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.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mixed tomato salad

It's my birthday today. 28 years old. Can you believe it? I'm not telling you this because I'm looking for good wishes and presents (although if you want to send some that's fine), I'm telling you this because in a few minutes I'm off to Bramon Wine Estate to get drunk on bubbly. With that in mind, this entry is going to be a short guy. This recipe is a perfect example of the vibe I like to go for in summer. Ridiculously easy, healthy and light, it celebrates the beautiful tomatoes that are around at the moment. Perfect. 

Stuff you'll need to feed 4:
  • A big bowl of mixed tomatoes (Try get as many shapes and sizes as possible. If you can get your hands on some yellow or green tomatoes, even better. What you are looking for here is variety.) 
  • The best, and I mean THE BEST balsamic vinegar you can find. I personally would recommend buying an expensive one. You won't use it too often and it will turn dishes like this from average to amazing. 
  • The best extra virgin olive oil you can find (as above, the reasoning is the same)
  • A handful of basil leaves
  • A cup of table salt
Okay, what to do:

1. Cut your tomatoes into irregular shapes. Halve some, quarter the bigger ones, slice some up, leave some whole etc. Have a bit of fun and get creative. 

2. Place the tomatoes in a large colander and pour the salt over them. Leave them for about 45 minutes, shaking them every now and then to distribute the salt evenly. What the salt does is extract all the water from the tomatoes leaving a delicious, intense flavour. Trust me, you didn't know tomatoes could taste this good. 

3. To serve, simply place the tomatoes on a white platter. Squash some with your hands to release what juices are left. Again, the difference in textures is what we are after. Tear the basil leaves over the tomatoes and finish with some black pepper and a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil. 

The Queen (see what I did there?) was BUMMED when I refused to add cheese to this dish. Yes, it would be good but I really love the simplicity of the tomatoes. I have made it again since the photo and added some finely chopped red onion and a drizzle of pesto. That's as far as I'm prepared to go on this one. Enjoy. 

Jamie Who

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Flattened chicken breast with charred lime and avocado

What's a word to describe how easy this is? Staggering? Yes, let's try that. This recipe is staggeringly easy. If you struggle with this one I'm afraid we have got problems. I got it from the awesome Woolworths Taste cookbook and tweaked it a tiny bit. 

Stuff you'll need to feed 4:
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts (try go organic)
  • Sesame oil
  • 4 limes, halved
  • 2 avocados, halved 
  • About two tablespoons of fat-free smooth cottage cheese
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Mixed baby leaves
  • Two tablespoons of soy sauce
  • A tablespoon of honey
  • A teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
  • A teaspoon of grated garlic
  • A teaspoon of finely chopped chilli 
  • About half a teaspoon of sesame oil
Okay, what to do:

1. Mix the soy sauce, the honey, the ginger, the chilli and the sesame oil in a bowl and set aside to infuse. 

2. Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of baking/wax paper. Beat it like Michael Jackson. Use something heavy and smash the breasts until they are as thin as possible without tearing.  

3. Rub the chicken breasts with sesame oil and heat a griddle pan/braai so that it is smoking hot. Place chicken on and cook for about 2 minutes per side or until done (bear in mind they will cook seriously quickly owing to the fact hat they are so thin). Place the limes alongside the chicken flesh side down to char them. 

4. Meanwhile spoon out the avocado flesh into a bowl using a teaspoon. Add the lemon juice and cottage cheese and mix until smooth-ish. Not entirely smooth. Smooth-ISH. 

5. To serve, place the breast on a plate alongside a handful of the mixed salad leaves and half a lime. Spoon some of the avocado mixture onto the chicken and drizzle over the dressing. 

A lovely little summer dish there hey? Easy, healthy and tasty. It's good to be back. 

Jamie Who

Raspberry, parma ham and feta salad

Firstly, I'm really sorry we haven't spoken in so long. My God how I've missed you all. I had to take a little bit of "personal time" for a while you see...turns out getting married is kind-of-a-big-deal. I'm back though which means if you're reading this either (a) You're still working and should honestly consider looking for a new job next year or (b) You love this blog so much you check it daily just praying that I have returned. In this case, let me assure you even though I now have a wife (yeah, it's hectic) I still love you. Look at me...I love you. Yes you. 

I thought I would ease us back in gently with a gorgeous summer salad. The colours are a treat with this one and it would be killer for a Christmas lunch. It is  a joke how simple it is. I've used raspberries which have come into season beautifully right now. Let's get into it. 

Stuff you'll need to feed 4:
  • Two handfuls of raspberries  
  • A packet of mixed lettuce (look for interesting shapes and colours)
  • Two discs of Woolworths Slimmers Choice Danish Feta
  • About 8 - 10 slices of parma ham
  • The best balsamic vinegar and olive oil you can get
Okay, what to do:

1. Mix the lettuce leaves with a few good glugs of olive oil in a bowl to make sure it is all coated. Throw in the raspberries and mix again, being careful not to break them. 

