Thursday, August 4, 2011

From Farm to Fork

So, this post was meant to open with a heartwarming story of how masterclasses show you what's possible in the kitchen, wow! Look at this amazing dish I whipped up using the mad skillz I learnt at the masterclass I went to last weekend! But, yeah. Life rarely works out like that for me, and I'm going to need a few more attempts at this before I can show it to you, my trusting readers.

The masterclass was, however, extremely inspiring and motivating, and taught me a lot, not just about how I should not be allowed to poach anything (snigger), but how we can all change small things in our lives to make a big difference.

Hosted by Matt Allison and Neill (2 L's, please, darling!) Anthony, the class aimed to show how well it is possible to eat, while being conscious of where food comes from, and trying to eat seasonally and locally.

Neill, a chef, has trained with the best, has worked with Gordon Ramsay, and knows a thing or two about, well, a lot. He seems to love to teach, he wants to show people how easy it is, and he revels in purees, mousselines and espumas. I'm not kidding, all those items were on our menu on Saturday!

Matt is a multi-talented renaissance man. Formerly a musician and music producer, he left his company last year, to raise his son, the adorable Nathan, from home. Since then, he has cooked his way through 2 Jamie Oliver cookbooks, started an urban farming revolution among local Cape Town foodies, and even consults with various local restaurants on growing their own food for use in their restaurants. Amazing, I know, and I'm lucky enough to call these two guys friends.

On the menu was a warm salad of braised fish, marinated fennel and herb mousseline; Poached and roasted loin of rabbit, seasonal greens and artichoke puree; and whipped lemon curd, coconut and ginger espuma. See? I told you I wasn't kidding..

Neill showed us techniques for making incredible mayo or mousseline using lightly boiled eggs, and deboned a rabbit for us, to show us how it was done. While he was busy cooking, Matt took us through what he does, and told us all about the origins of the food we were about to eat. Instead of the distance we get from shopping in supermarkets, he told us about the farmers, the markets and the producers of the food we were about to eat, bringing home with his passion how important it is, not only to eat healthily, but to eat consciously.

I could go on, telling you all the things I've learnt, but for now, let me end with this. If you get the opportunity to watch this dynamic pair in action, grab it with both hands, and go! The inspiration you will leave with, and the flavours dancing in your mouth will be well worth what you paid for it.  And as if a belly full of food and wonderful wine, a head full of inspiration and ideas weren't enough, you'll also leave with a goodie bag full of NoMu products, Bosch goodies and more.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what the thing was that didn't really work out? Well, in a lucky draw, the husband won a stuffed rabbit loin (and what was he going to do with it?). I gamely attempted to recreate the heaven served up by Neill, but sadly overcooked the poor bunny, in my fear of this poaching thing. It seems anything involving timing and boiling in water just really isn't my thing.. boiled eggs, anyone?

Anyway, enough about me. Have you ever been to a show or a class that's changed your perspective on things? Something that's made you sit up, and look at your life and makes you wonder what you're doing? Leave me a note, and tell me what it is, who knows, maybe we can help change each others lives!

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