True to country life, Gondwana Game Reserve’s recently-appointed chef, Christo Nortier, believes in fresh, natural food; and in supporting local, organic farmers – those practicing sustainable agriculture.
“Balance in life, nature and food is difficult to maintain yet worth the effort,” he says. “I want Gondwana to be a positive force in the lives of the people who become involved in it; and to delight Gondwanas’ discerning guests with delicious cuisine made from high quality local ingredients.”
Christo plans to make community awareness a key component of his efforts. His first step is to bridge the knowledge gap between the local food producers and the local consumers of food. “I aim to help establish a meaningful community connection,” he adds. “One of the best ways for sustainable farming to be understood by the neighbouring community is for education to take place. Giving local farmers new distribution channels for food and information are Gondwana’s fervent contributions to this developing process.”
With accolades worth bragging about – including working for Jamie Oliver, as well as Jamie’s mentor and friend, Gennaro Contaldo, “where I grew in leaps and bounds as operation chef” – Christo promises to amaze visitors to Gondwana Private Game Reserve with irresistible, tantalising treats.
”I like to pay homage to the great dishes and styles of cooking that have evolved since the beginning of time and to put my own little spin on them,” says the man who also helped with the opening of Jamie’s Italian, Dubai and eight other outlets in the UK.
The recipe I wish to share is an innovative example of putting an African spin on a traditional European dish by using amadumbe (yams) and biltong.
Moving from very simple ideas, to more of a fine dining sensation, I illustrate the unique quality and adaptability of amadumbe by creating this creamy amadumbe soup. With the addition of a velvety smooth spicy biltong ice cream, sliced biltong, crispy leeks and garlic chips this dish is a texture explosion. It’s one of my favourites. (Alternatively, you could use biltong-flavoured cream rather than ice cream. Both will do, but the extreme temperature difference makes this soup extraordinary.)
Yields: 2/4 portions
Biltong & Thyme Ice Cream
Yields: 300 ml
3 g salted Butter
3 ml sunflower Oil
45g White Onions, sliced
5 g Coriander Powder
3 g Whole Peppercorns
150 g Biltong, sliced
500 ml Cream
5 Egg Yolks
5 ml Golden Syrup
Salt to taste
1 Leek, finely sliced in 5cm slices and deep fried until crispy
20 g Biltong, sliced thinly
Yields: about 100 ml
125 ml fresh Parsley
100 ml Sunflower Oil
4 Garlic Cloves, finely sliced with a potato peeler
Full Cream milk for poaching
Sunflower Oil for frying
Yields: about 400ml
25 g salted Butter
8 ml Sunflower Oil
80 g White Onions, sliced
250 g Amadumbi’s
125 g Potatoes
500 ml Water
1) Heat a pan; add butter and oil – sauté onions and garlic, add spices and then biltong. Finish with cream; bring to the boil for two minutes. Turn this off and cover with plastic to infuse for 10 minutes and develop the flavour
2) Beat the egg yolks and glucose until light and fluffy
3) Blend well and strain the cream mixture, heat slightly and add to egg yolk mixture slowly
4) Cool and then churn in an ice cream machine. If an ice cream machine is not available place chilled mixture into freezer. Whisk every 30 minutes until frozen to allow for a light and fluffy ice cream
5) Liquidize parsley with sunflower oil together and strain, set aside
6) Poach the garlic chips in milk three times changing the milk every time. This will prevent the garlic from going bitter on frying. Remove from milk and place onto paper towelling
7) Fry garlic chips very slowly in warmish oil to allow even cooking and set aside on paper towelling
8 ) Heat a heavy based pot; add butter, oil and then onions. Caramelise very well. Add peeled and chopped amadumbis and potatoes, sauté and then cover with the water amount
9) Lightly simmer until potatoes are cooked, liquidise and strain
10) Add an additional 500 ml water, or so, on service when heating to get this soup to the correct consistency. This soup must be seasoned very well
11) Pour a portion of soup within a soup bowl, top with a smallish ball of ice cream. Top with finely sliced biltong, garlic chips and crispy leeks and a drizzle of parley oil
Apart from meals to tickle taste buds, the award-winning, five-star, 11 000-hectare private game reserve on the Cape’s Garden Route is the only fynbos reserve in the world with free-roaming Big Five game.
For all reservation enquiries please contact Gondwana Game Reserve by email at email@example.com or by telephone on +27 (0)21 424 5430.