You can’t fudge good cooking

2012-02-04 00:00

WHERE did you train?

I trained at Silwood Kitchens in Rondebosch and completed the three- year grande diploma course.

Who inspired you to embark on a cooking career?

My gran. When spending the holidays with my grandparents, I discovered baking and it grew from there. My great-grandmother was a confectioner by trade.

Did your mother (or father) cook something that you still enjoy?

My mother made a dish with  mince  called  mock T-bone steaks. It is still yummy today when she does cook it.

Which kind of cooking do you like best?

Desserts and baking are definitely my best thing. I love trying new recipes.

How would you describe your style of cooking?

Definitely home-style, with adventure.

Which are your favourite flavours?

As a family we love anything with bacon in. I am into Asian dishes, but generally anything that catches my eye.

Where do you find new food ideas?

I love buying the English food magazines, as well as the South African ones. I collect recipe books and am always surfing the Internet, and reading newspapers about new restaurants and food places.

Where do your source your ingredients?

I love speciality shops, Food Lovers’ Market, and markets around PMB and Durban.

What was your worst cooking disaster?

I did a wedding, and the oven caught alight as the bridal party arrived. Luckily the food was fine and all went well.

Are you a book cook or a person who adds a bit of this and that?

I use recipe books for ideas and then put my own slant on them. Don’t ever ask me to make a dish twice.

Do you have a signature dish?

My chocolate mousse cake.

What is your favourite secret ingredient, and why?

Smoked paprika, it adds a flavour dimension that I just cannot explain.

Who loves your food the most in your family?

My son Darryl and my mom — she does not have to do the cooking anymore.

What is the most under- rated dish on an average menu?

Desserts — they are the most fun and the most neglected­.

What is your opinion on serving sizes?

Our eyes are always bigger than our bellies but restaurants in general serve portions that are too big.

However, restaurants can’t really win because if they served a smaller portion people would think they were being ripped off.

Do you like to serve seasonal food?

Yes, fresh is always better than frozen, tinned and preserved. I discover the older I get the fussier I get.

Do you cook at home and if so, what is your favourite home meal?

I cook at home all the time. I like chicken in any shape or form, but my son will tell you a roast with all the trimmings, my husband a steak with mashed potatoes and a home-made mushroom sauce and my dad macaroni cheese. Mom’s not fussy just so long as she gets a meal without having to cook it.

Can you give three cooking tips to amateur chefs that make difference to your food?

• Never be afraid to experiment — that’s how new recipes are made. Recipe books are a guide line.

• Good sharp knives — I can cook with anything but bad-quality knives are a headache.

• Taste as you go, seasoning is always important. Lesley Faull, the founder of Silwood Kitchens, always said add a pinch of sugar to all things savoury and to sweet add a pinch of salt.

• The Chef’s Table is open for bookings at Tasha’s new venue in Hilton. Contact Sheila at 084 548 1479 to book for its Valentine’s dinner.

This recipe is of my own making and we have it often as a family.

INGREDIENTS

6 pork chops

1 packet end-of-the-month Salticrax

1 tablespoon garlic

3 eggs

olive oil

METHOD

• Crush Salticrax in a magi mix or in a plastic bag with rolling pin. It does not need to be a fine crumb. Add garlic and combine well.

• Beat eggs and pour into a pie dish.

• Dip pork chop in egg mixture and then into biscuit mixture, place into greased baking dish. Once all chops are crumbed and placed in baking dish sprinkle the last crumbs of biscuits over top.

• Sprinkle a little olive oil over chops and bake for three quarters of an hour until golden and crispy.

Yum.

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