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Vegetables – leading and defining our dishes

At Morukuru Family, all our chefs are passionate about creating dishes from only the best local fresh produce, which means they get to work with plenty of fruits and vegetables. We also favour using ingredients that are in season because they spend less time from farm to table and are more nutritious and delicious. 1st October is World Vegetarian Day and the annual start to Vegetarian Awareness Month. We don’t need any encouragement to add more colour to our plates. We know eating more vegetables is better for our health and better for our planet too.   Chef Asion at Morukuru Family Madikwe told us that guests are choosing more vegetarian meals because they are adopting healthy lifestyles and because vegetarian cuisine has started taking centre stage. Gone are the 1970’s versions of lentils and beans. Vegetables have become more prominent, and chefs are creating exceptional vegetarian food where vegetables are not an afterthought. Asion says, “Vegetarian and vegan cuisine is very mainstream now - there are no excuses for bland and boring dishes. Herbs and spices are important to raise the flavour profile. Marinades are great too, and I enjoy working with “meaty” vegetables like mushrooms and aubergines”.    

The kitchen at AtholPlace House & Villa is under the spell of our Head Chef Vasco. He says, “Vegetables have never been more prominent. There is no option for mediocre dishes. One of my favourites to prepare is our Spinach and Pea Risotto with Truffle oil, Parmesan Foam and Basil. Our guests have responded to this simple yet flavoursome dish, and you can make it pretty easily at home.”  

Ingredients

Risotto x 1 cup

Garlic x 2 cloves, chopped

Onion x 1/2 finely chopped

Truffle oil x to fry

Spinach x 200g

Peas x 100g

Salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan x 20g grated

Vegetable stock x 800ml

In a saucepan sauté onion, garlic and the risotto until translucent then add half the stock until al dente. Bring water to a boil, then blanch the peas and the spinach with the remaining stock to a smooth puree and add it to the risotto with the parmesan and season to taste.

Parmesan foam

Milk x 100ml

Parmesan x 30g grated

Bring the milk together with the parmesan to a boil then blend until smooth. Pour into a chiffon gun and gas charge with 2 chargers and allow to cool down.

Basil oil

Canola oil x 150ml

Basil x30g

Spinach x 30g

Heat the oil to 55 degrees, then blend together with the basil and spinach, strain through a muslin cloth, and store in a bottle.

At Morukuru Family De Hoop, we don’t believe the relationship between our chef and our vegetarian guests should be one of grudging toleration. We love the opportunity to produce meat-free meals that are of an exacting standard. Here Chef Dirk is a fan of asparagus, a summer vegetable and about to come into season. “Seasonal, locally grown asparagus not only looks amazing but also has a more intense flavour.” Dirk doesn’t shy away from taste and lists sumac as one of his go-to spices. His recipe for beetroot dauphinoise with caramelised onions and a sumac coconut panna cotta takes a French standard to the next level and hits all the right spots. “When working with vegetables, creativity is really important. I’m not scared to use herbs, spices and zest to enhance flavour; I enjoy exploring different forms such as pureeing instead of only eating the whole vegetable and am definitely into texture. I aim to have three different textures on a plate such as soft, crunchy and al dente.”

 

Bon Appetit

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