Jamie Who is a blog about everything. Except current affairs. And politics. Also science, sport, religion, celebrities, movies, media and marketing, technology, business and design. So...basically Jamie Who is a blog about food. All things food.

Monday, July 5, 2010

So long blogger.com - it's been real

This is my last post. *pauses for dramatic effect

Okay, it's not my last post. But it's my last post on this site. Yip, I'm moving on. (And up hopefully.) I've been working with some super-talented and creative people for the last few months on a concept which I can finally tell you guys about. It's a lifestyle website which aims to showcase the finer things in life. So things like fashion, travel, food, art, wine, cocktails, design, architecture etc. are all there for you to enjoy. Sort of like the online equivalent of standing in front of a magazine rack. I'll be handling the food&wine side of things, with other talented contributors talking about what they know best. 

I am pre-empting the cynics out there, who no doubt will point out the fact that the new site has advertising. Indeed, it does. I have previously been pretty outspoken about the fact that I didn't allow advertising so let me explain:
  • This is a step towards writing about food full-time. The last year and a half has seen a tiny blog grow to the point where I can genuinely make a career out of doing what I love. At the moment I spend a lot of time and money investing in a passion and I now feel it is fair enough to start generating some income from it. The ads WILL IN NO WAY IMPACT EDITORIAL CONTENT. This remains paramount and as long as we don't lose sight of this, we'll be okay. 
The new site will have awesome improvements for readers. As well as the fresh posts coming through daily (2 a day), I will be re-shooting old recipes. Some of my old photography makes me cringe and this allows me to re-introduce recipes that I'm proud of, this time with the images that they deserve.  Also, the new site makes searching for recipes/reviews etc. a lot easier. You'll see a drop-down menu on my site which you can use to navigate your way around the categories. Bear with me, at the moment all my old categories are there along with the new ones. I'm busy sorting through them so everything should be fixed up pretty soon. (I've been working flat-out on organising these - it is a slow process but the end result will be very skooch. Trust me). The new site is also a chance to get to meet me. My name is Andy. Not Jamie. I'm looking forward to this too, as we move into an area where the Jamie Who pseudonym becomes part of a brand, not the entire brand itself. 

The new site is going live from about 14h00 tomorrow. Check it out at www.aficionado.co.za - I am extremely excited about this but nervous at the same time. I have poured a lot of energy into building the blog and I know I will lose a few readers who see this as "selling-out". I just hope the majority realise that the new site is something I would not be part of if I didn't honestly believe credibility can be maintained. 

Andy Fenner  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ostrich and mushroom lasagne

I wrote in the past about some hake kebabs that arrived on my plate - and your screen - courtesy of The Queen. What you might not know is that she regularly cooks up pretty impressive stuff. After hustling me for the first 2 years (when I was convinced all she could do was a roast chicken) the cat is now very much out the bag. The girl has skizzills. This recipe is hers and I'll admit it is one of my favourite on this blog. The white sauce was homemade but it's not really necessary - you could easily just buy one. 

Stuff you'll need to feed 8 (or 2 of you. Umm...4 times):
  •  1 kg of ostrich mince
  • A box of the best lasagne sheets you can find. 
  • 1 x onion, finely chopped
  • 2 x tins of tomatoes
  • A handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • About a tablespoon of tomato paste 
  • About a teaspoon of dried thyme
  • A handful of mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 x chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 x cloves of garlic, crushed
  • A handful of grated parmesan (I don't mean buy grated parmesan. Please, don't ever do that. Buy proper parmesan, grate it yourself. Come now) 
To make the white sauce (if you are backing yourself):
  • 1 and a half tablespoons of butter
  • About 3 tablespoons of flour (to start with. You might need more as you go) 
  • A litre of fat-free milk (we were keeping it healthy. Use whatever milk you want) 
Okay, what to do:

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Gently fry your onions over medium heat for a few minutes until softened. 

2. Add the thyme, the chilli, the mince, the garlic and the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes more. 

3. Add the tomato paste, the tinned tomatoes and the parsley and bring to the boil. Season well, reduce heat and allow to simmer with the lid on for as long as possible. Depending on the time available, remove lid and allow sauce to reduce and thicken. 

