nobu cape town

the black cod den miso....taken on my phone

Last year I was spoiled by a very special old friend and taken to Nobu at the One & Only in Cape Town for dinner. The evening was superb,  from the first sip of bubbly at sunset to the last dance at Jade Lounge at 3am.

The whole meal and every morsel we ate at Nobu was exceptional and so off the chart amazing it actually left me feeling a little sad.  Sad that I can’t eat this sort of food all the time and sad that it has raised the benchmark so high that it leaves similar genre meals fading into the background by comparison.

One (of the many) highlights of the evening was the Black Cod den miso.  This is Alaskan cod (nothing like british cod) that is marinated in miso, hence the black appearance and is one of Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s signature dishes in his restaurants.  At a staggering R435 per portion, I have to say it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever eaten.

I drank sake (warm) for the first time that night and it was delicious.  No doubt I was drinking a higher quality offering, so can’t really comment on this particular beverage more broadly.

Sushi is normally eaten at the end of the meal as a palette cleanser, but we regrettably didn’t get that far. The numerous other dishes that came before, like the white fish sashimi with dried garlic, the salmon skewers and the prawn tempura, rock shrimp style with jalapeño, ponzu and creamy spicy dipping sauce, left us with zero space for this.  So it’s very clear that I need to go back to this superb and vibrant restaurant.

generous portions to share


grilled lightly smoked salmon with lemon, black pepper and my rosemary/coriander salt

tonight's supper - about 5 minutes to make

Take a fillet of lightly smoked salmon, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, sprinkle over some black pepper and a few grinds of salt (I used  my mix of coarse sea salt, dried rosemary and coriander seeds), and place under the grill for a few minutes until cooked.  Squeeze over a bit more lemon juice and another drizzle of oil and tuck in.

It really is so simple and really can’t get much more delicious than this.  Uber, ultra healthy – I ate with steamed courgettes tossed on ponzu sauce.  Delicious!

so easy, so perfect



delicious fruit

It’s a cross between a nectarine and a cling peach and it is awesome!

I initially thought given the name that it was a nectarine / apricot cross, but that is a ‘nectacot’, this is a necarcot (with a r) – so perhaps that is the difference.  I intend to get to the bottom of this one.

I am a fruit bat, so got hugely excited when I saw these little golden numbers in woolies today and just had to buy.

I tend to think that we should leave things up to mother nature, but in the case of cross breeding fruit,  I’m all for it (how else would we have a peppedew..although this is a cultivar of capsicum thus a vegetable, but you know what I mean?)

I recently tried a ‘grapple’ – which looks and has the texture of an apple but tastes like artificial grape bubblegum.  weird.

The mind boggles thinking what they will create in the future.  I for one am looking forward.

“A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus if you let fruit rot it turns into wine, something brussel sprouts never do” P.J O’Rourke


basic pizza dough — jamie oliver

a big mess on my kitchen table

We gathered at my cousins last night for a family pizza making session and to use the cousins new earthfire ceramic pizza oven.  What a win!

I made the dough and decided on JO’s basic version out of  his book ‘Italy’ as I had eaten it before at another pizza making party.


  • 1kg bread flour (he recommends 800gm bread flour and 200gms semolina flour..but since this ingredient can’t just be acquired at Pick n Pay on a Sunday afternoon – we had to settle on just bread flour)
  • 14 gms instant yeast
  • 1 level Tbs fine salt
  • 1 Tbs sugar (caramel)
  • 650ml tepid / luke warm water

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water and let it stand for a few minutes. Pile the flour and salt on a clean work surface and make a large well in the middle (18cm wide). Add the liquid into the well.  Be carefull not to break the banks of the flour wall (as I did- and then it spewed all over the place) and gently using a fork work the flour into the liquid until it comes together as a sticky pile. 

When its integrated start kneading it on the work surface for about 10 minutes — pushing and pulling until you get a smooth and soft dough. I think I’m going to do this in a bowl next time and take it out when its time to do the kneading.  It’s just way too messy and I’m not sure if its necessary.  On the bread making course we made the dough in bowls.  I am also going to add some mixed herbs and perhaps some sesame or poppy seeds to give the base a bit of crunch.

Place the dough into a bowl and cover with cling film and leave for about 15 minutes.  I also think it will be a good idea to lightly grease the top of the dough with olive oil — or a light spray of olive oil as when it rises and hits the cling film it really does cling (or use a  tea towel)

Divide the dough into balls to make the pizza bases – about 6 – 8 is good depending on how big you want to make the pizza’s, then roll.  The smaller pizza’s are a bit easier to manage.

JO then recommends leaving the bases for 10 – 15 mins before topping…not sure why.

I didn’t follow any of the steps after the kneading stage.  It ‘proved’ for at least an hour and a half and doubled in size before we started making the pizza’s.  Next time I am going to make the mix closer to the pizza making time and allow the bases to stand a bit. 

I don’t mind that the bases were not perfectly round — some of them resembled the shape of africa. Rustic is good.

anchovies, rosa toms, shrooms and mozz

We had great fun making the pizzas and my nephew’s came up with an exceptional one: tomato sauce, garlic, smoked salmon, fresh basil, mushrooms and mozzarella.  Yum!

The ceramic pizza oven works incredibly well and each pizza takes 5 minutes to cook and you can happily pause in between shovelling the next one in as the oven stays hot for up to 2 hours provided you have sufficient coals.  The paddle thing that comes with the oven is apparently called a ‘pizza peel’ which was a  new one for me…very effective and necessary.

pizza going into the oven

I didn’t get a shot of the cooked pizza as I got very carried away with all the rolling and making….next time.  I have a little Cobb  (BBQ) and think this will work perfectly as ‘my’ pizza oven in the future. I may just need to rush out and get a peel though.

top tip: my cousin has one of these steel hot coal making gadgets which is very effective in making coal very easily and quickly, just light paper underneath.

a handy little gadget to make coal easily and then just tip into the oven


delicious asian marinade for fish

a delicious product

I bought a lovely piece of fresh kabeljou (Cob)  fillet yesterday and wanted to prepare it with asian flavours, nice and healthy for the new 2010 regime.

I made a marinade as follows:

  • about 2 tbs hoisin sauce
  • about 1/3 cup Kikkoman Ponzu citrus sauce (I love this, along with teriyaki sauce which is just so much more interesting than straight soy sauce)
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes (I don’t like it too hot)
  • a piece of fresh ginger grated
  • a cube of frozen coriander from Woolworths (freshly frozen range of herbs) – so awesome and convenient to have on hand

a very convenient range of products to keep in the freezer

Mix all the above things together and pour over the fish in a shallow dish – let it marinade for a while, turning it a couple of times.

Heat a non stick griddle pan (or you could cook under the grill).  Sprinkle some sesame oil over the fish (.vs in the pan to avoid smoking the whole kitchen out) and pan fry for about 3 minutes per side until just done… fish is a touchy feely thing.  I basted it each time I turned it over and then drizzled the last bit of sauce over the fish on the plate. 

I had half of the fillet with supper on top of  some steamed green veggies (how healthy) and the delicious sauce dripping down.

The other half I ate today for lunch. I made a mixed salad with rocket, spinach and watercress leaves, quartered rosa tomatoes, cucumber and spring onions.  I broke the fish into chunks and put it on top of the salad with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and the rest of the sauce made a lovely dressing.  So yum. Such temple food. Sparkly shiny halo.

this is so going to become a staple in this house


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