A 2020 beginning.
It’s 2020. Summer is here. School is back. Holidays are over. The African Relish team has gathered in the shade of the verandah for a breather and our first weekly meeting to plan the year ahead.
2019 was a bumper year where we hosted more guests than ever before. We aim, through the introduction of additional courses, to bring even more culinary travellers to the cooking school to spend time with Chef Alexa and Rowina. We see both verandahs filled with guests at The Chef’s Café, or sitting at the counter in the deli enjoying breakfast, lunch or supper. The guests in the cottages meander through town or come to the Langhuis for a swim or to relax in the garden.
It is not all plain sailing and if nothing else Prince Albert is challenging. We face the normal difficulties of running a business in a small town and work around water restrictions and seemingly excessive load-shedding. Generators, last minute supply changes and the generosity of neighbours allow us to adjust accordingly and make it happen. When the rain comes it is like a a festival!
Our own Culinary Adventure to Cape Town
Part of our team has enjoyed a visit to Cape Town during January for well deserved culinary inspiration. We visited the OZCF market, Mojo ice cream’s new store, Sundoo, The Commissary, Willoughbys, Unframed, Societi Bistro and various local delicatessens and suppliers of produce for our deli. The remaining team will visit the Mother city later in the year. These visits are part and parcel of our on going training and team building program. Kenton spotted the iconic cheesecake at the New York Bagel in Harrington street and is determined his version even better.
Longer hours so an additional manager
The Chef’s Cafe was open for a year in mid December. We recently opened the Deli and are now taking the plunge to serve breakfast from the beginning of Feb. This means that African Relish will be open from 8.30 am to 9.00 pm most days of the week. Melinda Esterhuizen and Donovan Ontong now share the management portfolio. Donovan returns after a working sabbatical in Cape Town and Melinda joins for the first time. Both are life long Prince Albert residents and bring their local knowledge to our offering.
Fresh, local and seasonal or inspired by deli goods from our suppliers, we are enjoying new dishes on both the lunch and dinner menu at The Chef’s Café. Seasonal in Prince Albert means that the months of Jan and Feb are pretty lean as it is almost impossible to grow leafy veggies in the height of summer. So we bring in a bit of that and tailor dishes to suit. Our smoked trout (from Three Streams) salad has summer flair and includes Marco’s pickled aubergine sold in the deli. Figs from Weltevrede are at their best with pomegranates making an early appearance.
Presented in the Chef’s Café, Valentines dinner will be served on the verandah looking over the olive orchard. With figs from Weltevrede plus cheeses from Gay’s Guernsey Dairy it promises to be a feast.
We are making figs our special Valentine’s “guest” for the week of 11 to 15 February. With dishes like whipped goat’s cheese, baked figs and a honeyed fig and curd cheese tart, Valentine’s will be a sweet affair at African Relish. We will also be baking decadent heart shaped chocolate cake as what would Valentines be without chocolate!
Call Melinda at 023 5411381 for a table or to order a cake.
Chef Alexa and Rowina are busy with classes in our cool (it really is courtesy of evaporative cooling) kitchen, enjoying teachingguests from around town in our local evening cooking club. The classes are attracting guests from around the world and we have had visitors from 17 different countries in 2019!
Our most popular classes are Karoo on a Plate and Karoo tapas. Summer is perfect for our Mediterranean Alfresco and Vegetarian class. Have a look at the course calendar and join in the next class. Our summer #cookandstay special for a couple or family is available till end February including two nights accommodation in our cottages.
Thursday 30th is the first of 2020 monthly Local Cooking Club classes – adding a take to your breakfast repertoire, join in the fun at 17h30. Each month we aim to add a new skill or technique to your cooking recipes. Cost R295.00.
Masterclass visiting chefs and dates. Gordon Wright 17th April.
Karoo slow-food chef Gordon Wright and his lovely wife Rose are from the town of Graaff-Reinet. Gordon sets the standard for modern Karoo cuisine. As founder of the Karoo Convivium and member of the national executive of Slow-Food international in South Africa, he lives, breaths, laughs and drinks Karoo.
Gordon has his roots in the Karoo and is a great storyteller. His cookbooks Veld to Fork and Karoo Food is such a true reflection of the Karoo terrior. He has passion and respect for the region and ecosystem and only cooks with produce he has personally grown, hunted or sourced.
Join us in our kitchen for the a masterclass weekend with Gordon Wright. Cost of the weekend includes all meals, classes & notes.
What’s new in the Deli
Darling Brew craft beer and ciders new on the shelves. Come and see our Brita Dolls colourful individual dollies with a foodie theme, each with their own personality. Back in the fridges, Theonista, Gingerbeer, Brew Kombucha and Uber Ice Tea, Game and Grass venison Charcuterie and Hartlief cold meats.
New stock of the fragrant Savon Soap as well as Buzzy Wraps arrived. Last mentioned for keeping cheese, bread, fruit and vegetables fresher for longer than plastic wrap.
Come get your high quality dried fruit and nuts for the pantry. Vegan sweets back by popular demand. The pickled aubergines from Marco’s Kitchen are an absolute winner product.
Visit us and check the freezer for our ready made chicken pie, pork neck curry, tomato meatballs, pumpkin fritters, beef lasagne and vegan chick pea curry.
What’s on in town.
Moonlight Market: 21 February, 20 March, 24 April
MTB Africa Karoo GravelGrinder cycle race: 3-6 March, 10-13 March, 19 – 22 March, 2 – 5 April
MTB Swartberg 100 Gran Fondo cycle race: 25 April (171 km, 3000m ascent)
Groet is ‘n Moet: 1 – 2 May African Relish and Karoo Slaghuis are sponsoring potjiekos made with warthog and seasonal vegetables. This event will be taking place as an informal, Karoo-style get together with the intent to celebrate our community by eating together.
Plaaskombuis Festival: 1 – 3 May A Festival driven by the Agricultural Society and Church to raise funds. Food stalls, beer garden and children’s entertainment.
Open Studios: 18 to 21 June. Prince Albert resident artists will be opening their studio and galleries, inviting the public to engage on a personal level.
See you soon in the kitchen.