August 18, 2020

It’s not only about the bottle

Gourmet Guide blog

IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT THE BOTTLE

SOUTH AFRICA is unanimous in its joy that the ban on alcohol has been lifted and that we can support our restaurants again. It’s time to take off your slippers and dine out, safely, but don’t stop cooking!

CHILLI AND LEMON – THE REAL DEAL

Some of my favourite ingredients are olive oil, lemons and chillies. I take great joy in flavouring my own olive oils as many of the infused oils on the market are disappointing in taste. The addition of lemon grass, star anise, sticks of cinnamon with fresh ginger and garlic left to harmonise in a dark bottle provide my dishes with superb layers of taste.

FRESHNESS IN A BOTTLE

Imagine my delight when I discovered that someone is doing this for me…rather than infusing ingredients with their top-quality, award-winning olive oil, local producer RIO LARGO is flavouring their oils with the real thing. They are crafting these local, authentic olive oils in the picturesque Scherpenheuvel Valley. Husband-and-wife team Nick and Brenda Wilkinson have worked hard to win awards all around the world, and their signature packaging is beautiful. Now Nick gathers fresh lemons and fresh olives, and the whole fruits are processed together. Nothing added, nothing taken away. Once that process is over, the same process is repeated with chillies. The result is freshness in a bottle…add to any recipes for an olive oil with that extra kick of lemon or chilli.

I have used them to elevate the flavour of cooked dishes, and simply splashed them on raw and cooked vegetables. Slightly additive they are, and I will rue the day when they are no longer available – only a couple of hundred litres are being produced, making it even more sought-after.

RIO LARGO

Click to read more about RIO LARGO

Click to order online through Olio Design & Co

THE RIVER TO THE SEA

The other bottle that gave me great joy this week was an unlabeled one. It reminded me, like the river runs to the sea, that the perfect end to a day is a glass of wine with a meal made with love. On this day it was a light, fruity Restless River Pinot Noir 2019 paired with flavour-filled, homemade fishcakes.

Happy International Pinot Noir Day – may you savour every sip!

A TASTE OF INDIA

I joined a friend for a cookery demo in her kitchen, presented by chef Riyaz Dosa of Masala Dosa restaurant-fame. He started our session by testing our knowledge of spices whilst we used all our senses to make a list of 13 that are commonly used in Indian dishes. He went on to prepare authentic Chia masala tea, then a coriander chicken, aloo fry (a gorgeous concoction of fried onion and potatoes with heavenly spices) and moong dhal. If you fancy a few Indian dishes being delivered to or demonstrated in your home, contact Riyaz www.masaladosa.co.za.

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