Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Food to buy this Christmas

I spent a few hours in delis, Melissa's, Pick n' Pay, Checkers and Woolworths to see what has been launched to make our feasts delicious, fun and well Christmassy.  In general, I was very disappointed.  Although there is a lot of tinsel and shiny stars adorning shelves and surrounding the aisles there is very little Christmas fare launched just for Christmas.  Pick n Pay was the most disappointing.  Other than some not very nice looking Christmas cakes and mince pies there was no other Christmas themed bakery or dessert products.  Checkers was as dismal however, I found this Whiskey cake which looked like a nice stocking filler for a dad or a grandpa.  Perhaps you could match it up with a bottle of Glenfiddich.
Whisky Cake from Glenfiddich 

Melissa's Christmas wreaths are lovely - but Pricey!
Melissa's Christmas fare was very pretty and the display was festive and everything is beautiful wrapped and displayed, but where does she get those prices.  These Candy Cane Biscuits were R32 for 3 tiny little biscuits with a bit of sugar icing.  The cannot cost more than R5 to make!  I get very tired of being ripped off for novelty.  Melissa needs to realise that rich people are rich because they do not spend their money so stupidly.

These looked lovely and great to be able to buy only 1 for a treat for yourself and not a 6 pack
Woolworths is the only retailer who has some Christmas cheer and i found some really stunning meat and Poultry products worth buying but I still feel that across the categories it is a pretty poor show.  Perhaps South Africans don't 
buy into Christmas food shopping enough for the retailers to warrant the volume. Perhaps its too early and the really exciting stuff will come next week.
How can this cost R32!
Jammy Stars for the kids. 
So...from Woolies I liked their range of whole birds smoked.
Lightly Smoked Turkey
Melissa's Christmas Wreaths
 I also like their Free Range Duck stuffed with chicken and yummy things.  This is ready to roast and makes preparing duck so much easier.  It also guides you well on how to cook it if you are not used to cooking duck.  I will definitely be buying this.  Depending on weight it is around R150.
Lightly Smoked Chicken
 Don't forget to buy a corned beef and Woolies have the best.  It is great if you have a crowd and is awesome cold on sarnies.  You can layer left over turkey and corned beef for a christmassy club sandwich instead of using bacon. 

I didn't find anything new in terms of Christmas cake or mince pies or stollen, but i loved their mini Christmas selection which is really great for a christmassy bite without the heaviness of some of these Christmas specialities.  I find a nibble of Christmas cake, marzipan and plastic icing quite enough and this pack is reasonably priced at R50 and is great for a granny present or if you want to bring a slight christmassy end to your dinner or lunch.   A few on  plate for an afternoon tea party round this time of year is also well worth the spend.  The stollen was a bit dry but quite edible.

the Yule Log is back and was a great success last year, so if you have missed it go and indulge.  Same old in terms of other desserts though.  Does no-one get bored of the bulk trifle and bulk profiterole.  Is it that good?
Lastly the cheese dome is a nice hostess gift on the shelves and at a good price.

Enjoy Christmas and I will be searching the tables for interesting holiday feasts.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just thought I would share my 2 favourite concepts before i head off for lunch.  The food Customization trend is getting legs and although not in SA quite yet, I would love to be able to interact with both these sites:



www.mymuesli.com  (there is an option to read the site in English)
My article in the Sunday Times this past Sunday.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Test Kitchen

Last night was definitely not good for the waste line, but extremely good for the soul and the excitement of experiencing truly great cuisine.  Luke Dale Roberts' Test Kitchen completely lives up to expectations.  At the Biscuit Mill, in a very intimate space, you can see and almost touch the chefs as they literally perform for the diners.  The operation is slick, the service excellent, the sommelier delightful and very knowledgeable.  There were about 20 people dining last night.  Our table of 8 had the 7 course tasting menu.  We started off with a fabulous cocktail: Saki and Elderberry Mojito. Each couple brought a great bottle of wine and we were all quite excited at Michael Le Borgne's contributions of a Meerlust Pinot Noir 1998 and Meerlust Merlot 1989!  Both were excellent. We were all quite pleased with my choice of the Cape Point Semillon.  Well worth a try!  What made the evening for me special was the complete unpretentiousness of fine dining.  The focus was the food, not the personalities of the chefs.  The innovation in ingredient combinations sometimes worked and other times almost worked, but every dish was spoken about and discussed with interest and amazement by our table of foodies.  I can say no more than to go to the Test Kitchen for an unforgettable evening.

Beetroot Mousse, Slow Cooked Baby Beets, Lemon and Thyme puree, Horseradish and mixed nut crumble, fennel confit, Puff shards

Pan Seared scallops with Miso, Peas, Broad Beans and Peppermint

Trout Tartare, Green apple, lime, Creme fraiche, miso cured aubergine, flat parsely, creamy miso dressing

Quail in three ways, languoustine, liquorice jus, miso, corn and ginger emulsion, lime gremolata

Luke plating up

Such a great team of chefs

What a beautiful Piece of art.  I love the pea shoots!

Dessert of Lemon Tart with Nectarine and Elderflower.  so fresh but no shortage of a sweet end to the meal.