My life has changed a lot since I first started working 20 years ago. My first official job was at a market in Durban. As a teenager, after I got paid I would usually spend my extra money on a new pair of boots or platform sandals with straps around the ankles – it was the 90s after all. Then of course I would need to spend money on a night out to wear these nice new things.
Now, 20 years later, I’m quite happy with my clothes and it takes far too long to recover from nights out so I prefer to spend extra money on food. And by this I mean organic, small batch, quality and sometimes quirky ingredients that feeds my passion for experimenting in the kitchen.
Sometimes this isn’t always practical, like the time I came home with a large bag of bitter pea eggplant from the Thai grocery store in Cyrildene. Great in a Thai green curry and with dhal but not so versatile aside from that.
My most recent adventurous grocery shop was at the Pantry Market at the Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank last Saturday.
The market features a small, selected group of traders who specialise in food products. There were a couple of fresh produce stalls, and fresh pasta, bread, meat and cheese stands. I love this concept, especially the fact that all the traders have a story to tell about their products.
My friend and fellow foodie Carla and I had some breakfast and coffee and then made our way through all the stands, purchasing delicious goods to take home.
My favourite purchases were the sweet export grade nartjies from Bakgat Nartjies, a citrus farm in Brits in the North West province and the delicious wild board sausages and dried porcini from Esposito Foods – a charcuterie from the Kamberg Valley in KwaZulu-Natal.
With these ingredients I can easily come up with dishes that support the Eat Local principle – a Slow Food Initiative aimed at supporting local food producers and raising awareness of food sustainability. The Pantry Market Keyes takes place on the last Saturday of every month. If you’re in Joburg it’s worth checking out.
Here are two great Italian-inspired dishes I made with my ingredients. I’ve been cooking a lot of Italian dishes lately after I recently attended a few cooking classes with the Dante Alighieri Association but that’s a story for another blog.
Porcini & Salsicce White Wine Risotto
- 80 grams of Arborio rice per person
- 1 italian pork sausage per person
- 30 grams of dried porcini mushrooms per person
- 1 large spring onion
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Olive oil, pepper to taste
- 1 litre stock
- Grana Padano parmesan cheese – 50 grams per person
Heat water and stock in a pot until boiling. Add sausages to boil for about 5 minutes.
Chop dried porcini mushrooms and put into a small bowl with hot water and soak for five minutes until soft.
Fry spring onion in olive oil. Add Arborio rice and fry for 5 minutes until the rice is heated. This seals the rice and stops the starch from breaking down.
Add white wine and bring to a boil for a couple of minutes.
Remove sausages from pot. Remove meat from casings and chop sausage meat and add to risotto.
Remove porcini mushrooms from water and add to risotto.
Add leftover water from porcini mushrooms to pot with stock water.
Add stock water mixture to risotto until covered. Cook on medium heat for another 15 minutes or so or until Al dente (that’s how I like it).
While cooking don’t stir too much or it becomes gloopy – rather fold it or stir a little so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
For the last five minutes stir risotto rapidly if you want a creamy consistency.
Serve with grated grana padano cheese.
*This recipe is adapted from Orazzio Cremona’s (Belfiore Italian deli) risotto recipe presented at the Dante Alighieri’s May 2018 Italian cooking classes.
Crostata alla marmellata di arance (Nartjie jam tart)
I made a delicious jam using the nartjies and adapted a recipe for a traditional jam tart I also received on the course.
- 4 Naartjies
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
Heat water and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Break nartjies into segments and squeeze into water.
Boil on a low heat until thick for 1 hour and 45 mintues.
250 grams doppio zero flour
85 grams icing sugar
110 grams butter
3 egg yolks
View this post on Instagram
In the #SlowFood spirit of #EatLocal I made a crostata alla marmellata (jam tart) with some export grade nartjies I got at this past weekend’s #keyespantrymarket Recipe on my blog today #linkinprofile👆🏻 #crostata #crostataallamarmellata #italianfood #italianbaking #nartjie #bakgatnartjies #foodie #foodblogger #myjoburgfooddiary
Whisk egg yolks. Add soft butter and mix.
Slowly add dry ingredients until you have a dough like mixture.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll from the centre outwands until the size of your pan. I used a rectangular one. Dough should be about 7-8mm thick.
Grease your pan and place pastry into pan. Gently push dough into place with your fingers. Dough should cover the sides of the pan – not too high. Place excess pastry on the side.
Add jam (not too deep) to the pan until covered evenly.
Take excess pastry and sprinkle evenly in fun shapes or bas circles.
Bake in preheated pan – 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes.
Allow to cool before serving.
I like to cut mine into smaller squares otherwise it can be overwhelmingly sweet.
*This recipe is adapted from Mikro Castellani of Mafiosi Italian Deli, also presented at the Dante Alighieri May 2018 cooking classes.