Taste the world - recipes
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Cape Town - The great thing about Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris is that in real life she’s just as bubbly and warm as she seems on the radio and TV.
She also really loves cooking.
Well, obviously she loves cooking, but she not only gives demonstrations and teaches at her Green Point cookery school Cooks’ Playground, takes home-cooked food with her when she goes on to Cape Talk radio, and works on her TV programmes and books – she also cooks for at least six people every single night.
“I relax by cooking,” she says. “It’s not work – it feeds my soul. I love feeding people.”
Her new book is called Taste The World (Sunbird) and she credits her late Italian father-in-law Tony Esposito with teaching her mouth to travel.
Jenny was 11 when she started going round to Uncle Tony’s to keep him company while he cooked. She hung around so much she eventually married one of his sons.
“He taught me how to catch, kill and pluck pigeons, and instilled in me such a hunger and lust to taste the world,” Jenny said at the launch of her new book at Chuck Yang’s Chinese restaurant in Rondebosch.
Fittingly, this book starts with recipes from Italy, many of them Uncle Tony’s, but then it moves on around the Mediterranean to Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Greece and Turkey, before branching out to India, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, and a couple of other places on the way.
“I’ve taken the flavours of a country and given them my own spin and twist,” says Jenny. This means the recipes are not only gorgeous and typical of where they come from, they’re also made of ingredients readily available here.
She signs my copy of the book: “Eat with relish – love with passion.” - Cape Argus
Uncle Tony’s lemon and caper veal steaks
Once a week Jenny’s mom used to make crumbed steak topped with mustard butter. And then Uncle Tony cooked lemon and caper veal steaks, “and poor Mother’s nose was soon out of joint”.
4 veal or fillet steaks (about 150g each)
1 garlic clove sliced in half lengthways
freshly ground pepper
flour for dusting
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs salted butter
1 clove garlic crushed
4 tbs dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
4 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs capers roughly chopped
1 red chilli chopped
2 tbs flat leaf parsley chopped
1 tbs chives chopped
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs butter
Flatten the veal or fillet steaks between two pieces of plastic wrap; rub each steak with the cut side of the garlic. Season the steaks with salt, pepper and paprika, and dust lightly with flour.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan, and fry the steaks two at a time for a couple of minutes on each side, or until lightly golden.
Remove the steaks and deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the stock and lemon juice, and cook till it is reduced by a third. Stir in the capers and chilli, and cook for two minutes.
Return the steaks to the pan and heat through.
Stir in the parsley, chives and lemon zest, and remove from the heat.
Taste for seasoning and dot with the remaining butter.
Serve with a Parmesan and herbed polenta, steamed green beans and a salad.
Whole baked fish with new potatoes
300g parboiled new potatoes, halved
2 onions thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
salt and pepper
3 tbs olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 whole firm-fleshed fish (2kg) or four small ones
1/2 cup chopped flatleaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the potatoes on the base of a baking dish, along with the onions, tomatoes, garlic and bay leaves.
Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil and half the white wine.
Toss together and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Wash and dry the fish and make three slashes into the flesh.
Remove a third of the tomato mixture, without potatoes, from the baking dish and set aside.
Season the fish and place it on top of the remaining tomato mixture in the baking dish.
Pour over the rest of the white wine and the olive oil, and spread the reserved tomato mix on to the fish.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the fish is succulent and flaking from the bone.
Don’t overcook it.
Scatter the fish with the chopped parsley and bring it to the table.
Serve this dish along with a gloriously abundant green salad and Portuguese rolls for mopping up the sauce.
A few bottles of chilled, fruity dry white wine would go well.
Uncle Tony’s limoncello
This takes three whole months to make but is delicious.
15 unblemished and really ripe unwaxed lemons
5 cups of water
4 cups sugar
Using a potato peeler, peel the zest thinly off the lemons – avoid the pith or it will make the limoncello bitter. Place the zest into a large jar with a bottle of vodka and let it macerate for at least six weeks in a cool dark place. Resist the urge to sniff or taste. Six weeks later, make the syrup. Place the water and sugar in a saucepan and stir until the sugar has dissolved, cooking it gently till it resembles a light syrup. Remove from the heat and cool. Add the cooled syrup to your lemony vodka, add the remaining bottle of vodka and put it away for six more weeks. Strain the zest out of the limoncello and bottle. Store in the freezer and sip the syrup on hot summer nights over ice, or after dinner as a digestive.
Tip: use thick-skinned lemons, and if they are shop bought, wash them thoroughly in hot water to remove any wax, then dry.
Chuck Yang’s salt and pepper calamari
This was served at the book launch and it was delicious
1kg cleaned calamari tubes
3/4 cup cornflower
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs very finely chopped ginger
1 tbs very finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tbs water
oil for deep frying
Cut the calamari tubes open, flatten them out and scrape clean. Score the flesh in a diagonal pattern with a sharp knife, then cut the calamari into strips. Place the strips in a glass bowl with the cornflour, salt, pepper, cumin, ginger, garlic, chilli powder, egg whites and water. Mix together well to coat the calamari.
Heat the oil in a large pan and deep-fry the calamari until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately. - Cape Argus