The countries and cultures of the Mediterranean are similar, yet vastly different. You will always see tomatoes, garlic and lemon, yet the spices vary differently from North Africa to the Levantine countries and the siesta states. Portugal, although not actually on the Mediterranean Sea, is often classified as part of the Med due to its history, culture, cuisine and language. The Med climate of the Cape lends itself to recreating some of the pearls of these places.
MEMORIES OF THE MED
With gourmet travel writing being my burning passion, currently I must delve into a kaleidoscope of edible memories to keep this fire ignited. Cooking and sharing are the best way, so last week we gathered some equally passionate foodies in my kitchen to cook, taste, learn and reminisce.
A medley of Mediterranean recipes was shared – savoury blue cheese and walnut panna cotta, we deftly filleted fish to make spicy fishcakes and a creamy fish bake with tahini, served with a fennel and blood-orange salad. A selection of salad dressings was crafted, each cook leaving with a different one. We perfected Portuguese pastéis de nata, enjoyed with a Spring gin cocktail. Along the way we learnt about milks, from coconut to oat, full cream to sour cream, sharing snippets about storage, serving and sharpening knives. How wonderful to once again congregate around a table.
A BEAU FOR THE BESTIES
A birthday lunch for besties was a wonderful way of winding down a working week and celebrating two birthdays. The view of the vineyards sweeping as far as False Bay is the first treat (best seen over the rim of a glass of Champagne) at two-plated Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia. Everything that follows cannot get better, from the linefish sashimi with BBQ Southeast Asian pickle and raw coconut, to the rich, creamy cauliflower risotto. My dish of the day was the coal-seared tuna with smoked cashew nut skordalia, furikake and rye crumb, with the Indian Bhaji of linefish with barbecued corn and miso sabayon coming a close second. Talented chef Ivor Jones and team pull out all the stops with constant bursts of flavour and perfect plating in their ‘tapas for two’ offering.
CHEFS WAREHOUSE…ANOTHER WINNER ON THE WAY
I noticed that chef Braam Beyers was missing in action when visiting Beau Constantia. From 2 November, he will be head chef at Chefs Warehouse Tintswalo Atlantic on Chapman’s Peak Drive, with Jami de Witt as general manager. Owner and CEO of Tintswalo Lodges, Lisa Goosen, and iconic chef Liam Tomlin both have the recipe for success, and this spectacular seaside setting is sure to receive wide acclaim from locals and visitors alike. The heavenly oceanside setting will be given the ‘Chefs Warehouse’ look-and-feel. Here the lunch and dinner ‘tapas for two’ offering will be R1500, small plates to be shared and savoured, in four waves. Good luck to Liam, Lisa, Braam, Jami and team.