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Salt of the earth

Salt of the earth
Margot Janse uses a procession of uniquely African ingredients in The Tasting Room, from baobab to buchu. The most simple of all ingredients, salt, is no different.
Sourced from a mineral hot spring in the Lowveld known as Baleni it’s one of the last places in Southern Africa where non-mechanised salt production still takes places.
Every winter groups of local women hand-harvest small amounts for their own use as well as to supplement their income
The process is deeply rooted in the metaphysical, spurred on by the warm water, rising bubbles and sulphurous smell of the swamp. A spirit medium determines the day on which salt production will start. Then, salt-makers place offerings and libations at the foot of a dead leadwood tree on the edge of the swamp into which the spring flows.

Chef Margot Janse uses a procession of uniquely African ingredients in The Tasting Room, from baobab to buchu. The most simple of all ingredients, salt, is no different.

Sourced from a mineral hot spring in the Lowveld known as Baleni it’s one of the last places in Southern Africa where non-mechanised salt production still takes places. Every winter groups of local women hand-harvest small amounts for their own use as well as to supplement their income.

salt

The process is deeply rooted in the metaphysical, spurred on by the warm water, rising bubbles and sulphurous smell of the swamp. A spirit medium determines the day on which salt production will start. Then, salt-makers place offerings and libations at the foot of a dead leadwood tree on the edge of the swamp into which the spring flows.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Food, Ingredients, Margot Janse, The Tasting Room,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Margot Janse is Red Hot!

The Dutch edition of Red Magzine has shortlisted Margot Janse in the food category for Red’s Hot Women Awards. Given to women who are inspiring, successful and ambitious – sounds like our Margot!

To vote go to this link: www.red.nl / reds-hot-women. Then simply scroll down to the food category, click on Margot and vote.

margot_janse_6

Be warned the page is in Dutch, but it’s super easy to navigate, also your browser should give you the option to translate into English.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Awards, Margot Janse,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Cooking with nettle

nettle

Interesting ingredients take the sting out of everyday cooking, we asked Margot Janse about cooking with nettle.

What does nettle taste like?
Nettle is earthy and fresh at the same time. As soon as heat is applied the sting dissipates. When cooked it turns into a very soft purée that is delicious combined with Jerusalem artichokes; they come into season at the same time so it’s meant to be!

What dishes do you use it in?
It’s often used to make soup, but it’s also great paired with root vegetables like parsnips and celeriac bulb. I love it mixed with Parmesan in potato gnocchi, and in Holland it’s often used to flavour cheese. 

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Ingredients, Margot Janse,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Chefs to follow on Twitter

Twitter Chef

There’s a saying in the Twittersphere  ’don’t tweet what you eat’, but in the case of these chefs we’d rather they did. Locally some of our top chefs are on twitter, follow them here.

Margot Janse
The Tasting Room & The Common Room
Peter Tempelhoff
The Greenhouse
Bertus Basson
Overture
Luke Dale-Roberts
The Test Kitchen & The Pot Luck Club
David Higgs
Saxon Hotel and Spa
Tanja Kruger
Majeka House
Matthew Gordon
Laborie 

Top international chefs to follow:
Rene Redzepi
Noma
Anthony Bourdain
No Reservations (among many other things)
Raymond Blanc
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Heston Blumenthal
The Fat Duck
Gordon Ramsay
* what doesn’t he do…*
Massimo Bottura
Osteria Francescana

Please comment below if you think we should add a chef to either list.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Chefs, Le Quartier Français, Margot Janse, Tasting Room, twitter,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Baby goat and bacon crumble

bacon crumble

Here’s one of the dishes on The Common Room menu; the baby goat and bacon crumble…warm, moreish and designed to share.  Looks delicious yes? The restaurant specialises in small plates packed with big tastes, and are mean’t to be shared-the fun way to eat.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Le Quartier Français, Margot Janse, The Common Room,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Taking It Easy

‘A rare and intimate glimpse into the kitchens and dining rooms of South Africa’s best-loved chefs and foodies.’

Taking it Easy jacket

Margot was one of the 20 chefs featured in the cookbook, and author Andy Fenner, also known as Jamie Who, sat with her and her family at a table on their back stoep. Family and friends tucked into a mouth-watering crayfish braai, plus many other delicious accompaniments (which we’ll keep a secret for the book).

