One of the best nights out I had last year was an interactive cooking session at Ginger and Lime Food Studio. Located in upmarket Fresnaye, Cape Town, it’s the brainchild of chef Denise Levy and offers a great variety of classes for beginners and old hands alike.
The sessions are a wonderful way to have fun with a group of friends, and include your dinner and wines from partnering local wine estates. Go hungry! You’ll be fed as you go along preparing each course, and there’s plenty of food to go around. Each dish is paired with a wine from the partnering wine estate, with a representative from the winery at hand to give tasting notes. Our session was accompanied by a range of Windfall Estate wines and MCC.
Denise is devoted to her food studio and genuinely loves to share her knowledge and passion. A brilliant storyteller with natural warmth and grace, she immediately strikes a rapport with her guests which makes everyone relax and feel at home. Surprisingly, there was absolutely zero tension in the room – in fact, our class got quite raucous, perhaps because we were all in festive mood just before Christmas! Generous pours of Windfall white and red estate wines no doubt added to the merriment.
Denise and her two assistant chefs demonstrate the dishes, explaining the ingredients and methods used before guests get to join in.
You will be assisted if you need help, but rest assured the recipes are all entirely do-able and you work at a relaxed pace.
We cooked a Fab Festive Food Menu and the glazed ham sizzling in the oven makes my mouth water just thinking about it, even today!
Fresh linefish tagliata served on rocket with smokey roast tomatoes (Windfall Sauvignon blanc and Chenin blanc)
Shredded ginger-glazed gammon with pineapple rice paper rolls (Windfall Shiraz)
Spanish shellfish rice (Windfall Sauvignon blanc and Chenin blanc)
Green wedge salad with lemony mustard dressing (Windfall Sauvignon blanc and Chenin blanc)
Mince pie ice cream, fresh berries and brandy butter sauce (The Hunter poststill brandy)
SMOKED SALMON AND DILL PATE SERVED ON MELBA TOAST
100g smoked salmon or salmon trout
250 g cream cheese
1 clove garlic
1/2 grated onion
1 lemon juiced, plus grated zest
pinch cayenne pepper
3 T Hellmans or Japanese mayo
2 T fresh dill, chopped finely
Blend all ingredients together in your food processor until it’s the texture you desire. Spoon into a small dish to fill to the top, cover with cling film and refrigerate until needed. Will last in fridge up to 3 days. Serve with melba toast.
STICKY CHICKEN WINGS
3-4 chicken wings per person
1 T (15ml) ground cumin
½ tsp (2,5ml) ground cayenne pepper
1 T (15ml) smoked paprika
½ cup (125ml) white wine vinegar
½ cup (125ml) sugar
2 T (30ml) soy sauce
1 cup (250ml) tomato sauce
1 T (15ml) crushed garlic
Cut the wing tips off and break the wings in two at the joint.
Make small cuts in the skin of the chicken so that the marinade penetrates.
Combine all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Place the wings in the marinade for a minimum of 10 minutes or even overnight.
Preheat oven 180⁰C.
Spread the wings on a baking tray covered with foil.
Bake for 15 minutes and then turn over and bake for a further 15 minutes.
Grill skin-side up until golden and sticky.
TAGLIATA OF LINEFISH
Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley)
You can use any firm white fish or tuna for this dish, ask for the middlecut, not the end tail piece, if possible. This must be sliced into cylindrical long pieces of about 1 inch thickness. Some pieces may be thicker than others, try to get these as even as possible.
Work on 100 – 150g per person portion size.
Make a marinade of:
1/2 cup (125ml) of olive oil (depending on amount of fish being cooked)
8 cloves of garlic, chopped up roughly
Finely shredded (julienne) rind of one lemon
rosemary, thyme and parsley (or herbs of your choice)
black peppercorns, whole and cushed
Put the marinade ingredients into a large ziplock bag, add fish and massage well. Leave in a cool place to marinate for no longer than 30 minutes. Do not add salt until you are cooking it as it draws out the moisture from the fish.
Take fish out of the marinade and drain it, removing most of the herbs and spices, so that they don’t burn.
Heat a large heavy-bottomed frying pan to a high heat, add a glug of olive oil and a generous amount of butter. Heat till sizzling hot. Place the fish into the pan, let it cook well turning slowly so the whole outside is seared. Do NOT press down, or shake it. Let it stick a bit. If using tuna, it should not be cooked right through, keep it medium rare.
