Take a trip down nostalgia lane with Jackie Cameron’s new show

Food editor Hilary Biller shares a Christmas food memory evoked by a new YouTube food series

09 December 2021 - 06:00
Jackie Cameron with her gourmet makeover of a favourite, beef tongue.
Jackie Cameron with her gourmet makeover of a favourite, beef tongue.
Image: Nederburg

A vivid and treasured Christmas food memory, love it or loathe it, in our home when growing up was beef tongue the way my mother would prepare it. Essential to our festive spread, it was considered a great treat.

A week before Christmas, the ritual was to take down the large pot in which my mother would cook the tongue — covering it with water and adding flavourings such as onion, carrots and the essential aromatics, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns — and this would gently simmer on the stove for a few hours.

Once cooked, tender and cool enough to handle, the best part for us kids was to help peel off the skin to expose the tender and succulent flesh underneath.

It was so much a part of our lifestyle that my mother had a special tongue press — a contraption that consisted of a round vessel into which she’d press the warm tongue, make slits  into the flesh and press in stuffed green olives, pour over a little of the reserved stock, cover with a lid that sat on top of the vessel, and by turning a lever it would drop to press down on the tongue, compacting it into a beautiful round of meat.

Sliced beef tongue with mustard sauce is a favourite dish in the Christmas spread.
Sliced beef tongue with mustard sauce is a favourite dish in the Christmas spread.
Image: Nederburg

Then this stood in the fridge for a few days before turned out. The tongue beautifully rounded, it would be cut with a sharp knife into thin slices, revealing slivers of green olive and served with a mustard sauce. So delicious.

I was intrigued to see well-known KwaZulu-Natal chef Jackie Cameron and owner of the cookery school of the same name share tongue as her favourite childhood memory in a new YouTube video series called I’ll Bring The Wine. This five-part series, sponsored by Nederburg, is hosted by chef and food writer Karen Dudley, who profiles a handful of SA chefs.

It’s way beyond the kitchen, which makes it so interesting, as Dudley travels around the country to meet the chefs on their turf. She teases out their life stories, which makes for good viewing, and gets them to share their treasured recipes, which they give a gourmet makeover and sit down together to enjoy, of course well matched with a specially selected Nederburg wine.

It’s worth watching.

• 'I’ll Bring The Wine' is available on the Nederburg YouTube channel.


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