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Friday, March 29, 2013

Pizza, Pizza, ooh lovely Pizza

This is the recipe that got me to the finals of the Global Pizza Challenge earlier this month. I love pizza, as it is a wonderful social food, and it is so easy to make.  Most people make it out to be harder than it really is. This ones inspiration comes from our financial manager here at St Francis Links, I think I made it for him for his birthday a year or two ago, it was a special occasion and he really loved it. It is a marriage of some really good flavours from the creamy gorgonzola, sweet onion marmalade, and the wild scent of truffle oil.
I must admit the finals of the pizza challenge was a lot more intimidating than expected – you stand in front of a crowd of about 100 plus, there are video cameras on you the entire time, and you’re competing with some of the biggest chef names in South Africa - needless to say, I had to have a calming beverage before my slot. In the end though it was fantastic and I definitely will do it again. So here is my pizza recipe.

Difficulty: Easy to Medium
Makes: 2 Medium sized pizza
Prep time: 30 minutes (plus 3 days for the dough to ferment)
Cooking Time: 5 Minutes (in a pizza oven that is around 320˚c) or 15 minutes in a home oven at 220˚c
Pizza Dough
500g Stone ground MN100 flour (white bread or Italian 00 flour)
5g fresh yeast
15g pure salt (preservative and additive free)
300ml water

Pizza Sauce
1 tin whole peeled tomato
10g Fresh oregano
10g crushed garlic
10g Salt
5g Black Pepper
25ml tobasco sauce
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

Pizza Toppings
300g Fillet Steak
2 TBSP black bean paste
4 TBSP Soy Sauce
2 TBSP Honey
1 TBSP Black Pepper crushed
5g fresh garlic

200g Buffalo Mozzarella
200g Dolce Latte Gorgonzola

Rocket Garnish
30g Rocket
10ml White Truffle Oil
3ml Tarragon Vinegar

Onion Marmalade
250g Sliced Red Onions
200ml Dry Red Wine
200g White Sugar
1 Cardomom pod
2 cloves
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
Start with the dough, mix the yeast with the water, mix the salt and the flour, now combine everything and knead until smooth, about 2 minutes, then place in a container at least 2,5 times the size of the dough, cover with a damp tea towel and place in the fridge for 3 days to ferment.
Take out 2 hours before use to come to room temperature.  Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces, be extremely careful to not knock out the air that is in the dough, then with your finger tips gently stretch the dough into shape, it should be quite thin in the middle with about a 1 inch border that is thicker.
This is called a Neapolitan pizza dough, I first ate it at a wonderful pizza restaurant call Buratta in the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town, and fell in love straight away, I think it is the best pizza base to use.
 …now for the pizza sauce, cook out the whole peeled tomatoes for about an hour at a very low heat, this is to remove the excess water from the tomatoes, once you have done that, place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Once you have shaped your pizza base, spread this over it.
….for the filler you will mix all the ingredients together and marinade the fillet for at least 2 hours, then slice the fillet about 5mm thick and arrange over the pizza, the crumble the gorgonzola and tear the mozzarella over the pizza, to make a good layer of cheese.
…take all of your onion marmalade ingredients place in a small pot and simmer until it has reduce down to a syrup and clings to the onions.
….to finish bake the pizza as above, when you take it out and it is still hot arrange the onion marmalade over the top, then mix together the rocket, truffle oil and tarragon vinegar and garnish the pizza with it. Cut and serve.
Bon Appetit!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chicken Tikka Masala

Recipe of the week……….Chicken Tikka Masala

As far as my knowledge goes about Chicken Tikka Masala is that it is known as the national dish of Britain and came about into existence through a gentleman that used to frequent an Indian restaurant and always ate the same chicken Tikka dish but always complained to the chef that it needed a sauce of sorts to go with it as it is dry, so eventually the chef had had enough and went back to the kitchen, put some tomatoes and spices into a pot cooked it up quickly and pour it over the chicken Tikka and the rest is history……

Difficulty: Medium
Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time 2 hours

Chicken Tikka Masala


For marinade:
500ml thick Greek yoghurt
1/2 Cup Chopped Coriander
¼ Cup Chopped Ginger
¼ Cup Crushed Garlic
½ Cup Garam Masala
¼ Cup Crushed Chilli’s or 2 fresh red chilli’s finely chopped with seeds
¼ Cup Lemon Juice
2 kg Chicken Breast Fillet cut into chunks, or chicken thighs (chicken on the bone with skin on to me makes much tastier curry)

For the sauce:
1 Onion finely chopped
2 TBSP crushed Garlic
2 TBSP Ground Cardomom
2 Tins Whole peeled tomatoes
¼ Cup Garam Masala
2 tsp cayenne pepper (if you like it hot add more)
¼ cup brown sugar
500ml cream
Salt to taste
½ cup flaked almonds

blitz the chopped coriander and all other marinade ingredients (except the yoghurt) to a smooth paste in a food processor.
Pour the above mix into a large bowl and add yoghurt. Mix well. Add the chicken and mix well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Allow to marinate overnight.
Preheat your oven to 220˚c. Place the chicken onto a roasting tray and roast until cooked through.

