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Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Leefstyl | Lifestyle > Kos & Wyn | Food & Wine > Rubrieke | Columns > Michael Olivier: Notes from my kitchen table

Michael Olivier: Notes from my kitchen table

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The joys of Stir Up Sunday
Michael Olivier - 2007-12-04
As a little boy I was very aware of Stir Up Sunday. Stir Up Sunday is the last Sunday before advent on the Christian calendar and the day on which, by tradition in our family, the Christmas pudding was prepared. There are English records of what was then known as Christmas Porridge going back to the 14th century, with ingredients such as beef and mutton, prunes, spices and wine rather than the fruit and nuts which we know today. In England in 1664, Oliver Cromwell banned the pudding as he thought...

From my kitchen table: Offal - definitely not awful
Michael Olivier - 2007-08-28
Winter is real offal and red wine time. Maddy and I recently acquired a brand new matt black Le Creuset casserole. It replaced one which had been used by my mother when I was a boy - an enamelled version - which after 50 years had given up the ghost and started shedding its enamel. It was a sad day when we said goodbye to that pot of my childhood. We opted for a cast-iron one this time in the hope that it would outlast us and possibly our children. And I am as pleased with it as anyone who has bought...

My kitchen table: Lamb Curry and a couple of good books
Michael Olivier - 2007-07-24
The kitchen table has been a busy place these past few weeks as we work to rekindle the tastes of our childhood with slow-cooked food, which always seems to smell part food and part of the smell of an Aga stove in the kitchen. Pigs' heads and trotters were cooked down into a delicious brawn, sheep's trotters and tripe made "afval" (offal) which my father so loved, pigeons from our loft were braised in the slow oven in red wine, and the muscovy ducks which inhabited our backyard were roasted...

My kitchen table: Guavas, quinces and old Cape Bredie
Michael Olivier - 2007-06-05
As the guava was planted at the Cape by Van Riebeeck and his successors, there can hardly be a farmstead in the Cape that does not have a guava tree growing somewhere near it. Ice cold guavas poached in lemon-fragranced sugar syrup and served with warm vanilla custard flavoured with almond-scented peach leaves was almost a staple diet for us in winter when these wonderful pink fruit with their distinctive sweet perfume reminiscent of tropical fruit were in season. We had one white guava tree in...

My kitchen table: Early winter brings great joys and memories of childhood
Michael Olivier - 2007-05-09
Early winter brings great joys and memories of childhood. Like memories of pomegranates, of which well-known South African poet Ingrid Jonker wrote, “laughter is like a split-open pomegranate.” Laughter was ours as we threw the ripe-red stoep-polished fruit against the cellar wall to crack it open so that we could extract the juicy red sweet sour pearls, the juice of which dribbled down our shirts. These same pearls together with faggots of apple mint my mother added to the remnants of...

My kitchen table: With the arrival of autumn ...
Michael Olivier - 2007-04-12
I just love this early autumn weather - the extreme heat of the Cape summer is a thing of the past, leaving us with champagne days; April breezes kick up flurries of early dried leaves on the pavements; and there is dew on the lawn early in the morning when I let the dog out and drink my cup of steaming Assam tea, listening to the olive thrushes proclaiming their territory and drinking in the fresh morning air. After the hectic summer it is time in the evenings, with our legs under our kitchen...

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
Michael Olivier - 2007-02-12
Thought I’d use the old saying for what a bride should wear as the basis for my story to you this time. Something old Well not old really, but perhaps something a little forgotten? Wineries that have been around for a long time, making great wines consistently. Simonsig Estate in Stellenbosch and Landskroon in Paarl are just two such places. I was on Simonsig Estate recently, a bit of a reminisce as my wife, Maddy, worked there some thirty years ago. Johan and Francois Malan, owners...

My kitchen table: Highlights of 2005
Michael Olivier - 2006-07-07
As the year approached its end, I looked back on 25 great experiences of the year for me. I hope that you will try some of them to create the same magical moments for yourself, magical moments to look back on and from which to draw joy during 2006. And of course it's all about beds, books, plates, people and wine, in no particular order. 1. The food of the double Franks. The two Franks of Constantia Uitsig, frankly producing fabulous food. La Colombe's Franck Dangereux, the most passionate chef...

My kitchen table: Wonderful cookery books
Michael Olivier - 2006-07-07
I must tell you about a series of the most wonderful cookery books which have passed across my kitchen table recently. This will certainly make your Christmas gift choices easier. The author of one of them was someone I had had a long-time dream to meet: Lyn Hall. Lyn was born in South Africa and grew up in Durban. She went to live in England some years ago and has become totally immersed in food, wonderful food people and teaching. On meeting her I was taken in by her beauty and her trés...

My kitchen table: The aromas of comfort food
Michael Olivier - 2006-07-07
The kitchen table has been busy this past month with the onset of winter. A whole new variety of foods find their way into the food halls of our supermarkets and even the little corner shops. Suddenly we are charmed by the wonderful flavours of seasonal fruits like quinces, persimmons, granadillas and a variety of soft-skinned easy-peeling citrus - and strawberries. How amazing that we now have day-neutral strawberries which ignore the Circadian cycle and simply continue flowering and producing the...

My kitchen table: The end of summer
Michael Olivier - 2006-07-07
As the temperatures drop at the end of summer and those of us resident in the Cape hope for some meaningful autumnal rains, thin summer comforters are replaced with winter duvets and thoughts turn to comfort food. Last week I had lunch with Franck Dangereux, my favourite Cape chef, and was privy to some of the dishes on his winter menu. Franck cooks at La Colombe on the Constantia Uitsig Estate. I am not sure how I have lasted for almost 60 years without eating bourride, having read about it and...

My kitchen table
Michael Olivier - 2006-07-07
I am reading Elizabeth David. Again. This time it's a collection of her works called South Wind through the Kitchen, chosen after her death by people who knew her. I am reminded - again - that this lady is not only a wonderful writer but also a social historian; she also almost single-handedly introduced the British to European and Middle-Eastern Food after the horrors of the Second World War and the food rationing which continued until the early 1950s. She has an ability to use words that make...

My kitchen table: Old food, colourful food, great food
Michael Olivier - 2006-07-07
With all the fashion for Asian food, fusion food and con-fusion food, there is something comforting about old food, colourful food and great food. I have been fortunate to have been exposed twice recently to one of the greatest of the old food cultures - the food of Italy, perhaps the best known of the earliest of the foreign cuisines in South Africa after French. (Chinese was perhaps next, followed by the slew of nationalities that makes eating out so exciting in Cape Town and indeed many cities...

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