2. Add the feta and parma ham just before serving. Spoon into deep bowls and dress with the balsamic. 

This salad is healthy and so easy to make but still comes with a serious "wow" factor. It looks beautiful and the contrast between the raspberries and the vinegar is top-notch. The parma ham adds a little bit of saltiness, as does the Woolies' Feta. 

It's good to be back peeps. Let's be honest though, the entries might be a bit sporadic for the next few days. What with Jesus's Birthday and all. 

Jamie Who

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Eat In Magazine - Lunch with the judges

It's been a pretty crazy year for me. I started this blog as a creative release and a way to fuel my passion for food. I never expected what followed. Small things like attending restaurant launches, cookbook launches and awards dinners are a big deal for me and these opportunities have sprung up surprisingly often. I have met chefs I used to - and still do - idolise. I have met food editors, stylists and photographers who produce work that amazes and inspires me. I have met food critics who I try and learn from. I have met suppliers and restaurant owners with personalities and stories that are absolutely incredible. I even catered for a few functions and turned several down. I had a piece published in Men's Health. Women's Health chose me as one of their "hot bloggers" to feature on their website. So...I still can't explain why I was so star-struck when I got invited to lunch with the judges for the 2010 Eat In Awards. 

The Eat In Magazine is the sister to....wait....have a stab at it...yip, the Eat Out Magazine. They concentrate on celebrating small retailers, shops, producers, cooks, farmers etc. The winners are announced in March 2010 when the edition hits the shelves. Look out for it, it is an awesome source of information on ingredients and suppliers. 

Back to last week's lunch. Sitting at a table with Justine Drake, Peter Goffe-Wood, Anna Trapido and Michelle Barry was a surreal experience for me. I'm a pretty confident dude but in there I just sat and listened. I hardly spoke! To hear their thoughts on South African food culture was amazing for me and I was lapping it up. They also explained how much bad food they had to get through to find the winners. Imagine stale cakes, burnt chutneys, heavy breads, stodgy koeksisters, over-salted cheeses etc. Not a great vibe. One thing was abundantly clear though: more credit and attention needs to be given to the suppliers who give the country's talented chefs the ingredients necessary to produce the meals they do.

After lunch we were politely kicked out and the judges got back to tasting the various entries. I left with my head in the clouds, again wondering how I had cracked the nod to rub shoulders with such respected foodies. I am a very lucky boy. 

Jamie Who

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Smoked salmon, orange and fennel salad

I just had this for lunch. No, seriously. I literally just had this for lunch. I can still taste it. It was so good I had to write and tell you about it immediately. Because I love you like that. 

After a morning lazing on my favourite South African beach, Robberg, (that's right, I'm in Plett already, aren't you?) I didn't really feel like a mission for lunch. I wanted something clean. Something fresh. Something healthy. I knocked this up in less than 10 minutes and can safely say it was a hit. I just had a feeling about orange and salmon. A good feeling. A feeling that left me slightly aroused. Annnnyway....

Okay, stuff you'll need to feed 4:
  • 200g - 220g smoked salmon
  • A bulb of fennel, as finely sliced as possible (peel away the tough skin first)
  • Some of the fennel top, picked
  • Juice of one lemon
  • A glug of the best quality olive oil you can get
  • Mixed green leaves
  • A handful of dill, chopped
  • 3 oranges, peeled and segmented 
What to do:

1. Place the leaves, fennel and oranges in a bowl. Pour in the olive oil and using your hands mix to make sure everything is coated. 

2. Arrange ingredients from bowl on a serving platter. Tear up the salmon and drape over the top. Pour over the lemon juice and garnish with the fennel tops and dill. 

3. Serve with plenty of cracked black pepper and an extra wedge of lemon if you want. 

Look, some of this stuff for you might not have lying around but let me say this: if you see fresh fennel, buy it. It is an amazing vegetable. Braise it, grill it, roast it or just use it raw as I have done in this recipe. Soaking it for 10 minutes gives it an amazing crispness. Because we all know how important textures are hey? We do know hey? Good. 

Jamie Who

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cafe Chic - I am flat out digging the look

I get a lot of press releases. Having worked in a PR agency and written loads of them myself, I can tell which are worth getting excited about and which aren't. That said, I get particularly interested when I receive something from The Network Queen. She works for a company who consistently organise awesome launches/events and when I get an invite from her I'm there. So...I was particularly bummed when I realised I couldn't attend the launch of Cafe Chic. Looking at the pics she sent through I can say that this place screams Jamie Who (you did see the purple chandelier hey?). I obviously can't comment on the food but the overall look and the general vibe make me a little bit excited in my privates. 

The press blurb explains that there are:
two fine dining restaurants, premium Whiskey Bar, Cocktail Lounge, Moroccan chill-out tent, Patisserie corner and exclusive Boutique. 

I'm okay with that. 

The menu itself also looks impressive. There is a definite French accent to most dishes and a strong emphasis on seafood. There is a separate tapas menu (you know how much I enjoy a tapas menu) and they also do a Sunday brunch. Obviously the breakfasts should be impressive with a specialist patisserie section. So expect things like fresh croissants, Croque-Monsieur, brioche, quiches etc. 

