April 9, 2021

From hook to home cooks and chefs

ABALOBI - a fish with a story

FROM HOOK TO HOME COOKS AND CHEFS

What a joy it is to order fresh fish from ABALOBI, a South African social enterprise connecting small scale fisheries directly to the end consumer, via innovative technology. Simply download the app, check out what is fresh on the day in their marketplace, and follow your fish from the hook until it arrives at your door, in ice. You will be able to see the smiling face and name of the fisher who carefully caught your fish. Best to cook on the day of delivery – it cannot get fresher than this! Ordered whilst I was devouring my breakfast, and landed by lunchtime. Payment on the app was seamless. Premium quality fish needs little intervention – here is my easy recipe.

OVEN-BAKED CAPE BREAM

Cape bream is similar to sea bass. Bream is a freshwater and marine fish. It’s narrow and deep-bodied. When you begin to devour it, it’s ideal to scrape all the flesh off the bone on each side to avoid the bones – but watch out for the small, feisty ones.

INGREDIENTS

3 small Cape bream, cleaned and scaled

50ml chilli olive oil

three lemons

3 cloves garlic, sliced

3 fronds fennel

salt and pepper

50ml capers

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200°.
  2. Place the fish on a large piece of greaseproof paper.
  3. Score each fish three times, and drizzle with chilli oil.
  4. Slice the lemons and put one slice inside the fish, the others on top.
  5. Scatter the garlic over the fish, and top with fennel and seasoning.
  6. Close the greaseproof paper and place the parcel on a baking tray.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Open the parcel, and top with the capers.
  9. Serve with a homemade tartare sauce.

SERVES 3

Tip: If you have a fish that needs filleting, ABALOBI’S website – www.fishwithastory.org – has a myriad of videos and recipes, including videos on how to easily fillet a fish.

TARTAR SAUCE

INGREDIENTS

1 egg

2 anchovy fillets

1 clove garlic, peeled

15 ml cider vinegar

1t wholegrain mustard

12 capers

1 red onion, finely chopped

10 g parsley, chopped

METHOD

  1. Place egg, anchovies, garlic, vinegar and mustard in a small jug.
  2. Blend quickly.
  3. Add capers, onion and parsley.
  4. Refrigerate until needed.
ABALOBI app

FROM HOOK TO RESTAURANT

One of the ardent supporters of ABALOBI is Foxcroft in Constantia, Cape Town. It seemed to be the perfect choice to share a belated birthday meal with my twin, Wendy. We were born in neighbouring labour wards, only five minutes apart, met at junior school, and again when studying Food Technology. Wendy too went onto immerse herself in the world of food, with an innate appreciation of flavours and vast knowledge of fish and seafood. Whilst I waited for her to arrive I had a quick catch-up with talented chef, Glen Foxcroft Williams. Our waitress, also a Wendy, allowed us to share and enjoy the three-course meal, which was perfect for working women posing as ladies who lunch! She assured us, (a) that a carafe of Chenin Blanc would not be detected by colleagues that afternoon, and (b) that the market fish crudo with a Malay dressing, naartjie kosho, avo and crispy poppadum ‘twigs’ was the catch of the day from ABALOBI. Always good to be supporting two worthwhile purveyors of good, ethical produce. It was delicious. The farm tomatoes with pickled peppers, white anchovy and salsa verde scored highly too. The young turnips with roasted sesame cream and bonito (lucky we love all things fishy) and the Dorper lamb with BBQ aubergine, were deeply layered in flavour. The main courses of steamed line fish for me, with cashew, charred corn veloute and veg, and the Oak Valley pork neck for my twin, with butternut, kimchi, himo togarashi and Szechuan cream, were exquisite in presentation and taste.

When we protested at the thought of the desserts, as delectable as they sounded, we were brought something sweet, tiny meringues, with our perfectly-palatable bill. A great experience all round. A return visit for their very popular breakfasts, is next on the cards. Or maybe Foxcroft at Home.

DID YOU KNOW?

Every day I aspire to learn something new, and to do a good deed…I’m telling a fishy tale today, but did you know that Dorper is a South African breed of domestic sheep? The SA Department of Agriculture bred this meat sheep suitable for arid conditions by crossing Dorset Horn and the Blackhead Persian sheep.

foxcroft Cape Town

BOOKS FOR COOKS

I recently acquired a few milk crates of my mother-in-law’s much-loved recipe books. Currently convalescing from a foot op, I have had immense joy from paging through many of these books. The only frustration is that I cannot get up and cook! Oh well, armchair feasting it will be. As most of us are not able to travel, this is one good way of getting a taste of flavours from all over the world. Grateful for my many years of experiencing diverse destinations, there is one that remains at the top of my ’to-do’ list – Scandinavia. When, I cannot imagine…

My book of choice this week from down under, the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook, by Roberta Muir, published by Penguin.  Australians love finfish and shellfish and are spoilt for choice. Top chefs have shared their recipes for soups, salads, party food, quick meals, special occasion dishes, sauces and sides, all accompanied by eye-catching, mouth-watering photographs. I loved the practical aspects – choosing, storing and preparing fish (how to skin, fillet, butterfly etc).

Sydney seafood school - Gourmet Guide book review
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