The Art of Eating Cookbook, a Christmas gift far from the madding crowd

Unlike the plethora of cookbooks released for the festive season the Art of Eating’s essential recipes from the first 25 years is not a coffee table tome.  It doesn’t even carry pictures – usually a prerequisite to a commercially successful cookbook or recipe website.  This is hardly surprising for Edward Behr’s magazine by the same name carries no advertising (it interrupts the read) though does carry several select photographs.  Funded purely from subscriptions this also allows the magazine, once a newsletter, to be independent. Read the rest of this entry »


Blackjack Bredie, one’s man’s weed is another’s meal

For the sake of accuracy I’m not sure this dish unreservedly qualifies as a bredie.  As I understand it bredie is Cape Malayan Afrikaans for stew, and this is more of a fry-up than a casserole.  But alliteration is the last resort of the creatively challenged: the cheap tart of the writer.  That is unless you were World War I poet Wilfred Owen, whosestuttering rifles rapid rattle” indeed rattled around in our grandfathers’ hearts, even if the silencer was forever on in the souls of these men.  They bore it with stoicism but we will never know how the more expressive Owen might have reflected on the world’s deadliest conflict.  He was shot dead a week before the war ended. Read the rest of this entry »


Massimo’s restaurant in Hout Bay, authentic Italian food beyond gloopy pasta sauce

There has been a lot of talk of salsiccia of late.  This after a globe-trotting friend bought a house in Sea Point dubbed Casa Salsiccia, also known in her taal as the Worshuisie, for its narrow-long Victorian-style design.  Problem is I don’t confidently recall having tried this Italian sausage.  When Massimo of Hout Bay started tweeting about this wurst and his intention to re-open a restaurant there my nostrils flared in a manner more epicurean than equine.  Problem is the launch kept being delayed, creating a credibility crisis. Read the rest of this entry »


Spend R120 on a steak at Spur or six courses at La Mouette Restaurant in Sea Point?

Okay that is a lie.  Family discounter Spur Steak Ranch’s most expensive cut, a ‘lazy’ aged 500 gram rump, is R119.95.  Discount fine diner La Mouette offers six courses for five cents more.  All right that is not six full courses but rather a tasting menu.  Nevertheless it is still a daunting offer by independent chef Henry Vigar.  Can the Sea Point Seagull pull it off against the economies of scale of the Spur group? Read the rest of this entry »


Haughty Hiking Cuisine: the lads try supping from a Giants Cup in the Drakensberg

This piece all started when I read about farro for the first time.  WTF is farro?  Farro is just uncrushed wheat, which is really just a variety of grass seed you can use to bake bread.  Even eland, which are really just wild cows, graze on a form of this high falutin’ nosh in the Drakensberg every season.  They just don’t pay US $2 500 (excluding airfare) to learn how to do it every summer with Nancy Harmon Jenkins in Tuscany. Read the rest of this entry »


Bacalhau bounces back with an unlikely victory at Sótano Restaurant in Mouille Point

After the brackish bacalhau at Toni’s it is time to check if a non-Portuguese restaurant can desalinate this dried cod.  The restaurant is Sótano.  At first glance a curious choice for this challenging Portuguese speciality, but then Sótano is a generalist Mediterranean café currently offering country specific specials from the lands of the olive.  (Contact them to check what the current regional special is.) Read the rest of this entry »


Simon Kuper have you ever eaten a scratching hen? A response to Kuper’s attack on peasant food as an expensive but futile fashion fad about to fizzle out.

Simon Kuper wrote a thought-provoking piece in the FT Weekend arguing that “peasant food has become an educated middle-class status marker”.  While he doesn’t directly say peasant food is more expensive than the rest, it is implicit in his argument about pantry posers.  Yet every nose-to-tail, KFC-bashing, raw foodie should swallow their organic pride and read it here. Read the rest of this entry »


Toni’s restaurant: “Oh salty sea, how much of your salt is tears from Portugal”

Bacalhau, Portugal’s national dish, was once a staple protein.  Like prosciutto ham or our own biltong this cured cod also came about hundreds of years before the invention of the refrigerator in 1915.  Unusually for a national dish the fish isn’t even found anywhere near sunny Portugal. Read the rest of this entry »


Eating in Kalk Bay, a Postcard from the Edge and fixing ceviche

Quaint and neighbourly but by turns weathered and over-familiar.  Nothing wrong there.  Simply the reality of a village wedged between mountain and sea.  Looking out from the old fishermen’s quarter the stifling feeling is heightened minutes before the sun rises over the now orange-silhouetted Hottentots Holland Mountains across False Bay.  The smarter houses to the immediate left on the Kalk Bay Mountain are still cloaked in darkness against the night sky.  Then suddenly the sun bursts out, bathing them in light.  A silver sea in between. Read the rest of this entry »


A Skinny Legs café in town, Beefy Boys stick to the Burbs

I had presumed the launch of this “luxury café” was a move to draw more customers into the contemporary art gallery here.  Selling the works of dead painters such as Pierneef and Irma Stern has become a good business, barely affected by the recession but the promising market in South Africa for living artists is still tough. Read the rest of this entry »