Are you ready for a taste sensation?

Get the full-flavour experience with Cape Herb & Spice this June as they celebrate all things savoury in kitchens across the country

09 June 2024 - 00:00
By Staff Reporter
Chef Alex Torrão
Image: Supplied Chef Alex Torrão

Get ready for a spicier June as Cape Herb & Spice gears up for International Herb & Spice Day on June 10, a time to celebrate what they do best: bringing top-quality herbs to cooks around the country.

Cape Herb & Spice are back with a winning collaboration for the grand return of Herb & Spice Day. Get ready for a culinary shake-up with Cape Herb & Spice, who are leading the charge of flavour with their signature flair as they join forces with renowned Chef Alex Torrão for a flavourful sensation.

With his roots in Macau, Chef Alex has a passion for culinary exploration and brings a multicultural twist to street food as the owner of Eighty8’s Food Co. His culinary journey started when he fell in love with food when he took his first bite from a side-street noodle bar, and he is now a household name with many nominations and awards for his food truck. Chef Alex’s culinary journey is truly remarkable.

Chef Alex’s passion is bringing the flavours of his South African-Portuguese heritage to his innovative street food creations, and he embodies the essence of Herb & Spice Day. Shelley Barnard, head of marketing for Cape Herb & Spice, says chef Alex’s passion for outdoor cooking adds a unique dimension to the collaboration with the company, bringing an adventurous spirit to the special day in honour of herbs and spices. “Chef Alex is passionate about motivating cooks around the country to step out of their comfort zones and embrace a culinary adventure,” she said.

Herb & Spice Day serves as a reminder of the integral role seasonings play in elevating culinary experiences. It’s a day to celebrate the myriad aromas, flavours and textures these humble ingredients bring to the table. From enhancing the simplest dishes to elevating gourmet creations, herbs and spices are the unsung heroes of every kitchen.

Join Cape Herb & Spice and Chef Alex on Herb & Spice Day as they embark on a journey to celebrate flavourful creations, because, as the chef says, “Life is just too short for bland food.”

The good news is that Cape Herb & Spice products are completely free from artificial flavours and colours, added MSG and preservatives. They are non-irradiated, non-GMO, halal, and suitable for vegans. In addition, more than 80% of the herbs and spices used are procured from source, ensuring top quality and traceability.

Chef Alex's slow-cooked lamb shanks with mash pot pies.
Image: Supplied Chef Alex's slow-cooked lamb shanks with mash pot pies.

Chef Alex’s Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks with Mash Pot Pies

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 3 hours

Serves 4

4 lamb shanks 

15ml (1 tbsp) Cape Herb & Spice LOUISIANA CAJUN RUB

15ml (1 tbsp) Cape Herb & Spice PERI PERI RUB

15ml (1 tbsp) Cape Herb & Spice ATLANTIC SALT SEA GRINDER

15ml (1 tbsp) Cape Herb & Spice BLACK PEPPERCORNS GRINDER

15ml (1 tbsp) Cape Herb & Spice PAPRIKA

250ml (1 cup) olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

5 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 carrots, roughly chopped

2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped

2 bay leaves

2 sticks of fresh rosemary

250ml (1 cup) red wine

1 x 400g can tomato purée or passata

500ml (2 cups) beef stock

Potato Pot Pie

4 large or 6 medium potatoes

100g butter

75ml cream

5ml (1 tsp) Cape Herb & Spice ATLANTIC SEA SALT GRINDER

5ml (1 tsp) Cape Herb & Spice BLACK PEPPERCORNS GRINDER

5ml (1 tsp) Cape Herb & Spice LOUISIANA CAJUN RUB

1 sheet of puff pastry, at room temperature

1 egg, beaten for egg wash

1. For the lamb shanks, preheat the oven to 200°C (you can also use a wood-fired or gas pizza oven). 

2. Generously drizzle the lamb shanks with olive oil. Apply Cape Herb & Spice PAPRIKA, Cape Herb & Spice LOUISIANA CAJUN RUB and Cape Herb & Spice PERI PERI RUB until the shanks are evenly covered. Add some Cape Herb & Spice ATLANTIC SEA SALT and Cape Herb & Spice BLACK PEPPERCORNS GRINDER.

3. Heat a pan and sear shanks evenly on all sides, roughly three minutes per side. This can be done over an open fire or a gas or electric stove. Set the shanks aside in a deep-dish oven tray.

4. Using the same pan you browned the shanks in, drizzle in a little more olive oil and add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaves and rosemary. Cook until onions and celery are soft. Pour wine into the pan and cook off the alcohol, and then add the tomato purée. Pour the mixture over the shanks, and finally pour over your beef stock.

5. Cover tightly with a double layer of aluminium foil. Place the tray in the oven and reduce the temperature to 160℃ and leave for three hours. After three hours, remove from the oven and slightly open the foil. Pour off the pan juices through a sieve into a saucepan and reduce by half by bringing to the boil and then simmering till reduced. Set aside the reduced sauce to serve with the lamb shanks.

6. While the shanks are cooking, peel potatoes and cut into quarters. Boil in salted water until soft, or until a knife can penetrate the potatoes easily. Drain off excess water and add butter and cream. Mash together until potatoes are smooth. Add Cape Herb & Spice ATLANTIC SEA SALT, Cape Herb & Spice BLACK PEPPERCORN GRINDER and Cape Herb & Spice LOUISIANA CAJUN RUB to taste.

7. Divide mashed potatoes between four ramekins. Roll out puff pastry and cut 4 equal squares slightly larger than the diameter of the ramekins.

8. Wet the edges of the ramekin and gently cover it with the puff pastry, pressing the pastry onto the sides of each dish.

9. Use a knife or toothpick to cut a diamond pattern on the surface of the puff pastry and gently brush with beaten egg wash. Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

10. To serve, pour some of the reduced sauce onto the plate and top with a lamb shank, pouring over extra sauce. Add a mash pot pie to the plate and serve. 

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