HOT OFF THE PASS | This week in food news: August 20 2020

Our food editor fills you in on the latest in the world of food and wine

20 August 2020 - 09:28
Le Creuset's limited-edition Lotus collection includes a Marmite (soup pot), Heritage Square Dish and Seattle Mugs.
Le Creuset's limited-edition Lotus collection includes a Marmite (soup pot), Heritage Square Dish and Seattle Mugs.
Image: Supplied

On Friday afternoon, I escaped the home office and headed to Joburg's Hyde Park Shopping Centre, where I came across a heart-warming sight.

At the glam tea shop Just Teddy there was a family celebrating a birthday with balloons, big smiles and tall milkshakes. Their joy was palpable and it reminded me of the simple pleasure of eating out — something many of us have forgotten in these Covid times.

One of Just Teddy's magnificent cakes.
One of Just Teddy's magnificent cakes.
Image: FM/Freddy Mavunda

Just Teddy is an eatery, bakery and patisserie rolled into one. It's owned by the talented Teddy Zaki, who baked his way to the top — well, nearly — on the TV show The Great South African Bake Off. Zaki’s speciality are Middle Eastern treats featuring the flavours of his beloved homeland, Lebanon.

Taking our cue from the happy party, my husband and I tucked in to a three-tiered cake stand groaning with delicious savouries, scones and pastries. We gobbled the lot with the help of copious cups of tea — and we’ll be back to sample some more along with now-legal champers soon.

Beyond the end of the booze ban, here’s what else has been making waves in the world of food and wine:

PRINTS CHARMING

I’ve coveted Le Creuset cookware since I used it in my very first job. At that time there was nothing like the flame-orange cast-iron cookware that stood in a line on the test kitchen shelves, and curiously everything I cooked in it tasted good, which I later discovered was all to do with the heavy base and even distribution of heat it provides.

Over the years, the famed French cookware company branched out from the original orange shade, called Volcano, introducing cookware in eye-catching rainbow of colours — the latest being a deep burgundy hue called Fig.

But what really piqued my interest was their new Japanese-inspired Lotus collection. This limited-edition range in beautiful turquoise is unusual in that it's embellished with a lotus flower design. It took me back to a different era and made me wonder if the company’s taking a new direction design-wise.

IMPALA STEAK, ANYONE?

Venison is a lean meat with very little, if any, fat and is considered a way healthier alternative to beef — it has less impact on the environment too. The trouble is it can be tricky to source.

That's why it's good news for game lovers that Somkhanda, a community-owned Big 5 reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, has decided to a commercial market for their venison in an effort to try to claw back some of the hefty financial losses they've suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sourced from grazers such as impala and nyala, which are culled in an effort to manage stocks, the meat will be sold through KZN Game Meat, at farmers’ markets and selected Pick n Pay stores (read more here).

As delicious as venison is, it can’t be prepared in the same way as beef because the meat is much tougher, with less fat. To break down that tough connective tissue, marinate it in a mixture that contains an acid like wine or buttermilk and add flavourings like onion, garlic, bay leaf and peppercorns.

Marinate large cuts overnight and thinner ones, like steak, for a couple of hours.