As I said, I can't make the official opening but they are already trading. Find them at 7 Breda Street or call them on (021) 465-7218. 

If you do stop by to check it out let me know if it as cool as it looks. 

Jamie Who

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bread - I'm not convinced

This is going to be a short entry. I went to The Killers last night and can't feel my face. Apologies. 

Saturday morning saw The Princess and I make a turn past The Biscuit Mill for some Christmas shopping. Oh. My. Word. PACKED. After half an hour of what I would explain as a bleeding eyeball we got the hell out of there and headed to the newly refurbished Bromwell Hotel. The place looks very cool from the outside and I was keen to check out their new restaurant, Bread. First impressions were good and the menu looked promising. That's where it fell apart. I walked around and was ready to start taking some pics when I was told....get this...I wasn't allowed to! HEY! Seriously? That is just too precious for words. I tried to explain to the waiter (who later gave me a business card with the title SERVICE AMBASSADOR - no joke) that I was writing an article but he didn't budge. The only thing I can think of is that they were trying to protect their art collection. If so, surely they could've just asked me not to use my flash? (which I wasn't anyway) 

Onto the food. By now the bitter taste in my mouth was pretty much full-blown so the meal didn't really stand much of a chance to be honest. I tried to be professional but the appalling service wasn't finished yet. Another one of the waiters, a beautiful creature (a guy with black eyeliner and long nails) came and told us he was closing the door that led to the courtyard where we were sitting so that the people inside could enjoy the aircon. So...there we were. Just the two of us chilling in a deserted courtyard with nobody in sight. Honestly, it felt like a scene from I am Legend with Will Smith. It was totally bizarre. Anyway, the breakfast was average. If you are going to be calling your place Bread you should make sure yours is the best. It wasn't. The "truffled" scrambled eggs tasted quite bland too. 

Bread is a good example of how a great venue can be ruined by the staff. The attitude is pompous and a real shame because the place has loads of potential and is visually very cool. 

Check out their site on www.breadcafe.co.za 

Jamie Who

Friday, December 4, 2009

Chilled strawberry soup with lemon sorbet and sparkling wine sauce

Picture this. You've spent the morning on Clifton beach (or Plett...Robberg is fine), you are looking goooood, you've had the whole fresh-water-shower-after-beach-euphoria and you're looking to knock up something healthy and easy for a late lunch. Allow me...

Stuff you'll need to feed 4 - 6 people:
  • About 1kg of strawberries, topped and halved. (This is a bit of a mission but it's the only part that requires any effort so suck it up and stop being a baby)
  • 3 - 4 peaches, stoned and sliced
  • An extra few slices of peach to garnish
  • A tub of lemon sorbet
  • A bottle of sparkling wine (dry)
Okay, what to do:

1. Blend the strawberries and peaches in a blender until smooth. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

2. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and place a scoop of sorbet in the middle with a few slices of the peach. Pour over some bubbly and garnish with freshly cracked black pepper. 

So....two steps guys. Two. Like...one...two. Honestly, if you can't make this soup please don't bother coming back. It is a CRACKING dish for summer and quite vibey. I got this one straight from the Taste Magazine and didn't change the recipe at all which is seriously unusual for me. The recipe is that good. Make it and you will probably become 4%-7% cooler I reckon.

Jamie Who

P.S. Again, I'd like to thank Mrs. Awesome for her photo which is...well...awesome. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rum and cherry coke floats

I mentioned I would be throwing out a couple of cocktails for you guys to enjoy. A mate of mine, Power, is the brand manager of Bacardi and several other top labels and he's going to be helping us. Our boy is SUPER-passionate about booze. Once he starts talking it's actually difficult to get him to stop. His palette is amazingly advanced as a result though and he brings out some killer ingredients. Infusions, emulsions, fresh produce, herbs, dried fruit, syrups etc. He basically nails it. I thought I would ease you into it though with something fun and uncomplicated. We nailed a few of these on our recent trip to Riebeek Kasteel and it was such an awesome throwback to the days of growing up. I don't care who you are, airs and graces will go out the window when you're sucking one of these bad boys. 

I'm not going to get technical about exact ratios (this will come into play with other cocktails) but basically here's what you do to make one:

1. Fill a highball or collins glass to the top with ice.

2. Pour in a double of shot of Bacardi Superior Rum. 

3. Fill to the top with chilled Cherry Coca-Cola. 

4. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Garnish with maraschino cherries. 

This isn't exactly rocket science guys but there's something so awesome about the "cheesiness" of this drink. If you serve it on a beautiful silver platter like we did it can add a playful touch to a formal event. Guests with a sense of humour will appreciate this as a dessert after dinner, or as a refreshing drink at a braai. 

Your trainer will hate you. You will hate me. But I will still love you. Enjoy...

Jamie Who  

P.S. How good is Mrs. Awesome's food photography? Very f-ing good.