4. In a suitable baking dish, layer white sauce, pasta sheets and mince mixture, repeating two or three times until the dish is full. Make sure the top layer is white sauce. 

5. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top and bake for 45 minutes. 

If you're making the white sauce:

Start by melting the butter. Remove from stove and start adding flour slowly mixing in to form little dough balls. Make sure flour is covered in butter. Slowly start adding your milk, continuously whisking. As the milk warms, the mixture will thicken. IT IS SUPER-IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE TO WHISK THE ENTIRE TIME. If you don't, lumps will form. This is a slow process so be patient. You might need to add some more flour at this point - if you do make sure the whisking doesn't stop. 

I'd serve this with a very simple herb salad. That was the plan. That was also the plan for the shoot, but when I put it on a white plate there was something about the simplicity of it that appealed. I loved it. Hopefully you do too. 

Jamie Who 

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beef braised in beer and served on butter beans

Beer is a highly underrated ingredient when it comes to cooking. It makes a great batter, it is awesome to braise meat in and it's pretty handy in a marinade/sauce. I'm talking about good beer. Real beer. Beer with depth of flavour and character. (The irony is that I'm writing this post after drinking my own body weight in Budweisier at last night's football. My word that stuff is average.) 

Anyway, the other night I got my hands on some free range beef and threw together a little stew using the beer I was drinking. It was good. Like...reaaalllllly good. You should try it sometime. 

Stuff you'll need to feed 2:
  • A dark beer (I used the dark lager from &Union) 
  • A tin of tomatoes
  • About 400g of free-range stewing beef, cubed
  • A handful of chopped celery
  • A teaspoon of coriander seeds, crushed
  • A teaspoon of dried thyme
  • A handful of parsley, chopped
  • A handful of chopped carrot
  • An onion, roughly chopped
  • A handful of mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • A few leaves of sage to garnish
  • A cup of water
  • A chilli, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • A tin of butter beans, drained (or your favourite beans) 
Okay, what to do:

1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius. Brown your meat over a high heat in some olive oil. Remove and set aside. 

2. Reduce heat and gently fry your onion, carrot and celery until soft. Add the mushrooms, chilli, herbs (except sage) and garlic and fry for an additional minute. 

3. Add the tinned tomatoes, the beer and the water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. 

4. Cook in the oven for 2 hours. (If you can, cook it longer at a lower temperature. The longer the better) 

5. About 30 minutes before serving, remove pot from oven and cook on the hob to reduce sauce to the desired consistency. 

6. To serve, spoon beans into a bowl and pour on some beef and sauce. Garnish with sage. 

You'll have to go a long way to find better comfort food than this. The beer is phenomenal in the sauce and plays a part in tenderising the meat. It is a healthy, hearty dinner and will impress anyone. Well...it should. If it doesn't (1) You're an idiot and you messed up or (2) They're an idiot and they should leave.  

Jamie Who 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Caveau cookbook (and Sunday brunch/lunch)

I was invited by the owner of Caveau to join him for lunch at the Newlands branch (in Josephine's Mill) on Sunday. I sat down to what he described as "the best offering we have as a brand." Big words from a guy who has successfully opened (and then extended) Caveau in Bree Street, Gourmet Burger in Heritage Square, HQ steakhouse and the Caveau in Newlands where we sat. As part of his collective restaurants he's got a sushi bar, a huuuuuge wine offering, Friday night parties at HQ, rugby days at Newlands, annual birthday parties, events in the Heritage courtyard and a deli to buy fresh produce. So...he's got a few things to throw at the public. 

About 15 minutes into the lunch I knew what he meant though. The sky was clear, the live singer (a gorgeous brunette called Louise Day) was singing up a storm, the river was gently trickling along and the bubbly was being opened at pretty much every table. Very skoochie and super-chilled. 

It was about halfway into my second glass of Villiera Brut Natural 07 that I stopped listening to anyone at the table. I had picked up a copy of The Caveau book. The Caveau book???! Who knew they had a book? I didn't. It's bloody well done though. With the food styled by none other than Liam Tomlin and beautifully shot, the book is written in a deliberately informal tone and does well to reflect the relaxed, warm atmosphere that began with the opening of Caveau back in 2004. There are personal anecdotes, food philosophies, recipes, a focus on wineries and the winelist, an explanation of the vision for Caveau and more. The thing I enjoyed most about the book is that the main stars in it are the loyal customers and the staff. The people who have made Caveau a success. 

