people I know – even after his 5-part heart bypass 18 years ago, and a serious back operation in 2012.

We sometimes jokingly refer to my dad as “oom Sunley”, because that’s what the neighbourhood kids used to call him. Everyone knew oom Sunley, because he had (still has) a larger-than-life personality. The older boys of the neighbourhood regularly had their run-ins with my dad when he silenced their rock band practice sessions on Sunday afternoons (in the middle of his precious nap time).

In his younger days, my father was a world champion canoeist and one of the top SA athletes of his era. Later in his life, he competed in the Argus cycle tour, ran the Comrades marathon, and did the Boland 90 hiking challenge – to name a few. He loves extreme physical challenges, and has the tough mind and stamina to match.

After retiring 8 years ago, my parents now live in Keurboomstrand. My father is a keen fisherman and that’s how he loves to spend his time. When I say fishing, I don’t mean parking off on a camping chair with a brandy in hand. He walks up to 8 kilo’s over rugged terrain with all of his heavy gear, stopping halfway to dive out a few kilograms of led sinkers, then catches up to 6 mussel-crackers at a time which he (obviously) carries back home over his shoulders. That doesn’t happen everyday, but it happens more often than anyone would like to believe. If you know oom Sunley, you’ve probably seen him do stuff like this.

The one trait of my father that I cherish most, is his lust for life. He is just filled with passion, excitement and positive energy. It is a quality that very few people possess, and something that I truly aspire to. The other quality that he has, is the intense belief that he installs in others, and specifically installed in me as a child – a belief that I am good enough to do anything, achieve anything, or be anything  that I put my mind to. It has made a tremendous impact on who I am today.

My father loves food, and that’s something that the two of us love to share. He is very interested in my cooking, and cheers me on when I cook for them at their house over the holidays. Like me, he loves cream, butter, sugar and all things decadent. But when he’s on a fishing trip, he prefers the simpler things in life: canned fish, sweetcorn, corned beef and chocolate.

This Father’s day, I wish I could have dished up this recipe for brunch at my parent’s place. It’s a spin on that “end-of-the-month sardines on toast”, using the best bread, the best tomatoes and the best sardines you can find. Unpretentious food like this is very much a representation of my father: an honest man of quality and integrity – not perfect, not too refined, but a great man. And a damn good father.

Special thanks: To Schalk, my  husband, who brought me a stash of these amazing canned fish goods from his recent trip to Portugal. He sure knows how to make his ingredient-obsessed wife happy.

Ingredients for roasted tomatoes: (makes enough for at least 6 slices of toast)

  • 1kg ripe tomatoes
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 15ml light brown sugar

Ingredients for sardines & tomatoes on toast:

  • a few slices of good quality ciabatta or sour dough bread
  • olive oil for brushing
  • roasted tomatoes (see above)
  • good quality canned sardines (1 can will probably serve 2 people, so adjust quantities accordingly)
  • a handful of roughly chopped parsley

Method:

  1. For the roasted tomatoes: Pre-heat oven to 160 C. Grease a baking tray with oil, then half the tomatoes and place cut-side up on the tray. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sugar, then roast for 1 hour at 160 C.
  2. For the toast: brush one side of each slice of bread with oil, then toast in a griddle pan or toasted until golden brown. Remove and serve at once.
  3. To assemble: Place enough tomatoes on each slice of toast to cover the surface, then top with sardines and scatter with parsley. Season with extra salt flakes and pepper if desired, as well as an extra drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil.

Credits:

This post was written especially by Ilse van der Merwe for The Pretty Blog.

Recipe, text and food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from thefoodfox.com

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Bo-Kaap fish curry

10 Mar

My fish curry made with exotic spices from the Bo-Kaap and fresh curry leaves (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Three weeks ago, Schalk and I decided to spend a day of leisure and adventure in Cape Town as part of our 10th wedding anniversary. After a seriously scrumptious breakfast at Jason Bakery in Bree Street, we headed to Atlas Trading in the Bo-Kaap – one of the best and most popular spice shops in South Africa.

The exotic aromas inside Atlas Trading were almost hypnotising. I ended up buying an array of fabulous spices and spice mixes that I usually struggle to find in my local supermarkets (like sumac, Chinese five spice, black sesame seeds, real Cajun spice mix and saffron), as well as a brown bag filled with fresh curry leaves. If you haven’t heard of fresh curry leaves, they are not related to the spice mixture we call “curry powder” but are the leaves of the Indonesian curry tree. They are best used fresh (not dried), and they have to be used pretty much straight away as they don’t keep well.

The next day, we visited my sister and her family at their farm house on Lourensford Estate in Somerset West. Her husband is a trout farmer and a very capable fisherman. He had some yellow tail in his fridge from a recent fishing trip, so we decided to make an experimental fish curry using Gerhard’s fish and the curry leaves we bought from Atlas Trading.

After about 40 minutes, our curry was ready and the house was filled with a beautifully aromatic, almost nutty, exotic smell. The curry leaves added a flavour that was totally unlike anything I’ve ever cooked with before – slightly sweet and extremely fragrant. It’s my new secret weapon for adding an extra dimension to otherwise familiar spices, and I will certainly cook with curry leaves more often.

What a privilege it is to be living in the Cape – filled with so many treasures like Atlas Trading around every corner. It makes me feel like I want to travel more around my own country before exploring other possibilities overseas!

Ingredients:

  • 45 ml vegetable oil (I use canola)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 30-45 ml finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 15 ml mild curry powder (or roasted garam masala)
  • 6-8 cardamom pods, ground with a pestle & mortar and husks removed
  • 10 ml cumin seeds
  • 10 ml ground coriander
  • 5 ml ground turmeric
  • 5 ml crushed chilli flakes (optional)
  • about 10-15 fresh curry leaves
  • 30 ml tomato paste
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • about 1 kg boneless skinless firm white fish (like yellow tail), cut into bite size cubes
  • fresh coriander leaves, to serve
  • cooked basmati rice, to serve

Method:

  1. In a large heavy-based pot over medium heat, add the oil and onion and fry until translucent (not brown). Now add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. Add the curry powder, cardamom, cumin, coriander, turmeric and curry leaves, and fry for a minute. The bottom of the pot will become quite dry.
  3. Add the tomato paste and canned tomatoes with their juice, and stir well. Bring to a boil, then add the coconut cream and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring, then season well with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  5. Now add the fish cubes, stirring gently to cover them in sauce. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5-10 minutes over low heat.
  6. Remove from the heat and serve on basmati rice with fresh coriander leaves.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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