To make the sauce: Heat the oil in a deep pan on a medium heat and add the onion. Cook till soft.
then add the cardamom and the garlic. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add the garam masala, brown sugar, tinned tomatoes, almonds and mix well. Cook for around 1 to 2 hours on a low heat.
Add the grilled Chicken Tikkas (chunks/ pieces) and stir. Cook for 10 minutes.
Add the cream and mix well. Turn off the flame.
Garnish the dish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot naan breads, sambals and chutney.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Beef Carpaccio with Roasted Red Pepper Sorbet, Fresh Figs, Pecan Nuts and Parmesan shavings

Beef Carpaccio with Roasted Red Pepper Sorbet
I don't often go over the top with plating but this dish was a little inspiration that i got from 4 different things, firstly fresh figs which I just got hold of, Beef Carpaccio which I have been making myself and had some in the freezer, a beautiful red pepper sorbet that I had left over from Valentines supper and then finally some good European guests that have been supporting us since we opened, and it was their final night before heading back home, so I decided I will spoil them the a little tantalizing starter.

It is home cured beef carpaccio with fresh figs, white truffle oil, tarragon vinegar, basil oil, endives, mint, basil toasted pecan nuts, chevin goats cheese, Parmesan shavings and balsamic reduction. Here is the recipe for the red pepper sorbet.

500g Red Peppers cut into quarters and seeded
1 small onion roughly chopped
80ml Water
80ml White sugar
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 tots vodka
1 TBSP honey
dash of lemon juice
and a seeded red chilli (optional)
1 cup of ice

I start off by rubbing the peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting them in a pre-heated oven at 220˚c for about 15 minutes until nice and dark, then close them in a bag and leave to sweat for 5 minutes then remove the chard skins.

Heat the white sugar and water and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool down to room temperature, or place it in a ice-bath to bring the temperature down quicker, now place all the remaining ingredients into a food processor and blitz at a high speed whilst slowly adding in the sugar syrup.

Now take the puree'd mixture and place it in the freezer until it sets, then remove it from the freezer blitz in the food processor again until smooth and return back to the freezer and leave overnight to set.

and that's it red pepper sorbet, I find this sorbet goes very nicely with seared tuna steak as well.

The First "Be The Chef Night" at St Francis Links

The Girls in action making big flames in the kitchen!!!!!!
 On the 5 March 2013 I played host to 9 ladies who spent in the evening in my kitchen at St Francis Links, they had come for an evening of wine, food and laughs and I think that got all of which they had come for!!!

The theme was Italian and the girls had to prepare and cook there own supper with my guidence and teachings along the way their menu was the following:

Roasted Butternut, Goats Cheese and blistered Cherry Tomato Ravioli
with pepperonata and parmesan shavings

Fricassee of Rabbit with mushrooms, white truffle oil, onions, garlic, white wine and cream on a bed of gnocchi


They learnt to make saffron pasta dough, how to make ravioli's, pepperonata, fricassee of Rabbit, Gnocchi and tiramisu. 

Although the night was not only about cooking, is was about getting together and having fun (which this group of girls know how to do)

after all the prepping and slogging and slaving, whilst they drank wine (just joking) we all sat down and enjoyed the meal that we had prepared together.

It really turned out to be a great evening and something that I will be doing at least once a month.

The finished Gnocchi

Dan showing the girls how to work a pasta machine (she is Italian)

Taking turns in rolling the pasta dough

Learning to make rabbit stock

Making sure there is enough wine in the system

The stations all set up and ready for the arrival

The welcoming station as the girls arrived.

Fresh Fig Frangipane Tart

Recipe of the week………Fresh Fig Frangipane Tart

I love this time of year when the figs are coming to the end of their season and you can get them dirt cheap, I picked up a punnet of 1kg fresh figs for R22, so I will make jam out of a couple for cheese boards, I have made this beautiful Fig Frangipane Tart as the dessert of the day, and I shall preserve some as fig preserve is amazing, I think I will also do a nice fig salad as a special running over this weekend.

Difficulty: Medium to Hard
Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cooking Time: 40 Minutes

Short Crust Pastry
500g Cake Flour
400g butter cubed and frozen for about 1hour
1tsp white sugar
1 tsp fine salt
½ cup ice cold water

Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and then add the butter and until mixture resembles bread crumbs, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 TBSP at a time, mixing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough.

Remove dough from the food processor and place in a mound on a clean surface.  Work the dough just enough to form the disks, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.

Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make the rolling out a bit easier.

Take you short crust roll it out and line your 24cm tart tin, poke a couple of hole in the bottom of the pastry with a fork and then blind bake it at 180˚c for 15 minutes.

Frangipane Filling
125g Butter
125g Caster Sugar
2 Whole Eggs
1 Egg yolk
1 TBSP Almond Liqueur (optional)
Zest of 1 lemon
120g Ground up Almonds (just buy flakes and blitz them in the food processor until fine)
40g Cake Flour
10 Rip Fresh Figs

Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time only adding another one in when the previous one has incorporated totally. Add the almond liqueur and lemon zest if using. Now fold in the ground almonds and cake flour until incorporated, be gentle so that you don’t knock out all the air.

Spread this mixture on the ready baked short crust base until it reaches ¾ the way up the sides, cut the figs in half and arrange them in the paste with the cut side facing up.

Bake in the oven at 160˚c for about 30 minutes. Take out and let cool slightly cut and serve with some mascarpone mixed with some fresh mint or even some crème Fraisch or just whipped cream.

Bon Apeptite