Published by Sunbird Publishers the book is available for R295.00

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Cookbooks, Le Quartier Français, Margot Janse, recipes,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Beetroot sponge, spinach & onion puree, buttermilk labne, dill & cucumber granita

Beetroot sponge, spinach and onion puree, buttermilk labne,
dill and cucumber granita
Beetroot sponge:
• 50ml Beetroot Juice
• Pinch of salt
• ½ gelatine leaf
• Salt
Take 1 flexi pan half sphere mould (600 x 400 mm / 400 x 300 mm)
Place the gelatine in a small bowl with ice water and set aside.
Place the beetroot juice and salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatine leaf.
Place a fine strainer over a medium mixing bowl and strain the beetroot juice
Take a medium bowl and fill with ice, poor the beetroot mixture into a slightly smaller bowl and
place it on to the ice.
Whisk the beetroot mixture continuously until it is aerated and cold. The gelatin will have set it.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe into flexi pan half sphere mould. (spray with ‘Spray
and Cook’ first) Scrape all excees off, using a spatula – so the tops of the half sheres are flat.
Refrigerate.
Beetroot crumbs
Panko crumbs
• 50gr
Beetroot juice in spray bottle
• 20 ml
Preheat oven to 80C
Spread the crumbs in a thin layer on an oven tray and spray with the beetroot juice, making sure
all the crumbs are pink, but not soaked. Dry out in the oven for 30 minutes.
Buchu powder
• 200gr fresh buchu, leaves picked off the stems
Leave the buchu to dry and blend until very fine using a spice grinder.
Buttermilk labne:
• 500 ml Buttermilk
• 40cmx40cm piece of muslin cloth
Hang the buttermilk overnight in the muslin cloth.
Once drained, discard the extra whey and place the buttermilk in a small piping bag.
Spinach and onion puree:
• ½ Onion, thinly sliced
Single cream
• 125ml
100gr
Baby spinach
Unsalted butter
• 10gr
-for onion puree
Warm up a medium pan, add the butter and sliced onions and sweat until soft without getting any
colour on the onions. Season with salt. Add the cream, and reduce over high heat for 5 minutes.
- For spinach puree
Boil a pot of water add some salt.
Blanch the spinach in the boiling water for 1 min
Remove the spinach with a large slotted spoon, drain and place directly into a blender jug.
Blend until very smooth, add the creamed onions and blend again.
Pass through a tamis.
Cucumber and dill granita:
• 150gr Cucumber, diced
• 10gr Dill, stems removed
• 5gr White wine vinegar
• 2gr Salt
• 1gr Xanthan gum
Blend all the ingredients in bar blender and pass through a fine sieve, pour into a tray with a wide
base, and freeze.
Scrape the frozen mixture with a fork to form fine flakes.
Keep frozen.
Serving:
Scoop the centre out of the beetroot sponges and fill it with some of the spinach and onion puree,
then take the two halves and stick them together. Carefully roll in the beetroot crumbs.
Pipe 1 tablespoon of buttermilk on the plate and drag across with a small spatula. Place the
beetroot ball on the plate, scoop some of the granita next to the ball and sprinkle with some
buchu powder.

Beetroot recipe

The blushing beetroot recipe as seen on South Africa’s Masterchef.

Recipe

Beetroot sponge:

  • 50ml beetroot juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ gelatine leaf

Take 1 flexi pan half sphere mould (600 x 400 mm / 400 x 300 mm), then place the gelatine in a small bowl with ice water and set aside. Place the beetroot juice and salt in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatine leaf.

Place a fine strainer over a medium mixing bowl and strain the beetroot juice. Take a medium bowl and fill with ice, pour the beetroot mixture into a slightly smaller bowl and place it on to the ice.

Whisk the beetroot mixture continuously until it is aerated and cold. The gelatin will have set it. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe into flexi pan half sphere mould. (spray with ‘Spray and Cook’ first) Scrape all excess off, using a spatula – so the tops of the half spheres are flat. Refrigerate.

