Friday, February 10, 2012

The Rosendal Experience; up very close - earthly delights.

Every time I visit Rosendal, in the Eastern Free-State, I experience the place from a different angle and perspective. It is because you look past the obvious touristy landmarks, the typical sandstone mountain landscape scenes, looking for an experience beyond the obvious. Different guests, different homes and walks and chats along the way, make each weekend a unique and valuable experience.

New guests bring something special to the table in terms of conversation and of course the menu and the available produce. We each take turns to cook and because there is no television and distractions, we have fabulous conversations on many inspiring topics. 
Hugh Frazer, seen above, made breakfast.
One also becomes a little blasé about that which attracted you to the place in the first instance. This is particularly true when you capture the quintessential of the quaint little town on camera and you post it on a blog, as I have done twice before. 
It is simply not good enough and of real value to just post more images of the same – from different angles, and at different times of the year, capturing the four seasons etc. This is not my style. As mentioned before – I like to cook there, for obvious reasons.  We always try out something will share with you here on my blog.
I therefore bring another dimension to the value adding experience of Rosendal; visuals of the place within the space (besides new recipes). Every effort has been made to get up very close to those things that inspire me most; making use of my creative eye, and embracing all of my senses to arrive at a visually enticing reflection of Rosendal. Hopefully this is a new an exciting way of revealing that which inspires me most about the place. 
Ultimately such experiences are in the memory of the past experiences of the place – fondest memories, but more importantly it is fundamentally in the detail. The effort you make in cooking a fabulous meal, serving it with an excellent accompanying wine to appreciating guests with meaningful conversation. Such is the things of which an enchanted life is remembered and cherished. Very special indeed.

The recipes are some of my favourites

slowly cooked in red wine
with tomatoes
rosemary and marjoram
served with wild rice and a 
delicious vegetable salad 
with an amazing vinaigrette.
Slice, chop and or dice the onions (1 or 2 big, or a few small ones)
Also slice and or chop 250 grams of streaky bacon.
Also chop a few garlic cloves (preference).
Gently fry all the chopped ingredients in a pan, ovenproof dish and or pot. 
Remove with a slotted spoon.
Fry the lamb knuckles (750 grams) turning the meat after a few minutes, browning the knuckles on both sides (brown in two batches if pot is too small).
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
Season with salt and pepper, add the chopped Rosemary (a few sprigs), marjoram and pour over the red wine (300 ml) and simmer the meat until the wine is reduced by half (turn the meat once or twice).
Then add the tins of chopped tomatoes (from Woolworths) and some tomato paste (Italian from Woolworths). 
Add the chopped ingredients (onions, bacon, garlic and chilli) and add some water (if necessary) ; to cover the meat and finally place the dish in the preheated oven - cook for two hours (or until the meat is tender)

After an hour cook the rice, wild-rice this time.
My love for Salads.

Meanwhile cook the broccoli or asparagus in boiling water until almost cooked 10 – 12 minutes at most. Drain under very cold water and set aside.
Wash all the salad leaves and dry.
You could also fry eggplant after extracting the excess water; sprinkling it with salt and drying it on paper toweling. Also follow the process to extract excessive oil.
Arrange some of the salad leaves on a platter, then add some of the vegetables, the cheese (Feta or mozzarella) and some of the olives, then add more salad leaves, completing the salad adding the ingredients in layers (I never toss a salad). For the salad below, I grated blue cheese over the salad, after each layer.

For this particular salad, featured here, I used greens from Daniel’s herb and vegetable garden. Fresh lettuce is something else, not what you buy at Woolworths or your greengrocer.  
Believe me a crisp green salad with a fabulous vinaigrette will have you coming back for more; a second helping, especially with roasted pine nuts. I have made many salad dressings in the past, even made my own flavoured oils. I have added basil and other herbs, to obtain particular flavours to the oil, left in the bottle for a few days or a week (even combinations of herbs). 

Herb flavoured oil is very special during the winter months, when certain herbs like basil are not available (it gets freezing cold in Rosendal). One can also make a fabulous wine-vinegar by adding herbs. The combination of the oil, vinegar and herbs can give you many different combinations for dressings – really stunning, when adding sun-ripe tomatoes in your salad. Never ever make a salad with tomatoes straight from the fridge. Tomatoes should be juicy and sweet, and together with great cheeses (Feta or Mozzarella), the roasted pinenuts, the fresh salad leaves and a flavoured basil dressing, changes goats food, a salad into something very special indeed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i want to take holiday,missing the wonderful food we cooked in rosenthal..