Anyway, I can tell you my lunch was brilliant too. A potato and leek soup with just the right amount of truffle oil and a nicely seasoned vegetarian risotto with perfectly cooked rice and sweet mediterranean flavours (peppers, courgettes, patty-pans etc.) Next time you wake up looking for something to do on  Sunday consider this as an option. They are open from 10h00 to 15h00 so whether you do brunch or lunch is up to you. Either way, good luck avoiding the bubbles. 

Jamie Who

P.S. The Caveau book is available at both branches and also at The Chef's Warehouse 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wine of the week - Bramon Sauvignon Blanc MCC 2007

It's no secret that when I take a break from work (that's right, I do actually work) I like to head to The Garden Route. What is a secret though is a little wine farm about 10 minutes outside of Plett. It's called Bramon and makes MCC that I have been drinking fairly solidly for a while now. The chain of events (in a nutshell) goes like this:

1. About 18 months ago I propose to (then) The Princess. (now The Queen of course). 
2. About 8 months ago I spend a long day at Bramon Wine Estate drinking their MCC. 
3. I order waaaaaaaay too much of it for my wedding. 
4. About 6 months ago I get married. 
5. All the guests do their best to finish the bubbly at our wedding. 
6. They don't even get close. 
7. We wake up after the wedding with crates and crates of extra bubbly. 
8. We spend 6 months drinking it. 

It's been a pretty awesome 6 months. 

The MCC itself is unusually made from Sauvignon Blanc, which results in fresh, citrus on the nose and crisp green apples in the mouth. A hint of asparagus comes through nicely. The bubbles themselves are quite aggressive, and perhaps not as refined as some MCC, but I love it. I think it gives the glass some character and it also awakens the mouth. Gentle but authoritative at the same time. Does that make any sense? Like a slap you might give your lover on the bum? (you can see my extensive wine jargon coming through in that last sentence)

Anyway, the stuff is delicious and you would do well to get some. To find out where, check out their site on www.bramonwines.co.za and if ever you are in the area make sure to visit. Just be sure to place your order early on in the trip. Not like us. Unless you want to drink bubbly for 6 months. Well...now that I say it out loud...

Jamie Who

Friday, June 25, 2010

Eating Animals - Jonathan Safran Foer

Guys, I have been asked to take the post I did down. WINE Magazine paid me to write for them exclusively so it's not really the done thing for me to publish it here. That's fair enough. I'll re-post it when this month's issue is off the shelves. 

Jamie Who

Thursday, June 24, 2010

La Mouette - Fancy a dinner for two?

You may well have heard about La Mouette already. It's the restaurant that sparked the infamous Rossouwgate. I actually felt for them, as JP's review of the restaurant was totally overshadowed by the scathing attack that was mounted by readers in the comments section. People totally lost the plot, and more importantly lost sight of JP's opinions. I haven't reviewed La Mouette, as the only eating experience I have had there was the invitation to a chef's table as part of their launch. I can't provide a fair review based on that meal, but I can tell you the food I ate was sublime. I have also heard from others - who's opinion I trust - that their experiences have been equally good. La Mouette seems to be the real deal, and with an undoubtedly beautiful setting it's worth checking out, even if only for a drink or two.  

But what makes it categorically worth a trip is the special they are currently running. R150 for a 6 course tasting menu. That's bloody good value. Even if the food is only average (which I'm confident it won't be) that's worth visiting for isn't it? Dishes like crispy calamari with paprika, fish soup with potato, mussels and leek and tuna tartare with avocado and rocket promise brilliant value for that price.  

What? Still not convinced? How about half-price cocktails in the new upstairs bar. What's that? Does it have a TV? Yes my dear, it has a flat-screen showing all the football. 

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I'm giving away dinner for two at La Mouette. All you have to do is tell me which teams will be playing in the Cape Town semi-final of the World Cup. Yip, guess those teams and dinner is yours. 

I'll give everyone until 5pm tomorrow to have their predictions in. In the case of more than one person being correct we'll have a draw. 

Go. Go. Go. 

Jamie Who

If you don't win, but still want to check the place out, try their website