Beetroot crumbs:

  • 50gr panko crumbs
  • 20 ml beetroot juice in spray bottle
  • Preheat oven to 80C

Spread the crumbs in a thin layer on an oven tray and spray with the beetroot juice, making sure all the crumbs are pink, but not soaked. Dry out in the oven for 30 minutes.

Buchu powder:

  • 200gr fresh buchu, leaves picked off the stems

Leave the buchu to dry and blend until very fine using a spice grinder.

Buttermilk labne:

  • 500 ml buttermilk
  • 40cmx40cm piece of muslin cloth

Hang the buttermilk overnight in the muslin cloth. Once drained, discard the extra whey and place the buttermilk in a small piping bag.

Spinach and onion puree:

  • ½  onion,  thinly sliced
  • 125ml single cream
  • 100gr baby spinach
  • 10gr unsalted butter

-for onion puree

Warm up a medium pan, add the butter and sliced onions and sweat until soft without getting any colour on the onions. Season with salt. Add the cream, and reduce over high heat for 5 minutes.

- For spinach puree

Boil a pot of water add some salt. Blanch the spinach in the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove the spinach with a large slotted spoon, drain and place directly into a blender jug. Blend until very smooth, add the creamed onions and blend again. Pass through a tamis.

Cucumber and dill granita:

  • 150gr cucumber, diced
  • 10gr dill, stems removed
  • 5gr white wine vinegar
  • 2gr salt
  • 1gr xanthan gum

Blend all the ingredients in bar blender and pass through a fine sieve, pour into a tray with a wide base, and freeze.Scrape the frozen mixture with a fork to form fine flakes. Keep frozen.

Serving:

Scoop the centre out of the beetroot sponges and fill it with some of the spinach and onion puree, then take the two halves and stick them together. Carefully roll in the beetroot crumbs.

Pipe 1 tablespoon of buttermilk on the plate and drag across with a small spatula. Place the beetroot ball on the plate, scoop some of the granita next to the ball and sprinkle with some buchu powder.

comment-notesComments:


  

Our new look Tasting Room

the tasting room

Herbert Janse, Margot’s brother, flew in from Holland and spent an intensive couple of weeks redesigning the Tasting Room. With a background in set and theatre design he certainly has theatrical flair, and has created a stage worthy of the cuisine. “The décor reflects Margot Janse’s food,” says Herbert. “The unexpected.”

new look 2

There are teasers throughout. Antique crystal bulbs dating back to 1910 have been placed irregularly on the ceiling. Herbert found them in Holland: “they’re early electric bulbs that were once used at fairs.”
There’s also a set of crockery stuck upside down to the celling—almost like a wink from the chef herself.

There are teasers throughout. Antique crystal bulbs dating back to 1910 have been placed irregularly on the ceiling. Herbert found them in Holland: “they’re early electric bulbs that were once used at fairs.”

There’s also a set of crockery stuck upside down to the celling—almost like a wink from the chef herself.

Head on over to our Facebook page to see more photos, or come see for yourself.

Posted by: Susan Huxter
Posted in: Food, Le Quartier Français, Margot Janse, The Tasting Room,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

The New Sweets are Savoury

Sweet seems to have been done to death over the last few years; so those in the know have decided to replace it with sweets that are savoury. Things like horseradish or olive oil ice-cream, butternut sorbet and other tastebud confusing delights are making an appearance as desserts on restaurant menu around the glob.

We’ve tried this trend and, while it messes with your mind a bit, it’s pretty damn cool. Your eyes expect the dish to taste like one thing – because it looks like ice cream, obviously – and your palate experiences something completely different. Welcome to food’s version of The Outer Limits.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Margot Janse, The Tasting Room, Trends,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Niche Hyperlocal Cuisine

Man that’s a mouthful. Doesn’t it sound ridiculously complicated?

Basically – for us laymen – it’s what Margot’s been doing in the Tasting Room for the last few years. Which is using local ingredients to create African inspired cuisine.

But to pass as niche hyperlocal cuisine it needs to be truly local, both biologically and culturally.

It’s worth remembering that definition because, as this trend continues to grow, there are bound to be a few impostors who try get in on the action.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Margot Janse, The Tasting Room, Trends,
comment-notesComments: 0


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