Biltong makes everything better, even winter!

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Nearing the end of the day, a certain craving starts turning in my stomach.  Winter has it’s own persona, own feel and yes, this time of the year pulses me into a state of eating, warm fireplaces and lots of Glühwein.  Here in South Africa, we are fortunate to enjoy a culture of outside dining, bbq and kuiers (Afrikaans word for spending time with friends).

One of the biggest challenges to me is being social during Winter, not that I’m socially inept, but rather because I have grown acutely allergic to the cold.  Moving the outside  “kuier”-culture indoors.  That said, my day consists of planning my routine, diary and off course, that moment when I arrive home and are greeted by my 3 magical little Schnauzer-children, I start planning the next 5 hours to my disposal.

Yes, wine is a given, yes, something for dinner to address that ever present craving and off course….. it must be good.  So the choice always lingers, do one go out to dinner or do you stay in and go into ‘explorative cooking 101’?  Growing up in a family that is passionate about food, always has it’s advantages.  Opening up the cupboard you are challenged to create something hearty, warm and comforty (don’t know if there is such a word) with what the belly of the kitchen dispensary has to offer.

Luckily I rarely cook for myself only and knowing a few hungry friends or family is always a few minutes away.  Tapping my morse-code on the pantry door while thinking, the sheer moment of creativeness, food-brilliance and taste-innovation starts building in my brain….. ok, I’m not a food connoisseur, but I know my way around.  So, what do you do in winter time when it gets chilly and cold with your winter menu?

Here I’ll gladly share one of my Winter favourites for you to enjoy.  If you are South African, then this Biltong & Mushroom soup is a sure comfort recipe for you to enjoy!  Here goes…

You will need the following ingredients:

1 Diced Onion

500g sliced Biltong (Beef jerky) And try not to eat it while busy cooking… temptation 101!

2 punnets of fresh mushrooms, sliced

125g of Butter

250ml of Cake flour

500ml Milk (Full cream, don’t kid yourself, use the real thing)

1.5L of Beef stock

125ml of cream

1 teaspoon of grounded nutmeg

A few grinds of fresh black pepper

250ml grated Cheddar cheese

Salt to taste (Beware that the Biltong is already salty, so practice restraint)

1 Tablespoons of crushed Garlic and a little bit extra (just remember to breathe the other way at the office tomorrow).

How to put this together:

Fry the onion, garlic, nutmeg, mushrooms, pepper and butter for roughly 7 minutes or until fragrant. Add the flour and mix well and make sure the mixture is heated through.  Now add the stock and milk and stir well,  add the cheese and reduce the heat.  Add the cream and stir well.  Dish up, top with slice Biltong and serve piping hot with a lovely baguette.

Be prepared to accommodate the praises and Hosanna’s on this lovely tummy-filler.  This is a comfort meal par excellence! Go make it! Now!

It’s Hemingway’s

 

 

Pretoria as the capital has so little options to experience fine dining that fits one’s pocket.  Hemingway’s Restaurant at Leriba Lodge is surely one of those little unexplored gems.  Stepping through the doors at Hemingway’s you are immediately inundated with the sophistication and elegance of their table settings.  I have a thing for crisp white tables and serviettes.  Add to that service with a smile or even smiles.  Waiters that caters to your every whim, friendly, available and their attention to the table was a good balance between overprotective hovering and the vanishing act. Being a special evening, we celebrated a birthday and man was this an amazing evening.

We were treated by amazing red wines from Doolhof Wine Estate and their range is ever impressing.  The food was undoubtedly one of my best food experiences I enjoyed in a long time.  Starters consisted of a beautiful Carpaccio served fresh with a Quails egg. Beautiful.  Main course offered us a lovely crisp Pork-belly prepared to perfection.  The plating and presentation is top notch and they surely know how to prepare their food.  Dessert was equally impressive and the ever-classic Creme Brûlée did not disappoint! A sugary crunch with delightful light and creamy custard sent me to foodie heaven! Hemingway’s is a sure stop for amazing food and is a great catalyst for good conversation.

The Centurion area is busy with it’s own rejuvenation process when it comes to good food, restaurants and unique cuisine.   Hemingways is sure getting it right.  They are also a good venue for weddings, family events and they regularly host tastings and festivals.  Well done guys, you won my tastebuds and I will most definitely see you again soon.  Your new fan. So people, all I have to say is…. Go! Now!