The past week it became evident that winter is kicking in at full swing and hearty. Winter warmers are on the menu. We had some locals join us from George to help us celebrate one of the most magical times of the year. Willem en Alba Klopper had a fantastic time exploring flavours of Indian cooking. We made our own samoosa pastry from scratch, a rich and aromatic lamb shank Rogan Josh curry with our own garam masala spice mix and a pistachio and saffron halva pudding with cardamom and honey yoghurt.
NAAN AND COCONUT RICE
For condiments to our delicious curry we made naan bread brushed with ghee (clarified butter) and a tasty red lentil dahl together with aromatic coconut rice and crispy fried onion bits. We used fresh herbs and salad leaves from the garden to compliment our dishes.
ADDING FLAVOUR TO FOOD
Another welcome addition to our garden is spinach. Beautiful, crispy and green will always be welcome on anybody’s plate. For our vegetarian class we picked a big bunch of spinach and made a tasty fried spinach, leek, onion and feta cheese stuffing for our handmade ravioli which we tossed through a brown sage butter once cooked. We made a twice baked three cheese Soufflé to start off with after which we made a rich and hearty melanzane parmigiana with local cheeses and a classic tomato sauce. We made a vanilla bean panna cotta with a decadent butterscotch sauce to finish it all off.
What a great way to finish off a good week and get inspired by simple, soul warming dishes to carry you through the winter when it’s all about comfort and flavour.
Semolina halva with pistachio and saffron
½ tsp saffron strands soaked with 2 tbsp hot milk for 20 – 25 minutes
80g shelled slivered pistachio nuts
Lightly grease a cake tin and set aside
Using a saucepan, heat the milk with the sugar over a medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves completely. Keep warm and pour in the saffron infused milk to it.
In a separate pan melt the butter and cook for a couple of minutes until t starts to smell beautifully buttery then add the semolina and mix well with a wooden spoon. Cook over a low heat stirring continuously until the semolina turns golden brown but not burnt. Now carefully pour the warm milk mixture to the semolina and stir vigorously until it comes away from the sides of the pan. It should have a smooth thick porridge like consistency. Remove from the heat. Add the pistachios, then pour into the cake tin. Cover and leave to rest in a warm place for approximately 10-15 minutes. Serve with either clotted cream or yoghurt or simply on its own!
340g plain flour
190ml lukewarm water
2 ½ tbs olive oil
2/3 cup plain yoghurt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried yeast
½ tsp salt
Mix together the dried yeast and the lukewarm water. This is to activate the yeast and prevent counter reaction with salt. Once the mixture is frothy, add the oil, flour, salt and yoghurt. Slowly mix together, working outwards from the centre and incorporating the flour from the edges to make a smooth, soft dough. Knead well for 10 minutes adding more flour if the dough is too sticky.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave for at least an hour in a warm place to double in size. When double in size, punch out and divide into five equal balls. Flatten the balls into tear drop sized flat breads and place on an oven tray. Place in your wood fired oven or under a hot grill. Bake for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown in places and nicely puffed up. Brush with ghee as soon as it comes out of the oven.