Do not overcrowd the pan, as the temperature will drop, and then the fish will stew, rather than sear, so rather do it in batches.
Remove the fish from the pan, and place on a board. If necessary add another glug of olive oil/butter then add the baby tomatoes, and cook on a high heat until the skins burst slightly. Squeeze in fresh lemon juice and parsley.
Slice the fish and place onto a bed of rocket.
Season with plenty of Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the tomatoes with their juice over the fish, scatter over chopped fresh parsley and garnish with lemon wedges.
SHREDDED GINGER GAMMON AND GLAZED PINEAPPLE RICE PAPER ROLLS
To make the Gammon:
1 x 5.5 kilograms mild-cure boneless gammon joint
2 litres dry ginger ale
handful of mixed aromatic spices like star anise, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, fresh ginger sliced
1 ½ cups chopped pineapple – save this for later, don’t add to ham now
Place the joint in a large pan on the stove. Pour the dry ginger ale over it, topping up with water so the ham is just about covered with liquid.
Add a handful of aromatic spices like allspice, star anise, cloves, fresh ginger and cinnamon sticks (whole).
Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to keep the joint bubbling gently for 3 1/2 hours. Check that it doesn’t run dry – add more water to keep the gammon submerged.
Towards the end of cooking, preheat the oven to 220°C and start on the glaze.
In a saucepan, add the chunky ginger preserve or orange marmalade and spoon in the hot English mustard. Add the soft, dark brown sugar, Chinese 5-spice and cinnamon, sprinkle in the ground cloves and stir to mix until slightly sticky.
After the ham has had its 31/2 hours (and check that it’s ready by inserting a meat thermometer – it should read 71°), gently lift it out of the pan – no mean feat – and place in a foil-lined roasting tin. Carefully cut away the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the surface, and slap on the glaze and place in the hot oven for 20 minutes. Grill if necessary to crispen the skin.
Transfer to a carving board or metal roasting pan and shred with two forks
Now you’re going to use the pineapple! –>
Save some of the glaze to gently cook the pineapple in. Remove from the heat when slightly softened. Allow to cool.
Making the mixture:
2 cups each of red, white and green cabbage
6 -8 spring onions, julienned finely
Glazed pineapple (above)
1T Toasted sesame seeds
2 carrots, grated
Finely shred the cabbage and toss with all other ingredients
Add in cool/room-temperature, shredded gammon and toss
Making the rice paper rolls:
To begin making the rice paper rolls, fill a deep bowl with 2 parts boiling water and 1 part cold water.
Dip rice paper sheet in water and remove as soon as fingers touch the water. Drain excess water.
Lay softened rice paper sheet on a plate, place the mix in the middle, over mixture and fold.
Place in a tray and cover with damp kitchen towel to keep moist.
The rice paper rolls can be made 2 hours in advance if you wish.
MAKE AHEAD TIP:
About 6 hours before serving, cook the ham for 3 hours only, take the pan off the heat, remove the rind and return the ham to the hot liquid. Set aside in a cool place for about 3 hours. One hour before serving, preheat the oven to 220°C. Put the ham in a shallow, foil-lined roasting tin, cover with a tent of foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Then glaze and return to the oven for 20–30 minutes or until golden and glazed.
FESTIVE MINCE PIE ICE CREAM, TOPPED WITH A BRANDY BUTTER SAUCE AND BERRIES
Take one tub of good bought vanilla ice-cream and let this soften slightly out of the fridge.
Break up one packet of mince pies in smaller pieces. Mix these together, and add in some extra cinnamon.
You could add a glug of sherry or brandy to this, to add to the festive cheer, if no kids partaking!!!
Put this back into the freezer in one of your own dishes (lined first with cling wrap, so that you can get it out easily.)
Christmas pudding or cake: If using the pudding, then warm according to the instructions, and then break this up with your fingers. If using cake, then just break this up.
Brandy Butter Sauce:
Melt 1 cup of butter and stir in 1/2 cup sticky brown sugar over a low heat to dissolve. Add 1/2 cup brandy and 1 cup cream and let it simmer for a while to reduce.
Serve the ice cream with the brandy butter sauce, fresh berries and a sprig of mint.